Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas and the day after

Christmas has come and gone again, and again a time of family and good cheer.  And too much food.  Sigh.  I will do better, I will do better, I will do better....

And today is another special day...John's birthday!  He and Bonnie have been in Texas about 6 years now, and he's adapting well.  Awhile back he bought a piece of property, and has enjoyed putzing around on it experimenting with different plantings. I'm glad to see he dresses appropriately, our Texas sun can be brutal.   Carl used this picture and drew an ink and watercolor painting, which he graciously gave me.  I have to say it's one of my favorites.  I don't think John has seen it yet, so seeing this will be his birthday surprise!

Happy birthday, John.  I'm glad you decided to make Texas your home.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

good wishes to all

I've been participating in a secret sister swap this year.  This time it was a bit different in that we swapped quarterly instead of monthly, and it worked out well.   Monday I got my "reveal" package...and my secret sister has been Kentucky Sunshine, Trish in Australia!

Trish has such a loving and giving nature.  She's been in Australia several years, moving from Kentucky.  She and her husband have a young son, and it's fun to read of their adventures in the land "down under".  She's a talented lady.  Take a look at what she sent, much of it hand made.
 The teapot trivet and 6 coasters...handmade!
The Christmas stocking, needle case, clown pin cushion...all hand made!  She didn't have time to embellish the stocking, so I'll work on that myself, but she got the hard part done. 

These last two pictures show the wonderful sewing caddy she made to put over the arm of my easy chair.  I think she must have an embroidery machine...really pretty work.  Each side has big one behind the sewing machine, and 5 on the other side, and there's a pin cushion on top.  Elizabeth mentioned it could also hold my remote controls.  Not a bad idea.  :)

I talked to Trish last night, and she's been working on the gifts throughout the year.  Since she's far away, her quarterly gifts were via internet shopping, so her handmade items were waiting for the reveal package.  I'm tickled with it all.  :)

Along the lines of spreading Christmas cheer, I decided I'd make some cookies for the garbage pickup crew.  They've been especially helpful this year with the tree limbs, as well as any other unusual items I'd set out.  Yesterday was trash pickup day, so I put the cookies in the oven nice and early, and had them ready and waiting.  The big truck pulled up in front, and I stepped out and handed them the little bag telling them "Merry Christmas".  As the truck pulled away with a perky little toot of the horn, I noticed the trash was left.  Huh?  Turns out it was the recycling truck!  Ah well.  I bagged up the rest of the cookies, and added a bit of fudge, and gave them to the garbage crew a little later.  Everyone can use a little cheer, right?

I may or may not post again before the big day, so I'll go ahead and say "Merry Christmas" to one and all.

Friday, December 16, 2011

note to self

Haven't had much to say lately...or much that I'm able to say.  With Christmas just 9 short days away, some of my projects are still behind zipped lips.  However, I have finished one that I'm able to share.  I talked several weeks ago about a pattern I got for a Texas wall hanging...and here's my completed version.  It's already gone to its new home. 

It was on a yellow wall, so it seems to have picked up a bit of a yellow-ish tinge, but you get the idea.  I'm pleased with it, and will be making another.

It's nice to know that I'm still learning things as time goes by.  Keeps the mind sharp.  Of course, there are times I have reminders that I need to pay more attention to things.  While making Texas, which uses a fusible webbing, I got distracted and...well, let's just say I made a mistake.  Now it's on my design wall as a reminder to be more observant. 

Can you read it?  It says "note to not iron on right side of fabric".  

Sunday, December 4, 2011

small frustration in the scheme of things

There's so much in this world we can either be very thankful for, or have a major gripe.  So I know my petty little grievance doesn't amount to a whole lot...

But really!  Don't you think the paper delivery person could find someplace other than the middle of the very wet grass, in the middle of a rain, to toss the paper?????

Monday, November 28, 2011

another milestone...mine!

Arrgh!  I had prepared a totally fantastic post and then got an error message and it went away!  So, here I am again, and hope this one can make it through.

I've reached another milestone day, and can't say I really feel any different than I did yesterday.  But, since it is my birthday, I will offer up a few thoughts.  I know, I'm only 62, so I don't have nearly as much wisdom as I will have in another 20 years, but that's okay.  It's my birthday, and I can do what I want.  ;)

I've noticed that as the muscles have been shifting a bit in the last few years, my mouth muscles are right there with them.  I used to be able to whistle well enough to recognize a tune, now I can hardly get out much of a whistle at all.  Sigh.

