Saturday, January 21, 2017

Favorite books of 2016 and Life in General

We've been having another winter storm here on the Oregon coast.  Four and a half inches of rain in 2 days! Today is one of those BIG OCEAN days!  In between downpours that we can't see anything through .. the waves are crazy huge - slamming over the sea stacks we see out our window.  The waves have even gone over the top of Rainbow Rock Island several times.  DH and I are glued to the windows, calling out where to look quick!!  I won't be getting much done today, just saying!!

You know those women that only enjoy a certain type of book?  A mystery lover, only romance or only historic fiction.  Me neither!!  And I am certainly not one of them!!f Although I notice I enjoyed a lot of Science Fiction this year.

I have an old fashioned Ledger book that I write down and rate the books I read. The current Ledger was started in 2003.  It's full and falling apart!!  I also have an Access spreadsheet that goes back to 1985!

I rate them because - when you're in the doldrums, can't find anything good to read, you can go back and find the ones you really liked (4 stars) and then see if that author has written anything new!

In 2016 the **** books were:

Flying Changes by Sara Gruen
About a Jr Equestrian Star now that she is grown up.  Sara Gruen always tackles the issues that we think about how to handle.

Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz
Fascinating story of a SciFi spy who helps people.

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald
Imagine you have a pen pal from another country.  You've been invited to come for a visit, but once you get there, your penpal has passed on.  But she's made arrangements for you to stay ...

Dies The Fire by S M Stirling
SciFi, but near future end of the world story that takes place in the Great Northwest!  I enjoyed this book which is the first of a series by the author.

Saturn Run by John Sandford and Ctein
I love John Sandford - all 3 series he's written.  This is different!  SciFi - 2066 and an alien  space ship has entered our solar system.  The race is on to capture the new technology.

This Is Not A Game by Walter J Williams
When online games and real life interact.

The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth (5*!)
A 38 year old woman is slipping into early dementia. What is left when your mind is gone?

Extreme Prey by John Sandford
In this, his 26th Lucas Davenport series, well the legend lives on.  I love his series (plural) I've read every one and most of them several times!!  If you haven't discovered John Sandford yet - start now!! Rules of Prey is the beginning.

I'm finally feeling like myself after my l*o*n*g bout of the Respiratory Flu I got before Christmas.  I still am fighting a little cough - but at least I have my energy back most days.  And all that laying around, when I wasn't just vegging, I was planning quilts!!  So I have been on a mission to work on some ongoing projects that have been in "time-out" too long!


Our guild quilt show is over Memorial Day weekend.  We've had less and less hand quilted quilts to show.  We eliminated the size restriction so I finished a 'bunk bed' size UFO with the aim of hand quilting it.  DH is gone for a week in two weeks and I plan to frame it and quilt on the frame as far as I can get.  If I'm not done before he gets back, I'll baste it and continue quilting in a hoop.  I'm hoping my hands hold up!

I sent out the "Christmas Leftovers" fabric post cards.  I think they went by Pony Express - but they have finally arrived.  I always collect the debris left Christmas morning - and fashion a thank you note out of it for each of my children's families.  Dumpster diving at it's best!?!


Here's a great picture my daughter took during all those snow days in Portland this month.  The new game in Portland was "Where's Meg the Dalmatian??"

The cul de sac we usually play ball and ride bikes in!



That's it for now.  Go read some good books, get going on quilt projects you have figured out something for.  Or sit in front of the window and watch nature where ever you are!!








Saturday, January 14, 2017

A little bit of this ... a little bit of that ...

The storms are over for a few days, the sun is out, the seals are back on the rocks, all is well.  I'm finally feeling more like me - that respiratory flu I got was a bugger to get rid of (knock on wood!)

This year was a very busy year.  We took the older Grandkids to Disneyland; I went to Road to CA at the beginning of that trip.  Then, in the fall, I went to the Houston Quilt Show and on a Sew Many Places Quilting cruise ... it was a crazy, crazy year.

Note on links:  Some links have more than one quilt discussed.  I linked all the quilts to that same page.  So read the entire entry you're linked to - you may hear about more than one quilt on this list ... then you can skip the links to that same page.

