Saturday, February 27, 2010

Summer Romance - Finished

Summer Romance is finished - quilted, bound, labeled, and...

...on the bed.  I've very happy with it and it adds a bit of cheer to our bedroom in the midst of all our gloomy, cold weather. 

Here's a close-up of the quilting, a swirly feather pattern.  In case you missed my earlier posts on this project, I string-pieced (or strip pieced) the blocks on paper foundations.  I used stash fabrics, cut in random widths of 1.25 inches to 2.5 inches and put a strip of solid white down the diagonal center of each block for some uniformity.

I have an idea for some coordinating pillowcases.  They're on my to-do list so check back in a bit for more on that.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In - Cravings

I've had a bad cold for over a week now, impairing my senses of smell and taste, so cravings have not been much of an issue lately.  That's unusual, chocolate and cookies being my regular downfall when on any diet.  As mentioned before, I've found the Vitalicious products helpful.  And single-serve Jello chocolate pudding fills the need on occasion.  But for the long term, I need to find the secret to making these cravings occur less frequently, and making them satisfied with less when they do occur. 

Has anyone found the solution yet?

The stats:
weight lost this week: 1.0 pound
weight lost YTD: 8.0 pounds

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Old Gold and Blue Flimsy

Old Gold and Blue is finished to the point of being a flimsy.  Some of the golds look washed out in the photo; they are really all more vivid yellow to gold in color.  I think high school kids will like the contemporary graphic look of this. 

Now the hard part - the quilting.  I'm going to echo quilt around the letters in Peddie.  For the rest, in blatant imitation of Red Pepper Quilts, I am planning straight lines.  Just need to decide between diagonal lines, running through either the gold or the blue squares.  Or, horizontal and vertical lines 1/4 inch from the seams.  Decisions, decisions!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Stellar Quilts

A rather bad cold has left me feeling miserable, but I was cheered up when mail delivery included a package from  Inside was Stellar Quilts by Judy Martin.

This book is full of spectacular quilt designs that all incorporate stars in some way.  Here are three from the book that I am particularly attracted to; they are all going on my to-do list.

Kyoto Gardens


Apron Strings

I appreciate that the author has gone to the trouble of providing illustrations with alternative layouts, sizes, and color schemes.  For example, Kyoto Gardens is 96" by 96" or a nice queen size bed quilt.  But she also shows a four-block wall hanging in a different set of colors.  And Savannah is illustrated with a number of different color variations in a setting that will produce a twin size quilt and a setting for a king-size bed.  There are also close-ups of the quilting and construction tips sprinkled in with the directions. 

So, how soon can I start Kyoto Gardens?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In - Hungry Girl

In last week's Wednesday Weigh-In, I mentioned Vitalicious products.  I learned about Vitalicious from Hungry Girl.  Once you get past the "OMG, it rocks!!!" prose style, the Hungry Girl website (and email newsletter) is a great resource for anyone trying to shed a few pounds.  Hungry Girl was founded by Lisa Lillien, just an ordinary woman who was trying to lose weight.  She is not a nutritionist or a doctor; she does good research and provides sound advice. 

Her restaurant reveals, the nutrition stats for menu items at popular chain restaurants, are particularly illuminating.  Macaroni Grill serves a chicken dish with over 1400 calories per serving!  Good to know before you blow your daily allowance on one entree!  With this feature, you can learn how to eat out while maintaining your weight loss regimen.  Useful, even if you are not on a diet.

In Chew The Right Thing, she provides reinvented recipes that take much of the fat and calories out of favorites, like fried chicken.  Unfortunately, many of these recipes don't work for me because I try to avoid ersatz foods like artificial sweeteners.  But one trick I picked up that I really like is to substitute canned pumpkin for some or all of the fat in baked goods.  It keeps them moist, with a nice texture, and anyone who doesn't know about the pumpkin would never guess it was there.

Check out Hungry Girl and if you like what you see, sign up to receive the newsletter.

The stats:
weight lost this week: 1.0 pound
weight lost YTD: 7.0 pounds

Monday, February 15, 2010

The 30-Day List

So much fabric love, so little time to make quilts.  All these fantastic new fabric collections are calling out, "Buy me!  Buy me!"  I will go broke, and run out of storage space, unless I develop a plan that builds in some impulse control. 

My plan is called the 30-Day List.  If I see something online that I like, it goes on the 30-Day List.  Rural Jardin, Bar Harbor, Kaffe Fassett, Lakehouse teacups and birds - all on the 30-Day List.  Whenever I fall in love, it goes on the list, along with the date.  If, at the end of 30 days, I am still in love and have a plan to use the fabric in question, I can make the purchase.  If it was just a passing fancy, it gets struck from the list, no purchase made.  Exceptions will be made for anything I need right now, to complete a specific project.  Exceptions will undoubtedly be made when I go to the Quilt Fest of New Jersey in March. 

Let's hope it works. 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I've Been Seduced, Again!

Yes, I've been seduced again, by fabric.  You may recall my recent fascination with Kaffe Fassett prints.  Well, now it is Lakehouse.  This panel with the tea cups, and these beautiful birds.  And red-white-and-blue wonderfulness still calls to me in the form of Bar Harbor and Rural Jardin.

