January 31, 2009

A Last Finish for January

I am here watching Mamma Mia at our quilting retreat, working on some scrappy blocks for my brother and sister in law's wedding quilt, but had to post my last finish for January, the long lasting project, Barbara's pink socks for her 30th birthday, LAST SEPTEMBER...uh yeah...just a little late.
January 2009

Will update more tomorrow about our retreat, but here are a few photos!!
January 2009
January 2009
January 2009

January 27, 2009

Making Progress

I have one finish for the week, but have mainly been making some good progress on the pink socks I had to rip back. Here is the sad state of affairs after I ripped it back to where the first mistake happened (forgot a cable stitch that I had done on the first sock and wanted them to match exactly) and here is where I am back to (well I am actually a bit further on now having turned the heel and started the gussets of the sock...)
January 2009
January 2009

I have also been working on hand quilting a Christmas wholecloth quilt that has been languishing in my UFO pile for ages...maybe that can be a finish for February, there is defiinitely too much left to finish this month! But...maybe I can manage to finish that sock??? Hmmmm...
January 2009

This is my only finish to report lately, but am glad I finally got it done...it certainly isn't precise and wonderful, but it works: my quirky little patchwork roman blind. I made with civil war repro fabric squares to match the Dear Jane and Apple Core quilts hanging in the hallway... Did I ever show you the quilt shelf I got? I am going to eventually try to make seasonal quilts to put there...maybe I should get a move on a Valentines one!!
January 2009
January 2009

I haven't talked about this much, but am starting to get excited about it now, Anne Marie is hosting a Quilting Retreat this weekend!! I will be taking a weekend break from my weight loss programme most definitely and enjoy quilting, piecing, knitting, chatting and EATING!  I am also bringing some margaritas and other goodies to add to the party.  I imagine I will be bringing quite a lot of things with me, so will have to take some photos of everything packed into the car, projects, fabrics and goodies to share, a couple of air mattresses and duvets...maybe even a folding table for sewing machines to hang out on! I will bring along my Dear Jane and some other show and tell bits as well...better get packing!!

January 26, 2009

Weight Loss Challenge 2009: Week 3

A miracle happened!! I was hoping for half a pound's loss and actually ended up losing 2.8 lbs for a total loss of 9.6 lbs!!!

Current weight: 182.4 lbs/ 13 stone 0. 4/ 82 kilos

I still haven't focused on exercise, though I have started a yoga class that is currently killing me and my poor unused muscles!! Next week salsa dancing starts and I was hoping to start swiming today, but have had a sick Aine to deal with overnight, very bad cold and sore throat and discomfort. She will be staying at home with me...we'll have a quiet day which I will used to catch up on last weeks scrapblog, only a day behind on this one!

I will try to post soon about a project I finished yesterday, and some updates on other longer term projects.

January 24, 2009

Quilt and Piece As You Go Double-Sided Quilt Tutorial

For anyone that is interested in this technique. A lady in my Wednesday Patchwork group was making this type of quilt and I fell in love with the concept for using my  tiny tiny pieces of wool batting and small scraps. Hope this helps. If it isn't clear or you need more photos, let me know. I love that you are quilting and piecing this project as you go. You can really do it with any block using squares and rectangles that you build out from the center... I am doing a wonky log cabin design but you can do a simple square and one log cabin round or probably a few other types of blocks using this method.

First you decide what colors or themes you want on each side. I did a neutral side (thinking a summer quilt) and a Civil War repro side. Here are my boxes of scraps of batting neutrals and CW repros.
Fabrics and Battings for Double-Sided Quilt

Next do your center square. I am not worrying about size as mine are wonky strips, but did about a 2 - 3 inch block. These are the three layers I started with, one CW repro, batting and one neutral piece. Layer them like a regular quilt with right sides facing out and scrap of batting in the middle.
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Double Side Quilt First Square layered up

Next take a strip of each of the types of fabric for each side. I layered them with the new strips facing the matching fabrics on each side, so a repro strip , then the center repro square (right sides together), then the batting, then the neutral square, then the neutral strip (right sides together). Sew all 5 layers together with a quarter inch seam.
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Next press the strips open and stuff some batting scraps or strips in between the two strips which are now facing out. I forgot to take a photo of the batting stuffing, but here are photos of the second strips stuffed and a small 1/8 inch seam to hold it in till the next strip is added to it later. I took photos of both sides.
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You keep adding log cabin strips by turning the quilt block 1/4 turn and adding another strip. You will always be sewing 5 layers (the block which has the batting and two fabrics and then the two new strips). Here is the block as it is growing and when I finally remembered to show how I stuff the strips! Excuse the ugly Cut and Press!!
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I decided to make 8 1/2 inch blocks so just continued adding log cabin strips till I got till about 9 inches or so and then trimmed the blocks and stitched a 1/8 inch seam around the edges to hold in the batting till it is attached to sashing or the next block.
December 2008
December 2008

I hope I haven't confused you! This is my first tutorial, and it isn't as detailed maybe as it should be. Let me know if you need any more info!!

