Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The rest of the story...and working on my PhD

Yesterday I showed you a picture of one of my birthday gifts and said there was a story about it and I would would tell you that story today...
When I unwrapped my birthday gift from my sister-in-law , it was this glass slipper ...

...this antique glass slipper.
Many, many years ago; the first time I had ever met Mr. O's Mom and Dad, I noticed this glass slipper on a curio shelf in the dining room of their home. It almost seemed magical to me...too many Cinderella stories as a girl I guess.

Over the years whenever visiting their home I would occasionally take it down and admire it. I am not sure exactly when, but one day while visiting Mr. O's sister I noticed it had been given a place of honour on her sideboard in the dining room. A normal thing to happen...passed down from mother to daughter. Still occasionally I would admire it. 

This year it became my birthday gift from my good friend and sister in law. 

On the outside of the package was a label that read, "Happy Birthday Wendy from Louise and Mom". 

Puzzling but still no clue... Along with the package was a card with a note inside, "Happy Birthday Wendy, this probably means more than any other store bought gift...a real treasure for you. xx"
Needless to day when I opened it, it brought tears to my eyes. What an unselfish and thoughtful gift...because you see she lost her Mom this year as well and it must have been hard to let it go.
Thank you Louise, I will treasure it.

"The heart of the giver makes the gift dear and precious."

Author: Martin Luther

 I had a birthday yesterday, and sometimes when I think about it, I feel old, but there is a birthday our family celebrates today that definitely makes me feel old. Our oldest grandchild turns 2o today! Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear where has the time gone. 

It seems like just a few short years ago we were holding hands and singing "Barney" songs and now he is a young man with a job and purchasing his first car...there have been some bumps in the road, but Keith you are turning into a fine young man. 

Happy Birthday from Nan.

I know people usually make New Years Resolutions, but I made mine early this year. Birthdays are great for new beginnings and I plan on being very productive this year. It will be a challenge at my age but I have decided to work on my PhD. 


There is still no cure for the common birthday.  ~John Glenn

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Catching Up

Happy to report we made it through the biggest part of the Christmas season. It was tough this year with both Mom's gone and just Mr. O and I here at home, but that is life and you soldier on. Setting the table for 2 for Christmas dinner is a bit different ...

...and leftovers! Well we won't even go there. Just as a side note though; have you noticed there are never any recipes for left over chocolate?  I'm just sayin'...

Between Christmas and birthday I was totally spoiled again. I will show you some of the things I received; I say some because I know I have not taken pics of everything simply because at 6 a.m. I was trying to remember everything and , well you know how it is.

Isn't this a totally unique way to display the family name? A gift from our daughter and family. Random sepia toned shots that resemble different letters to make up words. It was a custom piece made especially for us. I love it!

And this Christmas card from our Son and his family. How appropriate...a white house with a red door (just like mine) with 2 little girls bringing Christmas greetings; and best of all...tucked inside was recent school pics of those 2 sweet girls!

Mr. O went shopping and had fun picking out all kinds of things to spoil me. 
Desperately need a new watch!

A Kobo e-reader; not needed but much appreciated!

and a lovely red leather case with a light inside for my e-reader!

a new tea cozy! How cute is that? Every teapot needs a winter toque.

And some lovely new kitchen tools! ...and this!

a new phone ...with more bells and whistles than I need or know what to do with! ...but what fun!

Some of the other things I received were...
a much needed L.L.Bean travel toiletries bag.

a calendar, gift card, and a movie that has been on my list for the last 4 or 5 years. Thank you!

An absolutely charming book! ...and see the fabric hiding behind it?

This simply charming quilted pillow.

More home decor items...

and this antique glass slipper! There is a story here but I will tell you tomorrow...

I was really spoiled, but I love it! 
Thank you all.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

check; check; check!

 20 pounds of meat, and three batches of pastry and a lot of work yielded this (12 meat pies 10" or larger)

and then I had to make butter tarts. Mom always made butter tarts for Christmas, and I have been doing what Mom does for so many years that tired or not; we needed butter tarts. 

