Saturday, December 31, 2011

On the seventh day of Christmas ...

... and New Years' Eve!  I went to my friend's for a couple hours this early evening and had a little wine and some great conversations with good friends.  Now home to ring in the New Year with my family.  We toast with sparkling apple cider, watching the ball drop on t.v., and shoot off poppers.  I really don't like to go out; too many people, and too many scary drivers!  I have a lot of goals for the new year, but I'm not going to post those tonight.  I think I'll focus on that next week.

I thought it would be fun to show you my sewing room.  It isn't fancy, and I love to rearrange it, but it is a space where I don't have to share it with anyone else, and I can close myself in there if need be.  This room actually used to be my daughter's room a long time ago before we remodeled.  It really is too small to be a bedroom, and is like a big closet!
When I'm sitting at my desk sewing, this is the view I have.  The bookcases hold my fabric, organized by color.  There is also a leftover piece of furniture in between the book cases that isn't the most efficient thing, but it holds some odds and ends.

(Criminal Minds reruns on t.v.)
Then to the right of that is my dresser with EXTRA LARGE t.v. (I inherited that television when we got a flat screen for the living room, and it is just waaaaaayyyyyy too big for the room, but where else was it going to go?), and my cutting table next to it.  The dresser holds blocks of the month, charm packs, and some unfinished projects.  The cutting table can open up wider, but I prefer using it as is.  It takes up too much room in my tiny space when it's open all the way.  The red basket underneath the cutting table holds scraps of fabric that are too small to be cut into strips, and when it's full the scraps are stuffed in old pillowcases to be used as dog beds.

Moving to the right again is my desk with Bernina sewing machine.  I have a small cutting mat next to the machine and the piece of yellow polar fleece hanging on the wall is my design board.

Then the last wall is really the "closet" in the room.  I took the doors off, built a desk in there, and used to sew at the desk.  I had too much stuff around me, and I didn't like that I couldn't see the t.v., and also that when I was sewing on something large, there was no place for the quilt to go because of the wall.  I noticed yesterday that the shelf in that closet is about to fall (again!); I put the screws into the studs I thought, but they've pulled away from the wall again.  See all those bins under the desk?  Those are my unfinished projects from the last umpteen years.  Neatly packed into bins, labeled with my label maker on the outside, and then each project has it's own 3" x 5" index card in a file box alphabetized by name of project.  On the card I note what the project is, when I started it and what needs to be done.  At least I felt organized when I started this system ... it put boundaries to all those pieces of fabrics and patterns that were laying everywhere!  I know there are better organizational systems out there, and I am thinking it is about time to invest in one.  Have you seen the latest issue of American Patchwork and Quilting?  There's an article that starts on page 14 about organizing your sewing space.  Every time I see one of these articles, or see someone's sewing room, I want it all!!!  I want my room to look that cute!  It seems really boring to me now.  Not colorful or inspiring despite all the beautiful fabric in there.  I don't have much up on the walls, and this is part of the problem.

Here is the view from the doorway.  I think this gives you a pretty good idea of how small the room is!  While I love my little bookcases on the left wall, I think they are taking up valuable space.  I sense a redesign and reorganization to come!  Wish I had a personal decorator/designer!!!!  I will certainly keep you posted on what I decide.

Before I sign off for the year I have to show you the progress I made today on the B.O.M.  Making half square triangles.  When my directions are really confusing because there is so much to them, I always check off my steps after I complete them.
The half square triangles are made by placing two 6 1/2" squares of fabric right side together.  On the back of the light square I have drawn a line diagonally.

All pinned, stacked and ready to sew.  One pin on either side to keep from shifting.
Next I sew 1/4" away from the line on both sides; using my walking foot there is a hash mark that is 1/4" on the foot; I sew with that mark on the line; first on one side, chaining all the blocks together.  Then I take the stack and turn it around, and sew on the other side of the line.
And then you have a chain of squares!  I press them to set the seam before I cut them apart.  Leaving them chained before I press keeps them together and seems to make it go a little faster.

That's as far as I got today!  Happy New Year to you all and I thank you so much for making me a part of your 2011 ... can't wait to see what 2012 holds for us all!

Friday, December 30, 2011

On the sixth day of Christmas ...

... happiness!  A couple of days ago I was feeling a little overwhelmed ... I often find that I feel like this after Christmas.  The excitement and celebration is over, and back to real life!  I did a lot of longarm quilting the end of the year, but I did take three weeks of December off from longarming, and did not have any classes to teach either.  I really enjoyed it; I decided to take January off from longarming as well.  The middle of January is the store's open house ... a fun day where we introduce our blocks of the month for the year, and we have class sign-ups for the first four months.  I am teaching a class once a month for the B.O.M., and I also have a couple of other beginning quilt classes on the schedule.  That means that I have samples to design, piece and quilt, and life starts again!  Then I was reading the book that I told you about the other day The Happiness Project; I'm near the end of the book and the author is talking about how she decided that she was going to work on negativity.  Rephrasing what you say and paying attention to how you speak.  Well I'll be darned if that didn't really strike me ... I had already been thinking how blessed I am to have the ability to teach classes and quilt for other people.  It's all in how you look at it, isn't it?  I can stop all of this any time I want.  I quilt and teach because I love to; not for an income.  The small amount of money I make is a bonus, and keeps me in fabric!  But I also know that one of the reasons I sailed through this holiday season without any financial stress (I usually spend too much money and my husband and I always get in a fight about it), was because of the money I earned from my quilting.  I am grateful to all my clients and friends.

So today I feel happy ... happy that in 2011 I have a healthy family and I am healthy too ... that is the best thing!  We took at least three vacations during the year, I bought a big quilting machine, and I developed a small business that is enabling me to pay for my machine more quickly than if I wasn't quilting for others.  I am really looking forward to 2012 and the blessings and challenges it will bring.  2012 will hold a college graduate for us, and a high school graduate!  Our son will come home from Hawaii where he attends school, and will come back to live with us.  Our daughter will leave the nest and go to a four year school.  Big changes for all of us! 

Okay enough of the serious stuff ... I brought home the fabrics to cut the setting triangles and sashing for the B.O.M. that I'm finishing up.  I knew it would be too hard to cut them at work; I kept doublechecking when I was in my sewing room this afternoon, checking to make sure I was cutting the blocks properly.  I got all the pieces cut, and tomorrow I'm going to start putting the rows together.  Again, I think it's a process best done at home because the blocks are set on point, and it can get a little confusing.  The directions on this B.O.M. are just excellent!  They are so clearly written and the illustrations, so easy to understand.  How grateful I am for that!  To teach a block of the month with bad instructions is no fun ... people are not very happy when they are messing their fabric up because they don't understand the directions!

