Saturday, December 30, 2006
My back is better tonight I'm happy to report, but I'm not going to chance aggravating it again by working with the longarm. The last army quilt will just have to wait until next weekend. I want to give my body plenty of time to heal. Sitting at the sewing machine doesn't seem to bother it at all, and standing to press or cut is OK as long as I take lots of breaks and do some stretching. I can sure tell the body isn't as young as it used to be.
I watched the movie The DaVinci Code while sewing today, then watched all the extras on the second disk including the interviews with Ron Howard, Tom Hanks and the others. I enjoyed reading the book - I know it's caused a great deal of controversy since it's publication, but I look at it as just a thriller of a fiction book and don't take anything in it seriously. I like most everything Ron Howard has done, and I wasn't disappointed in this. He did a great job of turning a challenging story into an engrossing film. The extra disk mentioned many little details in the movie that weren't at all evident in the first viewing, so I turned around and watched it again out of curiosity. It made the stitching of hundreds of purple triangles a bit less boring!
Just in case any of you stashbusters are reading this, I should mention that all the purples are from my stash with the exception of the darkest purple used as a background. The white and green (still to come) are also purchased fabrics. My son and daughter-in-law gave me paint swatches to match and I had nothing in the stash that would work. I am putting a serious dent in the other purple fabrics however!
If the back is still feeling OK in the morning I'll finish packing away the Christmas stuff. I want to do more sewing on Sophie's stars, but the packing away needs to come first. I'm not sure what time we are heading over to the kids house - I know I need to figure out some munchies to take along. At least I don't have to be creative like I do for Tangled Threads - the kids think vegetables and ranch dip and chips just suit the purpose. I didn't raise any gourmets - but then I didn't develop an adventuresome appetite until I was older than they are now.
I was becoming more and more frustrated at home too, because I was unable to put away the Christmas stuff like I usually do. Last night I asked my sweet husband to bring down all the tubs - hoping to find the energy to do it today. Bless his heart - he's already put away lots of it - the stuff he's comfortable packing. With his help I should be able to finish this afternoon and tomorrow. I'm going to get a pot of turkey soup going here soon - "turkey frame soup" from my Red and White Checkerboard cookbook (aka Better Homes and Gardens) is one of my favorites. I need to be able to sit up straight and think clearly by the time we head to the kids house tomorrow afternoon for our usual New Year's Eve game playing night. Thank goodness Rick is feeling and sounding like his old self now after being sick for over a week.
As nothing much is happening on the quilty front I thought I'd address comments and questions that have been left on my last few posts. So many of you are now switched to Beta - Blogger still won't let me switch - so your comments come through as anonymous. I know if I went through old stuff I could find your email addresses. I figured it was easier just to put replies in a single post. So here goes:
The book I'm currently reading is "Lovers Knot" by Emilie Richards. I loved the first two so asked for the third for Christmas. Rick and Rebecca got it for me, which surprised me a lot as their main gift to me is Rick putting up more shelving in my sewing room. This one is still in hardback only which is why I'd not gotten it for myself. This is the third book in her Shenandoah Valley series - I highly recommend all three of them.
As far as the new list on my sidebar and my quilting goals - I think I gave some of you the wrong idea. I listed everything I have so it would be out there staring me in the face daily instead of hidden in a computer spreadsheet that I don't look at all that much. I know there are WAY too many things to finish next year - I'm not even going to try. Notice in my goals I didn't list a number or a percentage or anything else - I'm going to be happy with whatever gets done. My true goal is just that the lists are shorter by the end of the year than they are now. Between our UFO challenge at North Star Quilters guild and the two challenges on the Stashbuster list I'm confident I can achieve that goal. The UFO queen list was just sent out this morning on Stashbuster, and I'm happy to report I'm way down near the bottom. Glad for that, as I can't do anything else until the two baby quilts are finished.
Juliann asked what a flimsy is. That's Norma's name for a finished top that isn't quilted. I like that name WAY better than UFO!
Forest Jane wanted to know how I could "force the dog to come back to bed". You gave me a great chuckle when you asked whether or not I was talking about the four legged dog or my husband! Shadow is now going on 16. He acts like a very young dog at times, but in many ways really shows his age. He won't jump onto the bed himself any more - he's missed too many times - and he won't jump down either. That makes it pretty easy to force him back to bed - usually. I just catch him as he comes in the door, wipe his feet, than bodily lift him back into bed with me. That time he settled back down right away and we both went back to sleep. If he keeps whining instead of settling down I just put him back on the floor and do my best to ignore him - though that usually doesn't work. This morning he ran in before I could catch him - at 5:20 a.m. - and then kept running away from me. Obviously ready to play! So I got a treat and bribed him back into the bed. Luckily once he ate the treat he decided to sleep again, and neither of us got up until after 9:30!
I'm glad you all enjoyed the Christmas card. I love Jacquie Lawson's cards! Here is a Happy New Year card for each of you. May your celebration be wonderful and safe at the same time.
