Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dyed yarn

We had our knitting Christmas party last night. Now there are only three of us that knit together, but Carol planned it and she has wonderful gifts of handspun yarn for us that we dyed last night. This is mine and I love it. I can't wait to start a scarf with it. Wonder if hubby will hold it tonight so that I can wrap it in a ball? Who can hate ironing when you have such a fresh clean cover on the ironing board. One of my projects for yesterday. Mine was a terrible mess. Actually it sort of looked real primitive with it's burns and water stains.
And this rug. I can't tell you why it is so crooked, must not have been paying attention. Oh well, it is more for function than beauty. It is going in our bathroom and no one but us really goes there. So nice to step out of the shower on nice soft t-shirts.

Curtains! My sewing room finally has curtains! It has only been a year since I redid that room and never got the curtains made. Thanks KIM, for the fabric. Kim brought me loads of fabric around Thanksgiving and I have used so much of it. Yesterday I made the curtains and sheers and covered the ironing board with some of it. I am putting it to good use.
And some progress on the stocking. I knitted this tiny little scarf and hat front to go on it. I have to get those ends worked in on the scarf, just can't find the right size needle to do that.

Shawnee and I have made a list of 20 things to accomplish in January. The one that finishes her 20 first gets to have the loser come to her house and work for a day. If I don't get busy, I am going to be repainting Shawnee's living room. I have to get done so she can help me clean my basement! (I'll bet that makes you work even faster, Shawnee!)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Profound Wisdom of Rock and Roll

Yesterday morning on the way to church, I was telling my husband how I wanted things to be different this year. I had spent the morning making my lists for the year, organizing the projects that I would like to complete, refocusing on how I would like things to be in the coming year, reflecting on mistakes in the past year and trying to learn from them. I think that the past year had been particularly hectic. There was no time to do some of the things that I wanted or needed to do. Part of it, I am blaming on having the hysterectomy. Someone told me that I would "lose" the rest of my year after having it and while at the time, I did not believe her, I have since confessed those thoughts to her and told her that she was right. There was not time to work in my yard, it was a disaster! There was no time to ride my motorcycle! Not many miles on that odometer this year. Toward the end of the year, I was not even spending time with God in the mornings, just rushing headlong into my days. Out of those three things, they are all things that I do that seem to keep me centered and on track. Working in the yard is such therapy for me, there is not a more happy tired than sitting outside and seeing a neat, blooming yard. Shallow? Maybe, but better than any shrink out there. Riding the motorcycle is something that John and I do together, I missed that this year. Spending time reading my Bible and praying in the morning just starts the day off right. Where did I lose these things this year? So, as I am telling him all these things...or something to that effect, he looks at me, knowing the chaos that has always been my life and says "Whitesnake says it best....'Here I go again on my own, going down the only road I've ever known...'" So much for that conversation! Now that song is stuck in my head.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The 17 Year Quilt-FINISHED!

First let me say after over one year of blogging and over 200 blog posts, I NEVER saw that little blue sentence that says "Add Another Image" on the picture loader window. I have been loading pictures one at a time instead of the five at a time that Blogger allows! The things you learn. And how easy is that?

Mom bought me this pattern for Christmas. I have been saying that I would like to tackle a wool quilt and I have several yards of thin black wool that I bought for the base of quilt. This is my challenge item for this year. My Mother makes these great pillowcases. The night before her surgery, I helped her make the last four sets of them. Very easy and fun to make and so much nicer than any purchased pillowcases. As a sidenote: If I had a maid, or if I didn't have a job, I think that I would have clean pressed sheets and pillowcases every day. Well let's just go with a maid. I wouldn't do it myself everyday!
And this table runner was quite the surprise. Mom made one for my cousin for Christmas and I put up such a fuss about how I liked the colors that she decided at the last minute to make one for me. Pays to fuss, I guess. Funny how my mother was scrambling to get this done for me at the last minute and I was scrambling to get her penny rug done at the last minute also.

