Monday, December 26, 2016

Winter Cardinal

Here's one of the gifts that I made for Christmas. My neighbors enjoy feeding the birds so I thought this little 6"x12" quilted wall hanging would be perfect.  The pattern had caught my eye last spring when I saw it made up in a quilt shop in New Hampshire, and yes, I have a duplicate one cut and ready to sew for me. :-) I love that I found a package of tiny buttons with both bright and dark buttons to embellish the piece. Here's the pattern info in case you are interested.

I hope you had a perfectly lovely Christmas. I spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with family, and it was wonderful. It's always fun to watch my little cousins open the gifts that I have selected for them. A highlight was the remote control race car with sound and flashing lights that would zip across the floor or even more exciting, climb the wall!!! It was a definite hit with the seven year old. :-) I have a cute photo of him and his four year old brother looking up as the car climbed up to the ceiling. The little guy asked if I would get him one to which his brother said, "No, you're too little; you have to be mature to use this toy. :-)  :-)  His little brother had been given a set of mini dinotrucks which he did like. And of course, having been an English teacher, everyone gets books including their moms.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas Greetings

It's hard to believe that it is the eve of Christmas Eve.  I normally decorate two large trees: one for the living room and one on the sunporch, but not this year. I already had a two foot green tree where I have always displayed my White House Historical Association ornaments, but the green color never seemed to set the ornaments off. So, this year I ordered a two foot white tree and I love how the ornaments look on this one. Next year when I put up my big trees, I may put this one in the front window.

One small schnauzer ornament also hangs on this tree. 

Let me take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy, and peaceful year ahead.  This year the eight days of Hanukkah begin on December 24th. Happy Holidays to us all.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Miss Emma's Christmas Finery

For Emma fans, here she is just home from the groomer, Pooch Paws in Rockland, sporting a festive holiday bow. It doesn't seem possible that Emma will be turning four at the end of this month. Now please understand, she doesn't normally get to sit on the furniture unless she is on my lap. I just wanted to grab a quick shot before she had her supper. A wet, messy schnauzer beard wouldn't lend quite the same effect. :-)

Monday, December 19, 2016

Holiday Lights

 I went to a family party on Sunday, and on the way home I passed this incredible display in Braintree.  Isn't it absolutely glorious!!! This is only the view from the side yard as the front was on a very busy main road. I had parked on the side street, and it was too far to hobble around to the front.

Since my last post, I went out for a holiday dinner with quilting friends, had lunch with some retired teacher friends, and wrapped and bagged all of the gifts that I am giving. Thank goodness for online shopping! I was also supposed to see friends on Saturday, but our get together was postponed due to a snowstorm. By Sunday morning, the temperature was fifty and all of the snow had magically disappeared. Life in New England. . .

I still need to finish making two gifts; one is a small piece and the other a larger piece for my lovely godchild who asked for a Thanksgiving wall hanging, and who I know won't mind if it is a tiny bit late. After all, November is a long way off. :-)

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

A Busy Week

There is usually a Christmas tree in this spot on the sunporch, but not this year. It will return next year.

It's been a busy, fun week so far starting with a Herring Run Quilt Guild meeting on Saturday. The show and tell was wonderful as always, and we enjoyed a trunk show featuring the work of guild member Marianne Karpinski whose appliques quilts are truly beautiful.

Last night, nine members of the Dancing Queens met for a holiday dinner in Hingham. These lovely ladies were all Weymouth teachers. The first time we got together was back in 2008 when the movie, Mama Mia, came out, hence our group's name. Now we are all happily retired, but still get together on a regular basis.

Today was the holiday meeting of the Crosstown Quilters and a fun time was had by all. I donated a Christmas basket with a quilting-themed mug mat, mug, pin holder, and stitch ripper. I came home with a jelly roll, thimbles, and a pin holder!

