Friday, December 19, 2008

Aprons, Christmas cookies and a gingerbread house

Today was the annual cookie baking with GS's Daniel & Logan. Here we are all appropriately garbed with aprons. We have done this since Daniel[now nearly 14] was about 3 years old. I was commenting to him today that I wondered how much longer I might have with him in this activity, maybe another year & he answered "are you kidding Grandmother, it's cookies!", from which I deduce that I might have a few more years or at least a couple! Logan, almost 12, will probably have a few years beyond that for Grandmother & cookie making & of course next year we will have a little baby Matthew to introduce to this tradition.
Since my last post I am delighted to announce the birth of another great niece, Ocea Bayley for whom I made the cute farm quilt which arrived in Australia just before Osha's debut! Her Mum Tamara, phoned the other night so I have all the details & I anxiously await the first photos.

The blue apron I am wearing in the picture was my first Home Ec. project in 7th. grade, I had made it for my Mum & I found it in her linen cupboard after she died in 2001. She had worn it till it is frayed, but had carefully washed, starched & ironed it after each wearing for almost 50 years! The apron is now 53 years old, the binding & the embroidery are frayed but I treasure it just because my dear Mum did.

Looks a little chaotic here doesn't it, but we manage! We have several projects going at once & not a lot of counter space in this smallish kitchen, the famous "stained glass" cookies, the gingerbread house & some pretzel/caramel kiss things someone on my LA group raved about.
For today these boys are well & truly in sugar overload I'm sure with all the dough & frosting & candies they consumed,& in spite of a healthy lunch of toasted cheese & turkey sandwiches & milk!

Here is the final result, kitchen all cleaned up & done for one more successful year. These are the kinds of memories our children & grandchildren will reflect upon when we are long gone & these memories will endure beyond the gifts under the tree.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Veronica's quilt

OK, I got the label on while Veronica's sister was here & she headed right to the hospital to deliver it. Veronica may be in the hospital over Christmas she is having chemo for Leukemia & she has young ones at home, I know how they will miss each other, mom & kids.

It's a pretty quilt, not one I would ever choose for myself, but I am SO happy to have this UFO done,done & gone! I hope that it may cheer her up & give her a little encouragement & I sent a message that we would keep her in our prayers.
I had to go to the local QS to purchase more of the B&W fabrics for baby Matthew's quilt, Mem's Mum, Margot came too & got the fabric for the crib skirt. I completely spaced it, forgot the striped border fabric, duh, so now I will have to go back, sigh! I bought the white minkee for the back of the quilt & I was pleased to have a "25% off total purchase" for my local QS, minkee is VERY expensive!
Also bought a very sweet panel, 40% off, it would make nice pillows or a bag. In case no one else likes it I DO! Obviously I am NOT on "no buy"!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A stroll down memory lane

Today is oldest DS 42nd. birthday, we met him & Lana at Valle Luna with JW,Mems,& Andrew's friend Dennis & wife because it is also Dennis's birthday, he's one year older than DS.
I pulled up a few photos to see the transition from baby to man!
So nothing quilty today, all family memories.

Here's an early picture.....

at 4 months..........

Baptism, April 1967, St John the Baptist, Sutherland,NSW, Australia........

age two and a half with one year old twin brothers.....

center back age 8.......

in the cowboy hat,25 here.....

on the Manly Ferry, Australia Sept.2005.......

and his wedding in April.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Two more quilts longarmed!

The UFO is ready for binding, in fact I had begun to attach the binding but had to remove it from the DSM for another project. Hope to have that completed tomorrow. For the first time [that I know of] in my quilting life, after I had already begun to quilt this top I discovered some blocks I had rotated in my haste to construct it. I decided that the amount of time and effort required to correct the mistakes was not justified so the errors remain for posterity! Probably the recipient will not ever notice

Today I completed the McTavishing of Loretta's Starry Night wall hanging, have to get it in the mail tomorrow so she can get it bound and ready to hang and enjoy for the Christmas season. The Superior Halo metallic thread doesn't show up very well in the photo but it's very pretty and sews in nicely and once I got enough tension off the top I had no more thread breaks. I used a number 20 needle and a few drops of silicon on the spool.

I wasn't quite as pleased with some of the hiccups in the monopoly I used in the bobbin [also Superior brand] although I think with a bobbin genie or something similar it may have been ok, it's so fine and slick and stretchy that it backlashes occasionally. I found a few thread nests of the monopoly on the back, no indication of a problem on the front at all but boy oh boy winding that stuff on the bobbin is a real challenge using my free standing bobbin winder, probably the most frustrating part of the process and wouldn't you know that I ran out of bobbin thread with about 3 square inches left to quilt, Murphy's law, right, LOL? I need to check with the LA group to see if there is a trick to more easily winding monopoly on the bobbin.
Loretta still has to finish off the applique of the Wise men she just ran out of time.