And now for the 17+ year quilt. Mom started this years ago. Literally years. I can only remember an approximate time by the house that I was living in and working on it. I remember having it at this one house and we moved from that house on my older daughter's 10th birthday. She is 27 now so I know that this was started at least 17 years ago, maybe longer. Mom cut out all the Santas and I did all the blanket stitching on them. We have lost them and found them and I have lived in 3 houses since then and moved them and lost them some more. I finally gave her the last one this year. I was surprised when she had it pieced and quilted already. She gave it to me for Christmas this year.

It has a Santa for every month of the year.

Well I am making my first of the year lists. I have a notebook full of them and went back over last year's list. Some of the items are on this year's list again, but really I did get a lot of them finished. I am in the mood to move furniture...I'll bet if John reads this, he will quickly have plans for the rest of the week!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas, the day after!

Today is our Christmas with our family. The girls, son-in-laws, grandchildren, parents and this year as a special treat, my cousins will be here. By noon the house should be bursting with 19 people if I am counting right. How fun! Yesterday was just a quiet day, spent the morning with Gracelyn and a short visit to Kendall. Everyone had other obligations and that is fine. I like having it this day, no one is rushing to get somewhere else. It is way more relaxed that way. John got all the meat ready yesterday and I have some new appetizer recipes to try and stuffing balls.
So far this morning, it is 6:31 right now, John has already called twice. Forgetting it was Saturday, he was up and at the gym (that does not open until 8 on Saturdays) at 6:00, then he went to the grocery store and filled his cart only to be told that they did not open until 7:00. Wouldn't you think that they would lock the doors? or that someone would have told him that BEFORE he was done shopping or here's a thought, just check him out and let him get what he came for?
My daughter bought this clock for me for Christmas. I love it! We had been to someone's house and had seen one like it and I had commented on how much I liked it. It looks neat hanging in the archway and I really like having a clock in the living room.
And last night, watching that clock at midnight, I finished this penny rug just in time to give to my Mom today. It was not any big deal if I didn't have it done, but I was so close last night that I just had to finish it.

And the gifts all wrapped and ready for the day. Obviously I took this before this morning. The sun is not awake here yet.

What a nice surprise this was. The lady that I took pottery from brought these to me on Tuesday, I had finished these pieces back in the early spring in pottery class and she had never got them fired. I thought that they were gone and that I was not going to get them and actually had forgotten about them. It was so nice to get them. Sort of makes me want to go back to pottery class again.

And this. My Mother-in-law has been giving me things for Christmas each year that are family "heirlooms" She has had this picture on a shelf in her garage forever and I have made comments about it and hinted and nothing! This year it is my Christmas present. There is no date but it was a wedding gift to her MIL and FIL when they got married so we are thinking around 1915-1920. It is a pastel painting and I love the frame. I promptly hung it in my kitchen on Christmas Eve when we came home from her house. Anyone with any information on these types of frames and paintings?

I could not show this before Christmas. This was my MIL's train case when she was younger and she had me paint it for Dianna for Christmas this year. Dianna had known it was coming but had forgotten about it.

I hope that everyone had a Merry Christmas and that you enjoy the next week of get-togethers and family. This is one of my favorite weeks of the year.
And then...we settle into January and recliner and crafting time. I have so many fun things that I want to make this winter. Can't wait to get started, but for now...I have to vacuum and cook and get ready for our big holiday!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Final three orders!

Can you tell which ones I let go until last? The ones that are out of my comfort painting zone! I just have a hard time doing these houses although people seem to want them and hopefully like them! I put them off and really it was not that hard to do. I am always gun shy of them because of a bad experience one time. I had a couple bring a picture of their house to me and I painted it. I THOUGHT it was OK, (well really I thought it was good) and when they came to pick it up, she picked and complained and whined about how she did not like it. She really made quite the scene and I told them that was fine they didn't have to take it. When they walked out the door, I simply picked up the board and walked to the basement of the shop that I had at the time and threw the board in the coal furnace. Not a happy moment for me, but such a release of anger! When I came back upstairs, they were explaining to the woman who worked for me at the time (who still had the shocked look on her face because I had burnt the board) that they would like the board at a discount because they were not happy with it. DISCOUNT!!! I very politely explained that it was burning in the furnace right now. It was such a fun moment for me! The looks on their faces? Priceless!

