Wednesday, November 28, 2012

It’s Christmas Decorating Time

In the last post, I mentioned purchasing the Brobdingnagian (our favorite new word meaning REALLY, REALLY BIG) Christmas tree.  Well, we had a wonderful time decorating it, starting with Michael on the 10 foot ladder…..

DSC07394 We laughed at the tiny little star but it was the only one that we had so guess it will have to do!!!

He continued adding lights and ornaments on the top 1/3 of the tree and then I took over for the bottom 2/3rds……

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I found that since I had to climb a stepstool to get to parts of the tree, I would load up with every ornament that I could carry!!

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It turned out wonderfully….

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After finishing the tree, I moved outside and added some lights to our deck…..

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It was such fun to have the new house to decorate and was so nice to not have to climb rickety stairs up into the attic to get to the decorations!!!!  I especially enjoyed decorating the mantles and it was fun to have TWO of them to decorate….

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I have never had a place to properly display the stockings so this has been a real treat…..

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Here are a few more of my favorite spots in the house…..

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It is so nice to have the decorating done….now if I can just get started on my shopping!!!!

Monday, November 26, 2012

The perfect Thanksgiving Day…..

This year we enjoyed a Thanksgiving Day that was as close to perfect as I have ever remembered.

It started REALLY early in the morning as our daughter drove all night from Chicago and arrived at the house at 4:15am.  She and her dog wandered upstairs, into the bedroom and re-emerged about 4 hours later.

Our son, Brian and his wife, Amber, arrived about noon and we started the eating ritual…..Mimosas, Humus, and Vegies with Dip comprised the first course.

Then came a favorite Arnold family tradition…. the hunt for the perfect Christmas tree.  This year was especially exciting because our new house has vaulted ceilings in the den and secondly, we wanted a smaller one to go on our covered deck. 

We decided that we would cut the smaller tree so everyone headed out in different directions looking for the perfect tree and it was soon found (note the sunglasses on the top….our way of remembering which one we liked best)

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This is Amber’s picture of our division of duty…..Michael, Brian and Jenny do the work and I take photos…..

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They started carrying the tree back to the truck and just seconds after this shot, Jenny dropped her end because she was being bitten by fire ants!!!!DSC07285

We have had a long standing tradition that we would take a photo with Michael and the kids each year.  They have changed over the past 15 years!!……

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We handed the camera to Michael’s Mama and, after a few minutes of instructions, got her to take a photo of the family.  DSC07295

Now for the second tree.  As I said, we have a vaulted ceiling and I knew that we were going to buy a taller tree, but I had no idea that this was the size that my family was thinking about…..

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We lashed them into the truck and home we went with our two beautiful trees (Amber’s photo)…..302750_10101749275669380_250173845_n

I think it got taller after they got it home…….DSC07327

…..but they were able to wrestle it into the house……

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….and everyone was right, it looks great!!!!

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I love this photo of Jenny as I think that you can feel her excitement.  Of course she reminded me that she would NOT be the one decorating it!!….DSC07338

Now for the rest of the day…. no one in the Arnold family really likes turkey, so last year we decided that there was no reason for us to eat it every year just because it was the tradition. 

SO, this year we started the meal with a spicy tomato soup, served with a dollop of whipped cream mixed with chopped Rosemary and Lemon zest….DSC07342

Second course was a Spinach, Cranberry and Goat Cheese salad……

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We all then left the table for about an hour while the vegetables cooked and Michael prepared to grill the steaks……DSC07344

 

Here we all are at the table……DSC07346

As you can see, we have MUCH to be thankful for!!!!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The trouble with blogs….

 

…..is that you have to write them!!!  Lately, things have been happening at such a fast pace, I haven’t had time to sit and write about the small things.  Then, when I have time to write, I am completely overwhelmed with where to start.  SO, let’s get started…..

First of all, I  GOT TO SEW LAST WEEK!!!  I was working on another piece that was originally started to give my Mother some hand work to do.  She is 89 years old and does wonderful hand work.  Anyway, I found this pattern….

