Monday, October 29, 2012

UFO - Monday Menu Plan - 10/29

Well, what a start to the week.  Storms looming in the east, earthquake in Canada, also had one in Riverside where my youngest son, Mr. G, is attending college. The one here in California was actually quite small. Only measured 3.9, son said he didn't even feel it.  For those who aren't from earthquake areas, it really has to be close to a 5.0 before  you really feel it or notice it.  Hawaii is waiting a tsunami alert as well, due to the Canada earthquake.  The latest one is being listed at 7.7 and was off the west coast of British Columbia.

At any rate, the earth is speaking and mother nature is putting in her two cents as well.

Now, it is Monday, that means menu plan time.  I haven't linked up with MPM in a while, and as late as I am getting it done today I will be far...far down on the list, but I am following through.

In no particular order, this is what is planned for this week:

Oven Baked Pork Chops, Chicken Gnocchi soup (Olive Garden copy recipe), Beef Stroganoff, Liver and onions, Chicken Enchiladas.

Today is the pork chops, Tues will be the soup as I will be baking and decorating LOTS of cupcakes, Wed. will eat at Halloween alternative carnival at church.  I am making cupcakes for the cupcake walk.  Miss Z is going to help at the booths and food stand.

Okay, as I posted earlier, I have the quilting bug.  Also the crochet bug, embroidery bug and cross stitch bug.  I have been working on trying to organize my craft room so that I can actually do some work on all these UFO projects before starting a new one.
This is a quilt top called Rancher's Daughter and is a free pattern by Debbie Caffrey.  She has a website called Debbie's Creative Moments.  I used 30's repro fabric and a white on white for the background.  I originally pieced this top to make a wedding quilt for my oldest son and his wife.  Things happened, the wedding was postponed, then called off, they they broke up, after a while they got back together, then married.  I figure I need to go ahead and finish it and hope to give it to them for Christmas.  They married in 2008.  I know, a little behind the times there.  I haven't been able to figure out what to back it with.  The finished size is 78 x 90 so thought I would get some really wide muslin but decided I didn't want a light back with their house of dogs and the baby.  I have decided to find a blue or green flannel and piece the back.  I think the flannel will be a nice soft feel for it as I want them to actually use it.

I have just ordered some quilting software, Quilt Design Wizard by Electric Quilt Company.  It is the same company that makes EQ 7 which is now on my wish list.  I use to have EQ 5 and inadvertently sold it. I never did really figure out what to do with it, so have been a little apprehensive at spending the rather pricey amount for the updated EQ 7.  It was explained to me that Quilt Design Wizard is like using colored pencils and a coloring book where as EQ 7 is like graduating to Photo Shop.  For the price, I am content to just start with beginner software then upgrade if I find I am using it a lot.  Both programs are used to design and calculate yardage for quilts.  You can play with the colors and block design a bit before actually cutting in to the fabric.  Of course, the EQ 7 has lots more features, like scanning fabric you have and seeing what it will look like in a block, which is why I will probably end up getting it in the future.  But for now, as I said I am content to pay the much lower price for the beginner software.

I have six quilts in various stages of completion that I need to complete before I start a new project.  I am really itching to use the new AccuQuilt Go that is on the way.  I think I will really like using that set up.

I also found some needle projects in various stages of progress.
 This is called Victorian House.  I bought this kit when we moved here and were staying in the hotel until we could get our furniture and get moved in to the house we bought.  That was in 2000.  You can see I just haven't gotten very far.
Here is a closer view of what it should look like when I actually do get finished.  It really is a lovely design. I would love to actually have a house that looks just like it someday.  Although I find counted cross stitch infuriatingly slow and tedious, I do love the technique.  I am actually looking in to buying some soft ware that will allow me to scan a photo and turn it in to a cross stitch or needle point chart.  Needle point goes quicker for me, but it gets boring quick for me since it is the same stitch over and over.  Counted cross stitch is that way too, but the small stitch size is what gets to me pretty quickly.
This is a stamped embroidery design.  May have been a kit, but I am just using basic colors for the project. It is the Last Supper.  I can't remember when I bought it, but it was several years ago when I was in my "every good Christian home needs to have a last supper on the wall" phase.  As you can see, it has been put up a while.  At least it has a bit more variation on stitches as it is an embroidery sampler.
Not that you can tell, but this is supposed to be a native american maiden with pottery and a wolf beside her.  I actually didn't start this one, was given to me, but I have misplaced the chart so have no way of finishing it.  I should have gotten rid of it, but am waiting a bit longer until I finish going through all my boxes in storage to see if I accidentally find the chart.  If I haven't found it by the time I go through the boxes, then after the first of the year I will either try to salvage the cloth by removing the stitches or just toss it.

