Monthly Archives: August 2013

(Please) Stay Strong!

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I write blogs for a living and always tell people to stay on topic. You do not want to be reading about crafts and have the writer start ranting about politics or religion. On the same note, if you follow a political blog, your readers are not going to appreciate if you change focus and start talking about your real estate business.

Well, friends, I am breaking my own advice to talk about strength training. I’ve recently lost a good chunk of weight and was excited for my doctor to tell me I was the best patient ever. Nope. He told me that I now needed to work on strength training and increasing my muscle mass. Since the bulk of my exercise involves changing the bobbin on my Janome, I should not have been surprised, but I knew it was time for some research. I’ve spent the last week learning how important strength training is to healthy aging. Some of the things I’ve learned are:

  • Most people will lose 50 percent of their muscle strength by age 65. That means that it’s difficult to carry groceries or get up and down onto the floor to play with your grand kids.
  • People who strength train age at 1/2% a year. People who don’t age at 2% per year.
  • The #1 reason that people go nto assisted living is lack of leg strength.

It’s never too early — or too late — to take care of building our muscles. We women are given lots of information about protecting our bones from osteoporosis, regular mammograms to prevent breast cancer, and the need to watch our diets to protect our heart. This is the first time I’ve ever been told to protect my muscles. This process requires only a small investment of time (20 minutes, 2 or 3 times a week) and can be done at home. Most quilters I know are vibrant, exciting women, and I’d hate to see my friends slowed down by lack of physical strength.

There are lots of books available on strength training. Here are two:

Weights for 50+

Build Muscle Without Weights

Buying Fabric Online

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I’m always amazed at the number of women I meet who have never purchased fabric online. Their main reason is that they want to touch the fabric before they buy it. This always makes me smile! If you’re purchasing good quality quilter’s cotton, there is very little chance that you will get a fabric that feels too cheap or too stiff.

With the exception of The City Quilter  in New York City, I buy almost all my fabric online.  I like the selection of an online store. In most cases, the fabric arrives within a few days.  The prices are very often better than available locally. It’s not that I don’t want to support our local quilt shops, but the convenience, selection and cost from an online store usually win my business. Here are a few of my favorite shops, in no particular order, to get you started. (Please note that I have no financial interest in any of these companies.)

Fat Quarter Shop — This is one of my favorites.  They have a great selection and a good variety of fabrics. They also send out a nice newsletter on Fridays with a fabric special. Their shipping is extremely fast and they package the fabrics in cool clear cellophane.

Pink Chalk Fabrics — Pink Chalk Fabrics is new on my favorite list. They are a modern quilt shop with a really nice selection. They offer a lot of bundles, especially of modern fabrics and solids, and many of the collections come from bloggers. They have an excellent blog! The few times I’ve purchased from them, their shipping has been very quick.

eQuilter.com — eQuilter has an amazing selection and also sends out a great newsletter with their new arrivals. My favorite part about eQuilter is that they have a color matching tool. I use this a lot, especially to match solids for modern quilts. The major downside to eQuilter is that their shipping is very slow (often more than a week). I’ve contacted them about their slow shipping a couple of times … they usually send me back an excuse about it being a busy time. I’ve purchased from them for several years and the shipping speed has not improved. I stay with them for their selection.

Fabric.com — This store has the best prices and free shipping if you purchase more than $35 in fabric. They also have frequent sales on top of their already awesome discount prices. My favorite part of fabric.com is that they show a ruler with each fabric, so you know its scale. (I wish all companies did this, but they don’t.)  Shipping is usually fairly quick, although my daughter and I have both run into speed problems recently. They are a great choice for novelty fabrics and also sell upholstery and fashion fabrics.

Web Fabrics — Web Fabrics carries full lines of all their fabrics, which is great because most places (especially locally) do not do this. It is a particularly great source for blenders. Shipping is fast and they seem to almost always have everything in stock. They send a short weekly newsletter describing their newest fabrics.  They also sell sample packs of their blenders, so that you can easily match blenders to your own fabrics.

If you haven’t given online fabric shopping a chance, give it a try!  Subscribe to some of the above stores’ blogs and/or newsletters, and enjoy some browsing without getting off the couch. Happy shopping!

I’m organized!

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It’s fabulous to be writing a post about having a somewhat organized sewing room, since I’ve been very open about how challenging this is for me. I’ve been working away at getting organized, but one of my issues was my large collection of rulers. They are big and bulky. Last week I had a moment of brilliance — buy a pegboard!

I got these two pegboards at amazon.com. You can view them here. They were awesome and my husband installed them for me. I added the hooks. Voila! Admittedly,  looks like the ruler portion of my local quilt shop. However my rulers are visible and off the floor. I love it!

Okay … next step. I want the rest of my life to be like this too!

Pegboard 1

Pegboard 2

Making a List & Checking It Twice

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I am the Queen of Forgetting Stuff for classes. I have forgotten my machine’s power cord, thread, and my 1/4″ foot. I have brought the wrong fabric and the wrong rulers. When I was attending several days worth of classes at a convention, I always missed at least one thing on my list. The worst was the class about quilting as you go, when I forgot to bring batting.

Last week I attended my first class in more than a year. I was more nervous than usual I would forget something. So I set up my machine on the kitchen table, threaded it, and even made sure I had a power bar. Then I put everything in my rolling case.

The best part was that I made a list. I included everything — my rotary mat, iron, thread stand, rulers, pins … You get the idea. When I got in the car, I realized I needed to add bottled water to the list.

The result? For the first time ever, I went to a class and had everything I needed. However the list is now buried under papers on my kitchen table … so I will need to find it and input it into my computer.