Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year's Eve

We had a lovely Christmas and I hope you all did, too. We decided to go to my childhood church for "midnight" Mass (now at 10pm) for nostalgic reasons. It just wasn't the same, but key elements remain, such as singing Jesu Bambino and Tu Scendi Dalle Stelle during the procession with the baby Jesus.

The day after Christmas, we went bowling with my sister, her husband and son Eric. He's the cousin closest in age to my kids on my side of the family. He's a talented artist and will be graduating from Cleveland Institute of Art in May. He's a cool guy!

Bill and I just got home from a mini-vacation to Newport.
This was the view from our hotel room!
The Newport bridge to the right...

and sunset to the left!

Walking to breakfast this morning, I spotted this incredible cross stitch sampler in an antique store window. Grace made this on Christmas in 1787!

It started snowing before we left Newport, now everything is pretty and white again. We were surprised that all 18+ inches of snow from the 20th was gone when we got home on the 27th.

I can't wait until tomorrow to tell you about my big project for 2010! I must go prepare!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

May your days be merry and bright...

And may all your Christmases be white!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Wicked Winter

We got a little bit of snow yesterday! Winter is really here.

I went out early to start digging out my car. Then the big guns arrived!
Julia and I were on a mission. We had to get out and make it to Providence for Wicked!

Our street is out there somewhere.
Just one lane was plowed, and not very well.
Our biggest challenge was my mother's street and driveway to her apartment building. Julia was a trooper! I'd get stuck, she'd dig, we'd go a little farther, she'd jump out and dig some more.

Leaving my mother's building, we had to go uphill! We powered through with Julia's expert digging, but I had to leave her behind for fear of getting stuck. I didn't stop to pick her up until I was on clear, level ground. It reminded us of this old family story.

Christmas of 1966, my grandparents insisted on attending midnight Mass. My father and brothers gathered them up and off they went. During Mass, a foot of snow fell! The car would get stuck at every intersection, so my brothers would get out to push. Knowing he'd get stuck again, my father just kept driving, with my brothers running behind, ready to push at the next corner! When they reached the dead end street where the Other Grandma lived, there was no way Dad was going down there. So my brothers dragged Grandma to her house on a sled!

We made it!
It was a harrowing drive, but we took it slow. I learned to drive in upstate New York and took my driving test after a big snowstorm. I was confident in my abilities (so was Bill!), but always worry about other drivers.

On the way, I instructed my mother that at the end of the performance, she was to announce that this was the best show ever and well worth the drive. Right on cue, she recited her lines with a big smile on her face.

Wicked really was the best show we've seen (up there with Lion King). But we'll remember it more because of what we went through to get there. At least we didn't need to pull Grandma on a sled!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Handmade Gifts

I thought you'd like to see a couple of gifts we've been working on.

The first one is not a gift, but an easy, fun ornament. (Sorry, I didn't bookmark the tutorial.)
You can see my fun garland in this photo, too. I made it several years ago from a segment on the Carol Duvall Show. Start with a package of 3/4" round labels. I colored in a full sheet (or 2) of labels for each color of my new scrapbook markers. Stick 2 together, sandwiching a strong thread in between (I used an orange jeans thread) and you have a garland. I had everything on hand, which makes it free!
I love playing with paper!

These ribbon wreaths are so pretty and easy, so Julia is making them for her teachers. My GS troop enjoyed making them because they already knew the "stitch" from weaving plastic lanyard at camp. An upgrade of materials and you have something completely different.

Julia made this pile of "emergency" bracelets yesterday for her guy friends and cousins. They can be untied in an emergency to use the 8-10' of cord. We actually enjoyed our trip to the army-navy store to buy the paracord. The guy working there wants a bracelet! Julia was able to follow the tutorial without any help from me. I love my mini me!

I hope Josh doesn't read my blog this week. Here's a gift for him.
How cool are these pencils?

Did I tell you I love playing with paper?
Here's a pile of origami wreath ornaments. I was making them at the swim meet on Friday. I didn't have time to cut the paper before we left, so I brought a pack of paper and a paper cutter to the pool. Is that an indication that I have a problem?
Once I started making these, I couldn't stop! See? I have a problem!
Now, what to do with them? They will probably be package tie-ons.

OK. Enough stalling. It's time to shovel snow!
We have tickets for Wicked at 1:00, but our street isn't really plowed yet (neither is the driveway to my mother's apartment). Keep your fingers crossed that I'll be able to get to the highway.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Be Safe

Our neighbors across the street had a chimney fire last night. They are all fine, no one was hurt, Thank God. Their daughter was happy to play with her friends until late at night. The firefighters had to move their Christmas tree to get to the fireplace wall and some special ornaments were broken. We'll find out more about structural/smoke/water damage today.

This family is meticulous and I'm sure they followed all the rules for wood stove safety. If you use wood to heat your house, please review these safety tips.

Be safe this Christmas. Learn about Holiday Fire Safety here.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Quilt Tour

Welcome to our home! Please come in...

