Saturday, December 29

New Year Wishes

Thanks to my friend, Judith, this pretty bird is nestled in my tree.
Seeing it, reminded me that I should say thanks again to her
and to all of you, my quilty-crafty family and friends.
I want to wish all of you a very Happy New Year!
Have a safe and happy New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.
Then may your year be filled with many of life's joys and
oodles of family and friends to enjoy it all with you!

Tuesday, December 25

May your Christmas be Merry and Bright!

It's Christmas Eve as I write this. It's a cool, crisp one degree above zero outside!! I am glad that I'm inside where it's warm and cozy. I've got a cup of hot cocoa to enjoy while I share a few of my favorite ornaments from our Christmas tree. Every ornament on my tree reminds me of someone or a special place, family, friends, special occasions. Here are a few of my favorites.
The blue velvet covered ornament in the center is one of many styrofoam ball ornaments that I made in the 1970's when we were stationed overseas in Japan.
The felt Santa in this photo was made by my mother Mary in the late 1960's.
I love to make felt ornaments and this tree is one that I did for a Community Education class project. The felt Santa is another one made by my mom.
When my son, Devlin, was about five and daughter Collette was about 11, we made a few styrofoam egg ornaments like those I did in the 1970's. Collette's friend, Stephanie, can still remember joining us to make the ornaments with lots of beads, pins and sequins. Oh, and glitter, of course! This little egg decorated with blue beads was made by Devlin.
This little cross stitch ornament was made by my husband's Aunt Lillian sometime in the early 1980's. It celebrates their Danish heritage. Just last week, we received the hand-written card and letter from Lillian as we have every year since we married in 1968. She wrote that she was preparing for her son and family to arrive and had been baking cookies. She is amazing because...........Lillian celebrated her 100th birthday last year!
That candy cane snowman in the center of the photo below was a gift from my friend, Cindy.  She passed away three years ago but this is just one of many things that remind me of her.
My friend, Judith, (from our crazy quilting group) is very talented when it comes to making ornaments. I've been lucky enough to be gifted with several........the branch tree, the knitted snowman, the basket of knitting, Santa sleeping in his bed, the pinecone gnome and the ribbon covered ball.
 And this year, Judith made this one, a beautifully stitched bird......a partridge in my tree!
Another talented crazy quilting friend is Sue. She stitched this sweet little stocking from wool. Further down in the photo but not easily seen is another stocking she made that has my name on it.
And yet another crazy quilting friend, Pandora made that cute gingerbread man that is sitting next to a cross stitch mittens ornament made by my daughter Collette.
Blogging has brought me ornaments when I particated in swaps, like these glass ball ornaments and felted tree from Janice in North Carolina.
Nanette in Utah made house ornaments and sent me this one.........
 and Cindy in Arizona made that appliqued reindeer ornament that has a CD for it's base!
 Nadine in Missouri sent me that pretty blue beaded ornament........
and the quilting design ornament is one that my sister, Judy, sent to me the year that our grandma Goldie passed away. She knew how much I missed her and sent it in memory of her.
These are just a few of over 400 ornaments that are on my "Memory Tree". They remind me of so many Christmas celebrations. Each ornament is special and I love to just walk around the tree and recall the special people and places that they bring to mind. I am thinking of many special people tonight that I am missing but feeling blessed to know that I enjoyed a nice visit with my mom and brother this past weekend and that our kids and grandson will be here tomorrow to celebrate Christmas with us. And all of you that also celebrate Christmas, may it be a very Happy and Merry one!!!  Enjoy every moment with your family and friends!

Saturday, December 22

A Christmas Gingerbread house!

For more than a couple years, my daughter, Collette, and I have talked about making a gingerbread house. Many years ago, I made a cute little cottage from real gingerbread and I wanted to do it again. Time just slips away, though. But...........this year, I decided the time was right but I want the gingerbread house to last............and so, I gathered up felt, glue, glitter, chenille stems, rick rack, ribbon and more....................
then I took it all and went to visit my daughter and here is our start on our permanent gingerbread house!!!

We each got the cottage walls built and covered with cookie colored felt. Then we split up the supplies and we are going to decorate them on our own and not show each other our houses until next Christmas. And that's when I'll share the finished photos with you, too!

It's a busy weekend here and everywhere. Just a few more days til Christmas and so much to do. Off to do as much as I can before this Christmas and what doesn't get done.......will get done next year!  Have a great weekend!

Monday, December 17

What's on the tree?

