Sunday, November 20, 2016

family traditions . . .

This time of year . . . what I like to refer to as the holiday season . . . seems to be a time of enjoying family traditions, or starting new ones, as the case may be, for a lot of folks. It's no different in my family. We enjoy reliving past Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings and introducing new family members (either by marriage or birth) to our 'ways'. But one of my absolute favorite NEW traditions (and I say new because it's just been the past five years) is the annual Merkel Santa photo.

Jocelyn and Jason take the girls, and with a gathering of their friends--and their friends' children--do the walking trail through the Galaxy of Lights at the Botanical Gardens. (Just FYI, I wait until we can drive through). And at the end of the trail, there's Santa Claus. And the children happily, even eagerly, climb in Santa's lap and share their list of Christmas wishes.

Well, all children but the Merkel children, that is.  Without further ado, I share our family's funniest tradition:
Ellie and Santa 2012
Ellie (with Sawyer) and Santa 2013
Love Sawyer's holding his ears!
Merkel Girls and Santa 2014
Merkel Girls and Santa 2015
Merkel Girls and Santa 2016
Oh gracious, I love these girls! And the Santa is precious -- I'm sure he's had years of practice. Maybe next year we'll have our happy, smiling picture?!?  Or maybe not . . .

It occurred to me this morning that I'd like to make some kind of special ornament for each of the grands.  Hmmmm.  I need to get busy on that. I didn't make a whole lot of poinsettia ornament progress -- I finished two big ones and one little one:
I do love these! I have two or three more cut out that will be a good, slow project for some Sunday afternoon stitching!

Ellie, on the other hand, made FORTY ornaments this past week (with the help of her mama). She crafted these darling little Christmas trees . . . and then sold them for $5 a piece.  She made this one especially for me (it has an extra bead on it, because she knows how much I love beads).
Her mama posted them on facebook and instagram, and Ellie's sold *all* of them. With her proceeds, she's going to go through one of the organizations that helps families in need in third world countries, and send goats and chickens and water wells.  Pretty smart thinking on the part of that mama, is what I'm thinking!  :)

The grandbabies (and their mommies and daddies) are all together in California this week . . .
Look how grown they all are!  The only one missing is Evey.  It may have only been 7 o'clock local time, but it was 9 o'clock Evey time!

My stash report remains an unchanged melody . . .
Same song, second (or twenty-second) verse. A little bit louder and a little bit worse!

I'll be linking up with Patchwork Times and Kathy's Quilts today.

Enjoy this beautiful day that the Lord has made; rejoice and be glad in it!

:)

Sunday, November 13, 2016

insert clever title here . . .

It was another busy week, but different in several ways. Todd and I started Weight Watchers on Monday, and of course I had lunches scheduled for each of the working days and dinners for two of the nights! Yikes, right off the bat I was facing hurdles, but I handled it like a pro (and no cheating), though tomorrow morning's weigh in will determine just how well I handled it! At Judy's recommendation, I looked up Dr. Michael Vanderschleden's The Scientific Approach to Intermittent Fasting. The book is available for free on kindleunlimited, so I went ahead and borrowed it.  It's a fascinating read and debunks most of the food myths I've embraced for years. This week I've played around with fasting times and I think I've found a system that works.  Again, tomorrow's weigh in will tell!

We had Thursday off because we are closed on Friday, but we still get the Veteran's Day holiday.  I'll take it! Anyway, Miss Ellie came home with me Wednesday night for a sleepover. She loved her scarf of sparkly red, but informed me that it should have tassels . . .
Good enough!  Sawyer's did not have tassels, but since "he's a boy, he shouldn't have tassels." Ha! Thanks for that word of scarf fashion wisdom, Elle. She also had fun creating her breakfast masterpiece:
Though she was a little disappointed that I didn't have any blueberries (like I did last time). Note taken.

Friday was too windy to take the pontoon out, so Todd and I bummed around and ran errands. We went to PF Changs for lunch (where I'd looked up the entrees and knew we would be okay with points). Plus, veterans got a free entree when an additional entree was purchased, so I ate free! 

I got some fun squishies in the mail this week, too.  The first was from a "mug rug" swap I participated in. Dana doesn't blog, but we have enjoyed getting to know each other through emails. She sent me this pretty little mug rug:
Along with a parcel of fun goodies . . .
What a sweetheart Dana is!  Her package has been received, too, so I can show you the 'out-of-the-box' mug rug I sent her:
Very seasonal, I know, but I like changing out my mug rugs as much as I like changing out my hanging quilts for the seasons!

