Thursday, December 27, 2018

Christmas 2018

No photos this time . . . just a recap of the last few crazy, wonderful days of Christmas 2018. It started on Saturday with a get-together at the home of my cousins' dad and his wife. My seven young cousins and their parents were there, and everyone had a great time. All seven children (three families) truly enjoy each others' company.

On Sunday after church, I wrapped a few last presents and settled in to watch the Patriots. Fortunately, this week they won!!!

Two of my cousins were altar servers at the 4:00 Mass on Christmas Eve, so I went to their house early in the afternoon to deliver presents. After Mass, I went with my godchild and her family to the home of her long time friend for dinner. My cousin Kristin has two girls as does her friend and the four little girls are as close as their moms are.

On Christmas, I headed to my cousin Linda's home.  Her two boys had quite a surprise as Santa had brought them an adorable, sweet, white kitten which they aptly named Snowy. Santa had left the kitten in their downstairs bathroom along with a bed, litter box, and food and water bowls. At first, they hadn't noticed the bows stuck on the bathroom door, but when they eventually opened the door, they were thrilled.  Linda's boys are very active and energetic, so it was fun to watch how extra gentle and careful they were with their new kitten. It's hard to resist puppies and kittens, and I loved cuddling the kitten, too! As I was leaving, the older boy, age nine, checked my bag and pockets to be sure that I hadn't tried to smuggle Snowy home with me.  :-) I'm sure Emma would not have approved of me bringing a kitten home no matter how cute it is.  He also face timed me both yesterday and today to tell me about Snowy's first visit to the vet and how he was doing. He truly loves his new kitten. The younger boy, age six soon to be seven, was also excited to have a pet, but he was perhaps equally excited to receive a number of new lego sets.

I hope you also had a wonderful Christmas 2018.

By the way, today marks six weeks to the day since my surgery, and I can honestly say that I am feeling great!!! I am blessed.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Woodpecker Buffet

Now that's a blog post title for you!!!  We've been having some very windy days and the other day a very long limb fell and shattered into pieces when it hit the ground. I couldn't help noticing that the limb had been a woodpecker's buffet, so I thought I would post a couple photos for you.   :-)

Earlier this week after my flute lesson in Norton, I decided to head to The Quilted Crow quilt store in Bolton as I had a ten dollar coupon to use before it would run out on Jan. 2. It's a lovely shop with a lovely selection of wool for wool stitchery. :-) It's easy to pass by a pattern on a rack, but this shop has lots and lots and lots of samples hanging up, and they are irresistible. I came home with three new patterns and a few more things!!!

Now, if you observed that I perhaps spent a tad more than my $10:00 coupon, you would be correct. Merry Christmas to me . . .

When I got home, I noticed my current car mileage 12222.2 miles. How cool is that!

On Wednesday, I went to the Christmas Show at St. Jude's Elementary School in Waltham. Two of my young cousins go there as did their mom and aunt and uncle. As always, it was a delight! I even won a raffle for a beautifully decorated wreath.

Speaking of being lucky, I left a comment on Lisa Chin's blog, Something About Nothing, last week and won a quilt book by Jenny K. Lyon. It arrived in today's mail. The title is "free motion Quilting from Ordinary to Extraordinary - 3 Steps to Joyful Machine Stitching in 21 Days." I guess I know what I will be attempting to learn after the holidays. :-)

 Last night, I went out to dinner with friends for our annual holiday dinner. Today on this rainy, windy day, I did nothing!!! I snuggled under my new quilt and took a nap!

Two last photos . . . while shopping the other day this little dog caught my eye. The small one on the left spins around excitedly and plays three Christmas songs when you press its paw. The one on the right spins around equally excited when friends come to visit but doesn't play music.

Here is Emma this morning sitting on my lap and keeping a sharp eye out for those pesky squirrel outside our window.

Four more days until Christmas . . . relax . . . take a deep breath . . . and enjoy the magic of this time of year.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

A Wonderful Surprise

Quilters are the very nicest people in the world, and there are no nicer quilters than the members of the Crosstown Quilters Guild that meet in Weymouth. We had our holiday meeting/luncheon on Tuesday, and I was determined to attend to thank everyone for all of their cards and for the support that I have been shown.

We were having an abbreviated business meeting before the festivities began. The minutes were read, birthdays were announced, and a few other matters were brought up before I asked if anyone else had something to say or share with the group. That's when Maureen, a former guild president, came to the front of the room carrying a bag. Inside was a gorgeous quilt for me!!!!!!!!

Members had contributed floral fabric squares and signed messages of hope, friendship, and inspiration were written on each of the light squares. I had only missed a couple of meetings, so I don't know how they managed to get this created so quickly.

In case you can't read the message on this block, it reads . . . Crosstown, 2018, Quilters, Positive, Hope, Happiness, Friends, and Survivor.  (Survivor . . . isn't that a lovely word . . . )

No words can express how I feel about this beautiful, heartfelt gift. I have read and reread all of the messages.  I am truly blessed to belong to this group of caring, creative, fun, friendly, warm, and generous women.

