Monday, October 31, 2011

Design Wall Monday

Once again, I actually have something to show today. Yippy!

I finished two quilts this week. The blue quilt was just a little late. I had all but one half of the binding sewn down by the time of the baby shower on Saturday. I tried finishing it up at the shower but I was so tired, I started making stupid mistakes so just took it home and finished it Sunday a.m. and dropped it off in the afternoon. I, also, gave the batik baby quilt to a new mom. (I finished this one a couple of months ago but have only seen the mom twice, by chance, since her baby was born.) All of the quilts were well received and I got lots of questions about all of the different aspects of quilting. It was a bit stressful to get them done so quickly but I'm glad I did.

I found out on Tuesday that the recipient of the log cabin baby quilt would not be at the baby shower so that took some of the pressure off. I decided to hand quilt it because the machine quilting started to get on my nerves by the end of the second baby quilt. So this is what I'll be working on this week and IF I get it finished, I'll start on quilting the Rooty Tooty quilt for dd1.

Enjoy some quilty inspiration at Judy's blog and have a great week.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Design Wall Monday

I didn't get as far as I need to on the 3 baby quilts. I've finished piecing all but the last backing. I've started it and everything's cut so it shouldn't take too long. The final quilt, which I didn't have a set idea on colors, held me up. I pulled somewhat at random but didn't like how it looked. DD1 suggested that I group them by colors so I had to set aside 5 of the blocks. The parrots and the pansies don't necessary fit their color group so well, but I really like the parrots and I'm have very few purples. The others I have are just too dark for this quilt. Oh, well. It's a good thing that baby's aren't picky!

I, also, have the binding on all three quilts ready and waiting, which is a first for me. Usually I don't make the binding until the quilting is finished. I still need to sandwich, quilt and bind at least 2 of the 3 quilts by 1:30 Saturday! Nothing like setting big goals with a fast-approaching, unchangeable deadline to bring on the adrenaline!

Time to get moving. Check out the other design walls at Judy's blog.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The cost of eating healthy

This is in relation to a post on Patchwork Times about the disparity between the cost of healthy food and junk food. This is a bit of a soapbox issue for me.

I maintain a spreadsheet of all of our spending going back for years based on all of our spending so I can assure your my numbers are accurate. Anything edible gets recorded in our food spending category whether it's celery, milkshakes, tomato plants or junk food from a vending machine.

The cost of junk food versus good food issue is one that bugs me a lot. We average $229/week for food which comes out to $4.68/person/day. We eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies, many of which are organic, and 3-4 gal. of organic milk per week. I cook most of what we eat, although we do eat some prepackaged items like veggie burgers. I bake often but I don't make my own bread. I only buy whole wheat bread and rolls. Our garden produced very little this year, probably not even enough to cover the cost of the starter and replacement plants the deer ate. We eat out only occasionally and only at Subway, Ikea (a good, large $9 pizza), Chuck E. Cheese (for birthdays with coupons) and, twice this year, we had Dominos. We hardly drink soda (none for the kids) and no junk juice/sugar water, only 100% juices even for juice boxes. We eat generally only small portions of meat and it's always with lots of veggies. I even mix shredded zucchini, onion and potato into our hamburgers.

According to USDA rates for Aug., our spending falls between the Thrifty and Low-Cost Plans. We used to fall below the Thrift levels before I started buying organic milk and before the kids hit major growth spurts. We maintained these levels even when I was going to school full time while taking care of 3 kids under 6 and pregnant with our 4th. We're all healthy; my kids are above average on growth charts, with the height matching or above the weight percentage.

To get the best prices on the foods we eat, I usually shop at 2-3 stores per week and make only 1 shopping trip per week. I've gotten pretty good at knowing who has the best prices on most of what we eat and can assess each store's "sale" price based on the cost of the same item at different stores. Some books suggest that you keep a little notebook with you to write down the prices at different store but I have enough experience that I just keep that info stored in my memory. I only occasionally use coupons since most of them are for prepackaged stuff that we wouldn't normally buy anyway. I have brand loyalty for certain products but have no problem buying the store brand of other things. After taste testings, I found that some store brands are even better than the name brands I was buying. (If you have a Wegman's near you, many of their store brands are quite good.)

I keep a stocked pantry and when I cook, I usually cook enough for 2-3 meals. Although, now that the kids are bigger, it's harder to make enough for three meals. There are days when they'll eat just about whatever is even remotely edible.
The extras go in the fridge for later in the week or in the freezer to use on days when I'm too busy or don't feel like cooking. We even use these meals when we go on vacation. (We bring dry rice and our rice cooker, as well.)

We sit down and eat most lunches and nearly every dinner together. The TV is in the basement, so no way to watch and eat a regular meal. Every once in a while, we'll have a "picnic" and a movie night.

Eating well can be done on a budget without a garden and having a busy life. It's all about choices.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Design Wall Monday

I've got lots to show today. I've been a very busy quilter this last week. Why? I've got a friend's baby shower coming up on the 29th and it's being hosted by the mom who I made the wrong color baby quilt for. Remember that?

Well, I never got around to making her another quilt and I'd feel really bad making one for the shower and not bringing one for her. Plus, I finished the log cabin baby quilt top and back. I'm going to be incredibly busy for the next week and a half. I've got a set deadline and have to be finished with all three.

When I was working on another quilt the soon to be recipient of the log cabin baby was fascinated by the different fabrics so I told her mom that I would make the backing pieced with lots of variety. I like the idea and look so much that I'm going to try doing it for all three quilts, essentially making each one reversible. I'm not sure how much of a pain it will be to quilt it. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that it won't be too bad, especially since my machine quilting skills are not the greatest.

The colors and pattern on the front were chosen before the baby was born but they are so appropriate for this little girl since she was born at home in a blackout during a blizzard! (The home birth was planned; the blizzard and blackout just add to a great birth story.) Top, back and binding are made. I need to sandwich, quilt and bind this one. I'm pretty sure the mom will be at the shower as well so I really want to get this done. Besides, her little girl was born back in Feb. 2010. I think it's about time to deliver this one.

The blue nine patch is the replacement for the pink disappearing nine patch that I had made. I was going to do another disappearing nine patch but I was too tired last night and just wanted to get it done. It still needs a blue border which I haven't pulled yet. This one needs a border, back, binding made plus the quilting and binding.

The last one I haven't even pulled the fabric for or settled on colors. I have decided on a bow tie pattern though and I have plenty of 5" squares already cut to choose from.

The week before last I finished binding the batik baby quilt from my last post, so that now ready to give.

Besides quilting, H. had his 4th birthday which required making a cake and a mandatory trip to Chuck E. Cheese.

This week, we've got two dr.'s appointments, a birthday party, a girl scouts meeting and a group coming to visit our mosque (which means dessert lady mode for me). Tops and backs need to be finished today or tomorrow so that I can get the quilting done Wed. and Thur.

By this time next week, I should have three baby quilts in the process of being bound and on the 29th I'll have four quilts ready to give. Wish me luck!

Go check out Judy's blog for more inspiration.