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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wednesday Stuff

I think Irene blew my mojo up over the North Atlantic somewhere...anyone see it go by? I've been so unproductive this week so far! One thing I needed to do after returning home after the storm was to "un-hurricane-ize" my house. What a chore that was...for some reason, it was really hard to do and I had to force myself to get it done. I finally have everything back in place now though. My sewing machine and longarm are all back in place, lamps are plugged back in, sewing table cleaned and ready to go. Time to get back on track and focus on regular life!!

I do have some pictures from before the storm's interruption though! This first quilt belongs to my BFF in Idaho, Tammy. She's also my cousin by marriage, but she can still be a BFF, right? I think so! She's an avid quilter, like myself, so we are two peas in a pod.

The purples and pinks are so much prettier in real life. I don't know why they look so washed out in the picture!

I quilted it on my longarm using a pattern called Hearts in Bloom. I used a variegated purple thread. I am so pleased with the results! I think she'll love it too.
Remember the back of a quilt I showed last week? Here is the front my Stitchin' Time wall hanging. Like I said before, this is my first attempt at custom quilting...so it's far from perfect. (you can click the pic for a larger view) You might remember, I made another quilt just like this one a few weeks back. The kit was so generous, I had enough for two quilts, except for having to add some background fabric. That's my kind of kit!!
I just love the colors in this quilt!
Lastly, here is my grown up boy...I can't believe he's about to start his SENIOR year of college. Where does the time go?? This was the first time I'd seen him in his flight suit, so I begged for a picture. He knows he can't say no to his mama, so he obliged. :)
In this picture, he's asking, "This won't get posted on Facebook, will it?" I told him no....but I never said I wouldn't post it on my blog. heehee :) I love him.
Last but not least....Weigh in Wednesday. No change this week...but that means no gain either. I have to consider that a good thing after the events of this past week!!

Happy Quilting!
p.s. don't forget to enter my giveaway for MyMemories Scrapbook Software!
Monday, August 29, 2011

Giveaway!

First off...thank you to everyone for their thoughts and prayers while I was evacuated during the hurricane. All is well and good and I'm home, safe and sound. There was no damage to our house, thankfully. Who would have thought we would have earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes all in one week in Delaware! I hope that is all the excitement for a good long while! Now, on to more exciting topics!

I know this is mainly a quilting blog....but my blog title is "Michelle's Quilts and Stuff," so I think it's okay to talk about some of my other hobbies, right? :)

I have loved scrapbooking for many, many years...I have lots of doodads, tools, stickers, papers, templates, cutters, etc. It's also been many years since I've pulled out all that -stuff- needed to scrapbook. Since our pictures are now all digital, I've seriously considered switching to a digital scrapbooking program....but I've always been torn, because the actual -doing- of the craft I think is what I enjoy...the cutting, the tactile feel of the paper and stickers...it's all part of the experience. Do you know what I mean?

In the meantime, the pictures sit in boxes or in a file on the computer, untouched. A couple years ago, I researched computer scrapbook software and MyMemories stuck out as one of the best reviewed. I decided that was the one I wanted to try, but again, I hesitated...then we moved and again, scrapbooking was put on hold.

A couple of weeks ago...MyMemories contacted me and asked me to review their scrapbook software and post the review on my blog! How crazy is that? It was the exact software I had wanted to try! I have followed them on Facebook for a couple of years too. Another great thing....I get to giveaway a copy of MyMemories scrapbook software to one of my lucky readers!! Woohoo!

I was so excited to try out the software...and I have to tell you, at first it was a bit overwhelming. I feel like I am fairly competent with the computer and most consumer software programs...I knew this software was pretty user friendly, so what was wrong? I was completely lost! Then I realized that there are loads of video tutorials on the MyMemories blog! Perfect! That was exactly what I needed! I watched a few videos and something finally clicked!