Last night I loaded a Red Hat Lady design from a kit on a frame to work on as well.  It is stamped cross stitch and I have never worked on a piece like it.  The fabric has the design stamped in all the same color.  You have to read the chart to figure out which stitches or what color.  Kind of like counted cross stitch, except the x of the stitches are stamped on a white cotton fabric.

And of course, I have several crochet UFO's as well.
 This was the start of a playful ripple pattern, found it free on the internet.  I am quite a bit further a long than when this photo was taken, but not finished.  I don't know how big it will actually end up, I only have two large scraps of the variegated yarn, so will keep going as long as I have that yarn.  I was going to donate this one, but am so pleased that I actually have a ripple working out correctly for a change I may keep it.  However, every one that sees it tells me how lovely it is so I might just use it to start up my Etsy store.  With everything I have been buying lately, I could sure use the money.
This is of course a Spider man afghan, well the start of it anyway.  I have since added more rounds of blue and another set or red since this photo was taken.  I started this for my middle grand son, now two.  I haven't made anything for him yet and I need to.  I think he will like it.  I came across a fleece John Deere throw kit, one where the edges are knotted, and knowing he loves tractors, I will make that too.  Was going to sell the kit, but figure since he has a thing for tractors, I have already paid for it, well...might as well.
I made this for the oldest grand son, the middle one's brother.  Yes, he is a UT fan, and of course his PaPa is a Tech fan, so Mr. T takes great fun in purposely wearing UT clothing when ever he is around his PaPa.  My oldest daughter has two sons, Mr. T, the oldest grand son, is 9.  His brother, Mr. W is 2.  The youngest grand son, Mr. M, is my oldest son's and I keep him during the day.

Guess that is enough for today. Thanks for stopping by.  Come back and visit soon.  Got to go take care of Mr. M, eat some lunch, and Miss Zebra is home from school today, found out last week she has mono.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Got the bug!

It's official, I have the bug.  The quilting craft bug that is.

This was the last project I did.  My youngest grand son, Mr. M, was born 7 weeks early, weighing in at around 3.5 pounds.  I made this small quilt to cover his isolet in the hospital.  He is now over a year old.
Ain't he a cute thing?  I have fun with him, since I am daycare for him.  My oldest two grandsons live in Texas and I only see them about once a year.  That is hard, but that is how it has to be.

Before that, I made these.

The quilt set was a baby gift, although as I look at it am pretty sure that the sweater did not fit.  It seemed a little small when I made it, but I went with it any way.  The casserole carrier was a wedding gift.  I made the little pot holders out of the fabric that was cut out to make the handles area.

Now however, I am so ready to get working on some projects from my UFO list.

If you have been  following my blog, you already know that I have been on a long break from any crafting.  I used to have a corner of our bedroom for sewing. Then I was foolish and took a job outside the home, worked there for three years before resigning due to health issues.  Sadly, I don't qualify for any type of disability yet cannot go back to work.  I only went to work in the first place to earn work credits so I could draw my social security. Seems that even though I put in a fair amount of money over the years I worked before kids, I cannot draw any of it because I am lacking in the work credits.  Now I will never be able to get it.  Yes, I can draw on my husband, but darn it I paid that money in and should be able to get it.  At any rate, thought I would be working longer so packed up most of my quilting supplies since I didn't have time to work on anything.  Of course, when my dad passed away in 2003, I just kind of lost interest in any of it any way.  He was my biggest fan and with out him it just wasn't the same.  At any rate, I thought that I might like to start up scrapbooking.  So, I would take my check and buy all kinds of gizmos and gadgets for scrapbooking and lots of supplies in general for paper crafts.  Thinking I was preparing for my eventual retirement and would then have it all to work with when I no longer worked.  Only problem, I don't really like scrapbooking and it would seem that I am allergic to paper, well wood or wood products actually, and break out when ever I work with the papers.  I do however love to make cards, so guess the investment wasn't for nothing, except for a ton of rubber stamps I will never use.

