Archive for the ‘relaxation’ Category

Another Smaller Piece – Yes, Tim Gunn, I edited…..

So after looking at the last table runner, I decided last minute to do a small table-topper for the son of a good friend – the one who is getting the table runner. Since he is in a doctoral program in marine biology, I decided to finally use the small lighthouse batik squares I had gotten maybe 10 years ago. First thing I discovered – Keepsake Quilting, not your finest cutting…..all the “squares were different rectangular sizes, which made squaring them off a bit difficult (especially since I didn’t do that first step – only the second step). And only a few of the nine lighthouses actually were straight……

I kept wondering how I would quilt this, since the focus would be the lighthouses. I chose a border fabric that reminded me of Cape Cod cottages, so them the focal point was the lighthouse and the “sea-side-y” shingles. All I did was quilt in the ditch – anything else would have detracted from the design. Three hours later I was done – from layout to quilting to binding. Part of me was feeling guilty for the lack of fancy quilting, but hey, the piece didn’t need it, and I’m not sure the recipient would have appreciated the extra work. I like it and that’s what matters – it can go on the wall in an office or across a desk or small table. So lesson here – not everything needs to be complex to look good (and…..check the “squares” before starting)…..

For the Marine Biologist

For the Marine Biologist

 

Baby Quilt Completed!!

In November I got a package of 8-inch squares from my maid of honor of many years ago. Her daughter was now pregnant, and could I take her work at put it together? I remember Shelby starting these squares the first time we made it back to Vermont in 16 years. Anything for my friend of oh-so-many years!

Kathy and I go way back – and I have promised many times to keep some of our more interesting escapades from her three children (which means a WHOLE LOT of interesting stories are sealed). But I think taking me in the Big Bird costume we built for our play stuffed in the front of my VW for Halloween dinner at KFC is probably pretty harmless. Oh, if only we had digital cameras then……a moment in history gone forever……(and that chicken wire frame did a lot of poking…..)

So on Tuesday I finished the quilt, took pictures, packed it, and shipped it off, where it should be arriving today, two weeks ahead of the baby shower. Here she be –

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Shelby wanted an ocean theme, so the blue is an underwater scene, left over from another quilt project. Love this fabric, and in the light it is even more gorgeous. The border is a stencil of fish, and the two empty blocks (which is the only thing I would revisit if I were to do this again) is some free-motion quilting in a blue Fantastico from Superior Threads.

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So much fun to do!! Now for the next quilt in line, for my yoga instructor…gotta get it done while it’s still cold enough to use!

Reflections on 2014

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First, I have finally realized, after nearly three years of yoga, that if you seriously approach a daily practice, you will see results. After two-plus years of farting around with yoga, I started to fight through the depression this fall and discovered that I was firming up, getting stronger, and seeing progress. Now I’m doing a daily practice of movement and then trying to incorporate some restorative yoga in the evening before bed. What a difference it is making in how I feel – and the fewer number of times I need to go to the chiropractor! My yoga instructor has been a blessing.

Second, better living through chemistry. After being convinced my depression was something else, like a whacked-out thyroid, I broke down and when to the psychiatric nurse-practitioner. My OB nurse practitioner and my endocrinologist wouldn’t give me a new prescription. In talking with him about the various meds I’d been on, turns out none of them were really a therapeutic dose – which is what happens when you don’t use someone trained in treating depression. I cannot get over how much better I feel – physically, emotionally, mentally.

Third, I don’t need lists, and I don’t need to prove anything to anyone. As an obsessive list-maker, I would brain-dump on a regular basis and then try and get as much accomplished as I could. Don’t sweat the small stuff, and so much of it was small stuff. What needs to get done does get done. I’m not holding myself to all kinds of goals like in the past. My days are settling into a very nice pattern of yoga, quilting, designing, and writing. I am content, which is a feeling that takes some getting used to.

Fourth, I will keep writing, whether it be the blog or essays or continuing with my series of novels. I’ve learned that writing fiction – and the editing process – is much different from nonfiction. I like pulling all plot pieces together, and it is my way of dealing with all the craziness in the country. Since I joined a weekly writer’s group – whose sole purpose is to write for two hours – I have realized just how productive I can be. While I’m looking forward to joining a critique group in Vermont, I see the need for a “writing for the sake of writing” group.

