Saturday, November 21, 2015

T minus 33 days and counting .... to Christmas

Where on earth did this year go??  How is it possible that this week is Thanksgiving?

This is the first Holiday season without Mom and I have to admit, I'm not doing so well.  There I admitted it. I'd hoped it would be easier, but I guess it is what it is - I'll just have to buy Puffs Facial Tissue in bulk this year! And try to avoid the Christmas specials and commercials!

Mom loved the holidays - every opportunity for a big production was welcomed.  She calmed down in her later years ... but boy-o-boy growing up, holidays were crazy!

First was Halloween - and Mom belonged to a "Social Club" - the Lenox Club.  Lenox was the name of the street everyone had lived on at one point or another.  Most of the members were family and longtime friends.  Most were ancient!!  Mom and Dad were some of the youngest members! And they had a Halloween party, complete with costumes.  In fact, you hoped your costume was good enough that no one would know who you were!  And I remember some weird costumes, because of course, you had to organize it from your closet or go thrifting for it.  No store-bought or rented costumes ever considered!!  I thought all parents did this! Below is one of the costumes!!  Mom hated that this photo existed - I can just hear what she'd say about being on the blog!! (insert my evil laugh here!)

Then Thanksgiving - the whole family got together, and being a Nebraskan family, the Husker game was always playing.  We planned around a lot of football on TV.  But the TV wasn't on during dinner.  I remember sitting across from my nephew (just 2 years younger than me); because we got into too much trouble sitting by each other! I remember putting black olives on our fingertips and trying to give each other the finger without being caught!  HS age - it was fun!!

Now don't think the rest of us just milled about during the games on TV.  Oh, no!!  There was a planned craft activity, attendance was mandatory - all hands on deck.

There were Mr and Mrs Santas; and I remember variegated crepe paper wreaths - we had to cut the paper in strips, wrap it around a dowel and using a kid's block smash it hard into crinkled curls.  Shiny Christmas balls were added.  It took alot of curls and we had to make one for everyone!!  I guess that's where I got my sweat-shop training!

                                           Image result for vintage sequin fruit

Then there was the year of sequined wax fruit.  Lord help us!!  We had to thread the sequin on a straight pin, then pin it into the wax fruit.  Why or why I ended up with the banana, I don't know - but that sucker went on forever. My fingers were dimpled for months after that.  I don't know why we couldn't hammer those pins in - it would have been easier. I remember just gold sequins on ours.  There is a reason no one does this anymore!

But the piece d'resistance was the turkey carcass breast bone made into a Santa's sleigh!!!  Don't look at me like that!  Ours was glittered!!  My DH told me he really did reconsider marrying into my family after that project was brought up!! (I don't blame him!) And yes, it was stuck into styrofoam!

And Christmas - well, it was spectacular!  There was a flocked tree that children were not allowed to help decorate - there was always a color theme.  Probably why my children always decorated the tree and there was a multitude of ornaments on it.

There was chili and hoagies on Christmas Eve, a tradition we still follow.  That informal set-up is a good plan.  It takes into account those who have to work or travel that day, Christmas Eve Church services, some go early and some go late; and keeps it all casual and welcoming!  But we did open family presents on Christmas Eve.

Then Christmas breakfast.  I remember setting the table watching Art Linkletter's Tour of the Holy Lands on TV???  I don't remember what we ate, but I remember setting up 6 ft long tables so we could all eat together.  Christmas dinner was later in the day so everyone could go to the In-laws and come back.

Here's an assortment of Christmas photos in no particular order!!

Christmas - waiting for Santa to come.  At the farmhouse, I was in HS.  The dogs were always part of it too!

I think this was in our basement on L St.  I was in elementary school. Not pictured.

Farmhouse - the aftermath!!! My nieces.

L St porch on a mild Christmas.  I'm the dark haired girl in a twin set!!  It was the 60s! Very fashionable!

L St basement - must be after Christmas breakfast but before presents. I'm in the red sweater, but don't you love those matching cowboy shirts my nephews are wearing!!  Grandma and Grandpa Grant on the couch.

Everyone dressed up, we were going to church later.  At my sister's duplex house on 33rd! My nieces and nephews with me.

When my Sister moved to Waverly, Christmas happened at her house.  My DD posing with the Great nephews and nieces.

My dad posing with the first Great-grandchildren!

Lined up with our favorite presents!  A little too cold out for adults to come out!

Christmas Eve - I'll grow into those jammies - maybe by next year!

At Farm with our oldest dog - Paddy O'Shea he was brought home on St Patricks Day as a puppy.

Thanks for reminiscing with me. Next time - favorite presents to give!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Tomorrowland movie

Last week we watched the movie, Tomorrowland and found it very entertaining.  It reminds me of our visions of the future in the 60s (when I was a kid).

And with all the special effects Disney adds ... it was great fun.

After the movie I told my husband, I really have to clean out my sewing room, I'm sure my medallion is in there somewhere!

