Thursday, December 29, 2011

Almost 2012

Three more days and we will be in 2012.  This has not been a bad year but this holiday season has been different than what we expected. Our daughter in law's mother passed away the Friday before Christmas and though it was not unexpected it is a sadness nevertheless. I spent a day in the hospital after a nasty episode of vertigo and I missed the funeral yesterday. Today we will wind up the Christmas gatherings with family and exchange gifts. Tomorrow one  more funeral, for a church member who has been ill for a long time. He will surely be missed but there can be no doubt that he is in a better place. Remembering what Christmas is all about makes these losses less difficult to bear.

Looking ahead to 2012 our Sewing in the Basement group is getting together for a Jelly Roll Race. We are sewing the strips together first at home and then when we get together we  will start the race.  This is a Moda Central Park Jelly Roll that I purchased on sale, in the fall, in hopes that we would do a  race.
Yesterday I thought that I would just sew them together one after the other as they were in the roll but when I looked at them  I realized that at the end of the roll there were strips  that were the same 3 or 4  patterns in different colorways so I sorted those and put them where I thought they went best. I will sew my strips together in the next few days, maybe Saturday, as we will probably not even go out to dinner for New years Eve.

Monday, December 26, 2011

The day after Christmas

Our Christmas eve and Christmas day were kind of low key.  Just church and dinner and no opening of presents. Following our church service yesterday there was a Birthday Party for the Newborn Baby Jesus; we had cupcakes coffee and tea and punch or something for the kids. We all brought birthday presents, packages of diapers, which will be given to local charities. There sure were a lot of diapers around the tree; I hope this will be a new tradition.

Around 6 PM we had part of our family at our house for dinner. There were 8 of us, our son and daughter in law and three of my grandchildren and one great grandson. The two young men who are brothers, my sons children and my granddaughter, who is one of my daughters children, and her 5 year old son.

 On Thursday our whole family will get together at our daughters to open presents.

Would you believe that I still  have to find one more Christmas present before Thursday?. Most of what I ordered from Amazon was just what I expected but there were a couple of things that did not seem age appropriate so I have one more thing to get before Thursday. We were already out this morning to get one present for our grandson who arrived yesterday from Missouri. We had no idea what to get him. When you haven't seen someone for 6 months it is not so easy.

Today is a beautiful, sunny, winter day and Jack is out for a ride on his  motorcycle. I am staying in where it is nice and warm and contemplating the culling and organization of my mish mash of fabric. More about this to follow.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

When all is said and done this is what it is all about.

Wishing Everyone a Happy
 Blessed Christmas

Friday, December 23, 2011

Sunday, December 18, 2011

One more tree

We have a little tree that hangs on the wall above Jack's chest of drawers. it is probably about 30 years old and has been decorated in numerous ways over the years. the little  angel  on the top doesn't always make it to the tree because the  tree is usually up after the other tree is taken down and all  the decorations put away. If I put the little angel somewhere other than with the rest of the Christmas things I don't always find it till way after Christmas. This has come to be Jack's tree. His desk is right next to the dresser and he turns it on when he gets up every morning and he can see it when he sits at his computer. We leave it on as a night light until who ever goes to bed last turns it off.

I made a cover for my little neck pillow with my orphan block. When we got new pillows for our bed I took the covers off the old ones  and washed them and the stuffing and cut the covers and the pillows in half  and made throw pillows and I had  some stuffing left over and I made a neck pillow. The stuffing is  really nice and much more  resilient than the throw pillow inserts I have bought. I love to salvage stuff I might have thrown away.
My friend Kathy left me a comment yesterday promising to nag me about the tree skirt. She is a good friend who usually reminds me by email  when our friendship meeting are coming up and promptly answers my questions about the  friendship  blocks. I know she will remind me to  make the tree skirt.

Here is another shot of the tree  outside our bedroom window It has about 2 inches or more of snow on the branches. It snowed pretty steady all  day and without any real wind it made all of the trees look beautiful. This poor oak tree lost its top at least 10 -12 years back in a storm that came through and took out trees all over the place; they didn't cut it down but left it and it spread its branches out very wide at the bottom and started to grow a new top. In the summer it looks good and healthy and it is beginning  to  regain its shape.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Snow and a little more about Christmas