1. A wonderful husband
2. The beautiful paintings by Jack Frost all over our yard this morning
3. A heating pad with a vibrating motor
4. A reusable ice bag that doesn't leak
5. Four days off work!
Thursday, December 28, 2006
There's just something about this time of year that appeals to me. I adore the holidays and everything they involve. However, the day after Christmas I'm ready and eager to move on to what comes next. Christmas decorations usually come down right away at our house as we move forward to prepare for the new year and all the things it has in store for us. We aren't much for dwelling on things in the past - we are much too busy looking forward.
With this in mind I decided to wait no longer to redo my side bar. I've been so eager to delete all those crossed out items, rearrange what's left and start setting goals for 2007. I tried to be more realistic in my goals this next year - notice there are no goals that mention not buying fabric LOL! I think the goals I've set are definitely doable, and I'm eager to get started. I have a few loose ends to tie up in the next few days - one more Army top to quilt for a friend plus some tidying in my sewing room. Then my focus will return to Sophie's quilt, as I want it finished in time for her to come home from the hospital with it. Next I will be start Joseph's quilt. The kids didn't move on the list this month - as far as they can tell they are still number 10. However, by the time Sophie gets here in February they could be very near the top of the list, so there is no time to delay.
I used to belong to the Stashbusters Yahoo Group but had to drop out in the fall of 2005 for a couple of different reasons. I've rejoined - thanks for the encouragement Cher! - and reupped for their UFO challenge. They have a new challenge that I also signed up for - a WIP (work in progress) and WHIMM (work hidden in my mind) challenge - that should encourage me to start making quilts from all the kits I've bought over the years. My personal challenge will be to find the appropriate balance between the two, so I don't accidentally add a bunch more UFO's to that list by starting lots of new projects. Right now I'm planning to focus on UFT's and UFO's the first half of the year, which hopefully will leave me with time the second half of the year for starting new projects from kits. That sounds like the best plan right now. So In preparation for that I'm going to list my HSY's (pronounced Hussies - Haven't Started Yets) on my sidebar. The act of crossing things off was such a good motivation for me this past year that I'm counting on it working even better in 2007.
1. The chance for a new beginning
2. A clean kitchen courtesy of my husband
3. Turkey leftovers
4. A safe commute on icy roads this morning
5. An engrossing novel featuring a quilt in the story
Monday, December 25, 2006
Christmas breakfast was easy and fast but very tasty - I had it on the table just before nine. Cinnamon pull-aparts from the bakery, pepper bacon and link sausage from our favorite butcher, and scrambled eggs with a bit of melted cheddar cheese. Topped off by orange juice spiked with asti, and asti to drink too. We don't like champagne - too dry for our tastes - so a fruity sparkling asti is the perfect compliment.
I hope all the rest of you are eating well too. With the big turkey dinner behind me, today will be easy. Bake the baguettes and cut them into cubes, heat the cheese fondue and make the fruit salad. As long as Rick is feeling good enough to come for awhile this afternoon. We all have our fingers crossed. If he doesn't I guess we'll put off the rest of Christmas until next Saturday.
Yesterday our son brought his "wii" - his Christmas present from Chelsea that he stood outside at 5:00 a.m. to get. This is the newest Nintendo for those of you who don't know what a "wii" is - which included us until yesterday. He hooked it up to our TV and we all gave it a try. Certainly not a couch potato game like other video games. The bowling was fun, and it involves standing up and moving the control and your body just like you would if you were holding a bowling ball. The golf gave involves swing the control like you would a golf club. Those were the only two we tried out and they were a lot of fun - even though I screwed up my back again "bowling". Chelsea said the boxing is a real workout - you have an additional piece to the control so you have one in each hand, then you stand up and move your hands and feet like you were boxing. Good exercise I guess, and obviously a lot more fun that a treadmill or elliptical.
Now I'm relaxing and sipping the rest of my asti and reading blogs. When I'm finished I'll shower and get dressed. From the sounds of it my dear husband is cleaning the kitchen - that's a wonderful gift for the morning!
1. A husband who will do dishes
2. Sleeping in today
3. Family Christmas traditions
4. Premade swiss cheese fondue
5. Favorite Christmas music playing throughout the day
Sunday, December 24, 2006
I'm happy to report that son-in-law Rick is on the mend and feeling more human today. He's still very tired and washed out so won't be here today. I'll send a plate of dinner home for him - he doesn't eat turkey anyway - and we'll see him tomorrow. Not for a long as they'd usually stay, but at least for a couple hours.
I've sent each of you who read my blog a holiday card - click on the link below to view it. (I sure hope this works!)
Please click on the following link to see your card. If your e-mail program has not displayed this as a link, then please copy the following into the Address or Location bar of your Internet browser.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
I finished shopping finished by 8:30 and headed back home. Shortly thereafter I had the stockings all stuffed except for my son's and Chelsea's. I have to figure out a way to add our names to these stockings! This is the third year we've had them and I still can't keep them all straight. I know theirs are blue - but I don't know who has the Santa in a sleigh print and who has the snowmen. I've emailed them to ask but haven't heard back yet. We already have stockings for Joseph and Sophie, and I put things in both of them. Am I the only totally nutty new grandmother-to-be who stuffs stockings for grandbabies not yet born? All the things at the store were just TOO cute.
