Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Not so secret now

It's wonderful to be able to create handmade gifts for your loved ones.  But sometimes that old saying "your eyes are bigger than your stomach" should be re-written to apply to quilting (or sewing,  knitting, painting or woodworking or where ever your talent might lie!) .  There are always so many things I'd like to make, especially at Christmastime. Most of them remain ideas floating around in my head and some of them are lanquishing on the floor of the sewing room closet.  But look!  I did get a few projects done! 

On one of our trips this fall, I found a book by Gudrun Erla called Fast & Furious Quilting As You Go .  These little quilts were fun to put together and I was able to whip them out pretty fast for our grandsons (and expected grandson!).

One other bigger project completed was this twin size quilt I made for our son and his wife.  After he made the comment recently that I'm always making things for the girls and the babies but that I've never made him anything I decided I'd better get busy!  I found a kit on Ebay using Moda's Pine Creek Crossing fabrics.  It has a northwoods look to it and some of the fabrics even have bears and moose (s?) on them in honor of their recent trip to Alaska.  Though it's not big enough for their bed it will be nice to curl up with on the couch in the  basement family room.   I used a new machine quilter for this one and I was quite pleased with her work. 

So these are some of the "secret" projects I've been working on.  Now it's going to be time to start another baby quilt! This one won't be quite so secret though.   J and I looked at fabrics last weekend and we both like the Goodnight Monkey and Funky Monkey fabrics by Erin Michael but there are a lot of cute little baby boy fabrics available now.  Another quilt shop trip might be in my future! 


Monday, December 28, 2009

The Best Gift....Ever!

Okay - you'll have to indulge me this once. If you stopped by to see a travel or craft related post, you'll not find that  here today.    Just the highlight of Christmas week here at our house.  These two little boy cousins met for the first time and  I tried all weekend to get a good photo  of them together.  Both are adorable, but also very active little boys so this is the best I could do.   

The little peanut came to Grammie's in his cute reindeer pj's.  Little J had the cutest little sweater vest and looked very much the big brother he soon will be.

Peanut was awed by his cousin.  J loves Dora the Explorer and loved his new toothbrush Santa left in his stocking.

But he loves his little cousin enough to give him a "brotherly" kiss.

And I think Peanut was just as excited to meet a new pal!

With his own version of "brotherly" love! 

Leap Frog for the little cousin.

And Elmo for the toddler cousin!

They were both so cute opening all their gifts but it pretty much took us all day with  breaks for bottles, naps, snacks and diaper changes.  There may have been some gifts for the older kids too!  In fact, the big boys had a blast playing with their remote control helicopters and everyone enjoyed the cookies, candy and other snacks that kept us going until an early supper.

Boys with toys!

Thank you  all for coming home for Christmas!  The best gift .... ever!

And just because this is my blog and I can post cute pictures of adorable little grandsons if I choose too!

Our best wishes for a Happy New Year from our family to yours! 

Monday, December 21, 2009

My Christmas Present!

Let me show you my Christmas present!  Our own version of the Craftsman style kitchen  might have taken us nearly three years to complete, but I'm am very pleased with how it turned out!

I'm still in the Christmas countdown mode, but since I'm in between cookie baking sessions and the wrapping paper has been put away for a bit, I thought we should try to get some good photos.

All of the lower cabinets have roll out shelves with heavy duty drawer slides.  The drawers are self closing.

We removed the built in pantry and added this huge pantry cabinet with roll out shelves.  No more lost cans of food at the back of the cabinet!  I still have to get my little step stool out to see what's on the top shelf though. 

Custom made crown mouldings.  We purchased a sheet of Mica to use in the opening of the upper cabinets instead of glass. 

Stainless steel sink with goose neck Delta faucet.

Antique bronze hardware.  Notice the beautiful grain in the quarter-sawn white oak with "tiger flake"? Not really visible here but the veneers on the doors are all matched. 

