Monday, May 24, 2010

Starting a new quilt

Due to hubby's insistence and the encouragement of friends, I made time this afternoon to work on my quilting. When I finished my first quilt, I made a commitment to complete another quilt for the church's women ministries charity program. I am temporarily setting aside my grandfather's quilt as his birthday is not until December.

The church gave me two colors of fabric to start with but I wanted to have most of my fabric in hand before starting. The last quilt was a challenge because we were planning out the design as I was putting the blocks together. That type of on-the-fly planning is totally against my nature. So last night, hubby and I went to Joann's and picked out a few more fabrics. The two purple fabrics in the foreground are the ones the church provided and those in the back are the ones we picked out last night.

I decided I wanted to do something a little more complicated than my first quilt so a friend suggested I try a Double 9 Patch block. Searching around the internet I found these instructions for a 12 inch quilt block, which is exactly what I need to reach the 49" x 60" measurements the church wants. Until I sat down to work out all the math, I had no idea how small the squares would be or how many I would have to cut out.

So far I've cut out 46 squares that are 1 7/8" each. According to my calculations, I need 160 lavender squares total so I have a lot more squares to cut out tomorrow.

This quilt is my inspiration so I'm excited to see how my quilt will turn out.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Today is the third day in a row that I have washed, dried, and put away ALL the dishes. I think it's a personal record.

My schedule is working fairly well so far. In the mornings, I clean. I'm assigning one room to each day and cleaning it thoroughly, plus completing the chores that have to be done every single day. Then I spend the first hour after lunch studying Japanese. I feel like I'm learning a lot since I'm finally putting in the necessary time.

After studying Japanese, I work on whatever project is in progress. Today I spent more time in the afternoon cleaning off my desk. I made myself decide: am I going to throw this away, put it away in its proper place, or file it? I forced myself to choose one of the three options instead of merely shuffling things around the apartment. It took hours today. My desk cleaning is almost complete, other than a few odds and ends that I will finish up tomorrow.

Now if I could just find time to quilt... I keep putting off the quilting because I feel that everything else is more important. Hubby says I need to make time to quilt instead of only pulling it out after everything else is done. I just feel guilty spending time doing something fun instead of productive, though quilting is both fun and productive. Tomorrow I'm definitely setting aside some time to work on my quilt.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Bad choice

I snapped at my husband tonight while we were at the supermarket. He wanted me to pick a spaghetti sauce that I would like and I just wanted him to make a decision. I should be thankful for a husband that cares more about my preferences than his own instead of getting aggravated.

I am thankful.

But all those verses in Proverbs that speak of the importance of taming the tongue have obviously not taken root in my heart.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Busy times

Why is it that house guests wear me out so quickly, even when I love them? I wouldn't trade this time for the world, but the pace of our days is much busier than I am used to. Combine that with my increased exercise these past two weeks and Sabbath couldn't come at a better time.

We've already been really busy. Wednesday evening, hubby and I took my brother and his wife to the Phoenix Art Museum. When we finished exploring the museum, we stopped by the library, Whole Foods, Starbucks, and ColdStone. No worries; I'm being strict with my diet and didn't partake in either Starbucks or ColdStone but both smelled really good.

Thursday morning, we completed a 45 minute cardio session with a P90X DVD. The workout didn't seem as hard as the Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred DVD. The P90X cool down left much to be desired so we left the house and walked 2.5 miles. In the afternoon, I taught my brother and his wife how to play one of my favorite games - Ticket to Ride. They seemed to enjoy it and my hubby and I enjoyed the opportunity to play with four total players instead of our usual two.

Thursday afternoon saw me spending another hour or so finishing up my mom's cloth napkins. Then we all carpooled up to The Cheesecake Factory to celebrate Mother's Day with my mom. The restaurant has really good hummus. I wish I could figure out how to make my hummus taste like that.

