Wednesday, December 31

Happy New Year! and time to "Whirl into Winter"!!!

It's December 31st and time to usher in a new year! Here's wishing you warmth, friendship, shelter, food and all that will make you happy in the coming year!

*H A P P Y *N E W *Y E A R *! ! !

* * * * * * * * * *

It's also time to post the items that I have gathered for the ......
"Whirl into Winter Giveaway!!"

And here they are! There's a little something for everyone in this assortment. For those who enjoy scrapbooking there's a pad of pretty blue and white papers and some envelopes for creating custom cards. There's a little snowman photo/scrapbook to journal about favorite winter memories and some stickers to decorate the pages. There are some candles to light the night if a winter storm leaves you with a power outage (not fun) and if you live where there is no snow, well, I have provided you with a giant glittery snowflake to hang that will remind you of all of us who are knee deep or more in snow and ice this winter!!! There are little boxes filled with sweet treats and a tiny tin filled with some little surprises. And then there are three matching snowflake tins filled with more surprises!! The tins may match but each is a different size and each holds a different surprise. Are you wondering what might be in the tins? Here's a clue.......soft and nice to touch. No, it's not a rabbit in a tin but if you want to find out what is in the each one, check back on the days I'll be posting their contents and each one will be a "Snowflake Surprise"!!!! I'll reveal what is in the tins on separate days - Tin #1 will be revealed on Jan. 5th, Tin # 2 on Jan. 10th and Tin #3 on Jan. 15th. So, how can you win this batch of goodies? Well, here are my rules..............

1. Leave a comment on this post for one chance to enter. Your comment must include a link to your blog or an e-mail address. If you do not leave a contact link, your comment will not be entered in the drawing.

2. You may begin leaving comments at midnight tonight - in other words when Dec. 31 ends and Jan. 1 begins, you can leave me a comment. I will be taking comments through midnight Jan. 15th and will draw the name then and post it on Jan. 16th.

3. Your comment must include the answer to the following question - "Have you ever seen snow?" Then if you want to tell me more, I'd love to hear it but that's all it takes to get a chance to win the goodies you see in the picture.

4. If you check back on the 5th, the 10th and the 15th of January to see what is in each of the tins, you may leave a comment each of those days and so you can get your name in the drawing at least three more times!

All bloggers - U.S.A. and International - are welcome to leave comments. Hope that covers everything!! Oh, one more thing!!! I will be posting some free patterns, tips and things every other day or so between now and January 15th so stop back often and see what's new!!

Have a safe and *H A P P Y *N E W* Y E A R *! ! !

P.S. We are staying in tonight, too cold to go anywhere
although my husband has gone to run errands and get
more cold meds for me. Bummer to have picked up this cold.
I have a winner, Mary ..............."The Needled Mom"!!!

Tuesday, December 30

Christmas 2008

Since tomorrow will be New Year's Eve, I decided I better get the photos from Christmas 2008 posted before the year comes to an end!! So here are some of my favorite pics from Christmas Eve and Christmas Day....................

On Christmas Eve our daughter, Collette, husband, Daryl and grandson Jacob joined us for dinner. Steve cooked up the ham and I made my potato soup and we enjoyed lots of other goodies along with it. Then we were off to church service at St. Paul's. Steve didn't go along so we told him he got to clean up! And he did! The weather was very crisp and cold but a really pretty night. The tree at the church was so pretty and I love the group singing of the old carols. I got to share music with a solo of "O Holy Night" and "Some children see him...". I especially like that last song as it's not a traditional carol but the words to it are so lovely and true.

There were pretty packages like the stack on the right that awaited us at home so Jacob and Collette delivered the gifts to each of us and the unwrapping began.

Kaiser didn't get a gift. Can you tell? He got some biscuits so he wasn't totally left out.

Collette and Jacob are reading the tag on this gift that says "For making Christmas memories". Inside I had packed three Snowman patterned soup bowls and matching mugs, a tablecloth, matching napkin rings, napkins and a really pretty ceramic holly patterned bell to use as a dinner bell. I told them to use it all for their breakfast on Christmas morn after Santa had come. And they did. Collette thought it was a cool gift. And Jacob got something called Magnextics (spelling?) and they were fun to build with and our only concern was that we hope his cats don't eat them!

I asked for "tunes" from my kids and C, D and Jacob got me a 3 CD pack of Patsy Cline which I am listening to as I type this. And on Christmas eve I got Colbie Caillat from Devlin and Stacia. Gotta have tunes. Music makes my days.

