She Went Vegan

Next to possibly Ronald Mc Donald I am the last person on Earth that any one would ever think of as being Vegan and yet here I am making a dramatic dietary change.. in fact just about a 180 considering that I was before this time pretty much a Paleo girl.

Problem was- even though I was happy by body was not and my diabetes was becoming more aggressive and my autoimmune system we continuing to fail ( fun huh??)

So with that in mind as well as my husband's cholesterol levels we made the big jump to a plant based / no oil diet ala Engine 2 .



Massaged Kale Salad
 Start with  2x the Kale you think you will need, the massaging really brings down the volume.
Using just a bit of kosher salt or in my case the oil free Sesame oil dressing, using clean or gloved hands massage the ripped up Kale bits until the darken, and become soft and silky ( 3-5 minutes).  To this I added hunks of avacado, some walnuts, tomatoes and slices of cooked sweet potato that I quickly pan fried to warm them. 

This actually was not as hard as you would think since I have already ditched sugars, most processed food and a ton of other things that the world around me eats on a daily basis, so saying goodbye to the meat was easy.. the oil... not bad.. but the dairy.. there I let out a little sob and a whimper but I will survive.

Today's lunch was Massaged kale with sweet potatoes, avacados, tomatoes and walnuts.  Dinner was toasted brown rice with roasted vegables topped with homemade (no oil or cheese) pesto.

New shopping lists are being made, the fridge and freezer are being cleaned out  and adjustments in preperation for this new adventure.

Interested in more good reasons to do this?   A good place to start is the documenteray Forks over Knives



Want and easy read with all the science in the footnotes?  Rip's new book is a great place to dig in!


 I don't know often I will be posting ( crying?  rejoicing?) about this adventure but this will be where I will be doing it if you want to follow along!



Simplify - Spring Edition



Spring is here in Eastern TN and that means I am ready to throw open the windows and  start airing out my life.

First step, getting control of my morning routine.  These days it seems like we suffer from a wealth of options each day and while all this choice can be nice it adds a lot of time to my day so my hope is to weed out what I don't need in favor of what I love. 

Turns out out that I have a lot of make-up. Not as much as some but more than enough and a lot I don't use.

 See.. a lot of stuff and it is going away!

I have decided to keep the items you see in the top photo. These are my go-to products that don't let me down and are all I really need for my personal beauty kit.

So I sorting and boxing up the rest, if I have not needed it by the end of summer I will just throw it all away.. if not I will add it to my much sleeker arsenal of beauty magic.

What about you.. are you paring down these days?



Mock Piped Pillows


Yes, I love color, why do you ask?

If I was a woman of greater integrity I would show you what these pillows looked like yesterday, but I am not. I will only say that they were very much the worse for wear after being ravaged by a very chewy puppy since last summer.

It was time for new pillows and I lucked into the orange and creme daisy fabric for a song so the project was then a go.

I wanted something nice but not something that would take days on end to make then have me wail and beat my chest should the puppy go to nibbling again.

I decided on a simple pillow with a mock piped edge to class them up a bit.  Since while a simple seamed pillow would have been ok I tend to think they look a bit unfinished and for just a few minutes more work you can have something that people assume you paid big money for.

Making a Mock Piped Pillow

Start with the two pieces of fabric, 1 front, 1 back and sew them together with right sides facing. Leave at least 3/4 of one side open to insert pillow form later. - turn right side out.

Next- with a matching thread you are  are going to sew around the outside of the pillow just a wee bit in from the edge so that you are catching the inside seam and it's bulk is going to give you the look of piping in your pillow!
  You do this buy rolling the top edge just a wee bit further towards the front so it is nice and full.


You will run your foot right on the edge and adjust your needle so it rides in the depression as it sews along. 
Before top stitching for a mock piping finish


So you start with the pillow cover as is ( above)



After with mock piping 

And this is what you get.  A simple professional looking finish that adds structure and support to your project without a lot of hassle or time.





 How easy was that?  Want to see a little video?... sure you do!



So there you go.. mock piped pillow edge for painless pillow refurbishing!

No Capes! Lessons from My Sick Bed





This winter has sucked when it comes to being sick..  and here I am writing from just the other side of 16 hours of sleep trying to get rid of this awful crud that has once again come our way.  

While I am sure it was just the cough medicine talking Edna Mode came to visit me in my dreams - her message was short. No Capes!

No Capes!- To remind me to get rid of things that are dragging me down.

No Capes! - To remind me the same about people who are not a positive influence in my life.

No Capes! - To let go of pseudo-obligations that drain me and don't move me closer to my goals.

No Capes! - To put myself first so I can be there to take care of others. 

No Capes! - To let go of what I cannot change ( like being sick)  and be flexible like my other hero.....

