Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 - A Year in Review

My goodness, where in the world did this year go?  Surprised smile  But the calendar clearly says December 31, so it’s time for the year in review.

You all know that I’m a bit (ha!) of a weather geek, and 2014 didn’t disappoint.  We had a cold, snowy winter 2014 … setting a record for the most snow in one day (14”).  I love snow, but even I will admit that is too much.  Thank goodness DH bought a snow blower in November, 2013 … he joked at the time that by purchasing a snow blower, he guaranteed that we wouldn’t be getting any snow the rest of the winter.  ha!

There were a lot of swim meets to attend in 2014.  The Ts swam for the same summer swim team as last year and switched to a new Y swim team this September, one that is a much better fit. They continue to enjoy swimming and continue to do well.  


I didn’t manage to get a lot of quilts finished in 2014.  DD asked me to make a herringbone quilt for their bed.  I admit that I was a little reluctant … she wanted a large quilt in a pattern and fabrics that really aren’t to my taste, and I was afraid that I’d not enjoy the process.  But how could I say no.  I started cutting triangles on April 26 and gifted it on August 18.  I had nothing but trouble with this quilt, which caused the finish to be delayed significantly.  Even with cutting my triangles using my Go cutter, I had troubles with keeping my tips intact (obviously even a cutter can’t help an inaccurate piecer - ha!).  There was a lot of frog stitching … and a few blocks that didn’t make it to the quilt top.  Measuring the top for the borders took almost twice as long as it should have (I don’t have any smooth surface large enough to lay out the quilt to get accurate measurements).  And then there was the backing fiasco, with a considerable delay waiting for the second shipment of extra wide backing.  Confused smile  It turned out that in spite of my initial reluctance and in spite of all the aggravations, I enjoyed making this quilt and was pleased with how it turned out.  Besides, it was worth it all just to see DD’s reaction. 

As soon as I finished up the chevron quilt, I started on T#1’s spiral log cabin.  I began cutting strips on August 17 and gifted the quilt on November 9.  Thankfully this quilt went together more smoothly and finished more quickly than the chevron quilt.

Those two quilts weren’t all that I worked on in 2014.  I started the year with my Storm at Sea in my hoop.  Between the mistake of piecing together the blocks with the papers still on and dealing with the twisting and knotting of my quilting thread, my heart just isn’t in finishing that quilt.  I’m determined, however, to get it finished at some point.

I also did quite a bit of piecing on other quilts as well.  I have all 42 blocks ready to go for a quilt for our bed (the colors are washed out … the blue is more of a navy blue).

I put together a log cabin for DH and have the majority of the quilting done.

I’m also in the middle of piecing together some 14” pineapple blocks. 

And of course there’s my ongoing (never-ending?) hexie project. 

I mustn't forget my leaders and enders project.  IMG_1075I'm piecing together 2-patches from 2.5" squares of Minick and Simpson’s Midwinter Reds (most of which were leftovers from an earlier project).  They’ll eventually be pieced into 16-patches and joined with some strips to form a Primitive Picnic quilt.  I made a small lap quilt in 2012 using Kansas Troubles fabrics … … I’m hoping to be able to have enough fabric to make a large lap quilt this time.

We did a fair amount of traveling in 2014, between traveling to out-of-town swim meets and traveling to our favorite spot in the world.  We spent almost 2 weeks in Hilton Head in May, another 2 weeks there in September, and went back for a week in November.  IMG_0854

Wishing you and yours a very

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy! Have a great day!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sore Slow Sunday Stitching


Slow Sunday Stitching


I don’t know if I’ve pulled a muscle (that’s really what it feels like) … but I’ve got tenderness in my right abdomen (mostly just below the rib cage).  If it is a pulled muscle, I must have aggravated it while painting and made it worse by leaning over the side of my recliner to grab my iPad several times while quilting yesterday (no room on the end table next to my recliner, so I’ve always just laid it on the floor next to my chair).  The tenderness came on slowly yesterday … by dinnertime, I was experiencing some pain when standing up straight, breathing deeply, etc.  By bedtime, I was unable to find a comfortable sleeping position. I got up and figured I might as well do a little quilting … sitting upright in my recliner is a comfortable position.  After a few hours of quilting, I finally was able to fall asleep in my recliner … but not for long.  Sad smile  Thankfully I have a doctor’s appointment Tuesday afternoon … hopefully I can nurse this along until then.


