Saturday, January 30, 2010

Modern Tradition Quilt Bee

Have you noticed the Quilt Bee button on my left side bar? I think it made it's appearance sometime back in early December, maybe even late November. I decided to improve my quilting as one of my goals for 2010. That is a very broad goal and every goal needs baby steps in order to accomplish the final goal. So far I have joined: my local Quilt Guild, an online "Quilt Whisperer" class, DQS8, the Jacob's Coat Quilt along, and the Modern Tradition Quilt Bee. *phew* and the year is just gettin' started! I feel like I'm off to a pretty good start. I think that by joining these groups I will be motivated and "held accountable" since there are others depending on you to do your part.

So here is my block for Melissa for January:

Melissa picked out a fun block and I must say I really enjoyed the process of piecing all those triangles. It will be sent off with the mail today. I must apologize to Melissa for my procrastination. Like I mentioned in my previous post I've been in a funk ever since moving and am just now trying to get back into things. Working on this block was very soothing and allowed me to unwind and focus on something other than kids, boxes, and messes!

So did you set any quilty goals for 2010?

Friday, January 29, 2010

I ate a frog this morning

Well, metaphorically speaking. I feel like I've been in a slump ever since moving. I have made progress on the whole unpacking and putting things away but I am nowhere near being done. There is a whole storage room (about 12'x20') that has become the catch all room. This wouldn't be a problem really except that we use the door in this room to get into the house and you have to walk climb all over everything to make it into the actual house. I have felt unmotivated to really tackle much of anything because my efforts seem futile {how can 2 little kids make such a mess in ALL parts of the house so quickly?} Yesterday evening I spotted this quote over on my SIL blog:

“Eat a live frog every morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” -Mark Twain

So while I'm not willing to eat a real live frog I am willing to eat a metaphorical one. So I've picked my "worst" chore of the day and decided to tackle it first before moving on to anything else this morning. I exercised. Now don't get me wrong I don't actually hate exercising I actually rather enjoy it, but if I don't squeeze it in first I know other things will get in the way. Before I know it it's 3pm and I still haven't showered because "I'm going to exercise!" Hopefully this will keep me motivated to get it done at least 3 times a week. Besides I've officially lost 3 lbs already {I was rounding up before! (from 2.8 lbs lost)} and I gotta stay motivated!!

Hopefully eating this "live frog" will help motivate me to get the rest of my house in order so I can move on to more important things like quilting, crafting and couponing! {Seriously I have like a mini store going on in my closet from all of the amazing (and freeeee!) deals I have scored just by clipping coupons! It makes me so giddy to get stuff for free LOL}

Friday, January 22, 2010

General Mills Deal

Recently the nice folks over at MyBlogSpark sent me some coupon vouchers* for some free General Mills cereal. They really caught my eye with a this statement: General Mills announced a commitment to further reduce sugar in cereals advertised to kids under 12 to single digit grams of sugar per serving. The company has already been reducing sugar in cereals while increasing key nutrients, such as calcium and vitamin D, and providing whole grain.

Have you noticed it? I hadn't and I hope they continue to lower the sugar content on all their cereals. My favorite cereal is MultiGrain Cheerios. It is sweetened to perfection {in my opinion} with only 6g of sugar per serving and my kids love it. That's about half the amount in most kids cereal, plus it wont turn your milk funky colors! It is pricey though so I only buy it when it is on sale or I have a coupon.

Guess what?? The folks over at General Mills and MyBlogSpark said I could share a $1 off coupon for GM cereal (Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Cocoa Puffs, Lucky Charms or Trix) with my readers. That's an awesome deal!

I recently {just 2 days ago} jumped on the coupon-ing band wagon and let me tell ya there are some deals to be had out there! {Yesterday I got 3 full size tubes of toothpaste for $0.60!} You can get items for dirt cheap and sometimes for free! If you are new to the world of coupons head on over to Hip2Save for lots of instructional info, and lots of coupons!

