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Friday, December 9, 2016

Work Free Weekend

I am soooo happy to say that ALL of my custom orders are done, everything is shipped out, and I have NO more orders on deck.  I decided this year to not take any extra jobs after Dec 1 from my customers.  It sure feels good!

Other years I would rush rush rush to finish up last minute things they wanted, and it was too stressful.  It was usually because as they got down to the last names on their lists, they would quick order up two more pairs of socks, an extra rug, make a matching something to something else etc. I used to have a sign on my desk years ago as the Advertising Editor at a real estate office similar to this:



Soooo my regular customer folks were nice and got in orders in Oct and Nov and those are all done.  I have one lady still considering colors for a six foot long runner rug, but I have told her it would not be worked on till after Jan 1.

I did one special group of items for my friend Connie.. but that was more of a special project to do for her rather than a customer order. She needed 26 of these quilted fabric microwave bowls sewn up for gift giving. They are used in the microwave under a bowl and then you can use  them to lift the hot bowl out with your hands. They are made from all cotton fabric and thread and an all cotton microwaveable batting inside.  She wanted them in coordinating sets of a large and small. I dug in my stash for all the fun fabrics to put together.  It was fun to work on these and she came to pick them up on Thursday.


She seemed delighted to get them.... 
and we had a nice visit too! 


Here are the directions that Connie gave to make them:

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I guess I kinda feel selfish by not taking any more orders or mailing out any more stuff.  I suppose if someone wants to buy one of the quilts I have listed in my Etsy shop, I would do that.... for the cash.  But I am now working on things for *me*.  Fun stuff.   I finally finished sewing up the last two rows of blocks for this quilt I am making for the motorhome. It was only Queen size so far and I need to add 10 inches to each side yet to make it a King. In this pic it is just over the edge of the mattress, but needed to be wider. Tomorrow I might attach the rows of blocks on each side and quilt those sections so it is done. 

I suppose if someone REALLY wanted to buy this one for a Christmas present, I could be coerced into finishing it up and shipping it out before Christmas.  LOL 



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For my birthday Steve gave me a gift certificate to a lovely quilting shop in Menasha called Primitive Gatherings. https://www.primitivegatherings.us/   I bought enough fabric to make another quilt *just for ME* ....  so this is a great time to get started on it.  It is going to be a cuddly quilt to have on the couch in the livingroom.



Today I prewashed all of the fabric I bought.  I use mesh lingerie bags to wash it so it does not get as stringy. Then I took some time this evening to starch and press each piece of fabric in preparation for cutting.


 I just move my ironing board next to the bed, 
lower it to an accessible height
and sit on the bed to iron all those individual pieces of fabric! 


Now I have all of the colors... and I know I want to make log cabin blocks.. but how to arrange them once the blocks are made is not yet decided.  Here are some of the ideas from the book called Stellar Quilts by Judy Martin.


 Or I could just lay it out kinda traditional ... 
like this: 


I guess I will just have to whip some of the blocks up and see how they work out, arrange them here and there and figure it out.  
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We are due for some cold weather, snow and winds in the next day or two.  I was going to babysit for the youngest grandbaby Claire Bear tomorrow night.  But if the roads are bad, they will stay home.  As it is, my throat is scratchy, my ears are aching and I am starting to sniff sniff sniff.  EWWW after battling the danged flu last weekend with myself and the grandkids, I don't want to be under the weather again so soon!  Gonna take some Nyquil and hit the sack early.... 



Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Swimming Party at the YMCA and Sewing Dog Toys

It is hard to believe but our granddaughter Allegra is now SEVEN!  Where has the time gone? In our pile of seven grandchildren, she is second in the pecking order, with Jameson being the oldest at the age of 8.  

Our son Dan's wife, Heather, helps out at the East Side YMCA in Green Bay. She arranged for Allegra to have her birthday party at the Y... with swimming for all of her cousins, friends and family.  Then later to have birthday treats in a meeting room. 

