Friday, November 30, 2012

Nov/Dec Journey 2012 Part 1

We are on the road again!

Day one was spent driving - actually Ray drove and I knitted. I haven't made a sweater in about 25 years! And then it was sweaters for the boys. Now, I'm making one for me!

Day two we woke up to snow - just 1/4" or so. The roads were totally clear as we headed out and it was pretty. We spent part of that day and the next walking and shopping in Nashville, Indiana. One evening we ate dinner in Nashville at Big Woods Pizza. GOOD!

The whole town was decorated for Christmas. One afternoon we found a fabric store but it was closed. I looked in the window and a lady opened the door and invited us in. 
This was a brand new shop set to open in a couple of days but instead they opened right then and I was their first customer! I found things (surprise!) and the owner gave me a nice discount!

We stayed at the Abe Martin Lodge in Brown County State Park. They have a water park and great hiking trails. We enjoyed both!

We stopped in Berea, Kentucky on our way south. It is so neat to walk around the Boone Tavern area. We enjoyed lunch and did lots of looking!

Later in the day we arrived at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park and stayed at the Dupont Lodge. We went to see the falls before dinner and then went back at 8 PM to see the moonbow. 

The best viewing would be from 8 - 10 PM so we were there from 8 to about 10. No moonbow! Almost all the conditions were right - full moon, clear night, plenty of mist from the falls - but there was haze and evidently enough haze to stop the needed light from the moon. ;( It was a beautiful night to spent outside talking to a few other hardy souls! And we really enjoyed the fireplace when we returned to the lodge!

Today has been a long day of traveling and we are now in Durham, NC, ready to spend the weekend with some friends. 

I've just spent over an hour trying to clear photos out of Picasa - how could I have exceeded my quota??!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

November Quilt Square Quilt Along

The pattern that Jo chose for November was this one 

from Lori Smith’s #6 Quilt Square pattern.

I machine quilted this in a cross hatch pattern.
The back.
There will be no quilting here for awhile. In the morning, we head out on a 3 week journey. Along the way we'll visit some family, visit some friends, do a little hiking, and do some sightseeing. I might even get a chance to blog once in a while! I can't quilt because I have nothing that is small enough to work on right now. So I'll be knitting - wonder if I can get my sweater anywhere near done...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

We have a new addition!

We have a new addition! This little fellow now resides in our backyard. The tree needed to come down a couple of years ago but we were able to keep about a 10 feet stump. About a week ago a carver came and created  this gnome holding a squirrel. It is about 7' tall and I can see it from the family room - he is right by the screened porch.

We don't have a name for the gnome or the squirrel yet but we are working on it!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! 

I can't begin to list what I am thankful for 
but I can begin:

my dear husband,
good health,
and so much more!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A little quilt done!

Ray saw a kit for this quilt in August and we both liked it. I began making the squares in October at my private retreat. Later, I assembled it and machine stippled it in a 1/4" scale in the 'outside pieces'. The circles are not quilted.
Then I put it aside until I could buy some Stonehenge binding fabric to go with it. When I cleaned my sewing room, I came across the binding fabric that came with it! Oh, it does pay to clean once in a while!
It is about 24" square. And I really like it!

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Special QOV and More

Last Monday we celebrated Veteran's Day. This Monday (today) I had the honor of presenting a Quilt of Valor to my brother, Tom, a Vietnam veteran. He was exposed to Agent Orange and like many others, has some major health problems as a result.

I decided to make him a quilt and finally started it last April. You may remember seeing some pictures while I was at a retreat. After I finished piecing it, I needed more practice at free-motion quilting before I tried a good-sized quilt.  I finally decided that it was time.
Tom's quilt
"May this quilt serve you throughout your life as you served us. Thank you for your service, your sacrifice, and your valor for our country."


And now the rest of this story. Tom received his draft notice when he and Sandy returned home from their honeymoon. What a sad time that was. Sandy, who now has her own health issues, is also enduring his. I decided she also needed a quilt so I made her a Great Woman Quilt. (You know - Behind every great man, there is a great woman!) There is no national registry but maybe there should be!
Sandy's quilt
"May this quilt serve you throughout your life. Thank you for your devotion, your sacrifice, and your love for my brother and our family."

