Saturday, December 29, 2012

Back in the (Quilting) Saddle

Isn't it funny - how playing with little scraps of fabric can make you so happy?
I have been on vacation for the past week...I usually work TWO jobs, so being off from both of them has been...delicious!
And all of the uninterrupted sewing time has allowed me the chance to get going on a long-neglected project. 

This past summer, I made 16 Color Study blocks over at 15 Minutes Fun.  Each 12" block was a different color, many of them  considered by some to be "uglies", or at least, difficult to work with - like mauve, ochre, or bubblegum pink.
I have been trying to think of a suitable setting---did I want to use sashing? Set it straight, or on point?
Then I decided to use 4 blocks, edge to edge, as a center medallion on point, surrounded by the remaining 12 blocks.
I started by adding a scrappy HST (half square triangle) border.

Here is the quilt so far - I went to the fabric store today, to get some inspiration (and fabric) to use in the open triangles, and the open corner blocks.
Let's see if I can name all of the color studies:  center medallion, top and clockwise:   grass green, grape, ochre, and dusty blue.  The surrounding blocks, starting top left, and clockwise:  mint green, burgundy, bubblegum pink, avocado, bright orange, aqua, rust, lemon yellow, mauve, tomato red, peach, and - my favorite color - lime green.
More later!

Friday, December 21, 2012

I must have been nice! Also, performance #6

Look what was greeting me when I got to work today! I MUST be on Santa's "nice" list! :)

Actually, we have a very nice co-worker who always leaves us each a little something each year.  Looking forward to enjoying this!
I
December Performance #6 - Scott and I attended the Chicago Civic Orchestra - not to be confused the the Chicago Symphony, one of America's top orchestra's...some would argue, it IS the best (I'm in that camp!).  The CCO is the training orchestra for the CSO, and one of the best deals in town is - the tickets to their concerts are FREE.  We were seated in Row 4, saw an excellent concert of Bach and Haydn, conducted by one of the world's top conductors, and all we had to pay was $14 for parking. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Santa's Elves Were Busy Today!

 Busy day at the Hudson house - besides finalizing the outdoor decorations, we were busy making cookies (Swedish spice!) ...
(yes, that's a bottle of wine on the counter - you think elves don't get thirsty?)
 ...preparing packages for shipping (we have many relatives far away) ...
...and one special elf was busy wrapping gifts!

Stepping Back in Time - St. Lucia Day

Uff da, dat's good coffee!  Scott and I went out for breakfast this past Thursday, Dec. 13 - St. Lucia Day.  They serve a traditional Swedish breakfast at my favorite place, Tre Kronor on Foster Ave. in Chicago.  It is a TINY restaurant - we are sitting in the farthest corner from the front door, which you can see behind Scott.
When you eat there, it's like you're at your aunt's house - homey, comfy, and it smells great!
Coffee station and Christmas tree - can you see the hand-painted mural on the wall, complete with gnomes?
This place is one-of-a-kind, and I just love it. Oh, and the food is all homemade and gourmet.
Not many people drive 45-50 minutes each way to go out for breakfast. Oh, and did I mention? We got there at 6:45 in the morning.
The best part is - it's still dark out, and we eat only by candlelight - and of course the lights on the tree.  So nostalgic, and quiet, and sweet.
One of the waitresses, Bridget, made a lovely Lucia girl - she, and two other girls, sang several selections for us, some in Swedish.  This is part of the Lucia tradition.
We had the BEST time!

Channelling My Mom

 I got up super early today (who knows why), and after I wrapped Christmas gifts for like an hour,
I was hungry and decided to make coffee cake.  I LOVE to bake, and Bisquick coffee cake (see the recipe here) is a favorite of mine and my family.  I remember my mom making it when I was a kid - as a special treat, maybe if my dad was working hard around the house on a Saturday, for a coffee break snack.  But for me, today, this was breakfast.
 Coming out of the oven, hot and bubbly - see the little bit of crusted-on brown sugar and butter goo on the edge of the pan? That stuff is delicious!  and the pan? That was one of my mom's layer cake pans - she gave them to me when I set up housekeeping on my own after college.  I wonder how old that pan is - and how many cakes have been baked in it.
As I said, my family enjoys it, too - this is Scott's breakfast:  coffee cake, hot coffee in his favorite mug, and reading the funnies.  And that's my Grandma Johnson's tree on the table - talk about retro! 
Lovely way to start a Sunday morning!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Holiday Mosaic - December Performance #6