I guess I knew it would happen sooner or later. I noticed that it had started to snow when I stopped sewing to get my second cup of coffee and this is what it looks like now. Actually it looks a little better;  they must have salted the street because it is not snow covered as in the picture above it is only wet now. It is still coming down. I could do without snow for the rest of my life. I think I used to like it but the older I get the more I wish it wouldn't happen. Oh well......when you live in NE Ohio you get SNOW.
I have done most of my Christmas shopping, I ordered stuff from Amazon Tuesday and got part of it Thursday and the rest is on the way. I love Amazon shopping.
I didn't do any holiday baking but I have ingredients for some cookies and I did bake an apple pie for dessert when some of my family were here Thursday.
I found this little block when I was searching for something last week (it seems like I am always searching for something). I made a bunch of small things with this fabric last year and I am not sure why I didn't make something with this one. Maybe it didn't measure up or maybe I didn't  need it or maybe I was tired. Anyway, I am going to border it with that fabric that is left over from the back  of my Christmas Sampler and finish it up. What will I do with it? Who Knows?  What I really wish I could find in my searching is the Christmas tree skirt I told myself I was going to make right after the holidays last year. Oh wait let me think, ahhh there is no hope of finding that as I never thought about it again until I was looking back at this post from last year. I guess a sheet will have to do one more time. I am going to make sure I make it before next Christmas. I have someting in mind and I am going to buy myself a 9 degree wedge ruler. I am not a gadget lover and I figure out how to use the basic rulers I have for almost everything;  the wedge ruler seems like it does not fall into the basic catagory. However that is only if you think of basic as square or rectanglular. I think it must be a basic wedge ruler. If I buy the ruler I will make the tree skirt. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Another House block

I finished my second house block. This one didn't turn out wonky either. I used it Saturday at our group meeting to demo making an improvisational house block and I sewed the sections together today. I will work making the next one wonky.

Here we are, back to Monday again. I usually like Mondays but it is less than 2 weeks to Christmas and I am beginning to feel a little pressed.  No Christmas shopping done yet and no Christmas sewing done. I can probably get it all done this week.  I am going to skip the sewing. I am probably not going to do any baking either. My daughter in law usually bakes cookies and I don't think anyone is going to miss mine.

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Busy Day

Today was a busy day, actually it started last night about 9PM. Two of my great grand kids stayed overnight and stayed through dinner today and a couple more hours after that.
It was almost bedtime when they got here, really it was probably really a little past bedtime. However we let them stay up a while.
I thought they would sleep late today but they were up a long time before me asking Jack when I was going to get up. I woke up about 9 and I never stopped till after they left and I did the  dishes.

Gracie made a pillow using some squares from a charm pack. Ethan watched a movie and played a  game on the computer. I thought we would have time for some other things but we took a break to go out for breakfast and stop at the grocery store for  lettuce, bread  and ice cream; (I forgot the bread.) that took a chunk of time.
When we  finished the pillow we made a cake. When I was cleaning up after the cake was in the oven I found the 3 eggs on the counter. I forgot the eggs! Oh well...... it tasted fine, especially with the ice cream and  Cool-whip though it did kind of fall apart. I guess that is what the  eggs do. There were no complaints!

We used to baby sit once a week or on rare occasions 2 times in a week. We started when Ethan was almost 2 and Gracie was 8 month old; they are 8 and 9 now. They moved away a few years ago and we miss seeing them every week but I am not so sure we could handle every week anymore. We sure were busy today.
It sure was fun!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A need to declutter

 I have a serious need to declutter and purge. Yesterday was our Friendship meeting and I received 2 more sets of blocks that I requested in my month, October. I asked everyone to trace their hands on their favorite color fabric and fuse them on a 12 1/2 inch background and also to  make their favorite 6 inch block  in any color. I decided I would photograph them all  today. Well, I got the ones I received last night and then looked everywhere for the rest. They are still in the logical safe place where I put them. For some reason logical  only remains so until I have a need  to find something  again and things are never in the most logical places.

I did  find odd blocks almost every place I looked, which is interesting  because I have an "odd block box" where I thought I had all of the leftover, practice, and demo blocks. I  also came across 4 stacks  of blocks that are destined to go in 4 different quilts when I get a few more of each made or I get around to putting them up on my design wall in preparation for sewing them. As I went through everything I put all of the blocks I found in a stack and put them all in a plastic box I emptied last week, so much for the empty box.

This picture shows the top of my sewing room bookcase. Before we  moved to this apartment I had a shelf about 6 feet up that went across the length of the wall; and I bought 8 of  those baskets to hold current projects. I only have these 3 left in my sewing room and they did not contain current projects. There were scraps, bagged up leftovers from different projects, odd blocks, 4 stacks of blocks destined for those 4 quilts and stuff that I was not able to identify for what reason I had them sorted out and bagged up or tied up.  Two of them are now empty and the other one has all the scraps and unidentifiable  parts. In the past 2 weeks I have come to realize that I have  boxes of scraps everywhere supposedly sorted out in a logical way.
For now I am going to put everything in apparent order (only I will  know what a mess it really is). In  January I am going to start going through every shelf, box, drawer etc. and get rid of what I will never use. I am going  to put all the various boxes and bags of scraps all together somehow, and give away or throw out what I don't  want or that I have had an not used for years. I have done this before but always think I need to hang on to something that doesn't see the light of day until the  next "organization". I  am going to set some goals and do my best  to stick to my plan.
I am already showing  some good logical common sense in that I am  not starting this project today.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Some blocks

