Saturday, December 24, 2011

T'was the Night Before Christmas,
Quilters' Version (author unknown)

'T'was the night before Christmas and all through the house,
The only one sleeping was a Quilter's dear spouse
The Log Cabin stockings were almost completed,
"Just a few stitches left," our sweet quilter repeated.
"Then I can hang them and head off to finish
The pillows I'm making, fulfilling Mom's wish
For something quilted to put on her couch",
As she pricked her poor finger, our quilter said, "Ouch!"
When from out in the kitchen there arose such a crashing,
She sprang from her work, and she dropped all her sashing.
Away to the doorway she flew like a plane,
Wondering just what was happening and who she would blame.
When, what to her wandering eyes should appear,
But Old Mrs. Claus and her bag of quilt-gear...
With her elves bearing gifts, through the kitchen she came,
She directed and pointed and called them by name.
"Now Elna, now Pfaff, now Bernina and Viking,
The Hoffman and Mumm should be just to her liking.
To the sewing room - there, it's just back of the hall,
Now dash away, dash away, dash away all!"
"My Dear," said The Claus (as she liked to be called),
"There really is no need to worry at all.
Your projects will all be completed this night,
I'm terribly sorry we gave you a fright."
"Sit down. Have some tea. It's relaxing, you'll see.
My friends and I've come a long way to help thee."
She thought she was dreaming, our dear Quilter did,
In fact she quite feared that she'd near flipped her lid!
But the flash of the needles and the twist of the thread
Soon gave her to know she had nothing to dread.
They spoke no more words, but went straight to their sewing.
How the work went so quickly she had no way of knowing.
The stitches, how fine! The corners, how straight!
This Claus-woman's talent was awfully great.
They finished the pillows, then started to quilt.
Before they all knew it, the whole thing was built!
Now old Mrs. Claus, she knew quilters real well,
And she knew they'd need help on this night most of all
So she said to our quilter, "Just move over dear,
I've brought my own needle. We'll get done, never fear.
I told dear old Santa about what quilters do.
How they plan all these projects but have other work too.
So he taught me his magic for doing things fast.
There, that pillow's done. Now this is the last."
They tidied their thread snips, and picked up the scraps
And chased our dear quilter's six cats from their laps.
As they scurried away with their thimbles still gleaming
Dear Mrs. Claus paused, her cap ribbons streaming.
"Merry Christmas, my dear, now just have a ball!"

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Early Christmas Surprise

This past weekend we had an early Christmas surprise for Matthew. We packed him into the car after lunch on Saturday, driving about 6 hours, with him having no idea where we were going or what we were doing. It was a beautiful leisurely drive and he was a good sport trying to guess where we were going.

We stopped near Louisville for dinner at Ermas where we chose nachos, burger, ruben, steak and french onion soup. We checked into the Embassy Suites (thank goodness for credit card hotel points!). In the morning we enjoyed a complimentary breakfast of made to order omlettes! At this point Matthew is getting antsy wanting to know what the surpise was so back in our room I opened my suitcase and pulled out a couple of his Titans shirts to wear. Clue #1. We headed out to walk the few blocks to the statium and got a nice view of the state capital building and clue #2

He was now, officially excited!

The Titans did not play well and the Colts won their first game of the season.
But we enjoyed stadium brats and had a great weekend together!

Surprise Packages, Drawings and Swaps

I unexpectedly received this package of home made ornaments and gifts from my online friend Dixie. I had sent her a package of assorted fabric scraps and she just wanted to thank me.

I participated in my local guild's Christmas drawing and swap. To participate, we each made a 12.5inch Ohio Star block(see for the pattern) using traditional Christmas red, green and white and/or brought in a small bundle of fat quarters to swap. Our names were all put in a basket. As each name was called you chose a Fat Quarter bundle from the pile. The last name called wins all the blocks... and my name was called last! Now I have orphan blocks to assemble into my first Christmas quilt for me!

I also participated in an online Secret Santa Swap. We were instructed to make a home made gift and up to $15 purchased gift. This package arived in the mail. Wanda is from Alaska and included a jar of Alaskan Salmon and some Salmon Jerky! She made a beautiful blue/silver tablerunner and a friendship star pot holder and crafted some lovely notecards!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Cookie Rules

I copied this from somewhere on the net and decided to post it here to remind myself to enjoy those cookies!