All my pieces ready to start sewing; the light pieces are the setting triangles and some alternate blocks.  The red and brown are the sashing pieces.  The triangles started out as bigger blocks that were cut diagonally into fourths.  Because then you have a bias edge, before I cut them I starched each one and pressed it so it would be more stable when it is cut and easier when it's sewn.  It does take a little more time, but it also saves aggravation!

Happy weekend to all!

P.S.  When I count my blessings, I am so thankful for all my blog friends!  This wouldn't be any fun without you!! xoxo

Thursday, December 29, 2011

On the fifth day of Christmas ...

I went to work today and ... are you ready for this ... I FINALLY FINISHED my last block in the block of the month I've been working on.  Yippee and Snoopy dance big time!  Such a relief ... I brought the fabric home to cut the setting triangles and sashing ... it's just too hard to do that at the store with a lot of commotion going on.  All this and while helping my high school student who has been working on a quilt for her senior project for the last couple months, machine quilt her top.  As promised, finally some pictures ...
This block 43 (there are 45), and this is the one I did at home in the last couple days.  These are 5 1/2 inch blocks, 5 inch finished ... so cute!  The quilt was made in a certain line of fabric that really is shades of reds and browns, but my/our quilt is totally scrappy.  I used two lines of fabric, American Spirit by Wyndham Fabrics, and Cotton Club by Marcus Brothers.

Mindy, my coworker and friend, always teases me on Thursdays because I make such a mess with this quilt spreading it all out ... there is no way to make a scrappy quilt without spreading it out to see what you have!

My stuff is at the bottom of this picture; today Mindy was working on a store sample, and her machine (and Starbuck's cup!), was across from me.

Want to see more? ...

This pile ...

Made this block ... block number 44.  See my post it note in the bottom right corner?  All the blocks have a post it note pinned on so I know what block it is.  I figured it would really help identify them when I have to put it all together.

And the last block, block 45.  I think it was great fun that the last two blocks were really, really scrappy and just half square triangles .. no real complicated piecing there. 

No Traveling Thursday post today ... I just didn't have any time to travel anywhere this week to tell you about any new sites!  Ha, ha ... happy almost Friday! 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

On the fourth day of Christmas

Where are the days going?  I was all set to post my blog entry yesterday, I had even worked on the block of the month and was going to take a couple of pictures ... I laid down on the couch after dinner and that was all she wrote!  I have been fighting a bug that my husband and daughter have, and I am usually the first one to get sick in the family.  Plus, I actually went to the gym yesterday (yay for me!!!!), and I think I just wore myself out!  I am only two blocks away from being done with the block of the month ... I had hoped to get them finished this week before work tomorrow, but it just didn't happen.  I did finish one block, but today I spent the day taking my mom on a few errands, and then going to the movie with my family.  We were going to see the Muppet movie (my pick!), but it was only showing at one time, and we missed that show.  So we decided to see the new Sherlock Holmes movie.  I think it was great ... long, 2 1/2 hours, but it had a good plot that really kept your attention.  I'm sure it will win a couple of awards because the cinematography was amazing.  We had a great time!

You know I love to throw in deals that I find ... our movie deal today was one of my finds.  One of the three blogs that I read that relate to couponing and saving money had posted about Eversave ... it's like Groupon.  The idea is that you buy their "deal" of the day ... you pay for it up front and then they send you a voucher via email.  You are then responsible for redeeming the voucher for whatever it is.  I bought this movie ticket deal the end of November .. it was two tickets for $13; I bought two deals (you could buy up to three).  Then all I had to do today was go to, find the movie and the showing I wanted, order the tickets online, put in the promo code from the two vouchers I had; the tickets were originally $37.50 plus a $5 fee ... I used both my vouchers and paid nothing additional.  Then I printed the tickets at home, and when we went to the theater, we just directly went in and handed the tickets to the gentleman at the podium.  It was great!  This may not be new to some of you, but I've never done anything like this and I couldn't believe how easy it was.  Plus I saved a few bucks and you know what that means ... more money for quilting!

It is coming up on the end of the year rather quickly, and it always makes me think about resolutions, or rather, goals for the new year.  The book we have been reading in my book group for January  is The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  I would highly recommend it; the author broke all her goals up into a year, the main one being to make herself happier.  It is so interesting and inspiring and has a lot of great ideas on how to accomplish your goals.  I guess it is a self-help book, but I didn't feel like it read like one.  I'm thinking of doing a mini-happiness project for the new year.  It's just something I'm tossing around in my head ... I'll let you know what I do.  I am definitely a goal-oriented person and love to plan ... and who couldn't use a dose of happiness thrown in ... so ... do you make new year's resolutions?  I would love to hear what you have to say on that topic!

Monday, December 26, 2011

On the second day of Christmas ...

... I must admit I'm feeling a little lost this morning!  It is the first day I have had where after I got up in the morning, I don't have a plan of a million things that have to be done!

I purposely made myself stay off of the computer on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  I really wanted to just relax, take a step back, and appreciate my family by giving them all of my time.  I got up really early on Christmas Eve and started my fudge.  This is not 8 minute fudge; it's my grandmother's recipe that she made for years and years, and it holds just wonderful memories for me.  But once you get it to a boil, it has to cook for about 30 minutes to reach the right stage.  Then I brought out the chocolate snowflake cookie dough and baked those (I had made that cookie dough and sugar cookie dough the night before).  Next came grandma's bon bons ... a peanut butter, powdered sugar, nut and ground raisin ball (the raisins really are yummy), dipped in milk chocolate.  By then I was pooped and so I cleaned up the kitchen and decided I would leave the rolling out of the sugar cookies to my sweet daughter.  She was happy to oblige and did a great job!  This is the first year in I can't remember how long that I got all of my baking done! 
Yummy ... you know the funny thing? Everyone (but me) had their stockings full of candy from Santa, so we never even had any cookies or candy yesterday for Christmas.  We had a nice dinner here with my mom and I made apple and cherry pies.  I love cherry pie for Christmas, but the kids don't eat cherry pie, so have to make an apple for them.  I usually do not bake much; we all try to eat healthy, and having sweets around is way too tempting.  All the cookies and candy I made for Christmas are shared with our friends.  I started years ago making a big plate (container) of candy and cookies for our friends that live around the corner from us.  She doesn't bake very much, and I know they appreciate the homemade goodies ... that is our gift to them.  Other than that, I usually give some to my mom, and then we freeze the rest and eat it a little at a time.  The funny thing is no one even asked me yesterday where the candy was!

We had a wonderful Christmas, and the only thing that could have made it any better would have been snow!  It was chilly last week in San Diego, but as usual, Christmas day was in the 70's.  I don't know why that is, but it is always warm on Christmas!  Here are just some random things I learned this Christmas ...