About clothing.  I've always been pretty good about not making outrageous combinations, but lately I've come to appreciate that its not that big of a deal.  Oh yeah, I still try to dress respectable as I leave the house.  But, as I sit here in my pink flowered pj bottoms, and a lavender t-shirt with Christmas trees, I appreciate the freedom of comfort.  The top is long sleeved, and since its a bit cool, I think they look perfect together.  :)

And when did I get so particular about toilet paper?  I'm an over-the-top person myself,  but recently in the middle of the night when it was necessary to change the paper, somehow it got on with paper coming off the under side (I started to say bottom, but that just didn't present a good visual image). In the light of day, nothing to do but change it out to the proper way.  Would it have hurt anything to stay that way till the next change-out?  No, but it got changed anyway.

You thought I'd wax poetic about all the days of my life, didn't you???  I know I'm blessed, and I'll leave it at that.

Here are a few pictures from Thanksgiving.

Yes, good eats, the kids playing outside to run off some energy, and a good game of Scrabble at the kitchen table.

Yesterday I met Robert and his family at Red Lobster and enjoyed some shrimp.  I also introduced him to the pleasures of Boggle on my Ipod.

Today I was able to open a package I received from my Birthday Secret Sister over on the HGTV quilting/sewing forum.  This was something new this year, several of us participated and were given the name of one person to send something for their birthday. We had a limit of either $20 or $25, I forget which.  Goes a long way with sales, printing off the internet, and making projects.  I drew Sue B., and sent her package in August.  Sewnso had my name, and I got my package Friday.  It was hard to wait till today to open, but it is!   The patchwork pieces in the top photo are mug rugs, which are over-sized coasters to hold a snack and cup or glass.  The embroidered garden piece will find it's way into a garden quilt/wall hanging I've been turning over in my mind.  Great thought went into these gifts that are so "me".  Thanks, Sewnso!

I better get around and get a few things done.  Have a good week, all.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

had a nice visit

Nolene and I made it to Sue's last week for a nice little visit.   Always good to catch up, laugh, and eat!  While there, we also got Sue set up with her blog.  You may have noticed over on my sidebar that I have a new listing...Rednecks, Firefighters & Life...well, that's her!  Go by and visit, and welcome her to the blogging community.

While there, Nolene got some knitting instructions from Brenda.  No pictures here, but it was fun watching the leftie learn knitting by mirror imaging Brenda.  And she actually did pretty good.  ;)

On the way home, I got a kick out of one of the trucks we passed.  On the back it said, "Haulin' Liquid Chicken".   It caught my attention....what was it??? Egg yolks?  Chicken broth? 
In a google search on the liquid chicken, one comment said that it was fat rendered from the chickens and sprayed on pet food to add to the nutrition level.  Whatever it may be, it definitely catches your eye.

That's it for now.  Have a great Thanksgiving day, and count your blessings.

Monday, November 14, 2011

happy birthday!

Happy birthday to my sister Sue!  As I mentioned last year on her birthday post, she's better known as Karen to most of those in her life, but she'll always be Sue to me.  Apparently as a little one Dad used to call her Susie Q, and it stuck.

This talented lady has many interests, and writing is one of them.  She's written books (not published yet, but that's a minor detail), done book reviews for a local newspaper, created haiku everyday for a year, written songs, and has always had a way with words.  Oh wait!  She has had a book published!  I forgot about a counted cross stitch book that she put out quite a few years ago.

She's also the one who entered a recipe contest with her Tijuana Taco Salad, using hot dogs as the meat.  She even won a prize.  Third place?  Can't remember, just that she won.  Of course, in her own true style, she never actually made the recipe, just thought it sounded like it might work and wrote it down.

She's been busy the last several years taking care of her husband Troy, and doesn't get out and about a whole lot.  Enter the internet!  She may be somewhat tied to the house, but thanks to the marvels of technology, she travels all over the place gathering ideas and inspiration for whatever project she's working on.  In fact, she's hoping to start a new blog soon.  I'm going to visit her this week and we'll be working to set it up.  Once it's up, go visit her and let her know what you think.  I'll keep you posted, and of course she'll be in my sidebar listing of links to other blogs.

So happy birthday, sis.  Carpe diem!

Monday, October 31, 2011

the making of "who's there"

When I started the Scraps to Treasure challenge, I had a few sketches made out.  I thought about me looking over my shoulder at various squares in my life.  That's squares as in quilt blocks, not people.  I'd have some broken dishes, bear paw prints, and who knows what else.  Then I thought about making a fence, and how fences make better neighbors.  That didn't quite gel.

Then I saw the Spring 2011 Quilts and More magazine with Mr. Owl on the cover.  I used the owl portion of the pattern, but the rest of what I came up with was mine.  I knew I needed a background for him to sit on, and I wanted it to be on point.  We weren't allowed to use the 6" blocks without them being cut in some manner, so I did half square triangles.  I then appliqued him onto a branch on the background, and added a border using one of my focus fabrics.  (We each had sent in 6" squares from two fabrics, enough for all the people involved in the challenge.  Of the two fabrics we sent in, we were allowed to add extra fabric to work with and I think it was 1/2 yard. That's  what I'm calling my focus fabric.)

