Saturday, December 31, 2016

50 More Facts About Me

    Oh, friends, I know you've been waiting for the next installment to the Facts About Me.

    Here they are!

    1. Most of my adult life, I was 5'9". I am now 5'8.5". I guess I'm over the hill.
    2. My first car was a red 1972 Nova. It was a gas guzzler.
    3. I have had 2 speeding tickets. The first one was more than my paycheck.
    4. I have been in only one car accident. Someone rear-ended me in a snowstorm.
    5. I have lived in 5 different houses in my lifetime...all in the same city.
    6. My daughter and I each have a mole in the very same place...not telling where!
    7. My eyes are hazel...the same as my mom's name.
    8. My father was an abusive alcoholic, but not going there anymore.
    9. I love Diet Pepsi, but will not drink more than one per day, if at all.
    10. I prefer a bath over a shower any day.
    11.  My favorite band is the Rolling Stones. I have seen them in concert 3 times!
    12. Cruising is a favorite vacation. We've gone on far!
    13. We also like to travel by Amtrak. We've gone on 4 train trips far!
    14. I love coffee, but limit myself to no more than 2 per day. Hot and black.
    15. I lack a sense of direction and can easily get lost anywhere. A Garmin is always in my glove box.
    16. I've been a Christian all of my life and always will be. God has blessed me in many ways.
    17. I have an uncanny way of telling people what's on their minds.
    18. I also tend to be very empathic. Not always a good thing.
    19. To fall asleep, I must have my ears covered.
    20. I was engaged to another man when I met my husband.
    21. I have a scar near my right eye when I was thrown from the back seat in my sister's car at the age of 4.
    22. I became an aunt at the age of 6.
    23. I won 1st place at a local Pillsbury contest and won $500.
    24. I tend to be very lucky. Once in a while I'll  play the lottery.
    25. My blood type is O positive. I donate blood every 56 days.
    26. I get along with most people, but am easily intimidated.
    27. I prefer the toilet paper to roll off from the top. I've been known to change the position of the roll in other people's houses.
    28. I've always been a great speller.
    29. I rarely buy anything at full price. Groceries are excluded. I love a good sale!
    30. There is always a pile of books at my bedside.
    31. I am NOT photogenic! Hence, there is no photo of me on the home page of this blog. Yet.
    32. French Fries. I love them! This has to change!
    33. Scary movies are not my thing. Neither are roller coasters.
    34. I recycle everything I can. Keeping the world the best we can for others is important to me.
    35. I broke both bones in my left wrist in 2007. I wore an external fixator for 5 weeks and had 5 months of PT following. I now have a 2% disability in that wrist.
    36. I wore glasses at the age of 4 til 2nd grade. I was cross-eyed.
    37. Now I have prescription glasses for work to help me read. At home, I wear cheaters. +1.5
    38. Rainy days always get me down.
    39. I am always on the lookout to help someone. It makes me happy to help.
    40. I always wear a watch. It goes on my left wrist.
    41. I cannot learn anything new beyond 8:00 PM. My brain is not receptive and nothing sticks.
    42. I have to look at my hands to tell left from right...remember I am directionally-challenged!
    43. I have never worn high heels. Nothing over 2" heels for me. I am too tall.
    44. I gave birth to both of my children with NO pain killers. Totally natural. TMI?
    45. I've always wanted to be a woman who loves to host dinner parties, but it's not me.
    46. I collect pennies in a 5 gallon glass jug. When it's full, I take it to the bank and buy something frivolous.
    47. I really don't like talking on the phone. I like person-to-person conversations.
    48. I am a homebody. I can stay at home happily for days and days.
    49. People who are rude, biased, close-minded, and disrespectful really bother me. I have been known to support the innocent by-stander.
    50. I like making lists and usually have 3 or 4 going at once.
    There you have it!

    Do you see anything here that we have in common?

    *Day 31 of 31 Days of Blogging Challenge (I MADE IT!!!!)

      Friday, December 30, 2016

      The Lattice Quilt

      Last month, a good friend told me her daughter is expecting a baby. Oh joy! This will be the first grandchild on both sides of the family.
      Last week, my friend called again to tell me it will be a girl. She is over the moon giddy with the news! Of course, I had to ask if she had chosen colors yet and yes, she had.

      So, what do I do?

      What every quilter does. Start to pull fabric for a quilt!

      Grandma-to-be said the colors were minty green, coral/cantaloupe and gray. I like the way today's new moms choose modern color combos. It's so fresh and well, modern!

