Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Whirl Into Winter Giveaway

And the WINNER IS ..... Priscilla, from New Zealand. I've e-mailed you and as soon as I receive your mailing address, your package will be on it's way!!

Thank you everyone for visiting my blog and participating. Feel free to visit again any time!! I have so many new blogs to visit now, how will I ever find the time!!
It's time for the Whirl Into Winter Quilt Bloggers Giveaway and I'm so excited to participate!! As a brand new blogger, I was the winner of TWO prizes in the Fall Into Fall Giveaway in October, so this is my chance to pay it forward a little bit.

Since I didn't finish my Christms gift sewing until Christmas Eve, I haven' t had a chance to get my project for this giveaway done yet, but I'll be working on it in the next few days and will have a picture of it up by Monday ... I promise.

So (drumroll please.....) I'm giving away a table runner, the one on the left in the picture below.

Made from these fabrics ....

Along with some other quilty surprises.
To enter, just leave a comment on this post between January 1 and January 15, telling me what you are most looking forward to in 2009. You do not have to have a blog to win, but please leave me an e-mail address where I can contact you. I will ship internationally, so wherever you are, I'll get it to you. On January 15, I will have Honey draw a name to choose a winner.
Please remember, comments posted before January 1 will be deleted and will not be eligible to win.
Check out the Whirl Into Winter Quilt Bloggers Giveaway blog for links to other quilt blogger giveaways. There are over 50 bloggers participating and I'm sure it will be LOTS of fun!!

Good Luck Everyone!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Quilts

I wanted to get some good pictures of the quilts I made for Christmas gifts before I gave them away so I recruited Honey to hold them up for me before I wrapped them up.

This one is for my uncle. It was a last-minute gift and I didn't have time to piece anything elaborate, so I kept it simple. He'll be confined to a wheelchair for a while, and is in a rehab hospital. I wanted to make him a lap quilt to help keep him warm. The front is made with a burgundy fabric that's shaded a bit so it looks kind of like suede. I used a burgundy and beige gingham for the accent stripe and the back. It's machine quilted with wavy lines from top to bottom with varigated thread, and after washing, it came out crinkly and soft. We're taking it to him in the hospital this afternoon and I think he's going to love it!!

This is the rail fence throw quilt I made for my sister. I used some of the extra fabric from the blocks to make a pieced back and a coordinating striped fabric for the binding. I made a big boo-boo on this one ... sewed the bottom row of blocks on upside down, and I honestly didn't notice it until I looked at this picture!! No time to fix it, so she got it as is. I'm disappointed, but she loved it, and even with the mistake, it will still be nice to cuddle up with on those cold northern Michigan winter evenings.

This one I made for the Poet and his fiance who live in Florida. I used a Hoffman Fabrics Bali Pop in Butterscotch and used the extra to piece the back. This quilt was made from a tutorial on 2nd Avenue Studio . It was a lot of fun to do, and I think I like this one best of all. I wanted something sort of modern for them and this fit the bill perfectly, and the colors will coordinate with their living room furniture.

They haven't received it yet. They're flying up from Florida on Sunday to stay for a week and I'll give it to them then. They're in a wedding on New Year's Eve, so I don't know that we'll see a lot of them while they're here, but I'm always excited to see my first-born when I get the chance!!
We have a quiet day planned today. A trip to the rehab hospital to see my uncle, and then a Christmas dinner of turkey breast with all the trimmings and pineapple upside down cake for dessert for me, Honey and the Wonder Child. The Big Guy has to work (he's an EMT and works for an ambulance company), and KT is spending the day with her family.
Wishing you all and peaceful and happy day today, whatever your plans.

Monday, December 22, 2008

December Swap Til You Drop Quilt

My partner received her quilt for the December Swap Til You Drop, so I can post pictures of it now. The theme for December was Sweet, Sour or Savory. Since it's December, and Christmas is coming, and visions of sugarplums are dancing in everyone's head, I figured everybody would do something sweet. Wanting to be different ... I chose savory. It was a good excuse to practice my paper piecing and do these chili pepper blocks. I found the pattern free on line last month. So my quilt is "Hot Chili Peppers."

In doing some research, I found that the chili pepper is a traditional Christmas decoration in Mexico and you can buy chili pepper ornaments for your tree.

The chili pepper is a southwestern American tradition symbolizing warmth and friendship. Clusters of vibrantly colored chili peppers, called chili ristras, add a zesty flair to home d├ęcor. When hung near the door, chili peppers ensure a bountiful harvest and when placed in the kitchen, they bring good luck in cooking. Chilies are a spicy addition to many cuisines worldwide

I even found a dark chocolate bar with chili to send along!! I bought one for myself to try, just to make sure it wasn't awful. It's a rich dark chocolate with a little bit of a bite. I wouldn't eat it every day ... but it was a nice change and I did enjoy it. . I also included a couple of fat quarters and some Christmas coasters I made a couple weeks ago.

