Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Christmas Is Over??? Already???

No, it's not over, for as Dickens wrote:

"I will honor Christmas in my heart,
and try to keep it all the year."
                   - A Christmas Carol

Hopefully, you had a lovely Christmas. On Christmas Eve, I attended Mass with my cousin Kristin and her family and then returned to her home for a delicious meal. On Christmas Day, I went to the home of my cousin Linda where all of my cousins gathered along with extended family members. What fun! I loved seeing the excitement and Leggo building skills of my two youngest cousins. 

This is a short post as I am heading out in a few minutes to join some fellow quilters working on Bonnie Hunter's latest mystery quilt, "On Ringo Lake."   I had wondered why she chose to post her mystery quilt at this time each year, but she explained why in this recent post. Besides being a a wonderful quilter and a force of nature, she is a good, good woman.

Have a great day.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Llama Drama

The one-l lama; 
He's a priest.
The two-l llama:
He's a beast.
And I will bet
A silk pajama
There isn't any
Three-l lllama.

                                                                                     Ogden Nash

One of my little cousins, Miss T, loves her stuffies: especially elephants, giraffes, and llamas. I purchased the "Little Llama Softie" pattern from Jennifer Jangles Etsy shop. When I was taking this photo, Miss Emma came over for a closer look. (BTW . . . Emma is sporting red, glued-on jewels on her ear tips after a visit to the groomer on Tuesday.)

I finished the final hand stitching on this little llama last night while watching a wonderful movie, "Christmas in Connecticut" (1945) starring Barbara Stanwyck and Dennis Morgan. It's one of my favorite holiday movies.

My baking is done and I just have a few more presents to wrap. Now on the eve of Christmas Eve, Emma and I wish all our readers a Joyous Christmas . . . Happy Holidays to all!!!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Santa Wool Stitchery

Yesterday I finished this little wool Santa piece. The pattern is from Calico Patch Designs - Calico Christmas Sampler - Block 1 - "Ole St. Nick."   I used three strands of floss throughout for buttonhole, lazy daisy, and stab stitches. The eyes were two strand French knots. I am not doing the entire sampler; I just did the Santa which is 5 by 7.

I also made this little mug rug to accompany a box of chocolates for my ever patient flute teacher.

On Wednesday, I attended the Christmas show at the parochial school where two of my young cousins go. As always, it was one of the highlights of the season. This Christmas program would put a smile on the face of Scrooge, the Grinch, and even Old Man Potter of Bedford Falls. In the first half, each grade from PreK to fifth grade performed one or two songs complete with choreography and costumes. After a brief intermission, the sixth and seventh grade choir accompanied the eighth graders as they presented the nativity story.  My favorite part . . . the third graders rendition of "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree." Why? Well, Miss T. is in third grade. If you know me, ask to see the 56 second video that I recorded on my iPhone. I guarantee it will put a smile on your face, too!

Marry Christmas and Happy Holidays to All.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Christmas Crafting and Vintage Finds

Last week, a friend came to spend the day quilting. After a quick lunch at Niko's, we went across the street to Landing Antiques in East Weymouth. It's a fun place to wander around in search of treasures. I found this green Avon vintage bottle and another Christmas tree pin to add to my collection.

I also bought this candle holder. As I was studying it, I had in mind how I would use it. I added some sprigs from my pine tree, a few gilded pine cones, and red candles. It came out just as I had imagined it. 

I can envision decorating and using it for various holidays, seasons, and reasons.

I also did a bit of crafting. My forever friends and I exchange small gifts at Christmas, and this year I made five little Christmas/winter scenes. (I refer to them as my forever friends as we have known each other since childhood.)

In case they are hard to see, some jars featured deer, some a mother bear with cubs on a sled, and one with a cat for my friend who has Mimi. :-) It was an easy process. I bought the jar at Michaels and added the decorative elements with E6000 glue which will adhere items to glass. (Be sure to use it only in a well ventilated area as the fumes are strong.) I let them dry for twenty-four hours before adding the snow.

I finished all of my shopping today and have only two more gifts to make, so I am in good shape.

Don't get stressed trying to get everything done; take time to enjoy this magical time of year and never lose sight of the real reason for this season.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Holly Jolly Good Times

I am happy to say that I have finished stitching this wool piece which was a pattern from Buttermilk Basin.

It looks sweet in this corner of my dining room.

It has been a fun two days. Last night, the Dancing Queens met for a holiday dinner at the Scarlet Oak Tavern in Hingham. These lovely ladies were all fellow teachers with whom I worked in Weymouth, and we have known each other for many, many, many years. Thanks to Carol, our social secretary, we try to get together every month or two. It's wonderful! [Let me explain our name for those who may be new to my blog. The first time we got together we went to see the movie Mamma Mia  with Meryl Streep . . . hence our choice of name. :-) We are all retired now, but the fun and friendship is as strong as ever.]