      Then, I went on the hunt for a quilt pattern. Looking through my Pinterest board, I found one I liked. After those last 2 quilts I made, I wanted something simple without a gazillion pieces of varying sizes. Nope, this had to be simple.

      I found this:

      In one afternoon, I had my pieces cut and laid out.
      (no photo taken...oops)

      Yesterday, I sewed all of the rows together.


      Today, I started to sew the sashing between the rows.

      I really like how this is coming together...and so quickly!

      Baby's due in April,
      so I will have plenty of time to fiddle with it,
      but I'm really hoping to get it finished this month.
      I don't need another WIP!

      Linking up with Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal

      *Day 30 of 31 Days of Blogging Challenge

      Thursday, December 29, 2016

      Sleuthing a Block

      There's a block I found on Pinterest that's haunted me for a long time.

      At least a year.

      It was published in a magazine in 2012,
      along with the tutorial.

      I've searched for the magazine on Ebay with no luck,
      so I finally pulled out some scraps and tried to dissect the block to make my own.

      Here's the block as it's found on Pinterest:

      I just love the look when the white right angles meet up as they sit next to another block!

      I figured this would make a cool quilt using scraps.
      I've got plenty of them!

      As the block went into beta mode, I came up with this:

      It was OK, but not the same dimensions as the Pinterest original,
      so back to the cutting board I went.

      I made the white strips wider and the colored strips narrower.

      My next prototype came out perfect:

      I felt like Sheldon Cooper on the Big Bang Theory!
      I broke the code!

      I'm not exactly sure what I'll do now that I've figured it out.

      It will stay in the back on my mind and on my to-do list,
      but it will definitely be used soon!

      *Day 29 of 31 Days of Blogging Challenge

      Wednesday, December 28, 2016

      50 Facts About Me

      As you might know, I've been blogging here for 27 consecutive days.
      I took a challenge and by golly, I'm going to make it to 31 days!!
      I hope I haven't bored you, but maybe inspired you or at least, made you smile.

      Today, I am stuck.
      I wanted to take outdoor photos of a few things, but the sun was not cooperating.

      So, I am opening myself up.

      I'm writing about myself.

      Eventually, I will have 100 "facts", but today you will get half of them.

      I am what I am.

      1. I am a 55 year old woman
      2. I've been married to my greatest blessing for 33 years
      3. We have 2 children; ages 26 (Kristie) and 29 (Brad)
      4. My kids do not like each all.
      5. I have lived my entire life in Dubuque, Iowa
      6. I wouldn't live anywhere else!
      7. My lucky number is 7
      8. I was the 7th child of 8
      9. I was born in the 7th month
      10. I've held 4 full-time jobs over the course of my lifetime
      11. 3 of them lasted 7 years each
      12. My last job was teaching 7th grade
      13. I am now a substitute teacher, by choice
      14. I sub only in the elementary grades, by choice
      15. My husband retired in September 2016, after working 38 years for John Deere as an engineer
      16. I must have some form of chocolate to nibble on each day
      17. I prefer dark chocolate over milk, or white (ick!)
      18. I also prefer chicken over steak or seafood or pork
      19. My peanut butter must be chunky
      20. I have an incredible "sweet tooth"
      21. I wear a size 10 shoe
      22. I used to wear a size 9, but then I had kids and they grew, along with my hips.
      23. We currently have a 3 year old Morkie named Sophie (cross of Maltese + Yorkie)
      24. We used to have an AKC Bichon Frise named Quincy for 13 years.
      25. I played the flute and piccolo in school from 4th grade through high school graduation.
      26. I also sang in the choir in high school.
      27. I now sing in the city's largest choir and absolutely love it!
      28. I sing Soprano 1, but really should be a Soprano 2, but like to sing the melody. I squeak by.
      29. In choir, I sit right next to the gal who sang in our wedding 33 years ago.
      30. I am a fanatically addicted player of Words With Friends.
      31. I usually beat most of my friends in the game.
      32. I have absolutely no skills in sports nor do I have any interest in them. (Hard to believe, eh?)
      33. I began sewing at a young age when my father gave me a sewing machine at the age of 10.
      34. He gave my brothers each a mini-bike, but I got a stinkin' sewing machine. I was not happy.When the mini-bikes broke down, my sewing machine was broken in and I was sewing away very happily!
      35. My mom and sisters were very talented sewists. I learned a lot from watching them.
      36. I sewed a lot of my own clothes in high school.
      37. I even made my first pair of jeans!
      38. I sewed many of my children's clothes when they were young, but then they got too picky.
      39. Everything I know about quilting and machine embroidery has been self-taught.
      40. I enjoy learning through watching videos and reading blogs. Pictures help.
      41. Flower gardening is also a great hobby of mine. In the summer, my hands are happy in the dirt.
      42. I have 2 large flower gardens and multiple pots and baskets around the yard.
      43. I have never, ever tried illegal drugs.
      44. I do imbibe in an occasional adult beverage.
      45. Margaritas are a favorite, but I need to be careful since tequila causes migraines for me.
      46. I have a very quirky sense of humor.
      47. Sometimes it's sarcastic, and sometimes it slap-stick, but it's always sharp.
      48. My favorite color is purple. My classrooms in school were decorated in purple, like my sewing room is today. And my laundry room. I'm the only person who hangs out there anyway!
      49. Spending time in the kitchen is another favorite past-time.
      50. I prefer baking over cooking, but we can't all survive on cookies!

