Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Merry Christmas morning...

This is always fun with little ones in the house.... We didn't do much for each other (not really), but it's fun to watch the kids be excited. Leslie and Scott were down from MA, but had to drive up to his folks for breakfast later. Nice to see them both!
I got a GPS unit from Leslie and I got a great box from Scott! A REAL 'Gully' box!

I'll explain the 'gully' box. I always made sure I put granola bars, water, etc. in the car for a road trip, other than around town. This was in case we got run off the road and ended up in the Gully (hence the name), so we could live for a few days. Sometimes it's a joke in the family, make sure you have gully food (as we send people off).... Just a few in your pocket or front seat or wherever, nothing formal you see. Well, Scott got me a 'formal gully box'. Inside was the traditional granola bars (lots), bottled water, army knife scissors, seat belt cutter (who'd have thought?), a wind-up flashlight (no batteries needed) and two books... The Worse Case Scenario survival Book, and the Worse Case Scenario Survival Book, Extreme Edition. What a HOOT!


Hey, the ornaments are put away....! Off to get a haircut, then up to sew!! If I shower really quick, I might get some sewing in on the few leaders/enders I put together....(part of yesterdays cutting up....)
The nice thing is that I am throwing lots of 'stuff' (boxes, stuff that should have been thrown away a while ago, clothes to the Goodwill stores, stuff in my car that will go to work on Monday, etc)...

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Eve, oh yeah, and organizing...

Today I had the house to myself and I planned to organize the ornaments before putting them away. You see, we had a small flood in the cellar on Christmas Eve. Okay, I'll back up.
Our Christmas Eve tradition is to have my family all get together for dinner. Since my Dad died (1993), my siblings decided to 'share' the hosting of the dinner so Mom wouldn't be overwhelmed. This year was our turn. Since our house is so little, I 'borrow' my Mom's house, and bring all the food and everything there. I had to work half a day, so I went out to mom's the night before, prepared anything I could ahead of time, stayed overnight and went to work in the morning. Then I came back to her house and finished the preparations. It rained this year... a lot. I'm very grateful that I had offers of help from my sister (dip and dessert), sister-in-law (jello dish), my daughter and her beau (salad and dessert) and my mom (gingerbread, and all her help cleaning and set up). We had a great dinner (although I 'fudged' a recipe and it didn't exactly come out right) and some fun games.... I had 106 Christmas trivia questions and teamed everyone playing up by age. Niece Kathy and I won. Also had those HUGE picture pages (Where's Waldo?) that were "Where's Santa?", each person playing had their own sheet and they had to find all the items in the photo (there was a list and boxes to check off of items hidden in the pictures). Niece Kathy won, again...(who invited HER?? LOL) and the last game we played was a sheet of 24 different Christmas songs depicted by cartoon pictures, you had to figure them out. Not sure who won that one (I think my daughter Leslie). By the end of the evening, we said our goodbyes to all and we bundled all my stuff in the car and headed home. Dear hubby had to acolyte at the 11pm church service, so he'd be home later.
As we got in the house and put things away, we noticed the foundation wall was drenched!! and the closet space behind it was slightly flooded. Not sure where the water was coming in from, but figured nothing else was too wet (upstairs closet, dry... ). We soaked up the water with towels, prayed it would stop raining, then went upstairs to finished wrapping gifts (Hey, I've been busy...), open up the couch for daughter and beau, put the presents under the tree, then head up to bed (it's now 1am).
Thankfully, the boxes that got soaked, didn't have anything in them that got ruined, but I think I'll buy plastic tubs to store the ornaments from now on. They are presently in small boxes, stored into bigger boxes... on the floor... in that little closet space that got flooded. Hence, the reorganizing.
Since I was using the sewing room as Santa's workshop, it was a disaster! Definitely NOT getting much sewing in, but I will eventually. (I have the week off from work). So, the plan for today was, I'll check on the 300+ emails and clear most of them out, just until 11am, then write my Christmas letter and send out the Christmas cards I hadn't sent beforehand (gee, I'm getting later and later every year) til noon, then do ornaments.
Well, in checking the emails, I got excited about the Happy Blocks (4.5"squares) on the Heartstring website, so I went up to 'just cut up a few'.... that's when the cleaning and clearing out of the sewing room happened! I did cut up about 10 squares, but I got so much of my strings/strips cut and organized, I actually remembered I had a card table up there!! Haven't seen it in months, it's been covered so by all sorts of stuff! Even organized a few of the 'scrap' boxes, as they were overflowing. Boy, do I feel good! HUGE accomplishment!
Okay, the Christmas letter will get written tomorrow and the cards sent out by the new year. AND the ornaments, too.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Almost Queen of UFOs AGAIN!

