Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas 2014

Well, this is my first shared video on my blog.  We got some fun lights at Costco - I put one strand on the tree.  In the video you can see the one strand goes from multi-colored to white then back again.  The other new thing I got this year from Costco were some wireless remote plugs.  I first put the new plug in the outlet, then plug in the lights.  It made it very simple to turn the lights on the tree, and the house, on an off.  Next time I share a video I'll make sure the action is not under the arrow!
This year when undoing the tree and lights I wrapped the lights in Christmas wrap and labeled them to remember where the lights were used.  I lost track of the number of strands that were on the tree, but it was nice and bright.  I'm giving away all the lights collected over the years by my folks and us via freecycle!

We decorated a lot this year, or at least it seemed more, as it was a year where we hosted the department and class party.  It was nice to have the house fixed up again.  Our son and his girlfriend came to one of the parties and I found out then that she was going to her family for the holidays. So we just had our son here for that.  It was a nice couple of visits.  We played board games and watched Endeavor on TV.  No Dr Who, but we recorded that to watch later.  We also had some friends from our son's high school over.  We cooked meals together and chatted.  Will be having them over again to cook and play games again.

I'm back now to boxing things up so we can have the new carpeting installed, but now I'm thinking I may want to go ahead with a few changes to the kitchen first - that seems a better order to do things to me...

I am blocked now from sewing as either projects are boxed up, or I am waiting to move my sewing to an upstairs room and to move the bedroom furniture from there to the first floor.  I'm hoping to have some house guests this year so want to make sure they have a nice set up on their own floor!

For sewing in 2015 I'm going to be sewing for Quilts for Kids -  that group meets twice a month to sew together for the kids.  I'm going to attend the adult ed class for quilting on Fridays. Then I will have at least one day of sewing for my projects.  I'll get things organized once the furniture is moved, and especially after that upstairs room is cleared out and can be totally and only for sewing!

My dear Mom passed away in November, last month.  These last years we had good times together.  I got a ramp van, took her to the university for exercise several times a week and took her to have her nails done. Found a close by beauty college so she would have her hair done one day, her manicure on another day and her pedicure on another.  Some weeks we do it all, and sometimes would alternate with manicure and pedicure.  For a few years we also went out to lunch and/or shopping for one day each week.  I really don't like shopping, but she liked it so we did it.  I have wonderful friends that would visit her and take her out so my husband (and sometimes son too) could go away on trips.  My mom would be afraid I wasn't returning, but my friends comforted her and let me know how things were going.  I know my mom would have been happy that I was getting to have the foreign experiences if she had been more aware.  It's very different with the passing of my mom, and I'm having some sad days or days all I do is stare out the window thinking about only what I'm looking at or sleeping.

I miss our times together and just hope I spent enough time with her.  I know she would have liked going shopping more.  I would have liked preparing more meals with her and by the time I was experimenting with sewing she had finished with that kind of detail work.  I was late to adopt sewing and cooking - too late to do with her.  But it would have been fun for both of us to do that together.

I received so many nice cards or emails or calls - from family, from friends, professors and unexpectedly from friends of my sons.  Very nice people.  One said I heard your mom passed away. I'm so sorry. I hope you are feeling okay.  Another I was sad to hear about your mom's passing. My thoughts are with you and your family. From everything my parents said, you were there for her in every way possible.  I've always sent cards, and sometimes visited after someone passed away, but until my Mom going didn't realize how comforting those cards were.  It was especially nice to hear from my son's friends or children of friends.  Well raised people, I'm lucky to know them.

My Father loved to play games and pretend.  He would read books to me and listen.  My mom would take me to so many classes - she really looked out for me. And oh she could sew!  I remember the first dress she made for me.  Turquoise and white - she made it like a paper doll dress.  Just cut the shape out, sewed the front and back together and them put bias tape on all the openings.  I wouldn't have noticed that myself, but I remember her talking to other ladies about it.  She followed  pattern and made one for herself with  regular facings, darts and hem - but I always thought my paper doll dress was the best.  I have the last things she made for me.  Beautiful tailored jackets, vests, pants and skirts.  I felt like Princess Diana when I wore them.  I'm way too big now to put them on again, I've kept them though just in case there is a granddaughter someday I guess.  From what I've seen, once the girls hit high school they are too big to think of wearing my old clothes.