      Stay tuned for the next 50!

      Do we have anything in common?

      *Day 28 of 31 Days of Blogging Challenge

      Tuesday, December 27, 2016

      Best of 2016: My Favorite 5!

      2016 was my most productive year in the sewing room.
      It was fun to look back on my projects and the posts I wrote about each.

      Below I'm listing my 5 favorite projects, in reverse order.

      The was my very first (and only) foray with the Drunkard's Path template.
      I have plans to get back to that template and have some more fun!

      I just loved making this min quilt.
      Far from perfect, it represents the little girl inside me.

      I entered a challenge on Instagram to make this quilt,
      and switched up the layout to make it unique.
      It was a lot of work in a short amount of time.
      I even won one of the nice prize packages for it!

      Perhaps it was the fabric selection, or the colors, or the unique design,
      or just knowing this would be going to a much-loved aunt in a nursing home
      that made this quilt so special.

      This quilt design was also on Instagram as a Quilt-Along.
      I loved every minute of making this!

      There you have my favorite 5 of 2016!

      It would be so cool to peek into the future to see what 2017 brings!

      *Post #27 of 31 Days of Blogging Challenge

      Monday, December 26, 2016

      Nana's Hankies

      My mom was known as "Nana" to my children. She passed away suddenly in November of 2009 at the age of 88. She was healthy as a horse and had just put a meatloaf in the oven of her own home when she collapsed. She loved to cook, bake, play bingo, read and watch Wheel of Fortune!
      She also loved her kids...all 8 of 'em.

      As I cleaned out her closet and dresser drawers in weeks following, I came across a small pile of delicate hankies. I remembered Mom using them in her younger days, probably before the softer tissues came into production.

      Anyway, I had these hankies saved in a box in my sewing room, thinking I could do something with them. I came across a quilt on pinterest that had been made using hankies. Of course, I didn't have enough of them to make a whole quilt, but I could use part of them to make a table runner, right? My creative juices were in gear!

      So, I chose just the purple-flowered hankies for this project. Purple is my color.
      I cut out the flowers in squares that I could use.

      I went through my stash to gather some low-volume fabrics. I wanted these hanky flowers to be the star of the show!

      Then I just improv-ed my way around the hanky pieces and sewed on and on, thinking about my sweet mom. Apparently, I thought about her too much as I sewed, because I ended up with a table runner that is now 5 feet long! Holy crap!


      The back is pieced with some of the  low-volume fabrics.


      I quilted large petals around each hanky piece to make it look like a large flower.
      Then stipple stitched the rest.
      I love the puckery goodness of it!

      Above, are photos of the back where you can
      see the flower stitching.

      It's one of my favorite pieces!
      Nana would be happy.

      *Day 26 of 31 Days of Blogging Challenge

      Sunday, December 25, 2016

      Christmas Blessings

      One of my favorite memories that I will hold in my heart from this Christmas
      is the moment that my children opened their first gifts.
      (inside each gift bag was the quilt I had made for them.)

      Neither of them had a clue!
      All of my worries were for naught.

      Each loved their quilt!

      My son did make the HUGE mistake of calling his a blanket.
      I think now that I made such a stink about it,
      it will become a joke.

      My heart is content and it was worth every minute
      I spent in front of my sewing machine.

      I hope your Christmas was full of blessings!

