Sunday, January 31, 2016

Slow Sunday

I had a very slow day.  Didn't even get dressed until noon!  The days will begin to settle into a pattern now that the weather has improved.  Among other things Quinn and I will take a walk every day-unless it's raining!  She has somewhat forgotten how to walk on a leash so it's good practice for when we are out in Ceili and walking in and out around people.  She does really well in crowds, sticks to me like glue!  So practice is good, and the exercise is good for both of us.

Then after housekeeping and other chores, I'll either sit at my desk working or sit at my sewing machine working or read.  It will get quite boring quite quickly!

The little barn piece is finished.  Adding the trees was tedious, very tedious.  I'll work on "Card trick" tomorrow evening.  Then it will on to finishing both the fairy quilt and A Stitch in Nine as well as working on the boys new quilts on the machine.  I'm going to set up the Elna with thread for the flannel quilts and the Janome with the walking foot so that I can work a little on each thing.

I promised a photo so here is yesterday's sunrise--looking SSE from my house.  I don't have a great view of either the sunrise or the sunset due to geography (I live between hills) and trees.  This one colored the clouds nicely though.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Another lovely day.

Not quite as warm as yesterday but still so nice we had to get out and about!  Quinn and I took our usual walk in the park at the end of the street.  None of our walking friends were there, at least not at the same time we were.

I also went out to the cross-stitch shop for more fabric.  They had to special order it so it will be two more weeks before I can start on Nora's Stocking.  (She gets Christmas Mice building a Gingerbread house, should be fun!)  I've nearly finished the little barn piece-it should be done tomorrow easily.

Otherwise, I sewed up a little quilt top (19"x19") that I've had since 2009 and that has been cut out for months.  Just a little card trick block.  It should be backed and quilted tomorrow as well.  It will be another thing off my list!

The color for RSC for February is brown-for chocolate? I don't have any brown in my stash as it has been cut for the log cabin I have in progress!  Guess I'll do light blue blocks and tumblers instead, then when it's their turn I'll have them all made!

Pictures tomorrow!

Friday, January 29, 2016

65F degrees!

The title says it all!  Today's high 65F!  In January.  Next week it will be back to below freezing with snow.  Gotta love the weather in Missouri! (I don't but at least it's changeable.)  I did take advantage of the nice weather to run some errands.  Really MUST stay out of Joann's!  I really did need flannel for  A Stitch in Nine's backing-maybe not so much some of the other things I bought!  Got my hair cut-maybe not short enough though.  Bought a few groceries and still forgot the milk, sigh.  Took Quinn for a walk in the park, too nice not to, where we visited some of our walking buddies and saw 6 or 7 deer.  The deer went through the fence and vanished as soon as they saw us, of course.  Did some stitching.  All in all a pretty good day!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Little X's on Thursday

I don't know how much you can tell was done this week.  All the snowflakes, all the clouds and all the backstitching except for the trees is finished.  All that remains are those trees.  There are quite a lot but since they are mostly backstitch they should go pretty quick.  I'd like to get this done before Monday as the fabric for Nora's stocking should be in--I hope!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Walk on Wednesday!

The weather cooperated this week!  It wasn't terribly warm and the wind was blowing but the sun was shining and there were cirrus clouds in the bluebird sky.

This time we went to the Little Blue Valley Park.  While it seems to be in the country it is in Kansas City.  Closer to my house than Fleming Park where we went last time.  This used to be a race track-hot rods etc. It was closed down and taken over by KC Parks a couple of years ago.  They've put in a nice wide paved walkway so far but I've heard it's to be a soccer complex. The paved part that goes along the Little Blue river will also join up to the Little Blue Trace.  The Trace is currently 15 miles long, it's where I usually ride my bike.
We enjoyed our walk and will go back there again, we walked about 50 minutes and didn't quite cover all the paved areas.  
Trying to choose new places every week before I go back and do one over.  Hopefully keeping boredom at bay!

There is a significant snow storm in the long range forecast for next Tues/Wed  anywhere from 1 - 12 inches depending on how it tracks!  It's still too far out to predict with any hope of being correct!  Still probably will not get a walk in next week!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Folks doing good!

This week I'm going to spotlight!  Founded by Maggie Doyne several years ago.  Maggie graduated high school and instead of going straight off to college she took her backpack and traveled around the world.  In Nepal she met a little girl and she wanted to try to do something for all the children she saw without family, without anything really.  So she called home and asked her parents to empty her savings account ($5000.00 of baby sitting and birthday money) and send it to her.