The upside is that I’m able to make progress on DH’s quilt … although truth be told, I’d rather be painfree.  Once again, the fabrics are washed out in this picture … I took this with my iPhone in the middle of the night last night.IMG_1074If I’m counting correctly (I’m counting in my head instead of getting up and counting blocks), I have 35 blocks left to quilt … all that’s left are single outer blocks all the way around, except for one side where there are two outer blocks … there are 63 blocks in the quilt.  I fully expect to get past the halfway point today … hopefully I won’t be up most all night quilting tonight.  Winking smile


It seems impossible that in just 4 days, we’ll be in 2015.  Surprised smile  Where in the world did 2014 go?  That means I’ve got a mere 4 days to think about what I’ve accomplished in 2014 and what I’d like to accomplish in 2015. 


I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy! Have a great day!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

If that doesn’t sum up my life, I sure don’t know what does.  Winking smile 

Once again, my plans have changed.  Today DH and I were to head up to my sister’s for the weekend to join them at her grandson’s baptism tomorrow.  But I was feeling pretty puny yesterday (a cold) and she wasn’t feeling any better (gastroparesis), so we decided to cancel our trip up.  I will be honest and say that I’m not all that much disappointed.  December has been such a busy month, and I have been longing for a couple of days in a row where we didn’t have/need to go somewhere or do something.

Yesterday we met up with extended family (DD and her family, DSIL’s parents, and his sister and brother-in-law) to celebrate DSIL’s birthday.  DD and DSIL went to go shopping (he asked for cash for Christmas and for his birthday), which gave his sister the perfect opportunity to surprise them for Christmas … she wanted to repaint their bedroom.  DD has been wanting to repaint that room since the day they moved in, especially after I made that quilt for their bed.  I was drafted to help so they could be sure that the room would be done by the time that DD and DSIL returned … my job was to supervise T#1 and T#2 in their first attempt to paint (load their rollers, check for drips, etc.).  I thought that wouldn’t be too taxing, given how I felt.  WRONG!  When I got home, I felt like I’d been run over by a Mack truck … and if it’s possible, I feel even more so this morning!  Surprised smile  But it’s worth it given DD’s reaction (DSIL’s sister sent me a video of DD as she walked into their bedroom and saw it).  Here’s how it looked when I left (forgive the blurriness ... the photo was taken with DSIL's sister's iPhone).  IMG_1071(And yesterday’s experience has definitely reaffirmed my decision to hire out any repainting here at Chez Nana!  Ha!)

Obviously, I will be having the quiet, relaxing (aka lazy) day that I’d longed for … I don’t think I could do much of anything today even if I wanted to!  Of course, I’m not too wiped out to be able to pick up my needle and thread this morning … and I think there will be a movie or two watched, too.  I put in a few stitches yesterday evening … I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again … I’m making progress, slowly but surely.  I plan to continue to work on this until the 5th when I plan to start cutting fabric to make T#3’s new quilt.  I’d like to have the quilting completed on DH’s quilt by then, but it’ll depend on how much I can get done in the next week … there isn’t a whole lot on my schedule between now and then, but we all know what happens to my plans, right?  Winking smile

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy! Have a great day!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Post-Christmas Catching Up

Now that Christmas is over, one would think that life would return to normal … but not here at Chez Nana.  Today, DSIL turns the “big 4-0”, so we’ll be getting together with family to celebrate his birthday.  And Saturday we’ll leave to go spend a couple of days with my sister and her significant other.  She invited us to join them as they travel to see her grandson and his sister baptized.  Maybe once we return, things will get back to our normal routine … or maybe not.  Winking smile

I certainly hope that you all had a wonderfully blessed Christmas … we did here at Chez Nana.  We spent Christmas Eve with DD and her family … what a blessing.  We had wonderful meals, opened presents, played games, and just enjoyed each other’s company … all the while remembering that the Christmas story doesn’t end with the babe in a manger.  A pretty perfect Christmas, if you ask me, even though we didn't get the snow that we had longed for.

I do have to share a humorous little anecdote.  The two youngest Ts still believe in  Santa … although at 7, T#3 is full of doubts (I think he still wants to believe a little more than he wants to know the truth at this point).  Even so, he asked me when Santa would be visiting our house.  He and his younger sister were so unhappy to learn that Santa doesn’t deliver gifts to adults … awwww, the looks on their faces were just so precious.