My daughter called about 10:00 to report that she still needed to shower and get dressed, so our morning Starbucks run didn't happen until after 11:00. Rick has been sick in bed with a terrible head cold since Tuesday, and his rough night sleeping kept her awake a lot. After coffee we took a run to Oregon City to pick up his paycheck, took it to the credit union, then headed for some groceries. It's almost a sure thing that Rick won't feel like coming over tomorrow, so it turns out I'll do the turkey tomorrow and save the cheese fondue to Christmas. Rebecca doesn't want either of them to miss out on that, and she'll probably just run over for a short time tomorrow. So the turkey is out of the refrigerator and in a cold water bath to speed it's thawing. Everyone at Rick's folk's house is sick too - that's where he caught this he thinks - and our daughter is doing everything she can to try to stay healthy. So many nasty bugs are making their way around town these days - there are lots and lots of people who are sick for Christmas. I feel so badly for Rick. I sure hope he feels better on Christmas.
I still need to wrap gifts but that's about it. Oh - there's grocery shopping first thing tomorrow also, so I need to make my list tonight. I'll pick up the goodies at the bakery at 8:00 a.m. then head to the store. Then I'll probably pin another quilt on the machine and quilt until Jeremy and Chelsea get here. I have two more Army quilts to do for our small quilt group - one of our member's son's is in Iraq, and he's requested an army quilt for each of his buddies in his tank platoon. I quilted one on Thursday in spite of my stiff back, and have two to go. Others are quilting the other 4 that the group pieced. Once I finish those two I can get back to working on Sophie's quilt.
My Tangled Threads group had a wonderful Christmas dinner at the restaurant at the Heathman Lodge here in town. I had a petite top sirloin that was one of the best steaks I've every had, with creamed fresh spinach and crispy onion rings. A glass of wine went will with the meal, then we all indulged in dessert. I had a chocolate pudding cake which was one of the most wonderful, decadent things I've ever eaten. I just did my best to forget all about Weight Watchers for one evening - and it wasn't hard to do! We took time to have our traditional Christmas picture taken - this time with "Santa". What a special group of women these are - we've been together almost 20 years. The season wouldn't be the same without our Christmas dinner together each year.
Here's wishing each and every one of you a wonderful holiday season whatever your beliefs. Hoping all of you have a wonderful time together with family and or friends, and wishing you the best in the coming year. Thank you for your online quilty friendships - I value each of them more than you can know.
Monday, December 18, 2006
We have a little tree that sits on the window seat in the family room, and also stockings that match the tree skirt. Anyone remember this tree skirt and stockings? They came out one Christmas in the late '80's. The tree skirt and stockings were prequilted and easy to stitch together. I embellished the tree skirt with a coordinating ruffle and the stockings with plastic teddy bear eyes. Also available were lots of coordinating prints, plus yardage of cute square pictures that I made into little pillows, quilted hoops with ruffles around them (anyone remember those - a popular mainstay of "country decor"?), and pot holders - all to sell at my bazaar table. I think I sold several of these tree skirts and stocking sets also. I've included a picture that I took without flash because the tree is so much prettier when the lights show - unfortunately I don't have a tripod so it's a bit blurry. Theoretically this tree is supposed to be for all the homemade quilty ornaments I planned to make - but haven't made yet. So right now we use these tiny glass balls that I collected 25-30 years ago shortly after we were married.
We have one new decoration this year. I finally got around to framing this Merry Christmas needlepoint that I did in the late '70's - couldn't afford to frame it until now. I love how it looks over the piano. I tried to take a closer picture, but the flash kept reflecting off the glass.
I planned to stitch more flying geese and half square triangle squares tonight but it's after 8:00 and getting close to bed time. So I think I'll catch up on my blog reading and save sewing for another night.
Only six more days until Christmas - I still get as excited as a little child!
Sunday, December 17, 2006
1. A new blade for my rotary cutter
2. A new potato recipe that's only one point a serving!
3. Christmas carols playing on our Ipod
4. Living room decorating finished
5. Four day work week coming up
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Cher and Cathi knocked on my CRV window about 8:55. Cathi looked remarkably awake and alert for someone who'd had just over 2 hours sleep after a 21 hour trip from Ireland with her husband and two preschool daughters. We walked down the mall to Starbucks where we had coffee, cocoa and pastries - the perfect way to start a quilty day! Cher brought a couple quilts to show, including one for her precious granddaughter Alice plus her wonky African Village with lettering ala Tonya. Cathi brought us each a cute Christmas tree ornament - one of the ones she posted recently on her blog. We took pictures of each other, then imposed on one of the patrolmen you can see in the background of the first picture to take one of all three of us.
After coffee Cher took us to a neat quilt shop in Beaverton that I'd never been to before. We all found things to spend money on - of course! I thought I was pretty good - I didn't buy any fabric. I bought three stencils, a couple patterns and a set of stitchery patterns for "snowmen of the month". They had lots and lots of nice fabric - including "my kind", which is so different from what Cher likes - but I was good and stayed away from it.
