Tuesday, December 30, 2008

'There's No Place Like Home'

As Dorothy said in The Wizard of Oz, "There is no place like home!" How True!

I felt like this trip to Michigan was a cross between a United States Postal Service ad and National Lampoon's Griswold's Vacation! What a wild crazy trip it was...shall I bore you a bit? It does have it's funny side...if you can believe...it is all true...I can't make this stuff up!...

...first we headed off in a snow storm. The storm continued through Wisconsin and into Illinois. Every been on the Illinois Tollway traveling around Chicago in a snow storm?! Take my advice...don't! Any way, we reached the Indiana border and the snow switched to rain then the temperatures started to drop which caused the roads to freeze over in Michigan. We made the turn to the final leg of our trip and we found a parking lot on the freeway. Luckily for us, DH loves to motorcycle and knew the backroads so off the freeway we go. We reached our destination 9 hours after leaving home. Normally, a 6 hour road trip! We ate supper with my family then checked into our hotel.

At 11:30pm the smoke alarms are going off! and I'm totally unaware as I have hunkered down for the night complete with Ipod and head phones. DS pounces on me, we all put on our clothes over our jammies, winter coats and boots and head downstairs to the lobby. This is the real deal and there is water flowing everywhere! The local fire department shows up. DH and DS brave the water and rescue our belongings in one trip! Onto Plan B, luckily there is a Hilton across the street with rooms. So at 12:00 midnight we are evacuating one hotel and searching for another! I got to admit, the Hilton was an upgrade. :)

Christmas Eve day was pretty calm in comparison and even a wee bit warm. The Blue Treasures quilt was a hit and my youngest niece was the lucky recipient of the quilt. My SIL#2 wanted the quilt but was too sweet *to steal it* away! That night we head out to my in-laws across the state. High winds caused the mini van with the car top carrier to be a bit unstable but DH had it under control. I would say about an hour into the trip, the temps fell below freezing and the roads glazed over. We would be traveling at about 65 mph then drop right down to about 10 mph. Many cars were in the ditch and I could only hope that someone would arrive and rescued them.

Christmas Day was very mellow and I even received a few quilt-y things over the two days. I especially loved the cupcake pincushion and the newest additions to my growing library of quilting books.

On Saturday, we awake to dense fog and heavy rain. DS and I headed back across the state to visit my Mom. On Sunday (the day of the bridal shower) we awoke to no power!
We head over to Brother#4's house, drop off DS, and get SIL#4, her girls and Mom and I head to the bridal shower. I was a tad game-y and told everyone to sit down wind of me. :) Brother#4 promised to take his generator and get Mom 'plugged in' so DS and I bailed and headed back to Grand Rapids. Thankfully this trip was very uneventful.

Monday we made the management decision to return to Wisconsin. After a Birthday Lunch at Chili's for SIL#2 on DH's side of the family we headed west. All was going good and even the sun had peaked out of the clouds. But alas, somewhere in Indiana a 18 wheeler kicked up a mudflap that hit the driver's side bumper. Both DH and I flinched but the comment by DH, "Gee, That's gonnna leave a mark" was an understatement! At this point, I was happy that the errant mudflap stayed low and didn't come crashing into the windshield!

So you see, we travelled through wind, rain, snow, sleet, ice,and sun to visit with our families this Holiday Season (the USPS part of the story). We had a hotel evacuation at midnight, power failure (unrelated events) and a free flying mudflap (part of the 'Griswold's' Vacation). I was very happy to see our driveway without a moose telling me, "It's Closed!"

On a quilt-y note: I was taking alot of grief about the T-Shirt quilt I agreed to make about 6 months ago so here is the first update for Uncle Mi: The T-shirts have been washed, dried and are downstairs outside the sewing room. This is the first load getting ready to be washed. :)

Thanks for hanging with me and reading my story...it is a tad funny as I wouldn't believe so many different and varied 'things' could happen on one vacation! We are home safe and sound now, working back into our routine. :) As time permits, I'll answer my comments and visit your blogs!

