Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Past

As we approach Christmas Day, I am reminded of Christmas past.  This is an old photo of my Mama's tree.  Each year she took her ax and saw and went out in search of "the perfect tree".  She often took along one or more of the 20 grandchildren.  The tree was a cedar tree from the family farm.   The tree was placed in the entry hall of her huge brick home.  The home dated to the early 1880's and had high ceilings but Mama always managed to find that "perfect tree". 

Mama bought presents all year so that she had something for everyone in our huge family.  As great grandchildren arrived they too received special gifts.  I remember my son, John, received a toy gun and holster for Christmas 1977 from Mama.  I remember this because he also received a rocking horse and cowboy hat that same Christmas from Santa.  My grandmother had no way of knowing John was going to be a cowboy that Christmas, since she lived in Kentucky and our family was now living in Arizona.  I guess Grandma's must have a special relationship with Santa.

Thinking of Christmas past is a mixed bag.  I remember those great times we spent at Mama's and Papa's house on Christmas day.  All the cousins running in and out the front door with Papa yellling:  "Close the door.  You're letting the cold air in."  Those were the good times.  On the other hand, the photo above was taken by my best friend and cousin, Doug.  He was a wonderful photographer and took photos of many family events.  But a few days before Christmas 1983, he was killed in a traffic accident on black ice.  I remember that Christmas well as I accompanied my father to Kentucky for the funeral on December 24th. 

I wish each of you a Very Merry Christmas. I'm sure each of you have memories of "Christmas Past". 

Friday, December 23, 2011

A New Favorite for Christmas Time

Just last week I discovered this wonderful Mexican Style Hot chocolate Mix by Nestle.  I had never heard of it until my college friend came for visit last week.  She purchases the mix at the Food City in her Southern Arizona hometown and enjoys a cup each morning.  Then I found the instructions for the Snowman Sauna (see previous post),  and  Jessica stated that her favorite cocoa mix was Nestle's Abuelita. 

So I went in search of Abuelita.  I didn't go to Food City immediately as I thought other groceries in town would carry this mix.  After visiting two groceries, I decided to follow my friend's advice and try Food City.  I found a big display in the store and purchased a few boxes.  The hot chocolate is delicious.  It is now "My Favorite"  (just like Michelle and my friend, Veronica).  You should give it a try.  It's wonderful.  I'm enjoying a cup as I type this post.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Snowman and the Cabinet Door

I'll be posting Snowmen this "Week Before Christmas".  Our home is filled with various snowmen.  The one above I purchased at a boutique a number of years ago.  He is painted on a cabinet door.  He is one of my favorites.  This year he is displayed on a wall in the dining room. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Snowman Sauna Mug

Another Snowman Post.
Have you seen these little guys?  I saw them on here on Jessica's blog.  She even wrote a tutorial for them.  I changed mine up a little.  I didn't include candy.  These will be gifts for neighbors and I will also give a plate of cookies so I decided the candy wasn't necessary.  I went to Food City to find the Nestle Abuelita Hot Chocolate Mix that Jessica recommends.  I tried a cup and it is delicious.  I see why it is her favorite.

I think these will be favors at next years Christmas Light Tour in the motorhome.  I will check thrift stores throughout the year for great mugs to use.  I have saved the tags that I created on the computer and the written instructions.  I even have some of the bags left.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

There is "Snow" Place like Home!

I have decided to show you some of the many snowmen that inhabit our home during the holidays.  As you arrived at our home you are greeted by snowmen on the front porch.  The snowmen on the bench have been in our family for years.  The largest snowman is missing one eye but we still love him.  The snowman by the porch post was purchased at an after-Christmas sale last year.  He only worked one night and now no longer lights up (guess you could call him a "lemon" of a snowman).  I guess we'll keep him as the "greeter-man"! 

There is even a "Solar Snowman in the Flower Pot.  He was a great find at Walgreen's for $2.99 and he works.  He looks cute in the evening with his glowing head.

A Cowboy snowman gives everyone a "Wild West Welcome". 

