Friday, December 28, 2018

Holiday Happenings!

It's been a whirlwind week, with getting everything ready for Christmas, but we were able to spend a few days outside and do some beach combing for a few hours, even though it was a bit chilly. And the wonderful thing about being on the beach in the late afternoon, is the sunsets. We stayed long enough to enjoy a beautiful sunset over the bay.

We found a lot of new glass pieces, that you can get in a craft store. I am assuming someone lost a garden display with all the wind we had and it floated to our beach.

We had the kids at our house on Christmas eve. We enjoyed a nice dinner and I let the kids open one of their big presents.

Nick loved the new floor piano and Alex was more interested in all the pretty lights and things he could pull off the shelves.

And Bean wanted to open one of his presents. Alex wanted to help and was disappointed when I said it was for Bean, a big blue octopus.

Christmas was spent at their house. The kids made dinner and I played with the boys, so it was a nice treat to relax and enjoy time with them. Although I wouldn't call it relaxing, both boys want my attention so a bit chaotic, to keep up with them. But, a joy that is worth a few sore muscles, lol.

I got Nick a view master, but found out that the reels are expensive and hard to find, so I will look for more in the thrifts and yard sales. If anyone has any old reels they don't want, I would love to have them.

I really wanted to rest, but the boys wanted to go to the aquarium, the next day, so we went. It was fun seeing the look of wonder and awe on Alex's face, since it was his first time. Again, it was chaotic, but a joy to see them both enjoying themselves and having fun together.

I stayed home for a few days, no rest, lots to catch up on and clean. I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday week and a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 21, 2018

Friday Finishes!

I hope everyone is enjoying the last week before the busy holiday weekend. I have been taking it easy and working on projects, before I run around to get the house clean and food prepared.

The first thing I finished was a nativity pillow with a design by Cheri Payne. It was a fun piece to do and worked up quickly, so I can use it in time for Christmas. The design is free and in the files at Cheri's group, Quilts by Cheri on Facebook.

The next pillow is a design from an older book by Kindred Spirits. I took the saying from one design and the snowmen, from another. I realize it is a bit cockeyed, but that is ok, my brain seems to be that way lately.

And I got back to working on my punch needle, a design by Michelle Palmer. And with my backwards brain, I realized I forgot to reverse it, the design is supposed to be facing the other way, which is the way I liked it. Of course I got too much done to redo it, and took me this long to notice, lol. I took a phone photo, so the colors are a bit off and I will wait till I am done, then I can decide what doesn't look right and fix it.

And I have been the recipient of some wonderful gifts this week. One thing is a real Native American flute, from my sister. When she was here, I told here I loved the smaller one, that she had, much better for my small hands. Well, she sent me this beautiful flute that is larger and fatter than the one I have, so I am having a hard time playing it. I don't want to hurt her feelings, so I am practicing every day and hopefully I can coordinate my fingers and breath to stop squeaking so much.

And an unexpected gift from my friend Kelley was a beautiful quilt, made by her mother. Her mom became a part of my life, through stories and gifts she would send each year and I would make a few things just for her. She made this quilt for Kelley and now Kelley wanted me to have it, a gift from the both of them. It is something I will treasure, as well as their friendship through the years.

“May you be blessed

With the spirit of the season, which is peace,

The gladness of the season, which is hope,

And the heart of the season, which is love.”

Merry Christmas to you all!

Friday, December 14, 2018

Friday Finishes!

This week I was able to spend more time working on my projects, so I was able to finish one, make a quick one and start a new one. It is nice to relax a bit and just enjoy the season and make a few new things for fun.

I finished the pillows, a pattern from All Through the Night. I love the preprinted fabric, but find it a pain to sew on. But, it is still worth it, love how the prints look, behind the stitchery and wool. I realize that they are not all the same size, guess I should have trimmed by measuring from the cutting line.

The snowman was a free pattern and I changed it a bit. He looks good sitting by the box and just the right height to be seen. The original was actually a floor size, but I like the smaller version. I also found the Christmas box at at the craft store and like how it looks with the pillows. The dividers make it hard to display them nicely, I may take them out for next year.