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….and thought it would be good for her to work on.  I put together the applique and embroidery blocks and left them with her on October 31st, thinking that it would keep her busy for a long time.  Exactly 10 days later, I had them in my hand and she was ready to move to the next task!!!  AAACCCKKKK!!!!

So, my first project was to piece the alternating blocks, and I did not get off to a good start.  I was able to make all of the half-square triangles without much effort, but when I starting putting the blocks together, I kept doing things wrong.  For a few minutes, I thought that I had forgotten how to do patchwork!!!

After a bit of ripping and re-sewing, I got into the groove again and was able to enjoy feeding the fabrics into my machine, pressing the seams and arranging the blocks. 

I finished the top on Wednesday…….

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….just in time to move the tables against the wall, move in the Futon mattress and turn my studio into a bedroom for our daughter as she arrives for Thanksgiving. 

My Mother-In-Law will carry the top back to my Mother and she is planning to hand quilt it.  I am looking forward to having it to hang on my wall next year.  Of course, as fast as my Mom works, I may have it this year!!!

…..OK…..the blog floodgates have opened…..more posts to come VERY soon.

Monday, November 5, 2012

There’s a light at the end of the hallway

Looking back at my blog posts, I see that the last time I wrote anything about spending creative time in my studio was on July 13th…..almost  FOUR months ago!  Of course, during that time we have spent 3 weeks in China, bought a new house, spent 5 weeks getting it ready and moving in, spent 5 days in Texas visiting with my mother, and spent countless hours trying to get caught up with the last of my Tax and Accounting work for the year. 

Added to that, I managed to hurt my knee while moving and was basically unable to climb the stairs for over 2 weeks!!!

However, this weekend I spent time in my new studio, getting it ready for some creative time and I feel sure that the time is coming….I can FEEL it in my bones!!!

The first step was to get my new design wall built and installed.  I started with two pieces of thick Insulation board which were cut down to the proper height and width and an area cut out where the electric plug would sit.

My original thought was that I would build the wall in the garage and then carry it upstairs to install, but quickly decided that it would be better to simply put it together in the studio.

After I had cleared out an opening, I laid the two boards down flat and started using duct tape to form a hinge line.

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Next I laid the board down onto a piece of polyester batting and pulled the batting over to the back and roughly taped it in place…..

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Next step was to lay the flannel on the floor and place the board on top of it.  I then trimmed the batting and stretched and pinned the flannel to the back….

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After checking the front to make sure that it was stretched well, I added additional strips of duct tape to hold it in place….DSC07116

 

A final round of duct tape, removing pins and it is ready to hang….DSC07117

My sweet husband came in a helped me to hang it on the wall.  It measures 72 inches across and about 80 inches in height…..about 50% larger than my old one….

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Now to the fun stuff…..for a long time I have wanted a sewing table that my machine would sit down into so that I would have a flat surface for machine quilting.  After reading about lots of tables and looking at the merits and costs of various ones, I settled on the Arrow Gidget Sewing Table.  This one was recommended by Leah Day of The Free Motion Quilting Project and I liked the price so I ordered it from Amazon and happily unpacked it to see how it would work.

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The depth of the opening is easily adjustable and I was happy with it, except that there seemed to be quite a lot of open space between the machine and the table edge.  Then I had a brainstorm……

I had an old Husqvarna quilting table that had been replaced by a larger one many years ago, so I took the legs off, moved the machine as far into the right corner as possible and marked where the Plexiglas would  need to be cut….

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A quick phone call was made to our local handyman, who cut the piece to my specifications and voilà……

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…..my table is ready to use!!!   My plan is to put another table behind this one and maybe another one to the side if I am quilting on a really large quilt.  Cant wait to try it out!!!!

Finally, I needed a stand for the rulers that I use most.  Unfortunately, most of the stands that I could buy would not fit my favorite rulers, the "Quilter’s Rule”.  So, I called my friend Anita at Sewcial Studio and her husband made one just to fit my specifications (3 slots for the Quilter’s rules and 3 slots for regular rulers)…..

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So now this little shelf sits just next to the machine table.  It holds all of my threads and rulers and there is still some room for future purchases….DSC07122

Naturally there are several projects in the works and in my mind so I cant wait to get up there to sew…..maybe even someday soon!!!!

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