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Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy 2008!

The last few days have found me putting the bigger items away from Christmas, and while I am anxious to have it all in it's proper place, I am still enjoying the tree and many of the snowmen that are still out. I'd like to have everything away by the 7th, since that when Hubby and I go to Anguilla, a small island in the Caribbean.

Today I had all kinds of plans to sew and to clean, but a phone call changed all that. My "tween" grand-daughters needed party dresses for a family New Year's Eve party at the Radison Hotel. Their mom, my daughter, has had the flu and just couldn't get out. So, Oma got the special treat of shopping with these delightful girls! They each knew exactly what they wanted, and even though we tried on every single thing, they still walked out of Macy's with the original ones they had chosen.

The shrug was the hardest thing to find, but find it we did! It's hard to believe that this young lady is the little girl I used to hold in my arms 12 years ago!

This is the first dress she tried that she liked, and I liked the price, too! It was 50% off the original price, then an additional 30% off on the special sale today, and THEN another 15% off by using my Macy's card. It has little silver sparklies on it, and the satin trim at the neck and hem make it a special dress that's not too prissy for this conservative 10 year old.

It must be true that the older you get, the shorter you get. It can't be that these little girls are growing up so fast! Since the 10 year old's first dress was so inexpensive, we also got the second choice, too. Now, she just has to decide which one to wear tonight!

Ballet slipper type shoes finished off the outfits, and we did all this from about 11:00 am to 3:30 pm - which also included a quick burger at the mall. Then we went back to my house for a little bit of alteration on the straps of the champagne colored "gown", some pictures and some hugs. Opa whisked them off back to their home so they could get started on their manicures. Hopefully their mom will be able to go to the party tonight. They've taken a hotel room, so I don't have to worry about them being out with all the crazy drivers, and she can rest if she needs to, when she needs to.

This old lady? She's staying home, snug and cozy with Hubby, a pizza and a glass of bubbly at Midnight.

May there be light and peace for all of in this coming special New Year!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Happy Holidays

Our Holiday Open House has come and gone. Because it was also our 27th wedding anniversary, Hubby ordered these flowers for the table centerpiece as a surprise. They are STILL beautiful today!

We had about 100 people here (give or take 2o or so) in the course of 5 hours Sunday. I had planned on taking pictures, but then got too busy to get them done! We had a chocolate fountain that was a big hit, and we went through a flat of fresh strawberries, four fresh pineapples, 2 bags of marshmallows and a lot of pretzel logs! Besides the fun stuff, here's what else was offered:

8 lbs brisket (none left)
5 lbs sliced turkey (1 lb left)
8 lbs meatballs in spaghetti sauce (8 balls left)
8 lbs cocktail weiners in BBQ sauce (none left)
Paula Deen's Nutty cheese ball (none left)
White Chocolate Raspberry Cheese ball (1/2 left)
hot artichoke dip (1/2 left)
Apple chips and dip (all gone)
Sweet pepper dip (all gone)
4 large jars Olives with Garlic (none left)
4 cans black olives (1 can left)
7 dozen Christmas cookies (none left)
6 gallons of cranberry juice and 3 gallons of apple cider all gone
9 bottles of wine

My dining room is all nativity scenes and angels. This is the Hallmark nativity I received last year and it's on the sideboard. The top of the china hutch is filled with angels nestled in the green garland that has ribbons and lights.

This is my favorite nativity scene which is about 30 years old. It sits upon my Granny's Martha Washington Sewing Cabinet.

This nativity was purchased in Dresden Germany in 1971. I added the angel this year for balance. It's remarkable that the pieces are still in perfect condition, considering how fragile they are and how many times they've been moved! The glass trees are from Murano, Italy and are about the same age as the Dresden nativity. I ran out of room in the dining room, so this scene is set up in the living room along with all my other angels.
The hearth room is all snowmen. There's about 50 more snowmen sitting in the bookcases on either side of the fireplace, and on top of the TV armoire.Even the Christmas quilt on the wall (about 80" square) has snowmen in the center of Terry Atkinson's Lucky Star pattern. I love this pattern, and I especially love how happy this quilt makes the room!I miss my mother a lot. She was always yakking away, full of ideas and hints. The last picture I have for today is one of her best hints of all times. This silver punch bowl was purchased in Germany in 1970. It's very large, and the edges of it and the tray are very intricate - translated to very hard to clean. After the second time I asked my mom to help me polish it, she suggested this trick. Wrap every inch of the silver in Saran wrap very tightly. Leave nothing exposed. Then put the item in a dark plastic bag - I just used a navy blue laundry bag. It actually does work. Absolutely NO tarnish to clean!!!!! Now, it's all packed and ready to go the next time with no cleaning!!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Holiday, safe, with family near, and many pieceful blessings for the New Year!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Winter Wonderland

