Thursday, August 30, 2012

Simple Design

I made a trip to IKEA last weekend. I was very inspired by the store. I need to replace most of our furniture. My husband loved it. We are ready to move to more modern design. I love the clean lines, simple furniture.

The store was huge and we ate in the restaurant halfway through. It was a packed vacation destination for sure. People watching was a much fun as the showrooms! We are going back in October to that part of the state. While there we will stop to make our first small purchases of dishes and towels. I think we will be slowly building towards new things in every room.

Simple living is about planning, and collecting items one piece at a time as I can pay for them. I am looking for a very non complicated room design with storage. I live in a house that is old and modern living needs to be adapted for the space. It can be done beautifully, I see!

I am serious. I don't have any furniture that isn't worn out. Most of it was second hand from family. The furniture I bought new over a decade ago, and paid tons of money for it, is LONG gone.

This was affordable. I left feeling like I could win in this area! I wasn't going to have to settle for things anymore. This is the only IKEA in Michigan and it is 4 hours away so much of my shopping in the future will be online. Any advice for me from those who have purchased items before?

I am working on using the room planners. I haven't had this much fun in design in a long time!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The next block has posted for the quilt along! See link on side bar. This is a really fun quilt to make.

I am working on getting ready to launch some of my ideas in patterns! It is an exciting time. I am learning a ton and testing blocks. Watch for more!

I can't believe that summer is coming to an end. Labor day weekend is coming up. Gas is going up so we are staying home after our adventure last weekend at the Kalamazoo Highland Games. I will share pictures and details soon.

We have a bit of school clothes shopping to do and we will try locally as I didn't find what my son was looking for last weekend. I am confident that we will accomplish what we need to here at home.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Link party

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I have been spending most of my time,  outside of work, on the computer. I have been dreaming about my recent first trip to IKEA. I have also been knitting my weather diary scarf. I am nearly finished with the Super Mario Bros quilt along block. 

There is so much happening around here we barely have clean clothes or dishes!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Simple Living

What do you do to feel better about yourself, right now where you are? I have been feeling a bit under the weather this week-a migraine- and I have been pretty casual over the summer with my look and attitude. All that to say, I have been feeling a bit of, eh, about personal appearance and self .

I bought some new makeup and wear it all including mascara. I am going to start today.
I haven't been wearing accessories and they can make an old outfit look new, like a scarf, necklace.
I continue to exercise and adjust the intensity based on physical problems that day. I can feel like crap staying at hom doing nothing.
I am also devoting a few minutes each morning for focusing on spiritual matters and focusing on those things in life that are important. Like love, joy, peace, contentment, with a spirit of gratitude.
I am keeping up with chores by doing a few a day instead of all at once.
I am continuing to do a few minutes of sewing, playing music and knitting each day.
I am donating a quilt to charity this week.
I am getting a new hair cut.
I am taking a long weekend with my husband.
Lastly, I am trying to eat healthy.

What else? I think I may have it covered!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Trying new programs

I thought the park was pretty, even though it is milk weeds!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Linky Party Tuesday

I have been working on the BOM since February. It contains kits for two 12 inch blocks and 2 five inch blocks each month. I have only 2 more months to go! The batiks are so pretty and the sashing makes an interesting pattern of it's own! Wait for it, the surprise will be worth it once you see that sashing.....

I finished a quilt for a customer and you can see it in my previous blog post. I am getting more and more comfortable making feathers, who knew It could be done!

I am on a quest to stay focused. I need to refocus on many areas in my life but I find this is the common theme for lack of success in them. I have to remind myself of the old line from Star Wars, "Stay on Target." Losing focus leads to lack of following a plan, which leads to randomness, which leads to a stall in the process for me. Stay on Target.

and May the Force be with you, :), I am such a nerd.

Monday, August 20, 2012

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I have spent much time over the past couple of weeks working on this quilt. It is a large queen about 95x105. It is quilted in a copper colored thread in "wonky feathers." Sometimes I am not sure about thread color or pattern that customers like and I have concerns about how it will turn out. I am very happy with the results!

A weekend at home = lots of accomplishments. Cleaning, quilting goals, and shopping. I even mailed out the give away Winner to Erin. It should be there in a few days!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Simple Living

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I really like these words to live by. I think the part about "have a dog" doesn't mean all the time. :) I love dogs but not right now. I think if everyone consulted this list daily they would be content with all of the little, simple things daily.  I will start at the top today by singing in the shower and working my way down. Keeping it simple ,all day, will mean that I am treating others in the matter in which I would like to be treated. At work, I heard Dave Ramsey say on his radio show, " be different, show up 5 minutes early, do work all day and leave 5 minutes late. You will be a rare person at your job." Great words of wisdom by both my favorite radio talk show host and the above list.

