quest for wellness: post 1

i think i have suffered with food related allergies all my life.

however, it wasn’t until about 6 years ago that it came to light.

what started as a quest to answer a question regarding chloe’s health turned into so much more.

there have been a lot of struggles, arguments, victories and disappointments.

i binged.

i conquered.

and then i got some answers.

i’m allergic to:

dairy (all forms including sheep and goat)

coffee

shellfish

cod

tuna

blueberries

cranberries

almonds

hazelnuts

sesame seeds

and

peanuts

but there’s more…

i’m sensitive to:

wheat

soy

chocolate

and all chemicals used in packaged foods

(ie natural flavoring or spices)

which means i don’t eat any of those things.

ever.

if i do i get:

insomnia

diarrhea

constipation

rash on my cheeks

moodiness

low body temp

lethargy

thyroid gets off

and more, which all escapes me at the moment

the main under-lying cause?

an over growth of yeast in my gut.

what? you ask.

yeast is, generally, naturally occurring in most peoples’ intestines.

but if you are eating foods that you are allergic to,

have been on multiple rounds of strong antibiotics,

(for women) used either the pill or IUD for birth control,

are under great amounts of stress

and have a high sugar diet

then you, my friend, just like me are a candidate for an overgrowth of yeast.

generally it’s candida but there are other yeasts as well.

i’m finally getting serious about it though.

last week i bought a program for reversing yeast overgrowth.

and since then i’ve been slowly preparing my body so that when i start the program next week it’ll be almost ready.

and i thought…why don’t i blog about it?

so here it goes…

the biggest factor is eliminating all sugars and starches from the diet.

this includes all baked goods (with a few exceptions and i’ll show pictures in coming weeks), potatoes and any foods that are high GI.

but as sugars and starches are eliminated more vegetables and low GI foods are introduced.

quinoa, kale, eggs (lots of eggs) are just starters.

avocados.

so thankful i love those guys.

and as i’ve made this slow transition i’ve started noticing some changes.

my face is clearing up.

it still appears dry (making face make-up really not good…i just look scaly) but the redness isn’t as sharp and the “zits” are fewer.

also, i’m sleeping better.

i’ve had this constant problem in my shoulder for over a year now…but when i stay away from the sugar it’s actually getting better.

fewer flares of the enflamed muscles.

my mood swings are significantly less as well.

i’ve also discovered some new foods.

a quinoa salad (i don’t know the measurements but if you play with it there’s some good stuff)

quinoa cooked with water and a bit of salt (chicken broth would work beautifully too)

cool the quinoa then add:

paprika

herbamare (generous sprinkle)

salt

pepper

1 leaf chopped kale

1 red, orange or yellow bell pepper

2 green onions chopped thinly

1 tsp raw apple cider vinegar

1/2 avocado on top

options:

currants or raisins…i wonder what apple would taste like in it.

if you come up with any others please let me know and i’ll add them here.

make a lot of the quinoa then you can freeze it in smaller batches, though i wouldn’t freeze the salad.

it would turn the veggies to mush.

i had it with dinner (in lieu of potatoes) and for breakfast (with two fried eggs on top).

it’s filling (which i worry about weight loss…don’t really need to lose any) and really healthy.

right.

so i’m going to go back to work now.

i’ll share with you as the experiment continues.

ciao!

homemade applesauce

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here are my apples.

pretty, huh?

we washed, rough cut all the icky parts out,

threw them in the crockpot with two cups water and 2 tablespoons cinnamon.

there were about 9 or 10 apples.

i have no idea what kind they are but they’re pretty sweet.

then i put the crockpot on high for three hours.

voila!

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okay.

so that doesn’t look very appetizing.

blame it on the photo.

the applesauce is a lovely pink color.

and the applesauce is amazing.

better than store bought.

:D

lazy sunday

it’s not often we ditch church.

usually something extreme has to happen for this to occur.

for example:  the washington state fair.

that was enough.

today?

well, yesterday i drove to a friends wedding 2 1/2 hours away only for my phone to die (out in the middle of nowhere).

it contained the directions.

no phone.

no clock.

no gps.

so, without seeing my friends, i turned around and drove home.

2 1/2 hours.

my butt hurt.

my legs hurt.

i wore a dress, darn it.

with my cowgirl boots too.

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(the view of mt. rainier from my car window on my way to drop off the girls at a friends house.)

so today i languished in bed with my two girls; one on either side of me.

after some time we got up.

made and ate breakfast.

then we went and picked apples.

they are in the crockpot with some water and cinnamon.

homemade applesauce.

it’s going to be divine.

in the mean time i decided to catch up on intuits small business big game contest.

did you hear?

i made it into the top 20,000 businesses and onto round 2.

other than the video (which is wracking my nerves, btw) i finished the other bits and pieces.

you can start voting for me now.

the link is just over there on the right.

i hope.

i haven’t tested it yet.

i’ll work out the video this week.

on that long LONG drive i rehearsed about 75,000 times.

you’d think i got it worked out!

