Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Happiness Project

I am working on a Happiness Project, see sidebar for link, and 2011 was a year of resolutions. I worked on a new resolution each month. The winter months were organizing and cleaning. I continued my three or more times a week to the gym , 90% of the time! I also did daily devotionals and tried my hand at reaching out more to others. I studied virtues Ben Franklin listed, see last Wed. post. I reviewed the Biblical Fruits of the Spirit and overall decided I am a work in process   :). Resolutions became part of everyday living.

This next year is focusing on "pigeons of discontent, those every day ordinary problems that have settled into roost", quote from the Happiness Project blog. It is the opposite of the bluebird of happiness.  I have been thinking about what that would mean to me. I am content with meeting resolutions from last year and I am in maintenance mode for most mentioned above. So, I decided that one of the pigeons for me is dwelling on guilt. You can't be happy or content if you are constantly wallowing in guilt.

The drill for me was evident at Thanksgiving. I was so thankful for many things. But I felt guilty that I didn't work hard enough on the meal or decorations. I didn't bake for days and I didn't make everything from scratch. I think that perfectionism serves well in quilting, music, at work and in other areas of life but not in everyday conversations with self, hence the guilt of not measuring up. Hmmm, so what. It was a great meal, a fantastic day and it had me slightly distracted for a few minutes over what I had to be thankful for. NOT gonna do that at Christmas. Or any other day.

I am also continuing to address my weight loss journey. It kinda got stuck over the last few months and needs to get back on track. It is a pigeon.

I will have to come up with a plan before 2012.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tiny Tuesday

Cats and Mice

Calico Puzzle
Century of Progress

Farmers Wife 6 inch blocks. I have completed the next four. I am really making this scrappy. I was given more little scraps from my mom, YEA! I had so much trouble with the cats and mice block but it is completed and I don't know why it was so hard for me!!

Check out my latest long arm quilts on

Monday, November 28, 2011

Design Wall Monday

This is a goofing around idea on EQ for a basic X block. I never ceases to amaze me how different colors make a block look so different!

I am having fun playing with different ideas. I really like this quilt, too!
Want to see quilts I long armed recently? Go here. Have a great week all.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Random thoughts

I couldn’t find some of my writing. I remembered writing it but I could remember where I stored it. I have had two computers since writing it. I had my husband dig up the old computer. I searched the files.

I found some files that I thought were lost for my quilt program. No writing. Where is it? I remembered that I had another laptop. I looked all over in the external hard drive in backed up files. No where to be found.

So I started to look through the backed up cd’s. I called my Dad who has the previous laptop and it was scrubbed and he remembers backing it up. I kept looking. Everywhere, I dug up boxes out of the closet and sorted thought stacks of dusty papers.

I spoke to my Dad again and he said it was backed up on a DVD. The next day I started to look through all the cd/dvd’s again. I found it. I was looking for a cd or a thumb drive.

I then started to think about life lessons. I have discovered that you can’t find something if you don’t know what you are looking for. This has proved to be so true for me in my life. I know people spend so much time and money searching for that “one thing” that will make them happy. To feel fulfilled. To feel that they are successful, confident, at peace.. the list goes on and on.

I go back to the assertion, you won’t find it if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Is it really a spiritual quest? A self esteem problems and lack of knowledge or a character issue that needs to be addressed? Is it really just lack of direction or lack of self discipline?

I decided that there are times I just need to quit spinning my wheels. I need to stop, ask someone for input, to look back and take an objective look at things. You can’t find something if you don’t know what you are looking for. Just isn’t possible.

OK here is the writing I was looking for:

The Cat Parade

Three cats live in the street by my house. They eat and drink when they can. They are thin and fast. The cats are elusive to the humans that live in the houses that shelter them from the rain. The leader is a black and white cat, the next is grey and the smallest is a young orange striped.

The cats sit outside on the property line between the houses in the town where I live. They sit and twitch their tails. They also wash their faces in the sun. Sometimes they sleep curled on the steps when no one is home.

My dog Dexter does not like the cats. He sits all day looking out of the windows on the property line. He pants and anxiously waits to get a glimpse of nature, the birds, squirrels and mostly the cats. He wants to chase them. It is interesting the history between cats and dogs. My dog has never been off his leash long enough in the yard to get close to a cat. I don’t understand his passion to catch a cat.

