Thursday, September 29, 2011

Simple Living update

Michigan Morn

There is gold in the eye of the morning, in Michigan where I was born;
There is gold in the sky and the lakes and the trees;
For a man with a will to believe what he sees;
There is gold in the eye of the morn.

There is gold in the sound of the morning, in Michigan where I was born;
There is gold in the song and wherever it rings,
The land where I stand shines with fine golden things;
There is gold in the sound of the morn.

There is gold in the touch of the morning, in Michigan where I was born;
There is gold in the seed as it flows from my hand,
In the honey and milk and the fruit of my land;
There is gold in the touch of the morn.

There is gold in the heart of the morning, in Michigan where I was born;
There is gold in the smile of wild roses that grow
At the roadside where I and my true lover go;
There is gold in the heart of the morn;

There is gold in the eye and the sound and the touch,

And the heart of a Michigan morn.

-- H. Owen Reed

(from the opera, "Peter Homan's Dream")

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tiny Tuesday

completed this week

I have three 6 inch blocks to do for this Civil War Diary Quilt. I am going to look for sashing fabric. It may take me most of the winter to join the blocks together.  On point setting is the decision.

 I have collected fabric and plan to start the Farmers Wife next. I have been thinking about the little 4 inch blocks from Sentimental Stitches. I need to get some ink for my printer, don't I!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Design Wall Monday

I have been long arm quilting several projects recently. Above is a quilt for my niece's new baby. She was born a bit prematurely. My niece has juvenile diabetes. So far, everyone is doing well. I was expecting the baby a little early but not at 33 weeks! Hopefully in a week the baby will be strong enough to go home from the hospital. Keep them in your prayers!

A nice relaxing view from the Irish Festival in Muskegon. We went one week ago. I loved it. The music is what I listen to on Pandora, it is what I play on my violin and it is what I enjoy the most. They had it all- Celtic Rock to folk music. I want to go again. Next, weekend is the last Highland Games for the season.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday. It is more than football....

but my afternoons are usually spent watching and checking in on the games.
It is also about going to church, preparing for the work week and relaxing.
It is about spending time with my family.
It is about working hard on a project that needs extended time and focus.
It is about talking to my family on the phone if they are out of town.
I may cook something on Sunday.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Happiness Project

I have reached the end of piecing a long quilt project. It makes me feel like I have really accomplished something in doing this. It was a challenge to learn something new and I will have a special quilt in the end. This is part of the projects goal of pursuing a passion.

I have also focused on these areas to remind myself about happiness. 1. Gratefulness 2. Compassion 3. Friendships. Over the next week I am going to remind myself about Caring for myself, because I have a cold :(, contemplating the heavens and continuing to organize and declutter my spaces.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tiny Tuesdays

These are the latest 6 inch blocks from the Civil War Diary Quilt. Only 6 more to go and then I can start on the Farmers Wife. I plan to join the blocks on point over the winter months, once I decide on sashing fabric!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Simple Living

I have been using the following
recipe for making my own laundry soap. HOWEVER
I have found to address work out gear and gym clothes,  I needed 1/2 bar of Fels Naptha, 1 cup of both Borax and washing soada and 2 more cups of water to dissolve it all.
1/3 bar of Fels Naptha soap (5.5 oz bar just like grandma used to get grass stains off my brothers baseball pants!)

1/2 cup of borax powder

1/2 cup of WASHING soda (NOT Baking soda big difference!)

1 tablespoon of essential oil (optional- I did 't use)

2 one gallon jugs (white vinegar jugs or old detergent jugs)

Grate the soap and put it in a large saucepan with 6 cups of water over medium heat. Heat the mixture until the soap melts.
Add the washing soda, borax, essential oil if desired
Stir constantly until all has dissolved. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
Using a funnel put half of the mixture in each one gallon jug. Fill each jug halfway with hot water and shake well. Continue to fill the jug to the top with hot water. Shake again, then put aside for 24 hours. This gels up and looks like egg whites.
Use 1/2 to 2/3 cup per load.

Part of simple living. This saves money, uses less ingredients that are bad for the environment and people and I like it better than premade laundry soap from the store.

I use the washing soada and borax to clean up too. I check out the Old Farmer's Almanac periodically for simple living ideas.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Happiness Project

The happiness project it going strong here. Things that were goals at the beginning of the year-cleaning, organizing, exercise, are part of every day life.

This week I have been working on reaching out to others. Working on a sense of community.

One thing that has made me happy this week,  is finding out my daughter is looking for vintage Tupperware. I have several pieces that I am not using and I gathered it up. I called my friends and family. They are looking to share items that they don't use anymore. I think little things like this give me so much happiness because it is spontaneous and a small gesture that can have a big impact. I am going to keep finding ways to share.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The featured quilt in the book Civil War Diary Quilt

rough idea, see the different borders and setting trianges. I think I like the all white sashing and setting triangles.

Completed this morning before work
Here are the two EQ renderings of the Civil War Diary Quilt. Yesterday on design wall Monday it was the on point quilt that recieved the most votes. I like that one the best myself. The on point setting is a challenge for me... but I am going to do it!

Here are a collection of blocks made this week for the quilt above. They are 6 inch and paper pieced. I have 6 more to make of the 121 blocks featured in the book. I love making these blocks. I have more little blocks in my future.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Design Wall Monday

Straight set or on point:? Here are two EQ renderings for my Civil War Diary Quilt.... I haven't decided. What do you think? Is the on point setting for a queen sized quilt possible?

Tomorrow will feature my Tiny 6 inch blocks...only 8 more to go and I have completed the blocks for this quilt.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Simple Living

Last update I spoke of keeping things uncomplicated as a cornerstone of simple living. I believe that is is the question I ask myself often when I find that  I scampering around trying to make things happen. Part of keeping things uncomplicated is frugal living. 

