Monday, January 31, 2011

Being mindful

Today I was reading the chapter in Gretchen Rubin's book, The Happiness Project, about being mindful.  I was reading this chapter while I was eating lunch - a nice salad with lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, chicken, and shredded Parmesan cheese.

My sister is virtually blind, a result of many physical problems including diabetes.  I quite often think about her and how she struggles to eat when she cannot see the food in front of her.  In order to understand how she must feel, I sometimes close my eyes while I eat to see if I can stab food on my fork and make it all the way to my mouth without dropping food.

I tried this experiment again today while I was eating my salad.  Then I stopped and thought about being mindful.  Instead of wondering how it might feel to be blind, I should be celebrating the fact that I CAN see.  I should be looking at my food and enjoying the colors.  Perhaps it is more important to be aware of the blessings that I have right now instead of thinking of the problems I could have in the future.

So I really looked at my salad.  I noticed the hundreds of little stems on the broccoli with the dark green buds at the ends.  Amazing.  The green broccoli next to the red tomato on my fork was so colorful.  The crunch of the cauliflower, the zest of the cheese, and the savory satisfying chicken made each bite a good experience.  Paying attention, being mindful, all made for a much more enjoyable lunch.

It is not easy being that present all the time.  But when I am, I realize all the blessings that surround me on a daily basis.  Food, home, health, family, church, friends, possessions, and the list goes on and on.  But today I am particularly grateful for the beauty of broccoli.

Another finish

Another finish - and it is still January!!!!!  

This quilt idea came from a Sharon Craig book, Layer 'em Up #3, to which I added sashing.  My friend Moe did the quilting.

Here is the backing.

This is a very small quilt and could be used as a table topper.  It is going on my give-away pile.  

Sunday, January 30, 2011

It's been a while......

It has been a while since I have written anything on this blog.  The reason is because I have had nothing to say about my eating or overeating.  The reason I have nothing to say is because it just seems to be the same old story over and over again.  It becomes weary.  I want to lose weight but I am not willing to exercise or eliminate certain foods from my diet.  I'm stubborn.  I'm a rebel.

Currently I am reading Gretchen Rubin's book The Happiness Project and also following her blog.  There was a posting on her blog the other day about being either an abstainer or a moderator.  In other words, if you were dieting, the abstainer would eliminate certain foods completely from their diet.  The moderator though would rebel against this and the best way for that person would be to learn moderation.

I am definitely not an abstainer.  The minute someone tells me I shouldn't/can't have ice cream or peanut butter or bread, I rebel and it becomes like the elephant in the room.  All I can think about is ice cream, peanut butter and bread. 

My approach is definitely moderation.  That is why I am trying so hard to be mindful of when I am full and not eat beyond that point.  

For someone who has ignored that full feeling all her life, it is not easy to change.  Some days I do well and others, like today, I fail miserably.

In the book, The Happiness Project, Gretchen takes on a new challenge each month.  On her blog she has a sign-up to do your own happiness project.  I considered doing that, but then I feel that I am generally already happy.  I like my life, my family, my friends, my church, my hobbies.  I am blessed with decent material possessions, good health, and a brain that works.  

The one big "unhappiness" in my life is being overweight and the lack of discipline to do something about it.  If I were to become highly disciplined and lost 40 to 50 to 60 pounds, would I then be completely and totally happy?  Would my life become a bed of roses?  Of course not.  Life would be exactly the same.  The only difference would be that I might enjoy clothes shopping more.  However, since I am retired and don't have that much money to spend on clothes, perhaps the clothes shopping wouldn't be all that much fun after all.

So in order to get control, be disciplined, change my habits, I need to be motivated. I don't think that clothes alone is a good motivation.  Continued good health is a good motivation.  I cannot argue with that.  OK, I may have just talked myself into a new attitude.  Continued good health.  Yes, I like that.............I shall set my sights on Continued Good Health.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Piecing a backing for a large quilt is a challenge if you are also trying to use up old pieces of fabric.  There was not enough room to lay out this backing for a nice picture, so here is the squashed-up wrinkled version.  It is the backing for this quilt.

And here is the binding ready to attached when the quilt is quilted.

It is January 29th and my Christmas cactus is in glorious bloom.
  So dramatic.

It is also the middle of the afternoon on Saturday as I write this blog and I have my choice of sewing some binding, knitting on a pair of socks, or doing some cross-stitch.  Oh how I wish I could do all three at once - along with reading a good book and watching TV and snacking on popcorn.  Alas, I have to choose.  I'm grateful though that I have such lovely choices.

Monday, January 24, 2011

UFO #3 Finished

Topsy Turvy Santa table runner #595 by Happy Hollow Designs - from 2005 - is now finished.
For those of you who may have seen the pattern or done this little table runner you will note that I did NOT do the border and therefore the accent buttons that come with the pattern were not used.  Why?  Well, due to the fact that this is a UFO and the parts got separated and I was not paying attention to the pattern, as soon as I finished the blanket-stitching around the appliqued Santas, I layered this little piece and started doing a little machine quilting before it dawned on me that the extra fabric in the box was for the borders!  Oops.  So the cute borders and corner stones with the peppermint buttons did not become a part of this table runner.  I used the border fabric as the binding instead.