The night she passed away I told her how she gave me so many good memories and how I appreciated her and loved her. I asked her if she could hear me and she moved her head a little.  Then my husband came and said hello to her - we then sat down and talked to each other a little loudly to be sure my Mom knew she was not alone.  I asked my husband how much something was going to cost and I heard my Mom take two deep breathes, then there was no noise.  I waited for my husband to finish his answer and said I thought she was gone.  We confirmed to each other.  Then waited for the caregiver who really cares to be free and I caught her in the hallway, she came in an confirmed. She removed the pillow from under my mom's knees and closed her eyes.  Then she made the calls to hospice so they knew.  A nurse from hospice came and confirmed, then they called Telophase.  I think it was about an hour after she passed a way that he came.  I said my goodbye and we left - walking to the store as I recall.  She was gone when we returned - he had suggested we leave as he had to sort of wrap her before putting her in the back of his car - I think it was a van - I can't remember.  It's hard for me to write about this, but I'm writing it so I will remember later on.

Going thru boxes in the garage I'm finding stacks of letters I wrote to my folks.  I had forgotten I had written them so often.  My mom was organized and gave them to me shortly after I got married.  I remember she said I probably wanted to dump them as I often was writing about boyfriends, but I tucked them away so I still have them after reading a few of them.  Maybe I will read them all again, I'm not sure.  Maybe I can remember what I was thinking back then!  I'm afraid I was not as organized and do not have the letters they wrote to me.  I also found letters that I wrote to our son when he was little - guess it's time for me to pass those on to him.  Hope he will read them!

So it's been a different holiday season for me - but I'm starting to make plans for what to do for the next few months...

I'm waiting to post this until I have some quilting or sewing to share.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Received: Winner: Fabric Therapy: Quiltmaker 100 Blocks, No. 10

I received the 100 Block magazine, and had fun going thru picking blocks I was interesting in trying. Thanks again to 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Received: Winner: s.o.t.a.k handmade: Two in One Pouch Pattern and 9 Lovely fat Quarters

 I have received the fabric from the drawing at s.o.t.a.k handmade.  It's even cuter in person!

Thank you so much, Svetlana! Always good ideas from her blog.

Me out of 1,126 Comments.  Incredible.


I do intend to make One of Svetlana's pouches, but probably first will make a little quilt for the grandchild of a friend in Sweden, who I just found out about!  The little girls in fabric remind me of the characters in the children's books she mailed my son.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Winner: Fabric Therapy: Quiltmaker 100 Blocks, No. 10

I was one of the winners of this drawing at Fabric Therapy:

I'll get a copy of Quiltmaker 100 Blocks, No. 10!

What fun!

Thank you Teresa!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Winner: s.o.t.a.k handmade: Two in One Pouch Pattern and 9 Lovely fat Quarters

There were 1.126 comments for this nice drawing.  And I was picked as the winner!
svetlana sotak
to me

Hello June,

I'm happy to say you're the winner of my Sew, mama, sew! giveaway. Congratulations!!!
Please send me your address and I'll have the fabric you won in the mail on Monday.
I've also attached a PDF copy of my Two in one pouch to this email. Enjoy :)
Thank you so very much for taking part in my giveaway. Hope you have a very lovely evening. Svetlana

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Liberated Gingerbread Cookie Christmas Trees

Here are my liberated Christmas tree gingerbread cookies!

I used a package cookie mix, and pre-made cookie frosting.  Fun and tasty!  

Got the idea from a post on blog.

