Monday, December 29, 2008

Family Christmas

My young men were not home for Christmas, but I’m ok with that. Many years ago I told them that someday they would have to decide where to spend the holidays. I explained that they would find special ladies, eventually get married and have a family of their own. And that would mean they would have to decide where to spend any special day. I stressed to them that their obligation was to family, and that their family was just them, the man of the house, the lady, and who ever comes along.

Yes, we, John and I, are still their family, but not the main family any more. And the ladies they fall in love with have family too, but they also are not the main family. The family unit is the husband and wife and children, and that unit needed to decide what they wanted to do on different holidays.

When I told them that, I knew in my heart that it would be hard for me to accept, but I knew it was important for them to understand. And that finally happened this year, neither boy was here for Christmas. Jonathon spent Christmas with Steph’s family in PA, and Mike with Kelly’s in MD, and as lonely and empty as my house felt, it was the right thing to do. Both boys called home, which I REALLY… and I can’t stress that enough… really really really appreciated. But they were where they belonged, with their ladies.

However, I asked them all to please set aside one day for us, so we could have our family Christmas. Yesterday was the day, and it was a great Christmas! John made his sticky buns and we all enjoyed them, as we have for many Christmases. Then we sat around and caught up, just talked. Well that was a little different than years past where we usually ripped into gifts and then talked… but this year we hadn’t all been together in one place since graduation in May, so we had some catching up to do. Eventually someone decided it was time to open presents, and we did, and had fun with it. We kept gifts to a minimum this year, because of the economy, but everything was special.

Then it was dinner time, not a traditional Christmas dinner, since I was sure everyone would be turkeyed out. We had a family favorite, lasagna, and more great conversation. Way too soon it was time for everyone to head home, since everyone except Mike had work today. It wasn’t until then that I realized we hadn’t taken a single photo, even though we’d spent a lot of time looking at old ones, LOL!

Thanks family, I had a WONDERFUL Christmas yesterday!

Here we are, in our Christmas glory!

Jon and Steph on the left
Mike and Kelly
on the right

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Cards and sewing

First, let me say I sent cards, a few. I sent them to people who we haven't talked to in a long time, or people who asked me something that needed answering, or to people who care. If you don't get a card from us, don't be offended, please. If I sent cards to everyone, I wouldn't have time to sew, or anything else for that matter.

And sewing I have been. My friend Joan had a heart shower this summer while she was fighting cancer again. Those hearts really helped her through a rough time, and I am glad I came up with the idea. I volunteered to put together the quilt, and at the retreat in October Joan gave me all of the hearts. They have been talking to me since we came home, and yesterday I finally started listening to them.

At first I tossed them on my bed just to get an idea how many there were and how the quilt might want to go together. I actually liked the way they looked just scattered around, and with a little bit of rearranging decided to make the quilt that way.

This morning I started putting the blocks together. Very carefully so that there were no bias edges, or so I thought. However, when I started putting the rows together I discovered much more bias than I was happy with, so I did some reverse sewing, ripping out everything I had done, and started over again. More of a traditional layout, with sashing between the blocks.. not easy since there are no two blocks the same size... close but not exact. I matched up as closely as possible blocks similar sizes. A few I could easily trim a quarter inch from to make it match another block, so I did that. One had to be trimmed, it was not laying flat, the mitered edge was not a true miter, so no way it was going to lay flat. Then I put sashing between them, and then started to join the rows... soon realizing that it was too boring, so I made a few tiny heart blocks to set as cornerstones.

Well the center blocks are done, center part, and as soon as I get this posted, I'm going to put the side sashing on. Then I can set it aside to work on again tomorrow, and who knows, I might even finish it! Well the center anyway. I'm waiting for more blocks for the borders, and have to make a few myself, so that will wait until after the holidays!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Cards and photos

I haven’t done Christmas cards for a few years now, long story behind the excuse, and I’m not sharing that. This year I might send out a few, who knows… I haven’t really decided myself. But the cards to us are rolling in again, and occasionally I get a guilty twinge thinking I should send replies… so I might do that.

The best part of the cards to me is hearing about people’s lives. Many of the cards we get are from old military friends, and it is fun knowing what their lives are like since we saw them last, some of them more than 30 years ago now.

Anyone who really knows us knows that they can keep up with us on the family pages on my web site. I update that as often as needed, or when ever anything special happens in my little family. Lately that isn’t too often, now that the boys are graduated and on their own… and except for the trip this summer, John and I lead pretty boring lives. And anyone who doesn’t have internet, and I know those people still exist, well….ok, so maybe I should send cards some time.

And the photos… I love getting pictures. It’s nice to see kids all grown up with their own kids, and adults looking old, just like us. But photos can be frustrating too… like getting a picture from someone you know and wondering if you know anyone in the photo at all since you don’t recognize anyone but why would we have gotten it if we didn’t know anyone in there so who is it that we don’t recognize any more?

