Friday, October 28, 2016

"how did you do it?"

In yesterday's blog post I mentioned losing 60 lbs. this year, and having to buy a new wardrobe as a result. Every time I post something about it, I get several folks asking "how did you do it?"

My BMI - from obese to normal in less than 8 months

I don't mind sharing, but really, when it comes to advice about weight loss and your health, ask your physician!! I did what the doctors told me to do with nutrition after I had a heart attack in February.

Clearly, I was not happy to miss QuiltCon in Pasadena!
At the time, I weighed 255 lbs., and since I received a stent to open up a blockage of the left anterior descending artery, LAD - that's right, the "widow maker", I had to eat a certain way to keep the stent from becoming blocked. There was a little fear factor involved, especially when I heard widow maker. Doctors said cut fat, salt and sugar. Translation: eliminate processed foods!

breakfast didn't involve a cast iron skillet and bacon anymore
So, I got busy in the kitchen. Everything I put in my mouth was prepared at home with fresh ingredients. I started with an idea about how many calories I should consume by calculating my Body Mass Index (BMI) and figuring out how many calories I needed to consume daily to maintain and/or lose weight. After a couple weeks of keeping tabs on calories, I just knew, and didn't need to calculate anymore.

Please note: I am not posting any links here because I wouldn't want to spoil a good google search for you! And ask your physician!!

don't these carnitas tacos look delicious? (they were!) - sorry Taco Bell!!
One great tip came from "Cooking Thin" - a show that aired on the Food Network 15 years ago, hosted by Chef Kathleen Daelemans. There is also a cookbook with a great introduction. The tip: think of your supermarket like a road map, and stay on the perimeter, where all the fresh foods can be found. Avoid the inner aisles. That's where all the processed foods are.

the mussels were insanely delicious!
And wouldn't you know, eight months later I've dropped 60 lbs., and gone from "obese" to "normal" weight, according to the CDC's BMI calculator. By the way, I have not started an exercise regimen yet. I was too concerned about injuring myself by exercising overweight. Been there, done that, and I have the shoulders to prove it. Knees and hips are fine because I didn't try jogging at 255 lbs. Also, to be perfectly honest, normal activity was like having an exercise regimen after a long period of living with very low energy and sleeping a lot of the time.

An epiphany: I can wear Armani!
So, that's how I did it and that's why I'm buying clothes instead of quilts this year. The fun thing is I fit into all kinds of clothing I could never wear Armani! My only real advice is: love food, love yourself, cook like a rock star and keep the portions in check. A big thank you to everyone who had kind, supportive things to say about this little life journey of mine. Time for dinner!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

new-to-me vintage, and another look at a favorite

Stacked Bars, cotton corduroy, unknown maker, Alabama, c. 1960, 67” x 74”    
A couple new-to-me vintage quilts arrived during the last few weeks. One is a gorgeous scrap quilt made of corduroy, and the other is a dazzling polyester quilt.
Diagonal One Patch, polyester, unknown maker, Kentucky, c. 1970, 84” x 90”    
Not much buying going on here lately. I've had to invest in a new wardrobe after dropping 60 lbs. It's OK, though. I've got as many quilts as I can handle right now.
String Quilt, polyester, unknown maker, Chicago, c. 1970, 62" x 74"
I was looking at this polyester quilt from Chicago, another recent acquisition, and admiring the back, so I thought I'd photograph it. What a great floral print. It's a lightweight canvas possibly used as curtains, tablecloth or upholstery fabric.
String Quilt, reverse view
How cheerful! It's almost a reversible quilt. The back was pieced with four large panels, but there was no attempt to match up the design along the seams...and I love that!

front & back

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


Last week, I went to see the exhibition of "New York Beauty" quilts at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden, Colorado. The exhibition is now in its last week, its final day is October 25th. It is also the last exhibition in the museum's current gallery space. A new gallery will soon open across town, connected with their office space and library. Here are some photos.

Christine Turner's quilt inside the front door, you could see it from the street
Three favorites from three different centuries
Recently made quilts inspired by Karen Stone designs 
As soon as the doors opened, people were in the gallery. 

two favorites, c. 1860 (left) & 1870 (right)
1960s quilt top finished by  Tim Latimer (right center)

Thank you, Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum for a job well done. Thank you to Quiltmania for sponsoring the exhibition. The books were selling out! Special thanks to Brenda Breadon for being there to greet me when I arrived. The future looks bright for the museum. The new location is not far from where they've been, and there will be more space. Hopefully I'll return one day to see it, and maybe even fill it up with quilts.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

I found it on eBay

1870s pieced quilt from Virginia
It's in my Quiltmania book,
and also on display through October 25th
at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum, Golden, Colorado 
Not long ago I was telling a friend about how I built my collection buying online, especially through eBay. Truly remarkable, some of the things I've found. Here are ten of my favorites, in random order. 
Hawaiian scrap quilt, c. 1970 - unveiling a regional tradition
Crossroads, c. 1870, Texas - surprisingly modern!
It's in my "Modern Roots" book
1890s masterpiece of folk art embroidery
American Legion Auxiliary Quilt
1930s time capsule of Salem, Oregon history
Amish crib quilt, c. 1900
once part of the world famous Esprit Collection
blue resist wholecloth, c. 1760-1800 - extremely rare!
quilt from Gee's Bend made by Lucy Mingo - I still can't believe my luck!
Masterpiece 1970s quilt from Louisiana.
I was one of the few people collecting polyester at the time. 
c. 1800 pieced quilt from Rhode Island
rare as could be!!
About 75% of my collection came through eBay, and sometimes I can't believe what incredible things I've found. 

Giveaway Winner!

We have a winner! A random drawing was held, and the winner of John Kubiniec's book "A New Spin on Drunkard's Path is Monica (icanquilt2) from Baltimore, Maryland. Congratulations, Monica! I will send you an e-mail with details.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Sewing at Modern Domestic: The Cat Face Quilt

On wednesday I spent some time at Modern Domestic. I was working on my cat face quilt, the one inspired by Melissa Averinos.

Michelle Freedman provided some technical instruction. We worked on ways to edge-finish the appliqué. Some of my favorite raw-edge applique quilts have edges finished with a fine, tight zig-zag or satin stitch, so she showed me how to do that, and I practiced.

I was working on one of those fancy little Bernina machines, a classroom machine. It was all computerized, so I took a photo to remember how it was set.

About a third of the applique is now stitched down. I was having a little trouble getting the feed dogs to work after raising the foot to pivot the quilt. So, the stitching is a little inconsistent fot that reason.

You can see places where it got stuck, and where I had to push it a little to get it going again.

The subject of my funny cat face quilt is Lulu, my jet-black, talking, feral rescue cat. You can see the funny expression on her face in the original photo.

I'm going back soon to work on the quilt, maybe even finish it  One of my ideas for 2016 was to be more of a maker, but the year hasn't gone exactly to script. Making some quilts stayed in the back of my mind, so I'm happy to be working on a project.