I also started something new. I still had leftover gift money on etsy and finally used it. I love Michelle Palmer's designs, she is the one who offered the free fox. I fell in love with this design when I saw it and it is so fun to punch. It is large, 11" x 8.5, so I am not sure if I will finish by Christmas, but I am taking my time and enjoying the process and later if things need fixing, I can change them. Not sure on some of the shading and detail on areas that need more definition, but I can wait to see how it looks, all together.

And here is what I have done so far, using what colors I have and added some height to the cuffs and areas around the hat. I am thinking this would be fun to mount on a peg board, that I can use to hang stockings from, for next year.

I finished decorating but seem to see things, I just have to have. Last week it was another church, a prim tree and a snowman piece, I really need to stay out of stores, lol. It is just too fun to decorate for when the boys come over, Alex is at the age where everything is magical.

Here is a little of what I have around the house.

I also like lights and a bit of glitter. The house is on top of the kitchen cabinet and the creches are on my other shelves. Please ignore the beehive cookie cutter, I forgot I put it there, it goes in the craft room. I have an idea for it, with needle felting, another project for next year.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and a week filled with joy and peace.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Friday Finishes!

Well, I was able to finish all my pillows today and use up the last of the balsam. A few trips to the post office and a few more next week and I can relax. I do have boxes of cards, think I go carried away, so those will go out too.

I also finished off a stitchery, I had made earlier in the year. The box behind them, I found last week and plan on using it for my newest snowmen pillows.

With the new month, I also got the new stitchery from Kathy Schmitz. She also gave away an extra freebie and I had to make that for some quilting friends. I photoshopped the initial out of the heart, so that wouldn't show. They also have lavender in them, so the person can put it with their quilts or fabrics to keep them fresh smelling.

And, I finished the stitchery of the month. I was hoping for something for Christmas, so I went with brighter colors, but that didn't work, so it is more of a fraktur style bird. The fabric is crackle print with and I aged it to look like old parchment. Hard to see in the photo.

And another freebie this month was by Michelle Palmer, for her Artist's Facebook Group. She also has a fun snowman to do, as well. Of course I added a few of my own touches.

I hope you all are enjoying the holidays, whether with family or quiet time to create, what brings you peace and joy, is truly what matters. For me it is always bitter sweet, Danielle loved Christmas and I will always miss her, but I still keep her close to my heart. I found a beautiful ornament with a saying, it is at the lower right and the saying is on the photo. The other I found and put in a photo from one of our last hiking trips. My tree is covered in silly cat ornaments, but these two remind me that she is with us in spirit. May you all find peace this holiday season.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Friday Finishes!

I was actually able to get a few things done this week and even decorate the house for Christmas. It is a hard time of year, but I keep busy and enjoy making presents for others and decorating for the boys. I even put up my pencil tree and my unbreakable kitty ornaments, I know Alex will love that. He goes around my house and says kitty kitty, meow meow. Maybe grandma has way too many cat collectibles, lol.

I finished and hung my snowman piece, a free design by Buttermilk Basin. I really loved doing this one and love looking at it. It hangs from my front windows. I did the back with a premade quilted backing in black, that way it blocks out the sun and it doesn't shine through.

I also made up 14 balsam pillows. I still have a balsam, so I guess I need to make more, the next will be with the snowflakes. I cheated and bought a runner for my table. I plan on making runners for each season to fit the new table, fun projects for next year.

I also made two of the pre-printed pillows by All Through the Night. I have mixed feelings about these. I love the designs and they seem simple, but it took me awhile to stitch them, you have to be exact since the designs are printed on. The material is also a bit stiff and thin for my tastes. But, I still love them and love how they look, so I would do more of her pre-printed designs.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Always make sure you take the time to enjoy the holidays and creating for them, sometimes we try to do it all and put too much pressure on ourselves.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Friday finish and holiday fun!

I didn't get a lot finished this week, I did get my Christmas hanging quilted, so now I just have to finish it off. I also made some pillows and realize I need to make a lot more since I have two more bags of balsam, so I need to get busy on that.

I have a few relatives that love snowmen, so I made up some with a fun print and some simple ones. I do have a lot of the snowmen left, so I think I should use more of that, it makes it fun and most people seem to like bright and happy.

