Friday, November 27, 2015

The Holiday Rush Begins

Our first Thanksgiving in three years was small but wonderful. Only one of our sons was home but that's because our oldest son has started a new piloting job and he is in flight training at the Dallas/Fort Worth airport. He was able to catch a ride with his cousins to the big Bailey family Thanksgiving in Austin. I am very sorry I neglected to get any pictures but I was sooo busy I just didn't fit photo taking into the schedule. (Why do the menfolk never think to take pictures of family occasions?  I just need to assign it to my sons next time.)

I wanted to share that we did something completely different with our turkey this year...we completely followed the Pioneer Woman's recipe and brined our turkey. We even followed her roasting directions which are pretty different too. Here's a link to her brining recipe:
and her roasting recipe:

Our turkey was beautiful...just like her pictures...and it tasted wonderfully juicy. I think we are brining converts. The only draw back was my gravy was a little salty. I made a huge batch of gravy because I kept adding low salt broth to cut the saltiness. The final result was very good but it had me worried for a bit.

Now we are officially in my favorite time of the year. I feel like I should just give up sleeping for a few weeks while I work on all my projects. I have enough of this advent calendar done to add the backing and hang it. Of course the backing that came in the kit is too big and since I cut it our ahead of time (I don't usually make that mistake) I can't fix this piece. I'll have to cut my own from some leftover quilt batting. I think I will add a white felt piece as the final backing.

It has been so fun unpacking my Christmas decorations. I had forgotten about these two snowmen. I bought our first year in Alaska at a craft bazaar. A local woman made them... their bodies are the quilt batting "Warm and Natural." They have held up beautifully for 18 Christmases. Wish I could remember how much I paid for them. I wonder if she still sells them. I didn't make it to any of the bazaars this year.

I recently discovered my box of stocking tops that I neglected to finish up by actually making the stocking portion...sure hope I get them done in time to hang them up this is possible.

I just finished the Wales Santa on the more in the trio has been started.

And...I officially entered a quilt in the AQS Paducah quilt show. The entry deadline is December 4th but I won't find out until March 4th if my quilt has made the show. It would be a great excuse to go to the show again!

I had hopes of taking part in a Bonnie Hunter mystery this year...I still haven't ruled it out. I'm finally home where I have access to my scraps is possible. Only 294 half-square triangle to make by next Friday.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Breakfast Club Show and Tell

Lots of ladies were working on Christmas gifts.

These two runners are the same pattern which takes advantage of a printed snowflake. Both are just gorgeous though it was a dark day since it was snowing outside so the colors aren't as pretty in the photos.

Several ladies were also working on this little quilt kit...adapted from a large version using 2 1/2-inch strips. I think this version used 1 1/2-inch strips.

Excellent use of a panel!

A pattern by Antler Quilt Designs.

This quilt is the shop's Thangles BOM for 2016. The blocks are all in batiks...I came so close to signing up for this!

And another gift...a baby quilt. Can't beat Dr. Seuss for cuteness.

Here's Ronna with an adorable Santa the sacks for clothes pins. The top holder was meant to hang on the clothes line. I suppose you might have to be a certain age to know about hanging wet, washed clothes outside on a line to dry. Makes a cute Christmas decoration.

And Ronna also made these three trees.

Another quilt destined for Christmas gift giving. Another fabulous panel. Love this quilts always grab my attention.

Look at this fun twist on  a Bargello pattern. The floral fabric used in the middle is such a fun idea!

This was the pattern picked for our group to work on last week. I actually started sewing my rows together but didn't get past that. 

And another class sample in the store. I'm pretty sure this is a strip club quilt.

Show and Tell is always my favorite part of Breakfast Club.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Busy at the North Pole

I am anxious for Christmas. I always decorate like crazy and since this will be our first Christmas in our new home...well...I've got a lot of work to do so I am starting now. It helps that our temperatures have been in the minus zone for about a week. 

