Monday, December 28, 2015

Celebrating -- and the great Christmas Reveal

even though we had worked on a lot of things ahead of time, there is always a project or two that we're still doing the week of Christmas

on Tuesday my daughter and Mr Cute came to spend some time so my daughter could work on some sewing projects -- she brought her sewing machine, but because we couldn't figure out the bobbin issue on her machine without the manual in hand, she did a lot of the work on mom's scary machine -- and survived it!

while we were working on sewing, Mr Cute did some art work

this piece was my favorite of all of them, and is now hanging on the wall in my office

we had snow and fog and cold and a beautiful sunrise on the first full day of winter

I took these pictures from the comfort of my front porch -- and I think there may be a piece of art that comes out of them

Christmas Eve meant there was more baking to do -- the pumpkin pie and the angel food cake

and as a nod to the San Francisco Bay area, where we spent many Christmas Eves, we had cioppino and cannolis for our dinner

Christmas day, our daughter, son-in-law and Mr Cute were here for Santa socks and presents and dinner

and on Saturday we had all of my side of the extended family here for gift exchange and all ten of us around the table for a mid day meal

we know how to set up a great buffet!  thanks to the two feet of snow that stacked up on our back deck and the cold that followed, we just opened the back door and shoveled a big basket of snow to use for keeping the drinks cold!
because we were in transition from house to house this year, I needed to work on projects that were portable

knitting was a big thing under the tree -- my original plan was to knit the hat that was black with the key board for my daughter, and I ordered what I thought was the right amount of the lovely cotton/bamboo/silk yarn -- but after I knit that one, there was more yarn, so I decided to make one in the reverse for my sister -- and still there was yarn, so I knit the one with the sasiko patterning for my nephew -- and there was STILL yarn, so my brother in law got the wild patterned hat

since the first pair of Ninja mittens I made for Mr Cute were a "just fits", I knit him a second pair that will last a while longer
and this year's sweater for my daughter is purely "fashion", not at all for warmth -- all this lace work and it came out beautiful (don't let that picture fool you!)

it's sort of a tradition that I make some sort of critter to put in the top of the Christmas socks

this year I did BobGoblin, an big ear bunny and Norville the dragon

and a self standing mouse nutcracker for a friend's collection!

once my studio was finished there was a lot of sewing that went on -- the usual pj pants, and a number of aprons, but this was the hit of the bunch

the remake of the dinosaur costume from two Halloweens ago that Mr Cute had outgrown -- I carefully removed the tail and spikes from the old sweat suit then attached them along with some additional spots to a new sweat suit that I make for him

his mom's challenge will be getting him out of it long enough to wash it!

and the new quilt for my daughter and son-in-law has gone to live at their house now -- it's all good

I've started working on the edging of this piece -- it has now become the priority to finish next as I want to enter it in an online challenge that the deadline for is Jan 4

and the barn is ready to be attached to the background of the Out to Pasture piece

this is what this project is heading for -- except this week I also decided that those darker pieces at the bottom are too distracting, so I've been picking them out and putting in lighter colors

and the original plan for the truck was to put all of the underside in shadow so you couldn't see the tire on the left had side -- but I just didn't like that whole look -- trouble was the original picture was that way, so I had to create something for that space so it didn't look like the truck was in danger of falling over -- so I drew a cinder block to sit under there -- I like that!

yup, it was a busy, BUSY week!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

skipping from one celebration to another

I love lighting the candles of the menorah

it helps me to remember that shining a little light into the dark corners makes the world's monsters a little less scary

and on Tuesday we had candles celebrating another holiday

the birthday of our grandson, Mr Cute -- this year we could actually have him and his parents with us for dinner on the very day of his birthday

that was fun!

