Thursday, July 29, 2010

New Camera

I got a new camera.  Actually I've been wanting a new camera for awhile as my old one wasn't very good.  But the frugal person that I am was not about to put out any money for a camera when I already had a camera that worked (even if it didn't work great).  Lucky for me, I guess, my camera died and I absolutely could not go for long without a camera. I don't see pictures as extravagances, but rather as necessities.  So off to the store I went.  Since I don't really know anything about cameras and I have a limited budget, I took Paige along to help me.  She was very tactful explaining how she was looking for something "not too complicated" with a large viewing screen.  Thanks, Paige.  She is right that I'm not very savvy about technical stuff and even though I am somewhat capable, I am very impatient.  I want a camera for fun to snap all those cute pictures everywhere I look.  We won't go into the advantages of the larger viewing screen.  I get it and certainly don't need any age references to go along with either of those criteria.

Arriving  home with my cute new red camera, I start getting it all set up only to discover I need to go back to the store to get a memory card if I want to take more than 4 picutes, which of course I do.  Finally, it's ready, so I go around snapping pictures of things that make me smile.  I've got several of the dogs to see how fast the pictures took.  I experimented with the different settings to see which would allow the fish in the water to show up better.  I think I now have my basic easy settings that will be good for most of what I do.

The pictures make me smile. This one I posted shows I've got not one but two orchids blooming right now.  A miracle for sure!

So I love my camera, but I have a techy question.  It's taking a long time to upload the picture.  I know that has to do with the file size.  And I know the file size effects the quality of the picture and how many pictures my memory card can hold.  So, what numbers do I want for my image?  If anyone has an answer I can understand, that would be great.  Otherwise, I'll just keep snapping pictures the way it is for now.  Little kids are coming over for op!!!!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Experimental Quilting

Here's the result of my fist "Liberated" quilt.  Some people call them rule-breaking quilts.  It is a great creative outlet in that there is no set pattern to follow.  There are some guidelines which give me enough help to feel confident to experiment even more.  You will notice there are some traditional nine patch squares, but the bulk of the sections are a little wonky.  I loved moving the elements around trying for a balance of the colors and shapes.  I don't think it came out too bad.  Then, to top it off, I experimented with some non-structured machine quilting on the top.  There are swirls and x's and I tried a freehand leaf pattern twice and there's even a butterfly stitched into one space.  This quilt is far from perfect, but it was great for my creative spirit.  I want to thank Sophie from over at
for giving me my first taste of this freestyle block. I also want to thank Kate North for inspiring me with the wonderful Round Robin quilts she has been involved with the past year.  I've got ideas swimming in my head now, and I am excited again about quilting.  Wait until you see the pink flamingo fabric I picked up the other day.  WOW.  Such possibilities!

Friday, July 16, 2010

This Moment during this Heat Wave

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, join in over at Soule Mama

Monday, July 12, 2010


I can't imagine living my life without pets.  I have often been accused of living in a zoo, as the number of creatures sharing my household is usually at least double the number of humans, but I make no apologies for any of them.  I love them all, and they each add something to the household.

Today, we said goodbye to Dot, so I would like to indulge myself for a few minutes to remember the loving contribution she has made to my family over the years.  We first saw her as a tiny kitten some 17 years ago.  My oldest daughter brought her home.  We in no way needed an additional pet, but that's what I have said almost every time one has crossed our threshold.  She was a muted calico kitty that actually matched the sofa we had then.  My girls named her Dot, not because she had dots of color on her, but rather after the softball star Dot Richardson.

Starting life as Paige's kitty, she became Leann's kitty when Paige went to school, and then when Leann went to school, she became "officially" my kitty.  Dot was one of those elusive creatures who was very independent.  When she chose to sit with you it was very special. Her long hair was very soft and she would gently purr and generally just made you smile. She liked to play with water and would come into the bathroom when she saw you enter and meow at you until you turned the faucet on for her.  She calmly put up with the dogs, but was no where to be found when an unknown person entered the house.

All in all, she was a sweet, loving cat who enriched our lives for many many years.  She lived  a carefree, gentle life up until the last month when kidney failure caused her to rapidly go downhill. We will miss her.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

What's For Lunch?

