Author Archives: Sisters at Heart, Miles Apart blog

Fight the Chaos Friday – July edition

 

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You’ve come to the right place! Print your free list HERE!

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Fight the Chaos Friday – June edition

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You will find your free printable HERE.

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Fight the Chaos Friday – May edition

Are you still in the fight? This month’s items to conquer the clutter are actually fun to do!

 

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You will find your free printable HERE.

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Mountains of rest and Miles of Fun

Every one of us has a special place where we find rest and refreshment. The Colorado mountains – and the high plains next to them – are that place for me. So Husband of the Year and I soaked up some time there recently and I thought I’d share the highlights.

Historic buildings, artesian shops and light snowfall … perfect day in Manitou Springs!

 

Daffodils and snowflakes – that’s Colorado spring!

 

Eating tiramisu with a chocolate spoon – delectable indulgence!

 

Dietz onstage at a old fashioned melodrama?!? only to help someone take a picture!

 

Afternoon coffee by the fire! THAT is vacation!

 

What every good trip must have – a quilt shop! Nana’s Quilt Cottage in Manitou Springs, CO.

 

Some inspiration found in a class sample. Maybe it would work for lilacs, too? Their website is HERE.

 

If you get this far out onto the high plains you have already passed your last chance for a potty break for at least a few dozen more miles – says the voice of experience.

 

Dad reading us a book of cowboy wisdom. “If you find your self in a hole the first thing to do is STOP DIGGING!”

 

Family Sunday dinner out with Dad (and his Iwo Jima hat) is like traveling with a celebrity!

 

It took some talking, but I finally got a picture with my big brother by the perfect sign!

 

Family work day at Dad’s – good times working together!

 

And it always helps to have a brother-in-law who has skills – and a willing heart.

 

Of course there was time in Sister’s quilting studio – pondering the story behind the Perrine quilt – found used as batting inside another quilt that our great grandmother and her sister made.

 

A quilt show with the Colorado sister – what could be better? More on that in a future post.

Hope your Spring is filled with some rest and fun, too.

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Can you choose just one?

Part of the fun of going to a quilt show – like the one in Sterling, CO, that I enjoyed with my sister this spring – is voting for Viewers Choice. You look and examine (without touching) and decide which one (and only one) you would take home if you could.

There are patriotic quilts  …

and seasonal quilts …

There are traditional quilts with a twist  …

There are big quilts with lots of pieces

and little quilts with applique.

There are quilts for special days

 

and quilts for special new family members.

There are quilts with embellishments

and quilts with lots of cross stitched embroidery.

And there are quilts that seem to be dimensional

and quilts that took LOTS of time to make!

But most of all, there are quilts that you love to share with your sister!

 

PS – Just in case you are wondering, the Colorado sister voted for the Maze quilt and my first choice was the embroidered Block of the Month.

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Fight the Chaos Friday – April edition

They say confession is good for the soul and I’m going to believe that is true because I have to confess that I’m behind on our Chaos Challange in order to celebrate an “I did it myself!” moment. And since it’s just between us stitching sisters, I’m sure my secret is safe.

The January list said it was time to clean my sewing machine but [drum roll – confession to follow] I keep avoiding that cleaning business since I had never done it before. I have taken my machine in for professional tune ups but I had never opened one up to clean it myself. If you are horrified, I understand. It is a deep flaw for sure!

So, here I am facing April – the queen of procrastination – and I got just the nudge I needed! I visited the Colorado sister (more details on that in a later post) and her quilt club had a presentation from someone with a long history of fixing and cleaning machines. When I saw her walk through the steps, I thought, “I believe I could do that without doing irreparable harm.”

a picture + patient demonstration = great teacher

To give myself a little reinforcement, I consulted — the manual (genius idea!)

A manual with pictures – what a great invention!

And “TA_DA!” [insert trumpet fanfare]

Just seeing the clean metal parts gives me confidence!

