Monday, December 29, 2008

Stash Busting

Here it is December 29 and I am going to join a group of other quilters who are pledging to try to use up some of the fabric we own. I have lots of fabric, lots of UFO's and hopefully this coming year a plan to turn the fabric and UFO's into finished projects.

I don't buy much fabric anymore, but I still have fabric from when I owned a LQS 6 years ago. Some of it will be used only on backs of quilts, or as ironing board covers, but I also have enough to make some nice quilts.

My UFO's were mostly created when I was teaching quilting. I would start a project so I could teach a technique. When I learned how to use EQ4 I started some more projects just so I could be sure the program was was, but then they became UFO's. I also took classes or would try everything new, rulers, methods, covered boxes, fabric boxes and so on. I have many projects that just need to be quilted, labeled and bound. Some are queen size, but most are smaller. Some are just 2 feet square! So these are my goals for the year 2009.

Finish one UFO each month. Now that is only 12 UFO's! I can do that.

I also need to please my dear husband and whittle down my stash, so I plan to use 100 yards of fabric. This does not include any fabrics sent to me to do special orders or to create samples for fabric companies.

Along this same line I am creating a goal to have 5 quilt new patterns at each quilt market. Quilt Women. com will be publishing most of these patterns. That means I have deadlines to meet. The first one if February 1, 2009. I have the patterns pretty well written, and most tested. One sample is completed except for the special label. Two are to the quilting stage and two are cut out. Making quilts to create new pattern are also using up some of my stash, so I can count them two ways!

So I guess I better get busy!



Subtitle: Donut Hole

Now I know all about donut holes, I can make them, I can eat them and I know how guilty one can feel if donut holes are a regular part of a diet. The donut hole I want to talk about today is the one that those on Medicare Part D can fall into. Well this isn't a real hole, but it can feel like it when one experiences it when not prepared to be there.

My Dad asked me to order and pick up some medicine for him today. He knows about the donut hole and thought he had enough information to know that he would not be a victim of the hole that requires the purchaser to pay for the entire amount of the medicine. Wrong! He became a victim today of this "loop hole" The reason it is called a hole is because you drop into the hole at a certain point with the total costs of your medicine (insurance and the price you pay) reaches a certain point for the year. This year it is $2510. The nice thing is you can also work you way out of the hole by spending more money on medicines and some other things. The bad part about this was he bought medicine today that he didn't really need until after the first when a new "donut hole" starts. So today he paid $96.69 for medicines when he normally pays $37.00.

The lesson learned here is beginning Jan 1, 2009 when the medicines are bought I will record not only how much he is paying out of his pocket, but how much the insurance company is paying. That way maybe we can avoid this mistake next year.

What is sad about all of this is that as we age things should become simpler, but NO, they are more complicated! Those who care for the elderly or must deal with the elderly on a daily basis must be able to explain why things if we don't have enough to worry about in just dealing with the other everyday things.

Well that is my complaint for today!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Shoes

Tonight, Christmas Eve, I watched the movie "Christmas Shoes". I wanted to watch it because Kimberly Williams-Paisley was in the movie. Bill knows how much I like her as an actress and also as the wife of one of my favorite country music stars Brad Paisley. I actually liked her the first time I saw her act in "According to Jim". Well back to the movie. It is not a new movie, but it was new to me. I was glad Bill went to sleep as I cried for almost an hour watching what she and her movie "family" had to endure during what should have been a time of Christmas Joy. I won't tell you what happened in the movie, but it touched me making me sad and happy at the same time. I am an emotional person, so for me to cry while watching a movie is not unusual.

I do want to share something about the movie. It took place in a small town. The size of the town really isn't that important, but what is in my mind is the way every person has an affect on those that we meet in our daily lives.

I know that I have hurt people in my life, but that usually happened when I could no longer tolerate how I or others were being treated by that person or I am just tired and frustrated. I am sure I have hurt others and had not idea that I inflicted any pain. That sometimes is just a part of life. I also know that I have helped many people. Some people I have helped it was very obvious to me that I was helping them, by teaching them a skill, doing something for them or giving them something they needed or I thought they would like to own. Some ways everyone can help others is to give a helping hand, a thank you, an I'm thinking of you, a "if you need me give me a call" and really mean it or just listening.

I remember when a friend of mine husband passed away. I really didn't have the means to send flowers or any of the usual things people do for others at a death. What I did was a few days after the funeral I sent her a personal note and just expressed how sorry I was for her, but I also included in the note "if you want to talk just call me or stop by to see me". She has told me over and over how much she appreciated my offer and she did take me up on that offer on more then one occasion. Our lives have both changed, so we don't see much of each other now, but we always give each other a hug and a warm greeting when our paths cross.

Recently Bill and I have made several new friends. The sad part of these new friendships, and maybe our age in general, is they or someone they love are ill and some near death.

We met a man who was in his 90's and he was sharp as a tack. He looked like a picture of health. As we talked more and more with him he shared with us that his health was not as good as he looked. He had multiple heart attacks, the type that the only help was medication. The medication and age lead to kidney failure and soon after that death. He shared with us things about living so many years and answered many questions we had about the depression and how our nation has changed.

