Friday, December 30, 2011

2012 Is Almost Here

At this time each year, many people choose a word for the upcoming year.  This year I have chosen the word 

I really am the Queen of Unorganized.  It's a curse, to be sure.  When I worked, my desk was always the most neat in the office.  But at home, that's another story.  I wish I could explain it, but I can't.  Remember the photos of my sewing room that I posted a few months ago.  Well, I started sewing for Christmas, did no further work for organization, and now it looks worse than before.    Yesterday I ordered some baskets from  I'm planning on putting my fabric in them, sorted by color.  The fabric is stacked on shelves right now, but when you pull one piece out, well, you end up with a mess.  So, this is one of my planned improvements.  Also, I have some fabrics that were given to me that I will never use in a million years.  It needs to go, I'm just not sure of how to get rid of it.  I hate to just throw it out, but what would I (basically a country girl) do with toille?  And it's brown, black and rust!  If you're interested, let me know.  

And if I don't talk to you before, Happy New Year!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Tis the Day After Christmas. . .

And I love the fact that Rod got today as a holiday.  I will really miss him when he goes back to work tomorrow.  He had Friday as his Christmas Eve holiday and today as Christmas Day.  Our Christmas was wonderful.  Rod and I opened our gifts Christmas morning before we started preparing the food for Christmas dinner.  I knew I was getting my Santas of the world, but had no idea I would be getting the other things.  I had wanted a new, small purse - one that was big enough for my phone and my cards.  I had picked one out and emailed him the link, but he told me he hadn't been able to get it.  But when I opened my first gift, there was my little purse.

Isn't it cute?  And it has a ton of pockets both inside and out.  I will probably take the shoulder strap off and use the wrist strap only.  It's so funny.  When we got married, I used a really small purse.  And as the kids came along and I needed the carry more "stuff", the size of my purse grew considerably.  Now, I hate the oversized bag and am returning to the little purse. This little gem is only 7.5" x 4.5".

I love Jim Shore's work since he combines my love of folk are with my love of quilting.  Rod also got me this figurine since Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite movies.

And how about this Goofy Marionette, also Jim Shore, that Kristin and her family gave me.  Isn't he just the cutest?!!  There's a little hook on the top that you can hang him with.

Enough about the presents, now about the rest of the day.  Rod and I decided we didn't want to spend the entire day in the kitchen, so we decided to make use of the 5 crock pots that we own.  The ham went into the big one, the cheesy hash brown potatoes went in the medium one, and then in the set of three we put the baked pineapple, the picnic beans and the turkey left over from Thanksgiving that we took out of the freezer and added some turkey broth to so we could warm it up. The cake was already baked, so we capped, sliced, and mashed the strawberries, and cut the veggies for the salad.  We were set to go whenever the kids arrived.  It worked out really well, and dinner was ready when the presents were all opened.

The greatest part of the day, however, was that my Mom was well for Christmas this year.  The past few years she has either been in the hospital or has just gotten out.  But this year she looked and felt great.  And not bad for her 83rd birthday.  Her favorite part of the day was when she got to pose for pictures with the four great grandchildren.  They all love her so much, and all give her hugs and kisses whenever they see her.  The four of them went to Build-a-Bear and made her a pink angel bear for Christmas.  Grandma loves angels, and the kids each recorded an "I Love You" message to put inside the angel's paw.  (Jake made some noises that were close to I Love You).  It was a truly great Christmas and I thank God for my wonderful family and all the other blessings he has bestowed on me.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

For Unto You is Born this Day

 1And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
 2(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
 3And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
 4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
 5To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
 6And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
 7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
 8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
 9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
 10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
 12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
 14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
 15And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
 16And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

May you all have a blessed and safe holiday.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Last Minute Gift Idea

This year we decided to buy gift cards for the daughters and sons-in-law.  I made cute little pouches with key holders attached to slip the girls' gift cards into, but hadn't found a way to give the ones for the guys.  In an email from Connecting Threads, they offered a free download of a gift card sleeve that I think will be perfect.  It looks to be simple and I should be able to whip two of them out in no time.  By using carpenter fabric for Jimmy and some John Deere fabric for Georgie, I can really make them personal.  Thanks to Connecting Thread for this little goodie.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Santa made a surprise visit to Mary's house last night, and all my kids and grand kids just happened to be there.