It was so do-able that I did both my Bernina workhorse and my little lightweight Singer. (which I picked up at a garage sale for the price of a nice dinner and I LOVE the blanket stitch it produces!)

I think I heard a little sigh of appreciation and a soft “Thank You!” coming from the machines.

I have to tell you that cleaning the second one was absolutely necessary since my Bernina foot has died. [moment of silence, please] Having survived a house flood and limped along after a couple other disasters, it had given a noble contribution. So while I wait for a new one to arrive, I’m very happy to have my garage sale buddy as a stand in.

Someone downsized and we were happy to help them!

So now I’m caught up on my Challenge lists and I’m ready for a new one for April. Except for the fact that the Colorado Sister shared some treasures with me so I have some more “cut into usable sizes.” [see January list] But that is an ongoing effort in order to maintain victory over the chaos!

And in a coming post I’ll tell you one thing we are doing with those self-made precuts which allowed us to check off the “make a block-or 10” item this past month. Stay tuned.

Make it easy on yourself – Fight the Chaos! Clear the Clutter! Mash the Mess! okay, maybe my alliteration skills are weak today!

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You can print your free April Challange list HERE.

Categories: Fight the Chaos Fridays, Inspire Me! | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Fight the Chaos Friday – March edition

SO the February Challenge list included

  • Clear out your hand sewing basket/box; replenish supplies
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So this time when I grabbed my handwork bag, I actually had what I needed when I opened it up!

  • clear out a drawer or shelf into 3 piles: keep, use or donate (see your Priority One list)
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this is BEFORE – who made this mess?

 

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I found everything from a bag of chalk to misc. leather straps and even some boxes of vintage singer attachments.

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And I found my long lost bag containing my thimble collection

 

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… and AFTER!

  • Pick a UFO to keep working on – Just 1!
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The pieces to this UFO are cut and setting right by my machine so that I stich a little every time I sit down!

  • Clean the floor, window, vents, lights in your sewing room

CHECK, CHECK, CHECK and CHECK!

Now, this is progress! Every single little step is helping me be more productive!

Even if you haven’t checked off all of your goals for February, take another shot at it this month. Just one item per week for March:

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HERE is your free printable.

 

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Sister Road Trip – Bitter-sweet

The geographic distance between us makes us thankful that we no longer rely on the Pony Express to trade packages. And the distances give us a growing affection for the Wright brothers and the “flying machines” legacy they left us all – especially as we needed those machines to rendezvous in St. Louis in order to drive into Illinois for a family funeral.

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Uncle Bruce – history lover, story-teller, outdoorsman, bibliophile…

We sisters love every minute we have together but this trip was bitter-sweet in the face of losing our one-of-a-kind Uncle Bruce. We say he was one of our very own Second Hand Lions (if you’ve seen the movie you will understand this even better) because of the grand adventures and extraordinary fun he and our Uncle Bob always concocted for us and our cousins – and later, for our children.

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Some of the cousins from Texas, Florida, Colorado, Illinois, Arizona. Others were too far away to come – like in the Middle East. And we missed them.

Uncle Bruce was a gifted cartoonist and held Lincoln in high regard.

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His “Little Bear” Lincoln Bear shirts were prized possessions for us!

It’s a great loss for our family. And for everyone who knew this kind, devoted, fiercely patriotic Marine Corps veteran who loved his family and his Savior.

Huddling together in the winter weather reminds us that family closeness is important in this cold world!

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We were all born Graham girls. These dear aunts have offered many kindnesses to us through our lives.

He loved to hunt – sometimes with his binoculars and camera and sometimes with bow and arrows. So the cousins banded together to honor him with an arrangement that held arrows.

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The other sister and I determined to get one of those arrows to our dad, who at age 94 was unable to attend the funeral for his youngest sibling. The problem with going from concept to reality in this case was due to the fact that the arrow wouldn’t fit into either of our suitcases. After brief consultation we decided it wouldn’t work to convince TSA agents that one single arrow doesn’t really qualify as “dangerous” materials. They are funny about stuff like that.