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Oh, What a Night!

Oh, What a Night and other great music!

Tuesday night we were at the Overture Center in Madison, Wisconsin to see the Jersey Boys. It was fantastic! It truly was Oh, What a Night!
Jersey Boys is a musical where "the story dramatizes the forming, rise and eventual break-up of the original four members of The Four Seasons".(words from Wikipedia) Of course the music is phenomenal!

We had a gift certificate to the Overture Center and decided on this musical. We had never been to the Center and it is wonderful - we'll definitely go back! Our seats were in the Mezzanine. Notice on our tickets - one of us was in the Left Mezzanine and the other in the Right Mezzanine - that means we were sitting dead center right next to each other! Our seats were perfect!
Before the show, I took a couple of photos. The stage wasn't nearly as far away as it looks in the photo! This was our view to the right 
and to the left. I could not take a picture straight on - the lights messed with the camera.

We stayed at The Inn On The Square in Madison, right by the Capitol. That means we were 3-4 blocks from the Overture Center and could walk.
 I took these pictures on our walk 'home'. 
It was about the time of night when the Northern Lights were seen in parts of Minnesota and Illinois but not in downtown Madison ;(
Even without the aurora borealis, it was a wonderful evening!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

FMQ Project - Matrix

This week our free motion quilting design was Matrix. In November, we are doing "quick and pretty designs" and this is the first. I didn't have a whole quilt to work on so I did another block for my quilt.
I found this design easy and fast! This would be neat on a whole quilt. Here is a photo that's a little closer.
Sorry about the shadows - I really shouldn't take pictures at night with overhead lights on.
Leah Day really does a nice job of showing each design and teaching about it. She follows up by answering questions. She has a new class on Craftsy if you are interested - it is called Free Motion Quilting a Sampler.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I'm a quilter but...

I'm a quilter but sometimes I knit! 

My newly retired friend, Nancy, knits and we have decided to try to get together every so often and knit at a 'local' yarn shop. The yarn shop is local for Nancy - there is none where I live. I decided that I should knit something before we meet later this week - and it's a good thing I did! It took me 20 minutes to remember how to cast on!

From then on, all went well. I made myself a hat from worsted Merino wool. 
The hat is on an acorn squash - I don't have a head stand.
 The pattern is from Ravelry and is a butterfly design.
Butterfly Hat, pattern by Sofiya Cremin
Here is a close up of the design.

We stopped at the yarn shop on our way to State Volleyball and I picked up some more yarn (worsted Merino wool) for a hat for Ray. The pattern I had wasn't going to work (I didn't have the right size needles with me.) so I  found a pattern on the Internet. Ray wanted the hat to have a cuff/rollup. It would have been really neat if I had some colored yarn to put in stripes.

Turn A Square pattern by Jared Flood

Here is the top of the hat. I'd like to make it again with stripes. The stripes would form a square on the top of the hat. Oops, you can see that acorn squash in the background.

I'm a quilter but sometimes I sew! 

I decided that I needed a neat bag to carry my knitting so I made one. I found the pattern online.
Diana Hobo pattern by elizabeth carroll designs
I made a few changes and I'll make a couple more if I make this bag again but this will be fine for now.

It has a magnet closure and I added pockets for knitting needles and supplies.

I'm a quilter but sometimes I do other things! Not very often though! 

Monday, November 12, 2012

A weekend of volleyball and hockey

We traveled to Illinois State University last Thursday for our annual outing - the Illinois High School State Volleyball Finals. We enjoyed dinner with some ‘old’ friends on Thursday night, eating at Avanti’s. Good! We saw some incredible volleyball matches both Friday and Saturday.
Ray holding program
We always sit in the same spot and there are a few around us that do the same – we have gotten to know each other over the years. It is always fun to reconnect. One group that sits near us now have children that are in their 20s – we’ve watched these kids grow up! 

