Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to everyone!  It's Christmas evening and the festivities are at a close. Frankly, I'm glad.  I love Christmas and I love when it's over and I can get back to my normal life. 

I've been super busy this year--working an extra day each week, working on politics, doing extra quilting for friends, sending a Christmas package to daughter Jo well ahead of time, and preparing for a pre-Christmas trip to Milwaukee with the family. 

Everything was accomplished in good time and with good (?) grace.  The trip to Milwaukee was fine--we toured the Mitchell Domes conservatory--such a beautiful place to go in the middle of the cold winter.  We went to see the Milwaukee Rep's production of Dicken's "A Christmas Carol" and it was outstanding, as usual.  The "kids" (I say that tongue in cheek since each is in his/her 30's) had their customary holiday quarrel while we were in Milwaukee so that was over and done with early in the season.  We had our usual holiday foods, presents and customs.  And tonight, granddaughter Lily is here with us as is son Dan and the house is quieting down. 

I'm posting some pix that I've been taking but haven't had time to post.  These are the placemats I made for Elaine in exchange for her sewing my bedroom draperies.  I met her for lunch on the 19th and she seemed quite pleased with them. 
I also made a couple of Christmas table tops, one for Elaine and the other for our friend, Judy, who joined us for lunch. 

Here's a close up of the quilting--just an overall meander, easy peasy--and fast!
And I did get a few of the little Matryoshka ornaments made and gave one each to Judy and Elaine, and there was one in each sock on Christmas morning.

I loved making these little dollies and I have several more cut out, waiting to be sewn up.  Maybe tonight while the football game is on.

So, the holiday is finished but good feelings remain in my heart.  Next up comes my 40th wedding anniversary on the 28th and then my birthday in January. Will the celebrations never end????? LOL  

I hope everyone who reads this has also had a wonderful holiday and that their annual family squabble didn't amount to anything serious. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Matryoska Christmas dolls

I found these felt ornaments on Sam's blog, All Things Quilty and Sewy,  ( 

They are so darn cute, I have to make a couple before Christmas, but I won't say which year. LOL Here are the directions:

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I've had such a great week!

So many "best things" happened, I don't know where to begin.  How about work?  Last week was the end of the Medicare open enrollment period so I worked my last 3 day week. Yea!!!  I know, you're saying "Three day week???" Well, I'd gotten into the habit of working a 2 day week and then added a third day in mid-October to help with the crush of Medicare D clients who need help during this time.  It was hard to adjust to working that extra day, especially since that day was filled to the brim with appointments, none of them easy situations to deal with and the 8 hour day usually stretched to 10. So, I'm glad to have survived and to return to only 2 days a week. Maybe I can get some quilting done?

Secondly, Christmas events.  Thursday was Lily's holiday concert at school so Don and I were there, of course. This concert was for the kindergarten, first and second grades (The third, fourth and fifth graders have a spring concert.) Those little kids were so cute and sang so earnestly, all dressed up in their holiday clothes. Their director had them doing some things with very basic musical instruments and it was very sweet. The director has several elementary schools that he's assigned to and that's why, I suppose, that he has to split the grades into two concerts instead of having all the kids perform in each concert.  It's too bad that the music and arts teachers are spread so thin but at least the kids get a little exposure.

After the concert, Don and I took Lily with us to run errands in the afternoon, giving Tessa some time to get schoolwork done--she'll finish the semester on the 19th.  Yea!  Then we picked up Tessa and went out for an early dinner at a pretty good Mexican restaurant in Menomonie named Cancun. I ordered "Pollo Crema" which was sooo good!  Chicken breast covered with sauteed mushrooms and onions all in a cheesy creamy sauce. I'll definitely return and order that again.

After dinner, we dropped Don off at Tessa's house so he could rest his gouty foot, and us three ladies bundled up and went downtown for the Christmas parade. What a treat! It was colder than a well digger's butt but so much fun. The floats were all decorated in lights and had Christmas music pouring out of the speakers! Horses with jingle bells on their harnesses! Even the 3 wisemen were there riding a horse, a donkey and a real camel!  There were dancers twirling and high stepping as they moved along the parade route. And candy pouring out for the children!  OMG! Lily's bag was overflowing by the time the parade ended--and Tessa said she had only just finished up her Halloween candy!  There's a big Swiss Miss plant in Menomonie so Lily got many packets of hot chocolate mix and pots of pudding from the SM folks. 

