Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Little Christmas Cheer

Every year in November and December, our office has a Charity Drive. We do lots of different things like collect toys for the annual Olympia Toy Run, where motorcyclists of all ages gather to brighten the lives of children at Christmas by making sure they receive a toy. We also collect non-perishable food for the local food banks and adopt a needy Christmas family. Here's my wonderful coworker, Joanne, who has been coordinating this effort for our office for many years. She's got lots of good ideas and really knows how to squeeze the most out of every penney or item we donate.

This year, the Salvation Army asked if we could adopt a large family - mom and seven children. Of course we said "Sure, we can!" Joanne made a colorful poster with tags for mom and the kids for clothing, shoes, and gifts. We were asked to take a tag and provide the gift written on the tag. I chose the tag that said "Stocking Stuffers for the Family." I had so much fun putting together what I hope will be a little cheer for all 8 family members.

I made everyone a key chain and attached a mini-flashlight. I also included a larger flashlight. The guys got yet another flashlight - one like a miner would wear around their head. Flashlights are really big at our house at Christmas...the smaller, or larger, the better. Cabella's has a great one that's almost like one of those big searchlights! The guys' keychains were made of camo fabric.

For the mom and 3 girls, I got Bath & Body Works gift sets of shower gel and lotion, and I made them small pouches to keep little treasures in. The girls' key chains, pouches, and the ties on the gift sets all match and are from the Picadilly collection by Pamela Mostek.

Here's a closeup of the little purse-pouches - there are three individual pockets, and the pattern is called "Little Wallet" by Valori Wells Designs. These are $3 "Sewing Cards" that are a creative and inexpensive little gift for any sewist:

Everyone also got a big bag of assorted Christmas mini-candy bars, and a bag of nuts in the shell (mom also got a nutcracker set to share). I made fat quarter bags to stow everything in, and put their names on them. So much fun to put together! We'll be delivering everything a few days before Christmas, and hopefully will make their holidays a bit more festive and fun.

Friday, December 11, 2009


Well, it's been awhile since I've posted...but that's mostly (I can blame it on this) because our furnace went out and it was just too cold to be on the computer! Here's a picture of the part that went "Bloohey"...

Of course, it coincided perfectly with the coldest weather we've had yet this season! It got down to 8 degrees at night! I won't show you the pictures of the polar fleece yardage I hung in the doorways to keep the little heat we had from 2 space heaters in the living room. But if anyone asks why I have so much fabric...well, I can tell them it comes in handy when the heat's out! So all you "stash builders" out there - keep on buying that fabric - it just might keep you cozy when you need it most :-) The furnace is now fixed and I'm back in business!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

One Gift...Half Wrapped...Sneak Peek!

Well, I have to admit that last year, I wrapped my first present on December 22...I'm trying to change my ways this year! I have my first present ALMOST wrapped...and it's only November 30! It's amazing that I even already have a present purchased!

I have the gift bubble-wrapped and carefully packed into a box. Haven't got the gift wrap on the box yet though.'re thinking "If she hasn't even got the gift wrap on the box, how can she say the gift is ALMOST wrapped?" Well, now you have to understand my definition of "wrapped." I admit that decades ago, my idea of wrapping was sometimes to give the recipient the gift in the store bag it came in, LOL! My how times have changed...(also notice how "wrapped" is very close to "warped").

I forgot to take a picture of the gift, but it's one of those hand-dipped and carved candles and looks a lot like this:

So, to go with the lovely blue and white candle, I made this lovely blue and white table runner/candle mat/gift wrap. The fabric is Timeless Treasures and has beautiful metallic accents. I partnered it with some deep navy batik polka dot which I thinks makes it really pop. I used disappearing nine-patch, bias strips, straight strips, and of course, I had to toss in just a tiny bit of selvage :-)

Just for good measure, I added some hot-fix rhinestones and nailstuds - my latest addiction. The runner buttons perfectly around the box (well, it will when I get the box wrapped!) and becomes part of the wrap - a "double-gift."

I used narrow hair ties for the loops - after discovering this use for hair ties, I went crazy buying them in every color and size I could find!