Bubs and Santa

Krissy and Santa

Izzy and Santa

Jake and Santa

Kris and family with Santa

Mary and family with Santa

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"Get Out of the Rut" Tuesday

Here it is, another GOTR Tuesday.  And believe me, this is not the way I planned to get out of any rut.  I have this horrible habit of planning what needs to be done before Christmas and then wearing myself out trying to do all that I've planned.  And again this year, I over planned what I would be able to accomplish.  I never figure into those plans that I babysit the two little ones, and that Kristin's schedule changes when least expected.  Last week, I decided that the covered composition books that I had planned to do for the kids needed to be pushed back to Valentine's Day.  And now, I find that I have to push something else back.  There is absolutely no way in Hades that I can finish both of those princess dresses in less than 5 days.  Never mind that I've lost one pattern piece, forget that they aren't even cut out yet.  The bottom line is that I want these dresses to be so special for my granddaughters, and I had forgotten that bridal satin is so miserable to work with.  And so to get out of the rut, the rut of overdoing things and ending up tired and frustrated, I am NOT worrying about finishing these dresses before Christmas!!  There - I have said it! And now it can be done!

Now here's my dilemma - I bought these beautiful sparkle-y shoes to go with the princess dresses.  Do I save the shoes for when I give the dresses?  Do I give the shoes now with a picture of the dresses and an IOU?  Or do I just give the shoes and not worry about saying anything about the dresses?  Kristin is on vacation next week, so I should have plenty of time to finish the dresses then.  I have already bought UGG boots to go with the jeans and fleece pullovers.  I have bought rolling pins to go with the aprons, and have bought undies and tights to put into the trunks.  It's not like they will miss the shoes.  But Izzy wanted pink sparkly shoes for Christmas.  I'm leaning toward saving them and giving them later.  I think the dresses and shoes will be more special if they have their own day.  What do you think?

Monday, December 19, 2011


Have you ever prayed to St. Anthony?  My mother-in-law taught us to pray to St. Anthony whenever we had lost something.  And believe me, I've been praying!  I started to cut out the princess dresses for the girls' dolls yesterday.  While I was flipping the fabric around (because it kept slipping off the table), one little pattern piece blew off the table, and has yet to be found.  And I do mean little.  It's a piece for  the strap for Tinkerbell's little suit.  This stupid cold and cough still have me down, and this missing piece has just sent me into tears.  I think it was a piece that is about 1" by 3", but I'm not sure of the size.  Rod tells me just to fudge it -- but fudge has never been one of my strong points.

This is the photo of the pattern, and the little strap can be seen here.  I'm sure I will eventually figure it out, but right now I just didn't need the frustration.  The pattern said to use crinoline for the stiffener for the wings.  Mary was going to Joann for some craft supplies, so she picked me up crinoline -- that's what it said on the end of the bolt.  Now that I get into the pattern, they keep talking about the "net" which goes inside the wings.  Just more frustration.  Hopefully the fairy police won't sure up to check on this outfit.  

On the good news front, I ordered and downloaded some embroidery patterns over the weekend.  They were from glowproduct, about 200 Sesame Street design.  Each design includes a copyright from Henson.  However, there was no file that showed the color photos or stitch charts for these designs.  The only way I could see the designs was to put them on a memory stick and put them into the sewing machine.  So, Saturday afternoon I emailed them and asked if they had any color charts available.  And in just a matter of hours, I had the color charts in my hand.  Great service, and the designs sew up beautifully.  Makes me want to buy from them again.

We did finally get our tree up, and do some decorating over the weekend.  About time, right?  See you later in the week.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

You Gotta Try These. . .

Daughter Pat was off today.  She went shopping this morning, and then came down to bake cookies.  We wanted a peanut butter cookie, but wanted to try something new.  A few years ago, Rod and I stayed at a honeymoon cottage at Donna's Premier Lodging in Berlin, OH.  When we arrived, there was a small plate of goodies waiting for us.  One of the cookies on the tray was a peanut butter sandwich cookie that was so good it left me speechless.  Donna has the recipe on her site, and so today we tried making them.  You really need to try these.  Even if you don't fill them, the peanut butter is the best I've ever tasted.  I've added the recipe to the recipe page here on my blog.