Having all these supplies was a storage problem as you can well relate.  So...when youngest son moved in with a friend of his, I promptly repainted his room, moved my youngest daughter in to his room and then repainted her room and took it over.  Hubby calls it "the cave", I have tried to figure out a name for it.  Craft Cave, Sewing Studio, Diva Den, and so forth, but when I am talking to the family it just always comes out as "my room".  Sounds like I don't sleep with my husband, so don't like that part of it, so now it has just become the "spare room".  At any rate, I settled in and was actually doing quite a bit of work in there.
This is one of the ATC (Artist Trading Card) that I did with paper.  They are the size of a business card.
And of  course, I did some with fabric.  These are crazy quilt style.

I made card for various occasions, various techniques.

Then, I just got bored with all of it.  I did find that I really love the embossing part of the paper craft hobby.  Both texture embossing and ink embossing with heat.  The positive side, I know what I like to do.  The negative side, I have way too many supplies.  The really neat thing about it, most of my supplies can cross over so to speak.  In other words, a lot of my embellishments and ribbons for paper crafts can be used for crazy quilting and embroidery.  Some of the paper cutting equipment, the Cricut and Sizzix (die cutter) and be used for cutting quilting shapes.  And of course, I have bought more gizmos lately, for quilting my first love.

Back to the point, I had just really gotten settled in good when my mom become ill.  Soon as we found out she was terminal I packed it all up, put it in storage and turned it in to a bedroom for her to live here with us. I had a huge, I mean HUGE desk that I got spoiled to, that I got rid of when we did the change over.  I am so missing it, but there just wasn't any where to put it.  When mom passed away, we put in new carpet and I moved my supplies all back in, but I have kept some of her furniture from her little apartment.  Also bought a new sewing cabinet that has a built in cutting grid.  SO COOL!

If you want to take a peek, go to this post.  It shows the room how it is now. There are still a few changes I am going to make.  We are actually in the process of doing some remodel work on the house.  It has to go in a certain order, to make storing furniture easier, but the recliner was my mom's, I don't really like it and it is too big for this room, so am moving it in to the living room when I change out the furniture in there.  Long story for another time. I will be moving my mom's sewing machine cabinet (Kenmore model 90 machine inside it) in to our bedroom.  I should get rid of it, even though it sews wonderfully I know I will never use it. I do have loving sentimental attachments to it though.  However, this space where it is, I really need to move a small desk in here so that I have a place to write, go over bills, write out the menu plans and such so I need to get the PC and printer in here so I can easily scan and print from this room.  I also want to purchase a smaller chair and ottoman that has a pouch on each side to hold magazines, remotes and such, for in here when I move the recliner out.

So, here we are.  I am so ready to start working on projects once again.  That was a really long story to just say that when I was unpacking my supplies and stash, which I still haven't gotten all of it unpacked, just the part my hubby knows about. LOL  Any way, I found many unfinished projects, all in various stages.  Quilting, sewing garments, machine embroidery, crocheting and of course some paper crafts.  I have a good year or more worth of work, so can't possibly start anything new.  Except for some Christmas gifts.  Maybe a swap or two...okay, I will wait until after Christmas to get involved in any of that.  Maybe.

Well, thank you for stopping by.  Feel free to leave a comment, it is always nice to know some one is reading this.  Come back for a visit to see how I am doing with my crafting and what I am working on.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Now that all the family visitors have come and gone, I guess I am having a day of feeling blue.  We did so much while they were here, it really shouldn't be a surprise to feel a sudden let down, kind of like after the holidays.

First, we pick them up from the airport on a Saturday.  Went to Hearst Castle on Sunday. WHAT A TOTAL DISAPPOINTMENT.  Back in 2003 (may have have been a couple of years later) my mom and oldest daughter came for Christmas and we went there.  The weather that day was just awful, raining all day long and cold. We saw the great rooms, a couple of bedrooms, went to one of the cottages, then back to the  castle.  It was decked out for Christmas.  THIS time however...I made reservations for what I thought was the same tour.  It was not.  We got to see three great rooms and a home movie in the castle's movie room.  THAT WAS IT!  While I truly admire the craftsmanship that went in to the furnishings, I was disappointed that we paid that much money and saw THREE rooms.  Just wasn't right in my opinion.  No one in the group honestly was pleased with the tour either. The only saving grace of the whole day was we had a nice lunch on the water at Morro Bay.

