Friday, December 16, 2016

Jingle Bells

The holidays are fast approaching.  We've been trying to keep things simple this year.  Yeah....right.  Very simple though, is the decision to participate in Chookyblue's Secret Santa Christmas Swap, otherwise known as the SSCS.  We send a handmade gift and a Christmas ornament to our partner.  The gift has to wait under the tree until Christmas, but the ornament goes on the tree right away.  Last year I received my gifts from Fiona and this year I was instructed to send gifts to her.  What fun!  Thankfully, her package arrived in good time and she posted a photo of the hot chocolate ornament I made for her.  Silly me forgot to take a photo before I sealed the package!

I received a package from Maria, also in Australia.  Now I have a kangaroo on my Christmas tree!  I can't wait to see what's in the other squishy package on Christmas morning.  :-)

Also not so simple is avoiding the deer.  LZF met one in the dark on his way to work.  He is fine, not sure about the deer.  The truck is in hospital.

We signed up The Viking on our membership at the fitness club.  He has a wonderful time in the children's area playing and also taking classes in dance, gymnastics and arts & crafts.  There are more he hasn't tried yet.  He's also started swimming lessons.  On this first day the instructor was trying very hard to earn his trust.

Last weekend we also had the carpets cleaned.  Bad timing as usual.  The Sailor Son was visiting and we also couldn't decorate for Christmas until the carpet dried.

So a day was spent hanging out in the kitchen.  

The Sailor Son was passing through between his assignments.  In Texas he met a lovely new ladyfriend.

And they both graduated from their training program.

We finally got around to decorating on Sunday.  The bird tree goes up in the dining room.

The outdoor lights are up, with lots of help from The Sailor Son.  The contractor who did our repairs and supervised the house painting also installs holiday lights, so this year we opted for lights along the roof line.  I'm thinking next year we should add lights in those upper windows.  You can never have too many lights.

Over in New Zealand, the Evil Step-Daughter manages to fit in some wonderful sewing amongst all the other things she does as a busy mother of three young children.  I just love this shirt she made for Rocky.

And we are told he loves it too!

It's never simple to start a new project at this time of year, I should have my head examined, but I've finished part 2 of Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt.  Part 3 is about half done and part 4 was released today.  I'm behind!  Don't worry.  I'm not really worried about keeping up.  Much.

Swoon.  This is my Christmas present from The Tramp.  It's a Bernina 720.  The 710 and I never bonded.  I disliked the 9mm stitch width though I loved so many other things about the machine. Along with many others on the Yahoo Bernina groups I  moaned about how I wished to have the large machine but with the 5.5mm stitch width.  I knew Bernina made the 720, but wouldn't sell it in the US.  Apparently times have changed because it's now available for Americans to purchase online, though not through local dealers.  Believe me, I tried.  To make a long story short, I contacted Bernina myself, moaned directly to them, and they and one of my local dealers were able to make the purchase happen....on terms that worked for me.  The stars were aligned that day!  I am very grateful to all who were involved.

I've also finished a knitting project.  Piglet appreciated the warm evenings on my lap while I tickled her ears with the yarn.  I shall have to spread it out for a photo!   Tomorrow.  :-)

Tuesday, December 6, 2016


Nothing particularly exciting to report since the other day, though I did have the privilege of watching a fox trot along the road then stroll up our driveway and disappear through the neighbor's yard.  I know they are around, we just don't see them very often and this was my first photo op!

This is the progress on my La Passacaglia quilt.  Not much.  It's definitely one of those "in slow progress" projects.  A bit of a mishmash so far.  It's going to be interesting to see it come together.....and how many rosettes I decide to make over.  :-)

I love the honeycomb fabric, but it doesn't look like much until you get up close.  There is quite a fabric selection learning curve with this design so I'm taking an "anything goes" attitude.....until the OCD portion of my brain kicks in.  ;-)

I finished step 1 of the En Provence mystery quilt.  Step 2 is pretty much done as well.  Just need to finish ironing the blocks.

Today The Viking and I stayed at home with upset stomachs.  We both felt better as the day progressed, thank goodness for that.  He was thrilled when I gave him my worn out Machingers quilting gloves, or "glubs" as he says.

I also decided to get busy and quilt his little fabric collage.  He chose all the fabrics, from the store and my scrap bin.  I took him to JoAnn's to pick out four fat quarters.  No hesitation.  He went right for the lavender background, an orange print to cut up, and picked a yellow and green for the back and binding.  I had several colors of tulle to choose from for laying over the top and he was adamant about using the lavender.  He chose a bright lime green thread out of the drawer and I went to work.