Kaiser was still feeling a little left out and was not at all interested in the book on Beagles that Steve is reading to him in this photo. It was a gift from C, D, and Jacob along with a book on making your own doggie treats so Kaiser may yet get something tasty!! They also got Steve a "toy" for a guy who has engineering blood in him - it's a thermometer/barometer/will measure anything-ometer!!!
About 10:00 p.m. Jacob asked what time it was as he was worried about getting home before Santa arrived and he wanted to make sure his list was left out for him. I love it! Recalls days when my kids were young and waiting for Santa. And when I was a kid, too. Gosh, I still leave milk and cookies for Santa 'cause you never know what a good deed might get 'ya!! :-)

On Christmas Day our son, Devlin and girlfriend, Stacia, came for dinner. Juggling Christmas get-together's gets interesting doesn't it because no matter how hard one tries, everybody can't make it at the same time! There are in-laws to visit and work schedules that factor in and that's just life. So, this year our kids weren't able to be here on the same day. I didn't mind as much as Collette did but I was just glad they were able to be here and we all had a good Christmas. Can you guess what we had for our dinner? ........ yep, more ham and another batch of potato soup and more goodies. And then there were more gifts to open and lots of laughs and fun surprises.

Devlin and Stacia are opening a gift from Collette that is for both of them - a cookbook for Italian Pasta which they both enjoy. I found mugs for Stacia that said "Latte" and "Cappuccino" and some perfect coordinating fabric. I was going to make a table runner for her, then thought "what if she would prefer placemats or potholders?" so I just gave her the fabric and told her to tell me what to make .......and it will be potholders and a mat to go under her coffeemaker. As the kids have gotten older, we do the gift card thing or cash which can be kind of impersonal but I always find thrift shop things or some little gifty to put it in and it makes it so much more fun. It was a great Christmas! For Kaiser it was very tiring. He loves his sleep and with so many people around he wasn't getting much sleep so his sign that it's time to turn out the lights and go to bed is to stick his head under the couch or a blanket or, in this case, the footstool. The day after Christmas, he slept almost the entire day! And speaking of sleep, time for me to get some, too. The "sore throat/stuffed up nose thing" is still with me even though I am "doctoring". It's just got to "run it's course" and I hope by tomorrow it will be near the end. Had so much I wanted to do today and every task I tried required a rest and then a nap before I could move on to the next one. Tomorrow, I am doing almost nothing. That's "almost nothing" as I will be preparing to post the info on the "Whirl into Winter Giveaway" on Wednesday evening. It's going to be fun for sure!!!!

Christmas in Iowa

Okay, so I should go to bed but my nose is stuffed up now so blogging is easier than sleeping. And anyway, it's about time I posted pics of that Christmas trip to Iowa that seemed more like a visit to the North here goes..........

You may remember that I was a bit blue earlier in December thinking how this would be a sad Christmas with my dad gone. I figured out a way to have Christmas be a bit different, not so sad and something my mom would really enjoy. She's always talked about going to a hotel for Christmas and that's what we did! We went to the CountryInnAndSuites and it was very nice and very comfortable. It was a little nervewracking getting there through all the blowing snow but we made it. She was given a great room with a good view out her window (we had a view of a fence). That's her in the picture with Jacob, my grandson, and her great grandson. He's opening his card from her and it had money in it. He was very excited to get a twenty dollar bill. :-) And then he didn't want to part with it when we went shopping. :-)

To make things a little festive, I added some touches to her room with Dollar Store and Thrift Shop finds and a couple of things I made. I tucked ribbon candies in a fancy box, bought some little games for us all to play...........that's my husband trying to beat the Pyramid game. Several tries later and he succeeded.
I made a make-up bag for her and placed a pretty Christmas towel in the bath, set a mug and hot chocolate mixes out for her, and added a string of bells to the TV and so on. It was fun to do and she enjoyed it all.

We ventured out to do a little last minute shopping and then we all went to Hickory House, a really good place to eat in Fort Dodge. It was just a couple blocks from the motel so we didn't have far to go. Only one other couple was dining that night. The weather was just too cold and too snowy for anyone to venture out in!!
We had great food and enjoyed remembering that it was my dad's favorite place to eat. He loved their barbecued ribs!! Back at the motel, we had time to visit and look at photos and relax. It was so nice because someone else had cooked and there was no clean-up and someone else was going to be doing the laundry when we left!

