Life in Motion

Arbitrary Anthology

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Quilt guild project

Quilt guild meeting last night.  :)  Technically my second, but the FIRST meeting as a dues-paying member.  The guild does project quilts--creating quilts to donate to charity organizations to auction off, or families in need.  Anyone can take a block and assemble it.

Hope I got it right.  The seams aren't perfectly lined...but considering it's the first block I've sewn in 2 years, I think I did ok!

Think the picture is upside down, those 2 darker ones should be on the bottom, but that's ok.  Definitely not colors I'd pick on my own.  The browns are nice, but I'm just not a fan of red.

Also saw some amazing quilts that the president brought in to show.  They belonged to a friend of hers, and were made in the 30's, 40's, and 50's.  Several tops, and a set of blocks that hadn't been sewn together.  Umbrellas were appliqued onto squares cut from old feedsacks!  Lovely colors, just amazing to think they've been sitting in her attic for half a century.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Hot Shot Quilt

And the Hot Shot wins!  (one person responded that they liked it, that counts, right?)

I'll end up making the others sometime, since I really love the Crackers Snackers pattern, but for now, I'm starting on the Hot Shot pattern previously posted.  I'm making it as a lap throw, since I don't really want anything bigger to keep and haven't decided if it will go on a shelf here, be sold, or given away.  Wait and see, I guess!

Fabric choices:

The colors will be the big blocks, the white will be the 'accent' and the smaller border.  Black for the larger border.  It's not a solid white, but a white on white.  My efforts to capture the subtle pattern failed.  The black has flecks, but in the pics it looks like it's lint covered. Not sure about the binding or the back, and honestly am waffling on the purple and blue.  Thinking I might dig around for some more green fabric and see if I have enough on hand to go with ALL green.  Hmm.

And, unrelated, but I completed my name tag for my quilt club.  Argh.  It's not great.  Have to include the guild logo, and since I pretty well suck at anything other than straight lines...not pretty.  But, it works.  And I can redo it later. So, you know.  Don't laugh too hard.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Ok, quilt project time! Pick your favorite, I'm waffling.

Hot Shot (not sure about colors, probably something more in the blues and purples on gray or black)

Cracker Snackers in batiks

Organized Chaos in batiks, though probably with a solid border.  And less yellow/pink.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

More for the 'huh' file

I don't claim to understand much about what other people do.

But if I pay to see a concert (or a movie or a play or any sort of performance), I am NOT going to spend the time surfing facebook.

Saw Carbon Leaf last night, at Maxwells in Hoboken, NJ. Granted, at $15/person it's one of the less expensive concerts I've attended lately, but that makes it more enjoyable to me.  I guess to some, it justifies spending the entire time staring at their phone,  surfing facebook.  Now, cheapness aside, to me this is unbelievably rude.  I don't know if the band could see these people, but I hope not.  I guess it's better than the people who spend the entire concert oblivious and making out (Seriously, eeew...he ended up wearing all of her lipstick...on his chin, cheeks, and nose), or drunk and shouting (Oh yes, little man, I can tell you are drunk, and if that drink slops on ME, you will be wearing the rest of it!) or conversing in shouts (And no, boys, your fashion sense is NOT fabulous, you look like hicks pretending to be metro).

Anyway.  Good show.  Not everything worked right--the mike kept cutting out, batteries were dying, the stage was cramped--but a good show.  Thanks, guys!

For a little perspective...I first say Carbon Leaf in concert in Santa Barbara in 2010. The day after the concert, all my belongings were loaded onto a truck, and the day after that, me, 2 cats, and the man I love started the drive from the West coast to the East coast.

A few bumps later, and we're still here, still singing along.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Another gift giving day

Now, don't get me wrong.  I love giving gifts.  I really do--I find lots of things that I think 'Oh, this is PERFECT for XYZ friend!'  And because I have poor impulse control, I usually buy it.  I try to hold on to those things, so that I am prepared when an appropriate gift giving situation arises.

But, poor impulse control, remember?

Sigh.  Anyway...I do like giving gifts.  I am not sure I'm good at picking things out, though.

In my family, we tend to shop from lists.  Amazon wish lists are awesome--you can put anything, from any site, on the list.  Email a link, and friends and family can shop with confidence.  It's a good thing.  It means you  don't end up duplicating gifts, or worse, gifting something the recipient then has to return.

So, with Valentine's Day, the pressure is reduced in quantity (limited people to buy for) but increased in quality (VIP's make the list!).

My mom and aunts get flowers.  It's generic, but it's easy, and flowers are a happy thing that don't require the put on display for perpetuity.

Kids get candies and little games.

But Gavin?  Well, shopping for him is a challenge under the BEST of circumstances.  I think I managed to do ok.  We shall see.

