Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Old Gray Mare . . .

Last night was Girls' Bowling Night. The "girls" consisted of me, my friend Lisa, my sister-in-law, the Wild Child, the Lovely Wife to be Someday (who, by the way, is finally sporting a beautiful diamond engagement ring after what's already been a long-ish engagement), and my 13-year-old niece who's never bowled before. Me? Well, it's been a few years. In my time, when I bowled on a league, I had a high game once of 248. My average was around 160. It's been awhile, though.

About 25 years, in fact.

The short of it is I have a new New Year's resolution: to get more exercise than what I get from the sport of extreme quilting.

I'm not very good about resolutions, though, so let's just say I'm thinking about it. And losing some weight would be good too.

The longer of it? On the third frame (first and only game of the night), I was still kind of tentative about bending (afraid I wouldn't be able to straighten back up) and thought the weight of the ball (after losing strength in my wrist from carpal tunnel surgery) might cause me to release it on the back swing and kill someone. And those darn rental shoes tend to stick, right? (Besides the fact that I always feel like I'm wearing CLOWN shoes!) So anyway, I was trying to bend but not bend too much, and not stick or accidentally let go of the ball, and somehow I twisted my left leg, felt the kind of pain you get with a Charley horse in the calf, and thought I felt a bit of a POP.

I'm better tonight. Last night, though, I had to stop bowling and limp around instead. There was more limping today. But I'm hopeful it's nothing serious after all--that POP kind of alarmed me.

One of the attorneys at my office--who bowls on occasion--cautioned me not to hurt myself playing Tiddly Winks this weekend. I swear I'm the Rodney Dangerfield of the office (without the weird eyes): I don't get much respect.

I don't really like New Year's resolutions though. Too much pressure, and they just set a person up to fail. But I'm going to give it a shot. Because at this rate, Lord only knows what might happen if I ever go miniature golfing. I figure that's probably a death event.

I DO like to make quilting resolutions, although I call them "plans" or maybe "goals" if I'm feeling really ambitious. I'll tell you about my plan for 2012 tomorrow. Tonight, though, I wonder: Do you have any (non-quilting) New Year's resolutions for the coming year?

Friday, December 30, 2011

Well THIS is Super Annoying!

I came home tonight to find mail waiting for me. A smallish package from McCall's Quilting. Cool, I guess--a quilting DVD. My gift for subscribing to the magazine, maybe?

NO! Not hardly! What McCall's sent to me--unsolicited and with absolutely no advance interest expressed by me--was an "Inspire - Design - Create" Quilting DVD, and they gave me the option of paying $12.95 to keep it (along with more $$ each time they sent me a new DVD) or I could send it back. And if I wanted to send it back? They provided detailed instructions that they've cautioned me to follow carefully: "Remove the disk from the case and insert it into the white Merchandise Return Envelope, along with your Reply Form. Detach the postage-paid Business Reply Label from the enclosed letter and also insert it into the envelope so that the label shows through the envelope window. . . . DO NOT return the DVD case. You may keep, recycle or discard it."

Really? You're really making me go to all this trouble, McCall's, to send back something I never ordered in the first place? And I want to continue subscribing to your magazine . . . why?

You know that guy at Netflix who raised the rates, drove away customers, and practically killed the company? Do you suppose he's been hired by McCall's now?

Thursday, December 29, 2011


I've been meaning to update you on the Christmas porn front. Remember I was talking about my blog stats and looking at what kind of searches brought people to my blog? Well, Christmas porn has been a popular search. Seventeen hits this week. People are odd, aren't they? As an experiment, I Yahoo'd and Googled "Christmas porn" and didn't see my blog come up at all on the first couple search pages, but that's as far as I got--I was sidetracked looking at all the rest of the Christmas porn. Mrs. Claus has been particularly naughty this year. (Okay, I didn't really look. I didn't want to chase away those visions of sugar plums dancing in my head.)

Someone left a comment asking about the pattern for the Garden Club quilt. (I'm too lazy to go back into my emails to see who it was, but I DO know they were "no-reply" because I attempted to reply on my new Kindle, and it was kind of a pain.) The quilt is the main project in a book entitled [drum roll, please] Garden Club Quilts. If you're interested in making the quilt, you can find the book used through Amazon by clicking HERE. I love Amazon's used books--I buy used to buy a lot of my books there. And did you know you can become a seller too? I turned over a bunch of my unwanted quilt books to the Wild Child and she's listed them--I told her if she makes any money, she can keep it for her move to New York. I'd insert a shameless plug with a link to her book listings here except I have no idea what her seller name is.

Someone else left a comment a week or so ago asking me how I get comments in my e-mailbox and move them into folders for my giveaways. There's a setting in Blogger under the "comments" tab that asks for an email address for comment notification. I have my email address listed there, and all of my comments come into my mailbox. And because I have a Yahoo mailbox which allows me to make subfolders, I can set up folders for the giveaways I do. After I read a comment, if the person wants to be included in the drawing, I move their email into the appropriate folder--that way I don't have to re-read comments from people who don't want to participate, and I don't have to print out all of the comments. I just pick a number (either through a random number generator or a random family member) and count up to the winning comment. Easy peasy!

I'm sure I've mentioned before how much I dislike mornings. I don't think people--except maybe farmers and ranchers--were meant to get out of bed before the sun is fully risen. Had my garbage man ascribed to that belief, Tuesday morning would have been better for me.

I woke up about ten minutes before my alarm was set to go off, and knowing I wanted a bit more sleep than THAT, I reset the alarm. Just as my head touched the pillow and my eyes were nearly closed, I heard the sound of the garbage truck grinding down a nearby street. Because we were a bit discombobulated over the days of the week due to Christmas and then the holiday on Monday, I wasn't sure the Wild Child would have remembered to wheel the cans down to the street. So, of course, I jumped out of bed, pausing only to turn off the alarm, and high tailed it out to the side yard where I found the cans HAD been moved for pick up.

Nothing to get too excited about there, right? Well, when I got back into the kitchen, I wasn't quite in full possession of my faculties--not like I would have been had I begun the morning in a more leisurely, civilized manner--and when I went to pull out the coffee maker's water reservoir to make a fresh pot of coffee, imagine my surprise to find the reservoir already FULL of water. Not expecting the added weight, as soon as the reservoir was free of the holder, my wrist flopped over, and water poured all over the countertop, down the cabinet and the front of the dishwasher, and splashed all over me. Nice way to start the work week, eh?!

But my early morning escapades didn't end on Tuesday. This morning I woke up around 4:30 a.m. to the sound of a cat batting one of the Christmas ornaments on the bedroom tree. Sitting up in bed, I hissed "STOP IT, MISTER!" Stitch sat on the dresser, calmly looking at me. I laid back down and started drifting off to sleep when I again heard the tap, tap, tap of a batted ornament. "Okay, that's enough," I thought, and jumping out of bed, I grabbed Stitch to assist him in reaching the other side of the closed bedroom door. Unfortunately, Stitch was somehow attached to the tree--hard to have known or anticipated since it was still pretty dark in the room. The longer the tree "followed" us, the harder his claws dug into my stomach/chest/arm. I swear he grew at least two more paws! The tree ended up on the floor, Hubby sat bolt upright (and confused) in bed, and Stitch happily left the bedroom (and his bleeding victim) far behind.

