Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Goals

I do make New Year's Resolutions, but I'm not going to bore you with them. Usually after a couple of months, I've forgotten all the ones I make anyway. This year I'm doing something a little different, and hopefully I'll be able to actually accomplish a few things. In fact, I'm going to try to keep a list of the things I actually accomplish each month -- this will be quilt related things as well as other goals. I always have the resolution of getting the entire house deep cleaned -- and I always get one room done before I burn out because it takes me all day or two days to do one room. I still have that resolution -- but I'm going to attack the elephant one nibble at a time! Today's nibble was Steph's old walk-in closet (this room is going to be my second sewing/craft room upstairs, so I guess I can quit calling it Steph's room!) Our builders built the steps to the attic in here with the idea of being able to store things on them -- they are wide and deep.

Anyway, it was pretty trashed because I dumped all the boxes/bags for wrapping gifts all over the floor when I was looking for something in a hurry. The first three pictures are the before.

There's also a window in this closet (because it made the outside of the house look better!). We moved into this house a couple weeks after Steph graduated from high school. She basically was only here summers for a few years when she went to college and a few months before she moved to Wisconsin. I should probably put a shade in the window, but I've just had curtains up instead. But, that is the reason I have old rugs covering the luggage -- I don't want sun damage on them. I did wash the curtains and the window today, as well as do all the woodwork in here. I also folded up the Pack n Play that was in the room and put a couple of other things in here that were taking up space. So the next 3 pictures are the after. The books on the shelves are the quilt binders I've just reorganized and I've put half a shelf of cookbooks in here as well. As I sort through my recipes, I will be decluttering a lot of cookbooks!

Only took me 2-1/2 hours to do this and I actually thought about doing the rest of the room today, but that would defeat the purpose of taking it one step at a time and only taking a nibble of the elephant!
And, having done this today, tomorrow I can actually get back to some quilting! I'm not making any resolutions about stashbusting or ufo's this year -- I'm going to work on whatever I feel like working on. And I love working on scrap quilts, so I'll be busting stash anyway. And I did manage to load Steph's Christmas present (the Valentine wall hanging) on the machine yesterday, so that will be one of my first projects to finish.
The feeling of accomplishment and being productive.
This is the last day of 2008!
Working through the thoughts in my head!

Monday, December 29, 2008

1 Year

Steve is one year cancer free! 1 year ago today he had a 12 hour surgery to remove that tumor from his brain and he has been cancer free since. It's a celebration! He still has two more months of chemo, but after what he's been through this year, two more months he can do!

And, OMG he turns forty in a couple of weeks. I'm way too young to have a forty year old son! But oh, are we glad he's attaining that age -- it sure was iffy last year!


The obvious -- we're thankful we still have Steve and he's doing well.

We're thankful, once again for Dr. Crute, Neurosurgeon extraordinaire.

We're thankful for the entire group at Madison.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

After Christmas

We had a very nice Christmas at Kevin & Deb's house this year. Kevin made his fabulous Decadent French Toast and also individual egg casseroles and sausages cooked in apples, and hash browns and strawberries, and...

This is Steph with the two boys -- Will is now jealous when AJ sits on Mommy's lap, so he's learning to get along (or not!).

We've had more of this strange weather too. It was clear on Christmas day, but yesterday it started warming up and becoming foggy. Today it's been raining -- most of the snow we had is gone -- but not all, so it's also very foggy today. I did run a couple of errands yesterday, so today was a great day for staying in.

I've started thinking about my New Year's Resolutions and one of them was to get my quilt patterns organized. Years ago I saved whatever patterns I wanted out of my stack of magazines and put them all into binders -- but I didn't sort them, just put them into one binder after another. So yesterday afternoon and for a few hours today, I sorted the patterns into baby/kid, Americana, totally scrappy, applique, holiday and seasonal, etc. I think I have seven binders. Then I sorted a large stack of quilt related papers and threw out a lot of stuff that I haven't looked at in years. I still need to go through a large stack of magazines again and add the keepers to the binders (I will probably have to add more binders). And then, finally, I'll go through the patterns/magazines/printouts that are in my sewing room -- all I've done so far are the ones in the 3rd bedroom upstairs!