Thanks for a great 2008 blogging and all the inspiration around blogland! I look forward to *seeing* what everyone is creating in 2009!
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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Stash Busting Report Week #52

Wow! I made it to the end of 2008! I decided to add up the fabric received in and fabric used to get a handle on 'what was happening'. I knew that I was keeping pretty even with it all and here are my final numbers:

  • fabric received in (year total): 336.5 yards
  • fabric used (year total): 352.5 yards

Net fabric (for the year): -16 yards (used)

I didn't reach my goal of using 100 yards of stash but 2009 is a new year, right?!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Holidays

May everyone have a joyous Holiday!

Thanks for all the well wishes on our travels!

Talk to you in the New Year! :)
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Monday, December 22, 2008

Almost Ready

The Seven Layer Bars are cut and ready to go. I take a pan to Brother#4's house and a pan to my in-laws. I had 6 over-ripe bananas so decided to make a couple loaves of banana bread. These will go into the freezer for eating after the holidays. The laundry is almost done, so I am zero-ing in on it!

I neglected to tell you that we leave on the 23rd...tomorrow. Since we are 'travellers', Santa has always known and arrived early at our house. This year was no different and look what the children gave me!

DS gave me an assortment of fat quarters.

DD also shopped at the LQS. She gave me an Eleanor Burns book I wanted and 2 (yes, 2!) yards of this wonderful dog fabric!

I am truly blessed!

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Stash Busting Report Week #51

I had a very non-quilty week preparing for the Holidays. My report follows:
  • fabric received in: + 10 yards
  • fabric used: 0 yards
  • net fabric for the week: +10 yards

Net fabric for the year: - 16 yards (used)

What I accomplished this week:

Goals for next week:

  • none

We are traveling to visit family for the next two weeks. All will be unplugged and covered at Bell Creek Quilts during my time away.

Friday, December 19, 2008

WOW! That's a lot of snow!
My mini-van was buried under...I was a good Mom and let DS park in the garage in my spot just in case he had school today. School was cancelled, he blew about 6 inches off the driveway then scooted out of here with a wave and mumbling, "I gotta do some Christmas shopping!" DH was out at 6:00 am and blew about 6 inches off the drive, too.
Which left me to the task of trying to clean off the mini-van. Another disadvantage of being short...unable to knock all the snow off. I was going to pull into the garage as it is heated but I didn't want all the snow to melt onto the Corvette (which sits in the 3rd slot of the garage all cozy and warm and covered!)

New plan...drive around a bit and have the snow blow off. Right now, DD has a friend over so the great snow blowing drive will wait to later.

Check this out...I had to dig out the paper slot to get today's newspaper. Something just seems wrong here...maybe both DH and DS blew the snow in. The neighbor's was high and dry...figures, eh? :)

And what is a trip outside without Daisy Doggie? She is totally unaffected by the weather when it comes to playing with her tennis ball. Today she had quite a few snowballs adhering to her fur. So I got out her brush/rake and raked the snow out...she was mighty happy when that task was done as she doesn't like her fur brushed!

Sorry...not quilt-y but my life right now is full of other 'things'. DD and I made some muffins this morning and DS brought up about 2 weeks worth of laundry. Just think, I won't have to do his laundry again until next year! WooHoo! :) I know...a lame joke...but what can I say...did you smile?! :)
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Night Guild Holiday Party

Last night was the Oconomowoc Quilt Guild Holiday Party with another gift exchange.

Here is what I gave...look familiar?!

I made quite a few of these fabric post cards in cigar boxes last summer, I believe. Three sets to be exact and funny thing, when I checked this package...there was a booklet of stamps!

Linda received this package and seemed to really like it. I noticed that the cigar boxes were a bit hit and perhaps, the favorite part of the gift!