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Here is my bowl of snippets. I think I am entering into a simpler phase of design, craft and decor.
Note the solid fabrics. I see in much of the crafting I am doing recently I enjoy the clean simple lines of modern quilts, simple stitches on knitting and less of the fussy overly done Victorian inspired design. I still find Art Nouveau as one of my favorite design eras but compliment that with a modern touch. I feel a whole new way of doing things around here!

Happy Simple Thursday!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Happiness Project

The author of the book The happiness Project wrote the above statement. She observed that many opposite statements about happiness are true. I have been observing this over the past week. It is has been one of those weeks that it been showing itself often.

I often feel the need to hurry but I want to feel/be relaxed. I want to be in constant motion to get things done. However, there are times in this hurry and activity I don't have a visible result. I like to have that check on the list, the gold star or the medal to show achievement.

I like the opposite quoted above. I feel the need to lighten up, be freer, but not lose sight of the seriousness of life and responsibilities. Perfectionism at it's finest.

I have found several opposites to ring true that deal with happiness- linger and savor the moments yet don't waste time it's a resource that can't be replaced.  Here are a more written by the author of the book:

"Do it now. Wait
Control and mastery are key elements of happiness; so are novelty and challenge.
Everything matters, and nothing matters.

Happiness doesn’t always make me feel happier.
Somewhere, keep an empty shelf; somewhere, keep a junk drawer.
Flawed can be more perfect than perfection.

Go slow to go fast.:

There are many of these ideas and I find that it all comes down to two things. Balancing the two opposites brings me to a place to be happy. happiness isn't affected by situations in life but sometimes I let it. It is really about being mature enough to embrace them as a part of the journey. Wish I could always remember that!

The other is that none of these things really should impact my deep sense of self and therefore the ability to experience happiness. Truly being happy is about having peace, joy, love and contentment present in my life.

To be honest, since I read this book I had never given these Opposites much thought. I am now because I find them quite fascinating.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Link Party

I am making a scarf based on the weather. Grey for cloudy days, green for summer sunny days, variegated for mixed bag, and I have a red for stormy weather. I am knitting three rows of stockinette each day. My fingers go numb by the end so it is the perfect amount of knitting for one day! I think I will crochet around the scarf once its done for a finished edge.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Design Wall Monday

The closing of the Olympics brings both a sadness that the games are ending and a happy joy of all the athletes who participated. I saw that last 2 hours of the closing ceremony and really enjoyed it, the ceremony and the music, the costuming, the dance. This week I will watch the Opening Ceremonies that I had to record!!

It was a successful binding marathon. I did complete all 5 quilts while watching the games. See previous posts to see quilts pictured opened up.

I also started knitting a scarf. It is a diary about the weather. Saw the idea on Design Wall Monday. I don't remember where I saw it but if you read this , thanks it is a great idea! I chose grey-cloudy, green for a sunny summer day, variegated for mixed bag day and maybe a few surprises as the weather changes around here. Stockinette stitch. Yes, the nights are cooler and the first trees have red leaves starting. Sigh another bittersweet time, the end of summer and Autumn will be here quickly.

I went to a Celtic festival Saturday and the purchases were hand spun yarn and hand made soap. Loved it. Wanna hear all about hubby's great day? He won Caber!, read yesterday's post for more details. I will post more pictures of the games and sights over the week.

Using the random number generator, I found a winner to the give away. I want to thank all for entering  and Erin won!! I sent out a email and look forward to hearing form you, Erin.  

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A very quiet day!

My Husband won the Caber toss and he took second overall in his age group.

Yesterday was a wonderful day of Highland Games and a Celtic Festival. It had dance and the best bands. It was small so I could watch my husband compete and still see the stage with all of the music and dance.
I learned a ton about traditional and competition dance. I got to know some athletes and families more. I took pics. I will show more of those as the week goes on. Don't want o bore you with a million of them all at once!

I bought hand spun yarn and hand made soap.  I love truly hand made things. The soap was made with herbs grown in the man's own garden!

I ate too much and was up late travelling. 

Now back to reality- grocery shopping and cleaning. Then I will sew and knit. And watch more TV.

It is the end of the Olympic marathon. I will announce the give away winner tomorrow. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Goomba Friday!


It's Goomba Friday, and I finished the Goomba in record time. I am one fourth of the way completed in this quilt along. See side bar if you want to join in. The next block is posted so watch for that to be surfacing soon! 

