June 26, 2010

Insuffient Vitamin D Surprise

It's that time of year as my birthday approaches and my doctor insists on all those annual tests and physicals. So, I headed off to the lab to let them do their thing even before my morning coffee. I think that's the worst part as I don't mind the blood test---it's the lack of my coffee or tea that I grumble about.

I passed all my tests, even my cholesterol was good! Yipee! ---but, ah-oh!---my Vitamin D level is way low! Whoa---was I side tracked by that revelation. My doctor immediately subscribed additional doses of vitamin D and suggested I spend 20 minutes a day in the direct sunlight which is the best overall source of Vitamin D besides foods. No suncreen, no shade hats or long sleeves and jeans either. Just me and the rays!

I've been researching Vitamin D deficiency and found some surprising results. Evidently we have gone a bit overboard with our lack of sun and limiting certain food. . Too much time spent indoors for one thing. In my case a lot of time sitting and sewing, or standing at the long arm. Not much sunshine involved with that! Too much sun protection for another, and not enough foods that contain vitamin D in an effort to curb our cholesterol levels. Even enhanced vitamin D foods don't work as well as plain ole' Sunshine.

I do spend quite a bit of time out doors gardening, or so I thought, but I do this in the cool of the day usually. Evenings and early mornings. Plus we have a lot of shade trees and coastal fog that creeps in that time of the day. So, what I thought was spending quality time outdoors in the fresh air was just that--fresh air, but not the good type of "sunshine & fresh air" that is really what is needed to assimilate and increase vitamin D.

For the past week I've purposely spent 20 mins each day sitting out in the direct sun and increased my level of vitamin D foods. And I've been eating these twice a week! Egg yolks are a great source of vitamin D.

---and eating and drinking more of this.

---and on top of my daily vitamins I've added more vitamin D.

I'm urging my family and friends that have not had a test for vitamin D to do so soon. Your overall health could be at risk if you are dangerously low on this important vitamin. I'm very thankful my doctor made this test part of my check up.

June 24, 2010

A Little of This, and a Little of That

I can't believe it's Thursday already, or July is just around the corner. Where has the week gone. It's cold here tonight, so I'm not sure if Summer has truly arrived. Our grand daughter Amanda has been spending time with us since school let out early in June, and we have been working on some crafty projects together. Today we had fun making these stepping stones. These are kits from Michael's Crafts. They include the form, the bits of glass, and the concrete mix. Now that we have the hang of it, we are planning to do a few more with rocks, and we will be scouting the thrift shops looking for some china dishes we can break into mosaic bits.

Another quilt is completed for the new baby our niece is expecting any day --
It's the same quilt pattern as the one I made a few weeks ago for our nephews baby. Just the quilting is a bit different.

I've also loaded a quilt top onto the long arm. It's a quilt top I received from JoAnn for Quilts of Valor. I've been looking at it for a few days while it's hanging on the frame trying to decide what to quilt on it. So far, I've put some stars and loops on the top border, and did some line dancing up and around the blue strips that circle around the center star. I haven't decided what to quilt in the middle of the blocks --- yet.

Amanda and I also started the Hot Diggity Dog quilt last week. A pattern I picked up at our local quilt show. Amanda traced all the dachunds, and picked out the fabrics. I cut, Amanda presses. We're making progress. It's looking cute!

Bill's been cutting up wood and restocking the wood sheds getting a jump start on winter. We may actually have a fire in the morning as it's predicted to get down to 44 degrees before morning.

June 12, 2010

Baby Quilt

Determined to do at least one quilting project yesterday after the quilt funk posting I completed this baby quilt that has been collecting dust. After resetting some upper tension for King Tut thread on the long arm it was smooth sailing. I really like the look of this 40 wt. variegated thread from Superior. This thread is #917- Pharaohs Tales. If you want to emphasize your quilting---this thread definitely achieves that "focus on the thread" look. (click on the picture for maximum thread view) ! Yep, see what I mean about thread emphasis!

I used So-Fine in the bobbin as usual. Someone recently asked how many bobbins do you use for an average quilt. (four most of the time) For this large baby quilt I wound two bobbins and had thread left over.

I free motion quilted some leaves on the borders, circles (of sorts)---in the inner border, and large meander in the middle section. I also experimented with my new Pfaff's Bi-Level foot to machine stitch on the binding. It worked quite well in that I hit the ditch on the back most of the way. Once I get the hang of all the needle position setting, and forget about sewing on the binding using a quarter inch like I always have, this may be my new favorite method to attach quilt binding---ever!

June 11, 2010

In a Quilting Funk!

I haven't been blogging because I'm in such a funk about a mistake I made cutting out over a 100 half square triangles the wrong size for Judy's Memorial Day quilt a few weeks ago....See the stacks of dark blue and red and the white print and blue 3" half square triangles? So neat and perfectly squared. They are supposed to be (sigh) 3-1/2" inches! Up until yesterday I just didn't even want to think about sewing or quilting. I 've been so bummed redoing these. If this was not a quilt I really-truly wanted to make for someone special--I would call it quits. I was up early today and am cutting some new strips of the required fabrics and starting all over again. I should have made one entire block first.---If I had did this right off, I would have found my cutting mistake....(sigh). Lesson learned.

I did get all my June block of the month "Pies & Tarts" fabrics cut into little pie wedges, and separated into baggies and ready to go, and I've even made a few of the pie circles. I had decided on the Civil War block of the month as I couldn't find any pictures of a whole red & white Pies & Tart quilt. I thought I would stick with what I could see! The shop sent me the wrong fabric kit for the first block of the month. It's the red and white fabric kit, not the civil war kit. I liked the fabrics so much I called them and told them to continue sending the red and white Pies & Tart series. Lucious colors and fabrics! I've never english paper pieced and I'm having a wonderful time learning. I also found this cute child's purse and keep all my paper piecing stuff in baggies stored inside the various purse compartments. Works great!

I do have this quilt on the long arm, collecting dust. Maybe this afternoon I'll get inspired---I needed to play with thread tension because I switched to King Tut which always throws my tension slightly off for some reason. (mine and the machine's). I think I fixed it yesterday, so now I need to get inspired with a quilting design. A child's quilt, hmmm--- maybe just a nice meander will do.

I'm retracing some lines back onto my redwork project. I've been working on this for ages, and my reference lines have started to fade. I'm doing a ton of french knots in the upper left corner so I think I need to be semi accurate. If I were to sit down and totally concentrate on stitching this for a week, and only this, I would have it finished and ready to quilt. What a concept! LOL!

On the design wall, but with very little progress is this.

I'm hoping that recutting the new strips for the half square triangles for the Memorial Day quilt will jump start me into action. I sure need to get some things finished.