That seed money began the Kopelia Valley Children's Home and School.  Maggie now has 350 students in the school and 50 or more children that she had legal custody of, including the original little girl!

This year Maggie was honored as CNN's hero of the year.

Maggie says that one person can change everything for someone in the Blink of an eye and wants everyone to BlinkNow.

Monday, January 25, 2016

On the Design Wall This Week.

The design wall is pretty empty today as the top for A Stitch in Nine is finished and now waiting for backing and then quilting.  I was very happy to see the end of that, all those seams to match!

So,  worked on a couple of Blue things for this months color on the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

Lots of little four patches.
Not sure what I will do with them yet, maybe some 16 patches or something.

Some of you might remember this quilt from last summer.  I saw it at a show in Golden, CO.

This is a close up of the quilt.  The visible pieces can't be more than 1/4" wide.

I simply can't get it out of my mind so I've begun a piece using this for inspiration.  I'm foundation
piecing 3/4 inch strips and then cutting them into tumblers. Like this

Today's tumblers- I get 5 and a half pieces per 4 x 8 inch strip.
Here's a close up.

I put the strings on lengthwise on these and some will be laid across the width of the paper. 
If I make as many as I can each month I should have an interesting piece at the end of the year.  Also, my obsession with these tiny strings may be out of my system!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

A new cookbook!

I collect cookbooks.  I just can't help myself!  I have quite a number of them and most of them I've yet to make anything found within.  Largely because the recipes make enough to feed a small army and I am one.  This past week I added yet another to the collection.  I've already made two things from it and both were delicious!

The cookbook is---Mug Meals: Delicious Microwave Recipes by Dina Cheney.
Seriously, all the recipes are a single serving, made in 5-10 minutes and cooked in a 16 ounce mug.  None of the recipes, that I've looked at, call for any unusual ingredients (I've found that in new cookbooks you will always have to buy some ingredient that you have to hunt all over to purchase and might never use again, especially if you don't like the food!)  I was at the point of just going out to eat all my meals-quite opposite to my intention of only eating out once each month.  So far I've had Pasta with melted butter and cheese (sort of macaroni and cheese) and French toast.  Tomorrow I'm having nachos.

Beyond the cookbook it's made me think of ways to make and freeze ahead single servings of other things.  Having the mug size will help make that simple.  Also this will be perfect for when I'm out in Ceili, a little work, very little mess. I'll let you know if I continue to like it!

So even though the 6 year old inside me wanted to hit Red Robin (Yum-m-m-!) for a burger and fries tonight this whole concept made me tell her no!  That alone might be worth the cost of the book.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Weekend Sewing!

I spent most of the day working in the studio.
It seems that's how I spend my weekends right now.
I'm not complaining!

"A Stitch in Nine" is almost half put together,  much pinning with all those seams.  I have having fairly good luck matching seams where I need them.  Whew!
I will get the top finished in the morning, I expect.  Then it will have to wait for batting and quilting!
I have more of the black for the binding.  
I still quite like it!

 I also did some cutting of little squares (1 1/2") and some even smaller
strips for another idea I have.  
I am tired of always having to press fabric before I can cut so I dug out these hangers.
Guess being somewhat of a pack rat can be a good thing!  
There are a dozen or more fat quarters, all blue, hanging here.  
Unfortunately, I only have two hangers so now must shop for more!

I also decided that the pieces of fabric that are full width but not at least a half yard will
get cut into various strips and stored that way.

In cutting thimbles, after nearly slicing my fingers and not being able to use the rotary cutter with any accuracy on them I am now:
Beginning with an 1 1/2" strip folded over-

I'm using a pen and scissors!  Much easier and less stressful!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Friday's Outing!

One of my intentions for 2016 is to see at least one movie each month-in the theater.  (I watch tons of movies at home on the boob tube, I own tons of movies on DVD.)  So today after some grocery shopping I headed out to the AMC nearest me to see Star Wars!  I sat in the middle of the back row (as always) and grinned when the opening came on.  Just remembering seeing the first one, they now call it Episode 4, I just grinned.  Back then (1977) a first rate movie only played at one theater in Kansas City, so a blockbuster like Star Wars had lines for weeks and weeks.  A big hit could run in one theater for a year.  So, months after it had been released we left baby Steve with my aunt and drove over to Kansas to see it.  When it was over everyone in the theater stood and applauded, something that rarely happens now.  As we were walking out I turned to Larry and asked if we could stay and see it again.  It's the only one of the previous 6 I've seen in the theater.  This one is excellent!  I applauded as did the folks sitting in my row, but at the 2:15pm showing on a Friday there was hardly anyone in the place.

