Sunday, January 31, 2010

sunday, sunday . . .

We sang one of my favorite praise songs in church this morning; How Can I Keep From Singing Your Praise. The first line, "There is an endless song, echoes in my soul, I hear the music ring," completely captures it for me. Our worship team sang it as the special, and I know that the depth of the meaning of the words I sang were reflected by the smile on my face. :)

I finally found out who my Secret Pal had been . . . April! She gave me a really cute Vera Bradley set with a note pad/mouse, note cards, and a purse photo album (perfect for grandbaby photos), a gift card to Hancock's (!!!!!) and four baby-blue print fat quarters! Yay! She was a good secret pal and I enjoyed the round. I really enjoyed being a secret pal, and was happy Wanda (my recipient), was happy. *sigh* Happiness abounds!

Todd and I got home this afternoon and had leftover Minestrone soup that I made for dinner last night. I made it from a recipe out of a new magazine I found, Clean Eating. It was super good last night, and even better this afternoon; especially since it meant I didn't have to do any cooking. I popped it in the microwave for a simple reheat and lunch was served!

We then did something we've not done since we moved out here in early November. We took the coveted Sunday afternoon nap. I didn't realize how long it had been. In fact, I think this was the first time we've had an afternoon nap since we've been here! It would have been even better if poor Todd had not had to drive all the way back to church for a late afternoon meeting, but c'est la vie. It was a productive meeting, so I am not going to complain (especially since I'm not even the one who had to go)!

After dinner I worked one more strip of the baby quilt I'm working on. Tomorrow (Sew Freely Monday -- because I don't have to go to work) I'll finish that one up and start piecing the other baby quilt I'm working on. So many young women having babies in my life! It makes me smile.

The only detriment to a Sunday afternoon nap is that I'm not always really sleepy when it's time for bed. But Todd has already headed back, and he's on shift tomorrow, so I need to make the most of my cuddle time!

Buenos noches!


Saturday, January 30, 2010

another *sweet* surprise!

Have you ever just randomly googled your name? I do, just every so often, not out of any sort of vanity or anything, but just to make sure my name isn't being used--or rather, misused--in some bizarre fashion. I did that earlier in the week; Tuesday, I think it was. The search results come back fairly lickety-split, because there aren't that many of them out there to find! One or two in connection with the blog; a couple from back in the day when i was posting on newsgroups, like rec.gardens, one from some Rugrats page where the list owner included (by permission) a comment I'd make on alt.books.stephen-king (ages ago) about cartoons pandering to adults as much as children, and one hit came back from the list of participants in the Quilt Gallery's fall-inspired mini-quilt swap. A few are offerings with variations of my name, so they're not really me, and some have nothing to do with me or my name at all. It's not, by any means, a wowzer set of results; like I said, I do it as housekeeping, more than anything else!

But . . . this time . . . about halfway down the page one of the items caught my eye. I knew it was recent because it said Denise Panter of New Market, AL, and I've only lived here since November. Intrigued, I clicked on the
entry, and guess what?!?!

I. won. again.

I didn't even know it! I'd entered my name for random drawings Planet Patchwork was doing on New Year's Day, and evidently, I won in the third hour of their drawings, a copy of Make Your First Quilt with M'Liss Rae Hawley courtesy of C&T Publishing. LOL! I don't know what it is with me and winning things. Anyway, Planet Patchwork's website said winners would get their prizes within 30 days, and that no other communication would be forthcoming. I'm glad I found that--I'd forgotten I'd even entered; that book would have come in the mail and I'd have had no *clue* why!!

So, I share all that to say that today, I think it came!!! How's that for definitive? We checked our po box after hours today, and in the box was a slip that said, "You have a mail item too large for your box." Which means I have to wait until Monday to find out for sure, but I think it is . . . I hope it is . . . I'm *sure* it has to be! Yay!

In other news, our snow turned to rain by yesterday afternoon, but temps have dropped today and it's snowing again. It's snowing HARD! I don't think we're going to get five or six (or even two) inches, but it's sure pretty coming down, especially with all the woodland creatures flitting in and out of the trees. My favorites are the cardinals and the blue jays; such pretty splashes of vivid color amidst the snowy white backdrop. I'm sure the deer will move in soon.

I got to Hobby Lobby this morning and got the remainder of the fabric I need for Sawyer's quilt; I got the orange for the borders and sashing, a lovely brown flannel for the back, and a really dark brown for the binding. It's all in the washer/dryer (I think it's moved to the dry cycle--the RV has stopped shaking) so I'll be able to press and cut it tonight/tomorrow.