Fifth, I did enjoy the math consulting. It still pisses me off that people running that business didn’t do what needed to be done, like training new people and doing the needed marketing. I realized I don’t want to do much more than the occasional part-time gig in consulting, because I miss not having my time to myself. The first 4 months of the year were tough, as my projects got put on hold (I STILL don’t have the seasons pattern finished). I will look for more math tutoring in Vermont, but I won’t overdo it.

Sixth, I battled with my body for control of my health. This will be a continuing battle for me, but the cosmic two-by-four finally made a dent when it comes to losing the weight – pneumonia a second time, stomach issues, bad knees, torn ligaments – and a lot of these related to what I was and wasn’t eating. Health is my word for next year. Now that the mind is in better shape, the body is following behind. And the more yoga I do, the more I realize how much I need to do, if I am going to take care of my knees.

Seventh, I need to make a difference, one person at a time. So many little gestures to others this year made me realize I can influence another person’s day, and hopefully I can continue to make those little gestures that will help on a global level.

Good bye 2014 – you’ve been interesting!

Works in Progress…

More Geckos

More Geckos

…and there are a lot! Four quilts lined up, including the one you’ll see pictures of here.

We have a really great friend here in Tucson, and several years ago I made her a lap quilt as a birthday present. Trouble was, she can’t get completely covered under it when she wants to take a nap on the couch. So I decided for this year to make her a bigger one…..turns out I processed “66 inches” differently from 5 and a half feet. This is one big quilt! It should easily cover his double bed, which is exactly what she would like.

I am using a pattern I saw from Geta Gamma from Romania – I loved the design, especially the quilting, and am doing it in shades of purples and blues. It’s getting quilted to within an inch of its life! Needless to say, I am getting very good at free motion quilting feathers. The stencil work has been interesting – at one point I forgot about the registration marks and turned the pattern, but I am the only one who knows that.Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 12.26.16 PM

I caused some bleeding with one of the fabrics when I attempted to use a stain remover to get out the rest of the gray chalk marks. I will need to use a little paint to cover that up. I have 8 days to finish – started about three weeks ago, and I should make the Christmas deadline. It is really looking good.

It is a little tough on the shoulders, cramming that quilt around under my trusty Bernina 1008, but I am getting much better at that. Thankfully the remaining three quilts are all much smaller. After this one, though, I am taking a quick break to do some traditional blocks in a Hawaiian theme for a block of the month, making a queen size quilt for my own bed…..then back to the list!

Some progress pics of my version –

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Sweet hubby helped with all the pinning…..

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Wrestling it under the machine….it’s looking gorgeous!SneakPeak10

A Few Great Snippits of Writings…..

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I’ve come across a few great ideas in some of the books I’ve been reading, and these books need to be returned. So I figure if I add them to a blog post, I will always have them accessible.

From David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell comes this about courage:

Courage is not something that you already have when the tough times start. Courage is what you earn when you’ve been through the tough times and you discover they aren’t so tough after all.

The conquering of fear produces exhilaration. The contrast between the previous apprehension and the present relief and  feeling of security promotes a self-confidence that is the very father and mother of courage.

– You should read all of his works – a great mix of history, sociology, psychology, and economics, and highly readable.

 

 

From Robert Heinlein and Revolt in 2100: Master Peter was right: the man who buys the meat is brother to the butcher. It was squeamishness, not morals….like the man who favors capital punishment but who himself  is ‘too good” to fit the noose or swing the axe. Like the person who regards war as inevitable and in some cases moral, but who avoids military service because he doesn’t like the thought of military service. Emotional infants, ethical morons – the left hand MUST know what the right hand doeth, and the heart is responsible for both.

War is a simple matter compared with revolution. War is an applied science, with well-defined principles tested in history; analogous solutions may be found from ballista to H-bomb. But every revolution is a freak, a mutant,  a monstrosity, its conditions  never to be repeated and its operations carried out by amateurs and individualists.

– Heinlein was an acquired taste for me, but this particular book is exactly the same premise as the novel I am working on. Spooky…..

 

From Sheri S. Tepper The Gate to Women’s Country: My art is drama, and my craft is gardening. Is your work a science, a craft, or an art….”My magic? If it has no science, it fails….If it has no craft, it bores, and if it has no art, it offends.”

