Cooking, Sewing, Working, Traveling, Gardening and Pondering

Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential.

~Winston Churchill~

Friday, December 21, 2012

South Pacific

Last week I was in Fiji for business.  It was the first time I've been there.  After a rather long 10+ hours flight, I arrived to a nice hot and humid climate in Suva.

I spent 3 days in the city visiting with my customer and working with our support engineer to get the equipment installed. (She did all the work, I was moral support).

This is the view from the hotel in Suva.


Across the street from the hotel was the main government building.

After the work was done, I headed out to a place called Crusoe's Retreat to spend a few days before heading home.

This is the view from the main building where there was a game room, restaruant, bar, internet/library, etc.

Here is sunset from the same location:

Here is a picture of the swimming pool - it's in the shape of a foot - I'm not sure why...

Unfortunately, my weekend was over shadowed by the fact that Cyclone Evan was approaching the island as was gaining speed to a category 4 storm.  This hindered my day of scuba diving :(.  However, I did get in one dive along the coral reef and it was simply spectacular.  Amazing colors and marine animals, will forever be inspiration to keep our oceans clean for me.

On the long 2.5 hours taxi ride to the airport to try and beat the storm, we encountered several cows along the roadway, they seemed tame enough...

The people of Fiji are very hospitable and warm.  The beaches are beautiful and scuba diving amazing. I was very fortunate to have visited this country in the South Pacific.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas pants

I finally started on the Christmas tree skirt. I threw out the old one last year to force myself into making one. I used Missouri Star Quilt Company's tutorial.

It's ready for binding and buttons. Anyone want to come cutout the bias binding for me?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Red work

Sorry I haven't blogged in so long, life got busy and the new iPhone OS really hindered my picture uploading abilities!

Here is what I'm working on now, it's a pattern from Bird Brain Designs and I really am enjoying the stitching!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

My FNSI was all about why I love Christmas!

I love the hustle, the bustle, the cooking, the decorating, the presents and the reason for the season!  I love that all the preparation is to celebrate something so wonderful.  I don't go around and declare my faith to everyone, I've always been pretty private about it.  I do love what Christmas is all about and why we have that holiday.  To me it is the most special holiday because it represents so much - salvation, love, and sacrifice, and pure joy.

So I get a lot of flack for doing my countdown to Christmas posts on Facebook, but I really am excited for it get here every year.

With the Friday Night Sew In, I started on some more Christmas gifts.  My friend Karen had showed me a pattern for a wine tote on ebay a while back (secretly, I think she wanted it and I snagged it out from under her - I'm a bad friend) that I ended up purchasing.


So I dug through my stash to find some Christmas fabrics, to see how I could make these cute totes up. In the essence of time, I decided against doing the patwork and the stitching.  I'm sure Karen is slapping her forehead.  I also had to consult my friend Regena about the size of the quilted body, so I could bypass the piecing - I'm still learning!


But one day I'll make the full blown tote - but I may want to keep that one for myself.  Then I found that last year, I had ordered some extra Sweetwater labels that would go great for where the stitching is on the flap.

I plan to do some embellishing to the flaps too to juice up the labels some.


Last night, I did all the cutting out and applied the labels and quilted the bodies of 3 totes for the Friday Night Sew In.

I got through 2 of the tote body quilting steps and 8/9ths of the 3rd before the dreaded bobbin emptied on me.


Last year I did a post about "Listen to the Bobbin".  Where I outlined how it never fails, you're up late sewing, you're tired, but you don't want to stop so you re-load the bobbin and next thing you know you have the seam ripper in your hand because you've screwed something up because you're too tired to still be up sewing at 2 am.  When the bobbin emptied on me last night, I closed up shop and crawled my tired butt into bed.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Night Sew In

Heidi from Handmade by Heidi is having another FNSI.  I've signed up this week and love the whole idea of this.  It's a great way to unwind from a hectic week and spend some time being creative.

Since the count down to Christmas is getting close, I will work on some items for gifts.