Monday we drove up to the Trail of 100 Giants.  A grove of sequoia trees that are near by where we live.  Now that day was a true pleasure. Beautiful weather, walking among pure nature, just felt the presence of our Lord that day as we walked along the pathways. Little Mr. M went with us, he was such a joy to watch as he explored the world around him.  He just started walking a few weeks ago and is really starting to get around quite well.

Tuesday we just hung out around the house. It was a hard day for me, it was my mom's birthday.  She would have been 86.  I miss her terribly.  We went out to eat Mexican food, just happened that it was at the same restaurant which was the last place we took mom and...we were even seated at the same table as we did with mom.

Wednesday we drove my in laws over to the coast. My mother-in-law's older sister lives there and they are staying a few days with her before returning home.  Big surprise there, hubby offered to take Miss Zebra and I to the outlet mall. Oh and we spent HUGE, a $9 blouse for Miss Zebra.

I have been on a little bit of a spending spree lately though, I have to admit.  I purchased an AccuQuilt Go.  It is a cutter system that uses die cuts for cutting fabric for quilting.
I have wanted one for a long time, but had always thought that I could probably do the same thing with my Sizzix Big Shot which is for scrapbooking.  Had read blogs where several people had done just that.  Went to the Sizzix web sight and saw that they have even come out with a line of quilt related dies.  Well, I started doing a little research and found out that while I might be able to work it out that way, the AccuQuilt system is specially designed and sized for what quilter's need.  Not trying to make a scrapbook page cutout work on a quilt. I found out from a great number of sources that the two are quite different.  Then I asked for some feed back from a couple of my quilting groups.  I also went to the local quilt shop and talked to the owner about the system and found out that they have the huge cutter and rent out use of it (in there shop of course) for a nominal fee per hour.  Now depending on the fabric, depending on the die, you can expect to cut through six layers of fabric at a time at least.  For the size quilts I make, that is the same as cutting out a row at a time. I had mentioned to the shop owner that I had a friend that told me she would sell me hers and she told me if I had the money I should jump on it.  I had Mr. M with me, so the owner, who was being so nice and helpful, knew that I didn't have a lot of time to work on my quilting with him under foot.  She told me that if she didn't own the shop and have the industrial cutter available to her she would absolutely invest in the smaller one.  Now, there is a smaller one called an AccuQuilt Baby, but I learned my lesson when buying my Cricut that I wanted the bigger home size, the AccuQuilt Go.  So...I made a deal with my friend.  She also has a lot of the dies, but I am only buying a couple of basic ones from her.  Once I learn what I will use the most, rather what sizes I like to use the most, then I will invest in some more.  I know that some of the more specialty dies, like the rag quilt blocks, that I would only occasionally make, I will just go down to the shop and rent out their equipment.  However, that being said, considering my time constraints with Mr. M (which I wouldn't trade for anything) I am placing an order for a couple of the dies that I know I will use a lot and know that it would be a HUGE benefit to have sitting in my own room, ready to use at any time or take along on a trip.  Oh yeah, I can just see that this would be something I would take on a camping trip to do a lot of cutting at a time. One of those is a 2.5 (a 2 inch finished) inch square multiple.  Cuts 9 squares at a time. Since most of my quilts tend to built around 2.5 inch strips this will be an enormous help for me. I am truly math challenged, so will have to figure out what size triangles will go with what before I order those.  The other dies I want for at home are shape related.  Sunbonnet Sue is for sure one I am ordering.  Maybe Sam as well.  I get absolutely giddy thinking about being able to layer 6 fabrics and cut one time and have the Sun Sue pieces in one crank of the handle.  Mix and match for different outfits and looks.  OH SO MUCH EXCITEMENT.  Now to wait for them to arrive.

Yeah I know, simple minds have simple pleasures.

