Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Billie's Sew Spooky Quilt and Princess Dresses

I am loading up Billie's Sew Spooky quilt today and getting all sorts of "fall" pangs!!  I am ready, I don't know about you.  Don't get me wrong, it has been nothing less than a LOVELY summer.  We haven't even hit 95 degrees yet...and being that it's almost August that is kind of unheard of around here.


Billie really liked what I did with Vickie's Sew Spooky quilt so I'm going to do a loose recreation of that on hers...I have a couple of cute little ideas to make it unique to Billie's quilt though that I think she is going to be excited about.  This was a really fun quilt...I am toying with the idea of making something inspired by it for my own fall decor.

Soccer has started for my oldest and it is keeping us busy.  Five day a week practices!  I am really proud of her putting herself out there though and doing something active.  I fell of my diet yesterday but am back on track today.  I had half an Arby's roast beef sandwich and cheese sticks...and guess what?  I'm paying for it with a stomach ache today!!!  I cannot believe how much better I feel when I eat healthy.

OH!  I'm also making progress on my princess dresses!!  Let's see if anyone can guess who this character dress is inspired by...


It's Drizella!  My oldest daughters want to be Drizella and Anistasia while my littlest will be Cinderella...this is the last year the older daughter will even remotely consider dressing up so it's kind of bittersweet!  :)  It will be fun though...


...I've made a little progress on the Anna dress - well, I guess you could stay I made a lot of progress!  It's pretty much finished except for some details I want to go back and add.  I'm just going to paint the flowers and decorations on making my own stencils....and I need to add some ribbon and trim to the cape.  Needless to say it is near impossible to find Frozen costumes without paying an arm and a leg so my kids are over the moon excited.


The above is Elsa - the bodice and skirt are cut and almost ready to attach but I need to make a pattern for the sheer top and sleeves...I try to make the costumes as close to the original as I can without going too crazy.  I'm really excited about this one...  :)

I hope everyone out in blogland is having a good summer...even though I'm ready for fall!  My littlest is trying to put Mr. Potato Head pieces in my mouth and ears so I guess that's my cue to get off of the computer!

Happy Quilting!

- Valerie


Saturday, July 26, 2014

30 Pounds Down Today! :)

   I really avoid photos of myself at all costs...so when I share this with you all, it is because I am just so proud.  The pictures aren't the best, but you can really see the changes.  I've worked really hard, and I've been inspired my so many!  I have lost 30 pounds!!!  I still have a ways more to go.  It's not easy.  But I have truly made great strides to make my health a priority.  Diabetes, stroke, cancer...those are just a few of the diseases I have watched family members struggle with and much of it can be prevented through diet and exercise...so I have incredible motivation to keep focused!  :)



I just wanted to share as many of my friends and family have really been the support I have needed to stay on track.  I want to maintain the loss for a lifetime and teach my children good habits.  I work out 5 days a week and try to get as much activity in as I can.  I am learning to cook all over again!  It has actually been a lot of fun!

This is one of the desserts I've been making on a regular basis...the first thing my Dad said to me when I showed it to him was, "that doesn't look like diet food!"  No, it doesn't!  But it is pretty healthy!


- 1/2 cup vanilla nonfat yogurt
- 1 apple peeled, sliced, browned in skillet with zero calorie cooking spray
- 2 TBS light cool whip
- 1/4 Tsp apple pie spice
- 1/2 packet stevia

It's about 150 calories give or take depending on the brand yogurt you use (I use Fit & Active) - and it's delicious!  I have been learning how to make all of my favorite dishes all over again and make them healthier.  Eventually I'd like to eliminate as much processed food as I can, but for now, I'm just trying to do better.  :)

Another tool I have been using is a website called Fooducate - I am really surprised I don't hear more people talk about it!  It has some similarities to My Fitness Pal, though the food database is INCREDIBLE.  You can look up the foods you eat or healthy alternatives to the foods you eat, and they give each food a grade based on how healthy it is for you.  It is wonderful!  Not only do they grade the food, they  tell you why it got that grade, and explain each reason in clickable detail.  It has been a really great resource for truly seeing what I was eating that was harmful and finding replacements for those items.  Sometimes I cannot totally eliminate a D item from my diet...but I can replace it with a B...and again, it's just a way to maybe not eat perfectly, but do better.

