Friday, December 23, 2011

Turning a Corner

I realize it is now officially winter, but it also means that the days will start to get longer.  Hurrah for that.  Actually we have had a most unusual December in the great Pacific Northwest, we are more than 3 inches behind in rain - we have had quite a bit of blue sky, and although cold, it has been really lovely.  I' watching the squirrels running around the back garden planting things in the grass - of course they can never find them later, but as long as they leave the bulbs alone, I don't care.  Lots of birds, as well.
[sorry this isn't exactly great photography, but I grabbed it out the dining room window.  We have just loads of these little birds, a) we feed them and b) keep the ice out of the bird bath.  I think they appreciate it.]

Finished up one little thing this morning early,
A hand quilting practice project, but I finally got the binding on it.  Mostly I like to learn new things, so I am bad about completing the main part of the project and then not actually finishing it.  So my newly turned "leaf" (before New Year's yet) is to finish up some of this stuff I have sitting in two big wicker baskets.  I'll show ya.

Today in the mail my sign up for the Sewing and Stitchery Expo arrived. 
This is a great event if you haven't visited it.  If you wanna come to town, let me know.  So that will begin my month of March.  Then this afternoon I learned that my sweet friend, Caroline, from the Netherlands will be paying us another visit, starting March 9.  Woo Hoo!  Isn't that great fun - well it is for me.  We had talked about her coming but we didn't think it would work out.  But thanks to her great husband, they have managed to get all the dog sitting duties sorted out and she can come.  So that will be marvelous.  And while she is here we will get to again enjoy the Quilter's Anonymous (huge) Quilt Show, which is held at the Monroe Fairgrounds - this year in a new building.  That is March 15-18.  So it's looking like March will be busy time at Casa Nana.

Meanwhile, I spent just a little while this afternoon making the world's easiest lemon pie - absolutely one of my favorites.  Start with 3-4 lemons and grate some peel,

then juice the lemons and add that to 2 cans of sweetened condensed milk.  (some folks get that confused with regular condensed milk)
[you may recall we even found this in the Netherlands, so we could make it over there].  It takes a minute to incorporate the lemon juice but then suddenly it is all there and starting to 'set'.  Just pour it into a graham cracker crust (store bought or homemade)
Truly, that is all that there is to it.  I will just top this with some CoolWhip and we are ready for a tasty treat tomorrow when we celebrate Christmas with my DD and DS.

My last little tidbit for today, we got and opened an early Christmas gift.  And I LOVE IT!  Elaine's brother and SIL sent this metal sculpture to us.  It means, essentially, bon appetit, enjoy your meal, etc.
It is Dutch, on our little Dutch wall.  Isn't that too cute?  (Dutch wall except for the Utah calendar - oh well).

If you are celebrating Christmas, then the very warmest wishes for a marvelous time of joy with your loved one.  And for the other celebrants, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, I hope that you find warmth and happiness sharing with the special ones in your life.  We'll be chatting again soon.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wednesday activities

Been up to a couple of things, so to bring you up to date,
I really like this Kathy Schmitz design.  Now just to find some bulk lavender so I can make a sachet (for the underwear drawer).

Finished the larger Cornelia.  This is for one of our ministers, Catherine, who is also a shepherd - to both 4 legged and 2 legged flocks.

Been working on making some drink coasters - I need 48.

I put a back on this little piece of stitchery made by my sweet GD.  She's 11.  Originally it was designed as a pincushion, but she decided that she wants to fill it with rice to make a hand-warmer.  Nice!  And I helped with wrapping these 3 little burp cloths made by my (almost) 9yo GS, for my son, DIL and new baby,
Christmas gifts made with our own hands.  How precious.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Look Out Christmas - here we come

Today was the annual Christmas ornament exchange with our Pine Needle camping buddies.  It really is so nice, to gather, have a great meal and share our individual highlights of the past year.  I had forgotten how nice that was (and way before New Year's eve).  
Little artificial tree - I had wanted to get a real one, but sort of ran out of time and they were SO expensive.  I could love this little one.