for a while on Tuesday we were worried that the birthday celebration would have to be delayed because we had our first big snow storm

these pictures are my back deck where we had about 2 FEET of snow drifted up -- it is slowly melting now, but there is still a pretty good stack out there

 cold weather just wants to be knit in

this little hat is for the brother of one of Mr Cute's friends -- my daughter had asked if I could make one for him, and I whipped this up in pretty short order

 and this time of year some warm foot wear for in the house are in order for the DH as well -- I had knit him one pair back in January, but having one to wash and one to wear seemed like a good idea

the bead embroidery on this piece is now finished, and the leather that I ordered for the back of it has arrived, so I'll be working on it soon

meantime I feel like my idea for this piece has outgrown it's back ground -- or maybe it just needs to hang over the edge

my original idea for the underside of the truck was to do it all black so you didn't really see a tire or anything under the left hand side, but that just bugged me

so now there is a cinder block on that side holding up the truck -- I like that much better
the barn is coming together too -- I really like the way the bales of hay worked

last week in the blog post I said it was time to wrap presents

that job is pretty much finished -- I have a few items in the studio that are not quite finished being stitched, but

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

the halls are decked

this week we finished decorating the house, adding all the little things that make the house look like a Christmas wonderland (my daughter's phrase)

the coffee table has vintage candles including one that was my grandmother's and one that my mother painted a poinsettia on

the stair rail had just enough openings between the spindles for the collection of jumpers (that hadn't seen the light of day for a long time!)

the table just inside the door holds a basket made by Amma and a metal mailbox that I've had for years

and the mantle has the collection of rocking horses

this last phase of the Christmas decorating holds the sweetest memories as it involves unwrapping the carefully wrapped and protected pieces that have no value to anyone else, but are priceless to us

the little feather has the really small ornaments -- including a Santa that the DH made as a child

and the Christmas village - most of these pieces were my grandmother's and I remember them clearly from when I was a child

not everything this week was fun, however

on Monday, after I had been doing laundry most of the day, I went into the utility room in the basement and found water on the floor under the water heater


the picture of the floor shows part of how big the puddle of rusty water under the old water heater was

and here is the picture of the shiny new model that my plumber installed for me -- in about 3 hours from the "let's take a look" at my front door shortly after I sent him a message about the water on the floor to when his truck was pulling out of the drive way when the work was all finished

while this was not an expense I was planning for just before Christmas, it was about a third of the cost of the water heater I had to replace in our old house a few years ago, and the work was done a lot faster

I'm very grateful that we have good contacts here to have work done by good people

guess I need to put a big bow there on the water heater -- Merry Christmas to the house!

this time of year the studio work includes a lot of utilitarian activities

some of what happened in there this week I can't show you yet (watch for the Christmas Reveal post after Christmas!)

but these three items are all done

a pair of mittens hand knit that will go along with the toy we bought for the child who's tag we pulled from the local giving tree -- in this climate, every child needs a pair of warm mittens at Christmas!

the Christmas sock (which I made over 30 years ago!) now has been embroidered with the name of my daughter's newest dog -- old meets new!

and Mr Cute has recently had a growth spurt that has made most of his stash of "made by gramma" favorite flannel pj pants too small -- fortunately, I can whip up a pair of these in less than an hour from cut out to complete -- he liked this pair

there has been work on art projects this week too

I'm working my way to the back of the neck on this piece now -- the graduation to the darker color that will continue around to the clasp went well, so now it's all seed bead fill to the back -- not nearly as interesting to work on for me as the part where I was adding other pieces, but necessary

the leather I need to back this has been ordered -- this will be another one that will have a soft gray backing -- that color just seems to work for most of my pieces

I'm trying to decide if it would be a good investment to buy a whole hide -- but that would be a pretty pricey thing -- maybe after I pay off the bill for the water heater!

the background for the truck is done -- I think

now that I can see the background with the drawing of the truck I'm wondering if I actually want the background to be wider

I need to think about that

meantime, the silk organza that I need for this piece has also been ordered

and I can start working on the barn and the trees while I'm trying to decide about how wide this should be

then there is this

a little over a year ago I was in the thick of this activity getting ready for our move

this stack is not mine, but my daughter (bless her!) and I packed 23 boxes of books for my mother yesterday

like with labor pains, where you forget how bad it hurts when you have that child in your arms, I'd forgotten how much I hurt this time last year as I was trying to get us moved now that we are in our new house

I won't be doing a lot today -- I need to let my shoulders and my back recover

it's time to wrap presents!