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The arrows were a personal touch.

Now, I’m including this instructional episode because I’m sure that sometime in the future many of you will need to know how to solve this dilemma.

Should we cut the arrow so that it fits into the suitcase? Neither of us happened to have a saw with us. So we hatched a late night plot to mail the arrow home to the Colorado ranch – if only we could find a mailing container that would fit an arrow. This took us to the wrapping paper aisle at the large chain “general store” and also involved the taping of Styrofoam cups to each end to prevent the arrow from poking through.

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Step #1 – Make sure the wrapping paper roll is longer than the arrow. Use thread to measure if you don’t have the arrow in the store when purchasing the wrapping paper.

 

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Step #2 – use plastic cups to protect ends of wrapping paper and then insert the arrow.

 

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The post office lady didn’t think it strange at all that we would be mailing wrapping paper to ourselves.

 

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The arrow hit the bull’s eye – undented and intact. Success!

It worked! The arrow – an important memento for our dad – is safely in place! What sisters can accomplish we when concoct together!

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Small town often hold big treasures!

And on the way back to the St. Louis airport we took a quick detour to find Quilting on Aisle 3 in the little town (with some great Victorian houses) in Virden, Ill. We got some hot tips from Trudi about the heat activated pens they carry and discovered that the three friends who run this shop are willing to do custom quilts! You can find their web site HERE.

The quick trip made me conscious once again that our time together here is so brief and so fleeting. We do well to soak up the pleasure of every minute.

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Farewells touch us deeply.

And now we are home safe and sound – and so is Uncle Bruce!

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The uncles always “keep the light on” so we knew we were always welcome! Makes me homesick for our real Home!

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Fight the Chaos Friday – February edition

The Sister and I have a Challenge going this year. We are going to fight the chaos and conquer the clutter in our sewing studios. I call it “studio” because that sounds more like serious business whereas “sewing room” sounds like an option. It’s a mind game with myself. She has a bit of an advantage since she thinks and even breathes in a more orderly fashion than I do. But, I’m giving it my best shot.

So, we started the year off with a once-a-week list called Fight the Chaos Fridays and last month it focused on:

  • Put away gifts and Clean the work area
  • Clean machine, including a new needle and Put a new blade in the rotary cutter
  • Cut fabric that has accumulated on cutting table into usable sizes
  • List and post projects and due dates

Here are the BEFORE and AFTER shots of my “work area” i.e. cutting table.

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Remember I cropped out the really messy part.

 

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Amazing how this open space motivates me!

You can tell already it is a necessary challenge. And you will be more convinced as the year moves along and you see the other BEFORE pictures I will post – as often as I can stand the embarrassment.

And you’ll agree that it’s a good thing Sister was here for a visit last month to get me off to a strong start. Here’s some more of the work area AFTER we fought through the chaos.

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And an empty ironing board is actually quite handy.

While Sister2 was here we went on a hunt to find creative storage for the “useable pieces” we cut from my accumulated scraps.

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We stuck gold! What a pile of treasures!

 

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The Colorado sister’s creativity tells us that 2 1/2″ squares can be tucked away in so many places – even a little chicken feeder!

 

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My 2 1/2″ squares fit perfectly in the little drawers of the tin space cabinet. Thank you for the gift, sister!

And now, as you can see above, there is a place at the end of my vintage ammo box to hang our Spools for Tools project (get pattern HERE) which holds my favorite rulers – like the skini minis by Martelli with their wonderful non-slip backing.

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A metal vintage film reel box is just the right size for the Colorado sister’s 5″ squares!

 

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And this vintage metal filing drawer is filling up with my 5″ squares. My own “pre-cut” charm square stash!

 

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The 10″ squares (some call them layer cakes) will be tucked away in this portable school desk I just couldn’t resist.

 

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This beautiful spool cabinet, found on her Florida road trip, is just the right size for Sister 2’s 10″ squares. (and some 5″ strips she added to the equation.)