:D

and the rest of my day?

some sewing.

some gardening.

maybe wash the car.

though i will avoid at all costs, driving the darn thing.

my rear hurts even when i think about it.

oh hey!

y’all want an update on our American Hero’s Block Challenge??

253 blocks plus my friend orrelle sent me a completed top.

not bad, methinks, for our first one!

thank you to all who joined in on the fun.

here’s a photo of her quilt…

Image 1isn’t it grand?

in the box was this…

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it warmed my heart and broke it all at the same time.

so much loss in our world.

i love that we could help orrelle process her grief in this way.

i’ve not got a date with my sewing machine.

when the applesauce is done i’ll post some pics of it.

you won’t be disappointed.

the apple tree

i think i’m going to be posting a lot about this tree.

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do you see it?

do you see all the apples??

this tree is laden with apples.

that’s how my life and business feels right now.

heavy.

full.

ripe.

and when i look at the tree i feel blessings upon blessings.

but there’s also a very real reality you can’t see.

i have absolutely no idea how to grow apples.

my lack of knowledge is stunning in this department.

there’s so much i don’t know that i don’t even know what i don’t know.

seems obvious doesn’t it?

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but look at those apples!!

surely they grow themselves, don’t they?

well…actually, no they don’t.

for instance they need regular watering.

if the tree doesn’t get water regularly it drops it’s apples.

and then there’s the ones that rot on the branches.

and the ones that get eaten by worms.

despite all that i love this tree.

it is a representation of me.

so.

there’s a lot i don’t know…about myself, about my business.

i often feel like i’m exploring myself, facing obstacles, taking apart that which doesn’t work and putting it back together again.

i find myself evaluating what i want to do against what i am able to do.

this is all good stuff.

there’s so much fruit in it.

and in the process i am reminded of the shepherd boy, david.

he learned to trust God in the fields.

and this served him well for when he became king.

not that i’ll ever be a queen…but i think what you get what i’m saying.

but today a friend came over and wanted to look at the apples.

she took two and said, “i’m going to cook them with a bit of sugar and cinnamon.”

that got me thinking.

so i picked three.

cut them up.

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after taking out some of the bad bits…and the worm…

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i put them in a pan with a bit of water and cinnamon.

(we’re avoiding a lot of added sugar wherever possible.)

and…i forgot to take a picture of our applesauce.

but the girls proclaimed it the best they had ever had!

it was pretty tasty…even with the skins.

:)

lesson learned.

sometimes good things can come from things that are less than perfect.

american hero quilt block challenge

about 5 years ago i was introduced to a wonderful organization called american hero quilts.

their goal is to provide quilts to injured soldiers at joint base lewis/mcchord (in washington state) who have returned from overseas.

sue, the founder, has some amazing stories about the soldiers who have received quilts.

these men and women have so many challenges to face with their new lives.

the goal of american heroes is to show them that they are loved and cared for.

sadly, over the last few years i’ve not been able contribute to them.

until now, that is.

: :

my friends kathy and sylvia have offered to help me in this challenge.

here’s how it’ll work:

below is a tutorial for an easy block.

we would like you to make as many blocks as you’d like and send them to kathy.

then we’ll get them put together and send them to american hero quilts!

our goal…

to make 10 quilts.

that is 350 blocks!!

you’ll use three colors: red, white and blue.

using scraps is totally acceptable.

please no flannel, fleece, or fabric with metallic print.

due to open wounds these materials can only cause more problems.

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this is what the finished quilts will look like.

here’s the tutorial:

cutting instructions

cut (8) 3 1/2″ squares

cut (4) 6 1 /2″ x 3 1/2″ blue rectangles

cut (4) 6 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ red rectangles

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sewing instructions:

draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of the white 3 1/2″ squares.

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divide the squares in half…four will be stitched to the red rectangles and four will be stitched to the blue rectangles.

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line a white  3 1/2″ square up with the right side of a blue 6 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ rectangle.

stitch just to the right of the drawn line (side closest to the outside corner).

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can you see it?

repeat with the rest of the blue rectangles and with the red rectangles.

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next trim 1/4″ from the stitched line closest to the outside corner.

do this for all of the blue and red rectangles.

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okay…okay…these are black not blue.

it just wanted to play too!

and i’m also going to admit that i use scissors to trim my 1/4″ seam allowance.

chalk it up to laziness.

you don’t have to copy me…i won’t make you.

:)

next flip the now white triangle up and press.IMG_4103

repeat for the blue and red rectangles.

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aren’t they pretty??

your red and blue rectangles should look like this.

