Friday, December 31, 2010

Ringing in the new year

Ladies and gentlemen,
I'd love to ring in the new year with you with a look back at what I've done this past 2010 but frankly, one minute I look at it and say it's too much to list, the other, I can barely remember a thing.

Then I think about listing my quilts in a pretty little montage but did you know I'm just enough of a perfectionist that if I forgot one, I'd be really annoyed?  (Plus, I don't know how to montage and Flickr sends me to Snapfish who wants to charge me for a poster.)

So I thought maybe I'd just enjoy everyone else's posts and simply say, Happy New Year.

Until I saw Yahoo headlines.  Gee, I love Yahoo some days. Full of inspiration.

This is what I saw: "2011 Astrology Predcitions."

I LOVE how this became a headline! (Not really.)  Of course, I had to go read and then I had to post. 

I won't bore you with my romantic horoscope because I'm happily married and frankly, I'm not sure the hubs would appreciate knowing I have been given carte blanche by the stars to be more self-centered in my relationship or that I can "expect a windfall of romantic interludes" this summer.  Yes, sometimes, this Capricorn doesnt charge right in to butt heads, but takes the longer way around the mountain if that's the most advantageous path. So, ixnay on the omanceray. (Is that successful pig latin?)

Now, I WILL bore you with a summary of my other two predictions just to illustrate for you why these things work and suck you in.

My overall prediction for 2011 basically states that I've weathered a bunch of change recently (uh yeah) and that I'm getting used to it and getting stronger for it. (That's good because I feel a whole lot more tired.) It goes on to disappointingly state that for the next 14 years or so I can basically expect more change but won't I be a super human after that with all my strength?  Okay, it doesn't say I'll be a super human but I do have to wonder what is the point of being so strong after 14 years of "shedding layers" and change if I'm too tired to live a life?

And then there is this, "This year the focus shifts from a lifestyle focused on gadgets, information and social networking to introspection, home and family."  I'm sorrry my new and old friends. This now gives me carte blanche to be even more distracted away from my blog and you all.  The stars said so.

"You are about to encounter your most uncensored raw self on levels as of yet unprecedented. Ready yourself, Goat, because this spring an explosion of fiery planets in Aries sweeps the very base of your horoscope getting you back in touch with some of your most primal instincts. Competition, aggression and the need for plenty of physical outlets ensue." What the hell, maybe I should take up mixed martial arts with all this prognosticating.   It's either that or, combined with my career horoscope, I'm going to be crazy competitive in my quilting.  What do you think? Want to take me on in a quilt throw down? Just let me figure out how that could be done and I'm there, baby!

The money part, sure, it could apply. Nice to know I'll be a freaking miser for the next 14 years but don't you worry people. Even though the stars say I will be ignorning you often, apparently when I do have something to say, it will be "In any case, your way with words is apt to become poetic and inspired, which can only make the world appear infinitely more beautiful."

Have you had enough or do you want to know what is predicted for my very predicatable career?  Okay, you asked for it. It looks like I am going to make my career even more important over my domesticity this year.  Now, I wondered how the heck that could be since I just didn't think I was doing that in my current job. I work often but not to the point of losing many family hours. Then I realized, maybe this is a lead in to what I've been wanting to do but have hesitated to do for a while now. I don't know... it says March to May will be the worse. I wonder how that's going to happen since March is the Lancaster Quilt show and April is the Paducah one and I'm certain I plan on quilt show hopping as much as possible this year! lol

This part, though. This really scares me. "There is just so much going on at such an alarming speed that even you -- one of the most grounded and head-strong signs of the zodiac -- could suffer from an oversight or two."  What ELSE can go on and happen. I thought LAST year was full of breakneck speed changes and happenings. ARGH!!  (When I write to complain and ask for help being picked up off the floor after life has wiped it with me, just remember I'll ask with poetic pizazz.)

"What you produce, practice and put out into the world will have reverberating consequences for the next 13 or so years so be sure that you only put out work that is top-notch (as if you could ever live with anything less)."  SHIT! I was hoping, in the next couple or few years that I could have a quilt related business just opening up. I was thinking of maybe even branching out with some feelers this year but hell, now I might just screw up if I do that b/c 13 years is a long time to get over putting out something that isn't top notch. 