I had every good intention of cleaning the old stewdio (formerly my mother's apartment downstairs) today. Instead, I've spent most of the day getting all the Christmas cards addressed and ready to be mailed tomorrow (if we can get out). The reason? Alas, we were woken at 4:30 this morning with our automatic generator starting up, which means only one thing in Kansas this time of year: no power. For once, the weather guessers had it right, and the rain, sleet, and freezing stuff started right on time yesterday afternoon and kept going through the night. It's still coming down now, and if the temperatures stay where they are, we won't get much more than rain. All it will take is one or two degrees lower and we'll have a bigger icy mess than this morning. By the way, the power to the neighborhood grid came back on around 1PM, so they won't be calling us to camp out tonight, I guess:)

Here's what it looked like outside at my bird feeders. Poor babies! You can click on the pictures for close ups if you'd like. And don' t those poor cardinals look cold?
This is my husband's attempt at keeping the squirrels out of the premium food. If you look closely in the platform feeder, you'll see that the squirrel is smarter than hubby thinks he is. We had 11 cardinals at the feeder at one time today plus all the other birds of winter: woodpeckers, nuthatches, juncos, wrens, and chickadees.

All the white stuff on the ground is ice, not snow - and here's how thick the ice was at about 2 PM today. This is the view to my right as I sit at the computer.
And as I looked out while waiting for the pictures to load, this is what I saw. I guess we have a day crew AND a night crew at the feeders:

I thought you might like to see the transformation in my stewdio . I've put away the sewing machines, the books and the fabrics away for now, and I've replaced them with our snow village, the tree and some other decorations. All this has to be done, including the downstairs organization before this Sunday when we have our big Open House. We've decided to do all the food ourselves, too - what were we thinking? All these photos were taken without flash so you can see the details a bit better. More decorations another time.

The Christmas tree
The snow village - the snowflakes on the window glow in the dark!

This is the first Christmas wall hanging I ever made.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Time Warp

My goodness! Where has the time gone? Last time I was writing about Thanksgiving, and now it's almost Christmas. Would someone please stop the clock for a couple of days so I can get caught up?

The most exciting news is that one of my pieces, Phenomenal Woman/Inside Out was selected as one of ten pieces to hang in the State of Kansas Governor's office until April. AND mine hangs right beside the desk where she works.

You can see the all the pieces that were selected at the Kansas Art Quilters Web Site. I am quite honored to be sharing space with these talented artists!

I've been busy meeting some commitments I made a while back. I managed to get TWO sweatshirt jackets completed. The first jacket was for Linda, who is making a pair of merino wool hand knit socks for me as a trade. She doesn't like to sew, and I don't like to knit so this is a good trade, I think! I know she looked pretty happy with it on when I gave it to her on Monday!

The other was for some Christmas $$, and it was sent out yesterday to Texas for a Christmas gift from a daughter to her mother. I hope they like it as much as I do!

Of course, I couldn't sew these successfully without my little helper elf, Stephen. He thought he and and his alligator were going to sew, and he was so proud of himself! He loves the straight pins, and he tells me there is just a certain way they should be aligned in the pin cushion. He is quite good at handing me the pins I need, and he loved putting them back in the cushion as I was sewing, too. Now, whenever I sew by myself, I feel there is something magical missing!

Thursday, November 22, 2007


I am thankful for a wonderful husband who takes me to Las Vegas to get away from it all! Here are a few views of the Bellagio Hotel from a different angle. The first two are from the balcony overlooking the Conservatory that is by the Spa. I spent most of my free time in the spa with specialized services that were fabulous!

And this picture is the high skylight just outside Sensei Restaurant where we had a tasty lunch.

We went to the Venetian to see the Phantom of the Opera. It was done so well, and we even had front row seats. The scenery, visual effects, the beautiful voices and great dancing made us both feel as if we had experienced something pretty special!

Last, this is a quilt I machine pieced using Judy Dales' methods in 2001. I call it Joy. It's a pretty good time to share it, I think!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood`

It was a glorious, beautiful day today in the Midwest! We decided that we would get Christmas decorations outside, and move the last of the summer garden stuff inside the shed. We managed to get all but one tree lit, along with 12 wreaths hung along our walkway. Our neighbors add their identical wreaths along our shared fence, and when it snows, it looks like a lovely lane with the greenery and the red bows.