Yippee it's Friday! My coworkers will be happy and everyone can get along on Friday. I have a bit of prep to do for our road trip to Sparta's Celtic Festival tomorrow. That means we get to eat out and possible shop after the games. I think that counts as a date. I am not sure if the kilt hose are clean...better check the laundry! 

August is rapidly racing to the mid point and it has me feeling a bit nostalgic for June. Maybe it's the rain but it feels like autumnal weather. Sigh, summer is a fleeting season round here even though I don't like 90 degree days, I like to travel and have a more relaxed schedule.

I will draw for the giveaway on Sunday.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Simple Living

OK it has been weird food week. You know the game of trying to eat cheap but stay healthy game! I am posting the recipes because, well, if I can't ever find that recipe again, OH OH, just add the song MacArthur park in here. Dear me, I am dating myself aren't I!!

We Tried the meatless tacos with the following:

Taco Style Lentils & Rice

■3/4 cup dry lentils

■3/4 cup brown rice

■4 cups tap water

■4 beef bouillon cubes

■2 teaspoons chili powder

■1/2 teaspoon cumin

■1 teaspoon onion powder

■1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

In a 2-quart saucepan bring the water to a boil. As the water is heating, add the lentils, rice, bouillon, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, and garlic powder. Bring the whole thing to a nice fat boil. Reduce the heat to low. Place a lid on the lentils and allow the mixture to simmer for about 45 to 50 minutes. The water should be mostly absorbed. You may serve this as it, topped with a little cheddar cheese if desired. Or you can use it to fill burritos or tacos instead. Both ways are very tasty. This is one of Tommy’s favorite foods in the whole wide world.

If you have never tried lentils and are looking for a way to make them acceptable to the kids, this one is a good bet. Our favorite way to eat it is as a taco filling. If you are having a busy day and don’t have time to cook this on the stove, it can cook in the crock pot on low for about 6 to 8 hours instead. I’ve never cooked it on high, so I’m not sure how quickly it would cook that way. I suspect about 3 hours would be enough.

These money saving pita chips!

Homemade Pita Chips

Recipe courtesy The Neelys

.Prep Time:5 min Inactive Prep Time:-- Cook Time:12 min Level:

Easy Serves:

3 to 5 servings.Ingredients

3 pitas, cut into 8 wedges

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 clove garlic, smashed

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cut pitas into 8 wedges. Pour olive oil into a bowl and add garlic, salt and pepper. Brush pita chips olive oil and garlic mixture. Arrange pita chips on baking sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

.And lastly a quick and easy way to have mini meat loaf is here:    
Don’t you just love these cute Mini Meatloaves? I love cooking things in muffin tins. It makes everything so tiny and cute to eat. Remember these Pop Up Pancakes? Yum! Well, these Mini Meatloaves in a Muffin Tin are perfect for dinner served with little mini carrots and baby asparagus!

This idea came from the magazine Kraft Food & Family. I subscribe to their quarterly magazine and it’s FREE! **UPDATE: this magazine is no longer free.** It has great easy recipes with lots and lots of pictures (every recipe book needs pictures!) They do advertise using almost all Kraft products, but I just use whatever I’ve got at home already.

Mini Meatloaf Recipe:

Favorite Meatloaf recipe

BBQ sauce

salt & pepper

cheese – cheddar, or something stronger would be yum

Spray your muffin tin with cooking spray. Place in a handful of prepared meatloaf into each muffin tin. Press your thumb into each meatloaf ball, making a space for toppings. Squirt a dollop of BBQ sauce into the space and salt and pepper. Bake in a pre-heated 375* oven for 30 minutes or until cooked through (160F). Add your favorite cheese and bake for another 5 or so minutes.

Now serve these on a mini plate on a tiny table in your smallest room with your cutest kids and enjoy!
Written by Marie LeBaron

We also ate quick cook barley instead of rice. Hmmm. It was all good, will help in managing weight and giving up that all important fiber!

Any other cheap yet healthy ideas? Please comment and let me know I need all the help I can get in the kitchen!!

Keeping it Real

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Keeping it Real, a set on Flickr. You will have to click on each picture to see it bigger.
Yesterday was a day of keeping it real. I have posted some really pretty gardens from Mackinac Island. I have been asked if it was my garden as I talk about gardening often. Nope, see what my border garden looks like outside my door?

I wish I could get my garden to look that nice. Notice how the house shows? Yep my house. A cute little 100 year old farm house. Sometimes when I get overwhelmed by the renovations that need to get done, I think about some of the stories of poverty shown on the Olympics. I am really rich by so many people's standards in this world.