Diane made delicious individual pecan pies.

Every one takes a number and in that order, they choose a package.  Up to 2 more times it can be "stolen".  That's how I got my ornament (and as I was the second it couldn't be stolen from me.  Hurrah!)
Glass.  Isn't that cute?  A very fun tradition.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

This will be the last one today

Aren't I just a gabby Gertie today - just several things to share with you.  I borrowed my daughter's marvelous mixer - oh my goodness, I think it could mix cement.  (although it would make a real mess with the beater).  Ahar, ahar, ahar.

So start with the machine,
Not sure it is obvious, but this is enough dough for 3 loaves of Buttermilk Bread, a la "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day"
The dough will spend the night in the refrigerator and then tomorrow I can make the first loaf.  YUM.

While this was sitting in its pot and raising, I worked on a couple of little projects,

Crazy Christmas - it really looks rather awful here, but it is kind of cute, in person.  Just a bit crazy.  And then I finished the center of the quilt for my daughter to give as a (belated) wedding gift.

As these folks are hikers and campers I'm thinking something tree/mountain/outdoorsy for a border.  I like it.

More Christmas Ships photos

Elaine did a very nice job of picture taking (really much better than me) during the Christmas adventure last night.  So here are a few more views

I heard a very fun (child appropriate) riddle today on the radio
What does Santa do with 3 gardens?
Hoe Hoe Hoe

"Interesting" Times

I seem to recall a Chinese proverb about things being "interesting", when what you really mean is something less attractive.  Hmmmm.  I think these are "interesting" times around Casa Nana.  I have been in for some medical tests and that is quite BLEECH!  But more is still to come, so we shall see what transpires.  I really don't want to focus on that.

I have been busily working to finish up more little Christmas projects.  I guess it is true that you can NEVER start too early.  I thought I was waaaaay ahead of the curve, but still working about as quickly as I can.  CTA had a meeting and Christmas party on Monday.  My little Cornelia (sheep) ornament was done and wrapped for the ornament exchange.  I produced 7 dozen cookies

for the cookie exchange.  The organizer had a really fun game:  there were 6 things people wore/had on their person and the idea was that you must mingle with everyone and find the things listed:
*  a piece of wrapping paper
*  a piece of a Christmas tree
*  a piece of Santa's beard
*  a Christmas hanger
*  a piece of tinsel
*  a Christmas ornament

I was the wrapping paper, so I took a button form normally used to make a covered button and instead inserted wrapping paper.  My practice one was a blue snowflake and it turned out quite well.  (I can't find it now for a good picture, sorry)  However, I planned to wear something green so I wanted a button that would blend in better with my clothes,
In every subsequent effort the paper tore.  GRRRRRR.  So I gave up and wore the blue one, with a silk scarf and an amazing number of folks couldn't find it!  It's a fun game, should you ever have to come up with one.

Last evening was the trip with the grands on the Christmas Ship.  For the past 62 years a local company has put on boat trips, at night, at Christmas, along the shoreline of Lake Washington and Puget Sound.  The boat is all decorated and illuminated and a number of other decorated boats follow along.  On our boat there was a choir with great loud speakers, so that as we moved along, the choir was broadcast to the shore.  Folks were lined up watching and listening.  One park even had a huge bonfire with folks gathered around to await the arrival of the Christmas ship and hear the singing.  They had little games for the children and goodie bags, trivia games for the adults, as well as waving to the shoreline.  It was quite cold but it was DRY.  Hallelujah.  So we had a very fun 2 hour jaunt along Puget Sound.  I think the kids really enjoyed it.  They also liked the hot chocolate with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles (of course!)

Nana had had a request for more pillowcases, so those will get wrapped for under the tree,
Hopefully those will be fun: grown-up sunshines for the oldest, soccer balls for the middle and dollies for the youngest.  This morning I finished the piecing of the 9 rows for the quilt that will be a wedding gift from my daughter to her very dear friend - now just to put them together and find a border.  Photos to follow.