He muttered, "I'm not worried, you're never going to find it!"

And I think he may be right!!

I also read The Martian by Andy Weir - I may be in Sci-Fi mode!  The book was as good as the movie.  It made me laugh out load, which makes it dangerous to read in bed at night!!  Just saying!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Just a brief moment to breathe!!

Today I'm celebrating - I mailed the box to Nebraska yesterday morning!  Inside were the wedding quilt, three doggie blankets and four Christmas stockings!!!  Now it's all up to UPS and I can relax slightly before continuing on my pressing To-Do list!!!

C and I are walking twice a week.  And oh my - we've had some epic "Oh my goodness" adventures!

We went to Cape Ferrelo. A favorite viewpoint.  Walked down to the beach, lost the trail, so ended up guessing wrong and followed a deer path :( up the bluff.  I tripped over a blackberry vine (they are so sneaky!) But the biggest problem is I came down in a mound of blackberry vines!  OUCH!

It was terrible - I had the stickers all over me, and lots in my hands.  No glasses with me, so I couldn't even rest my hands on anything without driving them in further!!!  Then we got to the top, and discovered a very large wind had come up!  Truly, it was Keystone Kops take a walk!!!

C discovered this definition:  Adventure: Something that seemed like a good idea at the time!

I took 16 stickers out of my hands with tweezers.  I was still finding them days later.

Ahh, but other days, it's glorious.  At Harris Beach Park there is a huge tidepool that's hanging around.  Great photo opps!

The tide pool

Path down to the beach

A view point around every corner!

On to quilting business!!  Here are some closeup photos of the wedding quilt quilting - C, my friend called it "Spotlights", I like it!

Quilting done by walking foot.  I don't really like very dense quilting, the challenge is to make it "even" throughout the quilt.

The borders were quilted with one of my favorite motifs - ice cream cones.  Hmmm, one of my favorite foods too!!! Coincidence??  Probably not!

Also in the box - Christmas stockings.  A pair for the new couple and one for their dog!  Dogs can't read, so I just add a picture of a dog on it.  I find all stockings go together if they are the same size.  It's a theory that works for me!!! Don't spoil it!

The stocking that is different is the Caroler that is for my niece - the mom of the groom.  She has this H*U*G*E mantel and there is a caroler for everyone one in the family hanging from it.  I started making them for her in the early 90s!  4 children, 2 step children, then they started marrying, then grandkids started coming ... she doesn't do dog stockings! (Thank goodness!) But there are 16 (hmm, seems like more ...) stockings all made at different times, and they all match much better than expected!! They even hang at the same angle!!!  A Christmas miracle in my opinion!

Three doggie blankies. These started when my sister thought that everyone should get baby blankies and those with only "furry children" should get them too!! So, being the good sister I am, I made them for her for HER Christmas present.  Oh my! Our family 'goes thru' a lot of dogs!!

These are easy - just 2 lengths of dog-ish fabrics, and using my sewing machine alphabet I make a long ribbon repeating "Sit! Stay!  Good dog, (insert the dog's name here)" and applique it on top of the whole cloth fabric.  I sew them together like my receiving blankets with some flannel as batting. They are sturdy - I've only lost one to the dog chewing it up!!! BUT I always emphasize I don't do repairs to dog blankies!!!  Just so they know!

I also taught myself a lesson yesterday.  Have you ever had that project, or in this case a repair, that you had an "easy" fix in your mind.  But you can't find the right notion, supplies or 'some such' for it??? 

My DS wanted the old felt-Velcro Christmas advent calendar for his boys.  Yes, it was a great feeling that it would be passed down.  But the felt was in terrible shape, the slightest vibration sent all the velcroed 'ornaments' to the floor.  Trust me, with 2 and 4 yr old boys in the house, there are vibrations!!  Lots of vibrations!

So I sewed wool over the tree and the numbered boxes, where the velcroed ornaments hang until their turn.  They used it last year, but I still needed to find some numbers and apply them.  Never found them.  And I "refused" to think about it any other way. ALL YEAR!

Well, it IS November and I didn't want to be responsible for this calendar not becoming part of their tradition. So after reading how we should use our own handwriting - not just computer fonts transferred for labels, I wrote each number in the correct box and took it along to my "Woolies" meeting yesterday.  Being entertained by everyone, I outline stitched the numbers with wool thread all day.

I resisted the books being passed around, nose to the grindstone and it was completely done by the end of the meeting.  It only took me 4 hours!!!!  It's a little 'folksy' and I'm not wild about the 2s but I like it.  I can't believe I put it off for a year when it was that easy!!

Ladies, learn the lesson from me!! What are you putting off??? It feels so G*R*E*A*T to get it done!!  So GO DO IT!!

In other words, do what I say, not what I do!!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Busy busy Fall!