Others we have met recently shared the changes in our local area. Since the town we shop in has a university and has been named several times as a good place to live we meet people from everywhere. Bill and I do not judge people by the way they look, color, how much money they have or don't have, education or where they are from originally. Basically we like people and give most everyone a chance. The one thing we don't tolerate are those who don't accept others as equals. We try our best to give everyone a chance. Some become friends, others we tolerate and a few we just try to avoid. I'm sure the reverse is also true about us to others.

We heard a story today about a lady I have known for years. She was a quilter, teacher and used to have a memory that always amazed me. We were talking with her husband and now caretaker. She is suffering from Alzheimer's. She seems to be very active at night. Last night she was wanting to go home. She told her husband that she had a job and needed to get home. He could not convince her that she was at home. She packed a small bag and went to the door using her wheel chair. He was near her, but did not try to stop her. I thought he did a really smart thing by opening the garage door. It was a cold, rainy night last night. She got a feel of the out door conditions and decided to leave some other time. At 5:00am she went to sleep. I hope it helps him that Bill and I listen to his adventures with his wife.

I want to thank my friends who have been here for me. Some who are relatives, some live close and others live a long way from us. Others I have never met in person, but still have shared much of my life, feelings and thoughts.

Merry Christmas and love to all,

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dad's 82nd Birthday

Today my Dad celebrated his 82nd birthday. He has decided to grow a beard because it is too hard for him to see in the mirror to shave and he also has a bit of a balance problem. Bill and I have both said we would shave him if he wanted to be shaved, but thank goodness he said "No". He is sporting about 6 weeks of growth and has passed the itching stage, so I think it is there to stay. I like beards, so his is fine with me.

I made Dad his favorite Date Nut Cake. I wish I had bought the dates before yesterday, but I didn't. So I was up early this morning making the cake. I wanted it to sit as long as it could, because it gets better with age. I had a half piece at dinner. It was not as good as it will be tomorrow, but it was good. This recipe was a favorite of my Grandmother's and it is really easy to make. (Today the dates are already pitted and dusted with flour so they are not sticky. I hated pitting the dates when I was little as my hands would get sooooooo sticky.)

Here is the recipe.

Grandma Smith's Datenut Cake

1 to 1 1/2 cups chopped dates
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/4 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
3 1/2 cups flour
1 t baking powder
1 t vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Place dates in a small bowl. Sprinkle with baking soda and pour boiling water over the dates and soda. Set aside to cool. In mixing bowl cream sugar and shortening, I mix by hand, but you can use a mixer. Add eggs then alternate flour and baking powder with the date mixture stirring after each addition. Add vanilla and chopped nuts. This is a very thick mixture.

Grease and flour two loaf pans then put half of the mixture into each pan. Place in oven and bake about 45 minute. Check to see if each loaf is done by sticking a wooden toothpick into the center. The loaf is done if toothpick come out clean. Turn each loaf out onto cooling rack and cool for at least 1/2 hour. Wrap each loaf well or place in plastic bag and seal. I freeze one for later and we eat one.

Dad likes his with whipping cream. I like mine plain or with cream cheese. I also enjoy just butter. A sandwich made with date nut cake and cream cheese served with a cup of hot tea is one of my favorites this time of year!


Friday, December 12, 2008

I Feel Special!

Today Bill gave me a beautiful arrangement of roses. He took me into town today and I went to visit a friend. When he came to pick me up in the restaurant we were eating at he was carrying a dozen roses. They are at the perfect stage of opening. My camera doesn't take the best pictures...or maybe it is just me who doesn't take good pictures, but aren't they pretty! I tried to take a closeup of one of the flowers so you can see the variation in color in each petal, so excuse the blurriness. My friend JoAnn and I did some sewing at her home before we went out to eat. Seams like we always have something to talk about. We were both doing the blanket stitch and I was glad to see she had a book out with instructions. I forget how to start the blanket stitch because I only work on this project when I am away from home. So it was nice to have a guide.

We are just having pizza for dinner this evening, so I don't need to rush around cooking today. I think I will get out a pie I made earlier this year and put it in the oven. That way the oven will be nice and warm when it is time to put in the pizza. A pie will make Dad happy. Better go get the pie in the oven, or it will not be done in time for dinner.


Monday, December 8, 2008

Still not done!

The house being in total disarray is driving me crazy. We thought we would get all the trim down last week, but that did not happen. I had a DR's appointment, which meant going into town another day for blood test.(Everything is OK.) Then we changed our mind about how and what trim we were going to put down. The weather also was not nice enough to paint outside and still isn't so we decided to get drop clothes and paint inside. That said, everything must be cut first, then the room cleaned so we can paint. If it was not one thing it was another. Today I am taking Mom and Dad both to the DR for their exams. I don't expect anything unusual, but that will still take up the whole day.

Here it is 3:30 am and I am awake. I really want to sew, but I don't know where I can sew. I think I will just stack some stuff a little higher so I can sew. No I need to go back to sleep.

This coming year I am going to keep track of how many yards of fabric I sew into something. My goal is to lower my stash. I have been using mainly from my stash, except for what I make for the fabric company, but I have also added to my stash.
My goal is to use more fabric then I bring into the house. I will be posting my results.

As I look back this year I know I have things I have not finished. I still need a purse, a baby quilt still needs to be quilted and several other projects started need to be finished. I am going to have a special place to keep these projects so they will be in full view each time I am in the sewing studio. They must be finished early in the year.

I am getting off the computer now, because the cat is making too much noise playing. I don't want him to wake up if that will happen. Bill is a sound sleeper.