In 2016 I managed to finish 5 bed quilts; 3 throw sized quilts, and 4 various sized wall hangings!  Plus, 15-20 pillowcases; 8 receiving blankets; 8 pj pants for kids; 6 Christmas stockings and 23 fabric postcards!!

Bed quilts:  Plaid Double 9 Patch QOV
                   My son's College Graduation quilt
                   Yipes Stripes KINGsize quilt for DH for Christmas (see below)
                   Mr K's Big Boy Bed quilt - very well received!! (next time)
                   Mr D's Kindergarten SuperHero quilt

Throws:      Baby quilt for new Great-great nephew
                   Two Disney throws for the Gkids who went to Disneyland
                 

Wall Quilts: Mini Fragmented quilt (see below)
                    Guild Traditional Block Challenge
                     Bayshore Red and White Bento Box challenge (kids quilt)
                     Say Uncle Wool on Cotton Class Project (ribbon winner!!)
                     Dancing in the Moonlight - Barbara Shapel class project
                     and a Woolies Stitch Along Totebag

I got 2 ribbons at quilt shows!! But only read 50 books this year!! More on favorites next time.  I was apparently too busy to read(?) or at least too busy to keep track!  AND I lost weight!  Not as much as hoped, (as if!) but a move in the right direction - I'll claim it!!

Here is the Double 9patch QOV 19 fabric pieced back! Bless my QOV quilter - she said it was fine, she didn't mind at all!

 

Somehow I didn't blog about the Mini Group Fragmented challenge.  We each took a design and fragmented it - handing the project off to the other members to make a part of it.  I'd seen a wall quilt of SF with a line of buildings on you know where (Pinterest!) and I loved it.  I adapted the idea to our condo units sitting on the point above the ocean.  It was a challenge in many ways! It took a village!!


Here's the finished Bento Box Red and White Challenge. Newport has a very active charity project and this quilt went to the Child quilts portion.


Oh the fun I had collecting stripe fabrics with white backgrounds.  Years and years of visiting different areas of the country and shopping with quilting friends ... let's just say it was a million dollar project!!  I saw a stripe quilt on Red Pepper Quilts - I think I started collecting stripe fabrics the very next day!  My DH loved it when he saw the top.  I asked a Long Armer friend to baste it for me and she talked me into just letting her quilt it.  I was going to quilt it with my walking foot.  It was big - 110 x 110 and I think my harp is 10"!!  Thanks C for the great quilting on it. Below is the top on the bed - checking for size.  The color is better in this photo than the ones of it done.  Cheerful - and reminds me of a lawn chair!


Below - finished and on the bed - look, a pillow tuck.  That maybe be pretty 'retro' these days, but is anyone else tired of stacking pillows in shams every night and putting them back up every morning??  Yes, I know it doesn't sound like a hard life ... but I'm glad this one is big enough for a pillow tuck!


Folded back so you can see the simple curved quilting and the surprise stripe on the back.  You'd think I would have used extra squares - but there weren't enough!!  So I had to actually cut more stripes from the leftover fabrics to get more to make one row 110" long!  Totally worth it though, it makes me smile every time I see it!


I have to find my favorite pictures of Mr K's big boy bed quilt.  AND I have to get back to the sewing room.  I'm a woman on a mission this weekend! I'll be back with more tantalizing details of Life in General!! (tee-hee)



Thursday, January 5, 2017

Happy Belated New Year!!

Welcome 2017 - Rainbow Rock Beach style



I'm back among the living ... barely!!  I was sick over the holidays.  Sorry kids! I was at their houses before it really hit.  It all started with a 3 day headache - which is most often a sign that I have been exposed to cats without knowing it! (Yeah, welcome to my world!!)  So I didn't think much of it.

Then a hacky cough added itself to the mix.  And then we were off and running (nose too!)  We came limping home early on the 27th, whereupon I went to bed and didn't do much of anything until yesterday??? The 28th was our 44th wedding anniversary.  We sat in our jammies and watched two DVRs that we like! Not the celebration we had planned! During the week as I tried to get over this, I watched alot of West Wing - Season 5 and 6; and read 5 library books!

