Saturday, December 30, 2006

Finishing Up The Year

I spent a morning earlier this week cleaning my studio. I straightened up the bookcase, cleaned off the cutting table, cleaned out my sewing tray and straightened up the closet. I moved out all of the furniture I could and then DH vacuumed it for me. While I was cleaning I found a pine box with a sliding cover I forgot I had. It's the perfect size for storing thread. I was going to buy a storage box with my gift certificate from Fabric Depot, but since I found the box I could spend that money on something else.

I even cleaned off my design wall. I put away one project I had hanging there and decided to deal with it later. Then I decided to work on my Birthday Garden Quilt. In just a couple hours I finished the top. Now I'm piecing the back. I've ordered batting and my goal is to get it marked for quilting so I can start quilting it next month. Here is a picture of the top. I really like it and very happy with how it turned out. Not bad for a design I made myself.

I reviewed my list of projects on my blog, updated a few of them and think I'm set for the New Year. I have several projects ready for hand quilting or machine quilting so I should have quite a few finishes this year. I have some new projects I want to start that I already the fabric for, including my scraps. I also have a short list quilts that I want to buy the fabric for when I go on my annual shop hop in May.

This weekend is the last weekend of the regular football season! I'm always sad when the season comes to the end. I love spending Sunday afternoons with my family watching the games. Although I love to watch baseball and gold the rest of the year, the atmosphere of Sunday football is by far my favorite. At least my favorite team, the New England Patriots, will be in the play-offs. That means at least one more weekend of watching my favorite team.

We finally got some snow today! It started snowing while I was getting my hair done. I was so excited because it meant I could finally work on my Snow Time quilt. But my usual 15 minute drive home turned into an hour and a half trip. People forget how to drive in this weather and there was an accident on a bridge that backed up traffic in all directions for quite a while. By the time I got home I was starving and had a headache to beat the band! DH left to play poker and took a nap. Then I worked on the back for my Birthday Garden Quilt. So no Snow Time Quilt today. It's supposed to rain all day on Monday so I'm planning to use that time for my Snow Time quilt.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

What Did You Get For Christmas?

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas or Chanukah. We have one more day off before we work for two days and then have another long weekend. Yesterday was our big family celebration - 46 people and more food than you would believe.

Saturday night we babysat our youngest nephew and niece. Of course DS #2 and DIL came over too. They never miss a chance to see the babies. Lori sent the movie Cars for Cole to watch. From the moment the movie started to it ended Cole was totally mesmerized. He started sitting next to Geoff on the couch and was soon on Geoff's lap. Baby Ella spent most of her time hanging out on the floor. This is the first time that particular quilt has been used and I guess it now has the Baby Seal of Approval.

I received a sewing basket, plenty of chocolate, a bottle of wine, Sinatra CDs and several gift cards including one for Fabric Depot. In case you've never checked out Fabric Depot, they give you 30% off your on-line order. My kind of shopping. I'm using the certificate to enhance my tool stash for the new year. As soon as I receive the certificate I am going to get: John James quilting needles and sharps, Schemtz machine needles, two crib size battings, one twin batting, rotary blades, quilting scissors, a thread box, and (because DH insisted I buy a little fabric) two Charm packs - Hearts Aflutter and Sweet Hearts. I have a LOVE panel that I'm hoping I can combine with some of the charms to make a wall hanging for Valentine's Day.

Here are two pictures of my new sewing basket. It was a gift from my MIL.

Yesterday I went into my studio to finish a two small bags I was making for gifts. I found my coffee cup from the day before. When I looked inside I was surprised at what I saw. What do you think? I think it looks like two huge lips hanging out in the coffee. I don't think I could have made that appear if I had tried.

Today DH and I treated ourselves to our combination Christmas, 2000th day of marriage and 8 years of being together. We have been wanting to purchase a new TV so off we went to the local TV and appliance store. We try to avoid the "big box" stores as much as possible. We purchased a 50" LG HDTV. We are big sports watchers and this TV will be great for watching all of the games.

Tomorrow is "Clean Up The Studio" day which means by tomorrow or Thursday I will have my list of projects for 2007 put together. I can't wait!

Friday, December 22, 2006

It's Friday!!!!!