Hope to catch up with you again tomorrow with projects I have been working on this week!

January 20, 2009

Weight Loss Challenge 2009: Week 2

Down 2.8 lbs for a total of 6.6 lbs so far!!!!

Current weight:  185.2 / 13 stone 3.2 / 84 kilos

I am struggling a bit this week with food cravings and haven't been drinking all the water I should, which I find really helps me keep down my appetite... I weigh in on Fridays, so am hoping for half a pound or a pound loss at the most this week, if I stay on the straight and narrow for the rest of the week!! But still, it is movement forward...

Started yoga last week and am thinking I should have waited for a bit of flab to be gone, lol, I am in a class full of thin bendy pretzels!!

Eek, have to do my weekly digiscrapbooking page, and do a post with the little bit of progress I've made on my projects this week, including a patchwork roman blind that is driving me distracted ! More soon.

January 13, 2009

First Finishes for the One Project a Month Challenge!

This week I have finished lots of small projects left hanging from Christmas and earlier!!

First off the big ones: 4 red patchwork cushion covers...2 for my own sofa and 2 more requested by my MIL. I am going through my red stash pretty well, but there is still a ton left, though squares will have to be smaller!
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Second: Coffee cozy revamp...needed to rip back the binding and cut down the cozies and add some fabric to make them actually cover the whole coffee press! Here is a photo of the second one I finally finished.
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Third: I finished this stitchery years ago. I finally added fabric around the stitchery to frame it up in the 8 x 10 inch frame I bought. It looks like a card mat from a distance...will have to hang it in the girls room.
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Fourth: This is a quilt that Aine designed. We did it last Christmas, so it is about time that it was finished.
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Finally, Fifth: A whipped up a couple of customised onesies/baby vests for a friend of mine who had a baby last month and brought them over and oogled the baby :P!!
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I also ripped back the second pink sock I needed to fix, will show the scary pile of yarn I ripped and subsequent slow progress fixing it on a later post. I am also slowly working on my felted bag...not much to show for that really...

Finally...here is the latest digital scrapbooking page I did, showing the girls week and some cute pics...
Week 1 scrapbook

A good productive week of finishes!! I don't think anything else I have ongoing will be finished this month, but plan on starting on some more of those double sided quilt blocks. Tutorial to follow soon!! I also have a wedding quilt to start and finish by July!! I like finishing stuff, maybe I'll start another small project just to finish some more!!

Weight Loss Challenge: Week 1

I am down 3.8 lbs!!!


Woo hoo!! I am not eating perfectly yet, but getting so much better.  I need to get back to pointing witH Weight Watchers points, but right now I am just trying to eat less, eat better and drink lots of water. So far so good!!

We are supposed to post before pics this week but I did mine last week and Lord knows that I don't want the posted 3 times on this blog, so if you are curious, and don't scare too easy you can see my before pics here.

Current Weight: 188 lbs / 13 stone 6 lbs / 85 kilo

I will be joining a salsa dancing/slimming class February 2 with a friend, and yoga on Thursday...should be good!! Hopefully good news again next Monday and a report of some decent exercise achieved.

January 5, 2009

Monday Weight Challenge 2009 Update: Let's Get Started!

I will be keeping a little record of my weight loss on the tab up there.  I plan to weigh in every Friday, but will report on Mondays.  The method to my madness is that our family does Movie Night after school on Fridays, kids get a "junky" meal of their favorite fish fingers and nuggets and tater tot type things, and DH and I get takeaway and we watch high class Barbie and various other movies till 8pm!


Now way back in 2001 I lost 5 stone (aka 70 lbs) here in Ireland on WW, got my gold membership and all, went from 190 to 120 in ten months, eating a takeaway once a week religiously...you gotta have your splurge or life just isn't fun. I had had two misses trying for babies and figured it was time to get healthy, I was on a mission!! I highly recommend swimming and walking for fitness, they worked great for me. I got to my goal February 2002 and Aine arrived November 2002, wink wink nudge nudge...getting fit really helped!!


WW worked for me, but the meetings in my new area haven't so I will do it on my own using my online community and DH as my support group :) .


