Friday, December 27, 2013

Just a Little Christmas

Safer stockingsWe decided to open our gifts on Christmas Eve this year and after that made the decision to move the stockings up onto the desk.  Why, you may ask.  Well, we have found that Santa usually brings more and bigger gifts than the socks can hold so there needs to be room for all that “stuff.”  In years past we have used our lounge chairs for the stockings but, again, with Sherlock in attendance we felt the desk was the safer place.  Boy, am I glad we found that desk when we did!

laundry basketIn the living room is the traditional Christmas laundry basket.  What?  You don’t have a traditional laundry basket for Christmas?  Well, when our children were young and we were visiting my parents my mother provided laundry baskets for each of the children.  As we opened gifts we were to put the wrappings in the baskets.  At the end of the gift opening we emptied the trash and the children put their gifts in their own baskets until it was time to go home.  So, with great glee, DH arrived in the living room with this basket which we more than filled as we shared what we had bought and/or made for each other.

Eric's new hatThe last gift he got was this hat that I had been knitting that day.  I hate to see him outside in the cold with his “little” bald head uncovered so I whipped this one up.  I was very proud of it as I finished it while we were watching Magoo’s Christmas Carol, another family tradition, just prior to opening our gifts.

1 secondAnd lastly, I do have to share one of the gifts that Santa brought me (it completely filled the sock).

Iron Bowl 2013This represents a very exciting day as Auburn, my alma mater, again became SEC champs.

After all that excitement DH woke up Christmas morning with a pretty severe stomach flu-like problem.  He spent the whole day and evening in bed and/or the bathroom.  He was unable to eat or drink anything so it wasn’t until yesterday that we finally were able to have our traditional Chinese Christmas dinner.  One thing I have learned is that traditions change and wise is the one who is able to bend with the changes.

On the quilting front, I have been making units for Celtic Solstice but it is very slow going.  I am beginning to think that I will be making a table runner and two placemats instead of a whole quilt.  There are two new BOMs I have been looking at that I want to do and I have a quilt top that needs to be quilted soon so I think CS will have to be a smaller project.

And my knitting has been coming along nicely.  I am on the heel of the second sock for my purple/blue socks and started a dark blue pair yesterday.  Of course I ventured into the hat making process with DH’s hat and may make a couple more.  I really want to knit a sweater but have not found a nice yet inexpensive yarn I want to use so that idea is on hold for now.

I hope everyone reading this had a wonderful Christmas filled with family, friends, and fun.     Gari

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Merry Christmas to ALL

Gifts are ready
Our gifts are all wrapped and ready to open.  Now you may ask why they are up on the desk rather than under the Christmas tree.  Well, my faithful readers will remember that we recently adopted a rescue dachshund,

Sherlock (2)


Now don’t misunderstand me, he is sweet, loving, and the most destructive dog we have ever had.  We have lost clothes, pillows, dog beds, a wall, and have holes in two quilts.  So I decided our gifts looked really good UP on the desk this year.

from Kevin & AngeWe did not have to put these gifts, from our son, daughter in law, and grandson in Colorado, up because we have already opened them.  Our tradition has been to open sent gifts on Christmas Eve (and what we give each other on Christmas morning) but with gifts that are sent directly from the store there isn’t any wrapping so by opening the mailer package the gift is already there.  So we are enjoying the coffee while we anticipate our Christmas.  Rolling on the floor laughing

from Todd & JessThe same thing happened with the gift from our son, daughter in law and granddaughter in Maryland.  Can’t say I’m sorry cuz we have been enjoying little pieces of this wonderful candy.  I am trying to make sure there is still some for Christmas day but I’m not sure I will succeed.  Angel

design wall - CSAnd here is what I have accomplished toward Celtic Solstice.  I really have made more units than this but this is representational of my efforts: steps 1-3.  I have not yet started step 4: I plan that for Thursday.  I really got behind on step 1 but now I that I have received my new rulers I will be able to catch up on them also.

I have been knitting, as reported in my last post, and have even started a new, small, project that will be the last gift on my list.

And now, again, Merry Christmas to all!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

On the Needles


This is what I am currently knitting, another pair of socks.  I keep looking at sweaters and hats but I keep starting new socks.  This, actually, is the second of the pair.  The first sock is finished except for stitching up the toe.  For that I have to have really good light and quiet as I tend to get lost in the stitching plan.

