Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

NYE 2011

How can we face 2012 with this?

I fear I will need all the help I can get from family and friends.  Is everyone ready to lend support?  Get ready, we start on 1/1/2012. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

The First Day After Christmas

giveaway quilt

And this is what is going on the design wall today.  If you read this post you already know that this top was not made by me but I won it in a giveaway. 

I am putting it on the wall so I can look at it while I sew this quilt together.


I gave this to DH for Christmas, a box of blocks.  He loved the cats and so I am now ready to put it all together.  This will be my first new quilt of the new year and DH will be warm with his Crazy Cats each night.

Christmas Eve was a personal one for DH and me.  We watched Magoo’s Christmas Carol, again, a DVD of a musical program at the Vatican, and another DVD of a Christmas program with the Lettermen.    All of this was going on while we ate dinner and then opened gifts.

Cradle gifts

And this is how our gift cradle looked when we began.  This is our collection of gifts from family (living away from  here) and from/to each other. 


I am going to show some of the gifts we received. Although I will be referring to our children, please know that we also include the wonderful wives of these sons of ours.


Todd & Jessica 2

DH was really excited when he got this book about the making of Magoo’s Christmas Carol from DS#3.  It has been a family tradition since our middle aged children were very small.  We even used to  watch a really bad VCR tape we made when we realized the major networks were no longer showing it.  We now have a blueray version and all of us can sing the songs along with the show.


Kevin & Ange 2

From DS#2 he got a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.  This has also been a family favorite Christmas show: DH plans to use this tree in his office next year.


from me 2

And one of the gifts I gave him was this shirt.  He is known for his t-shirts and this will be the one he will wear when school starts again in January.


Kevin & Ange

From DS#2 I got this pancake set.  I love the heart shaped spatula.  I plan to make the pancakes this morning (waiting for DH to get up) but first I will have to figure the Weight Watchers points so I can plan the rest of my day.






Todd & Jessica

From DH#3 I received these owl gifts: a card, a tea light, a beautiful weaving, and a cookie.


I collect owls and these two have gone out of their way to increase my collection (except for the cookie, of course).  In my next post I will share the birthday gift that came with our Christmas package.



Waunita & Dung



From my DS and BIL came this calendar.  It is Quilts of Hawaii.









Waunita & Dung 2

These are certainly not traditional quilts and I am really excited to be looking at them throughout the year.  I would really like to evolve into more arty quilts but really need a lot of inspiration because my mind looks for symmetry almost all the time.





gifts all gone So, here we are with an empty cradle.  However tonight our DD and DSIL are coming over to celebrate Christmas with us.  We will have chili, for the men, and oyster stew for we ladies.  Oyster stew was a tradition from my childhood and DD and I love it.  We will also share gifts and each other’s company.  And, maybe, we will watch Magoo’s Christmas Carol, again.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Almost Christmas

And so much going on here.
wrapping table
We have been wrapping gifts.  Like my wrapping table?  When not quilting I find that blank space to be quite helpful.  However, I do have a quilt on the frame so I had to get all the rest of the gifts wrapped so I could get on with my quilting.

Look at this package.  Can you see how the edges match up to complete the picture?  I am thinking that doesn’t happen often and especially not to me.

gift cradle
And the packages are piling up in our “gift cradle.”  Both the doll and Santa have had to migrate up as the packages have arrived.

And what was DH doing while all this “Santa” work was going on?  Eric = 3D TV
Here he is watching a 3D movie.  Doesn’t he look happy?  Believe me he is.

turkey pot pie dinner
Earlier this week we had the second of my pies: this time a turkey pot pie.

turkey pot pie
These were really good and will require a return engagement…..after I try something else later this week.

giveaway quilt
And one more thing I just have to share.  This is a quilt top I won from Chris Ballard

closeup 2
16 beautiful dresses made from Asian fabrics.  When I saw the top it reminded me of my grandmother who was a professional seamstress and made the most beautiful clothing.  She also taught sewing for Singer.  Anyway, these dresses are beautiful but I not only got the quilt top but a baggie full of these:
strip close up
These are 2 1/2” strips of more of the Asian fabric.  Chris said that she made the top about 7 years ago but no longer wanted to finish it.  Right now it is lying on my cutting table but will soon be up on the wall so I can “stare” at it for a while, looking at different ways to make this top into a great quilt.  Thanks, Chris.

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Full Design Wall, Finally


I can’t tell you how excited I am to finally have something new on my Design Wall.  The cats are called Crazy Cats from .  After I took this picture I made two more cats:  008











They look a little funny without faces, don’t they?  I have two more to applique and then I will spend a few evenings getting their personalities on. 

This quilt it for DH as part of his Christmas.  A few weeks ago he “asked” me to make him a quilt for his bed.  I already had planned to use these cats on a quilt for him (he is the reason we have one house cat and 6 outside cats,  but I had not planned a layout.  Then one evening I came up with this.


