Saturday, December 13, 2014

Merry Christmas!


   I wish all my family and friends a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Maybe Christmas, the Grinch said, doesn't come from a store - Dr. Seuss.

I know it seems early to be wishing you all holiday greetings through the new year but that ugly "C" word (cancer) has reared its' ugly head in our family and we just never know what each day is going to bring.  I hope you will all join me in my prayers for my father who has been diagnosed with lung cancer.

I want to thank my BFF's (Beautiful Friends Forever) who have been so understanding of late when I don't have time to call, stop by, return letters, or schedule lunches.  I appreciate your love, understanding and support.  You understand in times of family crisis there just isn't always time or energy.  I love you all dearly!

 I finally managed last Saturday to quickly put up our Christmas tree and I do mean quickly.  I was finished in a couple of hours this year as opposed to the usual 6.  This year I didn't have to string the tree with lights which shaved hours off the decorating process.  I also did not put all the ornaments on  this year.
This is my favorite ornament I own.  It was purchased on a trip to the Tacoma Dome many years ago with my dear friend, Wendie.  It was the biggest holiday bazaar I had ever been too and it was overwhelming to say the least.  I chose one special ornament to purchase and it was quite a splurge for just the one.  It is a day I treasure the memory of with my friend who lives so very far away.

These are just a few of many of the other ornaments that I love to put on our tree.

Yes - I still seem to be able to add an ice skate ornament each year that is different from any I currently own.

The angel wings are in memory of my mom.

I am still working on Christmas gifts and am plodding along fairly well.  I managed to take all of this fabric.

Pieced it together into 14 projects.

Added batting and a backing and quilted them all.  Now I am ready to start my binding on them all.  I must work quickly in order to make shipping deadlines. 

I signed up for the Christmas SAL with Carol at iStitch and up until last night I had managed to stitch each day's design on the day.  An unexpected and particularly long day at the hospital with my dad left me too exhausted both emotionally and physically to pick up the needle.  Tonight I hope to stitch days 12 and 13.  Wish me luck!  It has been nice to have a surprise waiting in my email in the morning when I get up and to complete stitching it by the end of the day.  Looking forward to getting caught up tonight.

I was doing some Christmas shopping the other day and happened upon this adorable bird sitting on spool with needle and thread.  Well at 50% off I just couldn't leave it on the shelf so home it came.

I've been wanting this book for quite some time and it finally popped up on Amazon in the United States at a reasonable price a couple of months ago.  I received it very quickly even coming from overseas and have enjoyed a very quick look through it.  I am looking forward to when I have a bit more time to really check out the projects and how they are constructed.  I get to use my crochet hooks on some of the projects.

I will try my best to post again before the end of the year with some completed projects but if I don't make it back before 2015 -

I wish you all Peace and Joy!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Oh What A Week!

I took a moment tonight as I arrived home to snap a couple shots of the amazingly bright moon with wispy clouds floating by.  Honestly the pictures don't do justice to how beautiful it is out tonight.  I could sit on the porch and just look at if only I had the time.


I signed up for Carol's ( Christmas SAL.  Starting on December 1 and going through December 24 you will receive a piece of the sampler and at the end of the 24 days you will have a completed sampler.  This year she is stitching along with us so the design is a complete surprise.  I know the end of November she had a few slots left open so there still might be time to participate if you have an interest.

   I've managed to stitch days 1 and 2 on time which with daily trips to the hospital is surprising.  I anticipate a late evening to get day 3's stitching done.  It is really relaxing to sit down and stitch such a small design and have a finish with things being so hectic.

I'm still plugging away on Christmas gift for a friend.  Again disguising the photo so it will still be a surprise for the friend who will receive it.  It is actually stitching up quickly when I do get time to work on it.

These beautiful fabrics will hopefully very soon become some Christmas presents for family and friends.  Thinking a weekend cutting session.

I had a spare 45 minutes yesterday so I did a quick little bit of Christmas decorating.  I put up the little white tree with pink lights that I do in my mom's memory who passed from breast cancer.  She loved the Christmas holidays and her decorations were truly magical.  It is where I acquired my great love of decorating for the Christmas holiday.  I decorated it with things she would have loved and topped it with an Angel.

This little Santa's workshop and white ceramic trees with red lights (my mom's favorites) were made by her.  They are truly treasured pieces for the entire family.
Bill managed to get the outside lights up but I'm not sure when the Christmas tree will make an appearance - maybe over the weekend.

I did manage to finish reading a book.  Yes, I managed to squeeze in my morning workout at the Y and Festive in Death by J.D. Robb was my treadmill book.  I love her series of mysteries with Eve.  

I wish I had time for more but have much more work to do before my day ends.

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thankgsgiving!


Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you all have had a wonderful day with those you love!  I ended up hosting this year's family get together and it was a special one as all members were in the same place at the same time which hasn't happened in a couple of years.  It really was fun seeing how much the little ones had grown and to catch up with what everyone is doing these days.  After watching the report on the Today Show on the Thanksgiving calories consumed I had a plan for eating this year so as not to over indulge.  I skipped any tasting beforehand and I chose only to eat the things I don't normally cook throughout the year.  I came away from the table feeling very good about my choices.  Thankfully my tooth I broke was permanently fixed yesterday so I didn't have to worry about losing an appliance in my mouth while eating.
I made the time on Saturday to cut out and make a quilt as you sew runner that would fit my entire island.  I used up my stash of French General fabrics and lined it with a thermal cotton batting so all the hot dishes could be placed on it instead of pulling out a variety of trivets.  The completed size is 35 1/2 " by 72".  It was the smartest thing I could have done to simplify.  It was so easy to just move dishes around to make room.  I highly recommend making one to use for large gatherings.    I used the tutorial from Missouri Star Quilt to learn the technique.  

I couldn't resist this photo of the sweet potatoes.  They turned out really yummy this year!

You can see the island is rapidly filling up with foods.

This is the "oh the last bite of french silk pie is gone" look.

Okay, so I'll just get cleaned up.

He is either going to take another bite of his pumpkin bar or is going to squish it in his hands.  Tough call as the look on his face says it could go either way.


We had a dusting of snow here Tuesday night into Wednesday night.  Officially I think it was a couple of inches but it seemed much less than that to me. 
It did require a bit of shoveling on my part on Wednesday morning and this morning so I at least got some good exercise.  


Just like my photo taking trip with my SIL that was scheduled in November 2013 for 2014 my shopping trip for holiday decorations with my brother was scheduled in December 2013 for November 2014.  We have been looking forward to it all year and we settled on Monday this week for this year's trip.  We enjoyed seeing so many decorated trees in the shop and there were so many fun snow globes, music boxes, animated decor, and lighted items.  I know we checked out every single item they had as we were in this store for 2 1/2 hours just looking.  There really was a ton to see.

On our way home we pulled off the highway into Pella for a trip to Jaarsma Bakery to pick up Tuesday's breakfast.  It was a sight to behold all the pastries, cookies and candies.   It was a day filled with so much laughter and catching up and can't wait for our 2015 trip.

Well, off to put a few stitches in my current project. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Seasons of change....


We had an abrupt change of seasons here in Iowa.  According to the calendar we are not yet into winter but it sure has felt like it.  We went from the lovely green views to the winter white very quickly.  This snow was early for us and you can see the leaves are still falling from the trees.  It has been pretty cool here (others would say freezing cold) and we have had some tremendous winds.  Honestly there has not been such a thing as a good hair day here in a couple of weeks.  Oh and my hornets next - not going anywhere apparently.


With the changing of the temperatures comes the season of the holidays.  Rapidly approaching is Thanksgiving (less than a week away) and I will be acting as hostess for the family gathering again this year.  The entire family will be together and we haven't seen everyone in one place at the same time in 2 years.  

I spent my day yesterday cleaning house (I know I should wait until after everyone leaves but I just like a clean house to start the holiday) and I am hoping to find enough time this weekend to make a table topper/runner to fit my island.  I've been wanting to do this for a couple of years as it would be so much handier than a dozen trivets out for the hot dishes.  One big runner lined and then can be tossed in the washer for clean up.  I think I will take advantage of the quilt as you go method to make it super quick and easy.  I'm think I'm just going to use a color scheme that goes with my decor rather than novelty fabrics for the occasions.  


There has been a bit more progress on July by Prairie Schooler and am loving the piece.  I hated to set it aside but realizing that Christmas is just a short jump from Thanksgiving I decided I better get started on my gift giving stitching.  I have fewer friends/family to make things for this year with some opting not to do exchanges in 2014.  As a couple of items were already made, I would look for a giveaway to start off 2015.
This is my start on one of the pieces.  I know the picture is not good and I had to do some editing to muddy up the picture to disguise the project.  I wouldn't want the person who will get the gift to see it beforehand - and no I'm not going to tell you who gets this one.  Surprisingly it is stitching up very quickly even though I'm stitching on 48 count at night.  I just love it!

I will get serious on my stitching/sewing for the holidays once I get through Thanksgiving.   Hmmm I wonder if one of my friends'  teenagers would want to earn a few bucks helping me get all my Christmas decor done.  I think it would be worth it!


I will leave you with this poem written by an unknown author.  It is helpful when experiencing a change in a friendship.