After picking up the tree and all the ornaments, I went back to sleep until the alarm went off a couple hours later. At least I didn't have to make coffee again this morning.

Oh, and I DID wake up--that second time--feeling a little better than I did last night. I really DO think it must be allergies. AND I think I've made friends with my Kindle. At least I'm starting to understand it a little more. I just need to finish the hard copy book I'm currently reading so I can try out an e-book and see how I like it.

If you've posted any questions in comments that I haven't answered or if I've forgotten to follow up on anything I've written about, let me know. With the year coming to an end, it's nice to tie up loose ends.

Have you accomplished what you hoped to accomplish in 2011? We'll talk about that in the next day or two, so give it a little thought if you haven't already. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mud Brain

I've been trying to figure out tonight how this Kindle Fire works. I guess I'm becoming an old geezer because this darn new-fangled technology is alien to me. Seriously, I don't have a cell ("smart") phone, and I know the devices work very similarly--so working the Kindle is probably quite simple for 98 percent of the population. Me? Not so much.

And despite the fact that the thing can access the internet, I had to get on my desktop computer to find the user's guide that finally told me what to do.

Everything's done with an icon these days, and figuring out what the icons mean is like learning a second language--even if it IS a fairly limited language. Some of the stuff I was trying to figure out how to do began with instructions to tap the menu button. Except, for the life of me, I couldn't find a MENU button--or nothing I would associate with the term, in any event.

Finally, I found an illustration that explained with arrows, words, and pictures what everything was. As I've gotten older, I find illustrations are much more helpful than written directions. Probably because my attention span is shorter and my natural curiously is oftentimes abandoned in favor of unnatural frustration.

Turns out the menu icon looks a little like a lined tablet. Old school stuff.

I think what's been making it harder for me is the fact that my brain is filled with snot. (I thought "mud" sounded nicer than Snot Brain as a title, especially if you're having your breakfast, but it's really snot.) I've been telling myself it's allergies, but I've been feeling worse and worse and my throat has gotten scratchier and scratchier. And several people at the office have colds. I'm not quite ready to admit defeat, but just to be on the safe side, I'm going to chug a half bottle of Nyquil and get to bed early with a paper back book. Because I don't think it's safe for me to take Nyquil and operate complicated machinery like this Kindle.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Day After . . .

Did you have a wonderful Christmas? We had a lovely day, Hubby and I and our kids (including Soccer Son's Lovely Wife to Be Someday). We gathered in the late morning to open gifts and have Christmas lunch before going to see Hugo in 3D. It was the first time in years I've watched a movie in 3D--pretty fun!

We all agreed the movie was a good one, and afterward we returned home to make egg rolls and jalapeno poppers to snack on while we played Apples to Apples and the card version of Monopoly. Other than the fact that I didn't win a single game, I enjoyed myself the entire day.

I find it's really kind of weird having adult kids who buy us nice gifts. The Wild Child gave me cheese making lessons for three (if we can arrange it before the Wild Child moves to New York in a couple weeks, she, Soccer Son's LWTBS, and I will take the class). Soccer Son, et al., gave Hubby and me a gift certificate for a night's stay in the same hotel we spent our honeymoon night in a quaint, touristy town about an hour or two away. Am I spoiled, or what?

Hubby and I have an agreement not to get gifts for one another, and every now and then, one of us cheats. This year it was him: He bought me a Kindle Fire. Between you and me, I've been pretty resistant to reading something that's not a good, old-fashioned, paper book, but now that I have this device, I'm kind of excited about it. I unpacked it tonight and I have it charging. What do you think? Do you have one? Want one? Wouldn't want one?

Today I got together with a friend, Imelda, to talk about the Autumn House applique project we're planning and have lunch. We looked over the fabrics we've both been "collecting" and agreed we probably have what we need. We hope to get together with two other friends once a month to share fabrics and encourage one another. I'm really anxious to get started soon.

In the meantime, I've been working on section 4 of the Garden Club quilt, and I just finished the parts for that this evening.

I haven't decided yet whether to go on to section 5 next or get back to my Rabbits on Crack applique. I DO have a little non-quilting craft project to work on this week, though, so it may be neither applique project for a day or so.

It's back to work for me tomorrow, but at least it's only four days of work and then another three day weekend. We almost always spend a quiet New Year's Eve and I think this year will not be an exception. How about you? Do you have any fun New Year's plans this year?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

My Christmas Eve day was spent in a fairly relaxed way. I did a little "puttering" around the house, doing some light cleaning to get ready for THE DAY. I went through all of my quilting books, culling out the ones I no longer want and reshelving the ones I do--all as part of my whittling down of quilty stuff. After the "chores" were done, I got out the book and fabrics for the Garden Club Quilt and started section 4. While I appliqued the first part, I watched the first Sherlock Holmes movie--the one that came before the movie that's in theaters now. All in all, a really nice day!

I mentioned showing you the three quilty gifts I made this week. Maybe you've seen the pattern for making quick tablerunners using a striped "border-type" fabric? I can't remember what it's called or who it's by, but it's a simple concept. A 60 degree triangle "ruler" and the fabric itself does most of the work, so it was possible to make a couple of nice gifts fairly quickly.

The two "round" ones went to my two work "lunch buddies." The three of us try to get out to lunch--usually Chevy's--every week or two. The longer runner was for another friend from work--someone I've known there since I started. I was so glad to be able to make gifts for these special friends.

I made a fourth, longer tablerunner that I was going to give as a gift but I realized how perfectly it went in my livingroom, on the chest we use as a coffee table. I didn't have a runner or tabletopper on it, and it was taking a bit of abuse from--well, I'm not sure. It looked like hot cups had been put on the wood, but I never actually SAW anything put down that shouldn't have been, so I'm not sure what was causing it. In any event, the chest is now better protected and I've paired up some homemade edible goodies with a purchased gift for the person I initially thought I'd make it for. And really, I'm pretty sure that it's a better choice in this instance anyway, so it's all good.

This evening when I went to take a photo of the runner on the chest, I noticed Stitch was nowhere to be found. I guess he's hiding from Santa. Where could he be?

Aren't animals funny?

I picked a winner for the quilt top I showed you yesterday. Cory said, "My church's Hugs Ministry would gladly accept this top. We make quilts, pair them with stuffies and give them to the local fire department for kids in crisis situations. Thank you for the opportunity to add to a ministry that is very near to my heart. Merry Christmas to you and your family. Take care and God bless." I think you'll agree with me that the quilt top will be going to a good home. Cory, please email me your mailing address and I'll get it in the mail when life gets back to normal on Tuesday.

