Monday, November 30, 2009

Makes My Monday: Cheering up the Street

Every year my husband and our neighbor participate in a friendly rivalry to see who can get the outdoor Christmas lights up first. I think we've won about half the time. This year my husband headed out on Saturday armed with all the boxes of lights and the looooooong pole he uses to attach them. Jungle Boy wasn't about to miss the fun.

"Can I help dad?"
"I'd rather do it myself. I have this system of doing it in an up and down pattern."
"Let me get this straight dad, the pattern is up, then down? I think I can actually handle that."
(laughing) "Okay, I guess you can."

So Jungle Boy was the one to decorate the oak tree in the not-so-difficult-after-all up and down pattern.

And we switched them on before our neighbor. Yeah! Cheerful outdoor lights Make My Monday. To see more happy posts to start the week, visit Cheryl at Twinfatuation.

Friday, November 27, 2009


Our kitten Dumbledore is a pretty mellow guy, unlike his goofy sister. He doesn't mind when the kids sling him around their necks or over their shoulders.

He loves to hang out with his sister on whatever high ground they can find (usually on a quilt).

No box goes unexplored.

And he makes a nice accessory to the Christmas decor.

How are your cats? Shall we start a Caturday photo meme?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Finished for Friday: Thanksgiving (including another disaster)

Here is the mini-quilt that I had on my design wall last Monday. I love how it turned out, although working with squares this small is a bit fiddly at times. I made it from scraps of the Christmas quilt I've been working on all year. I've got that big one at my machine right now so I can quilt it up.

Isn't this gorgeous? It's a cornucopia that Wasabi Girl and I made from breadstick dough. It was slippery to work with and definitely required 4 hands. We were so proud of how it turned out! The perfect centerpiece for Thanksgiving. Before I put it away Wednesday night, I wrapped it up very carefully in many layers of plastic wrap.

Apparently I didn't wrap it enough. The cats chewed through the plastic to eat it. This is what I found in the morning (I took the rest of the wrap off for this picture). My husband had bought garlic breadstick dough because he said that was all that was left at the store. The garlic smell must have driven the cats wild. (Notice a trend here? Everything seems to be my husband's fault.)

Drama Girl to the rescue! She took a candle I had and made a new centerpiece with some rosemary she cut from outside. It worked fine. I'm still sad about the cornucopia though. At least I have the pictures to prove we made it.

How did your Thanksgiving go? Our barbecued turkey was heavenly. I'm going to ask my husband to do that more often. Really delicious.

Join in and tell us about how you're done with your Christmas shopping (I'm so jealous) or you snagged a great Black Friday deal this morning (I'm sleeping in). Be sure to visit the other participants to cheer them on.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

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Happy Thanksgiving

I hope all of you who are celebrating Thanksgiving have a wonderful, safe, delicious one. My oven is fixed (yeah!) but I've given my husband the task of barbecuing the bird anyway. Maybe I'll get some good pictures.

Monday, November 23, 2009

What's Thanksgiving Without Disasters?

I've been looking for my turkey salt and pepper shakers for a while now. I found them carefully wrapped in a box with some other china. But when I unwrapped them - well, you can see what I found. Not so carefully wrapped after all, I guess.

I thought to myself at the time, "well, here's the worst thing that's going to happen this Thanksgiving." Seems like every once in a while there's a plumbing problem or a gravy disaster to mar the day. A broken turkey seemed a small price to pay. Boy was I wrong.

I adore my husband. I love the fact that he's been doing so much of the cooking since I've been unable to walk. He's wonderful. He is, however, a bit too creative for his own good.

Thinking that if marinating a pork roast in brandy was good, sloshing brandy all over the roast before putting it in the oven must be better.

The gas oven.
I was in another room at the time.


We're lucky the house didn't burn down when that brandy ignited and blew up the oven. As you read this, I'm waiting for a repairman and hoping it can be fixed. Whether it can or not, I already told my husband he is cooking the turkey out on the barbecue. It's going to be cold. The evil part of me hopes it rains a little.

