Thursday, March 27, 2014

Rescued by Elsa

Lilypad Quilting is holding a Rescue Me! Linky Party all about our furry rescue friends and Elsa says "2 Paws Up" to share her story today.
In mid December my husband dropped us off after dinner with friends and went to pick up another friend to go to a local basketball game. My cell phone rang and a question was asked "Should I bring home a stray kitten?". Temperatures were going to be in the -30's that night so I said yes thinking it might be feral and we could at least put it in our semi heated garage overnight.
Turns out she had been trying to get into our friends house all day and had run into the bushes when my husband went to get her. After hearing his call she ran up his leg and nestled herself into the neck of his coat where she stayed until I met her for the 1st time. She was shaking but purred non stop for about an hour going from lap to lap. I started calling her Elsa because of the ruff around her neck which reminded me of Elsa the lion from the movie Born Free.
The next day she cuddled up in the nearest quilt on the nearest lap and caught up on her sleep. She also gave herself a head to toe bath which fluffed out her soft fur. She captured all of our hearts that day!
 Well, maybe not Tucker's...
Our vet checked her out during the week and pronounced her healthy except for a case of ear mites. No one appeared to be missing her so she became our early Christmas present. One of the best ever!
She is the sweetest kitten and is determined to make friends with Tucker. He enjoys watching her antics but doesn't appreciate being chased by her or jumped on very much.
She has an uncanny habit of watching us at all times and is very talkative. Sometimes when she is too tired to respond she will give a silent "meow" which makes us laugh.
 She is fascinated by my quilting room and all of the "toys" it holds!
And she loves to carry her small toys in her mouth from room to room like a puppy. Her only lasting issue from her life as a stray is that she is very afraid of the outside world. She hides when people come and go and buries herself under a blanket when she visits the vet. We are curious to see what happens when spring comes and we open up our screened porch.
It truly was a blessing when Elsa found her way to us!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Blast from my Past

My Mom has been doing some Simplifying of her own and recently returned a few things to me. Since I'm still clearing out closets, drawers and bins I thought today would be a good time to share them.

This is my very 1st quilting UFO. I had a red, white & black bedroom as a teen and somehow got the idea that I wanted to make a quilt. At that time my Mom had taught me to sew clothing but quilting was all new.
Let's just say that cutting the logs from tissue paper was extremely tedious... and when they didn't always go together perfectly my enthusiasm left the building! My Mom at some point picked up the blocks and remaining fabrics and put the quilt together. It was on one of the bunk beds our kids slept in at their house for a time.
She was a pioneer as I now see looking at the extra block and the back of the quilt because she used QAYG to get it done. My Mom used to do alterations as a part time job so is a whiz with a sewing machine. And, she is very organized with the left over fabrics all bagged up so I can do a little patching. How fun is that?

I used to do a TON of embroidery when I was young - mostly pre-printed dishtowels and pillowcases. I had totally forgotten about these until I unfolded them.
I can totally see sashing these with 30's prints to make a sweet baby quilt!
And it makes me smile to see that even back then I was kind of anal about planning my projects... note that there are 3 babies with blonde hair, 3 with brown and 3 with black.  I guess I didn't know any redheads back then!

Thanks again Mom for making my day!
Elsa is having a blast exploring every new space and container that gets sorted through. Yesterday she even got Tucker involved after she flung one of her favorite stuffed mice in the midst of the mess. She carries them around the house in her mouth like a dog carries toys. So funny.

Friday, March 14, 2014

A No Sew Week

I can't remember the last time I've gone a week without sewing a stitch. And I'm perfectly OK with that because I've been all about this.
Image from
I'm happily hooked on clearing out closets, drawers, cupboards and all of the hidden clutter spots in my home. I think my Olympic Organizathon really kick started me into the next gear of my year long plan to simplify my home one area a month. Being an all or nothing kind of person I'm going to go with the flow and get 'er done while the getting is good!
Image from
So until this addiction flames out or I've hit the last spot on my list I won't have much to blog about. Could be tomorrow... could be a few more weeks. No worries.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Gold Medal!

My table insert arrived yesterday and I am THRILLED with my Sew Perfect table! As soon as I am done with my morning errands I will be quilting something. Cannot wait.
I should also mention that I was able to assemble it myself which says a LOT for good directions and how well made it is. All I needed help with was getting the tools from my husband and moving it into the room.

That's all for now!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Where to Start

Last year I had settled into such a nice blogging rhythm/routine while being UFO focused... here it is already March and I still feel like I'm still winging it in 2014! I'm not complaining - it's just an observation. There are so many things I wanting to do (which is a good thing) and I'll keep playing around with how I structure my time until something clicks.

Let's start with some big news - my Sew Perfect Table has arrived! The last 2 nights my husband has been following our high school basketball teams in their playoffs so tonight is the night to get it assembled. The custom insert for Mr. Juki should arrive next week. Can you see a quilting marathon coming up?
I've been playing catch-up with my blocks for RSC14 and want to share a tip that I read about on Bonnie Hunter's blog awhile back. While I'm loving these specialty rulers I find it hard to stop them from slipping. Bonnie recommended using Nexus tape which has a nubbly texture on the back and it's clear so you can still read the markings. It really helps! I found mine at Wal-Mart next to the Band-Aids.
 I think I have one blue and one pink block to go and then I will be caught up.
I came across this yesterday and I think I'm going to go for it - how I can resist that title? Since I've learned that online challenges are very motivating to me in my quilting life I might as well give it a try with my other goals.
Image from
I've started my list of 40 spots around the house to declutter and am shifting my March focus from the kitchen to our master bedroom because that's where our files are and I need to get our taxes done. Paper is my ultimate nemesis when it comes to organizing so I might as well dive in while I'm coming off my Olympics Organizathon high!