Do all my Christmas dinner prep the day before
-- boil and slightly mash potatoes and refrigerate.  The next day after the pies have cooked, pop the pan in the oven after I turn it off and it will warm the potatoes; right before dinner I mashed them and added some butter, milk and salt and pepper.  They tasted great.  [Thanks to my friends Jayne and Mindy for that tip!]
--bake sweet potatoes; take out of skin and mash.  Right before dinner add butter, brown sugar, and marshmallows
--make pie crusts and refrigerate; roll out when making the pies Christmas day
--measure all the dry ingredients for popovers (Christmas breakfast) the night before and leave in bowl on counter covered with a cloth; measure the milk and leave in a container in the fridge along with a bowl with the amount of eggs needed

This made my life so much easier on Christmas day.  I didn't feel like I was running around all day.  I actually sat down for a couple of hours and watched Christmas movies with my kids.  My favorite Christmas movie .. I think I already told you ... It's a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart.  But it must be the black and white version!  We only watched half of it yesterday; today I'll watch the other half.

I plan to get a little sewing done today; I have to get this block of the month finished for the store and I am only four blocks from done!  It's hard to concentrate when I'm working at the store, so I'm going to finish them up here.  That way I can start putting the top together .. . yahoo!

When I googled the second day of Christmas, this is what I found ... today, December 26, is St. Stephen's Day in Ireland and other parts of the world.  My maiden name is Clancy, so there is a little Irish in me, don't you think?  And here are the lyrics to a song sung in honor of St. Stephen's Day ...
The wren, the wren, the king of all birds,
St. Stephen's Day was caught in the furze,
Although he was little his honour was great,
Jump up me lads and give us a treat.
As I was going to Killenaule,
I met a wren upon the wall.
Up with me wattle and knocked him down,
And brought him in to Carrick Town.
Drooolin, Droolin, where's your nest?
Tis in the bush that I love best
In the tree, the holly tree,
Where all the boys do follow me.
Up with the kettle and down with the pan,
And give us a penny to bury the wren.
I followed the wren three miles or more,
Three miles or more three miles or more.
I followed the wren three miles or more,
At six o'clock in the morning.
I have a little box under me arm,
Under me arm under me arm.
I have a little box under me arm,
A penny or tuppence would do it no harm.
Mrs. Clancy's a very good woman,
a very good woman, a very good woman,
Mrs. Clancy's a very good woman,
She give us a penny to bury the wren.

Friday, December 23, 2011

It's a Wrap!

... literally!!  I had a couple more presents to buy and hated to go to the mall, but decided if I got there early I would probably be okay.  It was great ... got there at 10, and was back in my car by 10:45 ... it was just starting to get a little crowded.  Came home and wrapped all day ... I had not done any wrapping for the family!  Finished about 6:30 p.m. ... ha, ha!  I am a perfectionist when it comes to wrapping, and each package has to be a little different.  But it's all done!  Yay!!!  I whipped up two batches of cookies to go in the refrigerator and I'll bake them up tomorrow.  The other thing on the agenda for tomorrow is two kinds of candy.  I'm getting up early and hope to get it all done ... I also want to do as much of the prep for Christmas dinner as I can do tomorrow ... I want to really relax and enjoy my family on Christmas day ... I'm finally going to be able to sit and watch all those Christmas movies I've recorded!!!  Ha, ha, ha .... in case you have better things to do tomorrow than check my blog MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

What I love

I decided not to do a Traveling Thursday post ... there is probably so much going on for everyone with the holiday preparations, that you don't have time to go visit another blog.  I'll start with that again after the beginning of the year.  I worked today and tried to finish this Cotton Club block of the month that I've been working on for a few months.  I am so close ... just 3 blocks to go!  I had Kathy and Mindy help me pick out the setting triangles and two different colors for the sashing.  I'm really excited to start putting all the 45 blocks together.  I'll take a picture when I finish all the blocks and start assembling it.  I brought it home with me to finish the blocks.  Its so hard to get a lot done when I'm at the store ... I can always get twice as much done here when I'm uninterrupted.  Of course any sewing won't be happening until after Christmas!

One of the things I love about the Christmas season is Christmas music and Christmas movies.  I could sit all day and watch Christmas movies!  It seems like there used to be more on, but I sure have had a hard time the last couple years finding them on t.v.  I love having the DVR and being able to record a movie.  A couple of weeks ago I googled TMC and AMC and bookmarked them to look at their schedules.  Every morning I look up the schedule of movies for the day.  So far this year all I've found is Christmas with the Kranks, Holiday Inn, A Christmas Carol and White Christmas (my favorite!).  Apparently I missed Its A Wonderful Life ... someone told me it was on already.  Somehow I also have not seen Miracle on 34th Street, which it seems like last year was on all the time.  We have the movie Elf on DVD, but I haven't seen that advertised either.  Of course Christmas eve they always play A Christmas Story over and over again.  I would rather they have a huge movie marathon instead of the same movie.  Hmm ... wonder if I'm missing any other movies? 

I also could listen to Christmas carols all day long!  My favorite CD is Nat King Cole ... I drive my family crazy with it because they don't have the same love as I do ... ha, ha!  He was such a crooner and I love the tone of his voice.  I think my favorite Christmas carol is O Holy Night.  I used to sing it all the time when I was a teenager ... quite loudly and dramatically at some family gatherings ... just ask my cousin! 

Okay, enough ramblings for the day ... what are the things you love about the holiday season?

On the twelfth day ...

. . . I played Santa and fell asleep!  I'm writing this on Thursday morning, but it is really Wednesday's post.  I was so excited because I got so much done yesterday, and then when I sat down and relaxed, I fell asleep about 9:30 on the couch ... no blog post.

The first thing I realized is that I am getting an incredible amount of stuff done at home ... remember I said I usually have coffee with my friends every morning for a short bit?  Well we saw each other on Monday, and we decided to skip the next few days.  It amazing what that extra time has given me ... I'm still getting up at about 6:30, and I can just crank stuff out ... here's what I did yesterday:

Made a batch of gingerbread bars (this can sound really impressive, but they are super fast ... make them on the stove, dump them in the pan, bake, and cut apart!)
Took the dog to the vet
Walgreen's for a stocking stuffer
Grocery shopping with my mom
CVS for more stocking stuffers
Did paperwork for Christmas purchases (this is a huge undertaking)
Made a batch of caramels