Hope the results of this one are better. And this one ran around in my mind for the last two months. What to do. She wanted a guy in a hammock. I finally just pulled this pic out of clipart from work and traced it on the board. Hopefully this meets her approval.

The final one is one that I can't show until after Christmas. It is for someone who reads my blog regularly and they would recognize that it is for them! I have a few pics to post after Christmas of gifts and orders.
After frantic shopping on Monday, I came home to find my dear husband in the basement finishing my laundry. John and I do our own laundry, always have. It is one of the benefits of getting a husband who lived on his own for awhile. I have a theory that the best pre-marriage counseling would be for a man to live on his own for one year. Anyway, I am not as good at keeping up with my laundry, too many clothes I guess and it gets ahead of me. He is regimented at washing his clothes every week and will not go to bed until they are folded and put away. I, on the other hand will start laundry with all good intentions and three days later realize that I forgot I was doing it and there are wet clothes in the washer, wrinkled clothes in the dryer and sometimes, if it has rained, a load of clothes floating in water on the basement floor. This is one of those things that drives my husband CRAZY! So Monday night, he washed FIVE loads of clothes for me and had them folded or on hangers and done! What a treat!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Disappearing pics!

Why do my pics disappear? This belongs in the next post!

Recliner Work

Our Sunday Lunch Menu consists of
Mixed Green Salad
Sun-Dried Tomato Bread with Artichoke Bruschetta topping (my contribution)
Crispy Skinned Baked Potato
Gorgonzola Bread Crumb Encrusted Delmonico Steaks
Cabernet Sauvignon

DELICIOUS! The steaks were done is a cast iron skillet, browned and then finished in the oven. They were perfect. Nothing better than a cooking husband! Why didn't I start all this handwork months ago instead of sitting and knitting every evening. I would have had it all done!

Well, not this. My Mom just mentioned about two weeks ago that she would like a penny rug for on the back of her commode. I took the plunge and cut it out Saturday, we'll see if it gets done.
And this is the start of Gracelyn's stocking for at home. It does not need done for Christmas though so I am not working as hard on it, although this little scarf that I am knitting for on the snowman is fascinating. I am hoping that I can knit the front of a little stocking cap to sew on it also. I have ideas for one for Shawnee and one for Brian AFTER Christmas. Wonder if the OTHER two families are going to want them also? Jenn? Di?

I laid out quite a few of these towels a few months ago and when I got all the stuff out of my sewing room on Saturday, I got down to these. Don't ask, it was really bad! Not sure who might get this one?

And Kendall's stocking. Last year, I decided to make these for the three grandchildren. I finished them on Christmas day. We had Christmas here the day after and Christmas Day is usually pretty quiet around here. I did not want to be finishing Kendall's on Christmas but was at a blank as to what to put on it. When I won the giveaway from Cath's Pennies Designs and received it, there was a click in my little brain and I ran to my sewing room and cut out candy canes. Thanks Cathy for the inspiration! I owe you big time!
OK, that picture will be on another post!

Now to get the stuff to fill them. We do stockings at our house. Stockings were always my favorite part of Christmas. My Mom would stuff the most fun things in our stocking and after all the presents were opened, the stockings were still such a treat. Sort of the dessert after a meal. I have always filled stockings for my girls and always tried to make them fun things as well as useful things. I have continued this tradition for my step-daughters, all except for the first year when Jenn didn't want a stupid stocking. As the other girls were opening theirs, she decided that she wanted one the next year. I fill them for the SIL's and for the grandchildren. This year, I have the girls filled already, they are the easiest to fill. The grandchildrens' are not hard, but the SIL's really take some thought. I am hoping to leave work early today and get to a "big" mall and finish my Christmas shopping!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

I WON!!!

My very first giveaway! Cath at picked me to win this cute little pillow. I love it! And just when I had packed away the fall ones that she made for me, this one just stepped in and took their place. Thanks so much, Cathy! If you have not visited her blog, do so. She has the neatest wool things and is now publishing her own line of patterns. I am really on a "finishing" kick and none too soon! Finished these on Thursday, they are on the Varnishing Table in the basement. An order for a customer. Next year I am not taking orders. Someone please remind me of that about October or November when I am weak and can't say "NO!" That reminder can be from anyone in Blogland or of course, my family and friends. To my family and friends, you have permission to snick me if I say yes!

