Monday, March 28, 2011

Civil War Sampler & movie review

This is a bit of a repeat, in the sense that two of my customers took the same class.  Beautiful quilt though.  I quilted them differently in many respects - this one has a feather theme, where the earlier quilt had a floral theme.  There is lots of stitch in the ditch on both of them.

Last Wednesday we were supposed to have a UFO Sewing Day at the Caledonia Guild, but Mother Nature decided we should all stay home and take a snow/ice day instead.  The stupid snow STILL hasn't melted.  This pic was Wednesday morning - you can see where DH dug through the drift to get out and retrieve his newspaper.  There is a Mourning Dove hiding from the elements on the shovel.  Stupid bird.  They are so fat, with their tiny little pinheads, I expect to see them rolling around like a bowling ball.  I'm not sure how they stay upright?  They often huddle near the front door, then we all scare each other when the door is opened.
I spent the day taking a nice long girly bath and actually reading a whole magazine.  Then a leisurely lunch of leftovers, followed by work in the afternoon. In the evening I started some spring seeds - tomatoes, lettuce, cilantro and, um,... hmph.  I forget.  Basil??  I was on a fresh greens kick.  I may start some beet seeds too, for pretty little beet leaves.  I like to torture DH with "weird food" sometimes.  Bad wife, bad.

Last night we went to see Lincoln Lawyer with Matthew McConaughey.  Entertaining flic, not too much blood & gore.  A few scenes where Matthew was (in my opinion) overacting, but hey - he is still nice to look at.  So I forgive him.  Yup - worth the admission.

UFO Update:  there is a pic of my finished MARCH UFO on the UFO page.  Woo Hoo!!  March 28th and I have 3 UFOs completed.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How to Heal the Planet (A Give-and-Take Guide)

How to Heal the Planet (A Give-and-Take Guide)

Written by Christine Kane
Yesterday, I overheard a conversation between several people about the disasters in Japan.  One of the women said: “I feel so helpless.”
Understandable, of course. But not true.  Sure, it’s pretty unlikely that she can fly off to Japan tomorrow and begin clean up on her own. But a disaster like this can provide other ways to deepen your commitment to service and healing on a planetary level.
I believe many people look at “service” in the same way they look at “courage.” It has to be big, heroic and eventful.  Not even.
Service, much like courage, often comes down to your everyday “hey, no one even noticed that” choices.  Waiting for the BIG moments is convenient because they rarely come!
In fact, many of my biggest moments of courage – of saying yes, stepping up, choosing not to listen to the negative voices – are often quiet and sometimes even lonely.  Ditto with service.  Service is HOW you live.
And as so many visionaries have stated in some way or another:  A healthy you is the best service you can give to heal this planet.
This means that if you want to heal the planet, then there’s some GIVE and there’s some TAKE.
Let’s start with the GIVE’s:
GIVE your passion, your enthusiasm, and your talent.
Your passion speaks to you through your joy, your heart and your body.  When you love doing something, that’s your passion, that’s the spark that feeds you. It’s what you were meant to be doing.  People want to be around you when you’re in this high level of energy. Find a way to do it more, to infuse your life with it, and tap into it regularly.
GIVE up complaining, whining, blaming, gossip, and excuses.
Mind you, this is not about being a nice person. It’s not about being noble. It’s not even about loving your neighbor as yourself.
It’s about being selfish (in a good way!).
Here’s the deal:  Your attention is way too powerful and creative to waste on splattering it all over the place with unproductive activity.  Honor the power of your attention by experiencing the space that is created when you don’t fill it with negativity and addictive behaviors. This alone will change your world instantly.
GIVE yourself support.
When we build something new or start a new path or idea, we often expect ourselves to go it alone. And then we wonder why we couldn’t “pull it off.” It is not “weak” to ask for or invest in support.  As far as I can tell, athletes are the only ones who have it right from the start. Their system is set up with coaches and team support from day one.  We all need that level of support from mentors and teammates. Find a way to get support in creating anything from new higher-level mindsets to a business based in your purpose and passion.  If you’re going to heal the planet, you need to keep on top of your own health as well! You are not meant to do this alone!