~What a Great Place for a Birthday Party!~ 



After all of the little ones got into swimsuits,
they hopped on into the pool to splash and shriek and scream.... 
(Birthday gal is in the orange goggles in the middle of the pic) 



All of her little cousins were in attendance.... 
Almost an emergency oops when Jameson realized he forgot to pack his swimsuit!!!!  But Grandpa to the rescue was able to scrounge up an extra suit from the lost and found, (it had been washed and dried before going into the box, and will be washed and dried again before it is returned to the box) .  Thank you Grandpa for making this little boy smile. 

Jameson and Chelsea


Clayton and Mason

 Little Whitney at one year old with her parents,
giving them a good splashing in the face! 


video


Grandpa did his duty with the youngest grandchild, Claire, 
so her Mommy and Daddy could swim with the older siblings.



After all the wet kiddos were dragged from the fun water playground, it was time to get them all in clothes, and back to the meeting room for a birthday party.  Presents were opened and Happy Birthday was sung over ice cream treats for all of the kids (with so many allergies, no birthday cake was requested by some of the other moms) 




video


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Afterwards, we took two soggy giggly girls back to our house!  They were so excited to have a GrandGirlsSleepover at our house.  We made up a list of things we wanted to get done together. One of the most creative activities was to make some Christmas doggie toys on Grandma's sewing machine.  



My Janome sewing machine has a slider button that lets you control the speed of the machine.  So no matter how far down you push the foot control, it will go very slowly. No needles through fingers for these young seamstresses.   They learned about putting fabric right sides together, sewing the seams, turned it right side out, and adding a foam disk. Then they learned about topstitching around the edges to close the opening. 



Such concentration!!! They made doggie toys for all of the family's dogs for Christmas.  They have both helped me in the past to sew seams on quilts, but this is the first time that each one did a complete project by themselves (with a bit of help from Grandma)



SSSSHHHHHHHH   
no telling all the doggies what their Christmas present is
(the dogs can't read my blog)

The girls helped with other projects around the house...
like setting up my Christmas Village inside of the china hutch. 
Saw this on Pinterest as an idea to put it in the hutch
instead of taking up a lot of room across the top of the buffet or mantle.


I painted each and every piece of this set, and have put it up over the years, but never with the grandkids' help.  This year was kinda special to have such good helpers to assemble and arrange it all.  

A long long time ago, my friend Connie gave me four more houses to paint. I never got around to doing them.  The girls were SO excited about the Christmas Village that I let them each paint two of these houses on their own.  I added their names and the year on the bottoms. They are going to take them home to start their OWN Christmas Village and share the extra house with their younger siblings.  How thoughtful!



All of the grandkids love to help with the cooking---  so we put on a big old pot of beef vegetable soup. They helped chop up all the veggies (with blunt knives) and dumped them into the soup pot.  Adding spices and at the end the big bowtie noodles were the chef duties of the day.  Yummmmm



Everything was going along good...... 

Until......

We had a pretty rough night... the flu bug hit us!  It was a long long night on the bathroom floor with puking and shakey jittery bodies and weakness and stomach pains.  First Chelsea, then me, and later on little Allegra when we got her delivered back home. Only Steve was spared the flu bug as it raged through the rest of us. I was supposed to appear to do some fundraising and sock cranking at a Wisconsin Sheltie Rescue event... but opted to crawl into bed and felt like I was going to die.

It is now Wednesday and I am finally starting to feel back to normal.  Ugh.

Friday, December 2, 2016

It Is Finally December

Now that it has turned into December, it is time to start hauling out Christmas decorations!  I love the holiday and have saved a lot of special things over the years.  During the sale of our home 4 years ago, some special things went in a steamer trunk that we stored at our sons house. Other items the girls squirreled away for me, in case we were going to buy another house instead of living in the motorhome.  I am so glad they did!

One of the newest items I acquired about two years ago from daughter Heather, soninlaw Jesse and their son Jameson.  The dogs eagerly awaited it to get unpacked.....