From there Cher and I decided to take Cathi to The Pine Needle in Lake Oswego. Lake Oswego is one of the "ritziest" parts of the greater Portland metropolitan area. Definitely a place "where the other half lives". The shop is marvelous and incredibly decorated, with marvelous samples all over. They were featured in one of the Better Homes and Gardens Quilt Sampler magazines a year or two ago. I taught a few quilt classes there in the very early 90's, and haven't been there for years. It's not a place one should go if one is on a "fabric diet". I steeled myself to be good before we walked in the door, knowing it would be tough. Well, I caved within the first 5 minutes - and it was just because Cher kept saying "you really need this Patti". In a display near the front door was a marvelous group of flannels with teddy bear prints and coordinates - perfect for Christmas cuddle quilts for a new grandson and granddaughter. How could I resist? I've got next to nothing in my stash suitable for babies. Between now and next Christmas I should be able to put together a couple simple quilts, don't you think? One of them features framed scenes with teddy bears building snowmen, sledding , etc. I immediately saw scrappy variable stars with a different teddy bear scene in the center of each one. So I walked out of there a short time later with two bags of flannels for grandbabies. There was no way this grandmother-to-be could resist!
We had a marvelous lunch in a restaurant overlooking Lake Oswego that Cher recommended. It was in the middle of a bunch of wonderful looking shops which we bravely walked past - except for one yarn shop where Cathi got yarn for socks. We parted just before 3:00 after a wonderful day together. Internet quilty friends are marvelous - and especially wonderful when you get to meet them in person!
The green goes where the light orchid is in the picture. The grayed white goes where the yellow is.
I wonder why it takes so much longer for a scanned picture to load? Must be a lot bigger picture I guess. At least it loaded this morning. Last night it kept saying it was done but no picture.
The blocks will be a finished 6" - which means unfinished 2" half square triangle squares.
Oh my - I'd better get going on this quilt. Sophie is due two months from yesterday!
Have to hop in the shower to get ready for our girl day!
Friday, December 15, 2006
They brought me paint chips from doing Sophie's room to let me know the colors. This will be very scrappy - I pulled so many purples, violets and pinky purples from my stash! The only things I bought were the dark purple background, the grayed white that will serve as the light, and a green that will replace the narrow orchid inner border and orchid center. I've started cutting the dark purple background and hope to cut lots more parts this weekend. I'll most likely construct bunches and bunches of half square triangle squares and flying geese units, and then will start designing this on my design wall. It's a good thing I like to sew triangles! I think this will be lots of fun to make.
Tomorrow morning I head to Oregon to meet Cher and Cathi. I can hardly wait! We're meeting for coffee at 9:00. We're going to have a great time, and will make sure Cathi gets to some quilt shops! Cathi's family flew in today from Ireland and are staying at her brother's. It's a good thing they didn't come in last night - we had a huge windstorm with winds above 60 mph that knocked power out all over, knocked down trees, and blew shingles off roofs - ours included. I wouldn't have wanted to fly through that! I'm going to try to remember to take my camera so I can get some pictures of us.
Well, for some reason the scan of the quilt picture doesn't want to upload. I'll try again later.
1. Minor damage to our house from the windstorm
2. We didn't lose power last night until time for bed
3. Power was restored before this morning.
4. An easy day at work
5. The weekend.
Monday, December 11, 2006
Someone had a Christmas "meme" on their blog that asked whether or not Santa left unwrapped presents under the tree. This brought so back so many memories, because at our house Santa did leave unwrapped presents. This, coupled with the fact that I always got way too excited about special things such as vacation trips and Christmas, meant that I had a hard time going to sleep the night before and woke up before the crack of dawn in the morning. I can well remember creeping out to the living room in the dark to see if Santa had come yet. The first time was usually sometime between 3:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. The first trip was usually a quick one - just in case Santa was still there - and I'd only get a quick glance before running back to bed. Ten or fifteen minutes later I'd get braver so I'd get up again and stand at the doorway longer, trying to see underneath the tree in the dark. I'd look for big shapes that hadn't been there the night before. Then I'd run back to the room and dive back under the covers. After another 10 or 15 minutes I'd wake my sister - we shared the second bedroom in our tiny 2-bedroom home - and told her to come look with me. I usually had to coax a bit - she liked her sleep. By 5:00 or 5:30 I'd have made at least 4 to 5 trips, getting braver and a bit noisier each time. Finally our mom would wake up long enough to tell us to get our stockings and take them back to bed. That was enough to hold us until 6:30 so mom and dad could get a bit more sleep. I knew I was really growing up when there was nothing under the tree that hadn't been there the night before - one of the rude awakenings one receives when one begins to leave childhood behind.
Funny thing - by the time we were in high school we were singing in the youth choir at the 11:00 p.m. Christmas Eve candlelight service, getting home about 12:30 am and to bed by 1:00. I can remember our mom coming into the room at 9:30 or 10:00 urging us out of bed because they wanted to open presents and have breakfast!
