Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wednesday this and that

I am doing some catching up - just you wait and see.  This morning started off sunny and it was quite a hoot to watch the Blue Jay's trying to get the birdseed in the feeder.  It is made for much smaller birds and so the jays flap madly to try to get their big bodies on the little tiny perches.  Funny.  And mostly they manage to send the feeder rocking and spray birdseed all over the ground - then the little birds come along and pick it up off the ground.  Entertaining.

And because I was in the mood and had the fixings, we had Drie in de Pan for breakfast.  I can highly recommend it.  [I've talked about this Dutch recipe before.  It is basic pancake mix to which you add grated apple and raisins.  The translation of the name is 3 in the pan, but I usually put more than 3 in my big skillet.  They still taste great.]

As promised, here are the Buck-a-block blocks that I finished making yesterday.  A new one is due to be available tomorrow.

This color scheme is called Pomegranate.  And then I have these for sashing and for borders,
 Pretty fun, huh?

Do you remember this?
Top is all done and today I managed to cobble together a back (from 3 of these fabrics) and have done some quilting on the top.  Then I've only to find a binding and it's all set for the holidays.  Ho Ho Ho.

And just a bit of hand work,
And there you have it.  The stacks are diminishing - ba boom ba bing!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fridays and Mondays, oh my

Weeeeeel - we did go out and do a bit of shopping on Friday.  I know, I know - there is much to be said about avoiding consumerism and especially on the day after Thanksgiving.  But if I shopped for a good cause, does that get me off the hook a bit?  If you have hung out with me here for more than a year, then you know that we are part of a group who always adopt a family at Christmas time.  This year it's  a family of mom, dad and 4 kids.  We have the 16 year old son (oldest kid).  Among the things listed on their wish list was a warm jacket.  So we decided after scanning the ads to look for a jacket.  We headed out to a stand-alone store (not in the mall).  Well, I have to say that it wasn't too bad.  Yes, it was a bit crowded but not impossible to get around and find things.  So we found him 3 things on his list: a warm jacket, a sweater and a long sleeved T-shirt.  And all at greatly reduced prices!  We even managed to get into the check out line at exactly the right time, as the line got really long behind us, by the time we left.  A quick jaunt to Costco, for some items for the family (Laundry Soap, Paper Towels, Dish Towels).  We did do a bit of defensive cart steering, avoiding the lookers and managed to get in and out in pretty short order.  Woo Hoo.  I got home with some time left over for some stitching.

Sunday was a bit of cyber "Monday" shopping and I did buy some fabric. [Like so many of the stores, their Monday sale began a day early.]  I did buy a couple of half yards, but mostly it was charm squares and a jelly roll and 2 fat quarter packs.  I have been working really hard at using the stash but some of these prices were beyond ridiculous and I couldn't resist.  I also bought some wool to try my hand at wool applique.  I'll show you when it arrives.

I'm feeling really good about being able to get a bit ahead of the curve and make progress on a number of Christmas projects that have been hanging around - awaiting my attention.  First on the table,
Another Cornelia - she doesn't have her eyes yet

This is a Kathy Schmitz design, to be finished as a lavender sachet (as soon as I get the Lavender).

This table runner is, in fact, finished, at long last - not all that hard - just get around to it.
(sorry for the funny angle)  The setting triangles are actually a warm beige with a gold sparkle in it. 
I've mentioned the Buck a Block effort by Quilter's Attic and I got my 4 months' worth made.  8 blocks. (photos tomorrow in daylight)

The other thing going on around here last week-end was a Saturday brunch with the kids and grands.  So here are a few photos from that,

The 4 Grands.

Son, wife and sweet little girl
I didn't manage to get a photo of my beautiful daughter.  She's looking especially lovely after losing over 60 pounds.  I'll work on that.

As you might see, I have so much to be thankful for.  This week is fairly calm and then things will be 'heating' up for a couple of weeks before the holidays arrive.  Keep ya posted!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Wonderful Turkey Day around here

I sure hope your day was as pleasant as ours was.  While is just bucketed with rain, we were warm and cozy.  Our friends were staying in a very nice house on Vashon Island and we joined them for the afternoon.  [Aren't we lucky to have friends who include us!]  The house smelled delicious as we sipped a little wine and visited.  Dinner about 4pm.  All the usuals, and we brought along one of our tradition dishes, baked Hubbard squash,
to go with turkey, cornbread stuffing, gravy, green bean casserole, fresh cranberry relish and multi-grain bagette.  Coffee, pie and whipped cream followed at a break in the Five Crowns game (cards) - Alayne won!  Happily restraint was shown and all my numbers were right on track this morning.  Hurrah!

Wednesday evening I finished my small Cornelia.  The stitching proved to be a bit time-consuming as the weave is 18 threads to the inch (for these old eyes) but I think she is pretty darn cute.  She will be my contribution to the Christmas Ornament exchange for CTA in a couple of weeks.  [Shirley if you are reading this and get my ornament, be surprised!]
CTA also has a cookie exchange, so I tried out a new recipe for Cappuccino cookies.  I like them quite well, except I think I'd cut back a tiny bit on the almond flavoring.  It seemed a bit overwhelming.

Today is Black Friday.  I have done one online order and will likely do one more.  The plan is to visit ONE store to buy some things for our adopted Christmas Family - and if that's too crazy we're headed back home.  The economy does need lots of help, but I will do a small bit and that's all.  Hope you are having a delightful holiday week-end.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Someone's in the Kitchen with Nana. . . .