A lot of ornaments are on my tree, that's for sure..........
This is the tree that we have named "The Memory Tree" because it's full of ornaments that evoke more than fifty years of Christmas memories. Granted, we haven't been married for that long but there are ornaments on this tree from my mother and my mother-in-law so yes, some are more than fifty years old. I can't really choose a favorite. They are all my favorites.  Many are hand-made, some are store-bought, gifts from family, friends, memories of trips and more.
When I was a kid, I remember the bubble lights on my Grandma Goldie's tree. From the tree of my own childhood, I remember tinsel and how I loved the glittery look it added to the tree. As a young mother, I enjoyed making ornaments with my kids. I've shared before about how our house was one where glitter and glue were common.........and often the glitter bits were waxed right into the kitchen floor! We made felt ornaments, crafted with construction paper, painted ceramic ornaments, decorated styrofoam balls and made lots of homemade clay ornaments.  Most of the those homemade clay ornaments did not survive. the late 1980's, I learned about polymer clays and I loved working with the clay, baking it and it did not crumble or break!
A few years ago, I made some clay trees and added some "bling".............
This past October, I taught this ornament at a class for Sibley County Extension. I made a new sample......sorry about the blurry photo..........
You can see it on the left in this photo............

I'm going to share how easy it is to make a little clay tree for your Christmas tree. You will need polymer clay. I use a mix of clays that can be purchased at most craft or art supply stores. You will need some "bling" and that is easy.......just buy some of those glitter rhinestones that you can find at Michael's or JoAnn's or find some costume jewelry at a thrift shop and remove the rhinestones.
To begin..........I rolled together a bit of two shades of green and a bit of brown..........
I rolled it together until it was all one color.
Next I flattened the clay into a triangle tree shape with a roller.
You can use cookie cutters to cut your shape or a knife.
I like to "custom cut" my trees and stars so I just started snipping here and there ........
to get the tree shape that I wanted...........
 When I had trimmed away all the pieces and had the tree shape I wanted,
then I smoothed the edges with a wooden cuticle stick.
 To make the tree base, I rolled a bit of brown clay,
then inserted half a toothpick in it and inserted it into the tree.
I also made a hole in the top of the tree for hanging.
Some of the students added a star to the top of their tree.
Then it was time to add the "bling" or the tree ornaments.
Just peel the rhinestones from the plastic sheet,
then place on your tree and press gently into the clay.
 In the photo below, you can see that I added some texture marks to the tree.
I used the cuticle stick to make the marks.
The final step is to bake your tree. I bake my clay ornaments at 265 degrees for ten minutes. Then I remove from the oven and let them cool completely. They can be very hot to touch so don't burn yourself!  Add a bit of yarn or string for hanging your ornament. Write the date on the back and you have made a memory! 
I had some more ornaments I was going to share today but they will have to wait. I spent the day writing our Christmas letter and addressing Christmas cards. The letter is finished and all the cards are signed, sealed and ready to deliver to the post office on Tuesday morning!! I am so happy to know the cards will get to friends and family before Christmas!  Just one more week to finish some gifts and do some last-minute shopping. I just love the Christmas Season!!

Wednesday, December 12


It's been a very good day.
Actually, the last couple of days have been very good days!! Lots of good plans being made for 2013.  And, of course, stitching with friends is high on my list!  Makes me smile when I thing of some of my favorite crazy quilting friends. It all started when we made a crazy quilt for a fundraiser at The*Landing in Shakopee. We had so much fun we wanted to keep stitching together. So we were invited to stitch at the Stans Museum in Shakopee, the home of The*Scott*County*Historical*Society.  In January of 2000, I presented a program on crazy quilting and from that event, came the group we call "The Scott County Crazy Quilter's".  At the end of November we celebrated with a potluck and the 13th Christmas of our little group! We are one happy bunch..........
That's Laura, Carol and me in the back row and Judith, Sharon and Deana in the front. Deanna works at The Landing and we met at an Info Expo when she set up a booth for The Landing. If I had never met her, we wouldn't be stitching together. Judith was a member of the staff at the Historical Society when I first met her. We wouldn't be stitching there if I had never met her!  I am so thankful that I met both of them! Our group meets in the evening (4th Thursday of the month at 6:00 p.m. in case you want to join us) but some of us wanted to stitch during the day. So, we just started meeting and pretty soon we called ourselves "Tuesday Crazies". That's because we met on Tuesdays........not because we are crazy. LOL!
In early November, the weather was fine and so we gathered at my house for lunch and an afternoon of stitching. Sue is working on her Baltimore Album blocks.........
 Kate was handquilting a Civil War project.