One year when I was in 6th grade a big box all wrapped in aluminum foil appeared beneath the tree with a mailing label on it. It was addressed to "The Johnsons" from "Your California Friends". This caused a great deal of speculation as to what it could possibly be. My mother said it must be oranges from her brother in southern California. We poked and prodded it but she wouldn't let us lift it "for fear of bruising the oranges". That was the first package we wanted to open Christmas morning. The box contained a brand new set of World Book Encyclopedias! Up until then we'd always had to borrow the Encyclopedia Britannica from the neighbors - which was really hard to read and understand - or go to the library when we needed information for school reports. Mom kept telling us we couldn't afford to buy a set for ourselves. That was in 1959, and we had them for years and years.
We got our poodle Shadow as a tiny black puppy in August 1991. We wrapped his presents in scraps of wrapping paper and put them under the tree that Christmas. We didn't think about the fact that they would smell like doggie treats. We came home from work that night and found the paper on his presents chewed up and the treats opened, with many eaten. It's a good thing he didn't have a tummy ache! I guess we didn't have that much experience with dogs and Christmas trees. The next year we wrapped his gifts and put them up in the branches of the tree. Shadow saw us hiding the gifts in the tree and immediately became suspicious. He began to sit in front of the tree and whine. Maybe he could still smell the treats. Every Christmas after that one of us had to entertain him in another room while the other put his gifts in the branches. Come Christmas morning, when he sees the rest of us opening presents, he immediately sits down in front of the tree and waits his turn, eyeing the branches trying to spot his presents. He is as bad as a little child!
This will be our last Christmas of adult-only gift giving. Two grandchildren will join us before Christmas next year. They won't be old enough to understand yet, but I know the focus will certainly shift - children make Christmas so much more wonderful.
Ornaments from top to bottom:
How many of you made these stuffed ornaments? They came printed on cotton cloth, two for each ornament with one reversed from the other. An entire set had between 8 and 15 or 16 different ornaments. I think they came out in the late 70's. I bought every set I could find. You cut them out stitched the two sides together and stuffed them with fiberfil. We still have them all - though our daughter "borrows" another one each year for their tree. I think there are at least 30-40 of them. She likes to tie them on all our door knobs too, and we use them to decorate the stairs.
When I was doing bazaars there was a couple who made the most marvelous ornaments from walnuts and hazelnuts. There were always at least 40 or 50 different ones to choose from, and they came out with new ones each year. One year I splurged and bought us each one. This is Fred's golfer.
A couple years ago my Tangled Thread friend Liz had us make these snowflakes at her house. They are cut from large mesh screen following a pattern, then dipped in glue and glitter. I believe she got the patterns off Martha Stewart's website. We each got three made during the meeting. They were lots of fun and look just great on the tree.
The one year I attended the Jan Patek Girl Gang monthly meetings at the primitive quilt shop in Battle Ground before it closed, we had a marvelous party with an ornament exchange for the December meeting. This primitive snowman is the ornament I received. I love it.
Any more I find myself looking for ornaments that have a folk art look to them. The Santa ornament on the bottom is one I found in a little country shop years ago. These days I especially love Jim Shore ornaments and try to buy a couple new ones each year. One of the things I'm really looking forward to when I retire is making lots of folk art ornaments for our tree - mostly quilty things of course!
Other than getting all our everyday dishes tucked away and our Christmas/Winter dishes out, plus unpacking a couple big tubs, I've done no decorating since last Wednesday. I was so hoping to finish it all this last weekend - instead I've got a table full of Christmas decorations that need to find their "homes" and two unopened tubs sitting in the living room. I had one last customer quilt to finish by this week, as it's a gift and the maker still needs to bind it. She wanted custom quilting instead of an all over pattern, and it took me all weekend to finish it. I went to bed last night with sore feet, legs, arms and shoulders but also the satisfaction of knowing it is done. That's it - if anyone else asks if I can quilt something for them before Christmas the answer will be "NO!"
Tonight we'll spend at Rick's and Rebecca's - we had to switch from the usual Wednesday because they had another commitment on the 13th. Tomorrow night is Tangled Threads, so finally on Wednesday evening I should be able to get most of the rest of the decorating done.
I checked Jan Patek's website today to see whether her December notes were up, because I knew they'd contain a picture of the completed mystery quilt that I've been working on all year. This time I was rewarded, as you can see. This is a picture of the finished quilt directly off her website - not mine. I still have to do the November and December blocks, and I've not yet received December's kit. I love the way this quilt looks, and it was so much fun to make! The December blocks are the two largest pieced stars near the middle of the quilt. This month's kit will also include the plaids for the spacer blocks and the borders. I can hardly wait to get this one all finished and ready to quilt!
