Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Less than a week

Whew, less than a week until Christmas. It seems like everyone is asking "are you ready for Christmas". I usually just laugh in their faces, but pretty soon I'll start punching people out. No, I do not happen to be ready for Christmas, but as my brother says "it will come just the same". I think he may have stolen that line from the Grinch Who Stole Christmas, so I will give credit where credit is due.
And I don't even have this adorable little excuse for not getting things done. Doesn't she look like an angel? And it seems that she is sleeping really well under that quilt I made her. But it looks like she really needs me to come and cuddle her doesn't it? ;-)
Blatant showing off aside, and meanwhile, back here at the north pole, I'm working on it. I have done some baking, and the tree is sort of up, and some of the decorations are put out. I didn't make all the lovely quilted Christmas gifts that I thought about doing at various times during the year. So, I have decided to make a firm Christmas resolution for myself. As of March I am going to start working on Christmas gifts for 2008. Maybe I can be done in time for "Christmas in July". My problem often is that when I make something for someone I want to give it to them right away, which sort of spoils the idea of getting gifts done ahead of time. I hope all my friends here in blog land are doing better than I am!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


So, tonight I finished up the last of the gingerbread houses- and a train.......

My family is starting to speak in hushed voices around me, I heard something about a gingerbread 12 step program, something about obsession, and the possibility that molasses and peppermint can cause brain damage.

I find myself searching the candy aisle in every store for more "building materials". Candy is so much cheaper than supplies at Home Depot you know. The other day in ceramics class a little girl came in eating some really cool looking rainbow striped gummy something and I was filled with envy! I just happened to mention to Vanessa that it would be great for a gingerbread house. She sort of gave me a pitying look and said "mom, maybe you need help."

I do freely admit that this has become a sickness. But, in my defense, I couldn't waste any extra dough could I? And I solemnly swear that I am done for the year. (heh heh heh)
But seriously, look at that snowman, isn't he worth a little sugar induced madness? And get a load of my icicles. I love making icicles with that frosting. Jack Frost eat your heart out!

I put the finishing touches on the gingerbread train. Sadly I cannot take credit for the adorable little frosted teddy grahams. Vanessa did those, though after she was finished she admitted she felt a little weird "like something Martha Stewart would do". So, there is a possibility that the gingerbread madness is contagious. Can you see the little teddy graham that fell down on the skating pond? On the other side of the train there is a little fire pit complete with chairs and teddy grahams with scarves and another snowman. The peppermint trees are just treeeeeeeeemendous, (snicker snicker) and I hope that Walgreens carries them again next year! Maybe I should go get the last of them now and hang on to them just in case .............
Before it was all finished I had made this little cottage too. If you notice, the foundation is coffee beans. I brought it in to my favorite coffee shop and they put it on the fireplace mantle. Hey they thought it was neat, and I got a free cappuccino out of it.
They did seem to be a bit concerned too though when they found out that it was actually my second coffee bean house. See, I wasn't happy with the way the beans looked on the roof of the first one.
And yes, that snowman has a hat and scarf. What of it?
Did someone just say something about addiction? Oh good heavens I can stop any time I want. Maybe I should do a clothes line with quilts hanging on it...... and hey, if I were to bake the gingerbread over a family size soup can it would make a good silo for a farm scene........ and then............

Saturday, December 8, 2007


A few posts back I was explaining the Christmas stocking quilt. ( and yes Flori, it does weigh a ton, but then it will pin small children and cats down so I can get something done right?)

Anyway, I'm showing the stockings I made. First we have my husbands Santa stocking. Jim loves old world Santa's, especially in colors other than red.

Next we have daughter number 2's stocking, she likes all things oriental, also her name is Melissa which means honey bee, thus the bee fabric on the bottom.

Here we have daughter number 3's stocking, she loves polar bears, I had this cute panel from something, a vest I think, but of course that would have been waaaaaaaaay uncool so I turned some of it into her stocking. Next to it you can see my little Christmas totebag that I am carrying to work this December.