But then, maybe not. "Late September-early October offer the best opportunities to get recognized for your efforts. With the monopoly of planets in Aries pushing you to put yourself out on a limb despite Saturn's usual reserve, risk-taking is infinitely rewarded in 2011. Go for it!"

And there you have it, the unvarnished truth of how my life will go in the year 2011. I hope your horoscope is less back and forth than mine.   (Or maybe you can have as much enjoyment and humor in readiny ours as I did mine.)

Cheers and Happy New Year!
Beck

Monochromatic Challenge 2011

Judy over at Patchwork Times is hosting a 12 month MONOCRHOMATIC CHALLENGE. I'm going to try to participate.

Instead of a quilt each month, I'm going to use this challenge to make 12 blocks. I haven't decided if I will put these into one quilt (leaning that way) or into 12 little wall hangings but I will know by the end of this.  LOL  I'm going to have fun with this. Think super simple and completely child-like. 

Wish me luck and frankly, why not join? 

January's color is, yellow.

Cheers and Have a Happy and Safe New Year!  I'm off to have my own little sew-in.
Becky

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My birthday goodies and a winner!

First, let me say thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday. I probably won't have time to send individual emails but it's month end for me at work which means right now, even this post is on stolen time.

Second, to the anonymous commentor who keeps popping in and insulting me and/or my other commentors, GET OVER YOURSELF, NAG!

Seriously people, if you see that commentor, ignore her. She's my sister. I'm the mule to her nag (ever see League of Their Own?) and her comments are really just meant to be sarcastic and fun, they aren't serious, AT ALL. (Edited to add, no one has complained or anything, I just wanted to let you all know about her.)  So, I just want you to know she doesn't think you all suck or smell funny. It's she who smells funny. Honest, I've lived with her. I know. -hehe-

Now on to the fun stuff, my purchases at the LQS yesterday. 
Some Dr. Seuss fabric for me and a new baby quilt I have hovering around the edges of my brain. We'll see what I come up with in a bit on that one.

Some nature-like fabric for a quilt for our dog trainer's quilt.

A new and fun looking pattern! I saw this made up in the store with Christmas fabric as the ribbons and love it. I think I found a Christmas quilt for next year. :)

And last but not least, to the WINNER  of my little giveaway (drawn by random.org) this MODA Flirtation Panel. Hopefully this will be a fun, quick and easy wall hanging or lap quilt for the lucky winner.

And that lucky winner is #18: Ms. Pyjamas!
"Shay said...

I'm assuming you're back from the quilt store by now since it's almost 4.00pm! Did you treat yourself like crazy.
Happy Birthday Becks. Hope your day is fabulous.
I always buy myself a little something for my birthday. Usually fabric related."

Since I already know your mailing address, Ms. Shay, I'll be sending this out tomorrow and with luck it will arrive before Valentine's Day.  Congratulations!

Have a good night, everyone.  Thanks again for helping to make it a fun birthday.

Cheers! Beck

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Psst, did you know?

Today is my birthday.

I think I will shamelessly plug for Happy Birthday wishes since I am now, um, what is 2010 minus 1973? 

Yeah, I'm 37 today!

Anyway, since I've only received the birthday wishes from friends and extended family via Facebook (gotta love technology), I think I'll bribe you all for them.

You see, I'm going to a quilt shop today. It's my gift to me. Generous of me, isn't it?  While I'm there, I'm going to pick something up for one of you commentors.  It's noon ET on 12/28.  Comments will be open until noon ET on 12/29 (just to give those sleeping in other countries a fair shake right now).

The little something will be a surprise but it's all good, right? It will be something brand new from a quilt store.  Maybe a notion, maybe a yard of fabric... you'll see!

Here's what you've got to do. Wish me a happy birthday. Yep, that's it. 

If you want to tell me your favorite birthday celebration for fun, please do. I love hearing great little stories!

Cheers! Beck

Monday, December 27, 2010

Sunday, December 26, 2010

PhD's, UFO's, WIP's - those darn projects!