Just thought I would share - I hope all are having a wonderful weekend and getting some sewing time in!

Happy and HEALTHY Quilting!  :)

- Valerie


Friday, July 25, 2014

Cindy's Quilt Finished - Deja Vu Panto

I am SO happy with how this quilt turned out!  I have an older APQS and I am not sure if it is an early design flaw or simple wearing from being an older used machine but I have always struggled with pantographs.  Being that Urban Elementz has given me the amazing opportunity to co-design for them, I wanted to use my pantographs and have them come out just as pretty as all my other quilts!  AH!  So I spent some time fiddling with my  machine trying to come up with a solution, and I bought a few aluminum strips that I use as a support so that I can stitch without the table on my machine.  OH what a difference it made!!!  No more womply curves - and a whole new world of quilting has just opened for me!  :)

Here is Cindy's gorgeous quilt (she always sends amazing quilts, truly!) with Deja Vu stitched out onto it...





Oh I am just so happy with how elegant it came out.  I am in love.  :)  I'm so happy that Cindy was also pleased too and I am thinking I might put together a few baby quilts and use some of my new pantographs on.  Yay!

Waiting for my roll of batting to arrive and I will be working next on Bobbie's Sew Spooky quilt - she has been waiting for MONTHS and I bet she is super excited to see some photos!  I am excited too!  :)

Happy Quilting!

- Valerie

Friday, July 18, 2014

Deanna's Quilt - Finished - and an Art Quilt

I don't have much more to share today other than a finished photo of Deanna's quilt!  :)  It turned out really pretty - though I didn't have time to take great pictures as I finished it late last night and it was picked up this afternoon.  Today was eventful as my youngest had a doctor appointment out of town - and as soon as we got out of town my van broke down!  Boo!  It is being fixed and should be ready for pick up tomorrow, but wheew it was quite the afternoon.


After a stressful day I just needed to veg out a bit.  I cleaned for quite a while and then fiddled with the Juki.  I have a frozen screw in the needle plate that I messed with for about three hours.  I still haven't gotten it removed but I was able to clean under the needle plate so I went on and sewed for a while.  This was the final product...


I am really pleased with it for the most part.  I am always trying to find ways to which I can translate paintings onto quilts.  Painting is a passion second to quilts...I would love to incorporate the two without fussing with fabric dyes.  I do like to hand dye fabric...but not for the painting aspect.  I used my favorite Jaquard Lumiere paints with acrylic artist paints.  I need to add binding to two of the sides and maybe some beads as well.

I am looking forward to getting my car back tomorrow.  I'll be loading up Cindy's quilt for a quick all over quilting and then it's on to Bobbie's halloween quilt.  :)  Can you believe it's almost the end of July already?!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Deanna's Quilt in Progress and Weight Loss Update

Making every attempt to finish up Deanna's quilt today so that I can begin work on Chris's quilt tomorrow.  I have four big quilts that I want to finish before school starts back up for the kids - Deanna's quilt, Chris's quilt, Bobbie's quilt, and Nancy/Barbara's giant show quilt.  It is a struggle trying to balance all things but I think I'm doing well!

Here's a progress photo of Deanna's quilt...


It's a fairly simple custom - feathers and stippling...but boy is it effective!  I'm looking forward to sharing the finished quilt.  :)  I am working on the white and pink first, quilting the entire quilt then going back and doing all the purple feathers.  I'm halfway through...I've got chicken in the crock pot and we'll be having something simple tonight so I can get to work!  :)