Also, I loved the last location-an island off the coast of Ireland!  A very cool place!

I have more movies to see this year-movie trailers are pretty cool.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Cross-stitch update!

At long, very very long, last!  Kolby's Stocking is finished.  
Well the stitching is at least.
All that is left is adding the trim around the edge
and making the hanging loop.
I am so happy this is finished!
Kolby said the star Santa in the toe was dancing!
Kolby loves to dance!

While I'm waiting for the shop to get more 22 count aida in stock, 
I plan to finish this one.

Larry began this maybe 15 years ago and never finished it.
I've worked on it a little.
It really doesn't need much just some more clouds
and the back-stitching.  
Lots of back-stitched trees. 
Nothing like the stocking though.
I don't even have to reverse it!

It snowed again today.
Not huge piles like they are expecting on the east coast,
(Deb Robertson should be glad she's home in Christchurch after her
New York, USA Vacation!)
The streets got iffy so I stayed home from my volunteer job.
I have, as I said yesterday, been fighting off illness for a couple of weeks now.
First it was sneezes and a runny nose.
Now, I have a scratchy throat.  
 So, instead of stitching this afternoon I took a 
I am not a nap taker.
I either have to be dead on my feet or sick.

Now, it's getting near 10pm (time to get into bed)
Quinn is already there!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Beta Reading!

It's snowy and cold here and I've been running as fast as I can away from the cold that's trying to catch me so we didn't go fro a walk again today, sigh.  Last week was so good.

I was thrilled, however, that Suzie O'Connell sent me the draft of her latest book to beta read!  WooHoo!  Called Starlight Magic it is without a doubt her best book yet!  Now I need to email her the errors from today and will re-read it tomorrow in case I missed any!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Veterans Doing Good Things

On Tuesdays, I'm trying to spotlight an organization that is doing good in the world.  Today, I want to shine the light on Team Rubicon.  Begun by a handful of Middle East Vets during the aftermath of the earthquake that devastated Haiti.  After big aid was not taking any volunteers, they gathered some medical and other supplies and flew to the Dominican Republic and then into Haiti by land.  That was only the first of many, many disasters so they recruited more former military peeps and I believe they said they were up to 35,000 members who respond to disasters worldwide.  They have a complete list  of the places they've deployed help on their website, it's long.  They currently have people in St Louis helping with the aftermath of all the flooding.  They also have local service projects members take part in to keep up their skills (for the next disaster) and to remain connected to the group.  While not completely made up of military vets their emphasis is there because vets have a need to serve their country even when they are no longer in the service.

Their website has much more information, video clips and ways to help them so please check it out.

Their Motto:  We Do Chaos

Their slogan:  Disasters are our business--Veterans are our passion.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Design Wall Monday

On My Design Wall Today.

Blocks for the sewing quilt.
I decided I didn't like having all the same color blocks together so I did this instead.
I'm still fiddling with the red/pink blocks.
I was afraid that the tannish fabric would be too dark but I like the way everything has been toned down.  
I should have all the sashing/border blocks up by this evening, I hope.

Too big really for the design wall.

Close up of a block with complete sashing.

The big boys are here for the holiday, playing with their iPods in the basement.
Not much housework will get done!

After dinner it's back to the stocking.  I'm a little pumped about it today as Kolby LOVES it! 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Will I NEVER Finish?!

This has been my thought today about Kolby's Christmas Stocking!  I feel like I've been working on nothing but that for weeks.  Wait I have been working on pretty much nothing but that for weeks!  Every time I think I've finished a color another spot turns up that has to have that color, sigh.  I am getting close and surely I will be finished this week.  How long have I been saying THAT.  Seriously, I work on it every single day for hours at a time, ugh!  And there are three more after this one but I'm taking a short break before I begin and get some quilting done.  I hope!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

What I'm Reading.

I spend quite a bit of time reading.  I like to read all sorts of things and always have several (many) books waiting to be read!  This year I'm going to try to read at least one non-fiction a week, I won't always make it, in fact I didn't make it THIS week but at least I'm trying.

