Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Gifts and Thank You’s

This was the gift our middle son and his wife sent us. It is a basket with 7 bean soup mix, sausage, cheese, crackers and three packets of individual soups.

Well, this is what the soup mix looked like when it was all fixed.

And it is WONDERFUL. The package makes servings for 10 – 12 so we have several meals in the freezer also. We were to add Kielbasa, crushed tomatoes, onion, green pepper and either a smoked ham hock or smoked turkey leg. Would you believe I had a smoked turkey leg in the freezer? And this is one of those all day cooking soups so the house smelled wonderful for several hours.

Our youngest son and his wife sent us this beautiful lamp.

She works for a Swedish shop and when we visited there last August both DH and I, separately, commented on this lamp. As we were leaving their home they handed us a shopping bag and told us it was our Christmas gift and we were not to open it until then. Well, I was very good and stuffed it in the back of the closet where I store the gifts I am going to give and didn’t touch it until Christmas Eve. We have decided that we are going to put it on top of the quilt cabinet where we can see it but it won’t get knocked off.

My sister knows I collect owls, mostly glass owls . But she also knows that I like unusual owls and I love unique hand made things. She found this last February and saved it to send to me. It is made in Mexico. The wooden carved owl is covered in beeswax and the beads are pressed into it. Isn’t it neat? It is currently sitting on the windowsill in my bathroom.

DH’s sister, from the cold of New England, sent Dunkin Donut’s coffee.

She knows how much we love coffee and DH cannot pass a Dunkin Donut’s shop when we travel out of the South.

Thanks to all our family for the wonderful and thoughful gifts. We love you.

This is the first time I have “scheduled” a blog to post later. When this posts we will be on the road to central FL. We will be visiting my mother and celebrating a late Christmas on New Years Eve. And then on to the Outback Bowl in Tampa on New Years Day. I am all packed and ready to go.

Happy New Year everyone!!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Perfect Christmas

I love it when a plan comes together. Woke up Christmas morning and Santa, a Northwestern fan, had come with all things Auburn.

The weather here in South Alabama was picture perfect: blue skies and a nip in the air. None of that white stuff and no rain (had that the night before).

We had opened gifts the night before so it was a quiet breakfast before leaving for our daughter’s for Christmas dinner. There we also had our granddaughter (Megan) and her boyfriend (Eric) and their son Skylar, the hit of the party.

This picture is entitled “Eric Bookends.”

Having two Eric’s has been just a little confusing.

Our daughter got a stethoscope and here, in this very fuzzy picture, she is showing it off while talking on the phone with her older brother. Think he can see it?

This is our SIL, Gary, who besides getting a fleece throw from us got this hat. He is a big hunter with an even bigger sense of humor.

After all that fun, Eric and I left for NWFL where we took in a movie, Sherlock Holmes, and went out for a Chinese dinner (wonderful). Then home to a fire in the fireplace and peace and quiet. Wonderful day.

No new design wall picture this week to put on Judy's blog: see last week’s post. I did finish the appliqué on the basket blocks and even got the rail fence blocks sewn together but they look just the same . I will be showing some of the quilty gifts I made in the days to come.

Now, at our house, we are doing some “spring” cleaning.” Yesterday I was cleaning out a junque area that I hope to turn into a fused glass studio and today I am working on finding all the surfaces in the quilt studio. I have told myself that I cannot start another project until I have cleared out the scraps and leftovers from both my prior projects and the room switch. So wish me luck and I’ll be back.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


The gifts are under the poinsettia (no tree this year)

and the table is set (if a bit fuzzy)

so we are ready for Christmas to begin.

And I, living in South Alabama, am relaxing, sitting in the sun with a good book (sorry Pat).

Our Christmas traditions have changed a good bit over the years. When it was just us, we spent most of the holiday time with my parents. Then we began having children (4) and the celebration centered around them. On Christmas Eve we opened the gifts that had been sent from distant relatives and on Christmas morning we first saw what Santa had brought (piles of stuff as well as stuffed stockings) and then opened gifts from each other. And for several years that was followed by going to my parent’s for Christmas dinner and more gifts (whew!!). For the past several years our tradition (with just the two of us) has been to have chili on Christmas Eve and then open gifts (all of them). We do take a little more time opening them than the kids did and we talk about the gift and the people who sent them.