Another resolution is to get my cookbooks and recipes in order. I've already been typing a couple of recipes every day and sorting as I go through the loose ones, but today I sorted through a huge pile of loose recipes that I had in that same bedroom upstairs! I have one file folder (overflowing) that I will go through again as I type them up -- I'm only saving the recipes I'll actually use. I did find a book of hand written recipes that my grandmother on my dad's side wrote out. She didn't always write the name of the recipe, or if she did, it was in Swedish, but the recipe was in English. That of course, is a treasure and I'll not be throwing that out. I also have some hand written recipes that were written by my mother and my sister -- both of whom we lost many years ago -- so those also are a treasure.

So that has been my day -- as I was thinking about the resolutions, I decided there was no time like the present! Typing the recipes is going to take a long time, but getting them sorted and throwing out the ones I don't want is half the battle, so I'm glad to have part of that done. And now that I've separated the quilt patterns into categories, filing new ones will take less time -- plus, I've spent quite a few enjoyable hours going over the books and picking out projects I may have time to try this year! And, I've noticed my tastes have changed and I will be more discerning when I go through the rest of the magazines.


The weather has cooperated in that what travel we have had to do has been okay.

Being all together for Christmas.

Actually beginning to get organized instead of just talking about it.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

I could hear the strains of "Walking in a Winter Wonderland" playing in my head as I looked out this morning. These three views are from our front porch. I think the snow has finally stopped and Bill is out blowing snow.

We're spending a quiet evening at home, with a simple dinner for the two of us. I hope to be able to go to the Candlelight Service at church at 10:30 pm, but it'll depend on the roads -- I have to drive because Bill can't drive at night and I'm not too fond of driving in this stuff!
Tomorrow we'll be heading to Kevin's for his famous Champagne Brunch (it includes Decadent French Toast - which we all salivate for!). I'm hoping the roads will be clear enough for the kids to make it down from Wisconsin tomorrow -- but I'm sure they will-- they all have 4 wheel drive vehicles (and you can bet that the next car we buy will also be 4wd!).
Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas and a healthy, happy new year.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Preschool Christmas Program

I went up to Steph's yesterday so I could go with her to AJ's Christmas program. This, of course, is my darling grandson, Will! He's just too cute not to get a picture!

Anyway -- the program was at the church where the preschool meets. These are mostly 4 year olds, maybe one or two 3 year olds. They enacted the Christmas story. AJ was one of the wise men, the boy behind him was a camel! They all proceeded down the center aisle of the church.
When they got to the front of the church, they all lined up and the narrator was saying the baby Jesus was in the manger. (That's Mary waving the baby Jesus in the air so everyone could see He was in the manger!)

They all sang Away in the Manger (there is nothing cuter than 20 four year olds singing that song). They sang a couple of other songs and then wished everyone a Merry Christmas. It was just too adorable.
Then, they had to wait til the teacher finished speaking: I think this shot is typical of the age group! smile

And then they got to file out of the church and we had to give them 15 minutes or so before we could go get him to take him home (Grandma had to go get AJ -- specific instructions to his mom!)

It was a great program -- so much better when it's your own grandchild!
I managed to get there and back home before the dreaded winter storm arrived -- which didn't actually materialize til midnight last night. We were supposed to get 8 - 14 inches of snow. I think we might have gotten 8. Supposed to get more tomorrow and Tuesday, but I no longer believe anything the weathermen tell us! I did manage to bake cookies today while Bill spent a few hours outside clearing paths for the dogs and clearing the sidewalks and paths to the bird feeders. Our neighbor did come over and plow the drive for us, thankfully.

I'm grateful I got brave enough to drive up to Steph's yesterday. The roads were clear and I thoroughly enjoyed AJ's program. Because of the weather so far this late fall, I haven't been up there or seen them since Thanksgiving.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday's List

Today I only had three things on my to-do list's not that I don't have lots of things to do, but I only wrote down three that I needed/wanted to get done. One was exercise -- and I did that this morning (whether I wanted to or not!). The second was to load the auction quilt. I not only got it loaded, but I quilted it and just finished taking it off the frame and trimmed in preparation for the binding (which I haven't made yet!).
And finally, I reminded myself that I wanted to type two recipes and try out my new recipe printing for the binder and here they are:

I think this is going to work really well, and while I was picking two recipes to type and print, I threw out another dozen that I will never make. In a little bit, I'll go up and sort through a few more.