Tonight I finally decorated the tree and the entry way, keeping it simple, it's just too much work taking it all down a task that I frankly postpone as long as I can.
I feel really bad for DH, his vehicle has been damaged twice in the past week- thieves smashed both front windows and stole some items while the vehicle was parked in our driveway one night and this evening in the few moments it took for DH to go into the supermarket a thief removed one of the tail light units and made off with it, probably a couple of hundred dollars to replace-obviously why it was stolen! This felon had to use a screw driver so one would assume he must have been waiting for the right model of vehicle. Another shopper saw the thief running off with the tail light but wasn't able to get a licence plate number. Andrew would say that what goes around comes around but it makes me quite angry.It's pretty sad when you can't even leave your auto in your own driveway, directly under the street lights or in the parking lot for a few minutes without risking the loss of property. I don't know why any of this should surprise me-my car was stolen a few years ago while I was in a store for about 20 minutes in the middle of a week is an every day occurrence here in AZ and thefts always multiply around the holiday season......"goodwill to all men", LOL!
The culture has deteriorated to the point where there is very little respect for the law or for other's property, and with the removal of all public displays of the Ten Commandments there is no longer any reminder of "do not steal" and "do not covet" let alone "do not Kill" or "honor your mother and father"or, heaven forbid "do not take the Lord's Name in vain"!

The lack of common civility in our culture is disturbing to me and sometimes I almost despair at "man's inhumanity to man".I think I'm very tired tonight and perhaps that may account for some of this introspection.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Post Thanksgiving progress

I managed to get four tops quilted so far this week, two pretty batik QOV's that need to be mailed back to my QOV partner Meredith in CA,

& two for a client.

I also counted my UFO's & in the process found one that will do nicely for a comfort quilt for a young mom battling leukemia. Not sure how aged this UFO might be, at least 5 years. It was a mystery from the guild that I used to attend here in Phx. & I never got the final instructions so I set it aside, euphemism for abandoning it, albeit temporarily! While Khris was here I arranged the blocks & re-arranged until I found an acceptable setting, & although I have no clue if it's the original it works for me. I am adding a stop border & two additional borders to make it the size I want & I have the perfect backing in stash, cross that one off the guilt list!
I will post a pic. next issue, when all being well it will be bound & ready to go to it's new home[& out of mine!].
It's nearly Christmas & here in AZ our plants are still blooming, all three hibiscus with plenty of blooms & still more buds, some lovely fragrant yellow roses & a gorgeous red rose. The two gardenias also have buds & one has a bud just about ready to bloom. I wonder how much longer they will grace our garden with color & fragrance? Until the first freeze in January I suspect. The hibiscus in the pic. has an unusual anomoly, two quite different colored blooms. One side seems to always produce these bright salmon colored flowers & the rest of the plant has a pale peach bloom, isn't it odd? I don't think I have ever seen that before.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Andrew's latest toy....and my new fabric.

Oldest DS came by this afternoon to show off his latest project, a'70's Mercedes Benz "gelanden wagon", & while it isn't actually a jeep it's that type of vehicle, very cool anyway and he plans to fix it up for CO.
Glen and Khris left this morning on the next leg of their journey, heading for Oklahoma. We had a great time visiting with them and were sorry to see them go but they have many places to go and people to see the next 8 weeks or so. Khris & I have a very sympatico relationship, much in common, both antipodeans, both quilters & each of us has lost a beautiful son named Matthew.
Yesterday Khris and I did a small QS hop, three quilt shops plus Joann's. We made a reasonable contribution to the economy but nothing over the top.

I bought this fabric for my cowgirl/quilter/LA'er friend Gale in CO., the 'Udder Cowboy' very cute, plus a few pieces for my own stash as follows.
A set of 4 different quilter panels which will make nice bags, 8 of them in all-

this adorable quilter's fabric with longarm quilters on it the first time I have ever seen that and I had to have it, don't know yet what I will make from it, an apron perhaps, do quilters have time to cook....

A panel of labels for the many gift quilts I make, they will come in very handy-

and these three fabrics, the retro will be good for lap-top bags [or whatever] isn't it great,

the red poppies are for my watercolor quilts, gorgeous,

and the elegant green Asian will join the rest of my Oriental stash, of course I have some WHIMMS percolating around for that collection.

The last stop was at Joann's for a few half price notions, a new automatic retracting rotary cutter for me, all in all a successful hunt but rather tiring so today has been a little more laid back though DH has begun to put up Christmas decorations including the purchase of a new permanently lighted tree.

I guess now he expects me to decorate it, LOL.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Day

It's a rainy day here in Phx.AZ. It has been a busy week, our Aus. friends arrived Monday & we have been on the go. Khris & I put her CC on the LA & "got 'er done" now she is binding it.

Last week my Quilt Diva wall hanging from the October CO. guild retreat was finished & now it hangs on the wall behind my LA.
It's great to have another WIP[Work In Progress] out of possible UFO status. I joined the UFO[Un-Finished Object] challenge for 2009, so I will be trying to get the numbers down before the end of the year!
Today should be Thursday Vintage Thingies day but it's Thanksgiving & I suspect most people are into that & also the Apron Lady has resigned from leading VTT so I'm not sure of it's status. I think it was a cute idea to recall the nostalgia of all these old odds and ends of memorabilia, so I may continue with it anyway.