I did, however, finish my “Christmas” socks.  They haven’t been blocked yet but are on the blocking thingies, ready for water.  They have sparkles in the yarn and are quite festive. 

It has been Spring/Fall-like here so there have been several days when the dogs and I have spent time sitting on the deck, me knitting and them running and barking at nonexistent animals in the woods surrounding our home.  It has not been a good time for being indoors, sewing.  Oh, well.  In love

005 - CopyMany years ago I did machine knitting, and loved it.  These are two of the 26 socks I knit for us and family.  Each sock was designed, by me, for each individual so they were all different.  I loved doing it, it took FOREVER, and I was really sick of Christmas socks by the time I was done.  But I can tell you that I was very proud of my accomplishment that year.  Sometimes I miss my knitting machine…….

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Ever Onward

Part 2 piecesHere are half of the pieces for Step 2 of Celtic Solstice.  I decided I would do some of each step, just like Bonnie suggested, so I cut about half of what I eventually will need.

Part 2 doneThen I sewed some these units together.  Would you believe that there are 7 seams to each one of these 3 1/2” units?  And 5 trips to the ironing board.

Part 2 mistakeAnd, of course, there is the necessary sewing mistake that I must do for every project I start.  I couldn’t believe it when I opened up this unit and saw that even though it was perfectly sewn it was wrong and had to be “unsewn” and done right.

Now the funny part.  With all the sewing I got done I only completed 10 units so I only have 90 more to go.  AND, Bonnie released Step 3 Friday.  But I won’t be starting it until the rulers I ordered arrive.  Maybe this will give me some time to catch up on Steps 1 & 2………maybe.

Drosselmeyer 2Today was the last performance of the Nutcracker in our town.  And here is DH who has played Drosselmeyer for over 30 years.  Even though he has been a teacher for 45 years and has put on numerous musicals and plays, he says that this part is his claim to fame.

DroselmierAnd he came home from this performance with this nutcracker, a gift from the director and owner of the Andalusia Ballet.  I think this is just stunning and I must say that DH is very proud of it, kind of like his Oscar.

Ready to bloomMy contribution to our Christmas directions is my wonderful cactus.  It is almost bursting with buds and soon will be covered with flowers and Christmas will be here.

But before that happens there will be sewing and knitting (socks are still being worked on).  That’s what I will be doing.  So everybody, have a great week.    Gari

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Bit by Bit

Step 1 as of 12-10-13I have been working on Celtic Solstice, a little.  This is where I was this morning and since then I have added about thrice as many and started using the different purples.  I am still working on Step 1 but will be checking out Step 2 tomorrow, just prior to Step 3 coming out on Friday. 

I have a really good excuse for falling so far behind.  Saturday we had a great time at the Trans Siberian Orchestra concert.  Oh, my, what a fun experience.  Then early Sunday morning I woke up “not well.”  Getting over that has taken a while but mostly it has taken some days to begin to regain/sustain strength.  This is not the first time I have experienced this but it is so annoying to be slowed down when I really want to be up and going.  The up side?  I wasn’t hungry and seem to have an aversion to sugar, for the time being.  Wouldn’t it be nice if was a permanent “problem”?  Flirt male

sending gifts wrappedI spent most of yesterday  wrapping Christmas gifts, the ones that are being mailed (see, I am behind in this area, also).  And one package is even ready for mailing.  I seem to have run out of boxes so these will have to get sent tomorrow.

kitchen wrapping stationThis is my wrapping station which still has to be available for local gift wrapping.  Did I ever mention how much I don’t like wrapping gifts?  I love making gifts, shopping for them, and buying them, but wrapping them?  Not so much.       Oh, I do like opening them when they are given to me.  Embarrassed smile

happy quilt puppies
And what do good puppies do while Mom is wrapping gifts?  Why they sack out on the big flannel quilt, of course. 

Now, I’m off to bed to get a good rest so I can get something accomplished tomorrow.