He was quite pleased with his "quilt," though not nearly as excited as he was about the old "quilting glubs" and an odd piece of batting ("It's so soft, Nini!") that was put to use as a sheet ("It's not a blanket because it is white, Nini!") for his dinosaur.  :-D

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Life happens

Life happened during November.  It's been busy here.  Yes, that's a photo of Maisy.  Crazy Maisy.  Yes she is caked with paint.  Not entirely her fault however.

We had the house painted!  Finally.  This is the last look at the blue, yellow and red.  In a closer photo you would be able to see the painters had been prepping and the house has dabs of caulk everywhere. How did Maisy get into the paint?  Well.  One of the painters poured out the remainder of the paint from a previous job in a corner of our backyard.  Environemtally hazardous and illegal if nothing else.  First notice I had was Maisy coming to the back door caked with paint after she had a fabulous time rolling in it.  I was LIVID as you can imagine.  I dragged her upstairs to the bath before the paint could completely dry.  She, of course, was confused and upset and twisted her collar out of my hands, which led to paint on the carpet and paint all over my new clothes.  I had to throw out her collar too.

The contractor was mortified and rushed over to make things right.  So if one disregards the dog-and-paint incident, the painters did a really nice job and the house is looking pretty darned good.  The weather has been really nice too.  Look at that sky!

White with a yellow door.  New 6" gutters with covers to keep the leaves and pine needles out.  Yay!  Now we just need to save up for new windows.  There's always something to do, isn't there.

In the midst of the painting chaos came Thanksgiving.  Just a few of us this year.  Windows were jammed open from the new paint and I improvised and stuffed them with towels, but no one was looking at that, we were all focused on the table.  

And it was also my turkey baby's birthday.  :-)

I made a matching purse and wallet for her.  She'd worn out the last set which is a nice compliment to the designers.

I also broke down and got my hair cut.  Long was fun for a while, but short is best.  The Viking asked me if I had cut my hair.  I explained I went out to get it cut and asked if he liked it.  He didn't even have to think about it.  "No," he says.  "You look like a tall toothbrush."  Well thank you very much little boy.  He did make up for it a couple of days later by announcing I looked pretty in my new pink sweater.  :-)

We were stuck inside a lot with the anxious dogs while the painters were busy outside.  I let the boy choose a couple of fat quarters and some fabrics from my stash.  I helped him cut the fabric up and stick it to a background.  Now I have to get it quilted.  In the photo he's gotten bored with the fabric and moved on to cutting up junk mail.  I have to keep "his" scissors carefully hidden!

We were also limited to walks around the pond.  So I dug the garden wagon out from under the porch and he had a wonderful time pulling it on the new road.

And I had to get ready for my quilting bee's holiday lunch.  I saw this ornament pattern and just had to make them for everyone.  The one on the top left is my practice one.  They are a bit fiddly, but really not hard, and oh so cute!

I made this cute vintage style apron for the gift exchange.  I added matching pot holders and a cute red spatula that said on it, "Watch me Whip!"  Too bad I forgot to take a photo.  I need to make one of these for myself!

I've been doing a Round Robin with another group.  We call ourselves the Quilting Babes, courtesy of one of our husbands.  :-)  All of us receive our quilt tops back over the past couple of weeks.  They are all fabulous!

This is mine.  I started with the Carolina Lily block.  Kathie cleverly hand dyed the same white on white polkadot I used as my background to make the green polkadot border.  Anne added the fabulous fans and snowballs, and Dawn finished with the double flange border and more Carolina Lilies.  I'm thrilled with it.

I made the outer border on Kathie's quilt top.  She loves to hand dye fabric so I thought lots of color was the way to go.  I included some of the fabrics I dyed at a class she taught this summer.

Dawn's quilt top is so different.  I added the second border to this one, the Carolina Lilies.

I did the ribbon border on Anne's.  It's so interesting how different each quilt top is.  It's also a great way to stretch the creative muscles.  I haven't had this much creative fun in a long time.

So despite the fact I've got more projects than I care to mention waiting in the corners of The Sandbox, I decided to jump in and do Bonnie Hunter's latest mystery quilt.  I haven't done one for several years and when I saw the color choices for En Provence I just couldn't resist.

So step one is almost finished.  221 neutral four-patches.  Need to finish ironing them all so I can start step two!

I must be out of my mind.  ;-)