Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Getting Back to Normal

That's not quite the right post title, but I'm not feeling creative. :-)

My parents and Karen left yesterday to go back up to Illinois. My parents will fly back home on Saturday morning.

The day after Christmas Karen and my Mom helped me to dye up a pound and a half of the Finn top that Karen gave me for Christmas (see previous post).

Here's the finished stuff:

I wanted a bit of variation among the braids so I'm pleased with the differences.

I can't wait to get started spinning it up, but I have some quilts that need to be finished first. My dear friend Kathy sent some tops to be done by mid-January and I desperately need to get my Mom's quilt finished that I've had for more than a year. (What's that saying about a landscaper's yard that looks horrible, or a plumber's house that has leaky plumbing? Yeah.)

Speaking of quilting, my Mom got me this ruler set to make a Storm At Sea quilt. I'm very excited about it as I've wanted to make one of these quilts for years but I didn't like the methods I knew of to make it. I think this template set is going to make a huge difference in the ease of piecing it.

Here's an idea of my plan:

It's going to be huge—just under king size, at around 95" x 104". We like wide quilts on the bed, but they don't need to be too long since we have a big foot board.

I'll use lots of different blues but I'm thinking I'll keep the background in just plain white. We'll see though. I haven't done the calculations to figure out how much white I need, and I might go with a white-on-white print rather than plain white.

The layout with the border above is from the book that goes with the templates, and it's a great book. The author really plays with the layout and has some really different and fabulous ideas.
That's about all from around here. I'm going to attempt to get thank-you notes out today, as well as some of the Christmas stuff put away. It's almost noon, though, and I haven't showered yet. (Not an auspicious start for getting a lot done today! LOL!)

I hope you're all having a great week so far, and staying warm.

Friday, December 25, 2009

More Christmas Stuff

What a great day it's been! I'm sitting in my new chair on a chair pad that doesn't hurt my feet, there are fantastic smells wafting through the house (it's great to have Karen here sharing her gourmet skills!) and the kids are in heaven playing with new toys.

What does my new chair look like, you ask?

I'm definitely spoiled! ;-)

My desk area is slightly more messy than normal, but if I told you it's cleared off most of the time I'd be lying.

Speaking of new toys, Gillian and Greg spent 5.5 hours (Greg timed it) putting together Gillian's Lego kit she got for Christmas.

Here they are, working on it this morning:

In the picture Ryan is waiting (ever so patiently) for me to help him with *his* Lego project, a dump truck. I think it took us about 30 minutes, although I wasn't timing it. One of these days he'll put his OWN Lego kit together. LOL!

Here's Gillian with the completed Lego kit:

One of the gifts for the kids this year was knitting, fulled clogs. The fit on both pairs needs to be fine tuned, but that'll come tomorrow. Here they are:

They seem pretty happy with them!

Here are some of the gift I got:

That's a sling for my bowling ball from Karen, and a great mini journal and pen from Aunt Louise. I didn't manage to get a picture of the neat earrings and wine bottle cork she sent.

This is a wonderful kitchen towel that my Grandmother embroidered:

Isn't it great?

My sister, Dr. Karen, got the Starmore book for me, as well as Neil deGrasse Tyson's Death By Black Hole. (I showed it to my Dad and he's reading it now, so I don't have it in the picture.) Also in this picture is a set of soaps from my MIL and a set of seedless preserves from my Uncle Scott and Aunt Carol. I told you I'm spoiled!

This next item is just wickedly cool. My parents took one of their old spinning wheels to a man in Montana and he makes these niddy noddies and their cases by hand. His name is Steve McEwen, and if you want his address, send me a message.

Here's the case:

Here's the niddy noddy with the pin pulled out to release the yarn that's been wound. The pin on the thong goes through the cross piece and holds it in place during winding.

Mine is made of burl maple and Karen's is made from oak, we think.

Here are some more presents. The body wash and scrubbing mit are from my MIL, the three lotions are from Karen, as is the tube of alpaca (more about that in a sec), and the bag is from my parents.

Here's a detail of the alpaca. It's 8 ounces of adult black alpaca, and it's just luscious!

Karen also gave me 42 ounces of Finn roving, which is going to get dyed and hopefully become a Bono Kimono (Ravelry link). It's more yellow in the pic than in real life, but it's certainly not white-white-white like the snow.

The snow has been rather surreal! It's so bright during the day that I didn't even turn on the lights in the bedroom until it was getting dark. Impressive!

Stay warm and enjoy the weekend!

Merry Christmas!

It's been busy in the run-up to Christmas, so I've been enjoying being lazy for the last few days.
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day have been wonderful!

Here's the tree before Santa came:

See those two big boxes with the striped paper? Those are mine. LOL! The bottom one is a wonderful new computer chair (that I'm sitting in while posting this -- it's fabulous!), and the box on the top is a new set of pans! I'm pretty spoiled.

Here's after Santa came and filled the stockings:

This is one of the ornaments I made this year:

I used my Cricut machine and a file I downloaded after seeing it on the Sure Cuts A Lot list (the software that allows me to create files and cut them using the Cricut).

We managed to hold off the kids from opening presents until 7:30, although they sure looked over everything until we let them have at it.

Karen is looking out the back door at all the snow (more about that in a bit).

Christmas wouldn't be complete without a holiday apron, right? Here's the one I made last week, as a prototype for one I made for Karen:

I mentioned snow. Yes, we got some!
It started out as rain, then became frozen pellets of ice (but not quite hail), then turned to snow. Here's when it was ice:

After dinner, this is what we saw:

The kids about popped. Grandma took pity on them and went out with them for a few minutes, although they didn't last too long (it was COLD and really windy).

Here's my new set of pans!

Hopefully later I'll have some more pictures to post. We need to take a picture of some of Karen's aprons (she got four!) and my gorgeous wooden swift, among other neat things.

I hope you're all having a wonderful Christmas, and a happy holiday season!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Dr. Karen!!!

My sister successfully defended her dissertation this morning!


I'm so proud!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Christmas Musings

We're almost totally decorated around here, thanks to the kids! They did a fabulous job.

(The star at the top is a color-changing LED one that's pretty neat, but I can NOT get it to stay straight.)

I have a bunch of presents that still need to be wrapped and put under the tree, but that'll wait until Monday (or later) when the kids are at school.

The kids did the whole village themselves, including getting things out of the boxes and (mostly) putting the empty boxes away.

I haven't put up lights outside yet, but I think we'll put up the inflatable after school today. Tomorrow is the annual Christmas parade, and Gillian's Brownie troop will be marching in it again. It should be fun! We really enjoyed the parade last year.


Someone asked about my toe, and I'm happy to report that it's no longer swollen and unhappy. If it gets stepped on or bumped hard it's still painful, but it's not bothering me to walk any more thank goodness.


I'm still knitting up some Christmas gifts so I can't post too much at the moment.


I have to get a bunch of quilts done before Christmas so I'm going to get back to it. I read about a neat trick for easing in full areas when quilts aren't flat, and I'm impressed with how well it works. With the quilt under tension on the quilt frame, I spray it down quite thoroughly with water. As it dries is gets a little smaller. I managed to eliminate 1.5" of fullness (from a 12" area) with repeated applications of water, so I'm pretty happy.

I hope you all have a great weekend!