My DH and DD had a clue when after dinner on CHRISTMAS I disappeared into the guest room and went to bed!  But, moving on, getting over it!!  (I heard you laugh - you're right, that's not my strong point!!)

We have not had the weather tantrums here that the rest of the nation is not enjoying!  It came close - below freezing and snow up the mountains ... but supposedly a week of rain is coming and we'll feel just as put upon as all of you.

I love lists at the end of the year.  I met Deborah Boschert at the Houston show.  She's a modern quilter with a few books out.  I really like her style, she's easy to talk to and very knowledgeable!  And she likes lists too!

She sends out a email newsletter that's interesting and fun to read.  This a link to the latest edition (I hope!) Because she doesn't just email what's on her blog.  There should be a 'join this list' somewhere within that email.


Here's some of the lists Deborah posted: Atlantic Magazine's Best Podcasts of 2016. I followed a few podcasts a couple of years back.  Serial and Jillian Michaels and of course, TED.  But I got out of the habit of listening ... There are lots of possibilities on this list that might just put me back in the habit.  Anyone out there have a favorite Podcast they recommend?

Here is the National Geographic's Best Photos of the Year.  Definitely worth scrolling through! It's always good to see the best of the best!

And last AND the longest!!  Vulture's List of Lists Worth Reading!!  I hadn't heard of Vulture:  Devouring Culture!  Website lists TV, Movies and Music.

You'll have to wait til next post for my list!  I love to look back over the year, projects, books, and Life in General!

Resolutions - I've always been a big fan and like many can usually use last years for this years!!  My favorite received from a friend "Gain 15 lbs and read trashy novels!!"

While recouping, I've been looking over past years' blogs, diaries, to do lists!!  Last year I wanted to lose 44 pounds.  Well, I lost 10 altogether.  That's progress, I don't feel like a total failure.

Everyone in blogdom seems to be on the "word or phrase" of the year for 2017.

So my phrase for this year is:  Enjoy my life with steady progress!  I tend to be a "all or none" type A personality!  Driving myself and all around me nuts!!  Part of that is living with things that I don't have time to do or complete now, so I don't do them at all!  Or over-eating restricted foods all day because of one bite earlier??

Well, this last month I decided I didn't need the entire condo in perfect condition.  I did have the time to fix those things that were really bothering me. And it worked!!  I didn't have the time or the weather to clean all the windows but I COULD clean out the window tracks.  I didn't have time to do all the woodwork, but I could clean the louver door in front of the washer/dryer alcove. (And a pox on the person that decided louvers were the way to hide washer and dryers! Lint and louvers = not good!)

I don't have time to sew all the 35 pillowcase kits I cut for the Million Pillowcase Challenge.  But I might be able to sew 5 at a time??  I cut kits last fall when I was clearing out stash. Then missed the Work Day at Guild where I was going to be Tom Sawyer-ish!

This new way of looking at things seems to be working well. Especially as I recoup from that flu.  Not enough energy to do much, but I can walk two laps around the parking lot. (about a 1/2 mile).  I'll keep you informed as to how it's going.  What are your hopes and plans for the new year??


Here's a behind the scene picture of the fabulous DH writing 2017 on the beach for me.  I took a 1/2 mile walk earlier as well as some cleaning.  There was no way I was going to be able to get back up our 'goat path' to the beach if I went!  So DH to the rescue!!  Thanks baby!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Raindrops on Roses and ...

Do you recognize the song?  "My Favorite Things"  And that's what I'm going to talk about today.

We lived in a good sized house in Nebraska.  And I L*O*V*E Christmas!  And just think how many really, really cute Christmas decorations there are!! Multiply that by 44 (adult) years! And I didn't buy them all! - And quilters can figure out patterns and methods.  Alot I just re-created!  AND then came the greatest enabler of them all - Pinterest!!  I'm just saying - opportunities exploded!

Of course, when we moved we downsized, downsized and downsized - I gave alot of Christmas goodies to family and friends.  Sold even more at the garage sale.  Even dropped alot off at the thrift store. But there are favorites you just have to keep!