-Really interesting take on the role of the sexes, and quite thought-provoking. I do love the idea of our lives consisting of an art, a science, and a craft.

 

 

 

More Random Ramblings…..

KathyNida Yes! One of my favorite art quilters actually does exist beyond a blog!!! Kathy NIda (long i, as I have been pronouncing it wrong all these many years) is an artist I have been following for well over a decade, and it’s not just because she uses our marbled fabrics in her art quilts. She is one seriously cool lady – and amazing teacher to boot. We finally were able to get together on our last trip to San Diego, as she was also on school break. What a fun two hours! Laughing, lamenting, giggling, telling stories, talking shop – a fabulous time was had by all. Even better, I got to see one of her works at Visions Art Museum, and by far the best in the exhibit, which I didn’t really care for, especially after having seen the exhibit of fiber at the Mingei (yes, Kathy, everyone is right – you MUST go see this show!). But it was so cool to see the actual art quilt up close and personal, as I am in awe of her technique. Here are a couple of photos shamelessly borrowed from her blog (kathynida.com).

Here’s the quilt being dried after a washing (something about pet hair….) – our fabric is the pavement. Second one is a closeup. I so loved seeing an actual quilt of hers, because her process is so intricate, and seeing in person how it all came together is fabulous.

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Now, about the exhibit at the Mingei at Balboa Park in San Diego – one of my favorite museums – the emphasis is on “every day objects,” and this time the exhibit was two brothers, William and Steven Ladd, who work with beads, fabric and boxes in developing labor intensive, meticulous and abstract work that expresses their shared memories of family life in Missouri. )from the website) While some of the work I didn’t “get,” I was in awe of their use of unusual materials. This is from their website, explaining their “towers.”

Towers
A Tower is a stack of approximately 24 hand sewn boxes placed into a specific configuration.  Towers are often constructed of fabric, found materials, and board.  Each box in the stack measures approximately 9” square and can be closed or open.  When all of the boxes are open, they are  laid out into a specific grid-like configuration.  Textiles and found objects are meticulously sewn into the boxes and often resemble organic structures such as trees.  The Tower originated as a convenient way to stack and store boxes of the brothers meticulously constructed objects.
Each Tower has a story attached to it that is rooted in Steven and William’s shared memories.  Volcano, 2008, explores memories of extreme exercise while sharing a studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  Explosive muscle building and marathon running evolved into forms that resemble volcanic structures.
Volcano, 2008
Archival board, fiber, beads, metal
Closed 13.25 x 19.875 x 18.875 in.
Open 39.75 x 19.875 x 8.5 in.
These are examples, and the top is a detail – needles, pins, metal ants, rolls tapes and biases….a feast for the eyes!
Ladd1
Ladd2
Ladd4
Ladd5
Ladd6

52 Sparks, Week 2 – Appreciation vs. Approval, Plus FMQ

 This week of 52 Sparks had a really interesting question that I pondered a bit. The question: How do you appreciate yourself? I had to think long and hard about this one. I think I was confusing appreciation with approval, and it took me the longest time over the years to not worry about family approval. I needed to start appreciating me for me, and what I did and succeeded at because I was pleased, not someone else…..kinda rambling, but I hope it makes sense.

Appreciation: I go for walks to think about what I’m doing, I take time off to read – some times days at a time to just immerse myself in some books. Mostly, though, I appreciate myself by giving myself free rein to make art. And with retirement, I am taking more time to appreciate what I’m learning and creating. In fact, three new commissions over this week. It is just so delightful to quilt away for hours (with the occasional back break) and see the progress.

That said, here’s what happened with art this week. Last time I had the stencil traced on to the green fabric in preparation for my first whole quilt. Now all I need to do is square it off and bind it. I LOVE IT!!!! I NEVER thought I would be able to free motion a whole cloth. Yay me!

So here they are – better pics when the binding is finished.

 All are Superior Threads, Bottom Line in bobbin, Silk Kimono in background, and Fantastic variegated in the design.

 

Tired……

I’m really tired, and I think I realized today I had to slow down and take it easy. So today has turned out to be more quiet. I’ve really wanted to nap, but I’m teaching tomorrow morning, and if I nap now, I’ll have trouble falling asleep, and then I’ll be even more tired tomorrow morning when it’s time for algebra. So I bought a new book for the iPad (Barbra Streisand’s biography) and stretched out on the couch.