However you label them in your own sewing room, these things just hang out and take up space. Sometimes, they do so for years.

Years, people.  At least, in my world. 

But I'm changing that one month, one year at a time.  Last year I participated in Myra's PhD Challenge and I did alright. It is a 6 month challenge. Identify your PhD's and then spend the next 6 months working them to finish them.  Having a short period to work on these, I found, keeps me motivated. I'm participating again this year along with Judy Laquidara's UFO challenge over at Patchwork Times.  The difference, Judy's lasts all year. So, I have 6 months worth set out below. I will add another 6 months in June when I get there. If I do more, I know me, I'll be getting overwhelmed with the thought even if it is an entire year. Since Judy's Challenge has a numbering twist, my UFO's will have two numbers assiged for each (except #s 6 & 7). This way, I can work on whichever one is pulled out of Judy's magic # hat each month. (Don't know what I'm talking about? Head to Judy's blog and see what I mean.)

So, here are my projects. I am going to complete 7 of them. No, really, I am.

The Bento Box quilt and the Summer Porch quilt.


The SIL Jinny Beyer quilt.


The Chateau Wall Hanging and the Deer quilts (no pictures but both these have already been started).

Finally, the Double Wedding Ring and the Pineapple quilts.


Wish me luck and why don't you join the challenge. It's fun and inspiring to see everyone's projects as they are completed.

Cheers! Beck

A great site for everyone who quilts

I came across this blog a little while ago and often I refer back to it when I'm looking for some clarity in a particular techinque or just for general information.

Learn 2 Quilt with Chris Dahl. I highly recommend everyone check it out.

(And that's not because I will be the blog featured in the spotlight in Januaray, it's really because it's a fun and informative blog!)

Cheers!
Beck

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Peppermint bark & 10 min. fudge recipes

PEPPERMINT BARK

Super easy. Ingredients and instructions are photographed and below. A couple things to remember when doing this.


1) I don't measure the candy canes. I just use the one box of small candy canes.
2) when you crush the canes, lay a towel down. With the canes in 2 ziploc bags, pound the crud out of em with a meat tenderizer's FLAT side. Make the crushed pieces as small or big as you like.
3) When melting the white pieces, I use the microwave. I melt in 30 second increments for about 2.5 to 3 minutes total. Here's the key. I also add 1 Tbsp. of Canola oil 3 times during the process (after first 30 seconds, then second 30 seconds, then third) stirring each time. This helps keep the chocolate from burning during the process. NOTE: this is only for microwave melting and is a trick I learned from my mom. Just do not use too much.
4) once all chocolate is melted, stir well, add crushed candy canes and peppermint extract (1 tsp or LESS to taste.)
5) Lastly, spread out on cookie sheet covered with wax paper. Once chilled you can flip sheet upside down over counter and bark will come right out. Just peel the paper off. WARNING: Do not use aluminum foil as a substitute, it sometimes tears and sticks to the chocolate.
Once out, break into different sized pieces and enjoy.


FUDGE
This recipe is inside the BAKER'S SemiSweet chocolate box. You need 2 boxes, 2 tsp. vanilla extract, 1 can sweetened, condensed milk. You can add chopped walnuts if you like.
Break chocolate into pieces and place in microwave safe bowl and add condensed milk.
Microwave on high 2.5 to 3 minutes total. Remove and stir well. The chocolate will melt with the hot milk. Once it starts to thicken, add the vanilla. Stir a bit more then pour and spread into a lightly greased (I just use butter spray and it works fine and you don't taste it) 8x5 inch pan.
Put in fridge to cool for a couple hours. Once hardened, remove and cut into 2" pieces.  Enjoy!

THE WINNER of SMS Giveaway

After reading 529 comments and replying to most (had to say that, I'm very proud of myself for it), we have a winner for the giveaway!

Without further ado...

The winner is commenter #419.
"Jessica said...
Favorite gift hasn't been given yet, but next week- I'm making my fiance a super hero cape - I can't wait to give it to him"

Jessica, I will be contacting you to arrange shipping.

Have a great weekend everyone and thank you for giving me such great gift inspiration!

Cheers, Beck

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Last Favorite Things Friday of 2010

If you are looking for the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway, please go HERE.

