Saturday, December 29, 2012

Wedding Day!

Today my niece Erica is marrying her fiance Tommy in Charlevoix. Everyone has trekked up north for this wonderful occasion, even my Mom, whose recent health issues made that seem unlikely.  I learned that Tommy's 38-year old sister had a stroke yesterday and cannot make it for the wedding - prayers needed for her full recovery please. 

I'm looking forward to a wonderful, drama-free day. Oh, and one without significant snowfall as I don't have a proper coat to cover my fancy dress!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Nice Pics

On my way home from Holly's last Saturday I saw a beautiful sunset sky and I just had to pull off the road and take some pictures -- enjoy!!  Taken with my Nikon D-510, using the Dusk & Dawn setting for the first couple of pics, the Sunset setting for next few and then I braved the Manual setting (my brother in law Mike would be proud!) for the last two pics.  So much fun experimenting and isn't nature amazing??!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


I made this pillow for our quilt guild's Holiday Bazaar silent auction.
I thought it was clever as could be but you know what??  Not a single person bid on it.  The whole point of our bazaar is to make money to support our programs.  I put a minimum bid of $25 on it and not a single solitary soul bid.  I had more than $25 in to it so there was no way I was going to let anyone bid less than that.

I was really disappointed that no one wanted it.  Pretty darn dejected, actually.   That is, until my friend Cathy came along and bought it for her cottage.  Now I could have been okay bringing it home for my couch as I really did like it but Cathy said she'd think of me when she looks at it and that's good enough for me.

But that's the last time I bust my butt to get something ready for the bazaar only to see it not getting any bids. The same thing happened last year.  I may be dumb but I'm not stupid -- no third time for me!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merrrrry Christmas!

Christmas may be tomorrow but I got to celebrate with Holly, Mike and my grandson Denver on Saturday.  I had ordered one verrrrry special gift and thank goodness it arrived Friday afternoon -- phew!  Nothing like getting a whiz-bang idea on Monday and hoping they can ship in time.

I spent about 2 hours wrapping everything Saturday morning -- who knew it would take so long?!!  In all honesty I had a few extra things to wrap -- Cabela's purchase for Mike to give to Holly (how'd he know?!) and from Holly to Mike.  I was such a good shopper, right Mary??

I loaded up the car and picked up lunch in Oxford and finally got to Holly's about 1 pm.  We were all starved so we ate first and then got to the gifts.  Denver was so darn cute opening his gifts -- one little bit of paper at a time.  I'm sure next Christmas he'll be tearing into his gifts without any coaxing.

Everything I bought him was from either the U.S. or Canada, except for his snowpants -- I did really well this year, keeping away from Chinese crap.  I got him a super cool eating utensil set shaped like Tonka toys, with a plate to go with them -- designed and manufactured in Ann Arbor, and a Bento box to take on hikes, stroller rides, visits to Grammie's.  A new school bus from Green Toys, made from recycled plastic in California.  A zip up hoody with shirt and karate pants from Los Angeles (American Apparel Co.) and a book called Quiet Loud, very cute!

But......the best gift of all was this sled, which Denver climbed right into, as if he knew just what to do:
I was positively giddy when I discovered this wonderful, made in Vermont, sled from American Traders!  It is so well made compared to the crap I was finding in the local stores.  Do I care that it cost more?  Heck no!  The quality more than makes up for the difference in price, made of ash and maple and screwed together.  The padding was made in Rhode Island - yeah!!  I know this one will last.  The one below that I looked at last week was actually put together with a staple gun -- a staple gun???

How long do you think that one (made in Canada, sorry to say) would have lasted?
Here's my little bundle of energy pushing his sled with Holly's old baby doll in it:

He had to stop, catch his breath, and examine his new ride:

Holly also tried his snowpants on him:

Just a touch long but will be fine with some boots on.  Mike put Denver's camouflage boots on that I got him last summer but they are so rigid he couldn't walk in them.  Maybe that's like women's high heeled shoes -- just meant for sitting not walking.
This pic was taken just about the time he tried to walk and couldn't because of the boots and then he just kind of crumpled to the floor and his boots came off!

I sure enjoyed my visit and my time with them always goes by much too quickly.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

1 Day Left

There is only one day left for folks to buy their last minute Christmas gifts and food for their meal on Tuesday.  I felt pretty darn smug today as I watched the panicked shoppers, desperate for ANYTHING at Costco.  Shelves were bare, refrigerated compartments emptied -- it's an amazing sight.