I am SO tired of political ads, which are getting nastier and nastier. This is the first presidential election that I have contributed money to, and I will be SO glad when it’s done…it’s been going on for two years already.. It’s ugly, ads are ugly, people are lying all over the place, and not once has global warming been mentioned in this election, as we deal with the super storm Sandy.

Today was one of those days I had to remind myself I’m retired. I’ve done lists for the last four weeks. This week’s list is definitely shorter, but there are still projects that need to be finished. Hey, it’ll happen when it happens. The pattern will get written when it does.

The biggest issue has been serious eye strain…both in the eye that doesn’t work anymore and the good eye. I evidently can’t do some of the really close sewing (the ugly white polyester project that I am close to finishing) because I can’t see for several hours afterwards. Not only that, I bled on the white polyester…..So I’ve figured out a way to finish the project by just making it somewhat smaller. I still have lots of sewing in me…I’m evidently going to need to watch the type of project I take on.

And I’m slowly starting walks around the block again, and doing some standing yoga poses, as the leg is FINALLY healing. This has been extremely frustrating, as I was doing an hour of yoga each day. Nothing in almost four weeks.

So what happens this week happens. Little by little I will get the website changes done. I’ll slowly work on projects, play some more solitaire, read some more books, visit with friends, and generally take it easy.

Plans for the New Year


I realized that I ended Season Two of Cocreating Our Reality on November 19. I have been so busy sewing and working on projects – and being positive – that the day went by. December 1 is coming this week, and I’m planning to start Season 3 that day. One thing I have learned is to try to be more specific with my goals, and yet not limit myself within the goals. I also need more goals, both creatively and business-wise.

So how did I do?

* Enjoy life through a couple of trips and dinners/other social engagements with friends: San Diego, Austin, Houston, New Orleans. Absolutely! We went to Sedona in July, San Diego in August, Santa Fe in September, Sedona in October, and Prescott in November. We are planning to head to San Diego in two weeks. Obviously a new goal is going to be continuing to get a trip in a month – in fact, TWO are scheduled for March.

* Finish “Artists Revisited” class, complete with the new quilt. Finished the class, the quilt is probably half done, and it is now awaiting sometime in late spring to finish it – there are two major pieces I am attacking for a show deadline in mid-February.

* Help with Tikkun Olam show at the Jewish Community Center. The show was very nicely staged. Didn’t sell anything, but had a lot of really good feedback.

* Plan for additional income each month through the business; the goal is to beat the previous month (August should beat July, and so on). We are marbling more often – at least twice a month – and generally selling all the fabric. Etsy has picked up, and a few other things are working, including a commission for 31 fat quarters. We have far exceeded what we did for income in all of last year, so we should end the year in very good shape.

* Take three tutoring clients in mathematics. Instead I accepted a position teaching college algebra one afternoon a week – 4 hours, plus prep time. About the same amount of additional time, and about the same amount of money. Way easier on the travel and schedule.

* Update<a href=”http://artfromtheheart.org” target=”_blank”> Art from the Heart</a> website and make plans for entries for the first anniversary of the Tucson shootings. Three new works of art have already been added, and more people are  beginning to talk about the site.

* Sewing projects: Tikkun Olam, Wayne Art Center, Betty’s commission, small rhythm piece, fish quilt redone, deer quilt finished, three additional quilt projects to be determined. No Wayne Art Center. Most of Betty’s commission is completed, the rhythm piece done, the fish quilt completed, the deer quilt finished, and three projects have been determined, all of which have been started.

* Complete the first three action plans in <span style=”text-decoration: underline;”>I’d Rather Be In the Studio</span> by Alyson Stanfield. In fact, I did four. I need to attack the portfolio goal over these next 100 days, as well as get in gear on newsletters.

* Maintain goals through the Multiple Streams of Income class and set new 90-day goals. Did this – will set the new goals through Season 3.

* Market the gift basket through Marble-T Design and sell at least four. We’ve sold 3 so far, so good on us! We’ve got stuff for two more ready to go.