Collette (our daughter) was putting the finishing touches on that cross stitch piece for my mom (it's the one she was working on at our retreat) and had worked on it all afternoon while we were out shopping. And she finished it and my mom/her grandma loved it!!!

We exchanged our gifts over hot chocolate, cookies and other goodies in the dining room of the motel. There were little gifts, things we found at the thrift shop or something special that was perfect for each person. I loved what Collette found for me - a boxed set of Christmas carols on parchment paper, really pretty and if I had been thinking, I would have taken a picture of it for this post. Here's the little cutie, I wrapped for my mom.......a snowman creamer by Pfaltzgraf that I was going to fill with some flowers from the local florist but the weather problems kept me from getting there. I found it at the thrift shop, of course (I will reveal my source - there are four great thrift shops in the Mankato area so if you live in Minnesota, check it out).

Sunday dawned with more blowing snow and even colder temps than Saturday but we could still smile by the warm fire at the Comfort Inn. We had a great time and my mom is looking forward to doing it again!!

Our drive back to Minnesota was slow going but we arrived safely, although tired. I had to get up the next morning and get going on mailing out my cards and finishing my goodie plates. If you recall, I felt they needed fudge, so I whipped up a batch.
Unfortunately, I forgot to add the last cup of sugar so the fudge was chocolatey and rich and also soft. So what do you do with fudge that is to soft to put on the plates. If you're lucky, you'll have little cupcake liners with holly on them that have been in the cupboard for at least ten years and when the fudge was cut into tiny pieces, it worked just great! I finished putting the plates together and delivered them all on Christmas Eve morning, much to the delight of several neighbors! (Hi, Kathy!)
That's all for now. Nose is less stuffy so think I can sleep. Family photos of Christmas Eve and Day coming Tuesday afternoon. :-)
Night all!

P.S. That's one of several trees in the picture that I kept meaning to take a picture's my "Cookie Cutter Tree" and has about a dozen small cookie cutters hanging from the branches all ready to use in cookie baking. :-)

Monday, December 29

I'm here......

but I've picked up a wee bit of a cold/sore throat thing so it's kinda slowed me down. Trying to finish a little cleaning project in the closet in the room that my Grandson sleeps in. And then my "reward" is time in my sewing room and some blogging. Tomorrow I'll be posting about my block of the month and then there are only a couple of days until the "Whirl into Winter Giveaway" starts that Debi has organized. Here's a clue to the fun - think snow!! Yep, that's right, I have some fun stuff planned for the entire Giveaway - 15 days of snow-themed fun to be exact!!! So be sure to check in on January 1st so you can "read all about it"!!!
I'll be back later on tonight after I finish this closet and finally post some of our Christmas pictures! :-)

Friday, December 26

Remembering Christmas Past

The hustle and bustle of Christmas is over and there is finally some time to relax. I promised that there will be pictures from "Christmas Present" but first I have to remember "Christmas Past".

Several years ago, my mother and dad gave me a vintage quilt for Christmas. It's the one in the picture with my dad that you will find on the right and in the post when I first began blogging. The quilt is a child's quilt and only slightly worn. We gave it the nickname "The Puzzle Quilt" because at first we couldn't quite figure out how it was constructed. I took it to my quilt club for show and tell and no one there had seen a quilt like it. Then one night at Crazy Quilting my friend Carol (in the picture below) brought a project to work on that had been given to her by an elderly neighbor. The project was "in progress" - a little box full of cotton print squares and then slightly smaller flannel squares (pajamas scraps most likely). Carol said that her neighbor lady called it her "Depression Quilt" and was made during that time when every bit of fabric was used for quilts, clothes and any needs. Finally I had the answer to the name of my dad's quilt! The name "The Puzzle Quilt" has stayed with the quilt because it just seems to fit. So, how do you make it?
Well, it's quite simple but you must love to do handwork to make this one! A few months ago, Carol brought the box of quilt pieces to our Crazy Quilting meeting and I asked if I could take a couple of pictures to post here on my blog. And, so here is Carol with the pieces that are still "in progress"!!
In this photo you can see that Carol has two stages of strips that make up a "Depression Quilt/Puzzle Quilt".

