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I suck at dieting

or is it just that dieting sucks… Besides my foray with the South Beach Diet two years ago, I have only dieted one other time. Way back when, Weight Watcher’s Low Fat-High Fiber Diet. I lost five pounds, and not a pound more, and was so cold all of the time, I gave up on it. I have done the two-week Phase 1 of S.B. for three weeks–no carbs/fruit/sugar/alcohol, lean protein, non-starchy veg. I lost six pounds the first two weeks and gained one pound back this week. Feels like a BIG FAIL. People will say, it’s because of all the walking, muscle weighs more than fat. BLAH BLAH BLAH. Don’t care–it does not console me in the least–I still can’t wear more than one pair of zip-up pants. Lesigh.

Since I put the salt shaker away, my average blood pressure is 94/69. That’s a BIG WIN. (We’ll see what it is in the doctor’s office…)

I was so desperate to get a jump start this time, that I considered forking out the money for South Beach Diet food delivered to my door. Unfortunately, artificial sweeteners are used. Besides the fact that I can’t stand the taste/after taste of artificial sweeteners and am allergic to some of them, I have never known anyone to lose weight by consuming drinks/food with artificial sweeteners (or non-nutritive additives). In fact, here’s what Dr. Joseph Merkola has to say (take it with a grain of sugar) (wordpress link-er still not working–I’ll get it fixed some day):

For me,  I just avoid sweets and food items with added sugar, which is pretty easy to do if you read labels. Oops–forgot to check the Chobani with Black Cherry on the Bottom (evaporated cane sugar?). I just wanted something portable for when I leave the house–there isn’t much that’s healthy out there if you’re serious about losing weight. SAVING MONEY: HUGE WIN. This was tasty but all I could think was to add in some chunks of high-quality dark chocolate. Can I get a WOO-HOO?  I also throw 100-calorie packets of Emerald cashews/almonds/dried cranberries in my purse–not too sweet and not salty. My blood sugar tends to go in the cellar if I go too long without eating or after a long walk, not to mention getting hangry. You won’t like me when I’m hangry.

Supposedly just losing six pounds means 24 pounds of pressure off of my knees (WebMD, for people with osteoarthritis–why, is there a difference for those of us who have RA?). That’s another BIG WIN. I have routine labs in three weeks–with all the healthy eating and walking I’m doing, the cholesterol and blood sugar better be down in significant numbers. Alright, I’ll settle for any drop in the numbers.

The other reason I suck at dieting is that now, nothing tastes good and I could care less about eating. I force myself to eat because I know I need to. I guess I don’t have to like this to do it, but how long can I stick with something that doesn’t produce more positive results? Color me IMPATIENT.

If you really want to get depressed, watch The Magic Pill on Netflix. Eye-opening as far as government’s thinking on nutrition for the general populace and indigenous peoples worldwide. The difference in a child with autism who would previously eat nothing but junk food was totally amazing after her diet was changed from carb focused to fat focused. We’re talking LARD here. BRAVE PARENTS.

I’ll be back with an update at the beginning of June. I weigh myself on Fridays and Mondays but only haul out the tape measure once a month. A person can only take so much failure at any given point in time. I’m not giving up yet. After being laid up for four months, it’s wonderful to get out and move. My hip is pain free most days if I stretch and walk. Only 55 more pounds to go… Remember, sitting is the new smoking.

Enough of this. I skipped the walk today and have declared it to be Fun Friday in my studio.

QUILTING TIP OF THE DAY (yes, we still quilt here): If you have a small wallhanging and know how to crochet, crochet around a 1-inch curtain ring with single crochets. I had a little ball of #10 crochet thread, Rit-dyed along with some fabric before I got serious about hand-dyeds. Also note my plug for labeling your quilts! Someone may care someday.



Take a few anchoring stitches under the ring (see above) and then sew the rings on the back of the quilt, going through both loops of the single crochets. Leave the top of each ring unsewn.


P1120511Measure the distance between rings from center to center, place two straight pins in the wall and hang your art! VOILA.

NEXT TIME: I’ll be working on some small projects, a block exchange, a mug rug swap, another biscornu pincushion, and a cover for my camera strap. The leather is showing wear and now that summer is here (no collars), my strap is uncomfortable walking in the heat. In the meantime, don’t just sit there–do something, even if it’s wrong.