On the weight loss front, I'm coming along.  I've been consistently working out 5 days a week (though two of the five are just light activity/cardio) - weight training 3 days per week.  I upped my calories from 1400 to 1600-1700 per day and it's working still.  I'm consistently losing though not the 2-3 pounds per week the way it was melting off at first.  I think some of that was due to water weight, some was because I was restricting so much.  I'm losing about 1 lb. per week which is supposed to be healthy and effective for maintaining muscle and keeping my metabolism up.  Oh it's a little frustrating though I'm not going to lie!  But I do feel a lot better about what I'm doing.  I had several days where I would just break down from frustration and hunger...my body needed to eat!  :)  So while it's slower...I feel like I'm getting plenty of food and not missing out on what the family is eating at all...that makes a huge difference.  My total loss to date is 26 pounds (20 since I began really watching and working out in May) and I've lost 5 inches in my waist.  I've gone down a pant size and am almost ready to drop to the next pant size down.  I was eating super super clean and minimal processed foods...but I've kind of gone to a "if it stays in calorie range then it's fair game" attitude as I just don't think being too extreme with my diet is realistic for me in the long run.  It's probably healthier for me...but I don't know if I can maintain that kind of diet while everyone around me is having burgers and fries!  LOL!

But, frustrations and set backs aside....I'm losing!

I also have been making a few doll clothes for my middle daughter who recently got a new 18" doll...


Next I'm trying to find time to finish up some of these costumes I've been working on for Disney and I bought a bunch of really cute beads to make Frozen themed gumball necklaces for them.  LOL!  So many crafts to make so little time!!!  :)

Hope all of you out in blogland are having a great summer!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Darlene's Quilt and Week Update

How was your 4th of July?  Ours was amazing!!!  We had such a good weekend spent with family and watching fireworks.  It was really nice to relax and just enjoy the beautiful weather.  Yesterday was rainy and stormy...but great weather for quilting.  :)

I finished Darlene's panel - all over feathers with a few accent borders that I went ahead and ditched so they would pop.




I used black Invisifil by Wonderfil on this which turned out really lovely - it's high contrast in some areas but Invisifil is such a delicate thread that even in the highest contrast areas it doesn't read thread.  It's great for texture or delicate soft quilting...also stitch in the ditch or anywhere you want your quilting or stitches to be hidden or less visible.  I have found that Invisifil doesn't like certain fabrics though - I had a heck of a time in the multi-color print border as well as the panel center with thread breakage...every three or four inches!!!  I loosened up the tension as much as I could while still maintaining good stitches...this was a rough one.  I will say in the future I don't think I will use Invisifil on any bonded/printed fabrics.  This quilt should have taken a day to two days tops to complete and I ended up working on it for a week.  Gah!  During my busy summer months too!!  ;)  I was able to get through it though and the end result is really lovely.  :)

In other news I'm still watching my calories and working out 5 days a week.  It's becoming a new routine.  I am 19 pounds down so far, 2 inches smaller in my waist, and I've dropped a pant size.  I won't show a full body side by side photo yet, but you can already see it in my face!  :)  Being that I've been so overweight all these years I avoid getting my photo taken, so I don't have a ton of pictures to share but here's a little side by side of me a few years ago at a wedding reception versus a photo I took (with my daughter who's not shown) a few days ago!  :)



I'm getting there!!!  :)  I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer.  I see the blogs are slowing down (like mine!) what with all the summer out door activities and holidays...we are about half way through our daughters summer break and while I adore them so very much, I cannot say I'm not looking forward to having some quiet time to work on quilts again!  :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Happy Summer!

Wow - almost July 4th!!  So hard to believe...at least to date the weather has been pretty wonderful.  Last year it was just rain, rain, and more rain.  This year we've been able to spend a lot of time out doors just about every day.  Oh how I love summer!!  :)

I've been quilting daily though I haven't been very vocal about it - time has been limited with the kids home for the summer...but I'm still here!  Working away in my little quilting sweat shop!  Here are a few photos of quilts I'm working on/recently finished...

This is Darlene's quilt in progress...I should be finished with it tomorrow so I can get a start on Deanna's gorgeous quilt...




...and I finished Jane's sampler!!  I think it turned out really really pretty!!!






On my health kick and weight loss front - I'm 16 pounds down!  Not that it's come easy as I have been working my tail off.  I work out five days a week - weight lift 3 days a week - and I watch calories pretty religiously.  I've lost 1.5 inches from my waist and the loss is really becoming visible.  I'd like to lose a little more before I share a before and after - but if you follow me on Instagram you might have already seen a little of my progress.  I'm working hard!  It's really important to me so I'm really doing everything I can to stick with it.

Hope you are all getting some quilting done and staying cool in the July heat!!  Happy summer...and Happy Fourth of July!!  :)