Saturday, December 31, 2011

NEW'BEE Block for January

This is the January block for my online bee at 15 Minute Play, called NEW'BEE. This block was designed/requested by Katherine. We were to create made fabric in whites, black with white prints, and two contrasting bright colors. Her instructions were very clear and easy - you can see them here.

I'm enjoying a wonderful, three-day weekend of sewing sewing sewing!

Happy New Year to all!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Home for Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!
We were lucky to have the whole clan here for most of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so happy!


What a huge gift pile - we are blessed indeed! This pile includes gifts from relatives from out of town, besides our family. And we always get each other more than one gift - we love Christmas, and we open gifts leisurely, over a couple of hours.

Hannah posing with a gift!
Gen loved this package!
Emily and Matt relaxing after the gift-opening extravaganza. What a great day!
Dora has decided that she is a lap dog - at 67 pounds! Emily just took the GMAT this week, and aced it! She got a great score - 750! - and now is applying to business schools, as well as law schools - in the Boston area. Her BF, Matt, has been accepted to Harvard Business School (as well as U of Chicago Business School) for the coming fall, and they will be heading east for the next two years. Congrats, Emily!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Doppa 2011

Dopp i grytan, or doppa, as my family calls it, is a tradition Swedish Christmas meal. Served at noon on Christmas Eve, this was to be a meal that the women could prepare easily, feed everyone quickly - tradition says you stand while eating - and then get everyone out of there, so they could finish with the Christmas Eve smorgasbord preparations.


Although we have no family here in Illinois, we have invited our friends to join us for years, and they all look forward to it.


Swedish potato sausage, smoked pork sausage, pork roast, beef roast, and in the amber pot it the doppa - the cooking juices, into which we dip slices of bread - hence the title, doppa - which means dipping. I also served a tossed salad, and what Minnesota meal would be complete without jello?
As you can see, we had already eaten when I remembered to take a picture. The meat platters were piled high before this!
The "kids" table: Matt, Hannah (now a brunette again), Emily, Kelly Hires, and Mark Stickney.
More friends: Andrew Johnson, Scott, Lydia, Ian, and John Black, Rebecca Schumacher, and Diane Hires and Bill Crowther. Special friends, all!


For some, this is the best part - pie for dessert! Another tradition is that every family brings a pie to share. We cut them all into skinny pieces, so you can try many varieties. This year, we had pumpkin, peach with blueberries, lemon chess, and coconut cream (the one I made). There was also a selection of cookies, and some whipped cream for topping off the pie. Yum!

Christmas Tour Part 2

Entering our front door, first-time visitors are quite often surprised how much living space our little house has! It was originally a 2-bedroom, 1-bath ranch, but the family room addition on the back of the house (where the tree is) really opens up the main floor, and makes our house great for entertaining. Scott did a great job hanging the garland and lights - we also have it over the large picture window in the living room, and also outside the house as well.
This tiny nativity's pieces (except for the pianos) came from an Advent calendar, many years ago. When Hannah was tiny, she loved arranging the pieces, and one day she had the wise men playing the pianos. So of course we always arrange them that way, ever since! Nice picture of Mags in the background, good old girl.
Little crowd of snowmen on the piano.
Swedish Christmas tree, Christmas quilt, a few angels and a couple stockings. I made the tree many years ago - you can really tell, because all that was available for quilters then was tiny calicoes.
Hope you enjoyed the tour!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Tour Part 1


This is a favorite corner of my house - right by the front door, you are greeted by my grandma Johnson's tinsel tree. She got this back in the 60s, when she didn't want the bother of a big, real tree anymore. It's pretty kitchy but I love it. My mom embroidered the mat below it, and the two items on the wall were from my grandma's house, too.
This is Scott's favorite display. We got these ceramic carolers as a special gift from his mom, about 20 years ago. Someone in Marshall, Minnesota, sold them, and Maurine bought sets for both of her boys. Carefully displayed on my grandma's reed organ by Scott.
I made this "Believe" quilt as part of the first "Labor of Love" quilt contest. I "believe" I was a finalist, and the quilt was featured in Quilter's Newsletter Magazine. Inspired by a Mary Engelbreit Christmas image.
I love this little angel quilt - made with a group of friends, it is a Round Robin quilt. I made the center, and then it was passed around for the next four borders. I added the pieced border and quilted it.
Merry Christmas to all!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Lab Dog or Lap Dog?