In no time at all, I had started putting together my first album! Here are a few pages from our Alaskan Cruise scrapbook! (click on images for a closer look)

It's simple to drag and drop the photos into a pre-made template. Or you can make pages "from scratch" if you like.
Even the pre-made templates can be edited....more pictures can be added, elements can be changed, text can be added.
I still have much to learn and explore....and I'm so excited at the thought that my pictures will actually get scrapbooked now!
Here are some pros and cons I've discovered so far:

Pros:
--easy drag and drop format
--pre-made, customizable templates
--easy to add or delete extra pages to your album
--pages can be saved into pdf format...those pdf's can be uploaded just like pictures for other products (mugs, mouse pads, calendars, tshirts, etc...great gift ideas!)
--spell checker/album check for errors
--albums can be uploaded and printed into hardbound books or printed as individual pages for a more traditional style scrapbook
--multiple size pages, 12" x 12", 8" x 10", 6" x 6", etc

Cons:
--initially, getting started for me wasn't super clear...maybe it was just me and my over-eagerness to get started. :P
--(maybe pro AND con) comes preloaded with a huge amount of album templates and embellishments, but the really cool templates and embellishments are available to purchase online. The prices are reasonable and probably cheaper than what you would spend on paper, stickers, etc. There are lots of freebies in their online store too.

This is a great introduction video...it's about 30 minutes. If you take the time to watch, it really has a great deal of information that I didn't cover here and will be well worth your time if you are seriously considering a digital software program.


So, now for the giveaway! You have the chance to win a copy of the MyMemories scrapbook software for yourself! I don't like super difficult blog giveaways, but I am going to ask you to do one thing. You only need to comment once for one entry, but I would like you to go to the MyMemories site and pick out your favorite album template and list it in your ONE comment. That's it! I will pick the winner with Random Number Generator on Tuesday, September 6th.

In addition to the giveaway, MyMemories has given all of you a $10 coupon toward the purchase of the MyMemories Scrapbook Software and also a $10 coupon for additional purchases in their store! A $20 value! It's that amazing?! Just add this coupon code at checkout: STMMMS55825

Don't forget to check out the MyMemories Blog for lots of ideas and tutorials! Also the MyMemories Facebook page is a great resource to see pictures of others' pages and shared ideas.

Now it's time for me to finish up my Alaska Scrapbook!

Good luck!!



Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Irene


Is anyone else already tired of talking and hearing about Irene? LOL It seems like it's been "coming" forever, but it's here now and I guess we need to take her seriously! My neighborhood has been evacuated. I actually left when it was "highly recommended," but now it's mandatory.

The housing area is in a tidal surge area, so they are concerned about flooding with the amount of rain this storm is bringing. We've had the wettest August on record too, so the ground is already saturated.

I'm a few hours northwest in Pennsylvania, so we'll be fine here. My husband had to stay back and work the emergency operational stuff that has to be done, but they are in a secure location, so I'm sure they will be okay, too.

At least with this kind of natural disaster, you have some time to prepare. In case it does flood, we moved everything we could think of to higher ground. Really, it's just pictures and photo albums that I worry about. Furniture can be replaced.

I'll check in when I'm home safe and sound...for now, me and the kitties and Buster, are just fine. Just waiting for Irene to leave town. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you who are also in the storm's path.

God Bless!
Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Weigh In Wednesday, earthquakes, and other stuff. :P

It's Wednesday again and time to report my weight loss efforts! Only 1/2 a pound this week. Ugh. I can't say I'm too surprised...I don't think I exercised at all, but I did okay with food choices for the most part. I'll take it, but I know I have to to do better to DO better! You know what I mean?

Did you hear about the earthquake? LOL Who didn't? We felt it here in Delaware. Actually, I was in New Jersey with my friend Peggy....we were in a quilt shop too! The patterns and notions were a-swaying!! It was in an old "down town" kind of building, so you really could hear the wood creak too. I'm from California, but it's been a lot of years since I've lived there and felt an earthquake. The only thing I didn't like was having to drive over two bridges to get back to Delaware...I didn't see any "all clear" inspection signs! I survived though. :)

So back to my trip with Peggy. We met sort of in the middle between her house and mine and visited three quilt shops and went out to a lunch at a cute little diner. (they had the BEST homemade potato chips...see problem above!) LOL Here is a picture of my purchases for the day. A couple of backings, a stack of FQ's on sale (10/$15), and orange/blue fabrics for a new project I've been pondering....a quilt for someone that is a Univ of Florida Alum.
I also need to show you pictures of a recent project on the longarm. You might remember this quilt made with A Morris Tapestry fabric. I quilted it with a pattern called Halcyon. I love it!
I used a grey thread that blended perfectly....
I'm in the process of stitching the binding down now, but I just couldn't wait any longer to show you a picture.
Here is a sneak peak at another project...my first "freehand" work on the longarm. I definitely struggled a bit with this one, but I can see that I will improve with practice! You can click for a larger picture...but don't look too closely at my crooked lines! LOL It was so fun and even with all the stumbles, I'm very happy with it. The binding is finished on this one, so I'll be posting more pictures and you'll see the front of the quilt too!
I just took another quilt off the frame last night, so as soon as the grass dries (so I can take it outside, it's a biggie!), I'll get a picture posted.