 Last night we attended Downers Grove North's Holiday Mosaic concert - so-named as all of the events flow seamlessly, one to the next, without applause until the end. It was fabulous, as usual, and really inspired a holiday mood.  Above:  you gotta love the snow falling during the orchestra's rendition of "Sleigh Ride"!!!
Hannah and her friend, Katie - how did they grow up so fast??? They were just in these concerts, and now they're 22!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Light One Candle - December Performances #4 & 5

This morning was a most joyous experience for me.  Scott, Hannah, and I performed "Light One Candle" by Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul, and Mary.  It is a powerful song written about the miracle of light that is celebrated at Hanukkah.  Hannah and Scott did an AMAZING job, I was so proud of them both.  If you like, you can give a listen:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clvvpdlyQHQ&feature=youtu.be


And aren't they cute, too? :)

December holiday performance is this evening - Scott joined some friends at their church's performance of Messiah.  Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

It must be December - it's concert time! Performances #1,2,3

Our family has always had a concert-filled December - and this year is no exception!  Between performing and attending, we are on the go most of the month!

This weekend? 3 performances in 2 days!  

#1 - Saturday night, we attended Acapellago's holiday concert - our good friend, Andrew Johnson, is a member of this acapella group.  

#2 - This morning, Scott performed (and I attended) at church.  Our adult church choir performed their Christmas program, which also featured some drama by the children and family ministries.  The entire program was so enjoyable - and featured a classmate of Emily's - Justin Adair, who sings like an angel.

#3 - This afternoon, we attended Messaiah and More, by the Chicago Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra.
Above is Hannah's friend, Katie, who played viola in the orchestra.  The concert featured wonderful soloists, and many enjoyable selections besides the Messaiah.  It was excellent!

Whew! 3 down, I wonder how many before the month is over?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Weekend fun stuff!

 Elf Hannah visited the kitchen - where she baked delicious Swedish Spice Cookies! (You can find the recipe here.  

She also decorated our house, inside and out, including putting up the tree for us!  She even did the dishes!!!!!!  
She had help from Genevieve, who spent  most of the day here too, and Lindsay, who stopped by for a while, helping to create a lovely chandelier decoration.
 While out on the East Coast, Emily was glamming it up!  She had a gala to attend with Matt for HBS, and she ended up renting a gown!  How gorgeous is she? :)  OK, I might be a little biased...

Here they are at the event - Emily said Matt got almost as many compliments on his "Cary Grant" tux as she did on her dress, haha!  

Friday, November 23, 2012

What can you do in 15 minutes?

What can YOU do in 15 minutes?
 Let's see...15 minutes...I could do some crunches (ya right), pay some bills (ugh), clean out a drawer (a good idea, but...), walk a dog (a necessity), or - I could - - - 
 Play! Check out the great new book, "15 Minutes of Play" by Victoria Findlay Wolfe.  (you may purchase a copy over at her blog, here).  Even though I just received it (thanks, V!), it's already one of my favorite quilting books ever! And I'm not just saying that because one of my quilts is featured on page 85! So exciting!
The core of all of this fun is "made fabric" - randomly piecing together our scraps...we all have scraps!...and using the made fabric in traditional, or non-traditional ways.  Shown above is my photo of the quilt featured in Victoria's book.  I used made fabric in two different ways in this quilt.  First I made some purple and red fabric, and created the paper-pieced flying geese section; then I pieced the background of all different lime green fabrics - my favorite color - plus a few stray geese in accent colors, then put it all together and quilted it. 
You will love this book! Check it out!
 Hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving! We had the requisite turkey, and all the trimmings - including a homemade apple pie! I just might have another slice tonight, as soon as I'm done with this post - and the doggies have been walked!
OK, Dora and Cohen, you've waited long enough - time for a walk!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Yes I do still make quilts!

Finally finished the quilt top I call Gypsy John - made for a special friend.  John is a musician friend who plays the guitar and sings.  John defied the odds and made a full recovery after having a very serious motorcycle accident a couple of years ago.  
 John hosts a summertime "open mic" day in his backyard every year.  One year, the year after his accident, they handed out these t-shirts with his image - and as soon as I felt that shirt in my hands, I knew I needed to create a tribute to his amazing recovery, to him.
 John is just a down-home guy, originally from Texas, so using plaids and shirtings seemed appropriate.  The top was created semi-medallion style, improvisationally, without pre-planning - radical for some, fun for me. I love how it turned out.
I've sent it out for quilting, and can't wait to see how it turns out.  I really wanted to quilt it myself, but I was realistic for once - it would take me forever, and I really want it done and passed on to the recipient.
I pieced the back from the rust print seen in some of the red-toned borders - and ended up with the tiny scrap seen above.  That's frugality!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thank a Veteran Today

My dad (and mom) taught me many things - the value of hard work, honesty, faith, family, and love of country.