I am who I am and can't be ashamed of who I am.  I am not happy with my appearance right now, but I am not going to hide it. Here I am in full frontal and side view glory in my kitchen!Before Photo Front View


Before Photo - Side View



Start Weight:  191.8 lbs / 13 stone 10 lbs / 87 kilos Yuck!!
(S
ince I am in Europe, thought I'd post the US / UK / European versions of my horrible weight!)
Height: 5′1″
Waist: 40.5″
Hips: 46″

There is a CardioSalsa class starting in a few weeks, I think I am going to start that...should be fun and I love dancing :)


Wish me luck and don't worry, the update will only be once a week!! Crafty content to follow soon!!!!!

January 2, 2009

Resolute

I love to make resolutions each year. I don't guilt myself if I can't manage to keep them, but it is always great to have a fresh slate to accomplish goals again.

I didn't do so well last year at all with the resolution to lose weight and exercise more. This year I am determined. I have been overweight for over 3 years now, last seeing 120 around Aisling's first birthday. I don't need to reach that goal again, even at 140 on my tiny 5'1" frame I look pretty healthy. 130 is a more realistic goal now nearing 40 than my 120 standard I had in my 20s. I eat poorly and don't exercise enough. Time to eat healthier meals, drink more water, walk and swim more, and maybe even take up Irish set dancing again like I did in my teens and 20s. I will be setting up a tab on my blog to keep track of my exercise and weight loss progress. I will posting my scary start weight and my goal I figure I have about 60 lbs to lose at least, not good. But I am energetic about it.

I did like last year and started 2009 as I mean to continue. So planned activities for were:

1. I will be having a crafting retreat today, sewing and knitting throughout the day interspersed with other things on my list. I hope to restart the pink sock finally, today is the day to rip rip rip back. I also hope to start on a felted bag project today and some more knitted potscrubbers for my arsenal. On the sewing front I will be trying a patchwork star tree topper, inspired by Patchwork Pottery. I might also work on one of my 2 sided wonky log cabin blocks!

(Never actually posted to blog yesterday, but decided to do no ripping, as I didn't mean to continue making mistakes and ripping them back, lol, too superstitious I guess! I managed to make the funky patchwork star, so got some sewing in!! I also started on a new knitted bag for me, called the Constant Companion.)
Star Tree Topper

2. I plan to drink lots of water, walk, and eat well. My first day of weight loss program and I intend to do well!! A friend and I will have a meal out on Saturday so that will be my first test to see how my willpower is working out!!

(Did pretty well, but will aim to be religiously counting Weight Watcher points by Sunday)

3. I plan to do a digital scrapbooking layout. Another thing I want to do this year is learn digital scrapbooking. I have liked Mary's layouts she has shown and think it would be a great way to document a week in the kids life and have great fodder for a book for my mom and dad each year. I will be putting a tab on my blog for showing those each week as well if you are interested in seeing them. My first few will be simple ones as I get to know what I am doing I am sure, but hope to add a bit of journaling to each page as well...
family
(Didn't manage this yesterday, but got a little start on scrapblog here... the day before)

4. I will use my knitted potscrubbers instead of sponges for washing up today. I hope to continue to be more green and also more frugal. I am buying no more birthday cards or wrapping paper. I have enough plain sheets to last for years after the rolls run out, and have a ton of card making supplies. I have a box of gifts for girl birthday parties, and will make items from stash after that runs out, no more taking out a second mortgage each year for crazy gifts... I also plan on buying no more yarn or big amounts of fabric (the odd FQ I'll allow myself!!) I bought a line for hanging up laundry in the utility room during the winter instead of using the dryer. Will see if DH will help me hang it.

(Ended up doing a big reorganization in the kitchen so pulled out the big scrubbers for wiping cabinets down, but used the knitted scrubbies for dishes)

I am contemplating joining the group May Britt is starting to get one crafty project done each month. Love the idea of getting one thing done each month as a focus, and it doesn't have to be a full big quilt, but can be smaller projects. The prizes and giveaways are a good incentive too!! Check out May Britt's blog if you are interested in joining the group!

Over the Christmas holidays I did a bit of knitting up at Dave's mom's house...more scrubbies for my arsenal...
December 2008

I also decided I hated my table runner as it wouldn't lay flat, so I sliced that offending runner in half and made two gift bags out of it. I guess I should have taken better care making it so it wouldn't have had so many waves around the edge, but I like it better in this guise, really, as I don't use them ever!
December 2008

I will leave you with photos of Aine and the new cupcake maker Santa sent her.
December 2008 December 2008