1. Long, roomy jumpers - even if they are WAY out of style.
2. Hearing a treasured Christmas carol sung the way it was written - with all the verses.
3. Good neighbors
4. Extra chunky peanut butter
5. Snacks packaged in 100 calorie packs
Friday, December 8, 2006
The first Saturday in December was our traditional tree outing. We'd bundle up in warm clothes, pack ourselves into the car and head up into the mountains. We could buy a tree cutting permit for $1 at the ranger station up toward Mt. St. Helens. We'd buy two - one for our Christmas tree and one for a tree to cut up and turn into garlands and swags. They also allowed us to cut branches - everything but cedar. The best Christmas trees were alpine firs whose branches were spread far enough apart to display the ornaments nicely. They grow in the high country up by the treeline, and a couple years there was too much snow for us to go that high. I liked to add Douglas fir, spruce, and hemlock boughs for the swags and garlands. We'd pack a big unch with lots of cocoa in a thermos, plus emergency blankets and provisions in case we got stuck in the show. We started doing this when Rebecca was 3 and Jeremy was still a baby in the backpack. We'd sing carols all the way up to the mountains - not that long a drive at about an hour and a half. I remember one year there was snow on the ground but not on the roads, and melted snow formed huge puddles along the road. I think Jeremy was 3 and Rebecca was 5. The kids started throwing rocks and snowballs into the puddles. When we had lunch and Jeremy got a little confused. He had his sandwich in one hand and a rock in the other, and when he let got he found he'd tossed in his sandwich instead of his rock. Always a child with a huge appetite, he immediately burst into tears. Rebecca did her best to console him, and shared her sandwich with him. Typical siblings - they'd fight like cats and dogs but inside really cared about each other.
The pictures are a few of the ornaments we've gathered over the years. From top to bottom: Ice skates and Santa boots crocheted by my mom - she crocheted bells also. One year Mom made mailboxes for us from plastic canvas to put rolled up bills in for our gifts. This was when she was in her mid-70's and didn't get out that much to shop. The next two are beaded ornaments made from kits I ordered from the Lee Wards catalog in the early 70's. I also did the first version in bright multicolored beads and sequins. The gold version fit in marvelously with the harvest gold and avocado green that was so popular in that era. I ordered the beaded elephant from a Frederick & Nelson Christmas catalog in 1970 - the second Christmas of our married life and the first Christmas we had a tree. My mom loved this ornament especially, and it always has an important front and center position on the tree. The beaded Santa boot is another Lee Wards kit. The primitive snowman was made by Rebecca in Sunday school. The date on it is 1979 - she would have been 5.
Posts like this are hard to space correctly because I have to think of enough words write to space out the pictures - if you know what I mean. I guess I'd better end this post and save the other ornament pictures for another post.
For me there is just something magic about a Christmas tree. Always has been. Since I was a small child I loved to turn off all the rest of the lights after dark so I could sit and gaze at the beauty of the tree with nothing else to distract my attention. We could never have it up for more than a week when I was little after 7 or 8 days I would be sick from the pollen. We had special ornaments that we loved and remembered all our growing up years - ornaments my parents must have bought before we were born. Unfortunately when my dad went into a nursing home in 1978 and mom had to clear out the house and sell it quickly many things were given away and lost to our family - including all the ornaments. I know it was a tough time for her - they had a place on Whidbey Island in Puget Sound and we lived too far away to help. It was a 6-7 hour trip - which included at least 2-3 hours waiting for the ferry boat. Hard to do with two preschoolers and only between Friday afternoon and Sunday to make the round trip.
Since we married we have collected new ornaments that are filled with meaning, and our kids cherish them the way my sister and I cherished the ones we had as kids. Every year I bought an ornament for each child - often something hand made at a bazaar. It was hard to part with those when they moved away and married, but we see them again when we visit at Christmas.
1. Christmas family traditions
2. Favorite carols
3. Hot cocoa with a bit of peppermint schnapps
4. Red and white candy canes
5. Warm childhood memories
Wednesday, December 6, 2006
Rebecca and Rick came over tonight to help us decorate. Fred and Rick put the evergreen bows and pinecones on top of the buffet, bookcases, and armoire while Rebecca and I decorated the downstairs trees. We have the tall one in the living room and a little feather tree on top of the treadle machine. That's all we got done tonight before time for bed - the rest will get done over the next couple afternoons and evenings.
Fall is my favorite season, but I love Christmas more than any other time of year. I have so many wonderful Christmas memories that I'll share in the coming days, and we make new memories every year. It's a season so full of love and joy and giving. Just decorating the tree brings back wonderful memories. There are the colored glass balls - now faded and splotchy - that Fred and I bought for half price the day after Christmas the first year we were married. That was Christmas 1969. The smaller balls - a dozen in a box marked $2.50 that we got for $1.25. The larger ones were marked $3.00 a box and went for $1.50. There are ornaments from years of Tangled Threads ornament exchanges. Ornaments the kids made growing up. Ornaments I've made over the years - some from cloth and some from other materials. There are the styrofoam balls covered with sequins and beads. The beads are lined up in order on straight pins with a sequin on the base and then pushed into the styrofoam. I made a bunch of them the second year we were married - I ordered the kits from the Lee Wards catalog. Does anyone remember that catalog? I used to get both it and Herrshners - and I'd drool over the needlework projecs in them both. Then there are ornaments from piano students and students from when I was a teacher. Ornaments made at various church functions. Ornaments I've collected on vacations. We have a very eclectic tree - nothing fancy about it. Just covered heavily with ornaments we love that bring back wonderful memories.