I still have three more things this week to look forward to. In between, I'm sewing for Christmas and keeping my feet up as much as possible. :-)

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Passing of an American Hero

It has been a while since my last post. I have been working on a few quilting projects, but since they are Christmas gifts I haven't wanted to post any photos. The issues that I have have been having with my feet have cramped my style a bit and have put my photography on the back burner, so that also explains my lack of posting. My house is all holly and jolly thanks to my cousin and her little girls who last week came and lugged decorations and other things up from the cellar for me.  Since yesterday was an early release day from their school, they came for our monthly "Ladies Lunch" followed by our annual visit to The Christmas Place in Abington. I, for the most part, sat on a convenient bench while the girls each picked out this year's ornaments.

The passing of John Glenn prompted me to write this post. I was in grammar school when he made his historic flight in 1962. Young people today would have no idea of the impact that John Glenn and the other Mercury 7 astronauts had on our country. They were truly American heroes. When I was in college, John Glenn came to our campus as part of the speaker series. I attended most of these events, but I was never as excited as when John Glenn came. Flip ahead twenty to thirty years . . . I was with a group of eighth and ninth grade students on a trip to Washington D.C. and visiting the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum where we saw John Glenn's Mercury 7 space capsule. I remember trying to explain to them what a really big deal that flight had been.  We marveled had just how small and improbable that capsule appeared to be. Later that same afternoon or the next day we were at the Capitol listening to the guide talking about the features in the rotunda when a group of men passed through. One of the teacher suddenly remarked, "Oh, my, goodness that's Senator John Glenn!" I think it might even have been me. Senator Glenn turned, flashed a smile, nodded, and without missing a stride kept on moving. One of his aides paused briefly and said the senator would have stopped to greet the students, but he was rushing to cast a vote.

A few years ago, I read a biography of John Glenn. From his early years, to his days as a test pilot always pushing boundaries, to his becoming an astronaut and an American hero, and later a United States senator, he truly had the right stuff. Besides all that, the book showed him to be a very good and decent man. Godspeed, John Glenn.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving 2016

How many feathers does the average wild turkey have? The answer will be found at the end of this post.

Just wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving Day tomorrow. Drive safely if you are traveling, give thanks for all your blessings, and please pass me a small slice of  apple pie. :-)

This turkey was one of the first stained glass projects that I ever made about a zillion years ago. Isn't he a fine looking fellow!

The average wild turkey has 5, 000 to 6,000 feathers or more!!! Isn't that unbelievable!!!  Found that info as I was making out questions for our quiz game.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Christmas Wreath Ornament

I enjoy reading all types of blogs, especially quilting, crafting,  and vintage collecting and repurposing ones.  In a recent posting at Adirondack Girl @Heart , Diana showed a "Vintage-y Farmhouse Jute Christmas Ornament" that she had designed using some red striped jute ribbon. I had a roll of this woven ribbon in my craft supply box, and so, I thought this might be a fun project to do with my young cousins. Well, yesterday my godchild, her husband, and her two girls came to put away all of my garden "stuff" for the winter.  My pink adirondack chairs are now tucked away under the deck and all of my ceramic pots are emptied and stored away. They made short order of this work and then there was time for crafting fun.

Besides the jute ribbon, I had picked up some thin red ribbon, felt, jingle bells, and a package of these pipe cleaner branches. Our results are somewhat different than the original design since I didn't want to use a glue gun with the girls. We simply used small pieces of green floral wire to attach the jingle bells and red ribbon bow to the wreath. Next we used a bit more wire to anchor the wreath to the jute ribbon. The felt was glued to the back to cover up the wires.

We enjoyed doing this fairly quick ornament project and our results are each a bit different but equally adorable.


And speaking of adorable, here's a salt and pepper shaker I bought at a candy shop this week. I was picking up chocolate pilgrim lollipops for my seven little cousins whom I will see on Thanksgiving. I do a little quiz game with age-appropriate "Thanksgiving Day" questions with them and everyone gets a prize at the end.  Here's the final silly question . . . Myles Standish was a famous pilgrim, who can "standish" on one foot for thirty seconds? Of course, they all can and do. :-)

Finally, here's Emma game day ready. Go Pats!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Oh, "Deer" Me!!!