She hangs here on my desk as a daily reminder, I need to find an Edna now!

What does Edna's message mean to you and your life?


Laundry Care Symbols Demystified




 Laundry Care labels would have baffled the greatest of the Egyptian explores.. luckily there is a cheat sheet that makes things easy.  Even better it is printable for easy access right in the laundry room. 

I blogged about it today over at BadAss Quilters Society, come have a peek!




QuiltCon Mini-wrap up


Well it is over for another two years which is good since it might take me that long to recover!  The QC ladies put on a wonderful event and I know they must be tired. On my part my legs still hurt from standing so much, my voice is horse from talking and I might weigh a few more pounds from a possible over indulgence in chocolate, and  eating out.  I spent the bulk of my time assisting in the classroom of the wonderful Angela Walters as she taught people how to rock their negative space and when not doing that I was shopping and making some wonderful connections since I was also at QC to meet and mingle with other BadAss Quilters.




The venue was at the Austin Convention Center.. large, open and as it seems just about right for this conference.  Hall number 1 was the where the quilts and the vendors hung out. Room A had the all day every day rotating series of lectures. Upstairs (not shown) had all the classrooms


Ample bathrooms were to be had unless you were a guy- all of the bathrooms had been "converted" (via putting a ladies room sign over the men's) into ladies rooms but this left many poor guys looking confused and in need. More than once I checked a bathroom and whipped the women's temporary sign off in order to let some guys do their thing..  As it turns out one of them might have been Amy Butler's husband David - a wonderful designer in his own right.. I had no idea, he as just a confused guy in need with a full bladder..but funny ..no?




Of course I can't fail to mention the shopping at QC. There were a nice but not overwhelming selection of vendors who attended and over the next week I will be talking about specific ones in greater depth but over all the atmosphere was festive and colorful as exemplified by the Swirly Girls booth which most of the time was so busy that I had a hard time getting a photograph.  These gals have some adorable patterns  and people were just nuts over the new line of Monogram Buttons.



And of course there were quilts, lots and lots of quilts. Some of which confused me, some which amazed me and and think that is how it should be.  This quilt was by Tula Pink herself and was quilted by the ever so awesome Angela Walters. For some reason it just resonated with me more than any of the others. This quilt was a modern riff on a classic Dear Jane quilt with no two blocks the same.. it made me smile.

required night time shot in the elevator


And yes there were parties,drinks and real deal tattoos to be had (Not by me!). The Friday night 80's party found us shaking it up (and down) on the dance floor with 100's of other quilters who have obviously not lost their stuff just because they play with fabric. I rocked a side ponytail complete with scrunchy and Robyn tripped the light fantastic with a liberal use eye shadow and some very 80's feathers dangling from her hair.  It was fun but boy did the next morning come early.


and the people... oh the people... I met SO MANY wonderful new friends.. each with amazing talents and even the ability to rock the Quirt ( yes a vintage quilted skirt.. jealous much?)

This is Tinkerfrog and she is one BadAss quilter indeed.. I enjoyed dinner and lots of hot quilty ( and non-quilty) conversation with her on the night Robyn and I and oh, about  20 others invaded the Iron Cactus in downtown Austin -

I would be remiss to not say that our table was filled with so much amazing talent and names that you would know that I was sort of wacked out ( might have also been that I really don't drink but had an IC margarita on an empty stomach!) but each and everyone of them was so nice that it will be a memory I will cherish for a good long time.

Over the next few weeks I will have more to share.. including the amazing fabrics I bought at QC, the really NICE.. and I mean NICE designers I met and  I will also dish on my true feelings about modern quilting and if my feelings about it have changed since going to the show ( hint- they have).

Were you there?... Did I meet you?  Leave a message here

Were you there and we missed each other?... I am sad!.. leave me a note so we can still connect.

How to find Maddie at Quilt Con

A lot of people have asked how to find me at QuiltCon - ( I almost said hook-up but since that generally has a sexual reference I did not-- my kids have schooled me on this fact!)

So here I have the put together the handy


~ How to Find Maddie at QuiltCon Guide~





This is what I look like on a good day - let's all hope for good days.


This is the very cute but somewhat dorky hip-bag I will be wearing- mock me if you must but I live in fear of losing my wallet/etc at big events like this and it helps me not to freak out so much. 



I will be carrying this bag ... Yes it is a redone bag from another conference- sue me. 



I will be posting updates all day each day with cool things I think you might like to see or want on my 
BadAss Quilters Society  Facebook group.  So if you want to follow along on the fun.. join me over there!

See you all soon!


CandyBar Wrappers - Last minute Valentine's Gifts




I can be ridiculously  last minute about some things.. and way ahead of the curve on others.. in today's case I might be just right but that is a total fluke let me assure you of that!

