Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Reason for the Season

Did you survive Black Friday? Cyber Monday? I admit that shopping among the throngs the day after Thanksgiving held absolutely no allure for me at all. But if that was something that made you smile, then I say more power to ya. Although I found the reports of isolated violence a little distressing, didn't you? I did let my fingers do the shopping today, however.

If you are looking for something that adds the Christian spirit back to the holidays, the reason for the season for many of us, our daughter-in-law, Christa, has something in her etsy shop (Fairytale Pumpkin) which might be just the thing you are looking for. (Note: Don't you think Fairytale Pumpkin would be a great addition to the Name Game? Help me convince her!)

The first is a Christian Advent Calendar kit. This is a kit with everything you need to fill your own advent calendar with objects that will teach your family about the Bible. There are 25 different objects, each accompanied by a note with a corresponding Bible story. This will help you and your family focus on what Christmas is really about.

These kits have been flying out of her shop--I think she only has a couple of them left.

She also has created an Advent Calendar Kit PDF. This file contains the 25 scripture references and the master list of objects to put in your calendar. These files allow you to create your own kits for personal use or for gifts.

Mark and I bought one of these kits last year, and each evening we spent a few minutes reading the Bible verse for the day and reflecting on what Christmas means to us. With all the hustle and bustle of the season, it's a nice way to spend a few minutes by the tree.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Name Game: Archie the Wonder Dog

 I'm really happy to have Helen here today from Archie the Wonder Dog. I've been friends with Helen for awhile now, and during that time I've become acquainted with Archie as well, and always wondered how she ended up naming her blog after her beloved dog.

How did you choose the name for your blog?

My blog name is the same as my Flickr name, which I chose first.  When I first created a Blogger account my user name was the same as the initial part of the email address I had created for the account as I hadn't considered any other options and didn't realise that you couldn't change it later.  A few years later I joined Flickr and wanted a different name.  As I was pondering what name to use Archie barked at a noise outside and I thought 'Oh, I could use Archie's name - a photo of him would make a great buddy icon'.  At that time he had a raised bed (an old footstool) and he was lying in what I always thought of as his Superman (dog!) pose and the name 'Archie the wonder dog' bashed me on the head and demanded to be used!  
 After a few months having two identities became confusing as I would comment on blogs under one name and then on photos under another and people didn't realise they were talking to the same person so I closed my old account and opened a new one under ATWD.  At that point I had absolutely no intention of ever starting a blog but a certain someone (Nicky at http://mrsssewandsow.blogspot.com/) talked me into it in August of this year and I'm so glad she did as I love it!  As I'd grown to love the name and felt it suited me (and it's always nice to have a pet to hide behind!) it felt like an obvious choice.  Also, I couldn't think of a clever name so I stuck with what I knew!

Were there other names you considered, and can you share any of them with us?
Not when I was starting my blog as I already had the name from Flickr.  I can't remember any specific names that I considered when creating my Flickr account but at the time I thought I was going to use a photo of a fabric fairy postcard I had created a few weeks before so names with fairy (or fairy elephant) were probably considered and discounted.  Once I thought of ATWD I knew I had a name I'd love!
Now that you are recognized by Archie the Wonder Dog, are you happy with it, or do you wish you could change it to something else?
 I'd never change it - I love being known as ATWD!  What also makes me happy is knowing that there are other people who love Archie just as much as I do.  It was love at first sight when I saw him in the rescue centre a little over ten years ago and he seems to still capture people's hearts as quickly!  Who could resist a dog this cute?!  
 I also like the fact that it's different from a lot of quilting/stitching blog names and although it may not be an obvious choice of name for a blog about an obsession with fabric and thread it works for me.
Thank you for asking me to take part in The Name Game - I love this feature and it's an honour to take part!
It's been a pleasure having you (and Archie), Helen. Please head over to Helen's blog, take a look around and say hi to Archie. I'm sure he'll love all the attention!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Really Random: 11/24/11, The Gobble Gobble Edition

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone here in the U.S. This is my very favorite holiday. Fun times with the family. Great food. No gifts to worry about.

So this morning, we rolled out of bed at 6 a.m. to go to the local park for the two-mile Turkey Trot. Aaron and Charlotte picked us up at 6:30, thinking it started at 7 a.m., and off we went. Checked in and got our official "bibs."
Found out the official start time was 8 a.m. Bummer. We walked the two-mile course, just the four of us, and went to Starbucks.
(Yes, that guy in the background has on a fur suit. Lots of people with feathers or pilgrim hats. Last year we saw a couple dressed as the "rabbit and the hare." )
This beautiful Double Delight rosebud was in my rose garden this morning.
Mark celebrated his birthday in August, and one of our friends promised to bake him his favorite pie, banana cream. It was delivered yesterday. Yum! Totally worth the wait. Thanks, Tracy!
Last week Charlotte and Levi spent the night. We had movie night, with popcorn and hot chocolate. How did I know a 5-year-old would have such a discriminating palate already that she would turn up her nose at Carnation instant hot chocolate?(Oh, the things I am willing to consume when counting points on Weight Watchers...)  Only the real thing for her.  Of course there is no contest as to which tastes better. It was just funny that she tried to spare my feelings when I had to leave the room for a minute, and she whispered to Grandpa, "It doesn't even smell good. Can I just have some water?"  And Levi has gone from a super slowpoke eater to eating a lot and eating it quickly. He calls himself a "fastpoke."

