Monday, December 31, 2007

Help me figure this out, please


Any guesses as to when this was made? It was used as a cutter quilt because it is in such poor condition. From what I can gather through perusing the other stuff from this auction lot, it was probably in this condition in 1970, if not earlier. I have this square and its backing. I plan to frame it, because I can't bear to see it deteriorate further.

Here are some detailed shots:




Sunday, December 30, 2007

Today's vintage goodness


These did not come from Mrs. M.'s stash, but they did come from the same auction house. In ten lifetimes I could not use all of these buttons. This picture only shows the carded buttons. I have jar after jar of all sorts of buttons -- rhinestones, citrus fruit, hot dogs (no joke), shimmery, suede-covered....

Tomorrow: the patterns. Geez Louise, I am going to have to open an Etsy shop.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Mrs. M's fabric stash

Oh, Mrs. M., I wish you could know how much I love your fabric stash. I am honored to own it and I will try not to ruin it. I am impressed with how you labeled each box -- wool, cotton, knits, yarn -- and delighted to see that you kept each scrap. I wonder what you planned to do with that vintage feed sack and the miles of gingham. And you have unfinished projects, just like the rest of us. Oh, how excited I was to find your apron and that snazzy green top with the red ric-rac. I am sure there is more to find...








Thursday, December 27, 2007

I love my job

This time I am referring to the one for which I get paid actual legal tender, not being a mom or a homeschool teacher -- though I enjoy those, too. No, today I am referring to the job that provides opportunities for me to meet the neatest people in the most incredible places. Like today...

I actually stopped in the middle of the road to take this picture. In my defense, it was a mountain road and I was the only person within earshot.


The road less traveled? I took it in a minivan. Four-wheel drive would have made all the difference.


I am confident there is a golf course near here, which makes me sad.


This is either called ground pine or ground cedar. I will Google that once I am done checking my hair for ticks. (That's probably too much information, but it is all I can think about at the moment.)


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas abundance

I am almost in a sugar coma from all the wonderful treats, so here are a few shots from Christmas (yesterday and today).






Hey, Mr. Sock Monkey


He was a hit, I think. Here's the full shot.


Sunday, December 23, 2007



These cookies were great and not only because I didn't have to bake, decorate or clean up. :)


And there was an audience...


Thursday, December 20, 2007

This is not a Christmas card*


(*emailed in lieu of real cards this year)

Dear Friends and Family,

Did you get our Christmas card? Ha! Well, you’re not alone. This has been an exceptionally busy year for us and as a result, I have given myself permission not to send Christmas cards. Not a big deal, you say? It was for me, but I am over it and moving on to a peaceful Christmas as a result.

Since we usually send a picture of our rapidly growing children with each card, I have attached one to this email. If you just can’t get enough of our homegrown craziness, feel free to keep up with us at my (pseudo work-related) web site, or through our photos at Flickr at Both provide ample evidence that we are a happy lot most of the time. :)

As many of you know, Caroline is a high school freshman this year and we are homeschooling Nolan for the first time. High school is a lot different than it was a few (cough) years ago, but Caroline is enjoying it immensely. Nolan is really enjoying homeschool, and much to my surprise, so am I.

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas with abundant, overflowing blessings in 2008. If I had found time to make cards this year, I would have told you to remember that we celebrate Immanuel, God with us, and I would have used Ephesians 3:14-19 inside the card: “For this reason I kneel before the Father…I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

See? The card was all planned out in my head. :) Merry Christmas!

Chris (for John, Caroline and Nolan)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

BNL and Boston Pops - We Three Kings/God Rest Ye

Good night, this is the best Christmas song ever. Yes, it's by the Barenaked Ladies (call them BNL if that offends you) and it is fantastic. I saw these guys in concert at Walt Disney World. I only know two of their songs (well, three now) and the other two ("One Week" and "If I Had $1,000,000") are smart and funny -- two of my favorite things. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas lights, er, I mean "holiday" lights



Whatever. They still looked great, despite the distinct absence of Christmas proper. It was cold -- really, really cold -- and I made my family get out of the car so as to increase their joy, or something like that. My kids would not sit on Santa's lap. I threatened to do so myself, but feared being left behind in the cold (and the joy -- there was joy, I'm sure of it).


