Monday, December 30, 2013

A Good Shopping Experience

I don't like to shop.
I used to, but I haven't cared for it for years now,
except in the case of quilt stores,
I'll go there in a heartbeat!
But normal shopping, no thanks.
So, when I HAVE to shop, I choose places 
where I can park my car right outside their doors
and walk in.  No parking garages, no giant lots.
No going to malls by myself, especially after 
work when it gets dark early.

Today I had to shop.
I've gone years without buying anything for winter
and my work clothes are starting to show it. 
I headed off to Washington, MO where there
is a nice strip mall with Kohl's, JoAnne's, etc.
Being early and on Monday, it was almost deserted.

I had not been to Marshall's in decades but since it was there,
I decided to see what they had. I had been looking for a 
coffee cup, something pretty, but won't pay $10, or even $ 6.
I found this pretty duo there for $1.50 !
They also had plates and bowls but I don't need those.
I looked the cups up and found regular price was around $12
and even more on some e-bay posts.
I think they are really cute, and the right price!

I did find some nice bargains at Kohl's.
I got three casual cardigan type jackets for 
for 50% off. They will last years and 
with blue, black and grey, there is a lot I can pair with them.
I have really nice short sleeved shirts from Macy's 
that are great and require no ironing.
If I pair them with a jacket or cardigan they work
well all winter long too.

Also, Dress Barn had sales from 30%-70% so I found 
three tops on the clearance rack.
I love their sales force. I was greeted, 
they asked my name, they assigned a dressing room for me
so I could keep my purchases there, they asked if I needed
any assistance and when I made a decision they took the 
garments to the checkout for me.
They THANKED me for shopping with them!

The JoAnne's had a red polka-dot fabric for $ 2.79/yard,
just perfect for the backing of my red and white quilt.
I can't beat the price either.
I have my backing and binding plus the batting
so I'm set to quilt another.

That concluded my shopping for the day.
No jangled nerves, no crowds and some good deals.
I still have a couple more things to get but
I'll take it slow and watch the sales.

What stores do you all like for good bargains?
Do you shop at malls?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Really Cool Gifts

 There were some pretty cool gifts this year,
too many to show you all of them
but I thought I'd show some of the 
more unusual!

This is a fat quarter bundle from a quilt
shop near my Mom's house
  The Rocking Chair in Hot Springs, AR.

Mom's not a quilter so they gave her some ideas
of what I might like.  I hate to take it apart!
It's packaged  so prettily.
There are 12 different quarter yards,
cut into a fat quarter which is
more or less 18 X 22.

Glasses from Hot Springs.

Pops is an avid pizza maker, thin crust style,
a St Louis favorite.  He can rival Imos any day.
We normally bake it in an extremely hot oven
on parchment paper, being so thin you can't 
lift up the crust.  Taylor gave him a 
pizza peel that can also hang up when
he's not baking pizzas. 

It's engraved

to remember the date!

Santa knew Taylor needed some help 
getting up for school so he and the chickens
sent a Rooster alarm clock!

I also received a chicken gift which 
is currently on the mantle but will find
a better ledge for the legs.

Santa also gave Taylor a fan, 
now she can pretend to be coy!
Or just cool off on a hot day.

This was the year for Pops.
A BBQ light will come in handy. 

And an umbrella light that changes color,
shines up and down and has a brightness control.

Mom has always loved Bissinger's molassas lollipops
but they have become difficult to find near us
until I ran into Wines of Wildwood the other day
after seeing a Bissingers sign in the window.
They have a large selections of wines, cigars and gifts.
There are wine related recipes if you are interested.

I  got a Super Dooper gift - 
a certificate for Hancock's of Paducah which I have already redeemed!
Mom also gave me a check which is also partially spent when we 
ran into Phil's Sewing to get needles, threads and bobbins.

There was way too much to mention everything 
but I think we all had a great Christmas.
Mom has returned home, everyone is back to their
routine but I still have a few days off work,
 not returning until Jan 2 except for logging in
to make sure there are no critical e-mails to pass on.