Stay tuned to see what I work on and join in over at Heidi's blog.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Dresden Madness

You should know by now, I love dresden plates.  So when Denise said dresdens for a block swap, I was all in!.

Here is a sneak peak!



This last photo gives me all kinds of 3-D ideas for a candle mat!

Monday, September 10, 2012

I don't have enough hobbies

You see, I like to learn things.  I love trying to do new things.  Sometimes, I really enjoy them, like sewing, and other times not so much, like scrape booking. 

Let me intro this with the fact that my dad, my brother, my cousin, several friends all do this.  I get to travel to really cool places and have not been able to do this yet because I was not certified to do this.  Sometime between now and the end of the year, I am going to Fiji for work.  Yes, I know crazy right?  Everyone tells me I need to extend the trip and do this there. 

A while back my husband went to the shop and asked all the questions, signed me up for the class and all around got me going on this.  So for the last month, I've been to the lectures and to the practical training. But on Sunday, I went for the real test. Can you guess what I'm doing? Yes, that's right, I'm learning to Scuba Dive!  On Sunday, I was able to complete 3 of the 5 necessary dives to get my NAUI certification.  Next Saturday, I hope to finish up so I'll be ready to go to Fiji when the time comes.

I'm really enjoying it and hope that I get do a lot more it in the years to come.

Here is where went diving - yes at dawn too!

And here is me getting ready to go scuba!

A couple things I didn't know - yes, you can get motion sickness from all the surges under water..not fun.  Sea urchins really can prick you through your 7 mil gloves.  You burn a ton of calories keeping yourself warm in the wetsuit.  It's a total body work out doing beach entries.

Friday, September 7, 2012

National Sewing Month

September is National Sewing Month!

So the last two years (I think, but at least last year for sure), I celebrated by not buying ANY fabric during the month of September so I could focus solely on using the fabrics I had on hand.  The idea is to actually get some sewing done, instead of buying fabric and thinking I'm really going to get the project done.  You know what I mean!

So, here is one project I am going to start this month.  The Starry Eyed Quilt over at Moda Bake Shop but using Moda's Nature's Charm fabric.

I sure hope I can get the quilt top done this month so I can buy the backing and binding in October!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I finally got something done!

I know I'm busy but it seems like I never get anything done. However, this weekend I was able to finish up one small project.  As you read (hahaha) in my previous post, I had these quilt squares from the Crafty Girls weekend that we made (one each from Regena, Karen and Denise) that we swapped.

So, I dug through my stash to find some sashing, made up some make-do squares for corner stones out of the scrapes I had and came up with this little table runner.

I decided to do free-motion quilting - at which I'm still learning.  I crossed a few lines and got some points, but in the end it doesn't look too bad.




I know that last photo looks like it's wonky, but it's not in person, I just suck at photography.

I also, finally added the sashing and make the quilt sandwich of the scrap quilt I started way back when.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

I hate glue...

in all shapes and forms.  Now I know that spray bast for quilts is great stuff and all.  Up until this little gem of a quilt, all my projects have been relatively small.  The undertaking of spray basting this queen size quilt sandwich just about caused me to say "this ain't fun".

This is the spray bast I'm using.


Here is the first step, basting on the backing to the batting.


Yeah right, there were a few wrinkles I decided I'm OK WITH!


I'm sure the quilt police will tell me later on, that I'm gonna regret that, but they don't understand my true hate of glue, sticky substances on my hands...drives me insane.

I got it done, and only just wanted to drown my sorrows in a cool beer after rolling around on the driveway for an hour putting this together.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Shaking and a Grovin'

Over the weekend, the hubs and I attend the Grand Cru event.  It's a local charity event put on by Legal Aide.  There were over 1,000 wines tasted and some wonderful food from local restaurants and market.  We had a really nice evening at the downtown park, sipping some amazing wines.


Then early the next morning we headed over to the antique flea market, where I added not one, but two new pottery pitchers to my collection. The hubs was not thrilled.  However, this was the most fun thing I saw all day. It's a spider man pogo stick..hahahaha


I took a day off from work this week and this is pretty much what I did all day.