Cheerio! {Sorry I couldn't resist}

PS if the coupon isn't printing try using Internet Explorer

VIP coupons, online coupon link, and information were provided to me by General Mills and MyBlogSpark

1-23-10: Apparently I was mistaken. The sugar content has not yet been reduced in the kids cereals. The announcement was made and will be implemented in the near future. So you should start to see the "lower sugar" options in the supermarket soon. Until then you can do like I do and mix the sugary stuff half and half with regular Cheerios. {Am I the only one that does this?}

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Project 365 - Week 2

1. Project 365 Week 2, 2. 1-8-10 Best Friend, 3. 1-9-10 Auditions, 4. 1-10-10 First Petals, 5. 1-11-10 "Resolve", 6. 1-12-10 Sketches, 7. 1-13-10, 8. 1-14-10 Bath Time

I'm still going strong with my Project 365. I love the way each of my images turned out for this week. If I had to pick a favorite it would be a close call between my quilt block and doggy bath time.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Joseph's Coat Update

On Saturday I spent some time auditioning and interviewing my fabrics for a role in my Joseph's Coat quilt.
My process began with a set of 12 fat quarters from Sandi Henderson's Meadowsweet line. I purchased my fabrics from Lori of Stitches N' Giggles. Not only does she have the best prices for Meadowsweet that I have found ($7.50/yard) but she has great customer service and shipped my order out the next day! I didn't take a picture of the package when I got it but my FQ's came folded up into cute little triangles. Lori cut all my chosen fabrics into FQ's without charging me any more {yup $7.50 for 4 FQ's! That's about $1.88 per FQ}

The second part of my process involved pulling fabrics from my stash that I though would play nicely with my Meadowsweet. Some were immediately rejected for bad attitudes {just not feeling it} and fighting {clashing.} After the first round of cuts came the second call back where each of the fabrics was auditioned against my beautiful Kona Cotton Charcoal. Here I rejected some fabrics mainly based on hue. The problems main problem was that some of the fabrics just looked "blah" on the background. The were of a more subdued hue and did not provide the "pop" I was looking for. The final part of the auditions involved pairing each of my fabrics with each other to make sure they were in harmony with each other.

Yesterday after church I was able to finish up all the petals for my first block.

I was still unsure of my color choices as I was working on the petals. But as soon as I laid them out on my Charcoal I was sold! I really really love the outcome! The colors just pop and it is just super duper perfect! {Yeah, I'm excited!! ok enough exclamation points.} Even Mr. PD paid me an unexpected compliment by saying "Wow! That looks really good." I was afraid the gray would overwhelm the prints and colors, but they work marvelously together.

I really enjoy the process of picking out fabrics for a quilt. {The color geek in me comes out to play! It's sad that I never got to take the required "Color Theory" class while in college because I think I would have loved it.} Do you enjoy the fabric picking process or do you hate it? Do you mix and match fabrics from different lines, manufacturers, and designers or so you just stick to using fabrics from the same line?

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Congrats Joy! Maybe now you won't have to eat card board!

Joy said...

I tried giving them cardboard chopped into small bite size pieces but they did not care for the taste. I even tried covering it in cream of chicken soup, but still no luck. We are now eating lots of whole wheat bread, and the little one loves cheerios.

You'll get your prize pack soon.

Project 365 - Week 1

I'm on a roll with Project 365! I didn't miss a single day of picture taking this week. Granted it is only the first week of the year LOL. We'll see if my enthusiasm remains as the days roll on. You can click on the links to see the full size picture and a short description on Flickr.

1. Project_365_week1, 2. 1-1-10 Dog House, 3. 1-2-10 Boxes, 4. 1-3-10 Mush, 5. 1-4-10 Mail Order Fabric, 6. 1-5-10 Asian BBQ Skewers, 7. 1-6-10 Ice Cream, 8. 1-8-10 Possum

My favorite picture of the week? The cutest possum I have ever seen! {ok it's THE only possum I have ever seen that could possibly be referred to as "cute."} The second runner up are the BBQ skewers because they were sooo good and they even look delicious in the picture {I need to do this whole presentation thing more often.}

Friday, January 8, 2010

Joseph's Coat Quilt-along

*Edit* if you are having trouble downloading the template, click here.

I've decided to join along with "Don't Look Now's" "Joseph's Coat" quilt-along. Seeing all of the beautiful creations in the Flickr pool has really made me want to try this out. The one that really caught my eye and gave me the push to join was Cabbage Quilts' block (top row last one.) Her bright cheery colors and charcoal gray background have really captured my interest. I have a feeling this will take a couple of months to make the quilt top.

