Sunday, December 6, 2015

Christmas spirit!

It's December - Christmas is coming! And even though we are having unseasonably warm weather, I have been getting into the Christmas spirit.

My neighbor, Peg, held a class for several of us to make door swags - so fun! She had many types of fresh greenery, and lots of trims and ribbons. We (5 of us) just brought work gloves and sturdy trimmers, and gathered around her (huge) kitchen island, which she had covered with brown craft paper.  Peg helped us choose our greens, and then we started decorating.  We could also bring anything of our own to add to our creation - I brought the straw Swedish (dala) horse.  My front door is protected by a large overhand on my porch, so the horse won't get rain or snow on it.  I am happy with how it turned out!

A humble tree for my work cubicle! The lights quit working this week, so I plan to replace them soon. Cute family photos to warm my heart!

This shows a special event we participate in each year.  Almost Home Kids is a wonderful facility to help children with medical needs.  This wonderful place is for children who have been discharged from the hospital, but are still not ready to go home, because they require constant care.  These children stay at Almost Home Kids, in a homelike setting, and receive care while their family learns how to take care of them.  Eventually, they can be released to live at home, under their family's care.  It is such a special and deserving charity.  My family performs at their Christmas party every year.  It is our privilege. Look at that sweet girl looking up at Santa! So sweet!

Then we had fun decorating my daughter, Hannah's, little rental house with garlands and lights.  This is my other daughter, Genevieve.

Hannah adding garland to her front steps railing.  See? No coat, hat or mittens, on December 5th! Amazing!

Ok - so, some of us wore coats! Genevieve having fun with the lights.

Sorry this is blurry - but my family decorated our tree last night, isn't it lovely?

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Christmas in November!

So - I still send letters and packages via snail mail, guess I'm old fashioned.  But I LOVE getting packages in the mail! And look what just arrived from Barb (from Fun with Barb) - wonderful, yummy scraps!

And when I say "scraps", let me just say, that Barb was very generous!  In addition to actual (little) scraps, Barb included several fat eighths and fat quarters, too!  See all those fun fabric designs? And the AMOUNT of fabric? Yay!

I had fun going through everything (my friend calls it "petting" the fabric).  Check out those great lime green prints (my favorite color!), fun novelty fabrics, gorgeous modern prints, and a nice selection of reproduction fabrics, Civil War, I think. 

I sorted them, made piles, thinking...what SHALL I do with these? !!! I don't know yet, but I know it will be fun!  

I saw this Churn Dash on a Barb's blog - I love the old-fashioned simplicity of the block, and the fan quilting is so lovely.  Maybe these fabrics will become a churn dash quilt one of these days?
Regardless - thank you Barb, for bringing some of your "fun" into my house!
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! 


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Scraps giveaway, design wall progress, Ethan's gift

Do you ever hope that you will win a giveaway on a blog? on one of your favorite blogs? Well guess who just won a package of scraps? I did, over at Fun with Barb.  I wasn't the first winner, but Barb is sending me a package of scraps, too! Yay! I LOVE scraps, and scrap quilts - and Barb's scraps will be yummy, I am sure! Everyone's stash is so different - almost like a fingerprint.  I wonder what I will make with them???  Barb's blog is terrific, always filled with inspiration and lots of fun, too.  Her quilts are stunning, and her workmanship is exquisite.  

And - to "pay it forward" - I will be sending out a package of my scraps to someone who responds to this post.  I will mail to anywhere in the U.S.  Please make sure that I have some way to contact you - like your email address. I promise to send a nice assortment for some fun playtime.  Thank you!

My design wall has been frozen like this for a while...I know we are ALL busy, but I literally do not have more than maybe an hour of free time each day, after my two jobs.  This colorwash quilt will be a wedding gift for my lovely daughter, Emily, and her wonderful husband, Matt.  I wanted to make them a wall quilt, and something that would complement their modern house and design scheme.  I showed Emily some colorwash examples, and got the thumbs up!  Then I got a nice selection of batik pieces from my friend Wanda of Exuberant Color.  Wanda is an excellent quilter and teacher, and an expert at the colorwash style.  Check out her blog for many fabulous examples! 

Another project for my spare time - this is a small quilt made for some dear friends who suffered the most profound loss:  both of twin girls that they were expecting.  I stopped my other quilt projects and made this - I just had to do something, you know? Just a small thing, to show them that we love them.