A day early but I know tomorrow I'll be crazy busy. Here's my Favorite Things Friday post. Once again, Ms. Pyjamas has scooped me on the favorite things post I was planning for Favorite Things Friday. I am seriously concerned that (a) we think so much alike but more importantly (b) I keep losing out because I'm a day behind her on the timeline.  That's just wrong. She's always winning.

That said, I've come up with a new one. Are you ready? Here it is.

One of my favorite things is, ME! 

Yes, you read that right. Me, I love me. I love me even when I'm criticizing me and I love me when I'm laughing at me; becuase I can laugh at me.
I love me because I chose this man to be my husband and it's been great, even when some moments haven't been.
I love me because in my mind's eye, I still look like this even though my rational brain reminds me 30 extra pounds results in a different mirror image. I think it's funny (until I try on clothes and look in a mirror in the store... then I think it's the mirror. -wink-)
I love me because I don't care who sees my drinking problem, er hobby, er happy hour?
Singing, "Me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me."
I love me because, well, because I'm supposed to love me.

Now you. You say this sentence out loud, "I LOVE ME."  

There, now don't you feel better? It's good to remind yourself you love you (and I'm sure you do but you thought it would be too self-centered to admit it) every now and then.   So there you have it. I'm sharing my love of me with you so you can share your love of you with yourself.

And if you followed that, I am toasting you and wishing you a Merry Christmas (because I'm Catholic and that's my fall back but you can substitute whatever Holiday you want) and a Happy New Year!

Cheers! Beck

Monday, December 13, 2010

Giveaway!

Comments are now Closed.  The winner is commenter #419.
"Jessica said...


Favorite gift hasn't been given yet, but next week- I'm making my fiance a super hero cape - I can't wait to give it to him"


Sew Mama Sew is having a giveway day and I've joined! 
I am giving away 2, 5-inch square packs (42 squares in each) of Moda's Make Life fabric line!

To enter, comment on this post and tell me what the most favorite gift you ever gave was (and it doesn't have to be Christmas or a holiday gift, just any time of the year).

For a bonus entry, add a seperate comment saying you are a follower or have become a follower. 

Comments will close at 6pm on Dec. 17 and random.org will draw the winner sometime in the evening. I'll post here and in a brand new post with the winners no later than midnight the 17th.   Oh, and I will ship internationally so all can enter!
Don't forget to leave an email address if you don't have a blog or some other way for me to get back in touch with you. (While I've got my kids convinced I'm psychic, I won't pretend with you. lol)

Good luck and thanks for stopping in.   Click on the link above or the button on my sidebar to see many other fabulous blogs and giveaways. Thank you Sew Mama Sew for hosting such a fun event once again.

Happy Holidays!
Beck
____________________________________________________

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The patterns

Alright, you've seen the fabric selections and helped me with the final choice for the college girl, so now here are the patterns.

The 10-year old's pattern & fabric: Whirligigs made easy.
The mom's pattern: http://www.treadleon.net/quiltshop/TrailtoTreadleonia/trailtotreadleonia.html
The college girl's pattern: A rail fence variation. I think with 3 colors, just like this one, it will look fun and funky. Especially with the wavy "print" of the white and red.  By the way, option 3 was the fabric choice winner in the poll.
Thank you again for all your comments to help me decide.
Cheers! Beck

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fabric choices, help please

The first and second photos are for the rest of the family that is dealing with a seperation. The playful fabrics for a 10-year old girl and the others, for mom.    I will let the tops be a surprise but wanted to tease you a bit with this.



The 3rd through 5th photos, I request assistance with. College-bound son is bringing home a girl for Christmas. (No concerns he's overly serious, I think it has more to do with just being independent for once and enjoying that. He's coming to VA from college in ME.)  Anyway, I can't not have something for her to open so an easy laptop quilt is in the works. The backing is zebra print minkee. The front will be 3 colors. These are the choices. So, which option wins?

