Friday, August 30, 2013

World Peace

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Puppy
I have found the key to world peace.  It's really quite simple.  I can sum it up in one word.....


Yes.  It's really that simple.  If everyone had a puppy (or a kitten!) of their own to love and snuggle and kiss and squeeze I think the world would be a much happier place.  Puppies have a kind of magic about them that can't be described.  It's just not possible to be upset when you're looking at this.....
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy
My little Baxter Boo Boo, Nugget, Snuggly Nuggs, Pudding Pup continues to be full of sweetness, curiosity, innocence and pure joy. 

He's growing up soooo fast.  His paws are huge.  His legs are long.  He's actually doubled in size in the two months he's been in our family!  His sweet and soft Cavalier "fluff" is starting to come in. And he is now able to jump up onto the sofa or the bed effortlessly!  This is an accomplishment that fills my heart with both pride and fear.....just think of all the new trouble he can get into now when I'm not looking!

His days are full of chasing butterflies and splashing in puddles and napping in the sunshine...
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy
I think he dreams of rainbows and unicorns and gumdrops and candy canes and seas of lollipops.

And ohhhh....the look on his face when he's about to get a's almost too much to take!  It's a mixture of joy and anticipation and wonder and amazement that something so magical is about to happen!

There's so much to learn from this little guy.  Take delight in simple pleasures.  Nap when you're tired.  If you're happy about something, don't hold back.  Never postpone joy.  Greet people with enthusiasm.  Live life to the fullest and enjoy every second of it!  Be so awesome that the world is a better place just because you're in it!

Hugs from me and puppy kisses from Baxter,

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Work In Progress Wednesday - Hexieaholic

I think I am now addicted to hexies.  I am a hexieaholic.  And I need a hexievention.  I finished up the rest of my hexie flowers as I was lounging on the sofa over the weekend recovering from my 20 mile run.......
Hexie quilt made from Lakehouse and Susan Branch quilting fabric
Yeah.....I just had to casually slip it in there that I ran 20 miles on Saturday.  Anyway.....I was actually kind of sad when I finished my hexie flowers....I was not sad when I finished my 20 mile run....but I was sad when I finished my hexies.  Soooooo, it should come as no surprise that I decided to take my quilt in the all hexie direction instead of the applique direction.....
35 white hexies down.....only 88 to go!  Yup.....that's 123 white hexies needed to finish this little hexie quilt.  I can't even imagine the mind-numbing amount of hexies that would be required for a full size bed quilt!  Eeek!
Quilt made from Lakehouse and Susan Branch fabrics
I decided to replace the "loud" lavender and yellow hexie I made last week with the "quieter" new lavender and yellow hexie in the bottom left corner.  I think the rejected hexie will get over it, don't you?  And fortunately after I arranged....and rearranged....and rearranged.....and found the perfect layout.....I was smart enough to snap a photo before this happened.....
Hexie quilt made from Lakehouse and Susan Branch fabrics and Bailey the orange tabby
Seriously!  What is it with cats and quilts???!!!  If I'm not able to make anymore progress on this quilt before next Wednesday it's simply because I was too scared to move the cat!  Law #1 of Kittydom:  You may never disturb a contented cat!

Happy Sewing,

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Work In Progress Wednesday - Hexie Happiness

Oh, how I love making these hexies!  They go together quickly.....they require very little brain power....they only require small bits and pieces of fabrics so you can cut into your favorite fabrics that you've been hoarding forever without panicking too much.....and they look oh so pretty when they're all piled up together!

I added two new hexies to the pile last night but I'm just not sure about the yellow floral one.....
Pink, green, yellow, aqua, periwinkle hexie quilt
I think the flowers on the yellow one look a little loud and out of place next to the other hexies....
pink, green, yellow, aqua, lavender hexie quilt
Here's the same pile of Hexie Happiness without the yellow floral one....
pink, green, yellow, aqua, periwinkle hexie quilt
What do you think?  It's better without the loud yellow floral one, isn't it? I need to make a new yellow and lavender hexie, don't I?  I hope I don't offend the yellow floral hexie if I don't let it into the quilt (yes - I really do worry about the feeling of inanimate objects)!  Maybe I should just applique it onto the back so it doesn't feel left out???

And here's my other Hexie million dollar question.....

Should I make a bazillion white hexies to go in between the hexie flowers?  It will take a LONG time.....and for some reason it's sooo boring to make white hexies even though it's the exact same process as making colorful hexies....but that would make it a TRUE hexie quilt!

