Saturday, December 3, 2016

Christmas Past

One thing about having an Advent calendar - you have to get it out by now so you can start it!  And although I don't have an official Advent calendar, years and years of having one makes me an early 'decorator'.  Usually it's the weekend after Thanksgiving ... but I'm lazy this year!  I did get it up and running today! But pictures haven't transferred to this computer yet.  Hopefully we can look at them tomorrow!

So Christmas pictures are our topic.  It's hard to get good pictures at Christmas - everyone is so excited, they are often a blur.  Last year Mr M streaked thru the family photo!!  There he is in front of Rick and me!  He's fast!!!


Here he is with the Rudolph nose.  If you can find one of these light-up noses.  Buy it - we had so much fun with it!  Create memories - don't worry that it's hokey!!


Here is Miss P's first picture with Santa - slept right through it!  


The second year was not as perfect.  Nope, didn't like the looks of Santa, not at all!!


Here's Mr D, looks like he's ready for a nap.  There's a live reindeer in there too!


Mr K on Christmas Day.  Mommy and Daddy giving him a kiss.


Mr M was 1 month old here.  I think he'll grow into that beard!! Eventually!! 


Now here's a blast from the past - My son and daughter with Santa in Stromsburg Nebraska!  Santa is definitely Swedish there! As I recall, L was perfectly happy to sit there - until Santa said something.  Mom to the rescue a few seconds after this was snapped!



 And even further back in time ... Me, mom and my sister N. I'm definitely keeping my eye on Santa! Sucking my thumb while I think about it!




The memories just flow at Christmas - whether you're looking at pictures or just going down memory lane in your head.  Good times!







Thursday, December 1, 2016

December 1st - Reckoning Day???

December is sneaking in oh-so-quietly ... but soon, well, you all know how fast the month can go!  There are check lists; even advent calendars to help us keep track of how many days remain.  We still lose track.

The tv commercials are getting cuter - it's hard to fast forward through them on the DVR!!!  And of course, there are movies coming to a theater near you!  It can be hard to keep your eye on the Christmas bulb!

I was going to talk about past Christmas memories and decorations that remind us as we set them out.  But my DH just pointed out that the Halloween wall quilt is still up in our main hallway!!  It IS a darn cute quilt ... but I have no idea why it is still hanging there!!!

So lets talk about advent calendars.  We had a lovely one, with velcro ornaments that I very carefully arranged so each child had equal numbers of characters, and the child who got to move Rudolph didn't get to move Santa too!!!  I don't know if my two children noticed how evenly divided the characters were, but I don't remember very many fights about it either!

Last year my oldest Grandkids and my small sewing circle worked on a "Random Acts of Kindness" advent season.  I found a lot of suggestions on Pinterest (YAY Pinterest!!) and it was fun.

You can find a calendar here and here!

One I remember taking extra pleasure in was being extra kind to the PO clerk after someone in line before me threw a hissy fit!  AND I didn't kick that person in the shins as I left either!

So, this month, I'm going to be blogging more often; and hopefully tomorrow I'll have found some past photos, gotten some Christmas decorations out and taken down that Halloween quilt!!!  It's time!!  See you then!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Welcome to November

Never mind the usual 'how did we get here?'  Face the facts that November is upon us!  And if you're chowing down any leftover Halloween candy ... walk away from the bowl!!  I fell into that paying our rent, for goodness sake!!  Everyone wants you to take it off their hands - but seriously, think about where it's going to end up - do you want more there????

I'm flitting around like a moth to the flame today.  Piles and lists everywhere!  I leave tomorrow for the Houston International Quilt Festival.  My first time!  Yep, a newbie!!  And I'm super excited and nervous!  Don't worry I'll calm down - HEY! I heard that snicker from NE friends!! Stop that!

We signed up for some lectures and the Friday Roundabout(?) not sure about that name - where there's a room full of people demonstrating!?  It was fun at 'Road to CA' last January.  Hopefully, we've built in enough time to see the quilts too, I hear there are a few!!

We're lucky enough to be staying where friends from Newport are.  And they will have been there all week - I'm going to pay attention to what they tell me not to miss!

THEN - sound the trumpets - we leave on our Quilt Cruise!! Sew Many Places, Jim West, proprietor, organizes the most wonderful cruises!!  Two years ago I got to tag along on a cruise with M, my friend in NE.  It was wonderful, we were spoiled and kept just busy enough.  I've been dreaming of another one ever since!