Still to come are the garlands on the stairs, around the front window and the archway into the dining room. Christmas dishes on the buffet, Christmas dolls around the room, candles and other things for around the house that bring back wonderful memories. Then comes the best part of all - getting up at 5:00 a.m., turning on the inside and outside lights, and snuggling down on the couch with a hot cup of tea just to gaze at the lights and revel in the joy and wonder of the season.
1. Papa Murphy's pizza - traditional tree decorating dinner
2. A tall husband
3. Christmas trees with "built in" lights
4. Christmas lights everywhere - one of my favorite things
5. Wonderful memories of Christmas past
I do have lots of pictures from prior years - that's what I've been posting - so I'll still put up a few at a time. The first is a Santa I made probably 10 years ago. We had a very talented lady in Tangled Threads for awhile who made all sorts of wonderful things. She made these Santas one year and sold them to Nordstrom - who sold them for $250 each. She helped us all make our own. Mine is a Woodland Santa with a forest green wool coat trimmed in rich dark fur. His pack is a red plaid wool. Real wool is used on his beard, hair and eyebrows. He stands about 18" tall. Karen painted the faces for us - thank goodness! We spent 3 weeks making these and they were so much fun to do!
I made the second Santa over 20 years ago in a class at a local shop. The shop was a "precursor" of today's quilt shops - fabrics, country crafts, etc. He was lots of fun to do - especially because I didn't have to paint his face either - it's stenciled.
I made dozens of these bears in two sizes when I was doing bazaars - this one is the only one I have left. He's made from white wool and mohair coat fabric - wonderful stuff that retailed for $27 a yard in the mid 80's. I bought it when it was on sale and was able to make over 20 bears per yard. I still have some of the fabric - in camel's hair brown also - so one of these days I'll make more bears for myself. The little angel came from another crafts booth at one of the bazaars. I love her moss hair and doily wings.
1. Pizza for Christmas decorating dinner - mine will be weight watchers.
2. The scale says 4 pounds down this morning! I weigh every day because it keeps me on track.
3. Lunch out with my current and future supervisors today.
4. Rebecca and Rick have moved to #10 on the adoption list!
5. Icy blue winter skies
Tuesday, December 5, 2006
The second is made from lots and lots of leftover Christmas fabrics from the seven years I made things to sell at bazaars. I love it but never thought I'd get it finished. It takes a huge number of 3" nine patches to make a quilt! Since I also have a nice red and green plaid Christmas tablecloth I'm going to try putting the quilt on the back of the couch this year.
Someday I hope to actually have a Christmas quilt for our bed!
1. Clear winter skies
2. Fat free cranberry orange muffins
3. Fall decorations are stored away for another year
4. Tree decorating with our kids
5. Artificial greenery and trees that look real - and don't affect my severe allergy to evergreens.
Monday, December 4, 2006
After one week on WW I've lost 2.5 pounds. And I was able to eat cake and ice cream at Chelsea's early birthday celebration yesterday because I'd saved enough points. I'm keeping the picture in my mind of myself wearing the new clothes in the closet that I can't wear now. I'm so looking forward to that.
I've put a progress line on my sidebar - again to motivate myself. If it motivates anyone else that's great also.
I didn't get to sew at all this weekend. I hope to remedy that tonight. If nothing else I need to make a block for our guild president because I'm due to present the blocks to her at installation this Thursday.
Sunday, December 3, 2006
The next time you have a physical insist that your doctor do a CA125 test to check for ovarian cancer. Most doctor's don't do it because there can be lots of false positives. But at least with a false positive they will check you over further to make sure the cancer isn't there. Isn't that lots better than learning too late that you have Stage 4 ovarian cancer? That's what happened to my friend Peggy, who asked that I also pass this message along to everyone.
Saturday, December 2, 2006
Thanks again Kim!
Hooray, it worked! After two emails from Kim to teach me more about HTML - thanks Kim!
And here I spent some time copying my entire blog into a Word document just in case something happened to it when I switched. It's something I wanted to do anyway, so it wasn't a waste of time, but very frustrating nevertheless.
I can't quilt today - I'm very late putting away the fall decorations and that must be done. The tubs have been sitting in the living room for a week. I want to get Christmas out of the attic - if you know what I mean!
Friday, December 1, 2006
For all the women you love . . .
How many of you have been touched in some way by ovarian cancer? I know at least one or two of you have fought this silent but deadly killer yourself. What about your mothers, sisters, daughters and friends? My dear friend Peggy in Tangled Threads has been fighting this disease for almost three years.
Did you know there is something "quilty" you can do to help? Blank Fabrics, a manufacturer of quilting fabrics, is helping raise money for Ovarian Cancer research. I hadn't heard of Blank Fabrics until Peggy told the Threads about this last fall.
