Turning on the Wayback Machine

Sheesh. It's only been a day or two since I've blogged, but it feels like a year has passed. It's a burry 29° out this morning, and I'm happy to be having a stay-at-home-and-sew-my-guts-out day. Sewing is another thing I haven't done in two days, and I'm already Jonesing for it. Smitty and I took a few minutes just before I sat down to write this post to fill the suet and peanut feeders. It's frosty and cold out. (As my friend Sue would say, "Spoken like someone who didn't grow up in Wisconsin.")

The cold doesn't bother Smitty. He wears his winter woollies full time. He's a cat on a mission, and therefore, often a blur.

We had a very nice family gathering on Christmas Eve. Everybody came early, and so we had lots of time together while we waited for dinner. Erik and Mae were happy that Oregon State won its football game.

Matthew kept Smitty occupied.

Matthew is Smitty's favorite person. Smitty had a hard day and spent much of the evening thus:

And Mike is looking pretty darned good considering he was knocking at death's door a few weeks ago. It's good to see him so chipper again.

Our dinner menu consisted of our annual prime rib dinner, garlic mashed potatoes, Roasted Root Vegetables with Thyme and Marjoram Vinaigrette. That one is a family favorite. Leftovers can be pureed and turned into roasted vegetable soup. Let's see, what else? Burgundy Mushrooms from The Pioneer Woman. I've made these before. The first time, I though they were a little too salty. They have a lot of bouillon in them and then even more added salt and Worcestershire. This time, I left out the salt and added a cup of coarsely chopped onion for texture. We liked them much better that way. They simmer all day long, and they sure make the house smell good. Mae made a really delicious salad from arugula, kale, dried cranberries, cooked and cubed butternut squash and goat cheese. Yum. And we finished off with a new dessert in the form of Cranberry Crunch. It was a nice light dessert to follow a big meal. I always think fruit crisps and the like can seem friendly after a heavy meal.

And when all of that was nestled all snug in our tummies, the guys finished things off with a toast.

It was a lovely evening, and Santa was good to everyone. All of the pictures you see in this post were taken with my new camera, which is the newest version of my beloved Nikon point and shoot. This one is the Coolpix S9500.
It's very similar to the camera I've been using, but it adds the convenience of GPS and Wi-fi. The GPS allows me to tag the location of my images when I shoot them. I can also record 20-second voice notes if I want to. It also adds some cool filters instantly if I want, Instagram style, and the Wi-fi allows me to upload pictures to my smart phone instantly for posting to my blog or Facebook. Of course, every new version of every camera has more megapixels. Honestly, for someone who started with a Kodak Brownie, ahem, this one from the 14th Century,

these new digital cameras and all their capabilities are nothing short of magic.

Also, I got some new small appliances for my kitchen that I'll tell you about as I use them. But until then, here are a few of my favorites from the kids:

Matthew made this aromatherapy necklace for me. It's a clay disk. I rub four drops of an essential oil on it and then wear it with the disk against my skin. Depending on which oil I use, I should feel a different therapeutic effect.

He included three vials of essential oils.

Lavender for calming, peppermint to sooth my stomach (when necessary), and elevation for energy. What a lovely thoughtful gift, handmade by my little boy.

Erik and Mae gave me these cute cat canisters and measuring cups. This first one is the set of measuring cups.

When you lift the lid, it reveals the nesting measuring cups inside. And when I took this picture, I noticed the ball of yarn in the bottom. Cute!

There are also three large canisters that I'm using in my pantry to hold chocolate chips, dried fruits, and nuts.

And I'm just going to go out on a limb here and say that these are the cat's meow!

Also, some fabric. What quilter doesn't love fabric? Mae knows that I have a penchant for pretty polkadots. (Awesome Alliteration.)

These are going to be so cute sewn into some quilt. I have plans for you, my pretties.

And that's about all I can tell you about Christmas, except that I'm glad it's over. We do all of our celebrating on Christmas Eve, and when we're finished, I want Christmas out! So Christmas Day is usually reserved for putting things away and taking down the tree, Scrooge-like as that may sound. It works well for us because Mike is off work, and what the heck, right? So, everything is cleaned up and put away for another season. Bring on 2014!

Yesterday I ventured into the sewing room to get things organized a little bit. I had some fabrics to put away, and I pulled out my next project to study it for a bit. I haven't had time for the last two Hello Moon blocks, and the last project on my December to-do list was to make another vertical row for "The Birds Return" quilt I started a few months ago.

Nevertheless, today is the day I told myself I would start quilting the Heart of the Home table runner, and that is what I'm going to work on today.

