Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas 2010

Although Christmas day is over and the house has returned to a little more normalcy, I really love these days.  There is a certain amount of quiet calm to reflect on the wonderful times that we spent with family and friends and to think about the true meaning of Christmas.  I will leave my decorations up until Epiphany on January 6th so there is a lot of time for quiet reflection and I never tire of these days.

Our Christmas was absolutely fabulous.  I love the fact that we still have so many  little believers around.  Christmas is always so special with children. 

We celebrate with a large gathering at our home on Christmas Eve.   Rather than trying to organize a dinner with excited children, we have resorted to lots of hearty appetizers.  Everyone brings a couple and the food is left for snacking on throughout the evening.  It works out well and not one seems to leave hungry.

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It seems like the kitchen is always a great gathering place.

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SIL, niece and my two sisters.

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My mom and one of my DILs.

Opening presents always starts off VERY ORGANIZED!!!  One person opens a gift, starting with the youngest,  and then moves on to the next.  After about six or seven gifts are opened it invariably turns into happy chaos.  As they say, “best laid plans”.  We follow gifts with dessert and the singing of “Happy Birthday” to our Christmas grandson.  There is nothing like celebrating your birthday with ALL of your cousins.  The party breaks up shortly afterwards as there is still assembly of Santa gifts at other homes.  Those late nights of doing that are NOT missed!!! 

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Patiently waiting for gift opening.

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Everyone finding their seats for the best vantage point.

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Happy chaos.

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I made the gift cards a little more difficult to get to this year.

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Happy Birthday to you!!!!!!

Christmas Day started off with Church and then several of the kids came back for a Christmas morning brunch at the house.  The little ones got to play for a few hours before our son and his family headed on home after the fun days spent with us.

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A Christmas/birthday hug.

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We did not want to let this dolly get away from us.

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Our first rollover - on Christmas Day, no less.

There wasn’t a lot of sewing that went on over Christmas as the studio is used as a nursery.  I am always excited to get back into sewing again and there are endless new inspirations as the new year starts.  I need to catch up on my blocks for my Thread Head Quilt Along before I get too far behind.  I will share those in my next post.  I did finish up a candle mat that I made for the gal who helps my mom.

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I loved the fabrics on this one.
Several delightful packages have arrived in the mail.  The first was a beautiful centerpiece made my my friend, Midlife Mom.  It fits perfectly on my bare table under my pear tree arrangement.  How did she know that I needed something there????

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As well, Micki sent me a delightful quilting magazine from Ireland.   This was the second one that she sent as the first one was lost somewhere in the mail system.  Thank you, Micki, I have really enjoyed some quiet time looking through it.

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Thanks, Micki
Lana sent me a wonderful selection of fabrics and a pattern that I won from her Christmas giveaway.  Thank you, Lana, I know that I will enjoy using them.

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Thanks, Lana

Speaking of giveaways, be sure to check out Linda's wonderful Giveaway to celebrate her 300 followers and the bringing in of 2011.  Linda is a delightful and prolific blogger and I am sure you will find lots of inspiration on her blog.

It’s hard to imagine that 2010 is coming to a close.  It seems like only yesterday we were concerned about a new millennium and here we are already almost eleven years into it.  Time really does fly.  Our new years will be a quiet dinner with my mom, sister, BIL and our daughter and her children.  Her husband has to work on New Year's Eve.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Rainy Day Session

It is a rainy day session for us and it is forecast to continue through next Wednesday.  It is actually nice to be getting the rain and it isn’t too chilly outside.  They call this a “Pineapple Express” in our area, meaning we get lots of rain with milder temperatures.

Our oldest son and his family happen to be up in the Sierras where it is forecast to receive 12 to 18 feet of snow through next Wednesday.  They received three feet overnight last night.  We may not see them again until spring at this rate.  LOL

Thursday DH took the day off of work as he needed to drive into L.A. to pick up some wine for Christmas.  He asked if I would like to accompany him and stop off at the fabric district.  He did not need to ask twice as I had jumped at the thought.  It was a fabulous day with fabric stores for blocks filled with luscious fabrics, trims, laces, buttons, patterns, beads, feathers and anything you could imagine.  It really is a great place to visit if you do clothing construction as most of our fabric stores cater to quilters and have a very limited amount of fabrics for clothing.  I was in heaven and could have spent many hours there.  We met up for lunch at the famous Coles and enjoyed a beef dip sandwich.  YUM!!!


Today I was able to spend some time sewing and playing around a bit.  It actually felt really good to be all caught up and have some free time.  I got the last border on my Christmas Cactus quilt and I really LOVE it.  Thanks, Sandi, for sharing your fabulous pattern with us.