ART FOR THE DAY: Flowers That Bloom Now, Yoyoi Kusama, 2017, stainless steel and urethane paint, as seen on the North Forest Trail, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Kusama is one of my favorite artists, having learned about her in an online class on Abstract Expressionism from MoMA. She sometimes has interactive art, inviting museum-goers to come in and cover furniture and walls with dots (her signature) in varying sizes. How fun is that!


Three Ways to Hang a Small Quilt

Here are three ways to hang a small quilt. I hang most of my quilts using simple straight pins—I tap them in at a downward angle, leaving just enough of the pin out to catch the hangers.

  1.  Use curtain rings.  If you crochet, you can single crochet around the ring with #10 crochet thread.  Sew the rings to the back of the quilt, sewing one to each corner.  I sewed down the bottom of the ring, leaving the top part free.  Hang on straight pins.
Quilt Hanger

Quilt Hanger

2. Flat molding.  I purchase a long piece of pre-primed, flat molding, apprx 1-1/8 inches wide, 1/8-inch thick and cut it to the length I need.  Sand and paint the cut edges.  Sometimes I drill a hole in either end and insert it in a quilt sleeve.  The molding needs to be longer than the sleeve so that you can access the holes for hanging.  For my 8-1/2 inch wide quilt, I sewed two triangles to the back of the quilt.  Fold a 3-inch square in half, wrong sides together, and baste the raw edges less than ¼-inch from the edge to the corners before attaching your binding.  If you forget, you can still attach the triangles before you stitch the binding down on the back.  For this quilt I also pounded in a saw-tooth picture hanger.  The problem was the points went through to the back and I asked my husband to sand them off since I couldn’t snip them off or pound them in.  This can be a little tricky, depending on how careful you are with the sander.

Reverse with hanger

Reverse with hanger

Reverse of Quilt Hanger

Reverse of Quilt Hanger

3. If you have some scrap paneling and access to a power saw, you can rip off the size hanger you need.  Here again, cut your wood longer than the quilt sleeve and drill a hole in each end.  This next bit of information may no longer be accurate but years ago it was suggested that you paint or varnish the wood because chemicals could leach onto your quilt and stain it. I’m not sure if this refers to treated lumber (which I wouldn’t use) or something natural in unfinished wood.  If anyone can verify this or debunk it, please send me a comment.

Quilt Hanger

Quilt Hanger

Quilt Hanger in Sleeve

Quilt Hanger in Sleeve

BONUS: Here’s a link to a tutorial by Amy Hodge for another method.

It is deer season here already–not the hunting part, but the prep part.  My husband has a tree stand in Minnesota and he wanted to leave the frame set up so he took the roof cover off and brought it home.  He decided to add Velcro along the edges and was just having a heckofa time with the thread breaking.  After about five times of rethreading for him, I asked if he wanted me to do it.  No way.  Anyway, I figured out it was the Velcro shredding the thread so then he felt better and even finally managed to rethread it himself.  I asked him to save the threads–this is my current black thread collection, Velcro and a piece of camo.  A job well done!

Deer Stand Cover

Deer Stand Cover

Coming Soon: The 8-1/2×11 Challenge (finished), Surface Embellishing with Embroidery, Thread and Needle Tips, FMQ Tips, and The Miniature Hexie Project.

The forgotten pillowcase…

I forgot to post my finished pillowcase a few weeks ago—this was the only thing I could focus on this winter when I was taking steroids. Steroids not only cause me acute insomnia but they make me very agitated and unable to focus. Knitting is usually calming for me but I couldn’t focus on the pattern—plain simple embroidery did the trick, giving me something to do without much brain drain. I did forget to switch to yellow for the center of the second flower so did the same thing on the third flower on purpose. Then I found a stain that would not come out after three tries and a flaw on the reverse and then a small hole. Whatever. I did a very simple crocheted border and flat-felled seams to enclose the raw edges. I can still use it to store a quilt. A note about storing quilts: NEVER store them or transport them in plastic bags, especially black plastic garbage bags. Quilters (even professionals) have lost their quilts at retreats and conventions because the maintenance crew thought the bags contained garbage. Ouch.