* Break 200 pounds. Did not come close. In fact, I have yet to step on the scale, which I will do tomorrow, as I really begin to attack this. What I noticed is that I spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about this, and nothing has happened that is positive. So I obviously need to rethink how I look at this. I am going on more than half my life being overweight, and something has to change. Either I accept myself as I am now, or I change into what I want to be. More meditation, a diet “sponsor,” a food diary, regular walking, and some journaling are on the list.

I do like being able to see concretely what has been happening. That’s one of the reasons I like the blogging. This is a definite way for me to keep myself accountable.

One goal so far for the new season: the Free Motion Quilting Challenge, which will begin in January. I’ve got lots of other ideas, so I need to get things finalized for the start on Thursday, December 1.

Suggestions?

100 Day Challenge – Season 1

Monday was the 100th day of Season 1 in the Cocreating Our Reality Challenge to practice the Law of Attraction and Abundance and bring more into your life. It has been a pretty amazing 100 days. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I have been more than converted to positive thinking and goal-setting for what we would like to attract into our lives.

I started by setting some goals. I really gave some thought to these, as I tend to blow off this part of an exercise. What I have realized as these 100 days went by is that I dreamed too small. I am now thinking about a new set of goals for these next 100 days and Season 2, and I want to think bigger – I WILL think bigger.

The goals for the first season:

Order storage and redesign the apartment for better creativity and “flowing” work space; well, I redesigned the studio and spent money to buy better storage. The difference is amazing – more productivity, better sense of energy flow through the space, everything has its place, and I am more productive. In fact, I have an organized marketing notebook that seems to be working to guide me through what I want to accomplish.

Break 200 pounds by August 8; hasn’t happened. I have spent more time working on being positive about my body image and what I really want to accomplish with this goal. I am trying to be positive. I have spent over half my life overweight, and I am not expecting miracles, but I know healthwise this has to happen. So I need to get rid of the negativity in that last sentence and expect miracles. I KNOW I can do this.

Dream/think regularly about money coming to me; this took a while for me to work on. I am not used to thinking about money coming to me all the time. Usually it’s about how I need to have enough money to pay the bills. This is a major mental change. And there is money in the bank, the bills are paid, and two trips are planned. That Law of Abundance check only took one month for me to see how it works. I am hooked on those checks. I also am learning to recognize when my thinking is somewhat pessimistic about money, and I am trying to change that vibration.

Set up tutoring goals; I updated my Linked In profile to reflect the tutoring, and I have had business cards made, as well as asked for some recommendations for my skills from Linked In. I have been putting off a brochure, primarily because school is just now starting. I have realized that I am not at all enthused about either substitute teaching or even tutoring because it would take away from my time on my other pursuits. Definitely no subbing in the future for me, but I need to rethink the tutoring.

Plan my life after teaching (retirement); this is working very well. I have had to change my sleep schedule since I don’t need so much sleep, which has been challenging. I am marketing, sewing, designed, taking art classes, reading – all the things I said I wanted to do.

Get back to blogging on a regular basis;  I’m doing this pretty successfully on this blog, not so much with the art blog and the weight loss blog. But the focus for all of this is to build the art business to help support retirement (which seems to be happening), so I am focusing on this blog. The numbers have grown from just over 500 in June to over 800 for the last 30 days. Definite progress.

Make conscious plans and activities to work for peace. This has to become a priority for the next 100 days. I haven’t done anything this season, but I have been thinking about what I want to do. Now I have to implement the plans.

NEXT SEASON’S CHALLENGE GOALS, starting Monday, August 15 and ending November 19:

Break 200 pounds.

Enjoy life through a couple of trips and dinners/other social engagements with friends: San Diego, Austin, Houston, New Orleans.

Finish “Artists Revisited” class, complete with the new quilt.

Help with Tikkun Olam show at the Jewish Community Center.

Plan for additional income each month through the business; the goal is to beat the previous month (August should beat July, and so on).

Take three tutoring clients in mathematics.

Update Art from the Heart website and make plans for entries for the first anniversary of the Tucson shootings.

Sewing projects: Tikkun Olam, Wayne Art Center, Betty’s commission, small rhythm piece, fish quilt redone, deer quilt finished, three additional quilt projects to be determined.

Complete the first three action plans in I’d Rather Be In the Studio by Alyson Stanfield.

Maintain goals through the Multiple Streams of Income class and set new 90-day goals.