My dad was very proud of his service in the Navy during WWII, and often referred to himself as a "great American patriot".  Makes me smile every time I think of that.  Dad's been gone over 13 years, and I still miss him.  Thank you, Dad!

 My dad, Robert Heggestad.
 Dad was at Pearl Harbor on that day "that shall live in infamy".  He didn't talk about it much, Dad was a shy and humble man, very honorable, but was interviewed for the local paper on the 50th anniversary of the day.  I know you can't read it, but I've got the article framed.
 Really sweet photo of my mom and dad.  Shows how much they loved each other.
Dad prized this photo - left to right, his best friend, Ed; Hubert Humphrey (my dad was a loyal Minnesota Democrat), and my dad.

Happy Veteran's Day!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

For the love of a lab

We loved our first dog - Maggie, the yellow lab. And we love our second dog, Dora, the yellow lab.  Scott just showed me this Subaru commercial. , which makes him tear up...isn't that sweet? 
 Good old Mags (sorry, not the best picture)

Emily, Hannah, and puppy Maggie - about 16 years ago.
Dora napping on the couch - bad doggie!

Action shot - hilarious - Scott loving it.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Great Day Saturday

Great day Saturday - Scott, Hannah, and I headed into the city to see Gen and Nick's new apartment.  Not only that, but their TWO new doggies, too!
 This is Baby, their little girl.  Totally black, very sweet, and such a good girl.
 Hannah and Gen
The amazing view from the bedroom - Lake Michigan's Belmont Harbor.

 This is Buddy - so cute and sooo tiny!
 Me, Hannah, and Genevieve

After our visit/lunch, we headed back home - and spent the rest of the afternoon watching the Notre Dame game on TV.  Normally, I wouldn't care about college football, but Matt is an alum, and a rabid fan - and now I'm a fan, too.  He and Emily flew in just for the game.  Matt's brother (Dan) and his fiance (Erica) picked up E and M at O'hare, and drove straight to South Bend for the game. 

The game was just about the most exciting game I've ever seen - 3 overtimes! So exciting - and Notre Dame won!   After the game, they sped back to the airport so Emily and Matt could fly back to Boston - they made it!
Emily said - "Most stessful, yet most amazing win ever.  Go Irish!"

I told her, "Matt must have been beside himself!"  She responded - "You don't even know." 

Dan, Erica, Matt, and Emily

Thanksgiving in October - in Boston!

Emily and Matt (probably) won't be able to come home for Thanksgiving - they have school on the Wednesday before...too difficult if not impossible to get standby flights...regular flights are too expensive...yada, yada.  So...

 ...we decided to have Thanksgiving in October! They have quite a nice little kitchen, with a lovely Whole Foods nearby, where we got all the fixin's for a great Thanksgiving dinner.  Here's Emily preparing Tyler's Ultimate Turkey with Sage Butter.  As you can see, Emily is up to her wrists in the butter mixture, as she is skooshing it between the skin and the breast meat. You can find the recipe here.

Matt was thrilled with the dinner - turkey is his favorite!
 I made a bunch of little pies instead of two big ones - pumpkin, and lemon.  Matt liked the pumpkin so much he wants Emily to make it all the time.
So much to be thankful for - I love my family so much! :)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Best vacation trip ever!

 Scott and I were in Boston Oct.11-15, and had just the best time ever.  We got to see our daughter, Emily, and her boyfriend, Matt; see their schools (they're both getting their MBAs); visit a lively and historic city; see a fine art museum; eat great seafood; see the ocean; and reconnect with an old friend of Scott's.  What's better than that?
 No trip to the Boston area would be complete without a lobster feast! We went to Brown's Lobster Pound in New Hampshire, just about an hour north of Boston.  After our lunch, we drove up the coast to Maine.
 Emily and Scott near the Boston University campus.
"My" boy, Matt - actually, he's Emily's bf, but we all think he's pretty great!
Scott and his friend, Dorene.  Scott and Dorene were good friends in high school, and just reconnected this year.  When we found out that she lives in Boston, it was a perfect chance for a visit. She is training to be a docent at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), and she gave us an excellent, personal tour!
Can you tell how much fun we had on our trip? More pics later!

Mother's Day and Blogger Woes

Wow I have no idea why my banner looks so strange all of a sudden.  If anyone could enlighten me on this, I would be so grateful! Now read ...