Monday, December 17, 2007

World's best gift tags

Ha! Download lots of these gift tags. Seriously, who doesn't need a gift tag that says, "This seemed like a good idea at the time, but now I'm not so sure." Brilliant.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Dog tired


In front of the fireplace.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Little D's battle

Feeling overwhelmed by the to-do list for Christmas? Read about little David Wilkerson and his family. They are spending the season at Duke University as David fights leukemia. Good news today -- the transplant cells appear to be growing. Grow, cells, grow.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007



My family made my 39th birthday very happy Friday -- cards and flowers, thoughtful acts, a pro Flickr account, dinner out. It was a great day. Now, on to a milestone: 40. I've noticed lots of folks marking their 40th with 40 x 365 lists or by creating a list of 40 things to do before 40. I think I will try the latter. Can I come up with 40 tasks/events that can reasonably be completed in a year? We'll see.

I was a little younger here... I wish I knew what was in the box. Man, oh man, this picture made me remember that my family was wildly enthusiastic about icicles on the Christmas tree.


(Edited to add: I found the icicles on eBay! I wonder if they are really made of lead. I wonder how many I ate as a toddler.)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Let There Be Mom

Back in the October issue of Upstate Parent, I was fortunate to be able to write about Let There Be Mom, a nonprofit organization that helps moms who have life-threatening illnesses. Kipra Anderson, founder, now has the story on the organization's web site. They need money and volunteers to support these moms as they work on tangible legacies for their children. They are doing some good, life-changing stuff.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Brussels sprouts? Sewing mamas?

How fun to have my Brussels sprouts "non-recipe" on Sew, Mama, Sew today! I am tempted to post a full photo of the primate teased below, but there's no way I am spoiling that before Christmas. :)

Thanks for visiting and please let me know you stopped by.

On a completely different topic, Nolan and I spent part of our morning volunteering with our homeschool group at the Salvation Army's Christmas gift warehouse site. Filling orders for families of all ages and sizes, knowing that what we chose might be everything they receive for Christmas -- it can put everything in perspective. I now know exactly what to buy for donations next year. (If charities are still accepting Christmas items where you live, we noticed a real need for toys and clothing for older children, size 8 and larger and ages 10 and older, as well as baby-safe toys.) It broke my heart to find nothing to fit the 12-year-old girl on one of our lists, but I know one mom and boy who are feeling a little more grateful for everything today.

Quilt Binders Anonymous


I keep reading that hand sewing the binding on a quilt becomes addictive. I have to say, I'm not feeling it yet. But, I am darn proud of how this is shaping up.

If I ever get caught up on work projects and such, I want to do an I Spy quilt (Amy says I can do it!) and maybe a small project like a king-sized patchwork. With sewing, it is easier for me to just go ahead and get that monstrous project out of the way and then master the small stuff. It builds confidence, I tell you. Case in point: my first real sewing project, which resulted in the purchase of a sewing machine half way through, was reupholstering a sofa. Once I finished that, I felt confident enough to make a tote bag. Go figure.

Here's that sofa, though this fabric marks the second time I have upholstered it. Buddy says it is quite comfortable despite the imperfections.


Monday, December 3, 2007

She's here -- and I'm back!

Baby Claire arrived safe and sound today and we love our new niece -- of course we loved her from the first notice of her existence. And jury duty is postponed to a non-school week. All is well. :)

We interrupt this broadcast


For jury duty. Back soon (I hope) because otherwise we will be doing school on Saturdays and during Christmas break. (I don't mind jury duty at all, honestly, I am just hoping to postpone it until summer. It would impact fewer people then, for sure.)

And meanwhile, my new niece is scheduled to arrive at precisely the time I am to report to jury duty. Trouble concentrating much? Me?

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Drunk on straight seams

BABY GIFT ALERT: Look away if this applies to you.



I tend to put quilters on a pedestal. They must be more spiritual than I am or something, with the straight seams and the nice lines between blocks. My first quilt top attempt, a strip-pieced log cabin, was really unusable for an actual quilt, though I have recently used the top in other patchwork projects.

And then I found this tutorial. I won't insult the author by calling it quilting for dummies, but hey, if I can do it... It is so easy, the darn thing almost sews itself. The hardest part was not amputating a finger (or a dog nose) with the rotary cutter.

I think I could have made a few cuts and made this stunning, but I am content with the not quite random result. The back is pieced and wonky at best, but made with love by a crazy aunt trying not to buy toxic gifts for babies I love. File that under leaving well enough alone, from the new, spiritual, quilty me. Of course the quilting and the binding have been a slightly different story... Almost done.