Another addition to the craft room is a new embroidery machine.  I love my Brother machines, so I stuck to that brand.  I bought a new PE770.
I already have embroidery machines (yes plural) and I love to play with them.  I have gathered tons of designs that fit them.  The one draw back to them...a 4 x 4 inch embroidery field.  Which means that most of the designs are only about 3.5 x 3.5 or less.  There have been several times that I have had to adjust the hoop several times and hope that I was lining up with the previous stitching in order to get a larger letter or such.  This new machine has a 5 x 7 inch design field.  While to those who aren't familiar with embroidery machines will think that the size difference isn't that much, believe me, it is HUGE.  By the way, I have purchased my machines through Walmart and I would highly recommend buying an embroidery machine if at all possible.  Now, there are a couple of things you do have to keep in mind when you decide to buy one.  My first embroidery machine was the PE 150.  It came pre-loaded with a lot of designs and like three fonts. In order to get more designs you had to buy design cards, which were so expensive I honestly didn't do much with the machine.  Then a friend of mine liked my machine so much that she bought one, but her and her husband were smart enough to research it and bought the Amazing Magic Box.  She was kind enough to explain it to me, since I was so jealous of all the projects she was doing.  Then, Brother came out with a combination machine. A Brother SE 270D (sewing/embroidery Disney). Hubby bought this one for me so I could take my projects traveling with us but only take one machine.  It came with a Disney card.  You have to have a card, like a miniature floppy disk or giant memory card for a camera, to put additional designs on your machine.  You can buy the cards already with designs on them, which is as I said expensive.  That is where the Magic Box comes in.  A blank design card is inserted in to the box, the box hooks up to your computer, you can then load a design on to the card. As long as it is in PES formatted language, and the design in smaller than 4 x 4 inches. So, to recap, you have your sewing machine, the computer, the box that all have to be used.  That is why I am so excited about my new Brother 770.  The larger design field, and a USB port that can read a memory stick drive.  Cuts the computer and box out of the process.  Well, you still need to have a computer to download designs on or to read design CD's, but once you have saved those designs on to a stick drive, just plug it in to the machine.  In other words, the computer doesn't have to be right next to the sewing machine.  The next step up would be a machine in the professional line, which means big $$. While I would love to have one of the professional machines that have several colors and several needles going at the same time, unless I opened up a business I just can't justify it.  I remember back in the 90's when the home embroidery machines first came out, my mom's friend spent around $3,500.00 for her set up.  She put names and flowers on some bibs, some names on vest, that's is it.  Thankfully, Brother has a very affordable version for most hobby use. I am so ready to get on that new machine and do something, just to see if the thing actually works.  The reviews for the most part were really great.  A few had tension issues, but that is why I picked Walmart, easy to return if there is a problem.

On to other topics.

Menu planning has once again become non-existent around here.  With the family visiting, we have eaten out almost every night, some times several times a day, and spent a boat load of money in the process.  I will certainly be glad to have that part of life settle down a bit.  I am in a mood to do some OAMC, or cooking for the freezer, just don't have any room in the freezer at the moment.  I plan to start using up what I have to get some room and to start getting back on track as far as that aspect of homemaking is concerned.

I received a wonderful surprise in the mail today.  A member of one of my crochet groups sent me some wonderful purple and yellow blocks.  They had been on my wish list to put together for my daughter an afghan, those are her school colors.  I have been so ready to start on some sort of project. I think if I can't do something soon I will go mad.  My crochet projects have been packed away since mom first got sick and I would take them with me to the doctor's office with her.  Just have not been able to really look at them too much yet.

I promised myself that I would not work on anything until I got this house back in order.  That is proving to be a bit difficult now that Mr. M has started walking, he just isn't happy to be confined any more not that he has had that taste of freedom. Tomorrow night, I am going to a concert.  The artist name is Rudy Parris, he is currently on The Voice, and is competing on Blake Shelton's team.  He is a local actually, but I am really looking forward to going out with a girl friend.  Then Saturday I will work on the house when I don't have the little guy under foot.  Hopefully, Sunday will be open for a pedicure and some much needed craft time.

I am trying to figure out how to add to my blog a project tracker or such to show what I have to finish and what I have finished.  You know, quilts, afghans and such.  Machine embroidery of course.

Well, this post has gotten long winded for sure.  Thanks for stopping by to visit.  I am heading to bed.  Please come back to visit often.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Monday Menu...and catch up.

