Sunday, November 30, 2008

National mitten shortage

Have you ever tried to buy a pair of mittens for anyone over the age of ten? You can't - at least not in our local stores. Gloves you can find everywhere. Cold cold gloves that keep all the fingers separated, never allowing them to warm each other up. After a couple of false starts I made this pair for Larry. Of course I couldn't wait until Christmas to give them to him. It's cold now! Another little quilt ornament. These are fun!
I hope you all have a great week.

Christmas cactus update and a good book

This book has the best ideas! It is full of gorgeous patterns, and most of them would be beautiful for any time of year, with a change in color. This book and I will be spending a lot of time together in the next few weeks. :>} Our aloi plant spent the summer in the porch, and recently came in for the winter. It got big! It reminds me of a large green octapus.
The blossoms on the Christmas cactus are opening up. The flowers looks like pink birds getting ready for flight.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

We Gather Together

One of my favorite songs begins: "We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing. . ." It was so wonderful to get the whole family together for a happy occasion. The last time we were all together was for our dad's funeral.
We borrowed the lobby from the assisted living facility where our mom lives. Sara and Pete set up the tables while Judy and I assembled the food which we had prepared at home. Meanwhile Janet and Kari were in Mom's apartment, visiting with her.

Janet and Kari drove for 16 hours on Wednesday, coming all the way from Kansas. Sara and Gil and Mark and Ashley drove for 9 hours from Tennessee, and Nathan flew in from North Carolina.

We were glad Larry's parents were able to join us. They live only two miles from Mom's home.

For all this we give thanks, and wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving. (Even if you live somewhere where you don't celebrate this American holiday!)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Exactly One Million Things To Do

I have exactly one million things to do this weekend, so here I sit at the computer. :>} The snow makes quite a few things on my to-do list more difficult, but it is pretty. This photo was taken from our living room window. See the mailboxes down there that were surrounded by flowers in the spring and summer? Now they're surrounded by snow. Daniel kindly keeps our driveway shoveled all winter.
The buds on the Christmas cactus are filling out. Another few days and they'll open up. Nice!
Company is coming on Wednesday for Thanksgiving. This is the kind of company that sees behind the shower curtain and in the linen closet, since they'll be staying a few days. I have some serious cleaning to do! I did buy six new washcloths - perhaps they'll never see the old ratty ones. I have four days off this week - who-hoo!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

More Christmas sewing, and red shoes

My nephew, Nathan, is all grown up now with his Master's Degree in computer science. It seems like yesterday I was choosing picture books or toys for his Christmas present. This year I made him a wall hanging to hang on his very own wall - he is a homeowner!
It is reversible, so he can use this side after Christmas.

Land's End had these shoes on sale, so my mom and I both bought a pair. They are waterproof, and so perfect for the kind of weather we are having. . . the cold, wet kind. We wore them to the dentist today, and got some compliments on our red feet. She looked especially colorful as she also has a red coat and a red purse. Those are flannel lined jeans above my shoes, and I'd like you to know that my legs are not really that fat!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Tutorial on transforming a sweatshirt

I've really enjoyed making and giving these cardigan sweatshirts as gifts. You start out with a regular inexpensive pullover sweatshirt. Next you spend entirely too much time trying to decide which fabric will look the best for the binding. :>}
You fold the sweatshirt in half, carefully matching shoulder seams and underarm seams, having the front on the outside. Take your scissors and boldly slice through the center front.

Cut your final fabric choice :>} in a length twice the length of the sweatshirt plus 1-2 inches and three inches wide (or wider if you like a wide binding).

Lay the right side of your fabric strip on the inside of the sweatshirt, with the strip 3/4" from the front edge. Stitch the strip in place using 1/4" seam allowance on the fabric, which will be 1" from the edge of the sweatshirt.

Press under 1/4" seam allowance on the unstitched edge of your fabric. Fold the binding back on itself. Stitch across the top and bottom as shown, just above the top of the sweatshirt, and below the bottom edge.

Turn the binding right side out and press.

Topstitch the binding in place.

Topstitch the outside edge as well.

Put your decision making skills to work once again to choose buttons. :>} I chose the one on the right. Make buttonholes, sew on the buttons, and presto! You have a lovely gift for yourself or someone else. Of course you can add whatever other embellishments strike your fancy. I stitched a small dresden plate design on the back and front of one, but repeated washings pulled the fabric away from the stitching, and it looks pretty bad. I may decide to add pockets to this one. It's for my mom, and she likes a pocket to put her tissue in. :>}
Last year when I was having hot flashes every day, it was awfully nice to be able to rip off my sweatshirt quickly! I have a light gray one and a brown one that I wear a lot in the winter.
I hope you are having a delightful weekend. It is about 33 degrees and raining here, occasionally mixing with snow - perfect weather to stay inside and sew.

My very first swap

Bobbi at sent me this darling wall hanging. I love it! Thank you, Bobbi. She wrote and asked what I like, and when I told her I like things outside in nature, she created these darling snowmen. If you click on the picture you can get a close up of their real stick arms - I love the way they're entwined. I tried it on the green wall and on the white wall to see which is best.
I decided on the green wall.

Don't the snowmen look happy in their new home?

This is what I sent to Trish at I wasn't supposed to post the photo until she received it, but I mailed it over a week ago, so chances are good that she has received it, or will today. If you click on the picture, you can see the sparkley beads. I hope Trish likes this as much as I like the snowmen Bobbi made.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

An inside day.

It was forty degrees Fahrenheit today and raining - a great day to stay inside.