But maybe you need a quick gift for a bunch of people for Valentine's Day and you are way too busy to personally get your craft on .. well you are in luck since I am sharing my custom candy Bar wrappers with you since I think you are sort of awesome!

Easy peasy mac&cheesey.. all you need is the candy bars, paper, a printer and some tape.

These have been created for the 1.45 ounce Hershey Bars that come in the multi-pack.. they might work with others but your mileage may vary if you know what I mean.

If you would like to download and print the crafty version please click on CraftyCandyBar Wrapper

If you would like the sweet little bird on the vintage fabric please click on Vintage Birdie CandyBar Wrapper

The instructions are printed on the download - Have fun and eat some chocolate! :)

I am Going to Quilt Con!.. are you??


This is me.. but I will not bathed in angelic light- sorry about that!


The days are quickly counting down until QuiltCon and I am very excited that I will be there in my role as owner of BadAss Quilters Society and  just to enjoy the hell out of myself!

I am also very excited to be seeing my bestie of many years ..the loverly Ms. Robyn of Coffee and Cotton as well as a lot of wonderful people I have met online.

As part of the Quilt Con linky party we are supposed to post 5 things you might not know about ourselves.. this is going to be hard since I am pretty out there and don't hold a lot back...but here goes.

1) I am an introvert.  Yes, I am ... I am an introvert who loves to be with people but I pay for it by the fact that I give my energy away to be with people so you can fully expect that when I go back to my hotel room at night I will be doing a face-plant on the bed and sleeping the sleep of the dead to recover and be ready for the next day. 

2) I am a homebody. I LOVE my home and have very little desire to travel. So it is a big deal when I do go places!

3)I have dirty mouth and a naughty mind, both which I will do my best to keep under control.

4) Helping people find the creative spark in themselves gives me endless pleasure.

5) I might need treatment for my addiction to cute shoes and  shades of red lipstick.


Please leave me a note if you are going to be there I would love to meet you!

Caulk Makes the World Go Round




Ok.. the bathroom remodel is going so slow that it just might be going in reverse.. but at least today I finally got around to getting the beadboard caulked in. Which means that tomorrow I can sand and slap on another fast coat of primer so that maybe if the paint Gods are feeling fine I might finally paint the bathroom.. I am not holding my breath but I do have hope.

As I started on this process last week I promised a story about my previous adventures with caulk..

I am a DIY junkie, seriously I get all excited at a new issue of Family Handyman Magazine  ( FHM) as I do a new sewing or quilting magazine.  I love seeing the new products  but am often bummed at how long it takes for them to get to our market. Chattanooga TN is not the capital of DIY it seems - Crazy!

So years ago I read an article about the new elastrometric caulks  that were ideal for old homes that shifted due to weather so I went off in search of this new wonder product for my own old and seasonally shifting home.

I was short of time that day and started my search at my local Mom & Pop hardware store near to my home.  This place is small, and more expensive but the people that work there know the products. At the time there was an older (80+) gentleman- lets call him Hal*   working there and while not fast, he had an amazing amount of knowledge which made up for the fact that he was also hard of hearing. When he spoke he shouted with a serious Southern drawl  since  I guess he assumed that you were also hard of hearing and a fan of Gone With the Wind.

So on this oh so magical day I went in looking for my dream caulk ( quit laughing!).. and  I asked him about it, explaining about how I had read about it in the FHM  we went that way  and found the display laden with a sad selection at best. He handed me a tube of ordinary tub and tile caulk and I explained again that is was "special" caulk that  stretched and got bigger and then shrank back when not in use.  He looked perplexed.

 Well  as my luck would have it my local mom and pop hardware store had not as of yet upgraded to the fancy ear-piece/ CIA-style  of in-store communication . They were in fact just past the tin-can and string stage of sales associate  communication using really large and loud walkie-talkies.

So Hal being the helpful ( and yet somewhat deaf and Southern) soul that he was whipped out his trusty walkie-Talkie and pumped the button that I can only assume was labeled ~ Screach~ so that each and EVERY sales associate in the place was put on alert to a pending message to be delivered via the black box clipped to their belt.

Now I have to say that the rest plays in slow motion when I think about it.. (ever been in a car wreck?.. sort of like that)..  ~ SCREACH~..  " This is Hal and I am with a young lady that is looking for some fancy caulk and it seems that all I have over here is plain caulk, she wants something that can stretch and get bigger when it needs to and I just don't have anything for her, well,- we have some colored caulk but that is not what she needs right now either."