Where Was I?

Wow, I completely missed Get out of the Rut Tuesday.  Where was I, you ask.  I was busy like an elf trying to get the Christmas shirts done for the kids.

Krissy had asked for this Minnie Mouse gingerbread girl.  I think she turned out pretty cute, and I again embellished her with some crystals.  The shirt is red, although it looks more like an orange.  That's one.

 This is the applique that Bubby chose -- the Grinch.  Whether you love Christmas or hate it, you have to love the Grinch.  His shirt is a bright blue, and I love the way it turned out.  That's two!

Kristin has requested Santa Claus for her kids.  I have a really cute pattern, and that will be done tomorrow.  Pat wants a snowman, and Pam wants the Grinch.  Mary is getting a snowman that is Minnie Mouse.

On Sunday, I did two shirts for my Mom -- a Santa and a really cute penguin holding a candy cane.

For "Get out of the Rut Tuesday" I decided to make German Potato Soup.  I hadn't made it for quite some time because the twins don't care for it.  But since they weren't coming for dinner and I have a nasty cold, I made the soup.  I didn't have any ham, but I figured I could use bacon.  Kristin was going to Walmart and I had the kids, so she picked me up some ham.  Who knew that you could buy pre-diced ham in the grocery store.  Not Me! But she brought me a pack and it was big enough that I could put half of it in the freezer.  The  soup was so warming, and I swear that when you don't feel well, soup makes you feel a little better.

I've decided to make biscotti to give to my friends and neighbors for Christmas.  I've not made it before, but all the comments on the recipes I've chosen say it's very simple.  I love orange cranberry bread, so I will definitely be making cranberry orange biscotti.  Mary has been buying gingerbread biscotti in the market, but now they don't seem to have it.  Gingerbread is another type on my list.  And then expresso and possibly one with dried apricots and pistachios.  I'm hungry now, looks like I better go and get breakfast.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Secret Santa Soiree

Last week I promised photos of my presents from my Secret Santa.  And here they are:

Here's all my goodies.  Aren't the bees just too cute?!!  I love the Steeler pens - I will have to hide them from the grandkids.  Sorry about the glare on the CD.

This  close up is the bottom level of the top photo.  You can see that the CD cover is personalized with my name,a toy train, and a nutcracker (which I collect).  And the label was also customized.  I was so honored to think that someone spent so much time in carefully choosing gifts for me.

Thank you my sweet Secret Santa.  And Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

And the Day Got Brighter. . .

As yesterday marched on, it got brighter.  You can see from the sidebar that I am participating in a Secret Santa Soiree.  Last week I got a letter from Kris Kringle advising me that I would be receiving a special gift for being so good.  It was postmarked from "Santa Claus Station" and from the zip code I determined that it was from Santa Claus Indiana. Curious! And yesterday, a package came.  And it was postmarked from "Rudolph, Ohio", which I didn't even know existed.  More Curious!  The package didn't say not to open, and so I opened it.  Inside was a beautiful quilter's Christmas ornament from Bronner's in Michigan - one of my favorite Christmas stores.  I know this elf has been following my blog - she told me so.  But somehow she seems to have gotten into my head and heart.  There was a pack of Steeler pens, so cool.  And a pumpkin spice pillar candle.  I love any of the fall spices, and pumpkin spice is probably my favorite.  There was a poinsettia plate which will look great under the candle, and a tin of homemade cookies.  Since it was close to dinner, I fought off the urge to try them. But, there's more.  There was a CD of holiday favorites made especially for me, and don't ask me how this elf knew so many of my favorite songs.  And with my love of music, it was a generous and thoughtful gift.  But my favorite gift of all is a set of shelf sitters that are . . . bumblebees!!!!  And you know how I love bumblebees.  They will be flanking the TV in the sewing room so that I will be able to see them when I sew.  I have to get my package for my Secret Santa packed up and mailed on Saturday.  Hope she is as happy with her gifts as I am.