Our little condo is just chock-full of Christmas!  Here are a few of my favorite things!


Our Nativity Scene - I bought this right after we were married from a church supply store I worked by.  I loved it.  I thought it was the loveliest one I'd ever seen - and 44 years later, I still think so!  It used to sit under the tree, now it's on top of the Barrister's Bookcase full of quilts.


I asked DH which of the decorations was his favorite - and this wall quilt was it!  I made this from an Heart to Art pattern in one of their many Christmas Books.  When I was working on it, DH looked at the cut out shapes and wondered why I was making 8 tiny schnauzers pull Santa's sleigh.  They do have the same body type!  And yes, that is hand embroidery around the center!  It's made to be a table runner, but I (we) like it on the wall, where you can see all the details.  That is one of the 'tips' of living in a small condo - take down the pictures and hang your seasonal wall quilts in their place.


I love Heart to Art patterns.  Cute but not too 'cute-sie'!


I love this wall quilt - found it on Pinterest!  I made the center for my favorite Christmas Elf.  A good quilting friend that was our Christmas party chair for years.  I liked it so much - had to make 'one for me'!!  But it was too small for the space I wanted it in. I just happened to have a bazillion tiny log cabins, so I sacrificed 20-some of them to bring it up to size. The most unusual thing about this little lovely - I finished it the same year I made my friend's!  Ok, lets be honest - how many 'one for me' projects languish at your house?? Yea, me too.


The bookcase is full of Santas and Christmas card pictures thru the years! And Christmas tins!  I used to have dozens of tins - but just since we moved here - I kept only as many as will fit on the bookcase!! (kind-of!)


Mom loved to write things out with Alphabet blocks.  I collected them too and wrote "Merry Christmas" and "Happy New Year".  DH said, "Where's my sentiment?"  And what would that be??  "Bah, Humbug! of course!!"  So now every year both our sentiments are on the shelf!!


I miss Prairie Schooler.  They retired last year? And I collected their yearly Santa for decades.  In the beginning, I made each Santa religiously!  Then we hit a design I didn't really care for - and you know you had to make them in order!!  So I developed quite the backlog. 


One year I pillowed at least 7 of the them!!  And the downfall was it was easier to do them by batches!  At least you remembered how you did it!!


The second Santa from the left was supposed to be growing Pointsettias, but sunflowers were popular on the prairie - so I [gasp!] changed it!


And although they have oh-so-much-detail they do not have any nasty half or quarter stitches! YAY! I love their eyes and rosy cheeks. I'm sorry to say, I have another backlog of stitched Santas to pillow.  And they are the cutest ones!  Sewing Santas!  Sigh.  But now that the design series is complete, maybe I can talk myself into getting busy! LOL!  The rest of the year they are at the bottom of the To Do list and December is way too busy to do them!!!  But, if I can find them ... this could be the year!

My good friend C has her name on these!  Otherwise, we both fear they will end up at a thrift shop!!! A quilting teacher once said, don't give your best quilts to your children.  They will sell them for a lift ticket!! They grew up with them, they usually don't cherish them appropriately!! There's a little truth in that, even with the best children!!


STOP THE PRESSES!  Look at this great idea for hanging stockings!!  I have two of the low, heavy brass hanging 'platforms' with an adjustable curtain rod between them!  You slide the stockings onto it, space them out evenly and you have space on the mantle for things other than stocking hangers!!  What a concept - add stockings at will! Much easier than finding or collecting (or dusting) stocking hangers for all the stockings!  Thank you, Pinterest!!

We needed stockings the same size as I made for the kids.  We couldn't expect any stocking stuffers if we didn't have clearly marked Christmas stockings.  So I made "Beach Nana" and "Beach Papa" and one for each grandkid to hang at our house. We pack 'Nana and Papa" every year and take them with us on the Christmas trips.  And although we really don't behave that well, there is always something in them!!  Yay!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Beware, there be Christmas Cookie Monsters ...