I was up early this morning and got started on my blocks for the December Friendship Block. We meet tomorrow so I thought it best to get it done today. Laura gave us each 3 strips of the plainer fabric here and asked us to add 3 strips of our own pastel fabric and make 5 - 6 inch 9 patch blocks. This will be for a Project Linus community project quilt for her guild.  
After I finished the nine patch blocks I  made 3 blocks for a raffle  quilt for our guild. We were supplied with the packs of 5 inch squares of fabrics to make 9 inch Ohio Star blocks. One of our long time members passed away recently and her wish was that we use some of her fabric to make a raffle quilt and use the money to do something fun for the guild.
I would find it difficult to make an entire quilt with this color pallet as I  prefer something lighter and more colorful but it is very nice fabric and was easy to work with; all the points came together nicely. 
 When I stared quilting almost everything I made for a while was in shades of brown, rust and gold. there were not all the choices that we have today. Country decor was in and there were blue and mauve, red, white and blue and shades of brown and  gold. I guess there were peach and green as well. I  had nothing mauve, no blue, no green except for a green stain on the back of our cherry hutches so of course shades of brown it was. I have since graduated to a full rainbow of "favorite colors" and often reject brown. However........ I  have  put brownish borders on a number of scrappy quilts because it is the one fabric that didn't fight with everything else.
So.. after all I guess I don't really not like brown. Here are two brown wall  hangings  on my bulletin board. The cat quilt was a challenge quilt from our guild. Without looking we picked a crayon from a paper bag and had to use predominantly that color to  make a quilt. I moaned and groaned about tan. It is not my color; I never wear tan, but hey, I don't have to wear this. So I made it and I like it and it stays on my bulletin board most of the time.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Getting there

I did not get my eye exam on Friday just like I didn't go shopping earlier in the week. When you live with Mr Spontaneous adjusting plans just comes naturally.  We went to the Y in the early afternoon and then I got my hair chopped  cut. I wanted it neatened up at the bottom and the top left alone because I want to let it grow long enough to get a perm. I have been trying to get  it long enough ever since the last hair cut when every last curl bend in my hair got cut off. No one ever believes me when I say my hair is really really straight and when the curls are cut off they are gone until the next Perm.. It is probably my fault for not making it really clear what I want.  Well ... it will grow and in the meantime I will just have to make sure I wear makeup and feminine earrings and clothes so I don't like like an old man instead of an old woman. We puttered around long enough while we were out that it was getting close to dinner time and Mr Spontaneous took me to Pannera's for supper. I guess he thought I looked presentable.

Yesterday I went to the Women's Christmas Luncheon at our church (this was the reason I decided to get my hair cut). There were 28 tables and every one of them different and they were all beautiful. Different women from our church decorated them with their own china and napkins and centerpieces etc.  I wish I had thought to bring my camera. I am not a possessor of the latest in cell phone technology, no camera in my phone. Some of the tables had little boxes or bags of chocolate as table favors; this little mini quilt is what we got as favors at our table. It is about 4 1/2 x 6 and looks cute hanging on the door knob to my sewing  room. I am so glad we didn't get chocolate because I would have eaten it (all myself on the way home). I am trying really hard to at least not gain any weight. It is probably not realistic to think  I am going to lose any this month.

I took a nap when I got home and after  dinner I put these Christmas quilts  on the bulletin boards on either side of my sewing room window. I am hoping that when it is time  to change them out again I remember where  I put the things I took down.

When we  get the tree up I will finish the decorating. I have one box of stuff that I put away with the ornaments and it  is  easiest just to get it all down at one time. I am not sure when this will happen. If it rains Mr Spontaneous won't be going out on his motorcycle and we will  either go shopping or he will get the tree out. If it sounds like I am complaining about Jack I am really not. He keeps it fun and interesting and we laugh a lot.
 Keeping it real........that is not to say I never complain.

Friday, December 2, 2011

It's starting to look like Christmas

I made some progress yesterday but it is not all finished. I did get the Christmas dishes out and put the hand painted China safely away. This is the shelf where I keep my Christmas dishes and the china that I change them out for. You can see the Chocolate pot in the middle with bubble wrap around it. The boxes hold more hand painted china. This is irreplaceable for me. My mother painted it when she was a young woman. When I put it away I always put a sign on the shelf in front of it so no one shoves something in there when they are putting something away. I am usually the only one who puts things away in this cabinet but a reminder doesn't hurt.