Now here's the thing: I was studying the image from the pattern to see how they'd quilted it, and realized to my dismay that the center blocks are turned the wrong way. Here is the image from the pattern:

See the small hearts in the center? My outer two blocks are rotated 180°. It's a small thing, really, and it makes little difference in the look of the table runner, but it did mean that the quilting design they used in the pattern wouldn't work because I don't have enough negative space for it now. Oh well. Time to be creative. (Pauses to cough as smoke from her brain fills the room.)

So I had a good idea what to do, but I needed some kind of heart template. Then, I had what I would consider a rare stroke of genius when I remembered the heart-shaped cookie cutter I have. I tested it out, and it is the perfect size!

Cool! And now I'm satisfied that I know just how to quilt it, so I'm raring to go (as my mother would have said).  If I can get that finished, I might still have time to finish up the Hello Moon blocks and the vertical row for "The Birds Return" before the end of the month.

And that's about all I have to say except that I've been waiting for a delivery to tell you about this last thing. The new camper has been parked in the driveway ever since it came home about six weeks ago. Mike has gone after it with his usual gusto, fixing things his engineering soul thinks should have been done differently, outfitting it for maximum efficiency and storage capacity, and those other man-type things. You can see pictures of the interior of the camper in a previous blog post. He even installed a grab bar that will make it easier for me to get up onto the bed given that I can't use my knee to boost myself up.

The biggest concern was how to make up the bed while still staying married to one another, and Mike was the hero where that was concerned too. He found a very cool sort of "sleeping bag" system (for lack of a better term) that has a warm side for winter and a cool side for summer. You just flip it over as the need arises. It has sheets that velcro inside and that can be removed for washing. Which brings me to the part I've been saving for delivery of the actual bag. Here's a video so you can see how it works:

It's a pretty slick deal. If you can't see the video, click here. So that came on Monday. Mike also found a memory foam mattress pad that works over the top of the mattress. So here's how it all looks:

Yeah, not much to see, but there you go. We still need some pillows. I think we're going to be comfy-cozy if the weather ever improves enough for us to use the camper. As for my participation in outfitting the camper, I still need to put in some skid-proof shelf liner and put away the Corelle we got for it. That's my contribution.

So that's about it. I hope you all had a nice Christmas and that you're ready for the new year. With that, I'm heading for the sewing room.

10 comments from clever and witty friends:

Andee said...

Looks like the family got you all kinds of great stuff! :)

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I just love the kitty canisters and cups - how precious! I am ready to take down my decor too - first some other cleaning and then it goes.

Lynda Halliger Otvos (Lynda M O) said...

Love the kitty canisters and measuring cups. So Cute !~! Those of us who "weren't raised in Wisconsin" feel that cold so much more than the Northern Natives we call friends. I have a best buddy in Ontario and she laughs at me complaining about our BAy ARea weather. Her husband has been shoveling for months !~!

WoolenSails said...

It looks like you had a wonderful Christmas and lots of fun gifts. I use the trail finder on my phone so I take a photo with that and it pin points it on the trail, nice feature to have. Love the way you did your bed, we had to trash all our bedding from the mice, so going to put our own in and want something comfy but able to fold into the tent trailer.


Kitchener Quilter said...

Love your kitty canisters, with a ball of yarn in the bottom. Very nice. My DH likes to tell people I didn't even have a toaster when he met me! Now I'm a digital maniac, preferring to sleep with my tablet instead of him, he says! Serves him right, he got me my first digital camera. Amazing how things change, isn't it?

Kate said...

Looks like your family knows you well. Glad you had a festive holiday.

quiltzyx said...

Sounds like all y'all had a wonderful Christmas! Fun measuring cups & canisters & polka dots. I love the aromatherapy necklace that Matthew made. I have a terracotta figure that I can put essential oils into - I had forgotten all about it until I saw your necklace! And the best - that Mike is back to his good self too!

That super bag is a terrific idea. Way back when, I got a king size sleeping bag from Union 76 that I used when we camped. It filled the whole back of my little Isuzu P'up. It was all nylon covered & had double insulation at the foot end, so my feet stayed nice & warm. If it was really cold, I used a flannel sheet inside, as the nylon would be chilly at first. You could even totally unzip it for 2 single sleeping bags too. It worked great for me - and your new one makes perfect sense for your camper & so much easier to make the bed!

Brown Family said...

I love the Kitty cups and canisters. The heart cookie cutter is perfect for a quilt design. That bed system looks neat!

Tami C said...

Your yard looks lovely with a coating of frost on it! I'm sure Smitty was glad to get outside. Sure looks like he got a work out! Glad to see Mike feeling so much better. Your cat canisters and measuring cups sure are cute! You RVSuperbag sounds really interesting. I always managed to bang my shins when making up the bed in our RV.

Patricia Lines said...

Lovely cat cups and canisters! They are just meow-varlous. Glad DH is doing so much better too. Hope you have a Great and Happy New Year!