I recently read on someone's blog about making your own spray starch.  I wish I could remember who wrote it so I could give them credit, but, sadly, I cannot.  It called for two cups of water, 1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch and 2 drops of lavender essence oil.  Since I an not a fan of lavender I found some "fresh linen" at Mich*aels and used that.  Not only does the mixture work well, it smells utterly fantastic.  I am sold on it.

As well, I made a few Christmas pinwheel ornaments from this tutorial.  They went up so quickly and were fun to make.  They will be super cute on the tree or on top of packages.


Two of our grandsons had birthdays this week so we were able to celebrate with their family.  Mr. B turn 8 on Thursday and Mr. T is 13 today – a big teenager now. 


This evening we are going to another son’s home for our annual Christmas dinner with his family.  We enjoy a great meal followed by a trip around the neighborhood looking at Christmas lights.  It should be interesting in the pouring rain tonight.

I received my pincushion from the swap that I participated in at Pigtales and Quilts.  It is a lovely pincushion in the shape of a watermelon with lots of beading.  The workmanship is fabulous on it.  As well, Thearica enclosed an ornament for our tree.  Thank you so much, it was a fun swap to participate in.


I recently won a giveaway from Talin with lots of wonderful trims.  I know that these will come in so handy with the sewing that I do for my grandchildren.  They are beautiful and will be the perfect accent to little girl’s dresses.  Look at the fabulous pincushion she enclosed.  I LOVE her fabric choices and the cute flower on top.  Thank you, Talin.


Tomorrow we light our last advent candle which means that Christmas is right around the corner.  My, but the year has flown past.  I am sure that I will be tied up with lots of preparation for our big Christmas Eve party so I would like to take a moment and wish everyone a very blessed Christmas.  It has been my joy to visit all of your wonderful blogs this year and to have you stop by for a visit to mine as well.  Blogging friends are really special.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Saturday Check In

I am still here but just busy with all of the Christmas happenings around here.  I had thought things would be a little quieter here this week, but I was wrong.  It seems as though this is how this wonderful season is each year. 

Some of you are having your dreams of a white Christmas filled a little early this year.  Those temperatures have been steadily dropping as the depth of snow keep increasing.  I can’t quite imagine what it must be like to try to get out and get done what needs to be finished when the weather provides such challenges.  Stay safe out there.  After having no summer, we are enjoying temperatures in the 80s this weekend which I find more bearable.

Our Christmas dinner last week was a lovely evening and a great time catching up with family members without all of the little ones that tend to cause lots of distractions when we get together – delightful distractions, I must add.  It is always nice to get together and enjoy the meal without someone needing to jump up and do something.

Between Christmas parties, luncheons, visits to Santa, Christmas programs, shopping and watching little ones this week I have been able to get to the sewing room for a few gifts.  I was afraid that my machine would seize up on me from lack of use lately, but all went well. 

I managed to get most of my Christmas Cactus quilt assembled.  I still need to add the outer border, but I just love it.


It must be time for it to be finished since my real cactus is now starting to send out blooms.  My red one still hasn’t started to form buds yet.


Some of the other projects include a journal cover for a friend of mine…


A Kindle carrying case for my mom’s Kindle…


And another mug rug.  My dear friend, Midlife Mom, cut me a couple of snowflakes with her Accuquilt GO and sent them to me.  I really like the way it turned out.  These things can be addicting.


While I was watching a couple of the little ones this week we made some wonderful cookies and I enjoyed all of my help.   The smell of the peppermint was intriguing.


The little ones got their stockings to hang.  I’m not sure they were overly thrilled with them quite yet, but they will look forward to them on Christmas for years to come.


This evening we are heading over to my mom’s to decorate her tree and have dinner.  It is always a fun evening and my sister and BIL join us for the tree trimming.

I apologize for being a bad blogger lately, but I hope to be better at it soon.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ten Days?

Has it really been ten days since I last posted?  Needless to say, life has been on a fast pace since then.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving despite the fact that we were missing about five children who had strep throat.  We don’t want all of that spread about with Christmas quickly approaching.  This was a photo of our immediate family – kids and grandchildren.

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We always celebrate our Thanksgiving on the Saturday following as it allows the children to have Thanksgiving with their own families or with their in-laws.  So….I was NOT out with all of the shoppers!! 

Our fourth son and his family were down for the weekend and will be back again this coming weekend.   It is always fun for the cousins to get to know each other.  I think they will be good friends down the road.

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Sunday was cleaning, laundry and putting away the Autumn decorations and Monday was a day of decorating for Christmas.  It seems to take longer each year, but at the end of the day this is what I had to show for it.  I made good headway, but there is still lots to do. 