Now daughter number 4, the one you see the most on my blog. She was very into pink and purple and the nutcracker when I made this for her. Last year she wasn't too sure it was still "her" but when I offered to change it out into something more teenager-ish (is it a word?) she decided she loved it and didn't want anything else. Gosh, that is sounding familiar! I would have probably had to put it on the quilt!

So here is my stocking and a little Santa hanging that I made the same year. Mine has camping and cats, and teapots and a piece of some really neat fabric that had cool quotes on it.

And one more thing to show, this Santa tote bag I made for Vanessa for part of her birthday present. She liked my Christmas tote so much that I thought I'd make her one of her own.

In case you were counting daughters you may have noticed that number 1 is missing. I'm not exactly sure where her stocking is, daughter number 1 is living in Texas at the moment and it may be there, or it may be out in the storage shed with the rest of her things. Oh well, life goes on and on right?

Friday, December 7, 2007

Happy Birthday Vanessa

Not much quilting getting done this week. I just have not felt like doing much of anything. But today is Vanessa's fourteenth birthday and I am going to shake myself out of the lethargy and get a lot done!
Hear me roar! ;-)
Okay, I got cupcakes done! We went through my cookbooks trying to decide what type of birthday cake to make her. I was silently hoping she wasn't going to pick some fancy thing that would take a lot of talent because as you can tell I am not a cake decorator! She got the idea to have cupcakes and she wanted that mix that has the confetti in it. Gosh can we get easier? Gotta love that kid! And, she was thrilled that they said her name! Oh I do sooooooo appreciate simple pleasures.
Speaking of simple pleasures, I was going through my fabrics......... and I found some fabric that I had picked up a couple weeks ago that has blond dog heads on it and a lot of them look like Tundra. So, anyway I want to do something with it for all of us, any ideas out there? I could make the little zippered bags that I do for the shop, or I could make mug mats, but if anyone has any other good ideas I'd really like to hear them. I would love to do pillow cases, but there just isn't enough. I have one yard of this fabric, and it was on the clearance rack at the time I got it so I doubt very much there is any more to be found. I suppose I could use it for the cuff on them, but I hate to cut it up too much and lose the pretty pictures. Dilemmas!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Sad day

Our dog died today.

How do I even begin to say how special and wonderful Tundra was? He was such a good friend. I know everyone has the best dog in the world, and that is- was- true of us too.
Tundra had a charming if sometimes odd personality. There are "trails" in the yard from where he would jog around the house. It didn't matter what the season was, he jogged around the house. He followed me upstairs, downstairs, in, out, wherever I happened to be going. He might be asleep on his bed in the living room, but if I went into the den to check emails or play on the computer, he came right in and lay down by my feet. If I went upstairs to my sewing room he followed up the stairs and lay on the only available floor space I have. In the kitchen he lay himself down right in front of the sink, it didn't matter if I was trying to wash the dishes, he wanted to be right there. I'm glad I never scolded him for that, because I would give my sewing machine right now if he was here under my feet.
Tundra loved winter- he adored snow. He would roll in it, tunnel under it, eat it. I think he was happiest in the winter.
Until now, my family are the only ones who knew that I danced with the dog. Yes, I admit it, I danced with the dog. He would dodge from side to side and when I called to him to come dance he would leap around and hop from side to side with me. It really was probably the least artistic or graceful dance the world has ever seen, but he loved it, and I loved to do it with him.

Last January I had some surgery and he stayed by my side from the minute I came home from the hospital. He even followed me into the bathroom to be sure I was okay. If someone came to the door he barked at them to leave me alone.
I am having a hard time believing that I will never look into those liquid brown eyes and see all the love in the world there, or stroke his softer than soft fur and hear him "purr" with pleasure.
Tundra had a wonderful quirk when he looked at you, he would smile and then wink one eye. Just last weekend a good friend was over and when I called Tundra my good ole boy, he said "he just winked at you!"
The wind just got a little colder, the clouds just got a little more gray, and the Christmas lights are dim.
I know we will get past this, but I also know that Tundra took a little piece of each of our hearts when he left today.
Good bye my sweet boy

I love you

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

More Gingerbread Houses

We had a great Thanksgiving! I think I started a new family tradition too. I invited my youngest sister in law and her four daughters to come over early on Saturday and decorate gingerbread houses. The rest of the family came later in the afternoon when most of the frosting was cleaned up. ;-)

The girls all had a ball picking out candy and decorating. The night before I had decorated houses with 3 of my daughters and one of the boyfriends so we were in good practice.
It worked out so well to have older helpers for the girls.

