Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas to all...

December is always a busy month, and this one is no exception.

I've mentioned the Twelve Days of Christmas swap I participated in, and we've now finished opening and are able to post pictures, so here we go!

First, these are the gifts I made...luggage tags.  I got to stretch my wings a bit because I've not sewn on vinyl before.  I learned the trick of putting tissue paper on top of the vinyl to sew, because it would stick otherwise and not feed through.  I also used quite a bit of my scraps of binding!

And here's the first set of items I received.

The lotion and blue coin purse were from Catwomn27; the Dear Santa wallhanging from Angelinamor; the bookmarker on the right from DJillM; the bookmarkers in the center from Gemsq; the gray cell phone holder made from a tie is from LanaR, along with a page of her favorite recipes; and the pincushion with snippers in the center is from Fleur53.

Here's the second set received.
Starting in the lower left, the box of note paper is from Nylirose; the 4 potholders from Quilter Chris; the pin cushion is from Ely (if I'm guessing correct, made from a tuna can!  I only know because I held onto 5 or  6 tuna cans for several years thinking I'd make one and didn't).  The blue covered notebook is from PatriciaAnn, and the 2 mug rugs are from Margie.
This cute little thread holder came from Luvthosequilts.  It came a few days later than the others, so it got its own picture.  For those of you not familiar with thread holders, they hold the snippets of thread you have, whether from doing handwork or machine work.  Kind of tidies up the work area.

Its nice to see the creativity these ladies come up with in making small little remembrances for next to nothing.  My kind of people!  I'm sure I'll be doing it again next year, along with several of the other ladies.

I also used directions from a PJ party class on journal covers, and came up with a few.  We had a class on the same subject a few years ago, and those covers came out well, but these were quite a bit simpler. 

I don't get the opportunity to watch Rhett and Ashlynn a whole lot, but I did a week ago when Robert and Angela went out.  It was nice to be able to spend some time with them.  We went to Rosa's Cafe for a light dinner.
Last night the kids and grandkids came over for our family time.  Unfortunately poor little Ashlynn got sick on the way over and Angela took her home, so she didn't make it into the pictures.  She's doing better today though, so hopefully it was either something she ate disagreed with her, or a little bug.

Elise and I made some shaped sugar cookies Saturday night, and the kids got to get their hands into decorating.

And Lily gave a concert to display her skill with the violin.  Fun!

After presents were opened, David helped Rhett make sure his toy was working properly.
And this year I decided to give myself a present, and got a KitchenAid mixer.  Anyone who knows me knows I don't cook a whole lot, so it's a bit of a stretch for me to have this, but after borrowing Elizabeth's to make the cookies, I was hooked.  I was really impressed with how it whipped the cheese balls together!  Here I am with a slicing attachment, playing with it a bit.  Still on a learning curve, the bell pepper wasn't a nice clean cut...but I'm still impressed.  :)

December is also a good month for working puzzles.  Elise has gotten big enough now that I feel comfortable working them in the living room when I watch her during the week.  She's turning into quite the puzzle person!  I'm glad she enjoys them.  You can see her little monkey there in the corner.  He helped too.

That's it for now.  I hope you have had the opportunity to fully appreciate all the blessings in your life.  At this time of year when we celebrate the birth of Christ, we can also celebrate each other.  Merry Christmas!

And to all...a good night.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

you ask who cares...well I do!

Elizabeth gave me a nifty little book (well, she may have loaned me the book) about blogging. 
Its a good little book, so this is not a criticism at all.  However....

I made the most delicious meal yesterday!   I told you I'm in the 12 Days of Christmas swap.  Well, in one of the packages I opened she included a page of her favorite recipes.  I tried her roast recipe, and it was so good.     Note:  proper credit will be given to her at the end of the swap...I'll come in to edit this.  Editing to add:  Swapper LanaR was the cook! 

"Using a chuck roast, use A1 sauce to marinade in (I do mine for several hours), put into a dish and cover with a package of Lipton onion soup mix and a can of mushroom soup.  Cover and cook for 2 hours at 350.  When I do it mine always takes longer and I uncover it.  It is so tender and good!"

Now I modified it to the extent that I put it in the crock pot (and I always use Pam spray on the crock to make clean up easier), and added maybe 1/2 soup can of water.  Oh, I also am not a fan of mushrooms so I used cream of celery soup. 

When I bought my chuck roast, the store didn't have any small packages, so my $11 package was cut into 3 sections and I have 2 in the freezer.  I still used the full can of soup and the full package of onion soup mix (store brand) for the gravy.   Since I cook for one, I didn't bother with sides.  Instead I had an open-face sandwich on toast.  I'm sorry there's not a picture to share, but I was ready to jump in and start eating!

So there you have it.  Even though the book says no one cares what I had for lunch, I'm taking a chance and telling you what I had for dinner. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

a tisket, a tasket...a basket!

One of the ladies over on the HGTV quilting and sewing board posted directions for a little gift basket.  Way cute.  One of the other ladies then posted a picture showing about 20-something of them she made to give as little gifts.  Of course that triggered a "hmmmm" response!

I made my initial basket according to directions, but it was a bit big to suit me.  So then I took the other lady's suggestion about making them smaller, and used 6.5" squares instead of 10.5" squares.  I'm really pleased with the results.  I think my 3 little neighbor girls might be the recipients of these with some Hershey kisses as the treat inside.

Oh!  I think I mentioned that I made some items for the Twelve Days of Christmas swap.  Several of us each made 12 things and sent them to a coordinator to swap out and return.  I got my package the other day, and today I got to open the first one!   Actually, Elise helped me open it.  :)   I can't post pictures of the opened packages until everyone has opened, so that will be about Christmas Eve.  In the meantime, here's what I have tempting me. 

Also over on the HGTV board, they recently had a PJ party class on journal covers.  I really like her method of making them.  I made this one and I actually got it a tad small, but I'll continue to use it until I get another one made now that I know what I'm doing.  We did a journal cover 2 or 3 years ago, but this was a much simpler method.
So what are you working on these days?

Monday, December 3, 2012

peace of mind

I've learned over the years that peace of mind matters.  This past week I've been trying to put that into practice.

First, I was cleaning out the lint trap on my dryer, and a little piece of paper fluttered in.  Naturally, it was not something I could get to easily.  Having heard  in recent months of fires that have been caused  by dryer and lint related problems, I knew it needed to be taken care of.  Knowing I don't have the physical agility to climb over the dryer and maneuver around enough to disconnect the hose, I called in some assistance.  Don was here the next day, and in short order he had removed the hose and pulled out the little piece of paper.  We talked about cleaning out the vent pipe, but he's not equipped to do that.  The hose itself was really quite clean he said, so for now I'm comfortable with it the way it is.  He did give me the name of a service person that can do the vent cleaning, so that's a good thing.  I didn't know how it would be done, but Don explained that generally its done externally, with a vacuum being inserted through the vent up on the roof. 

While I was in the service mode, I also called my heating and air conditioning guy.  Lately when I turn on the heat, I'd hear a gurgling in the drain pipe.  Looking it up on the internet, I saw that's a common occurence, so I wasn't unduly alarmed.  I went ahead and had Jason service it, and now I'm set for the Winter.

And my last project is in the works.  You may remember I posted about a problem with my smoke detectors going off in the middle of the night awhile back.  My neighbor James is an electrician, and he's going to get everything back to proper working order.

Yep, peace of mind.  Can't beat it.