Saturday, December 31, 2011

The last week of 2011 was filled with firsts - and what a wonderful way that is to close out the year! Really it wasn't until mid-week that it began, that is when Hubby and I drove up to Los Angeles to Staples Center for a concert.
But before you even think about entering the arena there are a lot of things to see. There are several statues dedicated to Los Angeles sporting icons, but my favorite is this
tribute to Chick Hearn, the voice of the Los Angeles Lakers on radio and television as well as the host of Bowling For Dollars. Like Vin Scully, if you grew up around these parts it's difficult if not impossible to think of local sports without bringing their voices to mind.
Soon enough we were seated inside and ready and eager for the concert to begin.
Bob Seger! His music is so much a part of our lives - Hubby and I had our first dance to one of his songs. I still have my 8-track of Night Moves, the music is that important to me. The show was terrific and I feel so very lucky to have had the opportunity. It seems that this is to be the last tour which started earlier in the year and is coming to a close. He played Boston on the day I left Massachusetts and I feared I may have missed my chance.
On Thursday, I had my first pierogi from one of the many food trucks that are making an impact on the local food scene.
And yes, that was the first food I had from a food truck having never dared to try anything from the 'roach coaches' that used to roam around. Loved it, though I don't know that I will make it a regular lunch date, I prefer to sit at a table rather than hang over the tail gate of our pickup.
In another first, I have taken on my first Block of the Day.
It's from Temecula Quilt Co. and called 12 Days of Christmas. I have learned that BOM's are not really my forte, I get behind and/or lose interest long before they are complete. I waited all the way until Day 6 before I decided to give it a go. If you haven't started, it's not too late - it only took a couple of hours to catch up. It was far more difficult to select fabrics than it was to actually construct the blocks.
So that is how I am saying goodbye to 2011. I hope to NEVER have three addresses in one year again. I'm glad to be settling back into a comfortable stride in the place that I hope to always call HOME. I am hoping for nothing but the best in life in 2012 . . . and I'm hoping that for you and yours, too.
We are off to a good start -
Come next December, there will be 'J'oy in Christmas once again!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Do I sound a little funny to you? It's because I have been biting my tongue for a week now trying to keep a secret. Boyfriend came by last Sunday for a little chat . . .
and on Christmas morning he popped the question. Here they are - The Happy Couple.
She's almost as sparkly as the ring.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Well, Irving Berlin - I dreamed of a white Christmas . . . . and that dream came true. But when push comes to shove, this California girl prefers this -
as her winter wonderland!
No matter the weather or how and where you celebrate, I wish you all the very merriest Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011

The last shopping weekend before Christmas has passed. I can happily and proudly say that I didn't get out into the hustle and bustle. It's the least I can do to help alleviate traffic and mall over crowding while still maintaining my own sanity.
Instead I stayed at home, enjoyed my own decked halls and did a little entertaining - family style. We hosted my brother and his wife on the southern most portion of their holiday tour. They began their travels in mid-November, leaving their home in Alaska to visit with friends and family all up and down the west coast before returning home in the new year.
It was nice to catch up on each others lives and reminisce a little, too. We looked at some old slides and watched some favorite Christmas movies.
But the highlight was when we all tried our hand with decorating gingerbread houses.
Intended to be an activity - not a contest (you don't know how many times I said that over the course of the afternoon) the only rule was that you could only decorate with what came in the kit. Oh there were some initial grumblings over that, but I think that everyone overcame the challenge quite nicely.
A closer look at each entry -
The Princess and The Boyfriend were very creative in turning their gingerbread men into a Santa and a snow angel in the yard. Kudos also for usage of the coconut as smoke from their chimney.
Brother and Sister-in-law did a great job bringing their Alaskan roots to their house. Clever piping turned their house into a log cabin. And they creatively carved the parts of their tree into a moose rack, a bear (which really looks more like a wiener dog to me) and a chimney with some rather frightening frames emanating from it.
As for the home team, we didn't stray that far outside of the box - but we had a great time. The Relatives are on their way to their next destination. We are nesting just a little more, making plans for dinner at The Princess' later in the week and a big get together with The Boyfriend's extended family all before the 'main event'. Time for me to make like Santa Claus, make my list (grocery list, that is) and check it twice. There's still a lot yet to do.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