Too many loves, too little time to sew quilts!  How is a woman to handle all this fabric seduction?  I have a plan, but more about that tomorrow.  Today, in honor of St. Valentine, I will allow myself to feel the love.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Matching Pillows To Quilts - The Decorator Look

I usually take photos of my quilts on my bed so you may have noticed I have some pillow shams that coordinate with the quilts I've made for my own bedroom.  I made these several years ago, using a Seaside Rose print from Moda that coordinates with my primary quilts.  My inner interior designer makes me do this. 

Here are the shams and an accent pillow with the fall/winter quilt:

And with the spring/summer quilt:

I've been meaning to make some new ones but have put it off because I don't enjoy making the ruffles.  Well, today I saw a new post from Heather at Trends and Traditions about her new book, all about making shams to coordinate with your bed quilts!  Take a look because they are fabulous!.  She uses binding that looks like piping or a flanged edge, so no ruffles.  This new book is definitely going on my To-Buy list.  

Heather Mulder Peterson is a prolific quilt designer.  She publishes under the Anka's Treasures name and has a particularly creative way with pre-cuts (you know, jelly rolls. layer cakes, charm packs).

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In - Vitalicious

I am a terrible sweet tooth and I particularly love chocolate. Unfortunately, sweets and chocolate cannot make frequent appearances on the menu while dieting. But I found this magical, low-cal chocolate goodie that works to satisfy during those "Yes, I'm on a diet but I must have some chocolate NOW!" moments.

It is Vitalicious! Their Vitatops are delicious and really fill the need when I have a craving for chocolate. They are only 100 calories apiece and are packed with fiber so they fill me up too. I like all the chocolate flavors but the Deep Chocolate is especially good. They taste just like a chocolate muffin, though a tad drier than the muffins you get at bakeries (but then, bakery muffins have 700+ calories!).  The chocolate tastes authentic and some flavors even have chocolate chips or dried fruit in them.

I haven't found Vitatops or any other Vitalicious products in stores around me so I order in bulk from the website and keep them in the freezer.  They thaw ready to eat in about 10 minutes.

The stats:
weight lost this week: 1.5 pounds
weight lost YTD: 6.0 pounds

Monday, February 8, 2010

Preparing For The Winter Olympics!

I'm getting ready for the Olympics!

No, I'm not going to Vancouver.  Just getting ready for three weeks of marathon tv viewing.

I don't watch very much tv, especially sports, but I enjoy extra-special events, like the Olympic Summer Games and Winter Games.

So I've got my hand work ready - miles and miles of binding to hand sew down.  And then I'll have my first finish of the year!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Snow Day, Sew Day

It has been snowing here for about 12 hours and this is what the scene outside my house looks like:

This is the view down Main Street from our front porch.  Snow plows haven't been by yet, though a few cars have driven past (nothing like our usual Saturday traffic though).  I shoveled a path to some grass for Reggie this morning but it has already filled in with new snow. 

So it's a perfect day to stay indoors and sew.  I'm working on the school auction quilt and have reached the layout stage. 

I've got the blocks laid out on the design bed.  It's looking good though I could agonize over this for hours!  If I get back to work now, I might even finish the top this weekend.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

From The Archives

This is one of my earlier quilts, maybe about the fifth one I made.  I made it about ten years ago, for my daughter's twin-size bed, back when she as in her pink phase. The pink phase lasted roughly from age 2 to age 9.  I was willing to go along with the pink, and she had pink walls and a pink rug with white furniture. But I thought a bed quilt would be a good way to tone down the pink, lest you feel you had jumped into a bottle of Pepto-Bismol on entering her bedroom. 

This quilt was good way to do that - scrappy, with the pink balanced by other pastels, and a pink floral border. It got a lot of love and has been washed quite a few times. Now that Miss Main Street has a full-size bed in her blue bedroom, this old quilt gets used as a throw or extra quilt when a friend sleeps over.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In - Staying Motivated

Vanity is my motivation for this diet.  Weight creep was starting to make itself seen in a little extra padding here and there, enough to push me up a size and make shopping for clothes a little bit less enjoyable.  I know I won't get my 32-year-old body back, but I would like to look and feel better in my clothes.  So that is what this is all about. 

I have a few favorite outfits - good wool pants, a pretty winter skirt - that are currently too tight to be comfortable.  But a few more pounds lost and they should be a good fit again and will give a needed boost to my end of winter wardrobe.  So that's my short term motivation.

The stats:

weight lost this week: +0.5 pounds
weight lost YTD:  4.5 pounds

A few indulgences combined with too few trips to the gym.  But I am back on track so hope to have better stats next week.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Fabric Finds

Some quilt fabric loveliness just arrived in the mail!

First, I got a good deal on an assortment of Kaffe Fassett fat quarters on eBay.  Someday, I will get to the Joseph's Coat quilt.

Then I found this layer cake pre-cut of Aster Manor by 3 Sisters for Moda.  I am 3 Sisters fan!  I've used a number of their Moda fabric collections and know I will find a use for this one.  In fact, I have something in mind already!