Friday, December 28, 2007

Neither Snow Nor Freezing Rain.....

Well, just like the USPS the freezing rain didn't stop me! I made it home and picked out fabrics for my next quilt. I have a wonderful floral that I've wanted to use, so it's going to be the border. The pattern I chose has a pieced block in the center and sort of an Irish chain running off of it. The pattern shows the quilt made up in white, pink & black. But I decided that I would do a pale vanilla , a peachy pink and a soft green. Those are all the colors in the border fabric, so my quilt will be much softer than the pattern version. I'm in the mood for flowers .... I'm not thinking of snowmen any longer. (or freezing rain)
And I'm also not thinking of chocolate, cookies, cake and other goodies either. Too many goodies and not enough exercise are not a good combination, especially when you think that we have another 3 or 4 months of winter. I don't ski or ice skate, so I spend quite a bit of time at the sewing machine. I'm sure you get the BIG picture!
So I'm off to get out the die cut machine and get my 2-1/2" strips cut. Hopefully by the end of Sunday I'll have the top finished. I'll keep you posted and let you know my progress. This will probably be my last quilt for 2007, so on Tuesday maybe I'll start working on my first quilt for 2008!! I have enough ideas for quilts to keep me occupied until at least 2018.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

I Think We've Had Enough For This Year

Okay, so I said I liked to see snow for the holidays. It is so Currier & Ives. The snow glistens and we feel all festive! But now what do I see outside my window....freezing rain! You have to remember that I am not originally from New England. In fact I learned to drive in the San Francisco Bay Area and there sure wasn't any ice to practice driving on. So needless to say, I am a horrible driver when it comes to ice. I've learned to handle snow pretty well, but on ice I do everything wrong. If you shouldn't touch your brakes, I just put them on harder. So this post is going to be short. I need to go out into this mess that Mother Nature has blessed us with today and drive. Hopefully by the time I make it home we will still have our power, and I will soothe my nerves by starting on a new quilt. I finished the little 30's project right before Christmas. It is really adorable. Now I'm going to move on to something else and make it a surprise for you. Someday I'll be able to post pictures for all of you to see, but for now just use your imagination (I know all quilters are really dreamers and have great imaginations). My best to you from the frozen tundra...Mary Jane

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Has The Christmas Spirit Arrived?

Here's what's up today at the Carey household ...... my 2 daughters, 2 grandsons, my son-in-law and my brother-in-law are coming to join us for a little celebration. Even though we see them on Christmas day, we wanted someone to see our Christmas tree this year. Every year we put up a tree and then no one comes to appreciate its' beauty.
Now here's the interesting thing about today. We are serving them homemade waffles and homemade ice cream. And we are serving it on my Mother's Christmas dishes! I have the red and green table cloths on the tables and these lovely dishes that my Mother gave to me before she passed away. Do you think Miss Manners would think that was proper?
The first time we tried this menu on the grandkids, they were amazed that the waffles weren't frozen. They didn't know they came any other way. You think they would know that Grandma doesn't use prepared foods. I'm all for making the food from scratch. In fact, one year for my Grandsons birthday I made a carrot cake. He asked me why I had to put carrots in it. Then he said he only wanted a piece of the bakery cake that his mom had purchased. Well, once he saw everyone taking the carrot cake he asked if he could have some, and then have some more, and then...... you get the idea.
So here's wishing you a Happy Holiday season and remember that your family traditions can be your own! They will be special because you are with family and friends.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

It's Snowing Again!

Here we go again - the snow is coming down like crazy. So often in New Hampshire I hear people complaining about the lack of snow for Christmas. I don't think I'll be hearing that this year! Let's see, I think we've had 23" of snow in the last week. Now for a woman from Los Angeles, such as I, you might say what am I doing here in this snowbound environment? I thought that myself for the first 30 years or so that I lived in New England. I was freezing to death. Then lo and behold, I "matured" and now I'm not cold anymore! I actually think that setting the furnace thermostat at 62 degrees is the perfect temperature for inside living. Of course, now my husband complains about how cold it is. So I found the perfect solution - he wears about a zillion layers and I wear a short sleeved shirt. Isn't marriage all about compromise?
Here's the way my holiday season is going ..... I've baked gingerspice cookies (my youngest daughter's favorites), and cranberry date bars, then we were given lots of really delicious chocolates. My favorite was a truffle from Trader Joe's that tasted like creme brulee! So now the pants are a little tighter, but I needed to taste all of baked goods to make sure they were edible. I didn't want to give my family an inferior product, now did I? And of course, the trusty dog, Mick, and I haven't been for our daily walks because there is just too much snow. He's a Sheltie and if we go out in the snow he comes back with ice and snow dragging off of his gorgeous long fur, and it is a pain to clean off. We nicknamed him "Gorgeous George" because he is very beautiful, and he actually doesn't get offended when strangers call him a girl. He just knows he is so good looking.
So now it's off to the sewing machine to sew off some of these pounds I gained - I think it is kind of like aerobics, right? I think I'm going to work on a 30's club project. I'm thinking of having a 30's party and inviting a few people to make a little project with 30's fabrics. Does that sound like fun? I'm thinking the price of admission should be a dessert to share with everyone. Now that sounds even better.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Santa goes to the post office