U and P from here in Brookings are joining J, from Lincoln and me for 7 days on Liberty of the Seas; stopping at Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Jamaica!!  With quilting on all the days in between!  It's going to be heaven, I'm sure!  I will be off the Net, so you'll have to wait for all the details. And everyone join me in the "no hurricanes" dance!!

We babysat up in Portland last week.  DD and DSIL were in Austin for a HR conference.  DD was involved in that and DSIL went along for an "anniversary" trip.  I think they had a really good time.  The three dogs were all at the kennel (I'm allergic, no way I could stay there SIX days with them in the house.)

It rained everyday, so DH wasn't golfing, but two days after school we were able to play in the cul d'sac.  DH really loved the spontaneous 'Papa's Baseball Camp' with all the kids of the neighborhood joining in! Nana was out-fielder.  Those wiffle balls can go along way!!

The only surprise was when the school Halloween party switched to Friday instead of Monday when everyone was back.  P wanted to be Hermoine to M's Harry Potter.  Hermoine has curly hair.  P does not!  P has awesome hair, long, thick and very straight.  Just like her Mom and Nana used to have!!

I swear I was up to my elbows in mousse!!  We did curler rods; more mousse, hair spray and curling irons.  Any curls lasted about one hour!  Oh well! Welcome to my life!! It's only frustrating when you try to get it to do something else!!


 

I don't wear makeup, and my DD took hers with her - so when it came time to draw on Harry's scar ... not an eye liner to be found!! (Do you know how much they cost at the grocery store??  Good grief!!)  I used a washable marker!!  I did go over it three times ... but couldn't bring myself to use the Sharpie DD suggested!!

Their house is a wonderful, caring madhouse usually.  One night at dinner we were all busy chewing and P remarked, "I can't believe how quiet it is!!!"  Us neither!!  I'm betting it's not quiet now!

A sneak peak at Halloween in Oregon!!


M and P ready for some candy!!


K as Batman - too cute!


J with the boys - hmm, wardrobe change, two little animals!  I like it!



Monday, October 10, 2016

Time to fling

In Ripples, a weekly message that uses quotes, came this gem!

It's not the thing you fling, it's the fling itself.  Chris Stevens (Northern Exposure)

And oh boy, I had fun flinging this weekend.  We had our carpets cleaned this month.  So a large percentage of my sewing space was boxed up and put in the deck storage closet.  I was not looking forward to bringing it back in - but it's vital to do it before the winter rains start! And they kind-of started off this week!

And DH was off golfing and the sun was shining ... And if not now - when???  

OK, just a moment to commiserate with other 'golf-widows' about the fall. Don'cha just hate hearing "this may be my last chance to golf ..." weekend after weekend after weekend?? A 'last call' that goes for months!!  I usually just smile and wave good-bye until it gets close to Thanksgiving then I make him stay home at least one weekend a month!!!  And then, of course, when the weather finally shuts it down, he's home all the time!!!  Good luck to us all!!

I was determined to fit the totes and boxes back into my allotted space ... not just jammed where ever and laying about in piles on the floor this time!!!  I flung and flung!!  I made 35 pillow case kits (for GKs and Million pillowcase challenge)  One of our local stores is sponsoring this charity. She hand delivers them to an Oregon hospital and the director comes out and thanks her personally AND sends a thankyou note!  So we are gung-ho to support them!

Then I gathered and stuffed a PO box jam-packed full of blocks (and block sets) that do not thrill anymore!  I am going to mail them to a Stashbuster in Iowa who turns them into charity quilts.  They get to get out of the closet, be used, stop feeling neglected and go out into the world! Consider it 'sub-contracting' your work out!!

Our guild is ALSO having a "Brown paper bag for $1 - $3" fund raiser this month.  So I wrapped and priced tools, fabric, books and other interesting things for that sale.  Ironically, I flung a large roll of brown paper to a teacher here in town just last month!!!! Isn't that always the case ... you finally fling something and then find a use for it shortly after!!  But I found I can live with that! (I cut up grocery bags for the wrapping!)

This sale is one of the first Guild efforts that I won't be tempted to bring home more than I take!!  I'll miss the meeting - we'll be in Portland babysitting!! YAY!

There are a few other things that are set aside for friends that are interested!!  A group of Row by Row patterns, that I've been saving for no apparent reason! She can pick and choose what she'd like to add to her project - just don't give them back to me!! Thank goodness I don't buy Row by Row kits!!  Yikes!

And some plastic zipper bags that set my skin wild!!  Does anyone else have trouble with that sticky heavy plastic they make project bags out of?? I'd much rather use a zip-lock! Or one of the grid bags that feel normal!

