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".