I also finished cutting all the strips for another baby quilt I'm making for Kim's friend, Kim, who's having a little girl in February.

Julia e-mailed me a picture of the Rooster, hanging on her wall. Yay! It's nice to see him finally at home.

Todd's working on his Sunday School lesson for tomorrow, I'm quilting and puttering, the coffee pot is on, and nature is -- surrounding us! I'll put a pot of minestrone on for dinner tonight, and we'll just be cozy, warm, and happy.

I do count it all joy.


Friday, January 29, 2010

you know what this is good for?

Ummm....what are these spots all over my picture? Is my camera lens dirty? Gross!

Wait . . . what is this I see out my window?!?!?!

Could it be??

It is!


The perfect quilting weather. I think I need to go home now.



Thursday, January 28, 2010

a january giveaway!

A most darling, darling little treat; check out Geta Gamma's blog and see her January giveaway!


cat's in the house (or, in the office . . .)

This is Reese. She's the shop cat where I work. Or rather, the office cat. She tries to be a shop cat--and sometimes she escapes and is successful--but that is not our preference for her.

She's a big help. Uh, yeah. She's big, anyway. She came to us as a stray; and the guys in the shop fed her bean burritos and she went from being a tiny stray baby, to a HUGE cat. But then she went to the vet and the doc told us she needed to diet extreme. So.

But she looks pretty! (Pretty greasy.) She has lots of nicknames . . . Reesey-peasey-butterball-obesey. . . Greasy Reesey . . . Stinkin' Cat . . . oh wait. That was Merlin's nickname.

If nothing else, she's good for our entertainment.

See how wide & wild her whiskers are? Did you know a cat's whiskers grow as wide as the cat's girth, to help them know if they'll be able to fit into small spaces?? Okay, do you *see* how wide her whiskers are?!?!

This is her "hen-pecked" look.

She wasn't pleased.

She knows how to get away from the torture....ummm, I mean, playing. (See the sag in that in-box?)

She *loves* a good cuddle. Yeah, I know, she doesn't look very happy in the above shot, but I *did* say a _good_ cuddle. That was an aggravating cuddle. Just ask her.

She really is a sweet-tempered cat, who puts up with about anything. She's very chatty and loves people; not a stranger ever walks into our showroom! If you don't pet her, she'll put her head under your hand, to give you inspiration. She's the only cat in my life on a daily basis now. I think she understands the responsibility; she's become my best buddy since we moved and my darling Merlin went to stay with James & Kim & Belle.

The only thing she lacks is a quilt to lay on while it's being worked on. She settles for payroll.



Wednesday, January 27, 2010

mail call!

So I slipped into the post office yesterday afternoon to check our post office box and guess what I found???


A package? For me??? Who could have sent it?

Hahaha! I've been expecting you, ma cherie! (Which is most appropriate, because my little package came from Calgary, AB, CANADA)! I got a package from Canada!! Well, Canada didn't really send it; it came from LEE in Canada!

It's a beeee-yooo-tiful fall-inspired mini quilt! And it really is quite charming.

I love the viney leaf pattern quilted in the borders! This makes me more inclined to get out my sewing machine and practice machine quilting. I love the things you can do with the machine and the look of it. But I'm a little ... afraid. And a LOT impatient!

And the title, "Fall View" is so appropriate, given all the wonderful colors that make this pretty topper!

Lee also sent me a little extra, "just because." !!! Isn't she *sew* sweet?!? It's a darling little zippered bag. I *love* zippered bags! :)

Lee, again and again, thank you! It's lovely and I love it!

Jour hereux!


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

weekend wedding fun in hotlanta!

This is a story about my dashing nephew, Michael Jr. . . .

and his lovely bride, Erin! They got married on Saturday, in Atlanta.
Actually, there's another story; the mini-family reunion that took place while we were all there for the wedding!!

My mom & dad (getting ready to celebrate their FIFTIETH anniversary) were there . . .

As were Todd & I . . .

The oldest of my younger sisters, Julia, and her husband, Michael Sr. They are the proud parents of the groom . . .

The second oldest of my younger sister, Cynthia, and her husband Ed . . .

And Cynthia with our youngest sister, Laura (she left her four young children at home with her husband, Joseph) . . .

Aren't we a great looking family????

There were two other married couples there, my oldest daughter, Jocelyn, and her husband Jason (they just got married in June)! James (my son) and Kim were there too, but I didn't get a good picture of them. Pooh . None of my pictures were great -- the settings on my camera were off. Plus it didn't help that we were in the dark, with mostly candle light!
Also along for the ride was Ben, brother of the groom (isn't he handsome? he's a freshman at Virginia Tech) . . .