OR......should I just applique the hexies onto a white background and save myself a ton of time.  Is that hexie cheating?  What do you think?

Happy Sewing,

P.S.  I'm using these pre-cut 1" hexagons to do my English Paper Piecing.

P.S. #2
This week's stats:
Active WIPs:  UP TO 8!  What is wrong with me?!  Why don't I ever just finish one project before I start a new one!!!  I need an intervention!!!
Must Make:  14
Back Burner WIPs:  4
Ready To Go: 12
New Projects:  None
Forgotten/Abandoned Projects:  None!

Monday, August 19, 2013

A Whole Lot Of Nothing

Hexagons for quilt
Staycation August 2013 has come and gone.....sigh.....and I'm not embarrassed to admit that I spent most of my time doing a whole lot nothing.  I had made a list of all of the fun things I could work on during my five days off......all of my quilts in progress, my dollhouses, Illustrator class, books, magazines, etc.....I had big plans to do lots and lots of fun stuff......and I didn't do a single thing on that list.  But that's the good thing about Staycation.....there are no rules!  You just do whatever you feel like doing.   And I felt like doing nothing.  

I spent most of my time bonding with my sofa and Netflix marathons - Continuum and Roswell are pretty good shows if you ask me!  And just in case you aren't familiar with them, Continuum is a fairly new, smart, interesting sci-fi crime show.  And Roswell is an older show that's a sci-fi teen romance/drama that is more of a guilty pleasure than high quality entertainment.  And what is it about these t.v. shows on Netflix streaming.....once I find a new show I like I have no restraint and I CAN'T stop myself from watching episode after episode after episode.  I need an intervention! 

I actually pulled myself off of the sofa and "ran" 18 miles on Saturday.  And by "run" I mean that when I started my "run" it was in the 80s and I was actually running but by the time I was halfway done it had soared into the 90s and it was 97 degrees by the time I was done.  Ouch!  So by the second half of my "run" there was a lot more walking than running going on but I DIDN'T STOP!  And just in case you're wondering......marathon training isn't easy!  Especially not in central California during a summertime heat wave!

By Sunday afternoon I was finally itching to do something crafty!  I wanted to do something very simple that didn't require frequent trips to the ironing board, constantly having to look at directions and something with little room for making mistakes because the seam ripper had the weekend off.  Under normal circumstances I would have whipped out one of my quilts that I'm in the middle of hand's the perfect mindless activity to occupy bored fingers......but it's way too hot out to even think about having a quilt on my lap to hand tie. 

So I started making some hexies instead with no plan of where I was going with this new project.  I just whipped out some of my prettiest fabrics in my favorite color palette of pink, green, aqua, periwinkle and yellow and started making hexies.  I thought I might make two or three......but as you can see there are seven.  So I feel pretty obligated to actually do something with these and turn them into something cute.  I'm thinking I might make a small, 12 hexie wall hanging for my office.  What do you think?  Any idea for what to do with the hexies?

So now it's back to reality until my next Staycation in October!

Happy Sewing,

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Staycation 2013!!!

Baxter the Sew Fabulous Quilt Shop mascot
So this is Baxter doing his best interpretation of what the next five days will be like.....

My first Staycation of the year starts in just a few hours and I. CAN'T. WAIT!  I soooooo need this!

It will be day after day of sleeping late......eating whatever I want guilt free (cake for dinner.....why not?!).....sipping on wine or champagne minis whenever I feel like it......working on dollhouses.....sewing......baking......watching t.v. show marathons on Netflix.....soaking in the hot tub.....running......snuggling with the fur babies.....reading magazines.....diving into some online classes I haven't made time for yet......mentally checking out.....or maybe just doing nothing.  No chores.  No errands.  No stress.  Just relaxation and fun.

And yeah.....I decided to throw in Wednesday as an extra Staycation day and don't be surprised if I take Monday too!


Friday, August 9, 2013

Aunt Jenny

My niece Aurora Maria
A few random updates and thoughts from my week.....

-I am now Auntie Jenny!  My brother and sister-in-law welcomed little baby Aurora into the world on Wednesday, August 7.  I'm not one who normally gushes over babies......I know, I know - that's a terrible thing to confess......especially since I enthusiastically gush over puppies and kittens.....but I have to say......this baby is quite obviously the smartest, sweetest, prettiest, most perfect little girl in the world.  And I'm certainly not biased at all!