EQ picture

You will have to forgive the image of the cats, drawing either by hand or computer is not my area of expertise.  But I am very pleased that the quilt pieces on the wall are looking a lot like the EQ image.



And now for some Christmas cat pictures.


Can you find the cat in this picture?  This is another picture of our Christmas Village that is set up on our very large mantle.  Can you see the cat?



Here is a closer picture.  Can you see how thrilled she is to be having her picture taken? 






And yes, here she is again.  She just laid there, staring at me while I took these pictures.  And when I was through, she put her head down and went to sleep.  I guess I didn’t make much of an impression on her.

Only 6 days until Christmas.  I have one piece to quilt and then all my gifts will be done.  DH will get his quilt in pieces but I will have it done shortly into the New Year.  This week will be quiet and peaceful, well, as soon as I finish with my three WW meetings on Monday and Tuesday.  Then we will be on “vacation” for a week.  DH has projects planned, mostly putting hundreds of slides on DVD.  And me?  I will be in the studio, creating new quilts and working on UFOs.  In fact I found one I had forgotten. 



This was a BOM from 2004.  I really got bored with the color, or lack thereof, so I added 1/4” orange borders on the blocks.  then I added darker tan blocks:




But even then I wasn’t content with  what I had and added embroidery.  Now, I seem to remember all of this but it didn’t become a quilt.  Well, there was a reason for that.  I then decided that I wanted this quilt top to really become a duvet cover for a down comforter.  I stopped, however, when I couldn’t decide if I should quilt the top or not.  I bought two king sized sheets to both line the top and to make the envelope.  And now that I have unearthed this top I have the same question.  Should I quilt the top of a duvet?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Design Wall? Maybe Tomorrow

As I left my studio last evening I was able to say, “Now I can start a new project.”  Why, you say?  Well, it is because , as of Sunday evening, I have all my Christmas gifts finished.  This afternoon I will finish the wrapping and packaging and Tuesday I hope to have everything in the mail. 

And the most exciting part……..I will be able to finally work on something I can show.  I have a couple of ideas already and even have some new fabrics just waiting for me to make time for them.

If your read my post of Dec. 9 you know that I have begun a new creative outlet.  This past weekend I worked on revising a chicken pot pie recipe and bought ingredients for both apple and pumpkin pies.  The only problem with creative baking is that, unlike a quilt, the pies disappear, quickly.  But the good thing is that I can make them reappear almost as quickly.

Now, please join me at Patchwork Times to see all the beautiful things others are making 

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Baking Star Is Born

Next month I/we will be married 51 years.  In all that time I have never made a pie.  Every time I thought about it it seemed like it was really hard so I would forget about it.


DH came into this marriage telling me he LOVED apricot pie.  Have you ever tried to buy an apricot pie?  Well, they are really hard to find and we have only found a couple of bakeries that made them and none in the last 30 years.



Enter the mini pie machine.  Isn’t this a great looking idea?  But this machine retails for $150, currently on sale for $99.99.  I don’t know about you but $100 for something that just makes pies seems a bit high, especially since I lead Weight Watcher’s meetings and don’t eat a lot of pies.



However, last week we came across this.  It was under $30 so we thought it was worth a try.

Then we had to buy a rolling pin (never had or needed one before).




And today I gave it all a try.  See my new rolling pin?  Isn’t it nifty.  I rolled the premade pie crust very, very thin.  And here you see the bottom crust rounds, ready to bake.




Next I prepared the filling: dried apricots, Splenda, lemon juice and cornstarch.  It looks a little fuzzy here: it looked a little fuzzy in the making, too.




And here we have the pies after only 10 min. baking time.  Isn’t that impressive?  I realize they are a little misshapen but that is because I need to work on my technique a little.



010 I set them out to cool: they were really easy to get out of the machine. 


I was so excited with my success that I immediately sent for a recipe book that is especially for making mini pies of all kinds: pot pies, feta cheese & spinach pies, pumpkin pies, etc.  I see lots of pies in our future.  Especially since DH proclaimed the apricot pie a rousing success!


While the pies were cooling I spent some quality time in the studio and DH put lighting on our Christmas village. 


Now I just need to figure out how to hide the bookshelves and the niche.  They just seem to be junque collectors.  Maybe I will have to design a quilt curtain for these areas.  What a great idea!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Decorating Started

12 days and fireplace

We are a little late getting our decorations up but this at least we are started.  And I started with the quilt above.  Is called The 12 Days of Christmas and was a BOM from Esther Aliu last year.  I got it done right before Christmas but couldn’t find a place to hang it.  This year is different, it got the place of prominence and I am so very proud of it.  The ornaments, called baubles in Australia, are detachable: they are held on with velcro.  Each one is appliqued with very tiny pieces of fabric.


023 (2)      017 (2)









And each gift at the bottom is custom quilted according to the fabric used.


029 (2)





Today will be sewing, quilting and decorating.  Even though it is chilly, raining and windy outside, it is going to be a great day at our house!!