Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas 2009

   We had a great Christmas. Fuzzy had to work, so we got up and ate breakfast and opened our presents to each other. After he left for work my son came over for several hours. I made him breakfast and we opened presents and watched "Christmas Story"... he is home for two weeks before he gets deployed to AZ for a month for more of his intelligence training for the Air Force. He will be home in Feb. then sent to Idaho for another month in March. Here is a pic of him frolicking with our black lab Drizzy. I got a new camera for Christmas and haven't quite figured out all of the features, so the pic is a little dark..
We order a lot of books from the Hamilton Book Seller flyer, they are really good prices but at times they are not quite how they are described. This is a winner that I bought for myself for Christmas. The title intriqued me. It is an art book with paintings of women doing needlework...It is a fairly recent edition 2006 and the original price was $35, I paid $8...neat book..I may use some of the paintings as images in my crazy quilting. Many are from well known artists like Renoir, Van Gogh, Munch. Even two paintings from Frederick Frieseke, who is an impressionist artist from Owosso who went to study with Monet.
   Today Fuzzy and I are going to do a little shopping and we are having our Christmas "meal" today. We got some lobster tails and will have surf and turf. It is my first time making lobster tail at home, so I hope it turns out well!  Later we will go over to our friends and play some games.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Polar Express

  One of the great things about living in Owosso is our Steam Railroading Museum. Our most famous engine is the Pere Marquette 1225. It is best known for being the model for the Polar Express movie, based on the book. The actual sounds of the engine were used in the movie soundtrack. Some wise thinkers here in Owosso came up with a Christmas tradition and give train rides throughout the holidays. The train ride includes actors dressed as characters from the movie, entertainment, hot chocolate and a visit to the North Pole.  The train runs about a block from our house and we enjoy listening to the unique sound of the whistle and the sight of the excited passengers waving out their windows.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tech School Graduation

My son Thomas (middle) recently completed Air Force Tech School. He was in training to be an intelligence specialist. He returns home from Texas this week after being gone since April.  He will continue training at Selfridge base here in Michigan and start his regular Air National Guard schedule this summer.We are very proud of him!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Another Weekend in Indiana

   I'm late in posting this but we spent a nice weekend in Indiana over Thanksgiving weekend. We took our time and stopped in Shipshewana on our way. For those that don't know, Shipshewana started as an Amish Community. There are lots of Amish still there, and it is facinating to ride the back roads and see their way of life. Plowing fields with horse and plow, all the laundry on the line, travel by horse and buggy.  We stopped at a local store we liked and took a picture of the buggies in the parking lot.

The town is a big tourist attraction and they cater to the public with lots of quaint shops and homemade cooking. They also have several quilt shops and fabric stores, so it is a must stop for me. Yoders and Lollies are my favorites. Yoders is a kind of "mall" building with a large clothing craft store, a hardware, and a grocery. In the mall area they often display handcrafted rockers and furniture and Amish quilts for raffle. This weekend they were having a gingerbread house contest. My husband took pics of some of our favorites.

 We didn't spend a long time in Shipshewana, but traveled on to Mishawaka where my Dad and step-mother live. We decided to get a hotel room this time in order to have a get together with some of my cousins and their families. . If you are ever in Mishawaka, the Varsity Inn is great, reasonable prices and the rooms are 1 bedroom suites.The hotel is decorated in a football motif due to its proximity to Notre Dame. Here is my dad posing with a friend in the hotel lobby. He turns 85 in Mid December and still bowls twice a week!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving 2009

   Happy Thanksgiving to all... We are staying around home today. Tomorrow we are off to Indiana for the weekend. Plan to see my parents and spend some time with some of my cousins and friends. Hope everyone has a wonderful day!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Great Book

   I was browsing through Borders (book store) a week ago and noticed this book. It is written by Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State. It is bascially a book about her collection of pins. The pictures are gorgeous, and she intersperses it with tidbits of information about her personal and polictical life. A very interesting read and the pins give a lot of artistic inspiration. I was put off at first by the price ($40), but as fate would have it, I got a 40% off coupon  with email, AND then got a $15 gift certificate unexpectedy, so I got it for less than $10..