In the last several months I have modified several sweatshirts by adding binding, buttonholes, and buttons, and I always think the whole project should take about a half hour. But. . . it takes me nearly that long just to decide which fabric to use! This one is for my mom's 86th birthday, which is in three weeks. She already has a pink one from last year's birthday, a purple one from last Christmas, and a yellow one from Mother's Day. This Christmas I'm thinking turquoise, or maybe red. When you're 86 years old and live in assisted living, there are not many things you need, so when I found something she likes and uses, I stuck with it!
Larry and David went on a music store run, so Daniel and I decided to clean the attic. Well. . . I decided, and Daniel kindly agreed to help :>} He's tall and can reach the screw that holds the trap door closed without standing on a chair. (which is the way I have to do it)

It was definitely a two person job to bring all this stuff down.

Hallie likes the attic! The first time he ever went up he seemed just stunned that he had lived here all that time and didn't know about the "upstairs". :>}

The ceiling is low, not even enough room to sit up straight!

Do you know what these are? Shirt sleeves - yes, just sleeves. Years ago I worked at a uniform company as a seamstress. I often had to transform long sleeved shirts to short sleeved, and I got to keep the sleeves. Nice! I made four baby quilts for coworkers who had babies, and placemats (just small quilts, you know - lol) when someone retired, and a patchwork pillow for the Christmas gift exchange. I used templates and drew around them to get 3" squares and then stitched them into the "trip around the world" pattern, which was my favorite at the time. I had forgotten I had quite so many sleeves left!

David was cooking up some frozen stir-fry, and we admired the vegetable tower.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The best brother in the world

Wow! Let me tell you about the best brother in the world. He is the brother who gets a phone call from his sister at 9:00 on Saturday morning - his day off - and stops what he's doing, drives for 45 minutes, and fixes her computer at work. At work, where she is completely and utterly helpless without her computer. Thank you, Peter, I appreciate it more than you can imagine!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Stay tuned.

Our Christmas cactus has its own schedule, and rarely blooms at Christmas. It's covered with plump buds, and should be simply glorious by Thanksgiving. Stay tuned and I'll post pictures!
One year it was all abloom for Memorial Day in May.

It's the end of the season for fall mums, but they're still pretty. I snapped this picture when I went out to photograph the sign at the gas station showing that the price of gas is the lowest in about two years. $1.99 per gallon. It was over $3 per gallon all summer, and rose as high as $4 for a short time. I took the picture from across the street and you can't really see the sign very well, so I posted the flower picture instead. :>}

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day 2008

I walked to the polls today to cast my ballot, and was pleased to be able to get right in with no waiting. Besides the presidential election, we were voting for a school levy.
And voting to support the fire and rescue services. These are the good souls who rescued Daniel when he was lying on the ground with a broken hip and no one else was home.

We love our fire department and rescue squad!

This seemed like a good idea.
While listening to the pending results on television, I was able to cut out the three tablecloths mentioned earlier, hem them, and even iron them all. As boring as a job like that is, it was kind of nice to have something straightforward to do, with no decisions to make. I'm going to make hot pads for the tables which will resemble small quilts. Of course! More fun, but more decisions, too. Somedays my brain just can't deal with decisions.

Indian Summer

After the first snow, when it gets warm and sunny again, we call it Indian Summer. And we love it! That's what we had yesterday, and even though we were overwhelmingly busy at work, I took a half hour walk at lunchtime outside to enjoy the nice day.
Today is my day off - yay! I need to take my mom to the dentist (poor Mom) but I am also going to make three eight foot long tablecloths for Thanksgiving. Please excuse the wrinkles. This fabric has been folded up in the closet for six or seven years. Not exactly Thanksgiving themed, but very pretty, and the price was right! I got it at a garage sale - all 16 yards of it - for five dollars. It is cotton chintz, so it repels spills. So perfect for a tablecloth! I didn't really have any plans for it when I bought it, which is why I still have so much left six or seven years later. I did try making aprons, which worked well, and dishtowels, which were a disaster. When something repels spills it sure won't dry the dishes! It also doesn't work for napkins, but it should be just right for this project, and Thanksgiving is in just over three weeks!
Lots of the family are coming; Sara and Gil and Mark and Ashley from Tennessee, Nathan from North Carolina, Janet and at least part of her family from Kansas, Peter and Judy and Kim and Norbert from right here in Ohio, and of course, our Mom, and Larry's parents. The four of us will also be there, and we're planning a feast. My sister-in-law, Judy, is a marvelous cook, and kindly offered to bring the turkey. I hate cooking turkey, so it was awfully nice of her. I am baking a ham. :>} We'll also have white potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, fruit salad, green salad, cranberry-orange sauce (also made by Judy, mmmm), rolls, and pumpkin pie for dessert. And probably something chocolate! Some of us feel that it isn't REALLY dessert unless it's chocolate. :>} For once we didn't have to consider available seating when issuing invitations. We got permission from the assisted living facility Mom lives in (Anna Maria of Aurora) to set up folding tables and chairs in the lobby, which is a lovely room, and serve it there. They have a kitchen we can use, and enough space for everyone, so come join us!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

What to do with an extra hour.

I always love when we change from Daylight Savings time to Eastern Standard time, and get an extra hour on the weekend. What a gift! Should we go to the park?

Or maybe we should bake cookies.

Or make a thank you present for the friend who was cleaning and . . .

gave me all her fabric! (Look at all the great selvedges for Jodie!)

Or I could read a good book. I know, let's do all of the above! And yes, I know, it is a children's book, but they're actually the best kind. Have you read the shoe books by Noel Streatfeild? I have loved them all ever since I was about nine years old, and reread them from time to time. I think my favorite is "Skating Shoes", but "Ballet Shoes" is a very close second.
I enjoyed every moment of this extra hour day, and a good thing, because tomorrow promises to be a very long day. We are trying something new at work, and it has been hanging over me like a dentist appointment all weekend. A sixteen hour day should about do it.