GIVE thanks.
Your life situation can change on a dime. Be grateful for everything in it right now. Wake up in the morning and think on your blessings until tears form in your eyes. Because THAT is how blessed you are to have this amazing moment.
GIVE money.
Does anyone agree with me that it’s kinda selfish to give money because it feels so freakin’ great?   :-)    Even though this is a powerful way of serving, I’m never fooled into thinking that I’m only serving the recipient. I love love love recognizing my own abundance by giving it away.
If you want to give money instantly to help the people in Japan, click here.
Now, let’s talk about the TAKES…
TAKE responsibility.
If there’s one key difference between people who succeed in a deep and lasting way, and those who don’t – it’s the element of personal responsibility.  This means you take responsibility (not blame!) for your results, your actions, your inactions, your income, your outcomes, your health, your wealth, and your life circumstances.
As long as you see yourself as a victim of anything or anyone, you will remain in a place of powerlessness.  Again, this is not about blame. This is about choice. The choice to call your power back where it belongs.
TAKE stock.
One of the indirect results of any disaster is that some people make it an opportunity to review their life situation.  Often, you hear stories about people who suddenly recognized that life was too short to live so unhappily – choosing to quit jobs, to move out of the city, reassess their friendships.
You don’t have to wait until things reach a critical point before you take stock of your life. Make it a habit to regularly sit down, be with yourself and ask yourself what you want, if you are happy with how you spend your time, if your relationships are strong or just a place to gossip.  Go on a retreat, take a weekend to write in your journal and read inspiring books.  Step away from your life in order to look at it more deeply. To paraphrase Michael Gerber: “Work ON your life, not just IN it.”
TAKE it off.
What are you still settling for in your life, in your surroundings, in your schedule?  What’s draining you?  What’s not a “hell yes?”
Be ruthless in answering these questions. And then, be ruthless in letting go. Take it off and feel the space that’s created from not settling for excess maybe’s in your life. Make your life one big YES – and live from that place.
TAKE chances.
People who don’t succeed are the ones who wait until they get it perfectly first. They wait until they are sure that no one will judge them. They wait until they’re sure they won’t fail.  Which boils down to this:  They wait.
Imperfect Action is the way to go.  In fact, when you’re about to try something new, insist that you do it badly!  :-)   The experience of taking risks and facing fears is the ultimate healer for all kinds of emotional dis-eases.
TAKE it in.
In my Platinum Mastermind, we applaud each other. When one woman steps up for her time in front of the group, we cheer for her.  We hoot, we woot, we clap like crazy.  Her job is just to stand there and take it in. To receive.
Why do I insist that we do this?
Because being able to receive is crucial to success in anything. It is also crucial to service.  We need to acknowledge our successes, celebrate our milestones, say “thank you,” charge what we are worth, and breathe in our blessings. Otherwise, we run on fumes, reaching for fuel from unhealthy sources.
Your happiness and thriving is a key element of the healing of this planet. If you place yourself at the bottom of the priority list, well, girlfriend, you’re not living in service, you’re living as a servant.  Very different energies. Learn to TAKE IN the gifts and the gratitudes of this precious moment and let people celebrate you for the powerful being that you are.
TAKE a moment.
Prayer is powerful. It works.  Your energy and your intention can indeed heal the planet.
Take a moment right now and sit quietly.  Call upon the light that is you and smile as it comes into your awareness.  For one full minute, send that light to the people in Japan. Surround them with love and healing energy, knowing that we are all connected.  Schedule moments throughout the day to repeat this practice.  It will heal the planet much more effectively than chaining yourself to the media images minute by minute.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

One Block Wonder & Barley Salad

Here is the One Block Wonder, all done.  Well, I mean MY part is done.  Yes, the gods were smiling and I had enough thread.