Christmas Cookie Rules...

1. If you eat a Christmas cookie fresh out of the oven, it has no calories because everyone knows that the first cookie is the test and thus calorie free.

2. If you drink a diet soda after eating your second cookie, it also has no calories because the diet soda cancels out the cookie calories.

3. If a friend comes over while you're making your Christmas cookies and needs to sample, you must sample with your friend. Because your friend's first cookie is calories free, (rule #1) yours is also. It would be rude to let your friend sample alone and, being the friend that you are, that makes your cookie calorie free.

4. Any cookie calories consumed while walking around will fall to your feet and eventually fall off as you move. This is due to gravity and the density of the caloric mass.

5. Any calories consumed during the frosting of the Christmas cookies will be used up because it takes many calories to lick excess frosting from a knife without cutting your tongue.

6. Cookies colored red or green have very few calories. Red ones have three and green ones have five - one calorie for each letter. Make more red ones!

7. Cookies eaten while watching "Miracle on 34th Street " have no calories because they are part of the entertainment package and not part of one's personal fuel.

8. As always, cookie pieces contain no calories because the process of breaking Causes calorie leakage.

9. Any cookies consumed from someone else's plate have no calories since the calories rightfully belong to the other person and will cling to their plate. We all know how calories like to CLING!

10. Any cookies consumed while feeling stressed have no calories because cookies used for medicinal purposes NEVER have calories. It's a rule!

So, go out and enjoy those Christmas Cookies - we only get them this time of year!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Santa Story....I Believe

I received this in an email recently and wanted to share:

I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma. I was just a kid. I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: "There is no Santa Claus," shejeered. "Even dummies know that!"

My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her "world-famous" cinnamon buns. I knew they were world-famous, because Grandma said
so. It had to be true.

Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me. "No Santa Claus?" she snorted...."Ridiculous! Don't believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad!! Now, put on your coat, and let's go."

"Go? Go where, Grandma?" I asked. I hadn't even finished my second world-famous cinnamon bun. "Where" turned out to be Kerby's General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days. "Take this money," she said, "and buy something for someone who needs it. I'll wait for you in the car." Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's.

I was only eight years old. I'd often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping.

For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for.

I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, the people who went to my church.

I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobby Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock's grade-two class. Bobby Decker didn't have a coat. I knew that because he never went out to recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that Bobby Decker didn't have a cough; he didn't have a good coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobby Decker a coat!

I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that.

"Is this a Christmas present for someone?" the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down. "Yes, ma'am," I replied shyly. "It's for Bobby."

The nice lady smiled at me, as I told her about how Bobby really needed a good winter coat. I didn't get any change, but she put the coat in a bag, smiled again, and wished me a Merry Christmas.

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat (a little tag fell out of the coat, and Grandma tucked it in her Bible) in Christmas paper and ribbons and wrote, "To Bobby, From Santa Claus" on it.

Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobby Decker's house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially, one of Santa's helpers.

Grandma parked down the street from Bobby's house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk. Then Grandma gave me a nudge. "All right, Santa Claus," she whispered, "get going."

I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his door and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma.

Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobby.

Fifty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my Grandma, in Bobby Decker's bushes. That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were -- ridiculous. Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team.

I still have the Bible, with the coat tag tucked inside: $19.95.

May you always have LOVE to share,
HEALTH to spare and FRIENDS that care...
And may you always believe in the magic of Santa Claus!

Merry Christmas to all . . .

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Quilter's Accronyms

As I browse through the internet and quilting blogs I come across many accronyms that quilters use as they speak about their projects and aquisitions so I thought I'd make myself a list (sort of a dictionary) to refer back to:

BOBs..... Biginner's Only Block Swap
BOM...... Block of the Month
DSM...... Domestic Sewing Machine
DWR...... Double Wedding Ring
EQ....... Electirc Quilt (software program)
FART..... Fabric Aquisition Road Trip
FQ....... Fat Quarter
FLIMSY... Unquilted finishted top
FIU...... Finish It Up
GFG...... Grandmothers Flower Garden
HST...... Half-Squre Triangle
HTH...... Hope that helps
IMNSHO... In My Not So Humble Opinion
LA....... Long Armer (professional quilter)
LOL...... Laught Out Loud
LQS...... Local Quilt Shop
MAM...... Mile-A-Minute
MAQ...... Mid-Arm Quilter
OBW...... One Block Wonder
OTOH..... On the Other Hand
PHD...... Project Half Done
PIGS..... Project in Grocery Sack
QST...... Quarter Square Triangle
ROTFLOL.. Rolling On The Floor Laughing Out Loud
SABLE.... Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy
SBS...... SunBonnet Sue
SEX...... Stash Enhancing eXperience (eXcursion)
SQUISHY.. Envelope filled with fabric/gifts sent/received in mail
STASH.... Special Treasures All Secretly Hidden
SUI...... Shoping Under Influence of a friend
TGIF..... Thank God It's Finished
TOAD..... Trashed Object Abandonned in Discust
TOT...... Tone-on-Tone
TY....... Thank you
UFO...... Unfinished Object
VBG...... Very Big Grin
WHIMM.... Work Hidden In My Mind
WIP...... Work In Progress
WISP..... Work in Slow Progress
WIWMI.... Wish It Would Make Itself
WOF...... Width Of Fabric
WOMBAT... Waste Of Material, Batting And Time
WOW...... White-on-White
WWIT..... What Was I Thinking

Saturday, December 3, 2011


As I have worked on customers quilt over the last six years I have come to learn that everyone has a different idea on what a quarter inch seam is.

I've seen some seams as wide as a half inch, but it is the "scant" seams and mismatched seams that cause problems.

When seams are sewn scantily... too scantily... often times the fabric threads pull and fray apart and leave gaping holes in the seams.

The same problem occurs when fabrics are not aligned and pinned together for sewing. The fabrics slip and while the seam is a quarter inch for the one fabric, it is scant or barely there for the second.

Another problem I often come across is when different size squares are sewn together (because they were cut inaccurately?). While you can pull and tug and stretch the fabric somewhat to make the edges meet, this can cause puckering in your quilt.

While I do my best to educate my customers and do some repairs to their work so that they are happy with the finished quilt....

Contrary to the song, there are some things that you just cannot "quilt out"

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Today is the day to reflect and be thankful for all we have to be grateful for. Health and family are at the top of my list.

I spent the day cleaning... the dining room table did get cleared off and set.

The smells of a 23lb turkey and all the trimmings filled the air.

Football games played on the tv all day and after dinner.

And while the craziness of Black Friday went on around the country, and my daughters went off to work, we stayed home with our 2 year old grandson eating leftovers and watching Scooby Doo!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Changing Seasons

It's that time of year when we go from cool clear mornings to the heat of summer and back to cool fall nights with some frosts thrown in to warn us winter is just around the corner. This year's crazy weather has our trees all confused. A flowering cherry tree is supposed to bloom in the Spring... not the Fall!

The cool nights have been changing the tree colors around here and by the time we got back from California many of them were on the ground. We rake them up and put them through the wood-chipper reducing them down to a fine mulch that gets turned into the garden soil to break down and "fertilize" the garden for next year.

While the guys are outside cleaning up... I'm inside doing laundry and cleaning the infamous dining room table. Around here we have no office to dump bills, paperwork and miscellaneous on, so, to the dining room table has become the dump site for everything I just don't have time to deal with immediately. About once a month I dig through and get the bills paid and start sorting and putting things where they belong, but like laundry it's a thankless endless job that I am easily distracted away from. But the holidays are just around the corner... with big sit down family dinners so I must and am making progress. The table will be cleared and set so we can all enjoy the holidays together.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Orca Bay Mystery

It is November and it is Bonnie Hunter Mystery Time. About this time each year, when Bonnie is done with her travelling classes she offers a free mystery pattern on her blog for everyone to follow.

I am still waiting for my rulers to arrive (an early Christmas present from hubby)... so I haven't started cutting yet... which means I'm still thinking and re-thinking my fabrics... especially since Bonnie's extra post about which colors are most promnient

Red is her prominent color... not my favorite... so my prominent color will be purple!
black is her second color... mine will be that blue/purple
blue is her accent color... mine will be that pink/orange floral
whites are her neutral.... you guessed it... my neutral will be that yellow print

And of course, I don't have enough of any of these to make her size quilt, so I will be making only half the number of blocks she requires...