On Friday afternoon, I picked up Lily and she's been at the house until just a few minutes ago. Yesterday afternoon, she and I went outside and (almost) finished the outside decorating.  We have yet to find the rest of the red ribbons we always put on the front yard fence and there are no more to buy in the store so I hope to find them soon. This is a pix of the front entry: 

I don't do a lot of decorating, just a bit of greenery and ribbon and a strand of lights on the pots on the left. It looks festive for folks driving by, day and night.

Lily and Don also set up the Christmas village that he got a few years ago.  She loves to play with the village
--rearranging the snowmen and the carolers every time she's here. Next Saturday, we'll take Lily with us to the tree farm to choose the perfect tree for the living room. And she'll help decorate it as well which is fine with me since that's a job I really don't like doing.  I love the final effect, but it such putsy work, that I'll let Lily and Don do that while I whip up a batch of cookies for them to enjoy when they're finished.

Now I have to get to my sewing room and finish the placemats I promised my friend, Elaine, in exchange for the draperies she's making for me. I also want to make a Christmas table runner for her as a surprise and since we're meeting on the 19th for lunch with our other friend, Judy, I want to have a runner for her as well. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

ATTN: Thrifty shoppers and crocheters

This video is for you.  Your shopping and/or crocheting may never be the same!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What's with binding?

Sometimes I get very annoyed when I read blog entries. Today I read one about machine binding your quilts.  Excuse me, but I've been of the school that bindings were machine stitched on the front and folded over and hand stitched on the back.  Seems there's a new way that I've been hearing about but haven't tried.

When I read this person's entry this morning, I got very annoyed because "that's not the correct way to do it."  (A little of my OCD showing ;-)  ) As I read, I started to realize that times do change and maybe it was time to change my attitude about bindings.  Just because I've always done it a certain way doesn't mean it has to be done that way, right? Actually, I'll be real honest here. On my first quilt, I simply folded the backing over to the front and hand stitched it down.  I still have that quilt and have repaired that binding several times and everytime I look at the quilt,I regret not doing it the proper way. 

I digress.  Our grandmothers and great grandmothers hand pieced and hand quilted and some people still do that today. Does that mean its "not okay" to use the machine to piece and quilt as I do today?  Of course not. We have adapted new methods of achieving the same results--a beautiful quilt.  So why not use the machine to finish the binding? 

Some of the examples I see of machine stitched bindings look very nice--using decorative stitches and variegated threads--and they add another element to the quilt.  It seems easy enough to machine stitch the bindings although one person said it took a bit of practice before she mastered it.  However, I don't know if I like the idea of doing another step of maneuvering the quilt through the machine one more time--after all, I usually make bed sized quilts or at least throw sized and that's a lot of wrestling when using a domestic machine!

I think I'll stay with hand sewing the final step of creating the quilt.  I like to sit with the quilt on my lap, good movie on the TV, a fire in the stove and the soothing rhythm of stitch after stitch along the edge of the quilt.  After struggling to move the quilt through the machine to cover it with quilting, this last, final step is the best part of the entire process for me. Very relaxing.  I may change my attitude and machine stitch on a binding in the future and that will be okay, but for now, I look forward to having hand work to occupy me in the evening.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

As usual, I'm a bit late at things.  I just read Sharon's post at and realize I should have been occupying my sewing room instead of standing in the cold this morning collecting signatures to recall Gov. Walker.

I live in the country near a VERY small village in NW Wisconsin. Wisconsin is in the midst of a movement to recall Gov. Walker and force another election. This is a grassroots movement and people all over the state are coming out to sign the petitions. My experience this morning was so rewarding, I really can't explain--but I'll try.

A small group of us arranged to set up signature collecting stations in my town and two other small towns nearby.  We stood on the street corner with our homemade signs, inviting folks to stop and sign the petition.  The response was overwhelming!  Many of the people paid no attention and ignored us as they drove by. A few shook their fingers at us in disapproval and three people actually gave us a one-finger salute with one person screaming at us to "GO F_ _ _ K YOURSELVES" as he rounded the corner.  That was fun.  But the majority of folks waved at us, yelled that they'd already signed, honked their horns, and/or gave us a thumbs-up as they passed by.  Enough folks stopped to sign the petition to make it worthwhile. 

Gathering signatures is really being part of democracy as is signing the petition.  People are so glad to be able to express how they feel about our government--it's a thrill that can't be beat. Everybody should try it sometime.

So, instead of "occupying" my sewing room, I was "occupying" Prairie Farm and had a ball doing it.  Now, I'm going to sew.