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now turn the red rectangles to look like this…

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then flip the red rectangles onto the blue rectangles right sides together the.

make sure that the ends of the white triangles overlap.

line up the corners and long edge and stitch.

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now open them up and press to the dark side.

(i feel a star wars joke here but can’t get it together…the dark side…)

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isn’t it great?

you should have 4 of these guys.

okay…lay those guys out to look like this…

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i’m keen on laying out quilt blocks.

if things don’t look right now would be the time to make sure.

almost there…three seams to go.

lay the top right mini-block on top of the top left mini-block, right sides together.

line up the corners and stitch.

open up and press to the red long side.

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repeat with the bottom two mini-blocks.

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line up the outside corner and the middle (the middle seams should nestle right against each other), pin and stitch.

press seam open.

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it’s done!!

such a simple block and yet when all the blocks are put together it’s a fun quilt with a wonderful secondary design.

all completed blocks can be sent to:

American Heroes Quilt Block Challenge

c/o Sylvia Youngblut

10308 179th Ave NE

Redmond, Washington 98052

deadline!

(i forgot that part…)

let’s say the end of september so we have time to get the quilts together.

wouldn’t it be great if they could deliver them around veteran’s day??

questions?

please send me  a message through ‘contact us’ and i’ll respond as soon as i can!

thank you for providing comfort and loving support to our wounded soldiers.

*as a side thought, i think quilters are the nicest people.*

: :

p.s. if you include all your off-cut triangles with your blocks kathy will add them to her crumb quilts for the soldiers

fall 2013 mystery quilt

it’s coming up quick!

and i’m thrilled.

we’ve been working hard and we’re nearly ready!

okay…hints (because i know you love them):

the finished blocks size is 12″ square.

there is a Challenge that is optional for those quilters that are a bit more advanced.

the smallest piece is 2-1/2″ square unless you are going for The Challenge…then it’s 1-1/2″.

beginners beware: this will be a challenge if you’ve never quilted before.

we recommend you work with one or two other experienced quilters in case you have questions or come across a hiccup (or two).

ready for the pic?

here’s the jelly roll i chose

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and here it is opened up

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i’ve finished the version without The Challenge.

well…that is, without borders.

that fabric is waiting for me at home.

you will want distinct lights and darks, preferably with the colors dividing evenly.

please go to the link below to give to cancercare.org.

i’m so thrilled to have found this fantastic organization.

http://community.cancercare.org/page.aspx?pid=900&tab=0&frsid=8788

you can purchase your pattern in the links below:

www.etsy.com/shop/heatherspencedesigns

or click the ‘shop’ link here on the website.

can’t wait for you to join us!

we always have a blast.

:)

floating stars quilt pattern

my first pattern.

it’s like my baby.

plus, i just really love this quilt.

Floating Stars Quilt Pattern

this picture is a bit washed out.

but you can see how wonderfully it shows off the charm squares.

my friend patricia pointed out that the charm four patches can be replaced with any block.

*gasp*

she’s right!!

so i asked two friends if they would make the quilt pattern up but to change the blocks.

here’s what they came up with:

lisa’s charming quilt

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“I had this awesome charm pack I had been wanting to use for something. I added the cream from my stash and coordinating fabric. I picked a pieced block and added the sashing around the blocks like in the pattern. After a math error on my part and getting ahead in the directions I was able to get under way on the sashing around the blocks and borders. This was a fun and easy pattern I cant wait to quilt it and give to my niece. I will make another one maybe using a big floral or fun fabric I just cant cut up. Thank you Heather for letting me have the chance to make this up.”

you’re very welcome lisa!

i love what you came up with and appreciate your hard work.

: :

wilma’s striking beauty

Image

“I initially thought I would buy some “fun” large children prints, but when I got to the store, there was nothing that really grabbed me…until I saw this Andover fabric line. I had to put my math skills to the test to determine yardage (well, actually, it was converting yards to meters plus the math) to be able to fussy cut enough “flowers” from the fabric. The flowers were not large enough for a 9″ block, so I then had to calculate how much fabric was needed for a border to make up the difference. I love the completed blocks. This has been one of my favourite quilts, and I don’t think I am going to give it away! Thanks, Heather, for allowing me to be a quilt sampler!!”

thank you, wilma!!

your quilt is beautiful and almost wish i thought of it myself.

you can find wilma at her blog: http://www.wilmascraftcorner.blogspot.com

: :

so there you go!

a few ideas for you.

what have you come up with??

please share and i’ll add them to this post!

vacation

for several years now i’ve determined that vacations are for rejuvenating.

i never quite understood how one can go on vacation and not rest.

it always seems there is this constant need for moving, seeing, doing.

go, go, go…

getting up at a certain time, getting out the door to an activity and then when one returns home…

they need a vacation from their vacation.

right now i am on vacation.

a heather-style vacation.

sleep in.

no schedule.

meander from one thing to the next.

it. is. heaven.

i have had just two goals to meet:

1) finish binding 4 quilts (long standing unfinished quilts, that is)

2) get the fall mystery quilt top made.

i’ve got two quilts done and started the third the night before last all while watching north & south.

such a wonderful show/movie!

as for the fall mystery quilt, well, with a little determination i’m thinking i’ll get it done today.