Reason, Season, or Lifetime

When someone is in your life for a REASON, 
it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. 
They come to assist you through a difficulty;
to provide you with guidance and support;
to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They may seem like a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met, 
our desire fulfilled; their work is done.
The prayer your send up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They  may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it.  It is real, But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;
things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,
and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

My Recent Days - Colorful, Fun, Challenging, Relaxing!


My SIL (Jodi on right) and I spent a fun and relaxing Sunday afternoon at a local park taking pictures of the Fall foliage.  In all honesty the colors this year are not as plentiful as past years but if you look at your surroundings through a lens you can get some wonderful shots.  Interestingly enough I thought the greens were quite vibrant as well.  The pictures below were taken at two different parks  - Yellow Banks and Ewing.  


My BFF (Rene' who you can see in the next picture checking out the Halloween display) and I managed a day long outing to a town East of us called Oskaloosa (Osky).  We've known each other since the 2nd grade so let's just say a lot of years!  We talked, we laughed, we bought!

I couldn't resist taking a photo of their display of Topsy Turvy mugs.  They are so adorable.  It was close but I managed to leave the store without one. 

Instead I spent my money on a pair of "pricey" ice skate ornaments for my Christmas tree.  You all know I have accumulated over 30 pairs of ornaments for my tree.  Amazingly no two pairs are a like!

Rene' wanted to try one of the new restaurants from the Iowa's Best Bite Restaurant Challenge called On The Green.  We chose to have a lighter lunch of Chicken Tortilla Soup (delicious) and Risotto Tots.  OMG the Risotto Tots were amazing!  When I commented on this on the Challenge Facebook page, they responded that this particular dish was what put them over the top in the challenge.  I can definitely see why.  If you get a chance, you should check out one of the restaurants in the challenge as they are all pretty amazing.

On our way back to the city we stopped long enough to take a couple of snapshots of this Bed and Breakfast along the highway.  Just a beautiful old house!  They don't offer tours but I bet the inside is amazing!


I've experienced a few challenges this week.  While some were taken care of pretty easily I'm afraid there will be some carry over to next week for a couple.  


My central vacuum just needed some new parts in the components that were transportable and at very little cost.  I was pretty happy about it.


I'm afraid my computer crash was a bit more time consuming and costly but still not drastic.  This is one that will carry over into next week.  You wonder what happened - well my computer when you turned it on brought up the Apple logo and just went to a white screen and never changed.  I finally made an appointment at the Genius Bar and an hour into the process I found out that my hard drive was too full.  Who knew you needed to have a certain percentage of your hard drive available based on your storage for your start up software to work.  Apparently I did not!  Another hour later I was able to delete enough documents (freebie cross stitch patterns), movies (just video I took to share what I had done during the day with my son) and photos (did not know that once they are in iPhoto they can be removed from the downloads section as they are duplicates at this point) to get my computer to actually start up.  

It was suggested and as I had wanted to do this for some time I bought an external hard drive to put my photos, music and movies on.  I bought the one with the most storage (2 terra bite) to allow room for growth.  Here is where the carry into next week comes in as I did manage to transfer my photos and home movies but can't quite figure out how to move the iTunes stuff.  Also, before I delete anything from my hard drive I do want to make sure I've really moved it to my external hard drive and how to access.  I'm thinking this will be a much shorter appointment.  Thankfully I did not lose my photos and video of my mom during her last year of life!


My dishwasher is making a strange noise when it runs these days and seems to take a bit longer to run through.  The good news is we have time to shop for something new and if worst comes to worst I still know how to do dishes by hand!


I was out on Friday enjoying a little shopping and thinking my luck might be turning around.  I've been on the hunt for new jeans as I've lost so many inches exercising I have none that fit.  I was so excited that I actually found a pair that fit and a sweater to boot.  I should have known I was pushing my luck as they only had one pair in my size among all the colors and when they checked online in their computer there were no more to be had.  Grrrr!


To end my week of challenges I was eating lunch and all of a sudden something felt different in my mouth.  Yep, you guessed it a piece of my tooth chipped away and is now gone forever.  I was able to talk to my dentist and he gave me tips to keep that tooth safe over the weekend but staff will be calling me with a time to come in on Monday to start the process of repair.  It appears a crown is the fix for this particular problem.  I see $$$$$ flying away!


Through it all I did manage to find some time to stitch, read and rake leaves to keep my stress level down.  

I did reach my goal of having the Halloween Cubes by Primitive Hare stitched entirely 2 days before Halloween.  Unfortunately, I did not have time to do the finish work.  At least I can take my time and do them up right before next year.

I have now picked back up my WIP  July by Prairie School to continue working on.  It is moving along very quickly and expect a finish before the new year.

Well, I think that is enough for today as this post is rapidly approaching short story stage.  Hope you all are still enjoying some lovely Fall weather and not the early snow I've seen in some regions of the USA.