The challenge of lunch at work has been something that I have struggled with for some time.  I used to just get a bagel everyday.  That was fairly frugal and not very fattening.  It was also not very nutritional and got really boring before long.  Next I tried taking my lunch, but I leave early in the morning when I work days and do not allow myself time to "pack" a lunch, so I have resorted to grabbing a yogurt and granola bar on my way out the door.  That's proven to be a little bit healthier, and not too expensive.  It still gets boring, and on the days I work at night, it is definitely not filling enough.

Enter the laptop lunch box system.
I noticed it in a book that a co-worker had and had never heard of it before, although apparently it's been around for awhile.  I went to check it out on the Internet.  It's an interesting system, in that there are several small containers that fit neatly like a puzzle into a larger container, which then fits snuggly into an insulated bag with an ice pack and water bottle.  The system renewed my excitement for trying to make better lunches and I was thrilled with all the color choices too. It's promoted as "greener" and encouraging healthier lunches for school. Another plus of the laptop lunch system is that it comes with a book of suggested lunch stuff.  There's even a weekly newsletter with ideas and pictures of  lunches, all neatly packed in the little boxes.

The only drawback for me is the price.  That's when I have to weigh the options. Would investing in this type of "system" give me the assistance or motivation I need to actually prepare the kind of lunches I want to take?  I would still have to prepare the pieces in advance, so I could just grab stuff and go in the morning.  I understand how these would be popular with the school lunch crowd as it all matches and comes in great colors.   But, would plain old plastic mix and match containers work as well for me?

For now, I think I'll go fill all the little containers I can find with an assortment of lunch stuff and put them in one of the crisper drawers of the refrigerator.  We'll see how it goes and whether color coordinating is needed.

Friday, July 9, 2010

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, join in over at 

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Stay at Home Robin

A few days ago, I told you about my search for creative quilting motivation and my discovery of the
  Well, another thing I had explored was the making of Round Robin quilts.  Basically, you started a quilt and then it was passed along to others in your group, each of whom added a border or whatever the instructions called for.  I don't really have a circle of quilting friends to do that, but I then I found

They had done round robins, but of a non-traditional type.  The results were fabulous art quilts that were small wall hangings.  I loved them!  In July, Kate started a Stay at Home Robin, where you would do each of the steps yourself.  I thought that was a wonderful way to "test the waters" so to speak.

I picked a sort of theme.....the Prairie.  I found some fabric from my stash and picked up a couple of fat quarters that amused me.  I have a few visual ideas and even some quotes floating around in my head.  Since I don't know where we are going with this, I don't know which of those elements I'll actually end up using and I'm sure I'll think of tons more along the way. Then I was ready to make my first block.

Here it is: a 6 inch block that roughly mimics the Prairie Style stained glass of Frank Lloyd Wright.  It's done scrappy with batiks and creams.  I'd say I love it, but the perfectionist in me seldom "loves" anything of the artwork I do.  I think it's an okay start.  I've already thought of how I could have done it differently, but I'm just going to relax and see where this project takes me.

 The only problem I have now, is the next step isn't until next month.

Friday, July 2, 2010

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, join in over at SouleMama.

Liberated Quilting

I will probably always be a beginner quilter.  I don't have the patience to do the exacting work of the truly talented quilters.  I do enjoy piecing quilts together, but I get tired of doing the same block over and over again. So I'm always looking for quilts that fit my short attention span.  I like samplers as the blocks are different.  I like scrappy quilts as the materials are different.  I like mystery quilts as I don't know how they are going to end up until they are finished.  I do mostly smaller sized quilts that I can hopefully finish before my interest fades.

Now, I've found a new group that is right up my alley.  It is Block Lotto.  First of all, I can make as few as one block to be included. If I'm only making a few blocks, I can probably use leftover material I already have.  That makes the price right.  Then, each block is a "chance" to win. Winning is always exciting.  What you win are enough blocks to make a whole quilt mailed to you from other Lotto contributors. How many winners is determined by how many blocks are made.  How fun is that?  Then to top it all off, the last several block patterns have been "liberated" patterns.  That means there isn't an exact pattern, just the process to make the block, so while all the blocks are the same, they are also all different.  The idea of uniqueness for every block really suits me.

I'm excited about my first four "fireworks" blocks.  Wish me luck.  I might end up with a whole quilt of these little abstract sparklers, and if not me, then someone who will love them, I'm sure.