Finished these for Shelby and family for at her house.

Made this just because the thought popped in my mind. It is really not for anyone although it might end up on my table before Christmas.

Made this for me Mom. I saw the idea in Create and Decorate magazine and I had this letter that her Dad wrote to his grandparents (Mom's great-grandparents) in 1917 and I scanned the envelope and transferred it to muslin and made this. I want to make one for my aunts and uncle, but that is going to have to wait until after Christmas.

Tied and put the binding on this for Kendall for Christmas.

And this is for Gracelyn, managed to get the binding on it yesterday also.

And of course, she needed a pillow to go with it also.

We are on the mend here. A day in the house certainly helped me! I ended up making the 70 mile roundtrip to the doctor on Friday (doesn't that just sound like we live at Little House on the Prairie) and got antibiotics for my throat and glands. It is really too bad that they don't just sell those over the counter. I knew what I needed.
Now for a run-down of what is on my kitchen counter:
Vitamin D3 (Thanks Jennifer!)
Vitamin C
Green Tea
Jack Daniels.
All other suggestions,welcome!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Countdown to Chaos.

17. The number of projects that I have to finish before Christmas
16. The number of people that I have yet to buy Christmas gifts for; 4 grandchildren, 4 daughters, 4 SIL's, 1 husband, 2 parents, 1 MIL.
15. The number of phone calls that I had yesterday as I was home babysitting my granddaughters, c'mon FIFTEEN!!! Really does anyone need to talk to me that bad? And I had the phone off the hook for the two hours that they both slept!
14. The number of projects that need completed here at the shop before Christmas.
13. The temperature outside! Who feels like shopping in this weather?
12. Children/Grandchildren in our family to figure out what they need/want.
11. The hour of the night that I break into the first coughing fit of the night.
10. The amount of Advil that I am taking every 24 hours to keep the throat pain at a minimum.
8. Rooms of the house that need cleaned.
7. Types of medicine that I have tried for this cold, Zyrtec, Robitussin, Nyquil, Mucinex, Hall's, Ludens and Advil.
6. Actual work days left before Christmas
5. Stockings that I have started and have to finish
4. Cabinet Doors that I have to paint yet.
3. Bathrooms that need cleaned.
2. The number of little blocks left to quilt on Gracelyn's quilt.
1. Recliner that is calling me to SLEEP!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Iced In.

We woke, here is Western Pa, to an ice storm. Roads were closed, our church was cancelled (I can't even remember the last time we cancelled church, hearty country people that we are) and everything basically came to a standstill. Not a bad day if you are home and toasty and have a husband that likes to cook. This is the meal he came up with, Pasta with chicken, and green and red bell peppers, covered lightly with asiago cheese. The nice glass of wine allowed me a bit of a nap and a break from the coughing and hacking that I had been doing since 3:30 AM. Yes, I have settled into my yearly cold. I could feel it coming and it took it's time taking hold, but Thursday night it finally settled in, just in time to feel guilty at the hospital and get some not nice looks every time I settled into a coughing fit in the waiting room, sitting right under the sign that read something to this effect, IF YOU HAVE COLD OR FLU SYMPTOMS, PLEASE GO HOME!
So, I tried to knock some more items off my to do list of orders that I need to get done for Christmas. A customer brought this ski to me to have painted.
Oh wait and then I had to try something out of those tapestry samples. I ran out of thread on topstitching the binding. It is on my "town" list.

And have these stockings all started for Shelby, Ryan and Kendall. I left the top open on this one so that I can take it to work and have it embroidered today. The other two I left in pieces for ease of embroidery.

And another order, finished and checked.

And of course a little knitting. I had all these scarves started, I am really not speed knitter. Sometimes I am on a kick of starting things and sometimes it is finishing. I am trying to stay on finishing for awhile.