This morning I attended a holiday luncheon of the Crosstown Quilters Guild. One of the members brought in a beautiful selection of her treasured nutcrackers to grace each table. Here are just a few:

There was delicious food and lots of laughter, and you can't ask for anything more. The only unfortunate thing was that the guild meeting prevented me from going to lunch with another group of teacher friends. This group also meets each month, and hopefully, I will make their next lunch. Yes, I know what you are thinking . . . I am a lucky lady and life is very good!!!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

First Snow of the Season

The trees were dressed in glistening white early this morning, and the sky was briefly a deep, clear  blue before later clouding over. I grabbed my camera to capture these snow bedecked ornaments.

Yesterday at our holiday Herring Run Quilt Guild meeting, MaryAnn, who follows my blog, gave me two adorable gold toned teddy bear Christmas tree pins to add to my collection.

I finished my nine patches for Part 1 of Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt, "On Ringo Lake." 

Speaking of trees and ornaments, my White House ornaments are this year displayed on a small white tree, and yes, that is indeed a replica of the Lincoln memorial under the tree. 

 I am, you see,  a bit of a history geek. How serious am I? Well, this afternoon I ordered Ron Chernow's biography of Ulysses S. Grant which I believe is over nine hundred pages. I have eclectic taste in reading, and sometimes I crave something of substance; this book should fill the bill. :-)  I'll let you know how it goes.

Have a wonderful week.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Emma's New Sweater

On Tuesday . . .
I entered the pet shop
and what did I see?
This little reindeer sweater
hanging in front of me.

 It was on sale and Emma didn't have a holiday sweater, so it would have taken a stronger woman than I am to resist. :-) You have to admit; she does look pretty darn cute in it . . . I put it on her yesterday when my little cousins and their mom came for "Ladies Lunch." When their school has an early release day, they come to visit. The sweater was a big hit and we had a fun afternoon. After going out for lunch, we headed to The Christmas Place in Abington. We have a tradition of going each year to pick out a new ornament or two. (For those not from this area, this store has everything Christmas-related you could possibly need or want.) It's fun to watch the little ones mesmerized by the giant train set, the lit trees, and Santa and everyone loves the large animated penguin band!) When we returned home, while I helped Miss T. (age8) sew a school project, Miss L.(age11) decorated the tree on my sunporch which was awesome!!!

After Kristin and the girls went home, I met friends at Navarro's in Milton for a holiday dinner. It was a full, fun day and evening.

Today, I concentrated on doing a bit of quilting. I'm working on Bonnie Hunter's Mystery Quilt, "On Ringo Lake." You may click here or on the title to go to her tutorial page for this quilt. Bonnie has a mystery quilt each year, but this is the first year I have attempted one. Friends made her mystery quilt last year and they picked up many pointers during the process. Her directions are clear, and she offer tips and mini lessons along the way. Bonnie Hunter is a very generous, wonderful, positive quilter with a large following. If you are a quilter, you should definitely check out her Quiltville website.

As I sit here writing this post, the weatherman is discussing our first plowable snow for this Saturday. We've been so fortunate with our weather, but it looks as if winter is about to truly arrive. :-)

Friday, December 1, 2017

Outdoor Christmas Decorating

It's a rare day in November when the temperature is close to sixty in New England. I took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather to do my outside holiday decorating on Wednesday. This sled was from my father's childhood. I drag it out of the garage each year as part of my decorating. Another standard feature is this heavy, old metal bucket. This year I had a stroke of genius . . . well . . . perhaps "genius" might be a stretch, but I did have a good idea. Usually, I gather the pine boughs, tie them,  and try to arrange them in the bucket, but not this year. Look what I came up with.

I trimmed the branches at the bottom and inserted one in each of the holes of a turned over plastic flowerpot which when it was done led to this.

Last but not least, I decorated the pine tree in my backyard. It was once a six inch sapling given away by the DPW (Department of Public Works) at least twenty years ago. In years past, I would only need a six foot stepladder to reach the top of the tree. For safety sake, I have abandoned the stepladder and now use a long-handled gardening tool to pull down the branched and attach the ornaments.

The stepladder wouldn't work anyway as the tree is now about twenty feet!!! I'm only able to decorate the bottom half. It's fun and colorful, and I'm sure it surprises folks as they are walking or driving by.

Now it's time to start on the inside.

One other note: I finished The Red Coat - A Novel of Boston, and I rally do think you should add it to your reading list.