To begin you will need to have flannel squares and cotton squares. Cut the flannel squares that are 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" and cotton squares that are 4" x 4". Then as you can see in the picture above, you place a flannel square in the center of a cotton square, fold over all the edges and baste them in place. You sew these together as seen below (length of your strips is up to you).

When your strips are finished, you fold them over and slipstitch the triangle edges together. This will give you long strips as you can see in the picture above. My friend, Sue, made a tablerunner using this technique and my friend, Carol, made a full-size quilt for her bed using this technique!!

This past summer when my mother got out quilts to share at the library quilt show, she had two that she shared that belonged to my Grandma Goldie. One was the autograph block quilt made for her by the members of her Ladies Aide group. The other quilt was, of all things, a Depression/Puzzle quilt. I knew that my mother had another of my Grandma's quilts but I didn't know it was one of these. So, perhaps the reason my dad was drawn to that quilt he bought for me at auction was because he recalled Grandma making one when he was young. We will never know as Grandma Goldie passed in 1994, but I think it is interesting how things happen. I've had a couple of those "interesting/serendipitous moments" this Christmas and it just makes me smile to think of them. That's all there is for now. It's not really a tutorial so if you have further questions on this technique, just send me an e-mail.

The winner of the "JOY" Stocking is .........

For all of you who have celebrated Christmas, I hope that the time with family and friends was absolutely joyful!! And speaking of joy, I'll get right to the point of this post!

Just before midnight last night, I asked my husband to draw the name of the winner of the JOY stocking filled with fat quarters. I printed out pages with all the comments on them and then cut them apart, folded them up and tossed them in the basket. That's my husband's hand mixing them all up..........he tossed those comments like he was making tossed salad...........then he drew the winning comment...............and the winner is................Oh, my gosh, I could not believe it! The winner was Joy of JoyPatch blog! Now what are the odds of that??!!! I have e-mailed Joy to let her know and to send me her snail mail address.

Several of you were really interested in the stocking and not so much in the fabric so I have enough fabric left that I will be able to make some kits for the stocking. I am going to send them to those of you who were so faithful in commenting about your Christmas memories. Mary Grace, Kritta and Sue H. shared such wonderful memories and did so almost everyday so they will each get a kit first. Then if I have enough fabric the rest of you who posted memories may also get a kit, so let me see how much fabric I have and I'll let you know.

(I cannot get this picture to enlarge when I double-click. Every once in a while this happens when I load a picture and it seems to do it to just the picture that I want you to be able to enlarge!!! Perhaps later, I'll reload the photos and see if that helps.)

I'll be back later with the "Puzzle Quilt" tutorial and later this weekend, I'll post just a few pics of our holiday get-togethers. Right now, I am headed out to do a little "after Christmas shopping" so I can pick up cards, gift wrap, etc. for next year. I love "after-Christmas shopping". Have a good afternoon!

Thursday, December 25

My holiday wishes for all of you!!!

Never a Christmas morning,
Never the old year ends,
But someone thinks of someone,
Old days, old times, old friends!
Best wishes for .........
A very Merry Christmas
And a Happy New Year!
This poem is one from a Christmas card
that we received many years ago.
It's a favorite verse that I think of each year and
I pass it on because the words are so true.
If I added any words to the verse they would be these ...
And may you have many happy hours of
sewing, quilting, crafty and creative fun!!
Best Wishes to all of you!

Wednesday, December 24

Christmas Eve

It's Christmas Eve now. The clock tells me it's 1:30 a.m. (Dec. 23rd has just ended) and I am still doing "last minute things"! Every year I try to not do "last minute things" and I never quite succeed. :-) Soon I'll be finished and all will be ready for the day ahead and then Christmas Day. I am sure many of you will be enjoying time with family and friends and I hope for you that travel is easy and all are safe. I have some pictures and a story or two to share from our weekend but there's no time now. But before I turn out the lights and put an end to this day, I want to say THANK YOU to everyone who has read and commented on my blog these past few months. I am so appreciative. And then I want to say Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year, too! I'll share this little poem with you that I wrote several years ago. Inspiration came from the fact that the company I was working for laid off a number of employees and transferred the rest of us to new locations - often miles further from our homes. And they did it all just before our Holiday party (in 1990). I was on the decorating committee for the event and wrote this poem and placed it at each plate. It was a bittersweet evening as many of us were going many different directions. Life is like that, isn't it? Wherever you are and whatever this holiday means to you, I hope it is one of peace and joy. I'll be taking a break for a few days and then back this weekend with the little tutorial on the "puzzle quilt". It was a Christmas gift from my mom and dad so it's fitting that I should share it with you at this time of the year.