Normally, I don't let Emma out in the morning until 9:00. This morning a friend was picking me up for a guild meeting, so Emma went out about 8:00. Frantic barking immediately ensued, and I as quickly and carefully as possible hobbled my way down the backstairs to see what the heck was going on. I knew it had to be more than the usual 'Cirque du Soleil Squirrels' leaping from branch to branch driving Emma nuts. Yikes! There were deer in the woods. Two immediately took off, but this one appeared unfazed by my mini schnauzer contained in our fenced-in backyard. The deer looked at me and I sensed her saying, "Look, I'll pose sweetly for you if you will just do something about that awful barking."Deal!!! Emma soon went to patrol along the rest of the fence, and I grabbed this shot with my iPhone. 

This is the same area where I have seen deer before . . . a year or so ago. Don't get the wrong idea about "the woods." It's a not too large strip of trees surrounded by typical suburban backyards. I suppose it's a pretty safe place for them to spend the night. A family of foxes also has a den there somewhere.

Emma had an appointment at the groomers this afternoon and came home with this spiffy green plaid bow. I'll tuck it away for St. Patrick's Day.  :-)

Here's a photo taken this evening because she looked so darn cute.

A number of years ago, I won the door prize for this little cornucopia candle mat kit at a guild meeting, and I finally got around to making it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

We Are Not Enemies, But Friends

In the aftermath of yesterday's election, it is perhaps fitting to remember the words spoken by Abraham Lincoln in 1861 at his first inaugural.

       We are not enemies, but friends.  We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

 Let us hope that the better angels of our nature will help all of us to bring together this divided nation.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Election Day 2016

Well, after what seemed to be the election season that would never ever ever ever end, Voting Day 2016 has arrived.  There are no words to describe the past sixteen months. If a script was written to sum up all the ups and downs (mostly downs), no one would possibly believe it. I, myself, have watched hundreds of hours of political coverage.  .  .  but tonight we will finally learn in which direction our country is headed.

On another note, please explain to me why we enjoy quiltings. This six and a half inch Halloween block has thirty separate pieces. I had it completed then noticed that one of the half square triangles was going the wrong way. Grrrrrrr! Of course, it had to be in the middle row which meant unstitching sections of the block.

Speaking of quilters, I love this. Dory and I seem to have a lot in common. Instead of completing quilting projects that are piling up, I often can't resist starting something new!!!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Halloween Quilt Blocks

A couple of week ago when I wasn't supposed to be putting weight on my injured foot, I started working on a Halloween quilt. At our recent Herring Run Quilt Show, a member of the guild had a Halloween themed quilt based on Tula Pink's  100 Modern Quilt Blocks. Now, I already have far too many unfinished projects and the very last thing that I need is a Halloween quilt, but I started it anyway just for fun. The fabric was no problem as I had lots left over from a quilt I had made for one of my little cousins whose birthday is on Halloween. I've always enjoyed fussy cutting so these blocks were addictive. (For non-quilters, fussy cutting means cutting our little motifs from larger pieces of printed fabric.) I have fifty-five blocks completed so far, so I'm beginning to think about the sashing and borders. Here are two possibilities. I laid a few out as a sample; which do you prefer . . . the dark or the light version? All opinions welcome. :-)

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

A Touch of Autumn

If you follow this blog, you know that I have not been able to get out and shoot the fall foliage this year. It's the first year in a very long time that I have not photographed the crimson glory of the cranberry harvest in the Carver area. Nothing could stop me, however, from photographing this last bit of color in my own backyard.   :-)

I have been doing quite a bit of reading lately, so I thought that I would pass along two recommendations. The first is The Tumbling Turner Sisters by Juliette Fay. It is the story of a family of female acrobats trying to make a living in the world of vaudeville. 

