Friday, December 30, 2011

Tea Time!

  I hosted a Christmas Tea this afternoon for my quilting friends and their daughters.  We had a wonderful time partaking of 3 kinds of tea , numerous cookies, double chocolate muffins, cinnamon struesel bread, chex mix, and assorted chocolates...yum! Kayla and her daughter, Ashley,(also a quilter) and Darla with her daughters, Sarah and Victoria all attended. Jane and her daughter, Melissa, came last Friday for a mini tea since they were going to new York this week for a family Christmas.

The table set for Christmas tea...

Seated and ready for tea...those are tissue-wrapped party favors sticking up in their cups, ornaments I made using wooden spools...
And the sugar feast begins..

  It's always fun to have company when the house is decorated for Christmas. I enjoy my village and trees and light them even when I'm home alone, but it's nice to see them in someone else's eyes as well. This was the last chance to use my Christmas china for this year too. It was with a little sadness when I washed them and returned them to the hutch for another year.  Christmas 2011 is at last over and I'll undecorate this New Year's Day. Does anyone else get the after Christmas blues besides me? Home is just more "homey" at Christmas, isn't it?

  Kayla brought a newly pieced quilt top to show me. The Civil War repros are in delicious colors. She's backing it in a wonderful soldier blue print and trying her hand at machine quilting it herself. The pattern is Appalachian Trail by Sew Unique.

Here are some spool ornaments like the ones I made for them...these hang on my sewing room tree...

  Can you tell my pictures are better? Randy came through for me again this year and gave me the requested new camera for Christmas. It's a Sony Cyber Shot with 16.1 mega pixels, 10X zoom, 25 mm wide-angle lens, and 3.0" LCD screen. This is all "Greek" to me (remember, I'm technologically illiterate), but all I know is this is the same camera my Sissy has and she takes great pictures. This was the last present I opened (Randy handed them out) so I didn't get to take any Christmas pictures with it! Luckily, he took some on his camera, so our Christmas isn't lost to history.

  Alas, poor "George Washington" still isn't finished. I was quilting last night and I complained to Randy that I had expected to be finished with "George" and on to quilting on the quilt in the frame by now. Randy, being the ever so uplifting husband he is, said, "Well, Bec, you are getting older, maybe you're getting slower too." If I hadn't been hindered by the quilt on my lap and needle in hand, I swear I would have smacked him! I settled for a nasty look instead and assured him that that wasn't the case, it is just that I haven't had a lot of time to quilt this week except in the evenings. I've spent all this week cleaning out closets and switching winter clothes from storage and packing summer clothes in those newly emptied totes in the basement. I decided I'm definitely a "clothes horse", yea, I know, some of you already knew that. I took 2 car loads up to our local good will store and I promised I'd be back next week with more. In my defense, some of it was Randy's and Isaah's clothes. Ok, a small portion of it was theirs. I only admit this because some of my family reads my blog and they would correct me if I wasn't totally honest! Anyway, someone or a lot of someone's can get some good wear from those clothes. My New Year's resolution is that if I buy a new article of clothing, I have to get rid of an article of clothing. I might not save money, but my closets will stay neater and Good Will will love me. 

  Here's wishing you all a Happy New Year! I hope 2012 is good to you and you sew lots of new quilts. And as always, Keep Stitching!


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Bah! Humble Bug!

   I have to offer my most humble apologies to the UPS guy, you know the one. The one I've been complaining about. Thursday night, I finally decided he wasn't bringing Randy's Christmas presents this year. I called Bike Nashbar to ask them what happened. The lady who answered was very nice and willing to look into the situation. First, she couldn't find me in the system at all. I gave her more details and reminded her that I had placed the order on December 5th. She finally said, "I'm sorry, but I don't seen your order anywhere." I became frantic and told her it had to be there. She could tell I was near tears and kept trying. She finally said, "Oh, I have an order on the 5th in Randy Wright's name." When she read it off to me, it was identical and I told her I placed that order and used my credit card number so it should have had my name on it. Anyway, the kicker was when she said, "Maam, our records indicate that the package was delivered to you on the 10th." I really lost it then and said I'd expected the UPS truck everyday since the 5th and it had never come. Then she told me, "Oh, our records indicate it was sent using the US Postal system."   What?!!!

   I told her we have the nicest mailman who we've given access to come into our garage with any packages. He's even added postage for us when I've made a mistake and lets me know later. She suggested I go to the post office on Friday and inquire. I did and as luck would have it, our mailman hadn't left on his route yet so I got to talk to him. He said he hadn't had a single day off this month and he'd certainly never seen a package for us from Bike Nashbar. He was very apologetic and felt really badly about it (not that it was his fault) and I assured him of that.

  I called Bike Nashbar back when I got home and was lucky enough to get the same lady I'd spoken to the night before. She said I could get a full refund or they could reship at no charge to me. I told her this was my husband's entire Christmas and to please reship. She said she'd get it to us hopefully by Monday or Tuesday. I cried when I told Randy about it. He was sweet and assured me that it wouldn't spoil his Christmas, but I knew it would spoil mine.

