Monday, April 28, 2008

I Can Quilt!

I had my long arm quilt class on Saturday. I should really call it a mid-arm quilt class. The shop has a Pfaff Grand Quilter with the Next Generation Quilt Frame. The class went great and I learned a lot.

He started me on a puzzle design, but it didn't take me long to get into loops and squiggles and creating shapes. He tried to get me to stay with one design, but I was having so much fun. I was so in tune with the machine I couldn't believe it! Here are some photos of my quilting. The first two are small squiggles and the last one is my try at stippling.

DH and I had great time in Portland on Saturday night. We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn in the Old Port part of the city. On Saturday night we went to the Back Bay Grill for dinner. The service was impeccable. DH said it best about the food, "The menu had all the right words, but the food didn't have the zing." After dinner we went to the Top of the East for a view of Portland at night and a final drink.

Sunday morning brought dreary skies and a light rain. But we were determined to stroll the Old Port and visit the shops. We have been looking for that one "WOW" item for our dining room and with all the boutique shops we had to shop. We didn't find the "WOW" item, but we did find some other stuff. Nearly everything we bought will be used in the kitchen: a rubber ice cube tray, a basting brush, a sink stopper with a martini on it and two lunch boxes - one with a Celtics logo and one with a Red Sox logo (perfect for us). I found this octagon box in one store. They were suggesting to use it as storage for coffee filters. However, being a quilter, I saw it as a small sewing box.
When we returned home and I opened up my e-mail I learned that a member of one of my on-line quilting groups had died. She had been fighting her second round of breast cancer. Jen was a fantastic person who never let on how sick she was. She was always cheery, telling us about her latest adventure with friends. I had the opportunity to meet her last April and she was just as great in person as she was on-line. Jen disliked sewing machines and every quilt she made she did by hand. They were truly exquisite quilts.

I hope everyone is enjoying time with their stitching and quilting.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Look, I'm Stitching!

Yesterday I cleaned up my studio. I had to put away the projects I had been working on for the last few weeks. Every time I touched one of them I got anxious and didn't feel like I should be working on them so I put them away. Perhaps when I'm feeling better I'll be able to work on them again.

Instead I found my Aunt Martha Coffee Break iron-on transfers and decided to work on one of those. I chose the Caffe Latte pattern, ironed it onto muslin and started stitching. I spent an hour stitching yesterday afternoon while watching the Red Sox and felt so much better.
I think I'll make two or three of the stitcheries, frame them and hang them in our kitchen. They will make cute decorations on the walls.

Tomorrow I have my long arm quilting lesson. It should be a lot fun. After that DH and I are going to Portland, ME for the evening. We're going to stroll the Old Port, have a nice dinner and just relax. I'll be back on Sunday night or Monday morning.

Thanks for stopping by and leaving so many kind messages. Every message has meant a lot to me lately. I'm glad to have so many blogging friends.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I Tried, I Really, Really Tried

Today was glorious day here in New Hampshire. The temp reached 80 degrees and the sun was shining. I was feeling good this morning and cleaned the kitchen, dining room and living room. I opened the windows and let the fresh air flow through the house. I did my 15 minutes of walking and ate lunch.

This afternoon I couldn't stand it anymore and decided to take a drive to the LQS to see if I could find some inspiration to get me stitching again. I found this wonderful bubble print on sale and bought what was left on the bolt, about two yards. I also bought some black Kona cotton for a wall hanging that's been dancing around in my head. I got a little nervous going out by myself, but I think I did OK.

When I got home I pulled out one of my Butterfly Garden stitchery blocks and tried to work on it. It's full of straight lines and I could only manage two short lines before I couldn't do it anymore. I would really like to have a stitchery that has more than straight lines. I dug through my stitchery projects and I don't have any projects that are marked/traced and ready to go. Would anyone like to come and trace some stitcheries for me? A visit from a fellow stitcher would be fun.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Free Books

The Quilting Pirate shared a link to Wowio. Who can resist free books? Especially quilt books.