Things were worse at Kohl's and Bed, Bath & Beyond -- hopeless stares, frantic searches, and sweating shoppers were all around.  But not I.  Nearly complete I had but one mission today -- to find a four place setting box of Corelle dishes for my Mom, who seems to be chipping, cracking, and breaking her current set.  I'm sure the old dishes are too heavy for her arthritic hands and the new set I picked up will be lighter and break-resistant.

It's late so I don't have time to post pictures from my Christmas celebration yesterday with Holly, Mike, and Denver, so stay tuned and I should be able to upload the pictures tomorrow.

Have a great week!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Baby Reese

My precious great-niece who is now 6 months old, wearing the last thing I knit -- a cashmere headband.  Isn't she beautiful??!!  Can't wait to see her again next week -- she is getting so big!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


There are always going to be stupid people in the world and people who do stupid things -- not always the same thing.

Today while driving to work I couldn't figure out why the @#%& car ahead of me was going 60 mph in the fast lane on the expressway.  Once I was able to switch lanes and pass her I COULD NOT believe what I saw.  A 60ish year old woman was putting on mascara while she was driving her car.  Honking at her had zero effect as she just continued to apply her makeup.  I was stunned and proceeded to zip ahead as I did not want anything to do with that train wreck waiting to happen.

I read a comment in the news today that struck me as equally stupid.  "Her hobby was guns."  Really???!!!!  Well I'm willing to bet my last fat quarter that if she was like me and her hobby was sewing, 26 innocent people would still be alive today and enjoying the holidays with their families.  I'll take my stash of fabric, tools, books, sewing machines and all that goes with 'em over a collection of guns any day.

Nothing wrong with my priorities.  As they say in the texting world, SMH.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sandy's Quilt Top

This has been a bad year for the name Sandy -- first there was the terrible hurricane that hit the east coast of the U.S. and then there was the unspeakable shootings murders at the Sandy Hook Elementary last Friday.

Both events have impacted me personally.  Then again, isn't everyone impacted?  My niece lives in New Jersey and worked in Manhattan when the storm hit.  She had no power or cell service yet was expected to show up for her nursing job so three patients could have their face lifts performed by the doctor she worked for, just two days after the storm.  Huh??  Talk about misplaced priorities. It took weeks to get the mail delivery back to normal and the area around her cleaned up.

This past week's shooting was so difficult to learn about.  How could anyone shoot a room full of 1st graders?  It's like shooting fish in a barrel.  My daughter teaches special ed students in an elementary school 50 miles from my home.  I asked her if their building had any sort of emergency plan for such an event and she said no.  Seems like they better get one together, like yesterday!  In her former district they had underground tunnels they used for their drills, leftover from the Cold War days back in the 1950s.

I don't understand how anyone with any history with mental illness should be able to legally possess a gun.  How could they not be a danger to themselves as well as others?  Thank goodness my hands are too weak to shoot a gun -- I can't imagine being steady enough in an emergency to even get a shot off.  I think I'd pee my pants or faint first.  Or worse, have it used on me instead.

Sometimes when there is so much ugliness and sadness in the world around you, it helps to have a thing of beauty to distract you.  Here is my friend Sandy's wonderful, awesome creation.  She used Marcia Derse fabrics to make herself a quilt to mark her 75th birthday (at least she's having a good year) and I can tell you that no one would ever guess that Sandy is 75.  She inspires me.  And so does Marcia -- I need to get back to cutting and sewing all the fabrics I have bought from Marcia.  It would almost be worth it to be 'on vacation' again so I could get some serious sewing time.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Merry Chicken Christmas

Today was our annual Chicken group Christmas, hosted most deliciously by Joyce.  This is a day I look forward to each year, beginning the day after the last one!

We had a fabulous cocktail of the day, wonderful food, and plenty of great conversation.  We take an annual picture together:

We also swap a $10 gift from Home Goods.  I got some terrific storage containers in a wire basket, wrapped in some beautiful hand-dyed fabric from Deb (second from right in front row).  I'm using one of the containers to take soup to work for my lunch tomorrow.  My roommate has made boatloads of soup this weekend, but that's another post....

I received wonderful homemade treats from several chickens:
Homemade pita chips, fabulous caramels, delicious mini chocolate chip cake, and truffles from Trader Joe's -- absolutely no chance of dropping any weight before Erica's wedding in less than two weeks.  Then again, you don't have to worry about me starving either.  I love the new dishcloth from Carol and the Gas Gloves & Mary Kay Satin Hand mini set from Joyce.

I stayed up late last night until 1 am this morning sewing 10 of these mini bags for my treats for the Chickens:
Please excuse the lousy picture.  Inside I put some yummy caramels and some Guylian Chocolates -- gotta have something to sustain us while we sew!