It's always a good thing to work on the old sewing space, a "clean out" project like this just before a Quilt Show!!!  Now if I can just repeat to my self at Houston ... "I need nothing, I need nothing ..."  I did manage to fit fabric back into the cubicles but there is not any room to spare!

Fling, flang, flung and oh boy, can I see a difference!!  

Of course, I did find a few loved but neglected UFOs in there.  Some that were quite expensive and still not worked on!!  Sigh - oh well, I'll consider it job security!!  I'll be able to pick and choose; working on one, putting it back away and playing with another one for years to come! Trying to keep the 'glass half full' in mind!

N - my friend in Texas has two habits that I need to immolate!  She doesn't buy any fabric that she isn't going to use within a week. (Of course, she doesn't live on the edge of the earth with no shopping around, - just saying!!)  I could work with a month time period??

And this year, she's working on a challenge to bring all UFOs to a flimsey!  For those of you not 'in the know' - this means complete the top so it's ready to quilt. Figure out the problem that made you stop working on it.  Finish out the idea while you can still think of it!!

Believe me, there were some blocks that were completely forgotten in the black hole that is my sewing space.  And it's no fun, sitting there, flummoxed, wondering if it's even your project!!  Where did this come from? What was I thinking?  Was I high on M&Ms???

Here's some other things I think about!!




Don't you love this little face!  Let's hope they never get over that feeling. "Yay, Nana's making me a new quilt!"


Page sends out a heart every Monday in memory of someone she's lost.  I love this heart.  


Guess what - the fresh cranberries are here!!!  Get out the Cuisinart - it's our duty to make cranberry chutney as much as possible until the cranberries are gone!!! (Dec - Jan, if we're lucky) Ready, set go!!


We've been having low fog roll in.  Not covering the entire world, as usual, but picking and choosing!  Here is it surrounding Goat Island.  My friend P lives on the other side of it.  She could only see a wee bit of the top!! Probably only 2/3s showing from my side.


I did manage to finish the Halloween PCs for this year.  I love PCs and of course, I love getting them in my mailbox.  I do several 1-on-1 exchanges with a quilting friend in Texas.  And join in 3-4 exchanges each year.  I used to do oh-so-many more, but have learned to slow it down!  This pumpkin was clip-art on the web.  And I picked a spooky text fabric for the background.  Remember spreading the newspaper before carving??



I love that 'spooky' edging!!  And I like to add some back art to my postcards.  I hand sketched the bats (yes, that is what they are!!!)


And here is my 'self portrait' from this summer!  Love the grey hair??  And although I do not make many modern quilts - this fabric just cried out to be used for this!!  I loved it - and managed to hide my hips at the same time!!  tee-hee


PS - Have you read any quotes lately that rang a bell??

Happy Halloween - or as the witches say, 
"Season's Greetings, Dearie"!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Busy, busy, busy!

I had the best intentions of writing twice a month - ok, I thought I'd write every week!!! But - late again!

Life has been busy here - let me think why!!  Nope, I've got nothing!!  And that's retirement all over!

But here's what is new!

I was Queen of the UFOs (again) and I managed to finish an OLD UFO - Moon Dance, pattern by Barbara Shapel.  Dancing in the Moonlight is 18.5 x 47 inches!!  This was a workshop we held oh-so-many-'moons'-ago!!  Mine had developed quite the 'elbow' in construction so it was in time-out all this time!!

Queendom was speeding toward me and we voted it 'most likely to be finished in time'!!  I ripped out the offending seam and resewed it to be straight.  Then started to machine quilt it.  I used my walking foot for all that I could. And then bit the bullet and started free motion quilting.  It was a good size for free motion - not too wide.  I echoed lines, I drew turtles, I followed lines in the fabric and then I really had fun with the "beach" segment.  I quilted in things I've found on the Oregon Coast. Starfish, kelp, and a Japanese Ice Tea Bottle that washed up after the Tsunami!!  That was amazing to find!

Why do I fight free motion quilting? I make excuses and find busy work to keep me from it ... does anyone else do that??  I've taken classes, I've watched demos endlessly AND I've done it before.  But apparently it's not my favorite - ever!

But the key is to just DO IT!  Finish the quilt and then wash it.  THEN you can look at the stitches!! Washing it gets rid of the strangely shaped curves, the eye-lashes and any tension problems. Almost anything is bearable after washing!

