Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tuesday's State of Affairs

Please excuse this poor quality picture along with the ones below.
I had to use the flash as both yesterday and today are very dark days.

I finished one of the flannel bed runners for the cats. It felt so good to get back into the sewing room. There is something about being in there that brings me peace no matter how chaotic it can get in there due to the mess I may make while being creative.

I decided to play around with some of the programmed embroidery stitches in my machine. In the five plus years I have had this machine, I have always used straight stitches. Yes, that is a shock. I have the capability of using fancy embroidery stitching; but, I never used them!

Let me tell you, I discovered that it is slow using pre-programmed embroidery stitching! Slow... slow... So... darn... slow... That is not a good thing for a girl that is known for impatience. Ha!

And, using pre-programmed embroidery stitching is so darn touchy! You have to keep the pedal at a constant speed; otherwise, you will end up with uneven stitching. I do more or less keep the machine at a constant speed; but, I often have to take breaks or develop cramps in my leg. You really can't take breaks and you really can't shift the pressure on the pedal while using pre-programmed embroidery stitches.

I did not really care what the end result will look like nor was I focused on being perfect. After all, this was for the silly cats! They do not care about the details. Ha!

I am keeping it real here on this blog. Don't judge me. I see all those beautiful sewing and quilting blogs and it makes me feel intimidated. I realize that behind the scenes they are human and I am sure they have chaos and make mistakes too. But, they rarely reveal them. It is all so beautiful and perfect. I want to keep it real here for a variety of reasons. One of the reasons is I would like to look back and see progress in my endeavors.

This is my first attempt. I picked out a pre-programmed embroidery stitch that looked interesting. This is when I discovered the process is slow. You have to have a lot of time to kill to use pre-programmed embroidery stitching on large projects. Anyway, the stitching to the right is the same stitch on the left except shorter. I had pressed the pedal harder which caused the stitching to get closer together. This was a major learning experience for me. I did not like the look at all. I also didn't like that a mere change in pressure of the pedal caused the stitching to change. It is really noticeable with embroidery stitches; but, not so much on straight stitching. I now understand why people have embroidery machines that do all the work for you including keeping the machine going at a constant speed.
I got bored (not to mention impatient) and decided to try out different embroidery stitches. It is a mess where I switched patterns. Ha!

I did not really care for the pattern on the left. But, I did like the one on the right. It was simple and yet fancy. But again, it was so darn slow. slow.. slow.... And, the mere change in the pressure on the pedal caused the stitching itself to change – a major dislike for the perfectionist within me.
I tried X's and then I found the stitching pattern you see on the right. I really loved that pattern. It is simple and yet fancy. It was not as slow going as the others I tried. A mere change in pressure on the pedal didn't make the stitching change noticeable. By this time, I got tired of trying out different embroidery stitching patterns. So, I just finished up the project with the stitching pattern I liked.

Next up is the Layer Cake Quilt -- finishing up the backing. I may start another "tiny" project too. I have not decided yet. I really should make the other flannel bed runner. Maybe I will. Maybe I won't. Ha!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Pictorial Monday: Cats

I woke up just around midnight on January 7th to discover that not one; but, both cats were at the foot of the bed. What surprised me is that they were sleeping together! As in touching!
The metadata lists 12:19am when this picture was snapped. I just had to take a picture just in case this was a rare event. By the way, I did not disturb Dan because he was still up playing games.

When I got around to viewing these pictures, I immediately noticed Chessie is so much bigger than Gracie. I was also pleased at how well these came out considering I was still half asleep and using a flash.

I have not taken a lot of pictures lately. I have been keeping ourselves busy with the office purge and more. I do have some pictures on the card in the camera that I haven't even looked at yet. I have been trying to snap a picture and there. But, it isn't easy when life gets in the way. But, by attempting to take pictures from time to time helps me stay on top of things in the way of photography. They may not be the best; but, hey! They are snapshots of time and memories. :-)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Link Roundup

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wordy Wednesday

Warning: Do NOT advance to the bottom of this post if you get queasy at the sight of blood and/or wounds. Thank you.

On Thurday, January 19th, around 4 PM, I started making Mini Meatloaves for dinner. These have become a favorite that I/we make once or twice a month.

I started out with the cheese. We get a block of cheese and grate it instead of buying shredded cheese. It is so much better and more delicious if we grate the cheese ourselves. Even the mozzarella for our pizzas is bought by the block and grated ourselves. It melts better and you don't have all the additives that you get with package shredded cheese. (Some of the additives in those packages are to keep the cheese separate inside the package and can be avoided if we grate cheese ourselves).

