Friday, December 29, 2006

Almost Gone

2006 has only a few more days to go. And I will need to work on writing 2007 on things. Lucky for me (?) I have been stamping library books with 2007 dates for a while already. I know it's the time for *resolutions* but I have never been very good at making yearly decisions. Will this be the year I become a *better person*, *paint*, *lose weight*. I don't know. I will have new glasses if I ever get dressed and go out and pick them up.

Perhaps I should resolve to be up and dressed in *going out in public clothes* by a certain time each day in 2007?

I have done better with my journal writing but for a few months there have been no entries. I stopped around my birthday in September and never picked up the pen again. I got out all my canvas, stretchers and gesso and planned and hoped to do some painting. Instead, I have visited blogs of others who are painting.

I have tried --in vain-- to clean up the clutter in this house. Perhaps its a genetic failing as every member of my biological family has the same creeping clutter problem. Mine revolves around paper, fabric and art supplies. My Dad collects paper and plastic bags, cardboard boxes, string and empty jars (Depression Era). My son has wires, connectors, computers, game boxes, and DVD's piled up. My daughter has books and cats.

New News: My husband seems to be getting better. He has new and stronger penicillin and is napping less and looking less ill everyday. He has been going to work for 4 hours each day--all he can do-- and finished the BIG bowl of wonton soup at the Chinese restaurant last evening. And, if you can believe it-- his doctor called just minutes ago to see if he was okay. Yes, a doctor called to check on him.

I resolve to get dressed, go pick up my glasses and stop to get crackers, applesauce and bananas for my daughter who has been throwing up since 3 am. And that will be my day.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Back to Work

My Christmas tulips purchased at the same time as the second load of groceries. The things I forgot to buy on the first trip. The tulips have a candy cane look of stripes of red and creamy white. They haven't opened but haven't wilted either. I love the *look* of tulips with their nodding heads and sometimes droopey stems. I guess that's why I put tulips in my work.

G dressed up as Santa last week. He hasn't had the best of holidays. Working retail now rather than as a trainer, he has been on his feet for four months straight. And he has a cold. A cold which became something else on Christmas Eve morning. The whole left side of his face was swollen and painful and he had a fever. He called in sick to work and drove over to the emergency room. He has 10 days of antibiotics for the infection in his salivary glands. He can't hear in his left ear. He's exhausted. He slept most of Christmas Day and is working today-- 6am to 2:30. He'll probably get home from work and go straight to bed. Not much Ho, Ho, Ho.

No one listened. G got me a pile of presents. I liked two. A new electric frypan. A tiny tripod for my digital camera. I bought one gift. On the 23rd. I got Sam a terry bath robe. I made pillowcases for Sam out of flea market old worn sheets she had purchased awhile back. I got the pattern off the internet. Yes, that's right! I didn't *know* how to make a pillowcase. And I finished her painted fabric birthday gift. Surprise! Joann's had fabric (on the 23rd) that looked good enough to go on the back and then I quilted the whole thing and sewed the binding on on Christmas Eve. I'm sure she will post pictures on her blog.

I made the traditional Polish pierogi for Christmas Eve. Potato, Cheese and Sauerkraut. I made three balls of noodle dough and it worked out perfectly. Well, I could have made a bit more potato filling. I did it all by myself. No helpers. And when G got up (he was sleeping), I had him deliver Sam's plate of Cheese Pierogi to her house. That's correct. She didn't even come to our house to eat them.

I'm working extra hours this week because a co-worker is in California for the holidays and I picked up most of her hours. So I work on G's days off. It won't matter this week anyway. He'll be asleep when he isn't at work. And I have presents to return.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas Cleaning

I'm doing my best to clean off the dining room table for the holidays. And that's where I do all my "best" craft work. Journal, collage, magazine page ripping and watercolors. So there's a load of crap --no craft--- on that table and I am sorting it into piles of like minded items and moving it into my actual work room. And piling it up on THAT table. We've had a few "slide-offs" and this is what has ended up on the floor. Sad, isn't it? And I think of myself as an organized person. Santa said I was doing "better" in the cleanliness department but he said I could take better care of my toys. So true.