So that's my December effort ... Hot Chili Peppers.

The theme for January is Sing It, Watch It, or Read It. Hmmmm ... that's going to take some thought!!


Snow Report

It continued to snow throughout the weekend, and was pretty windy Saturday night and Sunday, so we have drifts of snow everywhere. I did have to go out to the grocery store on Saturday though, and fortunately, the main roads were cleared pretty well, so getting around wasn't too much trouble. The parking lot was a mess though, with mountains of snow that they had plowed to clear the lot.
This is a drift right across our back deck.
And this is the patio table ... I kind of use this as a measure of how much snow we've had. If you look hard, you can see the path Honey had to shovel so the dogs have somewhere to go when they go out!! We had a blast yesterday watching the cats in the snow. They were chasing each other all over, and pouncing out from behind snow banks. They don't stay out very long, but they sure have a good time when they're out there!!

A Serious Sewing Weekend

I got some serious sewing time in this weekend and turned this ....
....into this.
And this ....
..into this.
It's a big weight off my mind having them finished. since time is getting short. I have one more to sandwich and quilt before Christmas and one pair of flannel lounge pants to finish and then I'm done!! I'll have to start earlier next year! I haven't done too badly though. Since October 1 I've made six mini quilts, two for swaps and four just because, three table runners, three throw quilts, four fabric baskets, one fabric bin, one set of coasters, six dishtowels, one apron, four hot pads, two knit scarves, a pair of drapes and a Christmas tree skirt. Whew!!

I already have a list of projects for the new year, and I'm looking foward to getting them organized and started, now that I'm not under the gun!!

Have a great day!!


Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow Day

We got about 12 inches of snow today. All the schools were closed, and most of our clients were too. It was a good day to stay inside and take a nap!! This was the view out our front door this morning.
And this is Honey's truck.
The deck in the back. This was taken about 9 this morning and the snow on that table is twice as deep now. We had to shovel a path for the dogs so they have somewhere to go when they go out to potty. The snow is higher than they are!!
We're supposed to get snow for the next five days, so it will really be piled up by Christmas!

I've been busy this week talking to contractors getting estimates to have a wheelchair ramp built and some other modifications done at my aunt and uncle's house to make it wheelchair accessible. He's doing very well in rehab, but it will be a couple of weeks before he's ready to come home. Since my aunt spends her days at the hospital, I've been contacting the builders to take that burden off her shoulders. She and my uncle are so cute. They've been married nearly 60 years, and they're just so sweet to each other.

I still have some gifts to finish for Christmas, so I hope to get a lot of sewing time in this weekend. In between, I have laundry to do, gifts to wrap and this place could use a little sprucing up!! But come Wednesday, I'm in holiday mode and plan on doing a lot of relaxing!!


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Pay It Forward

I signed up for the Pay It Forward Exchange on Mumsyblossom's World

Here are the Pay It Forward Exchange “rules”.
The first three people will be who leave a comment on this post asking to join the Pay It Forward Exchange will be my players.
They are agreeing to post a similar announcement on their blog, and Pay It Forward to three more people, who will in turn agree to Pay It Forward etc.

Shari will send me and her other participants one handmade item sometime in the next 12 months.

In turn, I will send one handmade item to each of the three participants who signed up with me, within the next 12 months.

You will send one handmade item to each of your participants, and so on.

I read about a Pay It Forward Exchange a couple of months ago and thought it was a great idea, so I jumped at the chance to participate in one. Quilting/crafting bloggers are some of the most generous and creative people I know. How nice to have a chance to brighten someone's day!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

My Broken Oven

I have to confess that the reason the heating element in my oven burned up yesterday is because something had boiled over on it and it needed to be cleaned. I debated about whether I should clean the oven before doing cookies and decided against it. There is a superstition in my family about that, and we never clean the oven shortly before having to cook for a holiday when the oven will get a work-out.

The superstition is borne from an experience when I was a child and we were hosting Thanksgiving dinner at our house. The house was full of aunts, uncles and cousins all looking forward to the 24 pound turkey my mom had in the oven. About noon, Mom noticed that she couldn't smell the turkey yet, so she went and checked on it and discovered the oven was stone cold -- and so was the turkey!!

My handyman dad tried to fix it, and after examining it, declared that a wire had broken leading to the heating element and that it would have to be replaced. Since there was no way to get parts on Thanksgiving Day, there would be no turkey cooking in that oven. My mom had cleaned the oven the day before, and apparently when she lifted the heating element to clean underneath it, the wire broke.