The winner of My New Best Friend award this winter has been my Ikea drying rack.  Every month my hydro usage goes down, but my invoice goes up.  There is something fishy about that.  I actually really like using the drying rack.  My stuff lasts longer and it helps to humidify the air.  For my t-shirts, I toss them in the dryer on air fluff for 10 minutes to beat out the wrinkles, then I hang them up to dry.  Drying stuff this way doesn't really take much extra time - it might be a 10 minute job, AND it makes me feel very green and wholesome-like.  (Green in a good way, I might add.)  With spring here I will soon be back in the yard using the solar dryer.  translation:  clothesline

Yum yum yum.  DH made lunch today - Bulgur Salad with Feta & Cranberries.  I had 3 helpings and had to make a point of pushing myself away from the table.  I was still licking the spoon as I put the leftovers in the fridge.  If I offer you salad out of the fridge you might want to think twice about accepting.
Personally, I never add the cherry tomatoes since I am such a tomato snob.  Only garden fresh summer tomatoes pass these lips. The salad is delish without them.
Barley Salad with Feta and Cranberries
 (Barley or Quinoa or Bulgur or Rice)

2 cups water or broth (I use vegetable broth)
1 cup grain (see above options)
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
14 oz. (398 ml) can chickpeas, drained
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1/4 cup packed fresh parsley leaves, chopped
3 tbsp. Balsamic vinaigrette
salt & pepper to taste

•    bring water to a boil, add grain and simmer for the necessary time
•    transfer to a large bowl or plate and allow to cool
•    in another large bowl, combine cranberries, feta cheese, chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumber and parsley. Toss to combine.
•    add cooled grain then drizzle vinaigrette over salad and mix.  Season to taste with salt & pepper.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Avoid turning to quilt side borders {and shoes :-) }

I am working on a One Block Wonder quilt.  I love these quilts - they are always so striking from a distance.  Because they are really busy, I usually recommend a pantograph of some kind.  In this case the owner chose clamshells along with two border treatments.

I avoid turning the quilt to do the side borders whenever possible.  It adds about an hour to the working time and quilting is already expensive, right?  I don't want to charge any more than necessary.  Here I have loosely chalked in a spine which was measured and planned before the quilt was loaded.  I quilt the leaves & curls as far as I can then lock my stitches.  When I advance the quilt I pick up where I left off.  Kinda like the rinse & repeat instructions on your shampoo.  You can see the thread tail where I started this stretch of border.

My biggest worry before I started this quilt was ... just how far will a 500 yard spool of Valdani thread take me?  I spent an hour before I took my first stitch finding a (somewhat) local store where I could get another spool if I needed one.  I am about two thirds of the way through quilting and I think I will make it.  Fingers crossed.

On a completely unrelated but always timely topic: SHOES.  My favorite thing in all the world, besides my dog & DH.  (DH & my dog?  hmm, could be a Freudian slip.)  Anyhow... there was a story in the paper the other day stating the average woman owns 17 pair of shoes.  Pfftt.  Where did they find those lightweights????  Without even digging I counted 26 in my front hall closet.  Not including boots or slippers or work shoes or the layer underneath the layer I could count. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Retreat Roundup

The retreat was a great long weekend getaway, as usual. Most of the gals made the tumbling blocks quilt and they all looked fabulous - I love the graphic design. I was working on the Goose in the Pond pieces - you can see my work in the bottom center photo. Looks pretty insignificant at this point. But to be fair, there are 300 half-square units all squared up and ready to go, along with 100 rail fence units. And I'm partially done with the 100 9-patch units. And I completely emptied one bottle of wine, a bag of potato chips, a half bag of Tostitos with salsa, about 12 cookies and a date square. Then I had to take a nap

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Give us this day our daily bread...