Here is the simple edging I did with #10 crochet thread and a size 6 crochet hook:

Round 1: Single crochet around.

Round 2: *(3dc, ch1, 3dc) in next sc, sk 1 sc, sc in next st, sk 1 sc, repeat from * to end.

Stay tuned for another post before day’s end.

Ribbon scarf gone bad

First off, I had planned to write two more posts last week, but I was felled again by bronchitis plus allergies and asthma, and am just getting back on my feet with more steroids, cipro and an inhaler which I have not needed for nine years.  I do not do well being idle and resting but that’s life.  I hope this is it–I long to be well and active again.  THE SCORE: Oak pollen, one billion; Candy, less than zero.

So a few years ago when I had time to go to a local needlework group every Monday (with lunch once a month) with a delightful group from about ages 12 to 90, I decided to try the ribbon scarves everyone was making.  If you have not kept up with trending crochet, this “yarn” is a flat ribbon, one side of which has large loops along the edge.   I made one for my sister-in-law while she was visiting from Minnesota and two more really l-o-o-o-o-ng ones.  Well they were too long so one day I cut them in half and shared with my daughter.  She handed hers to me the other day–it had come apart, which happens with this particular project from time to time if you miss a loop or do not secure the ends properly.  Sooo, I decided I would make just one scarf from the two so it would be fluffier.

ribon scarf gone bad

I wound the ribbon carefully (it still twisted as I crocheted) and placed it in a spread container and after looking at a slew of videos, came up with this.  Fold over about five loops and run a size H crochet hook through these loops plus two more for a total of seven on the hook.  This gives a nice finish to the starting end.

fold over endP1010321

Carefully pull the last loop on the hook through the other six loops and then pull the next loop from the ball of ribbon through the loop on the hook.  This secures your previous set of loops.


From now on work the crochet hook through every other loop. Pick up more loops on the hook for a total of seven, and repeat as before until you reach the end.  The scarf will automatically curl into a ruffle.  SECRET TECHNIQUE: I had to spin my bowl of yarn in one direction or the other to untwist as I worked.  Most directions will tell you to pull the end of the ribbon through the loop on your hook and then tie a knot.  Just make sure to secure the end or it may all come undone.

finished ribbon scarf

I also made another scarf for my neighbor for her birthday as she liked these scarves and does not crochet.  She wanted a neutral color and I was lucky enough to find one lonely skein in a bin with super bright colors, pretty neutrals with a sparkly thread.  Red Heart Boutique Ribbons is one brand.  Check Hobby Lobby or WalMart.  I may or may not have a photo of this one and am guessing, not. I tried the knit pattern on the label but prefer my crochet one.

So that’s my story for now.  I hope to be back very soon to show you the progress on my current applique project.  I am experimenting with different ways of making leaves.  God forbid that I should make them all in the same manner–that would just be too flippin’ easy, eh?  Till next time, may all of your projects be fun and successful.

My job here is done

Here are the finished pincushions.


This is MedeiraP1000837

and Mildly MauveP1000840

and Lavender BlueP1000819

and Coming Up RosesP1000836

and last but not least, Red Hat SocietyP1000845sitting atop an unfinished make-do.

I may never join the Red Hat Society but it sure is fun to see a group having lunch at the Emporium Tea Room  in Bentonville.

And I forgot one last doily from my collection, The DaffodilsP1000814

I’m not sure what’s on the agenda for tomorrow but I’ll be back next week.  Until then, have a safe and happy weekend with family and friends–be sure to get some fresh air, maybe do something fun and take a few minutes to kick your feet up.  I am grateful for the day past–how about you?

But wait there’s more

Here are most of the other doilies I have crocheted.  The others are in use.  What can I say.  This is what kept me from going stark raving mad during long Minnesota winter nights.  Toward the end, I used neutral threads because colors go in and out of style.  I miss crocheting doilies–they are my absolute favorite handwork.  And then I came down with the quilting sickness.  Ah well.  Enjoy the photos–I’m off to finish some projects in my studio now that my work station is cleared off and the glue gun is ready.  Have a great day.  Go make some art or just make a mess (or clean up yesterday’s).  Sorry the photos are fuzzy–or is it me?