Christmas Day here at Chez Nana was a quiet, relaxing day … which is just what we need after a fun-filled, exhausting Christmas Eve.  When even the most enjoyable times wear us out, it’s official … we’re old.  Being forgetful is another confirmation that we’re old.  I always buy a Butter Braid for Christmas morning’s breakfast.  I thought all day about setting it out to thaw when we got home from DD’s … alas, when we got home, I totally forgot all about that Butter Braid, which is still sitting in the freezer. 

As usual, our quiet, relaxing Christmas Day included some time with needle and thread … while we watched our traditional Christmas Day movies.  I have quilted 24 blocks ... I continue to make progress, slowly but surely.

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy! Have a great day!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and yours a very blessed Christmas!

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy! Have a great day!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Sleep Is Overrated


Or at least you’d think so here at Chez Nana.  Once again insomnia has reared its ugly head.  DH and I retired at our usual bedtime, and I fell right to sleep … only to wake up at 1:00-ish.  After 40 minutes of trying to fall back to sleep, I gave up and got up.  Was I productive with that “extra” time, you ask?  Alas, instead of working on DH’s quilt, I spent my time online … catching up on emails, blogs, Facebook … and playing a game or two as well as FB messaging with DD who is still up (I don’t think she’s been to bed yet … I’m hoping she’ll be able to grab a couple of hours of sleep before she has to rouse the Ts for swim practice this morning).  I suspect it will be a hot mess over at her house today because today is Cookie Baking Day!  And both of the bakers are operating on very little sleep.  Surprised smile  I foresee plenty of Advil and caffeine being consumed today. 


I did get a fair amount of quilting accomplished yesterday.  If I recall correctly, I’m almost done with block #18.  Slow and steady wins the hand quilting race.  Winking smile


It’s hard to believe that we’re now just 3 days away from Christmas … wasn’t Thanksgiving just last week?  I have two gifts to wrap and need to pick up a gift card from Walmart for my dad … then I will be ready for Christmas. 


There’s still snow in the forecast for Christmas Eve … with even a bit of accumulation (not much … maybe an inch?).  Since we’ll be having our Christmas with DD and her family that day, I’m definitely looking forward to some snow.


I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy! Have a great day!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Slow Stitching Sunday

I can’t begin to tell you all how much I’ve been looking forward to this weekend … with so much on the calendar this month, I’m ecstatic to have a couple of days with nothing planned … beyond ecstatic even, since you know that means time spent with needle and thread.  Winking smile

I’m continuing to stitch away on DH’s quilt.  It’s slow going … thankfully I’ve chosen a simple quilting pattern (straight lines down the center of each “log”), but even so it’s been a long time since I had a big chunk of time to be able to quilt … little bits here and there do add up … albeit so very slowly.  I am almost done with block #15 (out of 63).  I won’t get it done before I start working on T#3’s quilt (after the first of the year), but it will be waiting for me.  IMG_1064I took this photo last night when I moved the hoop … I realize that other than the change in the placement of the hoop, you really don’t see much of a difference in this picture from the one I posted a few days ago.  Such is the nature of the beast when quilting something like a log cabin.  Winking smile  I plan to quilt while watching some Christmas movies this afternoon  … White Christmas is at the top of the list  -
Snow … I want to wash my hands, my face and hair with snow
Snow … I long to clear a path and lift a spade of snow
Snow … Oh, to see a great big man entirely made of snow

Speaking of snow, today is the first day of winter … although we’ve been having wintery weather for over a month now.
We have rain/snow in the forecast for Christmas Eve (hoping for snow but expecting rain) … but alas, it would not matter as the forecast high for Christmas Day is a balmy 50.  Surprised smile

I blogged last month about our “issues” with our printer … it would constantly drop the wifi connection, requiring us to reboot the modem in order for the printer to reconnect – every. single. time. we needed to print something.  Annoyed   We finally bit the bullet and purchased a new printer Thursday evening.  So far so good. 

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy! Have a great day!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Happy Anniversary to Us!

What a wonderful anniversary DH and I had!

We had breakfast at Panera (aka St. Louis Bread Co. in these parts) and then drove over to St. Charles. Our first stop was, of course, The Quilted Cottage on Main St. I could have bought 2-3 yards of just about everything in the store! She specializes in repro fabrics, and they'd just got a new shipment in ... of absolutely gorgeous fabrics! I tried to limit myself to fabrics that I thought I'd really use, not just the ones that were so pretty to look at. And when I saw The Quilt Block Bible, I knew I "had" to add it to my purchases ... I'd been wanting to buy a copy but always talked myself out of it. When I saw it this time, I couldn't fight it ... so I bought it.