Because only one of our children lives close, we usually visit with our daughter on Christmas day. We will be going to her house for lunch and be with her son and daughter and her husband and our great grandson. It will be fun to watch a child again at Christmas but at 1 ½ he is still too young to know what is really going on.

One tradition that we only celebrate once in a while is eating out: Chinese. Many years ago, on Christmas Eve, the pipes in my house froze. We had company that year and no water so we had to eat out. The only restaurant open was Chinese and we were really surprised to find lots of people there. So we started going whenever we were going to be alone on Christmas. This year, after the family celebration, we are going to FL to see a movie and then have a Chinese dinner. We are trying to get all of our traditions in this year.

I hope that everyone who reads this has a very Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Design Wall & Frozen Roses

With all the Christmas gifts finished, wrapped, and either sent or stacked, it was fun to get back to working on those UFOs that seem to plague all of us.

The rail fence blocks on the left are leftover blocks from the South Seas quilt.

My plan is to put 2-3 borders around them and it will be my first charity quilt for 2010. There is one block left so it will go in the orphan block bag which one day will be a Bonnie Hunter type of backing for a quilt.

The three basket blocks are the last of the A Tisket a Tasket BOM blocks by Bunny Hill Designs.

I was behind so I got these three fused and hope to get them stitched down this week. Then I will have completed all of the BOM blocks and be ready to figure out what setting I want to use. I have really enjoyed doing the fusible appliqué and love how these blocks turned out. The one thing I seem to not be able to learn is to reverse the pattern when I am copying it onto the fusible. Several of my blocks are backward but I know that no one who sees my quilt will know that so I am not upset, I just need to learn. Be sure to drop over to Judy’s blog to check out the other design walls.

Not on the wall, but done this last week are two shirts I machine embroidered for DH and I to wear to the Outback Bowl in 10 days.

We are really getting excited and the “rivalry” has begun. What fun!!!

And lastly, frozen roses:

I didn’t want our friends and family up in the Northeast to think that they were the only ones to have winter. We have had frost for the last two nights and my poor roses, which keep blooming, are really suffering. But don’t they look like God placed diamonds on them?

Friday, December 18, 2009


Wednesday our DD graduated from LPN school: the ceremony is called Pinning.

She has really worked hard and her husband has been extremely supportive. And we are really proud of her.

After the ceremony I gave her a graduation card with a note that there is a gift that is coming from two of her brothers and their wives, my sister and her husband and us. Then I handed her a picture of the gift.

She had been so proud of herself that she hadn’t cried but this did it.

The gift was on it’s way Fed Ex and in fact, he tried to deliver it to her house while she was getting pinned: 9:30 am. So today she waited for him to come back with it. She waited and waited and waited. She was afraid to get into the shower for fear it would start raining when he came. She didn’t want to get dressed until she could shower so she waited. She cleaned and cooked while she waited. And he came, at 7 pm he and the package came.

And this is what he brought. A bright purple Dell. And she will need it as she begins work on her RN.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Foggy Design Wall Monday

Last week I finally got my new design wall up and covered. I have been very slow to get everything put in whatever place it will be but since I don’t have any current deadlines it doesn’t seem to matter. So on my wall are three projects.

The blue feathered star is the next UFO I am going to be working on. I made it as part of a guild self taught class. I loved it but it got put on a back burner so I could work on other things. My plan is for this to be a table topper with friendship start all around the main block. First I will have to check to see if I have enough of the blue fabric.

The small block is my Eleanor Burns BOM. This is done with fusing appliqué, which I really like to do, but I think I would rather do this block in a regular piecing method. This BOM will be running until Feb or March so I don’t have to start thinking about how to put it together. But I do think I know what I will do with it when it is finished: but I’m not telling.

The last thing on the wall is a practice machine embroidery tiger that I will be putting on a shirt for my trip to the Outback Bowl. Be sure to check out the other design walls at Judy’s page.