P1000801P1000803P1000804P1000805 P1000806P1000807P1000809P1000810

This next one is my favorite neutral–I believe it was called New Ecru.  All my threads are Coats and Clarks #10, which I have not found here.  I like it better than Lily for doilies and snowflakes because it has a little more body.


You CAN teach an old dog new tricks

Last night at Modern Quilt Guild, I was working on this scarf, which was twisting as usual.  My friend was watching me and said casually, you know if you alternate the way you turn your work, your scarf won’t twist.  Okay, I’ve been knitting since I was ten and kind of scoffed at my changing a life-long habit, but after a few rows, it was easy and voila, the scarf no longer twisted.  So, if you’re knitting a long, skinny project, turn your work to the left after one row and to the right after the next and so on.  You’ll figure it out!  I finished this scarf for my daughter, made from leftovers from her fingerless gloves (I still have leftovers).  I alternated changing yarns on the left and right and knotted the ends as a side fringe–no weaving in all those ends.  I’ll get a photo of her modeling them soon.  She has more expression than this dummie, er hat form.  I’ll talk more about where I found my inspiration for a pattern for fingerless gloves in a future post–I need to make a set for me now so you can follow along–to the yarn stash.  Maybe I’ll figure out how to attach the pattern–it’ll be FREE.


I only had time to dig out some ribbon and flowers to finish those pincushions I mentioned in a previous post.  I need to clear off my work space so I can get out the glue gun and get busy tomorrow.  So far I haven’t had to buy anything new.  Looks to be a bit of wintry mix in the weather so it will be a great day to stay home and play in the studio.


I have been stewing about what to do with all these little doilies that didn’t sell years ago.  When Walmart and the craft stores started carrying foreign-made doilies, I kind of went out of business.  I saw a couple of table runners on Pinterest (a blessing–inspiration, and a curse–time suck) made by sewing doilies together.  So soon I’ll head to the linen closet where I have bigger ones stored and play with this in-between projects.


That’s it for today.  Stay warm (or cool) until next time.  Surely you have something better to do than to sit here and read my ramblings.  Bye for now.  Oh, I can’t use that–I think that belongs to Nancy Zieman.  Ta ta.

Urge to Purge…

I have been on a downsizing, getting rid of stuff, finishing old projects mission for at least three years.  Sometimes I make progress, sometimes I don’t.  I have a stack of quilts that are layered and ready for me to quilt and bind but I got stuck before Christmas.  Sometimes I just can’t find the rhythm and life gets in the way–it took me three tries just to spell rhythm correctly.  I know that’s what spell check is for.  So onward.  I have this great picnic basket that I found at a flea market and I stuff little unfinished projects in it, mostly handwork.  Some of these projects followed me from Minnesota where I used to do a lot of crochet.  All the doilies are finished but I have a bag of angels and then these crocheted hat pincushions.  So I dug them out.  I finally found the leaflet today–Annie’s Attic Antique Crochet Pincushions.


I removed the ribbon and flowers on the burgundy one and attached and stuffed the base to the red/purple one.  I decided that the brims need to be starched and dug out a bottle of Beacon Stiffen Stuff spray.  I had not used this before, either making my own mix of water/white glue or some other stiffener.  So out came the insulation board for starching doilies and snowflakes and my handy-dandy circle ruler.  I drew circles the sizes I wanted on parchment paper and covered that with Glad Stretch n Seal–worked perfectly, better than it ever did in the kitchen.  I also covered the crowns as I did not want to starch that part.  Here they are pinned out with rustproof t-pins.


The red one is also ready.  Tomorrow I will start decorating with bows and flowers and who knows what.


BTW, I like to stuff my pincushions with wool roving–it is supposed to be good for your pins and needles and you can match the color to your crochet thread.  The Stiffen Stuff worked fine but it did not dry in an hour, which was no problem.  There is always a hairdryer for accelerating the drying process if need be.  And if you really want your project stiff, just reapply after it is dry.

Monday I made it to the walking trail to start my series of tree stumps.  This is my favorite one, just in time for Valentine’s Day.


I’ll post some more tomorrow–right now I have to run and meet the fam for dinner and then I’m off to Modern Quilt Guild for fun and inspiration.  Have a great evening and make something handmade or just make a fun mess with your kids.  Or you could paint yourself blue.  That’s on my bucket list.