I love traditional blocks and have long wanted to make a sampler, choosing blocks I like, not the blocks that some designer chose (no offense to designers). Maybe now I can.

We also browsed in some other stores ... I picked up a hand-woven table runner.

After we finished up our shopping, we drove to the Soulard area for BBQ. It was a tiny place, with limited seating but big appeal, so we had to wait about 10 minutes for a table to open up ... but it was worth it. I wish I had thought to take a picture of my meal ... but I just couldn't wait to dig in! I had to give a couple of ribs and 2/3 of my potato salad to DH to finish ... not because they weren't any good but because I was just too full! Yum!

I didn't forget DH ... he got his gift early ... our trip to Hilton Head last month was a combination birthday/anniversary/Christmas gift to him. Don't worry ... there are 4-5 gifts under the tree for him, so he'll have something to open Christmas Day. ;-)

We spent the rest of the day at home ... me with my needle and thread and DH with a good book, watching this week's NCIS (recorded). We are such an old married couple. Ha!

We had hoped to be able to stay up to watch the hockey game, but with a late start (they were playing in LA), it just wasn't happening ... I told you that we are such an old married couple. Ha!

I'm hoping that our 28th year together is a good as our 27th was. ❤️

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy! Have a great day!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Time magazine has selected The Ebola Fighters as their person of the year for 2014. Do you agree, and if so who would you say is a close second? If you disagree with their choice, who do you think should have been chosen?
I prefer when Time chooses someone who’s affected the news in a positive way, and I’d have to say that the Ebola Fighters have done just that.
2. This question comes to you courtesy of Susan who blogs over at Stew Mama Says. She knows we have a wedding happening any minute now, and she asks, 'What's your favorite-something old? something new? something borrowed? something blue? in your home?  Be sure you hop over and say hi to Susan today! 
My favorite something old is this Christmas ornament from my childhood.
My favorite something new would be these brand new ornaments made by my grands.
And as far as something borrowed in my home … a library book is the only thing I can think of.
And my favorite something blue would be my blue and white log cabin quilt.
3. Fudge-yay or nay? Your favorite flavor? Do you make it yourself? With nuts or without?
Nay.  I find fudge just too, too sweet.  If I were going to make or eat some, it would be with nuts (and lots of them) … there are certain things that MUST have nuts IMHO, and fudge would be one of them. 
4. December 17th is Wright Brothers Day, commemorating the first successful flights made by Orville and Wilbur Wright in 1903 in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  How old were you when you made your first flight? Do you like to fly? Have you ever been to Kitty Hawk, or other parts of the North Carolina Outer Banks? 
I would have been 18 when I took my first flight … my family flew to Corpus Christi and drove down to North Padre Island.  My youngest sister would have been 10, and her response to our pointing out the terns will live forever in our family:  “Those aren’t birds … those are sticks with rags on them.”
Neither DH nor I like to fly - AT ALL.   Our travel plans are always contingent upon whether we can drive to our destination.  Thankfully our favorite destination is within driving distance … it takes us a day and a half now, but that’s ok … we’re retired so we have the time.  We’re planning an Alaskan cruise for our 30th anniversary, and we may have to bite the bullet and fly to Seattle.  DH has already said that if the decision were his, he’d drive it (what can I say ... he likes to drive).  But IMHO, 34+ hours (one way) in the car would be a bit much, and of course there’s that pesky problem of the cost to drive to/from Seattle – based on the current average operating cost per mile of 61 cents, it would cost us almost $2,700 to drive to Seattle and back.  While our actual operating cost might be lower (our car gets 46-48 mpg on the highway), our cost of driving would still be significantly higher than the cost of flying.   Winking smile 
We visited Kitty Hawk and the rest of the Outer Banks in 2012.   Something from our trip that has always stuck with me is learning that the first flights actually took place in Kill Devil Hills, not Kitty Hawk like I learned in school.  At the time, Kitty Hawk was the nearest Post Office, so reports of the flights originated from the Kitty Hawk Post Office, and many mistakenly credited Kitty Hawk as the site of the flights.