So, as you can see, I am already setting up my sewing plans for the new year. I am collecting the instructions for Bonnie Hunter’s Carolina Christmas but won’t even think about that for a while. I have two other 2009 BOM’s finishing this month and three sets of swap blocks that need to be made into quilts so I will have UFOs to work on when 2010 rolls on in.

Saturday we had 5” of rain and our yard once again looks like we have waterfront property.

Edit on 12/15: we got an additional 5" on Monday, 12/14, and it is still raining.

And that’s our well, sitting in the middle of the new “pond.” It just goes to show that we shouldn’t lack for water around here for quite a while. Today we have warmer temps and extreme fog. Nice day for staying home and sewing.

Happy sewing/quilting.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

It Must Be Christmas Time

This is how we know that it is almost Christmas. DH has played "Herr Drosselmeyer" in the Nutcracker for the 27 years of performances by the Andalusia Ballet Company.
And the funny thing is that he is recognized by children and adults all over our area. Even in the summer, little kids come up to him and call him Drosselmeyer and want to talk to him. Needless to say, he loves the attention.

And at home, the children are trying to be good for Santa. Can't you see Abby saying " We're just playing!" Buffy, on the other hand may be saying "Get this lug off of me!" I guess "good" is in the eye of the beholder.

I decided to show one of the quilts I made for Christmas as my granddaughter does not read the blog. And, no, this is not for her. It is for her 1 1/2 year old son, Sky. It is flannel, back and front, with batting between. It is done with 11" and 5" strips and after sewing it all together I quilted it on the frame. And then, of course, came the clipping. Somewhere along I did think, "who came up with this idea?" But then it was fun to watch it fluff. I washed and dried it three times and will send washing and lint instructions with it.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Pause in Quilting

For the first time in history, DH's alma mater and mine will be meeting in a big bowl game. And, WE WILL BE THERE. We have never been a "house divided" before but the heckling has already begun. I just hope we will still be speaking to each other after 24 more days of waiting and then The Big Day on Jan. 1st. Wish us (me) luck.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Early in December

Here I sit, finishing up my Christmas gifts, just a little handwork and I will be done. And yesterday DH and I were out doing the last of the Christmas shopping. Next week I will be wrapping and packaging the gifts that get sent and then I plan at least two weeks of studio, and possibly a little house, cleaning (much needed).

This week I did receive a giveaway gift from Sandi of A Legacy of Stitches.

These are beautiful Christmas fabrics and I already have something in mind to do with them. But, that will have to wait until later this year. Thanks, Sandi.

Did you see the change in my header? I spent quite a lot of time sewing all those little bells (43) on there and isn’t it beautiful on my front door? I think this will be my design wall this week since I don’t think I will be starting anything by Monday. We’ll see if I can keep myself from sewing for a full day.

As part of my “cleaning” project, I have repurposed a display case belonging to DH and now have a quilt storage cabinet.

After I took this picture I filled up the entire cabinet but two of the quilts in there are going to other homes so there will be a little room for more. I really love seeing my quilts and this is sitting in the great room, in full view from my chair.

On Monday I am part of the committee going to see the building where the guild will be holding it’s next quilt show (November 2010). Why am I going? Because, at the last guild meeting, for some reason, I volunteered to be in charge of the quilt hanging. I’m not sure how that happened but I do remember hearing my voice saying something. So I am going to get to see where we will be housed and then we can look at our hanging system and plan what will hang where.

So, how is everyone doing on Christmas? Gifts all ready? Decorating done? This is how I like is, just a relaxed slide into and through the holidays.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Design Wall, etc.

What a great weekend we had. Friday was spent sewing and this is one of the things I got done.

Since nothing else I have been working on can be blogged about, I decided we needed a new Christmas decoration. I found this tutorial on a blog last week, I feel so badly that I can’t find where I found it , and with a few changes, this is what I have made. I am going to decorate it with tiny gold/brass bells and it will hang on our front door for the month of Dec. While I was sewing, DH was trying to make up to me for not helping move furniture prior to Thanksgiving, as I had asked. I came in at lunch and found the front room all moved and cleaned. There is still a lot to do but it is started and I am very happy.