If I don't post tomorrow night, it will be because I'm spending time with my family and/or am worn out by the festivities of the day. Now, though, I'm going to try to get to bed early with a book and a cup of hot chocolate and wait for Santa to arrive. I hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday. Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Calm Before The Storm

I'm done. At least I THINK I'm done. The weekend is here, and my paying job's done until Tuesday. The gift shopping is done--even the gifts for me. I THINK the grocery shopping is done. But is it ever really? I wouldn't be surprised if I remembered something I've forgotten. The gifts are wrapped. The goodies are made/baked. Even the tickets for the Christmas movie are purchased. (We decided on Hugo as it was the only movie that appealed to everyone.)

It's Friday night and I've finally been able to get into the Sweat Shop to spend some time NOT MAKING CHRISTMAS GIFTS! Wooo-hoooooo!

Tomorrow Hubby's going to his brother's house to watch some football; no idea what the Wild Child has planned. I DO know that I'm going to relax, sew, and maybe reassess my quilt-related stashes. In fact, I've already begun.

You know I've been giving away patterns I don't think I'll ever get around to making and I've finally gotten through the bunch. Now I've started thinking about quilt tops that aren't quite done but that I don't have any desire to finish. And I'm wondering what to do with them. This one, for instance:

I worked on this during a monthly class where we learned about fabrics and quilting styles from the 1800s. It's very scrappy. It's somewhere between 40" and 45" wide and long. And it's been taking up space for over a year now. Maybe you'd like it?

Not only do I have the quilt top, but I have a few scrappy pieces of fabric to send along with it, in case the new owner wants to add another border. There are even some already constructed HSTs.

If this project appeals to you, please leave me a comment saying you'd like to adopt it. If more than one of you are interested, I'll draw a "winner." And if there is a drawing, I'll announce the winner on Christmas.

I think this is just the first of a few quilt tops I'll give away, so if this isn't your style, maybe something will come up that is. I think I may also clean out my stash of Thimbleberries fabric and kits from the past four or five years and list some of them on Etsy before too long. I'll let you know when I do that in case any of you are Thimbleberries fans. It's not that I no longer like Thimbleberries--it's just that I've "collected" a lot more than I'll ever use and I need the space in the Sweat Shop.

How are your Christmas preparations coming along? Are you ready or are you frantic? Have you made many gifts this year or have you purchased most of them? In my next post, I'll show you a couple of the gifts I've made--and one I decided to keep for myself. Glad you could stop in for a visit!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Busy "Doing" Christmas

The Wild Child and I have been out looking at a couple of the larger holiday light displays tonight, so I haven't much time to write. Instead, I'll give you this:

Because, really, who can resist puppies? Especially Christmas puppies? I really think the Wild Child should have put Santa hats on them, though!

Remember back in October how the Drooling Dog was having a difficult time figuring out what he was supposed to do with the female boxer he was smitten with? And how he finally figured it out? Well, this is the result--three boys and three girls, born last weekend. The Wild Child got to meet them tonight.

"See" you back here tomorrow!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Binge Shopping

OMG, there's a REASON I don't normally shop! Remember the cardinal rule of Christmas shopping? Buy a gift, buy something for yourself, buy a gift, buy something for yourself . . . ? Well, I can't seem to even stick to THAT rule! My shopping experience has been more like "buy something for myself, buy a gift, buy three things for myself, decide to keep the gift I bought, buy another gift, buy six things for myself, . . . ."

By the way, I remembered the second store I wanted to go to today. And then I thought of a third. Remember I mentioned stocking stuffer type gifts? I guess I'm stuffing my own stocking.

First I went to Bev Mo and bought several bottles of adult beverages--one is a gift, although I'm trying to justify keeping it for myself. But that could be a problem, you see. Because the person I bought it for? I WAS making them a gift until I realized how nice it would look in my own home. ARGH!

Then I went to Total Beauty Experience, a large store with all kinds of scented, girly beauty products--and a few manly products too. I bought myself several nice things there, and I'm thinking about going back again for the couple things I wanted but restrained myself from buying. Oh, and I guess I DID buy a couple gifts there, but not too many.

The last store was Cost Plus and I actually DID find several gifts there. I guess I must have run out of things I needed for myself. Almost--I did find a couple things for the person at the top of my Christmas list--ME!

I'm pleased to say, though, that my Christmas sewing and shopping is very close to being done. I'll be bringing gifts for my office peeps to work tomorrow, just in case anyone plans to be out on Friday. After that, it's just the family, so picking up a bucket of coal should be pretty simple.

Gosh I'm tired out! It must be all that shopping. Time for bed. I wonder if there are any other stores I should visit on my lunch hour tomorrow? Hummmmmmmm . . . .

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Santa's Got Nothin' on Me!

I hope your Christmas preparations are coming along nicely. I'm working on what I think are my last four somewhat small Christmas gift projects--I'll get photos and show you after they've been gifted, but I can tell you that I have one done and the other three just need the bindings stitched down.

I have one food-type gift that still needs to be made. I have a couple others made but they still need to be packaged for gifting.

I have some miscellaneous shopping left to do--more or less of the stocking stuffer variety, so I think I can just stop in at a couple places. I had two in mind earlier tonight and now I can only remember one! Hopefully the other store will pop back into my mind. I think I can do at least one during my lunch hour tomorrow.

The couple gifts I needed to mail went into the mail today.

My office is collecting groceries for a local food bank--I did a little shopping during my lunch hour today, so that's one item I can check off my list.

Oh! And I finally remembered to pay bills tonight--something I kept overlooking with all the other things that needed doing. Now my conscience is clear for awhile.

The Wild Child, Soccer Son, His Lovely Wife to be Someday, and I had some tentative plans to go look at Christmas lights sometime this week but we can't seem to work out an evening when we're all available. I may just make a detour or two on the way home from work one night and look at them myself--it's something I really enjoy doing, and it's just not Christmas without that little ritual.

Unless something comes up, I don't think I'll do a blog post tomorrow night. It's getting to be crunch time for Christmas readiness and I think I need the time, even if it's only to sleep. So if you don't "see" me here tomorrow, don't worry about me. Just send some friendly Christmas elves to help, okay?

Now, about the pattern winners.

For Loon Lake, I picked Carol Fun, who said, "Loon Lake is talking to me -- I think it is the bear that's talking, the moose just seems to mumble -- anyway I would love to have this pattern and thanks for your giveaway!"

Caroline gets the sampler quilt pattern. She said, "I would like the Sampler pattern, because my first "real" quilt (other than the basic squares quilt and tied with yarn), is wearing out. Thanks for the giveaway!"

And the winner of the mystery quilt pattern is "Krislovesfabric." She commented that she "would love to try the Mystery quilt with our small quilt group. We are always looking for fun projects to do together, thanks for the chance! Your blog is always fun and often inspiring to read, thanks for your time!! :) Merry Christmas!"