At this VERY busy and hectic time of year it is quite easy to become overwhelmed and maybe wound a little too tight. Christmas music is lovely but sometimes it can start to become a little repetitive. May I suggest Wing.

It is humanly impossible to not gather joy from a listen . . . and yes, I do own two of her cd's.
Your Welcome!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I often say that I LOVE everything about Christmas, but that isn't exactly the whole truth. There are a couple of things that are not tops on my list. One of those things is gift wrapping. I come by it naturally. My mom never enjoyed the task and I have taken up the torch. I wish I was one of those folks who could artfully wrap a gift with all the seams making the pattern match and decorate the finished package with all sorts of darling little bits of sparkle and fluff that make the recipient smile before they find out what is hidden inside.
I have come into my own wrapping style. Enter brown craft paper. I purchased a HUGE roll a few years back. I wrap with it for all occasions using raffia for trim. Like me, it is plain and simple.
So why aren't those gifts under the tree? Well that brings me to the second thing that I don't care for at Christmas. I don't like to rearrange furniture to accommodate the tree. Can't tell you the origins of this quirk, it is just one of those things.
So this year, the tree landed next to the dining room table. It's a nice spot. It looks festive. We enjoy the lights every evening while we are watching tv. But the gifts would be difficult to get to come Christmas morning. So I'm testing out keeping them in that green box near the fireplace. With more wrapping yet to go, I could find myself with a serious overflow situation. Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Casualties of moving.
Some of the most mysterious things have gone 'missing' in the moves across country and back again. One item that never completed the trip east was a kitchen scale that I used for baking. I know that it was not packed in a box alone, so I can only surmise that it was in the bottom of a box, was never unpacked and ended up in the trash - an accidental victim of unpacking haste.
The latest, though, is a true mystery. A missing Christmas ornament, part of a set. See those blocks? Now look a little more closely . . .
They used to spell out 'Christmas Joy'. 'J' didn't make the journey back to California. How can that be? All the decorations were packed and put away before the move was on the schedule. I don't understand. But I have decided to deal with it as best as I possibly can. So instead of Christmas Joy, the blocks now proclaim Christmas, Yo! As sort of a hip-hop-howdy-do.
On the quilting front, I finished quilting a gift today. I will only share the rolled up quilt on the frame until after the holiday . . . just in case. One binding and two labels and my holiday quilting will be done. The same cannot be said for gift wrapping.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Decking the halls - a job I was dreading when there was just a big pile of storage containers piled in the hallway. Now I have just a couple of quilts that need to find a nice place for display.
Several views from the stairs.
And a peek around a few corners.
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
And to keep this blog at least sort of about quilting, an accountability update.
I have 52/97-ish of the hexagons quilted. Translation: 52 diamonds are quilted, one complete side is finished and two other edges are partially done. I always seem to set my goals a little higher than I actually achieve. That's okay. I'm happy there is progress.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Saturday we decided it was time to take some pictures in hopes of capturing that 'gem' destined to become this year's Christmas Card. These are but a handful of the rejects.

We changed locations several times, gave up on the props and ultimately just stopping trying to pose and had some fun on the beach.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

It's like an E-Ticket.
wheeeeee............

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Don't hate the messenger. A quick look at the calendar will tell you today is November 26. In less than one month it will all be over.
And we still need to figure out a place to display all of this! No time for blogging. There is work to be done!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lots of interest in the cabin air filter caused me to find this video.

