Monday, December 31, 2007

It’s New Year’s Eve…I’m up at 4:30 am. I’m definitely going to need a nap if I am going to make it till midnight. We’re going to have a quiet dinner at friends. Probably won’t even make it till midnight.

I’m in good spirits. I played with fabric all afternoon yesterday. Granted, it was just folding, but I filled my cabinet that I’ve been planning on doing since September. My Magazines, books, tools, thread and fabric are all in one place. Maybe tomorrow I can share a photo.

December 31st is a time to look back and reflect, but after you realize the lessons you’ve learned, leave things in the past and move forward. Here’s a gift to friend that will be opened this morning.
It’s a great movie for a Quilter (and my daughter). I had a copy of the book but book is no longer printed. I found it on a used book site. It said excellent condition, $2.00. Don said, “It’s only two dollars, if you want it, get it. Take a chance.” Well, the outside cover was torn in about five places and the hard cover had a bad spot in it. I was totally bummed. But a “miracle worker” of a friend at work took the outside cover and some scrapbook paper and with scissors and glue made a beautiful new cover. Even Chelsey said, “ Mom you should keep this one and give yours away…” But there was something about a handmade gift and the story of the hands that touched it ----- I knew it had to be shared. I hope she likes it.

I hope everyone has a safe evening and New Year to follow. At the very least, I hope you have a needle and thread in your hands…
Happy New Year…

Friday, December 28, 2007

I finally turned the sewing machine on.
I put together my Sunday School craft for this weekend. I’d like to take credit for it but KC Quilter gave me the idea. I just tailored it down to make it easy enough for 4 year old kids to make. It's a Hershey's candy bar on the inside.

I’ve made a pact, no quilting until I get my junk moved into my cabinet that I’ve had since September. You know how it is, Working full time—there’s always one more project to complete before you take a break.

What the game plan for the weekend? We have dinner plans with friends New Year’s eve, but it won’t be a late night. And there’s always laundry to catch up on.

I better head out to work.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

I’m typing to Christmas music and the quiet hum of the dishwasher. Christmas lunch is complete. The presents have all been opened. I even have new quilt fabric sitting next to me. Definitely a wonderful Christmas.

Last night we were talking about the Christmas meal. I announced that I thought I’d make place cards to match the dinner dishes. Chelsey first laughed, “ Mom, don’t be a dork--- there’s only four of us.” Then my darling 19 year old chimed in, “ Well, Chels, we might not know which chair we sit in, so we may need them.” Yeah, OK, I laughed too. Then I laid in bed last night thinking of holidays and traditions of past Christmases. And I decided that dorky is exactly how I want to be remembered, so I got up early this morning and made everyone a place card attached to a candy cane.
And switched everyone normal seating at the table. If anything it made conversations of “I like your chair better”, “Wow, you can see out the window while you eat.” I think I do it every year from now on…..

Ransom got his share of gifts. Here he is in his Christmas outfit.
I live 1200 miles away from relatives, but our Christmas was special just the four of us.
And I never felt closer to distant relatives—they’ve called and emailed us throughout the holidays. Holidays are what you make them. Stressful, sad, peaceful, fun, memorable….. you don’t always control the cards your dealt, but how you play them … makes the difference…..

I hope everyone’s Christmas lasts longer than just today……

Monday, December 24, 2007

Here’s hoping your Christmas is truly special and all your wishes come true. From our own Covered Porch with the Wooden Screen Door…..
Merry Christmas...

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Documenting the first of my four day holiday--- It was wonderful. I received a gift from a friend on Friday.
I think she knows me pretty well.
I have just about memorized the New Zealand quilt magazine already. I have this thing about old keys. She gave me a rubber stamp of an old key along with paper stamping ink and Santa Claus Kleenex’s.
I feel like my Christmas has been pretty special.
Today—what did I do? Absolutely nothing….Chelsey and I played with the new stamps and ink in our PJs till after 9am. I picked up the house a little and Don and I went Grocery shopping and a little furniture shopping. Just stocking up groceries as we are scheduled for a snow storm after midnight. Chelsey had to work today, but we didn’t want her driving, not knowing when the storm would hit. So we picked her up after her shift and took a nap. Naps are great. After we got up, Don the kids and I did experimental cooking. Practicing for Christmas, we made a test round of Stuffed shrimp, tons of laughing and picture taking.

I better close. It’s 37 degrees outside and I have a pot of coffee going. Ransom and Don and I are about to have coffee and sit outside on the Covered Porch.
It’s dark now and the tree on the Porch is just beautiful. As we drive up at night we can see it through the woods. Don has it set up on a timer and it welcomes us home when it gets dark so early. The temps will be dropping soon, but we’re all snug at home.

Friday, December 21, 2007

It’s Friday – and I hit another deer on the way to work. This one tore the bumper apart and ruined the fog lights. That’s why you have insurance. I’m trying not to dwell on the fact of how much quilt fabric could have been purchased with the deductible. I’m a deer magnet, what can I say….

Quilting gifts that went out the door yesterday. Here’s the first, a journal and book.
I also threw in an extra sewing machine foot that I had for free motion quilting. Lord knows, I’m not a pro with it, maybe she could put it to good use.