Oh well… at least I know this gang, Tara, Scott, Jared and baby Devin. I borrowed this from their web site, thanks Scott! (And yes, we got your card, thanks!)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Decorating Time

I got up this morning with the intent to decorate the Christmas tree, which John put up last night. It’s artificial, mainly due to my allergies to evergreens, but it’s a pretty one, and we’ve enjoyed it for years.

All of the decorations are in bins in the upstairs hallway, and I was digging into the first box when the power went off… and stayed off for three hours. (After an hour the house started getting cold, and I crawled back into bed to keep warm and read a magazine, but guess who fell asleep, LOL!) When I woke up at 11 the power was still off, so I decided to go visit a friend.

As I opened the door to the garage I realized I had to open the heavy garage door manually, not easy, so I turned around to come back in, and the power came back on. Since I was ready to go out, and since I needed to deliver a box to her, I went anyway. Had a nice visit and then back to work decorating the tree.

The first box I grabbed had in it ornaments that I had made myself. Most of them were cross stitch, some embroidery, all from back in the days when I could see better and had fingers that didn’t mind hand work. I decided to put a few up and see what they looked like, and before you knew it the tree was full, every ornament on it home made or home made looking.

Then I needed to decide on a garland, I was thinking my beaded garlands, but wasn't sure where they were, or if they would go with the homemade look. I had some ribbons so decided to use them… There's the finished tree.

And below are some of, yes some of, my Santa collection!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The SOBs were at it again

Yesterday was our Christmas outing, the first outing we’ve had for what seems like years, but it was really just a few months…. We hope not to let that amount of time pass by between outings again. As always it was comical and enjoyable. We went to a new, well new to three of us, quilt shop downstate. The shop is clean, well lit and cute, although so cold I felt refrigerated while looking around. It was warmer outside (65) than it was in the shop. I was ready to go in about five minutes, but had to wait for everyone else to shop so I waited patiently and froze.

I did make a purchase, four yards of darling baby prints, for future baby quilts. I’ve decided to make many of my samples in baby prints, since baby quilts are always needed and sell well. These fabrics are all baby neutrals and prefect for my needs.

After the shop we went to lunch, which was as enjoyable too. The food was good, no great, and we had a nice two hour plus sit to catch up with each other’s lives. And of course we had our present exchange, I got some really nice goodies, and some yummy goodies too.

Here is one of my presents, the photo doesn’t do it justice… it is on a spring and bounces up and down with the slightest little motion, or wildly if you knock it hard. Really cute, thanks Marilyn!

And Charlotte, thanks for the pumpkin roll, we’ve already tested it. I put it in the freezer to save for Christmas, because it would disappear if it wasn’t frozen.

(And thanks to Joan for the pumpkin pie, which is over half gone already. And Alex, your package arrived yesterday, thank you so much. AND to my Secret Santa, who ever you are, your box is here too… we opened it because there was something moving around inside, and well I had to make sure everything was ok… and I found candy and bright beads and all sorts of goodies floating around, as well as some wrapped presents, which are still wrapped!)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Successful quilting day

Yes, despite the visitors today, I feel I’ve had a good day of quilting. I finished the blocks for Mystery #7 sample 2 and am ready to move on to the next step. I also rewrote another pattern into a mystery, probably #10 or #11. I’d love to make another one of these quilts, which is why I’ve made it into a mystery… now I have an excuse to make another sample.

NOT that I need any excuses, what I need is time. There just isn’t enough time in the day for all the quilting I want to do…. I have many more ideas than there are hours in the day. If only we didn’t have to sleep, think of all the quilting we’d get done.

This isn't a mystery, just one of my favorite quilts, not mine any more since my friend Jamee bought it a few years ago. She lets me borrow it for trunk shows and I just returned it to her the other day, I've had it here since September. Thanks for letting me use it Jamee...

I'm posting this because I'm trying to make this page look in the season, LOL!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Thank you

I want to thank my men for remembering, and for honoring my birthday wishes. I appreciate that you took time to call me and/or come home early from work. That meant more to me than any gift you could have ever bought me.

And thanks to those who remembered with cards, emails and the goodies. I thoroughly enjoyed my lunch date with the lunch bunch, and your friendships are the best present yet, the other goodies just made it fun. Thanks to those who sent cards and emails, you know who you are. And thanks to those who called me, it was great hearing your voices and knowing you cared enough to call me.

For those who forgot, you are forgiven. I know I said that I was ignoring the date, and I did, as much as possible. If you forgot, I’m just thinking you honored my request to ignore the date, and won’t know otherwise unless you tell me.

And for that one nosey person who wants to know how 60 feels, I can’t say. As I have said for quite a while now, I’m not going there. I am not 60, I am 59 once removed!

Monday, December 08, 2008

New Tag!

