Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Dad, 100 Years And Seven Months

May 18, 1911 - Dec.29, 2011
Requiescat in pace, Dad.
A well lived life.
Four children
Fourteen grandchildren
Twelve great grandchildren.

His beloved bride-1942

His firstborn

His first grandchild, his parents - and me.

At 90

Four generations in AZ.

100th. celebration.
Five descendants missing from the picture, three grandsons and two great grandsons.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Day Family Picture

My friend BJ told me she wanted to see a picture of the family in the newly almost-completed renovated kitchen/dining area at Christmas!

So, here it is BJ, not the greatest pic of everyone because the other ones had to be rejected when a couple of adult males decided to act the clown. Thanks guys!
Now I can get back to quilting and I have about ten days while DH is in Colorado with the older DGS's for snow sports, I can sew and quilt to my heart's content, no meals to prepare etc!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry CHRISTmas!

Wise men seek Him still...............
The Rwandan Nativity.

Then, just for fun..........
'Twas The Night Before Christmas........
Aussie style!

[Translation-"Rusty old Ute”-not an Indian but an old pick up truck or “utility”]

'Twas the night before Christmas; there wasn't a sound,

Not a possum was stirring; no-one was around.

We'd left on the table some tucker and beer,

Hoping that Santa Claus soon would be here.

We children were snuggled up safe in our beds,

While dreams of pavlova danced 'round in our heads;

And Mum in her nightie, and Dad in his shorts,

Had just settled down to watch TV sports.

When outside the house a mad ruckus arose;

Loud squeaking and banging woke us from our doze

We ran to the screen door, peeked cautiously out,

Sneaked onto the deck, then let out a shout.

Guess what had woken us up from our snooze,

But a rusty old Ute pulled by eight mighty 'roos.

The cheerful man driving was giggling with glee,

And we both knew at once who this plump bloke must be.

Now, I'm telling the truth it's all dinki-di,

Those eight kangaroos fairly soared through the sky.

Santa leaned out the window to pull at the reins,

And encouraged the 'roos, by calling their names.

'Now, Kylie! Now, Kirsty! Now, Shazza and Shane!

On Kipper! On, Skipper! On, Bazza and Wayne!

Park up on that water tank. Grab a quick drink,

I'll scoot down the gum tree. Be back in a wink!'

So up to the tank those eight kangaroos flew,

With the Ute full of toys, and Santa Claus too.

He slid down the gum tree and jumped to the ground,

Then in through the window he sprang with a bound.

He had bright sunburned cheeks and a milky white beard.

A jolly old joker was how he appeared.

He wore red stubby shorts and old thongs on his feet,

And a hat of deep crimson as shade from the heat.

His eyes - bright as opals - Oh! How they twinkled!

And, like a goanna, his skin was quite wrinkled!

His shirt was stretched over a round bulging belly

Which shook when he moved, like a plate full of jelly.

A fat stack of prezzies he flung from his back,

And he looked like a swaggie unfastening his pack.

He spoke not a word, but bent down on one knee,

To position our goodies beneath the Yule tree.

Surfboard and footy-ball shapes for us two.

And for Dad, tongs to use on the new barbeque.

A mysterious package he left for our Mum,

Then he turned and he winked and he held up his thumb;

He strolled out on deck and his 'roos came on cue;

Flung his sack in the back and prepared to shoot through.

He bellowed out loud as they swooped past the gates

Merry Christmas to all and GOODONYA MATES

Friday, December 23, 2011

A little more progress......

Christmas is almost here but my new kitchen isn't.........well it isn't all done. I do understand construction delays, and two weeks hold up for a completely gutted kitchen is probably neither here nor there in the whole scheme of things.
Today we did get some of the shelves and drawers so this evening I began to unpack boxes and replace some of the kitchenware, tomorrow I hope to organize a few more drawers in between some baking.
The fun thing I did yesterday was to make a new curtain for over the kitchen sink-I wanted a little privacy without forsaking the light-the window faces to the side so there is not much foot traffic but there is also no fence!
Searching for the thing I had in mind was getting me nowhere, so I had to switch gears and when I came across a single grey, semi- sheer drape with a self stripe, I thought I could make it work.

I cut off the strip with the rings and made a rod pocket along one side, purchased some blingy trim...........
and here is the new curtain! I am very happy with the result, the grey tones in nicely with the brushed nickel hardware and faucets.
David says next Wednesday he will have the doors, the trim and the balance of the drawers and shelves, and then there will be the grand "reveal".
It really is worth the little wait to have his expert carpentry skills creating beautiful furniture for the kitchen, it's worth waiting for the best!

JW and his little boy last night!

Too cute!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

T'was The Week Before Christmas.......