I'm including a gratuitous adorable kitten photo just because. Elsa has the silkiest fur and I think this picture really shows it off. Just look at that plume of a tail! I think she had just concluded her post breakfast bath judging by the ruffles on her side.
Have a great Wednesday everyone~

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Books and Getting a Move On

Last month I missed my check in post with The Bibliophile Files@sarah did it! but I'm on top of it today! Simplify is my word for 2014 and my reading goals for the year tie into that nicely.  Here is my main bookshelf that needs to be culled over the next 10 months.
I spent some time last month sorting my fiction books into 4 categories: Keepers, Never Read, Re-Read and Let Them Go. The 1st round of Let Them Go books went to my Mom who is also an avid reader and is good at passing books on to her friends too.

The largest category ended up being Re-Read. As you can see, the books are doubled up on this shelf. Many of these books started out in the Keeper pile but ended up here because 1) I haven't read them in years or 2)I had too many Keepers.
The next shelf is the Never Read collection. I'm going to give myself an out with these - if I'm partway in and not enjoying the read they will move ASAP to the Let Them Go box and I'll move on. I have plenty of other books in the queue.
In January I posted about a few online book challenges I had found but I've decided they aren't really for me. I don't care to review every book I read and that was a part of these challenges. I just find it too time consuming with the amount of books I go through and I'd rather sew or start another book!

On Goodreads I have settled into a habit of doing a short review of books that are 5 stars (what I loved about it) or 2 stars, 1 star or DNF (what I didn't enjoy). The majority of my reads are 3 stars (good book but nothing special) and I use 4 stars to reflect a book that I enjoyed enough to recommend or seek out other books by the author.
I've yet to read a 5 star book this year but I do have a nice collection of 4 star reads.
  • After Her by Joyce Maynard
  • Big Brother by Lionel Shriver
  • Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford (Never Read)
  • Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
  • The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
  • State of Wonder by Ann Patchett (Never Read)
  • Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight
7 of out 20 is a really nice ratio of quality reads. Too bad that I had 6 2 star books on my list which is more than usual! It appears that my digital audiobook choices through my library are becoming slim pickings as they don't seem to be expanding their collection much. So I've started requesting books on CD that are on my reading shelves and bought a pair of Bluetooth headphones so I can play them on my laptop and be able to move about.  
Speaking of moving about - I bought myself a Fitbit as an early birthday present. This long bitterly cold winter has done a number on my healthy habits and it's time to get back on track. My cross country skis and snowshoes have not been touched even though we have plenty of snow!

I started counting my Weight Watchers points again this week too. I'm not going to blog much about this but I will be including an updated picture as part of my Month in Review posts. Each glass gem represents 1 pound to reach my goal weight. A nice little visual that will greet me as I enter my kitchen. And, if I have to move my ironing board upstairs to get to 10,000 steps a day until it warms up I will!
Elsa thinks she will need an extra meal if that happens as she likes to keep an eye on me.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

RSC14 Catch Up

I've missed making Angela's RSC Sampler blocks since January so when I had a couple of free hours this afternoon I picked through my scraps and put these 4 blocks together. Bowtie, Four Corners and Jacob's Ladder from February's list and Friendship Star in shades of teal for March.
Those pink blocks are going to have to be scattered in the final quilt as they jangle my eyes next to each other! I've never made Bowtie or Friendship Star blocks before and could see making lots more of them one day.

My Thimbleberries Jacob's Ladder quilt that I finished last fall is one of my favorites. It is such a versatile and classic block.
Using the Easy Angle Ruler to make the HSTs helps these blocks go together so smoothly - what a great tool. I'm linking up to ScrapHappy Saturday@soscrappy and look forward to seeing what the rest of the RSC14 quilters have been stitching up!

February In Review

It's pretty easy to recap February... one finish, lots of organizing and the Olympics. My Valentine's Plus Quilt was my Something New for the month. It is still on my sofa and I'm going to miss it when I finally put it away for next February!
The rest of the month was spent sorting through this...
 to create this!
And turning this...
into this!
Just a taste of my Olympics Organizathon - I touched a whole lot of Something Old!

Looking ahead to March I am having a hard time settling on my goals. Part of me is feeling compelled to work on UFOs all month long. Part of me wants to dig deep into the closets and drawers in the rest of our home. And the rest of me wants to just play and wait for spring to come!

Since I didn't finish Minnesota HotDish for my February A Year of Lovely Finishes goal I'm going to try it again in March. I thought I would get the binding done during the Olympics but once I got into organizing mode I kind of got stuck there.
I completely missed out on sewing with pink for RSC14 so will be sewing with pink and teal/aqua this month to catch up. And I'm so far behind on my Finish-A-Long Q1 goals that it's not worth discussing!

But when I start feeling down I just look into my stash closet or the other spaces I've redone and that makes me feel SO much better. And really, isn't it a good thing to have lots of ideas to choose from with a fresh slate of 31 days filled with possibilities? YES IT IS.

Here is a quick take on goals for March:

1. Finish Minnesota HotDish
2. Finish 3 more UFOs from my Q1 list
3. Catch up on RSC14
4. Make 1 pillow for PillowPop SAL
5. 1 FMQ project
6. The Kitchen (Simplify Room of the Month)

I think that will do for now.