Here's a closeup of some of the "bling"...and I'll post a picture of the REALLY wrapped gift when it's REALLY finished :-)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Hot For Chocolate - What I Got!

Oooooooo, look at these yummy goodies I got for Yarni Gras' Hot For Chocloate Apron Swap! Madelyn really spoiled me! In the first place, I am a Pattern Nut...but the one pattern (yes, I think it's the ONLY ONE!) that I didn't have was the Sweet Treat Bag! Not only did she send me the pattern, but she sent me a Honey Bun to try it out! I can't wait to get started on it!

And then...the apron was soooo cute! The funny thing was we both chose the same chocolate fabric for our aprons, but Madelyn had some other fabrics that I didn't have. Like the beautiful chocolate nonpariel , and the chocolate chip fabrics! Arent' they gorgeous?

I really love the extras she sent and especially these fat quarters! There was some lovely lavendar spray starch! And notice the Dove Chocolate peeking out at the right side of the picture...yummmmm.....Thanks Madelyn! What a wonderful swap package!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Spooks, Rattles, Pots, and Pans Apron Swap!

Here's the AWESOME apron I got from Aunt Pitty Pat in her Spooks, Rattles, Pots, and Pans Apron Swap! I love this fabric! I almost used the same apron pattern for the one I sent her - now THAT would have been funny! But at the last minute, I changed my mind and made a different one. She also sent a cute potholder that she kept apologizing for how it was made - but I saw NOTHING wrong with it whatsoever! I sent HER a potholder very similar except it was round instead of oval - great minds think alike, LOL!
Modeling the apron and potholder is my very good friend, Julia! I thought she was a lot more photogenic than me, so I drafted her for the job! Julia is a really accomplished photographer. If you're interested, you can see some of her work on Red Bubble.

APP also sent an adorable crow/pumpkin decoration, and some wickedly cute cupcake-ees and picks. Thanks, APP - what a great swap package!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I'm So Behind On My Blogging...

This is going to be just a quick one-pic post...and hopefully I'll get some more posted later this afternoon. My excuse is that my computer has been losing its internet connectivity randomly. Very frustrating when trying to post! Replaced the modem ($100) and the power strip ($70). It's better...but I'm still losing the internet, just not as bad! Guess I'll have to call my ISP one of these days...
Anywhoot! Here is a picture of the wonderful backpack that APP made for me! As some of you know, APP and I met up in northern California in September while we were both on vacation! How fun is that! We are lifelong friends now :-) Actually, we were before too...but definitely will keep that friendship going now. She's terrific, as most of you already knew :-)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Witches Cupboard! Pics!

Here are some pics of what I received from Val's Witches Cupboard Swap, from Jenny in NC. She did an excellent job and I love everything! Here's the box before I unwrapped everything: She sent Raven's Feathers and Fairy Poo (chuckle!):

Look at this cool Bling Ring!
And I love this black pin!Some wonderful buttons - oh, how I do love buttons! Old ones, new ones - any button is a good button!

And this Spell Book is...well...Spell Binding! I love the Boo banner, but somehow didn't get a picture of that as it's laid out...maybe I'll take it to work to decorate my office and get a picture there.
Thank you, Jenny! It's all wonderful and very much appreciated! I'll post pics of what I sent out when I'm sure they have been received (since I was a few days late in sending).

Friday, October 9, 2009

Witches Cupboard!

I am soooo far behind on my blogging! My excuse is that I'm trying to get caught up after being on vacation (there WILL be pics from that soon!). I did try to post pics of what I received/sent on Val's Swap page last night, but I couldn't get the darn Blogger thing to upload my pics, so I'll try again tonight.

But I just wanted to at least get a Sneak Peek Pic of what I received from Jenny in NC! It's so awesome! I'll post the "unwrapped" version tonight!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

An Angel, and An Adventure!