Monday, November 9, 2009

Weekend of Good Fortune

   This was a nice weekend. I got an unexpected rebate back on my mortgage escrow and I got a view of my first finished fairy block. Rita was the first, and chose the Sloe Fairy. I have posted the before and after pictures. I love it!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Burp Cloths

   Burp cloths I made last night for a friends soon to be twin grandbabies. Made from a prefolded diaper, piece of flannel and machine embroidered.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Blue and Whte Round Robin

   In June of this year I joined my first Crazy Quilt Round Robin. Four other women and myself sent blocks around to each person every month. Each person put something on the block and sent it to the next person. This is the block I started with, I decided on blue and white as that is the color of our bedroom.

   This is the block that I received in the mail this weekend. The women who participated were Thearica in North Carolina, Carolyn in California, NickiLee in Massachusetts, and Ellen in New York. Didn't they do a fantastic job?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween & Farewell to October

from Darlene

and Fuzzy

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Halloween Blocks

   I was in a Trim and fabric swap a year or so ago with a Halloween theme. I finally got the blocks out and decided to finish them this year. These are the four nearly finished crazy quilt blocks. I will put them together to make a small wall hanging.... I know it's really getting late for this year, but I will be REALLY early for next Halloween.  The first block just needs something in the dark green spot... Any ideas?

The next has kind of a witch theme. I think I will add a spider web to the burnt orange piece.

This block needs something in the top pumpkin print and the checkerboard. My husband had the idea for the skeleton holding the chain...

The final block has a ghost theme. The bottom ghost is Free Standing Lace done on my embroidery machine. I think I am pretty satisfied with this one. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Naked Flower Fairies

The blocks are naked that is.... These are the 6 blocks I have put together for the Flower Fairy Round Robin that will begin in November. The blocks will be sent to one of 6 participants each month. Each participant choses one block and embellishes it, then sends to the next person. Finally, this spring I will get them all back and embellish the 6th block. The flower fairies are a creation of artist Cicely Mary Barker who was born in 1895 in Croydon, England.  More about the round robin and how it plays out will follow in the coming months....

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Halloween Season

   Well, it's October and that means thoughts of spiders, candy and costume. This was a sweatshirt I spotted at the quilt show yesterday. The lady graciously let us photograph her and even gave tips on how she created it. It will go on my to do list... So simple but so cute!

   Here is a cute Halloween quilt, but check out the 2nd picture. It's the back of the quilt, the machine quilting is great!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Durand Quilt Show

   A small town nearby had a quilt show today. Hubbie and I went last year and it was a nice show. We spent most of the morning there. There were some nice quilts and quite a few vendors.. The only bummer was NO crazy quilts. I guess I better enter something next year and represent... Here are a few pictures. The first was the favorite of both my husband and I in the pieced category.. Done by a man who is also the manager at the local JoAnn Fabrics. I have found my husband likes batiks.

   The next one is interesting in that is was made with old ties.

   The next was my favorite in the applique category. It is a Southwest motif.

  I may post more tomorrow if I have time. I am working on a crazy quilt for a contest that is due on Wednesday.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Crazy Ornaments

   I have been at a conference all weekend for Play Therapy so haven't been able to get to any yard sales. I have had a little time this week to finish up some Christmas Ornaments. They are crazy quilted and will be sent to be swapped. I was in the swap last year too. I will enjoy having a little tree with just crazy quilted ornaments. Here are the ones I will be sending. I will post the ones I get in return later next month.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Weekend Sale Finds

   We found several garage sales throughout Michigan and Indiana. Probably the best bargain was an Ott Light for $3!... (It is a full spectrum lamp used often for crafters and sewers to give true color to projects). The one I got goes conservatively for around $100. My favorite two finds of the weekend were first of all these pretty dishes. They are ironstone imported from England. A set of 4 for $2. Two had chips on the edge and two were in good shape. I love the color! I figure if nothing else, I can break the two chipped plates and use them for a mosaic.