I had gone to a cigar shop/smoking lounge last Christmas to get Brother #2 a cigar as part of his gift package and noticed a tower of cigar boxes. The salesperson told me that when the boxes are emptied of cigars, they go into the pile. Patrons can then *buy* the boxes with 100% of the money going to fund the building of schools in the countries were the cigars come from...a fund raising effort! Cool, I thought and a unique way to present a gift. :)

Here's what I received: from my friend, April, a tote bag with a quote from Mrs. Lovey Howell (Gilligan's Island), "anyone who says money can't buy happiness, doesn't know where to shop". How true! I love the fabric stores! She also included some tools and wonderful Oriental fabric. I will definitely be *thinking outside of the box* when I sew with the Orientals as I don't have hardly any Orientals at all in my stash! Well four pieces now! :)

The girls also received/exchanged their round robins they had been working on all through out the year. A very interesting display of quilt tops. Cheryl from Cheryl's Chatelaine was the official photographer. I asked if I could link to her blog for those interested in seeing the round robins as I didn't want my flash competing with her flash as we were snapping away...Cheryl enthusiastically agreed. Click on over to Cheryl's Chatelaine if you would like to see the round robins. Cheryl posted about her Chicken Round Robin and promises to post the additional pictures in the days ahead. Thanks Cheryl :)
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Almost Quilty...

...this post is almost quilt-y! Do you realize that it's been almost a whole week (?!) since I posted anything remotely quilt-y?! The Holidays tend to sneak up on me and then all my energies flow to *getting ready* for them. :)

Here's what's up this afternoon. I made a large Humbug Bag from pet screen material. I decided to use the black ribbon to give it a more *masculine feel* as it is for my BIL who frequents the gym. I suppose he will put his stinky headbands in it...hence the pet screen to aid in the *airing out* process.
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Another Ecthed Christmas Gift

This morning after DD went to school, I etched another Pyrex dish.

This one is for DS's GF. I decided to use her first name and a give the current copy of 'bon appetite' magazine at DS's suggestion. They both share a love of cooking and I thought this Pyrex dish would be something she would be able to use for many years to come. Here is Kairle's tutorial, in case you missed it from the other post.

I wrapped it the same way as I had red, white and green toule leftover from the previous dishes. Hope she likes it!

DS said he would actually like one with his name. A birthday gift, perhaps?!
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Mini Tower of Treats

This season I asked DD what she thought about making 'Tower of Treats' for her bus drivers as Holiday gifts. She was very enthusiastic, so over the last few days I made 'Seven Layer Bars', 'Fudge' and 'Lemon Cookies'. Last night, DD packaged up the goodies in the containers and this morning, we assembled the packages. The fudge was a little soft last night so we put it in the refrigerator to harden, so the containers have a little condensation on them. (As you can see from the picture...my camera skills are no better at 6:45 am!)

DD had found these two Holiday bags buried deep in a drawer of mine while looking for something else, I love recycling things like this!

DD had pick out a Snowman mug for her teacher and filled it with truffles and candy canes. At the last minute, she decided to include a small container of fudge for her, too. Sorry, no picture but it also was in a recycled plain brown craft bag with more glitter-y tissue paper.

Another check on the 'to do' list done! yeah! I just might get it 'all' done yet!
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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Kitchen Wall Hanging

DH broke out the power tools and ladder last night and here is the result.

WooHoo! He hung my wall hanging! Sweet! Although, DH thought it was a little *silly* to drill two *new* holes to cover up four *old* holes. He now feels he has *six* holes to repair someday...I think the quilt looks better than patched holes!

Who cares if it's behind the door?
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Monday, December 15, 2008

A Christmas Gift and a Bridal Shower Gift

I followed Kairle's Happy Valley Quilter tutorial here and made two etched Pyrex dishes.