My goodness, it has been a while since I last posted.  That's what happens when I go down ill for few days. I have been working on the house as well.  Have all my craft stuff back in place, except for the fabric.  Still have a ton of fabric to unpack, but can see the end in site.  Am to the point now where I can actually see a time when I can actually craft.  More about that later.

Menu planning...partly working and partly not.  I haven't posted to Organized Junkie Monday's Menu Plan   for a couple of weeks now.  I am actually thinking that it would be easier to post what we have  had the previous week as opposed to posting the plan for the week.  I have the best intentions, really I do, but it just seems that what ever I plan, doesn't happen.  I know what I have on hand, so that makes it a little easier.

This week:
Mon. - Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans
Tue. - Beef Stew and cornbread
Wed. - Chicken enchiladas, pinto beans
Thu. - Talapia, corn, broccoli
Fri. - Chili
Sat. - burgers
Sun. - eating out

My hubby's parents are coming, picking them up on Sat. at LA airport so hubby will grill burgers or steaks, not sure which, haven't gotten that far with planning yet.  Will have the grand baby that day, his dad (oldest son) is taking the state test for an electrician, his mom is running in a mud run...Volkslauf.  The, on Sunday we will all be driving over to Hurst Castle and taking a tour.  We will eat out some where along the way.  Then Monday, hubby is taking his parents up to see the big trees, I will go if we can get back by 4:30, other wise I have to stay behind to get youngest daughter, Miss Zebra, to band practice.  Tues we will just be hanging out at the house, Miss Zebra has ice skating lesson, wants her grandparents to come watch.  I will attending my Wilton Cake Decorating class.  I tried to take this class once before, but due to health issues of myself and family, was unable to complete.  I hope to make it through this time.  I already missed last week, and thought I would have the baby today, not sure if I would be able to attend next Monday due to visitors, so talked to instructor and changed to her evening class.

I bought a bunch of candy molds and decorations to make cupcakes to take to the church festival on Halloween, and alternative fun night for the kids.  They are having a cupcake walk, as opposed to a cake walk, so am donating a few dozen cupcakes for the event.  More kids get to win.  I am actually looking forward to making them, have grand ideas, will see what actually ends up getting done.  Will post photos of course.

Now...about crafting.  I need to get more of the house back in order (still have some boxes of mom's things I have to sort through) before I can actually start taking time to work on any projects.  As for menu planning, I have to rethink how I am going about that.  It seems, I am spending so much time on trying to make up a menu plan, stick to the menu plan, organize the menu plan, that I am just not getting anything else done.  I need to SIMPLIFY my details of life so very much, so that is what I am working on.  I am going to have one day that I plan, simple meals, making more use of the crock pot.  Once I get a little more meat cooked, making room in the freezer, I plan to do a large cooking session over a week end to stock the freezer with cooked meals. That will work better for me I do think.  Then, I am going to designate a couple of days a week for cleaning, a few hours a day for computer time, then spend some evenings actually working on craft projects once again.  Will work during the day some if Mr. M cooperates with napping.

I unpacked three boxes of fabric, finding some quilting UFO's in the process.  I am determined not to start any new projects until I finish up all the UFO (Un Finished Objects) or maybe I should stick to calling them WIP (Works In Progress) which letter wise makes a little more sense for my OCD (you know what that is) mind.  So far, there are quilts, crochet projects, garments and embroidery all in various stages of progress.  That will be my first order of business, to finish up those.  Then, I can get to working on some charity projects and some items to finally stock the Etsy store I have. Maybe make a little pocket change in the process.  I have two boxes so far of items for the store.

Funny thing, in an attempt to get more organized, I had created a blog for just cooking.  Was only going to list recipes on it so I could join in this thing called the Mystery Cooking Club.  Well, I had just gotten it set up, with just a few post.  Went to post a photo that went with one of the recipes only to find that some one, some where, had determined that the blog violated terms or was suspected of being spam, the blog had been deleted.  I wish I had know this would happen so I could have at least copied the story I posted about the recipe.  Oh well, such is life.

This is the Texas Sheath Cake I made. Was the recipe that was determined to be spam.  So...I won't post it.

Got to get moving and get a little something done around here.  Thank you for stopping by and come back often.  Feel free to leave a comment.