CAUTION
GRAPHIC VIOLENT CONTENT
Here are two wild dogs killing a reindeer video:


heh heh heh



In yesterday's blog, I wrote about stopping at a thrift shop...  one of the things I found were these two HUGE ziplock carry bags FULL of pretty amber, rust, copper, lime, burgundy and gold ornaments!~  They were half price, so I got all of them for only $5.00.  Wheeeeeeee   Last year I had done all gold stuff, but this year I was hoping for something different.  And this is just what I wanted at a price I could afford. 
Both bags were full when I started to decorate...



I strung a pine garland across the mantle,
and stacked a bunch of the ornaments on top. 
I just LOVE these colors! 


I added some to the tree, 
which is mostly family momento type ornaments. 
I can put on a lot more yet....


My sister made these straw hat reindeeer about 20 years ago for us
My mom made the sheepies on canning lids with cinnamon stick legs


 The German pull toy came from a rummage sale 
but the flash cube ornament was made by my Auntie Lois 30+ years ago! 


I added a few more ornaments to the platter under my 
cut work Christmas Tree... 
It is all the figures from The Twelve Days of Christmas/
 a fellow weaving buddy cut that all out with an exacto knife! 


The foyer is done up with sparkley snowflakes from each step
and the tin Dr. Suess Tree is on the pedestal,
with the teddy bear and story book in the sleigh.

Tomorrow after Allegra's 7th birthday party, our granddaughters Allegra and Chelsea are coming over to help me set up my Christmas village. I think this year we will clear out the china hutch and set it up on all of the glass shelves in the cabinet with the lights inside. I saw it on pinterest and thought it might be a good place for it this year. Instead of taking up the whole top of my buffet and the lamp table in the bay window. 


It is definitely feeling Christmas-y around here. 
We could use some snow though. 

I think a fire in the fireplace tonight would be just about perfect. 

I am feeling a bit cold and sinusy...
 hoping a fire, a mug of cocoa and some music 
to help ward off a sick cold.




Thursday, December 1, 2016

Doggie Duties and Sewing Basket Quilt Shop

We have been having amazingly warm weather here in Wisconsin for November. Sunday was promising to be a beautiful day, so our friend Vicki asked if we wanted to go take all of our Shetland Sheep Dogs for a walk. Where? Of course, High Cliff State Park! They have wonderful dog-friendly trails, adequate parking, and the out houses are open throughout the park. Even though the flush toilets are all closed down for the year, by having adequate facilities in a park is a must if you wish to have winter visitors. So many city and county parks only have flush toilets and they lock up the buildings. Without outhouse facilities it makes it hard to attract patrons.

Plus ---- I don't feel like going in the woods ''au natural''.

Vicky has two sweet Shetland Sheepdogs, a full-grown female named Tara and a little pup 5 months old named Stuart. Little Stuart was trying so hard to get Finney and Binney to play with him. If we had been in a fenced in area I bet they would have had a blast! But we were on leashes and taking a walk and enjoying the scenery instead.

Honest to goodness, can you imagine that I got all 4 of them to sit in a row together?
(left to right Binney, Finney, Stuart, Tara)


The walking trails at High Cliff are just absolutely stunning this time of year. 
The leaves are down and you can see a lot further into the distance.


The morning sun was at an angle and creating some beautiful shadows. We walked along, just rustling the dried fallen leaves under our feet. The sun was getting higher and we were getting warmer. Actually, just a heavy sweatshirt was good enough by the time we reached mid morning.



Now that the leaves are down you are able to see a lot more of the rock formations and cliff structures in the park. This is all limestone rock throughout the park, which is a part of the Niagara escarpment. If you look on this map you can see it run up all the way along the Eastern side of Wisconsin across through the Great Lakes and to the Niagara Falls area. It's all big one glacial formation.



The limestone cliffs in the park have some sections that were left behind to help lower pieces of the mined limestone down to the waiting boats on Lake Winnebago. 

In later years of the mining operation they ran a railroad spur into the lime kiln area and the lime industry would ship out blocks and processed cooked lime on railway cars. That was long before the land was ever established as a park.

What is left behind looks so beautiful and natural, 
but it really is the leftovers of a large-scale lime mining operation.