Christmas Wishes
At this happy time of holidays
when candlelight burns bright,
Let us pause amid the hustle
and propose this toast tonight.
May you all be blessed with peace
and love for family and friends,
And even though our paths will part,
may our friendships never end.
So drink to health and happiness,
To friends both tried and true,
Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas,
and Happy New Year, too!

©Sandra E. Andersen 1990/2008

Tuesday, December 23

Over the river and through the woods..........

Yes, we went to Grandma's house this past weekend.......well, sort of. We went to visit my mother ...... our daughter, her husband and son, Jacob and me and my husband Steve made the trip to Iowa and it was an adventure! We crossed some rivers to get there but had there been more woods, we wouldn't have had so much trouble with the blowing snow. It was quite a weather event this weekend as we traveled in snow and then "white-out" conditions the last twenty miles and when we returned the temps were in the "deep freeze" with 30 below wind chills and 30 mph winds to blow the snow around!
I have more to share on our weekend but also much to do - and I should really get some sleep and my Christmas letter is still not done - the list is still a bit long and only a couple of days to go til Christmas!!! Here's a peek at the "sundog" that we could see on Sunday which is a real good indication of how cold it was!!!

More tomorrow although if you're as busy as I am you won't even be reading blogs til after Christmas!! I have so many I would love to catch up on but no time!!

Saturday, December 20

The days are getting shorter and there's not enough days left til Christmas!!!

Can you hear the "I am scurrying to get everything done" in that title? I'm almost there but with only five days left until Christmas Day, I think there might be a couple more things that will go on the "didn't get done this year list so I'll put them on the list for next year". There's always tomorrow as Annie says.
In spite of all the snow and cold that seems to surround us, I had a good day because I was putting together goodie plates for family and friends. I did some baking yesterday and today I frosted cookies, then portioned them out onto the plates. Somethings missing, though, and I realized I need to make a batch of fudge and add some to each plate and then I can deliver them. I wonder who will be getting these treats. Could it be someone who reads my blog? Only Santa knows for sure and he's asleep right now. :-)

While I was frosting cookies, the mail came and my husband brought me a little white box that came from Virginia - no, not the Virginia who wants to know if there's a Santa Claus - the state of Virginia. You see, I won a prize in a little trivia contest on Mark Lipinski's Quilter's Home Yahoo group and Sandy who was the trivia queen sent these cute little pickle ornaments to those who answered her question correctly. What was the question? Well, actually there were three parts to it, if I remember correctly - who wrote Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and what company was it associated with, who first recorded it and no, it's not Gene Autry. I was one of seven who answered correctly. Doesn't he look cute sitting in my tree? When my grandson comes for Christmas Eve, I'll have him search the tree for the pickle and then we can open gifts.

In addition to baking, I am working on gifts for my kids and my mom which I can't share with you until after Christmas. Plus I had one last swap package to put together and I finished that today. This one was for Cleary and her Twelve Days of Christmas Swap. The concept was clever. Celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas by opening a gift each day beginning Christmas Day through January 6th, Epiphany. One gift the first day, two of something the next day, etc. I had great fun finding little gifts and only needed 11 of something and then I realized all my things were Christmas related and these gifts were for - after Christmas!! So, back to square one I went and I figured out what I hope she thinks are clever little gifts for the Twelve Days of Christmas. Here they all are just before I put them in the box to be mailed. I'm looking forward to receiving my box which should arrive next week.

That's all for tonight, folks! I learned something yesterday when I posted during the day. It took me twice as long for photos to upload and post. It goes really fast when it's after midnight! I knew there was good reason to be a nightowl. And speaking of nightowl's, some critter was making some gobbling sounds at 2:30 in the morning night before last. I am thinking there was a hoot owl in the woods out back or some wild turkey. All I could think was - shouldn't it be in some nest somewhere where it's warm? I mean, it has been cold here and more snow is coming tomorrow and more cold on Sunday. The weather certainly is playing havoc with travel plans for lots of folks. Stay safe and warm.

Friday, December 19

How we came to Henderson....

