Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas is done

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Christmas is finished for us, as of last night.  The quilt pictures here is the one I finished for my friend Kathy Jolman. She was happy with the finished product.
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The Grosbeaks have been visiting our porch this past week.
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Youngest son Corey & his girl Tasha came over for dinner .
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This was our tree on Christmas Eve.  I took it down today.
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Below are the scarf & little table topper that Kathy sent me for Christmas. The scarf is made from some of her sun died wool, done in a pickle jar with Cochineal & Osage Orange.
The table topper trees are from hand woven fabric that she got from Guatemala. They look so nice on the bench made by our friend John Meyn. We use this as our coffee table in front of our couch.
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Kathy also wrapped the package in wool that she had pre-mordanted. I decided to take advantage of the wool & 2 pomegranates that were getting a bit dry, along with inspiration from Kathy…..
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I sliced them up & laid them all over the wool.
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Rolled it up as well as I could, & tied it up with some left over red raffia, from Christmas packages. I put it in the steamer, & let it steam for a full hour.
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I put the whole bundle in a plastic bag & let it set by the wood stove for 2 days, then today unrolled it & washed it all out.
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This is how it turned out,
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& the end with the raffia, looked a bit like a red bamboo print.
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Last night we did our ornament exchange with our friends the Meyn family. Warren got this cool ball made by Hope. She is always collecting bottle caps & turns them into all sorts of things.
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I got these glass & stamp ornaments made by Mindy.
I can even wear them as necklaces.
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Mindy also gave me these lovely hand blown glass balls that she made.
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Christie ended up with this threadplay Amaryllis that I made.dec10 021
Warren took a photo of one of his Santa drawings, & had it reduced to a 2 inch photo, then put it in an ornament- frame. Unfortunately I forgot to get a picture of it.
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Today I did a quick project for Broccoli, & made a new catnip toy for him, which he made it very difficult to sew a straight line!  He wanted it NOW!
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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Winter Day with Guests

Sunday brought brave winter guests, Bryan & Brandon. Bryan is the son of Anita Heady, & the boys are in the military, stationed in Germany right now. They decided they wanted to visit Alaska in the darkest time of year to see what it’s like. We brought them up to the house for dinner on Sunday, & had our friends the Meyn family all up to round out the evening. We ate bacon wrapped dates,  Copper River red salmon, that I fixed outside on the grill. There was also pear salad, garlic mashed potatoes, green beans, jalapeƱo cheese rolls, & apple dumplings with vanilla ice-cream for desert.
After dinner we tried out our new Pictionary Man game, & the boys beat the girls. We had a lot of fun. My favorite was Brandon’s rendition of Betsy Ross. Too funny.
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The guys stayed the night with us, so in the morning I made a bacon & eggs breakfast, then we were on a mission to find a Polar bear. Brandon had promised his grandmother that he would get a picture of one, so off to the local zoo we went.
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Yes it’s open year around, even on snowing 11 degree days.
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The hardest part of photographing for me was the snow kept messing with the auto-focus, & the eyepiece was getting snowed on, so I had trouble trying to manual some of my images are a bit fuzzy, but here are the best of what I got:
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The otter performed both in & out of the water for us.
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The Lynx was smart, & watched us from it’s house.
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Snow on the fence, made seeing the wolves a bit tricky.
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Yaks weren’t bothered at all by the snow.
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Dahl sheep.
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This little orphan bear doesn’t know yet that it is supposed to be in hibernation, so we had a one bear show. It was SOOOoooo Cute!
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There were even a few humans at the zoo!
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After the cold zoo we decided to go warm up at a “Topless bar”! See our special dancer in the corner over there?
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Actually we went to Midnight Sun, where the men all agreed that they make the best brews in town. I then drove the guys back to their hotel, & we old folks made it home in time to take a nap!
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Today Warren is out snow-blowing the driveways, as another 10 inches fell yesterday!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Calendar Girls Party

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Last Thursday our annual Calendar Girls party was at the Bivins’ house as usual, & Dean, Betty’s DH, the extraordinary woodcarver stayed in his garage /studio, away from all us crazy women. I took a few shots of his finished pieces.
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Jackie Carley, & Carol Wight Jones showed us their latest pieces that will soon be Christmas presents for family members.
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We did our usual Chinese auction, with “white elephant gifts”. It’s always fun to see who ends up with the most junk!
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Some were having trouble rolling doubles, so they used the fabric that I had wrapped my calendar gift in, & wore it each time they rolled the dice, to help improve their luck. It seemed to work!
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Poor Mary P. Lee, didn’t need the “lucky fabric hat”. She couldn’t seem to quit rolling doubles, so ended up with more elephants than the rest of us. It’s always a laugh filled game, & the elephants weren't too bad. I ended up with a handful of fossilized shark teeth & a few small Christmas decorations. I intentionally stayed away from the large packages. My house is too crowded for large elephants!
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Betty served a lovely lunch.
At home I am trying to study for ACLS tomorrow. I have been working on Kathy’s small quilt, & was having stitch-skipping issues with the long curves & feathers in the borders. It was getting very frustrating, until I realized, that if I just 'needle punched’ my design in first, then went back & sewed with the thread, it solved the problem. Then it went much faster!
I’ve had this problem in the past , with tightly woven fabrics, like good Batiks, & fabrics that have the rubbery textured prints on them. They tend to drag on the thread & cause skipped stitches. So what I did was unthread the machine, ‘sew’ the design without thread, then went back & sewed again with thread, & no more skipping! This is the easiest solution I’ve found yet!
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Yesterday I went to my new Doctor. I really liked her. We went over all of my weird symptoms, & she suspects I may be dealing with allergies. She gave me a couple of inhaler samples, & set me up to see an Allergist. Of course & won’t see her until February, but it’s nice to know that I am working toward a solution to my annoying symptoms. The hand pain has been minimal lately, but I haven’t spent much time here on the computer either. She suggested I try hand splints for that, & see if it’s of some help, since I’m not anxious to sign up for nerve conduction studies!
Wish me luck tomorrow for ACLS, & say a prayer for my friends Jan (who just found out she has breast cancer), & Ed ( who was just diagnosed with prostate cancer).
Happy holidays!!