Nite,   Gari

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Celtic Solstice Started, Barely

003For all the reasons I have listed before, plus a couple of new ones (reasons, not excuses), this is how far along I am on Step 1 of Bonnie Hunter’s Celtic Solstice.  It seems I have been pushed and pulled in every direction but the studio.  But late yesterday afternoon I got in there, cut strips and began cutting the centers of the first 3” finished blocks/pieces of blocks (?).  Today I will finish cutting these and then cut the side triangles and hopefully get some sewn together. 

To add to this lateness problem, it has been VERY warm here, perfect deck knitting weather.  The puppies love it because that is when they get to play outside without leashes, on the deck.  Unfortunately the new puppy, Sherlock, can climb anything so someone has to be out there with him to check on what he has figured out to climb on next.  For a short dog we have found him in some very high places.

Tomorrow we will be gone all day to see/hear the Trans Siberian Orchestra so I will be late in getting Step 2 of the mystery quilt.  Maybe I can figure out a way to just live in the studio on Sunday so I can at least get caught up.  Oh, my!

I hope everyone’s week goes well.  My prayers are going out to the folks in CO, where our middle son and his family live, as they are getting extremely cold weather and snow.  I want them all to be safe but especially my children as they are also dealing with her mother’s serious illness so many miles away from them.

My plan for the rest of the morning is fabric cutting in the studio.  I plan to say a prayer for every slice, maybe a way to make that tedious task be of more value.

Have a great rest of the week,  Gari

Sunday, December 1, 2013

And I Haven’t Even Started Yet

On Friday Bonnie Hunter posted the first step for her Celtic Solstice mystery and I have yet to cut the first strip.  This would be because I have been pulled from the studio every day this weekend.  I would be starting tomorrow but I will be out Christmas shopping with my daughter, a Christmas tradition we enjoy even when we can’t find much that we like.

I did, however, get a couple of things done.

no backing
This is the start of a new project.  It all started because I like soup and because I found a tutorial, which I can’t seem to find again, that I understood.  In the tutorial we were to cut 10” squares of batting and fabric to make the Microwave Hot Bowl Pads.  But as I read about it it seemed it was going to be a lot of quilting on a DSM, something I am really not good at.  So above you see a piece of fabric lying on just batting.  Set up this way I quilted enough fabric to make 1/2 of the 4 bowls.  Then I repeated it with the second piece of fabric.  Oh, the batting is held on my frame with magnets: worked GREAT!

marked And here is the underside, cut to 10” and you can faintly see the cross marks and a circle in the middle.

dartsEach piece of batting was paired with a piece of fabric and then I sewed around the circle.  I decided to sew twice so it was firmly set.  Then darts were sewn at each of the quarter lines.

two togetherTwo pieces are sewn together, right sides together leaving about a 3 1/2” opening.  Then the fabric sides are pulled out and all the corners are poked until they are as sharp as they can be with two pieces of fabric and two pieces of batting in them.   This part is not easy but if we don’t want to burn our fingers we really need those two battings.  In this picture I have the clamps holding the edges tight so I can top stitch the opening closed.

top stitchingAnd here I go around the edge with a 1/4” edging.


OK, so here it is, done.  But see how flat it looks. 

done (2)But see how it cradles the bowl.  Now I can put soup in the bowl, the bowl in the pad and put both in the microwave.  Then when the soup is hot I can just reach in and take both out together without fiddling with a pot holder or burning my fingers.  I am pleased.

second sockI did finish one of my so called Christmas socks and have begun the second one.  I had put these aside to finish a couple of others so I really have to knit fast now to have them for Christmas.  I chose that as my deadline because the yarn has a metallic thread in it making it more festive than the other yarns I have.

I said we will be Christmas shopping but in reality I have almost all my shopping done.  Tomorrow morning, before DD gets here I will be pulling all of the gifts out, checking them off of my Christmas list, and preparing for the dreaded wrapping marathon.  I love shopping for or making gifts for my family but I really dislike wrapping presents.  So I hope to have that all done by Wednesday.

And lastly, this week DH and I are going to see 800px-Trans-Siberian_Orchestra_4
The Trans Siberian Orchestra.  This is our season for GREAT music.  And from the look of this picture it is going to be quite spectacular. 

But because of this “going” thing, I better get in the studio and get busy cutting and sewing because Bonnie will be posting Step 2 on Friday and I want to be ready.

