Monday, December 31, 2007

Fresh Start

Part of my de-clutter resolution for 2008 is to deal with some personal issues that have been around a while and I need to deal with so I can move on.

One of these involves a Sunbonnet Sue quilt that I was hand appliqueing for my niece about three years ago. I was happily stitching away, sewing love and part of me into every stitch when my step father put my mother in a nursing home. The resulting family upheaval between my family and the step family was awful. It went down hill from there, causing much disagreement between my entire family. When Mom died about a month later, the *you know what* hit the fan big time. The result is my family is split down the middle and I will never see my niece again.

This is not fixable, too many painful, hurtful words were tossed about, too many unforgivable things happened. So, here I was with a half finished quilt. I tried to throw it away and could not, I tried to finish it and give it as a donation quilt and I could not even thread a needle. So I packed it up and put it away, only to be reminded on occasion that I needed to deal with it and could not. It was a symbol of not dealing with what was happening to my family.

I read a post by Finn about her sisters and their lack of relationship just before Christmas. I had read before about her Orphan Train quilts, blocks that found a home with other blocks from other quilters to make donation quilts. YES, I found my answer. I wrote to her and she has agreed to take my finished blocks and all the rest of the odds and ends and make it into a little girl donation quilt! So next week, the blocks go in the mail..........and Norma moves on. Step one of the de-clutter towards a all around healing process is underway. Thanks Finn!

End result is a negative is made into a positive, good start for 2008, don't you think?

Sunday, December 30, 2007

2008 Resolution(s)

I am like the rest of the world, I make resolutions and promptly break them or ignore them all together. With that in mind, not making many this year, in fact I am making just ONE.

Clutter is taking over my home, my mind, my life, my entire being! My house is cluttered, my head is cluttered and I have cluttered up my life with stuff that I can do nothing about. So, I decided that if I just de-clutter, one thing at a time, life would be better all the way around.

So, will start on the house. I plan a big time clean up that results in a lot of out the door clutter. That will make the space for the things I really want to keep to be stored in a less cluttered space.

Then we will move on to the mind, which should be much better already because of less physical clutter in my life. Then we will de-clutter my life........and this one will take some honest soul searching and maybe a little pain but the result will be a happier, healthier ME. Not going to happen over night, that is for sure, but the goal is slow and steady!

DOWN WITH CLUTTER IN 2008.......anybody want to join my quest for LESS stuff and the resulting less stress in their life?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Nice and Quiet Now

We had a lovely Christmas. Everything went as planned, we ate and ate, unwrapped and enjoyed our family time. The food and gifts were good and plenty. Time to wind down now and get back on a normal schedule. I hope that doesn't sound like I am ungrateful or don't know how fortunate I really am but, there is no way folks can keep up the frantic pace we all seem to thrive on around the holidays. The body needs REST, less rich food and not quite so much excess in our lives. Christmas comes but once a year.............and that is a good thing!!!

Julia and I got a special package from Santa............tomorrow night we are going to ASU Gammage to see the Broadway production of "ANNIE"! She is wearing her Christmas dress and Mom is taking us to dinner first. Julia asked if it could be somewhere "nice". (this is at age 7, by age 10 she will want a limo!) Nana will have a chance to wear her new black dress pants and new earrings. We are both very excited about our girls night out!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

End of a Journey

I find it mind boggling how so many of the quilter's out there post pictures of finished quilts just days after they show the start. It doesn't work that way with me, each quilt is a ordeal from start to finish. I find a pattern, I dig in my stash for fabric, I make six trips to look at fabric on the bolt, and come home empty handed. Then I drag the great white hunter to help and we struggle. I buy fabric, get started and then go buy more. I cut and pin and wear out a seam ripper BEFORE I see real progress. Then I say, "to heck with it." I stop stressing and forge on ahead. Then there is the sandwich and the tie process, which is shorter than quilting yet pretty labor intensive. On to the binding and label finally and by then I am so happy to be done with it!

They say its the destination that counts, not the journey and it is a good thing. My journeys are slow and involve much hair pulling on my part.

The "I think I will make the grand kids a quilt for Christmas" journey is over and all I have to say is. "Thank goodness!"

Here is Colin's quilt, ready to bag up for under the tree.

This is Julia's quilt in one of the cute bags we found at Michael's for the quilts. Colin's will go in a bag just like it once I get the label on.