In the spirit of that & the idea of feasting today, here's a pic. of my Granny's old vegetable server & gravy boat. They have to be a hundred years old but I remember them being on the dinner table daily at my Mum's parents home.

Then there is my other Grandma's old English teapot that she always used- these are treasured more for the memories they trigger of my youth than probably even their value as antiquities. I'm fortunate to have quite a lot of these things that belonged to my parent's families & also to my own parents.
Perhaps I'm thinking a bit more about it as my dear old Dad-97 plus years- has been struggling with health issues the past week. His old heart is worn out but we hope to keep him for a while longer, it's never long enough is it? He is a grand old gentleman & mentally as sharp as ever but his body is showing the ravages of time.
A friend once told me"our bodies have a 'use by' date on them" & I responded "yes, the Manufacturer placed it there!"
So to everyone today, Happy Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the blessings in my life.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Vintage Thingies Thursday

Here it is Thursday again how quickly it comes around. It's true that the time goes faster as we get older-I think it may slow down again as we get really old, like my Dad[ nearly 98] now there's a vintage picture for you, my Dad is really an antique.

Here's a charming reminder of days gone by- this stately old Philco radio I spotted in the local thrift store- the price tag said $25 & they didn't know if it worked, no one had bothered to plug it in.
My oldest DS has my Grandfather's old table top radio but he hasn't been able to find replacement parts for it yet- I remember GF sitting by it listening to the news of the world in the evening, it has the same light colored wood with fabric inserts.
We had a green "plastic" radio when I was in elementary school, it sat on top of the matching green Kelvinator refrigerator! I used to love to listen to the kid's serials after school, my favorite was "Biggles", an action story about a daring adventurer who was always getting himself into dangerous escapades. It was a great way to "zone out" while I performed my daily after school chore-peeling the potatoes for dinner! I did dislike that job, the "spuds" were always from Dad's garden & they were very dirty so my hands ended up as wrinkled as prunes!
The radio in the pic. is about the same size as the first TV I remember, my grandparents had it & it looked similar to the radio but dark wood & the screen must have been all of 8" wide!
Times sure have changed!

Friday, November 14, 2008

A quilt & a comforter

More on progress this week on the quilting front, a QS top quilted & also a comforter. The quilt goes back to the owner in N.CA. who actually sent me 4 tops to quilt but the second of the two boxes took two weeks to get from northern CA to Phx. AZ-two day priority mail, LOL, & both boxes were sent from the same place at the same time! We are just thankful they have finally arrived safely- I was so relieved but not half as thankful as the owner after all her hard work.

I used a variegated thread on this quilt & a leafy design that I think compliments the quilt nicely.

The comforter is all finished & on the guest bed & today I finished a household UFO, a shower curtain ensemble for a guest bathroom, sewing on my new set up oh what a joy!

Tomorrow after church DH will help me to cut the cornice board & cover & install it in the shower. I will then be free to get another of the waiting quilt tops onto the LA.
Friday evening oldest DS & DIL came for dinner after work-I had their two little Yorkies for a play day with Button, the dogs all have a grand time together, they love the two plus mile walk in the park & playing in the backyard. Because of the rattlesnakes, eagles, hawks & coyotes out where DS lives the little dogs cannot be allowed free rein in their yard so it's a treat for them to be in & out at will all day. Jake was bitten by a rattler a couple of years ago & that was a very dangerous situation especially for such a tiny animal. Our small yard has the high block fence & is about as secure as it could be for the little 5 pounders!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Friday update-My Quilter's Cabinet is here!

I have to brag about my new Quilter's Cabinet from Tracey's Tables that is now installed in my studio -I actually moved the bureau a foot or more to allow access to open that gate leg flap along the front of the table whenever I need it & I tried it out yesterday by seaming the fabric for a new comforter for our guest room. This project now has a time constraint as our guest room will be occupied over Thanksgiving by my SB friend Khris & DH Glen from Adelaide[Aus] who will be with us for a few days on their 12 week US tour. The guest room comforter has been a UFO for over a year so now that I have a deadline I will get it finished! The fabric is a jacquard that matches the drapes in the room & I plan to use a medium fluffy poly batting & an open feather design. I think-I hope- I can at least get it off the LA today because I should have a few more client quilts coming in that will need fairly immediate attention.
This new cabinet opens to a wonderfully large 80"x42" to accommodate large projects, piecing a whole quilt or binding. It has an 80" side that extends with gate legs, a hinged piece on the left side & very handy "bread board" pull out also on the left of the machine.

I had to struggle with the old table both the corner shape & size were very limiting so I did quite a lot of research in order to purchase this model. Tracey's Tables was highly recommended by my friend Leslie & rightfully so. It is beautifully made to order & the best value on the market I found after I researched 8 or 10 other well known companies. Love to pass on the info. for a great deal & a terrific company with super helpful people.

Here's the comforter on the LA you can see I have hardly begun so I am off upstairs to work on it.