Once he was stitched on, I worked with my layout, and wanted to incorporate other animals into it.  On the first round of rows around him, there's a raccoon, some geese flying in the sky, ducks on a pond, deer, and some bugs.  To bring a little more nature into it, I also put in some floral elements, leaves, and trees.
Then I played with some arrangements of getting it squared up as the center panel, taking pictures to see what I liked.
Ultimately I chose a single strip for the corners in the center of cream fabrics.  Those single strips, one in each corner, had butterflies, a bluebird, wheat, and a flower of some kind.
With those in place, I added a border at the top and bottom with my second focus fabric.

My next thoughts were that it needed more length, to be a rectangle rather than a square.  I had other fabrics that had to be incorporated into the quilt (we're required to use at least 2" or 2.5" of each of the squares we were given), so I gave thought to a dresden plate, possibly one at the top and one at the bottom.  Again I played with the layout.
Eh, that wasn't doing it for me.

Then I thought, how about cutting the dresdens in half?  I had two, that would give me four, and they could go in the corners.   That's what I did, and here's the final result.
The idea of these Scraps to Treasure quilts is that they are to be donated to a charity.  As some of the others have done who have grown attached to their quilts, I will either be making another quilt for charity or making a monetary contribution.  As for Who's There, this will be going to Elise.  She was my original inspiration for the owl since she has her friend Owlie who goes everywhere with her.

So that's it.  I see another scrappy quilt in my future, it's been fun.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

ah, it's been a week

Have I got an "old into new" theme this week?

Elizabeth had a birthday.  We went out to lunch on Monday, and it's always good to spend time with this woman who happens to be my daughter.  How does old into new fit in?  In her I see a bit of me, but in a much shinier and brighter, newer if you will, version.  Happy birthday again, daughter.  (The picture is from Elise's birthday.)

I went shopping for some new shoes this week.  A couple of years ago I was gifted with some really comfortable shoes, and they now have seen much better days.  So I got some new ones in the same brand.  Continuing the theme, although it is a stretch, I took another look at my old shoes and decided with a good polish maybe they could make it a bit longer.  Maybe not new looking, but an extended life none-the-less.  No pics available, but they turned out fine and will still be serviceable as knockin' around shoes.  (Yes David, I can picture you rolling your eyes over that term, but there are those of us who understand what it means.)  :) 

And last, I entered a quilt into the Scraps to Treasures challenge over on the HGTV forum.  Everyone was given the same sets of 6" squares, and we were allowed to add a certain number of squares and fat quarters from our stash (hence the "old"), with the challenge to create a quilt.  I'm very pleased with mine.  Though it didn't place in the categories of Use of Color, Best Design, or Viewer's Favorite, it did get the write-in award!  Take a look at "Who's There?". 

If you're able to click on it and enlarge the photo, you can see of course the owl in the center, and in the surrounding row and corners, other critters or birds.  Fun project, and I look forward to doing it again next year.  To take a look at the other entries, go here.

Have a good week everyone.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

quilting stuff

Where does the time go???  Blink twice, and another week has rolled around.

I went to a quilt show in Gainesville (TX) Saturday at their civic center.  I really liked the size of it.  There were several rows of quilts to look over, and vendors set up around the perimeter.  Gainesville is about 90 miles from here, and made for a nice little Saturday drive.  I got a couple of patterns, an older magazine that's not in print anymore about miniature quilts, and a few fat quarters.   The larger quilt shows are nice, but I like the flavor of the small town venue.   Here's a sample of what they had to show.

There was also a Texas theme redwork.  Following it is a close up to see more of the detail.

They only have a show every other year, so I'll have to mark my calendar for 2013.

Friday night there was a tutorial over on the HGTV quilting and needlework forum, this one on making fabric postcards.  It was taught by Gonesewin, who also happens to be one of my on-line Scrabble buddies.  Several years ago I tried my hand at the postcards, but wasn't pleased with it.  This class helped simplify it, and I'll probably make a few.  This was my class project.  Of course there are areas that will improve with diligence and practice, but I think it's cute.
And in the bright idea department, I came up with the idea of getting a pocket protector to use in a purse pocket to hold pens and pencils.  99 cents for three of them, heckuva deal.  For years I've carried a purse insert that had all the little pockets and compartments, but it was a bit big for this particular purse, not to mention it's wearing out.  Sorry, no picture, but I think we've all seen pocket protectors before.

Oh, and before I forget, these are the patterns I got in Gainesville.  They're by JudyDidIt Designs, and my patterns came from Barb's Quilt Nook, Etc shop. They'll be cute little wallhangings.

Guess that's it for now.  Have a good week everyone.