The  second recommendation is The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald. If you love books and reading, then you will enjoy spending time with Sara the visitor from Sweden and the quirky folks in quiet, little Broken Wheel, Iowa.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Pumpkin Table Runner Finished

I finished this pumpkin table runner a week or so ago and thought this might be a good time to show it. Actually, the middle of the runner has been done for a year or so and only needed the borders and to be quilted. I had purchased the kit knowing that it would be a bit too big for my dining room table but just perfect to drape on the back of my living room sofa. The witch on the left is a Sandy Bard Design.  Sandy taught a class at our guild a number of years ago and beside this Halloween doll, I also made her   winter-themed doll.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Small Speed Bump on the Road of Life

Remember that foot injury I mentioned a few times? Well, it turns out it is a tad more serious than originally thought. Just so you know, I did have x-rays taken before my trip to Ireland, but they didn't indicate there was any problem so off I went. Fortunately, a friend on the trip insisted I wear a stocking on my foot to keep down the swelling. When I returned home, a visit to an orthopedist and a different type of x-ray and an MRI revealed there was indeed a problem. . . among other things, serious ligament damage. So, I will be sporting this stylish boot for about six months. Yikes!!! Well, it could have been a whole lot worse.

I am truly blessed to have wonderful friends who have stepped up to lend a hand. Also, this nifty, basic black boot goes with every outfit that I wear. Though Emma won't be having any long walks until springtime, fortunately, I do have a large fenced in backyard where she can run around and chase those pesky squirrels. Actually, she seems quite happy to have me home more as I am always bopping around somewhere, and the boot does indeed make a fine place to rest her head while curled up on the hassock. Another good thing, the boot is not on my driving foot.  Finally, at this point there will be no surgery so It's All Good!!! (After all, this isn't called "a positive outlook" for nothing. )

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Exploring Ireland - Day 8 - Blarney Castle

We visited Blarney Castle on our last day of the tour. Flower beds line the path leading up to the castle.

I had kissed the Blarney Stone when I was in college, so I stayed on the ground.

Here's Paula, our camera club president, on the way to the top.

You looking at me???

We only got to make a brief photo stop along the highway to capture images of the Rock of Cashel. This was the only disappointing part of an otherwise wonderful trip. How I would have enjoyed photographing these ruins up close. Perhaps I will have to return to Ireland some day to do just that! 

Dinner at The Abbey Tavern was a fun way to end our visit to Ireland.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Exploring Ireland - Day 7 - The Ring of Kerry

Day 7 was a very full day with many amazing vistas.

One of the highlight was meeting local farmer, Brendan Ferris,  who in voice and appearance seemed  straight out of central casting. His Kells Sheep Center is along the Ring of Kerry, and his demonstration of herding with his two border collies was an experience not to be missed.

If you look closely at the photo below taken from the bus window, you will see two islands. The larger of the two is Skellig Michael. Skellig Michael, a well-preserved monastic outpost of the early Christian period, is designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. If you are a fan of Star Wars, you will know that Skellig Michael appeared at the end of Star Wars VII as the place where Luke Skywalker is found.

Along the way we made a brief stop in Sneem, a place worthy of a longer visit. This first photo is a bit over polarized, but it seems to work with the brightly colored buildings.

Perhaps the most beautiful spot on the Ring of Kerry was Ladies' View.

It is called Ladies View because Queen Victoria and her Ladies once had a picnic at this glorious spot.

We arrived back in Killarney where Marilyn and I attended evening Mass at St. Mary's Cathedral. Construction began on the cathedral designed by Augustus Welby Pugin  in 1842.  During the famine, it was used as a hospital and a shelter, and there is a redwood tree on the grounds which marks the mass grave of children lost during the famine. The cathedral was complete in 1912. As you can see, the interior is simple but visually striking.

What a beautiful, full day it was!