The beautiful fall colors continue. Mark took this picture this week. Not an official "drive-by shooting"--he actually got out of his truck this time.

Have a wonderful weekend.If I can get things together, there might be a little random Black Friday sale going on here too.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

WIP Wednesday

When you have lots of projects on your "to do" list, what do you  end up doing? Sometimes I actually work on the list. Sometimes I become like a procrastinator on steroids and do anything but what is on my list. That is kinda what happened this weekend. Instead of sewing, I rearranged my sewing room. I'm counting this as this week's Work in Progress. Because it is sewing related. And it is still in progress. And sewing, lots of sewing, will be taking place. With the holidays just around the corner, I can't procrastinate too much longer!

Here is a series of before and after pictures.

This isn't a bad arrangement except I have no place for a large enough design wall. I had framed a piece of batting (on the left side of the window) but it was way too small. So then I ended up hanging two design walls from cup hooks, one on top of the other, covering the very pretty armoire.
We moved the theater chairs from one side of the room to the other.
Before: See the little design wall? Those are just 8 inch blocks. Too small...
After: The picture of the little Amish girl with the quilt is one of my favorites.

Before: Theater seats and a shelving unit against the only nice-sized wall in the room.

Fabulous! Instead of two design walls, one on top of the other, I have them side by side. Lots of really nice design room.
We moved the shelving unit that was next to the French door (actually behind the door because I always keep it open) to this side of the room. It's a little crowded. But now I can open the French door all the way, even though it covers up the design wall just a bit. That's okay. Even though it is a glass door, I spend so much time at my computer in my office(the adjoining room) and I feel claustrophobic when the door is closed. Weird...
Bonus: This stayed the same except for the addition of Felicity's fabulous quilt--with a peek into my office where I do all my medical transcription. You can see the door is open. Yes. Because, like I said, that clear glass makes me claustrophobic. It might as well be a solid wooden door. Such is the state of my mind sometimes...
I still have some organizing to do but rearranging solved a couple of problems. The first, of course, is that I have more design space. The second was that we moved the sewing tables over more toward the design wall side of the room. Last year when Mark installed the flourescent lighting over the sewing/cutting, it was great to have more light, but it caused a huge amount of unanticipated glare that was really bothersome when I tried cutting anything. By moving the sewing/cutting tables over about 1 1/2 feet, it solved the glare problem. Plenty of light, but because it isn't directly over the cutting table, there is no glare.

The bottom line: this is the only sewing I really got done this week, a measly half a block.

And these two Farmer's Wife blocks:
They are stacking up nicely:
Oh, and another problem solved: I have an "issue" with rulers because I am in constant search for the perfect ruler, in other words, a replacement for my beloved, but nearly worn out, 7x19 inch ruler. I had a couple of Creative Grids rulers that I kind of liked but they were both 24 inches, way too unwieldly for me. First I thought Mark, being quite handy and also the owner of some nice saws, could saw off the ends of each of them to make them 19 inches. But then he said he would just drop them off at the local plastics company and have it professionally done.

*sigh* I love having a husband with so much common sense and good ideas.

So a whopping $4.00 later, voila! Two nearly ideal rulers, 6 1/2 x 19 inches, and 8 1/2 x 19 inches.
They even made the leftover ends nice and smooth so I have usable smaller rulers as well.

Now if you go to Lee's, I'm pretty sure you will find lots of links with actual sewing...

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Name Game: That Girl...That Quilt

This week I am so happy to have Jennifer here from That Girl...That Quilt. Jennifer and I have been friends for quite awhile, sharing some of the more personal details about our lives, along with the passion for quilting that we both share. It's so easy to share things with her--very comfortable--and I'm sure that's the way she is in real life too. Jennifer lives in the Dallas area, and so does my brother, so I am looking forward to meeting her in person soon.

How did you choose the name for That Girl...That Quilt?
It's silly how I chose the name, That Girl... That Quilt.  My husband, Steve, and I like to joke around a lot.  Early on when we were dating, I would tell him funny things that happened throughout my day and I would say, "I was almost that girl who..." or "I was that girl".  In return when he would {and still does} tease me and say, "you are so that girl" or "don't be that girl".  So when I fell in love with quilting I became That Girl who is covered in thread... That Girl who buys more fabric than clothes... That Girl who wishes she could sew while sitting in church... That Girl who free motion quilts her sleeve to her quilt... etc.
Were there other names you considered, and can you share any of them with us?
I don't recall thinking about other names.  When I set my blog up one late night I typed it and liked the way it looked.  I didn't put much thought into because I never really planned on my blog being much; I just knew that I loved to write and wanted a place to keep an online journal of my quilts and thoughts.
Jennifer's Moda Bake Shop patterns: here and here
Now that you are recognized by That Girl...That Quilt, are you happy with it, or do you wish you could change it to something else?
I am happy with the name and don't think I could ever change it.  It fits me and my personality.   I am That Girl... my daughter even knows me by that name and freely shares it with her friends, teachers and anyone else she thinks should know!
 If you aren't already a big fan of Jennifer, I hope you will go over to her blog and say hello. You will not disappointed so plan on spending some time looking around. Not only is she a great designer, she is a wonderful writer.
And, if you are looking for a project, That Girl is hosting a quilt-along. It's called Chasing Chevrons.  
Jennifer is always organized and full of helpful information so this will be a great quilt-along, even if you are fairly new to quilting. So think about joining in--it's going to be a lot of fun.