G is sick. Sore throat and the start of a cold. He has some Airborne and some Cold eeZe and a big dose of Nyquil Green at bedtime. Bedtime occurs when he wakes up from his nap in front of the television. I had not planned to leave the house today. But G needed chicken soup when he came home from work, instead of the Baked Ziti I had planned to make. So I had to get dressed in "going outside clothes" and comb my hair. The things I do for that guy. Well, he does have to go to work.

When I had the soup bubbling away I started baking the Sugar Cookies. I made the dough days ago. The cookies were going along rather well with minimal sticking to the countertop, no flame outs in the oven. So I decided to make frosting. And I colored it green. Each little cut out sugar cookie tree got a big glob of frosting (G's favorite food group), sprinkles and a few mini M&M's. Festive. I ate one test cookie and my sugar levels went into orbit.

I picked out new glasses yesterday. Do any of you have trouble seeing what you look like in the new frames--because you wear glasses to see-- and the frames are just frames. I finally had the eye glass person try them on for me. She'd put them on and I'd look at her and try and imagine how I'd look in the frames. (What a sales concept) Next week I'll actually *see* what I bought. I *think* they are rather stylish. They certainly were expensive.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

More Sad News

Another dear friend has died. Peacefully. In her sleep. At home. Beverly was in her 70's but ageless. She had the best smile and was always cheerful, kind and a wonderful friend.

For years, six of us met twice a month to quilt, sew, read each other's magazines and most of all TALK. We even made a set of six round robin quilts. One is hanging at the library now. Merry's Christmas quilt. Bev's quilt had swags of little leaves appliqued by me. Her Christmas card to me-- which arrived this Tuesday-- mentioned how much pleasure she found in sitting and looking at her robin quilt and thinking of all the evenings of pleasant company we six had shared.

The robin quilts traveled to each of us with a small journal. My entry in Bev's journal was about my struggle to do something beautiful and uniquely "me" for her. I used my polka dot fabrics and traditional needle turn applique. Each evening I stitched 20 leaves. And with each stitch, thought of how dear Beverly was to me. Perhaps this is what she felt as she looked at the quilt. The love and friendship of the six of us.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Santa Says

Much more nice than naughty. Can be very thoughtful. Has improved cleanliness, which I like. Could take better care of toys. Says "thank you" often, but still not as much as I would like. Good mood often spreads to others. Hopefully, will keep up the good work!

Monday, December 18, 2006

A Forest of Tiny Trees

I got the pattern from Little Birds Handmade and added the stem. A wooden spool and a red button for a color accent. And they do stand upright all by themselves. For hours. Even overnight. I added some of the red buttons as ornaments. This is the tree my co-workers would have made if we had had our regular ornament holiday party. So 9 lucky co-workers will get trees as a little gift from me. A surprise. I made ten and then got tired of making them.

I had so much fun making the paper collage trees for my Christmas cards this year that I wondered if I could get the design to translate into fabric. I also wanted to stop doing so much raw edge applique and go back to needle turn. This is 7 by 9 inches and took about 90 minutes to make. And I LOVE it. I'll be making a tree next with little applique berries. It really is nice to be able to do this quickly when you want and then slowly when there's time. And hand applique is so very nice to look at. And touch.

I had to make a quick trip to the cooking shop in Bath for a cookie cutter this morning. I must have given all the ones I had away. What was I thinking? That I wasn't going to make cut out cookies anymore! I made spice cookie dough (Speculatius) from Painted Threads and wanted a Santa cutter. No luck. So I made angels and used a chopstick to imprint eyes, buttons, wing detail and some skirt pleats. I'm gifting my library shelving volunteers with the finished cookies. Angel cookies for shelving angels. No pictures. Imagine perfectly beautiful cookies.

I also got a big heavy metal meat pounder. Just what I always wanted. A flat disc with a handle. Now I can flatten chicken breasts into thin cutlets. (And loosen all the nails holding the center island countertop to the cabinets.) Now all I need is some chicken. And a lemon.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Beta Blogs

Those of you fellow bloggers who changed over to Beta--- well, I give up trying to leave comments. It doesn't work no matter how many attempts and passwords I try.