I downloaded my daily limit of three books today:
  1. Totally Tubular Quilts by Rita Hutchens
  2. Do-It-Yourself Framed Quilts by Gai Perry
  3. Rx for Quilters Stitcher-Friendly Advice for Every Body by Susan Delaney Mech, M.D.
The last book is a cool book that offers lots of practical advice for how to quilt and stitch and stay healthy. There are even sections on quilting at different times of your life such as when you are in PMS, pregnant, during perimenopause and during the golden years. I highly recommend it.

I'm hoping I can do something small and quilt-related tomorrow. Today I had my first counseling appointment and it went well. I felt pretty good today, but still lack the "get up and go" to do something constructive with fabric and thread.

I did do something good for me though. I put a Leslie Sansone DVD in my laptop and walked for 15 minutes. It felt good to move, but it tired me out.

Check back tomorrow and see if I meet my goal of playing with fabric and thread.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Taking Time Off

I decided last night that I need to take the rest of the week off from the office. I truly need a break away from the stress of office life.

I am able to work from home so that's what I did for most of the day today. That is until I went to take a photo and realized my camera was dead. I had spilled milk on it and thought I had dried it enough. But that was not so. I can't survive without my camera, so I had to go shopping. While wandering around Target I found these adorable shoes. Aren't they great? They are so colorful, so comfy and so flat. I normally don't wear flats because I'm so short, but I couldn't pass these up.
Can you guess what these five items have in common? I played with these earlier today. Come on, take a guess. I bet you'll never guess.
DH is such a dear. He gave up his guys night out to come tonight to be with me. I told him he didn't need to, but he insisted. He is worried about me and wants to make sure I'm OK. Have I told you what a sweetheart he is? I haven't? Well, he is.

Maybe tonight I'll do some stitching while watching baseball. The Red Sox are looking much better these days.

Until next time - happy stitching!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

It's Been a Week . . .

and I'm still here. It's been a tough week. I finally had a chance to see my primary care physician about my insomnia, depression, panic attacks and anxiety. I didn't realize just how bad I felt until I spoke with him. That was a good thing. In the end he prescribed an anti-depressant and Ambien to help me sleep. The anti-depressant will take a few weeks to fully help me, but in the end I will be better. I'm also fortunate the DH is understanding of what I'm going through and has been a great supporter.

So if I seem less chatty, less productive, over the next few weeks, please know I will be back to my normal self soon. For now I need to take care of myself.

Yesterday I took the Scrap Therapy class. It was good to go on a quilty excursion. The class was small, only three of us, but it was a lot of fun. I made a dent in cutting my scraps. The shop was new to me and I liked it. I bought some gifts and for myself three spools of silk thread for applique. On the way home I stopped at a country store. I found a ceramic rolling pin decorated with cherries. My MIL once won a ribbon for her cherry pies. They are fantastic. This will be a great Mother's Day gift for her.

Happy stitching!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Happy Fabric Tote Bag

Well, my Happy Fabric purchased on April Fool's Day didn't have time to cure in my stash. This weekend I used it to make the April tote bag for my BQL Yahoo group.

I really enjoyed making the bag. In my quilting career I had not machine quilted a project that I've finished. This bag was quilted as part of the piecing. I did wavy lines on the gusset and freehand quilted around the flowers on the black fabric. I didn't want to hide the flowers with the quilting.
The dark green circles are appliqued onto the bag. The directions for making them made them simple to make. You started with a cardboard circle. Cut the fabric a little larger than the circle. Stitched a running stitch around the circle. Placed the fabric on the cardboard and pulled the stitch, this made the fabric gather around the cardboard. Pressed the fabric and let it cool. Then gently loosen a small portion of the gathers and pulled out the cardboard. Press again. The circles stayed round and were easy to stitch onto the bag. I have to try this method for my Butterfly Garden quilt when I get back to working on it.
My beloved Red Sox are having a tough weekend in Toronto. They lost Friday and Saturday and are now losing 6 - 2. I bet they'll be glad to get home to Boston later tonight. Home opener on Tuesday. I hope they do better then.

