Thursday, December 31, 2009

My New Year's Resolution . . .

is to not make any New Year's Resolutions. They rarely make the cut, anyway. I'm just going to play it by ear, and make the things that appeal to me, and enjoy every stitch. I know I can live up to that resolution!

The movie we saw, "Blindside" with Sandra Bullock, was great. As polish on the apple, when I got home, there was story about Michael Oher, and the making of the film on 20/20. Seeing the real Leigh Anne Tuohy and having just seen Sandra Bullock's portrayal, I have to say her performance was dead on! What a dynamic and wonderful woman. I give this film ten stars! See it!

Gave Viki her next pair of socks. She gets so excited, and her whole face just sparkles. I wish everyone could get the kind of response to a hand-made item that she gives. She's just a very pretty little gal, anyway. Lots of sparkle and lots of substance.

Maybe I should just count my blessings of my friends here. They are all wonderful women.

First, my DSIL from Texas. One would think that we couldn't be as close as we are, since the only time we lived in the same town was for a couple months more than 40 years ago. We just have a great time together. We're the babies of the family, having married the two youngest sons. Her family commitments have recently begun to limit the amount of time we get to spend together, but we sure had a great run for several years, when she was able to fly free. Still, I do spend more time with her than all of my other in-laws combined!

Melanie is our strawberry blonde. Beautiful eyes and smile, great sense of humor, and just as cute as a button. Her needle skills are exemplary.

Her "twin", Marguerite, is a lovely blonde, very smart, energetic, thoughtful . . . an elegant beauty. She always describes herself as a slug, but she is extremely meticulous and everything she makes is perfect.

Mary J. is bright and brash. She always has a funny comment, and is ready for anything.

Laura keeps her light hidden under a basket. She's a very strong mother, and wonderful friend. She's perky and cute with short dark hair, a slender figure, and a great laugh. She's the one who got several of us started putting words on our quilts. She finds the most touching quotes, and inspires us all with her efforts in quilting.

Ginny is really sweet and lots of fun. Her back problems have slowed her body, but not her spirit. She loves to play along, and no one gets a bigger kick out of it when we all get silly.

Mary M. is our quiet observant one. She's supposedly retired, but she really hasn't quit working at Habitat for Humanity. I think she might have tended to be a project person, but we broke her of that! Now, she usually has several projects going at the same time. She is meticulous in her efforts, and her work is lovely.

Lela is our great audience. She's full of sparkle and laughter and is drop-dead gorgeous. Her only problem is that she denigrates her work . . . she makes lovely things all the time, not just her efforts in quilt making. She gives from her heart, and makes one feel so loved.

Michelle is one of our "baby girls". She was previously married to Melanie's son; after they split up, I think she might have been afraid that we would hold that against her, but she's learned that we love her because of who she is, not who she might marry. When she gives you a big smile, her eyes squeeze shut, and her whole face lights up. She's working her way through school, too, and we're all so proud of her strengths as a mother to Blaine, and admire her ability to keep "all the balls in the air".

Sossity joined us a few years back, and she's just a joy. She's very enthusiastic at every thing she approaches. She wants to learn it all, and is very productive. She just jumps in wherever she's needed and does a great job. Another beautiful young woman, and marvelous mother to Donovan.

Lanna is our lovey-dovey. Talk about having a boat-load of health problems, in the last several years. She's faced kidney cancer, brain aneurysms, and various other assaults that would have broken most people. But, she still approaches everything with a smile, and is another dedicated mother. We don't get to see enough of her is our only complaint.

Patti lives in Georgia now, but will always be part of this group. We suffer not seeing her for several months, and then, we just pick up where we left off when she joins us. She's got an irreverant wit, and is our world traveler, with her husband, an economics expert. When she's queen, we're all going to be in high clover.

Linda G. is too funny for words. I've known her the longest, since she was a student and later, a colleague of my husband. This one just sparkles! And, she's educational, too. How many people do you know that have read the biography of Mr. Ed . . . the talking horse. She's going to be a wonderful grandma for her first grandchild, because she will be ready to play at the drop of a hat. At least she always is with us!

Dawn has never lived near us, but once Laura introduced her to the group, she just fit right in. We don't know how we ever did without her. Our first meeting with her was a trip to Paducah one April. By the time autumn rolled around, we talked her into teaching at Retreat, and now she's one of our regulars. We were extra lucky, too, because her daughter, Holly, was at Purdue, and that sometimes gave her an extra chance to be with us, and we got to know Holly, too. Too bad Holly had to graduate and move to Oklahoma! She's ours now and we're not giving her up.

Can't mention my wonderful friends without mentioning Roseanna, and the loss we all feel since she passed away. We'll always miss her. She was the best kind of friend one could ever have. She just filled in any spot that needed attention; she was enthusiastic about any ideas that were presented. We're always going to have a little hole in our hearts, but know that her spirit will always be with us.

There now . . . I like counting my blessings much more than making resolutions. My wish to all for the new year is to be surrounded by soulmates, as I am. I love them all very much.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas is past . . . .

This was one of those whirlwind years. I can't quite believe Christmas has come and gone. For one thing, we changed our plans for a trip to Virginia at the last minute. The weather scared us off for the first time. We've never seen a flake of snow on any of our previous Christmas trips to Virginia . . . but before we departed Indiana, the kids got two feet of snow. They didn't get out of the house until Monday, late afternoon. We started talking about it, and on Tuesday morning, it was snowing to beat the band here at home. We decided we've always had such good luck, that we didn't need to be stupid in our advancing years, and put ourselves at risk.

