Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Loose ends.

I have a few loose ends to tie up today.  As far as blogging goes I will post a few pictures.  I organize my pictures by season and year.  After today I am done with 'Fall 2013'.  It will be time to open 'Winter 2014' so I thought I'd see what I photographed but never posted. 

Excuse the seemingly randomness. 

The cats celebrating their own idea of Boxing Day.

I never posted what else was on the stand with the ornament tree.

An old utility box with some ornaments that are kind of too big to really be ornaments.

I stitched this in 2009.  I should make new ones each year but who has that kind of time?

I actually DID stitch an ornament this year.  Just one.  It's from the Lizzie Kate Jingle series.  For some convoluted reason, I stitched it over one on the fabric that came with the patterns.  I suppose it was because I thought it was too big over two.  It's cute but working on something that small is just not fun.

I made a center piece on Christmas using the idea that Vonna posted about.   
I wanted to do it bad enough that I went to 2 different Michael's before thinking I wasn't going to find the trees.  Then I was racing through  Wegman's and there was one lone package on the sale shelf.  I already had the snow so that was easy. 

One of the kids (who is a fan of the Hobbit) said it was like I'd captured the forest.  Plus, in real life, the colors were better and that wrinkle didn't show up like that! 

And now it's time to put all the decorations away again.  It's sure fun to put the stuff up but not the other way around. 

Happy New Year.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve

After the big push....the final day of preparations is here. 

The Advent Calendar is full.

I look forward to this day as much as Christmas Day.  The final day of preparing.  The day everyone gathers.  We will enjoy a nice supper along with an evening of family time.

We will watch A Christmas Story....cheesy I'm sure...but I LOVE that movie.  Love it.  The school looks like the school I went to when I was Ralphie's age.  The neighborhood, too.  I could watch it over and over again.  The movie just captures the magic of Christmas from the eyes of a nine year old like no other.

With 1 day remaining....hope you're just about ready.


Monday, December 23, 2013

The big day is closing in.

I don't have anything to post for a link-up to Bonnie's mystery today.  Darn.  Too much else going on to spend any time in my sewing room.  The option to link stays open for a few days but I'm not really optimistic. 

The other day I made a treat to take to my office Christmas lunch.  I have the recipe in my recipe binder but this variation was just right for Christmas. They are Gingerbread Oreo Truffles.  Any combination of Oreo and candy coating flavors can be used. 

People would never have guessed they were made with Oreos.  The only thing that I did differently from the recipe posted on Mommy's Kitchen is that I used a frosting gel in tubes to drizzle on top. 

And, because there should be a little kitty love, 2 bad photos.  It's a toss up between 'demon eyes' with a flash

 or blurry kitties without the flash.

The motivation is that they are together in the same picture.  I am amazed at how different they are.  I expect it from cats that come into the house at different times, but these guys are brothers who have always been together.  Murphy is indifferent to his brother.  Cooper likes to know where Murphy is but has his limits.  He hasn't ventured into the basement where our family room is.  It also took him a long time to leave the end of the house where he was first let out of the carrier.  My sewing room is also in the basement.  Bet I'll regret wishing he'd explore! 

Only 2 days!


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Meet the boys.

Did anyone wonder why, on Friday, I said things were coming in pairs?  Or about the errand I had planned for Saturday morning?  Well...meet the boys.  

Cooper is super affectionate.  You MUST use both hands to pet him.  One just isn't enough.

Murphy is very loving but doesn't cuddle with the same zeal.

They are 2 year old brothers adopted from the local humane society. 

I simply could not live without a cat (or two) for another day.  Until our last kitty died, I'd never been without a cat in my adult life.  We were seeing how it felt but it wasn't working.  I wanted two so they would have each other for company.  Most often, we had two cats which was nice.

They were owned by a young man who felt it was OK to abandon them when he moved.  Luckily, someone cared enough to take them to the humane society where they were the favorite resident cats.  It made the staff very happy that we adopted both of them.

Their previous owner, while irresponsible, treated them OK.  They LOVE my son.  They both latched onto him immediately.   Oh, the purring. 

While I know it might have been a good idea to wait until after the chaos of the holiday, we also thought that having 2 weeks with people in the house would be good for them. 

It should be a fun time.

3 days! 


Saturday, December 21, 2013

A day at home...

mostly.  I am excited to have a day around the house.  I do have a brief outing planned first thing this morning but after that....lock the doors.  I'm not leaving.

The question of the day.....how do you know you REALLY like a pattern? 

You buy it twice!  Once online, but the order takes so long you forget, then you go to your some-what local cross stitch shop and buy it again.  

On the upside...my Just Cross Stitch Ornament issue was in that order.  Bet a second issue shows up because things are coming in pairs these days.

I'm scared to tell you there are only 4 days left. 