Option 1

Option 2

Option 3

Brilliant minds, clue me in! (And no, I'm not telling you the pattern. lol - you have to choose based on the fabrics alone. hehe)

Cheers! Beck

Favorite Things Friday

Hello all, it's been a while since I've participated in FTF but when I saw the host's post yesteray (she's an Aussie, and a day ahead), I knew I had to participate.   Basically, my favorite thing is her favorite thing so if you want to know what that is, go read her post and while you are there, add your own link to your favorite thing post!

(Oh yeah, I gave her fair warning I was copying her and didn't wake up to a complaining email so I'm good.)

Alright, in the spirit of the favorite things post, I'll also add another favorite thing of mine.

Quiet Sunday mornings with a cup of coffee, sleeping family and dogs, no television and only my computer as I blog hop.

I will leave it at that because I don't think I can improve upon that image any better than the sentence already states.

Be sure to check back later today, I'll be posting fabric choices for 3 more lap quilts.

Have a good Friday (or Sat. for my ahead of me friends)!
Beck

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The random pieced top

Okay, you convinced me to keep going with this top and I did but I didn't take your advice. I pushed through but instead of fighting it, I decided to lay off my original plan of all triangles and work in some rectangles as well. Doing this, I was able to go fairly random with the triangles but decided a little pattern of rows in the rectangles would (and did) satisfy my OCD beast.

I did NOT mess with layout much once I put it down, just let it be and sewed it together so there are some places I'd say color is too heavy than others for me but, hey, the goal was random, right?

Thanks for pushing me. I don't hate it now like I did before. I still don't like it either but at least I don't hate it. Here's what I ended up with. Still look good for a 13 year old girl? If not, I've already found another home for it far, far away from me. :-)

Cheers! Beck

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The oddest muscle issue...

I have the strangest issue going on with my thigh, maybe a pull? I didn't pull the hamstring (thank goodness b/c that would really suck) and I didn't pull the front of the quad either. It's not the groin, it's somewhere behind the front of the quad but below the groin and still on the upper thigh.

I wondered what muscle it was so went and looked at a chart. I think it's the Abductor Longus muscle. Didn't know there were that many thigh muscles.

It doesn't hurt or ache except at the oddest times, like moving my legs to sit cross-legged, getting up from laying down, or (shock!) when I'm exercising with Jillian which I started again. Still, even then, it's a twinge more than pain but a twinge that clearly and loudly states, you have no strength to move that way. Yeah, actally, that's exactly what it's like. It's like I have one muscle in my leg that has decided it's not going to play with the others for now.

Ever had one of those kinds of twinges? They are so weird, right? I keep waiting for it to get better on it's own but can see it will be one of those drawn out, recurring items until just one day, it's gone. yuck. Well, at least it's not something worse.

Yes, clearly I've reached the point of boredom this evening that I felt the need to look that up and post it for you. Perhaps I'll retire to bed and just see you tomorrow.

Cheers! Beck

A hubs brag

First, you all convinced me. I'll keep plugging through on the random pieced top and will have photos for you by the end of today or early tomorrow to show how it turned out. 

Now, onto the real business.  At the bottom of this post are photos of the hubs with his two latest freezer additions. Please don't look or read further if that bothers you or reading about hunting bothers you. It's not gory but it could upset any of you who really just aren't fans.

The brag. Each year the hubs gets together with a group of friends and hunts Elk on Elk Mountain in WY. He got his doe elk yesterday.  The hunt details (feel free to share with your interested hubbies):

There's not much cover. The elk have the eyesight of turkeys and the nose of a deer. They can pick you out on the mountain over a mile away and it's hard to sneak up on big herds. A lot of eyes at different angles and elevations.  (Herds can be up to 800 large.) Often, when a hunter sees the herd on one side of the mountain he has to go up and over the other side to get to them without them breaking away. Not hubs, he worked up the same side willing himself to take three steps, stop and rest, take three steps, rest. 

The snow was up to his hips.  He started at 6500 ft elevation, and shot up the mountain, on a moving doe at aroudn 7900ft.  He hiked about a mile over ridges and down through valleys of deep snow to find a shooting lane within range. He took a 355 yd shot uphill with a 20mph wind differential and brought her right down.