-We took the fur babies to Yosemite on Sunday.  Col Sew Fab and the "kids" LOVED it!  Me.....not so much.  I guess that's another terrible confession.  I do not like national parks.  I just don't get it.  There's a lot of dirt and some trees and some rivers full of rocks.  What's the big deal?  Please forgive me if you LOVE national parks!  Maybe next time we'll take a bottle of wine and some nice snacks and we can turn it into more of a "glamping" day trip!
So excited to arrive at Yosemite!
So exhausted after the trip to Yosemite!
-I have been feeling sooooo run down all week with a bit of a scratchy throat and a mild headache that just won't go away.  All week I've felt like I'm about to come down with a terrible cold but I just continue to teeter on the edge....

-On a related note, I'm postponing my 18 mile run that I was supposed to do tomorrow until next weekend.  I'm guessing that if I'm "teetering" on the edge of a cold and I go out and try to run 18 miles.....well.....I'm pretty sure I'll end up in "full sickness mode" and not just "teetering on the edge of sickness mode."

-I'm taking a MUCH needed Staycation next week!  I was in desperate need of a Staycation right before I found out we were moving in April and I never got one.  So you can just imagine how much I need one now!  Just a few days to rest, relax and re-group - sounds heavenly doesn't it?!  I was planning on doing my usual Thursday to Sunday Staycation....but I'm seriously tempted to throw in Wednesday too.  The extra day will be kind of like the interest payment on the missed Staycation in April, right?!  And the world is most likely not going to fall apart if I take an extra day off, right?  Hmmm....what do you think?

-Emma is doing GREAT since her horrible health scare!  She sends lots of thanks and licks and hugs to everyone for all of the moral support and happy thoughts and prayers that came her way!

-I've made NO progress on any sewing projects this week.....the whole "teetering on the edge of a cold" thing will really slow a girl down!

Aunt Jenny

P.S.  Sammy went to Yosemite too!  I just didn't get her in any of the pics.

Monday, August 5, 2013

16 Miles

Marathon training
Runners are annoying.  And for that I apologize.  It doesn't mean that I'm going to stop be just means that I recognize that I'm annoying......and I'm really sorry about that!

We're obsessed with times and stats and numbers and we never miss an opportunity to tell anyone who will listen about our latest "Personal Best."  And really.....only other runners or immediate family members and best friends would find any of this even remotely interesting. 

But I'm super excited about something that I just did so I have to be annoying and share it with you guys.  I just finished up Week 5 of marathon training.  And there was a 16 mile run at the end of the week (there's always a long run on Saturdays on the training plan I'm following).  Ummmm......SCARY!!!  The furthest I've ever ran before is 14 miles and I've only done that twice and it was sooooo hard.  

So, I was hoping to do my 16 mile run in under 3:30.  I was basing this guestimate on my average pace from my previous long runs.  And I would have been really happy had I done it in under 3:15.  And I would have been shocked and thrilled had I done it in 3:00.  But do you see that time up there.......YEAH......that says 2:50!  Knock me over with a feather! probably could have knocked me over with a feather after I ran 16 miles at a fast pace in summer in central California!  But it was sooooo worth it!  I loved every minute of it!  I even forgot to stop running after I hit the stopwatch button at 16 miles!!!

And to think that a year ago I thought a 5 mile run was really long and I was hoping that one day I'd be able to run 10 miles!  Soooo you dear, sweet, fabulous, talented, amazing person.....yes I'm talking to YOU......whatever thing you're thinking of doing and you're not quite sure you can do me.....YOU CAN! 

And I'm starting to wonder if this whole numbers obsession is going to flow over into my quilting life now.  Am I going to start saying things like...."it took me 55 minutes to make that last Madhuri quilt block.....I need to do the next one in 52 minutes!"  And will I start going around asking people what their "Personal Best" time is for making a Swoon Quilt Block?  Or what's the longest time they've ever sewn without taking a break???

Soooo......what cool thing have you done recently?  I'd love to hear about your latest accomplishment no matter how big or small.  Even if it's just that you remembered to put the clothes in the dryer right after the washer finished it's cycle!  Because around here.....that's a big accomplishment too!


P.S.  Next Saturday.....18 miles!  

P.S. #2 - Did you see the best part of the picture?  Go back....take another look.....I didn't realize Baxter and Emma were fighting over a stuffed pink pig in the background when I took the picture!

P.S. #3 - My training plan is the Runner's World First Timer's Marathon Training Plan.  It's 16 weeks long and I have medium length runs on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, long runs on Saturdays, short runs on Sundays and rest or cross training days on Monday and Friday.

Friday, August 2, 2013

What A Week!