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. I started cooking and at first I thought I had used bad cornmeal, it was old, so I threw it out. The next day I had more pancakes with my blueberry sauce that I made from frozen berries. And, it happened again, but worse, sneezing non stop, coughing and blowing my nose and then nausea. So, I am assuming it was the blueberries, I know the pancakes were fine, all from scratch with fresh ingredients. I am still coughing and notice when I eat, I get worse, so I know it triggered off my mold allergies.

But, I was still able to get the rest of the food cooked and the house cleaned and enjoy the day with the kids and Ivy's friend. It is nice to have the extra company and we all fit around the table nicely. Which by the way, is new. We went out last weekend and found  larger table with an extension and comfy chairs. It is designed to look like reclaimed wood and the chair seats are padded.

Alex is growing fast and such a joy, he loves my home made popsicles and the card Bill got me, it has a kitty in a basket and when you pull it out, it meows Happy Birthday. Annoying to me, but watching Alex laugh every time he pulled it out, was the best present ever.

And we attempted to get family photos and ones with Santa, that didn't work out too well with the bad lighting, but we had fun trying. Santa was being more of a problem than the kids, lol.

Today I got all the decorations down and started with Christmas. It was cold but I really wanted to get out and hit the beach. We got to enjoy a few hours before the winds got too cold. Of course I came home tired so I didn't get much else done. 

We found some nice pieces of glass and nice to breath in some cool fresh air. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I am hoping I can get things done and get all my projects done in time.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Friday Finishes!

I was able to get a few things done this week and it is nice to finally make some progress on my unfinished items. The first is a BOM by Buttermilk Basin. I made the blocks, except for the largest one, so that got done and I was able to put it all together.

I know my piecing is wonky, it always is, but I can live with that. I added a single border to keep the main fabrics from raveling while I did the stitching, that will be trimmed down and another darker border will go around that. I did a feather stitch on the seam lines, hard to see in the photo, but I will take better photos when I finish it. I plan on quilting around the designs with a matching thread once I put the batting and backing on. There isn't a lot of room, so I think an outline, would be enough for this one.

I also finished some more pillows, using stitcheries that I made last year and some simple snowflake ones.  I have two more bags of balsam, guess I need to make a lot more and most will be with regular fabrics like the snowflake pillows and some with other designs, that I have in my stash. Some will go into gift boxes or as gifts and some will be hidden for others to find.

I hope you all have a wonderful week and holiday. I am finally feeling better from another bout with the flu and Bill has it now. I am hosting dinner so I will have to spend time getting the house rearranged and clean for company.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Weekend Wanderings!

This was a great weekend for getting out, even though it is getting cold. But not too cold to go for long drives and find new places to shop.

We headed into Connecticut to check out a new quilt store. We have driven by this town a lot and never knew that it was there. Sometimes it pays to do searches of areas you want to visit for shops that are in the area.

The store is called Colchester Mill Fabrics. I wasn't sure how nice it would be and if it was local mill fabrics but I was pleasantly surprised. It was a full service quilt shop, with 3 large rooms of fabrics, supplies and crafting items. They carry a lot of Moda fabrics and even wools, so it is a great store to stop in, if you are in the area.

The staff was friendly and helpful, if you had a question or needed to know where something was, they had the answer. So much nicer than the big stores, where they have no idea what is in stock. The only negative for me was, not that many prim patterns. They had a few but none that I wanted, which I guess is a good thing, lol.

Another thing they have is an assortment of gifts and decorative items. I found this cute snowman garland and had to have it. The hearts are rusty, but the flash washed the prim out.

Once you are done shopping, you can drive to the next town up, and visit the Shops at Marlborough Barn where there is a wonderful antique barn and a few other small shops and businesses. I was surprised at how big it was inside, room after room of antiques and primitive goodies and gift items. The prices were also reasonable, so another shop we can visit, since our favorite one is closing.

On Sunday, I just wanted to have fun and I wanted to have fun with Nick. Luckily my son stopped by and Nick stayed here, so we could just go and not pick him up. We took him to Mystic Aquarium which is also in Connecticut, not sure whey we just don't move there, lol.

We wanted to see the new Dinosaur exhibit, which was really fun and the boys loved it, both of them.