Anyone else baking cookies?  This was the weekend for us, DH was 'home' and not out on a golf course!  I need his help with the cookies.  Mostly to be a witness so I don't eat all the chocolate!!

There's a list ... and you don't want to forget any type of cookie. The family is not amused!

 



One of our most popular are the Hershey Kiss cookies.  I use this recipe that uses Bisquick and Condensed Sweetened Milk.  Yum!  This is the main reason the chocolate needs to be guarded!  DH is always in charge of unwrapping the kisses.  I tend to use the '1 for me, 2 for the pile' method!  Miss P told me today NOT to forget the kiss cookies!!  She's 10 but I think it was a real threat!!



Last year the poker group DH plays with got addicted to Chocolate Almond Bark covered pretzels (with sprinkles!)  I melt the bark in the microwave.  Start with 2 minutes; 15 second intervals after that until melted and smooth.  Throw in a handful of pretzels, stir around until covered.  Using a table fork, tap, tap, tap against the side to get the excess chocolate off.  Then sprinkle with sprinkles while still wet.  The boys were seriously addicted - I had to refill the tin until SuperBowl!!

When the kids were little, GJ, a good friend, and I baked cookies together every year.  It was great fun, and we had to giggle on many occasions!  One year we made mint fudge.  When I got home, my teenage son immediately got into the container and did quality control.  "Hmmm, mom, the mint fudge is as good as usual. (insert pause here) Umm, mom, have you ever made this before??"  The answer was no!

In Newport I was lucky enough to make cookies with S - this woman is a force to be reckoned with!!  We had such fun that when a neighbor just happened by, she grabbed an apron and joined right in!  It was like a sweat-shop kitchen, but fun!!

I always make Graham Cracker Peanut Butter Acorns but instead of covering them in Chocolate Almond Bark, I only 'cap' them. They look like a reverse color acorn.  Darn cute.  Make the balls bite-size because we kids tend to put the whole thing into our mouth.


Lately we've added an "old family recipe that just happens to be on the back of the Craisins package!! Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies. They are so delicious I actually bake them at other times of the year too!




  


But the newest on the hit parade is the Nutter Butter renditions.  I've made the Santa Face, but this year, I also found a reindeer and a snowman! Too Cute. I have found out that melting the bark in a mug works well.  It keeps the bark deep enough to coat the beard easier.  And there's penguins!


Ho, ho, ho!!  ... You may want to employ your own guard for this Season!!



Thursday, December 8, 2016

Busy month ... Ho, Ho, Ho!

A quilting friend is a 4th grade teacher ... she wanted to have them make little stockings for presents for their parents.  Who could resist 21 captive little quilters-to-be??  Let's just say it came up quicker than expected.  I did the prep work since I don't have papers to grade!  I redesigned the little stocking because it was odd looking!  Everyone knows you have to have equally round toes and heels!! I cut out stocking guides - and starched the heck out of them!  So much that I feared black lung disease!!  I cut strings from donated fabric.

We were all set for string piecing with donated school machines. It went great!  14 of the 21 have cute stockings hanging in the classroom. Tomorrow is the last work day, there are rice krispie bars waiting for the celebration when the last stockings done!

But my To Do List has been put on hold. Speaking of "To Do"s ...

What are your feelings on Christmas letters?  I like them! ... within reason! I write a half page of information with a picture taking up room on the top.

Here is this years:  The names have been deleted to protect the little rascals ... but I added a few more details, since I can stretch the page into infinity (and beyond)

 

Happy Holidays from the Boyds
Hope everything is well with you.  Life continues to speed by.  We've been on the coast for 8 1/2 years.  It went by in a flash. We are still amazed every morning looking over our ocean view - meals on the deck, weather permitting! And yes, we are having the start of a 'normal' rainy season right now. 

We're proud to announce that A graduated cum laude from Nursing at SOU last June. His entourage was there to cheer his walk. He received his RN, passed the Board and was offered a position in the Hospital Pediatric Unit, where he did his Clinical rotation.  Congratulations, A!!  WTG!

In January we had a great time going to Disneyland with J, L, P & M. Star Wars Jedi to fight, Princesses to meet and roller coasters to conquer. 9, 7 & 63 are great ages to visit the Mouse!  