This is not really a Christmas post but then again it sorta is.........Some folks have asked how we ended up out in the country in the little town of Henderson after living for 33 years in a suburb of the Twin Cities. The number one reason was to get away from the traffic. To do that we had to find someplace close but yet far from the Twin Cities. I was the designated "looker". I didn't have very good luck "looking". Came a time in 2000 when my folks sold their acreage and in a barn on the place was an old car my husband and son always wanted to restore. So we needed a garage and I was the one that was to find garage space for rent. I was not successful. But in the process, I stumbled on an ad for a lot out here in Henderson and the description sounded so good that I had to drive out and see what was here. You can't beat the Minnesota River Valley for beautiful scenery and I was impressed. Went home and told my husband he had to come see what I found. He liked it here, too, so we bought a lot that year. Took us a few years to actually build and move out here but two years ago at about this time we moved into our new house. It was one week before Christmas and for anyone who has moved at Christmastime, you know it is one of the more chaotic things you can do in life. But we managed with help from our son and friends as movers and our daughter and grandson set up a little tree for us. In that first Christmas here, we felt like we had lived here for years. Love the house, the town and all the new friends I have made and my old friends who come to visit. And if you are wondering about that garage.......well, my husband finally found one and one day they'll get that old car and fix it up and maybe they can show it off in Henderson's Sauerkraut Days parade!
More snow coming tomorrow .......... and then more on the weekend. Feeling like we are in a giant snow globe!!

Thursday, December 18

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree!!

Ha! Finally, I have some more tree photos to share. Yesterday, I decorated the tree in our family room and baked up some cookies, too. I have two more goodie items to bake and then I can make up plates for friends and family. I love to sample the goodies fresh from the oven with a glass of milk. Cookie Monster isn't the only one who can devour lots of cookies!!!
I liked this tree when I got is all decorated. I just wish that the colored lights would show so I think I will have to study my camera manual and figure out how to take a "higher quality" of picture and some night shots, too. I know the camera has those features. I just haven't learned how to use them. This is probably because I enjoy crafting and sewing more than reading instruction manuals. :-)
All of the ornaments on this tree (which is about 6' tall) are ones that I made and taught in classes at community ed or at Murphy's Landing Historic site. I had so much fun when I taught those classes. Kids love glue and glitter and I do, too!!!!
Here are some close-ups of some of my favorite ornaments on the tree.............

.......a felt cookie tree with tiny handmade candy canes. I used Sculpey clay to make the candy canes..........
..............a little snowman that I drew on a Styrofoam paper plate, then I covered him all over with white sparkly snow glitter and added features with puffy paint and a yarn bow...............

..............a couple more made with a cookie cutter by cutting out a clay tree then slicing out the middle and filling it with left-over Cooking Crystals (I always knew I'd use those someday!).............and another felt tree decorated with lots of colorful little pom-poms in assorted sizes............

.............I have lots of wool and felt scraps (imagine that!!!) and used some to make these heart and tree ornaments. I cut various pieces of hearts and trees, then glued the shapes in layers and added some yarn edging......

...........the little wreath is just twisted fluffy chenille stems with felt holly........and the glass globe is filled with a bit of glitter which sticks to the inside of the ball because of static, then a little fluffy snow is added and I placed a pretty sticker on construction paper and rolled it to fit it inside the ball. I used a long skewer to get some glue in there to hold the angel sticker in place............and old, worn glass balls or cheap, new colored balls can take on new life when you buy a bunch of glitter and draw with glue or just buy glitter glue and the designs are endless for this project. You will need a place to hang the balls as they dry so this is a good project to do once the tree is set up and you can decorate the ornaments and hang them right on the tree. And the little snowman ornament.......well, how I made him is a secret that I am keeping for a January post. "Keeping" is the key word there. I am going to "keep Christmas all year long" and post an ornament tutorial each month throughout 2009. So is anybody interested in that?

And speaking of posting for 2009, I will be posting a block of the month and will post about that between Christmas and New Year's.

So what else is left to share today......ah, swaps.......about a week and a half ago, I received a package in the mail from Australia. I loved getting all the packages in the mail this past couple of months. This one was especially fun because it was bright green and inside was this package wrapped in the cutest paper. Nothing said I couldn't open this one so riiiiiippppppp - it was opened..........and here is what was inside!