Friday, December 20, 2013

Past times and traditions.

Ever since I was young I've liked building puzzles.  It's something my kids have inherited.  It's not uncommon for us to have a puzzle on the dining room table.  It gets worked on randomly when someone is killing time or stalling on doing a task we don't really feel like doing....like fixing supper or starting homework.

When the kids were small and Christmas Eve was the longest day of the year we began a couple traditions that have outlasted my need to keep three young children alive through December 24th.  (Read into that sentence something about me keeping my own sanity, too.)  I would surprise them with a new Christmas puzzle.  It isn't uncommon for my husband to have to work that day and I usually have a lot of kitchen type work planned so setting up a new puzzle helps us pass the time in a way that we all enjoy.

This year we piled up the boxes and brought them up from the family room and started working.  The kids just went to town building one puzzle after another.  Sometimes the whole family would be flocked around the table putting a few pieces in.

Before long they had one puzzle on top of another because nobody wants to dismantle one to make room for the next.  

Some of them, like Santa sleeping in his chair, have been built so many times we just fly through it.

This one is my favorite.

When the kids were young, I tried to find Family Puzzles.  Do you know about those?  Usually I find them at the Hallmark store. 

Like the picture on the box shows...there are three sizes of pieces.  The idea is that younger children can build the area on one side, intermediate pieces are in the middle,

and the smallest on the other side.

We have a couple that work from the outside in...with the largest on the outside and the smallest on the inside.

I haven't had a chance to find a new puzzle for this year but I hope to stop at Hallmark this afternoon.  If I don't find one, I bet we can uncover one we haven't built yet. 

5 days! 


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Just barely, but I made it.

Phew.  I almost didn't get a post up today.  When I say there are 6 days left, it's really 5 1/2. 

I spent a whole lot of time in the car today.  My regular weekly life is a full time job so add the extras that go along with Christmas preparations and the day is over flowing. 

Most recently I have been concentrating on food.  Planning more than preparation at this point.

I love to get out all my Gooseberry Patch cookbooks and start browsing.  My ipad is out because I have a couple on there.  My grocery list is long and detailed. 

I keep forgetting to photograph this Santa I recently bought from a women who was making them to sell at a craft fair.

He is made from an old quilt someone gave her to use as a cutting quilt.  

From the back you can see the quilt was a Dresden Plate.  I just don't think I could do that.  I don't think I could cut into an old quilt.  I like the Santa so I guess I am glad someone else can.

6 days. 


Wednesday, December 18, 2013


At a Christmas store I found this tree that I thought would help display some of my favorite cross stitch ornaments.

I snapped a couple pictures but I have to admit that I do not remember the details of these first 2 ornaments.

I almost never work over one.  This little cutie needed to be stitched over one, though.    Love those little snowmen faces.

This was a little kit that stitched up in one sitting.  I love it.  Such a simple design.

I received this cutie in an exchange with Barb.  I had never seen this design or the sleds.  So sweet.

In the same exchange Carol stitched this little Christmas sampler ornament.  Such delicate little stitches.

I haven't stitched many ornaments this year.  My Just Cross Stitch Ornament issue went MIA.  Our mailman is extremely unreliable. I imagine it got delivered to someone else along my road.  They probably didn't even look to see that it was a magazine meant for someone else. I bet it went straight into their recycling bin with all the other crap that lands in our mailboxes.  I've ordered it online twice but it has yet to show up. I could go on about how several online cross stitch shops are really bad about letting you know the status of your order but I bet you already know.   I saw it at Joann's after ordering it the first time but didn't buy it just in case it was on its way.  Then I checked my credit card statement and saw that I hadn't been charged yet so I looked for it at Joann's again.  Naturally, it was gone.  I'm not looking too hard or else I'll end up with 3 copies.  It will turn up someday.  

7 days.  1 full week.  


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Holiday fun.

This past weekend we went to see How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical.

What a cute and fun play.

I am sure everyone knows the story so I don't need to elaborate on that.

The set was so simple...much like the book and the movie.

The costumes were bright and festive.

It was a fun way to see an old holiday favorite.

8 days.


Monday, December 16, 2013

A quick Monday link-up.

This week I'm ahead of the game.  I finished Clue 3 of Bonnie's Mystery in time for the Monday link.  I bet that won't happen again.

On Bonnie's website (click for a link) participants can link up to show everyone what they've done. 

I finished Clue 2.... the yellow, green, and neutral chevrons on Saturday morning then immediately got busy with the 100 pinwheels and 100 half square triangles. 

This color combination isn't exactly my style.  I keep saying I need to make some brighter quilts.  I think this one will do it.

9 days.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Baby, it's...

cold outside!  It was 9' out yesterday when I went out to fill the feeders. 