As a member of Stashbusters, I am on the UFO challenge and needed to make SOMETHING from my UFOs and move it off my list, before the 26th (today)-- I had a week-- before I was queen. Since I needed to explain my plight as to why they weren't getting done, I wrote a cute little 'ditty'.... here it is.
Oh no..... I can't be the queen! I'm just a scullery maid and I have so much to do with THE impending royal event!! I CAN'T be queen!! I can't be....
Even in this age of non-chivalry, won't someone come to my rescue?
Just three days of work, then I'm moved up to Cook for the Royal Christmas Eve dinner. The menus been planned (sort of), but the feathers not plucked (must I do THAT to?) The master's not demanding, but the peasant's aren't much help since they've become sharecroppers in another kingdom. I don't want to have to make a potholder, but I WILL! (Maybe I can use it for the 'dinner' I'm to prepare?...hmmmm.)
You see, I wasn't always a scullery maid.... I once had a sewing room of my own. In the tower.
I once had my garments all hung up with care, I admit that my ufo drawer's never bare, but I did have site of my sewing to do, but presents invaded my space ...what to do?
You see, gifts for the Royal event had to hide, Asked the peasants "Are they in there?", "No", I had lied. But it kept me from sewing and that I regret, I had items to make for the event that was set!
And then came the news, proclamation of sorts, I was soon to be Queen. Me? with my worts?? It couldn't be true, For I am not noble. Better sew something quick, or I'm in big trouble! (almost rhymes, doesn't it?)
'Sew' in there I went, fought the boxes and bags, and wrapped a few gifts and I wrote out the tags. Then I snuck those few gifts to the dungeon below, (They would go to a party, in a fortnight, just those. )
But once those were gone, I'd have space, yes, I would! I might manage to sew... a finish is good. For the UFO Queen, I was soon to become. I'll find thread, some old project, make my sewing machine hum.
My UFOs, I have 14. Many were done this year. Just nothing was recently worked on, I fear. My oldest is ancient, since 2004. Anything older I've thrown out the door.
I have just a week, what's the fastest to make? Some quilting? a binding? Oh I'm starting to shake!
Do I have something fast? I don't think so, I'm doomed! Can I make a potholder? To the tower I zoomed! I shall proclaim my performance, whether valiant or fail, Pray for help from the peasants, no matter how much they wail!
Do I have just one block an old project can spare? Can I sew it up quick? Do I hope, do I dare? I now must be off, the countdown begins. We will see what award this scullery maid wins.
Hope you enjoyed my Royal tale 'ditty', Took up sewing time to write it, and make it look pretty. So off I must go, like a flash down the hall. Hope your holiday's bright, Merry Christmas to all!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Wreaths Across America

I've always seen the clip on the news regarding the Wreaths Across America ceremonies every December. This year I decided to attend the ceremony at Hillstown Cemetery in Manchester, CT. This ceremony was started 15 yrs ago in Harrington, ME and this year they plan to place 10,000 wreaths on veterans headstones. They had 13 tractor-trailers head out this year and they will end up in Arlington Cemetery for a ceremony on a Sat in December.
The CT Rolling Flags, Inc. had a contingency at our local cemetery. In speaking with the veterans that were there, I learned this group had led the tractor-trailers once they got into CT with stops at Stonington, Old Saybrook, and Darien, CT.
Then they came back to participate at this cemetery in Mancester.
This memoriam to Cindy Beaudoin was painted on the hood of one of the trucks in the contingency.
Sherry Pratt-Totten, a member of the local DAR led the cemermony. What I didn't know until now was that 'this exact ceremony' was happening all across the nation EXACTLY AT THE SAME TIME. Whether at noon on the east coast, in Arlington, or at 9am in CA,... the Pledge of Allegience was said at the same time, the minute of silence (exactly one minute) adhered to, AT THE SAME TIME, and the same things were said to honor our fallen veterans. There were not too many people there, but from the conversations spoken before the ceremony, some of these people had participated before. Every branch was represented, along with the POWs.
... this sailor was from the Naval Reserves...
Even a mom/wife of a veteran placed a wreath in her loved one's honor.
Some were very quiet as they proceeded forward to the memorial,
many saluted.... I felt very special to be a part of this honored tradition and plan to do this again next year.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

First Ice Storm of the year?

Well, kind of.... It didn't hit where we are, but I called my daughter in MA and they lost power at 2am. They don't expect to get power back until Sunday or Monday.
Anyone remember the Ice Storm of '73?