Is there any question why I fell asleep at 9:30?  One of the things that is freeing me up timewise is the icing machine my son is using.  I called the doctor and they said we could leave it on for longer than 20 min. as long as there is something between his skin and the pack.  Of course ... I've had him leave his shirt on all the time that we're icing.  So I fill this contraption with ice in the morning, then add water; we hook him up and he ices as long as he can tolerate it ... sometimes an hour, sometimes two.  Much better.  Speaking of my son, he is really into this game that Albertson's is running.  If you don't shop Alb., they are having a sweepstakes game with a gameboard and every time you shop, you earn these little game pieces.  The more you spend, the more you earn ... at Thanksgiving when he was home, he had a lot of fun opening the pieces and matching them on the board ... he is convinced we're going to win big!  It's hilarious ... well since he's a bit under the weather from this surgery stuff, I was looking forward to giving him the game pieces from my trip to Alb. yesterday.  Since my mom goes too and she isn't playing, she gave me her game pieces.  I was chatting with the cashier the whole time she was ringing me out and when it was time for her to give me the game pieces she gave me a huge stack ... "don't tell anyone" she said.  Well of course I won't!  I figure there is no harm in telling you all because you don't know what Alberrtsons it was and who she was.  The funny thing is she had no idea what joy she would give someone by doing that ... I'll just consider it a RAK (random act of kindness).
He had a lot of fun opening it all, but we did not get one single game piece that we didn't have!  LOL!!  The pile on the left is the trash pile, and the pile on the right is full of coupons (most of them I won't use) and extra points.  While we didn't get any new pieces, we did get about 3,500 in bonus points ... every 5,000 points you get a $5 reward, so that is something!  Ha, ha 

Before I went grocery shopping I checked the blog I like that tells me what the deals are at all the stores I shop ... it cuts out a lot of work for me.  For each item on sale it tells me what it is, the sale price, what amount of coupon there is for it, and what Sunday supplement date it came from, as well as the final price.  I used to do all that work myself ... what a timesaver!  I noticed that I could get Chex cereal for $1.15 a box if I bought 3 at a time and used a coupon.  So I decided to buy for the food bank.  I also saw that they had a promotion where if you buy 10 items out of this certain group, you would save an extra .50 off each item.  I could get Ragu pasta sauce for .99c a jar.  They also had a deal where you bought a 5 lb. bag of potatoes and got another bag free.  Add to that toothpaste and toothbrushes on sale for $1.00 ... with coupons that made them each about .55c.  I am not allowed to stock up on toothbrushes or toothpaste anymore because I have so much (that's my self-imposed rule), but I knew I could donate those too.  So here's what my food pantry box contains
6 boxes Chex cereal
4 jars Ragu pasta sauce
1 5 lb. bag of potatoes
2 Colgate toothbrushes
2 Colgate toothpastes
This all only cost me about $15.  It feels so good to be able to give back.  I am so blessed.  Just call me Santa.

Are you wondering yet why this blog is called Quilting Under the Sun, and most of what I'm talking about is shopping!  Ha, ha ... some day soon I will get back to quilting, but Christmas is the season of giving, and that means shopping too.

On my trip to CVS I came across some marked down Christmas items.  I don't have a lot of collections, but I do love Charlie Brown and all his friends, and I have a small Christmas collection of them ... I don't know where they came from, but they  may have been Happy Meal Toys.
CVS had this Christmas nativity scene play Charlie Brown set ...
Aren't they cute?  Snoopy has a sheep costume on and Woodstock is baby Jesus!  Ha, ha, ha ... I was so excited; I love it!  I haven't taken it out of the box yet ... so here is my collection

Cute, cute, cute!  This is on a table that sits in my family room.  I have to pass it from the kitchen to the living room, so I see it all day long ... it makes me so happy!  Okay, I better go wrap the caramels (the most time consuming part, cutting and wrapping), and then its time to get ready for work.  Have a great day!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

On the eleventh day ...

. . . shopping!  I needed to run some errands today and had my list, was ready to go, and decided that my darling daughter should come with me.  By the time she was ready it was 1:00 p.m. ... we started at Trader Joe's where it is always crowded and it was pretty bad, but we got out of there fast.  Then we went to Macy's and Target at a nearby mall.  I could not believe how many people were in Target ... families shopping together.  And it looked like they were shopping for sport, not to get stuff accomplished.  Is it just me?  This time of year I just want to get my errands done and get home, shopping is not a sport a few days before Christmas ... and definitely not something I see the whole family doing together.  Maybe I'm missing out!

Yesterday the kids made a gingerbread house kit that we had had from last year.  We weren't going to eat it, so I said it would be fine.  The only problem was the icing was like paste ... it was sticky and thick and even microwaving it a little didn't help a whole lot.  My son's girlfriend was visiting just for the day, and I figured it would be something fun for them all to do ... my son even participated while he was hooked up to his cold therapy machine!!
I decided when I was done with my hand sewing yesterday that I would help them out and finish the windows ... thank goodness you can't see the windows that I did because they are a mess!  It was really fun though.  The thing I love best about the holidays is just hanging out with my family, laughing and doing things together.  Creating memories.

I promised you I would tell all about our Christmas party from the store.  We draw names at the beginning of the year and then you do a nice gift for your person.  We also bring small gifts for everyone that works there.  There are a total of 10 of us now.  It is always lots of fun ... we are almost never all of us together, and we are all friends, so its a lot of fun.  We usually do it at someone's house so we can visit, and the gift giving tends to be a little crazy.  It was at JoAnn's; I have never been to her house before ... it is just beautiful.  It is like walking into one of those Country Living homes ... everything is just so, and she had little vignettes of Christmas displays everywhere ... walls, bathroom, etc.  I already told you what I gave my person, and my friend that had me went crazy ... first, it was this fantastic bag

These bags are a pattern by JAM called Santa Bags.  I have always wanted one and I couldn't believe Donna made one for me ... I was ecstatic.  Kind of like a stocking, but bigger ... we tend to really stuff our stockings and there is not much room in them, so every year I think (a little too late) that I should make the kids santa bags.  Maybe I should start them in January for next Christmas!

The bag would have been plenty, but when I opened it this was what was inside

... this lovely antique tote.  I love it!!!!  I love antiques, but try not to buy them very often because its just not in my budget, so what a thrill to get one.  She filled each one of these cubbies with something ... I think this is going to live on my sewing desk and hold all my supplies.  As if all this wasn't enough, this was in there too ...
Isn't this cute?  It is so fun to get quilts from others.  The quilting on this one is beautiful as well.  It is really a joy to work with a group of people that share the same livelihood.  It always amazes me how generous they all are, and how creative as well.  I have so many blessings in my life ... not many people can say they really love where they work.

Monday, December 19, 2011

On the 10th day ...