.........and I decided to take a holiday from quilting! What, you say, how can she do that? It is not my natural bent, but I confess I am a bit tired, and would prefer to focus on getting the kitchen done and taking care of Matthew and making my minimal Christmas preparations.
The adults in our family made the wise decision to forgo adult gift giving- spouses were excepted if they so wished- but otherwise it would be "just the kids". Only three of them and for DH and me this is a cinch. The two older DGS get their annual Telluride season ski pass, and young Matthew is no problem at two yrs and nine months.
Between the incomplete kitchen and oldest DGS work schedule and the fact that school doesn't let out till Friday, we have also missed the annual cookie baking. I hope that next year young Matthew will be able to participate. I did make a batch or two of Christmas biscotti and some mini Christmas breads, and plan to make some more in the next couple of days for gifting.
Makes Christmas pretty simple. I tried to persuade DH that the new kitchen is my gift but I know he will not comply so today I went out and bought him this for the new kitchen/entertainment area........

we will all enjoy it for games on holidays etc. when we gather but DH is the big TV watcher in the house on a daily basis, though I can be persuaded to watch the news while I am cooking. I said that Santa had come a little early.
I also purchased this............
so he can install it on the appropriate wall! Have I told you that he is a very handy chap to have around? Think I will keep him!
Now here's a sneak peek of the 8.5ft. island granite, the new French doors and the chandelier..........
and below, the main sink. That's an instant boiling water faucet on the left, filtered cold water on the right.

I told DH "if I am missing from bed in the night, come downstairs and you will find me hugging my granite!"

Friday, December 16, 2011

Happy Birthday Andrew And Christa.

Convenient when two members of a family share the same birthday [a few years apart]. Our son Andrew and DIL Christa, Lucas' wife, the gal on the left.
We all gathered at Roy's Restaurant at the Marriott in Scottsdale for a wonderful dinner.
Happy birthday and many, many more to both of you.

We are so proud of you son!

My great DH and me in a mellow moment!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Quilt Appraisal-Commission Quilt Finish

This morning I took the commission quilt to Karen Housner, professional quilt appraiser and historian. Karen also lectures and gives workshops. Click on her name for further information.

I often have special quilts appraised for insurance replacement value, quite different from retail value. No point in paying for more insurance than you need, if your purpose is simply to be able to pay for materials and labor to have a replacement constructed. Retail or market value is another thing entirely and requires a separate appraisal.
This does not take into account sentimental value which does not equate to $$$ and is unfortunately, quite irreplaceable!
Karen notes size, material type including fabric, batting and thread, as well as color, design, quilting design and whether appropiate to the overall quilt, quality of workmanship, backing, any labels and other pertinent information to help identify the quilt and its provenance.
This is custom quilted with McTavishing, feathers and other freehand motifs. It took me until 4 a.m to complete binding and other detail handwork so that I could get it to Karen Wednesday morning. Only three hours sleep so I need to catch up tonight! Maybe........
There are 3D applique butterflies hidden on the quilt........

The backing is toile; I "interviewed" several fabrics before settling on this one, that is not blatantly contrary to the front of the quilt and not too plain.

I am not sure if the quilt will be used as wall art or as a utility quilt so I have hand stitched a "sleeve" to the top of the back that can easily be removed if not needed.

So far these two labels have been attached but they will be joined by a personal label identifying the giver and recipient. A 5th. butterfly resides there too, just for fun [and Feng Shui,LOL]!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

AZ Huggy Bunch

BJ and Andee came to sew today, they brought food so we didn't have to eat out, that was nice! I did not prepare anything, I have had a full week, Matthew the usual two days and a few days out of commission while I had a minor procedure on my heart at Mayo hosp. I have atrial fibrillation and the meds weren't keeping it under control so they did a cardiac ablation via cardiac catheterization. As heart related ops go it's a cinch when all goes as planned as it did. Left me quite exhausted but today I am pretty much back to normal.
There was also the need to get Fritz's quilt done and off the LA so I could put the commission quilt on. Client would like an appraisal and my professional quilt appraiser is leaving town for a couple of weeks and 14th. is the last day she can do it. Karen Housner is the only appraiser in the Phx. area so there is a need to get this quilt done by Tuesday. Then there are a couple more I'd like to quilt before Christmas and at this rate I might even succeed!

BJ and Andee were both working on Orca Bay, the latest Bonnie Hunter Mystery quilt. I quite forgot to get pics of BJ's progress and she is to send me a photo, but meantime these are Andee's blocks to date. I really like how this quilt is turning out in the different colorways and wish I were in a place to make one but my next quilt will most likely be the New Year's Eve Mystery that BJ and I do together.
I did work bit at my machine, making a few butterfly appliques for the commission quilt then working a little more at binding the Dresden Plate quilt.

DJ spent a good part of the afternoon trying to sleep off a migraine-she came in later to show off her new U of A sweater.