Hope it helps.
It's time for a quilt space update. Over the weekend, Hubby and I put up a couple of shelves to hold fabric.
Which led to a clearing of the counter-top earmarked to become the future cutting station.
Next up will be to remove the small desk at the sliding glass door.
I will do all my piecing on the table in the foreground. I love this table for many reasons not the least of which is that it is oddly low which puts it a the perfect height for sewing. Now I'm just waiting for a couple of replacement parts to the big frame that didn't survive the moves. Then I'll be in business. Love it when a plan comes together.
In my last post, I shared the cleaning of the duct work in our home.
This time, Hubby shares the need to replace the cabin filters in your cars. He does this on a regular schedule. Clearly you don't want to put it off - that filter on the left is just *GROSS*
Today will have me out putting the finishing touches on the Thanksgiving meal shopping. I then plan to not leave the house again until sometime Saturday or beyond. As a matter of pure stubbornness, I don't want to purchase so much as a stick of gum on Friday. The hype just makes me weary.
The goal should be easy to achieve. What with my delicious quilting space, I think I can find plenty to do right here at home.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

We are getting closer and closer all of the time. Closer to what? To putting all the finishing touches on the quilting space. Over the weekend, I helped Hubby assemble the quilt frame and get it placed in what is to be its new home.
The machine has been dropped off for servicing. After more than a year packed away in a box, it seemed like the best idea. So what's next?
Installing some shelving for store fabrics. We have some more of the reclaimed boards we used for the living room shelving. I am excited to see it all come together.There has been some sewing. I have been happily stitching blocks. But shame on me for not finishing up something (anything) that has been waiting undone. Quilter's ADD, I suppose.
Of course, I am still working on those hexagons. They were easy to pick up and move to another room while this
was going on yesterday. We had our duct work cleaned and the furnace serviced in anticipation of a few chilly mornings over the next couple of months.
Also preparations for Thanksgiving have begun in earnest.
I baked bread that is destined to become the stuffing for our turkey. We always use the canned cranberry sauce. Just can't resist that jellied mass of slippery, sliced sweetness. It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without it.
But making cranberry sauce is fun and easy, too. I picked up a bag of fresh berries and a GIANT jalapeno at the market yesterday. I'm going to try out making a spicy sauce to enjoy with chicken this week. I think it will be good and I won't have to worry that The Princess would be disappointed to find no jellied slices on our holiday table.

Friday, November 11, 2011

With gratitude, today we honor all of those who have served our country proudly.
And from me, a special thanks to my two favorite veterans. This photo is from that brief moment in time when they were both on active duty. They make me very proud and I love them so.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