Wish me luck and have yourself a Great Week.   Gari

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Today I am 71

Birthday 71And given that both my birthday and Thanksgiving arrived on the same day this year I decided to share what I am thankful for.  First and foremost I am thankful that I know Jesus Christ as my Savior and that he has walked with me for most of my 71 years.  Second I am thankful for my husband, Eric, who has been my partner for almost 53 years.  We have survived good years and bad years (currently good) and each has made us stronger both individually and as a couple.  And third I am thankful for our 4 children.  Each has grown into a strong and successful adult with good marriages.  We have watched them mature and grow as parents and to learn to accept each child as an individual rather than carbon copies of themselves. 

There are many other small things that I am thankful for (other family members, our nation, my home, friends, etc.) but if I tried to mention all of them I would forget someone and that wouldn’t be good (sounds like the academy awards, doesn’t it?).

Now let me tell you about my birthday.  As instead of cakeyou can see from the picture above, we went to the beach after a Thanksgiving dinner at Applebee’s, which was terrific.  We walked the beach so we could make a stop at Village Inn for PIE.  They make the best lemon meringue pie and serve very big slices.

004Anyone who regularly reads my blog knows that DH took me to see Kenny G earlier this month as my birthday gift.  But this morning he presented me with this book, which I didn’t even know was coming out.  I have read all of her Elm Creek books so this was well welcomed.

birthday earingsHe also gave me these earrings.  Aren’t they the cutest?  And perfect for a person who has three doxies.

bedside owl pitcher-glassI also need to show this again.  It is a bedside glass owl pitcher that my/our twins and their very special spouses gave me for my birthday after they had been together this summer.

glass & pitcher
It is quite unique and I have never seen another like it.  It always makes me feel special when my children remember me even though we are so far apart.

followed me homeAnd I guess there is one last thing.  Look what followed me home.  A whole lemon meringue pie.  I guess we will be celebrating my birthday for a while longer: but of course there are still 2 more days in BIRTHDAY MONTH!


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Getting Ready & Birthday Month Continues

owls back on wallThe owls are back on the wall. 

latest owlsAnd these are the newest ones to be completed.  I still have one small one to do but I think I will wait until next month and do two of them together.  These three were lots of fun and required a really long tree branch.

New Roll Top DeskMost of my time this week was taken up with this.  DH and I did some antiquing/shopping early in the week.  He saw this and said “Here is your desk” as I have always wanted a big old roll top desk.  Of course we couldn’t afford it even though it was less expensive than I had thought (not an old desk).  Then a couple of days later he offered to share the cost if I wanted it.  So I called the store and found that it was now 25% discounted ….. so I bought it.  However it was 100 miles away and way too big for our already overcrowded house.

drawers & chairSo we drove down, completed the paperwork and I measured it upside down and backward.  Then home we came and I began measuring everything else in the house.

New deskSaturday, while DH and our SIL went to get it, I moved every big piece of furniture in the front and dining room.  By the time they gone back with my new “birthday” desk, I had the puppies completely confused and I was ready to collapse.  But it was worth it: isn’t she beautiful?

drawers & cubbiesLook at all those little drawers.  I have been filling them up but there are still several that are still empty.  Flirt male

desk-side view
She is even beautiful from the side, isn’t she?

Fred at rest (2)After all that work even Fred was tired and felt the need for relaxing.

Nature LoverAnd Stubby, afraid she would get sucked into the work, took refuge among the plants on the deck.

I have been knitting but partial socks are not very interesting so I will show them later. 

I did start a couple of small projects.  I had decided to not make Christmas gifts this year but changed my mind when I couldn’t think of or find anything I wanted to gift for a couple of people.  DH has this week off so he will be watching football and taking care of the puppies giving me more studio time.  All of this needs to either be completed or almost before Bonnie doles out Part 1 of her Celtic Solstice Mystery Quilt on Friday.  My plan is to put last years completed mystery quilt, Easy Street, out in the studio to remind me, when I feel overwhelmed, that it can be done cuz I did it before.  Open-mouthed smile

For all of my US readers, have a great Thanksgiving.  As it is my birthday we are going out to eat, something we have never done before, and then plan to spend some time at the beach (if it is not too cold).

And for everybody, have a great week.  Gari