5. Do the people in your family tend to follow a particular career path, and if so what's the path?
No, we’ve all chosen different career paths, although my youngest sister and I both majored in accounting … I chose to be an accountant while she chose to be an accounting professor.   And I’ve always reminded her that “Those who can, do; those who can't, teach.”  Winking smile 

6. What is one thing you absolutely, positively must accomplish today?
Thankfully nothing.   

7. This Christmas I hope___________________________________.
we get a white Christmas.   

8. Insert your own random thought here.
As of last night, I had quilted 12 of the 63 blocks in DH’s log cabin quilt (yay! the colors photographed more accurately than the last time I shared a picture). IMG_1045It’s slow going … but it’s been just so crazy busy lately that I’m glad to have gotten this much done.  Winking smile

I also finished up our Christmas cards Monday evening … and got them to the Post Office yesterday morning.  Every year I say that I’m just going to stop sending Christmas cards … and every year I buy another box or two.  But I think that this really may be our last year.  Between the cost of the cards and postage (of course, the cards I like are always the ones that require additional postage!), I think it’s time to be done with sending Christmas cards. 

And I wrapped all our gifts yesterday … well, all but one.  I have one gift to wrap yet … DD included a gift to be from my dad in an order she placed so that gift is at her house.  I’ll be watching the Ts this morning while DD has an annual eye exam, so I’ll pick up the gift and get it wrapped this evening.  I’m going to try to tuck the stocking stuffers in the Ts’ stockings this morning while I’m there.

We have snow in the forecast for this weekend, starting tomorrow.  Thursday is our anniversary, and we plan to go over to Historic St. Charles.  We were there a few years back when it snowed … it looked like we were in the middle of a Currier and Ives scene.  I’m hoping for a repeat this year! 

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy! Have a great day!

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Weekend Wrap-Up

I could just do a repeat of last weekend … they swam, we cheered, I shopped.  Winking smile  Such is the life of the grandparents of swimmers.  But truth be told, I wouldn’t change it for the world.  I just love watching them swim competitively, seeing them win their heats or improve their times.  Red heart

Friday after lunch, we headed up to DD’s to pick up their luggage.  We offered to go check in at the hotel and deposit their luggage in their room before heading to the meet.  On the way up, we stopped at the pottery shop and picked up the ornaments we made the week before.  (Note to self:  make sure to sign and date them next year)IMG_1043(I know that the owl is upside down … his body is angled such that if I turn him around, we won’t see his face.) 

T#2 swam her first 500 free (and placed 2nd! … while a little of that was due to the fact that there weren’t many in her age bracket swimming that event, she really did quite welll for her very first long distance swim) … T#1 swam the 500 free and the 200 IM.  Because all the long-distance events were held Friday evening, it was after 9:30 by the time we left the meet … 10:00 by the time we got to the town where our hotel was (the reviews on the 2 hotels in the town where the meet was held were so awful that we chose to drive 20 minutes for lodging).  By the time we grabbed a bite to eat, it was *late* when we all got to bed. 

As a result, morning came way too soon … warm ups started at 7:00.  And that mean a long day at the pool (at least Saturday’s events finished up by 6:30, not 9:30!).  I did a little shopping from the vendor area … I always buy the kiddos souvenir shirts/hoodies, and I picked up a few swim-related things to put in their stockings.  I wish I had thought to take a picture of my swimmers in their Christmas Classic 2014 hoodies, although with 3 swimmers, someone was almost always in the bullpen or in the pool.  Winking smile

Thankfully we were able to get a good night’s sleep Saturday evening.  We were back in our hotel room at a reasonable time, and Sunday morning’s warm ups started an hour later.  Whew!  Of course, we had to use part of that hour to pack back up and check out before heading to the pool, but even so, everyone was well rested.  The Ts were done swimming by mid afternoon, and we were home by 4:00. 

I was so glad to be able to watch them swim, but I was equally glad to be back home.  I’ve reached the life stage where even the most enjoyable things just plain wear me out.  Winking smile

I took our Christmas cards with us, planning to get them ready to be mailed, but there just wasn’t enough room … plus I spent a fair amount of time keeping T#4 occupied.  I really ought to finish them up today … as well as wrap up our Christmas gifts (I think they’re all here … now to try to search through texts and FB messages to see who gets what and from whom … my dad gives me money to buy gifts for the Ts from him).  But I’d really rather spend the day quilting … other than very brief quilting sessions after dinner last week, I haven’t had time with needle and thread for several days now ... way too long.  I also have the fabric here for T#3’s quilt, but I am not sure that I feel up to prepping and cutting the fabric.  I think I’ll compromise … do some quilting this morning/afternoon and then work on the Christmas cards this evening (usually I’m starting to get tired enough by the time we finish dinner to put away my needle and thread). 

I saw this on Facebook this morning and thought you all would get a chuckle, as I did.  Watch out Aunties

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy! Have a great day!