Here is a closer look at the stitching - and the reason it took me so long to get done.  That blanket stitching (by machine) around all the little pieces was tedious.
It is cute though and will make a nice decoration next Christmas.

I looked over my list of 13 UFO's I want to finish in 2011 and realized why most of them became UFO's.  They are either ready for quilting, or they have a huge problem to solve.  I need to analyze whether the project is worth fixing the problem or not.  I have done the easy UFO's, and now it is time to face the problems.  Sigh.

Looking at the above statement in a more positive manner, I have greater challenges ahead of me - more opportunities to expand my expertise.  Now, isn't that better?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Much better today.........

Yes, I am happy to report that I did much better today.  I paid attention, enjoyed my food, and stopped when I was full.  

In addition, I feel better when I don't overeat.  That is a wonderful benefit and one I plan to remember.

UFO #2 Finished

For 2011 I have a list of 13 UFO's I plan to finish and this is #2 - a flannel Mitten quilt (pattern from Country Threads), quilted by Country Threads.  I finished the binding today.

The backing is a mitten print flannel and the binding is a plaid flannel.  (Sorry for the fuzzy picture.)

Eleven more UFO's to go and there are 11 more months in 2011.  At this point in the year I think I have a good chance of getting them all finished.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Uncomfortably Full

It has been nine days since I posted anything to this blog.  I had nothing to say.  This is a blog about my eating and is an attempt to change old habits of overeating and eating the wrong foods.

I was doing pretty well in recognizing when I was full and stopping.  I was doing a pretty good job of choosing sensible meals.  I was doing a good job of having less snacks.


Well, I guess I stopped paying attention.  I got comfortable.  I got cocky.  

Today I ate too much.  I did not eat in moderation.  I did not pay attention to that full feeling.  Right now I feel uncomfortably full.  I don't like this feeling at all.  

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Side tracked...........

In my attempt to finish up old projects, I got out Christmas At Hawk Run Hollow, Block #7, which I last worked on in May of 2010.  Why did I put it away?  Who knows, but it is fun to work on it again.

As long as I was pulling out old projects, I also pulled out this knitted poncho/shawl that I started in 2005.  It is time to finish it up.

It is so easy to get side tracked..............  A dear friend of mine gave me a bag of beautiful Brilla yarn, 
and I have spent the last two evenings trying out pattern after pattern trying to figure out how best to use this wonderful yarn.  Of course I wanted something spectacular yet very, very easy and quick.  It had to be either a scarf or a shawl or something similarly one-size-fits-all type.  Last night as I printed off the 12th free pattern that looked interesting, I suddenly got the brilliant thought that I don't have to figure this out today, or this week, or this month.  It was a gift and I can choose to put it away and use it some other time.

So I'm going back to the old unfinished projects.............

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Knitted scarf done

First knitting project of 2011 finished - the curly (potato chip) scarf.

This is how it looks around my neck.  I'm glad I made the center section in plain garter stitch as it lays nicely around my neck.

It is nice and warm too on a cold winter day here in the mid-west.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Kinda gonna check two things off the list.........

Two things got done today that I can kinda check off the long list I made January 1st.  I finished the LHN Reader.  Is it considered finished yet?  No, because it needs to be framed or made into a flat fold or a pillow or a small quilt.  But since I have a whole drawer full of "finished" pieces, it will be a long, long time before I can permanently cross it off the list.

For the quilt "flimsy" that I showed yesterday I made a backing.  The fabric I showed yesterday was not a big enough piece for the backing unless I did some creative cutting and re-piecing, so I decided that I might as well make a  pieced backing for more interest.  I used some of the leftover strips from the quilt in the very center, some odd colored fabric that I have not idea how it got into my stash, and the chosen fabric from yesterday.
Also got the binding ready to go for this quilt.

No pictures, but I also found time to Knit on my curly scarf and put some stitches on another counted cross-stitch project.  It was a good crafting day here at my house.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

It's all my cousin's fault.

Yes, I put ANOTHER puzzle together and it is all my cousin's fault.  She sent me this puzzle which arrived in today's mail and all my plans to do some quilting got shoved aside.  I have zero resistance.

I did finish the puzzle in time to do some stitching and am almost done with this piece.
(The colors are very pale and difficult to photograph.)

My Christmas cactus is a little behind schedule and is just now beginning to show some buds.  

Like the cactus, I'm a little behind schedule, but tomorrow I'm definitely going to work on a quilting project.  Definitely.  

Cheap Food

There were some programs on TV about using coupons and about saving money at the grocery store.  Last week when I did some shopping I decided to purchase sale items and save a little money.  I bought things that were two for one and store brand items that were on sale.