... complete and total exhaustion!  I wrote the previous post on Sat. afternoon, and never even got a chance to post it yesterday as I was waiting to download the picture.  My son's bandages came off yesterday morning and now we have this icing contraption that he has to be strapped into for four hours a day ... 20 min. on and 40 min. off.  I am doing nothing but taking the darn thing off him and then putting it back on.  Its really nifty actually because it's like an ice pack that conforms to your body and circulates ice cold water.  Much more efficient than an ice pack.  I'm also making sure that he gets his pain medication every 4 - 6 hours because he loses track of the time.  Plus I am still waking up early ... I don't know whether its hormonal or because I have so much to do and my mind just is whirling. Ah well ... it's only sleep, right?! =:)

I did finally manage to get the binding on the quilt I needed to finish ... can you believe I forgot to take a picture of it!  It was for one of my friends at work.  At our Christmas party every year we draw names and I had to have it done because today was the party!  I'll tell you all about it tomorrow.

I have a group of friends that I have coffee with every morning ... yes, every morning, Mon. through Friday.  We used to stand in the parking lot of school and chat after we dropped our kids off when they were in kindergarten, and then we decided to go have coffee one day.  It didn't used to be so frequent, but now that those kids are 17, we have a little more time.  We all have jobs, and sometimes are schedules don't always allow everyone to be there, but its a pretty regular thing.  We had a Christmas party the other day to celebrate and just enjoy each other ...
I don't know why I can't get a picture that doesn't have funky lighting issues ... but here we are ... from left to right, Penny, Tracy, Bill, Me and Kassie.  Bill we just adopted a few years ago ... he used to go to the same coffee place and after seeing him every day for several months, we invited him to come join us.  A great friendship was born ... we consider him one of the chicks!  I hope you all are taking the time this season to enjoy your friends and let them know how important they are to you!

On the 9th day ...

. . . well my accounting of yesterday:

Christmas tree purchased
lights put on
living room rearranged

Not done:
binding on quilt

I could not believe how easy it was to get our tree this year.  Sometimes it is good to wait until the last minute; we never buy our Christmas tree until our son comes home from college.  We went to the tree farm to cut our tree down ... it was pretty bare ... most of the trees were gone.  We looked at two trees and picked the second one we found ... we had cut the tree down and were hauling it to the desk to pay in about 15 minutes.  We usually take at least twice this long because there are 4 people in our family and we are all stubborn and have our own opinions on the best tree.  Everyone has to look at each tree, walking around it and checking all sides.  It's hilarious ... we always argue about it.

We came home and got it all set up and the hole the guys had drilled in the bottom to make it straight was right on.  Well, it leaned a little, but my brilliant daughter decided to just put a small book under one of the legs and wa-la ... even!  It's a beautiful tree and it smells so good!  I love that it is tall, but not too fat ... usually we get a fuller tree, but I'm liking the narrower one.  I bought some new lights this year and they were on a roll ... its genius I tell you!  It was the easiest to put on the tree because they were all wound on this big spool and it kept it all straight.  I found them at Target.  Then I got down the 5 boxes or ornaments; usually it looks like Christmas has thrown up on our tree with all the decorations we have.  I usually have a little tree in the hall that has its own ornaments, but because that tree broke last year and I didn't replace it (because I forgot it broke until I went to look for it a couple of weeks ago!), I had an extra box of ornaments to go on the already crowded tree ... so I picked the ones that are dated and the special ornaments, and left quite a bit in the boxes.  I have decided that in order to use all our ornaments, I need two more trees!  One for the hall and one for our family room. 

Doesn't it look beautiful??  I love it ... can't believe I got it all done in one day ... it usually takes a couple days to get it all decorated.  I think it was because the rest of the house was done, and I was only working on the tree.  My daughter put about 3 ornaments on, and I did everything else.  It's just the way it is in our house.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

On the eighth day ...

... exhaustion!  Well, that was really on the 7th day.  I didn't post yesterday because I was just pooped.  My son flew in Thursday night from college, and Friday morning at 7 a.m. he was scheduled for arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder.  I set my alarm for 5:30 (ugh!), and I was hoping I would feel better than I had on Thursday.  Well i woke up at 3:45 and couldn't go back to sleep ... this sleep deprivation stinks.  I think its hormonal; so I got up took a shower and got all ready and we left the house at 5:30.  His surgery went well and we were home by 10:30.  Did some running around to get his prescriptions, made him some lunch and myself, then I started wrapping the presents that needed to be mailed that day.  That was my goal for the day ... I went to the local copy/postal store and stood in line for just 30 min., picked up my vacuum that was being fixed next door (like how I tied those errands in together?  Sometimes I'm so smart!), and was home by 4.  I could not believe how long the day lasted -- that getting up early thing has something to it!  Ha, ha  Then I collapsed on the couch for a 2 hour nap.

Today my goal is to sew a binding onto a quilt, and finish the quilting on it.  It's a quilt that I pulled off the frame and then realized there were a couple of areas that I missed ... oops!  No biggie, I'll just repin it and fix those two small areas.

Onto Christmas ... every year at Christmas time I struggled to find a way to display the Christmas cards that we got.  A couple of years ago I finally came up with something I liked.  I think I saw it in a magazine, and so I will pass it onto you ... I thought it was brilliant.  We have french doors in our hallway and I string a fat, colorful rickrack across the window.  Then using paper clips, I paper clip them on ... it looks great when there's only a few, because I can space them out, and as I get more, I just slide the other ones around to make room.  When the first row fills up I'll add another row.  Here's what it looked like a few days ago
Not many Christmas cards on it, but its starting to fill up.  I need to add another row.  I really like it and I pass it all the time ... I can see this door in the main part of my house when I'm walking from the kitchen to the living room.  I redecorated that bench in the hallway and I like it better now.  I'll snap a picture of that to show you.  How do you display your Christmas cards?  I'd love to hear your ideas.

I just finished up my Christmas shopping online ... well, I should say finished all the online stuff.  I still have a couple of things to buy that I need to go to the store for, but I feel so much better now that the online stuff is done.  Don't you just love computers?  When I started online shopping a few years ago, it was so wonderful.  I love to order from stores that are local and then if the item needs to go back, I don't have to return it via the mail, I can just go into the store to exchange it.  It certainly saves time driving to the stores, and the hassle of the crowds.  Okay ... off to relax for a bit before my day really starts -- we're finally getting our Christmas tree today ... yay!  Hope your enjoying your holly-days!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

On the sixth day ...

... I have the flu!  It never fails ... I felt funny yesterday, but just figured it was too much running around, shopping, mom to the doctor, grocery shopping with mom.  Woke up this a.m. and my whole body hurt.  Stayed home from work so here I lay on the couch ... just wanted to pop in and let you know I'm still here.  Wishing you all a relaxing day ... and that you have time for a little fun in amongst all the things that need to be done.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

On the third day ...

... I got a lot done today!  It's amazing what getting a little sleep can do for you.  Ran some errands ... took care of some issues that have been sitting in my mind needing to be dealt with.  You know how you put things off because it just seems like a headache, but then it takes up space in your brain worrying about it, and then when you finally take care of the task, you feel so much better?  So why don't we take care of it earlier so we don't have to think about it?  If anyone has the answer to that, please let me know!