We're taking off in the morning for a quick trip to Las Vegas. I'm missing my mom a lot these days. Her birthday was a few days ago, and Thanksgiving was always *her*day to gather us all together. Instead of trying to duplicate that for the rest of the family, Hubby decided that I should be whisked off for a spa day at the Bellagio, and dinner at our favorite restaurant, Picasso's. We'll also see Phantom of the Opera at the Venetian, and probably walk the Strip if the weather is decent just to people-watch. We're hoping the winter storm that has been mentioned by the weather-guessers will hold off until we return. We actually should be home on Wednesday night, and have a nice quiet day of football on T-Day. You know we'll be glued to the TV for the KU/MU game here, too!

I've been helping a new friend do a memory quilt for one of her daughters. She was here on Thursday, and this is what we got accomplished. She has one more section to add to the bottom that has another large star in it, but that will wait until after Thanksgiving. I'm liking the looks of it a lot!

Hopefully, the Bellagio will have a beautiful Thanksgiving display in the Conservatory while we are there. I'll post pictures when I return. Stay safe!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Moving right along!

I've been running along side myself as I wind up the year's projects and wanna-dos! Today was a good day, I think!

Here's my soon to be 9 year old grand daughter's little quilt 50" X 60" kitty quilt. She really, really, really wanted to Crazy Dogz quilt, and since I didn't have time to do another one of those, this one will be her surprise on December 13th. The label has her picture on it with her birthday cake from last year, and I added "Kaitlyn's Kitties" on the cake in Photoshop. It really is straight, just crooked photography!

You can double click for a larger, closer picture of it to see the purple chenille squares and binding. If anyone ever hears me talking or even thinking about working with chenille again, please remind me how much I diskliked working with it. It took two vacuum cleaner containers to get the fuzz and shreds up. And my fingers are almost bleeding from using it on the binding. Yuck!

But all in all, I really like it, and I know she will, too!

Here's my little round robin 4" block that was sent to TX for it's first round of 15. My theme is Garden Thyme, and I've asked for batiks to be used. I also included a picture of my garden with the wind sculpture in it that looks like this (sort of!).

Now, I am going to work on a sweatshirt jacket for my friend, Linda. She makes the most beautiful socks, so we decided to barter a jacket for socks. She chose the fabric, and I chose the yarn, so I am certain we will both be pleased with the outcome.

Monday, November 05, 2007


The year is slipping away fast, isn't it? But we've had the most glorious Fall that I can remember!!! Today it's supposed to turn cold - something like in the 20's by evening, with a lot of wind. We decided to get out yesterday and take some pictures of the yard before the autumn leaves left us in the whirlwinds. I'm glad we did, because it's already windy and the leaves are twirling around and flying down the street!

While we were in the backyard by the gazebo, I thought it would be a good time to take a picture of my Flipped Out Circles. I decided that I was finally full of circles, and stopped when I had enough to make a lap quilt. I found a really great piece of fabric at the Needle Nest for the borders and the backing, so it got done fairly quickly. I offered it for a class, but had no takers, so it's home now, and on my sofa in the hearth room. Should make a nice snuggler tonight when it gets cold, eh?

I've been busy getting odds and ends done, mostly odds - so there isn't much to show for it. Right now, I have some school uniforms in the wash. I'm going to cut them up to make stars of various sizes, and end up with a nice size quilt for a school auction. Last year I made a baby quilt, but I think something from/for their school will have a higher interest level. I have until February, but I know if I don't get it started now, that time will be here, and I'll be having to scurry, and worry.

I'm also working on a couple of round robins. I have my mini-round robin all ready to go, along with my wish list. On my sidebar is the group of bloggers who are doing this over the next 15 months. It will be a little thing when we are done - something like 9" X 15"? I can't exactly remember, but it's small! Should be a fun and easy thing to do each month.

The other round robin I'm working on is for my BuddiesRus small friendship group. There are two in California (Wendy and Sherri) and two in Kansas (me and Carolyn). We're having a camp in Cambria next Spring, and we thought this was a good way of getting to know each other before then. We've made our second exchange, and my brain has been working overtime, let me tell you! I wish I could share the pictures, but I can't since I know they are regulars readers, too!

I've been helping a new friend plan a memory quilt for her daughter, and as soon as I have some pictures of that, you'll see them here, too. There's also a kitty quilt with purple chenille in the works for a future birthday present in December.

So there's a lot going on, just nothing all lined up and in a row. Now, I'm off to clean house (gasp!!!) and perhaps sew later today.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Last Birthday Quilt of the year

Well, we've been through all of our birthday stitch days, so that must mean the end of the year is closing in on us fast.

This is today's efforts for Carol, who is seated in our group picture. Our dear friend, Ibby, wasn't able to join us today, but we still pieced all the blocks. You will notice that Carol was kind to us, and had half of them ready before she got here (the solid squares). The number bandied around was that each of us had about 25 blocks to do. I know I didn't do that many, so someone else picked up my burden, that's for sure.