Less than two weeks until Christmas. I don't have even half of my shopping done. The good news is though that most of what I have bought, I have wrapped and under the tree. It is crunch time at work. We are always busy at this time but this year I think Christmas has taken a lot of people around here by surprise. I think it is the lack of cold weather for so long and now people are ordering coats and hats and t-shirts for their employees and we are down to the end of the time of getting them finished. I see some overtime coming, too bad I don't get paid for it!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Little of this, little of that

Thank you everyone for all the prayers for my Mom. She had her heart cath and everything went really well. They did not have to do a stint and they think that just a change in medication will solve her problems. Great news!
A few more finished projects. I liked that last one and this person did not care what I did, so I made two more just like it. I have no idea why this picture is so blurry. Stopped at Claypoole's Fabric Store in Worthington on my way home from Ohio. That is where I bought the fabric for the boys' quilts and I didn't have enough left for the binding. Luckily they had the fabric left that I wanted for the binding. While I was there I found this. The boys are crazy for Tom and Jerry. Who would have thought that I could have found something with them on it. It was the last panel on the bolt. Another project before Christmas.
A woman in my Mom's quilting group was passing these sample books out. Apparently she has 800 of them. Hmmm, a kindred spirit. Anyway, my Mom got this one for me and is waiting to see what I come up with out of it. Any ideas? I have a couple swirling around in my head.

Finished this scarf for Jennifer. It is not really a Christmas gift though. Dianna is the only one now that does not have one like this. (I have one started that I think she will like)

And today we made a trip to the Strip District in Pittsburgh. It was sort of a multi-tasking trip. We went with friends and the guys wanted to eat at DeLuca's for breakfast (it was even in the Food Channel on Friday night) and I needed to get poinsettias for the church and Molly had a list of last minute wedding items for her daughter's wedding. While at the flower wholesaler, I picked up fresh cedar and eucalyptus. I love the smell of both of them and just arranged them in this basket on the table. My Mom made the fabric centerpiece underneath it several years ago and I love it buy didn't have it out for a couple of years. It worked great with these greens.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Fairies Arrived!

After reading my blog post yesterday morning, Jenn and Tyler showed up at 7AM ish to help decorate my tree.
Now this is Decorating the Tree at My House
1. White Lights
2. Red Lights
3. Mixed Beads
4. Red Beads
5. White Beads
6. Red Ornaments
7. White Ornaments
8. Crocheted Ornaments
9. White stars
10. Snowmen
11. Hand Blown Ornaments
12. Tin Icicles
13. Star on Top
14. Vacuum and lay down the tree skirt
I never realized how Obsessive Compulsive I was about decorating my tree until 24 hours ago.

This is Decorating the Tree with An Overstimulated Four Year Old
Lights, Fling the beads like a lasso, wow look at all this stuff, slide in the ornaments as if into first base, jump in the ornaments as if they were a pile of leaves, hang one snowflake on the tree, jump over the love seat to see what Mommy is doing in the back, run upstairs and find a toy that he had last week and bring it down to play with, pick up the beads again and fling them at the ceiling, hang another ornament on the tree, pick up all the tin icicles and fling them to watch them sparkle, count all the stars, where is papa, I want to put the star on top, hey look at all these snowmen, this one looks like a ice cream cone, lick the ornament only to have a mouthful of glitter, are we done yet, hey (flinging open the pantry doors) I need a snack, wow these ornaments look like snowballs...SNOWBALL FIGHT! as he wails the ornament across the roon with his best pitching arm, headfirst into the bin to see what else we can hang on the tree, fling all the stars in the air and watch the glitter fall, when is papa coming home, hey papa are you here somewhere? I want to put the star on! I think I need some ice cream, papa you're home, we need to put the star on top, and finally I really love this blanket, as he slides UNDER the tree skirt and lays down.
Amazingly enough we only broke one ornament and I did that and thankfully it was not a "good" one.

So the tree is decorated, if not artfully, certainly joyfully and quite memorable!

And one more order finished. I painted another of these and sold it at my open house. My daughter's MIL bought it and a friend of hers wanted one. What a trade! She brought me a stack of cabinet doors in trade for painting this. I love to barter.