Make Your Blog Reader User Friendly

I have posted before that I use Google Reader to read the blogs that I enjoy reading on a regular basis.  I love that I can read what you have written and not have to go from URL to URL looking for your latest post.

It frustrates me when I get to a certain blog article in Google Reader and can only read about 5 or 6 lines of text before I have to click to that blog’s URL to read the rest.    Does that bother you as well?

Why do people set their blog up to do that?  Because they WANT you to see all the nifty content on their blog’s full page.  All the decorations, background images, buttons, etc. do not show up on a blog reader.  Another reason why they do that is because they have monetized their blog so it helps them make money.  If you don’t go to their actual URL, they miss out on any profit they might make from you.

I enjoy reading blogs… and from time to time I DO visit the actual URL to see what your full page looks like.  And yes, I do have links to on my own blogs, but I would rather have you read what I wrote on a blog reader than not read it at all, which is why I don’t make you click to the full article after you read 5 or 6 lines of text.

Did you know that some people read blogs on their smart phone or other small devise? If you have your blog set up in the “short version,” it makes their life miserable when they read your blog. 

I just deleted a couple of blogs from my own Google Reader for the reasons mentioned above. 

Sorry for the rant… sometimes a thing just gets to you and you have to take a stand.  To read a great article on making your blog reader more “user friendly,”  visit Donna’s blog at  What’s Past is Prologue

A Non-Quilting Day

I didn’t do anything quilt-related yesterday.   Well, that’s not entirely true.  The Woodworker and I spent the day on the motorcycle.  We live in Flushing, Michigan, and hubby wanted to visit a wind farm up in the thumb of Michigan.  That meant we went by Caro, home of Merrie Miller and her new shop, Catty Wampus.   So we stopped by for a few minutes as we went through town.  SO nice to meet her! She also is a biker, so we’re hoping to get together soon to take a ride. 


This shows (kind of) where we went up into the thumb.  Marker B is Flushing, A is Caro, C is Caseville, Michigan.  We went over 240 miles yesterday, and today my body is reminding me of that.  Muscles I didn’t know I had are a little tender, but not too bad.  We went to the beach in Caseville for a brief break and to stretch our legs.

Caseville is on Saginaw Bay in Lake Huron.Windfarmtrip 002

CasevilleBeachSure not getting a suntan in this picture!!!

See the turbine off in the distance behind me?  There are dozens of those all over the area in Pigeon, Michigan that generate electricity.  It’s so cool to see them all spinning!


You can see more behind the Woodworker in this shot.DeanWindFarm

On the way back we stopped for dinner in Birch Run… then headed home.  What a great day! 

Go Quilt Something


Fellow bloggers;

Either you’re writing too much too fast or I’m reading very slow.  I need to catch up with you.  Go quilt something and I’ll let you know when I’m caught up.

Carry on…

Ten Months, 110 pounds

On October 18, 2010 I had bariatric surgery via the Roux en Y bypass surgery.  The day before my surgery, my husband took a photo for me to keep as a reminder of where I started. Next to it is my picture today.


Some people think that having surgery is choosing the easy way out.  I strongly disagree.  Surgery is painful.  Prior to surgery I was put on a liquid-only diet for several weeks.  Then, after surgery kept up the liquid-only diet for several more weeks.  I finally advanced to soft foods like applesauce, yogurt, pudding, etc.  It was almost six weeks before I could actually chew something and feel like I was really eating again.

Quite often, people choose to have this surgery and do well for a time.  Then they start to put their weight back on.  Sometimes they don’t ever lose what they should lose following surgery because of one key factor: they weren’t ready to make a life-changing difference in the first place.  And that, my friends, is a monumental problem.

I thought about having surgery long before I decided to take this big step.  I wanted to be done – once and for all – with a weight problem that had plagued me for 30+ years.  I wanted to be healthy; truly healthy.  I wanted to be active: to play and run with my grandkids, to go hiking with my love, to enjoy our time together traveling, motorcycling, and doing all the fun things we’ve talked about for so long but couldn’t do because I wasn’t physically fit.  I was finally able to take this big step, and I was committed to it.  Totally.

Ten months later, people keep telling me how great I look.  While I enjoy hearing that, I want to make one thing perfectly clear:  I didn’t do this to get recognition for looking good.  While that is certainly a nice thing, I can’t tell you how much happier it makes me to FEEL GOOD.  Very, very good.  I feel healthy, vibrant, active, I can walk miles without getting tired, climb stairs without getting winded, and today rode 130 miles with my arms around my hubby on the back of our motorcycle.  We had a blast!


In order for this to happen, not only did I have the surgery but I had to commit to giving up food that had become (literally) a part of me. I don’t eat sweets.  I don’t eat cake, pie, cookies or candy. I eat small meals 5-6 times each day. I drink a lot of water.  I consume about 80 grams of protein every single day.  I work out with weights at the gym regularly (I shoot for 3 times a week) and try to get in at least 2.5 to 3 miles walking at least 6 days per week.  I’m not perfect, and sometimes my schedule gets in the way, but on average, this is my workout schedule. 

If you have already had surgery to help you lose weight… and if it’s not working the way you think it should,  look at the words in blue, above.  Those are critical things for being successful.  If you aren’t committed to those basic items, you will fail. YOU WILL FAIL.

You will fail your surgeon, your family, the people who love you… but most of all, you will fail yourself.

If you really want to lose weight and have considered weight loss surgery, make sure you are ready to totally change your life. 

