Friday, January 23, 2015

Just a Little Sewing Advice from the Past

If this doesn't make me feel guilty, nothing will.  I'm afraid that I'm not this structured!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Last of the Christmas Decorations - Time to Put Them Away

 Time to dismantle the tree - Some of the ornaments, including the German candle holders and candles, and the girl on a star swing singing "Silent Night" (music printed on the little book she holds) are 38 years old - or so.

 Another view of the Nativity.
 We have loved this little figurine who reminds us of a little cockapoo who lived with us for years.
 The Christmas rabbit on the first step was made by a friend in Tumwater, Jody Bromley, who charmed Tony's recalcitrant Sunday School class.  The other two elves came to us via the Christmas boutiques that I used to visit.  Last year, our neighbor children were amazed that we needed an "elf on the shelf" to watch and see if we were being good - the first we knew of this new Christmas lore.
 Granddaughter Brittany made this Christmas decoration for us a long time ago.  We always think of her and wish her well in her challenging life today.
 Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without real evergreens, and two daughters, living a continent apart, gifted us with these two adding to the beauty of the season.  Beautiful roses, and fragrant evergreens!
 And, my Boyd's bear  Mama Bear in her glamorous fir coat and purse, sits on the woodturner chair, keeping watch over Santa's elves below - a remnant of the elves I used to make for a craft show in Powell, long before I met Ron.  Christmas decorations are full of memories, and it's a good idea that we tuck them away at the end of the season, so that those memories are sharper than they would be if we became so familiar with these objects that we forgot to really "see" them.  So  today, all I can say is "Happy New Year of 2015 - May it be a Very Good Year".

Wise Words From a Book

A few years ago, my older brother (whom I always obey), suggested that this is a book worth reading.  He was right - the author, Wendell Berry, has a wonderful way with words and thoughts - clearly defining ideas and feelings that we ordinary mortals have trouble clarifying. I've been re-reading this book recently, and am admiring all over again the wonderful phrases he uses.  One quote this morning is a very good reminder for me - "Expectations is like a bucket of smoke".  Maybe it means, "Just get over it and get on with life".  What do you think?

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas Decorations Revisited for 2014

 It's almost time to put the Christmas decorations away - Where does the time go?  When we were children, the tree, purchased at a reduced price on Christmas Eve, was put up on that evening, and taken down on New Year's Day.  after being carefully stripped of the tinsel, which was laid in a box for next year, as well as any ornaments and the lights.  Today, we live with the decorations longer, and enjoy the memories that seeing them each year engenders.  The picture above is a wooden decoration painted by daughter Julia in her folk-painting days.  It hangs protected on our covered porch each December - and sometimes into January to welcome all visitors to our home.
 This little tree was purchased a long time ago, and is decorated with miniature ornaments, many acquired during my two years in Germany.
 This little Santa clasps his hands together and hangs on to the lamp in the living room each holiday.  He is a memory of dear friend Phyllis Hansen.  Behind him hang two wood-turned mushroom birdhouses that Ron made a few years ago.
 This picture is a little hard to see - it is my Petersen mouse nativity scene.  My collectibles in this line are each significant to us - I could collect forever, but manage to put a stopper on when I realize that there isn't enough room in the little glass case for more of these wonderfully crafted figures.
 This nativity scene is at least 30 years old.  It was used to tell the Christmas story a few times when we had little grandchildren around on Christmas Eve.  I know it's old, because it's marked "Made in Taiwan".
Two of these are Christmas decorations - the standing Nativity cut out of a piece of olive wood, which was a gift this Christmas from our friends, the Silvernagels, and a small silhouette of the Nativity scene which we bought in Bethlehem 21 years ago.  The figurine of Christ and his lamb was a gift from our friends, the Garners, when they moved from Preston to Mesa permanently this fall.
 The three-figure Nativity was made in Relief Society in Tumwater - long time ago.
 I found this little Nativity set in Olympia at a little specialty shop on Grand - I got it for almost nothing because the shepherds had been lost.  Perhaps they had already come and gone by the time the wise men got there?  (True story)
 This silver-plated and now oxidized Nativity set was purchased at a jewelry store in Jerusalem.  Ron didn't tell me until later that I paid too much for it, because it is just pot metal which is plated.  I still like it.
And, the is our partial collection of our Santa Claus figures.  On the left is one that I purchased at a craft fair in Olympia.  The next one is a paper ache Santa that Ron had a long time ago.  The little Santa in the air was a gift, and the one on the right was a hand-carved Santa made in Arizona by Mr. Nelson, who used to refinish furniture in Olympia.

More tomorrow.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Blue Snow

 My camera does not compensate for the blue light in the early morning on a snowy day.  I could play with these, but like the effect.  We measure the snowfall by the depth of the snow on the sundial.