And the start of a mini vacation for us. DH and I don't have to go back to the office until next Thursday. Then we work for two days and have another three days off! Woohoo! On the agenda, other than Christmas with the family on Christmas day, is a small Christmas celebration with DS #2 and DIL, plenty of football games and lots of relaxation.

DH and I have two personal celebrations during this holiday season. When I built our wedding list database six years ago I included a countdown to the wedding day feature on it. Three months after the wedding I needed an address and opened the database. I noticed that on that day we had been married 98 days and I thought, "How cool to be able to celebrate being married 100 days." I didn't say anything to Bruce until the 100th day and then surprised him with a little giftie. Every 100 days became a mini-celebration for us to celebrate our marriage. Well, next Wednesday we will be celebrating 2,000 days of marriage! We are going to dress up and go out for a romantic dinner.

Plus on New Year's Eve we will celebrate the 8th anniversary of our first date! We will probably stay home that evening and relax. No need to fight all the partiers on the roads that night.

One of the on-line quilt groups I belong to does a Winter Solstice Swap. The hostess issues a list of "guidelines" for accumulating the gifts for the swap. The total value of the gifts should not be more than $30. Below is a picture of what I got in my swap.
Something hot to drink - a box of Red Tea. I never had Red Tea so I have a cuppa brewing next to me right now
Something to think about - Meditations For Women Who Do Too Much. Yup, that works for me. I like meditation books and hadn't bought a new one for the coming year.
Something that is White - a scissors fob with an ivory-colored medallion on it. I recently decided to start collecting scissor fobs and this one is a great addition.
Something to help dream of warmer weather - Easter fabric. I need snow before I can think about warmer weather, but this fabric is adorable.
Something to cook slowly in a crock pot - Weight Watcher's In One Pot cookbook. DH and I have decided to start eating healthier and this book will come in handy.
Something with a snowman on it - Lots of snowman fabric pieces and a snowman topped candy cane
Something with a winter animal - A reindeer topped candy cane. Both of the candy cane toppers are adorable and will find a special spot in my sewing room. The snowman and Christmas fabric she used to wrap the presents will come in handy for making Christmas placemats for next year.

Happy Chanukah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa or, in case I missed any holidays, Happy Holidays to you and everyone in your family. I just found Mary Poppins on TV so I'm signing off for now to sing supercalifragilistic expialidocious. Good night all!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Need Some Quilting Help and Christmas Memories

Yesterday and today were the first days in over two weeks that I have felt well enough to spend time at the sewing machine. I finished a small tote bag that I was making for a nephew, but when I had it done I thought it was too girly for a little boy so I decided not to make any more bags for right now until I could check in with DH and what he thinks about the bag.

Since the tote bags were out I decided to work on a quilt I had cut last week when I had asked for advice on how to order the strips. I changed the order of the strips and I really like the order I choose. The quilt went together easily, but I'm totally confused on how the ends of the strips could come out so uneven. Any thoughts on how this could have happened or what I could do to fix it?

This little angel candle has been a part of my Christmas for as long as I can remember. I have no clue where my mom found it, but she has always been my angel. When I was about 4 or 5 I remember lining my Barbie dolls and this little angel on the table in front of the Nativity scene and asking my mom to turn on one the Christmas albums. I would proceed to choreograph an entire Christmas concert using the Barbie dolls and the angel. Most of the time the angel was the soloist and would gracefully move across the stage loudly singing the Christmas carols. I would spend hours and hours putting on the Christmas concert. I don't how many times over the holidays I would put on the concert, but I'm sure I did it many, many times.

Christmas Meme

So many bloggers have been sharing their treasured Christmas ornmaments, decorations and memories. All of the sharing has been wonderful to read. I had planned to share my most treasured Christmas decoration, but I haven't been able to get into enough of a Christmas mood to write about it. I am having a difficult time getting into the Christmas spirit this year. I am so tired of the "buy, buy, buy" attitude surrounding the holiday and the lack of respect for the true meaning of the holiday that I'm almost to the point of boycotting the holiday.

However, don't let me "bah humbug-ness" ruin your holidays. I wish the happiest Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa to everyone who celebrates these holidays. As for me, I need some snow and some quiet reflection time for now.

Hedgehog posted this Christmas Meme and I thought I'd play along, perhaps hoping it will help me get into the Christmas spirit.