Thursday the box for the island came, it's hard to picture the finished product but the base is just over 7.5 ft. long and the granite that goes on top [ it will be here Tuesday] is 8.5 ft. long.
And the "Ta-Da"!

The wonderful chandelier that the wonderful DH installed today! I love it! DH says it is "ostentatious" but I still love it and wait till you see it with the granite island top; check back Tuesday!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Fritz's Quilt

Fritz's quilt is ready for Lauren to bind.

Fritz is a NASCAR fan .............

and he loves the Cardinals!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

AZ. Huggy Bunch Quilters

Saturday BJ and Lauren came to sew with me. Lauren has a quilt project that is urgent and she was needing some help so BJ and I combined our efforts to help sash this quilt ready for borders.

Lauren has a dear friend at her place of employment who has been desperately ill since October and who is actually comatose. This quilt is filled with loving messages from his friends who want him back amongst them.
Fritz could use every prayer you wish to offer.
I will be quilting it as a soon as the top comes back from Lauren with the borders completed, probably tomorrow.

This pretty quilt of lovely warm reds and golds came off the LA this afternoon- it's made mostly from batiks that can be challenging to quilt as the the tight weave can cause skipped stitches and frequent thread breakage. Generally I have little problems with batiks but this one did cause some annoying thread issues. I used silicon on the thread and thread path, backed off the top tension and slightly loosened that of the actual quilt sandwich and then as a last resort turned the needle on the machine slightly to the right.
This last idea is often suggested by other professional quilters and machine techs, and I am not exactly sure why it works, but I think it helps to take some stress off the thread path.
It is quilted with Sew Fine and Bottom Line threads from Superior, feather wreaths in the blocks and feathers in setting triangles and border.
With these tactics I managed to get it done and it will be mailed back to the owner this week.

The pic below taken without flash shows the quilting design better though the color is not accurate. Leslie said this quilt was going to remain a pile of blocks but the addition of the beautiful batik border and now the quilting has transformed it into a lovely quilt!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thursday's Report!

Here are pics from before border........

and after border application.

This commission quilt is now ready to be quilted after I complete the quilt that is currently on the longarm machine. It has finished up at around 56x60" just about right for the client's request.

I did say I would be posting kitchen rehab progress, and below is the most recent addition, the lovely big new granite sink. It's huge and I love it.

DH wanted to give me a water source other than the one in the downstairs powder room, and as we haven't any counters yet [that's next week], he had to invent a solution. He is a very resourceful sort of chap, handy to have around!

See, no doors yet on the cabinets either, but you can tell that everything is nicely appointed under the sink. It was quite the challenge to fit it all in, but as I already stated, DH is resourceful.

Note my temporary faucet-the elegant new one can't be installed until the granite counters come in. More resourcefulness from DH!
Other than that there are just two glitches in the program; UPS lost the chandelier, they haven't a clue what happened to it, it arrived in Phx. over a week ago and whoosh, just like that it seems to have disappeared. The company has shipped another that is predicted to arrive next Wednesday if UPS can keep track of it!
The other irritation is that HD promised delivery of the French doors last week and now they tell us that it will be two more weeks from now! Sigh.
Does anything ever go totally smooth? We are probably blessed to have had only these two relatively minor issues. Could have been much worse.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Day after The Feast!

Having a severely reduced kitchen there was no turkey cooked at our house but I was fortunate to be gifted with the leftover skeleton of a smoked turkey which made up into a wonderfully fragrant and tasty pot of turkey soup with just enough of the smokiness coming through.
As a little something to accompany the soup I made a Kiwi -Pomegranate relish.

I made it for the first time last week and we [DH, JW and I] thought it a very different and appealing mixture of sweet and spicy, a nice change from the ubiquitous tomato salsa found everywhere here in the southwest.
BJ brings me all of the more "exotic" fruit and vegetables from her Bountiful Baskets, and pomegranates have been in season so I have had a few lately! As a child I thought them delicious and here they are a rarer treat as they are not plentiful in this area, so I was anxious to try a couple of new ideas for them. I am happy to have discovered this recipe, and if you would like a change from salsa and have access to this odd fruit give this a try.

Kiwi-Pomegranate Salsa
4 or 5 firm kiwi peeled and chopped coarsely
arils [seeds] and juice of 2 pomegranates
a firm avocado coarsely chopped
2 tblsp. thinly sliced green onions
1-2 pickled jalapenos finely chopped
2 tblsp. chopped fresh cilantro
2 tsp. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Mix all together folding ingredients gently. Serve with tortilla chips. I found that it's best to use both kiwi and avocados that are only just ripe enough so that they do not disintegrate in the mixture.
I tried just one jalapeno and for us it was insufficient, but you can adjust that to suit your own taste. I also added juice of half a lime the second time, adds a little piquancy.

Below a pic taken yesterday of little DGS with adoring GM.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

In Thanksgiving

For the blessings of this life, we thank you God.