Pulled down another Christmas box and got everything decorated that I can.  Except the Christmas tree (which we don't have yet), and the outside lights aren't up.  It was raining today and yesterday and I didn't want to get myself all wet puttting the lights out today.  Sat down and made my Christmas card list and wrote out five cards.  Christmas cards are a big deal for me ... it takes me a really long time because I handwrite personal notes in all my cards.  I don't like it when I haven't heard from someone for a year, and all I get in the card is a "Love, ___________."  It just seems silly to me to just rush to get the card out ... if you don't like to write, and I know a lot of people don't, at least just write a "Hope you have a nice Christmas."  Something!  Even if we do a blanket Christmas letter, which we often do (my husband always does one and we send separate cards ... long story), I still handwrite a little note ... again, it's the personal touch so they know I'm really thinking about them.  Then made my second batch of Christmas cookies ...
... a double batch of wedding cake cookies.  Can I just say that I love butter and I love sugar ... put them together and you get this delicious cookie!  It melts in your mouth and is wonderful with a cup of tea.

Then I cooked dinner and then finished hanging some Christmas stuff on the wall.  I hate hanging stuff ... it will sit and then I won't do it.  I made myself hang a Christmas quilt, and some other signs, etc. that I have for Christmas.  Here's the bench that sits in my hallway with a quilt hanging over it ...
Looking at it in the picture, I hate the way it looks ... too country.  We had the stuffed animals out (they are some of the kids' toys from when they were little) because my husband's friend was over with her twins a couple of weeks ago.  The need to go away.  This bench is a bench I inherited and I love, but it really has a country flair to it ... I want it to be more primitive.  Hmmm ... I wonder what I could do to fix that.

This is a picture of the quilt and a sign I hung over it tonight.  I don't have a Christmas quilt to hang here, but the colors go and it's a valentine's quilt, so it can stay up for a couple of months!  I don't know if I like it and I'll probably take something down!  This is why I don't hang stuff ... I just never like the way it looks!

On the second day of relaxation ...

... I delivered the two quilts I quilted this weekend.  I didn't tell my customer that I ran over my finger with the machine.  I'll tell her on Thursday when I see her at the store.  I didn't sleep last night ... woke up at 2:30 a.m. and couldn't go back to sleep.  Usually when I get up and read for an hour, it tires me out, but it didn't work this time.  So that kind of set the mood for my day ... I felt like I had a hangover all day and didn't even get the fun of having a drink!  It rained here today all day ... not a normal occurrence in San Diego.  Of course it rained today because I washed a couple of windows yesterday ... I couldn't stand how dirty they were, and washed a couple yesterday and was going to do the rest today!  Ha, ha ...  I did get a couple of errands run this morning, came home and met the tree man about taking down (or thinning out) the two big eucalyptus trees that are up our driveway.  I love them and am voting for the thinning out part ... do you know the cost of tree trimming/removal ... wow!

I did get some more of the Christmas decorations up ... now just waiting until my sweet son comes home on Friday so we can go get our tree.  I can't believe there are only two weeks left until Christmas ... I did a bunch of shopping day after Thanksgiving, and here I am not done and feeling the pressure.  There is a part of me that just hates the sales, ads and everything this time of year.  Everything screams at us that there are "x" amount of shopping days left; and here's this sale if you STILL haven't finished your Christmas shopping.  Stop rushing me!  They start talking about the 12 days of Christmas on December 1, and you get the feeling that you're behind on December 3rd!  Here were my great deals for the day ... I went to Starbuck's this morning and bought their travel mug for $19.95 and for the month of January I get free brewed coffee.  The downside of this is that the buy 15 drinks get a free drink (with your registered card) won't apply during January, but when I'm poor because I spent all my money at Christmas, at least I'll be able to get a cup of coffee every da!  Ha, ha ... It was my lucky day because I got the last mug.  My friend wanted one too, and the manger of the store was so wonderful that he drove to another store nearby to get a mug for my friend ... we are good customers, and the manager, Jamal, is the best!  The other thing I did was order myself some eye makeup that I have badly needed with a $15 on $50 gift card I got through email from Sephora.  Free shipping over $50, so Merry Christmas to me ... $59 worth of goodies for $44 (because of course I had to pay tax).  Ah, the rest of it will all get done, and I think I'll be more in the Christmas mood when my son comes home.  He is arriving Thursday night and has arthroscopic surgery scheduled for Friday morning on his shoulder.  He's a tennis player and injured his shoulder, and this was the best time to have it done.  I must admit at 2:30 this morning when I couldn't sleep, that was going through my mind ... no matter how old our children are, we still worry about them.  I'm worried about his surgery even though he is 21!  Hope I sleep well tonight.  Enjoy your holiday season and don't let the retail "pitch" rush you or get you down!  Merry Christmas!  What are you doing to feed your soul?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

On the first day of ...

... relaxation, this is what I did ...
Well, I didn't exactly get any decorating done today, but one of my goals was to be able to sit and sew, and I did.  I got up early, read the newspaper, relaxed and had some coffee, then sat down and watched a couple of movies while I hand sewed.  These were kits I bought at the store ... the top left could be an ornament, but it is a gift card holder (see the Starbuck's gift card inside of it?  It's an empty card ... I keep them all because I have so many different ones.  One day I'm going to make a collage of them!); the bottom is supposed to be a little winter sewing bag, and the top right a pincushion to go in the winter sewing bag.  Very fun to do!  We rented the last Harry Potter movie and watched it today ... even though it was a very dark subject matter, it was a good movie.  We had seen it in the theater when it came out, but I always forget the movies, and love to see them again.

Last night we went to my daughter's closing of her play ... we took my mom and a friend of her's as well.  They really enjoyed the play and my daughter and all of the actors and actresses had an outstanding night.  The play just got better and better every time I saw it (three to be exact!), and she is sad that it is over.  Now she can have her life back though ... between practices for months and then leaving the house at 4:45 p.m. and not getting home until 10:30 since production started, she can get some sleep again.  Tryouts for the spring play start in a couple of weeks ... of course she is trying out for the play!  Ha, ha ...

Think I'll finish my night with hot chocolate ... I'm sitting in front of a nice warm fire, and it seems like the perfect end to the day!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Snoopy dance!

I love the Snoopy dance ... I love the Peanuts specials, but the Snoopy dance just always seems to sum up happiness ... I am doing the Snoopy dance because I am finished longarm quilting for the year!  Hooray ... got the quilt finished this morning that I had to stop sewing on last night, and on top of that, did another huge one today.  I know I had said I only had one quilt done, but my customer had another quilt that I knew was coming, and thought it could wait until after the beginning of the year, but it couldn't.  I suppose I could have said "no," but she is such a sweet lady, that I said I would do it for her.  Next year I am stopping after the middle of November.  Life is about learning, right?