Carol, Caroline, and Kris, please email me your mailing addresses and I'll get the patterns in the mail to you.

Finally, I wanted to ask you a favor. If you've seen a good movie recently, please leave me a comment about it. I think we may go see a movie on Christmas and we're trying to decide which one. Of course, there are a couple that aren't playing yet that we're all interested in, but your opinions will help too.

Merry Last Days Before Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Short Stuff

I'm going to make this post pretty brief, because THIS Santa's elf has a lot to do and needs to get to sleep eventually. There were a couple questions about the tree quilt I showed you yesterday: how I quilted it and what the pattern was. Sorry--sometimes I just forget anyone else might be interested. The quilting pattern I used for everything but the trees and border was that swirly snow pattern that I did the little tutorial on a week or so ago. Then on the trees, I just did straight lines down from the point in each section to the bottom edge, making the lines about 1" to 1-1/2" apart at the bottom edge of the triangles. The pattern is called Trees Up, Lights On by Sandy Gervais/Pieces from my Heart and it's one of her stack and slice patterns, similar to the method used in some of the Buggy Barn patterns. It's a really fun and different way of piecing--try it if you haven't already. I've taught a couple classes on it; next time I make a quilt of this type, I'll try to remember to do a tutorial.

Now, here are those random patterns I'd like to give away:

There's a sampler quilt in the center; on the right is a pattern called Loon Lake--I'd categorize it as a country applique pattern; and on the left is a mystery quilt. Of course, if you get the mystery quilt pattern, you just need to look at the last page to see what it looks like, but I won't show you in case you don't want to find out yet. Also, if you're part of a group or teach quilt classes, it might be a fun one to have to offer to others--I got it from a mystery quilt class I took.

I'm giving each pattern away separately and you need to tell me in your comment which pattern you'd like to win. And if you really want more than one (you greedy little quilter! LOL!), then leave a comment for each entry. The way I do these is to move the comments that come into my email into a separate folder, so for this one, there will be three different giveaway folders, and I can't move one comment to more than one folder. Make sense?

I'll draw winners tomorrow night and announce the winners in my Wednesday post, so please check back to see if you got lucky! As for me, it's back to the Sweat Shop for more elfishly magical fun. (The magic comes in trying to figure out how I can get it all done before Christmas!)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Counting Down . . .

Can you believe Christmas is less than a week away? Crazy, isn't it?!

My friend Lisa had a couple of holiday decorating ideas I wanted to share because they're fast and simple. I think many of us have this type of chandelier. To dress it up, Lisa cut apart an artificial garland and made small wreaths. She added a decorative ornament and a bow to each, and hung one from each arm of the fixture.

I also loved this idea--adding votive candle holders in a larger, attractive candle that was nearing the end of its life.

Lisa has a housecleaner who also has a business staging homes for sale, and putting the votives into the candle was her idea. Wouldn't you love to have someone come in and clean your house AND decorate?! When the votives are lit, the large candle looks just like it did originally with the flickering light illuminating the sides.

We had Hubby's family's Christmas gathering today and my gift--we do one of those Mad Santa gift exchanges--was this quilt that I finished quilting the other day:

Several of you thought I SHOULD count it as my 11th quilt in 2011, so I will--and that means I've reached my goal. I sure was itching to work on one of my applique projects tonight, but I'm not done making Christmas gifts yet, so the evening was spent in the Sweat Shop, working on a couple last-minute projects. The applique will need to wait.

Speaking of applique, I picked a winner of the lighthouse pattern. The winner, Barbara, said:

"Oh that would be the perfect pattern for my dad. Two summers ago he was a volunteer to work on the lighthouse that is in the Boston Harbor. He was able to live at the lighthouse for two weeks. I have been looking for a lighthouse quilt pattern. Thanks so much for the chance to win one."

Barbara, please email me your mailing address and I'll get the pattern in the mail to you.

As I mentioned, I have a couple other random patterns, and I'll try to get those posted tomorrow so you can see whether you might be interested. Thanks for taking time to stop by!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Good Stuff

During the holidays, we are often invited to different gatherings where everyone brings an appetizer. The get together we attended tonight--The Greenwold's First Annual Holiday Pictionary Challenge--was no exception.

Earlier this week, I spent a little time online, looking for an appetizer recipe and I came across Honey's Spicy Honey Wings on the Food Network's website. Its five-star rating is well deserved. The real challenge was putting down the wings long enough to play Pictionary!

Click HERE to check out the recipe. If you need an appetizer for a holiday gathering--or if you're attending a tailgate party or a football "event"--don't forget these wings. Oh, yum! I know you'll love them!

Now, what did I do differently from the recipe? Not too much. I ran across Emeril's Essence seasoning at the grocery store a month or two ago, so I had some in my cupboard. That's a time saver, but if your store doesn't carry it, mix up a batch and keep it on hand. The other thing I did differently was to cut the two sections of the wings apart at the joint. I think it makes them much easier to eat and they cooked a little quicker too.

We had an excellent time at the party, even aside from the food. Pictionary was played girls versus boys, and the boys won. I'm sure they cheated. I'm also sure we'll have a rematch!

Are any of you interested in making a lighthouse quilt? Here's a cool pattern I found in my pattern stash that I don't think I'll ever make. If you'd like it, leave me a comment asking to be put into the drawing and I'll pick a winner tomorrow night.

I have a couple more random patterns I'll give away in the next day or two, so make sure you check back, even if you're not interested in lighthouses.

Now it's time for me to get to bed, because there's another Christmas gathering tomorrow--and I have more appetizers to make. Stuffed mushrooms for that one. I'll be sure to let you know how they turn out!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Safe Again and Home For the Weekend!

I know you're worried about Mr. Bill, so I'll tell you right up front that a daring air rescue was successful today.

I brought my camera to the office, so I could capture photographic forensic evidence, which I hoped would assist in Mr. Bill's recovery. I know it's hard to see because the colors are so similar, but here's a photo of the crime scene and the rubberband that was cut during the toy-napping:

The rubberband is looped around the tree trunk and is partially obscured by the dried floral baby's breath. The kidnapper cut the rubberband and grabbed Mr. Bill, ruthlessly shoving that poor snow baby aside.

Ultimately, Mr. Bill was spotted confined in a metal bucket, surrounded and camoflaged by Christmas floral material.

We quickly discovered that walking away from prison wasn't possible for Mr. Bill, so we arranged to bring in a toy helicopter with a winch to lift Mr. Bill out of the bucket and carry him to safety. Because it was a covert operation involving several agencies and a number of undercover operatives, we were not permitted to photograph the rescue.

And the rescue did not go without incident.

In the end, though, Mr. Bill was sufficiently recovered to join Gran for coffee at Starbucks at the end of the day. I believe she will have a photograph or two on her blog before long.