I was an "angel" for Val's Mama Mia Apron Swap. I didn't sign up for this swap because I hadn't watched the movie, but I told Val I would get it and then be an angel if she needed one. I bought the DVD, and then promptly lost it (in the house). I hunted high and low. I finally gave up and bought it a second time. Yep, you guessed it - I FOUND the first copy. Unfortunately, Val DID need an angel...but I was happy to craft this for Jody, just up the road from me in Alaska:

Jody liked green (except kelly green - just like me!), so I used this wonderful line of fabric - I just love that green/black/white combo, don't you? I also made a drink wrap and even put some beads on it, and included a package of green cocktail napkins, and a drink recipe I snagged from Aunt Pitty Pat's blog (more about her later!). I made a card using scraps of the fabrics.

Did you see the boa in the above picture? Jody can wear the apron and the boa...and use THIS to belt out "Dancing Queen" in the privacy of her living room, LOL! It's a microphone made of felt and even has a "mic button" (a black button)...hard to see in this pic.
Here's a closeup of the drink wrap - notice there are two of them - Jody got only one. I'm sending the other one to Val because she loves this particular green color! Sssshhhh - don't tell her!

It was my pleasure to make this package for Jody. For Val's next swap...I'm signing up right away! The theme is "Hot for Chocolate" - would could resist that?
Now...I mentioned "more about" Aunt Pitty Pat above...and here's the "Adventure" part of this post...APP and I are going to meet next week! Marcel lives in Kansas with Pitty Pat and all her other creatures, but she's flying (she and Pitty are in the air at this very moment!) to California to visit her Grandma Peachy, mom, aunt and other assorted relatives. Since I have vacation leave to burn, I decided to take two weeks and come down to Cali to meet her! The "Adventure" will be that I'm driving! Now, probably for a lot of you, that's no big deal, but I'm a Nervous Nellie Driver. But I'm taking this on as a personal challenge.
And I bought myself a CUTE little netbook, and made a CUTE little bag for it. It's so CUTE! Did I mention it's CUTE? So I'm planning on blogging on my way down and while I'm there. It's about 12-14 hours from where I live, but who knows how long it will take me to get there...I'm sure there are one or two fabric/quilt shops along the way, LOL! And oldest son, Ben, gave me his GPS to use, so between the netbook, wi fi spots, and the GPS, it might take me a week to reach my destination! Just kidding...I'm figuring I'll be there in two days :-)

So...wish me luck, and I'll keep you posted on my progress!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

2, 4, 6, 8! I Got Pom-Poms!

On August 19, I posted one of those "10 facts your fellow bloggers need to know about you." One of the 10 was:

3. I am the World's Greatest "Work" Cheerleader! I want whatever organization I work for to succeed.

This is very true (or I wouldn't have posted it!) - wherever I've worked, I have been a positive force for trying to make things better. Heck - you want your organization to thrive so you can keep your job, right? So it just makes sense.

My job right now involves composing often complex communications that translate technical system mumbo-jumbo to "plain talk" for end users - about 750 of them! Mostly they are boring. The communications - not the end users. Ok, well some of them might be boring, too...

But once in awhile, I get to write some that are a bit more fun. September 7-11 was National Payroll Week. Since the system I write about pays our Washington State general government employees twice a month, I got to write about this event all week.

On Tuesday through Thursday (Monday was a holiday), I sent out interesting metrics on how many paychecks the system had produced in 2008, error rates, taxes paid to the Feds, etc. By Friday, I had run out of stats, so I wrapped up the week by praising our payroll professionals who make it all happen. I was truly inspired, and laid it on pretty thick, LOL! I think I was seeing flags waving and hearing inspirational music in my head. The Big Boss read it and said it made him "all warm and fuzzy." The Assistant Big Boss shot me an email that said "That's it, Miss Ma'am! I'm getting you a set of pom-poms!" I wrote back and said "I want pink ones!!!"

Lo and behold, when I got back from lunch, there was Assistant Big Boss with....drumroll....PINK POM POMS! So, of course, I just had to put my hair in ponytails, don a classic pink sweater, and pose! I cut an initial "N" out of black paper...and stuck it on my'll notice it's on TILT! Had hubby take the picture and being a man, he apparently didn't notice it was askew. Oh get the idea.
Don't worry, now I'm gonna hang up my pom poms where I can't do any more damage with them...I don't think I want to be the OLDEST "World's Greatest Work Cheerleader"....