      *Day 25 of 31 Days of Blogging Challenge

      Saturday, December 24, 2016

      Silent Night, Holy Night

      "For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us,
      and the government will be on His shoulders.
      He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace."

      Friday, December 23, 2016

      What Inspires You?

      I've always wished I was one of those people
      that could come up with great ideas and projects on my own.

      Instead, I almost always have to be inspired by something else or someone else's work first.

      I never try to copy the original,
      but give it a good ol' twist of my own.

      That philosophy goes not only for sewing,
      but also for lesson plans, recipes, clothing styles, hair, home d├ęcor, organization,
      and every other nook and cranny of my life.

      But, with that said, I do consider myself a fairly creative person!

      Where do I find creative inspiration?

      blogs...I read a lot of 'em. it! I've got a few, OK, lots of boards full of good stuff!

      magazines...I don't subscribe to any, but do flip through them in stores and will buy what I like.

      Instagram is great too, for eye candy.

      Project Challenges are good ways to get me fired up, too! As long as I'm given a starting point, such as a color, or shape, or theme, I can whip together a project.

      youtube...such a wonderful source of ideas and tutorials!

      *Day 23 o 31 Days of Blogging Challenge

      Thursday, December 22, 2016

      "Twas the Teachers' Night Before Christmas

      'Twas the days before Christmas,
      And all through the school,
      The teachers were trying
      To just keep their cool.

      The hallways were hung
      With Christmas art
      (Some made in November
      to get a head start!)

      The children were bouncing
      Off ceilings and walls,
      And seemed to forget
      How to walk in the halls.

      When out of the teacher's lounge
      With "holiday shirts"
      And "jingle bell jewels,"
      The teachers looked festive
      Enforcing the rules.

      Suddenly, from down the hallway
      There came such a chatter,
      The principal went in
      To see what was the matter.

      The teachers were hiding
      And trying to refuel,
      On coffee and cookies
      And treats from the Yule.

      When what to their wondering
      Ears do they hear,
      But the ringing of school bells
      - It's the children they fear!

      More rapid than reindeer
      The little ones came,
      And the teachers all shouted
      And called them by name;

      Walk, Vincent! Walk, Tanner!
      Walk, Tyler and Sammy!
      Sit, Jamie! Sit, Laura!
      Sit, Tara and Tammy!

      To your desks in the room!
      To your spots in the line!
      Now walk to them! Walk to them!
      No running this time!

      So straight to their places
      The children all went.
      With fear of detention
      Where they could be sent.

      With manuals of lessons
      Cradled in arms,
      The teachers began
      To use all their charms.

      But the lessons presented
      All fell on deaf ears.
      The children were thinking
      Of Santa's reindeer!

      With a toss of their hands
      They put manuals aside,
      Went straight to the cupboards
      Where videos hide.

      And laying their finger
      On the TV remote
      They sat back to write
      Their last Christmas note.

      But you could hear them exclaim
      At the end of the day -
      Have a wonderful, happy and
      L-O-O-O-O-O-NG HOLIDAY!!!

      I am officially on Christmas Break! Yahoooo!

      *Day 22 of 31 Days of Blogging

      Wednesday, December 21, 2016

      Retirement, Oh Sweet Retirement!

      It was a huge decision. I'm sure it is for most folks as they decide to retire. My husband retired on September 30 from John Deere. After 38 years with the company,
      it still came as a difficult decision.
      As he says, "The stars all lined up", so he took the plunge.

      2 weeks later, we hit the road to celebrate. We wanted to follow old Route 66 to see the sites. We had watched several episodes of the old Route 66 series to "get us in the mood" and bought a few books to help us choose what sights to see along the way.

      We backtracked a bit and started on Route 66 in Springfield, Illinois. Our stopping point would be Santa Fe, New Mexico.
      We'd been to Santa Fe before, and we were looking
      forward to another stay.
      All together, we traveled over 3000 miles...
      all with Miss Sophie in the back seat!
      (Or on a lap.)

      Following are some fun photos we took along the way. Enjoy!

      Ted Drewes Frozen Custard in St. Louis, Missouri

      Crap Duster in SW Missouri

      Old Route 66  in SW Missouri (our Jeep in photo)

      1898 Round Barn in Arcadia, Oklahoma

      Stroud, Oklahoma...this made us laugh!

      Somewhere along the way

      Texas-sized waffles in Armadillo

      Las Vegas, New Mexico...lost in time

      Traveling is very tiring!

      *Day 21 of 31 Days of Blogging Challenge