1. Hot chocolate or apple cider?
hot chocolate
2. Turkey or ham?
3. Do you get a fake or real-you-cut-it-yourself Christmas tree?
4. Decorations on the outside of your house?
I live in a condo so nothing “outside” of the house, but on my front door I have a wreath with snowmen that says Let It Snow
5. Snowball fights or sledding?
Snowball fights
6. Do you enjoy going downtown shopping?
I like shopping in my small downtown
7. Favorite Christmas song?
Little Drummer Boy and Do You Hear What I hear
8. How do you feel about Christmas movies?
I don’t need them
9. When is it too early to start listening to Christmas music?
Definitely anytime before Thanksgiving
10. Stockings before or after presents?
Stockings first, then presents, then breakfast
11. Carolers, do you or do you not watch and listen to them?
I would be one of the carolers
12. Go to someone else's house or they come to you?
We always go to my in-laws, except for the occasional trip to my family in Minnesota
13. Do you read the Christmas Story? If so when?
Always on Christmas Eve
14. What do you do after presents and dinner?
When at the in-laws we watch all the children stare at their presents trying to figure out what to play with first.
15. What is your favorite holiday smell?
Christmas cookies
16. Ice skating or walking around the mall?
Neither, I prefer staying in and watch a snow fall
17. Do you open a present or presents on Christmas Eve, or wait until Christmas Day?
Christmas morning, definitely
18. Favorite Christmas memory?
Setting up my Barbie dolls in front of the Nativity and singing with all 5 Christmas albums my parents had.
19. Favorite part about winter?
Definitely a snow storm.
20. Ever been kissed under mistletoe?
Many times . . . mmmmmm . . . I think I need to buy some for DH and I.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Rabbit Stitchings had a cute banner on her blog counting the days until Christmas. I clicked on it now knowing where it would take me. The click took me here. I poked around on the site and found a Countdown to the Super Bowl! How cool is that? OK, OK, you have to be football fan, which I am, to appreciate this countdown, which I do.

Not much quilting going on this week. My flu/cold has kept me just this side of miserable all week. I've been to work every day, but once I'm home, I'm done for the day. This weekend DH and I will be attending our yearly Couple Retreat for our Engaged Encounter group. This is a weekend for the married couples who run the EE Weekends throughout the year. It's our turn to be rejuvenate our commitment to each other. The retreat center where we have the retreat is fun by French Catholic nuns. The facility is spotless, the nuns are fantastic and we always have a good time. There are no radios, TVs or internet connections in the rooms. I don't even think the facility has internet in any way. So I'll be out of touch for 48 hours. It will be tough not to have internet, but I'm sure DH and I will have a great time.

When I'm back on Sunday I plan on writing about my favorite childhood Christmas memory. So check back then.

Monday, December 04, 2006

It Snowed!!!

Just in case you haven't learned this about about me by now - I LOVE SNOW!! Yup, that's right. I adore those big, white fluffy pieces of frozen water that fall from the sky and which so many of you don't like. I don't snowmobile, I don't ski, but I love the snow. Last week I watched the storm moving across the country and, although I'm sad the storm wreaked so much havoc across the country, I hoped we would get snow. That didn't happen and we ended up with a lot of rain on Friday instead.

Saturday the weather forecast started predicting snow for us for late last night and early this morning. Unfortunately I was still on cold medicine and didn't wake up every hour looking for snow. But I didn't miss anything because it didn't start snowing until about 7:45 AM this morning. Just in time to drive to work. There was no accumulation to speak of, it's all gone now!

I did take some pictures just to remind me what snow looks like and I'm still waiting for the first "real" snow fall. I better get some snow soon or else I will be depressed. I've been known to start whining and get real crabby if it doesn't snow by mid-December.

My ideal place to live is in the Colorado Rockies in a log cabin with a big fireplace and big picture windows. Maybe someday . . .

Sunday, December 03, 2006

I've now upgraded to Beta Blogger. I hope everything works OK.

I am finished with the first quarter of my Junior Quilting Year. Time to evaluate my quilting goals so far for the year.

First up – Football Time was supposed to be hand quilting time. I have quite a few projects I want to hand quilt, but I learned how to do binding properly in September and nearly every football game time has spent sewing on binding. I’m happy with this trade-off. I truly enjoy doing binding and since learning how to do it I have finished four quilts for myself and two quilts for my DIL. I’m trying to get her to learn binding, but have not been successful yet. This goal will stay in place thru December and January and then football time will become baseball and golf time and I still plan to be hand quilting.

