Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas 2012

We had a wonderful Christmas this year.  And I hope you did, too!  Did you get to see family?     Did you have snow (if climate-appropriate)?

On Christmas Eve day, about noon, it began snowing here.  The roads weren’t bad, however, so as the family joined us during the day and evening, the driving conditions were not hazardous.

Bruce’s daughter Stacy and her family visited in the afternoon.

Stacy and hubby Mike

Grammy (me) and Hunter

Grandpa reads to Remi

Hunter likes to play Grandpa’s Workshop on my iPad

Remi likes to “read” too

Hunter the Red-Nosed Cute Boy (isn’t that vest darling?)

Then in the evening of 24 December, my three kids and their families joined us for dinner and presents.

London pets Boomer while cousin Easton and Grandpa look on
Kim, Lauren (DGD) and son Ryan

Kim, Lauren, Ryan, Easton and Ron (daughter Meg’s husband)
I didn’t get many pictures, because we were too busy having fun. But one of the highlights of the evening was when I realized what London’s mom had done to London’s hair.  About six weeks ago, London “cut” her own bangs. We all have horror stories of that, right?  Anyway, Heather (L’s mom who does not live with Shane and London) decided to (1) trim London’s bangs at an angle (like this: /) and (2) chop off some of the sides, effectively giving her a mullet.   U.G.L.Y.

So, I grabbed a brush and scissors and when no one was looking, brushed London’s hair and chopped off about 4-5 inches off the back, even-ing it out in back to a cute, curly bob. Everyone was astonished that I would have the nerve, then they laughed and applauded. Shane was grateful, especially that I had done it without consulting him (plausible deniability) so Heather couldn’t get mad at him.  My daughter Megan put it on her Facebook, saying it will go down in family lore.   :-)   Now, London looks pretty again, and she knows it!

Christmas Day dawned bright and clear; a perfect picture day.

We had already seen and exchanged gifts with all the local family (who were now off to other parents and in-laws), so Bruce and I had the day to ourselves.  Bruce’s Christmas present was a new laptop computer with touch screen that he’d ordered and received a couple weeks ago.

So, it was my present from Bruce that was the highlight of the day:

Here’s a better shot of the Certificate of Compliance so you can read it.  He has quite a sense of humor, that boy!

So, as you can see, Bruce did certainly meet his compliance requirements. The chips were eaten on Christmas Eve, the Bud Lite (aka SWILL) is still sitting in the ‘fridge because we don’t drink Bud.

And the $100 gift certificate, you ask?  I used it for the down payment of this:

The Sewing Machine of my dreams
I have been coveting a Bernina 550QE for months.  They are simply the best (and among the most expensive) sewing machines made.  Solidly engineered in Switzerland and will last me for the rest of my life (and then can be passed down).  I have had mediocre-to-bad sewing machine karma all my married life (when I lived at home, we had my grandma`s Necchi that she used as a dressmaker in NYC).  My last (bad) purchase was a Brother that I bought on Amazon.  It has been in for repair twice, but seems to be doing OK these last couple months as I have whizzed through quilts, pillowcases, Christmas stockings, etc.

Anyway, my Bernina is on layaway, and will not actually be paid for until after DS Ryan and Kim (see pix above) get married in June. We are joining them and the family on a cruise to the Bahamas, and then several days in Florida, where they will get married on the beach. Then we will all visit Disney World, etc.  Bruce and I are also visiting our friends Carol and Woody while there.  So, there are other priorities to pay for first.

And speaking of paying for things, hehe, I am having a year-end clearance sale in my Etsy shop (link on sidebar).  Everything is 20% off, even the clearance items.  Just type in the code GOODBYE2012 at checkout, and you will receive your 20% off. (and if you mess it up, I will do the refund manually).   This offer is good through 31 December 2012.  I hope you will stop by and take advantage of this great deal!

Wishing you and your family a bright and beautiful New Year 2013, and safe travels over the Holidays.

 Cathy maroon

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

Wishing you all a warm and wonderful Christmas with your loved ones!  May the Holidays bring you joy, happiness and good memories.

And my deepest sympathies to the adults and little angels who lost their lives at the recent Newtown, CT tragedy.

Enjoy these vintage children images.  Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All!


Cathy maroon

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Stitchy Quilty Goodness

The pressure is off; everything is done.  All the gifts that I set out to make this year are done.  They are not all photographed to blog about yet, and they certainly aren’t wrapped. But I am done with the five Christmas quilts, five purses, and four zip pouches.   Whew!

Here is the final Christmas gift quilt. This is for Lauren, aged 8. She wanted red and yellow.  The pattern is, again, the disappearing 9-patch, this time set 4x5.  It was totally randomly pieced, which I should have paid more attention to because there is a greater concentration of reds in the top middle area. Oh well.

Yes, the back is Minkee.  Red Minkee.  I quilted it with gridded lines, nothing fancy.

I finished this about a week ago and took a few days off from quilting.  This week, I began cutting out the next quilt, which will be for my daughter Megan. The fabric is mostly from Indie by Pat Bravo (I love, love, love that line!)  I’ll be making it in Jeni Baker’s Side Braid Pattern, the mini braid version.

But my sewing machine has not been idle!  When I was at Sewing Summit (a sewing conference) here in Salt Lake in October, I took a class on these sweet snap purses. The gray one with orange flowers is the one I did in class. The other four I made this week for a couple friends, my daughter and my daughter-in-law-to-be for Christmas.

My daughter will have her choice of this one or the gray one. I will get the other. But this is my fave!

One friend is very musical, so this was the perfect lining fabric!