Deb showed this wonderful quilt that she finished for her grandson:

Jackie showed a beautiful quilt that she made for her physical therapist who has been so good to her:
It was a kit that she bought from Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr at their booth at the AQS show in Grand Rapids last August.

Makes me want to SEW!!!  But alas, I will be back at work tomorrow, working feverishly to write more test cases for a website I've only just learned of, although I think a lot of us could stand to visit:  There are all kinds of tips for helping folks understand credit and find ways to make their financial situations better.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Where is Everyone???

Sure is quiet around here.  Not a single comment on my last post.  Are you all busy shopping for the holidays?  

In case you're a crafty soul and are looking for some last minute projects here's a great blog post with several quick items for you to whip up.  I just might make some of those slippers myself!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Quilt Camp Report

I returned from Quilt Camp today and I am both invigorated and whipped!  Is that possible??!!  I started camp on Thursday with my misbehaving Featherweight -- arghh!  The bobbin case was just spinning and spinning and the machine would not stitch at all.  I called my roommate and he brought out my Juki to me instead on Friday morning.  I was SO grateful -- such a good son!

While I had nothing to sew on I took a few pictures of the Sandhill Cranes that were picking through the cornfield across from the inn:

We had several workshops, not all of which I enjoyed, and yet I managed to get a good hunk of sewing done.  I worked on a few things for our Holiday Bazaar at this coming Thursday's GLHQ meeting, and I hope to get a few more things done before then.  

Here are the blocks that our group made from our Improvisational Piecing class with Heather:

My contribution:

A camper named Sharon worked on this top while she was there:

I also made some bags from a pattern by Jeni Baker and here is one of them:

Our Quilt Camp hostess Brenda taught an English paper piecing workshop and here is my effort:
I've done EPP before and was reminded of my long ago project that needs completion -- hmmm, when will I get back to that one??

In the meantime, the innkeeper knocked my smartphone to the floor and the screen cracked like a wicked mirror breaking.  Double Arghh!!!  I found out tonight it would cost me over $500 to replace the phone but I can try to have it repaired at the Phone Doctor store in Southfield.  And before you leave a comment, NO I DON'T HAVE INSURANCE ON IT!  So guess where I'm going to be tomorrow night after work?  Nope, not sewing in my Craft Cave -- I'll be trying to get my phone screen replaced.  The innkeeper offered to pay for breaking it so I'll see how much it costs and decide about that.

Just for kicks I watched a YouTube video on the screen replacement process and you have no idea how complicated it is.  I watched in awe as the video maker painstakingly removed, unhooked, and slipped intricate piece after intricate piece out of the way in the phone so he could heat up the cracked glass and pry it off the phone.  I knew in an instant that this repair was not for amateurs.  I've fixed lots of things in my life out of necessity or for the challenge of it but I know when I've met my match and need to yield to the professionals.

I'll be taking my roommate's advice and putting Saran wrap on my phone for now to protect my fingers and hopefully they'll be able to fix it tomorrow.  I expect I'll have to drop it off and take home a loaner phone.  What a drag....

Sunday, December 2, 2012

MIA no more

I have had so much going on for the last week and a half I haven't had time to blog at all!  I haven't even had time to read my favorite blogs, found in my blog rolls on the left side of my blog.  Ugh.

What have I been up to????  

  • Well, I've been cleaning and organizing a bunch.  
  • Replaced all of my major appliances plus my kitchen sink, faucet and disposal.  
  • Hosted my stitch group.  
  • Continuing to work and liking it a bit more.  
  • Traveled to a wonder home craft show in Ohio.
  • Bought lots of fabric from Marcia Derse and drooled over her wonderful homestead.
  • Purchased wonderful redware pottery and jewelry at the Ohio show, too.  
  • Visited the Potters Market, twice, finding gifts for people and things for me, including a fabulous mirror!  
  • Went to the Birmingham Winter Markt.  
  • Shopped for Christmas gifts at Cabela's (too bad I didn't check the website first for the coupon).
  • My roommate had his four wisdom teeth extracted.

What have I not done??  I haven't sewn a stitch since I finished my friend Mary's bag.  I'm itchin' to stitch but need to clean up my Craft Cave first and get prepared for my quilt retreat with my friend Sue at the end of this week.  SOOOOO much to do before then!  

Tuesday is the first official meeting of the DAM Modern Quilt Guild.  I don't have a thing to bring for show 'n tell so I guess I'll just be observing.  There was a vendor at the Winter Markt today who made some wonderful modern quilts and I encouraged her to attend the meeting.  I'm looking forward to seeing what this group is all about.

So in the meantime, I'm back to tidying up my Craft Cave.  Have a great week!