You would have thought I learned my lesson over the fiasco on Christmas Eve using a Zester. But, nope. The Christmas Eve incident was minor compared to what I did last Thursday. From now on and forevermore, I will never touch a Microplane Zester again. It will either be a box type grater or I will use Dan as slave labor ahead of time to get what I need for my meals. Most likely, it will be the latter. Ha!

Anyway, It was a disaster of epic proportions. At least, it was in my mind. I immediately went to the bathroom to take care of the wound. it was bad enough that droplets of blood ended up on the floor and onto the paper towel roll.

I had read that applying ice to a wound is not a good thing. So, I immediately applied pressure with a paper towel after giving it a quick rinse. I knew it was too small of a wound to require emergency care. But, I could not get it to stop bleeding. After about five to ten minutes, I eventually gave in and sent a message to Dan. I also said to myself "frak this, I'm going to ice the wound and see if it helps."

Dan arrived about 25 minutes later and the wound was still bleeding something awful not to mention the pain was off the charts. It was all I could do to keep from breaking down and dissolving into a puddle of tears because I was in throes of both pain and panic.

Dan agreed with my internal assessment of the wound after taking a look. I continued to apply pressure for a long time. In the meantime, Dan took over the preparations for dinner.

After about three hours or so, it finally slowed to a bleeding ooze. I made Dan take a picture for posterity sake. These pictures was taken approximately four hours after I had hurt myself. Dan then bandaged it up for me with Neosporin + Pain Relief and a bandaid. The Neosporin was primarily used to prevent the bandaid from sticking to the wound. But, I've got to tell you that the Pain Relief part did its job. Within 30 minutes, the pain went from bad to just barely there.

I'm telling you that it was fun and games. NOT!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tuesday's State of Affairs

Note: This is formerly known as Fabric / Quilty / Crafty / DIY Tuesday. I've changed it to "Tuesday's State of Affairs" until I can come up with a better generic title. Any suggestions?
First of all, I just have to give a shout out to I have a Notion store. I bought a very small item from this store for the first time not long ago. I received the item along with a refund on shipping! Needless to say, I was immensely impressed. Most businesses would have just kept the change. But, not Kelly! By the way, Kelly has a wonderful blog that I follow which often gives demonstrations and tutorials including items in the quilting world.

Now, let us move on to the state of affairs in my fabric, quilting, and sewing world. One item I have on my Finished Year List is to "finish organizing my fabrics onto “bolts” – 2 or 3 a day should get me there eventually". Well, I have been consistently organizing my fabrics onto 'bolts' every day. I have been doing at least six most days. This is what I have done so far:
Fat Quarters and Quarter yardages. Note: the ones with the key tags are quarter yardages.
Half Yardages and One Yardages (or more). Note: the Half Yardages are on your left and the other is on the right.

So far, I've been organizing the fabrics by blenders and novelties. The categories may expand as I get more fabrics onto 'bolts'.

So, what have I been doing sewing-wise? Sad to say, the Layer Cake Quilt (backing) has not been touched since before Thanksgiving. I need to get back to it. In the meantime, I have been sidetracked. I am currently working on making something for my cats.
I discovered that BOTH of my cats love flannels. They were caught several times sleeping together on two flannel shirts that were tossed on the bed. Now, you have to know my cats. They are not at all fond of one another. But, I guess flannel brings them together. Ha!

Anyway,I bought these flannels at a bargain and I am currently turning them into bed runners. The one that is ready to sew is actually an orange color with the same print as the brown. We'll see how these turn out as I am just winging it - using idea(s) and pattern(s) that are in my mind. Ha!

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Rumor has it that Google Friend Connect is going away in several months. I signed up for Bloglovin to
  1. provide an alternative to Feedburner (which is owned by Google) and Google Friend Connect and

  2. to see if it is a better alternative to using Google Reader to follow blogs.
I shall give it several months trial and see if I like it better than Google Reader. I will also let you all know what I think of Bloglovin'.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin'

In the meantime,

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Link Roundup

First of all, I want to let you all know
  1. Accuquilt is having a scavenger hunt on facebook (ends 1/30/2012). Hunt up codes for a chance to win a cool prize.

  2. American Patchwork American Patchwork and Quilting is having a $10,000 crafting giveaway (ends on 11/14/2012). You'll receive cash to renovate or stock up your stash.

  3. Quilts and More is having a $1000 Quilt Shop giveaway to spend at any of the shops found on a link listed on the giveaway page.
Check out the Giveaways Tab above for more details on the giveaways I just mentioned.

  • Scrappy Mug Mat Tutorial Quilting; Sewing
    This is really cute!!!

  • The Trouble with Blogging
    But never forget that what you see on the screen is not the whole picture.