 

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For now my 2 1/2″ strips will nestle in this metal mesh lantern so that I can see them in their light, medium, and dark glory.

The whole cutting process to get control of accumulated scraps has been addictive! Probably because we have been using some templates made by Martelli. The non-slip backing grips through about 8 layers of fabric and you can turn the template without the fabric slipping! If you want a set of non-slip templates to help you cut those “pre-cut” sizes, send me an email (SistersAtHeartMilesApart@gmail.com) and we’ll give you a special Stitching Sisters price. Look HERE under Template for Precuts for details.

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These non-slip templates make cutting your own “pre-cut” sizes so easy!

So, how’s the rest of my Fight the Chaos Friday list?

In the interest of full disclosure, I must tell you that I still have a little work to do as far as cleaning my machines. And my project To Do list is right on the Notes section of my calendar, although some of the due dates are a little flexible.

Remember, it’s a year-long effort so celebrate the things you check off each week and don’t worry about what is still left to do. Trust me, honey, it’ll still be there when you find it on our challenge list in a few weeks.

We’d love to hear from you if you think of things we have missed. And we’d love to see pictures of your progress!

Here’s the list for February:

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Since it’s the first Friday of the month, you can get your FREE February printable checklist HERE.

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Sister Time 2017 (with brother, too)

It’s not often enough that we sisters are in the same state at the same time. So when we are, I soak up every minute we have together like it’s a life prolonging magic vitamin. This time the Dietz B&B was the southern-most stop in the Escape the Winter road trip for the Colorado sister and her rancher husband.

To double the fun, our brother and his wife made the trip down from their house hunting in Atlanta for the Kick Off weekend. Having three of the four siblings together is a rare pleasure. I missed our other cowboy brother, I admit.

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Our brother, Bill, and his wife, Susan, soon to be closer to us as Georgia residents.

We ate Italian stew and Mexican green chili (recipe at the end of this post), played raucous games of cards, visited the USS Alabama,

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A sewing machine on board! The tailor’s quarters. Note that he sewed under his bunk.

 

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Three of the siblings in the Marine Corp quarters of the ship – thinking about our dad, a WWII Marine Corps veteran.

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The reason they needed Marines on a Navy ship.

went to church together, and watched football. Then brother Bill and his wife, Susan had to return to the real world while we partied on.

Once the first weekend was over Sister 2 and I got down to the business of organizing my studio. We needed to legitimize our trips to antique malls and thrift stores.

We found great organizing treasurers to help us with our Fight the Chaos Friday Challenge,

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This stuff really is useful. Stand by for more details next post.

as well as other treasures,

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We thought it was a great idea but after texting our daughters we stepped away from the display case and back into reality.

and we went to a Glenn Miller Band concert.

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It was a trip back in time.

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Cindy knows how to do 1940’s glam!

 

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We did no swing dancing but it was a fun night.

And we stitched! A 10-minute runner. (more on that later.) And we cut scraps into useable sizes. (more on that later, too.) We also gave attention to the row quilt we are working on. Once again – more on that later.

And then she went home. Sorry for the sad ending. Please pass the tissues.

 

Green Chili Pulled Pork Bowls

  • 4   pounds pork butt or shoulder
  • 1 can green chili (4 oz)
  • 1 large onion — chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 cloves garlic-chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro — chopped
  • 1 jar salsa verde

Dry seasoning:

  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 4 teaspoons cumin

Serve with:

  • Monterey jack cheese shredded
  • Corn tortillas
  • limes — cut in wedges
  • Sour cream

To the slow cooker add onion, garlic, green chilies, Worcestershire sauce, lime juice, cilantro, and salsa.

Season each side of the pork with the dry seasoning and place in slow cooker fat side up

Cover and slow cook on high for 4 -6 hours until tender

Shred with two forks and mix well with the sauce.

Serve with fried corn tortillas or chips, cheese, sour cream and lime wedges.

Categories: Sister isn't answering her phone, so I'm telling you ... | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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