Also made brownies in mini-muffin tins and starting with sugar cookie mix crushed some candy canes and mixed in half of the dough, then put teaspoon of each dough together and rolled to make a ball - ended up being a nice cookie.  Since I had tossed all my food coloring and peppermint flavoring this was a good way to make them!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

20141124 Meeting Mary from Panama in Tustin

Just a few emails to plan, but today drove to Orange County to meet charming online friend, Mary from Panama!  We had lunch at Corner Bakery and then caravaned (sp?)  to a quilt shop in Tustin.  What an interesting person and life.  She and her husband live now in Panama and have adventures all the time there - this is after years of sailing in their sail boat.  Amazing to see her appliqued words and pictures on her quilts.  They organize and do lots of volunteer work in their community.  It's always interesting to read about what they are doing.


Flying Duck Fabric, Tustin
$13.17 - two half yards of fabric purchased with Mary from Panama!

We briefly made plans to use the fabric as part of a new liberated round robin.

After leaving Mary I went to M&L Fabrics by Knott's Berry Farm:

Too many choices.  Again I didn't buy anything...

Friday, November 7, 2014

Studio GO Circles

Went to adult education today and set up the GO, I needed and got a lot of help from the fellow students.

First I got help with just getting the machine out of the cupboard and onto a desk.

The cabinet where it is stored now requires the handle to be removed so the machine can be locked up.  That took a while to figure out.

Then the circle template was arranged differently than I imagined, and the circles were smaller too.  But it will be good.   So I had brought my Kansas City Troubles strips to do the circles.  It took me a while to decide but decided to go ahead.  I had to iron the facing on and then cut.  I did two different materials at the same time as the template has 2 columns of circles right next to each other.  But at first I was putting the template at the front of the tray and it wasn't working right, moving it to the back of the tray made it work in short order.

Because of all the figuring out I lost track of counting the circles, know I didn't finish all I will need for the abacus quilt, but realized I had cut more than I needed in the fabrics I already cut circles from.  I hadn't brought my sewing machine in the class, so didn't test the block - I just cut circles. So I sure hope I will like making the blocks for the quilt!

I thought I would need help with getting the machine back in the cabinet so had to shut down early as the lady who said she'd help had to leave early.  (Now I know a trick for moving it so can do on my own the next time! Simply carry without the tray, and hold the bars on either side!)

It gave me time though to chat with the instructor.  Talked about my Mom and how she is not eating as much now and more.  It was good to have someone listen and care.  (We have known each other off and on for about 22 years!)

Friday, October 31, 2014


I went to the quilting class and had the best time!

We had a wonderful potluck in class.

Everyone brought their food to the student commons, and one lady decorated all the tables.  I should have taken a photo but didn't. Each table had a floor length black covering, then a smaller orange covering with Halloween designs.  On top of each there was a glass rectangle with candle inside and either a spider or skeleton climbing up the outside.

The food was labeled with fun titles:
  • Heartbeat salad was hearts of palm, beet and a piece of cheese on a toothpick.
  • Bone brittle was some wonderful stuff from Costco, little squares of a lightly sugared cashew nut and pumpkin seed mixture.
I can't remember them all.  It was so unexpected that everyone was laughing and having so much fun.  It was great to get to chat with the ladies and find out about their lives.

For my quilting part of the class I continued to sew more of the quarter circles.  A lot of energy was going into party so it was better to keep working on that.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Quarter Circles: Day Two

My adult education class was on again.  

I brought more quarter circles to put together.  This time I stacked the pieces so all the same color fabrics were together.  Then I rotated thru the different colors. Some of the pieces went together perfectly, while others had odd stitching on the back or the seams became inconsistent.

I'm not loving working with these pieces as much as I thought I would. It's not just the actual sewing that I'm having a problem with, it's the colors. I really would like to have the background be a different set of fabrics that the quarter circle but the template for the AccuQuilt is set up so both shapes are cut at the same time.

But I have all these lovely pieces cut out so will challenge myself to perfect the stitching!

I searched again tonight to find some help with the piecing:

The Studio AccuQuilt is in the classroom again - hurray - so next week along with food for the potluck, I will bring fabric prepped so I can cut pieces up.  The decision to make will be on what fabrics to bring and what shapes to cut?

