Sunday, December 27, 2009

Post Christmas wrap-up, no gift wrap required.

We had a joyful Christmas celebration with the family.  It was Toby's first Christmas and by the end of the night,he was totally wiped out!

He found this spot himself.

I was finally able to give the Rings Around quilt to it's intended recipient.  I wish I had taken a picture, but I can tell you he really seemed to appreciate it.

Our family decided a few years ago to exchange a small gift with each branch of the family.  This year, our gift was  "soup in a jar".  We started out with these ingredients:

Then measured and layered them in the jars, until we had these:

Which eventually looked like this:

All you have to do is add water, and it makes a wonderful pot of  "Pasta e Fagioli",  aka  "pasta with beans".    One of the layers is sun dried tomatoes, which really infuses  it with flavor.  How do I know? I made a test batch the week before Christmas, and it was really good, so one of the jars managed to stay home with us.

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Friday, December 25, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Preparing for puppy's first Christmas

Over the years, I have collected a few of the Village houses that are sold at JoAnn's.  For a while, I would get a new one every year, usually in the after Christmas markdown sale.   I tried to buy houses that reflected something going on in our lives.  Of course, this is the one that started it all:

Look!  The door is open.  Wouldn't you like to go inside?

The next year, I got the little Stone Church.  I love how it has a little manger scene out on the front of the building. 

At some point, they issued a second Quilt Shop, so, of course I chose that one to add.
I love the little quilts draped over the porch railings.  Wouldn't you like to live in this village that has TWO quilt shops?

I haven't added any new houses in the past couple of years, because I ran out of room on the table to display them.  But, this year, I just HAD to add one more. Can you guess which one?  Here it is:

This was my nod to the new addition in our family this past year. 

Toby is actually being pretty good about leaving the trees alone, now that he has grown accustomed to them.  When we first put up the big tree, I started by laying down the tree skirt, and in 2 seconds flat, Toby had settled right in on it.
Notice the ever present tennis ball!

We made a few changes, like putting the Nativity scene up on the mantel rather than on a low table, but so far it's been easier than I thought.  We'll see how he handles all the paper and bows on Christmas morning!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Be careful what you Don't wish for....

Every year our quilting guild has a Christmas party for the December meeting.  The planners always arrange to have the tables set up with centerpieces that are usually quilt-themed, and alway festive.  In the past, I have hoped to be the lucky winner of the centerpiece, but I hadn't been lucky enough. 

This year, each table had a beatiful Poinsettia plant as the centerpiece.  Knowing that poinsettia's are potentially dangerous if ingested by dogs, I did not want to be the one to take it home, so when it was announced that the person with the blue painters tape stuck to the bottom of their chair was the lucky winner, I didn't rush to get up to look.

One by one, my tablemates stood up and flipped over their chair to look for a patch of blue tape, but nobody found it.  Eventually, I flipped over my chair, and, of course, I was the lucky one.

So, the plant came home with me, but I'm giving it to my parents who do not own an almost-grown puppy.

In this household, even Santa isn't safe......

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Friday, December 18, 2009

A banner day

Some of you may have noticed a sign on my sidebar asking for prayers for Benson and Claire.  They are a brother and sister who both share a congenital defect which affects their livers and kidneys.  Sweet litttle Claire has been on dialysis since she was 3 months old, and has been on a waiting list for a transplant for months now. 

Well, today is the day!  She is getting a kidney transplant that will change her life!  If you are a prayerful person, please say a little prayer for her, and also for the family of the donor who have just lost their little one.

You can read more about this darling girl, and her inspirational story here.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Need a quick pick-me-up?

This video of a darling kitten makes me smile every single time.

Click here to see it.

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Vintage “Glee”

I have been watching the show “Glee” on the Fox network since it debuted this Fall.  It’s brought back a lot of memories about my days in Glee Club when I was in Junior High School, and although some things remain the same, other things are TOTALLY different. 

 Our Glee Club director was the Music teacher at the school.   She was very strict with us.   It was rumored that she had spent many years in the Army because of the way she ruled with an iron fist.  I'm not sure if that rumor was ever verified, but sometimes Glee Club felt like Boot Camp!

Each year, all the girls had to try out, and if you made it into the club, you received the following letter on a mimeographed sheet of paper.  (Remember mimeograph paper?  It had a distinctive smell, and the print came out colored purple.)