1. Joseph's Coat Quilt-along, 2. DatongPingyaoShaolinLijiang Dec 2009 440, 3. Jacobs Coat, 4. josephs coat quilt along 007, 5. First two, 6. joseph's coat, 7. block 1, 8. block 2 , 9. Block 1

I've ordered all of my materials and am ready to start as soon as I get moved into the new place. I'll be using Meadosweet by Sandi Henderson and Kona Cotton in Charcoal. I've even made my block template and everything. I'm itching to get started but I've already moved my sewing room over to the new place so I can't even work on it when I find a spare moment.

Making the block template was a challenge. First my really nice compass {from my days in art school} was missing it's leads and missing a piece, rendering it completely useless! I took a quickie trip to Wally-world just for a compass. I bought their nicest one and came home all excited only to find out it doesn't open up wide enough! It's a good thing I'm handy with a mouse. I whipped up a template in Illustrator and I'm making it available to all of you who might not have a compass handy. You can either have it printed at Kinko's, Staples, Office max, etc on a large enough piece of paper (it measures 11"x11") or you can print it up at home on several pages and tape it together very carefully.

Click on the image to be taken to download the file, then click on "Download all images in folder" to also download a single "petal template."

Let's Warm Up! Giveaway

The nice people over at MyBlogSpark recently sent me some Progresso High Fiber Soup to try out. {They also sent some nice soup bowls and spoons!} We tried out the Home Style Minestrone Soup and it was delish. I was a little weary at first thinking that the soup might taste chalky but it tasted like regular soup. {Even Mr PD liked it!} Each serving (half a can) contains 28% of your daily fiber intake {score!} I can't wait to try out their other high fiber varieties too: Chicken Tuscany, Creamy Tomato Basil, and Hearty Vegetable and Noodles.

So if you want a chance to win your very own prize pack (Soup, 2 soup bowls, and spoons) leave me a comment letting me know how you try to increase your family's fiber intake. {We eat ton's of whole wheat bread, and mini wheats!} Giveaway will remain open until Sunday morning at 8am Central Time)

PS While Progresso Provided me with the soup (for free) through the MyBlogSpark program I would not post about it if I didn't like it.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

... a freezing cold cloudy 28F feels like 18F day. Brrr. I hate the cold. Where's my snow? It thought I lived in the South.

So what could bring me sunshine on a cloudy day? Well for starters Ellie Mae's super static un-brushed hair and her get up for today; a bright red cape and Zorro type mask which only accentuates her unkempt hair. Oh yeah and it looked super lovely when she threw a crying fit when we left this morning and she realized she left her Zoe doll in the house. {I really should have gotten a picture.} Well I "couldn't" go back inside to retrieve it for her. All 45 seconds would have caused EJ to be late for school this morning. Guess what? We were there bright and early. Actually we were the ONLY ones there at all! HA! Joke's on mom, school doesn't start until tomorrow. So what could I do but laugh!

It was alright by me. The new house is less than 5 minutes from the school so we headed over there where I battled the 3 bathrooms, fridge and the stove. The oven won. Kicked my butt big time, but I've already got re-enforcements. Easy-off! That oven doesn't stand a chance!

Once we went home for lunch I had 3 very nice surprises waiting for me in the mail box. Nothing brightens my day like some fresh new scrumptious fabric {You know you have a problem when you refer to fabric as scrumptious, delicious, or yummy :) }

I got an order from Pink Chalk Fabrics. I ordered a Sheri Berry quilt kit ($22) and an extra panel ($3) from their clearance section. Finally! I got me some Sheri Berry Holiday fabrics. They are so cute and retro. They are a little more pastel-y than I would have liked {I wish the colors were a tad more vibrant} but they are still very cute and they will go so well with next years Christmas tree theme. {I went a little nuts at Target's 75% off Christmas clearance and bought a bunch of red and aqua decorations for next year.}

I also got an order from Sew Mama Sew!
Lot's of beautiful orange and aquas, plus some pinks for my girly girl. Again they are all from the clearance section. From left to right they are:
Snails in Orange from Far, Far, Away (Heather Ross)
Swim Class Sunset from Mendocino (Heather Ross)
Aspirin Dot Orange from Windham Basics
Mobile Stripe Aqua from Mingle (Monaluna)
Damask Pink from Ava Rose (Tanya Whelan)
Ambrosia Rose from Santorini (Lila Tueller)

And lastly a catalog full of eye candy from Connecting Threads. I have not ordered from them yet but believe me they will be getting some business from me once I move. They have a ton of quilt kits at very reasonable prices. {I'm in love with the Flying Chirpers Quilt Kit} Not to mention that you can get a free yard of fabric from them!