Sheila was my partner in the Secret Santa Honeypot Ornament Swap and she made this lovely tree wall hanging and sent a beautiful 2009 calendar of Australian Wildflowers! I loved the button details on the tree and she also made a lovely card that she enclosed and I forgot to include in the picture. I can't show you what I sent yet as I only sent off my package to my partner a few days ago.
Underneath the tree are two of my favorite ceramic bell ornaments. I don't really have a "collection" of them but I do have about a dozen that I really treasure. My mother gave me the lady in red and I love Teddy Bears and had to buy the one with the little bear on it.

And the last thought for today is the anybody wants to hear about the weather because it seems all across the U.S. there is snow - even in Las Vegas!! I think that is just amazing to think of 3" of snow covering the sidewalks of Las Vegas! I thought I'd share a shot of our backyard and the snow. I shared so many photos of the leaves on these trees and this is what they look like now. More snow is on the way so they will be covered by tomorrow morning. This shot was taken mid-afternoon yesterday and I liked the way the sun was shining along the wall at the back of the house. Lots of snow assures a white Christmas. It also means good business for hardware and supply stores that sell shovels and snow blowers, gloves, hats, and scarves. Must be good for sales of hot chocolate, warm cider and all that stuff that puts us in the mood for winter. I love the snow if there is someone to shovel the heavy stuff, like my husband. I am only good at the fluffy stuff. I like the snow if it doesn't blow and keep us from getting out to do Christmas gatherings this weekend. Whether I like the snow or not, though, it will come, so I will pray for safe travel for us, for you, and for everyone who is out and about in these few days left before Christmas ....... and Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, too.
Now I must get back to the holiday projects I need to get finished so I'll have something to post about in the coming days. Have a good afternoon and evening!

Wednesday, December 17

Indigo Blue's Ornament Swap!

When I last posted it was cold and snowing. It's two days later and that hasn't changed. It's lovely snow, that soft glittery stuff of Christmas cards and Snowglobes. However, no one shovels in the cards or Snowglobes and no one has to drive in it!! Just a wee bit slippery out there and the nose gets cold really fast when I'm shoveling!! Here in Minnesota and many parts of the Midwest there will definitely be a white Christmas. Perhaps I should take some pictures as proof of this but I don't remember to take the camera when I go out to shovel or run errands. I'll change that tomorrow.
Right now, I have swap stuff to show you............

About a week and a half ago, I received my items from Janice at PugYoga. We were swap partners in the Christmas Ornament Swap over at IndigoBlue. I had a sneak peak of what she was making when I would visit Janice's blog. She did some needlefelting on the trees and then made some to go in the glass ornament. I love the little square glass ornaments and one has a tiny picture of her family in it!! The ribbons will go into the fabrics and trims I am collecting for a crazy quilted Christmas stocking and the Christmas fat quarters are going to go into a scrappy paper-pieced crazy quilt project that I want to make for next Christmas. The glass ball with the snowman face painted on it makes me smile. Thanks, Janice!!!

I didn't want to post what I received from Janice until she had received my package and I was late getting it off to her. However, last Friday she received the package and here's what she found inside. When I saw the title of her blog and photos of her pug, I was determined to find fabric that was "dog themed" to make her an ornament. As I told Janice, the first fabric I found was too white and just line drawings of dogs. Not good. The next one was little colorful dog bones that at first glance was cute but then I'd look at it and see little bows. Not good. Then I was at JoAnn's again and could not believe it when I saw this fabric. It was all sorts of dogs in Christmas hats and there was a Pug!! Interestingly, there was no beagle so I can't make one for our Kaiser. It's just a little square with triangles stitched to the corner and then I added some of my vintage white rickrack, stitched it up, left an opening for stuffing and some bells, closed it off and it was ready to hang. I love making my JOY stars so included one of those plus all the other stuff you see in the picture below. Janice has two great kids, Ms. M and Mr. L and I included some goodies for them, too. And then, I made her a Minnesota Snowman ornament that will not melt. Double-click on the picture for a close-up view. I designed the little snowman for a community ed class and kids and adults alike had fun making them. I'll be doing a tutorial on the snowman in January during the "Whirl into Winter Giveaway". Here's a the batting scraps that you snip from the edges of your quilts.

