I have joined NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo!

Well today starts off what I believe will be a very busy month. Not only am I making it my aim to go to the gym at least 21 times, but I have my quilt projects to complete (and start). You would think that would be enough for me but nope, not nearly.

I have joined Nanowrimo and also now NaBloPoMo. So along with lots of sweating and sewing there will also be a lot of writing, some of which I may share with you. But considering I have only ever really written blogs, I’m not that optimistic at having anything worth sharing out of these 50,000 words.

Stay tuned for stressed out Tina.

So many things to do, so little time

So right now I’m working on a few different things. I’m still trying to do the This That quilt test, while trying to find just the right fabrics to make the “official” quilt out of. I’m trying to find three different patterns to make somewhat matching quilts for a mini project – more to come on that later and I’ve become addicted to Mug Rugs. So yes, I have a few plans for them also… So many things to do, and that’s just the quilting.

On top of the quilting projects that I have in the works, I have signed up for Nanowrimo. Every year I have said I would do it, but every year I have chickened out of it, but this year I have bitten the bullet and decided to just go for it. I have a very very vague idea of something I would like to write, but I’m not feeling a whole lot of confidence in that at the moment. But I can officially start writing in 1 hour and 42 minutes – but I think I might go to bed instead 🙂

Back to the gym with me tomorrow. It’s been two weeks since my last visit, and I can feel the tiny bit of fitness I had worked up slipping away each day. Time to get that back and get fitter and slimmer for a January wedding of a friend.

So that’s my life at the moment, what’s happening with you all?

Tomahawk’s quilt

(Image heavy post to follow)
Back in March my little baby sister called me to tell me that she was expecting her first child. I cannot tell you how excited I was. I haven’t had a baby niece or nephew for 17 years now, so another baby in the family is a fantastic thing. Straight away I thought that I would make her a quilt for the baby. Now my sister is – alternative – I always thought hippy, but that’s not what she says – she calls herself alternative. I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to do all flowers and pastel colours, but I also draw the line at doing a baby quilt in leopard print. So here started my first challenge of the process. What materials do I get for an alternative person for their baby? I don’t know that the material I chose was really alternative, but I did fall in love with every one that I chose, and for me, that was good enough.

Quilt material selection

Material all ironed and ready for cutting

I have my favourites, I particularly love the little birdies, and the green gingham and I love love love the green with the little flies on it. So gorgeous.

The pattern that I chose to do was the Mixtape Quilt II pattern by Elizabeth Hartman. I’m totally in love with all of the patterns that Elizabeth has and believe me I already have another couple of quilts planned – this time ones that I’m going to be keeping myself.

So I got to work, cutting out, sewing together, cutting, measuring, getting more and more excited as I saw it coming together. This is the biggest, most intricate quilt that I have done (well the second ever quilt I’ve done lol) and the closer it got to being finished, the more I wanted to keep it for myself.

All five blocks in one material selection

All blocks sewn and ready for sashing

Row of blocks sewn together with sashing

Basting the quilt turned out to be a project all of it’s own. I have never basted anything that large before and I realised just how small my living room is, when it took up all the space I had. Nearly 120 pins later, the whole thing was basted and ready to quilt. It was at the point when I picked it up to move over to the sewing machine that I realised I hadn’t quite measured correctly when sewing the backing. Turns out that the quilting was going to go horizontally over the middle of the feature row on the back. What did I learn from that? Measure twice, cut once. Hell, measure three or four times to make sure that you have got it right!!!

Quilt all basted and ready to quilt

I was going to do free motion quilting over the whole quilt, I really really wanted to. But at the last minute I chickened out. I just wasn’t brave enough to do it on such a gorgeous quilt when I haven’t done enough of it to practice and get it perfect. So in the end I went for straight stitching in the sashing. Five parallel lines both horizontally and vertically to create a grid effect. I’m really happy with how it turned out except for the fact that when I was sewing a couple of the rows together they didn’t quite line up, so there is a whole row, where the quilting actually has a bit of a curve in it, but then it almost looks like it is supposed to be that way so it’s (almost) acceptable.

Quilt top all sewn together

Close up of quilting

Next up came the binding. I dread this part, because this is truly the part that I suck at. Until I came across this post by Amanda Jean over at Crazy Mom Quilts. It saved my life, because I have never thought of actually sewing the binding on before trimming the quilt to size. And I certainly never thought about pinking the edges instead of using a rotary cutter. It made it all so much easier. Of course then there was the back to do. Was I going to do hand binding (I loathe hand sewing) or was I going to risk it and sew it on with the machine and hope that the everything got caught in it? So in the end I did the hand sewing and four and a half hours later, there was one hand bound quilt. I really hope my sister appreciates it, because let me tell you. Hand sewing did not do my wrist any favours. At all!