The great white hunter and I bought 24 of these tins and I have been working to fill them as gifts for the folks he supervises at work. They have peanut brittle, white and milk chocolate coated pretzels, fudge, cookies and a chocolate candy. Kept me busy for a day or so! I am excited that they go to work with him tomorrow when they have a pizza/sub sandwich Christmas get together planned.

This will be my last post until after Christmas. I send good wishes to you all for a safe and happy holiday with your loved ones. May 2008 be a good quilty year for you all!

My Santa wish...........that more of you who stop by would say hello now and then. I would really like to get to know more of you.


By far, my great white hunter

My children, our son in law and daughter in law who make them happy, and the blessing of those two little ones in our lives.

Relative good health

The means to do what I love and enjoy in my daily life. I am truly blessed and I do not take any of those blessings lightly.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Nana is a MESS!

This is not a pretty picture at all. My nose and eyes are red and runny. My ears are plugged and I sound like I am talking through, well, you know. My close companion today has been a box of Kleenx. I took cold pills this morning and they made NO difference. No fever and I don't feel bad, yet. DH kissed the top of my head when he left this afternoon, as if that would change anything. Hey, I got it, they will all have it soon.

To top this great picture off, I desperately need a haircut and some quality time with some hair color product. The absolute last thing I want to do is get dressed and leave the house so that might not change here soon. Good thing Santa leaves the grand kid gifts at their house because I might just scare him away for good.

Good news is I have about two feet of binding left on Colin's quilt and it is done!! So chances of a Christmas Eve sewing session are getting less. Hands are sore but we won't even go there.

HO, HO, HO, cross your fingers for me as the family is planning a trip to Northern AZ on Sunday to take the kids to the snow. Ok, where did that Kleenx box go? (and aren't you glad that the germs don't travel through cyberspace?)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Still Here

I am still here, try to bake and wrap and put the binding on Colin's quilt. I am sure you all know the routine as you are doing it yourselves. So, might not get out from under for a couple of days. I am sending good thoughts out to you all! Looking forward to cleaning out the sewing/spare bedroom and sewing just for the heck of it!

This afternoon I am making reservations in CA for the weekend of Jan. 18th and 19th. The great white hunter is taking me to the "Road to California" quilt show in Ontario, CA. I am so exited! I read about it last year AFTER it was all over and he said to put it on the calendar and we would see about it this year. WooHOO!! The weekend of the Jan. 11 and 12 is the Quilt Fiesta in Tucson and we have plans to go down for that. Hope to meet Fitzy while we are there. I will have visions of quilts in my head for sure!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas Sweatshirt, 2007

When my grand daughter Julia was a year old, I appliqued her a red sweatshirt with gingerbread men. The shirt was cut down the middle of the front to make a jacket and had tiny white rickrack all around the sides. She looked so cute and wore it to go see Santa. So, every Christmas since, Nana has made a Christmas sweatshirt. Last year, I made two because I had two designs I liked. Colin has had a couple but we decided that he was too much of a "boy" for cute shirts!

This year I found a pattern I really liked from Bloomin' Minds and ordered it last summer. When the Walmart put out the sweatshirts this fall, I bought a navy blue one. Last month when I dug out the pattern and looked at it close, I didn't like it quite as well but still planned to do it. Then the quilts come along and time got short and it was still way too warm here, and Nana didn't do the sweatshirt.

Last week it got cold and DD dug out last years shirt that still just fit and Julia asked if Nana was making her a shirt this year. Mom told her she didn't think so. She cried, cried again when I told her that I didn't make it because I didn't like it. So........guess what I have been doing the past couple of days?? Nana came through and made her girl happy. Nana feels a lot better about herself to boot! So who needs to sleep this time of year? I can do that NEXT month!

All I had to do was remind myself that the time is near when she is not going to want to wear one of Nana's Christmas sweatshirts because they won't be cool. As long as they are cool though, she will have one!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Slaved Over a Hot Stove (Microwave) For Hours (mmm, Minutes)

I have been making candy and baking cookies for the great white hunter to take to work for all his co-workers. One of the things that everyone loves is the peanut brittle, so I will share this with those of you who haven't discovered my secret. Don't care what you do with it, just don't tell anyone that I don't work for hours to make this. A girl has a image to maintain and mine is what a great cook I am. I believe in quick and easy, looks a lot harder and more impressive than it really is. From my last quilting projects to my cooking, "Show me the shortcut!'