Megan (Cynthia's middle) and Hazen (Julia's third) had fun kicking up their heels at the reception . If you look closely, you can see that Cecilia (Julia's second) is doing a little barefoot boogie . . .

Then Megan continued to enjoy the dance floor with a partner who was a little more her height (although, like Hazen, I think he was still shorter than her -- she had to duck when he twirled her) . . .

Hazen wasn't happy about being replaced . . .

Lucy (Julia's youngest) was happy dancing with her mommy and daddy. Julia has the look of a mom who's child is married and her responsibilities are DONE! (I know, I've worn that look twice, now!)

Nick, Cynthia's youngest, had a good time watching everyone carry on . . .

Whew! After the reception, and back at the hotel for the night, I had the opportunity to FINALLY get Julia the rooster wall hanging! I think she liked it! :) I had a special rod made just for it, using the same finial that I used as the basis for the weather vane.

I always struggle for a little bit naming/tagging my quilts. Naming this quilt was easy, though . . .

It's certainly ruled me for the last month! :)

The day after the wedding, Julia's family (minus Ben), mom & dad, and the six of us Alabamians, headed over to Copeland's for a lovely brunch. The food was incredible, but the time spent with family was even better. Getting a posed smile from Michael Sr. is tough, but I caught him chatting it up during the meal; or perhaps he's smiling at all those peel & eat shrimp . . .

Hazen really enjoyed the buffet. Particularly the Belgium waffles with strawberries and whipped cream, and the chocolate fountain. Once he was done, he settled in for some game time.

Lucy was sharing sugars to her right . . .

and then to her left . . .

Puckering up definitely runs in this family . . . !!!

Dad and mom, still a sweet couple!

There's my James and Kim!

And another of my Jocelyn and Jason!

A nice shot of Aunt Julia, Jocelyn, and Cecilia . . .

And a final parting shot of Aunt Denise, Jocelyn & Lucy . . .

We had a wonderful weekend, and celebrated the marriage of a darling couple. Memories to cherish.



Monday, January 25, 2010

oooh baby, baby!

Just a concept . . . I took pictures of Kim's fabric for Sawyer's bumper pad and ruffle, and I'm playing around with them (using Publisher, of all things) to see what would make a fun baby quilt to go with it. She's using orange ribbon to tie off the bumper pads, hence the border.

The fabric is in the dryer as I type, getting ready for fussy cutting. I think I want all the squares with stripes in them to be cut precisely the same, so it doesn't look too busy. The polka-dot fabric is darling, and the photos I took don't do justice to the colors. She really did pick some lovely fabric!

Pictures from the trip will have to wait until tomorrow. Except for this one . . .

Lucy giving Kim -- and Sawyer -- a hug goodbye.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

home again, home again . . .

Just a quickie blog post to say we had a wonderful weekend! Yesterday morning we headed to Atlanta for my nephew, Michael Jr.'s wedding. He's Julia's step-son, and a really nice young man. He proposed to his beautiful bride, Erin, in July and they were married yesterday afternoon. They were married in the Catholic church and had a beautiful service, in Latin. It was fascinating. I was very thankful I was sitting next to one of Michael Jr's friends, who knew exactly when to stand, kneel, and sit! From the wedding we went to the Wimbish House for the reception. Very nice. Like, wow, very nice!

The bonus of attending the wedding and sharing in the celebration of this lovely couple, was reuniting with my sisters and parents and many of my darling nieces and nephews for the weekend! Plus we traveled up and back with James & Kim, and that was fun. This afternoon we had the buffet at Copeland's in Atlanta, and it was delicious!

I was also able to finish and deliver the rooster. Finally. I started this thing in September. I told my sister (I can't keep secrets) that I wouldn't make her wait until Christmas to get it; I'd send it on when I was finished. Uh, yeah. Pictures of it, the wild dancing that took place Saturday night at the wedding reception, and of my darling nieces and nephews are forthcoming.

I was half hoping my swap quilt would be waiting in the box for me when we got home, but not yet. I think that means it's coming from far, far away! :)

I've finally decided to succumb to this cold I've been fending off for four days. I'm spent. It will have its way with me. Thankfully, I do NOT have to work tomorrow!



Friday, January 22, 2010

and the winner is . . .


Last night was our monthly guild meeting. As per usual, I picked up $2 worth of raffle tickets (along with the raffle ticket I get just for wearing my quilted name tag), and lo and behold, one of my raffle tickets won. Again! I think this is three or four months in a row. I know it's at least two (in October, if you'll remember, I won off of TWO tickets), because the president of the guild commented when I came up to get my prize.