White Christmas

And,  just to clarify the heading picture, it really did snow last night, and still drifting down.  How lovely to be at home and not worry about it - but the neighbors still came over and cleared off the driveway.  What a nice Christmas present!

The Poinsettia in the Window

More than a few years ago, when we wintered in Mesa, we had some friends who made stained glass pieces.  We got this one from them.  The top view is the way it usually looks in the window, but the bottom view had the wonderful glowing reflection - The sun was shining just right, and even though the windows were not clear because of rain, the reflective glow is remarkable.  Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Striped Stitchery

 This is my latest creation from the Stupendous Stitchery class on Craftsy.  Doing this kind of stitching is so much fun and liberating from the strictures of matching corners, etc.  I even put on a few crystals - couldn't resist (see below detail).  I highly recommend this technique for anyone who is a doodler, or is even playing with Zentangle.  My 14-year old sewing machine is more wonderful than I realized.

Friendship or Personality Quilt is Finished!

Finished, with a new technique for binding.  Love this quilt.  I'm not showing the back, because it is a panel, which I managed to put upside down and crooked - No one is perfect, but this is the utter limit.  However, I love this little quilt.  The blocks are treasures and fit the personality of my quilting friends to a "T".  Wouldn't this kind of quilt be fun to do in a family?  Each person could design their own block - (Remember Dwight's quilt, Louise) - and then for those who don't do embroidery, others could finish up.  Just a thought - not asking for more work.  Or, one person could design the blocks.  That's what you can do in your spare time!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Friendship Quilt in Progress

This is the present stage of my friendship quilt from our quilt guild.  It will gain another border, and perhaps some lettering.  However, Louise is going to help me figure out how to quilt the embroidered blocks.    The personality of each one of the quilters is revealed in her block.  Clever!

Monday, November 10, 2014

P.S. to post below

Class is called Stupendous Stitching, not sewing.  Oops.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Newest Sewing Project

These are pictures of a sewing project from an online class at Craftsy, called Stupendous Sewing.  I had a lot of fun making this from a fat quarter of batik, using stitches on my sewing machine that I have never experimented with before.  The piece has rick-rack, rattail cord, and yarn applied, then embroidery stitches from the sewing machine, then hand embroidery to finish the top.  The top is quilted, and can either be a pillow or a picture.  This piece is far from perfect, but it was lots of fun to make.  Be sure to click on the pictures to enlarge.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Rainbows Aren't Always a Bow

Usually we see rainbows in a wide bow across the sky, but this particular one fizzled out in the middle.  At least we know where the pot of gold is - it is in the Bear River Range of mountains just to the east of us.  And it hasn't rained for about 1-1/2 weeks.  We had the wettest September ever - In just 4 days, I measured 4-1/2" in a little black bucket that I had in the front yard.  Our lots to the south of us never turned brown this year - they're lush and green.  Looks like a park.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Turkey Buzzards are Back

Our neighbor to the east has a huge cottonwood tree that is over 100 years old.  It grows partway down in Creamery Hollow just to the east of their house.  The tree is so tall that when the air is perfectly still on the ground, there is a wind draft in the top of this tree. Sometimes in the summer, we can see eagles circling.
 We are in the path of migrating turkey buzzards, and they often stop over to rest and fly in huge circles in the sky.  I ran to get my camera, but was not quick enough, and only four are in evidence in this picture. (A camera with better telescopic lens would do a better job, but this one gives you the general idea.)  Our neighbor tells us that in the early mornings, the birds are sitting hunched over, (Snoopy vulture style), waiting for their feathers to dry out so that they can fly.  

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Completion of Ron's Work for the Week

Ron's plan this week was to save the garden shed (19 years old) from disintegration - the cedar was looking very old and beaten up.  His plan was to use Olympic stain to preserve the wood.  He asked me about color - I suggested either a mossy green or a light tan.  Of course, Preston didn't have Olympic stain, so he went to Logan to get some - not cheap!  He came home and set to work on the hottest and most decrepit side (south).  The dried cedar was just swallowing up the paint, so he went uptown here to see if there was some sort of a primer compatible to the paint that he could use as an undercoat.  He was assured that a certain product would do just that, so he began to work on the support boards on the front of the building.  After a while, he came in and said that he was given the wrong information - and no, the Olympic stain won't go on over this new stuff.  Frustration!  The result is that now the shed looks European - In the village I lived in in Germany, we had the white buildings with the dark brown supporting timbers - very picturesque.   Now, all we need is a window with a window box of geraniums, and we'll be finished.  Just kidding.  The fact that Ron did all of this in 85+ degree weather tells of his dedication to getting the job done.  And, he must live right, because he finished yesterday morning, the stuff had all day to cure in the hot sun, and last night came the heavy rains - and its been raining ever since.