Template Name                            Rough cut   Cut results
50607    Super Strip Cutter 5.5 inch       15 x 26   1-5.5 inch strip (double check rough cut)
50047    Strip Cutter 6.5 inch             13 x 25   2-6.5 inch strips 
50062    Super Strip Cutter 4.5 inch      9.5 x 25   2-4.5 inch strips
50058    Super Strip Cutter 3 inch         10 x 26   3-3.0 inch strips
50060    Super Strip Cutter 3.5 inch      9.5 x 25   2-3.5 inch strips
50612    Super Giant Strip 2.5 inch        13 x 25   5-2.5 inch strips

50212    Square #1  5 inch by 5 inch     11.5 x 17   6-5.0 inch squares (2x3)
50284    Everyday Tote                     10 x 15   tote ends up 3"W x 12"L x 9"H (need pattern)
50297    Rag Quilt 6 inch by 7 inch       9.5 x 12   1-6"W x 7"H (15 cm x 18 cm) rag shape with 3/4"L x 1/4"W (2 cm x 1 cm) fringe
50220    Tumbler Block #2                   5 x 25   6-3 5/8"W x 3 1/2"H
50221    Tumbler Block #3                 9.5 x 24   4-6 1/2"W x 6 1/2"H

I cut a bunch of the smaller tumbler blocks a few years ago and found them to be really enjoyable to sew as leaders and enders to my more liberated projects, but I don't want to get tired of them.  Also it seems my friends are all having baby boys so all the pink that I cut out won't be used right now...

I did not prep the fabric last time I used the AccuQuilter so had to spend time ironing and folding to get things to fit.  I think it would be more time efficient to come with pressed pieces at the rough cut size...!

The teacher has more templates including the quarter circle (I think it would be good to add some print materials in my plain mix of yellows and blues), and she may have a whole circle template.  If she has the whole circle then I will make an abacus quilt.

In other things I've finished scanning another bankers box - only 5 million to go!  Ha ha.

My DH and I have been talking about getting new windows, but I can tell it's going to be something I research and decide on really.  Any one out there will experience on this?

Also, this comiing Friday we were asked to bring food for potluck for the quilting class.  I'm scratching my head on this too - ideas welcome!

: )

Friday, October 24, 2014

Mini-Trip to the East Coast

We recently returned from a quick trip back East. It was mostly* wonderful. DH thought we'd be there to see the fall leaves, but the trees were mostly green.  

We started with a visit to WPI to see one of his professors. We attended a social event for alumni - they have about 8 times a year. They have a professor give a lecture on one of their projects then get their lunch at the faculty club and eat and chat. It was an interesting and important project. They are working on not only delivering medicine after a heart attack but repairing the muscle to take away the damage. The professor and his wife were quite nice, and there were other people there too who remembered my husband or who he remembered. It's a social thing for former students, professors and staff. WPI is a very nice environment to be in and to be associated with. When we move there I hope we attend some of these meetings each year.  

Then we went to Mark Twain's house in Hartford and it was on to Waterbury, where DH lived until he went to WPI.  
Exterior Mark Twain House

We had a bonus there as his 'little brother' from the WPI fraternity (who usually lives in Denver) was in CT for his sister's wedding. So we had dinner with him. He is an expert at wines so it's always fun to taste different ones and hear about them.

Painting in Waterbury Restaurant

We got a call from our son during dinner.  He was offered several jobs, decided after chatting with DH on the one that was a little farther away (30+ minutes) but is more about what he is studying for his masters degree. Data scientist for a company that does semantic searches for other businesses. It's also salary with benefits and what not. They will let him work part time until he graduates this December. Sounds like a great fit.  We are very proud of him.  His fiance is working full time as an engineer and has started her MA so they are both very busy.

