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.