Anyway, this month I won . . .

Fun stuff!

You know, this is national blog month . . . and I will hit post 200 before the month's end . . .

Should I consider a giveaway?? LOL!



Thursday, January 21, 2010

downsizing . . .

I'm all about downsizing these days. When you move, as I mentioned a couple of days ago, from 2,500 square feet of living space

to 450 square feet of living space,

downsizing is important.

We started practicing for downsizing when Joc got married last June, leaving us with an empty nest. How I cooked, how I cleaned, even how I did laundry changed. Sort of. It was until just recently that I realized how little it really had changed. There's a lot more to downsizing than I thought!

Cooking was an issue. I grew up in a family of six, with family get-togethers that were always huge. I learned how to cook in quantity! Even for just the four of us, I was able to cook in quantity and enjoyed leftovers for lunch and freezing for future meals. When James & Jocelyn were both gone, I cooked the same quantity, I just broke it up; something I'd typically prepared in a 9X13-inch casserole dish, I now prepared in two 8-inch square casserole dishes. Voila (woila--viola), I had two meals. One for now and one for later! It was great! Some weeks my grocery bill would be next to nothing because all my meals were in the freezer already!

That is a thing in the past. Do you know what you lose when you go from 2,500 to 450? A chest freezer, an upright freezer, and the big freezer that's attached to the big refrigerator. I went from 60 cubic feet of freezer space to less than a cubic FOOT of freezer space! Changes definitely had to be made. Not to mention our storage space for dry goods is significantly smaller as well. It's taken getting used to, but the timing was good. Todd & I both knew we wanted to make healthier eating/food choices, so we've gone to more fresh meats, fruits, and vegetables; I make smaller portions so there's little to no leftovers, and I stay away from processed foods for the most part; there's just no place to put them.

We bought a small George Foreman grill and a two-person crock pot, both of which I love working with! I've done sirloin steaks, pork chops and chicken on the grill, all of which tasted wonderfully and were FAST! I've only used the crock pot for cooking our steel cut oats, so far, but I've been searching for 'two person' crock pot recipes and I'm gonna try those out soon. Especially for Sundays! I like crock pot cooking, but the big one is, well...BIG. And it takes up my whole kitchen counter, practically!

I also don't buy in bulk anymore--pointless--and I don't buy stuff that I won't use in the week I'm buying in. I've ended up throwing too many dollars (ie., spoiled food) away. It's been a learning process and I'm enjoying figuring it all out.

I downsized my quilting space, but not my quilting stuff. Not even my quilting books. Perhaps over time, I'll be able to part with some of that stuff. Then again, maybe not. :)

CLOTHES! Todd & I are both having to downsize in this area! We went from each having our own closet and big bureaus to small sets of drawers and a small closet to share (which also houses our washer/dryer machine, a whole other story)! It's forced me to really determine what I wear and what I don't wear, and to make a distinction between seasonal clothes. I can store summer clothes during the winter, for more closet/drawer space, but storage space is limited too, so I really have to make decisions on what I keep.

Knick-knacks, photos, and the like have always been a big thing for me. I had lots of things because I like switching stuff out and changing the look of the room, and displaying my pretty things. In the RV there really isn't a lot of space to display things on! This effected my seasonal stuff, too. I had *tubs* of fall decorations, Christmas decorations, and Easter/spring decorations. Not only was there not room to store it all, there just isn't room to display it! I went through and kept a few things that were favorites, and the rest either went to Joc & Kim, or will be properly disposed of (sold, given away, Goodwill, etc.). On a very positive note, it made switching from fall to Christmas and back to normal a very easy, quick process!

Media: we had a LOT. I kept all our DVDs. I'm an avid movie fan, and I like to be able to watch what I want to watch when the mood strikes. Ergo, I have a lot of DVDs! Instead of dealing with all of the cases and where to store those, I pulled them from their cases and stored them in a book with DVD sleeves. Now they're all in one place, in alphabetical order. :) I still have about fifty Disney movies on VHS. I think I'm going to have to give those up. I just can't justify keeping/storing them. Especially since we don't even have a VCR at the RV! I weeded through our CDs and stored the ones we kept the same way we stored the DVDs. Except I kept the Christmas CDs separate. And I don't think I alphabetized them. *gasp* Yet.

Stuff in general. We've a lot less of it. From cooking ware, to dishes, clothes, to furniture, we have less. The funny thing is, I don't miss it. I guess because we have the most important things. Jesus, our love for each other, and Jesus. :)

Except a cat.