The Best Ever Oatmeal: a crock pot breakfast

I love oatmeal for breakfast. But not just any oatmeal…I love steel cut oats cooked overnight in my crock pot.

007Everybody seems to call these by a different name. I call them steel-cut oats. I’ve also heard them called Irish oats, or groats. Here’s what they look like:

006Here’s the box they came in:

005They are creamy and chewier than rolled oats, and have a rich, nutty flavour.

003My friend Maureen gave me the recipe and I played around with it a little bit. Do you want to make some? They are easy-peesy!

008Before you go to bed, get your small (I use a 6-cup) crockpot out of the cupboard and put 3 1/2  cups of water and 1/2 cup milk into it. Pour in 1 cup of steel cut oats.Put on the lid. Plug it in and turn the setting to low. When you get up in the morning, give it a good stir and let it sit for 5 minutes while you make your coffee. Enjoy!

You can add chopped apple, some walnuts or raisins right into the pot, whatever you like. I like mine plain with a teaspoon (okay, 2 teaspoons) of brown sugar. Sometimes I throw a handful berries on top just before digging in. Delish!

In a nutshell for you:
3.5 cups water
.5 cup milk
1 cup steel cut oats
6 -cup crock pot, on low overnight.009If you’re back on the old Weight Watcher’s Momentum plan, they are 2 points per cup. I don’t know what they are in points plus. You’ll have to look that up for yourself as I’m not doing that program anymore.

Do you love oatmeal? What do you call them: Groats? Irish Oats? Steel-cut?

Four things to build Momentum in 2015

Do you choose a word to guide you for the year?

Last year I chose the word Play. You can read about it here (and there are also some great family photos on that post, too!) It was the perfect word for my first year of retirement.

But now it’s time to switch things up. I’ve thought about it a lot and the word that keeps popping into my head is Momentum.

Driving Power…Strength…to (continue) Moving Forward…to Repeat Recent Success.  I’ve felt stagnant lately. Bored, even. Recognizing signs of depression hovering around the atmosphere, like little dull grey sparkles just inside my peripheral vision.

Time to start moving forward again….build up some Momentum!

There are four areas I’ve identified that need some work. That need some momentum.

  1. Writing: I wrote over 50,000 words last November during NaNoWriMo and then totally let it fall to the side.
    What I’m doing about it: I’ve joined a writing critique group. In fact, I have someone’s first three chapters on my laptop waiting for my own comments right now! Wow! Now, not only does this give me serious aakk! moments but it also gives me incentive to keep on writing. In fact, my goal for today is to get a chapter ready to send around for a look-see. I’d like to send it out this afternoon. And a bonus is that it reminds me that I am capable and competent – something I have struggled with this first year of retirement.
  2. That number on the scale: I gained 15 pounds. Yup. In one year. You’ve heard of the Freshman 15, right? Bet you hadn’t heard of the retirement 15, l0l! Eee Gads. How embarrassing to have to admit this out loud.  Several years ago I lost 65 pounds with Weight Watchers. Read about it here. Then Weight Watchers changed from the Momentum plan to the “new” Points Plus plan. The new plan just didn’t work for me, and my weight crept up until I had re-gained 15 pounds.Over the next 4 years I started and quit weight watchers three times.  Finally it sunk in. The new plan just doesn’t work for me. At all.
    What I’m doing about it: I’ve dug out my old weight watcher’s momentum plan stuff. I’m going back to what worked for me the first time before any more damage is done. Did you do the math? Yup…15 + 15 = 30 pounds “found.” I remember my friend Judy saying that she wasn’t loosing weight, she was getting rid of it because she didn’t want to find it again. Right on, Judy! Does this put me in the same category as all the other people who vow to loose weight and get fit in the new year. I suppose so, but I don’t care. What I care about is regaining that feeling of good health that I enjoyed up till recently. So YAY for the old Momentum plan. It worked for me before and so far it’s working for me again as I am already down 4 pounds in the first two weeks. And I’m having fun! Just like I did before.
  3. Fitness: My fitness plans went sideways, and I’m not sure why. I’d been doing a fair bit of walking…Sammy and I have covered quite a bit of ground over the year, and I’m really pleased about it. But I’ve also been doing a fair bit of sitting, what with all the sewing and quilting and book-reading I’ve been doing. I really missed my treadmill this winter when the weather hasn’t been cooperative for going out.
    What I’m doing about it: we moved my treadmill out of storage in the garage where it has resided since we moved in last year and set it up in the sewing room. Yup. My little 99 square-foot sewing room just got a little bit smaller, lol! And better yet, I’ve built a little desk for my laptop, so that I can move while I write.
    046Yup! and the little pink balls you see there weigh a couple of pounds each, perfect for a few overhead presses while I’m thinking or watching an episode of SG-1 on DVD. How’s that for two birds with one stone, eh?
    045It isn’t hard…I haven’t fallen off once. In fact, I’ve spent 68 minutes writing this post  at the low low setting of 1.2 mph and have walked 1.35 miles. That’s over a mile on my feet instead of on my butt! Awesome!
  4. Social: I often feel isolated and lonely.
    What I’m dong about it: Not 100% sure yet, but things are going to change. I’ve gone to a second quilter’s group and may join – though I am deathly afraid of becoming an old lady who does nothing but quilt. I am thinking of maybe joining a line dance class or something active and fun like that. Even teach a dance class, maybe? Tomorrow night I’m going to attend a meeting at the Sunnybrae Community Hall down the street from us and see if I want to get involved there in some capacity. The important thing is that getting more involved is on my radar and this will be the year to do something about it. I need to make a life for myself outside of being home alone all the time.