Speaking of tutorials, I promised one for the little bell ornaments that I made for our library program. Go here and you will find the tutorial. It's on the blog that my grandson, Jacob and I have set up. We like to make things together and had fun recently making ornaments with the glitzy chenille stems.
Only one last thing to share........Tonight, I sang at the local VFW Christmas program and I enjoyed it so much. I shared a little history behind some of the carols and how "White Christmas" and "I'll be Home for Christmas" (both sung by Bing Crosby) were so popular with GI's in WWII. I sang a chorus of each and then did "I Heard the Bells on
Christmas Day" which is one of my favorites. Then I led the group in a few familiar carols and that was going to be it but the food wasn't quite ready so they asked me to sing some more. :-) I loved it. This may sound strange, but to me, it was like giving a gift to my dad for Christmas. He was a Veteran and would have been so proud to know that I was singing for the local Veterans here in Henderson. The dinner was excellent (this dinner was held at "The Wild's Edge" on Main in Henderson) and the turkey and dressing was the best I have ever had. No kidding !!! Kinda nice to "sing for your supper". ;-)
Time to turn out the lights. Sleep tight and don't let the bedbugs bite.

Sunday, December 14

It's a Windy night in Minnesota!!!

The wind doth blow - and blow - and then there's snow - and the wind blows some more! This is not a night to be out on the roads in Minnesota! Kaiser (our beagle) needed to go out but when he saw the swirly snow and felt the cold wind, he ran right back in the house! Had to pull him to make him come outside to do his duties!!
Earlier today, we had our Library Christmas Program and a testament to the hardiness of Minnesotans and to the wonderful Christmas programs held in the past, the weather did not keep folks away!!! About 50 tickets were sold and 42 were seated for the tea and goodies and all enjoyed the music, the goodies, the reading of "The Greatest Gift", more goodies and then more music! Here are a few peeks into the afternoon event at the Henderson Library................
The theme of the event was based on the book "The Greatest Gift" by Phillip Van Doren Stern. It's the little story that was the inspiration for the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. I love that movie and when I came across the little blue book at a library book sale several years, I bought it right away - and for only about a dime!

The book and the movie then became inspiration for our Library Christmas program and we called it "It's a Wonderful Life in Henderson". And it is!!
To set the mood for our guests, those of us on the Friends of the Library committee brought some of our village houses and we created little scenes that were the centerpieces on the tables.

Guests dined on croissant sandwiches, lots of Christmas cookies, fudge, tea and cider. In the picture on the right, I want you to notice that guy waving to all of you. I thought it was my friend Joanie's husband but I think it might be one of Santa's brothers.
While guests enjoyed their tea and crumpets there was entertainment. First on the program, was the bell choir from Zion United Church of Christ (LeSueur, MN) and they played the most beautiful set of Christmas carols. I could have listenen to them play for a lot longer!!

I was asked to be the MC. I didn't mind doing it, although usually it's done by Karen Swenson. A bit of a cold had her feeling that someone else should do it and so she was taking pictures with my camera for me. I am not really fond of seeing me in photos because I don't think I take very good pictures but I am so obviously delighted in this picture that I had to share it. I think I had just told our guests about the angel/bell thing from the movie and that they all had a bell ornament at their place that they could take home to hang on their tree.

Next came the reading of the little book "The Greatest Gift" and it was read by our mayor, Keith Swenson. He did a splendid job of reading the book and holding the audience's interest. When it comes right down to it the whole premise of the book and the movie, too, begins at a rather "dark" point in poor George's life when he is contemplating ending it all by jumping off the bridge and into the murky water below. Most of you know the rest.......that Clarence the angel allows him to see what life would have been like had he never lived and how he would have missed Mary and the kids and all the other folk who inhabited his small town. The point of it all is that George's life mattered more than he thought. And that is a message that we all need to hear sometime's ......... that we matter to others more than we know. I think most folks enjoyed the story and many recognised the similarity of the story in the book to incidents in the movie. The movie and the book are not exactly alike at all. If you like the movie but have never read the book, it's worth the "read".

Our final entertainment of the afternoon was by Savannah and Nolan, a brother and sister pair that played some lovely carols to close the afternoon. It was interesting, that even with the icy, windy weather outside, no one was rushing out the door to get home. There was such a feeling of warmth and comfort in the room that I think people wanted to linger.
It was really a lovely afternoon.
Then it was time for clean-up and that is never a lot of fun and I certainly won't bore you with a detailed description of that!!
I will, however, be posting a little tutorial in a bit on making the little bell ornaments. Before I took them off to the library this afternoon, I had a bit of fun with them and laid them out on a big piece of posterboard in the shape of a Christmas Tree. :-)
The bells are ringing out a big Merry Christmas to you!! Back soon.

"Peace can be found in the piecing of a quilt."
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