Tile backsplash.  Love it! Recessed LED lights under the upper cabinets.  Stainless steel GE Cafe' microwave and dual fuel range. I hadn't cook with gas in years, but really am enjoying the transition from electric. The refrigerator is GE Profile.  We didn't replace our Sears dishwasher but still plan on ordering a stainless steel front panel so it will match.

Also love the Cambria (quartz) counters!  The pendant lights are new, but we're still looking for a matching ceiling fixture.  I still need to do some more decorating, but that will wait until after the first of the year.

Thank you Santa!  I love it!
Merry Christmas! 

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Contrary to what you might think...

This little blog has not been permanently abandoned.  Just a temporary blogging break while "real life" takes priority.   As it is for most of you, this is a busy time here at our house.  And as always, I procrasinate on some things that every year I swear I'll get done earlier.  You'd think that after almost thirty-five years (yikes! really?!) I've have this Christmas holiday routine figured out! 

This is the first time I think I've put up two Christmas trees.  This is the new little (six foot) pencil tree that's residing in the corner of the kitchen.  The colors don't show up very well here, but it is bronze, brown and gold. Love it!  Since it is such a pain to move around, the bigger tree stayed downstairs in the basement family room.  

I have full intentions of taking some nice photos of the new kitchen.  It is finally complete! YEA!  There is one stray wall cabinet yet to remove and a wall to repaint, but everything else is done.  Dear Hubby has done a magnificent job!  I am so lucky to have such a talented carpenter/woodworker living under the same roof!  It's a shame that right now it looks like Santa's workshop exploded on the counter. 

From one project to the next, D has been working on getting the old cabinets installed in the basement bar/kitchen.  Just a little plumbing and the bar top(not shown here) to finish this one up.  B already has put in a request to use my two ovens and ample counter space for a cookie baking day. 

This is all for now.  I don't know if  I'll get back here to post again before Christmas,  but Happy Holiday Preparations to you all!

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Last of November

Perhaps before the month of November is over (I guess that would be within the next 1 1/2 hours!) I should finish posting about our return  home from our last motorcycle trip.  We covered some areas that were new to us but mainly rode the interstate up through Georgia.

Somewhere along I-75 we saw a sign for Ellis Bros. Pecans - We're Nuts.  This proved to be a great place for a break, plus I was able to stock up on fresh pecans for holiday baking.  Not to mention the sugared pecans, the chocolate pecans and the candied pecans!  Plus they had lots of delicious samples for tasting!  

We managed to time our trip just right and missed any traffic woes going through Atlanta.  We arrived at our evening stop of Cartersville, GA with plenty of time to do a little shopping at some of the cute shops "under the bridge" downtown and have a wonderful dinner at the Applachian Grill.  Unfortunately we didn't have time to investigate the Booth Western Art Museum but it looked very interesting and if we ever come through this way again, we'll have to make sure we get there. 

Loved this little shop.  It was called Meg Pie Too and they had the most interesting counter.  I didn't get a pic but it was covered with a mosiac of all kinds of broken "knick knacks", cups, and even little toys.  Very unique!

I did it!  I managed to get a quilt shop stop on this trip!  This is Lavender Lime Quilt Shop in Chattanooga, TN.  Very friendly, cute shop with lots of samples and nice displays.  They are one of the Quilt Sampler featured shops this year.   I made a couple purchases ( their own pattern book for one) before we headed on up the road to Nashville, TN. 

We didn't stay here (too expensive for just an overnight stop) but we made a tour of the Opryland Hotel before heading home.  They have some of the prettiest Christmas decorations that are best viewed at night.  I wonder if all those poinsettias last the entire season, or if they have to replace them.   The remainder of the trip was pretty uneventful.  Except for the one rough railroad track  north of Nashville that knocked D's cell phone from it's holder on the bike.  But with a quick u-turn and a jog to the middle of the road, it was rescued with only minor scratches.  We got home just in time to begin the week of preparations for Thanksgiving at our house.  It was a nice quiet weekend for the most part.  E came from the Chicago burbs and had fun with the little Peanut.  His little shirt said Thankful for Mommy, Daddy, Grandma and Grandpa but then a large piece of masking tape was added for Auntie too!   

