Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Found Minutes

I usually get up at 7:15 and spend most of the next 45 minutes getting ready for my day. I do some toning exercises, get washed up and dressed and do some puttering around the house if I have a few extra minutes. We both leave our houses at 8:00, meeting somewhere between them, and then walk for a minimum of an hour, usually an hour and a half and sometimes as much as two. I enjoy these walks, I need these walks. What I don't like about them is they feel like time that could be spent doing something more productive.

It's an especially prevalent feeling when I know I have a lot do. In addition to the morning walk, I had planned on walking to the store this afternoon. Weather permitting I'll still do that, but this morning I have some "found minutes" Usually I'm still walking at this time, but now I've had my breakfast, read my email, am working on updating my blogs and have moved my bedroom TV to my sewing area for the day.

The quilting is coming along. Topper number 9 is ready for binding, number 10 only needs the quilted braid finished and then binding and number 11 is ready to baste. The plan for today is to bind numbers 9 and 10 and baste 11, quilt some on 11, and perhaps begin applique on number 12.

It's rather humid today so I don't think I'll be quilting on the album quilt, but I really need to get going on that. While I used to be much better at working at more than one thing at a time, that is something that has gotten harder as I'm getting older. It's one reason I've been pounding away at the toppers because I'm afraid that the album quilt won't really get much attention until they are finished.

I hope to make a serious dent in the toppers between now and Sunday night. Tomorrow afternoon I babysit, for my usual little guy, plus 2 or 3 of my friend's kids. Friday afternoon a friend is taking me to lunch and Saturday night my husband is taking me out for dinner. As much as I look forward to all of these, in the back of my mind is how it will eat into my quilting time, LOL.

This is not new, though. I have quilting on the brain. Always. I used to take a reading break in the summer, and from Christmas into January. I didn't really plan it that way, it would just happen. Usually because I had been pounding away at projects for various reasons and just needed a break. It's been quite a while since I've done that. Though I may take a day or two here and there, it's rare that I go a day without at least a few minutes of sewing time.

I don't have any new pictures to show since I've been working on the same thing for so long, but I do have some new Ruthie pictures! She just loves to be outside, but weather has not been kind this year. With all the rain, it's either raining or everything is pretty wet. We get her out every chance that we get.

This child can sleep absolutely anwhere and in any position. Here she is hanging off the chair, LOL, her feet are several inches off of the floor!

So now it's time to run, I have oodles to do today and want to use my "found minutes" wisely. Hopefully my next post will have news of several more completely finished toppers! Happy Quilting!
Sue and Ruthie

Saturday, June 21, 2008

New Blog

I've become involved in a joint effort health and fitness blog here on blogspot. We have several women with different areas of knowledge and we are each writing about our health, fitness and weightloss experiences. It's a private blog, so to gain access please comment and I'll add you.

Hope to see you there!


Down to the Wire

I didn't realize that it's been so long since I posted, unfortunately I don't have nearly as much done as I should have for how much time has passed. Topper number 9 only needs binding, but I'm having trouble locating the fabric I've been using. I must have done an "I'll put it here so I know where it is" trick, so, of course, I have no idea what I've done with it.

Topper number 10 should be basted today, I only have a few leaves and the centers left to applique. The remaining background pieces are all marked and all of the flower and leaf pieces are cut and basted (except for 20 leaves, I ran out of greens in the olive-y family so will have to get another small piece when I shop next week.) I also pulled out enough of the right color beads so the actual sewing is all that is left on them, which does speed up the process.

I haven't touched the album quilt, it's now weighing heavily, but with 6 weeks to go I still do have time to finish everything. The wrinkle in the plan is that the day after my parents party, all my husband siblings and his mom come into town for a family reunion. Since we are the only locals, our house will be a gathering spot which means I have some extra work to do to get the house presentable. Though I'm not one who feels everything has to be perfect, I do have some measure of pride!

Ruthie is making strides by leaps and bounds of late, she's adding new words to her vocabulary every day and has to be right in the thick of things. With all the comings and goings here, she's kept quite busy and entertained.

One of my favorite things in the summertime is to sit outside and sew with a fire going in our firepit. I try to keep marshmallows on hand for the kids, this is Ruthie's first year really enjoying that tradition. Last year she really wasn't interested.

This coming week we have some beautiful weather forecast so I'm hoping to have a few more such afternoon/evenings this week. Hopefully that means a nice burst of work on the toppers and maybe some on the album quilt when I come back inside.