Beta is a very bad thing in computer programming. It means "test product". Not a real, no problems product. Beta is a product with lots of problems, bugs and general misery.

Please, if you have regular old, blogger--- don't change!

If you did change, list your email address in your sidebar. It's the only way to get comments. From me.

Thank You

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Rocking Around the Christmas Tree

Yes, this is THE Christmas LAMB! My daughter made this in kindergarten awhile ago and it has been the star of the tree ever since. I can't imagine Christmas without the lamb on the tree. A manila folder cut into a lamb shape, with cotton batting glued on and then black paper features, red mouth and a red bow. What a lamb has to do with Christmas has always been a mystery to me. We lived in Georgia then. Maybe that had something to do with it?

Tiny Sock Monkeys. On an after Christmas trip down south, we visited many Cracker Barrel restaurants in search of "sock monkeys on sale". For some reason they were Christmas decorations. I got LOTS!. I love sock monkeys. One tree usually has all the sock monkeys and red ornaments on it. But last year I shared the monkey love with all the other tiny trees. Which reminds me. I need to find the carton of lights. The tiny trees need more lights.

I took a picture of the decorated stinky plastic tree but since our living room is on the north side of the house with a front porch blocking any sunlight; it's way too dark in there. So the pictures looked all blurry and dark. You will have to use your imagination.

Last night we had the annual library employee potluck. We had a sign up sheet on the door with the different menu items listed. Entree, salad, dessert. So I signed up for and made an entree. Lazy Lasagna. Homemade marinara (spiked with red pepper flakes), frozen cheese tortellini, sliced mozzarrella and frozen spinach squeezed dry. Baked till golden brown and delicious. Good thing. My dish was the ONLY main dish. Everyone else though "entree" meant "salad". And for dessert. Cheesecake. Three of them. And one Chocolate Cake. And Cream Puffs. And Cupcakes. So maybe all the salad was a good thing since we were going to be having quite a big plate of dessert. I was busy doing something when they divided up the leftover desserts so I didn't get a piece of something to bring home to G. He was sad.

We exchanged little $5 gifts and then picked up and went home. It's more fun when we make ornaments. I was going to have them all make little stuffed trees with thread spool stems. But then I saw little wonky stripe felt trees with tree branch stems and thread spools on a new blog I found. Now I want to make them.

And my book from Amazon came. Kokoro no Te: Handmade Treasures from the Heart and I can start making all the things JuJu has been posting on her blog this week. I just wish I had some small bits of Japanese kimono for these projects. When my son went to Japan for vacation in 2004, I mentioned wanting some kimono scraps. I guess I'll have to find a source and buy some bits and pieces myself.

So today is all about being "CREATIVE". No cleaning allowed.

Sam just called and needs canvas bags made for catnip toys. Is that "CREATIVE" ?????

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

What Christmas Means To Me!

Christmas in my 60's means doing what I want to do. If that means no tree, no cookies, no present shopping and no stocking filling then that's what I'm doing.

I do love my Christmas Trees but all that effort for just me seems like too much. Last year we didn't get a tree simply because we never got around to buying one. This year we unpacked the fake plastic tree we bought somewhere/sometime. I sprayed it with Febreze but it still smells like plastic. Sunday evening after my first holiday party and 3 glasses of champagne, I put lights on the tree and showered the floor with plastic pine thingies which fell off the tree. My second string of lights ended with two female electrical connections and no male. So I had to take the second string of 100 lights OFF and start again. Somehow they got wrapped around the base of the tree and my foot. Everything was lit up and sorted out by the time G got home from work at 1 am.

Still no ornaments. The box waits to be opened.

I have ingredients for three kinds of cookies that I will be making for my co-workers at the library. Two include nuts which my daughter doesn't eat. I like nuts and am tired of making nutless cookies. My co-workers like nuts. G likes sugar cookies with frosting.