After dinner, hubby, myself, my brother, and his wife all stopped into Macy's to search for a birthday present for my mom. Her birthday is the second week of June but we will be celebrating it over Memorial Day (along with my dad's birthday and Father's Day). My brother is traveling to Iraq the first week of June so we are cramming a bunch of celebrations into one long weekend at the end of May.

This morning I skipped my exercise. I was just too tired from all the running around we've been doing. Thankfully, I've been waking up about 20 minutes before the rest of the house so I've had quiet time each morning to read from the Bible. That's a nice blessing. Later this morning, my brother, his wife, and I visited a nearby mall looking for the present he couldn't find last night. After an hour and a half of visiting nearly half the stores in the mall, we declared it an unfruitful trip. At least we got a lot of walking!

Now my brother and his wife are off to pick up his daughter. They, my mom, and her boyfriend are going to a concert tonight. Hubby should be home any time now, as soon as he finishes with his client. Because I'm the only one home, I took the opportunity to catch up on dishes and tidy up the kitchen. Then I decided I might as well vacuum. While vacuuming, I figured I might as well sweep the kitchen and clean out the cat litter boxes. Even though I'm very tired, the work kept calling my name and it's a pleasure to know that my hubby will return home to a clean house and a calm wife.

I think I'm going to read for awhile until my hubby calls to say he's on his way home. I picked up several Christian nonfiction books about marriage and homemaking and I'm excited to see what I can learn. I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend and a very restful Sabbath!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Cloth Napkins

A few months ago, I made a set of pillowcases for my brother. I bought the fabric years ago but never sat down to make the pillowcases. This fabric is a bit loud but my brother was seriously into chili pepper decorations at the time I bought it. Finally I decided it was time. Thankfully he still really likes the fabric.

My mom had expressed an interest in this print. She collects fancy bottles of olive oil and mentioned that this chili pepper fabric would make great cloth napkins as a theme with the olive oil. I promised her that if I had enough fabric left from the pillowcases, I would make her a set of napkins. Unfortunately, I ran out of the fabric.

Hubby and I took a trip to Joann's and perused their fabric selection. I didn't find the same fabric, but I did find something similar.

I wish I would have known how much fabric is required for napkins because I would have bought twice as much. I ran out of time and ended up making only four napkins.

I really like how they came out! The tutorial was really easy to follow. I suggested to my hubby that we make a set of 8 napkins for us. We want to find some type of Asian print, something in a deep red and black. I think that would look really classy.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Spare Bedroom - Complete!

I only have a minute to post, as the pizzas are about to come out of the oven and then we eat. My brother and his wife arrived safely so they are staying here for the next few days.

The spare bedroom is clean! There might be a little bit of sorting still to do, but it is way cleaner than it was before. Those two stacks of boxes to the far left? All books. Unfortunately we don't own any bookshelves.




Monday, May 10, 2010

Cleaning the bathroom

I finally got off my lazy behind and cleaned the bathroom. I scrubbed down all the walls, cleaned the sink, sorted through the medicine chest, scoured the toilet, and mopped the floor.

Everything except the tub is spotless. The tub is daunting as it has several years of dirt buildup on the bottom and no amount of cleaner and elbow grease has cut through the grime. Yesterday I picked up a bottle of Seventh Generation tub and tile cleaner, hoping that will do the trick. I ran out of energy this afternoon so I'll be tackling that pesky tub tomorrow morning. You would think that all the extra work would teach me to stay on top of the housework so that cleaning is maintenance instead of scrubbing. Ha.

In my effort to eliminate clutter, I pulled everything out of the medicine chest and from under the sink. In total, I trashed 21 items from the medicine chest and another 13 from under the bathroom sink. It was just stuff we didn't use - cleaners that don't work, shampoo that I can't stand... If we don't use it, why hang on to it?

The apartment is finally starting to feel clean. The living room is messy right now because we still have a huge pile to drop off at the donation bin, but it's all coming together. I am determined to get into the habit of daily cleaning so that I don't have to deep clean like this. It takes company coming to get motivated to really clean and that shouldn't be the case. I should be cleaning for God, for my husband, and for my sanity. I can think so much better in a clean and uncluttered house.