Binding sewn on and pinking edges

Close up of pinking edges

Step one of binding - complete

Getting ready to sit down and hand bind

So finally the quilt is finished and I got it done, the day before my sister had her little boy. I am proud to announce that I have a new nephew named Tomahawk (I did mention my sister is alternative). He was born at 2.30pm on 26 September (which also happens to be his dad’s birthday and my other sisters wedding anniversary – 23 years for her this year!!), so a great day for his birth. I haven’t met him yet, but I’ve seen photos and he is adorable and I can’t wait for a cuddle.

Completed quilt front

Completed quilt back

Close up of the back and tag

All washed and ready to go

I’m so happy with the end result – I really really want to keep it for myself. I am definitely making my next quilt for myself and not as a present for anyone. I’m also going to blog about it as I go along and not leave it till the end. If you want to see more photos of the quilt you can view them all on Flickr.

So my next project (that I’m working on right now) is a new sewing table. Expect an update on that very soon.

Adieu 12wbt, it was fun while it lasted

So long since I’ve posted and so much has been going on.

The most significant thing that has happened is that Round 2 of 12WBT has officially ended. My goal going into the 12wbt was to lose 10kg and get down to 100kg even. Well I am very proud to say that I did it!!! And beat my goal by a whole 200gm. Officially over the course of the program I lost 10.7kg which equates to 9.7% of my body weight, which is a fair effort. I suppose in the back of my mind I know that I could have done better, had I been more diligent with my exercise, but for me, just sticking to the 12 weeks was a feat in itself. So I am very proud of what I have accomplished. I dropped down to a size 16 in most clothes and have organised to get rid of all my old big clothes.

The thing that really inspired me to join up the 12wbt in the first place was for a wedding that we had to attend. A wedding where my partner was best man, and where I would meet a lot of his friends for the first time. Mick used to live in a small town, about 6 1/2 hours from Adelaide, where we are now, and as you can imagine, everyone knows everyone there. Including Mick’s ex-wife. So for me, this wedding was more than just a wedding, it was an occasion where I would be meeting a lot of Mick’s good friends for the first time, friends who know his ex, and yes, I wanted to make the best impression of myself that I could (and I think I did that. I’m quite happy with how I looked at the wedding, and that in itself is a big deal for me). I felt that at the size I was, it just wasn’t going to happen, so this bit of vanity is what spurred me on in the first place. Vanity is a bad thing, but in this instance, it got me going and gave me the best version of myself that I could be at the wedding. And you know what, it was a great wedding. Even better, I now know that even if I had gone to the wedding at the size I had been, it still would have been great, and everyone would have accepted me just the way I was and been as lovely as they were. I still don’t regret doing 12wbt though.

Mick and I at the wedding
Mick and I at the wedding
Mick and I pulling a face
Mick and I pulling a face
I caught the bouquet!
I caught the bouquet and don't think I don't mention it to Mick every chance I get.

So now that Round 2 has ended, I’m going to be unofficially doing Round 3. Because I joined up at the gym, I can’t really afford to do another round, so I have decided to put to good use all the information I got through Round 2 and also through the Michelle Bridges CrunchTime book. I was supposed to start today, but at the moment I’m fighting a chest infection and bronchitis, so I’m giving myself a bit of a break for a week and will officially start next Monday. This doesn’t mean that I intend to eat crap, just that I’m not going to stress myself out about it. Weigh days will still be on a Wednesday and I will still put diet info up on here. But now it’s time to start expanding the blog a little.

So, in other news. I am very soon to become an auntie again. My little sister is about to have her first baby, and as I mentioned earlier I have been making her a quilt for the baby. Because I’ve been off work all week sick, I’ve actually had a chance to work on the quilt and it is nearing completion. So tomorrow I will get my photos off the digital camera and put up a little bit of a blog about the quilt. Till then, adieu to you and you and you and also adieu to 12wbt round 2 and let round 3 begin!

12wbt day sixty four – I’m still alive

It’s true everyone, I am still alive and I am still eating healthy (mostly). Actually that’s a bit of a lie. I’ve not had the best week. I got another dose of the flu last week, and I tried to make the right decisions food wise, but I don’t think I really did. There was yoghurt – full fat and there were Subway cookies, 2 of them and god they were good.

Then we decided to go camping over the weekend, and can I say BRING ON THE CARBS. I made damper twice and loaded it up with cheese and it was delicious. The lamb stew in the camp oven was divine, and actually very healthy loaded up as it was with vegetables. The bacon and eggs for breakfast the next day was even better 🙂

On the exercise front, well it’s been a no show all week. Trying to get the energy just to breathe was hard enough without attempting exercise. But I went back to the gym last night and had a great workout in my BodyCombat class. No gym tonight unfortunately, but back again tomorrow night, skipping Thursday for the hairdressers, then back again on Friday night to get my personal program sorted out by a personal trainer – and I can’t wait for that 🙂

On other news, I have been busily working on a quilt for my impending niece or nephew. My little sister only has 6 weeks left before the bundle of joy arrives, so I really need to get a move on with it. I have the top of the quilt all pieced and sewn together, so now I just have to piece the back, baste it, quilt it and then bind it. So a fair bit to do still, while trying to incorporate work and the gym. I need a few extra hours (and the energy to go with them) in every day. Photos of the quilt shall follow.

