Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What A Christmas!!!!!

Those of you who have been reading my blog know I am not really one to share a lot of really personal stuff. I think I am a very private person (although I don't give that impression at times) but after blogging and reading others for a while, I have become a little more comfortable.

Christmas Day was a wonderful one! Grandbabies got almost everything on their list----thank goodness their wishes were moderate. It did however result in a LOT of packages giving the impression that this family along, has significantly helped the economy! Of course there were "wheels" for everyone (the children of course)---bikes for the two little ones, and a scooter for the older one. The two girls got electronics---a IPad (for the college girl) and a Blackberry tablet (for the next older one). I must say, I have a daughter who is the "Shopping Queen"! I wouldn't have believed the deals she got had I not seen the price tags. Also, thank goodness for "layaway". She is now getting ready for next Christmas :c)!

Now, the evening began and things didn't go so well. We were all dancing to the Kinect---Dance 3 and I was beating my daughter when my husband yelled down that our middle son was "sick". He had told my two grandsons he was "sick" and had collapsed. He was complaining of classic cardiac signs---crushing pain in his chest; pain radiating into his jaw; nausea (with later vomiting); and difficulty breathing. I gave him aspirin (EVERYONE should have aspirin in the house) and took his blood pressure which was VERY high with a VERY fast heart rate. 911 was called and he is now on a cardiac floor in the hospital. Oh yes, he is diabetic, and his blood sugar was 583! I had been asking him everyday he was here, how his blood sugar was, trying to watch what he was eating---he claims it was my cranberry sauce (even the doctor had to laugh at that)---although I am sure it didn't help.

Now what is the moral to this story----everyone should really begin the New Year with a evaluation of their entire life and life style. My son is only 42, but had he been alone at home, or worst yet driving back home (he was going to leave yesterday), the outcome could have been much worst. He has a wonderful sense of humor and of course is trying hard to make lite of this, but I will NOT allow him to. My resolution is to not only quilt as much as possible, but to really make some healthy changes in my life. More fresh veggies, more fish and chicken, more well balanced meals all around. I am also going to value my family and my time on this earth. Try really hard to not "sweat the small stuff" and move on! I will "live by example"---when my son gets home from the hospital, I feel sorry for him :c). I am not taking his word for anything---I want to see those blood sugars myself...and I sure hope he likes unsweetened yogurt, blueberries and low fat granola---because that is his breakfast menu! And instead of cranberry sauce I make, I will have raw cranberry and orange chuckney (sp) next year!

Have a blessed and productive day!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas' Past-----

The "Children's Tree" upstairs in the family/game room. Santa knows to leave about half of the gifts here----but ONLY the children's gifts. Many of the decorations we made (the kids and I) and this one has candy canes (and it is okay to get one off the tree to eat while watching cartoons).

This is the more "formal" tree. This tree has ornaments that my children (my grandbabies parents) made. They love to hear the stories behind each one. See the little white bags. At my oldest (he is now 11) grandson's school, the senior class has a fund raiser to support their mission trip. The kids (in the lower grades) bring $3 per gift for each person on their list. Each student then gets to "shop" the store and pick out gifts. I love this school tradition. It is so interesting how my grandson really tries to get a gift that is special for each person. I can't wait to see what he got for me this year. The remainder of Santa's gifts goes here along with the "adult" family members gifts. These gifts are opened later in the day than the upstairs ones.

Now for my post today---Christmas' Past---. I really enjoy reading Lane's posts. He writes so eloquently and always gives me "pause to think". This latest post did just that. He details some specific memories of his "Christmas' Past", and really got me to thinking. Unlike him though, I don't have a specific memory, mine are more a "montage" of memories. I remember:

  • making sugar cookies on Christmas eve with my Mother and using the Christmas Tree cookie cutter.

  • Waking up on Christmas morning to the smell of turkey. My Mother cooked the turkey all night in a really low oven. When she took it out it was the most beautiful brown! I have never been able to duplicate that color---probably because I cook mine in a roaster.