I hope you all had a great Christmas.
I'll be catching up on your blogs over the next few days.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Finally the Quilts!

I can finally show you what I've had to 
hide for months now that family 
 wanted to be friends on Facebook!
Since the blog feeds to FB, I couldn't show anything
that I have been making!

 This is Becky's (my daughter) quilt, 
all owls to match her decor.
Taylor (my granddaughter) was on my advisory
team as to which owls to select.
She did a great job, didn't breath a word.
I was rushing to bind it but Becky kept showing up
so I had to quickly hide it and make sure she 
didn't walk into her old room!

This was my first attempt at Free Motion quilting.
It is  more difficult than it looks
and I have now learned some tips and tricks that 
should make it easier next time.

This is my mom's quilt, 
the colors match the table runner I made for her earlier.
I had this done way before she arrived for the week
so it was safely tucked away until Christmas morning.

This is the back of Becky's
again, all owls.

This is my mom's.
The green is perfect for her house.

I've been unusually cold this week so 
I broke out my Winter quilt, 
even without the binding
which is what I'll be doing this week!

This is the back of it.
I did not quilt this, only pieced it.
I had the long arm quilter do it as I was running out of time.
 It may be difficult to see but there is a 
Christmas Tree and Star motif.

I've been busy with company this week so far
behind in posting.  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

I Did Not Catch the Oven on Fire

I did Not set the oven on fire.
 The potatoes did not burst into flame.
Only one.
A spark really, with very little smoke.

You see, the potato was baking 
and rolled off the oven rack
(as they tend to do)
and one sort of ended up resting on the heating element
which, of course, was hot.
It could happen to anyone.

Dinner did go on, even with the threat of flaming potatoes.
Nana Ann brought crackers for us all,
Dan and Gina on Skype thought we'd lost our minds!
But when you pop them, out comes a paper crown
a joke and a little gift, in our case stickers.

 Aside from flaming potatoes,
and a bad mannered pumpkin pie,
the evening ended with a viewing of
The Music Man. Then off to bed!

I never heard a sound, but Santa arrived!
The stockings are filled with a little overflow for Taylor.  
She must have been a pretty special girl this year.

We'll attend early Mass and then return to 
open presents and have a little breakfast.

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!
And beware of the potatoes.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Countdown to Christmas

We're counting down the days to Christmas.
We decorated the tree last night. I put on the upper 
ornaments and Taylor took care of the lower branches.
Bird is no longer with us so I found a little white
bird at the dollar store and placed her on the tree.
(I made some slight modifications so she would look right)

I tie the tree to the spindles of the stairs
just in case, I've had a tree fall before
and don't want to repeat that!

Taylor has been working on her Advent calendar.

We have the traditional Christmas Candy.
Bob's peppermint sticks are the best
although you can't hang them on the tree. 

 Between work and some projects I didn't have time
to bake so I picked up some pretty cookies at Aldi. 

Taylor won't mind, I'm sure.
We heard the pitter patter of little feet
coming down the steps and then Taylor
walked into the kitchen to see what's for
breakfast.  Pop's was cooking up
some  potatoes with onion and celery
plus a cheese topping.

The amaryllis is poking up so I hope it blooms.

This is a table runner that my co-worker made 
us this year.  It uses only 2 pieces of fabric made into 
a tube, sew and iron to allow the back fabric 
to become a border, flip over the edges and 
attach buttons to the ends.  There's no batting
so it's fast and easy.
Here is a link to the pattern.

 I folded it over so you can see the front is striped and the
back is a coordinated piece.

I still have to finish a major project and pick up a couple of 
minor things but after that I think we are ready!
It looks like we will miss the bad weather, we'll
get rain but probably miss the ice and sleet.

 I hope your plans are also going well!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

What a Difference- 24 hours

Yesterday, dawn was gorgeous!
 The morning glow was a rainbow of yellows,
oranges, blues, pink and purples.

Here is the view this morning?
We still have Blue but also grey and a lot of white!