My second squishy came from Sarah and contained my 'houses' from the Hexie Birthday Swap!
Plus a couple of 'kites' from last year's swap -- and some happies from Sarah (who knows me so well)!! I will have fun playing with these! :)

My stash is silent . . . nothing in and nothing out.
Ugh. I know it's a matter of making time . . . perhaps as the days grow colder (if they do) and darker (which they are), I'll be able to sneak away more quilting time!

I did a quick inventory of my ornaments . . .
So far I've got sixteen, which is a little off course (I should have twenty-two), but it's a sight better than what I had last year at this time, which was ZERO! Today I'll do up a couple more poinsettias, both in the tiny size and the brooch size.
These are my go-to stitch-ups because they're so easy and I can make them so diverse with a change of color or button or size. Variety is the spice of life, right? These will be my sloooooow stitching this afternoon!

Aaaaah . . . and before I forget, last week I issued a challenge!  My favorite quote for this picture:
was Janet's, "Hands back in your pockets, guys!"  It made me LOL! Especially since Marilyn and I both look like we've been goosed!

And only a handful of folks got it right.  Jocelyn got us all together for a group picture on Evey's second birthday.  She then said, "Everybody say, "Evey's going to be a big sister!'" It took a couple of seconds for it to register, but Marilyn and I must have worked it out before the men, judging by the picture! I let the random number picker do the work and Mary's "You're pregnant?????" won the prize!  I'll send a happy little something to both Mary and Janet!

Linking up today to Patchwork Times and Kathy's Quilts!  Enjoy a beautiful day -- regardless of the weather!

:)

Sunday, November 06, 2016

tricks and treats . . .

First things first.  Did you remember to fall back last night before going to bed??
I'm not all about time change.  I wish they do away with it. But I *do* like the extra hour on Sunday morning and the change so that I'm not driving to work in the dark in the morning.  Yes, I like that just fine!

Last things are last. So be sure to read through! (That means there's a giveaway!)

Todd was in Florida for a conference most of the week, so I was on my own. I battled a headache for pretty much the whole week, but managed to squeeze in some fun time.  Mainly on Halloween night, where we (Jason, Joc, Ellie, Evey and I) gathered for a 'spooky' dinner at my mom and dad's home and then trick or treating. My mom was in her party hostess element! We had Goblin's Eyes:
Jack-O-Lantern Humus:
Poisoned Apples:
And Pumpkin Brains:
Not to mention dessert . . . 
Pumpkin, Spider and Cat's Tongue cookies! The little girls--especially Ellie--were delighted.  But I think Jason, Joc and I were equally delighted with the fun of it! 
Even the table was dressed to the nines!

I had managed to finish up Flotsam and Jetsam for Evey's costume. Please don't mind the mess on my kitchen counter!
They came to work and kept me company for the day. 
That certainly raised some eyebrows as visitors came in during the day!

I didn't get any great pics of the girls dressed up for Halloween . . . I let Jason do all the photo taking and I've not seen any yet! I did snap a pre- and post-Trick or Treating photo of the two . . .
They had matching glo-in-the-dark pjs.  Ellie is demonstrating hers in the bottom right capture.  Evey is demonstrating how worn out she is!

I finished up both scarves this week and finished up my swap mug rug that needed to go in the mail by Friday.  I can't share a picture yet, but I will next week.  I hope my partner is pleased with it.  She sure did a great job on mine -- reveal later.

Thursday I took off a little early and met Joc and the girls at the Botanical Gardens.
With temps still in the 80's, it seemed the thing to do. Ellie loves to "strike a pose"! Evey just wants to run. Everywhere.
Even the butterflies were still out and about.  And loads of flowers still blooming, since we haven't had a frost yet.

My stash experienced a little change up this week. 
I took in two fat quarters I was gifted with from the tea cup exchange.  And then my mug rug going out and the two eels, took it and a little more back out.  I'll take it!

I need to work on some Christmas ornaments today. Just need to figure out what I'll try next. Probably not the crescent Santa!  LOL! 
That'll be my sloooooow stitching for today!

One final thing. This picture was taken at Evey's birthday party in September. I'm holding Ellie and Marilyn, Joc's mother-in-law in standing next to me, holding Evey.  Our respective husbands are behind us. Leave a caption for this photo in your comment.
For the bestest, funniest, zaniest caption I'll give a prize. Then I'll draw from all the captions that peg the picture correctly for another prize! That's TWO prizes! I'll leave it open through Wednesday and announce it next Sunday. If you are a no-reply blogger, please make sure you leave your email in your comment!

Linking up to Patchwork Times and Kathy's Quilts today.  Enjoy your extra hour and have a blessing-filled Sunday!

:)

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

it's tea time . . .