So there you go. Four things to build some momentum on. Four things to move me forward. AND a plan to help me do so.

And did you notice that sewing and quilting didn’t even make the list? That’s because there isn’t anything at all wrong or lacking in that area. I aim to continue learning and growing and playing with needle and thread.

Do you have a plan for the year? and seriously…what do you think of my walking desk? too cool, right?

A sweet little bookmark

A tiny little embroidery project to finish the day 🙂

001From the Little Stitches book of embroidery designs by Aneela Hoey

002So sweet!

….and now you also know what I am reading! What are you reading this week and what do you use for a book mark?

The Friendship Garden Quilt

Warning: this post is photo intensive!

036Let me introduce you to The Friendship Garden Quilt!

017 It comes by its name honestly, because it started out life as a bee block!

018I am part of a Flickr group quilting bee with 5 other ladies. We call ourselves We Bee Canadian. We each make 2 blocks for the month’s Queen Bee.

031When it was my month to pick a block (a couple of years ago!), I asked everyone to please make me two bow tie blocks using garden-themed fabric.

008Because we were all pretty much beginners, nobody’s 1/4″ seams were very good and the blocks didn’t square up very well. There were an awful lot of mismatched seams.

007Then I had an idea!

025I decided to cover some of the wonky seams with English paper pieced rosettes. Perfect! Before you knew it, I had hand-appliqued a flower in every single blank square, wonky or not!

033Because a garden should be an absolute riot of colour, don’t you agree?

011I used a bed sheet on the back. I think it would qualify as a vintage sheet. I remember having sheets like this on my bed in the 70s.

027The quilt is hand quilted in circles.

034I don’t think I’ll try to do hand quilting through a bed sheet again. I actually bent needles and had to use pliers to pull the needle through the layers. Ouch!

035Mr. C. did a marvelous job behind the scenes, don’t you think?

022I used black for the binding to set off the colours. Oh, how I love this quilt! It is so cheerful and bright and sunny! A bit of summer in the depths of winter.

010I hope it will be as loved in its new home as it is in mine 🙂

029These photos were taken at the sweet little Notch Hill Community Hall and Church on the only sunny day in January.

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Linking up with the binding blitz at Julie Quilts and Lets Bee Social at SewFreshQuilts.

Sam is in the Doghouse

My name is Samson J Collins and I did a Very Bad Thing.

Do you remember the beautiful twisted tea time quilt that my friend Gully’s mom Dee made for my mom a couple of years ago?

Well, I was snoozing in the sun the other day when I heard an awful sound! It came from my mom! It sounded like Arrrgghhh!! and then I heard her say, “Oh, Sam, what have you done?” I jumped right up and ran to investigate.

010Oh. That.

Um…well… obviously I must have had something to do with that little incident. I wish I could remember! Maybe I was left unsupervised during a thunder storm? That quilt helped me get through a rough time!”

008I am very sorry.

007I know! I’ll make amends by helping my mom out in the sewing room!

Yesterday I held down the quilt sandwich so Mom could baste it.

005Just when I thought I was done, my Mom laid out a second, larger top to baste that very same day! I had to recruit Misty to help. This was too much quilt for one little dog to hold down all by myself!