Please believe me when I tell you that doing the steps mentioned above WILL totally change your life… for the better.

I FEEL GREAT.  I like what I see in the mirror. 

It doesn’t get much better than that.

What in the world is that?


challenge 003

Yes indeed, what in the world is this going to be?  Any guesses?

This is a part of the challenge quilt I am working on for the Evening Star Quilt Guild in Davison, Michigan.  I posted about it here.  It’s hand pieced, which I find so relaxing.  Usually.  But the gray/black fabric is hand dyed (thanks Vicki) and the other fabric is a batik, so it’s not playing nicely with my needle.  The hand dyed is fine… it’s the batik that I’m struggling with.  Oh well, it’s going to be a small quilt (although it will have a lot of small pieces in it).

Stay tuned.

What do YOU think this will be?  Post your guesses below in the comments area and whoever comes closest will get a little something in the mail from me.  If you leave a comment, make sure I can find your email address so I can contact you!

Mid August in Mid Michigan

It’s a beautiful evening in Mid Michigan.  There are big puffy clouds floating through a blue sky, hubby is mowing the lawn, Stormie is playing with her toys, and I’m shooting silly shots with my camera.  Time to post them and then cut into some gorgeous fabric and start piecing my challenge quilt.

Stormie wakes from a nap…Aug17 001

and immediately has to play.Aug17 006

with several random toys

Aug17 009

The birdbath is surrounded by Artemisia.

Aug17 011

My fish know when it’s time to eat.  I step on the rock that juts out over the pond, and it makes a clunking noise.  They come to the surface and know they’ll be fed.Aug17 015

Time to do something quilty. 

Step away from your computer and go do the same!

2011 Challenge Quilt

I’m a member of the Evening Star Quilt Guild that meets in Davison, Michigan.  This year we were given a challenge; here are the rules:

  • Must be a completed (quilted and bound) 25″ square quilt including a quilt label.
  • You can only use a total of 2 fabrics ‐ the fat quarter given and an additional fabric of your choosing.
  • You can have it quilted by another quilter if you’d like. You must give credit on the quilt label for the quilter.
  • You are welcome to embellish the piece. You can use
    ribbons, beads, buttons, decorative threads, etc. Ribbons
    may not be used as a third fabric though.
  • You can make your piece using any method of quilting you
    like. Applique, piecing, foundation piecing, fussy cutting,

Everyone participating in the challenge was given a fat quarter from the same bolt of fabric.  Here is mine:
2011 Challenge 001
Here is the fabric I chose to go with it:
2011 Challenge 002
I have an idea in mind, but I need to play with it a bit before I cut.  My background fabric is a hand dyed piece created by Vicki Welch.  Vicki does fabulous work!!! Please check out her Etsy shop.  Tell her Caron sent you!
Stay tuned and I’ll share my creative process along the way. 
Today is a good day to work on this, as it’s been raining all weekend, which means that “Candy,” our new motorcycle, is staying dry in our garage.  Come on over to our house if you want to watch me pout.  Whining might also be going on.

A new Michigan quilt shop!

CattyWampusIt’s here!    Michigan has a new quilt shop, called Catty Wampus Fabrics.


Catty Wampus is located at

212 N. State St, Caro, MI 48723.

Their phone number is 989-672-0090

Though they have only been open one month, the owners have been very busy ordering, cleaning, painting and setting up their new business.  As with any new business, word of mouth and advertising are critical to future success.  We all know that a new venture such as this is extremely costly.  Quilters, would you please help do a little something to help spread the word? 

You could:

OK, maybe that last idea is pushing the limits… but you get the idea.  Let’s help quilters in the Thumb of Michigan get this new quilt shop rocking!

NOTE to people not from Michigan:  Michigan is shaped like a mitten.  We often refer to places on the mitten when talking about location.  So Catty Wampus is in the Thumb, and people living in the Thumb are also called “Trolls” because they live under the (Mackinac) bridge.  Murphy

Be sure and say hi to Murphy when you stop by. 

What is a whole-cloth quilt?

A whole-cloth quilt is made out of a backing fabric, a front (or top) fabric, and a layer of batting.  The top fabric normally is a high-quality cotton or silk in a solid color, although some whole-cloth quilts may be made from a patterned cloth. 

Sounds boring, doesn’t it?   But I assure you, whole cloth quilts are anything BUT boring! 

The beauty of a whole-cloth quilt is in the quilting stitches and the design that the quilter uses to do the quilting.  Whole-cloth quilts are normally very closely quilted, and the intense quilting is 99.9 percent of their beauty.  While published patterns for whole-cloth designs exist, it is the very talented quilter who is able to design her own pattern to reflect her skills.  Designing the pattern on paper can take weeks, if not months to achieve the desired effect.  Once the pattern meets the quilter’s expectations, it will be transferred onto the cloth itself.  Quilters usually use a blue washout marker, light (hard) pencil lead, or a sharpened chalk to draw on the fabric.  Use of chalk is the easiest to remove once the quilting is completed, however quilting a whole-cloth quilt takes a mammoth amount of time to finish, and by then, most if not all of the chalk may be erased by time.

Decent directions for preparing a whole-cloth quilt may be found at .


Below:  close-up of whole cloth quilting by Karen McTavish


Whitework Quilting: Creative Techniques for Designing Wholecloth and Adding Trapunto to Your Quilts. See more of Karen’s work at her website:

Whitework Quilting by Karen McTavish, published by On-Word Bound Books, has won the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award in its category.