Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Fond Goodbye to 2008

It's New Years Eve here in Alaska. Only a few hours left of 2008. I've spent the majority of my day trying to build a more user friendly web page for ALCQ. I've had only minor success. I was able to add a calendar to the blog, & that made me happy.
I should probably reflect on this past year. Overall, I would say it was pretty good. I got to travel to Michigan twice in 2008. Spent my sister Em's 60th birthday with her in February. Spent more time with my brother & new sister-in-law Linda. I got to know & love her even better.
In September I was able to spend more time with both of my sisters & my Dad, in between teaching classes. That was a lot of fun. October I traveled to Salem to spend time with my dear friend Ilene after her heart surgery. I actually lived with Ilene & her husband Stu for a brief time, before I married my DH. They are like family.
I managed to lose some weight before surgery, (new knee), then gain some back during this holiday season! Back to work on that battlefront!
I am thankful for every day, every moment I breathe. For my children, & grand-children. For all my family & friends. For their health, & safety. I am also thankful for all of you out there who reach out & make contact. Who share your thoughts, & ideas, & kind wishes.
I'm heading off to our New Year Party at the Meyn's house. See you all next year!
Have the happiest, healthiest, & safest of New Years!
Live Like it's Heaven on Earth

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Baby it's cold outside. It's been below zero all day today. I spent the day in the living room with the fire going watching my bread dough rise. Broc laid in the chair nearest the fire & stretched out like a week's wash.
I was complaining to my DH about having to scrape the windows on the car at these low temps, & he suggested I try putting a big towel over the windshield. I tried it yesterday, & it worked like a charm. I turned the window wipers on just as I turned the car off, so they stopped in the up position, then tucked the beach towel under them, & they held it nicely in place. The frost developed on the towel, in the morning I just peeled it off, & gave it a little shake, no scraping! Love it!
Tomorrow night we have a party to go to at Mindy's. I'm the designated driver. Friday is our hospital party, then after that I'm getting back on my Weight Watcher routine. I've gained a few holiday pounds, & I can feel them. I think I'll ask my DH to go on with me. It helps if he's on board too.
Stay warm & Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I loved this picture of my 14 year-old Granddaughter Darian, sent by my DD Michelle.
A friend sent this one to me. I usually refrain from anything political, but this struck me mildly funny. I think it was captioned something like, "Bad news from up north". For anyone who doesn't know her, that's our (Alaska's) governor, Sarah Palin.
This is my favorite of 3 pictures my DH Warren drew for Christmas, & it's how I've been feeling these past few days.
I made a bunch of these for Christmas. It started from a request from my DD Michelle. They have been having a really cold winter in Seattle, & she asked me to send her some of these. They are just flannel bags stuffed with dry feed corn. You can put them in the microwave oven for 2 or 3 minutes & they stay hot for 2 or 3 hours. They are wonderful stuffed in bed with you on a cold winter night. The only thing you have to remember when making them, is microwave the corn for about 30 seconds at a time for 3 or 4 times, before putting them into the flannel. That will keep them from turning into popped corn the first time you use them.
I made 3 for around the neck. Warren tried his out right away. That look on his face was one of ecstasy. He has arthritis in his neck, & the heat feels so good.
After the holidays, this is what I should be doing.
I got a cell phone in my stocking. I was happy to get it. It has a built in camera. I thought I would be able to use it while I send my Rebel XT off to be repaired. Unfortunately, Santa didn't include Internet service with it, & I have no way of getting the photos from the phone into my computer. I searched on line to see if there was a program that would do it, but apparently there is none, so I probably won't be blogging much in the next few weeks, until I get my camera back.
So I will say thank you for all of your holidays wishes, & Happy New Year until the next time!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

We had our friends Mindy, John & their 3 girls, Lindsey, Christy & Hope, plus Kyle (Lindsey's partner) & Pete , (my orthopedic surgeon & Mindy's boss), & his girl Lilly all up for dinner tonight. Dinner was exceptionally good. I wish I'd taken food pictures, but I was too busy cooking! We had Pear Salad, Turduckin (a deboned chicken, inside a deboned duck, all inside a deboned turkey). It had a rice stuffing that I actually liked! Normally I don't like stuffing's. On the side made carrots with caramelized onions, a hint of maple syrup, & fresh Thyme & Dill, & red potatoes mashed with roast garlic, butter & sour cream. No diet food in this meal.
Dessert was something I'd never tried before & I loved it. It was so easy to make. Lilly, said it reminded her of something they have back home. Below is what was left of the 2nd pie.
I got it from a Gooseberry Patch cookbook, "Christmas Pantry" It is called Crazy Quit Pie, & was submitted by Anne Tufo from Heath, Texas. I think it is the easiest pie I've ever made.
2 c. milk 1c. sugar
4 eggs 1stick butter
1/2c. all purpose flour 1/2 tsp. salt
1c. flaked coconut 1tsp. vanilla extract
Place all the ingredients into a blender (don't try a food processor it isn't tall enough, believe me!). Turn the blender on at medium speed for 10 seconds. Pour into a 9 inch deep dish pie pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes. The flour forms a cake-like crust, & the center is like a creamy custard. The coconut floated mostly to the top. It was soooo EASY! & Yummy too!
Broccoli is getting anxious for Christmas.
"When can I play with my new toys " he asks.
After dinner we did a Chinese auction, ornament exchange, & played a game. We did a lot of laughing,( I did lot of coughing triggered by laughter) & had a good time.