    Never forget that the people behind the blogs are, well, people…with unorganized cupboards, unmanaged time schedules (ahem!), cranky children (ahem again!), painful stories, crafty train wrecks, struggling marriages, unpaid bills and burnt meat loaf. (Those are the examples I use, because those have all been me behind the scenes.)

    Never forget that their story and their journey and their choices apply to them, not to you.

    You are who you are for a reason. You are where you are a for a reason. Don't do what I do and beat yourself up for not being where someone else is. It's a colossal waste of time.
  • In God We Trust: Your Money and a Higher Power Finances
    I asked him why he’s not searching for a job or addressing some of his other concerns and he told me, “God will provide. I just have to be patient.”

    Personal faith in God can be a powerful thing. I’ve witnessed how such a faith has helped guide people to some incredible positive changes in their lives. I’ve seen how a community of people guided by their faith can keep a food pantry running. I’ve seen people of faith making sure that children have a wonderful meal and a nice gift at Christmastime, and I’ve witnessed countless other positive results from personal faith.

    One key factor that unites all of these good things, however, is taking action.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wordy Wednesday: "Redbull Busted"

Background Information: Dan started racing F1 (Formula 1) on the XBox 360 with a group of co-workers a couple of years ago. From there, he started watching the real Formula 1 races. He got so addicted to the races that he would download the races to watch them at work during lunch. He often would listen to the races while studying up on this or that. He is good at multitasking. If his co-workers start to talk about the race before he gets a chance to finish watching, he would stick his fingers in his ears and go "la la la la". Not really. But, you get the picture.

Well, back in early December, the guys started racing the new F1 game. If I remember correctly, Dan smoked the second game they raced after losing badly the first time. One of his co-workers sent an email with a picture attached to the group razzing Dan out (in fun). Here is the email and picture (with important details redacted).

For Immediate Release
December 12, 2011

Following their success and record breaking results throughout the last two Formula One seasons, the Red Bull Racing team was visited by the FIA motorsport council to present them with the an Achievement Award at their HQ in Milton Keynes. However, during the visit we found Red Bull was CHEATING. Their top driver and Team Principal Dan ******* was found reading the condense setup manual from team Ferrari, McLaren, Lotus and Sauber. Dan was immediately inputting the setup info into his simulator code. This setup is how Red Bull was able to recreate the Blown Diffuser mapping used during low speed corners. This is a direct correlation to how successful Red Bull has been for the last 2 seasons. FIA is actively looking into the DanResearchGate Investigation into Ferrari, McLaren, Lotus and Sauber for collaborators. Initial research has shown, Red Bull was adding Sodium Pentothal (Truth Serum) into their famous Red Bull energy drink to chief engineers at the above 4 factory teams.

Stacy Von Heikle
FIA Press Director"

Dan's response:

You say “Cheating”, I say “Research”.

By the way, that’s an autographed copy of “The Adrian Newey Guide to Formula One Setups”. I can neither confirm nor deny the source(s) of his information.

Immediate Reply:

Adrian Newel is unavailable for comment when TMZ called for an interview. TMZ photographers spotted Adrian Newey in Tibet serving Red Bull to the local monks. We want to know why Adrian is serving Red Bull to the highland monks. Maybe it has to do with the myth that Tibetan Monks can glide? This will make Red Bull harder to beat if they glide across the track. More info to come.

You get the picture. Those guys are addicted and they got Dan addicted to a sport for the first time I have ever known him. Now I understand what it means to be a "football widow" except I deal with racing instead of football. Ha! They sure do have a lot of fun in that office. It's the best place in the world to work in my humble opinion.

PS: I really really like that picture of Dan reading some textbook and watching the race.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Snapshots of Christmas Break 2012: Part II

On December 28th,

We met up with my youngest niece, and her family (including her Mother) at IKEA. I had fun looking at all the stuff!

We visited for a bit and had a lovely time.

On December 29th,

We met up with my oldest niece and her family. This little girl is happy all the time. She is such a joy to hold and watch.

And, I enjoyed watching this girl play with a little toy she received. She really enjoyed this silly thing.

On December 30th,

We went to the Ft. Worth Stockyards. This is the view from above Love Shack -- a really good foodie place that accepts cash only.

And, Dan surprised me with a little side trip to the...

Fort Worth Water Gardens. One area of this garden, the Active Water Pool, is awesome!

I had injuried my hip; so, I could not risk taking a trip down into the "center". However, I took some pictures of Dan going down.

It is really deep, huge and loud!

We spent some time with my eldest brother and his wife on December 31st. I really love their little piece of property -- it is so much like what I wish for when we get a house of our own.

Life sort of returned to normal when we returned home late New Years Day.