My other secret - shhhhh - about getting quilts to hang straight is put a sleeve on top and bottom.  Every time you walk past it hanging, you give the bottom dowel or curtain rod a little pull-down.  Wet it if needed and you can always add weight to the bottom.  I use an adjustable curtain rod in the bottom sleeve and hang mugs on each end.  In an emergency, I've been known to put soup cans in the mugs!!!  Go ahead and laugh - but try it, it does work! That sucker is straight in no time!!

I also made my first official facing with this quilt.  I can't believe I haven't ever considered this finishing technique in my 42 years of quilting!!  I also can't believe I've been quilting that long!! Wow!  But I just don't do many art quilt designs that need it!

First, I looked it up online, watched a few Youtube videos, and finally found an tutorial from Silly BooDilly, a blogger. I probably combined some of the information, and it worked out fine, was fairly easy!  I do love how the quilt looks - what do you think?

  

Here is Dancing in the Moonlight and details of the 'beach' portion.  Upside down!!  The photos aren't really working with me today - so I'm just going with that one!!


Now, not quilt related - here's a picture of Miss P and Mr M on the first day of school!  Ready for 4th grade and 2nd grade!!! And, gasp, I actually got the picture sent to me on the first day of school!!!  WhooHoo, Linz!  Doesn't my daughter take awesome pictures?  Lots and lots of experience!!

Mr D started Kindergarten this year and the GKids always get a new quilt to celebrate that!  For the last few years, Mr D has been about all things Superheros.  We even had to talk him out of his cape on occasion! But mostly we just let him wear it!



In the past, I incorporated a drawing by the GKid to add to the quilt, but Mr D wasn't interested in drawing.  So I tricked him - had mom and dad send me a hand tracing and I made a Batman with it!!!  I thought it was super cool!  Also below is Mr D wrapped in his quilt - and honestly that wasn't staged!!  And a picture of the label.

There are many thoughts on labels.  The only one universal is LABEL IT! There's embroidery, there's sewing machine alphabets.  But a few years back, I heard that since so much is automated these days, it's important to use your own handwriting - just to have a record of it!!  So since then, I've been writing my own labels with fabric dye pens and Pigma pens.  I kind-of like it!




Other events in my life these days include walking on the beach at low tide; going to Crescent City twice a week for Water Aerobics; TaiChi twice a week; sewing and reading books.

I did have quite the shock this am.  I got up at 6:15 and it was still pitch-black outside!  What???? When did that happen? We are headed to the dreaded short 8 hours of daylight days ... always hard to take.  I could never survive in Alaska!!

Oh, did I mention Mr D told his dad he didn't like SuperHeroes any more??? Sigh!  He was a gentleman when he got his quilt - was excited and loved it.  We think the statement was because Mr K - 2 years younger, now loves superheroes! 

PS Nana doesn't have a "Return Policy!!!"


Saturday, August 20, 2016

Dog Days of Summer ... already????

Only two weeks of Brookings outdoor pool water aerobics left??  .... how the heck did we get here???  I hate to leave the outdoor pool - you feel like "Iron Woman" swimming outside every morning!  And we have had the nicest summer since I've been here!  More sunny 8 am mornings than ever! Yay!

We've been busy since we took the gkids back to Portland - including going back up to Portland for a visit!  Here are the highlights of the summer!


We had a special session of Tai Chi in the park.  28 people turned up!!  It was fun to do Tai Chi under the trees  but you forget that the ground isn't a floor!  It was lumpy and bumpy causing some missed steps and boo-boos.  Still a really fun Saturday morning.


We had a 3 day sweatshoppe.  And you wouldn't believe how much we got done!!  U was making log cabin blocks for a QOV.  And I'm showing off Mr K's Big Boy Bed Quilt!!  It was a free pattern online.  I was a little nervous about the stripes going across the quilt - they are pieced.  But it turned out darn cute.  You can find the pattern "A Day at the Zoo" here.

Last year mom died 3 days before my birthday.  While I think of her often, I'm glad to say all us 'girls' sailed thru the anniversary with grace.  Last year I was on my way to the Newport Quilt Show when I flew home for the service.  This year I was at the show with good friends and I'm sure that helped ease my day.

Newport puts on an awesome show.  I was helping at the set-up to learn their secrets! And those women ran circles around me!!!  I want to be them at 70!!  So better start working on it now!