This was the package I put my ornament in. The holly came from my friend Kathy in Michigan.
The box was one of those tins that come in the mail from AOL. I glued brown paper on it, & painted it with white acrylic paint, & some Xpandaprint & Perl-ex for texture. Inside was this snowflake that I made with Glow-in-the-dark fabric & thread. The string is Austrian crystals, (the red ribbon is a different ornament behind).
It has Timtex inside. I started by cutting the snowflake design out of a Wash-away paper from YLI. I Fused the fabric front & back to the Timtex. I glue stick-ed the paper snowflake on top then straight stitched the design around the paper. Next I cut out the 3 layers of fabric-Timtex-fabric with an Exacto knife. then finished all the edges with a zig-zag stitch. Oh, & I did some tiny free-motion quilting all over it to get good glow-in-the-dark coverage from the thread.
Warren got this little ornament which will be perfect in his bar,
& I got this ball painted by Kyle. It was like destiny, since I have dragon-flies all over my studio.
My bronchitis is better, I don't feel sick like I did earlier in the week. Now it's just a cough, & nose nose is starting to run . Thanks for all the well wishes. I'm sure I'll be fine! Happy holidays, & happy Hanukkah Ilene & Stu! Spin a dradle for me! Love to you all!

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Winners, & my Holiday

The winners are Granny Fran, Quiltmom Anna, Scoobagirl Jeri, & Jane in the UP. I've emailed them & hope to hear back soon from everyone so I can mail out their prizes.
Yesterday we celebrated Christmas with my youngest, Corey & his girl Tasha. Both Warren & I will be working Christmas, so we did it while we could. I fixed Smoked Salmon Pasta & Pear Salad for lunch. I have bronchitis right now, & wanted to do something simple because I haven't been feeling very good. I only mention this because the blog is how I journal, & I want to keep track of such things.
Our tree is the same small one I've used the past few years.
This train is the one "new" thing that my DH couldn't resist buying. I told him we have to get rid of something because of it, but that will be decided when it gets put away.
The bears & friends are flanking the stairwell this year. When we added on to the cabin, & put in the basement, I had 4 feet wide stairs on the plans, but the carpenters apparently didn't read the plans, & only made them 3 feet. Grrr... it still irritates me. I wanted to put a teddy bear parade up the stairway at Christmas, but don't dare as they would be a hazard on stairs this narrow. My Grandmother's tree is in our bedroom. It used to play "Silent Night" via it's music box bottom, but the prongs have long since worn out, & it really is "Silent " night now!
In my studio I've been working on Christmas projects. Sorry I can't post them yet. Hope you all have a good Holiday Season.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Class Samples & Winter

Today I took samples to Seams Like Home for my next round of classes. Above are for the "ABC's of Embellishment class #4". "Putting it All Together". Collage quilts. They still have the ABC's wall hanging for the first 3 classes.
These are for "Minimal Marking Free Motion Machine Quilting".
"Basic Threadplay", (I have more samples somewhere, I just can't find them!)
& "Advanced Threadplay". That's 7 different classes I'm doing this time around. I'm hoping to keep busy enough quilting that I won't have to be at the hospital so much.
Above is a picture I took at "high noon". Can you see the sun peeking through the trees? This is facing South. As you can see, it's pretty low on the horizon. When I lived in Eagle River we never saw the sun above the mountains this time of year. I wonder if Nancy or Roxane can see it now?
I snapped a few pictures of the flocked trees in town, by the University mall. That darned spot in my lens looks like a flying geese patch!

& this little guy, he was flirting with me in the quilt shop. Isn't he cute?

I'm still collecting comments to get 40, to draw from for 4 prizes.