Happy Stitching!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Painting and Winners

Playtime in the studio was limited today. DH and I are testing paint colors for the new place. We painted one wall in the soon-to-be dining room gray and spot painted moss green in the kitchen area. We love both of them. We have some yellow paint to test in the upstairs bathroom tomorrow.

We are also getting ready to start the basement renovations. In two weeks the contractor will start finishing off the basement for our media room and laundry room. A little more havoc in the house, but it will be nice when it's done.

Between painting spurts I worked on a tote bag using my Happy Fabric. All I have left to add is four applique circles to cover the ends of the handles. I'll make those in the morning. Photos will come when I'm done.

I'm still having problems with crankies, insomnia and now panic attacks. I was able to get a doctor's appointment this coming Wednesday so hopefully I'll be able to get some answers and start feeling better.

Anyway, today is the day to pick the winner of my blogiversary giveaway. First I want to thank everyone for taking the time to stop by and read my blog. I didn't realize there were so many of you. Several of you are new to me and I will be taking the time to stop by your blog as well. Since I'm feeling generous today I used a random number generator to choose not one, but two winners.

Can I have a drum roll please . . . .

Winner #1 is Pam from My Creative Mind. Now Pam lives in my most favorite vacation place - Oregon. DH and I love Oregon. We've been there twice on vacation and will be going back again I'm sure

Winner #2 is Sandy from Comfort Quilts. Sandy is new to me and I enjoyed looking through her blog. Sandy lives in my dream vacation country - Australia. DH and I will be traveling there someday.

If you ladies will send me your snail mail address I will get some goodies packaged up and sent off to you.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Were You Cranky Today?

Man, did I have a cranky today! And so did everyone in my office. I admit I’m having a hard time with peri-menopause and have been in a super cranky cycle myself lately. But this morning every time I turned around people were grumpy, complaining and fighting. At noon I looked at my assistant and said, “I’m going out and find some happy pills.”

I really didn’t know where I was going. I just got in my car and started driving. My first stop was a consignment shop – two floors of furniture and various household items. There was an old Singer sewing machine in a cabinet for $45. It looked like it was missing lots of parts so I passed on it. I did see a cool desk that closes up that I liked, but until our basement reno is done I can’t buy anymore furniture. The next stop was grocery store. The store is being totally remodeled and I couldn’t find anything and in the mood I was in I was not going to start hunting for lunch.

My last stop was Merri Stitches. This is the shop where I bought my Janome. They are mostly a sewing machine and embroidery shop, but carry a few bolts of fabric. I walked and said to Mary, “I need some retail therapy.” She laughed and said that nearly every woman who had come into the shop had said the same thing. Then I told her how cranky everyone was in my office and she said the women had been saying the same thing too. OK, so maybe something was in the air today. I walked around for about 10 minutes. Then, while browsing the fabric two bolts of black print fabric caught my eye. I think I’ve only bought black fabric one other time. I finally chose one of the prints and a bright yellow to go with it. While Mary was cutting the fabric she told me that several other women had bought the same fabric today as well. So I guess I was going with the crowd. Here's a photo of my "Happy Fabric." I think I'm going to make a tote bag from it.
At least when I came home my new book, Take Along Totes, was in the mail so I have something to look forward when I climb under the covers tonight.

Today is the first of the month so that means I took a photo off my deck. You may remember I decided to take photos every first day of the month to record our first year in our new condo. Here are this month's photos. There is still a little bit of snow on the ground and I don't see any buds starting growing. I'm hoping for more changes next month.

So tell me, was anyone else cranky today? And, more importantly, does anyone have any good tips for dealing with the peri-menopause crankies and the emotional highs and lows? This roller coaster is driving me crazy.

One more thing - Happy Blogiversary to me. Don't forget to enter my give-away here.

Happy stitching! And I hope you didn't have a cranky day today!