Mr. Bill will be spending the weekend at my house, where we will try to keep him safe. Here you can see he's settled into the penthouse suite where he's out of reach of the Drooling Dog and the curious cats, Spike and Stitch.

You should also know that the toy thief has not yet been identified and apprehended, so we must remain alert and vigilant.

In a somewhat related bit of news, Saturday Night Live is airing their yearly Christmas show this Saturday night. It should be worth watching. Remember the Alec Baldwin, NPR, and Schweddy Balls bit a few years back? Classic!

If I don't post tomorrow night, it's probably because I've had too much fun visiting friends and am (1) still not home; (2) too tired to write; or (3) had a drink or two too many and can't remember how to turn the computer on. (Don't worry--I'm not the designated driver!)

I hope you have an excellent weekend planned and get most of your pre-Christmas "chores" done too!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Oh Noooooooooooo!

Since I returned to work following the latest carpal tunnel surgery, in the absence of my boss I've done some overflow work for other attorneys in the office. A few weeks ago, I was listening to a piece of dictation that began something like this: "Noooooo! Sh$t! This thing is broken! Oh, nooooooooooooooo!" I figured out fairly quickly that the attorney was having some kind of trouble with the recording device, and when the actual dictation picked up, it did so mid sentence. After considering the situation for a minute, I decided to transcribe the dictation verbatim so the attorney would know WHY the typing began mid sentence.

I'd forgotten all about it a few days later when I heard the attorney start to laugh and say, "Oh nooooooo. Noooooooooooooo! Mr. Bill...." Of course, she'd picked up the draft of that particular dictation for review, and she and I had a good laugh. End of story, or so I thought.

On Monday I came to work to find Mr. Bill sitting on my computer. Oh, boy! A new toy! Again the attorney and I had a good chuckle and over the next couple days, I had fun posing Mr. Bill.

Unfortunately, Mr. Bill has come in for some harrassment of late. While we were at the office holiday party yesterday, someone took Mr. Bill from my desk. I finally found him amid the holiday decorations at another secretary's desk; she denied any knowledge or involvement. The attorney who originally gave me Mr. Bill rescued him and returned him home to my desk, and I went about the rest of the day's business.

Mr. Bill's challenges didn't end with his return home. I was asked to to cover the phones when our receptionist had to leave early for a doctor appointment. Using a long rubberband, I carefully teathered Mr. Bill to the Christmas tree at my desk for his own safety and protection, but when I returned to my desk, the rubberband had been cut, and Mr. Bill was nowhere to be found.

Before leaving the office, I put up posters and sent out an email asking for information about Mr. Bill's kidnapping.

I have my suspicions, and I don't think it's Sluggo or Mr. Hands. Seriously, what could be more frightening than a toy thief at this time of the year? I just hope Mr. Bill isn't cold, hungry, and lonely somewhere tonight. Hold on, Mr. Bill! We'll save you!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

On The First Day of Christmas . . .

Today was my first day of this year's Christmas gatherings and gift exchanges and it started out in a very challenging manner. First, I was a little late to work because I hadn't allowed myself enough time to wrap the gifts for the exchanges. Then, when I got to work, I realized I'd left my reading glasses at home--and I can barely read the computer screen without them. My office manager came through with a spare pair, but after a couple hours, I had to make a run to the drug store to buy a pair because the ear pieces of the borrowed pair were uncomfortable.

After that, though, the day got better.

First, we had our office holiday party at a local restaurant. As we were walking the couple blocks from the parking garage, we passed NBA basketball player Peja Stojakovic. We have no idea what he was doing in Sacramento since he plays for the Dallas Mavericks, but maybe he was visiting friends or family here--he played for the Kings for several years.

The appetizers and cocktails were most excellent and we played that Mad Santa gift game, where you can either open a new gift or steal something that's already been opened. I brought two gifts because (1) I thought they were so silly, they'd provide some entertainment and (2) I was pretty sure at least one person would forget to bring a gift. Here's what I brought:

And yes, they were both popular gifts and were stolen a few times before settling in with their new owners.

And what did I end up with? Well, I didn't take a photo, but it was a decorative Christmas plate that looks a bit like fused glass. I bought myself one last year at Pier 1 and the one I stole today is a match for that one. Much, MUCH better than a basketball net to wear on the head, believe me.

After that, I headed to the next event--our Thimbleberries Club end of the year party.

Throughout the year, those of us who completed a large quilt using Thimbleberries fabric and brought it in for show and tell got a ticket for the end of the year drawing. We did the same thing with Thimbleberries mini quilts. Well, I'm pretty excited to tell you that this year, I won the prize for the big quilts! Woo-hooooo!

My prize was a tabletopper/wallhanging sized quilt made by our two teachers/leaders; after I opened the package, all of our members signed it--

Isn't it a great momento of a year spent with friends? I also won a gift certificate to the quilt shop. Can't beat that, right?!

Our Thimbleberries Club also had a gift exchange, and the gift I brought for that one was that first darker little Santa wallhanging I made last weekend--

Pam got my gift and has already posted a "thank you" on my blog. Most of the gift givers remained anonymous, but there are a couple people who read my blog and recognized it, so it wasn't a secret for long! Pam is an excellent quilt maker and designer, so I know Santa's gone to a good home!

And the gift I drew? A box of See's candy! Isn't it funny the way we all recognize the size and shape of a See's candy box? I've stashed it in the Sweat Shop for those times when I need a little chocolaty energy to keep me going. Which is pretty much constantly at this time of the year!

Still to come in the next few days? Friday evening, I'm meeting a friend to exchange gifts. Saturday evening another friend is having a holiday gathering. And on Sunday, Hubby's family is having their Christmas gathering. And although I still have a few things to prepare, I'm also looking forward to having just as much fun as I did today.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Just Remember to Breathe

Isn't it funny how hearing that just about everyone else is in the same boat you're in helps make things easier somehow? For me, maybe it's because I'm pretty sure you'll all pull it together in time for Christmas, one way or another--and that gives me hope that I will too. Of course, Christmas is coming whether we're ready or not.

And can I just point out that the ONLY person who commented that they were in good shape and ready for Christmas was "anonymous," so we can't even TRY to persuade them to pitch in and help! Ha!

I woke up this morning feeling a little more calm. What I had figured out is that I need to take things one step at a time. There's really no need to worry about NEXT week just yet--all I need to worry about for now is what needs to be done THIS week.

During my lunch hour, I went shopping for a couple gifts for friends and found gifts I'm happy about giving. Of course, I can't show you now, but remember my cardinal rule of gift buying and how for every gift you buy, you need to buy one for yourself? Well, I think I outdid myself!

I'll just show you these cuties that I found at a local "antique mall."

I have no idea how old they are, but I suspect they aren't very old--maybe from the 80s or 90s. But I think they have character and appeal, don't you?

Last Sunday night, when I went into the Sweat Shop, I was thinking about making a few smallish gift projects, but the idea of starting on something else just then was a bit daunting. Then I remembered I had pinned a Christmas quilt top for quilting--a quilt top I'd made last year and then set aside. I decided to work on getting this one quilted instead.