I also wanted to share that I was doing so well at being more fashionable, put together and avoiding "what not to wear." I chucked it all yesterday, I pinned my bangs up, and poked around all morning. I wore comfortable clothes and my comfy Clark sandals. It felt so good.

Then to change it all up, and in honor of my happiness project, I did something I have done in months. I cast some yarn on knitting needles. The air has a cool breeze in it, the early maples are turning red and a scarf had to be made. It is a dairy of sorts. I saw another blogger do this and thought it was great.

Each day I am knitting three rows of stockinette, with a garter border, to reflect the weather. Grey for cloudy days, green for sunny days. I had the yarn on hand and other days will inspire me to use different colors.

And lastly I was poking around with the Goomba block and looked at the time. I wasn't late for work yet!! Yep I gotta be there by 830!

I capped off the day by quilting 2 rows on the long arm. I finished binding my 5th quilt for the Olympic marathon and spent the evening with the family watching USA go for gold.

It was a great day. And that's truly what my happiness project is all about.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Design Wall Monday and Give Away!

I decided to hand stitch as many bindings as I could during the Olympics, because I watch a ton of the events on TV. Here is the evidence. I have four quilts bound. I tend to round the corners like this one. I used the backing fabric as a binding for this one

And this one.
Here is another one I bound!

This is the oldest from 2008, bound!

I added Mario to the Super Mario Quilt along, for two finished in this project. I started the next block, a Goomba mushroom. I am really having fun with making this pixel quilt, just litttle squares and using a color chart! Easy peasy!!

It's 48 outside this morning. A wonderful relief to the 90 degree weather last week, so glad I have so many quilts made. Sigh, the leaves are showing signs of turning colors. Those burning bushes have red tips on the leaves, it always happens the beginning of August. But do we have a jammed packed fall!!

If you want to see all about the give away and sign up go here. I would love to have you sign up because there are just 10 entered in the giveaway, you have a great chance of winning!!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Super Mario!

I finally got Mario done and he and Luigi were a bit of fun to piece. I am now working on a Goomba. It is a funny mushroom creature in the video game. I think this is going to be a really adorable quilt. I am a convert to working with solid color fabric. Its fun. And making these Pixel quilt is fun sewing. You use a color chart, reminds me of knitting and cross stitch color charts. I may make more of these. They are realxing to make unlike the BOM which make me really wound up much of the time! The following picture is a great example of how endless this could be!!!

I also started quilting a customer quilt. It is a queen sized quilt. My Mom and I pinned it on it record time and I quilted 2 rows in two hours! Pics when finished.  I am on my 4th quilt that I am handstitching the binding during my TV time!

I have really enjoyed the Olympics. I love the Happy Moments sponsored by Coca Cola. They are sweet and full of joy by the athletes. London's Olympics are awesome and I am so glad I have a large cable packages so I can watch the games nearly 24 hours a day!

In honor of losing 5 pounds this week and exercising 5 of 7 days, I had a bratwurst and chips. OH BOY were they good. Salad for dinner. I am watching beach volley ball and it is a big motivator to "stay on target" with my weight loss goals!

Friday, August 3, 2012

a few thoughts on Friday-

Mario is not as easy to make as Luigi and it is the same quilt block only a different color for shirt and hat!
When you have to re-sew the same piece of fabric three times it makes a bit of a wonky block
Going to the gym takes cuts into my fun time but I did make it four times this week
Watching the Olympics is cutting into my sleeping time!

I am getting tons of binding sewn, I have three quilts done this week!

Thursday, August 2, 2012


I love the Olympics.
The thrill of Victory, the Agony of defeat.
The story of how the athletes dig deep to be the best in the world at what they do.
Overcoming adversity regardless of it being a physical problem, financial stress or mental exhaustion and doubt
The Spirit of competition and Fair Play
Pushing self beyond what was thought possible
Being part of a team and it being much bigger than self
Cheaters are punished
The underdog winning
Watching sports that are being played strictly because there is a love for it. No money, no fame
Seeing the dream of athletes being on a world stage even if they don't win.
National pride
respect for the best regardless of what country people are from
The universal language of sport

Its gonna be a great week!
It inspires me to be more dedicated in my workouts and taking care of myself.
Now if I could get that beach volleyball uniform on.....:)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Binding Marathon Update and Linky party

First quilt bound during the weekend of the Olympics starting up. Detail quilting pic here.

Second quilt finished on Tuesday.

I have really enjoyed all the sports I have watched so far. I love hearing the personal stories of the athletes. I can't pick one sport or moment. I love them all.

Link up to share your completed quilt!
Give away details and sign up here , be sure to leave a comment on that post for the give away. The Prize may get a bit bigger as the Olympics go on!