Here we have all the builders and their houses. The little one in the front with her eyes crossed and two fingers up her nose happens to be my goddaughter....... wonder where she gets her personality from? In the back row we have boyfriend of daughter number 3, daughter number 2, daughter number 4 and daughter number 3
then in the front row we have the 4 nieces. What awesome houses!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

WIP Wednesday --but late

I got the reminder for posting WIP Wednesday (Work In Progress Wednesday for my non quilting friends).

So, this is my WIP for yesterday ........ blame it all on the holiday.
See the gingerbread house parts in the background? Those are for our nieces on Saturday. The pies are done now and just waiting for people to eat them.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone~!!!!!~

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Today was Gingerbread House Day!
Honestly I could probably be a total Scrooge if it wasn't for this party! I started out yesterday working on the gingerbread potholder for Kris, this is what I came up with. Cute, yes, but not really looking gingerbread-house-ie. Although it would be fun to do all the Peanuts characters in different houses...... so many quilts........ so little time........

So, I tried again, with a bit more success. I think the background is too busy and competes with the chimneys, but I simply could NOT resist the little gingerbread guys. I let Kris pick, and she nabbed the one with the candy on it in no time at all. ;-) The other one is cute in a Peanuts Christmas sort of way so that will go in my kitchen. I am now in the market for candy fabric because I am sooooooooo seeing a gingerbread house quilt in my future! It was so much FUN to build this one, and so FEW calories were involved!!!

Now for the gingerbread houses!

This is what the table looks like before we all start playing. (and eating) I have always been, and will always be a sucker for gumdrops, the fruit flavored ones though, not those nasty spice drops. I have become the queen of gumdrop cutting at these parties. One year I cut gumdrops into slices and then put the sticky sides in little cake sprinkles and those were my shingles for the roof. I also like to slice up gumdrop mint leaves and put the sticky sides into regular sugar and use them to build Christmas trees on inverted sugar cones. This year we found these awesome candy cane trees!

I didn't get a picture of it, but Kris always has yummy flavored coffee and snacks. We all ate so much candy and gingerbread though that we turned down her Death by Chocolate cheesecake.

So here are some of the other creations....

Are these just tooooo adorable for words??? Some of the other gingerbread artists are using non-edible additions here, but what the heck, no one can eat them after they turn to stone anyway! The icing is sooooooo sturdy that one year it was windy and one woman's house landed on the sidewalk and it was completely unhurt!

And here is my masterpiece! It even has a hole in the bottom of the cardboard so I can stick a battery operated votive in there!!! Does the cuteness EVER end??

A few years ago I did houses with our 4 daughters and after New Years we put them outside near some trees because they looked so cute and we thought maybe the birds and squirrels might eat parts of them (I am a candy purist and only use edibles on mine) but alas, the dog found them and thought they made just wonderful chew toys. He carried them around the yard and spent most of January gnawing on them. Half chewed gingerbread houses are not attractive in the yard. And that would be my post Christmas decorating tip for all of you.

Friday, November 16, 2007

T. G. I. F.

Wow! What a great Friday!

See these roses? Yes, this is shameless flaunting on my part. I received those last night from my sweetie, with thanks for putting up with him. See, it has been a very looooooooooong week around here. I knew it would be, and I tried, really I did try to keep things good. But you know how when one person in the family is grumpy how eventually nothing goes right? Well, that was our week. I blame it all totally on work. See, my husband is a control room operator at a nuclear plant (yeah go ahead, think Homer Simpson) and it happens to be the annual re-qualification testing and exam week. (in nuclear power family terms- hell week) Then things sort of culminated Wednesday night with me being stranded with a dead battery in my van. I won't even go into it here, but it wasn't pretty.