013And then I supervised that darned Spooky for the rest of the day.

018I even swallowed my pride and held this little table runner up so Mom could take a picture.

004Even though it was beneath my dignity. Making amends can be so…embarrassing!

003Do you forgive me, Mom?

Sam Collins Sept 2014 011-2Yes, Sam,  I forgive you.

Sam Collins Sept 2014 008

 

catching up

I’ve written so many blog posts in my mind over the last several weeks. Sadly, none of them have made the (sometimes torturous) journey from my head to my fingertips and onto the keyboard.

So while I’m sorting it all out, and just to let you know that I’m still here, I’ll post a little update from the sewing room.

I finally finished The Friendship Garden quilt!

022All that’s left is sewing on the label.

006Goodness, I didn’t know if I would ever finish this quilt! It just kept demanding more and more. It was ridiculous! I’m only going to give you a brief glimpse here. This quilt has an interesting story but it hasn’t had it’s photo shoot yet. And you know me…a quilt isn’t truly finished until it’s had its picture properly taken, lol! So sorry…you’ll just have to wait for it.

011Last September I started taking a class at my local quilt shop (Threads & Paper in Salmon Arm). The class is called A Quilter’s Garden. It is a beginners machine applique class. Let me stress beginners! It’s perfect for me. Exactly what I need, considering that I am still learning how to use my new sewing machine with all its various stitches and features.

012Each block introduces a different skill, such as couching, and sewing on buttons with the button foot. Sadly, I cannot seem to master the button foot.  Consequently, I’ve been sewing on all the buttons by hand. sigh.

014And the couching. Well okay. I admit that my first try at couching was a complete and absolute bust. In fact, I was so nervous to try it that I didn’t even try!  that’s how much of a bust it was! Instead, I decided to totally redesign the block. Completely. This block (below) isn’t even close to the pattern that we were given.  But I love it!

016Did you notice the sweet little diamond buttons eyes? They make me so happy!

017Of course, I like to do things my own way, so haven’t exactly been following the patterns. I’ve kind of carried on doing my own thing..

018For instance, there aren’t any birds in any of the original patterns. None!  Now, I don’t know why, but I really wanted some birds in there! This quilt just begs for birds, don’t you think?

019They’re so tweet!

And yes, I finally did attempt the couching (above). 🙂

A woeful, sewful tale

I’ve been doing the Bonnie Hunter Grand Illusion mystery quilt. “What is that?” asks my non-quilty friend. Bonnie Hunter is a master quilter with many books etc under her … Er…seam ripper. Every year in December & January she hosts a mystery where a clue is posted each week. Each clue is a piece of the quilt that you make. Nothing is left to chance. She even gives you paint chip numbers so you can match your colours accurately. Bonnie Hunter is the absolute queen of scrappy.

I love scrappy. Love love love scrappy quilts. I also try to challenge myself with each new project. And, Bonnie’s quilts are challenging. So it seemed like a match made in heaven.

I made clue number one:

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280 broken dish units. Two Hundred. and Eighty.

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Loved ’em!
Then I made clue number two:

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There are 100 (One Hundred) of these whatever-you-call-em units. 600 pieces/800 seams. Wozers! It took me, like, for-ever, but I did it! Now I am really pumped about the mystery quilt! It’s going to be fabulous! It’s going to be a big quilt, too…over 80″ square. I can’t wait! I love the scrappy turquoise and the scrappy pinks together. Love the pops of yellow and black.

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But…I am waaaay behind. Clue number 5 was posted last week. I’m running out of time! I’ve got to get caught up! I get up this morning totally pumped to sew up clue number 3. Maybe even clue number 4 if I really fly at it and work hard.

I turn on my computer before I’ve even had my coffee.

Eee gads! Today the mystery quilt is revealed! Spoiler alert, spoiler alert! Argh, I looked! I couldn’t help myself.

I don’t like it. At all.

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For the first time ever, I am looking at a Bonnie Hunter quilt that I don’t like. To me it looks like a hot scrappy mess. And it is the one I am making.

I don’t know what to do. Finish it anyway? Take the blocks I’ve already made (and that I like so far) and make something different?

Honestly, I think I’m going to go have a good bawl now.

(Please, Bonnie, don’t be reading this. I love you to pieces, I really do. But just not this particular quilt)

Sob

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