I'm pleased to announce that the Wedding Quilt is DONE!!  (and the crowd goes wild!) The happy couple picked their colors ... teal, grey and purple.  Oh dear, I had to go shopping!!! And I think I became attracted to teals and greys!  Not good news for my stash storage or budget!

I used a free pattern online - Classical Elements and Illustrations offered by P&B Textiles.  It was a good pattern.  I very carefully cut out all the strips and squares.  It pieced together very well.  I added the border because I wanted it just a skootch bigger.  And Voila!

I thought I had a quilting plan, but when CY, a friend who is also an excellent quilter, saw it she suggested highlighting the diagonals.  I quilted it myself on my DSM (domestic sewing machines for the non-quilters in the group!) It was harder than I thought it would be!!  

I have a pretty good setup for quilting. And although I have done free motion quilting, I do prefer walking foot quilting.  

Here I am in the dining room of the apartment.  DH ordered a very large table when we moved out here.  He wanted something large enough to still have room for a meal when I was in the midst of a project.  Thank you, dear heart!!!

I have a portable sewing table that I can adjust the height, so with my acrylic 'sewing machine surround' (which increases the space around the needle so your quilt can be spread out a little more) the quilt moves smoothly onto the dining room table. You don't want gravity to pull it this way and that, distorting your stitches!

Note that the foot pedal cord is wrapped around the leg of the table.  That's to keep me from tripping on it or losing it way under the table!!

The ironing board keeps the majority of the quilt off my shoulders and off the floor while I'm feeding it through the machine.  Looks pretty spacious, doesn't it!  But then you add the quilt itself!! Not so much room now!


The chairs help to keep the quilt from falling off the table.  Trust me, that quilt goes every which way as you work with it.

The view from the other side, Hard to believe I use every inch of space!!  In fact, when I'm quilting, I encourage DH to go on a golf trip - and he runs for the door!!!  It's the biggest mess you ever saw ... for days!!!

 I have a 6.5 inch harp (opening between the body of the machine and the needle.  It's bigger than I've ever had before, but you have to squeeze the quilt through that opening during the process and trust me ... I think it's like mud-wrestling an alligator!!

Ahhh, but the end result is oh so nice!!  Don't you think?? DH thought we'd better have a shot of it with our ocean behind it!  And yes, this is our view!!  Life is good!

I needed to go up to Portland to pick up my new glasses. So I planned an adventure with Miss P and Mr M.  I love having 1-on-1 time with them. Or is it 1-on-2 time?? We can really get things done!

IKEA was having a "Design a Stuffed Animal" contest.  So Miss P and Mr M each designed some adorable animals for it.  Then we packed up and went to IKEA to turn them in.  BUT we went by the MAX or as I call it - the train.

Other than the rain, we had an awesome day.  Believe it or not, we sailed down Scholl's Ferry Parkway without a single red light!!!  Not sure that's ever been done before!!  Got to the Beaverton Transit Center lickety-split.  Bought the tickets and the train was there!  So far so good!

The train we got on goes all the way to the airport so we didn't have to change trains downtown or anything!  We had a great view out our window and it's always interesting to see a big city from a different point of view! Sorry - I still can't take a focused picture when the train is moving!

It took an hour to get to IKEA, and although that is longer than driving (some days!) there's never a guarantee that you won't run into a traffic snarl in Portland!

We got off the train and walked across the parking lot to IKEA!  Found the Customer Service desk and turned in our drawings.  Then we went to check out the stuffed animals.  The contest is a yearly event, and we saw the latest animals.  Too cute! And we went over to the usual toy department.  I had promised that we could get one stuffed animal each.  When asked I said $15 max ... but I didn't see that 4 foot shark that was under $15!!!

Mr M immediately decided on the shark and he's so cute ... what Nana could resist?  He promised that he would carry it and take care of it!  

Miss P has a little harder time picking.  She likes to pick the perfect new animal to fit into her other animals at home.  She picked a snake, no, a polar bear, no, the shark, no, the Huskie, no the dachshund, and on our 3rd trip through, she settled on the Mamma and Baby Elephant.  Good choice!

We bought a few little things that Nana wanted and headed thru the checkouts then stopped for a yogurt cone.  I thought we'd done wonderfully time-wise but it was later than I thought.  Mr M was still eating his yogurt cone and it was still raining, but we had to head for the train.  So Nana carried the shark, Mr M is a little too short to carry it thru rain puddles anyway!!  He was done with his cone by the time we got to the MAX platform, and we didn't even have time to throw away the napkin and the train was there.

Back in Beaverton, it was still raining, hard!  We had a bout a 3 block walk back to the car. I had a shark under one arm, dragging two (a little whiny) kids by the hands down the street.  I do believe I may have looked fierce enough that no one was going to mess with me!!!

Later that day, Miss P wanted to write stories rather than color.  What a great idea!!  So we wrote and drew pictures of our day.  Too fun.  She wasn't done yet, but the last paragraph she wrote ended with "And then we had to put up with my brother's shark!!!"

I think it was a success!!