Hope you are having fun with all this preparation stuff. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Survived Wednesday

Last night was our (adopted church family) wrapping party.  We have been doing this for some years now (you may have just read about it here, if you have been with me for a while).  8 of us adopt a family - this year it was mom, dad and 4 children.  We buy gifts for each of them, as well as for the household.  We provide dinner to our little team, then it's time to clear the decks and get to our wrapping.  We always do a little Show and Tell with each other before we get everything wrapped up.  Sunday morning it is all collected in the Fellowship Hall at church and then later delivered to the agency/church for which it is intended.  I think last year the church as a whole adopted about 85 families.  It is a nice tradition.

Everyone helped get the house returned to some normalcy.  So today I got to find some time in the sewing room - HURRAH!  As you may have figured out about me, I love to learn new techniques.  So here is the latest.  {Sharon in Stashbusters loaned me the template to play with.}

Apparently there is also a larger tool to use with 10" squares.  Hmmmm.  I sure love this.

Yesterday the postman brought my latest parcel from Minewood Quilting.  I have been buying quarterly fat quarter packets from Agnes for years.  These are all from the Stof fabric line, from Denmark.  It is called "Basics".

All things being what they are, I have finally had to cancel this.  I love it, but it just is so terribly expensive to buy their fabrics, plus shipping.  Gracious.  It will be great fun to decide how to use them.

And then because I woke up early and had the time, I made a few more of these,
I swear those holiday fabrics are breeding in their little bin, from month to month.  The number of strips seems to increase from one opening to the next.  :-)

Monday, December 5, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like. . . . . .

messy house.

However, it is fun after dark,
Weather is cold and clear.  I like it!

Saturday we got the cover on the RV.  While that was going on, Nana had to amuse her newest Grand,
Miss B
Oh we sang songs and told stories and just had a grand time, keeping ourselves warm.  4+ months now.  She won't really remember this Christmas, but it's fun anyway.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Grey Saturday Morning

No - it isn't raining.  I guess I should be grateful for that, but it is quite dreary outside.  The big project for today is to meet my son at the RV storage lot and get the winter cover on the RV.  Required?  No, but it does help to keep it clean and with whatever there is in the air and acid rain and all that nasty stuff out there.

Meanwhile, while I was out at a class yesterday, a parcel arrived from Bird Brain Designs.  Oh excitement.  I guess yesterday was a "learning" day.  First off, we learned how to make clothesline fabric bowls.  Oh I love it!
This is made from a rather unattractive black (with some red) Christmas fabric, but it works just fine for this.  I have cut more strips of a tan fabric and will try my hand at an oval bowl next.  This is easy and great fun.

And then my ordered goodies - they are mainly in an effort to learn how to do felted wool applique.  It has always looks very do-able but have never had all the necessary supplies.  So now I have them.
Little plastic bubbles in which to keep Perle cotton [instead of my usual chasing them through the sewing basket].  And you can read the color number through the top.  These are in order to make
It was cute and didn't look so difficult for a first project.  [and in case you are intimidated, Robin is very responsive on their website/blog, with questions.]

Some of us, apparently, are a bit to slow to know about all the latest.  However, you can now buy freezer paper in sheets to feed through the printer.  Who knew?  (not me!)
And lastly, I bought 3 designs preprinted on the Fabri-solvy.  [I have some 8.1/2 x 11 sheets that also feed through the printer, but this is longer and it's easier than having to make two copies and tape them together]  If you recall, you peel off the backing and simply stick this onto whatever will be the background for your stitchery.  When you are all finished sewing through the paper then you simply soak it off.  Way cool.
D.D. had a wedding to attend last evening, so Nana was the designated babysitter for the two youngest.  The oldest one was singing with the school choir at a neighborhood tree lighting and didn't get home until later.  So Nana managed to get the binding finished,
[In case you didn't know, as I didn't - wool batting is quite fluffy.  It's very nice, but puffs up quite a bit.  I was using batting scraps and didn't realize what I had grabbed, at first]  Happy Week-end.