Market the gift basket through Marble-T Design and sell at least four.

And so it goes……

 

 

 

Work-in-Progress Wednesday

Last week I show the beginnings of my Ice quilt, to complement the Desert Heat quilt I made. I went to Girls’ Night Out at the LQS last Saturday and got a lot of quilting done. I then decided what to select for the first interior border. THe cool thing with the Deat quilt is the inner border really is unexpected. The blue really sets things off nicely.

For the Ice quilt I decided to look for a yellow to represent the very weak winter sun, especially being from New England! You can see the yellows I pulled from the stash. I decided to go with the middle one because it was pale, and there is some very interesting texture within the fabric itself, with brighter yellows in a few places.

Here is the finished center. It is fairly “cold” and rigid, which of course is what ice is. Hopefully by next week I’ll have the flying geese borders on as the next step.

Also this week I have been having some fun with the Sketchbook Challenge. I uploaded my first pic to Flickr and got some very nice feedback. I was so pleased with the first one that I had trouble sleeping, because I kept thinking of more things that are “highly prized,” and I wanted to get to work on them. So far this week I have a zentangled book, which I love!

And then, since I am working on trying to keep balance in my life, I went for the yin-yang symbol. I kept only two patterns, one straight and one curved. I’m liking what I can accomplish with these patterns. I think  a music note and the comedy/tragedy masks might be next.

Send me some links to see your sketches if you’re doing the Challenge. You can click on the link on the right to get to information about the Sketchbook Challenge. I am also thinking of looking into 3 Creative Studios for their Journal Quilt Challenge, and potentially their color challenge. I just want to keep myself motivated and try some new ideas, but no pressures on me – if I do it, fine, and if not, fine also.

Thursday Thoughts….Kind of an Empty Mind

Usually in Tucson the bad weather hits on a school day – the kind of weather where you want to hole up under a quilt, read, and drink hot chocolate. Today’s the day, and I am staying home…I’m debating even getting dressed today. Let’s end the year in a nice relaxed mode.

I like not having much of anything on my to-do list. Taking the pressure off to be the new emerging artist (after 15-plus years of marbling and quilting) feels very good. I played with new markers yesterday – a splurge at Michael’s with a gift card. I’m usually a pen and ink person, but I think I’m going to like adding some color to my zentangle work. I have a tentative zentangle party set up for February with a CZT here in Tucson, which should be lots of fun. I cleaned out my Google reader of blogs where no one’s posting, or it’s scrapbook stuff, and I’ve been discovering lots of great zentangle blogs.

School starts next Monday and I’m all ready….lesson plans for most of the week already set. I know with the retirement decision that my school days are numbered. This time next year I’ll only have 5 months to go. The time will go faster than I think it will

I’m reading books on France, specifically Paris, as we start to plan for our trip to Paris and Venice in September of 2012. There is SO much to do in Paris…it’s going to be a lot of fun to plan and read about historical France (since I don’t remember a lot from European history, except reading the actual words of Rousseau and the like) and about the artists I want to see in the Louvre. That will make some good planning reading over the next few months.

I’m working on a new quilt that I am going to make up in a pattern. I have a bunch of ideas, and I need to see how to save a document as a PDF – I’m thinking I need an updated version of Office for Mac (mine’s 2004…..). And it looks like the computer is going to need a trip to the shop for a needed cleaning. And…lots of back-ups done over the next few weeks, as I have so much that is old stuff, and too many pics and graphics slowing the computer down.

The elephant in the room is getting back on track for weight loss. I need to get back to my blog and keep myself on track. I like not having weight be constantly in the fore-front of my mind, but unfortunately I think there’s a pound or two creeping back up. There have been a lot of good changes in terms of health this year, and I want to build on those.

Goals for the last few days of vacation? Take it easy, maybe start work on sorting slides. Go through two more scrapbooks to decide what to keep for pictures. Get caught up on reading blogs. Finish Silk Road. Buy fabric for the bedspread I have been promising myself…notice I didn’t say quilt, because I know from past experience if I start a bed quilt (and I have…) it’s not going to get finished. So rather than spend another $30 for a cheap coverlet, I’m going after some home dec fabric for a bedspread that will work across the seasons – Joanne’s 50% off over the next few days….

I’m off to enjoy the rainy, possibly snowy weather today.

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