Our View
The usher in our section is Betty, an older lady whom we fondly call “Eagle Eye”. She runs a tight ship and doesn’t let people stand or sit on the steps. She greets us warmly each year and spends time visiting. I just found out that she drives a little red convertible! She and I share a love of Sudoku puzzles - this year she gave me a Chicago Times puzzle to do – one of the hardest ones!

We ate our share of junk food. Just couldn't pass on the dippin' dots!

I decided that I would knit at the games instead reading. There is lots of time between matches, during timeouts, etc. I was knitting a hat and was ready to start the decreasing. The stitch markers were at the motel so I improvised!

Yup, those are gum wrappers as stitch markers!
We got up early Sunday to head to Wisconsin to see Grandson Mack play in his very first hockey games. This little guy LOVES hockey! He got his stick on the puck a few times and even had a couple of break aways - so exciting! He is one of the youngest (at 5 years-old) and smallest on his team. I think the age goes up to 8 but the grouping of teams is done by age AND ability.

Mack has 'played' for two years - which means he spent time learning to skate and doing drills. This year he's moved up to a 'competitive' level where they play 20-minute games with other teams. They just play to play - no score is kept! It is really fun to watch - the kids obviously love the game!

It was a great weekend of sports! 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

2012 FMQ Challenge - November

Sarah Vedeler is our November FMQ expert at the 2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge over at Insights from SewCalGal. You can read about Sarah and see some of her beautiful designs and work here.

When I read that we were going to be doing spirals, I didn't know if I should say "Oh yeah!" or "Oh no!". I seem to have lots of trouble with spirals but I'd like to be able to do them.

Well, Sarah gave us sheets to trace - very similar to the way my grandkids learn to write their letters. I know this is a good way to learn but I've never done it with spirals. I have now!
After all of the tracing, it was time to draw our own. So draw I did! The larger the spirals, the harder for me to draw - Sometimes, I think too much about what I'm doing!
Then it was time to sew. Instead of the fat quarter sandwiches that Sarah suggested, I used squares for my motif sampler quilt. I marked squares and began sewing.
A closer view - no where near perfect but at least you can tell they are spirals!
Here are some spirals I tried last January for a Quilt Along with Quokka Quilts.
I might be biased but I think I really am improving!

I have more sheets to trace and practice drawing spirals. It's an activity that I will continue doing - I really do want to improve more!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

FMQ Project - Lost Data

This week at the Free Motion Quilting Project Quilt Along, we worked on another edge-to-edge design, Lost Data. No I didn't lose anything - that is the name!

Lost Data is Jagged Lines with Zippling in the open areas. Both Jagged Lines and Zippling have sharp points and straight lines.

Again, I split my square in half. I did Lost Data on the top.
On the bottom, I tried just stitching back and forth in the open area. Someone else had done this and I just wanted it in my samples so I remember.
I don't have an update on putting my quilted squares together - I've been working on too many other things!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Baked Oatmeal

The other evening, I was at church, making noodles with some other "church basement ladies". It was lots of fun and I learned some things. I've made pasta before but I'll do much better next time! Anyway, we had lots of egg whites left over and were splitting them up amongst us. I mentioned that I'd probably use some to make baked oatmeal and no one had ever heard of it! 

I make it often and I love having it in the freezer ready to go for breakfast. 

I use the Mayo Clinic's recipe. You can see the recipe and the nutritional analysis at this link.

Mayo Clinic's Baked Oatmeal
Serves 8


    1 tablespoon canola oil
    1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
    1/3 cup brown sugar
    Egg substitute equivalent to 2 eggs, or 4 egg whites
    3 cups uncooked rolled oats
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1 cup skim milk


In a good-sized bowl, stir together oil, applesauce, sugar and eggs. Add dry ingredients and milk. Mix well. Spray a 9-by-13 baking pan generously with cooking spray. Spoon oatmeal mixture into pan. Bake uncovered at 350 F for 30 minutes.
My notes: Sometimes I use 2 egg whites and 1 whole egg. I freeze individual pieces, wrapped and stored in a ziploc bag. I pop a frozen piece in the microwave for 60 seconds. If the piece isn't frozen, 30 seconds in the microwave is perfect.


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