Tomorrow I'll share some of the snowmen inside our home.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

It's beginning to feel alot like Christmas

The bottom of the tree is now filled with presents.  The Christmas music is playing in the background.  A cake is in the oven.  Granddaughters will arrive shortly to organize the "Baby Jesus" display.  That's what R2 (youngest one) calls the little manger scenes that I have collected over the years.  There are a couple of empty shelves waiting to be decorated with "Baby Jesuses"!

Last evening we attended the Dave Koz Christmas concert at the Mesa Arts Center.  I think this is our 4th or 5th year to attend these wonderful concerts.  Jonathan Butler's "O Holy Night"  always brings tears to my eyes.  Last evenings concert had wonderful lighting displays to accompany the great performance.

My college roommate arrived in town last evening.  Another of our college friends will arrive tomorrow morning.  The guest room is ready for her.  We "girls" will be attending the luminarias at the Desert Botanical Gardens tomorrow evening.

Saturday will be busy with breakfast with girlfriends before they leave for their respective homes.  Lunch with retired co-workers from our old office.  Holiday light tour in the motorhome Saturday evening with sister's family.  An annual tradition to honor the memory of our son Paul.

Then a two day break before DH's daughter and granddaughter's arrive for a visit. 

WOW now that I look at my schedule, I'm already tired.  But it will be great to see friends and family and celebrate our Savior's birth.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Tonight is Worldwide Candle Lighting

Paul Thomas Show
12-30-1985 - 5-12-2007
This evening I light my candle in memory of not only my son Paul but in remembrance of all children who graced the lives of their loved ones for far too short a period of time . . .

                                                                   . . . that their light may always shine.

For more info visit Compassonate Friends.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Another Shopping List Folio

I just completed this shopping list folio for my cousin.  She recently accepted a position at the University of Kentucky.  I had this fabric in my stash and thought it would make a perfect little gift for her.  It will be winging its way to Kentucky on Monday. 

This is my third folio.  So glad I found the pattern.  They are simple and quick to make.  You can personalize them with fabric or embroidery machine. 

We have two Christmas parties today and a birthday party tomorrow.  Seems the holidays get here fast.  I completed the tree decorating yesterday.  Now it time to wrap presents to put under it.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Shopping List Folio

I made this little shopping list folio for my DIL.  I found the instructions here.  You will see that the original doesn't look exactly like mine.  I decided to make the outer cover from one piece of fabric and embellish with machine quilting.  I did follow the directions for the inside of the folio.  I found the notepads at OfficeMax.  They fit perfectly in the pocket.  I decided to tuck her gift card inside the other pocket.

Here is the folio.  I'm not sure I like the button off center but that's where the instructions said to put it.  I may change that on the next one.  I see so many possibilities --machine embroidery, quilt blocks, with or without that triangle pocket, maybe another little pocket,  personalized with names,  .....

Fun project and finished in less than an hour.  Best of all I was able to use fabrics in my stash.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I Finished the Rag Quilt!!!!!!!!!!

You may recall that when I posted this rag quilt earlier, I wasn't going to clip the seams but let my niece do it.  I guess I'm allowed to change my mind.  I just couldn't let an unfinished quilt sit in my studio.  So I started clipping a little each day and before I knew it, I had finished the quilt.  My first experience  with a rag quilt wasn't pleasant because I waited until the last minute to begin the clipping.  Funny how things don't seem so overwhelming when you do a little at a time.

The quilt isn't large but perfect as a throw on our cool winter evenings here in the desert.  It is still shedding some little threads but most have been removed by washing and drying the quilt.  I also took it outside and gave it a good shaking.  I'm very pleased with the results and hope the Tiller family enjoys their Rag Quilt.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Visit to North Pole on the Polar Express

Our family visited the North Pole on Sunday night.  We rode on the Grand Canyon Railway's Polar Express.  The train left Williams, Arizona and approx. 30 minutes later arrived at the North Pole.   The photo above is of one of the granddaughters dressed in her pj's ready to board the train. 
On our way to the North Pole some of Santa's elves served hot cocoa and  Mrs. Claus' delicious cookies.  Then they read us the book Polar Express.  This is one of Santa's elves.