Quilt Bingo Mtg

Our Peace by Piece Quilters met for our last mtg of the year... I decided to have some fun. We all were to make 'bingo cards' from 2.5" squares (10.5" block). I brought dessert and prizes and we really did have a fun time. A baby quilt kit was the grand prize for covering the whole card and was won by Margaret M (and she had a baby in the family to make it for).
We did cut batting for a few of our new tops that have been made and some were taken home for members to put together. Not sure how much will get done, with everyone being busy this month. I have only put together a couple using the envelope-style method, and of course, it didn't work very well. I didn't catch all the edges and turned it inside out (several times) and darned if I didn't catch enough AGAIN! I took it home and while watching Survivor, I ripped it all out. I'll reposition it and try again. Or maybe just SITD and bind it.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Back to quilting!... sort of...

Well, I must get into the sewing room, if nothing more to at least make my DGD's pillowcases. I wrap their gifts in them (actually stuff them) for each gift giving occasion. I ran out of really good kids material for the bodies (yes, I REALLY did..... and besides I had a gift certificate I never spent for $50.00-- might as well use it up), so I went to Clover Hill Quilts .
I picked up a few really cute fabrics and only had to throw in $11 extra. GREAT bargain! And I plan to make something from most all that I bought. It was nice to see Lisa Salonia is the new owner!! Congrats on the purchase of the store. Good Luck, sweetie...
I bought some really interesting material that made me name the quilt before I even have the other fabrics picked out..... "Rainy Days and Mondays". I'll post a photo of that one later....
I even made a few bags for the prizes (our quilting group at church is having a quilt bingo game on Monday), made a few extra bingo cards in case someone forgets theirs.....
then decided to organize the Xmas fabrics neatly before putting them away
Check out the clock in my sewing room. I got it in Zoinks in Boston.

It's perfect for the mood I'm in while sewing.... I don't what time it is. It's my 'peaceful zone"...

But now 'Squirt' is home and I have to sneak back to the sewing room. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to work instead of keeping him out of "Santa's workshop" aka my sewing room.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Two Detours from Quilting

Just for the lack of photos in my Thanksgiving posts, I'm posting the 'leftovers' for the visual effect.
Okay, I debated whether to put this on my blog, but I think it needs to be out there. Let me preface it by saying I'm really a good cook. Okay, ... be real,... a great cook when I try (I had a GREAT teacher, ..mom). And yes, I'm modest, but also know I love to cook, so I enjoy it.
Thanksgiving in our house was on Friday (read the posts below), but since DH had to work, it wouldn't be until 6:30pm or so. Mom came over early in the day to help. I had pre-prepared things... cooking the onion, apple and celery for the stuffing ahead,... cutting up oranges- in half with the crown cut in the tops (these would hold my cranberry relish- not displayed in those orange crowns here, of course), etc.. ahead of time. Now that mom was over, I could start working on the dinner stuff. Of course the priority is stuffing the bird. I make a sausage stuffing, so I yanked out the bulk sausage, cornbread stuffing, broth, etc. and threw everything in my largest bowl (you need 'mixing space', you know). I stuffed the bird and put the leftover stuffing in a dish to cook separately and shoved everything into the oven. Whew! That's the hard part! Well, it IS!
(Edible Arrangement... boy, it was good!)
Unfortunately, (or fortunately) 6 minutes later, while rearranging things in the frig (pulling things off the back step-- it was cold enough out there-- to fill the space opened up by the bird being taken out), I discovered a container with...... ready? THE ONION/CELERY/APPLE MIXTURE!!!!

You never saw anyone whip out a turkey from the oven so fast! I gotta dig, scoop ... dig out the stuffing, ouch, didn't know a bird could start heating up that fast in the oven. Darn! What a ding-bat I am!! And I stuff BOTH cavities! It was gonna taste so much better with the 'moist' ingredients in it. Once I 're-stuffed the bird, ignoring my mom's laughter, back it went into the oven.... There! That's better.....

(This is 'Slumgullion'- like shepard's pie)

BTW, the dinner was delicious, even the stuffing! AMEN!
Second detour, I needed to make a few pillowcases for the Xmas gifts I bought on BF, for the granddaughters. I have a little bit of material that would be appropriate for their ages, 6, 4, 2, but not enough to make them Sunday. Need to hit a fabric store, I guess.... oh, Darn, THAT'S too bad. {:-) The quilting stuff will have to wait. I do have to finish making a few of the quilt 'bingo cards' for our church mtg on Dec 8th (Mon). Also, to make sure I have some prizes for the game. That's another post in Nov.