So far this year I've read:
 For this one I took away a couple of interesting ideas.  Only one of which came directly out of the book.  That's the point in reading for me, to make me think.  So first off--almost everything is an act of creation.  Whether it's art, writing, photography, sewing etc or math, computer programming, medicine-the list could include anything where you are thinking of a new way to do something or interpret something that's creation.  Second, that I should't be afraid to show the world my creation because it isn't perfect.  I am a perfectionist.  I admit it.  That said cross-stitch and quilting have taught me that sometimes it's just not worth the trouble to fix a small mistake, and what's the old saying ? "Only God is perfect."

I also read a couple of new books on my Kindle --Kelly Elliott's Who We Were and Ava Miles's The Promise of Rainbows.  Both were enjoyable and will be read again.  I do that quite often, re-read books I like, re-watch movies I like, re-runs on TV No Problem.

 I'm currently reading Rising Strong.  I'm not far enough into it to gleam useful things yet.  Well one, that writing down your feelings is very helpful to you overall.  More later, maybe.

The Bottom books are the trilogy of Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn series.  Given to me at Christmas by Rob.  Scott, Rob and I often read the same fantasy books and talk about them. I hated to see the end of the Wheel of time books because they gave us something in common.  One of my favorite, and most often repeated, memories is of going with Scott to see one of the Lord of the Rings movies on opening day.  He and I sat in the very back row of a packed theater.  The row was filled with young men and me.  I still smile at that one.  I still like the back row too!

I'm hoping to report on Suzie O'Connell's new book which I should be beta reading any day now!  I love that I am one of the first to read her latest book!

And now I'm going to bed to read!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Leonardo DaVinci

I decided yesterday to go to the daVinci exhibit at Union Station today.  Our Union Station was completely rehabbed in 1996 with tax money from 6 counties in Kansas and Missouri. It is gorgeous!  Very historic- many people tell stories of meeting loved ones under the clock during World War II.  Amtrak stops here but the big draw is the Imax, the planetarium, Science City (an interactive space for children), and traveling exhibits.  (You can read more about the station and see photos in wikipedia -I tried to put in a link but it didn't work-bummer.)  This exhibit is the first one I've gone to.  I did learn some things about him, like he designed and sold weapons to pay for his art supplies, but whether it lived up to it's billing is hard to say.  First off-they said you could use your cell phone for an audio tour of the exhibit.  That was tricky and took me, the nerd, three tries following their instructions to get it working and then it just did orally what was written on the exhibit walls.  Then, it was billed as an interactive exhibit filled with full scale objects from his works.  There were SOME full scale models of things but you couldn't touch those and some of the small scale models that were designed to be interactive couldn't be used either.  Anyway, what I could use was interesting and kind of fun.  I would say I came away thinking he was a remarkable man-but I went in thinking that so, Hum.  Wondering if it was worth the $20.00 it cost.  Maybe, no more special exhibits at the station?  Experiences are always worthwhile though.

February's outing is to the National World War I museum--which always gets raves!  There are LOTS of museums and historic sites near me.  It will take a long time to visit them all!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Cross-stitch update!

Stitching is going well, especially since I got the sign put back in!  The back-stitching is really bringing out the detail of the beards on the Santas.  I don't know how well you can see it but I have only three left and the roly-poly yellow one is nearly finished.  Hopefully, I can finish it all and sew it all together this weekend!  Then it will be on to other things until the fabric comes in.

I added a new "tool" to the stitching table today.  A very bright, led, magnifying lamp!  I sometimes have trouble seeing the pattern and the piece as the part of the studio where I have that table is not very well lit.  Then there are the aging eyes to deal with, more light is always better.  Joann's had a "Doorbuster" sale on these so it was very reasonable!  I'd have had to save my pennies to get it otherwise!  It can be either a table lamp or a floor lamp, right now I have it as a floor lamp.  I think it will be a great addition and not just for stitching but for anything small or anything on black!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Walk on Wednesday-Under a Bluebird Sky

When I set out my intentions the first of the year (wow, only two weeks ago)  one of them was to take a hike/walk somewhere out of the ordinary every Wednesday.  I'm quite bored with the walk we usually take in the park at the end of the street.  So I got online and looked at walk/hikes in the area.  Last week the weather was yucky but today was warmish and there was a bluebird sky!

There is a large county park fairly close to home so I chose one of the walk/hikes there.  We went to the Native Hooved Animal Enclosure at Fleming Park.  The map showed a walk around the enclosure of about 1 mile or a bit more.  