When we arrived at the North Pole we were greeted by Santa.  It was too cold to visit the North Pole so we stayed on the train.  Santa boarded the train and visited each train car.  He presented all the children with one of his "Bells".
Below you see my beautiful DIL and two beautiful granddaughters with their bells.  Bottom pictures shows the girls in their pjs.

It was a wonderful Christmas experience complete with a winter blizzard on the drive to the mountains. 
My new header shows the San Francisco Peaks in Flagstaff, Arizona as they looked on our drive to the train.  Last year our Christmas trip was to Cabo, Mexico.  We went from playing in the ocean last year to playing in the snow this year.  Our son thinks he prefers swimming in the ocean in December!!!    Granddaughters loved the snow since they have lived in the desert all their lives.

Friday, December 2, 2011

T-Block Puzzler - The Handyman Quilt

I finished this quilt yesterday.  It is for my brother-in-law.  I purchased the kit at a local quilt store.  I loved the "handyman" themed fabric in the kit.  You don't often see a quilt kit with a manly theme.  This one was perfect.  The pattern is "T-Block Puzzler" by Barbara Futoma of Giggling Gecko Designs.  It uses focus blocks and 2 1/2" strips.

I used my Bernina 165 to do the machine quilting.  I hadn't sewn on my Bernina for quiet awhile because I've been working with my Janome 11000.  I've very pleased with the stitching on the quilt.  You can see details of the quilting stitches below.  You will also notice that I used the leftover 2 1/2" strips for the binding.  So you see various colors and fabrics in the binding.

It isn't a large quilt but I'm sure he will be very pleased that I made a quilt " Just For Him".

Monday, November 28, 2011

Personalized Stocking

I finished this little Christmas stocking yesterday.  It is another "In The Hoop" machine embroidery from Anita Goodesigns.  This stocking is small ( about 8").  I think it would be perfect as a gift card holder or for a small gift.  I made this one for my friend Gayle.  The original design has borders of holly on the top of the stocking.  I decided to personalize it instead.  Not sure yet what will go in the stocking.  We usually make donations to charity instead of giving gifts. 

I will begin my Christmas decorating tomorrow.  We've been busy with DH's health issues for the past week but he is now recovering nicely and I can concentrate on Christmas.  I'm  planning to repeat my Blue Christmas theme again this year.

Thursday, November 24, 2011



Saturday, November 19, 2011

Jelly Roll Bag

I've been working to complete some Christmas presents.  This is one of the items I am making.  It is made on my Janome 11000 embroidery machine.  The design is Anita Goodesign's "Jelly Roll Bags".   This is an "in the hoop" project made with Jelly roll strips (2 1/2" wide strips of fabric).  The entire project is made in the embroidery hoop.  I love this little bag.  After making the first one, I decided it would be nice to personalize each of the bags since they were already in the embroidery hoop.  I just edited to include the names of people on my gift list.  The little bag measures approx. 4" x 6".

  I finished three this afternoon and plan to make more.  It is the perfect project for those left over fabric strips from other projects.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Chestnut and Vine Block of the Month completed

My Chestnut and Vine Block of the Month quilt top is completed.  It is huge (82" x 82").  It is shown here on our king size bed.  It will be going in the mail on Monday to Ohio.  Wanda will be quilting it for me.  She quilted my Southwest quilt and it is one of my favorites. 

The Chestnut and Vine quilt used cheater fabric for some of the blocks and triangles.  It looks much more detailed that it actually is.  BUT there is quite a bit of applique in the quilt and this took many hours to complete.  I'm very pleased with the results.   Can hardly wait to see what it looks like after Wanda's beautiful quilting.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Charm Pack Quilt

I recently finished this small quilt.  It is made from a Charm Pack.  The quilt kit is from Fat Quarters.com.  I just love their kits.  They are so easy to pack and take when we travel to our vacation home in Kentucky.  The quilt will become part of my spring decorating in 2012. 

I recently finished my Chestnuts and Vine Block of the Month quilt and will have photos later this week.  Great to be back in the desert and working in my studio.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

November Fabric Postcard

I decided to join a Fabric Postcard Swap for November.  This is my postcard for Corinne.  I cut the calendar and the turkey images from an old linen calendar.  The theme of the calendar was "Calories".  I thought the turkey was the perfect addition to the November postcard.