I finished the quilting tonight but I still have to do the binding. I haven't decided whether to count this as my 11th quilt for the year. It IS something I'm finally completing, and that was the whole point in the 11-quilt goal this year. But then again, it's not a very big quilt. Well, I'll give it a little thought as I'm binding it.

By the way, Florence left a comment about some of the Christmas things I did last year--mugs with hot chocolate mix I put together for my co-workers and our firm's annual San Francisco shopping trip. Since she mentioned it, I'll tell you that I ended up skipping the shopping trip this year. It was scheduled for the day after I stayed home sick with a cold (and a fever), and I thought a day of wandering around the City might not be the best thing for me--after all, the last thing I wanted was to tire myself out and get sicker! But I'm sure I'll go next year, and I didn't really mind missing it this time.

I've been kicking around a couple ideas for "Christmas treats" for the people I work with, but I haven't made any definite decisions yet. That's one of the things I've decided I don't really HAVE to worry about until next week.

Oh, and I just remembered I hadn't told you! Remember my boss took a leave of absence to live with her new husband in China? His contract was going to be up in the fall and he expected he'd be relocated to the US then. Well, we just heard yesterday that he's going to stay in China for the foreseeable future, so my boss is leaving the firm to stay with him. I'm really sad for myself because I enjoyed working with her, but I think this is a wonderful opportunity for her.

Tomorrow is my firm's holiday lunch/reception and following that is my Thimbleberries Club's end-of-the-year party. Yes, it's going to be another busy day--one that I need to prepare for. I still have a couple gifts to wrap, so it's time for me to say goodnight and finish up because I don't think Santa's elves are planning to stop by tonight and pitch in. If I'm wrong, though, and they do show up, I'll send them on to help you, okay?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Visions of Sugar Plums?

I'm beginning to feel a little bit of panic. I have Christmas thoughts swirling around in my head and I've been busy scurrying hither and yon, looking for the perfect gifts with no real idea of what I'm looking for. And then I return home and shut myself away in the Sweat Shop, feverishly attempting to complete quilted gift projects.

Most of our gift-giving "events" will take place by the end of this coming weekend, so time is short. I've suddenly realized I've failed to make any real plans, thinking somehow that everything will fall magically into place. Or that it won't, perhaps, but in the back of my mind, thinking that SOMEONE ELSE will step up and handle everything, despite many years' evidence to the contrary. Or maybe I've been thinking that there's plenty of time to worry about that later, except now "later" is here.

Hubby has asked me the last few mornings whether there's anything I'd like him to do to help, but I have no answer, because I have no plan.

Christmas has come too fast. December arrived before October even started, didn't it? Where did the fall go?

Are you disorganized this year? Or are you calm and on track to complete all the tasks on your list by December 24th? Or perhaps you're done already and just sitting back, sipping hot chocolate, and waiting for Santa to arrive? Mostly I'd like to know that I'm not alone in this state of Christmas chaos. But, also, if you're just sitting there pounding down the hot chocolate, maybe you'd like to come over and be that SOMEONE ELSE I'm hoping will save the day? What's your holiday state of mind right now?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Three Pictures Are Worth . . .

3,000 words, right?

I highly recommend decorating gingerbread houses as a family "event"--it's a lot of fun. The Wild Child decorated the house on the left, and Soccer Son and his Lovely Wife To Be Someday did the middle house. Mine is the one on the right--the one with candy covering every little bit of it. Hubby didn't want to decorate a house, but he offered words of encouragement from his recliner. Of course, more of his words of encouragement were directed at the football teams on the TV as well as a few not-so-encouraging words. He also wandered in and observed the decorations and periodically offered suggestions.

By the way, did you know that a gingerbread house will serve anywhere from 35 to 40 people and will provide around 120 calories a serving? (And of those 35 to 40 people, at least three will chip a tooth?) Who comes up with serving size and calorie counts for gingerbread houses? And how do you evenly divide a gingerbread house into 36 pieces (the serving size for the middle gingerbread house)?

I guess it's another Christmas puzzle--kind of like how Santa can visit every kid in the world on one night and can make it down all those chimneys.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Soup and Santas

A few days after Thanksgiving, I made a shopping trip to Trader Joe's in a desperate attempt to put a little beef back into my life. One of the fun things about Trader Joe's is the way they put a few of their products together and offer samples of the results. That day, they had created a rather tasty chicken soup--but being fed up with winged meat, I mentally filed the idea away for another day.

I was talking to my friend Sandy a few days later, and Sandy told me about this wonderful soup she'd made using chicken strips, chicken broth, and spinach-artichoke dip. Really? That was the same stuff I'd sampled at Trader Joe's! It turned out we were both there on the same day.

Fast forward another week, and I'm back in Trader Joe's, thinking about how comforting soup is in the winter, and that soup came to mind, so I grabbed some spinach-artichoke dip from the frozen food aisle, and a couple cartons of free range organic chicken broth. The next day, Hubby went to Safeway and found rotisserie chicken on sale--the two chicken breasts, shredded, were just what I needed. And while I was disappointed to find I didn't have a package of whole grain and wild rice in my cupboard, I DID have a package of rice pilaf.

Here's what dinner looked like--and I can't even tell you how really excellent it tasted!

Seriously, it was super simple to make. Here's what I did:

I cooked a package of Rice-A-Roni rice pilaf according to directions, but I used 2 cups of chicken broth instead of water.

While that was cooking, I poured the rest of the two containers of chicken broth into the crockpot and added the package (now defrosted in the fridge for two days) of spinach-artichoke dip. After stirring it around, I added the meat from two chicken breasts, and turned the crockpot on low.

When the rice was nearly done, I added it--with the liquid still in the pan--to the crockpot and left it alone for three or four hours, other than the occasional stir. Now it would have been just fine like that, but I had about 3/4 cup of cream left over in the fridge that I wanted to use up, so I added it to the soup. Milk, half and half, or nothing would have been nearly as good, so don't worry if you don't have cream to add or if you don't want those added calories and fat.

I have a seasoning mix called Soup Pot, and I added about a half teaspoon of that to the soup, but it's not that necessary either. You can add about the same amount of poultry seasoning for a similar result.

I also had a package of Crescent rolls left in the fridge from Thanksgiving. Before rolling them up, I brushed them with melted butter and sprinkled on some grated parmesan cheese and minced fresh thyme--also left over from Thanksgiving. Yum!

Having soup cooking in the crockpot left more time for me in the Sweat Shop. I made two more little Santa wallhangings today--this time, I experimented using more wool and some brushed cotton. Oh, and these guys are lighter and brighter too!