Three tear drop wreaths for the backside of our house...which is where our garage is so we will see these lovely wreaths every time we come home.

My new cutting table is wonderful! I love this great work area.

Working away on the Nordic Advent Calendar. I have all the little cookie-like ornaments that hang around the house to complete...25 of them.

My Wales Santa in progress.

Tomorrow is Breakfast Club. 
Here is the quilt pattern we are making.
 I have no idea what fabrics I am going to use...but of course it will be batiks.

And just a quick comment about Paris. My friends and their families are all safe. It is such a frightening it still seems to be ongoing. Before I launch into a great political discussion I will just close by saying my heart aches for the French and I pray the leaders of the world tackle this escalating problem of Islamic extremism.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A Tale of Two Cities

Facebook pops a photo from your past up every now and then. This was yesterday's photo. My first week in Paris, with my shopping trolley as I headed to the farmers' market.

I couldn't resist...had to take a picture three years later...

Our temperatures were in the mid-twenties idea of the perfect winter temperature. Kinley, who is almost 6 months old, just went on a little walk with me. We were trying to finish up before the sun set but it was not easy since our hours of daylight are under 8 hours and diminishing by more than five minutes every day.

Living in Paris was a grand adventure but I am so happy to be home with my new dog. My husband has this month off...sweet! In December he will be back to helping get those packages from the North Pole to all the good little girls and boys. (He's a pilot for Fed Ex).

I have been spending a bit of time just hanging out with my husband...a nice luxury for sure! We finally used our fireplace. I have plopped myself in our great room, with a mountain view and a crackling fire. Perfect spot for watching a little television while working on my latest Christmas project.

I'm so happy to get to the stage where I start adding all the sequins on this advent calendar.

Next up will be  making the ornaments that count down to Christmas.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Another Week of Finished Projects

I had three easy staining projects this key chain board by our garage door entry...

and our hanging coat rack for the same mudroom area.

I remembered to change out one of my hanging quilts to this fall quilt, "Henrietta's Whiskers." This design is from Bunny Hill and was a free BOM on her blog. I would never have bought this pattern but since it was free...I went for it. I had not worked with wool applique in a quilt before and I loved it. I have a whole quilt designed in my head using this method...a snowman theme. Maybe by next year I will have it ready to hang on this wall for winter!

I spent some time catching up on organizing all the Mill Hill beads that are leftover from the ornament kits I make...quite a stash! I have run out once or twice of beads in a kit and grabbed some from my leftovers.

Oh..and I almost forgot my third staining cutting table top. I am so thrilled it!!!

I am thinking very much about Christmas decorating. I finished adding the green felt backing to 10 cross stitch ornaments.

Just finished the Scotland Santa and will put him aside while I work on the other two Celtic Santas in this series.

And I am making progress on my second advent calendar this year. I initially stitched the felt icicle piece in place without stuffing per the directions. But it really looked like it was missing something so I ripped out the stitching along the top and added some stuffing. I am much happier now.

I am waiting to add sequins to all the sections until after I get the felt pieces much easier to handle this large piece by waiting. I also added stuffing to these little icicles on the windows.  Again...the kit directions did not call for stuffing in this area but it looks good!

There is a big winter storm in the forecast for tonight. I'm looking forward to having a good excuse to stay home. Snow days are good for grownups too!

Friday, October 30, 2015


I have been busy! Pecking away at house projects...I think I see a light at the end of this tunnel...

...then my husband mentions how close Christmas is getting...he knows I am dying to start my Christmas decorating. 

But first there is the season of autumn to consider...which is almost gone.

By the time I got around to making a couple of autumn was slim pickings at the craft stores. I had the grapevine wreath bases and the little "welcome" bucket in my stash. I didn't want a Halloween look...but something that would transition to Thanksgiving.

One wreath by the front door.

Another on a large blank wall on the front of the house. A good start...I will build on this foundation next year.