CONGRATULATIONS!  You have been accepted as a member of the Girls’ Glee Club for this year.  Rehearsals are held on Thursdays from 11:10 to 12:00 in Room 28, with an occasional rehearsal after school.    You are expected to attend all rehearsals.   It is your responsibility to find out whether or not there is a rehearsal scheduled.     Attendance is taken at rehearsals, and no one is excused from rehearsal if they are in school.  Too many girls will be waiting to be placed in Glee Club, if you skip rehearsal to do homework, study for a test, etc.

You are expected to keep all music in a folder, which may be purchased in any stationery or drug store for 12-15 cents.  I prefer the folders with 3 metal rings attached, and the color to be medium blue.  If you forget your folder, you  DON’T  report to rehearsal. Take a zero.

The rule for dress at assemblies is as follows:
- a long, black maxi-skirt (which our girls usually make themselves)
- a white blouse (long or short sleeves – ruffles, etc.  something feminine looking.  I’m sure you have such a blouse in your wardrobe at home.)
-dark shoes – no sneakers!!!
-various colored scarves- orange, brown, gold, yellow for Thanksgiving, red or green for Christmas, red or blue for Memorial Day  (These scarves are worn at the neck of the blouse to add a little color to the season.)   

We have some exceptionally fine singers this year.  It is a very large club, and as I said previously, many girls are on the waiting list.  Don’t make it necessary for me to ask you to leave rehearsal because of whisperingchewing gumpoor attendanceforgetting music and other silly reasons.  I don’t want to replace you, unless you leave me no other alternative. 
Let’s have a successful year!      
                                                        Mrs. Baker

I think you can get a feel from reading this letter just how "no nonsense" Mrs. Baker was.  Kind of funny to lay out all these rules and then end with a cheery "Let's have a successful year!"

I love how it is implied that every girl had the ability to make herself a skirt!  Of course, back then sewing was still taught in Home Ec classes.  I also love how Mrs. Baker was so sure that we each had at least one white, feminine blouse in our wardrobes, along with an array of colorful scarves.

Other than the dress code, what strikes me as the biggest difference between Glee Club then and now is that it was considered a privilege to be a part of Glee Club, rather than the way the TV show depicts Glee Club as only for outcasts and losers.  Maybe it had a lot to do with the way Mrs. Baker treated it.  (Quite frankly, I'm not sure there ever really was a waiting list of hopefuls just waiting for one of us to snap our gum too often, or forget our music enough times to get kicked out so that they could take our places in the Club.)

The other big difference is that the boys had their own separate Glee Club.  No Co-Ed singing back then!!!  Oddly enough, I remember being part of a singing group in grade school that included both boys and girls.  I guess they figured that the younger kids  still looked upon the opposite sex as something they could catch "cooties" from, but by Jr. High those "cooties" were darned magnetic.

Here’s a grainy photo of some of us onstage, in our “maxi-skirts” and "feminine" blouses:

 Instead of the colorful scarves, Mrs. Baker had us wear pastel colored blouses for this particular Spring concert.  Don't we all look like Marcia Brady?

This is Mrs. Baker receiving a bouquet of roses after a performance.  (She's the one in the floral skirt.)   There were so many girls in the Glee Club, that we couldn't all fit on the stage.  Some of the girls had to stand on the stairs leading up to it. You can see them to the left of the flag.

The funny thing is, nowadays I’m a member of a community chorus and what do we wear for concert attire?  White blouses and long black skirts! 

The really funny thing is that back then, when most of the girls' skirts were homesewn, mine was store bought due to lack of sewing skills, but now, when most of the women in my chorus buy their skirts, mine is homesewn!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Double Duty

Karen, over at Sew Many Ways posts every week with a "Tool Time Tuesday" idea where she shows interesting new uses for ordinary objects.  It made me think of a couple of items I have on my cutting table that have been re-purposed from the stationary aisle.   One is a pencil holder, and the other is a letter holder:

Together, they make great holders for rotary cutting tools.

I put a few pieces of batting on the bottom of the letter holder to protect the edges of the rulers, and I covered a cardboard circle with batting and fabric to give some cushioning to the points of the scissors.

Very handy to have on my cutting table, and the bottom of the pencil holder doubled as a template for a circle when I needed one:

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