Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Christmas All Through The House

I love the house once the Christmas decorations go up.

Of course, with 34 years worth of decorations to put up, the process is kind of exhausting but definitely worth it.
I say 34 years because that's how long Matt and I have been married, but truthfully I began collecting decorations for my hope chest well before I even met him.

I embroidered these stockings while still in high school.  If I remember right, it was a project for Home Ec.  Of course, the names didn't go on until much later.  I think Damen was a teenager by the time I finally got around to it.  

As I look around, I realize just how many of my decorations are handmade. There are nutcrackers and nativities left over from my folk art days.

Of course, there are the quilts.
And with so many, the decorations are starting to spread throughout the house. 

The tree is given the place of honor at the front window in the library/music room.

There's also this corner on the kitchen island...

and this dresser in the master bedroom...

even a small corner of the guest bath. 

This year, since this is the room the Grandchildren will sleep in, the guest room got the royal treatment with festive flannel sheets... 

and my collection of new and old Christmas books just waiting for bedtime. 

Favorite stuffed animals leftover from my youth, got a little sprucing up for the season as well.  

And then, there are these lovelies.  My treasured collection of vintage Harold Gale Santas.  Oh, how I love them.  They are spread throughout the house.

Here is the one that started it all.  This jolly fellow sat under the tree every year during my own childhood.  I finally convinced my mom to part with it, all though it wasn't easy.  

I inherited this one from my beloved Aunt Twila. 

From there it has grown into a bit of an obsession.  I'm always stalking Ebay to see if any pop up.  

This delightful specimen is my newest acquisition.  Since I have so many red suited ones, I'm now interested in more rare finds.  I finally got this gold one for a reasonable price.  Now I'm on the hunt for those in white, pink and the rarest of all green, suits.  Whenever I've seen these they cost a mint!  

Actually, I've never even seen a green suited one for sale. I only know they exist because my other beloved Aunt, Mitzi, used to and may still own one.  I'm pretty sure that my mom and Aunts all got them at the same time.  I think they were a holiday give-away from when my uncle owned his Shell station on the highway. 

If you know anyone who still has one and would be willing to part with it, send them my way.  

And Aunt Mitzi, if you still have your green one maybe you could hook a girl up.  I'm sure we can come to some agreement :) 

Of course, I never forget that this is what the season is really about.  Everything else is just fluff.

This nativity is handmade as well, by my mother no less!  If you knew how un-crafty she is you would understand why I give it such a place of honor.  I still can't believe she made it for me.  

This tacky brooch from the ugly sweater section of the local party store, spoke to me.  At 50% off I went ahead and sprung for it.  I've never been to an ugly sweater party but now I'm ready if I ever get invited.  Who knows, maybe next year I'll host one.  

Anyway, it sums up my wishes for all of you.  

Merry Christmas, everyone.


Saturday, October 10, 2015

My newest favorite

This one's a keeper. It doesn't match a single room in my house.  I have no idea where I'm going to put it.  But, I love everything about it.

Do you not love the burst of color amid all the grey and black?  Plus, there's the name of the block used for the over-all pattern.  It's called Lotus Leaf. Since the Lotus Leaf is such a huge symbol in yoga, it's fitting that I should have a quilt made from lotus leaf blocks now that I am a certified yoga teacher.

In fact, I love it so much I was afraid to quilt it.  I wanted to do something really special, but that just kept me frozen in fear.  Finally, I decided just to go for it and I did what I felt comfortable doing; a simple meander.  I did get a little crazy adding a few, random loopity-loops here and there.  
I wanted the stitching to stand out a bit so I used a neutral, gray thread rather than plain white.  
It turned out okay, but I really need to get brave and expand my free-motion skills.  

I kept the back pretty simple.  Just a plain fabric broken up by this stripe of fabric.  Though, the colors in the stripe match the colors of the star on the front.  

I bound the quilt with the same fabric I used for the stripe.  It all came together so well.  I'll definitely bring this to show at my next guild meeting.  

And, just when I thought I was done canning...I was the victim of the dreaded produce ding-dong ditch.  That's what I call it when I open the front door and find random bags of cucumbers and tomatoes sitting on my porch.  
I know what you're thinking, why didn't I just throw them away.  I mean, who would know?  
Well, I would.  I am pathological when it comes to not wasting food.  I absolutely cannot do it. So unsolicited or not, if I find food on my doorstep, I simply must do something with it.  
And, I'm just joking when I say dreaded.  I think it's pretty cool to live in a place where neighbors share their bounty.  I think the word for that is...community.  I love it.  

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Good-bye, summer

Summer's been pretty busy around here, so the blogging got shelved for a while.  But, though I may not have been recording it, I've definitely been getting a lot done.
(Disclaimer-prepare for a photo heavy post)

First, there was the deck to "deck out."  With the new paint and furniture, this has definitely been a place we have loved to spend those long, summer evenings.

The refurbished deck has been the perfect place to enjoy the fruits of our new smoker.  Say hello to Matt's Father's Day gift to himself.  I swear, I've never before eaten so much brisket in my life. It's been heavenly.

I've also had my little side yard veggie garden to tend, the fruits of which we are just now beginning to enjoy.

There has also been copious amounts of flowers to plant and care for.  These flower beds have given me immeasurable happiness for the last few months.  When we bought the house, the beds were covered in ugly river rock and over-grown shrubs.  The last two summers have been spent digging up and hauling off.  It has been very inspiring to spend this summer planting and pruning.

And of course, the quilting weaves itself through all the other plans and activities.  This is a quilt made from blocks I made last month during a quilting retreat.  The color scheme was inspired by the wedding colors of one of my nephews.  Their colors were cornflower blue and canary yellow.  I added some gray and black to round it all out and I think it turned out quite nicely.  

I can't remember if I have posted this before.  Even if I have, I don't mind posting it again.  I simply love it.  I've wanted to do a black and white quilt for a long time now and this turned out as good as I always imagined it would.  

Plus, I totally dig the chair fabric I added for the border.  The pattern didn't have border but I thought the quilt needed a pop of color.  This fabric was just the trick.  

This is a quilt I whipped together from some HST's I made for a quilt demo.  I like the way it turned out but I'm definitely wondering how to quilt all that negative space.  

Lastly, this baby quilt was put together with only fabric from my stash.  

I've been hoarding this birdie fabric for quite some time.  It was a little painful to cut into it but the pain quickly subsided when I saw how great it worked with the rest of the colors.  

The bird theme made it's way onto the back of the quilt as well.  As did the new, smaller quilt labels I ordered for my smaller projects.  

Along with all of that, I've had yoga classes to teach and clients to train.  It's only a couple of hours a day but it's been an adjustment.

And lastly, it's been a summer of medical tests and procedures.  It's been months of waiting to find out if I have Lymphoma and wondering how that would effect my future if I do.  
I'm happy to report that I took my final test last week and the results were good.  My lymph nodes, which had been swollen, are definitely smaller with most of them returned to normal. 

So, how did I celebrate the good news?   

Oh, I stayed pretty close home.  It appears that, finding out I don't have a serious illness sends me into full on nesting mode just as much as worrying that I do. Apparently, it's my go to coping mechanism.

Today was a very "Fall-ish" day.  The weather was crisp and cool.  It may technically still be summer but I think the dog days are over.   Fall is my favorite time of year and I'm especially looking forward to this one.  Life is good and by the grace of God I've got a lot of it left to live.