   At the same sale the woman had a plant that I had never seen before. We got to talking and she let me have a start for $1. Upon further investigation I found that it is a Pokeweed or Poke Plant. It is to some considered a weed. But the price was right and I thought it was cool. The only problem is that the berries are supposedly poison, so I am going to give some thought to where I plant it. 

Indiana Adventures

   I am originally from Indiana, Mishawaka specifically. It is right next door to big sister city South Bend in the very northern part of Indiana. My father still lives there and so we make the trip several times a year to visit. Such was the case this past weekend. My husband and I travel well together and enjoy taking back roads and new paths to find interesting sights. Of course we are often led off course by a garage or yard sale sign.

   This trip was no exception in it's promise to deliver sights to make the trip more interesting. This bead shop was spotted between Mishawaka and Osceola. Too bad it was Sunday and closed, I'll bet it was interesting inside...This car sat ouside.

All dressed up for Halloween

Loved the fairy atop the window. Doesn't she look life-like?.

Here is a view of the whole thing from across the street..courtesy of my husband.

We had seen the next business before and remarked on the creativity of it's "play on words title". It is located in Southern Michigan between Coldwater and Bronson on Hwy 12. 

Don't you just love it?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Pieces of Friendship Swap

   One of the things I enjoy doing is trading or "swapping" with other quilters. Usually a theme is decided upon, the participants sign up and send their items to a hostess. She then repackages the items and send back to the participants works or items from others. I have been involved mostly in swapping quilt blocks, fabrics and notions to make or decorate projects. I started doing this with other women in my local quilt guild, but soon learned that these swaps occur on the internet and that is mainly how I swap now.
   Earlier this summer I was intrigued by a swap I found on the web. A crazy quilter had the idea to make small "crazy quilts" in the shape of puzzle pieces. Each participant would make four pieces, send them to her and would receive 4 different pieces in return. Today I received my last piece. The maker is the woman who originated the swap, Pat Winter. I love the delicate stitching and soft colors.
   These are the pieces that I sent that were given to other swappers.Each piece is about 4" square. I plan to "play" again with another round she is having this winter, I think it will make an interesting display in a shadowbox. I will post the other pieces I received when I remember where I put them!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Owosso in the News

    Our little town made national news yesterday when a local shot and killed two other citizens. News was made because one of the victims was a prominent opponent of abortions and often could be seen around town toting graphic signs. A very unfortunate situation,  for the victims and their families and for the family of the shooter. This situation tarnishes what is otherwise a very pleasant place to live.
    This seems like as good a time as any to tell you a little about the place I now call home. Owosso Michigan is located about 45 miles NE of Lansing. It is a very historic town. Birthplace to notables including politician Thomas Dewey, impressionistic artist Frederick Frieseke, and football great Brad Van Pelt. The resident who has probably left the biggest mark on our town is author James Oliver Curwood. He was an adventure writer who wrote many novels that were turned into films in the early 1900's. He became very wealthy and fulfilled a dream by building a castle on the banks of the river in town. He used one of the turrets as a writing studio. The castle is now a museum and local landmark.castle in april 
This picture and most of the others posted on this site was taken by my husband and photographer extraordinaire.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Garage Sale Philosophy

   I had the day off work today so of course I had to cruise the neighborhood for garage sales! Although today was "sparce pickins" it gave me a chance to reflect a bit.. on why I enjoy garage sales so much. There are the obvious reasons, like finding that "something" that I needed and paying 95% off retail or the satisfaction of buying something I can use and save it from being tossed in a landfill. There are the not so obvious reasons too. We moved to this town almost three years ago. Finding and going to sales has given me access to neighborhoods I may never have known existed. I have learned shotcuts to different parts of town. I have learned the names of the best hairstylists, doctors, restaurants, and car mechanics. I have learned of plants and flowers that grow well in our area and have been offered free starts. I have discovered community events and activities that this town offers that would have taken me years to find out. One last reason why I love sales is that I enjoy finding things for my friends and family. Today I found something for a girlfriend who likes France and recently redecorated her bedroom with an Eifel Tower motif... What do you think? Not bad for 50 cents?