Pandora had just returned from Florida and shared this gorgeous quilt she made. Looks like she can still be at the beach!

Adella was doing embroidery and applique on her Sunbonnet Sue dishtowels.

And Carol shared this adorable little embroidered sampler quilt.
Arlis has been working on this tiny hexagon quilt and shared her finished quilt. So sweet!
And my project? It's one I've been working on since 2006. I was sure I'd have all the rows sewn together for my Mary E crazy quilt by December of this year................
Ummm, I'm hoping that I can make that happen! There are still 19 days in December so it could happen.  Wish me luck. Lots of Christmas stuff to do but I am determined to finish the rows. I am handstitching the entire project..........just because. :-)  When it comes to projects that need to be finished, though, I have decided that some of the things on my Christmas list will not get done this year. They are now on the list for next year. Hope you all had a good day!

Monday, December 10

What's on the tree?

Snow is on the tree.........make that trees!! We got a big snowstorm yesterday and here are some of the lovely snow scenes.........
The pine trees above are on the corner next to St. Joseph's Catholic Church here in Henderson. And just down the hill from St. Joe's is the church where I am a member, St. Paul's United Church of Christ.
Every tree and bush looked like it had been "frosted" or as if it was growing cotton fluffs!
This big old tree is at the entrance of St. Joe's Cemetary and it looked lovely in the sunlight.
And across the street from it was this one with the sun shining right through it...........
And then at Ned and Mary Pilling's place, their apple tree had plops of snow on it and there were still apples on the tree! It made me think that the apples looked like ornaments!
And speaking of ornaments, I said that on Monday's I would share an ornament and how to make it. So here's my ornament for today. Since we got all this snow, I thought I'd share "snow-themed" ornaments.  This is simple and fun and any age can make these snowmen and snowflakes. All you need is styrofoam picnic plates, scissors, glue and white glitter, scraps of yarn, a bit of paint for the snowman and some pretty pins for the snowflake.
I just drew a simple snowman shape on the styrofoam plate and then cut it out with a sharp scissors. I painted his eyes, nose and mouth and let it dry. Then I spread glue all over the snowman and sprinkled on a large dose of white glitter. I added a yarn bow and Voila!! it's a snowman!
To make a snowflake, I cut my shape from a paper snowflake and traced it to the styrofoam plate. This one is harder than the snowman. I used a very sharp, pointed scissors to cut the snowflake shape and a paper punch for the holes. I used glue when I inserted the pearl pins that are at each point and then I spread glue all over it and lots of glitter. I added some pink sequins for pizazz!  I was trying to re-create some styrofoam snowflake shapes that I bought in 1970 in a market in Tokyo. I have six of these, three large ones, three medium and they are one of my favorite things to put on our tree.
They are die-cut from a thin, soft foam and I inserted beads on pearlized pins at various points on the snowflake. In all these years, I have never seen snowflakes like these in any craft store! I would love to find more of them someday!
That time in December has come when I have to decide which of the many projects will get done and which will be rolled over to next year. LOL! Does that happen to you?  I always think I have plenty of time and then it just ......... slips away!  No one but me, though, knows what I was planning to get done.  ;-)  You all have a good week!

P.S. Be sure and check out my previous post for the birthday celebration for Quilting Gallery.......just go here!

Sunday, December 9

It's a birthday party for Quilting Gallery!

Michele at Quilting Gallery is celebrating her 5th birthday with a huge blog hop!! You'll find all the details here !!!  I started following Michele's Quilting Gallery when it was just a baby and oh, my how Quilting Gallery has grown!! Thanks to her site, I've met quilters from near and far and shared projects with so many quilters!!! And so to celebrate, I put together a little birthday package of fabrics that might make a cute little project if you used my "Candlelight Candlemat Project" that was shared at Quilting Gallery a couple of years ago. Just go here for the tutorial. And then..............
in order to have a chance to win the fabrics that you see above, just leave me a comment and tell me what is your favorite cookie?!!  I have been in my kitchen most of the day baking up these goodies that I need to get mailed to some special folks. I finished them and then realized, oh, my.........must post about the birthday giveaway!
So, leave your comment, then swing over to Quilting*Gallery and get all the details so you can hop from blog to blog to blog! Have fun!
Comments will remain open until December 29th. This is a busy time of year and I want everyone to have a chance to enter. Winner will be drawn on December 30th at noon CST. Good luck and share those cookie favorites with me!!

Please note.........I am amazed at all the entries, but.........more than a dozen comments have no way for me to contact you. Please make sure you have left your e-mail or that you have a blog and I can leave a comment there or your e-mail is on your blog link. 