They do have a darling 3-year-old son, Ethan, who wanted to give something to his angel sisters, in heaven.  So, after the memorial service at our church, there was a balloon release of pale pink and violet balloons.  A few appropriate words were spoken, and then Ethan gave the signal for all of us to release our balloons, and we watched them climb upward, between the bare branches of a big tree. I am adding a few soft pink sequins, denoting the sun glinting off the balloons. 

"Ethan's Gift"

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Best night ever!

Emily and Matt's wedding was so beautiful!  

Isn't she just glowing from inside! This was taken my one of her bridesmaids, just before her dad came in for a "first look" - which was such a beautiful moment.  

Their first dance - taken by my niece, but you can see their photographer working in the background.  Matt and Emily took dance lessons and did a choreographed dance...I can't remember what song they danced, to, but I do remember how happy they looked!

We had a picture perfect day, and spent some of the afternoon outdoors with the photographer.  I love how he composed this picture, so each person's personality could shine through.  Such a great group of kids!

Another amazing photo by Collin Pierson, their photographer.  I cannot wait to see all of the photos! I was there when he was setting up this photo - it wasn't even dark there - he is an artist!

Mr. & Mrs. Puglisi! Their friend, Tim Daniels, married them and did a beautiful job.  He took it very seriously and gave a personal and meaningful message.
After the ceremony we had a lovely dinner, and then danced the night away!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Wedding Countdown - One Week to Go!

So excited for these two! One week from today, our daughter, the lovely Emily, will marry the wonderful Matthew.  I can't wait!

I believe this is their first date - over 5 years ago.  They are both Chicago White Sox fans, and in a city with two baseball teams, that is huge!  These two knew right away that they were meant for each other.

They also attend as many Notre Dame football games a year as possible.  Matt got his undergrad there - and now the whole family cheers for the Irish!  Emily and Matt were just home (from Austin, Texas, where they live now) for a game last weekend.  They have lots of fun together, no matter what they do. 

Fun photo - having a stare down at my nephew's wedding.  

Aren't they cute together? They really love and respect each other, and take good care of each other.  I'm a proud mama, can you tell?

This "big day" was over a year ago, the day she said yes!  I can't believe how fast this year has flown!  Now we just have a few little details to take care of, and then - the BIG day on 9-19-15.  Scott and Hannah will sing "Come What May" from Moulin Rouge, with me on the piano, and the string trio accompanying us.  Emily has lined up the strings to play such gorgeous music, including lots of Bach, which I love!
Next blog post will include wedding pictures! 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Hannah's Cute House Styling

My daughter, Hannah, has developed into an amazing interior decorator.  She and her bf Danny are renting an adorable 100-year-old farmhouse, and she has done a great job making it into a warm and attractive home. 
She finds great pieces here and there at flea markets and antique stores.

I love how she puts things together into artful arrangements.

She's also not afraid to try making things - how cute is this bathroom accessory? A piece of old wood (from a pallet, I think), some metal clamps, and canning jars = cute storage!

Nice beverage station!

She found this old window at a flea market, for only $5! It pays to stay at the sale until the end of the day, when prices are slashed.  Their landlord offered the use of this nice dining table and vintage chairs - instant dining set!

Another find at the flea market - the vintage shutters were also $5 each, and the comfy couch, by a famous quality maker was a great find on craigslist.

I think this coffee table is her greatest project to date.  The table (another craiglist find) is nice and sturdy, with nice storage, but it had that orange-y oak finish all over it.  Totally not her style.  So, she sanded it all down, and stripped the top.  She added a nice gray stain to the top, and white chalk paint to the bottom.  A quick sealer to all, and she had a stylish centerpiece to her living room.  Nice job, Hannah!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Cupcakes, Sunsets, and Batiks

Great weekend! Went to Chicago this morning with Emily, who's visiting from Austin, Texas.  

Where to go when you need a cupcake? To the CUPCAKE ATM, of course! This is real, and their cupcakes are yummy! I had the lemon meringue pie cupcake.

One of my current projects - an abstract interpretation of the sunset photo next to it. Photo was taken at the Outer Banks (OBX) of North Carolina, where we attended the wedding of my nephew a couple of years ago.  This is to be a long-overdue wedding gift.

Lucky me, look what I got in the mail? A sweet package of batik rectangles from my friend, Wanda of Exuberant Color.  If you have never visited her blog, you definitely should! Wanda is a very talented quilt artist, making all kinds of gorgeous, yummy quilts full of - you guessed it - "exuberant color".  Plus, she is one of the most prolific quilters I know!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Baby Dresden Finished!