The Wild Child came home from work chilled to the bone, just as I was putting the leftover soup in a plastic container. I was so glad I could offer her a nice hot bowl of soup and a couple of warmed up Crescent rolls. After thawing out, she was ready to help me pick a winner for the Pere Noel pattern--and the entry she picked was from Sandie ~call me crazy. Sandie said, "LOL I love that cardinal rule!! :-) Your little quilt turned out wonderfully~ I either applique with the little iron, or just blanket stitch on some things. Maybe I should devote more time to applique in 2012 too...hmmm. Thanks for the chance on the pattern~ I have a friend who collects Santa's from all over, and if I won it, I'd make it for her. Have a happy weekend!"

Congratulations, Sandie! Please email me your address, and I'll get this pattern in the mail to you.

I hope all of you are making the most of your weekend and getting things done that need doing. Tomorrow we'll decorate gingerbread houses. I know we'll have fun!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

2012--A Year of Applique

I don't expect you remember me mentioning a month or two ago that I thought I'd devote myself mainly to applique in 2012, but I'm still serious about that idea. I've really enjoyed the applique I've done lately--it's very restful and it really doesn't take as long as most people might think--even though most of the applique I do is hand applique. I'm really enjoying the method my friend Imelda taught us, using starch, a mini iron, and a bit of glue. (I think I did a little tutorial on that method, right?)

I used that method on this little Santa project, and look how fast it went--three evenings from start to finish!

Speaking of Imelda, I was at her home tonight for a holiday open house--a couple other women from our stitchery group were there too, and we talked about quilting, among other subjects. Imelda does lovely work, and applique--especially if it's a Bunny Hill design--is one of her favorites. When I was cleaning out my patterns the other night, I found that somehow I'd purchased two patterns for Autumn House by Bunny Hill, so I wondered if Imelda wanted one.

Of course, she already had it, so we hatched a plan to work on it together. AND one of my other stitchery friends was interested in joining us, so I found a home for my extra pattern AND I have a fun project to look forward to working on with friends next year!

I started the ball rolling on YET another applique project today too. Another Bunny Hill design. Shhhhhh! I'm not telling Hubby for now! But I signed up for the Merry Merry Snowmen Block of the Month. Isn't it great?! And that French General fabric looks just right!

So that one will start in February. And, of course, there's the Garden Club quilt I started a couple months ago. Plenty to get me going in the new year!

Here's another pattern I came across when I was cleaning out--

Another Curtis Boehringer Santa pattern--this one is from a line called Father Christmas From Far Off Lands. This is Pere Noel from France. I also have an Irish Father Christmas, but I'm keeping him for now. Hubby comes from an Irish background, so I might decide to make it someday; not so much Pere Noel. Would you like to invite Pere Noel into your home? Leave me a comment and I'll draw a winner tomorrow night and announce who won on Sunday's post. I can mail to the US and Canada. The quilt is 32" x 44"--kind of a nice size for a wallhanging.

I bet you'll be busy this weekend, getting ready for Christmas--me too! Thanks for taking the time out of your crowded schedule to stop in for a visit. I hope you'll find a little "play" time this weekend also! And remember the cardinal Christmas shopping rule: One purchase for gifting, one purchase to keep, one purchase for gifting, one purchase to keep, . . . .

Friday, December 9, 2011

Well, You Asked!

Doris R. left a comment, asking about the Santa pattern. Doris, it's by a company called the Wooden Bear and it's a line called Little Quilts Squared. Click HERE to see their little quilts.

I've finished the applique--except for the wool mistletoe and moustache, and I'll sew those down with the machine when I quilt it. I think it's going to be very cute! I won't be giving away this pattern just yet because I want to make a couple of these little wallhangings. I also have the snowman pattern from the same company, and I'd like to make that one too! You can see it on the right side of the photo above.

Okay, are you ready for a little quilting? This is that swirly circular stitch I like to use, particularly on my winter quilts. First I make sure I've outline stitched the areas around where I'm going to be quilting--unless it's a really large area, and then I'll just start in the center and work my way out.

Next . . . . Well, I usually don't draw the pattern for this, but I will do it for you this time, so you can see how it's done. See that light pencil mark where I've drawn a spiral from the outside to the center?

You can practice this by doodling on paper first. And then draw a few spirals on a scrap quilt "sandwich" to test it out on the machine (free motion setting). But you'll start by making a spiral, stitching from outside the circle toward the center, making a couple "coils."

You'll want to leave twice the space you think you want between the coils, because once you reach the center, you'll loop around and spiral back out, stitching between the lines.

It's a little hard to see here, but that spiral closest to you is the first one I made. Then I sewed down the already stitched line about a 1/4" behind it to begin another spiral (or, in this case, a half spiral since the border cuts through what would have been a full circle).

After that, I continued on, adding more and more spirals.

I like to keep going, but sometimes I'll spiral my way into a corner and have to stop and start again. And sometimes I have to go back and do a little filling in where a spiral wasn't quite big enough to fill the space but there isn't enough space left to add another spiral. When that happens, I just add more lines to the closest and smallest spirals.

You don't have to keep your stitch lines precise but try to make sure most of them are roughly the same distance apart. I also like to vary the size of my spirals by adding more or fewer coils--but still keeping the stitch lines about the same width apart.

You can see, though, that they're not all perfect, and that's okay--it looks just fine when it's done. Also make sure the spirals are going in different directions so they don't all look the same. When I have to stop and start, I usually reverse the direction of my spirals for a little bit.

Easy, right? I hope you'll give it a try!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Up Next

Yesterday, Florence commented about the Santa pattern, wondering if I had created a whole wallhanging from just a pattern of Santa's head. Well, no--I really can't take that much credit. I had simply misplaced the full color cover when I was trying to get a photo. It has since turned up, so I thought I'd show you that what I ended up with looks much like the pattern.

A friend of mine made the same Santa wallhanging (we started at the same time but she actually FINISHED hers!) and used a narrow corduroy for Santa's coat; I used wool for mine. The ivy leaves are also wool. It's funny, looking now at my tiny blanket stitches on Santa's coat--I can't imagine having done that back then. With the leaves, I used a method I've talked about before where I stitch down the wool as I'm quilting the piece, and in this instance, I left the leaves somewhat dimensional, stitching only the veins of the leaves. I think that back when I was first working on this project, the idea of stitching down all those ivy leaves using teeny, tiny blanket stitches probably played a big part in my decision to pack it up and put it away!

I mentioned I had another old Christmas project I wanted to pull out and assess to see what still needed to be done. This is it--

I pieced the basket quilt top some time ago, and then I added some minimal applique a few years later--I can't remember if it was last year or the year before. Now that I have it out, I'm just as stumped as I was then. Do I add more applique or do I make the quilting itself the "star" of the quilt? I'll leave it on the design wall for a couple days and decide whether to do something more with it this year. Any suggestions? (I am planning to add some yellow buttons for the poinsettia centers and red buttons as berries for the holly leaves.) I keep going back and forth about whether I think it's too bare and boring or not. Part of me likes the clean, simple look.