Just a small batch for Mr O. and I. 
I made 3 dozen butter tarts and a half dozen strawberry rhubarb ones.

Quality control tells me the pies are great! I didn't hear any feedback on the tarts but I noticed that the plate I served up came back empty, so I am guessing they were ok too. 

Binding is sewn onto the quilt and all that is left is to hand stitch it down and gift wrap it. A good movie on Netflix will help the time pass quickly while stitching.

** Don't let other people dull your sparkle ** 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Future is looking brighter and Where "woman" Creates

"The Winter Solstice arrives on December 22nd in the early morning hours for eastern Canada, and the evening of December 21st for the rest of the country."

excerpt from the Weather Network
Now with the sun rising in the East I would have thought Winter Solstice would arrive to us first, but who am I to argue with the Weather Network. Either way it is good news, because if this is the day with the shortest amount of daylight of the year, then that means it's all brighter from here on in!
I can live with that!

(taken on our trip to England in Sept. 2010)

The Stonehenge monument in Britain was carefully constructed by Druids several thousand years ago, and the winter solstice sunset lines up with the monument.

To change the subject... I showed you a quilt top I whipped up on the weekend. When I measured it, it was a little bigger than I had figured. Turned out it was 65 x 80. 

I had planned to machine quilt it myself, but once I put a backing and batting with it, I started to rethink that idea. I knew "RUBY" was up to the job, but I wasn't sure I was. I have not quilted anything on my new machine yet and was not sure I wanted to cut my teeth on a large denim quilt, so I called a local gal who does machine quilting and she said she had time to do it. I dropped it off to her yesterday morning around 9 and by 3 she had called to say it was ready for pick-up. I picked it up last night and I hope to get the binding on it sometime today. (After I get my meat pies done.)

In the meantime I cut sashing blocks and pieced all the sashing for my friends dresden plate quilt, so it is ready for sandwiching now.
While I was downstairs with the camera I thought I would snap a few pics of my newly claimed quilting space. It is still not the tidiest, and needs some tweaking, but here it is...

Whoever it was that came up with the idea of a design wall needs a quilt named after them. What in the world did I do before I had it, I wonder?

Mr. O put up a shelf for my jars of buttons. Lots of storage areas in the form of an old trunk (under my cutting table), an antique plaid/metal cooler ( to store fusible web, interfacings, and freezer paper),vintage suitcases and drawers. 

I live in the country so curtains are not high priority, but I will get to them eventually!
I keep a little ironing area set up, but have my Big Board for the larger pieces.
Also have 2 pantry type cupboards for fabric, as well as the shelves for fat quarters.

I keep books in 2 old wooden pop crates, and I have 2 vintage machines on top; just because...

This antique treadle still works like a charm , but I do rather prefer "Ruby."

My Jim Shore figurine sits on the window ledge to watch over my stitching. 

Where "this" woman creates.

A gal needs a bulletin board to help  her remember and keep track of things.

My view from sitting at my machine.

A comfy chair for knitting and hand stitching. 
There you have it, so the next time I talk about working on a quilt you will have an idea of where I am.
In my humble opinion, every quilter needs a cat. This is mine...

I found him at a thrift shop with my sister this fall and he asked to come home with me. How could I refuse? I would love a real living breathing one, but Mr. O tells me that is not negotiable...I'm still working on him In the mean time this little guy  keeps me company.

You may have noticed my scissors and pens/pencils in the background. I keep them in  a cast off toothbrush holder also found at a thrift store. ** You may also have noticed all the dust and lint on my sewing cabinet but we won't talk about that...

P.S. I forgot to mention where I read the instructions and tips for piecing a denim quilt. You can find it HERE

Monday, December 19, 2011

Productivity Report

Nothing motivates me better than "the last minute". Many of my friends can testify to that. They just shake their heads and laugh.