The next day we went to Holy Land USA, a hill with folk art in Waterbury. In the 60's some guy organized people to create little miniatures of buildings in Israel that were in the bible. We had to go thru the do not enter signs that are posted around. It's something we visit every time we are in Waterbury. DH could see the construction from his bedroom window. A former mayor has just purchased it and says he will rebuilt it with another group of volunteers.  We'll see.  We went to a beautiful art history museum then in New Britain on our way to Rhode Island.  They had a quilt exhibit that was interesting, but photos were not allowed for that exhibit.

Steps at Museum

At this point *DH started feeling ill and was getting a cold.  Still we had a nice time with his friends and got to see their new home.  When we were there the old house was bull dozed and this new one created. Beautiful. Lots of windows and great views of the river and boats. We went to Waterfire in Providence and after a walk to see the fire had a wonderful dinner on Federal Hill. After two nights DH left for Cambridge as he had to work and I got to have another two days with the friends. We walked on the beach, shopped, went out to dinner, watched TV, it was nice. They had come in two cars and the last day he had to work so I had one day alone just with Ba. We went to library and several book stores. It was fun.
Designs friend liked at shops in Rhode Island

We went to their home in Winchester 
Friend's Family Quilt - beautiful and over 100 years old!

and I went thru the boxes we had left there and pulled out a long sleeve shirt and a light sweater that was nice to have on the rest of the trip.  They dropped me off at the Charles Hotel where DH was.  
Charles Hotel - Lobby and hallway decorated with quilts

Details of carpets from Charles

DH was really sick when I arrived.  So I walked to get him some cold medicine and food - he had been working so much and after the first $50 room service meal that wasn't that great he had decided to not eat (other than the granola bars I always put in his suitcase).  Gosh, It was wonderful to walk in Harvard Square again!  I had to keep on task though so just got the benedril and hamburger he had requested from Flat Patties.  The bed and room was beautiful. They had a handmade quilt in blue and white on top of a silk comforter. The desk in the room was huge - just right for what DH needed. Only we had to move out at the prices more than doubled for the third night....

We went to Assembly Square to stay at a more modest place.  DH was mainly coughing or working so I walked over to the stores and looked around. It's the first new T stop in forever and is a huge new development, but in the end it's stores and restaurants with apartments above . Very nice looking but all new. I brought DH food back and stayed sort of close as he was really coughing. I had some books to read that I had purchased in Rhode Island so I was happy do that to be near DH. He started to get better and on the second night he left the room to eat out, so much better than eating in the room!

Assembly Square Designs

Then we moved to a hotel on the Charles by Trader Joe's, a great location.  DH went to the beautiful Cambridge Library until we could check in to the new hotel, and I took a walk after my dental appointment. 

Central Square Designs

Cambridge Library Steps

I ended up at the library and we drove back to Central Square. We ate at an Indian Restaurant we had eaten at several times while there for the sabbatical. The most delicious curried salmon and non with raisins.  Yum!  We walked to a specialty bookstore with all sorts of mystical books.  Then it was back to work for him.  (The whole trip was very last minute as he realized his frequent flyer miles would expire but would get us there so we just paid for the food, car and hotels.  Meetings and projects though were added after the tickets were purchased.  His getting cold didn’t help things…)

The second day there I had a wonderful time as DH was feeling better and I got up early to have a cinnamon roll and egg at Veggie Galaxie, then I just walked and walked (almost 12 miles!) Stopped in some places (Garment District for one) but mainly just tried to go down new-to-me streets.  I ended up in Faneuil Hall Square and treated myself to a lobster roll lunch at Durgin Park.  I walked on to South Street Station and took the T to Davis Square.  I got there before DH (I had called him when I got to the station.)  We met our friends for dinner there at Out of the Blue.
Awards displayed in walking area of bridge to Boston

The last day we just packed and drove to the airport – there was time for a final Dunkin Doughnut before we got on the plane.

On the second leg of the flight I sat in the center so got to chat a little with the lady next to me.  We ended up exchanging phone numbers as we both like to walk!

Back in San Diego we decided to eat at the Phil’s BBQ in the terminal before going home to crash.  It was a good decision, no lines, same food as the restaurant!