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Couple Little Projects Today...

I made a couple little things today, and sewed on an "angel" swap which I'll have to show you later.

I had been wanting a key chain thingie, so I used a tutorial I found and then did my own thing with it. I think it turned out cute, although I think it's a bit long so I'll probably make a new, shorter one. But this will do me fine for now.
And then I found a tutorial for a cup sleeve (although I can't remember where!). A couple of years ago, I had made TWO cup sleeves for my ever-present Starbuck's "Venti Black Ice Tea, No Syrup" that I'm constantly drinking and they worked great...until the janitors threw them out! This happened twice...until I finally told them to please not throw out anything that's NOT in the wastebasket (they are great janitors, and very sweet, but they overdo it sometimes). I like this one because it's adjustable. Actually, come to think of it, I don't know why I would even SAY that, because I always get the Venti, and I always get ice tea! So the cup is always the same size! So scratch that- I guess I just like the button, and the fact that the loop is made out of a hair tie - how fun is that!

Of course, I just HAD to use some selvedges in it!

Speaking of selvedges, I recently made myself a new bag using selvedges, too...but the pictures didn't turn out so great. Here are the ones that are viewable. I used one wide strip to make a selvedge rose and dangled some beads from the center.

Of course, it didn't take me long to fill 'er up!

Friday, September 4, 2009

TV!!!!! We Got TV!!!!! (kinda....)

Now, I suppose most of you are gonna just laugh your lips off at this...but we be kinda backwoods critters here. We have NEVER, EVER had cable TV or satellite or whatever other media by which one receives "all those channels" out there. HBO, Showtime...those are the only ones I can think of, which ought to tell you just how "backwoods" we are, cuz there are about a gazillion channels and I have NO CLUE as to what they are! Our house is more than 500 feet off the road, which means we would have to pay $$$ to get cable. Yes, we could get satellite. Yes, we could get someother whatever they have these days (but I don't know what all that entails). But the fact is, no one CARES enough about all those channels to do anything about it! So we've limped along with ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, FOX, and one local channel. And when I say "limped" I really DO mean limped! CBS and the one local channel were always "iffy"....SNOW comes to mind...ABC wasn't too bad, but NBC would whig out about halfway through an episode of Law and Order SVU. PBS quit coming in altogether - just got a blue screen. FOX was fairly consistently clear but I was getting a bit tired of 2 1/2 Men, LOL!

ENTER: June 12, 2009 - when television stations nationwide are broadcasting exclusively in a digital format!

Along with not being on the grid for all those cable channels, we also had aging TVs, a roof antenna, and rabbit ears. We procrastinated. We practiced "denial." We thought it was never going to actually happen. We accepted that it would...but then went back to the "denial" stage. Finally, about 3 weeks before "the event" we bought two converter boxes.

Converter Boxes Day 1: we stare at them.
Converter Boxes Day 2: see Day 1
Converter Boxes Day 21: see Day 1
Converter Boxes Day 50: we opened the package. Note, this was WAY after June 12. Don't wanna rush into anything!
Converter Boxes Day 60: we look at the instructions.
Converter Boxes Day 70: we hook one up to the kitchen portable...not very successful
Converter Boxes Day 75: we buy a new set of rabbit ears for kitchen portable...we now get 2 hispanic channels (nothing wrong with that, but we don't speak Spanish!) and 1 children's religious channel....uh....'nuff said. Hubby actually watches children's religious channel for 2.2 minutes.

Eventually, it is September. I finally (I have a LOT of patience) say "Gee...I wish we had some TV!" Younger son hears and actually hooks living room TV up with the other converter box. Miraculously, we get FOX! Not ABC. Not NBC. Not CBS. Not PBS. Not local channel. But we DO have FOX! I am absolutely DELIRIOUS over 2 1/2 men! I would have been delirious over 1 1/2 men! Shoot, at this point, I'd take a HALF MAN!