The Bears won last night! (And I got two more blocks appliqued on Steph's Christmas present).
Finishing my to-do list.
Organizing my thoughts.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Odds and Ends

So, today was one of those days that had a long to-do list, but quite varied. I got everything done except I haven't pinned a quilt on the longarm -- I'll leave that for tomorrow, but I did make the backing and press both the back and top, so it won't take much to do the next step -- this is the auction top I've been working on, so I want to get it done and out of the way.

I ran errands yesterday and stopped at JoAnn's with a couple of 50% off coupons. I didn't really need anything, so gravitated to the books, of course. I picked up one on fabric postcards. So far I have resisted the urge to make postcards, mostly because I didn't want to add another addiction, plus I'm not nearly as creative as some I have seen on others' blogs. I did buy the book however. Then came home and printed off Mary's tutorial on postcards -- which is written and illustrated so well, I certainly didn't need to waste my 50% coupon on the book! vbg So, today I dug out my non-fusible stabilizer and my fusible web and made up 3 postcards. These are quite un-imaginative, but I wanted to play. I'll send them to the grandkids as they are. Boy, did that not scratch that itch! I have some ideas already simmering, so I've ordered some envelopes and will let the ideas flow ..... as soon as I finish the wallhanging I have to make Steph for Christmas, and finish the auction quilt!

I haven't forgotten the ideas for printing recipes, but that's been put on the back burner temporarily -- until I finish the Christmas gift! I did test my idea for printing them, so we're good to go with that.

I've also been thinking about my goals for next year. Not only the things I want to accomplish, but ideas on how to go about accomplishing things and keeping track of finished things. I also decided that even though I do work a lot with my stash, I will also be buying fabric next year -- I like the look of brighter colors in my scrap quilts, and most of my stash is more on the muted colors side.


Having a varied to-do list, so jumping from one thing to the next actually means getting something done!

Being inspired by other quilters -- Mary for one, is very creative. Mel is also very creative and inspiring to me. They both have such great ideas.

Can My Butt Get Any Bigger?

Kimmy posted this recipe on her blog the other day and then raved about it on the MQP (Machine Quilting Professionals) list and after some trash talking, she named it Can My Butt Get Any Bigger candy! So, I made up a batch and yes -- they're great and yes, they make up fast, and yes -- my butt can get bigger and probably is as we speak! vbg

And a side note: I not only discovered the Candy Cane Kisses, but also Cherry Cordial Kisses and Hot Cocoa Kisses and oh my, they are all fabulous and will be contributing to the size of my derriere!

I'm off to do something constructive with my day now!

Saturday, December 06, 2008


Here it is December 6 and once again I'm late posting the calendar picture -- I think probably 11 out of 12 months I've been late -- pretty consistent, really!

I have been busy. I finished Block #7 of the Primitive Garden BOM. I like how this block turned out -- plus it was bigger pieces, so therefore quicker to applique!

I've been doing a lot of longarm quilting in the past few weeks. And enjoying my Christmas cactus, which is next to the window in the longarm area of the basement.
And this is a picture of a Turning Twenty quilt done by a friend in Christmas fabrics -- I used a pantograph called Tannenbaum which is actually tesselating trees with a star on top! Very easy and very quick -- takes me longer to prep the quilt and load it than it does to quilt it.

I quilted a table runner this afternoon and loaded another small quilt to do tomorrow. I've been using pantographs so much lately that I've forgotten how to do freehand -- so I'll be doing some practicing on this one and the next small runner! Think I'll watch the Pajama Quilter dvd again, and Kimmy Brunner's beginner's dvd -- lots of ideas on those two.
Was supposed to have cooky day at Steph's today, but the snow and wind decided I shouldn't drive today -- I drove home last year in a snow storm and one road was so slippery there were cars in the ditches every half mile -- I drove about 35 mph! I did make some spritz cookies last week, but Bill and I (mostly me) ate them all, so I am not going to make any more. I really don't need the added weight!
Staying in by the fire on these cold, snowy days.
Just a little bit of Christmas music on the radio -- not all Christmas all the time, which is an assault on my eardrums I think.
Learning all about my new computer.