Dexter is 90 pounds and has wiry hair. He is a pointer. He has a deep passion to point out birds and small game to his humans. He had three good legs and one bad knee that was injured during his last hunting trip. He is now retired. He feels it is important to save his people from the cats.

Why do the cats parade past the windows each night at nine o’ clock? Day after day for nearly a year they do this ritual walking in a line from the left to the right and then cross the street at dusk. Do the mice come out at precisely nine? Does the restaurant on the alley dump their garbage at exactly nine? Dexter cries and occasionally jumps at the window in his distress at the cats.

The curtains are drawn, it doesn’t matter. If the sun is up or down, it doesn’t matter. The parade continues every night rain or shine.

I gave up on stopping the cat parade. I quit trying to solve the mystery of three cats on parade from the left to the right walking by my window every night.

Until at 5 to nine yesterday when Dexter had to go out side. On his leash to protect him from the street and limiting his exposure to the rest of the world, we entered the yard and walk to his favorite patch of grass. I heard a squirting sound and then a spray. I saw the sprinklers turned on across the street. And then one by one the parade began those thin and wild things , to the source of water trickling in the gutter.

The leader sits daintily and takes a drink. He looks at Dex on his leash, and twitches his tail. He knows the parade is over and enjoyed the chance to see from afar his number one fan of the nightly ritual.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Lakers Hockey

home team

Notre Dame

face off

Notre Dame bench, we sat right next to it on the glass
I love long weekends. Jay and I went to a college hockey game in the Sault, MI. I went to college there one year and never went to a game. How did I miss out on so much fun? Well, I was in the orchestra and had a concert most home games. Plus, I was broke. And I thought, at that time, that hockey was barbaric. :) Love it now!

Notre Dame was the opponent. We lost 4-1. It was a good to have a date. We ate out, had several hours of talking and listening to Traditional Celtic music in the car and had fun.

It took us the entire game to see what was on the goalie's helmet. The starting goalie had a shillelagh on his (a traditional Irish walking stick that could be used as a club in a fight) and the back up's was an Alaska seal. The custom paint on them was very cool. The Laker's goalie had an anchor on his. Those guys move so fast it was not easy to get photos! Much faster than high school level. We were on the red line in the middle, first row. Lots of action on the boards. I would go back and even brave snow later this winter. When the Lakers score a goal, the horn that rings is a ships horn that can be heard all around town, I am sure!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Simple Living

What is more simple than celebrating Thanksgiving. We chose a simple, yet traditional turkey, stuffing, mashed potates,home made bread, fresh green bean with bacon and onions and pies. Day was spent with family watching the Lions lose a football game to Green Bay.

To make the day a bit easier, I did buy a frozen pie. My parents made one from scratch. I bought gravy. My husband is head chef and I am an assistant. We did not make food to have left overs for days because it wasn't on the diet or necessary. To keep the day relaxed, we share tasks and sometimes get premade items. Like the pie and cubed bread.

I am celebrating the simple things this weekend. Not over buying for Christmas, not getting involved in the Black Friday frenzy at 5am. I have found my items on big sales already. I look around before making a purchase and I use coupons whenever possible. I do alot of on line shopping and try to get free shipping. That's simple and saves me tons. Gas to drive around is just too expensive.

Simple living tip for Black Friday is make sure it is really a sale and I go out really to be part of the energy of the people shopping later in the day. Not really for a "sale".

More simple living for the holidays in weeks to come.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Happiness Project

Ben Franklin made this list below by the age of 20. It is a very interesting list of things to live by. I think that it is tough to do them all every day but when achieved, happiness is a result. These virtures really speak for themselves. One doesn't seem to be more important than the other.

1.Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
2.Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
3.Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
4.Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
5.Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
6.Industry. Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
7.Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
8.Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
9.Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
10.Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
11.Tranquillity. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
12.Chastity. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.

13.Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

Can't say I want to imitate Socrates! Maybe I need to read about him more to see why Ben Franklin wanted to imitate him.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Farmer's Wife updates

Here is the current collection of 6 inch blocks from the book "The Farmer's Wife." It is really coming along much faster than the blocks I did for the Diary Quilt.
Recent customer quilt that I long armed. It is all hand pieced!! Beautiful job.

Here is another customer quilt and I love this batiks. I think I need to get a bali pop collection.

Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving all. I am very thankful for so much and I don't let a day go by where I take it for granted.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Simple Living update

What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while

This is a quote from the book, "The Happiness Project." I believe this to be very true. It fits into my framework for simple living. There are several things that I do daily that are non-negotiable.

Laundry at least two loads
Cook dinner
Dishes and clear off counter tops
Clear desk at work
daily devotion
check in with family
go to work

Several times a week I exercise, quilt and practice music.

Keeping up on the daily things allows me to do more a day!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Happiness Project

The focus of November is contentment and gratitude. I am content with the things I have. normally I am content with my career, my hobbies and the goals I have. In the fall, and as the holidays approach, I get a restlessness. A feeling of needing to be more prepared, to do more, to get more, to buy more. Hmmm, not at all a mindset of contentment or gratitude.

I am grateful for so much. I think it is important to remind myself of the basics. To not take for granted things like the food we buy and consume, the shelter we have, the relationships that we have and the work we do. I also try not to take the resources I have for granted.

Contentment is really about keeping the most important things in perspective. Then one can be grateful.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tiny Tuesday

I did the next four blocks in the Farmer's Wife book. They are 6 inch blocks.
The single block is called "buckwheat" and I like it. This is from scraps and precuts in my stash that play nicely together.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Design Wall Monday

A successful block after a couple of attempts. I am working on a quilt for my aunt. It had several pretty colors in it. 32 to be exact!

Here is the little table quilt for Thanksgiving. I will have to get it quilted by then!

To see a quilt I just long arm quilted go here.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A strange weekend so far....

...sometimes you just have to step away, take a break and do something different. So I made apple crisp with the last of our hand picked apples. It didn't even get cold before it was gone. So there is no picture. And I must say it was yummy!

Then I made a very simple quilt block.

Technical difficulties have plagued me for a week! It doesn't help that I haven't felt well, no sick but not well. I have been cleaning, doing more cooking and trying to slow down for the three day weekend. And so what if the cell phone, sewing machine, computer aren't all working at top form. Neither am I, ha!!!

Off to rethink the assembly process on a pattern I am working on because my first plan didn't work. :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Simple Living and Happiness Update

I made shortbread cookies this past weekend. Here is a photo to prove it!! Simple to make. I looked up the recipe on my phone and the screen was small and I didn't read all of the directions carefully. I found out, after I mixed up the dough, that this needed to be chilled and rolled out. I had hoped it would be a quick little project. They were popular with the family. Dieting was suspended for a treat. This was a something that was simple to do and it made me happy.

Here is another item that was simple to make and it makes me look forward to Thanksgiving.

Being thankful it definitely part of the happiness project. I am going to take time each day to think of something to be thankful for. Today I am thankful for having the basics- food, clothing and shelter.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tiny Tuesday

Tiny Tuesday
Here are the next three blocks. I really like the basket block, without a handle, hahha! Especially after last weeks problem. I still need to fix that.

Off to print the next 10 blocks in the series!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Design Wall Monday

The EQ6 design ideas from Sunday am. I started with one focus fabric that I have been holding on to. The rest of the fabrics came from the stash of scraps.  

The top picture is the quilt and it is going to be a table runner for Thanksgiving. This is the progress I made by Sunday pm.

I have more scraps thanks to Mom and I think I am going to make it bigger. It may be big enough to go on the back of my couch!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Happiness Project and Simple Living Updates

It doesn't get any happier or simple than this does it? Punkin Chunkin.
This is the physics project of my son's team in action. They had great distance. They helped out the team next to them and the spring loaded catapult pumpkin went further. The students worked so hard!

It was thrilling to watch what these teenagers did. It was great to see their hard work. It was scary because pumpkins went everywhere, including backwards. Part flying, heavy weight heaving and swaying , the wood frame groaning.

It was great to see them go splat!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tiny Tuesday

I have completed 6 blocks of the Farmer's Wife. I did four of these blocks in the past week.
I love basket blocks. I have tried using a bias tube for the handle. It lead to disastrous results.

How do you suggest? I may use fusible web and try. Do you know why my handle puckered on the inside?
I must say, this group of blocks is way easier than the Civil War Diary quilt, so far.

I am thinking about working my way up to doing a Dear Jane in modern colors. I also like the Nearly insane quilt. These quilts have 4-5 in blocks. Maybe smaller, once I get going I do all the blocks in the book!