I spoke of my long term goal of debt free living. Part of this concept is living frugally. Do you remember the Tightwad Gazette from the 90's? It is a very inspirational book designed to spark creativity in living frugally. I come from a long line of frugal people and with modern convenience I found that I was wasting many resources. I don't do many things that are what I would consider over the top like splitting apart 2 ply toilet paper or Kleenex to achieve frugal living.

I do find that cooking frugally is an area that I need to work on. I do make my own laundry soap. I use dryer sheets more than once because they still have good use. I use microfiber dusting cloths and wash them. However, cooking is not my thing. I am looking for good ideas.

I have a bread maker and I have started to make my own bread. I keep meals pretty plain and boring...
I think that the best advice has come from my kids and I don't like doing it. Shop from a list. OK, this is the week I WILL do it. The next thing is buying ONLY WHAT I NEED not what I want/crave. Next, I am going to organize the few coupons I have. I only use coupons for the cheap items I normally buy. I don't over buy in bulk because I don't have storage and then we use it up faster. Not a way to save money for our family.

Any other frugal living tips for grocery shopping and meal planning? The prices are just too much.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Happiness Project Update

Smile, having a great time
Me and Jay looking at fiddler crabs in the swamp

Jay and I at the art museum's interactive exhibit

Some photos of happiness this summer. My family makes me happy too and those pics will be later. Notice a theme? lol

Update on the happiness project: September is the month for Pursuing a passion.

Hmmm, quilting is a passion. I am thinking about ways to make this even more a part of my life. I want to share with others about quilting more. Still in a planning stage.

January: Promote energy and organize
February: Remember Love
March: Aim Higher
April: Lighten up!
May Be Serious about play
June: Make time for friends
July: Buy something that makes you happy
August: Contemplate the heavens

These ideas come from a book I really enjoyed called the happiness project, link on side bar. I found that there are things to do for more peace and happiness but it truly is an attitude of the mind and a spiritual attitude of the heart. I work these goals all the time.

In conjunction with daily prayer, Bible study, exercise, Financial Peace University, etc. I find it makes the focus on not being wrapped up in myself.

People who are wrapped up in themselves make small packages.-Ben Franklin

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tiny Tuesday

Tiny Tuesday is showcasing my small 6 inch blocks. I am working on the Civil War Diary quilt. I have about 12 more to go. The top block is the last one completed yesterday. Most of the other blocks were completed over the past couple of weeks. I am really hooked on making the little blocks. The Farmers Wife quilt is next!
Any advice on why pinwheels are so hard and how to correct the points? I feel the other blocks are really sharp and precise. The easier large pinwheel, ugh. I redid it a few times and called it "done." I paper pieced this block using the companion CD for the book.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Design Wall Monday

First Jersey Quilt top, great hockey name, eh?
First quilt with freehand feathers!
Labor Day Fantasy Football Draft is ready to start!

 I won't belabor the captions but I am pretty excited about the free hand feathers. If you want to see more I have close ups on, the long arm site my Mom and I have. I have more quilts that we finished recently.

I am nearly finished with the jersey quilt and it is really quilt cool, if I do say so myself. I am going to attempt to lightly quilt it in the long arm!

And I spend Labor Day doing a Fantasy Football Draft for the UNFFL (Up North Fantasy Football League).It is a 10 team league comprised of family and friends. I took second place last year and I would like to win to get a TROPHY! I really am a football nut and love watching the games, while I quilt, of course! Hey, I have lost enough weight to wear my Lions to have to buy another one next year because it is too big is a goal of mine :) 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sharing some pictures from people watching at RenFest

One must have confidence to wear that hat!

The Queen, hmm, I want to be queen for a day!

a living statue

Yep, he lived during medieval times ;)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Highland Games

These pictures are for the heavy and light weight for distances. If you look closely in the last two photos you can see the weight being launched in the air!

This event is throwing the weight three times by spinning the body and releasing the weight without crossing the trig. The heavy weight is 42 pounds and the light weight is 28 pounds for my husband age group. I can't pick up either without a bit of trouble!!!

The last highland games, this season that my husband is going to, is in October. He has a month to train and get ready. He is doing very well for his first year and in the top 80 in the nation for his age group. The man he trains with is at the world event this weekend and we are looking forward to hearing how he does.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Simple Living Update

I strive to live simply and it is something I rate as a priority. What does this "simple living" mean to me? I think that it means living in an uncomplicated manner that leads to a more stress free existence. That is one of my top priorities that leads to happiness, peace and well being.

Uncomplicated living means different things to me at different times of my life. I don't shun the assistance of modern technology. I use a dishwasher and computer. I don't add unneccessary things to my life. If the activity doesn't fit in my goals then I don't do it. If it adds stress, I don't participate. If it has more of a cost than my stress level (or cash flow) will bear, I don't buy it. If it takes more energy than I have at that moment in life, I will think long and hard before participating.

I live within two miles of my job. I used to commute. I couldn't bear the one hour commute and expense several years ago. I was able to transfer to a local office and it was part of living simply. I come home at lunch to eat. It is cheaper, too! I enjoy the oasis of home midday. This is an example of choices that our family has made to achieve living simply. Another simple choice is, we recently purchased a fridge with a filtered water dispenser to avoid bottled water. Savings for us, less waste and more convienence for me!

Goals for this fall in this category: Paying off debt and living on a cash basis. I/We have a long term goal to be debt free. We have been following a plan from a Financial Peace University course that we took a couple of years ago and it has great advice. I just have to say it is a long term process, not a quick event. Living without debt, in a small home that is affordable by many standards and making wise purchases are all part of every day life. It is worth the discipline.

Thursdays will be my updates on simple living.