At this moment the whole store goes dead silent... really you could have heard a pin drop... or possibly my jaw... slowly you start hearing little giggles.. then chuckles, then the sound of people obviously bracing themselves over bags of potting soil as they wept in mirth at exactly what it sounded like I was looking for..  (Please note that if so far you are confused or don't know why this is funny.. throw on a fake Southern drawl and read the previous paragraph out loud to yourself and the ones you love)

I SO wanted to laugh.. really I did.. or maybe be swallowed up by the earth.. it really was a toss up.. but this poor guy had no idea what was going on...  and honestly it might just have been better that way.

To this day.. I can't look at a tube of caulk without a giggle since we all know that  caulk that gets bigger when you need it to be and then shrinks away when you don't is just what every girl needs!



~ The names have been changed to protect the innocent and caulkless

Quilt Borders - True Confessions


Wild Rumpus - mid process

If you get a group of quilters together for long enough the talk will turn to quilt-tastrofies. Those quilts that end up so off grain and so distorted that they ripple and wave like a flag on a windy spring day.

When laid flat they have hills (often refereed to a C-cups or even worse DD-cups!) and the border often looks like it has a loverly lettuce edged wave to it when in reality it should be laying as flat and crisp as a well made military bed. 

While these are often issues that happen to new quilters those with experience are not immune to it and in some cases various techniques when combined really make these issues hard to avoid. ( Bias cutting is one of the biggest offenders since here is lots of stretch on the bias)

We have spent a good deal of time talking about this topic over at BadAss Quilters Society and while most people do things just about the same way there are some various schools of thought on how to keep things nice and square.

Some favor lots of starch so there is less distortion when sewing and pressing.

Some like to use an average of the quilt measurement to cut their borders and yet others like to pre-square each element for best outcome.


 I am going to be quite honest and say that while I do use starch I don't measure, yep {gasp}..  but what I do is pre measure  and "square" my area to make sure it is not grossly out of whack and then I do PIN my strips of fabric to the main panel so I have less distortion as I sew.  In fact this is one of the few times I actually use pins... In general I am anti-pin - I can't help it.. it's the rebel in me ;-)

Wild Rumps will get two more borders and then be ready for quilting.. when it is all done I will show you how I like to square everything up  and get the quilt ready to go on the longarm for quilting!


Easy and Inexpensive Shoe Storage





Sometimes you have to go for the easy win... in this case the easy project to make you feel like you are making some sort of freaking progress in getting organized!

I have a lot of big projects in the works right now but while they are all going well it does feel chaotic for sure and much less than restful!

For that reason  I am extra thrilled with tonight's "easy win" of getting my over flow of shoes organized!

Yep just call me Imelda, I love shoes and had run out of places to keep them in my closet. After weeding out those that were ready to go to donation I set up possibly the easiest way to make extra shoe room in a bookcase or cabinet.

As luck would have it the large wall in my bedroom is lined with built in bookshelves that have doors  on the bottoms. These were holding an odd ball assortment of junk but not really being USED in a effective manner.. but now they are!

While not very deep they were just fine even for my size 10 shoes but there was a lot of wasted space when the shoes were just on the shelves or I ended up piling them up and then they tumbled out and on to my bedroom floor... no good.

Enter a stroke of brilliance which was lit as I trolled through Pinterest ( who says I waste time there!) where I saw a pin using a tension rod to hold up rolls of wrapping paper and that got me thinking...

LIGHT BULB MOMENT!

So a quick run to the home center and 4 tension rods later I mounted the rods in the cabinet and this made extra "shelves" on each level for more shoes!

I was not able to find my preferred heavy-duty rods ( they are more oval as opposed to round) but so far the bronze regular duty are working fine..

1 cabinet + 4 tension rods = 24 pairs of shoes organized!


Matte Eyeshadow - And Now We Are 45




With the celebration of my 45th birthday I also took the time to clean out my makeup drawer of all the colors and types of make up that no longer flatter my face.

While over all I am " holding up" pretty well I can see and feel my aging around my eyes. Skin that was once firm is now getting softer and we wee bit crepey ( is that even a word?)... you know.. thinner and it sort of moves when you push it...eeewwwww

This is NOT skin for which frosted eye shadow is a friend. Frosted eye shadow is for the young and firm.. do not let them tell you otherwise. Eye shadow with any amount of shine or sparkle is like a spotlight on what you would rather hide!

Matte eyeshadow with good pigmentation is what you are looking for.  I happen to currently love L'Oreal  Infallible in Sultry Smoke since it is very smooth and the price is right at $6.. although oddly I think they might have changed it to a shimmer.. so check before you buy!

and who knew.. I am not the only crazy out there talking about this!


We have some winners!





We have 3 winners to the drawing for the wonderful thread card from Fil-Tec!!..

 Mandy Applebee

Ruaquilter

and 

Clair

If you are on FB you can see the video of the drawing :)


Congrats ladies and please contact me at maddie6@bellsouth.net  so I can get your address and send you your goodies!