Emma the Sew Fabulous Quilt Shop mascot
Emma had been acting a bit off lately....nothing too serious....just a bit off.  I'm not going to bore you with all of the medical details.....well.....I'm not going to bore you with them in the main part of the post.....I'll put those in a P.S. at the bottom for those who are interested.  Anyway, after some routine tests and being looked over by several vets (one of those vets being ME!) and then the arrival of some scary new symptoms over the weekend and the report of a radiologist it was looking more and more like she had splenic Golden Retriever Max died of splenic cancer three years ago....and if you've ever been unfortunate enough to also have a dog with splenic cancer you know just how horrible this disease is.  For two days we were pretty convinced that she had the Big C.

Head getting spinning.....eyes filling with tears.....

I immediately made an appointment with an internist who only comes to town once every other week and he happened to be in town on the exact day I needed him!  I kept looking for signs that this was another "Daisyism" but I never found any.....but I'm still going to assume it was Daisy's doing!  But wait.....the internist's last name is Bianco....and Bianco means white.....and Daisies are white.....and I'm really reaching here, aren't I?!

After he saw her and sent off about a million blood tests he said the sweetest words I've ever heard...

"I think we're dealing with something treatable here."  

And he's Italian so his wonderful accent made this news sound even more fabulous! 

All the tests came back at the end of the week and it looks like she MIGHT have a MILD clotting disorder.  So basically if she ever gets a cut I'll need to apply pressure for a little bit longer than normal.  I can TOTALLY live with that!

I collapsed into an exhausted puddle of goo on the sofa after things started looking up.  It's amazing how much a stressful situation can drain you of all your energy!  And after three rounds of blood tests, two turns on the x-ray table, two turns on the ultrasound table and three long vet visits Emma was exhausted too!  But I dragged myself off of the sofa when a delivery person rang the doorbell.

I grabbed Baxter before I opened the door and stepped outside because that little nugget likes to sneak out and run into the street (BAD habit) when the front door is opened so I always have my hands on him when I open the front door.  After I signed for the package I turned around to let myself back in the house and it was LOCKED!  In her enthusiasm over the doorbell Sammy jumped up on the door and LOCKED ME OUT!


I had no phone.  No computer.  No keys.  Nothing but a puppy.  And a package that wasn't even mine.  It was sent to our house by mistake.  Talk about adding insult to injury!

Bax and I went into our fenced in backyard and I tried desperately to pick the locks but it didn't work.  I looked for any open windows but I'm OCD about keeping doors and windows locked so that was a big fat FAIL.  I did find a sledge hammer.....and I was sooooo tempted......but I didn't use it.  Finally I realized I was stuck until Col. Sew Fab got home from work......FIVE HOURS LATER.

I foraged and hunted in the garage and found all sorts of "survival supplies" - a tupperware container marked "Nails" that I used as a water bowl for Baxter.......a box of magazines that hadn't been unpacked yet......and a nasty bottle of Rum which I bookmarked in the back of my mind just in case of "emergency."  And when I got hungry I remembered that we had grapevines in our backyard and I "harvested" a snack for myself.

I felt like some sort of MacGyver-esque, elite survivalist because I manage to survive for five whole hours in my backyard without air conditioning, electronics or a kitchen full of food.  Aren't ya proud of me?!

And to top off my week I have a 16 mile run on my marathon training plan scheduled for tomorrow.  Eeeeek! Wish me luck!  Pray for me!  Help!!!

Sooooo........"exhausting" is the word I'd use to sum up my week!  How's your week going?


P.S.  Here are Emma's symptoms and a pinch of medical info for those who are interested.  At first I noticed she was kind of lethargic and weak and grumpy.  Then I discovered that she has a heart murmur.  Then we found that she has low platelets (necessary for clotting).  Then after she had her blood taken for the first round of tests she developed a massively huge dark purple and red bruise that covered her whole chest and you could feel squishiness under the bruise - that's when I became VERY concerned.  A hematoma is common after blood tests but this was much, MUCH more than a hematoma.  Then the radiologist thought her spleen looked big on the x-ray - that's when I started to PANIC. 

But heart murmurs and low platelets are very common in Cavaliers so those were probably incidental findings.  And her heart murmur is very mild so we won't worry too much about that right now.  And the lethargy and weakness could have been due to the heat and the stress of a new puppy and the exhaustion of moving.  Or perhaps she picked up a bug of some sort.  The internist determined that her spleen was not enlarged on further, more accurate tests.  And the frighteningly large bruise was most likely due to the mild clotting disorder that she might have and not due to the big C.  Time to pop the champagne and celebrate!