236 and going strong.
Happy Birthday United States Marine Corps.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Backburner Blogger - that seems to be what I have become lately. I just couldn't seem to find any other way to get myself away from the computer other than to just shut it off. Add to that the changes to Google Reader which caused me to accidentally mark all the blogs I read as 'read' before I had done so and you can possibly start to see why it seems that I have disappeared over the last couple of weeks.
So what do I have to show for all that time?
Making progress on the quilting of A Penny Saved.
I have been putting together a quilt that I started (and have allowed to languish ) back in June.
There has been some 'unsewing' too.
I'm getting lots of stitches into the hexagon quilt.
In fact with some careful and strategic folding, I can make it look quite impressive. At this point I am just slightly over 1/3 done with the quilting.
With all of that going on, why not make plans to start something new?
Finishing quilts might be overrated.
I have been having fun in the kitchen, too. Hubby and I tried our hand at making taffy. No photos as the results were not as pleasing as we would have hoped - not to mention sore arms and blistered fingers from pulling. But we learned some things and will try again.
I've tried some new recipes from a suggested blog that turned out quite tasty. Made a favorite soup to warm us up on a rainy day.
And with the extra hour served up by the return to standard time this morning,
I baked some scones for our breakfast.
Time to lace up my walking shoes and hit the streets with Daisy for our walk.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hubby and I signed up for a Haunted Gingerbread House workshop yesterday. Thinking that it was mostly designed as a parent/child activity, we figured,between the two of us, we might possess the necessary skills. And while that was true - we along with one mother/daughter team were the only ones in the class to have never previously participated. So our table - Hubby and I along with the mother/daughter team - were the only ones in the workshop to not arrive armed with additional decorating supplies.
I think we made a pretty decent house.
We spent a lot of time working on the front facade and roof. By the time we made it to the back of the house, our supplies had dwindled to the bag of orange frosting.
It was a silly and fun day. Wonder what we can come up with come Christmas?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Okay everybody, now it's time for a change of pace - Mickey Mouse
After what seems like f-0-r-e-v-e-r quilting on this, I decided to see what working on the edge treatment would feel like. Glad that I did. While I like the look, I'm not a fan of the technique. Now I know to keep quilting toward the edges and then finish that section. If I were to leave it all to the end, it may never get done.
My goal is to have this quilt on my bed this winter. With about 25-30% quilting done, it remains a lofty goal. But spring doesn't arrive until March 20, 2012. Winter doesn't have to mean December after all.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ladies (and Gentlemen),
We have quilting!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ta Da!
Let's just hope that it doesn't take ANOTHER 4 years to take if from top to a completed quilt.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Here I am! You know it has been a long time since I posted on my blog when Hubby mentions it! And thank you to those who have sent emails of inquiry and concern as to my whereabouts and condition. I'm here, healthy, and quite happily filling the days. Daisy and I have been taking some nice walks and lots of things are getting done around the house.
You will remember those new shelves we installed.
Well, they are filling up quite nicely.
An added bonus has been that more boxes have been unpacked as well as the long avoided and dreaded project of sorting and organizing the file cabinet contents has been accomplished. Before our move east, I could put my finger on just about any important paper in just a moment's notice. Two moves later and everything was just a jumble.
In some ways it was quite a walk down memory lane with school photos of The Princess through the years (which have been saved) and all the paperwork from our military moved from Camp Lejuene to Camp Pendleton in 1986 (which has been shredded.) Any claim we might have had has long since expired for sure.
We had a birthday celebration for Boyfriend.
Party hats all around. And a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday on the kazoo - a family tradition. You know you are in when you have been 'kazoo-ed.'
There have been some gardening celebrations, too.
The volunteer tomato plant has yielded fruit. The excitement I felt in bringing in the harvest only proves once again that it is the simple things in life that make it all worthwhile.
We enjoyed this year's ArtSplash - fundraiser for art programs in local schools.
Chalk drawings, sand sculpture, and rock stacking were all being demonstrated.
Fall is in the air.
Even in soCal, we have changing leaves. Maybe not the stunning array that New England offers. But I can enjoy this tree in a neighbor's yard and I don't have to bring out the rake or think about getting a blister from taking on the chore.
Along with the arrival of fall comes the celebration of our anniversary. Thirty-two years! Hubby and I took a long weekend trip to Las Vegas. We had tickets to see Elton John's new show - The Million Dollar Piano.
We also went to see The Lion King - after an awful experience at another Disney musical production and a child incessantly kicking our seats, we swore off Disney musicals. But the adult to child ratio in Sin City is significantly lower and we took a chance. So glad we did as it was a great show and rolled the whole Elton John experience up quite nicely.
Back at home, the fall quilts have come out.
I even finished a new fall quilt.
Yes, less computer time has lead to lots of quilting time. I am dangerously close to finishing the Penny Saved top.
The same can be said for a baby quilt that needs to get in the mail soon.
I need only get the binding stitched on and down. I put Minkee on the back and I'm pleased with the result. It is SO soft. As an added bonus, at 60" wide, I didn't have to piece the back. Another of life's simple things.
So you can see, the days have been full and the blogging break unintended. It's not always easy to find a good balance - but I'm working on it.