There are two species in the enclosure.  The American Bison, incorrectly but often called a buffalo.  Personally, I think the native name is better "Tatonka" (taa-tonk-a).  There used to be millions of these animals running free on the plains, before they were shot for their fur, their hump meat and  sport in the late 1800's.  They have made a great comeback-now you can buy bison meat (very lean) in some stores and bison burgers in some eating establishments.  I've done neither but plan to try a bison burger when I see one on the menu.  So how about being up-close and personal with these guys-okay behind a big fence, which, if the bison wanted  they could just take down!

Sometimes when you go out there the animals are at the back of the enclosure and you can't see them from the parking lot but today they were close to the road and lot.  People feed them often and well!  The signs say we may feed them apples, pears, and carrots- and they do love them!  The herd here is thinned each year and some sold off or they would soon outgrow the enclosure.  I think I counted 30 more or less-hard to tell when some are moving about.

The second species is the Elk.  Again better named by first nations who call it Wapiti (Waa-pee-ti).  Look at these guys!  I've seen Elk in quite large herds in Colorado (Like in the back yard) but here, like the bison, they do not roam free.

 This is the bull who hasn't shed his antlers yet.  He's big, very, very big! When we lived in Colorado I always worried that I'd hit one in the car as I'd heard of people who had, it always totaled the car/truck and sometimes the people were seriously injured.  Still they are quite majestic and very loud when bugling during rut!

Some of the bull's ladies here.  Everyone facing the same way--the direction the rangers bringing hay in come from!

After admiring the animals (Quinn really wanted to bark at the Bison, she soon learned I wasn't going to let her!) We set off around the enclosure.  They have mowed a wide path around the Bison enclosure and at least part of the Elk enclosure so walking was easy.  Up hill and down, as you should expect here, we went until we came to
Yep, a creek.  In summer I would have gone across it as it was shallow and Quinn would have gotten her feet wet but it's really too cold for my girl's feet so we turned around.  Going and coming we saw lots of this
A couple of birds but that's all.  This park is home to a large population of white-tailed deer-the ones we have in our park and sometimes in our yard at home- but we didn't see any.  It's also home to coyotes, and bobcats for sure and possibly cougar and black bears (I also read on line were there was a Big Foot sighting near there-really?) but we didn't see anything that exciting!

Back at the truck I untied my hiking boots to drive home-they are quite stiff and I have sore spots on my feet!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Folks doing good work

It's Tuesday so that means a little blog on Non-governmental organizations (NGO) doing good work around the globe.  Today it's the Central Asia Institute.  Founded twenty years ago by Greg Mortensen, of Three Cups of Tea and Stones into Schools, CAI builds schools at the end of the road in politically unstable Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan.  Let me explain what end of the road means.  Most governments and many NGO's begin in the big cities of a nation and expand health and educational resources outward.  The thinking is that they will impact the most people that way but it means people far out on the edges don't get any attention.  CAI builds schools so remote that once they had to build a bridge first, once everything was taken in by pack animal.  They've built schools in refugee camps.  They work in some of the most remote areas of the world.  The schools they build are cooperative efforts with village elders and part of the agreement is that the bulk of the student body must be female.  They've also built high schools, sponsored even higher education for girls, trained home health workers, taught adult women to read and write, and set up women's centers in villages and cities throughout the region.  At this point I think most of the work is actually done by citizens with CAI acting as an umbrella.

Some time ago they came under some criticism about the way they do things and Greg himself was highly criticized but I feel that much was undeserved and as one donor put it.  Regardless, of all the criticism CAI builds schools.   In my mind that builds peace.

In case you can't tell this is one of the organizations I donate to and I feel good about it every month!

Let me know of any groups doing good work around you.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Quilting progress.

This is supposed to be a design wall Monday but my design wall is covered with fabric pinned up on it waiting to be cut.  Once ironed I really don't want  to fold things I'm going to use pretty soon as then I'd have to press them again, sigh.  It's a vicious circle.

Things hanging up include the sashing/ border/ binding fabric for the smallish sewing quilt-both have more sewing things buttons and thimbles mainly.  One black piece, one tan piece.  The orange and red for a English Paper Pieced wall hanging for my oldest son.  Several new blue fat quarters to have four little blocks cut from them and several new neutral fat quarters which might need to be cut into strips for a log cabin UFO.

The fairy quilt is sandwiched-man do I hate doing that!  Although, I may need to re-pin part of it.  Ready for machine quilting once I get some thread.  The sewing quilt has all the blocks assembled.    The little blue 1 1/2 inch squares are sewn into 4 patches, waiting the new blues.  That about covers it.