Who would think that getting presents in the mail could be such a HUGE job? Especially when I didn't even buy that many gifts this year. But think about it...first you have to go shopping. I used to buy 1 for them and 2 for me. After all, I don't go shopping much so I must need something to wear. You just have to be fashionable when you're sitting at the sewing machine, right? Well, this year I pretty much just focused on what I needed to buy for others, that is, except for the cute French blue towels I bought to go in my bathroom. Then you have to wrap the presents. Now this can be a lengthy job because you want to make them look special - of course, you don't think about the fact that they will be thrown around the post office and not look anything like they did when you wrapped them. Then the fun begins because now you need to find boxes to ship them in. And of course, it is now only a week until Christmas so the time is running out. I had a couple of small gifts for friends and of course every box was way too big. So I had to take a big box and make it into a small box. Sounds easy, but I think it was harder than making a quilt. Cutting through the cardboard, making triangles out of the leftover cardboard to keep the small present from getting squished in the mail. Oh my, who said things were easy in life. Maybe I should see if Anne notices the box re-construction when it arrives at her house??? Now I've got 9 boxes to get into the post office and, of course, there will be a million people there today mailing at the last minute like I am. But luckily, I had the foresight to remember to bring the dolly. I am pretty nimble in my "older" age, but I don't think I can juggle 9 boxes at once. Now tomorrow I'm taking some "spa" time and going to get a pedicure. Can't have these pink toe nails for Christmas. Have to change to red, of course! Then a little more shopping to do, but thankfully these presents don't have to be mailed. Now it's off to the post office and then maybe it's time to get into the cookies I baked last night???

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Winter just keeps on coming

Well, we definitely live in a winter wonderland! We have had 12" of snow today so that added to the 7" from 2 days ago is a pretty big pile. The good news is that we didn't lose our power....which for our little town of 1,200 is quite unusual. And of course, we don't have a generator so when the power goes, the sewing machine doesn't work. That is what I miss the most when the power's out. I don't mind being inside but without my trusty old Bernina purring I'm not a happy camper.

I'm down to the final border on the 30's quilt. After much debate, I decided on a solid blue for the 1st border and then a yellow with white dot for the 2nd border. Now I'm almost ready to send it off to the machine quilter. I leave the design choice up to my machine quilter, Koleen, because she is the pro. I am always happy with what she chooses so why rack my poor overworked brain to come with something myself?

Hope everyone is busy getting ready for the holiday season!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas traditions

Well, here I go ......I've finally gone hi-tech! I've figured out how to create a blog. (don't forget that I learned to type on a manual typewriter!!) I'll try and post every few days so you can find out what's happening at The Christmas Shoppe. Last night we had a HUGE snow storm and it took my husband 1-1/2 hours to plow our driveway. But it was so beautiful when I woke up this morning ..... the snow covered pines were just gorgeous.
Yesterday I decorated my Christmas tree and even though it is a wonderful thing to do, I was also reminded of times gone by. My mother used to give us an ornament each year that we could open before Christmas and hang on the tree. I cherish these ornaments, but also get a little melancholy each time I hang them up. I decided that I would continue this tradition and today I went shopping and bought my 2 grandsons, and my 2 daughters their own ornaments. Of course I came to the office and didn't think to bring wrapping paper so the "crafty" me decided to use paper grocery bags. Then I made some really cute labels with their names and instructions to OPEN NOW. My youngest daughter is going to their house tonight, so they will have something from Grandma today.
On the quilting side of my life, I've been working on a "Strip Club" pattern and I'm making it out of 30's fabrics. I decided to use only red, blue and yellow fabrics. It is coming out so cute. (When I learn to post pictures, I'll show you some of the works in progress) I have the 80 blocks done and sewed together, so tonight I'm hoping to get the borders on. I always agonize over the border fabrics and I always preview so many before I decide. Do you ever have the same problem? I also get hung up on having the borders be a little darker than the blocks....even though I broke that rule a few times and had a lighter border and the quilt police didn't even come and get me!
I hope your day is going well and I'll talk with you soon.
Mary Jane