My parents checked with the neighbors for an available oven, but, of course, theirs were all in use.

We had Kentucky Fried Chicken for Thanksgiving Dinner that year ... buckets of it.

The next day, my dad fixed the oven, my mom cooked the turkey, and everybody came back for a turkey dinner with all the trimmings.

To this day, we still talk about the Thanksgiving we had KFC.

And nobody in my family ever cleans their oven just before a holiday.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Cookie Bake-Off

Today my daughter-in-law came over and we baked cookies. I had mixed up several varieties yesterday, so we baked them all off today. First up, chocolate crinkles. I wasn't going to make these this year, but Honey requested them special ... so what could I do??

Here's some giant Snickerdoodles waiting for their turn in the oven.
And of course, everybody's favorite, sugar cookies.
Waiting to be decorated.

We were nearing the end of our marathon baking session when I opened the oven to take out a cookie sheet, and the heating element in my oven was burning. We turned off the oven, and Honey went downstairs to turn off the circuit breaker, but it kept burning for a few minutes. It finally went out, after burning up about 4 inches of the element and putting my oven out of commission. KT and I packed up our cookie sheets and the rest of the unbaked cookies and took them to her house to finish them up.

So my oven is broken, and I guess I'm done baking cookies. I said I was going to cut back this year didn't I? Honey has already ordered the new element, so it will be fixed soon and maybe I can sneak in some chewy chocolate cookies and some gingersnaps before Christmas.

Tomorrow I'll start packaging up a few cookie gifts for friends, and I'll put some in the freezer to keep for the Poet when he comes for a visit a few days after Christmas. The Wonder Child will be finished with exams and home from school on Tuesday, so I imagine between he and Honey, they'll make short work of them!!

I'm tired tonight, but I had fun spending the day with KT, and it's nice to be able to cross something off my list of things to do!!

Hope you all had a great weekend too.


Thursday, December 11, 2008


Although the winter scene is pretty, I decided all that snow and blue background was a little depressing, so I redecorated my blog for Christmas. It's much more cheerful, don't you think? And I didn't have to go down to the basement and dig out boxes of Christmas decorations and haul them up the stairs!! I'll get to that sometime before Christmas, but for now, I can come to my blog for a taste of Christmas cheer!!

November Swap Quilt

I received my November swap quilt yesterday from the Swap Til You Drop group. My partner was running a little behind this very busy time of year, but it was worth the wait. She does beautiful work!!
She also sent me two fat quarters of red fabric (my favorite color), some hand dyed red buttons, embroidery floss, and the cutest little embroidered red hearts ... and chocolate, of course!!
This is a mini Jacob's ladder pattern. Isn't it beautiful? I have just the place for it, once I can stop admiring it long enough to put it down!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Remember this picuture? It was taken in October when I went along with Honey on deliveries one morning. He had been telling me about the spectacular colors and suggested I go along and take some pictures.
This is the same view today. Honey decided to take the camera with him to get a winter view of the same scene. Stark contrast isn't it?
It's still beautiful, in a different way, don't you think?


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Little Late ...

I received this award from Sara at Fabric N Fiber Fanatic last week, so I'm late getting this up. To be honest, I haven't had time to figure out how to do it until today!! Sara was one of the very first readers of my blog, and she's been a faithful reader and a lot of support as I try to figure out the secrets of blogging!! Thanks, Sara ... I'm touched ... especially since I've been at this such a short time.

I'm supposed to pass it on, so here goes:

Shari at Mumsyblossom's World Shari is an Aussie blogger and I wait excitedly for her new posts. She always has something interesting.

Stephanie at Loft Creations Blog. Stephanie is very talentend and her posts never fail to inspire me!!

Terri at Purple and Paisley. This is the "other Terri!" Another very accomplished quilter and crafter, a proud grandma, and lover of all things purple ... and paisley!!

Holly at Fabric Mom. Holly is a proud momma, and dedicated crafter ... and generous. She gives away a fat quarter of fabric every other Friday. I was lucky enough to be a recent winner of her recent 200th post giveaway.

Carol at Carol's Quilting Blog. Although we've never met in person, Carol and I have been "cyber friends" for years. She's just started a new blog to show off her quilting and crafting and she is very talented! I'm looking forward to seeing more of her work!!

The rules of the award are:
1. The winner may put the logo on her blog.
2. Put a link to the person you got the award from in your blog.
3. Nominate 5 blogs. ( I did 6 - cause there was a tie)
4. Put links to the blogs.
5. Leave a message for your nominees.