If you need to clean your house, what are you waiting for? It'll be worthwhile.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Radical - Book Review

I chose Radical, by David Platt, because of the subtitle - "taking back your faith from the American dream." The author does a really good job showing how the typical American dream works at odds with fulfilling the gospel commission to go and make disciples of all nations. Too often, we in America are comfortable with the status quo, with trying to increase our material wealth, and with our padded seats and pat sermons at church.

As far as making me think, this book succeeded. I am a homemaker. As such, my realm of influence is small. According to Radical, it matters not that I am a woman or a homemaker. Platt suggests that we are all called to go and make disciples of all nations. Is this the case? Was the command given to the disciples applicable to all believers? Am I, with my husband, to go to a foreign country and preach the gospel? The book states that believers often use the excuse that "I am not called to preach; my gift is in another area." Platt suggests that this is only an excuse and all believers are called by God to preach and serve in a big way.

Toward the beginning of the book, the author states that he has more questions than answers. That is also the case for me after reading his book. Very few of my questions were answered and I have several more topics lined up for Bible study.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Spare Bedroom Revisited

Our spare bedroom looks so much different than the picture posted yesterday. I can see the carpet! All I have left to do is clear out the last few things that we are eliminating, vacuum, and make the bed. That's it!

I closed the door on the closet. If I can't see it, it's not a mess, right?

Tomorrow I'm going to tackle the main bathroom. I'm going to sort through the medicine chest and under the sink and scrub the sink/toilet/floors. The bathtub is going to have to wait as I still haven't figured out how to get it clean. Elbow grease isn't working, neither are three different cleaners.

It feels good to purge junk out of our home. I'll have to look again in six months and determine if there are even more things that can be eliminated. Less clutter, less waste, less cleaning. I'm all for less.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Spare Room Progress

I have been spending all of my time cleaning and sorting through JUNK in the spare room. I am determined that the room will be clean and organized by the end of next Tuesday. I have 4 working days. Instead of keeping up with the dishes, vacuuming, etc., I have done nothing but cook and clean the spare bedroom. I'm resorting to using the dishwasher during the week. *gasp*

Here is what our spare bedroom looked like on Sunday morning:

And this is not the worst it has ever looked... Here is our spare bedroom at the end of today:

Much better, but it is still ugly. Here is what our "dining room" looked like a couple hours ago:

This is how much stuff has to still get moved out of our apartment and I'm not even done in the spare bedroom. We've already dropped off four boxes of books, several boxes of clothes, and hubby took out three boxes of trash right before I snapped this photo. It really is disgusting! Every time a box of books or clothes or JUNK leaves the house, I feel a little bit more relief. That is less JUNK I have to pack up and move someday. That is less JUNK that I have to organize or clean. That is less JUNK that I have to rummage through to find what I'm looking for. If it's been boxed up or stored away for the past four years, we obviously didn't need it.

So I am making a lot of progress. I've been keeping a running tally of how much JUNK has been carried out of here and I will post it once I've finished with the spare bedroom. All of that money wasted. All of that time we've already spent carting it from one residence to another. All of that eyesore. And I still have to tackle the spare bedroom closet. Ugh.

Monday, May 3, 2010


This afternoon I made falafel with sesame sauce. I picked this dish because my hubby treated me to the Persian Garden Cafe several weeks ago and I ate an amazing falafel. I tried to replicate their dish but it wasn't the same. I think I've discovered I don't like parsley... I'll look for another falafel recipe.

I also found a great bread recipe in the Newstart cookbook. When I make bread tomorrow morning, I'm going to try sprinkling sesame seeds on top. Store bought bread has all these different seeds and grains baked into the loaf but I only know how to make plain whole wheat bread. I figured sesame seeds was a good place to start for experimentation.

That is the extent of my recent recipe adventures. I desperately need to test some new vegan recipes. We get very bored with our current eating options and this leads to dairy cravings. Mmmmmm... Pasta salad with ranch dressing and sharp Tillamook cheese.