I'm not completely happy with the wreath yet, but it's getting there. And it looks good close up. Start with a grocery store wreath, add mixed greens from around the yard, a few dollar store ornaments and a new bow. A custom wreath for under $10!

This narrow hallway is a rotating quilt gallery on one side.
(I'll show you the musical instrument collection on the other side after I dust it off!)
I wish I had labeled the angel quilt - I don't remember when I made it.
The Advent calendar in the middle was a gift many years ago. It just isn't Advent for Julia & Pete without it. The geese in the forest quilt looks great for Christmas.

This is the first quilt I ever made. As an unemployed newlywed, I took a beginner class at a quilt shop and an addiction was born! I'm thinking I might take it apart next year and re-quilt it. Or should I leave it as is, in all its imperfect, beginner glory?

I made this quick, fused Santa quilt in 2004.
(This one has a label because it was in a show.)
My collection of hand blown glass ornaments has found a home away from the tree for the last few years. They seem safer here on top of the TV.

Julia made this cute snow couple in 2005. Her first attempt at paper piecing and free motion machine quilting, plus a little fusing. Totally cute!

My yo-yo tree found a home in the bathroom. I love the addition of the orange buttons, but I'm not crazy about this star. I'll be on the look-out for something better.

Maybe tomorrow I'll show you the less-quilty decorations. I hope the tree will be decorated by then!

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Crafty Day

As a pre-Birthday treat, Bill took today off to be my designated driver to the big cities of Providence and Pawtucket. I am the expert navigator.

On the way up I-95, we love seeing the Big Blue Bug dressed up for the holidays. He looks even better at night, completely wrapped in lights. "Nibbles Woodaway" is a Rhode Island landmark.

First we went to Craftland! Fun, fun, fun! It's open year round now, so if you're ever in Providence, please go. If I'm feeling brave, I might consider submitting some of my work next year. I'm not sure if I'm cool enough. Bill said I might have to stretch outside my comfort level.

I loved the architecture of the building across the street. I don't know anything about architecture, but I thought it was pretty.

Next, we took a ten-minute drive to Pawtucket for the Foundry Artists Show.

There were 60 (SIXTY!) fabulous artists displaying their wares.

The ArtGirlz booth was right at the entrance. Too bad the Girlz weren't there. Hey, maybe if I hang out with them more, I'll be cool enough for Craftland.
I might have picked up a stocking stuffer here. Shhh.

Look at this glorious fringe!
I want to know why this fringe doesn't unravel or fray. Does anyone know? Maybe I'm just not using nice enough yarn. It's not knotted at the ends and the ends are soft.

This booth was really cool. Playing with Books, which I think is an offshoot of The Rag and Bone. The wreaths are rolled pages of old books. Garlands are everywhere!

Not a great picture with the sun streaming in, but these are really sweet art sets from Pink Lemonade.

Tomorrow, I'll show you what I bought! And there might be a birthday giveaway!
But right now, we're getting ready for a Girl Scout troop holiday party.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Go Gators!

My apologies to my Central New York relatives. I'm a Gators fan now. We're watching Syracuse play Florida on ESPN. Every time Erik Murphy gets the ball, we cheer. When he scores, forget about it! We've known his family since he was my height. I might be exaggerating. His little brother was taller than me in 2nd grade. Florida lists Erik at 6'9"! We've been watching him shoot hoops with his brothers at their house around the corner from us for years. It's fun to watch him on TV now.

I couldn't post with no photo. I found this one of my mother, checking out the new laptop. Isn't she the cutest? She doesn't understand all this new technology, but she is fascinated by it. We had a lovely day Christmas shopping together today.

There you have it. My first post from the couch via the laptop and wireless network!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Catching Up

It's been a busy week, but what else is new?!

On Monday, I devised this little number:
A crocheted Advent wreath pin.
I started with a tutorial for a crocheted wreath,
slightly modified (didn't use the plastic ring),
added sequins from my mother-in-law's collection
and a sweet bow.

(It's hard to tell in the photo that one of the sequins is pink.)

On Wednesday, Julia led a Brownie workshop
for the Stitch-It Together Try-It.

On Thursday, we participated in a Las Posadas procession
through our town that ended at a homeless shelter.

On Saturday, Pete and I sold our wares at a local craft show.
(Leftovers will be added to my Etsy shop very soon!)

Pete, the salesman, is demonstrating his marshmallow shooter
to the coolest old lady we've ever met.
Look at her bracelets and that purse!

Also on Saturday, Bill got a new toy!
It is an incredible Martin guitar that sounds a million times better than his old acoustic. He's been lusting after these guitars for a while, and we're so glad that he finally bought one for himself. He's a Happy Daddy!

On Sunday, we attended a holiday concert by
The Air Force Band of Liberty.
What a great show!

On Monday, all I want to do is sleep!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Happy Birthday, Pete!

My baby is 14!

(This is how he tested out the new laptop last night.)