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There hasn’t been a lot of sewing going on here, but I have been working away at trying to get this stocking finished for THIS Christmas.

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I am almost done.  I just have a few more gingerbread men, candy canes and flowers to fill the basket and a large cupcake with the name on it.

There is much more to share with you, but I must get to finishing up the house, setting tables and starting to cook for our big Christmas dinner this Saturday night.  It is our annual adult dinner party for twenty two people.  I don't know why I planned it just one week after our big Thanksgiving.  Guess I just wasn't thinking right.

I hope that everyone is staying restful and enjoying the advent season.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


It seems as though there is always something going on when they have the Friday Night Sew In (FNSI) with Heidi and Bobbi so I haven’t participated in it for months.  This month’s was different.  I have been trying to get a lot of little projects done and I have been wanting to try one of the mug rugs that I have been seeing.  I LOVED working on them.  They go up quickly and will make the perfect hostess gift for the various functions that we go to throughout the season.

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I made a pair of these for FNSI.

The week was busy with a lot of embroidery work that had to get done, but I was also able to get a few other things sewn too.
I had a request for another doll school uniform for a Christmas luncheon being held on December 4th.  I need to finish up the handwork on it, but the main sewing is finished.  They always bring in so much money for the school.

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I am still on track for my Christmas Cactus Quilt Along.  The reds look really dark in the pictures, but they are not in real life.  I am loving this project and cannot wait to start assembling the piece.  I think we have about 12 more sets of blocks to do.  We make four of each block and there are 25 blocks.  You have to be really careful to keep them numbered for when the assembly starts.

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With a large crowd coming next week for Thanksgiving, I am trying to get things finished up this week.  I will be sending off my blue and yellow swap block to Emily a little ahead of schedule.

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We are forecast to get a good winter storm over the next three days.  The temperatures have been dropping throughout the day and we are suppose to get anywhere from one to three inches of rain.  The mountains are predicted to get snow measurements into the feet.  It is a great start for ski season.  It would be the perfect weekend to snuggle up with hot chocolate in front of a roaring fire.  Unfortunately, that is NOT going to happen as we have too much going on both days.  Too bad!!! 

It seems as though our weeks are always full with a large family.  We had the pleasure of attending a concert last weekend for the 2010 Contemporary Music Festival gold medal winners.  The performances were incredible!  Our 12 year old grandson was playing the piano in it and did an amazing job.  If I knew how to upload a video, I would share it with you, but I don't!!  Can you ever teach an old dog a new trick?????  We took my mom and she had so much fun.  To see the smile on her face said it all.  Same grandchild now wants to take up the violin!!!!

I hope you are all enjoying a grand weekend.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Autumn Day Trip

We have had a few cool nights here which is always a sign that the leaves are going to start changing.  One place that both my husband and I love to drive through is the wine country.  It is not only fun to see what is happening in the vineyards, but it is a gorgeous day trip.  On Veteran’s Day my vet husband and I jumped in the car and took off.

It is really only about an hour’s drive to reach the area, but there are some gorgeous sights along the way.  The surf was up and it is always fun to watch the surfers catching their waves.  This is the view from a piece of property that my BIL recently purchased.  They are planning on building a home up there.  Isn’t the view spectacular?

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Can you see the surfers?  They look like little dots on the water.  The beach is a well known surfing beach called “the Rincon”.  We were fortunate to have been able to purchase one of the homes on the point about 30 years ago when real estate at the beach was affordable.  The family has enjoyed many wonderful times there and made some fabulous memories throughout the years.
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It was a glorious day with warm temperatures and clear skies.
From there we headed north and into the wine country.  The leaves on the vines were all changing and made for a beautiful drive.

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Do you think they have enough wineries on this one road???  This is the area where the movie Side*ways was filmed.

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You can even see a little greening of the hills starting after our early rains of the year.

We took a side trip up to Figueroa Mountain – a climb of about 4000 feet.  It is mostly a one lane road – some paved and some not – so meeting another vehicle is always an adventure.

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At some points there were even cows on the road!  They were probably wondering what we were doing there.

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I loved how this tree looked like it was busting out of its bark.

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These gates might look familiar to some of you who watched the Mich*ael Jack*son trial on television.  This is where the media waited to get a photo of him as he left Never*land Ranch each day to head to the courthouse.

I always have a hand project that I work on in the car when we are driving.  This time was no different as I wanted to finish up this months Raggedy Ann and Andy BOM. 

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I have been working away on my blocks for the Thread Head Quilt Along too.

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Lastly, I got caught up on the Christmas Cactus Quilt Along blocks.  Each block requires making four identical blocks, but the are really just nine patches and go up quickly.

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This week I have a large order of embroidery work to do so there won't be much quilting to show in my next blog.