But, since I'm still waiting on the rulers to arrive, I keep pulling in different fabrics and changing my mind...

those rulers better arrive soon!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Palm Desert

We arrived in Ontario,CA, picked up the rental car and proceeded out of the airport to the I10 to make our way out into the desert. The directions I had, unfortunately, did not include which direction to go on the I10...east or west. Using deductive reasoning I decided that if I went east I would soon hit the ocean, so I had to go west to get to the desert. It was a couple exits down the highway before I realized the fault in my reasoning... I was on the west coast now and my thinking was backwards! Mom and I had a good laugh over that one! Thank goodness for U-turns.

I am fascinated by the mountains out here. They are very different from the lush green mountains of Tennessee. They are huge rocky formations jutting out of flat sandy/rocky ground and as the sun moves across the sky they change in color and shape as the shadows cast by the sun's position changes. I caught a sunrise one morning and my pictures just don't do it justice.

It has been 90-110 degrees out here, but the heat is very different from Tennessee. It is so very dry I feel like I'm shriveling up like a prune. I am never without a glass or bottle of water nearby.

My uncle has made arrangements for us to stay at the Marriot Palm Desert Villas. First class all the way! The buildings weave in and around the golf course, so every room as a gorgeous view! Mom's room has a small kitchenette and private bath and is really a small single suite. Through the adjoining door, our suite has a full kitchen, dining area, living room with pullout couch for Matthew and a bedroom suite for me that includes a jacuzzi tub! There are 3! TVs for us to watch... although we usually end up on the couch watching the one together...old habits die hard!

Uncle Tom and Aunt Polly live in one of the many gated communities here, where the houses all look the same to me... cream colored adobe with rust-colored tile roof or a peachy colored adobe with green roof. We can walk out his back door onto the patio and then step onto the golf course fairway. The lush green fairways are a stark comparison to the surrounding sandy/rocky ground not watered by sprinkler systems.

There is little room for a vegetable garden like ours at home, but they do have an orange, grapefruit, lemon and apricot tree as well as potted roses and ornamental cactus plants surrounding the house. Everything is kept lush and green by sprinkler systems... you must be careful to heed the warning click and get out of the way as the sprinklers pop up and turn on automatically at undetermined times, spraying their life-giving water everywhere!

It is considered winter here now (at 110 degrees!!??) and there will be little to no rain until Spring when I'm told the wild flowers bloom out of the sandy ground and make an awesome display. I may have to arrange a visit next year to see for myself!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Honor Flight

On the way home from California we had a layover in Phoenix which unfortunately included a delay due to "mechanical problems"

But that delay turned out to be quite fortunate! We were able to witness the return home of WWII veterans who were on an Honor Flight trip to DC to see the memorial constructed in their honor. The picture is too fuzzy here to read, so check out their website:
You can probably find one in your state too!

I had heard about this group on Nashville radio and was under the impression that this was all done by volunteer pilots and planes and in small groups. Apparently I was mistaken. Southwest Airlines ia a big sponsor of this and offere major discounts to companions and family members travelling with each veteran.

When the plane lands and taxi's up to the gate... water cannons are shot over the plane by Southwest employees as their show of support for these great men and women who served our country well.

We witnessed a group of 30 returning home to AZ. They were the last to deplane and many of the other passengers came off smiling and cheering. They had quite a party going on in the back of the plane.

It was really nice to see so many people in the terminal stop to greet and cheer on these brave men and women! The veterans really seemed to enjoy it.

This guys face seems to say it all!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cheddar on the Plane

For my trip to California, I made a little kit for Cheddar Bowties to take along for busy work on the plane. We had the "front seat" of the plane where there was plenty of leg room from Mom in her brace, but that meant that there were no tray tables to work on. :<(

I pulled off quite the juggling act, balancing everything on my lap while making bowties. It got really challenging when drinks and snacks were handed out!

I managed to make several bowties while Matthew and Mom did Word-Search puzzles

I had quite a bit of time to work on this during evenings, doctor appointments and hospital visits and completed 39 blocks! Here's my progress so far... all by hand!

Since these blocks only measure 3inches... I have a lot more blocks to make to turn this into a quilt!