Norma at Fabric in Altered Arts 2 Yahoo group is the hostess of this swap.   I haven't participated in a trade in some time.  I took a break but plan to gradually get back into the swapping mode.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Finished Rag Quilt but "NOT CLIPPED"

I finished stitching this rag quilt while here in the country.  There is a story to this "Unclipped Rag Quilt."  A few years ago (I think four) I stitched a rag quilt in a class.  It was to be a Christmas present for my nephew.  Since I finished stitching the quilt early, I thought clipping the quilt would be a great last minute project before Christmas.  (If you've made a rag quilt, you probably can guess the rest of the story.)  --- I was still clipping those seams the day before our family Christmas party.  I even bought those special scissors for clipping but I had no idea it would TAKE SO LONG!   I did manage to finish the clipping, wash, and wrap the quilt just before our party.  When he opened the quilt, I told the family that "this is my first and last rag quilt!" 

But his sister loved the quilt and commented that she wanted one and would clip the seams if I would stitch the blocks together.  Even with her offer, I wasn't interested in making another rag quilt.  Fast forward to this summer and the organizing of my studio.  I discovered another kit for a rag quilt.  Seems I purchased another kit at the class in 2007.  So I called my sister and asked if she thought Michelle was serious about clipping those seams.  Seems Michelle has mentioned to her on a number of occasions over the past few years that she would love a quilt like her brother's.  For Christmas Michelle will receive a unclipped rag quilt and my "special scissors".  Happy Clipping Michelle.

Below is a photo of the entire quilt and one of the back of the quilt.  I really do like the bright colors of the fabrics.  Will I ever do another??????   Probably not.  There are only two children in that family and grandkids aren't old enough to use "pointed scissors".

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Mums and Fall Tablerunner

I completed this Fall tablerunner while here in KY.  It is one of the Fat Quarters.com Tablerunners of the Month.  This is the November one.  It will be a housewarming gift for one of my cousins.  We are going to their new home tonight for dinner and I finished this tablerunner yesterday.  Perfect timing.  I am very pleased with the way it turned out.  The patchwork is made using a layer cake.  Love the fall colors.  The back is shown below.  I just used strips of the fabric included in the kit.  I did free motion quilting over the entire runner.

And now a photo of my lovely mums.

Last fall when my sister and I were here in Ky, I bought a small potted mum.  We enjoyed it on the deck while we were here and when we left I planted it on the side of the house.  I explained to my Uncle who cares for our home that if it lived great and if it died, it cost less than $5.00.  IT LIVED and is a lovely large mum this fall.  I'm going to try the same thing with the small yellow mum in the photos above.  Maybe I'll have lovely mums along the side of the house (one mum at a time).  

We are enjoying Fall here in the country.  Lovely day yesterday.  My DH cleaned the gutters and I put mulch around our plants. Today we are having rain. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A "Real" Country Meal

Last evening we celebrated my DH's upcoming birthday at the Lighthouse Restaurant in Sulphur Wells, KY.  This is a photo from their website.  If you are in the area, and want a country style meal.   This is the place.  We arrived just as a group of people on a tourbus were finishing their meal.  After a short wait, our family enjoyed a great meal complete with homemade pie.  A great way to celebrate a birthday.

We continue to enjoy our time here in the country.  Weather has been frosty in the mornings and many of the leaves are now off the trees and on the ground.  I've worked on a few quilting projects and hope to have photos next week.

Friday, October 28, 2011

It's Fall in the Country

We're spending the fall in the country and I haven't posted for some time.  My laptop has not been cooperating when it comes to Blogger.  I'm giving it a try today.  The scene above is from my front window.  The trees are beautiful today.  It has been a slow year for color and some of the leaves have already fallen.  Colors are better since we had a few nights of cooler weather.  The barn and colorful trees are on the farm across the road from our vacation home.

