26 December, 2010


It's here already!  It's hard to believe that I've run out of time again.  Last minute wrapping finally done Christmas Eve.  At least I wasn't doing last minute shopping then too.  We got most of our packages out in time to arrive... close to Christmas...  I still have one package to ship and the Christmas letters to mail.  (I'm sorry this is late, Grandma and Dad, but I wanted to include the most recent postings from my blog for you to enjoy.)

After a rough day at work (a half day, and Christmas Eve! - you'd think it would've been one of the easiest days of the year, but no...), I made it home to relaxing Christmas music, the lighted tree, some eggnog, and the Wrapping Center.  For those folks that get their presents wrapped last, I have to apologize.  I always get a little more sloppy with the bows and ribbons.  Some may only get bows, and where I can, I double up the presents and use one ribbon on two gifts (books work well for this).  In the beginning, it's always fun.  Towards the end, it's a race against the looming deadline (and my aching back).

Presents wrapped and under the tree, pickle ornaments hidden, now it's time to play games and really relax.  Greg's mom spent Christmas Eve with us, chatting, eating, and playing cards.  I over-indulged in the Macadamia Nut Brittle my friend Stacy made just for me.  Oh, sweet goodness!!  (And don't forget the sugar high...)
Christmas Day was one of the most relaxing I can remember.  It was a lazy morning, and part-way through unwrapping presents, Greg and I took a break to cook some breakfast (brunch, by that time).  More unwrapping, plenty of chatting, and then it's time to get together for dinner and games with friends who are family.
I keep hearing people say that Christmas is really just for the kids anyway... but I don't think I entirely agree.  Sure, kids bring an element of wonder to the whole event (and later greediness and stress - it's just their nature - then eventually the realization that it's about the giving not the receiving, and by then they're well on their way to adulthood).  But even without kids of my own, this whole Christmas season has been overfull of things that make me happy.  Spending time with friends; listening to our Christmas music; enjoying the lights and decorations; even the shopping and wrapping.
A truly splendid month-long celebration of gift-giving and joy.  Did I get everything I wanted for Christmas?  Yes.  A reminder of love and support from my husband and friends; an acknowledgment of the gifts and truths given by Christ; laughter and fresh-baked goodies (as a receiver instead of a giver this year - next year I'll get back to some baking); pleasure in the happiness of those around me.  I hope your Christmas was as lovely as mine.

20 December, 2010

Solstice Eclipse

As with every year, the official start of winter is the harbinger of light and warmth for me.  On the very day that Winter is proclaimed, the tides of darkness begin to turn.  Sure, it's not noticeable for a month or so.  But deep in the marrow of my bones I know I've made it to a milestone; that the Cold Death is beginning to lose its power.  It gives me strength to last through more bitter dark and cold, knowing that the light is slowly growing and with it will come more heat (eventually).
This year's winter solstice is also historical.  It's the first time in hundreds of years that solstice included an eclipse of the full moon.  I think the next time they say this will happen is 2094 - more than 80 years from now, and I doubt I'll be around to see that one.  (Actually, I kept my limbs inside nice and cozy, and just looked at the pictures Greg took from our deck with his fancy-pants camera.)

11 December, 2010

Look What Happens...

...when you've got a project with a deadline...
Nita ended up with a tight timeline to finish TWO quilts.  Need to have them both done before the 16th, since she's giving them away for Christmas and that's the date of the get-together.  While there's lots of work to do, we're fairly confident that we can get the work done in time...
Nita did lots of sewing on her own, and the times I was there I helped out by ironing to speed things along.  Sew the squares into strips, then sew the strips together; add a border or two and voila! You've got a finished quilt top.
Do that twice over and we're ready to put the layers together.  Pin the quilt top to the batting, then trim.  Lay the quilt face/batting layer on the right side of the backing fabric, pin, then trim.
Sew together (it's inside out right now), leaving a large-ish gap in one side.  Pull the fronts of the quilt (currently inside) out of the hole, then hand stitch the hole closed.  A little top stitching to hold the layers together, and you've got yourself two Christmas presents done before gift-giving.  Way to go, Nita!
After the holidays we'll pick up again with the other quilts.  Payton's deadline is sometime in April, and I've still got several kits to finish up (at least one of which is the pattern that Anita just finished here)...

03 December, 2010

It's About Time

A long, long time ago (say, two years and longer ago), I took several Mystery Quilt classes.  This is where you sign up for a class at the local quilting fabric shop.  You get a packet of fabrics and the first step of making the quilt.  You have absolutely no idea what the pattern is going to be in the beginning.  When you attend class, you get more and more of the instructions, and by the end you know the pattern and there's usually a finished product available to view.  The classes that I went to are generally a half day - definitely not long enough for me to put it all together.  But you get copies of the instructions to take home and you can finish the quilt at your leisure.  Thank goodness, since apparently my leisure is... *ages*... and my memory is not so hot after such a long break.

Well, I think I took at least four (maybe five) of the classes, and have only ever finished ONE of the quilts.  Time to get my ducks in a row and get some of these things done!
Went to Nita's to work some on my quilt.  While I was doing that, she was working on one of hers; and Payton started working on his (he'll be doing two, but they're the same pattern so he can work on them together).  It's... what... three weeks 'til Christmas?  Lots of work to do, but I think we can get it done.
The biggest problem I'll have with mine is figuring out what we did for the borders.  The instructions list two borders, but I have three border fabrics.  Fortunately for me, Sara was in this class with me (and she finished her quilt ages ago), so she can take pictures and measure the widths on her quilt.  Then I'll adjust for raw fabric and figure out what I need to do.  But that's a different day.
Today was ironing.  Lots and lots of ironing.  Three irons going for four different quilts.  It'll be a quilt making factory for a while, but it's always so nice to see the progress and feel that sense of accomplishment.