I loved what I saw in this photo, I think the whale is smiling at me;)

I took a quick shot of the penguins and noticed something picking out, behind the rock, when I looked at it closely. We all had a fun time, and since we got a Grandparents pass, we can come back anytime and bring Alex with us.

Today was an easy day, we went to our favorite antique barn, which is closing this year. They are trying to find a new place, so hoping they can and continue to host dealers and prim artists, since we usually find great things there. Today nothing interested me, but always fun to look.

Since we had time and the tide was going out, we hit the beach for an hour. Bean got to play and I found some nice pieces of glass, for my collection. It was cold and getting cloudy, so we didn't wait for the tide to go all the way out, I am sure there was a lot more glass, waiting to be found.

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and a week ahead, full of creating. The kids decided to have dinner at their house, so I said fine, leaves me more time to work on my quilts and get my Christmas items ready.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Friday Finishes!

This week I finally finished my Christmas painting, a free design found at Artist's Club. They offer downloadable patterns and lots of free ones. Of course I couldn't follow the directions for shading and changed up the colors a bit, so not perfect, but a fun piece.

I also made a pillow from Kathy Schmitz's, One Stitch Club. I was hoping for a holiday design, but this one is still beautiful and will make a nice gift. I added some lavender, with the stuffing.

I also made pillows out of the stitcheries I made last year and a few new snowflake pillows, all filled with a mix of stuffing and balsam. I got 3 bags of balsam, so I will be making a lot of smaller pillows with fun prints. I liked the red snowflakes, perfect to add the snowflake buttons to. The Annie and snowman are free patterns from Free Christmas Coloring pages.

 We still have color on some trees, but a lot of trees are dropping their leaves. Bean is quite  happy with the mess, his favorite activity in the fall. Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Weekend Wanderings!

Even with the rain, we had a wonderful weekend to get out. We headed into Connecticut just as the rain was ending, so we were able to enjoy a nice ride and visit a few places. I wanted to stop at Mystic Village which has a quilt shop, but it was no longer there. But we were still able to enjoy a walk through town and get a few goodies at the Christmas shop.

One place in Mystic that I love to visit is the Elm Grove Cemetary. I was hoping to see more foliage, but most of the trees had turned. It is still beautiful to drive through though, it is a garden cemetery on the Mystic river, a peaceful place to walk through.

What a beautiful setting for a family plot.

Since we were in the area, we took a drive to Ender's Island, where there is a Catholic retreat center. It was so windy, it was hard to enjoy the views and take photos. I love the buildings on the island, all made of stone, like the church.

There were still flowers in the gardens and views from Block Island to Fisher's Island in New york. In the distance I could see Latimer Reef Lighthouse.

The great thing about being out later is, we were a half hour from sunset so we headed to Napatree Point. What I didn't think about was, the wind. Coming over the dunes, I was hit with blasts of sand and close to the water, the ocean spray, so it was hard to stay still or get good shots. I was able to get a decent one and you can see the waves coming in. It was so beautiful, but hard to enjoy with the sand getting all over my camera.

Sunday was a beautiful day and much warmer, so I decided to hit the beach, while the tide was out. There weren't too many people in the morning, so I found a lot of nice treasures laying on the rocks.

And with the time change, it was still early enough to go for a ride. I needed more apples so we headed to the orchards to buy them from the store.

Along the way I spied this steeple and stopped for a look. The banks of the river were over flowing, so it was hard to get a shot, since we had to stand in the tree line.

We also stopped on the Thames river, where  you can walk out to the old train tracks. Another nice place to go for a stroll.

Since it was getting late, we decided to do a short hike up Lantern Hill. I wanted to see if I could spot the foliage from the first lookout. Of course the views were limited, so we went to the next height and the next, where we had nice views, but still hidden by the tree lines. So our short hike took us up the hill to the top, which was well worth it. The views are spectacular and you can see all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.

The sun was getting closer to the tree line and I really wanted to watch it set, but not from the top. It is a steep climb, so we went down to a lower level to watch it set. Since my photo  had a lot of black space, I added a saying I found on the web. We were able to get down before it got too dark, and my muscles are killing me today, but it was nice to finally get in a real hike.

I hope you all had a nice weekend and your own adventures.