I also spent part of the day on clean up-naturally there's more to do!  I got lazy during untime so now I'm paying!

I've been sneezing and blowing my nose, I hope that's not a sign of things to come!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

All Day Stitching!

I spent almost the entire day sewing!  Most of it on Kolby's stocking.  Finally got the white back in and the back-stitching done on the top half of the piece.  I hope to be finished with the rest this week. Then I can start on Nora's IF (and it's a big one) I can find a large enough piece of 22 count Aida in cream.  The place I usually go to for the fabric didn't have enough of it.  I'd really like to get enough for the last three so I have it on hand when Nora's is done.  I did get the seed beads I needed though.

I did put in a little time on the hexie quilt, very slow going.

It's gotten very cold here. 16F actual and 6F with the wind chill.  I've closed all the blinds and drapes to help keep the house warm and put another quilt on the bed! Warmer tomorrow!

House work to do tomorrow, then more stitching after dinner.  Boring.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Christmas Came Again!

When my blogging buddy, Ann, said she was sending me a "little something" I was not expecting a BOX!  Straight from Australia! 

 Very securely wrapped in tape,  I might add.

Inside were all these packages!  I could even get all the goodies in one photo!

Food goodies, chocolate candies-Ann and I share a love of dark chocolate and sea salt caramels-Anzac biscuits - had a chuckle over some of the little quips on the package "Mother Meg's biscuits are secret pleasures not for public viewing." and Australian grown TEA- Ann and I also like the same teas!  I'm sure to love this and not be able to buy it here!

The coolest apron, pot holder and oven mitt ever!  All Australian!  Think that will go in Ceili as she is decorated in brown and turquoise.

And this lovely tea towel , which I'll be hard put to actually use!  A cute little bag, hand lotion, and sachet!  Then the loveliest brooch of an Australian wildflower which seriously reminds me of a daisy and I love daisies.

So you see she has totally spoiled me!

Thank you again Ann!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Adventures on Friday!

I had planned to take an outing today.  I find it very easy to just stay at home and I'm getting so boring because of it!  I had thought I'd go to Union Station to the DaVinci exhibit but it was cold and rainy (walking outside) and there is a slight glitch in getting the ticket.  I need to call them and figure that out.  I will go though.  Instead I took a shopping adventure.  I am in need of a new pair of walking shoes.  I had two pairs of a nice, leather, flat bottomed shoe with really good tread, almost a hiking shoe actually.  They are worn out, in fact one pair is already gone and the second is torn.  I love them, I would buy more and be perfectly happy except for the fact that the company doesn't make them anymore.  Bummer.  I don't want tennis shoes for this as they are not as sturdy.  I've hit two stores now and even the few I thought I might make work would not go over my high instep.  (I have this problem with boots, clogs and sometimes even slippers.)  I want to wear them when I walk over uneven ground and still have them nice for casual outings.  I guess I keep looking.  It's been suggested that I try on Doc Martins-maybe next week as that involves a trip to the mall--EEK!

After shoes I hit a few discount stores.  Marshall's where I found the towels and two mugs for Ceili and a couple of bags of dog treats.  Later I went to a charity shop and found some pieces of glassware I really liked.  At Christmas and other big family occasions I never have enough platters and serving bowls, so I have one more plate and one more bowl.  They are disgustingly dirty at the moment!

Hit Joannes looking for Mill Hill beads-nope.  Ended up buying some cookie decorations that were on sale from Christmas and Jelly hearts.  (The hearts are cherry, not cinnamon as I'd hoped.  I have a really difficult time finding these sweets.)

Oh and I went to Lowes for floor cleaner.

Really exciting day huh?  I'm tired.  I'm really not much of a shopper so I find it exhausting and I started out tired.  Quinn is finding it necessary to wake me earlier and earlier for some reason.  If she gets me up before 6 I'm telling her NO!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Cross-Stitch Update

It's been so long since I did an update on this piece that I can't find the photo!  I'm nearly finished re-doing that Santa sign (look for the big red heart) then it's back to back stitching.  The back stitching always bring out the detail and all the mistakes I made!  I really hope I don't discover some other major oops!  I have to purchase some beads to take the place of french knots, because no matter how hard I try I simply cannot make them!