Happy Quilting!
Thursday, August 18, 2011

Pets on Quilts




I've been seeing all the Pets on Quilts posts this week and decided my quilt inspectors couldn't be left out! I have two very dedicated, very well trained quilt inspectors and they take their jobs very seriously!

Inspector #1 is Whiskers. She will be 15 years old in October, but you'd never know it...she's healthy as a horse. :P She's the shy kitty of the bunch, but she is loyal and knows who her mama is!

Inspector #2 is Smokey....he is 5 years old and he's, um, well, he's a bit more robust than Whiskers. He's is our "cling-on" kitty...he's a bit needy and likes to cuddle. :P He requires many naps during his inspection duties, as you can see in this picture.

Whiskers finds the best places to be on the lookout and she loves boxes...especially ones that have "Fat Quarter Shop" on the side. :P In this picture, she is helping me find that book I need for my next quilt project...

I know this is "Pets ON Quilts," but how about Pets UNDER Quilts? Smokey loves to get between the quilt and the other blankets...whenever I see a big lump in the bed, I know Smokey is taking another nap.


Whiskers likes to observe while I'm sewing....the sewing machine table makes for a nice back-rest, don'tcha know?

Pincushions make nice pillows too...just sayin'....

In this picture, Smokey is still a bit of a kitten and you can see Whiskers in the background observing, making sure Smokey is inspecting the quilt properly...

New fabric is so nice for napping....especially when it's under the "heat lamp."

Lastly, I'd like to introduce you to our temp-inspector, Galaxy. She lived with us for a few months along with our daughter. She learned the job of quilt inspector in no time flat and became quite proficient. Galaxy and her mama have their own apartment now, but she comes down for visits occasionally.

I picked this quilt top up off the floor to keep the kitties off of it, but that didn't stop Galaxy...she just thought I moved it so she'd have a better look at the bird feeder.


Isn't she pretty? I like the contrast of her black fur next to the colorful array of fabrics in this quilt.

I hope you enjoyed seeing the pictures of our fur-babies. It was hard to just pic a few! If you want to see more pictures of quilters and their pets, head on over to SewCalGal and check it out!
Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Weigh In Wednesday

Down 3.5lbs today!! Yay!! I even exercised too! We have a great gym on base and a wonderful walking path that goes around the perimeter of the housing area and is about 3 miles.


Thanks for all the supportive messages! I did struggle this week, but it definitely helped to know that I was going to have to write this post today. I will do this...I must do this!! :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Farmer's Wife and Bowties

I finished the 5th installment of Marti Michell's Farmer's Wife blocks. I'm up to 52 blocks now! Woohoo! I think I need to get serious about finding setting and cornerstone fabric...soon! I received one suggestion of making the cornerstones with a cheddar fabric! Do I dare?? That would be way out of my comfort zone, but I think I like it!! :) What do you think about adding another color to the cornerstone/sashing? Or do I stick with the neutrals/blues?


So, I'm following Marti Michell's installments for assembling these blocks...she sends a newsletter every two weeks with conversions for using her templates. She will start the program again in September, if you want to sign up! Just send an email to cservice@frommarti.com and put "Farmer's Wife List 2" in the subject line.

After all that, I will admit, I only have two sets of her tempates (Set A & C). She also uses B, D, K, & S (I think). I do love using the templates and they make the blocks incredibly accurate, I just couldn't justify spending $80+ on them right now.

I did find this site that has the paper templates broken down by block....so instead of printing one template per sheet with the CD that comes with the book (that would be 111 pieces of paper!), you can print one page with all the templates needed for a particular block. Since templates aren't needed for some of the simpler blocks, I've only had to print 3-4 sheets so far! Pretty good, I think!