Hannah snapped a few pics with her phone recently...a little blurry, but maybe you will see how lucky we are to have this sweet doggie living with us!

Dora was half lying in my lap - her other half is on the ottoman (she is way too big to actually share the chair with me, she weighs 67 pounds!), and her head was on my chest. The love of a dog is such a pure thing, there's nothing like it.
Doesn't she have a beautiful profile? We got Dora from Chris at Cricket Hollow Farms. Dora is disarmingly beautiful. At least we think so!

And her face is so expressive. Here we are, sharing a little moment. Sure, I could be getting some work done around the house - but would it be as satisfying as this?

Quilts for BASICS, Star Blocks for Victoria

I have been busy, doing some sewing lately! Funny, that during December, one of the busiest months of the year, I also do more sewing than in most months! How to get everything done?


Order carryout!


I made these blocks for my bee buddy, Victoria, for the NEW'BEE swap bee from 15 Minutes Play blog. She asked for a 12-1/2" star block, with a star of any size somewhere inside the block. She said we could also make another star, that she would finish. The colors were: yellows, golds/browns, purples, blues, greens, hot pink, orange, and NO black or white. She wanted a basically dark block, with lighter, ethereal stars. This was very challenging for me! Also, Victoria sent all of us bee members two swatches of fabric to include in the blocks.
Other finishes in the past month were two quilts for BASICS, a great organization in New York that helps folks with housing and other needs. Victoria put out a request for quilts, of any size. I finished two old tops into quits. This pattern is Ocean Waves. I think I made this top about 20 years ago, in a class at a local quilt shop. I tied this quilt to finish.



I made this quilt top in a class, too - it was called V-dubs! I had lots of designing my cars in the style of the 60s. This is machine quilted.






Sunday, November 27, 2011

What a "suite" view!

My first Chicago Blackhawks game!

I am lucky enough to work for a great company, which treats us to special events like this. We all got to attend a Chicago Blackhawks game, and enjoy the game from this "suite" view!


I didn't realize just how massive their stadium is!
Along with enjoying the game - we had awesome food, complete with a carving station!

Seats below, seats above - so cool!

The Star Spangled Banner a la Blackhawks - stirring and inspiring!


What a great evening!






Saturday, November 26, 2011

Special Delivery!

Scott got a special delivery gift this morning! Although it wasn't a surprise - we shopped for it together, yesterday - he was still very happy when it arrived! Scott is now ready for the big snows that are predicted this winter, as you can see below.


The newest member of the family - a lovely, Santa's-coat-red, Troybuilt snowblower!
Trying it out for size! As you can see, we do have a bit of a driveway to shovel. Merry Christmas, Scott!



Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!



Our community has an annual Thanksgiving Day 5k run/walk event. It's called the Bonfield Express, and it was created to honor the memory of a beloved teacher. The money raised goes to scholarships for local high school students, entering college. What a perfect tribute!


The photo above shows our new friends, Pete and Karen, with their 6-month-old puppy, Rosie. Rosie is a full blood sister of our Dora - same parents, different litter. Dora is now one year old. We met them walking in the neighborhood, a few weeks ago, and found out that we had used the same breeder. We ran into them at the run.






The race goes right past our house, yet somehow we have never participated! We broke the cycle, and Scott and I were out there with over 4,000 others at 8:30 Thursday morning. What a sight! This is our little main street, just one block from our house.