Saturday we spent the morning at the beach.

It was sunny, warm, and the beach we go to is very family friendly so we were able to see families enjoying each other while we reminisced about what all we used to do when our children were little. It is so nice to be able to look back and smile while looking at the present and smiling. I so enjoy the quieter life we now lead but loved the hustle and bustle of life with four children, when I was younger. After that interlude, we went to Red Lobster for Snow Crab Legs. It is one of my all time favorite meals and DH enjoys watching me crack those shells (rather than him…lol).

A short stop and Joanne’s and Barnes and Nobel and we were on our way back home. Thanks to in car phones, I was able to talk with my children and my mother so it was a very complete day.

Sunday found me back at work in the studio. I am hand sewing the binding on one of my gift quilts, completed a BOM for Dec., arranged the bells for my tree (see above) and got one of the rag quilts on the frame for some spot quilting. Oh, and I got one quilt label embroidered and ready to sew on. I did get two more labels designed but they have not been embroidered yet.

And now it is off to get more done. We usually decorate on the first Saturday of December so I have a few days to get that stuff out and find a new place for the tree. I love having my house decorated and even the job of putting it up (taking it down, not so much).

Have a great week and see ya later.

Edit: The directions for the Christmas tree can be found at

Thursday, November 26, 2009

We had a Happy Thanksgiving

My Thanksgiving started yesterday when I pulled the turkey out of the refrigerator and started the dinner making process. And today, as we neared the end of the cooking/preparation process, here came our daughter to consume the holiday feast.

I did get a little help. Here you see DH having cut the cranberry sauce and SIL slicing the turkey.

Look how good this all looks.

And this is what two full people look like.

And now we sit, football running, unable to move.

I had thought I would be able to get some quilting done this evening but that does not seem to be happening. So I will show you what I completed yesterday.

The front will show up on this blog after Christmas. I still need to make the label and then bind it but I am very pleased with how it has turned out.

Tomorrow I plan to quilt two rag quilts and complete labels for three finished quilts. Then, on Saturday, I plan to do nothing: it will be my birthday. I have always thought that it was the best holiday of each year.

Have a great weekend everybody!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Productivity and Inspiration

Sore throat, chills, a little cough: oops, I think I am sick. Well, it came on Friday night and was pretty full blown when I got home from shopping on Saturday. I was in bed by 3 and was happy that there was football on the TV for DH: I like to be left alone when I am sick. My theory is that food should be pushed under the door and no one should bother me until I am well.

Despite this little setback, I have been really productive. I have a Dresden Plate on the quilt frame and about half done. When not working in there I have completed two flannel rag quilts and two fleece throws. On my design wall (check out Judy's blog on Monday) I have the three Christmas socks I have embroidered for my granddaughter and her little family.

I didn’t do the snowflakes (Walmart did) but I did personalize them.

Behind the socks is another set of swap blocks I picked up Saturday. They are Autumn inspired and will probably reside on the UFO shelf for a few months, until inspiration comes.

And speaking of inspiration, look at what I did.

These are my creations from my first fused glass class. We got to play with bits and pieces of scrap glass and this is what I came out with. I had lots of fun and will really enjoy wearing these, my own creations. But even glass will never take the place of quilting, just provide for a change every once in a while.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fun Week So Far

This past Tuesday was my twins birthday, they are now 41 years old. Each of their spouses decided to do something special for their special day. My DIL arranged a camping trip, in the cold mountains of MD. Please visit her blog to see their trip: Ponce.

My SIL arranged a surprise birthday party for my daughter. She was to be at the hospital for her clinical rotation, nurses’ training, so he got permission to bring cake and stuff around lunch time and she got to celebrate with her classmates, and us.

The class has been studying for their state board exam so a party seemed just the thing, don’t you think?

And here is SIL and DH getting the table ready for cake, etc. Isn’t it nice to see the men working?

I embroidered two t-shirts for DD, each with a nurse, of sorts, on the front.