I'm also still plugging along on the Summer Bowtie Facebook Challenge. I've been using them as my leader/enders during the last couple of sewing projects. I have sixty 3" blocks so far...I'm not sure how many more I'll make. Maybe just 12 more and make it a table runner? That would make it 18"x 36".

It seems that summer is wrapping up...lots of kids have started school already, fall/halloween decorations are in the stores...where did the time go? I'm always ready for cooler temperatures, but I'm still waiting for the slower pace of summer to get here. I think I missed it.


Happy Quilting!!
Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Weigh In Wednesday

Over the years, I've seen "Weigh In Wednesdays" many times, but never really participated. I decided it was time to jump on the bandwagon and have my own Weigh In Wednesday.


I need to lose some serious weight! My biggest motivator is just knowing that I'll feel better if I weighed less. I'd also like my clothes to fit better! :) I have found that I do better when I have some accountability...whether that's a work out buddy or a friend that goes to Weight Watchers with me, etc, I just do better knowing someone else will know whether or not I stayed on plan. Right now I don't have anyone locally that fills that role. So, I'm hoping all my buddies in blogland will help me stay accountable. If I know you all are expecting me to report my weight loss results every Wednesday, then maybe I'll stay on track! If not, I give you permission to smack me upside the head and tell me to get with it! (just don't scream at me like Jillian Michaels...she's scary!! I'll take Bob any day.)

I don't think I'm ready to announce my current weight and have it out there in public (yikes!) LOL, but I will report pounds lost, give an exercise report, and share any recipes that I discover. I will generally be following Weight Watchers, as I know that program works if I let it. If any of you have any tips, recipes, or suggestions, I'd love to hear them!

Thanks in advance for the support and I'm hoping to return the favor and we can encourage each other!! I'll be back next week with my first week results!


Saturday, August 06, 2011

Snow Days

It's been a while since I've shared any progress pictures of my Snow Days BOM. The pattern is from Crabapple Hill. Hopefully, you can click on it for a closer look. :)
You can see I'm almost done! I have a little bit of "overlap" stitching where some of the blocks connect together and I have one last piece to embroider that will fill that spot on the upper left side. This has been an incredibly enjoyable project! I received the last kit in July, so I'm proud of myself for keeping up with this one.

So, that brings me to a question. How does one quilt this thing? I'd appreciate any thoughts or suggestions. I'm thinking I'll have to stitch over the embroidery in some way because it's just too large of area to keep unquilted. What do you think?


Happy Quilting!
Friday, August 05, 2011

Farmer's Wife Progress

I finished the 4th installment of Marti Michell's Farmer's Wife bi-monthly BOM. All of these blocks were made using templates from Marti's template Set A. The templates sure make things easier! The blocks go together perfectly.
I have 42 blocks completed and I'm one installment behind. Once I get caught up on the 5th installment, I'll be halfway done! I think we're due to receive the 6th installment any day now! I better keep working!
Happy Quilting!
Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Did I do it?

We had a wonderful mini vacation to Lake Erie. Our campsite was right on the lake (a little foliage separated us from the water), so we had a great view of seemingly endless water! We saw a couple barges/shipping boats out in the distance, but for the most part the lake was calm. There were a couple of jet skis zooming around too and that was fun to watch...especially when they were pulling those water tubes behind them. We spent one day out on the lake in a different area. We rented a boat and zoomed around the water for a few hours and had lunch out on the boat. I didn't take my camera though because I was worried about it getting wet. I'm telling you...our little boat got jostled around in the wake of some bigger boats. Later in the afternoon when the wind picked up, we hit a few waves too. All of us were feeling a little "blah" by the time we got back on land. It was fun though!

Look at this beautiful sunset we enjoyed every night. Our campsite was so peaceful and cool enough to have a campfire at night.
Sunday we ventured up to Niagara Falls...we actually visited both the US and Canadian sides. I've been once before, back in '92, but never to the Canadian side. Here is Zach looking out from the American side.
There is just so much water and it's moving so rapidly. Where is all that water coming from...and where is it going? LOL These are questions I ponder....guess I should have paid better attention in geography class. :P
This is the view of Horseshoe Falls from the Canadian side. I have to say, I think this is a better view!
More of the American Falls...
It was a gorgeous day!
This sign made me giggle....
Okay....I won't keep you in suspense any longer! Yes!! I did get all my bindings finished! Yay me!

Happy quilting!!