It's probably the most laid-back Christmas we have ever had. We hadn't put the tree up, since we were going to leave, and it seemed silly to put it up for two days. DH decided he wanted meatloaf for dinner . . . I love cold meatloaf sandwiches, too, so that was fine with me. Our niece came for dinner, since she was across the street visiting her mother at the nursing home.

I made pumpkin bread and pumpkin pies, too. Our grandson came to spend the night, and had a buddy come over to play on Saturday. Sunday, I bundled the boys all up, and sent them down to Murdock Park to go sledding. I went to check on them after about 45 minutes; they were all aglow and happy, so I told them they could sled a few more minutes. Finally, at about 1 1/2 hours, I had to practically drag them to the van to go back to the house. Fed them hot chocolate and cookies, and got them warmed up, while I threw their wet jeans in the dryer. Neither of them had ever worn long-johns before, so they thought running around the house in their long-johns was great fun, too. Then, later, we took them to Pizza Hut where they both devoured a personal pizza each. I hope that these will be fun memories for them someday.

I went through some of the junk in my studio. What a mess! But, I put away lots of fabrics that were strung around the room, and organized a couple of my projects toward completion. I'm on the last block of Lori Smith's "Ode to the 30's" pattern, a flower pot with hexagonal blooms. The leaves and stems are all in place; just the pot and the blooms to finish. This may make the cut to go to Miss Mary's at the end of January, and become a finished top.

I actually cut the first borders for my Old Tobacco Roads, and need to trim the top before pinning them on and sewing them. I'm determined to have that one in all one piece before the clock strikes for the New Year on Thursday night.

DH is working an auction on January 1. He made the mistake of looking at the sale ad last night. They have about 65 lots of coins, and 27 guns, not to mention numerous antique toys, and other antiques. With the quantity of items, it's going to be an all day, and into the early evening kind of sale. He'll be beat when he gets home. It's the only auction all weekend, so they are sure to have a big crowd, and with the quality of items, lots of high prices. I'll have to make an appearance, but I'm going to try to stay home and sew!

It's Tuesday, and that's when our little group gets together. We're all going out to eat and then to the movie this evening for a change. We always have a good time, so I'm sure it will be fun.

Promise to post pictures with my next comments!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Still on target . . . sort of!

I've been making my planned pillowcases as gifts. Last Saturday, my grandson, Drew, helped me pick out a few more fabrics. Made one last night, and hopefully, Saturday will provide me with an adequate block of time to make a few more. If not, I'll just put my Featherweight in the car, and sew in the motel room on the way to Virginia. Driving time is reserved for knitting.

As is usual, with my quilting friends, our focus isn't on the approaching holidays, but on our planned retreat at Miss Mary's Quilting Cottage, at the end of January. I think I could easily gather at least 142 projects to work on that weekend . . . culling it down to a smaller number, but none the less, unreasonable quantities for the time available to us!

It's going to be very different without our dear friend, Roseanna, this year. She kept us all straight, and organized. She was younger than I, but still acted the part of our "group mom". Maybe we'll ask her brothers to come join us for lunch one day. We'll have to re-organize our usual menu; Roseanna always made her wonderful chicken rice soup. I think all of us will have trouble sitting any place but our usual spots, probably leaving her sewing station open. She will be with us in our hearts.

I've been collecting the clues for Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville Mystery, "Carolina Christmas". I peeked at Clue #6 this morning, and I'm in love. The quilt is stunning; might have to gather my fabrics, so I can sew on that one at Miss Mary's. I've got to put the borders on a previous mystery, Old Tobacco Roads, which I loved, as well; and I have Double Delight completely cut and ready to sew.

One thing I have learned in recent years is that preparing a project by getting as much cutting done in advance frees up lots of sewing time. One can really make a lot of progress when it's all ready to sew. Pre-cut projects in the "on-deck circle" are an Anita Shackelford Christmas quilt which appeared in Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting. I have blocks to finish for two of my grandsons, and blocks to re-cut for a quilt for my grand-daughter. As I mentioned previously, I started cutting some applique to be assembled with those blocks, and the blocks are too bold for the applique. Also, I found some fabrics that I think are better suited. Will probably put the blocks already assembled together for a NICU quilt. They will be darling for a little baby girl quilt, just not compatible with my applique work for Lisey.

My friend, Viki, quilted the Halloween quilt which was project with my grandson, Ben. He's going to be over the moon for it. A couple of the fabrics have glow-in-the-dark eyes. If he follows his brother's example, from a few years ago, he will be hauling people into the bathroom to turn out the lights, and see his quilt glow. It's just a simple quilt; some ten-inch squares of Halloween fabric surrounding a Halloween panel. But, I told him that I was having trouble figuring out the best way to put it together, and he just took the blocks and dealt them out on the floor, looked at them, rearranged them a bit and said it was done. I sewed it together in my motel room that night, and the next day, he had to take the top, and "try it on" laying down on the couch. He pronounced that it would fit, and it will be going back to Virginia with me. Viki did a great job, as usual, quilting it all over with spider-webs in orange thread. It's just adorable.

Time for a lunch break, and some knitting. I was to the toe on the second sock for Viki's current pair, when I realized I had way too many stitches. Had to rip it back to the finish of the heel gusset, and work down a few more stitches. I'm anxious to cast on my first pair of Socks for Soldiers, but won't until I get this pair complete!