Good luck with weigh day tomorrow everyone. I’m certainly not looking forward to it I know 🙁 such a bad stuff up week, but I own it. And it was still worth it for the fantastic weekend away camping.

It’s the small things

Yes, I know I have been extremely slack in updating the blog lately. I’ve also been pretty slack in keeping my own eating diary up to date, which is pretty bad, because I tend to forget things if they aren’t written down. But I know that I’ve been eating okay, because my diet tends to be pretty much the same I know that I’m doing okay by the loss on the scales. But you know how it goes, life just gets in the way of “stuff”, in this instance, life just got in the way of blogging.

And when I say life, I mean 12WBT has gotten in the way. I mentioned in an earlier post that I joined the gym, and this time (yes, I’ve gone down the gym route before, as readers of my previous blog on here would know) I am determined to do it right and keep it up. And two weeks into my joining the gym, I’m going quite well. I’d love to say that I’m doing fantastically, but I’m not, but that is more due to the fact that I seem to keep coming down with this dreaded lurgy. But I’m going as often as I can and I’m enjoying it and I’m loving doing the weight training again and more importantly I’m still motivated, normally by now the motivation has worn off.

Amongst other things that have gotten in the way of my blogging, is my quilting, which I have gotten right into. I started a quilt for our bed last year (and this is still a work in progress) and then got sidetracked, because cutting out 300 squares of cord was just killer on my wrist. But earlier this year a friend had a baby boy, and as I was organising her baby shower, I thought of doing her something special to mark the baby’s arrival (her first child). So at the baby shower I had all the guests write on small squares of white material, which I then took home and quilted up with some gorgeous blues and voila – one hand made, unique baby quilt. I have to say I fell in love with this quilt while doing it. I was quite sad to give it to her too, because it’s officially the first quilt I have ever made. But really, what am I going to do with a quilt full of messages from people I don’t know? The bonus is she loved it, and I know that he is going to grow up with a blanket that has a lot of meaning to him. (You can see pictures of the quilt here)

So admittedly I just went on a bit of a ramble, because this post is about the small things I’m noticing that make weight loss such a great thing. I think for me, the smallest, but by far the biggest thing is how easy it is for me to hold my partners hand now. Seems strange doesn’t it? But I’ve lost weight in my fingers, so wrapping my fingers into his is not such a struggle anymore, they just fit together nicely and I love it. I’m not in general a touchy feely sort of person, I like my personal space and can’t really remember the last time I hugged family (except my mum) but I always have to hug and kiss and be near my partner. He’s the only one I can stand being around that much. So to be able to hold his hand with ease is such a great feeling.

Another great feeling? Sleeping at night. The more weight I lose (did I mention, 14.3kg gone now, oh yeah!) the easier it is for me to breathe. I can talk for longer periods at a time (okay, maybe not the greatest thing that) without losing my breath, but more importantly, when I lie down, I don’t have all this weight pressing down on my lungs. I still have a lot of weight there, don’t get me wrong, but god I can’t wait until I’m at my goal weight, because then, breathing will just be a breeze. But I find I am getting such a better sleep at night, because I’m just getting so much more air into my lungs.

Lastly, but by no means least. My clothes are getting too big!!! We’re like everybody else in the world at the moment, money is tight, saving for a house deposit, bills come in etc etc and I can’t really afford to be going out buying new clothes (which I haven’t yet, I’m putting that off for a bit longer), but I’m having to get rid of a whole lot of my clothes because they are just too big for me and some of the pants literally fall off me now and I’m happy about it, happy about having to buy new clothes and spend precious money. It says a lot about my fluctuating weight though, that I have so many different sizes of clothes at home, that it’s not necessary for me to rush out to buy clothes that fit, because I’m starting to recycle back into old clothes that I had worn a few years ago. The thing I’m doing different this time though, is that I’m giving away all the clothes that are now too big for me. Previously I would have kept them for “just in case”, which is probably why I never really noticed my weight piling back on, because I would just move to a different end of the wardrobe to find clothes that fit me, it wasn’t necessary for me to have to face facts that my clothes were shrinking, I was putting on weight, because I could still fit the clothes in my wardrobe. I conveniently ignored the fact that the clothes I was wearing were 2 sizes bigger……. But this time, they’re going. There will be no safety net for me to fall back into. And any of the clothes that I particularly love, I’m going cut up and quilt. It will be my weight loss journey quilt (I did say I was getting onto the quilting thing again right lol).

So there’s my ramble today, about some of the small things that make my weight loss great. There are lots more reasons, but for me, these three things really stand out. What makes your weight loss great for you?