The week before Disney, I went to Road to California, a quilt show in the LA area. DH came down, picked me up and we took a long (golf) weekend in Palm Springs.  We ate at Sherman's Deli everyday, yumm! Drove back to Disney, met the kids - and a great time was had by all.

DH has enjoyed many golf outings throughout Oregon and California this year, his game is in great shape (or was until the rain started)!  In November, I was able to take my second Quilting Cruise with friends from Lincoln and here.  I highly recommend Sew Many Places/Craft Tours for any quilting outing you'd like.  They plan everything within an inch of perfection and it's always a good time. 

This cruise on Liberty of the Seas was smooth sailing all the way.  The only time I was queasy was the morning after the election!  Tee-hee!

We got to attend the Houston Intl Quilt show too!  We were newbies and the show was "Fantabulous!!"  Really!  BUT -  is it possible to feel jet lag a month later?? Feels like it!

The grandkids continue to grow way too fast.  Miss P is in 4th grade she plays the drums and is starting Y basketball next month, Mr M is in 2nd grade, he plays the keyboard, builds Leggo sets for 14+ (he's 8) and loves baseball and football. Mr D is in Kindergarten this year and is learning by leaps and bounds! And Mr K, age 3, loving pre-school and busier than ever keeping all of us on our toes! 

We babysit, travel to watch sporting events and play games with all of the above. We play games together, we read books by the dozens, we share treats!! We're glad to even just hang out with them as often as possible. Life is good!!

Wishing you and yours the best in 2017

Here are the 3 Christmas Postcards I made this year. They were great fun.


Message was "Quilters all over the world are preparing for Christmas sewing.  Hope the elves turn up this year!"


Message was  "Run, run, Rudolph.  Gotta get some sewing done!"


Some of these Santas went to post office employees.  Message was "Ho, ho, ho!  Even Santa knows he doesn't work as hard as you do! Thanks!"

That's it for now!! Merry, Merry!!


Sunday, December 4, 2016

Small Town Christmases ... the best!

Small towns often get bad publicity but there's a lot to be said about them.

You don't have to signal your turns, everyone knows where you're going.  There's not much to do in small towns, but what you hear makes up for it!!

 Although I basically grew up in Lincoln NE, our neighborhood was really like a small town! All kids in the neighborhood hung out together.  All parents took care of watching out for everyone. Nobody needed a "block mom safe house" sign.  They all were safe houses.

We were probably in 6th grade one wintery day.  We walked 7 blocks to the 'corner store'.  And we bought candy cigarettes.  Remember them??  Then we stood on the bus stop and pretended to smoke, blowing out "smoke".  We all knew how it should look ...

15? minutes later we walked into my house and my mom said "I heard you were smoking on the corner!"  We screamed with joy and did the equivalent of 'high fives!'  Of course, I had to turn my pockets inside out and prove to mom that they were just candy, but she didn't really think that I would smoke.  Still don't!!

One of the joys of Brookings is the light garden set up in our Azalea Park for the Christmas season.  We went tonight after a movie.  It wasn't raining and it wasn't too cold!!  Win, win!

I haven't been for a couple of years.  Last December was extremely rainy!  But it was amazing!  At least 3x the lights that I had ever seen before!  AND for an extra donation you can get 3D glasses!  Totally worth it!  Just don't try to walk with them on!

We have a small chapel on the edge of the park.  Very popular for small weddings.  Elmo Williams, a famous movie director, built it in honor of his wife.  You can see the Brookings lights down in town in the background.



There were saluting toy soldiers and whales spouting on the green in front of the concert bandshell.


Elk grazing


Yes, I do believe they covered every tree with lights.  The paths were lined with marquee lights.  Very helpful. 



Many arbor tunnels to walk through.


A shark

 AND for an extra donation you can get 3D glasses!  Totally worth it!  Just don't try to walk with them on!

Here is a section viewed with the naked eye ... wait for it ...


 The same view through the 3D glasses!  Absolutely Psychedelic!!



The view from the top of the hill.  Happy Holidays everyone!!