I thought you might like a photo of my cross stitch station in the studio.  I seem to do so much better when I work at a table.  This is not so portable, too many thread changes etc so it's good I have hexies!

How do you like my new heading photo?  I thought it appropriate as Ceili is my home away from home.  I had to have a new header photo, all the Christmas decor is down and packed away.  Well, all but the big tree.  For some reason I cannot get it to come apart so it will fit in the box!  Rob and Tanya are coming in a bit to help me with that and to put the boxes back in the attic before the next REALLY cold weather hits.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

No Walk Wednesday!

It's supposed to be Walk on Wednesday!  The weather did not cooperate!  It's not terribly cold but its dripping a rain/sleet/snow mixture bad enough that Miss Quinn (yep, the one who would rather live outside 24/7) is choosing to stay inside!  This is what I see out my back door (I deliberately shot the trees and sky and not the houses behind me.)  Yuk!
Instead, I'm taking down the Christmas trees and packing up the ornaments.  Tomorrow I'll take down the cottages and Christmas will be gone until Thanksgiving.  I'll miss it.  I always think the house is so boring and ugly when it's gone.  It's always one of my goals to make it look as good all year as it does at Christmas.  Guess, I'd better get back at it those ornaments won't wrap themselves up!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Thoughtful Tuesday.

Some of you know that I am passionate about educating girls!  Girls everywhere!  Some need basic education but even here in the US where education is free and mandatory girls need more education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine  (STEM).  This information is from UNICEF the United Nations organization.  In 2013, 31 million girls of primary school age and 32 million girls of Lower Secondary school are were out of school.  . . . "educated women are less likely to marry early and against their will; less likely to die in childbirth; more likely to have healthy babies; more likely to send their children to school."  The there's a saying I've seen numerous places  "Educate a boy and he leaves for the city, educate a girl and she stays in the village making the village stronger."  I'm going to begin a series of blogs on folks who are helping girls get an education.  Most will focus on efforts in developing countries but some will be on efforts in STEM.  To begin, lets have a look at---

This site has a great display of how much an education will change the GNP of several countries based on either education itself or the eradication of practices which create obstacles for girls.  I'll be using their list of the things girls need  (Education, Safety, Health, Voice and Rights and Economic Securities)  Check it out, think about it!

I have no idea how well any of the programs use the funds they receive so you shouldn't consider this an endorsement of any particular Non-governmental Organazation.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Design Wall Monday

This is what I drug out and put up on the design wall!

I bought this cute sewing fat quarter bundle several years ago.  Last year I sewed it into 9 patches and began trying to figure out what to do with it!  I've looked and looked for sashing and border fabric that'd be the right shade of either black or red.  I think this is the layout I'll use with two borders, one of a neutral tan and the other black (my thoughts being that at a distance the fact that there are two blacks won't be as noticeable.  Or anyway I hope.  I might do a similar sashing --tan black tan, I'm thinking on it.  Here's a closer look at some of the fabrics.

Also on the design wall are 82 blue 1 1/2" squares and 82 blue thimbles.  The squares are for a Rainbow Scrap block and the tumblers for a blue and white quilt.  I think I'll be cutting thimbles for a LONG time!

Quilt wise I'm also sewing up the back for the fairy quilt.  Then I'll have to dig around in my leftover batting and hope to find enough of the same thing to use on that.  I'll machine quilt that one myself as it's just a bit bigger than the sewing one above.  Hopefully, I'll finish that one this week.

Back to the studio!  Time for more cross-stitch!  I swear I will get Kolby's stocking done very soon!  (That's IF I don't find some other huge mistake I have to rip out and fix!)

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Tanya's Birthday Dinner

Each Year I make the dinner of choice for the children who live here.  Well, I don't do Scott's as he and I share one and we've gotten lax on Bri's as it's so close to Thanksgiving, hum maybe I should amend that first sentence.  Anyway, today was the day we had Tanya's birthday dinner.  She requested Beef Stew and Biscuits-she always requests Beef Stew and Biscuits!  I did the meat in the CrockPot but did a bit of an oops on the potatoes and carrots-I should have put them in at the same time I did the meat.  I tried these new (to me anyway) Crockpot liners and I love them!  Made of the same material as the roasting bags I use for turkey, not quite plastic very crackly.  Anyway, when you've finished your meal you can simply lift out the mess and toss it away!  It's especially nice for things that stick to the sides or beans which stain the crock.  The biscuits were the best I've made in a great long while, very light and fluffy.  I've been using a combination of baking soda and cream of tartar in place of baking powder, as most baking powder has aluminum in it and I can't think that's good for you!  I recently found some made without the aluminum so I used it and really I think it made a difference.  Of course, it could be because I went back and re-read the original recipe and discovered it called for three times as much baking powder as I'd been using!  No wonder they came out flat-tasty but flat!  All the children but Steve and his family were here and we enjoyed visiting very much.  We've seen each other three times in three weeks but that doesn't seem to matter.  Altho the boys do have to do a furniture overhaul to make a table big enough for all eleven of us.