The company makes beautiful, colorful fabrics for quilters. For every 12" finished (12 1/2" unfinished) quilt block sent to them they will donate $1 for ovarian cancer research. At least half the fabrics in each block must be Blank fabrics, with the other fabrics being anything you want to use from your stash. The blocks are being made into Inspiration Quilts, which will be auctioned to raise even more money for research. Each Inspiration Quilt is dedicated to a particular quilter who is battling ovarian cancer; names to be considered are submitted by friends. The first quilt is totally finished, and the second quilt is at the quilter now. Blocks are being collected for the third quilt, which will be dedicated to my friend Peggy. If you go to their website you can read the stories of the women to whom the first two quilts were dedicated. You can see pictures of the "virtual quilts". Clicking on each of the individual blocks will give you a close-up of the block and a picture of the maker of the block. There is also a link for finding a store in your area that sells Blank Fabrics. You may already have some in your stash and not know it.I'm posting this in the hope that you will help spread the word about this effort, and maybe even send in some blocks yourself. Ovarian cancer is very deadly because there is no infallible way to test for it, and by the time the victim begins to feel pain the cancer is almost always too far advanced to cure. The symbol for the fight is a ribbon similar to the breast cancer ribbon in teal instead of pink.I encourage you to do this yourself or for the special women in your life.
With the holiday activities in December I'm figuring I will get even less done, so I'm going to be more realistic. I'd love to have them all crossed off by the end of the year!
At the guild meeting next Thursday the chair is passing out a form to everyone who wants to participate. This will also be sent by email so people wanting to keep their list electronically may do so. All UFO's are to be listed on the form, which is to be turned in at the January meeting along with a fat quarter "ante". She is suggesting it be a fat quarter we really love so we will be motivated to win it back.
Each month each participant will have their name put in a "hat" for each UFO they bring completed for show and tell. The chair will keep the UFO lists and check off the finished projects for each person. If someone does NOT complete a UFO during the month they need to bring another fat quarter for the "kitty". Finished means quilted or tied, bound and labeled.
Only quilty projects will count, and they can't be something as simple as a potholder or placemat. A set of placemats will count, as will a wall hanging, table runner or miniature quilt.
In December 2007 a name or names will be drawn from the "hat" - depending on how many fat quarter are collected during the year. The name or names drawn will win (or divide) all the fat quarters.
See that list of "Flimsies Ready to Quilt" on my sidebar? Those are what you see in the picture - they are crammed onto two shelves along with lots of batting in our upstairs bathroom. I'd love for these shelves to be empty this time next year - I think this will provide wonderful motivation to get a bunch of them done!
To help me get into the spirit I'll show you the stockings I made a couple years ago. We'd been using old stockings I made years and years ago but I needed to do something new so we'd have a stocking for each of the kid's spouses. I'd had these fabrics around for years and years - left over from my bazaar days - and it was great to use them. I made a bunch of extras to sell when I was doing Quilters Market in Portland, but they didn't sell so I still have them. Certainly enough for as many grandchildren as we'll probably have.
Now on to something not-quilty. I don't talk about not quilty things often, but I'm inspired to talk about this - if only because speaking about it publicly will really help me stick to my guns. Some of you may be able to relate.
As a kid I was always skinny. As a teenager I was always skinny too - below the desired weight for my height and age. I remember having a 23" waist in high school. I ate like a horse - anything I wanted - and never gained weight. When I got married and had kids I gained some, but not a lot. At 35 and 5' 8 1/2" I still weighed only 135 pounds. Well, time and age began to catch up to me. In my late 30's I gained a little more, and still more in my 40's. When I started working at the credit union I started working out in the morning and went back to a size 10 - I was in the best shape of my life. Then I switched to my current department, started work earlier in the day and let the workouts go by the way side. By the time I was in my mid 50's I weighed more than I'd ever weighted before - 30 pounds more that I'd weighed when I was 9 months pregnant! Once again I got serious about it - worked out, went on weight watchers and lost 37 pounds. I looked great! I tossed the fat clothes and bought thin clothes. I was determined not to gain it all back.
Well, for many different reasons I got out of my routine - starting with having some session with a coach at the athletic club who put me on a different diet. It was complicated, I couldn't understand it, and couldn't stick to it. She didn't like weight watchers because she said my percentage of fat was still too high. That got me off my good eating routine. Then I went through a series of bad colds plus a back problem, and there went my workouts. To make a long story a little less long - I am now back to where I was and a little bit more - weighing more than I've ever weighed in my life. Unfortunately, in my mind and subconscious I'm still that skinny girl, so it's been very hard to wrap my mind around the problem.
Don't know what made the difference but now I'm serious once again. I have a closet of beautiful work clothes I bought last year that I want to be able to wear again. I'm back on weight watchers online - they sent me a "join again now and we'll waive the joining fee" offer, so I did it. I've tracked my eating for 5 days now, finished each day with a few points left over, gone shopping for lots of healthy, low fat foods, and have lost two pounds. I can tell the difference in my mental attitude - I am really determined. I've thrown away a mental picture of a skinny person from the past, and am now holding a mental picture of a healthy person of the future.
Wish me luck!
1. Hot oatmeal with a tiny bit of brown sugar and fat free half and half
2. Advent - my favorite time of year
3. The upcoming weekend!
4. Music - how fun to listen to old favorites as I load them onto our new Ipod
5. Weight watchers online