I let the etching solution sit on the dishes for a long time. One was 30 minutes and the other 50 minutes but you really can't tell the difference. I wish that I would have pressed the contact paper template firmer onto the glass because I had some etch solution seep through to the glass. Notice that the 'I', 'V' and 'E' have a little wonky wave going on around the letters. I did address a few Holiday cards while I let the etching solution do 'it's magic'. I brought another set of Pyrex dishes and want to etch one as a gift for DS's 'on again' girlfriend. I thought I would use her first name then that way she will be able to use the dish forever! :)

One is a Bridal Shower gift that I will be attending on December 28th and the other is a Christmas gift. I included 4 hot pads in each and a cookbook.
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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Stash Busting Report Week #50

I had a strong beginning of the week, then had other obligations at the end of the week. My report follows:
  • fabric received in: 0 yards
  • fabric used: -8.75 yards
  • net for the week: - 8.75 yards (used)

Net fabric for the year: -26 yards (used)

What I accomplished this week:

  • made 9 more hot pads
  • Blue Treasure Quilt: pieced, quilted and binding done

Goals for next week:

  • continue working on Christmas gifts :)

Remind me next year that I should start the Christmas gift making as soon as the Christmas decorations go up in the stores, okay?! and I'll remind you, too! :)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Day Guild Holiday Luncheon Today

Today was The Lake Country Day Guild Holiday Luncheon and meeting.

We had about 36 members present, a strong turn-out as the guild has about 45 members or so. Just look at the wonderful potluck dishes everyone brought. Yummy!

We also did a voluntary gift exchange. If you brought a gift then you received a gift.

Here is my package wrapped.

Here are the goodies inside. A sampling of fabric postcards, a pigma pen and a pressing sheet. I had forgotten about the stamps until after it was wrapped! and I didn't have any full books of stamps to include. My friend, Sharon received my gift and she was 'okay' with no stamps...maybe I'll buy some and put in my purse for the next time I see her. :)

This is what I received in return from Katie. A Holiday card, a Quilty Holiday puzzle and a very big notepad with quilt blocks on three sides. That will come in very handy as I am always searching for little bits of paper to write measurements on! Each place setting had a napkin with a napkin ring on it and we were able to take home the napkin ring as our favor!

Today was a fun day to spend with quilt-y friends. The weather co-operated with sunny skies. :)
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Binding Finished!

I finished sewing the binding on my Blue Treasures Quilt. The center fabrics are from my scrap bag of blues that I have been saving. A few years ago, I decided to save my scraps that I normally would have thrown out (I know, *gasp*) and make a crumb quilt. There are many inspiring crumb quilts around blogland. A few that have inspired me are Norma at Silver Thimble Quilting (scroll to her December 28th post), Tracey at Quilting in Connecticut (where I saw this layout) and AmandaJean's Crazy Mom Quilts (she is creating a monochromatic series of crumb type quilts).

I quilted it with Popcorn from Willow Leaf Studio. This block actually has a piece of fabric that I dumpster dived for when I took a class in 2003!

I even *sewed* some seaweed into this block. :)

This was a fun quilt to put together. Many memories are with the scraps, most scraps I remember but there are a few that I haven't *a clue* where the fabric came from!

When I told DD that the centers came from the blues scrap bag, she deadpanned and said, "Probably didn't make a dent in it!" How did she know! Will she become a future quilter? I sincerely hope so! :)
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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

WIP Wednesday Part 2

At about 5:30 pm Monday thru Friday, Miss Daisy finds me to let me know it is her dinner time.

She finally gave up and went to her bed.

Finally! Mom stops what she is working on to feed Daisy!

What was I working on? If it's Wednesday then there must be binding work to be done at Bell Creek Quilts. I managed to sew 2.5 sides down this afternoon on my next quilt. WooHoo! Maybe it will be done after dinner? One can hope, right? :)
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WIP Wednesday

Typically, after my Family Christmas on Christmas Eve, all 'Out-of -Towners' are invited to my Mom's condo for an 'After Party Party'. At this second party on Christmas Eve, we exchange smaller gifts with everyone there. These hot pads are going to be for the 'Out-of-Town' girls at my Mom's house. I will probably pick up another 'little something' to go with the hot pads, too.

I finished piecing them on Sunday. Tore off the foundation papers during a game of Clue on Sunday night. Layered and sewed on Monday. Turned them right sides out on Tuesday.

This morning I was able to sew around the outside to enclose the turning point.
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