The name of this pattern is Six Degrees, from Miss Rosie. Our groups group seems to like this company's patterns! It will finish around 77" square, but if I know Carol, it will be bigger than that when SHE is finished with it!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Born to Quilt

Yesterday was the big sale at Needle Nest. I hope I dressed appropriately.

If I leaned over just right as I was cutting fabric, you could see my entire "tattoo". It got a lot of laughs!

Today, I finished up one of the Gwen Marston retreat quilts. It ended up being 49" X 60" - far from the king size I had planned originally. I like the look of it, and I especially like the streak of lightening setting. I don't think I could have worked at it for an entire huge quilt, though. The colors are just not what makes my heart sing. This is destined for a lap throw in Hubby's office.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Time to Join

Every once in a while in my life's journey, I find some things that are just too good to pass by.

Take for instance, the Reader's Challenge blog. As most of you know, I am a voracious reader, reading into the wee hours of the morning; worrying more about what books I am taking on vacation than clothes, wondering if the 10 books by my bedside will be enough to get me through a holiday weekend with no stores open?

I usually read contemporary fiction, something with meat in it, lots of character development, and something that makes me think. Most of the time - which is not to say that I don't read pulp fiction. I do, but only if it is recommended by someone else I trust. I do read it, and mostly enjoy it, but sometimes I walk away thinking that I wasted time with the process. Just as I was going through these throes again, MsJan posted about the Readers Challenge. And of course, I went, I saw, I joined.

I am going to participate in the Pulitzer Project. The goal is to read all 81 Pulitzer award winning books. There's no time frame to read them all, but as you might guess, each year that goes by, there will be yet another to add to the list. What is surprising to me, is how many of them I have already read without even knowing it. In a few days, I am going to list them on Granny's Hands blog, so I can keep up with them. I will also list the 10 that I want to read in the next 10 months. Right now I am reading Gilead by Robinson and it was the prize winner in 2005.

I also joined the Paperback Book Swap Club, too. Free to join, and for only the cost of shipping you get a credit to use with anyone who has a book posted you want. Not only paperbacks, but hardbacks and CDs too. Pretty nice, I think. If you are interested, you can click through the link on my sidebar to check it out. Since I've joined, I've posted 39 books, shipped out 14, received 3 and have several more credits waiting for me to choose something. Of course, the somethings I will choose will be from the list I am going to make to read for the Reader's Challenge.

I also joined the Round Robin Bloggers. You can click through the logo that's on the right of my blog to see the 15 participants, if you'd like. I'll be one of 15 bloggers who will participate in a 15 month long round robin. The finished product will only be 9" X 13". Here's the results from another group who just completed this same type of round robin. I've chosen my theme - Garden Thyme, and I've made my block. Until it's safe to show it, I will wait to post it, but it will remind you of the surprise wind sculpture that hubby got for the garden last spring.

As promised in the last entry, here's my gift from Vicky (she's holding them). Aren't they perfect? The ice cream was tasty and the company inspiring as always!

And last, here's a unique way to use those antique buttons you have hiding in your stash. This is simply lining fabric constructed into a curved belt with a tab closure. All the buttons are sewn on, and voila! You are a fashion plate!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I'm Still Here!

My new car tag arrived, so I am now one "sweet granny!" LOL! I am still wondering where all the time has gone! I suffered from the same problem in my last entry, and I hope it will get better as time goes by!

I've been working Saturdays at the Needle Nest, and I also made them a blog spot, along with a monthly newsletter blog. I think this will work well for them, since their webmaster was so slow in getting things done for them. This is their anniversary sale week, and I expect Saturday to be a busy, busy, busy day!

My little basket quilt is next on board for finishing, as well as a Round Robin (that I can't show here) that is due to be finished at the end of the month, if not before. I managed to get the flip circles bordered AND quilted, but no picture. I'll try to add that soon.

Just so I can show you more great quilt pictures, here are some of the Amazing Quilt Babes at our last stitch Saturday. First is Ibby with her new quilt top completed in her new bedroom colors. She always chooses the most mellow colors. I love this one!

Next is Vicky and her soon-to-be grandson's quilt. I guess you know what the baby's name is, huh? I love this one, too!

And this last one is our group in front of Vicky's birthday quilt that we helped put together. Since no one was here to take the picture, I am the photographer and not in the picture! The Dresden plates were the ones shared from Ibby's birthday quilt that we all took home and made tops from, too. I think almost everyone is done, now - except Ibby's! LOL!

This Thursday night, we all have a date to exchange our summer gifts to each other. The rules were that we were to make something, and it shouldn't take more than 5 hours. We'll put them in a pile and draw a number for which one we get to choose - they will be wrapped so it won't be so easy. I'll show what I made and then what I received on Friday. The hardest thing about this? Our meeting is going to be the private room at Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Parlour!