My finger is fine ... it's a little sore, but boy am I lucky.  I suppose I will lose the nail at some point, but I'm not worried about that.  Here's the quilt that was the culprit ...
I did a pantograph on this called Allegiance.  It has stars and swirls in it ... it's really nice and I thought for a young boy's quilt it would be perfect because it was a nice and tight design.  Assuming the quilt will be washed a lot, a close design will hold up better.  This was the quilt I ordered a special colored Glide thread for .. . I just didn't have the perfect blue.  I also used the Magna Glide prewound bobbins, and you sure can't beat the ease of those.  Love them!  This quilt is for my customer's grandson. 

This quilt was for her granddaughter, and the one I said I would squeeze in.  She said she couldn't give her grandson his quilt without giving one to her granddaughter ... made sense!

This quilt I decided to do a pantograph called Tickle.  It's an all over swirling curvy pattern that I thought went well with the idea of a young girl's quilt.  I used a variegated King Tut on top ... it's hard to describe -- I originally bought the thread because it looked like a red variegated, but when I got it, it really was more of a pink/rose ... I still can't describe the color, but it went perfectly with this quilt.  I used Glide in the bottom, and I think this combination of King Tut on top and Glide in the bobbin is becoming one of my favorites.

I tried to get a close up of the quilting pattern, but you just can't see it!

So now I am looking forward to finishing my decorating, doing some more baking, sitting and hand sewing, and watching some great Christmas movies ... some of the things I love to do over the holidays!  Hope you are doing something for yourself this weekend that makes you want to do a Snoopy dance!

Dangerous work Friday

Well I had hoped to have a quilt to show you, but I had a little accident.  I had a 4" strip left at the bottom of the quilt I'm working on and I was basting the bottom down and ran over my pointer finger with the needle.  These machines stitch really fast, so I don't know if you can visualize this but the needle actually pierced through the center of my fingernail and came out the other side.  I could not believe it.  I had to pull the broken needle out of my fingernail.  I put some antibiotic cream on and some gauze and then I iced it.  My first thought was, I hope my machine is okay so I can finish the quilt.  I am insane.  It was because I was trying to hurry and finish the quilt because my husband was waiting for me so we could watch one of the news programs we normally watch together.  I learned an important lesson ... no more rushing.  I am pretty sure its going to be okay.  It does throb, but you would too if you had a needle driven into you!  Hopefully I'll be back tomorrow with news that my finger is fine and the quilt is finished!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Traveling Thursday

Work was productive and I have been working on this block of the month for next year for several months... I must say I'm so past ready to be done with it!  It has been slow going ... because even though my job at work is to be sewing, and there are two other people in there working, if a customer needs help, I can't say "I'm working on something else," I get up and help them.  I only have 4 more blocks to do and then I get to assemble them all together.  Have I shown you what the quilt looks like ... let me see whether I can find it on the internet ... hold on ...

Cotton Club Block of the Month Paula Barnes of Bonnie Blue Quilts
There are 45 blocks in this quilt, and each one is 5 inches ... it's a lot of work, but a beautiful quilt.  I am anxious to get it finished.

I remembered to take a picture of the quilt I finished binding and washed yesterday.  We slept under it last night ...
Isn't it pretty?  That's the first French General line by Moda ... you can't see it very well, but there is a beautiful baby blue color in the top and bottom borders, and a little in some of the blocks.  I just loved that blue!

Okay ... my blog for today that I'm sending you to is ... Organized Christmas!  I think my cousin told me about this website last year, and I looked at it, then forgot about it ... I found it again about a week ago through another blog.  It is an in depth website helping you to navigate all the things that surround Christmas.  It is very detailed ... it has some good ideas, and while I am not following everything, there are some great ideas.  I love some of the downloads that they have that you can print out; primarily, a log of the Christmas things you have bought over the internet, who it's for, etc., etc.  Check it out ... here is the address

Happy almost-Friday!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Friends and family

I went to my friend's house today for a yummy lunch and a little bit of sewing.  It was so much fun ... I haven't done that in so long.  It's great to get together with friends that you share the love of home, family, food, sewing ... all the basics ... the things that mean the most to me.  She made me a wonderful lunch and it was just really revitalizing to be able to sit and chat and get a little hand sewing done.  I finished (finally) the binding on a quilt that I made probably over the summer.  I should have taken a picture of it, but it's in the dryer right now ... it's going to go on my bed!  I thought I had a picture of it somewhere, but I don't!

I went out to dinner with one of my sweet friends tonight and then we went to see my daughter in her play.  I loved that my friend asked to go see the play ... we've known each other since our girls were in kindergarten and its amazing that they are seniors in high school now.  The play was better tonight than the first night (my daughter said "I told you it would be.").  The really nice thing was that it was a packed house and the audience really reacted well to the production.  Totally a different energy than the first night we went.  I had a great time and I could watch it over and over again!  My husband and I are going to take my mom and her good friend on closing night, Saturday.

BTW ... my friend that I saw for lunch was totally surprised that I had finished her quilt and loved it... well of course she loved it!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ta da!!

The quilt is done!  I even amazed myself on this one ... I am surprised that I got it done in just a couple of days.  This is the biggest quilt I've done and it was really easy to handle ... I didn't particularly love floating the top, but other than that, it was easy as could be.  She had used a really heavy backing ... almost like drapery fabric.  I told her that my machine could handle it and then after I told her that, I was hoping I wasn't wrong.  The machine handled it beautifully ... there was a little funny noise now and then going over the seams on the back, but that is expected because of the thickness.  I think she'll be really pleased with it, and especially happy to get it back tomorrow.  I'm sure she didn't think I would turn it around so quickly.  Whew, now I only have one more to go ...

I layed it on my California king and it is plenty big enough.  I was getting a little nervous about the cone of thread I was working with because it was getting smaller and smaller ... I sure didn't want to have to run out and try to match the color at the one local store ... this is the smallest cone of thread I own.  I've been longarming for 1 year and 10 months and I am about to run out of my first thread ... what an event!

I finally got the thread for the last quilt yesterday in the mail, so I'm going to get that loaded and start quilting on it tomorrow.  I'll either have it finished tomorrow or Friday.  She had said a stipple was good, but I got a pantograph with some designs and stars, and I think that would look good on a kid's quilt, so I think I might try that.  Off to read my email and then to bed.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Decorating, sewing, pictures, teenagers!