  Randy was up and gone at 6 AM this morning to go on a bike ride with friends in Burlington. I was just getting out of the shower at 9AM when I heard a knock at the front door. I tried to dress as quickly as I could, but I missed whoever it was. I opened the door to see if someone was walking away and noticed a big box on the porch. It was from Bike Nashbar!!! The lady had shipped it overnight express! I was able to get everything wrapped and hidden before Randy got home. Boy, will he be surprised tomorrow morning. I have to say Bike Nashbar really offers excellent customer service and I intend to write them a letter thanking them. As for the poor maligned UPS guy, I'M SORRY! I never should have doubted you. Boy, I would sure love to know what really happened to my order. Randy's birthday is January 2nd, but don't worry, there won't be any drama. I already have his gift wrapped and hidden for safe keeping.

  I hope all of you have a blessed Christmas Day with the people you love and if traveling have a safe trip. Ours will be spent with first with our church family for early service, then to Illinois to Randy's family for dinner, and evening at my Mother's.

Keep stitching,

Monday, December 19, 2011

Help, 911, I Have a Christmas Emergency!

   A few days until Christmas and I find myself being held hostage by the UPS guy. Ok, melodramatic perhaps, but it's almost true! My husband who enjoys surprising me by getting almost everything on my wish list (in recent years when we've been more flush, empty nest you know) is terrible about giving me a wish list of his own. He finally relented and circled some items in his various catalogs (Cabella's, Bike Nashbar, Camp More, etc.) on December 5th. I promptly placed orders via phone and was assured a Christmas delivery by each salesman. Now, here I sit and NOTHING, not one single thing has arrived and it's December 19th! UPS doesn't deliver on Saturdays, so I have only 4 days of opportunity left. It won't be fun to have gifts of my own to open and Randy have a big fat nothing in front of him. Aarggg! Can you say, "STRESS"? That UPS guy has my Merry Christmas in his hands and he better deliver!

  I'm almost finished hand-quilting my George Washington quilt. I wasn't especially impressed with the top when I got it done, but now with the quilting, I'm really starting to be happy with it. I will share pictures when I finish, hopefully before Christmas. I do have some pictures to share with you, but not my own work. I visited Jane's house a couple Saturdays ago and remembered to take my camera. I'm learning!

 This is the quilt Jane just finished in time for her son in law's graduation from Sandhurst Military Academy in London, (think England's equivalent to our West Point.) Tim flew to London for the ceremony, a formal tuxedo affair, and took Jane's quilt to present to him, as a graduation gift. He had said he would feel like part of the family once his mother in law had made him a quilt. I don't recall the name of the pattern, but it is a beauty and hand-quilted.

  Of course, I couldn't leave without a visit to Jane's studio to see her latest work in progress. She has collected fabric with teacups for years and has started a Teacup quilt. Her quilts always reflect the influence living in England had on her. Her color and fabric choices scream England to me. I just love them. My camera never does justice to whatever I'm taking pictures of . The colors are always "off". Trust me, this quilt is very soft and subtle and scrappy. Jane is very good at sewing scraps into beautiful quilts. The brighter blue is her design wall, not part of the quilt.

Another view. Notice yet another work in progress on her table... this one in 30's scraps.

  Keep your fingers crossed for me. I put a new camera on my wish list! If Randy gives me nothing else, I hope he got me a camera! I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

PS...  If you see the UPS guy lollygagging around somewhere send him to my house!

Keep stitching,

Monday, December 5, 2011

Merry Quilting Christmas!

   I showed a photo of my George Washington quilt in progress in my  last post. I looked forward to the weekend, because Randy had inventory Friday and Saturday which left me with guilt-free quilting time. Never one to miss an opportunity like that, I did indeed sewed this weekend. I'm happy to say that George is done! Well, at least the top. I'm basting it now for hand-quilting. I had no particular plan for the size quilt it would be. I sewed, planned, cut, sewed till it looked finished. It turned out 54" square which will be good for storage and display reasons. I'm pleased with the quilt, but I wish the fabric had featured Abe Lincoln instead. Sorry, George, I understand you are the father of our country and I have a healthy respect for you, but what can I say, I love old Honest Abe better. Oh well, it's done and I have used part of my hoard of "I'll use it someday" fabric. That's a good thing.

The George Washington top layered, ready for basting...

This is a cabinet I display in my dining room during Christmas. It holds some of my Santa collection with my daughter's dollhouse furniture...
I treat the cabinet like it's a dollhouse. Here is shelf #1...the kitchen...
Self room...
Shelf #3...the bedroom...
I took this picture for my Christmas card to all of you. It's the centerpiece on my dining room table. Isn't the primitive reindeer cute? His antlers and legs are made out of branches. I bought him today at Kountry Primitives outside of New London, Iowa.
MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! Keep stitching,