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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):

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/12/23/artificial-sweeteners-confuse-body.aspx

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.

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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.

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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!

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Less is More

THE LESS IS MORE QUILT. In a previous post, I talked about one of the reasons you have unfinished projects: you’re working on one project but then have a deadline, drop project #1 and finish project #2. So, I dropped everything to make this quilt. My last #doonething in March was to cut out 96 squares, make 48 half-square triangles, and piece the top for a quilt I wanted to enter in the NWA Modern Quilt show (our first). The quilt was juried in but 20 minutes of quilting a day didn’t get it finished in time. I found this wonderful neutral fat-quarter bundle online and it was more than enough fabric for what I needed. 

I like to wash my fabric in order to remove the chemicals. I also think it is easier to cut once the sizing is gone, and it doesn’t make me sneeze and wheeze. The fat quarters did get a little wrinkled and only one piece was cut off-grain but I managed to cut four 8-1/2 inch squares from each. Squares laid out in random order.

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Pairs of squares for half-square triangles.

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I marked the 8-1/2 inch mark with a piece of Master Piece Static Stickers (it comes in 8-1/2×11 sheets). I cannot find this product online; instead, you can mark your cutting line with a piece of masking tape, such as the blue or green painter’s tapes.

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Less is More, before quilting.

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Some straight-line quilting–I started by echoing around the brown arrows.

 

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I was going to add a small border in order to keep the brown points but opted not to. Matchstick quilting can shrink and warp your project quite a bit, and I learned a lot from this project. I stitched around the brown less than/more than signs before starting quilting, but should have stitched in every seam to prevent distortion. I have no idea if I’ll lose the points when I square this up. Draft of my label:

Less is More

Original design using mathematical symbols (less than/more than) to express the phrase, “less is more,”  meaning that a minimalist approach to artistic or aesthetic matters is more effective. Phrase made famous by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, but used before that in a Robert Browning poem, “Andrea del Sarto.”

‘Well, less is more, Lucrezia: I am judged.’

Kona fabrics, Superior King Tut (variegated neutral) and YLI (earth with black and red) threads. Machine  pieced and straight-line quilted on Janome 6600P.

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I often weave thread ends in as I go, but I wanted to spend the time at my machine finishing the quilting. Instead I wove in ends while binge-watching Death in Paradise on Netflix from the comfort of my recliner. Is binge-watching a hobby or a sickness? I have watched Midsomer Murders at least five times, mostly while piecing. I’m still not sure if I need to block this quilt–will have to consult with my blocking guru, Karen K. I’ll post the finished quilt as soon as it’s, er, finished.

TIP OF THE DAY: When marking fabric, place a piece of sandpaper underneath so the fabric doesn’t stretch or move. Use what ever you have; 400-grit is grit enough.

Next post, my Elefantino quilt.

HUMOUR FOR THE WEEK.

 

 

CreativeSprint

http://www.creativesprint.co/

Day 2: Use your name as inspiration.

Day 2 - Inspired by my name

Day 2 – Inspired by my name

Day 3: Use a nursery rhyme or children’s song for your art prompt today. I used a jump rope rhyme.

Call for the doctor, call for the nurse, call for the lady with the (alligator purse).

Day 3 - Nursery rhyme or song - Alligator Purse

Day 3 – Nursery rhyme or song – Alligator Purse

 

On Growing Up Southren…

…or can you really find yourself if you don’t even know your name?

Now my cousin knew my name alright but she called me Cindy Lou in the South you got to have two names one just ain’t enough honey and you got to address people proper with endearments like darlin’ sugah sweet pea words that drip slip slide outta your mouth like the buttah that runs down your chin from granny mommy’s made from memory biscuits tweren’t no Bisquick in her cupboard.

Well I was born Candace Leigh but it didn’t matter none because when my folks the one a Southern Baptist from Florida Cracker and the other a New England Episcopalian High Church Ma’am converted things started to change as in you must have the name of a proper saint in order to baptize this child and so it came to pass that they baptized me at the age of three Mary after the Blessed Virgin in the name of the Father the Son and the Holy Ghost it was Ghost back then.

Now she was a righteous woman and all sure enough and one should be proud to have such a namesake and I woulda been but I was Candy all my life all the way through the third grade anyway until the nuns saw Mary on the Baptismal certificate and that was all she wrote and that’s why you’ll find Mary at class reunions cause it’s a lot easier than explaining who the hell Candy is. the end.

Present day. So I’ve been trying to reinvent myself so I can rename this blog and I’ve been having a little trouble but my excuse is that I’ve had an identity crisis since I was nine. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it. This week has been crazy, and it’s not over yet, but I’ll be back next week with my usual quilting shenanigans. Can you believe that Labor Day has already come and gone? It’s more than half-past summer, folks, and another cool weekend is predicted here. All I can say is, yee-haw.

Losing the light

Losing the light

Whisper of Lilies

My improv piece is finished. Last chapter, I removed the sequined ball because I just didn’t like it. It will land somewhere else eventually–nothing goes to waste.

Sequined wool ball

Sequined wool ball

I found some bits of green crochet thread I had hand dyed at some point and made a small medallion and beaded it with single seed beads.

Beaded crochet medallion

Beaded crochet medallion

Next I added some encrusted beading–my standby of loading three beads at a time close together, knotting after every three groups.

Ecrusted beading

Encrusted beading

I also took the last piece of useable lily fabric and hand appliqued that in a blank space.

Appliqueing last useable piece of lily fabric

Appliqueing last useable piece of lily fabric

Now to finish the edges–I saw this no-binding binding somewhere but couldn’t find it again so did this from memory. I used a 1-inch strip of fabric the length of each side. Stitch it on with 1/4-inch seam allowance, flip it and stay stitch it in place. I meant for the back side of the fabric to show but put right sides together on the second side. Just a reminder–that you pay for two sides of fabric so you can use either side as you see fit.

Finishing side edges

Finishing side edges

Stay stitching

Stay stitching

Press under 1/4-inch and bring the entire flap to the back; blind hem stitch.

Pressing edge under

Pressing edge under

Blind hem stitching

Blind hem stitching

Finished edge

Finished edge

For the bottom edge, I added about 1/2-inch to each end so that I could fold it in and cover up the raw edges on the sides. Note that I trimmed the corner–this gets a little bulky. Blind hem as before.

Bottom edge finishing

Bottom edge finishing

I still have not decided how I will hang this piece, which is approximately 8.25×8-inches so I decided to make a casing at the top for a dowel or branch or something. I cut this strip at 1-1/2 inches and turned under the short edges so that it was slightly shorter than the top width. Blind stitch the long edge, leaving the short edges open.

Top edge casing

Top edge casing

Here is the finished piece: Whisper of Lilies.

Whispers of Lilies

Whispers of Lilies

Give improv piecing a try and then try some different embellishments. When you have a small project, you’re not investing a lot of material or time. If you ruin it, cut it up and make some art pins and abandon them on your favorite walking trail. Check out this Facebook Page:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/ArtAbandonment/

Someone in town is painting rocks that say “Bella Vista Rocks.” I saw one at the hospital parking lot the other day and left it for someone else to find and enjoy! Why? Because I think the article about this project suggested that the rocks were meant for visitors. I belong to the above group but still haven’t decided what to make and abandon. It’s on my bucket list. My bucket overfloweth.

P.S. I tend to think in cartoons and this was going through my mind yesterday. I’m going to use it as a free-motion quilting exercise and see if it turns into something. One never knows, does one? Have a great weekend.

What if flowers were tall?

What if flowers were tall?