Friday, December 12, 2008


It has been a super busy week once more. I realized when I logged on today that the last post was my 4ooth! So I guess I better offer some sort of prize in honor of #401. So I will draw the 4 names of the next 40 comments & send 4 someones a prize made by me. So please start commenting!
I finally finished off those pesky classes that were causing me such angst, & have 2 more years to breathe before I have to do it again! Wednesday I spent all day in class, most of it on my feet doing CPR. My arms & abs are sore from that. After class I was on call for the Recovery Room, & ended up working until 1 in the morning. I pushed the last patient upstairs at midnight, & sat down to finish my charts. When I stood up after an hour on the computer, my new knee spasmed up on me & I could hardly walk. I got 4 hours of fitful sleep then gave up & went up & had my coffee. It was now Thursday, & I was limping worse than ever, & I had the Calendar Girls Christmas party at 10 a.m. I sat there in my stupor, fretting over it. I didn't want to miss it. I'd missed last Christmas. I finally realized I still had my crutches in the closet, so I donned my holiday sweater & jeans, & put everything I had to take in my backpack, & headed off to Betty's house for the party.
This is Betty & Lynnette.
We had a GREAT time.
Laughter really is the best medicine. We did a "White Elephant " exchange that was such a HOOT!
We also did our usual calendar exchange (after all we are the Calendar Girls).
Rena was trilled to get the one I brought. It was a pocket calendar, that I made a cover for. I used some of my hand dyed (from natural dyes), & wool & silk needle felted, then quilted.
I finally gave Mary Gerkin her "Bubbles" quilt that I made her from the baggie challenge we did.
She was pretty happy with how it turned out.
This is Ramona Chinn. She made this quilt for me, from my baggie. I was thrilled to have Ramona make my quilt. I first heard of her when I read an article in the Lady's Circle quilting magazine, back in about 1993 or 94. We were living in Michigan at the time, & there was an article about a group of quilters in Anchorage. Little did I know that I would end up knowing almost every one of them, & now count them among my friends.
Others brought small gifts for everyone. (A lot of over-achievers in this group). This is the stash I brought home. The 2 things in front are Velcro handle covers for your suitcase. They easily identify which case is yours. Also a needle case, & paper thread catcher, all made by Jan Wells, a pineapple hot pad made by Lynnette Motz. There's also a silk covered blue box & a small calendar with Inuit Art on it. I love the designs in it.
Here are some better pictures of my quilt from Ramona. The background is fabric & cheese cloth that I hand-painted. The leaves are made from Batting that I also painted. The flowers, she used some of the yarns that I'd included & crocheted the centers, then cut the Minke fabric that I had for the flowers.

I am thrilled with the results.
Lastly, here is the "white elephant" that I brought home. It's a vintage asparagus steamer. I think it's so ugly it's cute! It'll go nicely in my vintage kitchen!
Now I suppose I should get back to elevating this leg. I'm tired of laying on my backside!
Cheers! Don't forget to comment so I can draw 4 names!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Winter Blues

I haven't had the heart or energy for blogging this past week. I am feeling the pressures of the Holidays fast approaching, & I also have other stressors that I am dealing with. I have to study for 2 tests that I have to take for work. I tried to get them done 2 months ago, but it just didn't work out, so now it's crunch time, & I HAVE to get them out of the way, & it seems like it's been one road block after another. I am beginning to think maybe it's time to consider a different job. Maybe go back to office nursing. I loved the one office job I had, better than any other job ever.
I am still working on holiday decorations in the house. Outside looks like this today. It's not only the darkest days of the year for us here, but today we woke up to fog. It's 32 degrees, & it's been foggy all day. I took these shots about 10:10 this morning. It's now 15:15 & it looks the same outside.
It reminded me of the new scarf I just finished. It's the same purple (almost Periwinkle) silk, with Angelina (Calypso Blue) that looks like the same color as the silk. I used a really light layer of the Angelina Fibers, as the other scarf I made, I feel like I went too heavy, & I think it will be stiff.
I haven't finished that first one yet. I'm going to use it to demonstrate on in my classes. That's the other thing I've been a little stressed over. I am trying to get my classes planned & have to have everything ready to turn in to the Quilt Shop on Tuesday.

Above it the scarf before washing out the stabilizer, & below it's in the sink getting washed out. I used warm water (not hot) & it worked just fine. I washed the whole scarf, then threw it in our new dryer on air only for 9 minutes. It held up fine.
Here it is in front of a white background.
Next I tried in on black, to see if it would photograph any better. That gray spot inside my camera is driving me buggers!
Here's a close-up of the edge. I don't have time to do it now, but I would like to add small beads to the fringe to weight it down & make it hang pretty.

My Dad called today. He calls every Sunday now. It's always so nice to hear from him. He is 88 years young. Still working full time. An amazing guy.