  • Putting out the sugar cookies for "Santa" and then getting up in the morning to see a bit of cookie left with a obvious bite taken out. I (of course) didn't eat that piece of cookie left (you do NOT eat after people---I was thinking like a nurse even then), but I do remember smelling it. I guess I thought Santa left a definite smell---but all I was able to distinguish was the faint smell of cinnamon from the cookie.

  • I remember my Mother's rolls. So light---it seemed they melted in your mouth. I have her recipe and use to make them---but now I can't find cake yeast and so have had to resort to another one that is good, but not nearly as much as my Mother's.

  • Going to see my Grandmother. She lived to be over 100 and seemed always old. She held "court" at her house (I don't know why she didn't come to dinner) and my Mother would fix her a plate of food and we would make the pilgrimage. She wasn't particularly a loving Grandmother (I don't ever really remember her hugging me) and my cousin and I have agreed that she really didn't like any of us---but we went anyway. She always spoke in a very low voice and we gave her chocolate covered cherries (which I hate). She would always take them with a small smile (I always felt I should curtsy) and we would sit and be quiet (no running around in Grandmother's house) while my Mother spoke in hushed tones until my Dad said, "Okay Mother, is there anything you need, we will be going now". I was so happy to be outside where my brother and I would race home (we lived within walking distance).

  • I also remember the Christmas I got a bicycle -- it was red I think and my Daddy told the story of Santa being chased around the house by JoJo (our dog) who was upset with the reindeer and the bright red suit.

  • I also remember eating at the dining room table---a place reserved for special occasions, and drinking from my Mother's crystal goblets. I have some of those (when she died my sister's split her set and left me some---I was only 14). I know they are not real crystal, but to me they always will be. I don't take them out---one was broken and I stopped, but I always look at them and remember.

I am working really hard as many of you are, to create special memories for my grandchildren and add to our children's memories---and mine as well. At this point I think I am doing pretty good. Definitely they will remember "Mai" (what my grands call me) and "Poppie's" (my DH) hugs and kisses, unlike my Grandmother's (we called her the formal Grandmother) lack of...I never met my Grandfather (he died before I was born), but I hear he was in fact a "hugger"---wish I had been a recipient...but that is another story for another day.

Have a great remainder of the day!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Just Checking In!

Just wanted to "check in"! Nothing new going on, yet there is a lot of work going on! We are busy getting ready for the holidays that are approaching rapidly. Would you believe I have to go out to shop tomorrow! Believe it or not, I really don't relish it but I figure if I go on Monday morning when everyone else is at work or school, I should be able to get a lot accomplished. I have only about 4 gifts I need to purchase anyway.

I continue to clean----I am telling you, I must be getting old. I can remember when I could clean my house in a morning---now it takes me all day to do one room! It could be because I am easily distracted and I have been known to set on the side of the bed reading a magazine (quilting of course), from a pile that I was suppose to be rearranging or worst yet, throwing away. Our oldest son and his wife are arriving on Thursday morning, so at least I have the guest bedroom and bath all clean and smelling good. The door is closed and grand babies know that it is off limits! Now I have our bedroom and bath to clean--then it will be time to start all over again to have the house looking nice for our son. In between I am trying to get a friends quilt quilted and do a little of my own quilting done. Oh well, "such is life".

I was looking over my list of quilts I completed and I completed 19! Wow, that is an average of more than 1 per month. Pretty good huh! Included in these were some UFO's. Unfortunately, for every UFO I completed, I added 2 more! I am working really hard to complete my "Lego" quilt ("Spontaneous Combustion") before the New Year. I completed 4 blocks today, but honestly don't know how many more I have to go. I am about half finished, so hopefully I can get them done within the remaining 2 weeks. I know I will not have it quilted, but I am really liking this quilt and an anxious to see it in its finished glory.

Well, the Grands put up "the children's" tree today and will return tomorrow to put up the "formal" tree. I am going to bake some cookies and will hopefully have pictures to share tomorrow.

Take care and "see" you tomorrow!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

My Quilt!