And to Elf Avonna - as she called herself.  Thank you so much for all the wonderful gifts.  I was truly blessed that you were given my name.  I wanted to post photos, but it's so dark this morning that I couldn't get any good shots.  I will get some this weekend, and post them on Sunday.  I promise.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

You Know What They Say . . .

Yep, they say that the night is always darkest before the dawn.  And so it was yesterday.  I was so bummed, and sat and did absolutely nothing.  Well, not really nothing, I did cry a little.  The kids all knew how frustrated I was, and being the good kids they are, tried to find a solution.  When Pam came down to help with dinner, she got my laptop and took it to the kitchen.  And started surfing.  We have requested information from a dental insurance company - from what we saw online, we can get a plan for just a little over $100/month.  Not bad.  So there's a twinkle of hope on the horizon.

The bad thing about sitting and doing nothing is that I still have so much left to do.  I have finished the girls' pullover shirts, hats, and jeans for the dolls.  I have also finished the aprons and chef toques for the dolls.  I used gingerbread man fabric to highlight the white, made a small gingerbread man of felt to stick in one pocket, and ordered mini rolling pins to hide in another pocket.  I have ordered snow boots, sparkly shoes, tights and gutchies all to put into the wooden doll cases we bought for them.  But I just felt that every little girl should have a fancy dress to go with her sparkly shoes.  I found a pattern on eBay for Disney princess dresses for the 18" dolls and could go to Simplicity's sight and check the back of the pattern for yardage and fabric recommendations.  So, I ordered the pattern and the fabrics to make Izzy a Sleeping Beauty dress to go with her pink shoes, and to make Krissy a Tinkerbell outfit to go with her silver shoes.  Now, I'm just waiting for them to arrive.  I think the girls are going to be so delighted with their doll clothes and case.

I did, however, forget that I have Christmas shirts to make for my girls and the grand kids.  So, today I am getting my designs ready and put on the memory stick for my embroidery machine. And this weekend, the machine will hum quite loudly.  Rod's company Christmas party is Saturday night, but with no Steeler game on Sunday, I should get a lot accomplished.  I can't believe that we are down to 17 days.  I think the fact that the weather has been in the 50's and 60's makes it seem like Christmas isn't so near.  But it will come right on time, and if I'm going to be ready, I'd better get a wiggle on (as my granny would say).

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Feeling Down - Need a Little Boost

Today is a dark and dreary day, and for sure it matches my mood.  I've been suffering with a bad tooth for quite a few months, and finally decided it was time to do something about it.  My family doctor gave me an antibiotic to take in preparation for the extraction.  Ok, so far.  This morning was my appointment with a dentist.  He was a very nice, kind man and the office staff was great.  However, he said he could not take care of the tooth today, because I have been on an aspirin regimen as part of my diabetic program.  He did take X-rays, and then formulated a "plan of action"  complete with 4 options.  When I saw the proposed cost, I feel weak and thought I would pass out - he would pull three teeth, do root canal and crown on 2 and make two partial plates for the piddly sum of $4000.  I can't afford that, I told him.  So, showed me three other options and not one of them is under $2000.  And then the office call and the X-rays cost me $140 today.  So, I'm feeling like I wasted $140 and have nothing but pain to show for it.  And now I don't quite know where to go from here.  The bad part of it is that I need new glasses, and although my hospital insurance covers the exam, it doesn't pay for the glasses.  Please don't get me wrong, I appreciate the fact that we have hospitalization and it's a wonderful plan. And Rod's employer pays for it - truly a blessing in today's world.    But how, in today's economy, do people afford dental work?  If I liked the taste of alcohol, I would probably have a drink right now.  But I don't!  I could really go for a piece of chocolate (I am a choco-holic), but I would never stop at one piece and more than that isn't good for a diabetic!  I thought about having a good cry, but that would just give me a headache and make my eyes hurt.  So, I guess I'll just go to the sewing room and shut the rest of the world out.

Since today is "Climb out of the Rut" Tuesday, I need something to shake up my world a little.  So, when I came home from the dentist and went to change out of my good clothes, I put my bathrobe on instead.  Nothing earth shattering, but my chub is certainly all shaking!!  So much for climbing out of the rut.