I was totally impressed by the binary wrapping paper, downloadable from Binary Love Paper.  It's super, and easy to print out. Plusser Michelle Marie shared that, so thanks!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Yeast crosses the line

I'm a fan on cinnamon.  It can be sweet, it can be savory.  Sugar and cinnamon turn toast into a tasty snack.  Cinnamon takes chili to the next level. 

Yeast breads embody warmth and happiness.  The smell of bread in the oven is like a hug from a dear friend.  Studies have even shown the aroma of baking bread increases the odds a buyer will like your house!  Crazy.

So, pair up cinnamon and yeast bread and you get cinnamon rolls.  They're ubiquitous--from the mall to Ikea, everywhere is capitalizing on a great combination.

But...I like cookies!

And the average cinnamon roll could be used as a flotation device!

So when I saw this recipe in A Spicy Perspective, I was intrigued. Had to try it out.

And they're good.  Not as good as a cinnamon roll, but quicker, and tasty.

Cinnamon Roll Cookies


  • 2 ½ sticks unsalted butter, softened (1 ¼ cups)
  • 4 oz softened cream cheese
  • 3 tsp. vanilla extract, divided
  • 1 tsp. dry active yeast
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 ½ Tb. cinnamon
  • 3 Tb. whole milk
  • 1 cup powdered sugar


  1. Mix 2 tsp. vanilla extract with 1 tsp. of dry active yeast.
  2. Cream the butter, cream cheese, vanilla with yeast, and granulated sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy—2-3 minutes.
  3. Turn the mixer on low. Add the salt, then slowly add the flour. Scrape the bowl and mix until well combined.
  4. Press the dough into a flat disk. Wrap and refrigerate the dough for (at least) 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl.
  6. Cut the dough in half and leave one half in the fridge while working with the first half.
  7. Flour a piece of wax paper and roll the dough into a 7 X 18 inch rectangle that is approximately ¼ inch thick.
  8. Sprinkle half the cinnamon sugar over the dough leaving 1 1/2 inches bare along the long edge. Starting on the cinnamon covered side, carefully roll the dough tightly toward the bare edge. You may want to cut the dough into two sections to make the rolling easier. *At this point, you can place the rolls back in the fridge and save for weeks if needed.
  9. Press the seam firmly, then cut the roll into 1/3-1/2 inch slices and lay on parchment paper lined cookie sheets.
  10. Repeat with the remaining dough and cinnamon sugar.
  11. Bake for 9-12 minutes.
  12. Cool completely. Then whisk the powdered sugar, milk and remaining vanilla extract together in a small bowl. Dip the face of each cookie into the glaze and set on a rack to dry.

I am getting older.

If you graduated high school in the 90's you're fast approaching 40 if you haven't gotten there already.  It's one of those 'big' birthdays, one where things change.  Things like, you go to the doctor and are told you need a mammogram.  Happened to me at my last visit, and like a good patient, I made the appointment and went in to get a base line picture of my boobs. I do my monthly self exams, and have never found anything.  I wasn't worried.

You have probably heard the horror stories about squashings and squeezings.  It is not a picnic.  Even with the digital x-rays, expect discomfort.  I'm told it's worse if you're not..well, not overly busty.  The scans consisted of 2 shots of each breast, one flattened top to bottom, one flattened side to side.  It wasn't great, but not horrible.

Until the next day, when the doctors office called me.  "There's a 1cm mass in one breast.  You need a diagnostic mammogram.  I can schedule it for next Monday."

My immediate reaction was concern.  A mass?  That doesn't sound good.  What does that mean?  Should I be scared? I was scared, I was worried!

I searched around, and found mixed information.  A lot of women under 50 need additional scans. Breast tissue is still firm, and that boggles the scans. A diagnostic scan is needed to target suspicious areas, and sometimes, an ultrasound might be needed as well. But for a lot of women, that is how they find out they have cancer.

The diagnostic scan was worse.  The tech said 'Let me know if you can't take it, I have to really compress to target the spot."  She wasn't kidding!  Ouch.

They sent the scan off to the doctor while I waited around in a 'cape' (less Little Red Riding Hood, more One Flew Over the Cookoo's Nest).  Nope, still couldn't confirm normal tissue.  Off to get the ultrasound.  Slathered in goo, more squishing.

And that takes longer to be evaluated.  Or maybe they weren't  concerned about getting in touch with me  because the 'mass' turned out to be normal tissue.  I still worried and stressed.

So.  I'm sharing this so that with all of you so that you'll know.  Younger breasts are dense.  They trick the x-rays.  Additional scans are sometimes needed, but it does NOT mean you have cancer.  Especially if you don't have any other symptoms, and don't have a family history.  Talk to your friends and family, see if they went through something similar.  Get the test--but don't worry unnecessarily.