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!!

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!