I’ve liked vanity tags since they first came out, and have always gotten one for my vehicle when possible. Delaware has come up with a new tag this year, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the first state issued license plates. Since it happened to have a black onyx background which went so nicely with my new car, I decided to get one. Of course it says QUILTS, and of course the Delaware is on top, making my new tag say Delaware Quilts. Otherwise I would have stuck with my lighthouse plate.

So now when you see this tag, you will know it is me.

A bit about our plate history…
When John and I got married we lived in NH, and had bought from his Dad a 1960 VW Bug… I don’t know if we kept that plate or not. In 1972 we bought a practically new car, a 1970 Chevy Nova, whose NH tags we still have. When we moved to Virginia in 1974 we got our first vanity tags, JHNMRG or was it JOHNMARG? The rear one was smashed when the Nova was, although I think we have the front one somewhere still. (In a box who knows where, LOL)

We didn’t get vanity tags again until we moved back to VA in 1993, and we got GORDNS. When we moved here we got BETSY for the van, which was her name. (Yes the van’s name) For years I tried to get QUILTS, but it was taken. Every few months I would check with DMV and it was never available. Then one time when I happened to be at DMV, I asked and it was available, so I snapped it up. It wasn’t until the plate arrived I realized it said QUILTS DELAWARE, so I quickly ordered a tag that had the Delaware on top, which is how I ended up with the lighthouse plate. In the garage, and in boxes we have never unpacked, are a lot of our old plates. I wanted to put them on the garage wall, but there isn’t a free wall to put them on. It’s fun to look at them and remember the cars and travels that went with them!

Sunday, December 07, 2008


The sewing room is semi-clean again, I can't say totally, but it's a sewing room and never will be completely clean, if I do any sewing that is. With all the projects I have in the works, also called WIPs, and all the quilts waiting for bindings, UFOs, things look scattered. But I know what is where in which pile, so it’s organized enough for me for now.

The stocking is done. I pressed my final work, mistake… I had grabbed a polyester batting and we all know what happens when you press poly. It doesn’t look bad, but I’m not 100% happy with it. I am mailing it off for this Christmas, and then will make both boys new stockings later. I don’t have the fabric now, but fortunately Jena in Florida does, at her home in NY which she won’t get back to until March. But what counts is that Devin has a stocking this year, and he will. And both boys will get special matching stockings sometime next year, LONG before needed!

Now I have some draperies to hem. Not mine, favor to Mike and Kelly…. they better not be polyester, I’ve had quite enough of that today!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Busy busy….

I am cleaning the sewing room, again. Although if you are a quilter you understand that the sewing room will never be completely cleaned, not if you are working on anything at all. But when I came home from the retreats sick everything just got dumped up here. And then when Thanksgiving rolled around everything that didn’t have a proper home got dumped up here, and now I have to sort out all that stuff and find homes for it all, and THEN I can get back to sewing.

Still fighting that nasty head cold, although getting close enough to say I am winning the battle. Just hurts sometimes now, and my nose is even back to a normal color again.

Got an email reminder from Scott today, I have to make a Christmas stocking for Devin. Jared, Mom and Dad got matching stockings for Jared’s first Christmas and now they want one for Devin too. However I don’t have enough of the same fabric, so it won’t be exactly the same, which is really my biggest problem in getting it finished. But I promised it would be there before Christmas, and it will.

Scott may have nagged but he made it well worth it, including this photo in his email. Aren’t they darling!

You KNOW that stocking will be there in time for Santa!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Catching up

Amazing what a few days away from the computer will do… although actually I wasn’t that far away from it, but…. well let me explain.

Friday Mike and Kelly brought Mufasa over here for the weekend while they went to visit Kelly’s family. We already knew he would be ok here, but we had no idea what he would get into. First thing I did was close off this sewing room, since it isn’t safe for anyone but me, especially not a kitty. And since it was closed, it got chilly, make that cold, up here and it also made it impossible for me to get on line up here.

So while I was away from my desk computer, I did have my aging lap top, which refused to stay on line most of the weekend. I ended up using John’s computer to stay in touch with the ladies doing the mystery, which worked out pretty good.

The mystery lasted longer than any other mystery I have ever hosted, almost four days. I’m sure that was because of the holiday and family happenings, but still those who sewed were at it for a long time. We started at 9AM on Friday, and it wasn’t until around noon today (Monday) I posted the final clue. Everyone who has done it, or peeked, likes it a lot.

(The pattern is for sale on my web site

And while everyone was working on the mystery, I was busy keeping track of Mufasa. He is a climber, more so than any cat I ever owned, and he tried to get everywhere. The biggest issue we had was that he wanted to lie on the kitchen table, where he could keep an eye on us…. I am sure we removed him from there at least 100 times, if not more. He loved our windows and their wide sills, perfect spot for bird watching. His favorite toy was my camera case, which he attacked when I took my camera out to snap his picture. He had a blast throwing it up in the air and attacking it. All and all he did pretty well, and he will be welcomed back… except maybe over Christmas… I’m not sure I’m up to keeping him out of the tree!