I didn't choose any blog that I regularly read that has already received this award, so if you know you're one of my favorites, don't feel slighted!! I just wanted to spread the goodness around!!


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Tis the Season

We've had a little snow every day this week, so the view from my house is pretty much unchanged from the pictures I posted. It's been pretty cold too, in the teens and low 20s for the past few days. We have a winter storm moving in though, and are supposed to get 6 or 7 inches of snow tomorrow and Tuesday. I think the county is trying to save some money, because they sure have been slow getting the salt trucks and snow plows out. It's going to be a rough winter if that's the case. We have a 4-wheel drive vehicle, so we can usually get around if we need to. Normally, when the weather is bad, I just stay in. But this time of year, you just have to get out to get certain things done, so there's no choice!!

Thank you all for your prayers and well wishes for my uncle. He is doing well. He was a little confused for a few days after the surgery, but I went to see him yesterday and he was his old self. He's already talked to a prosthetist about an artificial leg and will be going to rehab some time this week. He's a very determined gentleman, so I imagine he'll do better than any of us expect!!

I've been busy in the sewing room this week too.

I made the pieced back and binding for the quilt for my son, The Poet, and his fiancee who live in Florida.

And a pieced back and binding for the quilt I'm doing for my sister. Now I just have to sandwich them both and get quilting!!
I spent the hours sitting in the hospital knitting another scarf. This one is a gift for my friend. We went out to dinner last week and she loved the the brown and beige one I made that I was wearing. She wears a lot of black and white, so I decided to make her one for Christmas!!

I pieced this tablerunner for myself this morning. It's made from charm squares that I won in the Fall into Fall Giveaway, and I added a few green and red Christmas fabrics of my own. I also received the pattern as a prize, and there are two more table runner patterns included. I have enough charm squares left to do another one, so maybe I'll do one for my daughter in law if I have time.
I also finished my mini quilt for the December Swap Til You Drop. Can't post a picture of that just yet, but I will soon.

I'm not panicky yet ... but I'm ticking off a list of things I have to do before Christmas, and we're running out of time. We haven't done any decorating yet ... the tree isn't up. I have baking to do, although I'm scaling that back this year ... nobody needs the extra calories ... and I still have Christmas shopping to do and several gifts to finish. Oh yeah ...and Christmas cards!!!

I'm going to have to draft Honey into service I think!! This is going to be sort of a rough Christmas for him. His mom passed away on December 23, 2005, and his younger brother passed away December 26 last year ... then we lost his dad on Valentine's Day. I've been careful not to push the Christmas spirit on him ... but I need some help. He can be a Scrooge while he helps me if he needs to ... but I'll never get done without him!!

Have a great day.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Tough Couple of Days

I've been tied up the past few days. My uncle was admitted to the hospital on Monday. He and my aunt have been like a second set of parents to me all my life, and we are very close. He's had circulation problems for years, and in the last 30 years has had a couple of surgeries to keep the blood flow going to his legs. On Monday, his left leg became cold and painful, and they admitted him to the hospital for tests. He had a five hour procedure on Monday to try to clear the blood vessels in his leg and restore circulation, but it wasn't successful. This morning, the doctor told him there was nothing else they could do to save the leg. This afternoon, he had his left leg amputated above the knee. He took the news better than I would have expected. At some level, he probably knew this was a possibility, so maybe he had prepared himself more than we realized.

He's 81 years old, so the chance of him being able to use a prosthetic leg are not good, and he will probably spend the rest of his days in a wheelchair. We're all still sort of in shock, and just beginning to realize how this is going to affect their lives, and what kind of help they're going to need.

We're a close and resilient family. We'll all pull together to deal with whatever it is we need to deal with. We've done that before, and we'll do it again.

Tonight, I'm just sad, and I'm going to let myself be sad tonight.

And tomorrow, we'll lift up our heads, and do what needs to be done. Because that's what we always do. That's all we can do.


Monday, December 1, 2008

It's Looking Like December

This was the view out my back door this morning.

And this is the view out the front door.
It's beautiful, isn't it? It's just barely cold enough to snow so it's the wet and heavy kind. It's not realy the first snow of the season. We got some last week, but it didn't stick around long. We actually have a winter storm warning. It's still coming down and we're supposed to get 3 or 4 more inches today. The schools are all closed. Later in the winter, 6 or 7 inches of snow won't even slow things down!!

Here's a scarf I knitted this weekend from yarn I had left over from my afghan. Just in time too!! It's cozy and warm, and I'll probably wear it later today when Honey and I go snow blow the driveway!!

Except for that, I plan on staying indoors today. It feels like a good day to make soup!!