My handyman brought two pieces for me to finish up. A rack for keys and a coat rack. Both pieces are made from on large plank of reclaimed wood that was bought for our main flooring. We pulled this piece out of the pile because it was carved with "graffiti." Click on the photo and you can see a house and a scary face. The wood for our floors came from a barn in New York that was over 100 years old. 

I need to finish the wood with tung oil and stain the trim. 

And I guess I had better consider this a wedding anniversary present...because it was a pricey gift to myself...a new top for my cutting table. Here's just a look at a corner. It has a laminate top with a pattern called "slate." Love it. I will also need to stain the trim on this. So you know what I will be working on this weekend.

True confessions...I am an eBay junkie! My latest find were these adorable Malcom Moose cross stitch ornaments. There are several designs in the series.

I love designs with fun little details like these buttons...a cell phone and stethoscope.

There are also some Mandy Moose designs. 

HA! I'll get to those moose ornaments after I finish about 50 other ornament kits I have. Almost time to add the beads on this Scottish Santa.

At Breakfast Club yesterday...I worked on this project. "Nordic Gingerbread Advent Calendar." I just couldn't tackle the quilting project they were doing...very cute one but I haven't touched any of my sewing machines since the September Breakfast Club meeting.

And this is what I worked on at the September Breakfast own project. A kit I picked up on my travels around the Atlanta quilt shops. Layer cakes and strips of black and white fabrics. 

One of these days I will have to get around to telling you about my grizzly bear encounters last week. Not hurt at all but I am incredibly lucky!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

I'm Here!

Apparently I am in a time machine where I lose days. Still working on the quilting studio rehab so no completed photos to share just yet...I'm waiting for the final reveal...could still be several weeks. 

In the meantime...the snow melted and the moose have been visiting.
This is a corner of my house on the right...I came out of the garage and around this corner and spotted the one we call Great Scott. He let me drive by and get to my Jazzercise class.

I finished the final set of Nutcracker Santas: Denmark, Greece and Sweden.

There was some more household washing flashed a code that meant it had a drain blockage...not good! Instead of calling a repairman...I explored the option of fixing it myself. Every time I call a repairman it costs me at least $200. First...I unplugged the machine...very important when working around water. I removed the bottom front panel and spied what looked like a drain opening. The huge white knob was conveniently placed! My washer and dryer are on a raised, tiled platform. I had my bucket under the drain pipe which was good because when I opened it lots of water drained out...two buckets worth. 

And what was behind the white knob were two sheets that I recognized right away...despite their icky gray color. A dryer sheet and a color fast sheet. I have absolutely no idea how they were small enough to sneak their way into the washing machine drain.

If it happened once...I suppose it will happen again. But at least I know how to fix the problem.

And again...I spotted the moose on my way to Jazzercise...this time right by our mailbox.

I finally got my Nordic Christmas Tree Advent Calendar completed. I have not decided how I am actually going to hang this. In this photo I have it pinned to my design wall. The kit has 25 ornaments but only 24 spots for hanging them on the tree...hmmm. Trying to find a spot for #25.

The kit called for using red sequins with a bead to use as the hangars for the ornaments. That didn't seem like a good idea to me so I used tiny red buttons. 

McKinley is taking a lot of my time lately. Lots of teething going on which gets her chewing on everything...after lots of playing or a long walk...eventually I get a puppy nap time. Her head is resting on a stuffed dog that was the same size as her when I first got her. She is just shy of being 5 months old.

And once again...on my drive home from Jazzercise...I caught a moose crossing the road...

Here's the same photo cropped tighter. I always slow down when I see a cow this time of year because very often there is a bull in pursuit but that wasn't the case on this occasion.

And another pic of McKinley...she has discovered treasures in garbage cans...paper towels and kleenex are her favorites. Can't take my eyes of her when she is awake!

Hoping to get a quilt loaded on my frame. I don't currently have a cutting table so I might have to resort to using the floor to cut the batting to size...which will require putting Kinley outside and vacuuming first!