Please excuse the face in the first shot. This daughter used to stand in front of a mirror, practicing her “faces,” nothing dramatic about her. Of ourse her father is a drama teacher.

Anyway, she graduates one month from her birthday and we couldn’t be prouder of her.

No pictures from the studio this time. I am working on three Christmas gifts and although I don’t think the people they are going to read my blog, I can’t be sure so they will be shown at the end of December. I will tell you that I also took a “fused glass” class last Tuesday night. I can’t show what I did because I had to leave it there to cool overnight and the class was 90 miles away. I am hoping to be able to go get them this weekend.

Today I have three hours to sew and then I have to get ready to teach my WW class. Tomorrow I will be sewing for about three hours and then I am going with DH to see a play. It seems it is getting harder and harder to get quality and quantity time in my studio. What ever happened to that quiet retirement life I envisioned?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Getting it together

Finally, a sense of accomplishment. I quilted my first quilt on the new quilt frame and even have the binding machine sewed on.

I had this top, called Flight School, completed at the end of November last year but I didn’t have time to quilt it prior to the holidays so it hung behind our Christmas village, as it was. But this year it will be a finished quilt. I quilted it with Floriani silver metallic thread and it quilted great. And I must say that having a quilt frame that is sturdy and level makes a big difference: so much more control.

Also this week my car was fixed and I was able to pick it up today. The guys did a great job and now it looks just like it did before the “big red truck” crunched it. It is nice to have the baby back.

Today I uncovered all of the top of the cutting table and cut fabric for backing and batting for a gift quilt (it will be my first time to machine quilt flannel), and cut all the strips for a flannel rag quilt. I also designed a second rag quilt and got all the fabric ready for cutting. I uncovered the embroidery machine and embroidered a gift shirt and I also bought 3 Christmas stockings to get ready to embroider names on: they will be an early Christmas gift for DGD and family.

After almost two weeks of pain from a pulled back muscle, it is really nice to be able to put in some real time doing what I love to do: I am so grateful. And, right now I have a whole weekend with no plans: I see sewing/quilting time on my agenda. Yea!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Still reorganizing and Design Wall Monday

Every day during this past week I have been working. I have moved everything in the studio, at least twice and frequently four times or more. The new quilt frame, the HQ Studio Frame, arrived late Wednesday, in three large boxes (40#, 75#, and 90#).

The UPS man brought them up on the deck but I had to slide, yes, slide, them into the studio. I did make sure I had the box that said it held the assembly instructions ready to be opened but decided I would wait until the next day.

Thursday I opened all the boxes and laid out all the parts and pieces.

I then left the room and allowed myself to do a little sewing. The sewing room in still upside down but I have cleared out sewing space so I don’t get too far behind and for a little relaxation.

Pressing area

Cutting area

Sewing area

On my new design, Monday update for Judy wall (not yet covered in flannel) is the newest comfort quilt I am doing. I bought these charm packs several months ago and they just seem perfect for some boy or girl. There are really three panels but I overlapped because I have other misc. things on the wall, too, so I ran out of usable space (story of my current life).

Friday DH and I went to the Greater Gulf Coast Art’s Festival in Pensacola. Oh, it was wonderful, again. I have been going for several years and find the work of the many juried artists very inspiring. I forgot to take my camera but lots of the artists don’t want pictures taken anyway. The day was beautiful, the art was great, and all the people were happy and friendly.

But, back at home Saturday was “build a quilt frame” day. We got all the major parts done and Sunday morning I finished the take-up poles and other misc. pieces. I have to say that DH was an excellent worker, good humored and stuck with it, even when there were football games going on elsewhere. I hope to get a quilt on the frame today and see how it works but I still need to so some leg leveling first.

On the car front, we took it to the shop this morning. My DD and SIL borrowed a car from his father so I will not be stranded in the country. However, looking at the weather map, I may just stay home while Ida passes by. LOL

One last thing, while bringing me the borrowed car tonight, my DD hit a deer (with her car). She sent me a picture of the car to put on the blog, as she wants people’s sympathy, too, however, I seem to have deleted it so it will have to wait for another day.