Baby quilt finished!  This was truly a labor of love, using special antique blocks to create this quilt for baby Brecken.  See my previous post here for the back story.  

After assembling the quilt, and machine quilting it, I machine washed and dried it.  Love that soft, crinkled appearance and feel!  Plus, this quilt will be used, so I wanted to make sure it would hold up to machine washing!

This is the absolutely adorable nursery where this quilt will live.  Don't you love it? Cara, the mom, did all of the decorating herself.  How talented is she!  

And here he is! Baby Brecken, one day old, with his special mama!  Can't wait to meet this little man in person!

Baby Dresden quilt finished!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Emily's Bridal Shower!

We just hosted a bridal shower for Emily in our backyard, and I am happy to report that it was a big success!  Beautiful weather, having the tent was a great idea, lots of family and friends attended, all the food was great (although I was not sure of that an hour before it started!), and everyone had so much fun.

Emily and Matthew, the happy couple.  I love them so much!  They are just a great couple.  We had several boys at the shower - Matt, his brother, Dan, his dad, Joe,  my husband, Scott, Genevieve's fiance, Nick,  Hannah's boyfriend, Danny, and another girl (one of the bridesmaids), Sarah's, boyfriend.  Sarah came all the way from Louisville! (we are in the Chicago suburb of Downers Grove)

Hannah had so many great decorating ideas.  She was going to hang some tulle on the front door, but instead, we used my wedding hat from 37 years ago!  I'm sure I gave my mom some gray hairs over this back in the day, as I finished making it a day or two before the wedding.

Matt's cousin, Michelle, Matt, his aunt, and his cousin, Christina.  Matt's mother passed away about 10 years ago, and the family was not close for a while after that.  But they have been close again for the past 5 years or so, which makes everyone so happy.  They are such a beautiful Italian family - his dad, and his aunts and uncles were all born in Italy (Sicily, actually). 

Matt's brother, Dan, Matthew, Scott, and Joe. 

We served the food buffet-style, from our little screened-in porch, which worked well.  Here is cupcakes (white and chocolate), mini BLT's, and prosciutto-goat cheese-basil sandwiches.  Not shown, but on the back table we served caprese skewers, and mini vegetable quiche cups.   Emily's wedding colors (like the flowers) are cream, blush, clear glass, and lots of candles - but we added pink and gold for the shower, just for fun. Again, Hannah found lots of great decorating ideas.  The cupcakes have little wedding dresses on top, make from paper doilies.

Special guests - Emily's aunts, Jean and Helen, came all the way from Burke, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. I put them to work! Here they are, frosting and decorating the cupcakes, about 1-1/2 hours before the  party! It was a blast having them around for the whole weekend.

View from the breezeway, looking out to the backyard, as people were gathering and chatting before we sat down.  Here you see coffee, fresh fruit, and individual monkey bread cups, which turned out great.  I found a recipe using the frozen Rhode's roll dough, which was delicious.  My oven was super busy that morning!

Emily and Hannah, my cuties! Danny is hamming it up in the background, doing security. More decorating - we decorated the wine glasses with gold sparkle paint, and gave them out as favors.
Genevieve, Emily, and Hannah - my girls!

The mimosa bar was a big hit!  Hannah decorated the champagne bottles with glitter to make them extra fun.  Then we had orange or orange-mango juice to choose from for your mimosas.  We
also served water and pink lemonade from some cute glass servers that Hannah found.  She knows how to bring the fun to a party!


Friday, June 5, 2015

The Marry Month of May - Evan and Natasha

Our other wedding last month was in Burke, Virginia - my nephew, Evan Heggestad, married Natasha Muller.  It was so much fun!  We stayed with my brother (father of the groom), so we got to see lots of special events up close and personal. 

Is this a fabulous picture or what? This was taken at the end of the evening, in the dark, as we all gave them a bubble sendoff.  Great photographer!!! (this was by the pro, the rest are mine)

My lovely daughters, Emily and Hannah.

The happy couple - this was her second dress.  She got the second dress "just in case", because her wedding dress seemed like it wouldn't be ready in time.  I think she liked the second dress better - short, cute (just like her), and way more comfortable. You can't tell, but she is wearing super tall shoes, and is still way shorter than Evan.

Here you can see her pretty wedding dress.  Another nice photo by the pro.  Tried to find the name but could not right now.  I will come back and add it later.

Last dance of the evening.  So fun!

Hannah and Danny's Engagement Party!

We hosted a small engagement party for Hannah and Danny last night, and it was just so much fun! They are a perfect match, they have so mu...