:)

here’s the jelly roll i’m working with.

IMG_3404it’s charlevoix by minick and simpson from moda.

isn’t it pretty??

here’s what they look like opened up.

IMG_3406i love it!

and it’s very pretty in a quilt too.

:)

right…so…back to vacation…

we are in beautiful lake chelan, washington.

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staying at my friend debbie’s house.

her and her husband have gone up-lake on their boat with some other boating folk and we are house sitting.

here’s the view from their house.

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they have blueberries

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and peaches.

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we went and saw despicable me 2.

(which was so good…we highly recommend it.)

ate at a taco wagon, played bocce, sat in the sun and the girls even

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touched a butt.

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lol

i had fun thinking that up.

but mostly we’ve sat around reading and resting.

i will be ready for the fall now!

on a different note:

if you’ve not all ready seen my posts on Facebook then i’ve got an announcement for you.

yesterday (august 6th) i entered a contest (which i never do) for small businesses.

the prize??

a commercial during the super bowl.

yep.

you read that correctly.

how cool would it be for a quilting business to have a commercial during the super bowl?!

right.

so i need you to do me a favor and stop by to vote for me.

it’s super easy and will take as long as it takes for the browser to load the page.

click on ‘vote’ and you’re done.

https://www.smallbusinessbiggame.com/wa/Heather-Spence-Designs/374638

i don’t know what my chances are…there are so many really great businesses vying for this spot.

i’m done now.

going to go back to my vacation!

have a lovely day!!

connect the dots parade

it’s taken me awhile to get all the bits and pieces of the spring mystery quilt finalized.

sorry for that.

:)

but i’m getting caught up!!

(can you believe it?)

so here it goes…

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this is my quilt.  :)

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this lovely was made by my friend sharyn.

without knowing exactly it looks like she used an assortment of darks and two lights with one medium.

isn’t it great??

i want to make one just like it!

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laurie made this gorgeous one.

she used three fabrics.

the skinny blue border is actually a flange, which turned out beautifully.

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okay…okay.

you got me.

this isn’t actually a photo of the individual quilts but the ladies (and their quilts) who attended the retreat.

minus mine.

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debbie made two…the first is this one and the second is…

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this one.

she made it for her hubby (and one of my girls has slept under the last few nights).

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here’s leslie’s quilt.

she told me she went rogue and turned the block to generate the four patches instead of solid squares (the blue four patches).

then she added more borders to make them bigger.

this is why i love the mystery quilt group.

they come up with the best variations!

so this is what i’ve got so far.

if you’ve completed one email me a photo and i’ll add it!

thanks for stopping by and taking a look.

thoughts and actions

such an ominous title!

but, nonetheless, that is what has taken place.

you see my business, family and mystery quilt has grown by such leaps and bounds that i’m at a point where i can’t manage it all.

this last spring incredibly overwhelming.

so much so that i’ve decided to make a few changes that i believe will help me immensely.

the first part was bringing cris on to help with the online shops and orders.

she will be able to be on top of what needs to be done.

i’m extremely thankful for her, her willingness and time.

i’m confident that you will see a marked improvement.

the other thing i’ve decided to change is mystery quilt.

namely, the recipient.

since starting the mystery quilt we’ve raised over $6,000 for cancer patients.

this is huge in some ways and still felt quite under-whelming in other ways.

holding all things in balance (because that’s what i’m shooting for at the moment) i had to consider what the best use of resources is.

am i/we doing this to it’s fullest potential.

so considered for quite some time changing mystery quilt to a 501(c)3.

however, it quickly became obvious that this course of action would place MORE responsibility on me.

not less.

so…back to the drawing board.

in doing some online research i came across an organization called CancerCare.org.

their mission and goals line up with mystery quilts but with the added benefit of being able to expand to provide in more areas than i ever could.

bingo.

there’s an added bonus: it’s tax deductible to you, me AND anyone who wants to can contribute as much or as little as they’d like.

this will run quite similar to the new years day mystery quilt where we raised money for sewing machines.

here’s the link to my fundraising event:

http://community.cancercare.org/MysteryQuilt

i’ve set the goal at $3000.

once you are done there you can purchase your mystery quilt for $5 each either in the etsy shop (especially if you want to use credit card and the link is below) or the shop here at heatherspencedesigns.com (best if preferring paypal).

if you have any questions at all you can send me a message through the contact page or email.

thank you for all your love and support!

i’m confident that these changes will make our mystery quilt fundraisers more effective.

~ h

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