We managed to to a little shopping.  But not on Friday!  Someone was so very good while shopping with the girls on Saturday.  He even had his first shopping cart seat ride at Dee's amongst all the Christmas crafts and decorations. 

I'm now gathering inspiration for decorating for the next holiday.  If you've got some extra - send it my way! 

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

So many things  to be thankful for this Thanksgiving!  

And this is  one of them.....

And a couple more.....

But I'd really be thankful for if this bird would stuff himself and climb into the oven on his own in the morning!


Sunday, November 22, 2009

A November Journey

This doesn't look much like Indiana in the middle of November does it?  We escaped the Midwest for the Gulf Coast last week.  Since the weather forecast for both areas was excellent, we rode the bike and took our time getting there.  These first three photos were shot at St. George Island State Park near Apalachicola, Florida.  The beach there is beautiful and with it being off season, it was nearly deserted. 

Except for one of the residents who came out to greet us!

Gotta love those white sand beaches! Next time, I won't wear motorcycle boots and jeans. The saddlebags will probably still be there though!

We saw this huge tree covered in Spanish Moss in the parking lot at the hotel in Crystal River. 

An early morning shot ...

and a beautiful sunset from the balcony of the best  hotel of the week!

Our hosts, cousins Mr and Mrs Mac in front of their beautiful condo near St. Petersburg. We had a great time visiting for a couple of days and enjoying their hospitality! 

This is "Captain" Mac on a cruise around the waterways and out into the Gulf on board his boat.  We were even able to spot some dolphins frolicking in the water.

Can you make out the name on his boat?  Some of you might find it quite appropriate. Sorry about the poor photo quality.  A few salt water spots on my lens, that's my excuse!
As you know, we love to eat.  And whenver we go on vacation, we like to rank our meals.  These raw oysters at P.J.'s Seafood Restaurant are at the top of D's list.  I had steamed shrimp ....yummm.  But I have proof that even I tried the oysters.

My theory is that enough zesty shrimp/seafood sauce will make just about anything better!

These scallop sliders were at the top of  my vacation food list.  On Wednesday Mr and Mrs Mac drove us down to St. Armand's Circle for some shopping and lunch at the Tommy Bahama Restaurant. The fruity tropical  adult beverage was pretty good too!

Thursday morning we were on the road again.  The condo association of their gated community doesn't allow motorcycles so we had to park the bike and trailer near the security gate.  It wasn't so bad though because it was under a spot light and under 24 hour observation by the guards.  Probably much safer than it had been at any of the hotels!  A subject of coversation of many of the residents though, I'm sure!  Thanks so much for a great visit Mr and Mrs Mac!

We had intended on stopping at Tarpon Springs on the way down to St. Pete but instead stopped on our way out of the area.  We didn't take the time to do any of the sponge cruises/tours but enjoyed a Greek lunch and browsed some of the shops and the sponge exchange.  This village is famous for the sponges that are harvested from the waters off the coast and the Greek immigrants that came here to work as divers and such in that industry.  (Can you spot the boat under all the sponges in the photo above?)


We took our time getting home too and stopped at some other interesting places.  More of that later.

Overall we covered 2012 miles, under mostly sunny skies and with absolutely not one rain drop!  But it's good to be home!


Like most of you, Thanksgiving dinner is now the top priority.   We had hopes of all the kids and grandkids being able to come but unfortunately some plans have changed.  DIL J's ninety-eight year old grandma is having some health issues so they (J, J & J) have decided to spend some time with her in Wisconsin.  We will miss them, but understand completely and hopefully we'll all be able to get together at Christmas.  In the meantime, please keep J's sweet grandma in your prayers. 

On a happy note.....!  The J's have discovered that the newest J will be a little boy!   What fun it is going to be with three little grandsons so close together!  We are thankful that they are all healthy and thriving! 

Back again soon!