Guess what today is?  It's the day of the big reveal from the ninth annual tea cup and mug exchange!! Which, incidentally, I participated in for the first time this year. What a huge and fun blessing this exchange was! It's organized and sponsored by Stephanie, who blogs over at The Enchanting Rose (where a link up of all the participants can be found today!).
Being a lover of all things tea, I couldn't resist signing up and joining in on the fun! (And a huge thanks to Sarah for sharing it with me!)

The name I "drew" was Marilyn, from Mountain Top Spice, and it was *such* a pleasure to explore her blog and get to know her a little, so I could find the perfect tea cup to send to her! I forgot to take a single picture of what I sent her ... but she's done a nice job of it here (if you want to check out the pretty little Royal Albert Christmas cup I sent)!

As much fun as it was to shop for Marilyn, I have to say, it put quite a smile on my face to find this huge parcel in waiting for me at the post office! Cindy, who blogs over at Creations by Cindy, was my gifter, and she REALLY outdid herself and spoiled me ROTTEN!
Opening it up, my first thought was "Christmas"!  
Yep, I felt like a child on Christmas morning, coming out and seeing all the packages under the tree. Brown paper packages tied up in string?! Yipppeeee!! I spent the next thirty minutes or so unwrapping each little gift and oooohing and aaaaahing the entire time. By the time I'd finished, there was quite a large little spread of goodies . . .
OH MY GOODNESS! Do you see all this?!  Everything from teas, to cookbooks, journals, devotionals, fat quarters, socks and sweet little treats were in this box. I mean everything! But the focus was this beautiful, beautiful tea cup and saucer:
Wait. Take a closer look . . .
Isn't it beautiful?!  And it's a pedestal cup!  I just adore that! In all my favorite colors and trimmed out in gold leaf -- so, so very pretty.
What a treasure . . . Royal Crown 1969.  Wow! I was really tickled by this darling teapot frame, too:
I am trying to decide what picture I'll put in it. In the meantime, I'll put these two fat quarters to good use -- and in my favorite colors, blues and purple!  Just like the cute little socks!  
Gosh, Cindy really did a great job of filling my box with special treats that were meaningful to me. I think besides the precious tea cup and saucer, my favorite thing was this precious little box:
It's filled with encouraging verses from God's Word!  I just love this and have enjoyed pulling one out each day to meditate on and think about through the day -- Cindy was so creative putting this together, and I really just can't thank her enough for her generosity and thoughtfulness!

I so enjoyed this experience . . . and it will definitely be something I look forward to next year (especially since it all happens right around my birthday-haha-and y'all know how I feel about that!). A huge thank you to darling Stephanie for arranging this so faithfully, for nine years now!

Have a great day; tea is served!
:)

Sunday, October 30, 2016

the ins and outs . . .

This past week was . . . weird. In no small part due to a Thursday routine procedure I had scheduled, which required several days of prep beforehand.  If you know, you know.  If you don't, I'll spare you the details (but only until you're post-50!). Still, I feel like I got a lot of *other* stuff done . . .

For example, when your six-year-old grandson facetimes you to specially request that you make him a new scarf in his new favorite color, you pretty much jump on it . . . 
Yes, black is Sawyer's new favorite color!  He's so cute!  I decided to give the loom a try, mostly because my co-worker has been using one and the results are so even and pretty.
I think it turned out nicely. He'll be able to wrap up twice in it -- it's longer than my 66" frame! Not a bad two-day project, right? And speaking of Sawyer, they just got his school pics back:
He gets more handsome every day! Gosh I miss him and his family!

So, I finished up the black scarf, but then there's Ellie, whose favorite color is "red with sparkles". Can't ignore that, can I?
Of course not! This yarn is a lot lighter (which probably would have been more appropriate for the scarf going to Southern California), but it does have sparkle!

I've been (and will continue today) to do some hand work on a super-secret project that I need to wrap up and get in the mail this week . . .
Terrible shot, right? Good. Ha! I should be able to show a finish next week to make up for it.  :)

I've been doing some other crafty stuff, too . . .
These little guys are "treats" for my preschool Sunday school class.  Today we will make up these sweet little blessings wreaths as our craft, 
So I've got everything cut out and ready for those, too.

My stash is ... unchanged. The unchanged melody. 
Maybe next week?  I'll do some regular sewing this afternoon, too.  Evey's going to be Ursula to Ellie's Ariel. She needs eels.
I'll be making eels.  LOL!  The things we do for our grandchildren, right?!?

And I would be remiss if I didn't share the beautiful shelf my friend made for me, just for this tea-filled space . . .
It's perfect -- my tea tins were starting to be a little cluttered!

I'll be linking up to Patchwork Times and Kathy's Quilts. Y'all enjoy a lovely Sunday . . . and a fabulous week!

:)