I'm playing swappy goodness with the girls again, this time it's Dresdens (YEAH) made out of this.


Someday when I have loads of spare time, I plan on sewing something with this stack of fat quarters.  Oh and the hubs has grounded me. So I should be home a lot more so maybe I can get caught up on my sewing.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Summer Summer Summer

I've had a very nice summer so far.  However, every now and then, I catch myself looking at sweaters and boots with a longing for fall. What a shame!

At the end of July, we had our 2nd Annual Chica's Weekend.  Denise of My Whittle Adventures and Regena of The Distracted Domestic drove down to visit with Karen of Sew Much 2 Luv and I.

 We saw some amazing quilts at the festival.  We also had several friends join us - Sam, Oma, and Marcia - it was a great day!


 We spent a day at the International Quilt Festival and a day sewing on our swap blocks.  We bought the charm packs last year at the IQF.



Then I had a business trip to Iowa and I found this little quilt shop that I had to stop in to see.  Found room in the suitcase for all my goodies.

Sam, recommended I visit Country Threads shop in Iowa when I was there, but it was too far, so I ordered online of course!.  I bought this quilt pattern called America's Quilt

Then yesterday, it was HOT, and I mean HOT for around our parts.  Too hot to garden or do much, so I stayed in and sewed. This is my version of the America's Quilt.  Earth tones, to go in our master bedroom.  Not so patriotic now, but in person the colors really do blend really well.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Not so much sewing going on lately

I've been so busy with work trips, working out with a trainer, Junior League and just keeping our house running somewhat smoothly that I just haven't had time for any fun stuff.

Last weekend, one of my co-workers invited me to visit the beach house his family rented for the week.  So I went down for a day and spent a long day at the Jersey shore with them.  The beach was so much easier than Southern California beaches, soft powdery sand, no 100 meter trek to get to the water and everyone was so friendly!  I love the dunes and salt grass.



I was able to get a nice long beach run in before I left for New York.


Every half hour or so, someone rings a bell to announce that the ice cream truck is there so you can walk up and get a water ice (their version of a sno-cone).


Then once I was in New York, we had a customer event for several days and one night we had a reception on the roof of the hotel and had these wonderful views.


You can see the new Freedom Tower 1 being built in that one.

One night we had a dinner cruise on the Hudson river and I was able to snap this shot of the US flag with Lady Liberty in the back ground.  Makes me proud to be an American.


Monday, June 18, 2012

I love finishing a project

The great nephew's quilt is finished.  The binding was a challenge, which is interesting, because usually it is the easiest part for me...Go Figure!

I do love this quilt and the hubs says it's the nicest one I've ever made.  I hope lil' Gaige likes it.

I know I was only able to finish it because I went to Karen's (from Sew Much 2 Luv) Sewing Day at her church on Saturday!  What a fun time with all the great ladies there - *wave* to Marcia!

Karen was retrofitting a bunch of dinosaurs while I was there.  Aren't they amazing?Untitled

A few weeks back, I went to Chicago and was able to visit this great beach.

Don't you just want to be there right now?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Living Life

one day at a time.  Sounds like an ol' country song, but lately, that's what I've been doing.  Work is busy, which is good.  Came in this morning to lovely bottle of wine on my desk.  I found out that it was carried back from Switzerland by one of my colleagues from one of our colleagues at our headquarters for me.! Score! The lady that sent it is one of the few female managers in our company, and someone I've always admired.  Over the years, I've taken her several different California wines to try and she sent me this one from Switzerland.


Over the weekend, the hubs was home and on Saturday he treated me to some tasty frozen drinks! nice nap afterwards too.  Not sure which one I needed more.


I say this little funny on Facebook and it really does sum up how I feel about things today.

Last week I went to Chicago for a meeting, and took a small road trip to the Lake.  What a lovely spot this was.  Nice end to a long a week and before flying back home.  It is Glencoe beach, Illinois.


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