I now have all the Christmas packages in the post with a promised delivery date of no later than this Wednesday. Gracious! Christmas is not 'til Sunday, I had lots of time to spare!
Now I am working on the ones I will hand deliver; and some that I want to send after the holidays.
On Saturday we had our last UFO day for 2011. It was a freezing cold day and I contemplated staying home, but ended up pushing myself to go and enjoyed it to the fullest. I worked on pillowcases.
One for a 10 year old grand daughter and  one for an aunt who is a member of her local Red Hat Ladies group.

 and one for another grand daughter who is a basketball player on her high school team and lives for the game.

I searched all over the province for basketball themed fabric with no success, so this was my only option...applique a basketball hoop and balls. I am pleased with the results though. Hope she likes it. This is only one pillowcase, not a pair. I actually started out just planning to put the basketball  stuff on the pillowcase, but later decided to put her name on the reverse side. I know the colours may seem rather masculine but her team colours are blue and gold.
After I got back home I was still in sewing mode so I decided to pull out a tote full of cast off jeans. I started cutting the legs off and then cutting strips. 
By last night I had completed a generous lap size quilt top 
(about 60 x76) for my grand daughter. 

I now have to sandwich and quilt it. Hope she likes it.
I am ordering my meat today for meat pies tomorrow and have a few more things to pick up in town so I still have a few big jobs to get done, but worry pas; I am on it!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Making progress

Almost all the shopping is done. Wrapping parcels today. Bathroom is almost finished. I need to do a bit of paint touch-up,  a piece of accent fabric and a pressing will finish off the shower curtains.

When I saw this "chamber pot" I just had to have it. Brings back memories of visiting "grans" house. She had a wood burning cookstove in her kitchen and no indoor plumbing. A hand pump at the counter with water draining into a bucket under the sink; and of course no indoor plumbing meant no indoor toilets, so there were chamber pots under the bed for night time use. This was a real novelty to us kids.

( another chamber pot lid...just cause it was so pretty)

(note to self: refill toilet paper holder before taking pictures for blog)

I still need to do the window curtain, but that should not take too much time and there is a small blind on the window for now. I have to tell you there was a lot of painting in this bathroom. I not only painted walls and doors and trim, but I painted metal fixtures like towel bars, toilet paper holders, medicine cabinets, picture frames etc. We put in new flooring as well. For the most part I am pretty pleased.

I am off to make scones for tea this afternoon. I have a friend dropping in for tea and a visit to my sewing room. She is anxious to meet "Ruby". She may be in the market for a new machine soon and is checking out different options.

I have made some order out of the chaos that I call my sewing studio. It still needs a little tweaking to complete things, but I had to concentrate on Christmas gifts and cooking and cleaning because I had 10 for dinner yesterday and I am afraid I have really let things slide in the housekeeping department lately. There is nothing like having company to "motivate" you into dusting etc. Hope to share a few "studio" pics later in the week.

Cranberry Scones

3/4 cup buttermilk (or yogurt)
1 egg
2 3/4 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup coarsely chopped cranberries(fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup sugar
rindo f 1 orange
1TBSP. butter melted
1/4 cup icing sugar

Preheat oven to 375. Whisk buttermilk and egg together in a small bowl and set aside.
In a larger bowl measure the next 4 dry ingredients. Cut in butter and mix to a crumble. Add cranberries, sugar and rind. Add egg and buttermilk mixture. Stir to a soft dough. Do not over mix. With hands form dough into a large ball and pat out to 1 inch thickness. Cut in 4 inch rounds and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes. While still warm brush with melted butter and sprinkle with icing sugar.
** Sometimes I omit the last step and just sprinkle with coarse sugar before baking.
Makes 8 Large scones
** taken from "The Best of The Best" cookbook.

Come and share a pot of tea 
My home is warm and the friendship is free.

(Backup) (Backup) On The Road Again Ok, telle me the truth...are you humming thatsong now? Cause I am and I fear it may be runni...