First real weekend of the year

The weekend before New Year's, we took down Christmas.  That wasn't very relaxing.  The next weekend, we rested.  But the weekend just passed, I spent cleaning house.  Like major cleaning.  I emptied the drawers in the kitchen and pulled things out of cabinets and focused on putting things back where they belong.  I put away those two piles in the bedroom that were getting taller and taller with things that we needed for a minute and a half and then I didn't put away.  I haven't done that in a while and found things I forgot I had.  Syd hates putting dishes away, so she's like my dart game...on the board, but never really the bullseye.  Things are close.  And, if I poke around a little, I can usually find what I'm looking for.  But, it's frustrating and now everything is where I want it.  And, I'm taking over putting away the dishes.

The only quilting I did was the first few pieces of the hummingbird applique kit I got from David Taylor.  It's the hummingbird's belly and really doesn't look like anything so I'm going to spare you that pic.  I'm very excited about that project and really want to start it.  But, I decided I really needed to finish my latest piece of needlepoint because I was just as excited to start it not long ago and I'd really like to see it finished.  And if I move on to other things...well, we all know how that goes.  I may never come back.

Still filling in the upper left corner, but I've made a good bit of progress.  Each time I sit down, I try to look back at some of my skipped stitches and fill a few of those in.  It's boring work.  Thread the needle, make 2 or 3 or 6 stitches and then tie it off.  After a few of those, I'm bored and ready to work in blank canvas. 

I took a walk out in the garden the other day.  It's definitely in winter garden mode, just as it should be.  As I walked, I was thinking how bad it looked, but then I realized, that's not really true.  Even in winter, there are still some pretty spots. 

Yellow roses.

The witch hazel looks green and gold and sits in a bed of wood ferns. 

Can't remember.  Sorry, but pretty common so you can probably find it if you're interested.  My Mom could tell you off the top of her head. 

And, there are spots that don't look so great.

I need to come in with the clippers and clean that up.  But, you know, it'll wait.  No need to do everything all at one time. 

Everybody have a great week!  I'm still getting caught up at work.  My boss took the same days off that I did.  Except he didn't take them off the same way I did.  So, he came back to work with all kind of project ideas, so add that to my normal workload and I'm definitely staying busy.  The days pass fast.  And, I get home for family time.  We came through our days off for the better.  Rob and I being here with nothing to do and no one to do it with kind of caused us to focus on one another.  And, we haven't taken our eyes off that.  We may  have gotten a little relationship lazy...didn't dress up for one another, didn't focus on complementing one another, quick pecks instead of meaningful kisses.  And, that's not happening right now.  And, we're both enjoying it.  Relationship rejuvenation. 

Prayer request.  Or whatever you do to send positive thoughts to your higher power and ask for people to be protected.  Rob's best friend's daughter had a minor infection and it got out of hand and now she is in ICU, very ill.  We're sending our best thoughts to her and her family that she will recover soon. 



Catching up

The holidays are wonderful, but like all great vacations, I'm always glad to get back "home". 

Quilty stuff first!  This weekend, I took David Taylor's machine applique class.  First, David was hilarious and the class was a lot of fun.  But, more importantly, it was a great way to get back into the guild.  I haven't been to a meeting since Linda got sick and I've missed it.  The only time I've been with my quilter friends was working at the show in September.  And, I've missed them.  But, tonight I'll be at the meeting to hear David speak and to see his trunk show. 

Anyway, the project we made was this little apple tree quilt. 

He gave options for the apples; leave them off and make it a different kind of tree, use apple shaped buttons that he had for sale, or make applique apples.  Most of the class made the applique apples.  I used the buttons.  Sydney doesn't like them.  Oh, well.  I offered to teach her to applique.  The buttons were okay after that. 

David's method is much like Harriet Hargrave's method.  But, he's made some modern refinements and he uses liquid starch instead of spray starch.  I always had trouble with the spray starch because I got it everywhere and left a sticky mess, so the liquid starch works better for me. 

I also bought the kit for his Hand applique class.  I wasn't able to get into that class, but at least I can make the project. 

I have all the pieces prepped and the background is ready and positioning template is made.  But, he also gave a practice piece that I figured I might as well do first, just to get a handle on the process. 

I've started the stitching on this.  There's an over/under thing in the center where it switches from the white on top to the black on top.  He used this shape to illustrate how to do that.  It's harder than I thought it would be and I'm glad I'm doing the practice project. 

So, that's what I'll be doing in my "free time" for a while.  And, if this method continues to work for me, then I have a bunch of applique projects backed up that I'd like to do.  Of course, machine applique is faster, so some of my projects will be done that way, but I'm always looking for a hand project and applique makes a good one. 

Speaking of hand projects, am I the only one that picks a wicked hard something to work on during the holidays as a distraction from all the stress?  And, yes, even for us the holidays are stressful, with end of year at work and trying to pick the perfect gifts and cook the perfect meals and all the decorations.  So, I picked this piece of needlepoint.  It's charted needlepoint, so there's nothing printed on the canvas.  It's like counted cross stitch. 

I picked it to use up yarn I already had but had to buy a few skeins to fill in for colors I didn't already have, like dark purple and white.  One more corner and filling in the sky and that will be done.  I started just before Thanksgiving, so it's gone pretty quickly.  And, I've spent a lot of time on it.  I accidentally added two columns on the right hand side when I was putting those roses in.  I had put too much in before I realized the mistake to take it out and have had to fill those two all the way up in ways that were not noticeable.  Oops!

Christmas was wonderful.  Santa gave me just what I wanted...not much!  We have so much and this house is filled to the gills, so my request was for not much.  A few things for the kitchen.  New pink flamingoes for the garden and of course, Rob bought me a few toys for my desk.  Several years ago, Linda got us started on a collection of Lenox Holiday dishes.  So, Sydney bought me one of every Lenox Christmas item that came into the store.  She wrapped them each individually and kept them in her room till all the gifts were unwrapped, then brought them out in bunches for me to unwrap.  It was quite the surprise.  Lots of ornaments and a few serving pieces. 

I'll close with our Christmas table. 

Like Thanksgiving, I tried all new recipes, including my own pineapple ham glaze.  It didn't go quite as well as Thanksgiving did, but it was still delicious and I made the family eat all the leftovers.  A meal worked for that hard must not be wasted.  I froze some ham and used it to make Potato Soup, which is our traditional New Year's meal with black eye peas. 

Everybody have a wonderful week!  It's the first full work week of the year.  Needless to say, I am not looking forward to it.  I signed off on my end of year evaluation on Friday.  I think I'll need to read that frequently to remind me of the good I do at work.  I got to ask five people for input on my performance.  Their comments were very flattering.  In fact, they brought a tear to my eye.  So, whenever I'm feeling low at work, I hope to pull that thing out and give it a read for inspiration.

Have a great Monday!