In the meantime, while I ponder the baskets, I had separated a few small Christmas patterns out of my pattern baskets, and I decided to work on a small Santa applique. This will only be 12-1/2" tall and wide and will fit in one of those standing metal frames.

I've picked a winner for the English Ivy Santa pattern, and that person is Sandy E-H, who said: "My goodness you are doing a good job of finishing up projects! That is always such a good feeling,and like you,I always wonder why I didn't finish it up instead of setting a project aside. I guess the call of starting something new. This little Father Christmas quilt is so cute, would love to win your giveaway and create the quilt for Christmas 2012."

Sandy, send me your mailing address, and I'll get the pattern out to you. And I sure hope you DO get it done for Christmas 2012 and not wait ten years like I did until Christmas 2022!

Tomorrow I'll try to get my little swirly quilting design tutorial posted. I love to use it on many of my winter quilts because it reminds me of snow. See you then!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Number Ten

After writing last night, I went to bed and slept for ten hours or so, although I kept waking up all night long, and when it was FINALLY time to get up in the morning, I was running a bit of a fever. So I called in sick and curled up on the couch and read most of the morning. In the afternoon, the fever subsided, and I felt a little better, so I headed into the Sweat Shop to watch some TV and finish this project:

I'm counting this one as my 10th of 11 quilts in 2011. Why? Well, I started it ten years ago. I got as far as adding the embroidered ivy stems when I decided I didn't like one of the borders I had used. I set it aside.

A couple years later, I took it out again and removed the offending border. But I couldn't decide on anything else, so I set it aside again.

I've gotten it back out a time or two, but didn't do anything more until this year--finally! With my stitchery group on Saturday, I finished the embroidered ivy stem, and that night, I added a border and pinned it for quilting. On Sunday, I cut all the wool ivy leaves and started sewing them down while quilting the rest. Today I finished quilting the outside border and added the binding. After all these years, it really feels like a pretty big accomplishment to know it's done now.

Tonight I finished another little project I'd begun last year and set aside:

The snowman just needed borders, quilting, and binding--he only took a couple hours to finish. Sometimes I wonder why I don't finish things when I have them out to begin with--after all, it's not like these two projects took a whole lot of time! Crazy, isn't it? But it's good to have them done now.

I have another Christmas quilt top--wallhanging size--that I'm thinking I need to pull out and take a look at to see what remains to be done. Maybe I could finish that one too!

In the meantime, I have another giveaway--the pattern for the English Ivy Santa. But first, I should announce the winner of the frog pattern, yes?

To change things up a little, tonight I asked the Wild Child to select the winning number and the winner was Belinda, who said:

"2nd Try at leaving a comment :-) I would love the opportunity to make this quilt for my daughter. She loves frogs and has forever! What says love more then a big frog to keep you warm. Plus - Everytime I quilt, it is not complete unless I do a great deal of "FROG STITCHING" rip it..... Thanks for your blog, I have enjoyed it for a long time."

Belinda, email me your mailing address, and I'll mail "Frog Cabin" (that's the name of the pattern--I forgot to mention that last night!) out to you.

Now, here's tonight's giveaway pattern:

If you're interested in winning, please let me know you want to be added to the drawing. I'll pick a winner tomorrow night. By the way, this pattern can also be used as a stitchery pattern, rather than an appliqued quilt. And I'm willing to mail this one to the US or Canada. Good luck!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


I'm closing yesterday's giveaway a little early tonight because I seem to have come down with a cold, and I'd like to take care of my "computer business" early so I can get to bed soon. Hubby's making a compassionate run for hot and sour soup as I write. I hope that an evening of rest will see me feeling much better tomorrow. (Ever the optimist!)

So whose name was picked to win the Lost Quilter book? That would be Doris R., who commented as Anonymous as follows:

Kim, I love your zany way of writing! You have a great sense of humor. I would love to read this book, as I am always looking for books with characters that are of color. Thanks for a chance at winning it!

Doris, please email me your mailing address and I'll get this book in the mail to you. I'm also waiting to hear from Karen, the winner of the stitchery kit. I hope Doris and Karen come back for a visit so they can claim their winnings!

The next giveaway is a little more "specialized." You really need to like frogs--or know someone who does--to want to add this frog quilt pattern to your collection:

The quilt is 60" x 65", so that's one huge frog! When I bought the pattern, the attorney I was working for LOVED frogs, so I thought this was a fun one to make for him someday. Unfortunately, he left our firm before I had a chance to make the quilt and--since I'm not much into frogs--I don't think I'll "need" this pattern--but maybe you do?

Please leave a comment telling me that you like frogs, and I'll enter you in the drawing. I can mail this one to the US or Canada.

"See" you tomorrow when I'll announce the winner of the frog pattern.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Weekends Go By WAAAAAAY Too Fast!

I finished up the last of the Christmas decorating today and then I worked on the apples. Remember my excursion to Apple Hill a couple weeks ago? Well, I've had half a box of apples sitting in my garage since, waiting for me to find time to bake them into scrumptious treats. I tooks some photos, but I haven't uploaded them yet--I'll show you what I made later. But I have to tell you that as I'm writing this post, I'm eating a half of one of those little pies I showed you before--but apple this time instead of blackberry. Still, yum! Especially with a little ice cream on top.

There's always so much to do at this time of the year, and the weekends just pass too quickly, don't they? I've been working on another quilt project that I'm anxious to get done--it will be my "10 of 11 in '11" because it's one I started about ten years ago, and if I finally get it finished, it will be quite an accomplishment!

Some of you asked me to demonstrate that swirly quilting design you've seen in some of my projects, like the Christmas quilt. I'm using it again in the current project, and I've taken photos. So a tutorial should be along sometime this week.

Now you're probably wondering about the winner of the pillow stitchery kit, right? Well, it's Karen of Briarside Lane. She said, "Yes, I DO remember this pillow and thought, 'Oh, how cute, and I wonder if I could make one up simply from your photo.' Now you have one to give away. I'd love the kit... thanks for the chance." Karen, email me your mailing address and I'll get this out to you quickly.

Now, another little giveaway. As I'm cleaning stuff out, I'm hoping to find homes from some of the things I don't have room for--at some point, you just have to quilter-up and realize you're never going to make all the things that have caught your attention. So, in the next week or two, I'll probably be giving away some random things, like patterns and maybe some orphan blocks or projects. This giveaway though, isn't quite like that. When I was putting up the Christmas things, I realized that somehow I had ended up with two of these books:

The book is used and is a couple years old, so maybe I picked it up somewhere, thinking I'd give it to a quilting friend, and it somehow ended up on my bookshelf. This is the book about a fugitive slave, Joanna, who makes her way to Elm Creek Farm. If you'd like a chance to win--and again, you'll need a US postal address--please leave me a comment indicating you want to be entered in the drawing. I'll pick a winner tomorrow night and make the announcement on Tuesday's post.

As this weekend is just about over, it's time for me to get ready for bed. Thanks for stopping by to visit!