Zuri had their holiday party on Saturday! This is such a great group of ladies and I am so thankful to have found them. They are too much fun and can they cook! Nicole shared her home and hospitality, and it truly was a "holiday" party.

We had a challenge--we drew a bag that contained a crayon and a alphabet letter about 4 months ago. The challenge was to make a quilt using the color of the crayon and use the alphabet in the quilt in some way. My color was purple (my fav) and the alphabet was R. I decided to really challenge myself and do something I had not tried before and that I didn't like. This quilt was a REAL challenge for me! I used applique (which I hate); put on embellishments (which I NEVER use---in this case yo-yo's), and made the quilt without a real pattern. The base is a Turning Twenty and although I had seen a quilt like this in a magazine, I didn't have the pattern (the original had a lot more applique). I just sorta took an idea and made it my own. I also used some trapunto (sp) under the plates and my Circle Lord to do some trapunto (sp) quilting. This took me the entire 4 months to complete. So many times I just wanted to give up. For those of you following my blog, I think you remember me complaining (whining) about it).

What made this "win" even more special was my Guild Sisters voted for it! There some beautiful and creative quilts presented and "Midnight Garden" won by only 2 points above a creative piece of art by Judi. My prize was 11-yard pieces of batik---. BTW---R stood for round---the shape of the plates.

I am happy!


Leading into my quilting "studio"---see the dust on the door!

Leading out to the deck---this was covered in tile and carpet. The kitchen is to the left of this picture.

Looking toward the front door.

I can't put any rugs down for at least six months since the wood is going to darken to a cherry color! I really like it---it opens up the area and makes it so much brighter! I have to go to Lowe's and get new heating/air conditioner registers for the floor and some type of dust mop. We are keeping the grandbabies while parents are working today, so my "cleaning crew" will be much needed. I am going to negotiate for a "Happy Meal" as payment :c) No home cooking today!

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Dust is Settling!

The tile in the kitchen! There were TWO floors to come up----a linoleum and the quarry tile!

The original floor we thought was wood but was actually laminate. It was glued to the sub-floor so pulling it up damaged the sub a bit. They still have to remove it from the guest bathroom. Hope my plumbing doesn't get damaged!

You can see the damage from the sub-floor from the glue of the floor. At the door leading outside was this hole! It looks like it was left by the builder. I made my DH put something over it---what if a creature crawled up there! Yuk! DH assured me it was too cold for things to wonder, plus it is under the house and you can walk under it so something would have to really JUMP to get into the hole---yea right----put something over the hole and weigh it down!

See the dust on the black stuff! There is at least a 1 inch layer of dust on everything! I had to use my inhaler and my poor grandson had to stay in his room when he got home from school. BUT I know it will be worth it!

Lastly, I wanted to thank all the nice comments I received yesterday!!!!! I was surprised and so flattered! I had a good day---a bit dusty, but a good day none-the-less. No kitchen, so my birthday dinner was a subway, but I did get those cupcakes!!!! AND a Joanne gift card!!!! :c). The contractor say my quilting room and the quilt on the frame (Rev. Renita---he wanted to buy your quilt!!!!!). We are going to barter for a mosaic back splash for a quilt!!!

Anyway, all is well. They tell me they will be finished by Saturday! I have a LOT of cleaning to do! A new floor though calls for more new stuff---hummm! I MUST visit Home Goods! :c)

Have a great day!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Happy Birthday to ME!!!

Today is my birthday----and I am truly thankful! When I was younger I really had a problem with birthdays, because to me, that meant I was running out of time to do all the things I wanted to do. Today though, I am reflective, because when compared to others, my life is pretty good! I have outlived my mother, who died at the young age of 53----with so much left to accomplish. I never talked to her about her life and her hopes for it, I was only 14 when she died, but as a adult, and looking back now, I know she wasn't blessed to have the wonderful opportunities I have enjoyed, and at times taken for granted.