This is a great gift. I have given it to neighbors, co-workers, teachers and whoever else I could find that was impressed with my efforts. Hubby had a co-worker who said her Dad owned a small candy shop where they made and sold fresh candy. She said MY peanut brittle was better than her Dad's. (blush!) I think she was homesick.

Here it is broken up and ready to package.

So put on your apron, dig out all your heavy pots and spoons and put a look of heavy concentration on your face, (just in case someone is watching, remember we are out to impress here). Set aside several hours for the candy making process, here goes.

Peanut Brittle

1 cup white sugar

1/2 cup white corn syrup

Mix in a glass bowl, microwave on high for 4 minutes.


1 cup salted roasted peanuts

Microwave on high for 4 minutes.


1 Tablespoon butter or margarine

1 Teaspoon vanilla

Microwave on high for 1 minute.

Remove from microwave and add

1 teaspoon baking soda.

Stir well; pour on well greased cookie sheet. Cool, break into pieces.

I have made this well over 100 times and have only had it fail twice. Once was when I had a new microwave and I had to adjust my time and one time it burnt. I have NO idea why it burnt but somewhere I must have pushed the wrong button.

I run a sink full of hot water before I start cooking and just put the nasty, sticky blowl in it to soak until the remains soak off.

Now, get a cup of tea or whatever (wine?), and go quilt, sit and relax, take a bubble bath, or what ever your favorite my time thing is. You worked hard and have the homemade candy to prove it!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

One Down, One to Go!

I finished up Julia's Christmas quilt last night, complete with label. I am really pleased with the colors now. I must say that I turned what was a simple quilt pattern into a major ordeal. First there was the directional focus fabric which gave me fits, then half way into it I decided to change colors.....aagggghhhh! I still have a long way to go on this quilting thing. I am really wondering how long is it going to take before I have one that is "all right". Not that I expect perfection because I don't believe in it! It would be nice, though, to finish a quilt without finding boo boos in it when it was almost finished. I won't quit because I love doing this so much but sure wish my learning curve was moving along a little faster. It is a good thing that I make utility quilts for folks who have no clue what I am doing anyway.

Here are the six blocks I have done for Colin's quilt. They went quite a bit faster since I figured out how to deal with the directional issue. I hope to have this ready to put together by the weekend. Next week is the start of a huge amount of baking and candy making that I do for the great white hunter to take to work. Seriously, I am a much better cook/baker than I am a quilter. Too bad I don't think I have 40 years to perfect the craft!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Christmas in AZ

After reading how nasty and cold the weather is back East, I thought I would share how it is to have Christmas where there is no snow. It seems really odd to have the roses blooming and the flower beds doing well in the middle of your Christmas decorations!! Then there is Colin's bike. The kids are able to get out and play here in the winter, we stay indoors during the hot summer. It's not the usual picture on a card but it's how we do it here.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Christmas Table Runner

Here is the Christmas table runner top, complete with borders. Not sure when I will get it the rest of the way but hopefully in time for Christmas. It is really simple and you get such amazing results.

Thank you for your great instructions, Finn!

A note of thanks to everyone who tried to raise my down in the dumps spirit. I feel some better, not back to me yet but working on it. I am trying to focus my energy on making this a great holiday for my family and moving ON. Having special friends out there helps more than you could ever know!

Sunday, December 2, 2007


I am normally a pretty upbeat person, belive that what happens, happens for a reason. I try to focus on the good things in my life rather than the bad, and have a "pick yourself up, dust yourself off, start all over again" outlook on the downside of things. But for some reason, the past few days have been miserable emotionally. Tears are very near to the surface and the least little thing, sends me into a blue funk! I am carrying the entire world on my shoulders here and it is way heavy.

Not sure if it is the weather or just that time of year when you feel more emotional pain for the misery of the world in general. The holidays can be a major high or a major low when you look around you and know that there are so many who are just struggling to get through each day, forget about 24 days from now.

It's been cool and rainy but I have loved that so don't think that is it......sure will be glad when it passes though and I can get back to my happy go lucky self here.

We were busy today with the grand kids and will be at their birthday party tomorrow. I have several projects that I am working like crazy on and that does help. Keeps me from drowning in my thoughts. Just crossing my fingers that when I wake up in the morning, my mental sun is shining again!

Haven't included gratitudes for a long time but today I really need lots!

A sweet hubby who worked on hanging lights out front before he went to work almost every morning this week.

Reading Christmas books with the grand kids.

Good friends

Special children and their husband/wife