I thought that I would also show you this photo of Marilyn, one of our most prolific members. The block of the month for December was a mitten. Marilyn not only made one block, she made a whole quilt using the pattern!!! Actually, none of us were surprised since she does that every year. :-)

May all of you be wrapped in the warmth, joy, love, and comfort of family and friends this blessed holiday season.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Decking the Halls 2018

I usually go overboard decorating for Christmas, but for obvious reasons, this year I have limited my decorating. Still, my house is very festive. This lovely arrangement came from my guild quilting friends.

My Christmas quilts are out and my holiday wall hangings abound.

 Yesterday morning I ventured out to do some Christmas shopping for my young cousins, and I also made a quick stop at Michael's where I picked up these white flowers to add to my wreath.

When my cousin Kristin came for Ladies Lunch on Wednesday with her girls and their two friends, they brought up this small white tree from the basement and added the White House ornaments. (I usually put up two big trees: one in the living room and one on the sun porch, but not this year . . . next year.)

They also brought up my nativity set which had originally belonged to my dad's sisters. It's a beautiful set, and it wouldn't be Christmas if this wasn't on display.

Besides Ladies Lunch with my cousins, I also went to a holiday lunch with the Dancing Queens at the Scarlet Oak Tavern on Tuesday. There were ten lovely ladies present. Wednesday night I had dinner with my quilting friends. I know what you are wondering. Aren't you doing too much? No, my doctor said that at this point I have no restrictions, and I figure that I can be just as sore and uncomfortable surrounded by friends as I would be sitting home watching TV. After all, it's hard to keep a good woman down. :-)

Update: As it turns out, I've decided to do nothing this weekend which meant missing a holiday meeting of the Herring Run Guild. Since it has only been three weeks since my surgery, I thought it might be prudent to kick back and do nothing. I do intend to go to church tomorrow, but then come home and settle in to watch the Patriots play in Miami. The Pats have problems playing there for some reason; hopefully, that will not be the case this time.

Have a wonderful week.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Mirabile Dictu

Mirabile Dictu . . . Wonderful to relate . . . one of those phrases picked up in high school Latin classes. It's not something that usually comes up in ordinary conversation, but in this case it is totally appropriate. On Friday, I met with my oncologist and this morning with my surgeon, and mirabile dictu, I will not need any further treatment of any sort. I am cancer FREE!!!  No more mammograms, no more dreaded breast MRIs, no more anxious days waiting for biopsy results EVER . . . I'm done!!!!!! Life is good!

I am healing well and working on gaining back my full range of motion. Since I have been faithfully doing the prescribed series of exercises, it is doubtful that I will even need any physical therapy. I am determined that it wouldn't be necessary, so three times a day I climb the wall, each day getting higher and higher. (That means standing against a wall and trying to slide the effected arm up as far as one is able.)

I know how truly blessed I have been with all of the support and prayers and positive energy received from family and friends; I am a lucky, lucky woman.

Work continues on the grandmother's flower garden hexagon quilt which I saw on the blog,  A Quilting Life. The pattern for this quilt is available from the blogger's online pattern shop. She also has wonderful tutorials and videos. I had never made a hexie before, but now I am hooked. It's a great hand project while watching TV.

In the video tutorial, she offers advice. First, she doesn't use glue preferring to baste the fabric. (It only takes a minute or two to baste each one.) She also suggests that for ease of removal, you should punch a whole in the center of each paper form.

To this advice, I will add that using a bodkin, the tool seen above, makes it super simple to remove the papers. Just put the round knob end in the hold and out pops the paper, lickety split. (Another swell phrase not heard often in conversations these days. :-)

I started with charm squares, but then ordered a plastic template which called for a slightly bigger starting piece which I find works much better. I love the grey, white, and black backgrounds to which I am hand appliqueing the flowers. Hand stitching is something that I find very relaxing.

These background fabrics from my stash were destined for a different project, but they are perfect for this one.

By the way, I saw a photo of a Christmas table runner where each hexie was a fussy cut little image. Maybe next year . . . and come to think of it, with all of the fun seasonal fabrics that there are, one could make a fun table runner for Easter, Halloween . . . There is no end to the possibilities :-)

Again, thanks to all for your good wishes, prayers, and support; I am truly blessed.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Surrounded by Color

Since my surgery on the 15th, I have been surrounded by color. It has been grey, rainy, cool, and dismal outside, but not in my house. :-) Wouldn't the soft colors in this close-up make a pretty quilt?

I am tired and sore, but I can honestly say that I am doing great. I haven't had any desire to read or do any quilting, so I have watched hours of mindless TV. I wish I had kept track of how many Hallmark holiday movies I have seen. At this point I could write the scripts for them!!!  I'm not knocking them as they are a pleasant enough diversion.

I did see a blog post at the end of last week on  "English Paper Piecing Hexagons and Grandmother 's Flower Garden Blocks" on a Quilting Life . Her white, grey, and black background is bright and modern and I was hooked. I ordered the pdf of the pattern and have begun working on the hexagons. This blogger also has a number of YouTube tutorials including one on English paper piecing. I've got six made so far. :-) I enjoy hand stitching and these are fun to work on.