Today for lunch I decided to have baked beans - one of the store brand items that I purchased last week. When I opened the can I was dismayed to see that the beans were quite watery and pale.  I warmed them up, took my first bite, and was further dismayed to discover the taste was terrible.  In fact, there was little "baked bean" taste and more of a bland taste with a little metallic flavor.  Yuck.  It went into the disposal.  

Fortunately I only purchased two cans of the baked beans and didn't waste that much money.  The only good thing was that it really turned me off and I ended up having nothing but a few pretzels for lunch.  

Hey, maybe that is the way to lose weight.  Buy cheap food, try to eat it and get turned off.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Today's sewing

Besides doing some stitching and knitting today, I put these blocks (made last summer) together.  I played around with possible borders, but finally decided it looked fine without borders.

The dotted fabric will be the backing. I think there is enough of the flowered fabric to make the binding.

It will be a very small quilt, just big enough to put over your legs when there is a chill in the room.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Good Idea

In the February 2011 issue of Good Housekeeping - page 32 - "Fresh Thinking" - there is a storage idea that I think is excellent.  
Do you have a cupboard like mine where the plastic containers get thrown in and chaos results?

No matter how many times I re-arranged this cupboard, it soon would be all messy again because it was impossible to reach in the back.  I would have to get on my knees (not easy at my advanced age) and pull everything out to find the right container.  

The idea in Good Housekeeping is to use a baking sheet as a slide-out.  Brilliant ! ! ! 

Now I can easily slide out the baking sheet 
and make my container selection.  

I just love good organizing ideas.  This re-organization took approximately 15 minutes, no money, and put a happy smile on my face.

Saturday, January 8, 2011




These shelves in my quilt studio hold beads and various other crafty supplies.  Everything was in such a mess I was afraid it would all tumble.  So I took everything off, disposed of stuff I will never use, re-organized and put it back in a neater fashion.  I also promised myself that in a year's time, whatever I have not used or needed will get eliminated.  The whole bottom shelf is beading stuff and I don't bead!  I keep buying supplies and once in a great while I might add some beads to a small quilt, but is it necessary to have a whole shelf of beads, findings, wire, and tools?

You might also note that there is a plastic container on the end with painter's blue tape.  What does this have to do with beading?  Nothing.  I use blue tape to mark lines when I quilt a quilt, and I use blue tape to tape down the layers when I am pin basting a quilt - and I have always kept the blue tape on the end of this shelf.  I didn't want to move it because I would never remember where it's new home was, so I just found a nice plastic container to make it look neat.

Neat and organized shelves make me happy.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Today's Progress

In my quilt studio there is a dry bar with two large cupboards underneath.  Cupboards are great for hiding clutter.  I had hundreds of bags stuffed into this cupboard along with empty boxes and old unused plastic Easter decorations.  I didn't take a "before" picture, but here is an "after" picture of the cupboard all cleaned out and neat.

Another quilted quilt got the binding machine sewn on today and I will save the hand sewing for another time.

I also worked on my curly knitted scarf.  Since the yarn is really too heavy for this pattern, I decided to knit the center section that would go around the neck in a plain garter stitch, then return to the curly pattern.

This morning I worked for a while on my counted cross-stitch project. (Picture does not show true colors.)

And tonight I worked on another counted cross-stitch project (no picture) but it was virtually a waste of time as I discovered my counting was off and I had to unstitch what I had just stitched.  Sigh.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

1st finished project of 2011

This pattern from Bonnie Hunter is called Scrappy Mountain Majesty.  Bonnie came to our quilt guild last year and I took her workshop.  Since I had already done this quilt in oranges several years ago, I decided to use up some of my black and white stash for this quilt.  

I chose a light gold for the inner border and the binding.

Then I made a huge four-patch for the backing.

Best of all, I finished the binding tonight and it is the first quilt UFO that I have finished in 2011.  Just 12 more to go.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Stop and taste the food.

Tonight, as I was scarfing down my supper,  it suddenly occurred to me that I was scarfing down my supper.  No wonder I get hungry in between meals.  I eat my meals so fast that I don't even remember them.

I put my fork down, took a deep breath, and relaxed.  There was no reason to rush through my meal.  Why was I in such a hurry that I wasn't even tasting my food?  Then it hit me.  I was rushing to get to that full feeling, worried that I might not reach it at this meal.

Yes, it has been a revolution for me to understand the full feeling and be able to stop eating.  But because it is so new and not an ingrained habit, I worry each meal that I will not reach that sensation.  Therefore, I have been rushing through my meals to get to that point and not really enjoying the food I was eating.  How insane.

My meal consisted of steamed broccoli and plain pasta with Parmesan cheese.  Not a fancy meal, but one I love and I wasn't even enjoying it.  I slowed down, put my fork down between bites, and concentrated on tasting the food.  So much better.

Food is good.  It should be enjoyed.  Another lesson learned.

Progress on projects....

Today I made a little progress on some projects................

A counted cross-stitch project.

A quilt binding project.