Thursday, December 31, 2009

A New Start

Functional....


Beautiful....
Functional....
Beautiful...
Functional....
Beautiful.....
This quilt is on my "to-do" list. (Beauty) It was made by Alma of Blackbird Designs and was featured in their book "When The Cold Wind Blows." I think it is one of their most beautiful quilts, and that is saying something. I have started a stash of fabric. It's still a very small stash and that is as far as I've gotten. My goal is to at least get one block ready to applique so I will have a travel project this year. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Unfortunately, I am not getting much quilting done that isn't directly related to our own published designs. (Function) That's my conundrum. Balancing beauty and function - need versus want. Work and play. This is my goal for the new year. Balance. Best wishes for your balancing act too.

Laurie

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Post Holiday Referrals

Did you spend your down time doing something marvelous? That is assuming you aren't chief cook and bottle washer at your place. That work never gets done, does it? I wish I stitched something as marvelous as thisIf you are not familiar with Janet's blog - be prepared to be inspired (and a bit humbled). Did you cook something exotic and comforting for your loved ones like thisVisit my friends over at IPB Living and soak up their 21st century home/shelter/cooking/quilting/gardening blog.

Maybe you would like to peruse my newest blog stop . A 13 year old style genius and overall cool person who gets invited to Fashion Week in NYC to critique the masters. I'm trying to remember what I was doing at 13.

My last few days have been spent messing around with thisand this.
Yes, that's a portable dvd player behind the featherweight. Multi-tasking, don't you know. I am waiting for this to be delivered today from Amazon.which was recommended to me by Barbara. I cannot wait!

Laurie

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Day After

Did you have a great day? We hope you all did and that you didn't have to travel in all the icy-snowy mess that most of the country got. Both Polly and I were in our respective homes on Christmas Eve all tucked in and not in the weather. Polly called and said she was hooking a rug watching "White Christmas" on AMC's Christmas Marathon. SO WERE WE! Except I was hand quilting. Then we both popped in our favorite Christmas movie EVER - Love Actually.It has become a Christmas tradition here. Love it. There are some scenes not for the kiddies, though. This was a very low key holiday and once we made a few holiday visits, Bill and I spent the last 30 hours or so eating, quilting, puppy training, and watching dvd's that we got for Christmas. What fun! The first one was this.

What can I say? Meryl Streep, Julia Child, Nora Ephron...... Fantastic. The next one scheduled for this afternoon is this.
No, this isn't about a quilter and her golden retriever that live in Phoenix (although that would be a great movie too) - it's about the life of French singer Edith Piaf. Bill and I saw this in the theatre when it first came out - but a glitch in the projectionist booth messed up the last 15 minutes of it. We are looking forward to seeing it glitch-free today. Do you sense a theme to these movies? Isn't Bill a good sport about watching Chick Flicks with me? Well, not to be pigeon-holed into the chick flick stereotype - we watched this movie last night.Yes, we watched and we LOVED it. If you can handle the Tarantino gore and violence - this is one spectacular movie. Really, I can't warn you enough about the gore, but Brad Pitt speaking "Eye-talian" is hysterical. If you are a student of war movies - all the movie references are quite entertaining. Happy Hibernating, everyone.

Laurie

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas


Merry Christmas to All!

We hope you have a White ChristmasBut that your travels are safe. Even if you don't go somewhere as exotic as here.
We hope you and yours have a peaceful and happy New Year. All of our best to you.I tried and tried to get a pic as sweet as this one. I had bows. I had reindeer antlers that blink. Gibby would not play along. After 30 some pictures - this is the only one in focus.No one said it better than Alma over at Blackbird Designs blog. Remember those who need our help this season. Peace On Earth.


Laurie

Friday, December 18, 2009

Making a List and Checking it Twice

I have been able to do most of the things on my list. Of course, you know, I deliberately had a very short list this year. I recommend it. Not much decorating. Just the tree and this glittery Empire State Building in front of my Brrrrr Park quilt. Done. This let me cut out 2 quilts this week and piece one and start piecing the other.The colors are right for the season. Notice my impeccable neatness. Hey, they started out in neat stacks. I swear. This is a scrap test run of a pattern that still needs some tweaking. All this fabric (and the fabric from the previous top I pieced this week) came from my scrap bin. This is it.
I. Am. Not. Kidding. It is still full. It's a Holiday miracle. Hey, there is another story told this time of year about a tiny bit of oil lasting 8 days. Just sayin.

I am in the holiday mood, so I will share a very quick and lovely treat for last minute gifts. Notice the bowl in front of the Brrrr Park quilt.White Chocolate Peppermint Bark. Soooooo easy. Get 2 lbs. of Callebaut white chocolate and melt in the top of a double boiler. Add one dozen crushed candy canes and 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract. Pour onto a parchment paper lined jelly roll pan and chill. Break into pieces. Done.