The interior lining.

So, now I can start the fun, no pressure sewing. Pillowcases.  They will be stocking stuffers here and there if and when I get them done.  Or maybe I will use the pillowcases as wrapping for the quilts and purses (and kill two birds with one stone!  I hate wrapping presents!)

My Kahlua this year turned out awesome and all my kids (they’re all adults) have gotten theirs already. And we took some to Bruce’s office party, too. There is some left for a neighbor and one little bit left for me.  Luckily, I have all the ingredients to make another batch before New Year’s, LOL.

Last year, I shared a lot of vintage Christmas images.  I have hundreds, if not thousands. Would you like more?  Also, for those who are newer to my blog, you might want to check out the Father Christmas Fashion Show from last year, here.

Cathy maroon

Sunday, December 16, 2012

On Being Santa’s Elf

Let me just say that being an Elf (specifically, one of Santa’s) is not all it’s cracked up to be.  I  have always wanted to have a handmade Christmas, and this year was the one I signed up for.  Grandmas have special powers, you know. (wink)  Here were my main reasons for taking the plunge in 2012.

1.  I am retired from the workforce. So, in theory this year I would have the TIME. However, I still run my own Etsy Shop and sometimes my boss can be a real bitch stickler about getting things packaged or listed or whatever.  “Work” trumps creating.  And I am not even talking about housework (which is about 43rd in my priority rankings).

2.  It would be more economical.  HA!  Have you seen the cost of fabric lately?  Good quilting quality cotton (not the cheap stuff at JoAnn’s that shrinks and shreds down by 25% when washed) runs between $8-11 per yard.  And Minkee, that soft fluffy backing that everyone wants because everyone else has it, is $12-16 per yard.  That means an average quilt, with batting and thread (really helps to hold it all together) runs $80-100. That is more than our budget per person, but since it also satisfies my urge for Retail Therapy, we are letting it slide this year.

3.  It would be so Norman Rockwell for the grandkids to help me bake cookies and to cuddle their quilts in sweetness and bliss.   SCREEEEETCH!  My grandkids would rather be dancing, playing hide and seek, vrooming cars, chasing the cat, getting into the refrigerator for celery so they can be Wonder Pets, or any one of about a dozen other noise-making activities.

So, I am tired, broke and harried. So much to do, so little time.  The kids are all in agony, waiting for the days to drag by.  And I am making lists, checking them twice, and trying valiantly to get it all done and be the perfect Grammy.   *Sigh*  

I guess they are just going to have to settle for me, LOL

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

So, let me show you some of the things that I have finished recently!  At least I can account for my time.

These two Christmas stockings are for Mike and Rob, the other two members of Bruce’s folk band, The Muddy Gutter Boys.   I made lovely stockings for their wives about 9 years ago.  These are NOT lovely. They are what I call “quick and dirty” stockings.  Guys are hard to do stockings for since they don’t want things all foofed up.  So, trims take the part of a lot of hand stitching to avoid a look that’s too delicate and lacy.

Both stockings have a Christmas tree with lights, a snowman, some charms relating to their hobbies and interests, their initial, and some scattered snowflakes.  And a couple very basically-stitched seams.  That’s about it.  Here is Mike’s stocking.

The detail shot proves that I did do SOME stitching. And I beaded that star on the treetop, too.  

And below is Rob’s stocking.  He is more of the religious type, so I thought that adding the Three Wise Men pointing to a star would be appropriate.  There is also a bit of a humorous back story to this.  The Muddy Gutter Boys call themselves the Three Wise Guys, (they incorporate jokes and humor into their performances).

Detail shot of the Three Wise Guys Men pointing to the star.  Rob also likes trains!

And here is a shot of one of the snowmen.  Very simple, but I did use real MOP (mother of pearl) buttons from my collection.

I had a lot of green moire, so the stockings were backed with that rather than trying to fight with velvet.   Oops, looks like I forgot to foof up the picture. Yes, it was taken on my cutting mat.

And to make this post not only long, but INTERMINABLE (I know, I know! If I blogged more often this could have been three separate posts), here is another quilt I have finished.

This quilt is for Remi, the youngest grandchild (at least until March).  She is Hunter’s little sister and is about 15 months old.

The fabric is Hoo’s in the Forest from Riley Blake Fabrics.  But I pulled the reds out of the set (to use in another quilt, which is done but I still have to get pictures).  I wanted to keep this a soft colored quilt.  Oh, and of course, the backing is (you guessed it) Minkee.  *sigh*

The pattern is a disappearing 9-patch, which was perfect to use with my layer cake-sized fabric (10” square).  I just cut them into fourths and was on my way sewing 9-patch blocks. When all 12 of the 9-patch blocks were sewn, they were cut into quarters and re-sewn together, resulting in this randomness. 

The red and red/yellows from this fabric line were used in a quilt for Lauren, our oldest granddaughter (by marriage).  Whereas Remi’s quilt above has 12 large blocks, Lauren’s has 20 (4x5 setting).  It is too large for me to photograph on the living room floor, so it will have to wait until Bruce is home during daylight hours and the weatherman cooperates by holding the snow for a bit.

Today, I am making little clutch purses (4 of them).  I took a class for these at Sewing Summit in October and purchased some extra snap frames.  The fabrics are all selected, and I am going to assembly-line them.  If I finish those, I still have two zip pouches to finish.  I will show everything when done.

In the meantime, I hope you are having a festive Holiday Season.  And my biggest wish for you all is that you have the energy to get through it and the time to relax and enjoy it!

Cathy maroon