His friend (and thankfully 4 of the 6 got their elk yesterday) equated elk hunting to pro football and deer hunting to pee wee football. The 6 guys were only able to drag 2 elk down the mountain yesterday. Will drag the other 2 down today then help the last 2 guys find and hunt their elk tomorrow until they get theirs.  The hubs said I should come experience it next year. Then said it really tests your man-hood.   It was easy for me to reply that since I'm not a man, there's no need to test it, I've already failed.  :)

All in all, a successful week for the hubs and he's bringing home the meat! Before he got to WY, he stopped at a friend's in NE and got us a pheasant. I've never had pheasant so this will be a nice new flavor to try. Way to go, my man.  I knew I married a provider, one way or the other! Now, when you are done, you can get warm by going south and getting some wild boar for our freezer. Pork, it's what I want for dinner. (A man's work is never done and a woman is never satisfied. lol)



  

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I'm not feeling it

I've been working on a quilt for a family friend's daughter.  Mom and dad just seperated and with little extra cash, I thought it'd be nice to make the two girls a small lap quilt.

Here's the details: She's 13, likes blues, greens, brights, retro...
The blue with white circles is the minkee backing I'll be using.  The triangles, various fabrics I picked out. I had a nice little pinwheel variation but I did not read the cutting instructions carefully so I had to just cut all triangles and try to figure out something else because I don't have any spare fabrics.

Anyway, I started laying some out just to "see" if random would work. I'm not feeling it. What do you think? My 14 year old daughter, who has similar tastes, said it's cool but then again, she's said that about ALL quilts in progress, even the really, really, really questionable ones. LOL


E.T.A - I think I'm scrapping the triangles and will kill 2 birds with one stone. I think I'll make the first "take" of the quilt along quilt we discussed for next year for this girl. I'm off to stasth-bust for colors but just in case I can't find what I want, please still let me know your thoughts on this look.  Thanks!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My mother tried to kill us

It's taken me a couple of days to recover from this but now that I have, I had to share with you the situation.  My mother decided to put her entire family out of their misery (or maybe she decided to end hers?) by killing us all on the same day.

The woman who has a nose to rival mine, which rivals that of the best bloodhounds, blissfully ignored the scents in her home and wafting out the front door on Thanksgiving Day.

We arrived Thursday mid-day to her condominium and looked at each other in wonder.  "Was that smell coming from Mom's house?" We questioned each other?  We got in the house, wished her a Happy Thanksgiving, then asked her what the smell was.

She wondered if it was the kitty litter Dad just took out to the garbage but no, it was too strong.  Then she finally wondered aloud if it was the turkey and then said she thought it was.  Uh, yeah Mom, play like you care now. That bird was almost cooked to the end. If you had meant to keep us safe you would have chucked it a while ago.    Thank goodness our own noses thwarted her! HA, take THAT mom!  We didn't want the Butterball Turkey anyway.

We took the bird and stuffing out to the back deck, shut the door and opened all other doors and windows to air the place out. Then we called around, found a almost completely thawed bird at a nearby store and went and bought it.  A water bath finished the thawing, some cutting and chopping produced a stuffing and we stuffed the bird, threw it in the oven and drank our afternoon away while it cooked.

(Oh yeah, and we Skyped Ms. Pyjamas - she's a follower and friend of mine and if you haven't visted her blog yet, get on over there. I met her husband via Skype, I thought it only fair she met my crazy family, too. I'll leave it to her to comment on first impressions. Let's just say, it wasn't pretty.)

Despite Mom's failed attempt at mass murder, my sisters and I took her with us to go shopping on Black Friday where, if you read this long, you now learn I SNAGGED the last GO cutter (not the baby but the regular one) for $200 at JoAnn's. They were on sale from $350 and I called hubby and he said, "Merry Christmas."  WOO-HOO!

Now, because dinner ended up fantastic, mom had plenty of wine on hand to assuage our indignity at her Agatha Christie plot, because mom made me go to JoAnn's so she could get me the pinking shears I asked for Christmas, and because I ended up with a GO cutter (only one die so far), I have decided the weekend worked out alright in the end and I love my Mother anyway.

So, a Happy belated Thanksgiving all and to my Mother, better luck next time. We outsmarted you this round! 

Cheers! Beck