Snowy, snowy, snowy.

I waited for the birds to come eat.  They were watching me.  They chirped, flew by, but wouldn't land while I was there.

I came back inside and there they were. I counted 3 pairs of cardinals.

They don't photograph so well through the window.

We can count on our fingers now.  10!


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Why does this.....

take so long? Just the wrapping.  Organizing, packaging, wrapping and stowing have dominated my holiday prep recently.  I used to LOVE wrapping.  When I was a teen, I'd save up all my wrapping to do in one shot.  There might have been 6 gifts to wrap but I loved wrapping one present after another.  Gifts from the kids went under the tree when they were wrapped.  It added to the decorations...having a few presents under the tree. 

Not seeing the presents before Christmas morning was part of the fun when I was growing up.  I still remember the year my mother started getting gifts out BEFORE we'd gone to bed.  We'd just gotten home from the Christmas Eve service at church.  I was in college, mind you, but tradition is tradition, right?  I was like....what?  What's happening?  Why are people going into the attic?  I have a much younger sister.  Probably she was in bed but I don't remember that detail. I can just remember those few minutes while it dawned on me that presents were being placed under the tree while I was awake.  I suppose my mother was thinking about us older kids staying up half the night and that she was going to bed. 

In my house, we keep the gifts tucked away until Santa visits.  I enjoy the fun of the reveal.  That first look at the tree on Christmas morning.   Since the kids are older Santa doesn't visit until Christmas morning.  That way the kids can stay up as long as they want and the parents, being the old tired people that we are, can go to bed.  We can get up and organize the presents and start breakfast before anyone else wakes up. 

I have wrapped almost everything.  There are always a few loose ends but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I'm not sure when wrapping stopped being so much fun...but it has.  Maybe the joy will cycle around again.  This is the last year I need to keep everything tucked away.  I can just pile up the bags in the dining room and wrap as the feeling hits.  Or, wait until the last minute and wonder what the heck I was thinking.  We'll see.

11 days.


Friday, December 13, 2013

My vote for favorite

place to shop this season.....

not because they overwhelm my mailbox with these....

but because they will TAKE every one in one shopping trip!! 

We have a Bed Bath and Beyond nearby...which is no where near the closest mall...so I go there whenever I need household stuff.  Or, like this time of year,  when I'm shopping for Christmas gifts. 



Thursday, December 12, 2013

Advent addict

I've featured my Advent calendar collection before.  Today is just a reminder.  (Because we NEED reminding....not!)

You're welcome.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Go big or go home.

So, go big it was. 

Every year we head up the hill into the clouds and down along a seasonal road that has no business being open in December to find our perfect tree.  It's an adventure that fuels our litany of family stories.  No matter how we plan, it will be the worst weather day of the season.

This year it was just cold out.  It's possible it will be the coldest weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas but it's too soon to tell.  I think it was 24'.

We headed off to this grove of trees while commenting that we'd never been in this section of the tree farm.  Wonder why?  Oh, wait.  I see.  Look how tall the trees are. 

But it was cold.  And this tree was just beautiful.  Shame on me...I didn't take a picture before it was cut.  I was doing my job of holding onto branches so it fell in the direction we wanted.

It was 13 feet in the field.  11 feet in this picture.  We eventually trimmed about a foot off that spiky top.

For love or money, I can't take a picture of a decorated tree that would look like anything.  So, here it is with the light shining through.  It's a beaut. 

14 days.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Crafting ornaments.

Crafting rarely reaches beyond my sewing room but this year we've been bitten by some sort of crafting bug.  First the gingerbread houses, then a wreath...now what? 

Buttercup enjoys origami.  She's been known to entertain herself at a restaurant making itty bitty cranes from the papers used to wrap the silverware in the napkin. 

Our church recently got new hymnals so we brought a couple of the old ones home to use to make some Christmas ornaments.

They are a nice addition to our gigantic tree.  (I'm not kidding.  Tomorrow I will elaborate.)   

15 days.  I'm only a little scared. 


Monday, December 9, 2013

Monday Mystery update

I got a quick start on Bonnie's newest clue on Friday when I had to cut out of work early and go pick Buttercup up at school.  She landed herself in the nurse's office.  She spent the day on the couch and I cut fabric.

I really thought I'd whip this clue out in no time flat.  Ha.

For the smaller quilt I need to cut 200 of each fabric...green rectangles, yellow squares and neutral squares.
From that we will make 100 Chevron blocks.

They're scrappy so the fabric piles are all jumbled up.  I made one sample block to see what the process would be.  See it in the middle of the above picture?

 So, I've managed about 60 pairs with the neutral square sewn on.  It's a cute little block that will just take a couple more hours at the machine.  I'm hoping maybe I'll have a little time by Wednesday or Thursday.

16 and counting.