Where have I gone wrong? My expectations are so low! I wish I could have found some pictures of the early TVs I've had...especially the ORANGE one I had in the early 70s...had to stomp on the floor to get it to quit rolling (do ANY of you know what I mean!?!). And there were NO REMOTES! You had to actually get up off your butts and WALK to the TV to change channels!

Oh my....son just came home (wanting dinner of course) and now I am hearing 2 1/2 Men on FOX! I'll have to get back to you later...I'm thirsting for some TV.....

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Taste of The Market - With My Kids

Each year, our Olympia Farmer's Market has what they call "Taste of the Market." It's a fund-raising event that involves some Market restaurant vendors, plus lots of local restaurants. On a Tuesday evening, the Market is transformed into a very special place! Tables are set up under the covered Market area. Linens and china...centerpieces...real flatware - every year, it gets a bit fancier.

Each vendor who participates brings one or two items they are most proud of. We can take our plates around and around and around until either we are stuffed or the food runs out! Whole roasted pig, an incredible mushroom soup that is the stuff of dreams! Tiny Olympia Oysters Steamed in Beer! And micro brews and fine wines from local wineries!

The first time we attended, there were plastic table covers, paper plates, and plastic silverware (and the price was $35 each). Now at $60 a ticket, things are definitely more elegant, but it's one of just a few things I have a real passion for supporting so the money is well spent, in my opinion. I take my sons and their special people. Here's a shot of the festivities.

Here's a group shot of the kids and their peeps:

Here's my older son, Ben and his wife, Autumn. They have plates in hand, ready to "browse" the offerings. (P.S. - Ben made Autumn's wedding dress when they got married! I am going to post some pics as soon as I can find them - it was pre-blog for me....)This is Adam and his girlfriend, Terri, with her son, Kent. (P.S. - Adam sews too...shhhh, don't tell the Olympia Fire Department where he works...they just might tease him....)

Chowing down...the food was great!Look at the very cute box of bread items that one of the vendors supplied on each table - and they were delishusssss! Although, I have to say that SOME of us (who should have known better) took a couple of things from aNOTHER bakery-that-shall-remain-nameless-but-is-near-where-we-live...and I don't know who eats that stuff, but it's awful! It like...tastes like birdseed - actually I think birdseed tastes better! Also, there were some GREAT chocolates from a fancy-schmancy place...and while the one I took was fabulous, one of us took one that had SEA SALT on the top...SEA SALT and CHOCOLATE. I'm here to tell you...that was NOT a winner...

Here's the "remains" of some of our tasty little dishes...

This WAS a fabulous shrimp cocktail, plus a great little plate that WAS scallops in a puddle of rhubarb sauce with some kinda pickled thing (ginger maybe?), and some green stuff. It was perfection, even if I can't remember the entire combination. Who thinks this stuff up?And oh my....this is a Rocky Road Brownie from Wagner's Bakery. There's not much I can say about this except OMG! Can I just die happy now?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Now THIS Is An Apron! (He Says.....)

My hubby has been working in the shop today. Earlier, I had been taking pictures of the latest apron I received (in the post below this one)...he comes strolling in and says "Now THIS is an apron!" Ummmmm...that's true, and I DID make the apron (years ago)...but I wouldn't want to use it in the kitchen, LOL! I was trying to get Miss Piggy in the picture, but she wasn't cooperating - all I could get was her butt and curly tail!
She was too busy eating blackberries, since they are really ripe and falling off the canes...need to get out there and pick some to make a pie!
But, I think I shall wear one of MY aprons when I make that pie, thank you very much!
Speaking of butt...he wanted to make sure I snapped a picture of the back, since it has the nice cross-ties. You can tell it's been used, but since he's a guy, I'm sure he won't think he needs a new one for another 20 years or so!

I Love Lucy Swap - What I Got!

Here's the wonderful apron I got from from Jenny in Utah! I really love the colors, and especially the Ric-Rac :-) Jenny also included 2 beautiful brown placemats, 2 red, fringed napkins, some great napkin rings, and a yummy-smelly candle jar. The funny part was it all came in a Corn Dog box...I hadn't had corn dogs in YEARS...but had just bought some on impulse that week! Thanks, Jenny - the package is terrific! So glad you were MY partner :-)