I did a tiny bit of sewing today.  Finally sandwiched one side of the Missouri Puzzle quilt I intend to use for practicing my hand quilting (and finish a UFO).  Then I had to rip out some of the cross-stitches in Kolby's stocking as I discovered while backstitching a tiny problem with words.  It's complicated.  Because of the way the other stockings toe points I've had to do several in reverse which sounds worse than it is once your eyes get used to it.  That said any words that you intend to read have to be put on the original way within the reversed part.  So, when I got to the banner that was to read I  (big red heart) Santa it was going to read -big red heart I Santa.  I'm pulling out what I must of the banner to correct that.  Also looking at future patterns in light of that little discovery!

I'm tired so it's off to bed for Quinn and I!  She's probably waiting not very patiently for me.

Saturday, January 2, 2016


For many years I suppressed any inclination I had to cry.  I had my reasons but I'm not going into that long and boring stuff.  Then I had suppressed them for so long I literally had no tears.  The past few years I've seen a return of tears and I am learning not to suppress them.  Today, there have been a few tears.

First, I don't know if you've heard of Maggie at BlinkNow.  She was just named CNN's Hero of the Year for her work with children and women in Nepal.  She is the legal guardian of some 50 children in her Kopilia Valley Children's home.  BlinkNow also has about 350 children in their school and trains women to make and then sell items.  One of the 50 was Ravi.  Ravi came to them a very week, sick, weeks old baby whose mother had died. (You can read the story of Maggie and Ravi at Maggie worked and loved and brought Ravi back to life where he became the light of everyone's life and Maggie most of all.  Ravi died last week.  I don't know what caused his death but it has broken Maggie's heart (and mine too).  She posted a long entry on Facebook today about how she feels and how his life and death have affected her. It's wrenching.  I cried.

The VERY NEXT Facebook post was from Kelly at Prayers for Finn.  Finn was diagnosed with a severe heart deformity in utero.  He was not supposed to live, in fact they were told that they could abort him if they wished.  Today is Finn's first birthday.  This little boy who has gone through so many things is still here doing normal baby things.  His fight is not over and he may still lose.  Today Kelly wrote a letter to Finn about how he'd beaten Science.  I cried.

 I'm crying now just thinking about these two Moms.  One whose sorrow is huge, one whose joy is huge.   Hug your loved ones people! You never know when it could be the last hug.

"The Days are Long but the Years are Short."-Gretchen Rubin

Friday, January 1, 2016

The Year Begins!

I have a very long list of things I INTEND to do this year, some that will last all year, some a few days, some a few minutes.  Some to be done once, some every day.  Blogging is one for every day!  I'm going to commit to a post and at least one photo each day as another one of my intentions is to take more photographs!

We have finally had some "bluebird sky" days!  It's been so gloomy and gray-I really do not like the color gray and cannot for the life of me see what everyone likes about it!  Personally, I love BLUE!
Quinn and I took a walk (another one of those intentions-to walk everyday) and I took some photos in the park.

This is the hill we walk down to get to the playing fields!  Just a little snow left from the inch-inch and a half we got Monday.  Its partly paved, partly gravel and partly mud!  From the top it doesn't look like much but from the bottom, at the end of the walk it can seem gigantic!  Sometimes I stop to catch my breath (and to force myself on) Quinn always stops with me, on leash or off, and usually we sigh in unison before we start up!  This one doesn't do the sky justice though.

This one is truer to color-I forgot the filter.  We have lots of trees here-seas of them and oceans of grass as well.  This time of year most have lost their leaves so all the green is cedar.  I don't know if you can tell how think the undergrowth is-in the summer it's nearly impossible to walk through.

Guess I'd better hit another of those intentions!  It will be a while before I get to all the daily ones-everything takes longer to do right now because I have to tidy things up before I can do it.

I just have one question for the ages--Why when it takes me all of 10 minutes to put on makeup do I tend not to take the time?