 This is pretty much as far as I got yesterday. I decided to keep the 12 Days of Christmas after all. There is an electrical outlet in the wall at about the level of the 8th day and this is the only Christmas wall hanging that is long enough to cover it. That is the dumbest place to put an outlet if you ask me. (obviously no one  did) I left one of my hand painted china plates on the top shelf  on the right side. It is too large to fit in the boxes from my Christmas dishes and I do not have a place to put it that I feel is really safe. Since it is red and green it fits right in.

 When I took the photo yesterday I didn't have my centerpiece out so I put my plant there for the pic. On the right is what I decided to use this year. I put a few things that I have sitting here and there other years together with a couple of candles . The little  china angel was  a gift from a friend for my December birthday almost 50 years ago. Mr and Mrs Santa and the taller angle are things I made when I made and sold cloth dolls at craft shows years ago when country decor was in. The little china trinket box is  hand painted and I bought it at a craft show, probably where I was selling my stuff.

This vase is one my son made in Cub Scouts when he was 9 years old. It is a Log cabin syrup bottle that was coated with glue and rolled in crushed egg shells and glitter. I use it every year somewhere; this year it is the bathroom.

Almost everything I have around at Christmas is something that friends or family have given me or something I made or that has special  memories from when or where I bought it.

Well I wondered what I was  going to do with all  those quilts and.......... I found places for everything and I need a few more. LOL
I need a long runner for my coffee table and mantle quilt for a long shelf in my living room. Maybe I need some pillows too.
Those things will have to wait till next year. I still have to finish cleaning and decorating the rest of the apartment and I have done no Christmas shopping yet. Today I am going to get an eye exam and get new glasses. Hmmm... maybe while I am waiting for my glasses I will see if I can find a sweater for myself.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Oh My Goodness

What am I going to do with all these quilts.

I got the bundle of quilts down from my closet shelf and put them all on the sofa and coffee table so I could see them and also photograph them.
The three on the back of the sofa and the 2 in front draped over the coffee table are wall  hangings. Draped on the right arm  of the sofa  is the  colorwash that I know I will use again on my table. (It is nice to know where a least one thing is going). Folded on the cushions are 3 larger quilts that are not big enough to use for a bed quilt but I can use them on top of my bed over something else. They cover the king size bed side to side and from the foot up to the pillows. I will probably use my sampler there this year.
Laying on the coffee table are an assortment of mug mats and 8 place mats( I am using my mug mats for my blog banner this month) . I made the mug mats last year and the place mats at least 10 years ago maybe even before that. There are 2 pillows on the left side,one is a dark green cover with a "belly band" around it. I made the cover last year to cover up a faded pillow that my husband uses in back of this neck when he watches TV.  I am not sure I will use the cover this year because I made a new cover from plaid strips and he likes it and he doesn't like me to mess around with his favorite stuff. The other pillow goes back a loooong  time. I had some motif squares from a Debbie Mumm fabric left from something; I added  some scraps and made a pillow.  

 Draped on the left arm of the sofa is one of nine Christmas Log Cabin quilts I made in 2000 for all my family members. You can see them all here. This one belonged to my Mother in law; she didn't put it away after Chrismas but left it out all year. When she went to  the nursing home she had it on her chair and used it as a lap quilt. It was washed many times at the nursing home and has held up well; there is only one dark green print that has faded so that the color doesn't look green anymore. 
This little Chrismas tree quilt is one that I made for her. It slips over one of those 8 x 10 lucite sign holder/picture frames. Her eyesight was failing and it was hard for her to make out details but she could see that this was a Christmas tree. It sat on her dresser. I made her several so she could have a change with the seasons and holidays. I knew I had the little tree quilt but I had  forgotten that I kept the the Log Cabin quilt after she  was gone.                 
The quilt above the sofa is not a Christmas quilt but the first  year it was up on the wall and some of my family saw it for the first time on Christmas Eve they  thought I made it just for Christmas.

I really do not have a place for all these quilts. I can put some of them over the backs of chairs and I will use the place mats and a few of the mug mats. I may give the 12 Days of Christmas wall hanging away. I made it last year  and I  used it but except for the border but it isn't something I pieced. Most of the other things I designed, some are hand quilted and there is more nostalgia associated with them. I am more inclined to use the older things that I have always used, just like I still have to put all the ornaments on the tree. Some of them go back 60 or more years from  before we were married.  When Jack talks about getting a smaller more manageable tree I think about how I will not be able to fit all the ornaments on the tree.
Oh well..... I was going to go shopping today for something new for me to wear but I have been everywhere looking already and even bought something and returned it and I know I am not going to find anything I want. No, it is not a case of nostalgia, wanting to wear the old things. I want something that is not old lady-ish but not something that would be more appropriate on my granddaughter. I have looked and right now what I want isn't there.
 So.... I will stay home and get out the Christmas dishes and put the quilts around and see how it goes.  More to come later.