Teenagers ... I asked my daughter tonight if she would please upload the photos I took using her camera this afternoon ... if she would just do it before she went to bed.  Guess what she didn't do ... then I couldn't find her cable to hook into the compter to upload ... I was so made I almost woke her up.  Of course she asked me to do something for her before she went to bed ... how about if I just "forgot?" 

Here are some pictures I promised of my Christmas decorations so far ...

my kitchen windowsill

mantel in our living room
table in corner of living room
As you can see, I'm kind of a minimalist ... over the years I have really paired down the decorations ... I just don't like too much clutter.  Down in this next picture ... it's one of those "what doesn't belong here?"
Do you see it?  The cute little holiday decorations on the piano in the living room with the HALLOWEEN quilt hanging behind it?!  Oops ... that quilt got looked over when I was taking everything down the other day.  Ha, ha ...  Now the one thing I do collect besides a few Santas, is Advent calendars ... how many is too many?  Especially when you don't have little kids?  My 17 year old daughter loves them (as do I!) ... she comes down every morning and it is the first thing she does ...
This one sits in the hallway as soon as you come down the stairs.  It's a cute little one I bought at Starbuck's a couple of years ago.  Each little drawer was filled with a chocolate.  It was so nice that I kept it ... I think this is the 4th year we've had it.  I put little treats in the drawers, and when you pull the drawer out, you turn it around and it eventually makes a picture.   Today the treat was $1!
This one is in the living room and you're supposed to write how many days left until Christmas, but she missed this one!
This hangs in the dining room ... boy that wall looks a little sad, but I promise it looks better when you can see the whole wall.  This advent calendar I made when my son was about 3 years old.  He is now 21!  It was fun to do and over the years the goodies in the pockets have changed a little because they've gotten lost along the way, so we replace them with other things ... they're just little trinkets that are ornaments or something special that I put a little velcro on the back of and it hangs on the outside of the pocket.  I love to see everything in this calendar because many of them are as old as the calendar and it's fun to remember where they all came from.

On to quilting ... I made more progress on the king size quilt today.  I just took a picture of it to show you how far the quilt has come up off the floor ... I should be able to finish it tomorrow ....

Can you see at the bottom there?  It's actually clearing the floor today!

Here's a close up of the stippling ... its coming out very nicely ...
Now off to bed ... Charlie has the right idea ...


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Ho, ho, ho-ness ... quilting, baking, decorating

What a busy day I've had and I feel so good for getting so much done!  I started off my day by loading the king size quilt on my frame.  I was afraid it was going to be too big for my frame; when my friend asked me about quilting it a few weeks ago, I said I certainly would, but I wanted to measure the frame to let her know how big she could make the quilt.  I have a 12 ft. frame, but that doesn't mean I can quilt a 12 ft. quilt.  I think I figured out that I have 130" of leader space ... now I can't remember!  But it's okay because her quilt is about 107" x 107" .. so the back is about 120" wide ... a little room to spare.  The next thing to do was pick the thread color; she has light blackgrounds, and she has blues, reds, browns and some black in the quilt, but there is a lot of grey-colored blue in the quilt.  I held a few colors up, and decided on a beautiful variegated King Tut grey.  I am using a grey So Fine in the bobbin.  I don't have a lot of King Tut, it is a very pricey thread; I haven't used it in a long time, and now I'm thinking I need more!  I just love the thread ... it looks really lovely on the quilt and quilts really nice.  It has a little bit of fuzz, but not too bad.  I am thinking I need to increase the size of my needle ... I know I mentioned that yesterday.  I always use a 18, but think I need to go up to a 19.  What do you all use with the larger threads like King Tut?  Here is a picture of it on the frame ... I quilted for a couple of hours and then I decided I better get on to other things ... I'll work on it more tomorrow.
Aren't the colors great?  It's got a civil war look to it ... I took a picture so you could see how big it is!  This is my biggest quilt I've done to date ... let's see how long it takes.  She wants a tight stipple on it, so it's easy.  I decided to float the top because it is so big and with all those pieces, I didn't want to roll the top onto the bar ... hope I don't regret floating it.  I've done two rows, and all seems fine.  This is a mystery quilt pattern that I taught a month or so ago ... now I can't remember who the pattern is by.  I will find that out and post it tomorrow ... want the credit to go to the right person.  Anyway, it was really fun to do and simple enough for a beginner to make ... a nine patch within a nine patch. I made mine super scrappy and only bought a couple of 1/8 yard pieces to finish mine.  Remember this picture ...
That's mine .. I'll have to get a better picture of it ... It's sitting in the closet all trimmed, just waiting for binding to be added ... I should do that and put it on my bed ... it's a fun quilt.

I have been planning to start my holiday baking early this year ... I always seem like I'm baking the week of Christmas, and rushing to get it all done, so its not very much fun.  My grandmother was a wonderful cook, and a fantastic baker as well.  One of the ways she showed her love was by baking for us at Christmas ... she did some cookies, but what we loved the most was her fudge, caramels, bon bons and coffee cakes.  She would start early in the season and send care packages to all of us grandchildren ... that stuff weighed a lot, and she was on a fixed income, so this was a sacrifice, but she loved doing it.  I cherished every bite ... so now I channel her every year and recreate those recipes ... I always feel like she is with me in the kitchen when I'm baking ... it's one of my fondest memories of her ... I sure miss her.  Of course the goodies don't taste exactly like her's, but I've come as close as I can!  I also do a lot of cookie baking ... it's something I started with my stepmom years and years ago, and Christmas isn't Christmas without the cookies!  So today I made a double batch of my family's favorite peanut butter kiss cookies ... that is 8 1/2 dozen!  Not only are they our favorites, but I think a lot of people's as well ... so I put a few in a container for my hubby and daughter, and the rest get frozen to dole out in Christmas packages ....
They are delicious ... and thankfully look better than they show in that picture!

My daughter commented last night that we hadn't put up any Christmas decorations yet ... we keep our Christmas up until the ephiphany, January 6, so I usually don't start my decorating until after the beginning of December.  We never got our cut tree before the second week of December since it has to stay up so long, and now that our sweet son is at college, we don't cut it down until he comes home.  So that isn't usually until the week before Christmas.  I have a small tree that sits in the hall, and another in the kitchen, so it's okay that the live tree doesn't come until right before Christmas.  Now I went upstairs into the attic and got two boxes down ... my intention was to decorate the mantel.  I did that and hung the stockings, and a few other things in the living room.  I did have to take down all the halloween quilts ... yes, they were still hanging because I love them!  I was looking around in the attic and the hall tree should be in plain sight up there ... I can't find it.  I do recall that last year the base broke, but I thought I had fixed it.  Maybe I decided when it was time for the tree to get packed away that I had gotten enough use out of it and it was time to replace it.  I sure wish I could remember!!  Ha, ha .... I'll take some pictures tomorrow.  Happy December and Happy Christmas!