And the winner is............
Mary Mahoo at Sew*Maybe*I*Can blog.
Congratulations, Mary!!!

Thursday, December 6

Oh, my! so many things to do!

For the past three days, I have been preoccupied with getting the big tree in our family room up and decorated. I finished it last night. I think there are about 400 ornaments on it.  I'll take some pictures of it and share in a post on Saturday. It was hard work decorating that tree but I loved every minute of it.
Today, though, I was "out and about" most of the day here in Henderson (MN). It may be a small town but it offers a ton of fun and interesting things to do. My husband calls it "the Festival Town" because there is always an observance of some kind going on so it's a fun place to live. Tonight, there was a new event........."Ladies Night Out and Santa Anonymous Toy Drive". It was the "first annual" but I think it was a success and it will be back next year. When I told my husband that I was going to go downtown to the "Ladies Night Out", I'm not sure he was giving me his full "listening ears" because his answer was......"uh, I'm not really interested in going".  Ha ha, and my answer was "well, that's good because it's for Ladies!"
So, what did I find that you might like to know about? Well, since this is a quilting/stitching blog, I think you might enjoy these adorable figures..............

I found them on display at The Knitting Knest (all lit up for the holidays!). They were designed by Marie Mayhew and you can find the snowman pattern here and the wise old owl pattern here.  The projects are knitted, then felted. If I could knit, I would be making that large snowman!  Street and headed to the Roadhaus Event Center where about twenty-five vendors were set up. 
The first vendor inside the door was my favorite. You'll know why when I tell you she was sharing samples of CHOCOLATE fondue!! And not just any chocolate but Belgian chocolate! That's Lisa Mathwig sharing info on Velata*Fun*Fondue.  I think this is something I might have to have. It would be a definite improvement over the fondue pot I still have from the 1970's. :-) You know how much I love chocolate! 

Everything from jewelry to mittens to fruit cake, children's books, scrapbooking, soaps, etc. etc. etc. was available to the ladies attending the event! Here are my friends Monica and Sue checking out the jewelry. Were they shopping for me? Oh, I don't think so but ya never know............
I headed back across Main Street to one of my favorite shops in Henderson, Antiques & Uniques.  There was lots of Christmas goodness for the eyes to behold.........
This unique Mary and Joseph caught my eye.............
Owner, Jane Schuette, commented that it would have been great to display at the CrecheFest........but that's coming up in a minute.  I found, and bought, a most unique little item in the shop that I will share in a future post. 
Just a couple doors down the street is the newest business in Henderson, Peaceful Landing........
The name alone is inviting but owners Lori Streeter and her husband make it doubly inviting! Lorie is a Reiki master. For more info, just check out her website here.

I enjoyed chatting with other vendors at Peaceful Landing.  Cara Bishop of St. Peter Family Dental shared goodies that will keep my smile bright and Jinelle Markham, an inspirational speaker and teacher who shares about the "Angels Among Us". I also enjoyed conversation with Michelle Burns who is a Life Coach. I recently learned that a good friend met with a life coach to help her define her career and goals. You can learn more about Michelle's coaching at Design*Your*Destiny.  I suspect I could really use time with a life coach. Might have to consider this, too. Oh, my so many things to see and do!
And speaking of things to see and do..........earlier in the day, I took two batches of fudge and headed off to the church (St. Paul's UCC) where our Women's Guild filled goodie bags for those in our congregation that are homebound.
And when the bags were filled, then we enjoyed a delicious potluck lunch!
When the clean-up was done, some of us went over to Centennial Lutheran Church to their CrecheFest. From simple creche scenes like this one............
 to simply beautiful chrech scenes like this one..............
 and lots of angelic angels like all of these.............
it was clearly a feast for the eyes!!  The event continues through Friday so if you are nearby head to Centennial to see the lovely display of creches and angels.
So, am I tired tonight? You bet I am.  But I have one last photo to share. With all the trees decorated, I realized they might look better if I put the tree skirts under them. I had to share this one under the little tree next to our fireplace...........
A couple of years ago, I happened into the Lutheran Home Thrift Shop (Belle Plaine, MN) and found this little treasure for just $1.50. I suspect it's from the 1960's perhaps even the 1950's. It has that wonderful feel of old-fashioned felt, not that stiff feel of today's craft felt. I love it!
That's all for tonight. Time to get some sleep!  Back soon with Christmas tree photos and more ornament stories to share.
"Peace can be found in the piecing of a quilt."
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