We lined up according to our average speed per mile. We brought up the rear, in the walkers/strollers category. After some opening remarks and instructions on the amazing loudspeakers, a lovely solo, a capella soprano sang the Star Spangled Banner. After a few bars, people started singing along, quietly. It was a beatiful moment.




We shared the street with lots of walkers, of all varieties!










Here's Scott carving the turkey. Our bird was so well done, it literally was falling off the bones. Deliciousness!












Our bountiful table. As you can see, we had plenty of food for the three of us!









Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I saw this on facebook today and couldn't resist.

I hope this Thanksgiving finds you with family and friends. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Cookie Crumbs

I love to get up early on Sunday mornings - time to myself, to read the paper, think, relax. Well, today, I had an extra hour! Daylight Savings Time may be over, as of this morning, but my body's clock did not get the memo! I was up extra early - so I used that time to make my monthly blocks for my online bee exchange group.


Our assignment was to: cut a 4" circle of tagboard, then a 5" circle of "made" fabric; baste around the edge, and gather over the 4" circle. Then, after removing the cardboard circle, topstitch the circle onto a 6-1/2" square of black on white or white on black print fabric. She (Em) called these blocks Cookie Crumbs!


Ta da! I love how these turned out!

Fall Cleanup Day

Yesterday was gorgeous, and I had fun playing with my new toy - and "old school" lawn sweeper! It was way easier than raking, and we filled two trash cans with leaves in no time at all.

Of course, the leaves were much prettier "in person"!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Showgirls!

Hannah's in another show!


Hannah (center, above) is in Guys and Dolls this weekend, as one of the Hot Box Dancers. We are really looking forward to seeing the show!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dora!

Autumn glory!




Every year, I go out and try to take pictures of the fall colors, and every year, the pictures don't do the trees justice. This maple, out on our boulevard, is spectacular in its beauty - the color is almost magenta - it just glows! and when the sun hits it, wow!




Dora was kind enough to pose nicely for me - Dora the 1-year-old doggie!!!


It's also hard to take pictures that are as beautiful as Dora truly is. Of course, part of her beauty is in her sweet disposition and expressive face, too.



Doesn't she look stylish in her new leather collar? And her coloring blends beautifully with that of our backyard maple leaves. What a pretty girl!

Dora and her best friend, Cohen. Happy birthday, Dora!









Sunday, October 23, 2011

Open House Part 2

More pictures from the Chicago Architecture Foundation's (CAF) first annual Open House, from a week ago. We are already looking forward to next year's event, and might even serve as volunteers for the day.


Would you believe, I am standing in a high school's cafeteria? This is the Henry Ford Powerhouse High School, and was part of the tour due to its being built around the old powerhouse from the original Sears Tower - NOT the 100+ story-high building downtown! The original Sears Tower was only maybe 6-8 stories high, and it is in the Garfield Park neighborhood of Chicago.
This beauty is the Newberry Library, which now houses only Humanities, including lots of geneological information, and maps.


We got a backstage tour of the Lookingglass Theatre, located in the Pumping Station of the original Water Tower - which are the only two buildings said to have survived the Great Chicago Fire.




This was one of my favorites on the tour. This gorgeous pool is located in the basement/garden level of a condo building! Built originally as apartments, it is a lovely but unremarkable apartment complex built around a central courtyard. You walk inside, down a few steps, and wow, what a surprise to see this amazing pool! It is surrounded by amazing tile work, marble columns, and it is all in excellent condition.


This is what is so cool about the CAF Open House - you would never know that this little jewel existed, if it weren't for this tour. We can't wait to see what is on the tour next year!








Fall Yard Walk

Enjoy a walk around my yard today!


A view in my front yard - love that mum's color next to the blue-green chair.

You really can't improve on nature's colors, can you? This is our backyard maple.


Not sure what kind of tree this is - it is in our neighbor's yard, by the fence - but I loved that combinations of colors!



Burning bush in the backyard - I love the bright fuscia red against the green.


Happy fall!








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