Now that the leaves are down, 
you can see off into the distance over Lake Winnebago 
more easily from different places along the trail.




We walked about 3 miles back to where we parked their cars. The dogs were definitely slowing down and done with silly romping and roaming around on the ends of the leashes. It was a great way to spend the morning. Thank you Vicky for inviting us!



Then Vicky loaded up my car with about ten zillion quilting magazines that I get to read through. Good reading for the winter months, curled up by the fireplace, and finding new fun things to make.

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Tuesday morning I got up bright and early and welcomed the sunshine shining on the Wisconsin Countryside. Time for a little drive.....


I was loaded up with Precious Cargo! I had a wonderful little male and female Sheltie from the Wisconsin Sheltie rescue to transport.


I was transporting them to the veterinarian in Sheboygan because they were scheduled for a spay and neuter and some dental work. The Wisconsin Sheltie rescue has taken in 23 dogs that need medical attention before they are able to be adopted. We all volunteered to transport them back and forth to different veterinarians in the area for getting their work done. I was able to take in these two little sweethearts for their appointment.

They were very well-behaved Travellers
and friendly and social while we waited for their appointment.

You see, if you do not already know, my two dogs came from the Sheltie Rescue. Volunteers had to haul them back and forth to vet appointments too, and help get them healthy until they were adoptable. So I am just paying it forward by doing it for someone else to be able to adopt these beautiful dogs!!!

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On my way back home, I swung over to the town of Plymouth, Wisconsin to make a pit stop. Of course! A quilting shop! I have been to this sweet little shop before and it is chock-full of delightful fabrics, tools, and friendly faces.



The sunshine streaming in the windows was inviting
and it made me want to spend a couple hours here perusing the beautiful fabrics



A very nice sales clerk help me find some additional fabric in a line that was discontinued. Now I think I have enough of the colors in my stash for an entire quilt of that particular fabric. It was from Kansas Troubles by Moda.  Such beautiful fabrics and I am going to make a Log Cabin snuggle quilt for the livingroom couch. It will match the colors in my livingroom and add a touch of Craftsman Charm.


They also offer classes in the back area of the shop. The quilting group that I visit in Kiel comes down here on Wednesdays for a gathering. They can bring projects they are working on and sit and visit.


I might start coming down here too, it's such a cheery place. Of course my budget will be strained because it's hard to leave a store like this without buying something! Here is their information in case anybody is interested in visiting the store, or find them on the Internet.



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On my way back out to the highway I thought I would swing by the St. Vincent DePaul in this town. This isn't a normal dumpy little Thrift Shop, it is actually arranged very nicely and their items are very good quality. I have wandered through here a couple times and I always find nice things to buy. I found some blown glass paperweights that I collect, amd some big bags of beautiful Christmas ornaments that I will write about in my next blog.

~~~then I found this wonderful alpaca jacket from Peru!~~~

The buttons were all missing so I got it for half price. I am assuming there were some beautiful horn buttons made from antlers that were removed by someone before they donated the jacket?  I wanted a warm wool jacket for winter dog walking. This one is very heavy and thickly felted wool. My nylon lined ski jacket is sweaty once we start walking and I get chilled from the silky fabric that does not breathe or absorb moisture. This wool one will be much nicer!  Alpaca is some of the warmest wool you can wear!

I need another visit to a sewing shop to get some cool new buttons,
maybe this Saturday up to Green Bay I will find some. 

Now it's back to the sock knitting machine. I am working on orders for people for Christmas gift orders and shipping out a bunch today. It is December 1st and I need to get caught up on all of my work around here for my holiday customers.

Steve's Retirement countdown is at 15 working days. 
His final day should be December 22nd!

P.S. I used my new electric pressure cooker for supper last night.  Spaghetti and Meatballs in 10 minutes!   Dump in frozen meatballs, uncooked raw noodles, a tall jar of sauce, and a jar and a half of water, some spices and I added some freeze dried onion bits.  10 minutes.... done! Stir it up once you open the lid and supper is ready.  It took longer to make the garlic bread in the oven while the pressure cooker was running. Yummmmmmmm