A view from the second floor front porch.
The cats are not happy.
Neither are the birds.

This is the driveway up to the subdivision road.
The guys were out plowing this morning and
plan on rebuilding the salt spreader this afternoon
so it actually works.

I had planned to go to the fabric sale at the quilt shop
which is about 20-30 miles from the house 
but I think I'll just stick around here.
I've got lots to keep me busy.

 The snow ranged up to 9 inches in parts of 
Franklin county (our county) but we were not nearly
that deep.  There were lots of highway
accidents, many in town (St. Louis City/County) 
where I would have thought street crews would have had 
it cleared earlier but since it started with rain,
they may have had to wait until it stopped
and the snow began.

I do have some scraps to throw out to 
the woodland critters since everything is covered.
I'll wait until later, once the raccoon and opossum come out.
The cats are warm and dry between the porch shelters
and the area beneath our porch that they have dug out.
The covered porch is 9 ft deep so they bed down way  
back where no water or snow ever gets.
There's always the tractor tent too, 
easy enough to crawl beneath the tent flaps.

Well, I've frustrated myself enough with
some quilting issues so now it's time to take
a break and have some lunch.

Stay safe and warm!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Pretty and Bright to a Snowy Night

 It sure started out to be a pretty morning,
the colors were amazing and I was lucky 
to catch the shot when I did. In a matter of minutes
the colors fade away as the sun makes it over the hills.

Regardless, it would be short lived.
Yet another winter storm advisory 
Rain to Sleet to Snow by nightfall,
expected accumulation 3-5 inches by morning.
 So much for finishing up my shopping.
I worked from home in the morning and
 took 1/2 day vacation in the afternoon for just that.

So, what did I do instead?

I changed out the dining table
from Thanksgiving to Christmas.
My thrift store Funky Santa made his 2013 debut
along with new friends
Mr. Snowman Tea pot and cup
and Ms Penguin coffee mug.
They make a nice trio on my 
S'Noel table runner.

After baking some brownies I grabbed
my apple peeler/corer and two bags of apples.

I had an entire bowl of peels and cores left for
the critters this evening. They'll make a nice
treat when everything is covered in snow.

I gave the slices a lemon juice/water bath and
laid them out on the dehydrator sheets. 

 Then shaking my head, I realized that when
this is all said and done I would have prepped  apples
for about an hour, with several more hours in dehydrator time, 
only to have my husband gobble them down in no time flat!

  A friend stopped by a bit ago and reported
that the roads are starting to get pretty 
slushy.  Until it stops raining there's no use in 
putting down the salt and having it run off the hillside.
  I guess nature made sure I had plenty of quilting time
tomorrow- I need it!  Deadlines approach.

Stay safe,
Stay warm! 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Visit with Santa(s)

We made our annual visit to Santa today.
He always stops at Bourbeuse Valley Harley Davidson
about this time of year, checking up on all the good
little girls and boys, and probably taking a 
spin or two while the reindeer wait out back.

We met our daughter, Becky, a little after 10 AM
for the ritual handing off of the granddaughter, Taylor.
Surprisingly we were the 2nd in line!
Normally we arrive much later and the place is packed
with children and lots of Santa's elves. 

Taylor is registered for a chance to win this bear,
her grandpa, Pops, wants the bike
which happens to be around $40k so
I wouldn't be holding my breath if I were Pops.

There's always the orange Harley tree
with all sorts of ornaments.

Toys and games are scattered around for 
the kids to play with while they wait.
We'll pick up our photos in a week or so
but I also snapped some of my own.

As it happened, we ran into one of Santa's helpers
when we stopped in at the local Ace Hardware
so Taylor was able to have a second visit 
in just a few minutes!
We had promised her a pair of really warm
gloves, waterproof and warm, which we found here.

This is a great Ace Hardware.
All Hardware is on the basement floor,
ground level from the rear of the building.
The home goods, toys, gifts and fabric shop is
on the first floor, ground level from the front
of the building.

Does it get any better?
Two visits to Santa,
and a stop at the quilt shop!