Have a colorful week.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

A Speed Bump on the Road of Life

The other day I was doing some errands at The Launch in the Hingham Shipyard when this scene caught my eye.

At today's meeting of the Crosstown Quilters our speaker was David Sirota from Manchester, NH, whose hilarious talk was entitled "What Makes a Quilter Tick." Laughter filled the hall as he is one very funny guy. He mentioned that besides teaching at guilds locally, he is an instructor at the Mancuso World Quilt Shows which are held around the country. If you ever get the chance, sign up for one of his classes. We hope to have him come back to our guild some time in the future to teach a class.

I was deeply touched by words of support and encouragement and by the many warm hugs I received from members. Why? Well, I had informed the members in an email last week that I have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Since I am president of this guild, I felt that the member should know why I will be missing a few meetings, and I knew that I would be added to some prayer lists. 

This is my second time dealing with breast cancer; the last time was eleven years ago.  At that time, I had a mastectomy and chemotherapy. On this Thursday morning, I will be having another mastectomy. This time, the cancer was found very early, so God willing, this surgery will preclude the need for any additional treatment. . . that is my hope.

So, may I take this opportunity to ask, are you up to date on your mammograms??? No excuses. If the answer is "no," please call and make an appointment today. Early detection can make all the difference. And one more thing, I know that I will be fine, but I sure wouldn't mind if you sent some positive energy, good wishes, and a few prayers my way. :-)

Monday, November 12, 2018

A Little Bit of Stitching Going On

I fell in love with this Autumn wall hanging kit when I saw it in the Shabby Fabrics catalogue. I could have simply purchased the pattern, but the colors were so perfect that I purchased the kit.

Here's the wool stitched pumpkin that Carole from My Carolina Home offered as a stitch along as one of her Autumn Jubilee projects.

I also managed to make two breast cancer comfort pillows. Nancy H. from our guild brings them to our local cancer center. They are used by patients having any type of chest or abdominal surgery, and they are much appreciated.

In the front are three pillowcases for Anne M.'s group which coordinates quilts for the children of service men and women who are being deployed. The older children prefer  pillowcases. You may find directions for the breast cancer pillows and pillowcases here.

Finally, last Wednesday my cousin Kristin and her girls came for Ladies Lunch. We went to the Strawberry Fair  in Norwell which was a hit with the girls. Though it was far too early for any real Christmas spirit, we made our annual visit to The Christmas Place in Abington where the penguin band was tuned up and serenading early shoppers.  The musical penguins are guaranteed to put a smile on anyone's face. We normally visit a bit closer to Christmas, but that would not be possible this year.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Gazebo in Autumn

This gazebo is not too far from my home. If you follow my blog, you have seen many images of it. I have to say that this is one of my all-time favorites. I drove by this spot the other day and though I had my iPhone with me, I went back home for my 'real' camera, and I'm so glad that I did.

After church this morning, I photographed this rose. Believe it or not, there are more buds to come unless Mother Nature has other plans for early November. :-)
 Then when I turned around, my neighbor's maple tree was positively aglow. Blue, green yellow and red . . . a very colorful morning. The foliage had been somewhat blah, but a few cold nights have brought forth a bit more color.

Have a colorful, joyful week.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Hancock Adams Common

The other day I went to lunch with friends at a local restaurant and this scene caught my eye.  Along the wall separating a smaller room from the main dining room there is a wall with wine racks. The sun was hitting this grouping at such an angle that the bottles positively glowed.

Today, I  played around with this photo in the Moku Hanga iPad app which renders images to resemble Japanese wood block prints. Pretty cool . . .

Since I was in Quincy Center on Friday, I thought I would photograph the John Hancock statue at the Hancock Adams Common in front of Quincy City Hall. I had posted a photo of John Adams in an earlier post.


The sculptor did a wonderful job capturing the signature of this merchant and patriot.

Hancock is at one end of the Common and John Adams at the other. The common is across from the Church of the Presidents where both John Adams and his son John Quincy Adams along with their wives are buried.

It really is quite well done.

I do wonder, however, why it is the Hancock Adams Common and not the Adams Hancock Common??? They were both towering founding fathers, but Adams was our second President. You might have thought his name would have come first. . . . . . 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

"Wrapped in Comfort" - Scenes from Our Crosstown Quilters Guild Show 2018

As promised, here are just a few quilts from our show last weekend. This octopus quilt was made by Donna as was this lovely hand embroidered piece, "Over the River and Through the Woods." I have seen it done in redwork, bluework, and in tones of brown, but in black is was truly amazing.

*** Click on any card below a quilt to read more info in a clearer, larger format. ***

A wall of red, white, and blue BOMs (blocks of the month) . . .

 This music theme piece was quilted with gold thread which was striking, but unfortunately, it doesn't show up well in this image.

Don't you wish that you had stopped by? There were ninety-eight quilts on display. What I tried to do was show you the diversity of the quilts shown; I would love to have been able to show them all!!!

So, if you are not a quilter, the next time that you see a quilt show advertised, by all means stop in.  You will be amazed.