My friend J a SouthBeach neighbor and I share a birthday  (on the right) .  So when I'm in Newport for the show - always the first weekend in August - we get together to celebrate!  We 'lunch' at Local Ocean on the bay.  This year she showed up with a surprise - S another neighbor and friend joined us!!  It felt like the Three Musketeers were together again!  Thanks, gals - what fun to see you both again!



AND I got to bring home "Founder's Choice" ribbon from the show.  What an honor!  I'll cherish it forever!  It's on my "Say Uncle Bouquet" wool flower bouquet. Here's the back story on this favorite quilt.


This is the silliest sign just North of Florence!  I always giggle as I picture 'woolie honey' and sticky yarn.  I'm sure that isn't the case, but ...


We headed to Portland to meet up with a golfing buddy of DH.  B & DH enjoyed three days of golf and evenings out for good food and conversation. And I enjoyed spending time with Miss P and Mr M in Portland. And shopping of course!! One afternoon we had castle drawing time!  Miss P's castle features a watch dog and piranhas in the moat!! Beware!!


Here we are - ready to celebrate all of our birthdays!  I'm in August, DH and Miss P are September and Mr M is in November.  How did we celebrate?? On a very HOT day, we're headed to Lion King!!



Here we are at the Keller fountain park - so much fun on a hot day!


When I went to a small group meeting - there was a birthday party for me!!  What fun, - complete with a DQ ice cream cake!  This balloon was from birthday celebration from the month before.  Yes, it was still floating!  I was handed it with a flourish, my assignment to bring it back next month!!  After all, nothing says celebration like a limp balloon!  LOL!  Well, I put it in the garage corner for safe keeping!  We'll see!


This week J - an online Stashbusters friend paid a visit!  We had lunch together in Portland last week. And we had a fun day with a mini shop hop, lunch on the deck and sewing at my house.  There was a parking lot show and tell by J; consulting by both and quality sewing time!  See you next time, J!!

I'm the 9th Lady in Waiting for UFO Queen and you know how I hate being Queen!  So we came up with 2 UFOs that might be able to be finished by my coronation!!


Today there was another great birthday celebration for me at Woolies!!  With a over-the-top Costco Chocolate cake!!  This is the first time we've celebrated birthdays in our groups ... I was surprised both times!!  But I'm easily surprised at my advanced age!!!

AND after the meeting, there was a convenient low tide and I headed down to our beach for the first time since the gkids left.  We've been really busy!!!  The log jammed into the top of the cave was still there and the cave was quite tall!  There were lots of  sea weed bubbles to pop!  Oyster catchers and gulls to listen to, and the beach to inspect for changes!  Check!


Someone's been very busy - nice stockade with a "dragon gate"!


Nothing says summertime like driftwood structures on the beach!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Chaotic Summer!

My DD had a work-related scheduling problem the week after Sisters.  She called and said, "Can you come up to Portland after Sisters and handle the kids for a week?  You can stay here, you can take them to the beach. But you're in charge!"  Just what any Nana loves to hear!

Here's what we did!!


After the Davis Cup event, we left for the beach Tuesday morning!  Lunch at DQ and all good travelers get to eat their dessert first!  I texted that to my DD and she said, "Cool, wait ... what???"

We got here, I ran to the store, they went out to throw the football around, we ate, we watched a Harry Potter movie and off to bed!  But thus began the nightly 'football camp' challenges!  We have a staging area in a clearing by us.  Giant mounds of gravel.  Every evening after dinner we went, tried to break our records for the most footballs caught in a row.  Throwing between the 4 of us!  Races thru-out including up the gravel mountain and back!  Who was the most worn out??? I think it was a tie!

 Swim lessons (2 sessions) began Wednesday morning - plus 2 "Open Swims"  Wednesday, Miss P got her bangs cut!  YAY - I can see those lovely eyes and expressive eyebrows!!




We hung out at the beach - this is at my favorite "elbow driftwood" to take pictures!


We forded streams and skipped rocks.


We made Wonder loom jewelry.


More beach rocks to climb!


Surprise - Disney Celebration quilts for these two!  We all went together in January.


Posing for Nana

We covered notebooks; we read books; we watched movies; we ate on the deck; played briefly at the Kid-town; Ate breakfast pancakes at Matties, went to the golf course with Papa.  Mr M put together a erector set-like airplane.  Kit from the Dollar Store!!  And went to "The Secret Life of Pets" (it's very good!)  Saturday we went to the kite festival.


This is one of the best ways to watch the kite festival!  We then made our own kites with their help ...


And flew them on the beach where it is always windy!


Carefully packed them in the trunk and left for home!  Exhausted!!!! Just the way we like it!