Give them a try! I know I will. I really want to give their line of threads a try too.
Simply Type CT596 at check out and receive $5.96 off any order that contains fabric. (Expires 2/22/2010. $5.96 minimum order. Limit one per person. Does not apply to shipping costs.)

Oh and all of their books are 40% off until February 22 too!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Crock Pot Woes

One of my goals for this year has to do with food. I want to save money {and calories} by cooking at home. My "baby steps" in accomplishing this task will be:
  • to have a weekly menu planned out (which I started doing in November and has worked wonderfully.)
  • learning to use my crock pot
  • learning to use my food storage (which will put to use the awesome wheat grinder my in-laws gave us for Christmas.)
  • realizing that life gets in the way and even the best laid plans will go awry and it's perfectly ok to have pizza on speed dial!
On a recent trip to BAM (Books a Million) I found a real gem of a cook book.

This cook book has almost 200 crock pot recipes and so far I haven't seen a single one that calls for "cream of anything." That in itself sold me on the book! It does have some other awesome qualities too; pictures of every recipe, it comes in a 3 ring binder so you can add or take out recipes while you cook {not so great if you happen to buy the only copy that some "nice" person stole 50+ pages from!} recipes for everything including breads, desserts, soups, dips, main courses etc. Oh yeah and it was only $10.

Well the first recipe we tried out was "Smokey Chipotle Cassoulet" and it was awesome! Mine turned out a little more soupy than what was pictured in the book. It was pretty much like a southwestern/Mexican chili. If you decide to try this out WATCH OUT! One large chipotle will do you in. I recommend half, or less if you want your kids to eat it! We toned down the spiciness with sour cream, cheese and some Doritos (on the second day.) My kids were troopers and had 2 bites before I gave them some cereal for dinner instead!

Well tonight we tried out "Pesto Rice and Beans"

While the taste was there it sure wasn't going to win any prizes in the looks department! {Yeah... it looks nothing like the picture in the book.} My problems started after it had been cooking 2 hours and the rice didn't even look remotely cooked. I guess my crock pot takes a really long time to heat up on "low" so I cranked it up to high for 30 minutes, checked it and decided it was finally hot enough to cook the rice, added a bit more water and let it cook for another hour on low. Well the rice on the bottom cooked well, the rice towards the top was still a little bit crunchy, and once you mixed in the pesto it just turned to mush! This recipe was in the section labeled "creative cooking" {what's that supposed to mean?} so I wasn't sure if it was supposed to be a main dish or what {I'm thinking it's more of a side dish.} I think this recipe would have given me less trouble had I cooked it in a regular pot! Oh well, live and learn!

Here is a similar recipe if you want to try it out. {And hey! hers looks like mush too!}

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Project 365

Happy New Year everyone! Did you make it to midnight? I surely did not! {I did not even make it to midnight Eastern time and I'm in Central time.} I could not stay up even if my life depended on it. {I know I'm so lame! LOL} My days of staying up late ended with my first kid. That's alright with me. Staying up to ring in the New Year is not on my priority list. The New Year will be ushered in with or without me so I figure I don't need to stay up. The important thing is that I have reflected on the year that has passed and have set new goals to make 2010 even better for my family and myself.

My SIL wrote me yesterday and suggested I join her in doing Project 365. I have been meaning to try this out and figured there is no better time to start than on January 1st! Basically project 365 consists of taking a picture a day for a whole year in order to better chronicle your life. By snapping a picture a day you should, in theory, be able to capture the day to day and "little things" in life.

What a great way to share your life with your posterity! Consider it keeping a journal in photography form {I'm pretty sure it counts as keeping a journal! ... because I said so.} Think about your great great grandchildren poring over your album {I want to have mine printed into a book at the end} and laughing and pointing at your ridiculous fashions, your sad attempts at gardening, following your grand adventures, and seeing the love shared by your family.

Rather than bog down my blog with a daily image I have created a collection on Flickr for my Project 365. I will post a mosaic on this blog at the end of every week to share my images with you.

So will you be keeping a traditional journal this year or a photo journal??? I'd love to see yours if you keep one.