The 2nd gift was a gift bag filled with ribbon spools and pecans for a girl at work. When things go bad at work, she’s been there to talk to.
But she’s understanding and a great sounding board. It wouldn’t be Christmas without remembering her.

Chelsey got Saturday school which 5 hours on a Saturday in a classroom for studying. That’s a lot better than a suspension. I hope she’s learned a big lesson from all of this.

Game plan for the weekend—my office party tonight. It should be fun. Then four days off of work. I plan on sleeping late, watching old movies, baking goodies, and listening to tons of Christmas music. We got a snow storm forecasted for Saturday night/ Sunday--- bring it on---I’ll have everyone tucked in at home.

Lots of tension at home. I don’t know if it’s holiday pressure, the weather, Illnesses going around or what. I’m hoping the next few days allows everyone to slow down and have some “by them-self time” and some family time too. I think it will fix everyone’s feelings…I’ve never considered us a really “sensitive” family, but we all seem to be wearing our feelings on our shoulders.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Favorite bird…. Without a doubt is the chickadee. We have scores of them up here and somehow they survive the chilling temperatures. I’ve heard stories of people training them to eat out of their hands. I’ve never gotten there, but I can watch them from the feeders for minutes on end. I have a wallpaper border with chickadees; I even have Christmas dishes with chickadees on them. My friend is just as crazy about them. I was wandering through the grocery store and stumbled onto note cards with the tiny bird on them. I dropped the cards in my buggy and they became a “Friendship” gift to a friend. I scanned in the page before giving the box away. Now I’ve been playing with the idea of a postcard. Here’s the ‘work in progress”.
I’m thinking about ¼ inch buttons for the eye, but it will have to wait as we have no fabric store in town and Wal-mart doesn’t specialize. I haven’t done any stitching on the prototype yet, but I’m kicking around using that invisible thread and a tiny zigzag stitch. These postcards along with the others were going to be Christmas cards… now becoming New Year’s cards.

But If I get under time constraints—they’ll be “Just because” cards. Life just happens that way…

The quilting portion of this post is done. Anyone not interested in a testimony on life can click on. As a parent I find every day the task only gets harder. I have a 17 and a 19 year old. In my opinion they are good kids. Not perfect--- you may have perfect kids--- but they are good kids. But I’m the one that seems to be continuing learning lessons on life. I got a call from Chelsey’s teacher yesterday—she cut a class. You’re probably grinning right now--- remembering the time you did the exact same thing. Hey – I did it. But she wrote a note saying she had a doctor’s appointment and signed my name. She had called me early in the morning…”Mom, I cut 5th hour. I’m sorry I’ll never do it again, but I took care of everything ok?” I busted her chops and said, we’d talk about it when I got home from work. It never occurred to me how she took care of it. Now the teacher is calling—she cut the class on test day, (a class that she has an “A” in by the way) and lied to cover herself. I didn’t cover for her. The hardest thing I’ve done in a while. She has to learn there are consequences—we find out today if she gets suspended or not--. Her Dad has put healthy penalties on her at home. She’s just so busy, she’s not thinking of consequences or the depth of the wrongs she’s done. And I want to make this all go away with a band-aid and a hug but she’s almost an adult and you can’t. In life, you have “integrity” calls—she’s got to realize that. (Am I trying to convince you or me)?

She’s a B student, she has an after school job, active in school, There’s no drugs involved--- I need to count my blessings. One day, when’s she’s thundering away in a courtroom, or Speaking Nightly news on television, or maybe lecturing in front of a classroom, we’ll laugh and remember when… But from a Mom’s point of view this has been the toughest one in a while. It’s incredibly hard letting your kid fail—it would have been much easier to cover for her…

Why am I writing this down? One day God will give her three daughters and she will look back and remember this, but from the other side of the fence…. Or maybe one day I won't be around to cover for her and she has to learn to think things through on her own...

Monday, December 17, 2007

As cold as it was Sunday morning, my heart was warm because left in the mail box Saturday evening was this angel from a quilter.
The gift included bake potato bags handmade by her also. I smile every time I glance at this Angel resting on my fireplace mantle.

I wrapped up my Christmas sewing over the weekend. Pictures will come soon. Eric is home…. Down with the flu. These college students stress so much during finals, their defenses lower and they come down with something. I was always the same way. I don’t think I ever took a final without a cold. I ran 102 degree fever the day before I got married. I just don’t do “stress”. Neither does Eric. At least he’s home. The doctor’s appointment is at 2:45 today.

Don’s off of work for the next eleven days. Vacation time he has to use up. Soooo, I have a wife at home this week…. Every woman needs a wife.

Primitive Gatherings displayed a picture of the finished quilt, A Primitive Garden… pretty spectacular I think.
I’m glad when I started this block of the month, I never saw the completed project… I don’t believe I would have been brave enough to attempt it. Now, every time I look at it I think--- Wow, I’m going to have a quilt just like this one.

The weather has been cold, but the winds have been calm, so Ransom and I got in our walks over the weekend.

I haven’t had much time for journal reading, but I do hope we all can slow down now, as it is one week until Christmas and appreciate the holiday.