It was a wonderful Christmas break. And, I hope we can do something like this again!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Link Roundup

  • Soap Explosion
    A cool experiment to do with kids using Ivory Soap and a microwave.
    What will happen when a piece of the soap is placed in the microwave?
  • Milk Crate Cover Sewing; Tutorial
    A neat way of repurposing an old milk crate.

  • Broken Pots Christian; Inspirational

  • Real Marriage: The 1950s, Pre-Feminism Kind Christian
    Ladies, you know “submitting” doesn’t mean acting like a lapdog with your hubbies. But if there is one thing every modern, progressive woman should do to submit to their husbands, it is this:

    Stop treating him like a freakin idiot.
    Guess what guys, marriage isn’t a prison. How is going home to a woman who has your back no matter what a prison sentence?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Five Minutes: Roar

The Gypsy Mama puts up a "5 minute" word challenge almost every Friday and leaves it up for a week. If I do the exercise, I post my results on Thursdays.

Here is my fourth effort at the 5 minute challenge. It was written late Friday afternoon, January 6, 2011. The word for the week is "roar".

Sometimes I love the silence. Okay, most of the time I would rather have the silence because sound can be meaningless. But, other times, I just want to shout and let it all out. That is part of a refrain in the song Shout sung by Tears for Fears that I sing with all my heart on occasion. I just can’t help myself.

There is some things within me that just long to be expressed and I have suppressed them in fear of rejection and ridicule from both society and family. I mean, I am already different. Why do or say something to really set myself apart? Oh wait, too late. I have already done this through misunderstandings and more.

I longed to belong most of my young life that I tried to be what others wanted me to be at the sacrifice of my self. In hindsight, I realize that nothing would have changed whether or not I conformed.

Lately, I find myself just wanting to take certain people by their shoulders and yell at them to listen – listen to your loved ones, listen to me -- just listen. I find it sad to see people talk over one another; but, never truly listen with their hearts. If only they would truly listen, they might discover who the other person is. They might even become a hero and save someone from themselves. And maybe, just maybe, they would not box me up in their memories or fantasies and let me be.

I find I just cannot express my thoughts and feelings verbally simply because people are not making the effort to listen, or worse, they laugh at me because they do not believe or understand. I also fear that I would be misunderstood.

This is why I have turned to written words and have done so since I was a little girl.

So, lately, I have been shouting through written words for my soul can no longer be contained. I have hesitantly shared some with the world and prayed for understanding. I have reached the point in my life that I no longer care what others think of me. But, I am still fearful. I hold secrets.

{I confess that I cheated and edited this piece a tad. This piece, for some odd reason, is very important to me.}
Shout! Shout! Let it all out
These are the things I can do without
Come on – I’m talking to you,
Come on

~Shout by Tears for Fears; 1984

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wordy Wednesday

We met my youngest niece and her family at IKEA on December 28, 2011. While browsing around IKEA, I came across this sink:

I nearly died from stiffling my laughter.

What does this sink look like to y'all? Am I the only one with a strange mind? And, why in the world would anyone want this sink?

My sister-in-law caught me taking a picture and her first thought was I was taking pictures of items I wanted. No. I certainly didn't want this sink! I told her why I took the picture. She took a second look at the sink and then laughed!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Snapshots of Christmas Break 2012: Part I

On December 22nd,

we went bowling.

"Whoa! The Dude can bowl" Ha!

My ungraceful self. I am not that fat. I was wearing a huge unflattering sweatshirt. Dan and I tied first game. I did lousy second game. And, I barely beat Dan the third game. I paid the price by being sore for a couple of days.

On December 23rd,

my sister-in-law made these delicious power cookies.

And, I practiced bokeh photography.

Not too bad. It is not quite what I want; but, I think I am getting better. Next time, I should get the perfect shot. Ha!

On December 24th,

I managed to zest my thumb.

Now, why in the world would I take a picture of my thumb? I actually was practicing with the macro lens using my thumb as the subject. I could not get the picture I wanted. Something to do with layers, lighting, and crap. This is actually a picture I converted to a black and white image and then bumped down the transparency to 50%. The result is not so bad if I say so myself.

Two men were trying to get a tape out of a ancient video camera and once they got it out, they attempted to fix the camera. I do not know if they succeeded or not.

This young man played babysitter for his older brother's two dogs.

This is Banjo. I really liked this dog. He's a good temperament and size. I could not get a decent picture of Juliet, the other dog. She has a lot of white and that tends to wash out. Maybe next time?

My handsome husband!

On December 25th,

We had dinner.

And, then we all (including the dogs) went over to Mother's place to have a "jam" session on my youngest nephew's newest toy.

Mother enjoyed listening to the music while eating Thanksgiving dinner.

And, then certain people got goofy.

Part II to come at a later date.