For now it's time to run. The Cubs/White Sox game is on TV and we're camped downstairs watching. The windows are open and it's a lovely day, once the game is over if the chairs outside have dried off, we may just move outside and enjoy a fire and the beautiful breeze. Until next time, happy quilting!


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Resurgence of Energy

It seems the last few weeks it has been difficult for me to focus and get much of anything accomplished. With the older kids all settling into their new relationships, the younger kids enjoying the outdoors, and in general things feeling a bit less chaotic, I've found my energy and motivation again.

After bouncing up and down the same few pounds for the last few months, I'm back on my eating plan minus all the little cheats that were holding me back. I'm hoping to have at least 10 more pounds off by early August, when both of our families are having big reunions.
I was also having trouble staying motivated with my quilting, not a good thing when I have a good sized quilt to quilt and 16 toppers to have finished by August 2nd. I finished topper number 8 yesterday, so now half of them are done. I also cut all the freezer paper pieces for the remaining 8, have adhere all but 20 leaves to the fabric (I have to find another piece of green that works with my already made vine for those last 20 leaves) and most of them are now cut down and ready for basting. Today and tomorrow I'll be finishing the prepwork on those and also marking the last 8 tops so they are ready for applique. With all the prepwork done, the last 8 toppers should move along more quickly than did the first eight. I'm still also working on my strip pieced project, there are only a few pieces left to sew on each block but there are 288 blocks! I work on this when it's too hot and sticky to do handwork or I just need a bit of a break from it. Since it appears I don't have any larger quilts to make this Christmas, I have a couple of my own larger quilts earmarked for quilting once the anniversary party items are completed.

I've also been knitting dishcloths again, I had completely run out of them and wanted to replenish my supply. I'll use a few of them myself and save the rest for tucking into gifts or the occasional sale of them that comes along. Here are the latest ones, I also have one more that was made out of all the leftover skein ends that weren't enough to make another cloth but I couldn't bear to throw out. I've been alternating between appliquing (or quilting), machine stitching and knitting and am having a ball. The primary focus is the applique, but it sure is nice to throw bits of other things in the mix so as not to get too bogged down.

Our van is still not back, though should be very soon. The work is done, it started and is running fine. The short he was worried about seems to have been corrected by separating and taping the bundled wiring. He full expected to be driving the van back several days ago BUT couldn't find the nuts to reattach the dashboard. After spending several hours looking for them he concluded that someone who was helping must have moved or accidentally discarded them. Unfortunately they are reverse threaded metric nuts (I think that's right) and must be ordered from the dealer. He may be able to make them at work. In any case, it shouldn't be much longer and I'll have wheels again. Just in time for insanely high gas prices!

We'll be keeping driving to an absolute minimum. To that end, I bought a "granny cart" for doing my grocery shopping whenever possible. There are times that weather or time constraints may make walking my errands impractical, but I'll be doing that whenever I can. Not only to save gas and wear and tear on the van, but also to add to my exercise. I had tried one of the more prevalent, cheaper carts and knew that it would not really work for my needs. It wasn't big enough or sturdy enough. I found this online a few months ago and ordered it last week with some birthday money. It can be pushed or pulled, folds up flat and is really heavy duty (hold up to 250 pounds.) Since I make several different stops while I shop, it's possible with stops home and/or making trips on different days to do all my shopping on foot.

I have a few loads of laundry today and the ever present dishes along with a few other chores, but mostly I hope to work on toppers. With the party less than 2 months away, I'd really like to pound away at the toppers and the quilt so I'm not having a last minute crunch. With my husband's family coming in for a reunion a week later (they are arriving the weekend of the party) and all from out of state our house will likely be home base and I have some extra cleaning to do to make sure everything is in tip top shape before their arrival (or as tip top as it gets in a run down, well used house!)

It's quiet here today. Joshua works until 1:00, Rebekah is in school until about 1:00 but graduates TODAY and is going out to lunch with her boyfriend to celebrate. Rachel babysits all day on Tuesday and Thursday for the summer, Jonathan is at a babysitting job and then is going to pass out flyers for the yardwork job he does with Rachel's boyfriend. It's a beautiful day here and Lucas is riding his bike at the moment and I'm about to get Ruthie ready to join him. I have enough handwork here to keep me busy outside which has been the plan all along, but it's been too wet and/or cold to execute it!

A whole month of days like today and I just might finish everything on time!
Happy Quilting!