And.... one final photo of our Christmas Joy. Gibby. Laurie

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Lights, Camera, Tree

We put up the Christmas tree this weekend. We had to go in a new direction for the decorating this year. New puppy, you know. Real trees were the way to go in the first 10 years of our marriage. I love real trees and had a bad aesthetic experience as a kid with artificial trees. (artificial tree's in the 60's and 70's were NOT good) Lorelei had grown up with artificial trees and a real tree was a great luxury. When she was in college, we would wait to decorate the tree until she could be home with us to do it. Which brings me to this. Our Martha Stewart cast iron Christmas tree stand - for a real tree.
I bought this stand online when we first got a computer. It was my first online purchase. Oh, the novelty of that. "Who would buy things online", on a regular basis, I thought. Hah! Anyways.....I bought this on Martha Stewarts's online store, before she was associated with Macy's and before she was associated with K-Mart. It was on sale for $19.95 (down from around $100.00) and had free shipping. A week later it arrived with a huffing and puffing UPS man carrying it. It was HEAVY. Obscenely heavy. Imagine what you think a solid cast iron Christmas tree stand would weigh and triple it. What metal is heavier than cast iron? Plutonium, maybe? I'm sure whoever had the idea at Martha Stewart Living to offer free shipping on sale items was quickly on the unemployment line. I love this stand, but it hasn't been used in a few years. I would offer it for sale on Ebay - but then the shipping costs would bankrupt the purchaser. So, it stays on.Next was the vintage Christmas tree stand and the vintage white artificial tree. I love this one too. It came about when I found the stand at an antique store and had to find the perfect tree and perfect ornaments to go with it. It started my Shiny-Brite collecting. We have had this one up for the last 5 years or so. Last year, you may remember I blogged about the lights. Some of our white lights had died during storage and I asked Bill to pick up 2 strings of white lights on his way home from Hockey. He did. He bought "Industrial" white lights - whatever they are. What they were was BRIGHT. It took awhile to get used to, but we liked it. The lights were so bright I could sew by them. Both a real tree and this large white tree seemed to much of a temptation for a new puppy. I have a nifty aluminum tree that we used as a prop in our booth at Quilt Market a couple years ago. It is sparse and shorter than the white tree and could be placed on the window sill in the bay window. Aluminum means that we couldn't string lights. I covered it with icicles and all my silver and gold Shiny-Brites and then flipped on the overhead spotlights. It worked. It really looks better from the street than it does from inside. Here it is in front of the window.Let me back up a few steps and you can see the whole tree. Yes, I loaded all the ornaments where they could be seen from the street. I planned on getting a ladder and decorating the top of the tree later, but this tree amuses me and I think it will stay this way. It is badly in need of a tree skirt. I will put that on my list.

Laurie

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Is Coming!




Hi


I promised some of my fellow rug hookers I would post, and show something new I was working on. So, I decided to show a couple new holiday designs. Gibby will be back - don't worry. Right now it is freezing in MI and he is not a fan of being outside. But soon you will be able to see how he is adjusting to his first snow and what Santa Paws will bring him for Christmas.


In the meantime, I will show that we do have a little holiday spirit, and it is a good thing, as Christmas is fast approaching.


It continues to be a challenge to get in the spirit here in Naples - after spending most of my life in MI where we alwalys wanted a White Christmas and we usually received a White Christmas! I went out yesterday to shop at a shopping area on the water, and it is decorated beautifully, but people are shopping in shorts - the weather here is glorious.


It is beautiful to go down to the shore in evening and see the wonderful decorations on the boats - now that is something we never got to see in Michigan.


Have a wonderful time with your family and friends, we wish you the best.


Promise - Gibby will be back to tell you about his First Christmas.


Polly


PS - Pardon the "not so great" photos, I taped the rugs on the wall for a quick photo, they look a tad out of whack, but trust me - they are not.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wintry Day

I hope to decorate the house and trim the tree this weekend. It was in my plans to do it last weekend, but something else came up.Right now the house is decorated with things like this.I am the eternal optimist though, and it will be done soon. The scrap box is being depleted again. (Hah!) and I am tinkering around with this.
Which may, or may not, look something like this.We'll see. It could be a Minick and Simpson quilt pattern in the near future. I wanted to work on it last night, but a little thing like a Winter Storm happened and the power went out at 6 pm. You know, my quilting options were diminished with no electricity and total darkness. Bedtime came at 8 pm. Good thing there was a large stack of quilts on hand. Everyone is up early. Especially one particular one. Maybe I can get some work done today.

Speaking of winter..... I found something wonderful for chapped, cracked winter hands. I know, you have heard it all before. This week was especially testing since having a new puppy in the house meant lots of hand washing. I found this online. Honey Guy Cream. I found it at Fat Quarter Quilters. This stuff is Gibby tested and Laurie approved. Honey Guy Cream by Honey Guy

Hope you are keeping warm today. Happy Quilting.

Laurie

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Special Delivery

Here are your first set of pictures of our new family member, Gibby. I was lucky to get these as the only time he is still is when he is asleep - and the only time we have seen him asleep has been for the 30 minute car ride home. He is 11 weeks old and was in a litter of 11 pups. Notice the tail in a blur. He is mostly all in a blur.
His father was a Boxer and his mommy was a Labrador - Shar Pei mix. We are not sure how we will eventually look, but he is kind of adorable right now. We found him online at
Home Fur-Ever Rescue site. They are a wonderful bunch of folks who rescue pups from dire situations and kill shelters. It takes a special person to do that work and we are forever grateful that they do it.
We exchanged emails all week and met the foster Mom and Gibby yesterday. Today we attended their Rescue Adoption event and filled out lots of paperwork and brought our boy home. Roscoe and Lizzie; the cats, have yet to meet him. They are hanging out under the bed for awhile. They will come around. They don't like to admit it, but they kind of like dogs.
Hmmmm, that paw looks kind of big doesn't it. I think we will be busy here for the next couple of months.

Laurie

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