I'm not really worried about pulling off the feast. I remember fondly back to college days when a friend showed me how to make an amazing Thanksgiving dinner using only a hotplate and a toaster oven - and a turkey on the barbecue.

I am so thankful. I am very very blessed, and I know it. Have you had any memorable holiday disasters? And what do you think the chances are that my oven will be repaired in time?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Makes My Monday: Design Wall

My sewing space is in a corner of the garage. There, the spiders and I spend a little quality time with pretty fabrics and ipod tunes. It's the only available space in our small house but it works just fine for me.

Next to my sewing machine is a little design wall I made with some foam core board and gridded flannel. It is constantly evolving as I put up blocks I'm testing, orphan blocks, and small works in progress. There are cards and postcards, pictures of the kids, pictures of a wonderful class at a quilt retreat, funny scraps of vintage fabric, and a needlepoint that needs to be made into an ornament. Some of the items are pinned up with old sewing machine needles.

It's uniquely me, and just looking at it makes me smile and feel creative. This design wall makes my Monday.

Makes My Monday is hosted by Cheryl at Twinfatuation. Please visit her this week as her family is facing a challenge with cancer and she could really use some support. Thank you.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Finished for Friday: Embroidery

Lit and Laundry

I've just finished a few embroidery blocks this week. I'm about 90% done on two other projects but I just couldn't squeeze them in on time. How do Fridays get here so fast? Here are the blocks for my calendar quilt: April, May, June and July.

The free pattern for these blocks can be found at Bunny Hill Designs.

What have you been up to this week? Getting all ready for Thanksgiving? Got some Christmas shopping done? Put away your Halloween decorations? Join in and let us all congratulate you. Feel free to grab a button from my sidebar if you'd like. Then just add the link to your recent post to the list below.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Vintage Thingies Thursday: Balloon Chairs

The approach of Thanksgiving reminds me that I can share my dining chairs for VTT. I have six of these balloon-back chairs, which were very popular from the 1830s to 1850s, although I do not know the exact dates these were made. The seats are horsehair covered with leather.

I love their graceful curves and simple style. I do warn the kids not to squirm in them too much though. I'd cry if one of them broke. As it is, I think the seats will need some restoration in the future, and maybe some needlepoint covers to complete the Victorian style.

Vintage Thingy Thursday is hosted by Suzanne at Colorado Lady. Visit her every week to take a tour of interesting pieces of the past.

Join me tomorrow for Finished for Friday! (and did you notice how I managed to get in one more picture of my Hocuspocusville quilt? It's coming down after Thanksgiving to go into storage until next year. I'm enjoying every minute of it while I can.)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Ort Update

I know you've all been sitting on the edge of your seat waiting to see my progress on the Totally Useless Stitch Along. Here it is: my jar of orts.

It hardly tells the story of all the stitching I've been doing. Maybe because I'm so miserly with thread. I tell you though, ever since I started participating in this, I save every. little. bit.

Now I will venture with shame to see the really fabulous ort jars of my TUSAL* sisters. I can only hope to approach their skills in ort hoarding as time goes by. To see the wonderful blog of the originator of this fine internet group, visit Yoyo at Dragon My Needle. (Is that a great name for a blog or what? I love it.)

*Totally Useless Stitch Along - did you forget already?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Makes My Monday: Planning

I have a favorite planner that I've used for years. It's called the Uncalendar. I swear by its graphic layout with lots of individual boxes for all the different balls a typical person has to juggle every day.

My kids have been admiring mine and they each asked for one recently, so I happily ordered them. We usually spend some time on Sundays lounging in the living room and making lists. I never tell them to do their planning, they do it on their own when they see me setting up my week.

This week I asked if I could take some pictures of their planners. They were gracious enough to oblige.

Here is Jungle Boy's gameplan for the week, complete with a draft of a story he's working on, the plan of his earth science project for school, the grim reaper and his brother the happy reaper (who knew?), and what might be a self-portrait of himself playing the trumpet. I love the pictures he filled in the other boxes. And have no fear, his twin corrected him on the number of days until Christmas (39 today).