My Sunday School Kids were Wonderful in their program--- ‘O Christmas Tree’ was never sang so well.
Sunday Lunch with my Kids and their dates--- I love a full table.
Packers were on top this weekend----

Monday, December 10, 2007

Monday Morning---My Christmas Shopping got started and finished this weekend. We went to Green Bay Saturday, and anything we couldn’t get we ordered online Saturday night. Presents heading to Louisiana will go out tomorrow. The Bear Family Quilt went to its new home. It was the first project to quilt on my new Grace frame. Here’s a snapshot.
While it wasn’t perfect, it felt great to send the quilt on its way. And I have no doubt, it will be loved.

Here is the latest completed block of the Primitive Garden. It still has the extra edging strips for "hoop room".
I was determined not to like this one. Just looking at the pattern it didn’t “jump“ out at me. I even skipped it a couple of months to work on other blocks. But after completing it, it’s one of my favorites. Over the process, I can tell my appliqué skills have improved, along with embroidery skills. Practice is everything I guess.

I made a big pot of soup yesterday, watched football after church, and did a little more decorating. Eric will be home Wednesday, so I want everything organized.

We’ve got two Christmas parties this week. Next weekend My Sunday school Class has their Christmas program. I’ll have 12 4 year olds singing in harmony 'O Christmas Tree'. I ironed their costumes while the Packers won their game yesterday.

Chelsey goes through phases of not hanging around home. I guess she's over it, because we met “the new guy” this weekend, and he even watched football with Don while Chelsey worked on homework. Nice kid.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Just like my kitchen snowman--- I love this time of the year.

Tuesday I received gifts from Nicolette. She made a gift for a family friend that has beaten the battle, hopefully, of breast cancer. She also included presents for me. Aren’t quilters the best?!?! I received these ornaments… Chelsey wants the heart for her car….I don’t know if I’m sharing. I also got four fat quarters for My Journey quilt basket that is on the list to be completed after the Primitive Garden. She also included Chocolate candy that my family devoured before I could get a snapshot….They all swore she was their best friend….

The Christmas quilts are out, but with me being out of town, I kind of feel like Christmas is catching up to me. We have a Christmas party to attend tonight, and a trip to Green Bay tomorrow. I’ve pretty much accepted the fact that my shopping must be completed this weekend, either on our trip or on-line to allow for shipping. Today, I’ll make the lists and get the game plan down. Sunday, I’ll finish decorating except for the Christmas tree, which we’re waiting for Eric to come home.

I did pick up a new ornament when I was in Louisiana. It’s a sleigh trimmed with pinecone pieces. I’ve found it’s true with most quilters, every ornament means something. You just can’t go to the clearance rack and “stock up”. Sure, you can go to the clearance rack, but the ornament a Quilter picks most of the time tugs at their heart.

Warmer temps--- it’s been –6
Eric’s coming home on Wednesday

Thursday, December 06, 2007

There’s no place like home--- even with twelve inches of snow on the ground. I made it home missing two separate snowstorms. I got to Louisiana about 9:00 pm last Wednesday. By the time we got my luggage it was ten o’clock when we made it to the doorstep of my folks home. There was gumbo waiting on the stove. With strict orders from my Mom not to eat ‘airport’ food, I settled in to being spoiled by my Mom--- when the entire intent of the trip was to look after them. I felt pretty guilty Saturday shopping comfortably in 80-degree weather while Don and the kids were battling blizzards. My folks are doing great. We decorated my Mom’s tree and got most of her shopping done. We baked together and read cookbooks cover to cover. She’s a neat lady. Dad and I watch football every time we could find a game on. I was ready to come home, but I’d like to visit them again in about 3 weeks. I’ll see them in May when they come up for Chelsey’s graduation. There’s always way too much time between visits.

My Mom took me to a great quilt shop, Priscilla’s Quilts. We pinched on everything in the shop. I had always wanted an Australian quilt magazine. So, that along with four fat quarters that were calling my name came home with me. There were several magazines to pick from. I chose this one because of the quilt of the front that said, “Do one thing each day that makes you happy.” Definitely got to incorporate that into a quilt.

Quilting—I had some really long layovers coming and going on the trip so I packed up the Primitive garden blocks and took a chance. I brought fingernail clippers to cut threads. I walked up to the check-in desk and was totally honest- “Guys, I’m a Quilter and I’ve got long layovers, May I bring a needle on the plane to quilt with?” They asked, “Knitting Needles?” My response, “No, an inch long sewing needle.” They smiled and said, “sure, no problem.” Well… I appliquéd up a storm, completed one block and halfway completing another. I didn’t have time to cut out tiny flower petals, but I got every piece I brought appliquéd into place. I’ll have pictures real soon.

I’ve spent the last few days, unpacking and catching up at work. Everyone has been great. If everything was perfect while I was gone--- they wouldn’t need me, so there were a few bumps, but nothing we couldn’t handle. Ransom survived, sleeping on the floor by my bed the night I got home. Don and Chelsey did great.

Safety while traveling
Having people miss me—it’s a great feeling
Snow—the Christmas season has come to the U.P.