But we ain't got no banjo.  Been having some fun these past few days.  Yesterday morning it was low fat applesauce muffins (some for breakfast and some for the freezer),

And then today Alayne came over and we had one of our cooking together mornings.  You may remember, we did this for the first time a few weeks ago.  We plan a dish that we both think we will like and buy the ingredients (double or triple the original recipe) and then make it.  We then divvie up the dish and put it in containers for freezing.  This way we will both have something in the freezer, virtually ready for dinner.  Today we made Paprika Chicken - chicken seasoned with paprika which gets a sour cream lemon sauce when served, and we made Peanut Chicken - seasoned chicken breast with Indonesian type seasonings, including peanut butter.  Oh yummy and so easy.
Peanut Chicken
Paprika chicken
As we are not hosting Thanksgiving here this year, it is very easy to just do some of my own cooking and just prepare a couple of dishes to bring to the T-day feast.  The troops are all coming here for Saturday brunch, though.  Should be great.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Saturday's Report

Oh my, things have been happening around Casa Nana.  Actually it does feel very good to get things completed - many after some months.  So first of all, A Holiday Romance
Aren't they just too cute?

Finished up the 8 "Memories of Holland" and have actually given away two already.  The rest are intended as Christmas gifts.  [now, what do you call the things that go on the table that you would put a vase on, or a candle on or a bowl of fruit?  They aren't doilies.  We have had several conversations around here but cannot come to a sure agreement of what they are called.  I tend to call them Table Mats.]

Friday was a CTA Community Sew.  Sadly I don't have photos, so you will have to simply follow my words.  Our CTA group supports an Emergency Foster Children's facility and so we are making flannel pajamas.  They range in size from a Size 1 to Adult XL.  Friday we cut out and began sewing 30 pairs of PJ's.  I thought that was pretty good in just over 3 hours.  Mostly we had cutters (maybe 10-12) and a few of us were sewing and/or serging (4 of us).  The goal is to have these completed for the holidays.  They will be delivered, along with filled stockings.  A very good projects.  It was quite nice that in addition to our regular members, 3 gals from the community came to join our efforts.  Perhaps they will want to join our little group.

Today (Saturday) was another sew-a-thon.  This was to make aprons/cover-ups for our big church 'rummage' sale, Superfluity.  And then because we are so clever, we even got into making them with fabric appropriate to the department.  So the book department, had. . . . . books.  The snack bar had coffee cups, the children's deparment had alphabet blocks, the sporting goods had striped canvas awning type fabric.  It was great fun.  And again, really quite successful with about 3 hours of work.
For this, I do have photos,

We even had some moral support, allbeit low key, from Karma,

Of course, we did have to follow up with a lunch after all our hard work!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Now blog look

Tried to update the blog using one of the Blogspot templates provided.  Managed to get completely lost and unable to sign in to the blog.  Yikes.  Guess I should leave well enough alone.  So we are looking a bit more spring-ly but at least we can get there this way.  Just call it looking ahead.  Working on piles of Christmas projects - literally, and making some progress.   photos to follow.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Little bit more catch-up and then, moving on

I don't remember how many days my granddaughter said it was until Christmas, but I know it is something like 6 weeks - but I get ahead of myself.

While in Michigan I did buy a bit of fabric.  However, most of it is going away, so does that count for stash busting?  Our huge church "rummage" sale, Superfluity, has decided that it would be fun for the various departments to have some sort of cover-up (aka apron).  It should help the workers to keep clean and more easily identify who are the shoppers and who are the workers.  So I found "book" fabric and bought some of that, and my friend Ronda found a bit of a remnant for us, as well. 

Fun, huh?  I also did buy two pieces of fabric.  One because it was silly and I thought a couple of my quilting buddies would enjoy it,
And a batik for borders for my "buck a block" effort, in pomegranate
At 30% off I sure wished I had had more room in the suitcase.  Alas!

Since arriving home, I have managed to finish up a number of projects that have been hanging around awaiting some attention.  Makes you feel so good to get things completed.  a)small baby quilt for church nursery (sorry, no photo), b) hats to be given to a service center for homeless, (scrap wool),

c) Christmas ornament (I have some red silk ribbon to go around the edges)
and another cross stitch - not sure how to finish it, but liked the design,
and a stitchery kit I bought in the Netherlands this summer:

It reads:  "Every house where love abides and friendship is a guest is surely home, and home sweet home for there the heart can rest".

Each year CTA holds a Thanks-for-giving to honor all the hours those woman give to the community, with sewing and teaching and various volunteering jobs.  This past year it amounted to more than 5000 hours.  The CTA of the Year Award is given out - this year to Janet Wilkie.  The previous 5 winners work on a committee to plan the event, provide the lunch and they make for all of us a small gift.  So here is this year's very fun Snap Purse.  Mine is silk - isn't is lovely?  [They key is a piece of metal tape measure inside the top band.]
I know that mine was made by Susan.  Thanks Suzy.

Today is a free day - HURRAH.  So I hope to be able to say that I have completed a few more un-done projects before the day is out.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Trip to Meijer Gardens [be aware: lots of photos]

The Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park "is a 132 acre oasis of wetlands, woodlands, meadows and gardens designed by world-renowned landscape artists.  Here you will find an internationally acclaimed permanent sculpture collection in a 35-acre sculpture park...."

The main building had just completed its chrysanthemum displays and was setting up Christmas trees representing about 30+ different countries - maybe more; I didn't count or ask.  Once again we had just a stellar day for being outside.  Here are photos of a number of sculptures in the park,
Mad Mama

Modeled on a DaVinci piece destroyed long ago

Check out the size!

Espaliered Girl

It is such a fascinating, varied collection of art.

Crazy Scarecrow


And then, into the indoor conservatory:

While I am certainly NOT a great gardener, I can sure appreciate the work of others.  If you are in the area, don't miss this one!