Below is the planner for his twin sister. She has the larger version and I asked her if she could take a picture before she started writing in it. Before she writes she has this elaborate decorating she does with her many highlighter pens. Cracks me up. After she took this shot, she went ahead and wrote over the colors and filled it in.

Seeing my kids get themselves organized makes my Monday. To see more happy posts to start the week, visit Cheryl at Twinfatuation.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Finished for Friday: Pumpkin Hill Quilt

A pumpkin carriage pulled by squirrels, an owl sitting on the moon - this is my new favorite fall quilt. I finished the top quite a while ago, and it's been sitting in my pile of unfinished objects. Big thanks go to my kids, who helped me by basting it together. Without them, it would still be sitting in that pile. I think I should also thank Drama Girl for patiently holding it up high so I could take a picture. See her shoes?

As you can see in the close-ups, there are buttons on the carriage and I tried with mixed success to quilt some pumpkins into the border. I think some of them look like strawberries and some of them look like tomatoes, but at least a few do look like pumpkins. Pumpkins aren't all perfect in nature anyway. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

What have you been up to this week? Getting ready for Thanksgiving? It's just around the corner. I have a few more quilts in the queue that I'm hoping to finish before the Christmas rush. (Don't hold me to that dream though). Join in and let us know what you've completed recently and I'll be sure to come cheer you on.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Armchair philosophy

Back in olden days B.H. (before husband), I used the arm of a chair to hold my pins and needles. But just as I was able to teach my husband to use coasters, he was able to teach me to use pincushions. It's a happy bonus for me that there are so many cute patterns to make pincushions. (For a kit to make this one, click here).

Pincushions always start out so pretty and bare. I don't know how they get this way. Why do I have so many kinds of pins? I don't remember ever buying them. On closer inspection, this pincushion is like a hidden picture puzzle. Can you find the 3 corsage pins? The curved upholstery needle? The gold needle? The really embarrassing thing is that I have a pincushion in every room, and they all look something like this.

It's a mini metaphor for life - sometimes you're the cushion, sometimes you're the pin. As a parent, I remember when everything started out so easy. I don't remember how each care and worry got stuck to me, but I accept them all as part of my job. One by one they're not too painful, but some days I look at the big picture and I feel like I'm being jabbed on all sides.

That's my deep thought for today.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Finished for Friday: Floral Quilt

Here is a quilt I finished this week. This might be a Christmas present for one of my girls. It's about 52"x52" - a nice size to curl up with a book. This has been in my unfinished object (UFO) pile for a long time, so it feels great to get it done.

I've also been embroidering squares for the basket block of the month from Bunny Hill. Here are January, February, and March:

What have you been up to this week? Join in with projects or books you've finished up. Be sure to visit the other participants to cheer them on! Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sometimes I Even Scare Myself

The last issue of Highlights. Ever. Gone are the days of hidden pictures and what's-wrong-with-this cartoon. Gone are the short stories and poetry snippets.

But look at this picture closely. What do you see? A magazine holder, labeled, full of back issues of Highlights magazines. As if my children would seek these out for reading material on a rainy day. Sometimes my delusions scare even me.

There's nothing wrong with Highlights - if you're waiting in a dentist's office and there is absolutely nothing else available to read. I'm sure many parents have urged their kids to pick it up and read it. But what sane parent actually subscribes to this magazine? For years.

Sometimes I'm amazed my kids have survived this long with me for a mom. What a crazy lady.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tuesday's Toonlet


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Another Halloween for the history books

Pumpkins were carved. (Note Jungle Boy's tall skinny version)

Some pumpkins were minimalist but creative nonetheless.

A bar of soap. S.O.P.E. He says it's supposed to be that way because it's funnier. I don't get it.

The costume of choice for Wasabi Girl and her posse. Wish I had a picture of all of them. I also didn't get a picture of Drama Girl because I was busy directing traffic at her Halloween sleepover.

A wonderful time was had by all. I'm glad it's all done for another year. Onward to the next holiday!

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