We bought a huge bag of focaccia buns at Costco on Friday and we had a fresh loaf of bread already on the kitchen counter on Sunday.  So I had to make Rich Rum Sticky Buns instead of experimenting with a nice healthy loaf of bread.  I let the Black & Decker machine do the dough for me this time, because I was busy quilting.  I made a pan of 12 buns and sent 4 over to the neighbours.  (12 - 4 = 8).  DH and I split one, then I took one to the nursing home for Mom.  (8 - 2 = 6).  They were all gone by Tuesday and none of them were eaten by me.  Draw your own conclusions.  Somebody liked them, a lot.

I am heading off for retreat in... about an hour and a half. Or whenever I get my sh*t together.  This is what I hope to get partially done.  Goose In The Pond.  The blocks are 15". 
I spent ALL DAY yesterday going through my quilting books looking for a suitable design (this is a commission piece).  I must say, I love EQ for working out the bugs of a design.  I have EQ5 and will upgrade to EQ7 some time, hopefully soon.  It is way better to spend an extra hour on the computer instead of accidentally making 300 half square units when you really only needed 48.  Or cutting and sewing all the sashing together, only to realize the measurements don't add up any more and the 300 half square units hang off the edge.

I know you are curious - the pea sprouts were good. They finally went in the stir fry last night and added an interesting peanut flavour.  I asked DH if he used Peanut Sauce in the sauce, but he said no.  That only left the pea sprouts.  As an aside, we were discussing my sprouts at guild on Wednesday.  I seem to be the only person who HASN'T grown sprouts before.  I obviously missed that memo?

We've been having rain, rain, rain for the last couple of days.  I saw my first robin yesterday which means spring is on it's way.  Today we have snow/sleet so I hope my drive to Crieff isn't icky.  I am rooming with Doris, who was my traveling companion to Asia two years ago.  We have Anita from Cotton Mill Thread works coming this afternoon with her supply to give us a little shopping break.  Like we need a break from sewing, eating, sewing, eating, sewing, eating.  See ya Sunday...

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Jelly Roll Quilt & Pea Sprouts

This Jelly Roll quilt was made in the Morning Out class last fall.  I love the Civil War prints.

It was quilted with wool batting, which is my all-time favorite.

The pea sprouts are coming along nicely. They were started Wednesday morning and showed their first signs of growth on Friday morning. This is the status Saturday morning. Here's hoping I don't kill them before Monday night's supper.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

ADHD? & UFO update

Back in October I was sooo sick of the garden I couldn't wait for a killing frost.  Now I am sooo sick of winter.  Even though I love routine (I have oatmeal for breakfast EVERY DAY and I eat my lunch at twelve noon EVERY DAY) I also get sick of the same thing day after day.  I need to change things up occasionally, which is why changing seasons work so well for me.  But sometimes they just take too darned long to change.

So.  I'm forcing spring, whether it wants to be here or not.  Years and years ago I was reading my Organic Gardening magazine and there was an article about growing your own sprouts.  That has been on my to-do list ever since, and we're talking like 20 years now.  (note to self:  come up with a better Bucket List.  This is embarrassing.)  Then a couple weeks ago the gardening expert on CBC radio was talking about growing sprouts indoors.  He recommended pea sprouts - apparently they taste absolutely the best.  So I headed off to the garden centre and picked up a package of organic Snow Peas.

Here they are getting their initial 5 hour soak. 

Here they have been drained (into one of my plants) and rinsed again.  There is a cheesecloth 'screen' held over the jar opening with an elastic band.  The jar is supposed to stay on a 45 degree angle to keep the sprouts from sitting in gunky water which could make us very very sick. These will be rinsed every 8 hours or so.  According to the Canadian Gardening web site they will be ready to eat in 5 days.  So, on Monday we will be having a stir fry with fresh pea sprouts.  I'll keep you posted.

And - check the UFO page if you're interested in the March UFO, which thankfully is a TFUQ.