This is a photo of the decorations on our front porch.  I haven't done much since we are only here for a month or so.  The three ceramic pumpkins are from Old Time Pottery.  I love that store and it just happens to be located next door to Bass Pro.  My DH can go shopping at Bass Pro and I can shop next door.  I will plant the mum on the side of the house before we leave.  I will post a photo of last years mum later if Blogger cooperates.  I planted it last fall before we left and it is beautiful this fall.

Wishing all a Happy Halloween.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Halloween Lamp

I found this vintage black panther lamp at the thrift store recently.  The price was $2.99.  It worked and I love vintage planter lamps.  I had no idea what I would do with it but I brought it home.

My New Halloween Lamp

Isn't this just the cutest Halloween lamp.  Perfect for the little table under the Halloween quilt.  I purchased a small lampshade at the thrift store for 99 cents.  It was covered with pink gingham fabric.  I removed the fabric and wrapped the shade in black and orange tulle.  I added a few plastic black cats under the tulle.  Both cats and tulle were in my Halloween box of goodies.   When the lamp is turned on the cats really pop.

I love my Halloween Lamp and the cost was $3.97. 

Below are two closeups of the shade before turning on the lamp.     

I'm linking to Tuesday's Treasures.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I've Been Away at the Fair

I just returned to Arizona from a wonderful three days at the Country Living Fair in Columbus, Ohio.  What a wonderful time my sister and I had visiting our cousin and attending the fair.  We saw so many  vendors with great items.  We bought a few things and came home with lots of ideas.  The weather was beautiful each day.  We especially appreciated the mild weather.  I always love fall in parts of the country were they have trees and grass.  It was my first visit to Columbus and it is a lovely city.  College students were moving into dorms this weekend and it was fun to see all the students walking around downtown.  Brought back memories of falls long ago in Flagstaff at Northern Arizona U.  I have such great memories of my college life at NAU.  

The trip was the perfect way to get in the "Fall Spirit".  I hope to do a little Fall decorating this week even if we are expecting 100 degree weather!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Another Baby Quilt

I have this little cowboy quilt ready for binding.  I started on it this morning.  I went through my stash of cowboy print and found this piece with little cowboys.  It is for our friends daughter and son-in-law.  They are expecting their second little boy later this year.  It seems many of our friends are expecting grandchildren and one a great grandchild.  I've decided that quilts make the perfect gift.  Hope they like it.

All the fabric is from my stash.  I'm very pleased that I have been able to complete a number of projects using my stash.  I still have many more yards to use but it is a beginning.  A friend gave me the batting.  It was left over from one of her projects.  I didn't have to make any trips to the fabric store to complete this quilt.  I'm giving myself a "pat on the back" for this one.

Monday, September 5, 2011

September - Is it Fall Yet?

I've been away from blogland for most of the summer.  DH is recovering nicely from knee replacement revision surgery.  I am officially off the "Taxi service" assignment as he was released to drive last week.  We are experiencing the hottest summer on record here in Phoenix.  So I'M HOPING FALL WILL ARRIVE SOON!!!

I finished this Fall wall hanging last week.  It is from a Fat Quarter.Com quilt kit.  It is made from a pack of charm squares.  It is the perfect size to display below the shelf in the dining area.  I've also completed 1 quilt top and have another nearing completion.  I have been able to find a few moments each day to sew in the studio.  I hope to post more photos later this week.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend and that you too are looking forward to Fall.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Fall Tea Towels

Veteran's Day Towel

Halloween Towel

Turkey Towel

I recently purchased a Holiday Tea Towel Collection of embroidery designs by Anita Goodesign.  I did the embroidery on my Janome 11000.  The designs are made to resemble hand embroidery and I'm pleased with the results.  I searched for plain white tea towels but couldn't find any locally.  So I decided to make my own.  I purchased white cotton fabric at JoAnn's, cut them out, hemmed the edges, and added decorative fabric at the bottom of each towel.  These will be included in fall baskets for three of my friends. 

I haven't blogged much lately.  My days are spent driving my DH to physical therapy and doctor appointments as he recovers from knee replacement revision surgery.  He's hoping to be released to drive in two weeks.  He is recovering nicely from surgery this time.

We did see THE HELP last week.  I loved the book and was equally impressed with the movie.