I have a husband who loves me and wants to make me happy, never complaining (much) about all my quilting "tools" I want and usually end up getting; five plus one (my nephew) kids, who also love me and try really hard to be supportive---saying always great things about my quilts, regardless to what they "really" look like and who call me an "artist"; grandchildren who think no one is better than their "Mai" and who don't understand the concept of not having quilts to snuggle in; friends who again, provide me with the support and drive to keep trying (Diane especially), and providing that other perspective in a loving and empowering way; and I have a job that is meaningful and students who will one day literally save a person's life, supported by the information I have imparted to them. How great is that!!!!

My health is good, considering I am officially long pass middle-age and although I am considered a "senior citizen", I don't think I look like it and I sure don't feel like it. God has been good to me and my family and I truly feel I am "blessed and highly favored". I look forward to the coming years with anticipation knowing that rather than not accomplishing what I thought I wanted, I will accomplish what has already been ordained for me---and my hope is to make a positive impact somewhere.

Happy birthday to me! I am going to try to quilt a little, although that might be hard since the contractors are due to start tearing up the floors. I think I will go to a bakery and buy cupcakes and have a celebration with my grandbabies. No work for me today-----

Have a wonderful day in celebration of MY day!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Early Christmas Gift (and Birthday)!

I am one of those "fortunate" people who have a birthday right before Christmas. When I was growing up, I can remember my Daddy saying "Patti-Anne, your birthday is so close to Christmas, you will get your birthday presents at Christmas". That never really seemed fair to me--since I hadn't chosen my birthday, why did I have to have mine consolidated? In those days though, you kept those thoughts to yourself and didn't share them with parents, so I smiled my sweetest smile (hoping I would get LOTS of birthday/Christmas gifts) and said "okay, Daddy, I understand".

Unfortunately for my middle son, his birthday is even closer to Christmas than mine---December 15 vs. December 8. I NEVER told him that though, and we always tried to make his birthday special. We had a celebration and his birthday was the day we put up the Christmas tree---still do. Fast forward to this year, I am still getting my Birthday AND Christmas present all in one. I am getting new hardwood floors downstairs in the foyer, guest bath, downstairs den, kitchen and hall! They delivered the wood last week (it has to sit in the house for 5 days) and the contractors will start to lay it around Wednesday. When we purchased this house it had sit empty for a while and hadn't really been "loved" much, even when people lived in it. We did a lot of renovation just to move in, but I always wanted hardwood floors. The foyer has a dark cherry down, and until we had people come in to measure for the other floor, I thought it was wood---no--it is a very good laminate. Since I couldn't match it anyway, I am having it pulled up as well. The kitchen has the ugliest tile I have ever seen---no matter how I scrub, it looks dirty. The wood I chose is a light cherry---which will age to a golden color. It will warm up the room and really add a lot to the personality of the house. My next task will be to pull down wallpaper in the guest bathroom and hall upstairs bath. I also intend to tile the back splash in the kitchen. I am excited! I am going to get some new slipcovers for the sofa---bright ones (can't afford new furniture) and maybe some new curtains. Just do a new make-over--room by room. Now if I could just figure out a way to have a real quilting studio like my friend Judi! Maybe next year for my "birthday/Christmas" present :c)

Nothing new on the quilting front---just trying to get all my projects done between laundry and grading papers. I went to church this morning and decided to have take-out chicken for dinner. Less mess and my family loves it. All is well!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Happy Dance!!!!

The semester is almost over!!!! I have a final to give, some clinical evals to complete, grades to post and I am done until next year!!!!! I still have a lot to do, it's true, but the final is already done, and I am going to complete the evals this week-end! I am tired--tired--and will relish some down time. Above is a new WIP. I haven't worked on it in several weeks, since I have a lot of commitments in the quilting category as well. This is a quilt I saw at the "Moda Bake Shop". I had a couple of jelly rolls and some 5 inch squares so I didn't have to purchase anything. I really like the simplicity of the quilt. I plan to back it with plain muslin (unbleached) and quilt it in a simple tight stipple. It will be a perfect cuddle quilt.

Just wanted to check in---nothing really exciting going on at "the house", other than the fact that my dryer just broke. Maybe I see that red front loader in my future :c)!