Snowed In Project – We haven’t had a single snowflake fall yet in New England so I haven’t had a chance to work on this goal. We are due to get our first snow “dusting” tomorrow so there’s hope yet to get time to work on this project.

Car Time Project – Streak of Reds hand piecing project. I blogged about this project previously. I found a place that sells both Synthrapol and Retayne and ordered some. I feel better now that I will be able to wash the quilt as I go along. I forgot when I set this goal that in the middle of winter I can’t piece in the car because my hands will get too cold. Maybe I’ll pick one night during the week to designate as hand sewing time. I have to think about that goal.

Saturday Class Time – I haven’t been diligent about spending Saturdays learning new skills. My biggest class time was the binding process. I have made a couple of new projects this fall – a fabric quilt book and a small catch-all bag. I was so pleased with these projects that I plan on making more of each of them. I’m going to make small tote bags and put in crayons and color books for my younger nieces and nephews.

I’m going to a Quilter’s Anonymous Dinner with a friend in two weeks. This is an evening where quilters gather at the LQS, bring a project to work on and the owner cooks and serves dinner. I have finished so many quilts in the last few months and have only added one UFO to the my list that I wanted to work on a new project. I only had one project on my “Have Patterns and Fabric” list that have the fabric and pattern already picked out so I decided I would work on that one for the evening. I’m going to work on the Stairstepper by Pressed for Time Quiltworks.

I washed, pressed and cut the strips this morning and have them laid out on my sewing table. I’m looking for some thoughts on the order of the fabrics. There are 8 strips and if you are looking at the picture you can assume that fabric #1 is on the left and fabric #8 is on the right. What do you think? Would you suggest a different order? I’m going to use a burgundy print for the background and outside border and a gold batik for the inner border.

I used my Ott light last night while sewing on binding and I love it. For once, I didn’t have to squint to see the thread as I was sewing. I’m happy I bought it. I also got more use with my Rowenta iron this morning. I washed and ironed 35 FQs this morning and the iron just glided over the fabric and took out the wrinkles.

Oh yeah, I forgot the biggest news of the day (well actually it will be tomorrow) – we’re going to get our first snowfall of the year tomorrow morning. It won’t be a lot of snow, only a dusting, but it is snow! YEAH!!!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Fear of Red

Earlier this month I talked about a quilt I made for my BIL and how the red fabrics bled when I washed in cold water. Then I made it worse my using Carbona, not Synthrapol, to try and clean it. It is now sitting in my quilt chest waiting for me to decide what to do with it. it's not horrible looking, but certainly looks like a well-loved quilt that has been in too many washings.

Anyway, when I figured out which red fabric was the culprit I realized that I have some of the fabric, plus other untested red fabric l already cut for my red and white Streak of Lightning quilt. Now I'm afraid to even sort through all the baggies of squares to find the culprit fabric and replace it. At this point I don't even know what red fabric has been washed and what hasn't been washed. I'm even afraid to wash the quilt Tasha made for her nephew because there is red fabric in it (and I know that fabric has been washed!).

What can I do to get over my fear of red fabric? Please help me!

I found this beautiful wall hanging last year at a Retreat Center run by French Catholic nuns. It was made by one of the Sisters. I knew right away I was going to buy it. It's one of the few Christmas decorations we put up in our house. It's not that we're anti-Christmas, but with only two of us and the fact we go to everyone else's house at Christmas time, we just don't feel the need to decorate. We put up a Christmas tree the first year we lived in this condo, but because we live near the train tracks the building vibrates a lot and the tree kept falling over.

I've gotten my goodies from my on-line shopping last week. Yesterday was the Rowenta Iron. I used it a little bit this morning and so far I like it. It has a nice weight, gets hot quickly and works great on binding. Today my Ott light arrived. I haven't opened it yet, but will shortly. I hope it lives up to its reputation.

The storm that has swept across the country has finally made it to New England. Unfortunately for me, it's only going to be rain and wind and not my beloved snow. But I am home fighting the onslaught of a cold and don't have to face the weather directly. I can stay on the couch and watch the storm from here.