I have the pattern to make little stuffed trees and purchased little thread spools for the stems. I made paper collage Christmas cards. I have Christmas lunch dates with friends this week and next. I ordered sushi to be delivered to work this afternoon with extra wasabi. I listened to Christmas music while ironing shirts on Sunday. I'm going to attempt French Onion Soup as a special treat for G and myself. I want to make a reservation at Fore Street for an expensive and wonderful dinner with G after Christmas. I want to help G get into his Santa suit for one last visit to the children down the street on Christmas Eve. The kids are getting older and wiser. I want to walk down our country street late on Christmas Eve hand in hand with Santa.

I want to stop thinking about all the people in my life who died this year. I want to stop crying when I think about Corey. Or his parents. I wish my Dad lived closer so I could include him in our holiday meals. Or at least make him soup. My Dad always hated the holidays. Still does. I wish I could hear my dad say "I love you" just once.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

It's Beginning to Look a Little Like Christmas

Last year I did NO decorating for the holiday. I don't know why. But this year I may do SOME. In years past we had 12 foot real Balsam trees covered with strings of tiny white lights and big fat, glittery ornaments. Snowmen. Santa. Loved to just sit and stare at my tree. Now it just seems like too much "trouble". Is it age? Is it "holiday" overload? Why have I stopped caring so much about Christmas? And I stopped wanting to shop. No gift from me.

My husband still loves Christmas and he bought me two more glittery balls to hang in my sunny kitchen window. The sun hits them and they send hundreds of "polka dots" all over the kitchen and dining room walls, ceiling and floors. See the bay window ceiling? Covered in little white dots of light.

What's New:
Oprah. Pandering to white women? Guess she missed me. I don't respect her opinion on anything and make it a point to NEVER read any book she recommends. The Oprah story is all over the news and is so much nothing about nothing. Guess there are no "stars" getting a divorce this weekend.

The "new" James Bond. I vote NO! Could not stand him!!!!!

Reading my second Elizabeth George mystery. Paying attention to her use of descriptive words little used in common conversation. You really have to look them up to see what they mean. In the next paragraph the author usually defines the word into common usage. So why does she use the unknown words in the first place? To prove she is well-educated???

Christmas Party tonight. An Angel Party my neighbor gives every year to thank people (women) who have been angels to her in the past year. I get an annual invite for taking the trash cans in off the street and putting them by her garage. And mowing the grass when the teenage boys forget. And keeping her spare key. I hope she has that really good chocolate cake again and of course the good champagne. Keeping a Journal is this year's theme.

This is my week for parties. My quilting chapter potluck is Wednesday and my Library Potluck is Friday. Got to think about what I will make.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

St Nick

December 6th was officially St. Nick's Day and in the morning good German children found their shoes full of candy and small treats. I put out my shoes but St. Nick missed my house. Again. He always remembered when I lived in Fischbach! Oh, well.

Today is my "day off" from work (at the library) but today I have a whole list of things to do here at home. Ironing. Cleaning. Tree trimming. Vacuum. Baking. The "holiday time" is certainly full of work for some of us. I printed off Stephanie's stuffed tree pattern and hope to make at least one today. I'd also like to make one of the darling little button wreaths she had on her blog "little birds". I collected all my red buttons in one of my favorite dotted bowls. I may just have this out for the holidays-- eye candy for ME!

I have a traditional hand appliqued quilt up at the library this week. One of the six round robin quilts my mini group made several years ago. The one on display belongs to Merry (born on Christmas Day) and it's red, green and creamy beige. The quilt is beautifully hand quilted and is generating a great deal of comment. I think the traditional handmade quilt will always be the "gold" standard for quilts. I'll try and get a photo and post it tomorrow. If I wanted to be truly successful as a quilter--well, I should be making these traditional hand appliqued and quilted wall quilts. Of course, I would have to sell them for a fraction of what they are worth in time and effort. But I may just make one. I do love Baltimore style applique.

All my ArtShare pieces have been mailed out. To Hawaii, the Netherlands and the Colony. I hope that Dianna, Emmy and Deborah like them. Sam has to wait. (she's family!)