Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Is it too late?

I've started decorating for Christmas.  So fun to pull out the ornaments I've made over the last few years.  So many of them were made for family members.  I put their name and the year on the back of each.

Which suddenly reminded me - I may have neglected to make everyone ornaments this year.

But I'm ahead in my shopping, and I've ordered the Christmas cards, so will there be time?  Maybe?  Yikes.  It'll be close.

Any links to quick free designs would be appreciated.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Makes my (Cyber) Monday

The Turkey is all digested, the memories of Disneyland are still flowing in my brain and downloading from my camera, and everyone in the family is out the door to school, work, and Drama Girl is off for a week as a counselor for outdoor education.

That leaves me here with a mountain of laundry, a house full of Christmas decorations to finish putting up, my volunteer work to catch up on and my dear laptop, who is about to get a workout today.

Only 26 days to go until Christmas and I only have a handful of presents finished.  Every year I swear I'll get done early so let's see if I can actually fulfill that promise to myself this year.

Do you shop online?  Are you like me, and pick up one or two items for yourself during the Christmas season?  What are your favorite sites?

I can resist everything except a really good sale.

Coffee and credit cards are ready.  Let's go!

Makes My Monday is hosted by Cheryl at Twinfatuation.  Go join her and see what's making people smile at the start of their week.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Finished for Friday: Retro Christmas fun

I confess I'm one of those people who can sometimes spend huge amounts of time just looking at stuff on ebay.  I particularly enjoy looking at vintage needlework patterns and kits.  When I saw this needlepoint switch cover as a kit I knew I had to have it.  Vintage 1978.  I love the fuzzy stitches in his mustache and hat.  I love that it called for sequins - lots of sequins.  I cut back a little.  I also love that it shows Santa with green mittens.  That was his best era I think.  You don't see him wearing those much any more.

The instructions didn't explain how to stick it on the switchplate, but I'll figure out some kind of sticky thing.

My new fascination with Pinterest has led me back to my love of crochet.  I found this pattern and had to make it.  The moment I finished it and took a picture Wasabi Girl grabbed it and took it to her room.  Guess she couldn't resist having a giant peppermint pillow.  So easy I might whip up one or two more.  Do you think anyone would want one for a gift?  hmmm...

What have you been up to this week?  Link up and I'll visit as soon as I can.  In a few hours I'm jetting off to Disneyland and family in Southern California.  Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Finished for Friday: Generous Squirrels

I've worked on several things this week, but the only one that I can call "finished" is this block for my Henrietta Whiskers quilt.  This free pattern is available from Bunny Hill Designs. Wasabi Girl came up with a whole backstory for this block; the big squirrel is giving the small squirrel the acorn, but the small squirrel has a whole pumpkin to give back as a gift.  Not sure if that's the intent of the block or not, but it's cute.

My local quilt shop is offering this as a block of the month.  I bring in the completed block the following month and they give me the fabrics for the next block for free.  I only paid $5 for the first block.  This might be one of the most economical quilts I've ever made!  Makes it even more fun.

What have you been up to this week?  Link up and thanks for playing along!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Monsters in the Closet

Oh look,  my son has arranged all of his old stuffed animals on his closet shelves...

Wait a sec...

One of them moved!

The cat jumped up there himself to take a nap.  He's never done that before.  I guess he thought he belonged with all of the other furry monsters.

(and yes, that is a lot of iguana beanie babies.)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Makes My Monday: Soft Hearts in the Neighborhood

I'm sorry I don't have a picture to go with this post.  Just picture the calmest, sweetest golden retriever you've ever seen.  He belongs to our neighbors down the street on the corner.  Every day he lies in the front yard, gazing at every car that goes by.  There has always been a sweet golden at that corner.  There was one who lived to a ripe old age before he died and was replaced by a puppy.  That puppy grew up and left home with the oldest daughter in the family and a new puppy arrived.  That puppy is grown now and lies on the lawn just like his predecessors.

The owner can often be seen out there spending time with his dog and training it well.  Let me tell you dog owners, good training shows.  That dog is never tethered and it's a fairly busy intersection.  He just sits all day.

So imagine my surprise when I drove to the corner a few days ago and that dog was not only off the lawn, he had his front feet up on the steps of the UPS truck parked in the street.  The street was blocked so I had to stop.  Sweet dog seemed to be looking for something.  The UPS man was up at his house leaving a package at the door.

"Looks like you have an assistant today!"  I joked with Mr. UPS.

"I'm just the sub on this route, but now I think I know why the driver keeps dog biscuits in the truck." he answered.

As I started to laugh, the owner came out of the house flustered and commanding the dog to get down.  "He wants a cookie."

Now the UPS guy and I were both laughing.  The mystery of the box of dog biscuits on the dashboard was revealed, as was the secret camaraderie between the regular delivery guy and this dog on his route.

I bet he tosses a "cookie" out to that dog every day.  I would.  No wonder the dog got up to look.  He recognizes the cookie delivery truck when he sees it.

Kind hearts in the neighborhood make my Monday.  To see more Monday makers, visit Cheryl at Twinfatuation.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Finished for Friday: Elizabeth Street

Elizabeth Street by Laurie Fabiano is a beautiful book that I found hard to put down.  It's an amazing, almost unbelievable story that is full of rich historical detail.  While it reads like a novel, it's even more fascinating to me because it is the true story of the author's family.

It begins with a love story in Italy and follows the young midwife Giovanna who comes to America after her husband is killed in a tragic construction accident.  The immigrant experience in New York is seen through her eyes.  She is a very smart woman and the reader can't help but cheer for her on every page.  Her new family life in America is first troubled, and then faces a terrifying crisis from the bullying they face from members of "The Black Hand," the precursor to the Mafia.

Although the author reveals the outcome surprisingly early in the book, I wont spoil it here.  It's a fascinating, well-researched book.  Highly recommended.

What have you been up to this week?  Link up and let me come visit.  Please take some time to visit the other posters too.  Thank you and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Agony of Defeat

This is a hard moment in my parenting life.  Last year Wasabi Girl sailed through her gymnastics meets and ended up first place all around in her division at the statewide competition.  She was then, and still is, team captain.

This past weekend was the qualifying meet for the state championships.  A minimum cumulative score was required to qualify.  She held her own until the vault - and then bobbled it.  We held our breath in the stands.  Every competitor gets two tries on the vault and the best score is used.  But then she bobbled it again.  She knew the score she had to get and even from far away, we could tell how she felt from her body language when she saw her score.

She was brave, and held it together as best she could.  But she was clearly upset.

The girls sign a contract when they join the team, and right at the top is rule #1:  NO CRYING.  No matter what.  She wanted to.  I wanted to.  But the rule is there for a reason, and the competition had to finish.

After every gymnastics meet, all of the girls from all of the teams gather to sit on the floor during the awards ceremony.  There was the usual long delay while all the scores were tallied up and medals were labeled with winners' names.  While she sat, I watched from the stands, feeling so helpless to console her. 

But then I saw the demonstration of how beloved she is by her teammates.  I don't know what was said, and nothing was overly dramatic, but one by one they cozied up to her, threw an arm around her, leaned in on her shoulder.  It was a very quiet, and very beautiful demonstration of love and support on the part of these young women.  One very small member of the team even came and sat in her lap.

I'm so grateful, that as she grows and ventures out into the world where things aren't always easy, that my not-so-little girl is able to attract such a valuable support system.  Because sometimes rule #1 is just hard.

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