However, today things are looking good. I managed to get all my files done at work yesterday so I could have today off to run all the errands that never get done during the work week, including grocery shopping. AND while I was at the grocery store the lovely lady in front of me gave me her coupon for $9 off on an order of $90 or more! Her cart was no where near that full, but with Thanksgiving coming up and kids coming home mine sure was. Wasn't that sweet of her? People can be so nice.
Next is a picture of some fun fun fun candies I found for Sunday. See, I have this cool friend, Kris, who hosts a gingerbread house party every November. She makes the houses and then invites a bunch of friends over to decorate them. We have such a blast! We all sit around her huge extended table with loads and loads of frosting and candy and anything we think to bring and yak and yak and drink coffee or cider and play. I'm working on a special hostess gift for her this year, I'm building her a gingerbread house pot holder. Last year I found a really cool gingerbread house link for her charm bracelet. It is the highlight of November- Kris is such a welcoming hostess and we all have the BEST time. I can't wait!!!
I'm just feeling soooooo GOOD today and praying sooooooo hard that my honey has a GOOD exam today and comes home with a smile on his face.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Can Halloween really be over at Mare's Nest?????

I thought everyone must be completely sick of seeing Halloween here, so I'm showing my Christmas quilt in progress. It has actually been in progress for, um......... a few years. Yeah, a FEW years. It all started after I had been quilting for a couple of years. You see, we had a mish mash of stockings at our house, and I thought it would be neat to make everyone a special personalized quilted stocking. They all thought it was neat until they realized that meant not having their old familiar stockings. At one point I thought I might have a bloody mutiny on my hands. However, being the brilliant thinker I am, I'll stop for a moment so everyone can cough a bit here. I came up with the idea of taking apart all the old stockings and putting them on blocks and making a Christmas quilt for the entire family to have in the living room. I knew I could not quilt this on my machine, so I decided to do it as a quilt as you go and did each block separately. Next I stitched them together in rows adding as necessary to make them come out even. Then I covered the seams on the front with more Christmas fabric, and realized ...
DUH! I still needed to cover the seams on the back! At this point you say to yourself, hmmm some brilliant thinker! What I should have done is put the raw edges to the front and covered the stupid seams ONCE. So, now I am in the process (for the last HOW many years?) of covering the bulky back seams with bulky flannel strips. It looks like I may get it done this year though, there aren't too many left to go! Yippee!
And for those of you who thought - silly you- that I was serious about Halloween being over........ Here is the spider and partial web from Vanessa's quilt. We did get it bound last night also! She found some absolutely awesome black and white irregular stripes that look perfect with it.
And, at quilt guild my friend Trudy brought me this spiderweb quilt! She made it in 99 ( I know this because she is a good little quilter and labeled it) and doesn't really like it. She was thinking of donating it to Goodwill, but the last time she did that I happened to be in there and bought the wallhangings she donated. So, she figured she would save me the time and money and just give it to me! What a gal! So, NEXT year, we are really doing Halloween up good!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

It's STILL Halloween at our house!

I got the quilting done on Vanessa's Halloween quilt! I just need to go find some black yarn for the button dolls hair, and the spider that I stuck in with the spider webs. I have to find someone elses camera to show the spiderwebs because with the busy background and my not too high tech camera they didn't show up.

So, I took a picture of the pumpkin block instead. ;-)

As you can see from the first picture, there were scraps left over so I made us a Halloween tablerunner too. Our house will be very decorated NEXT year. ;-) Actually there were so many scraps left over that there is a second (more interesting) scrappy tablerunner in the works also. I think we could do a nice little scrappy Halloween wallhanging too.

I should see if she wants to work on Easter, then maybe we can have it done in time? Or is that pushing it???

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Well, it's a Happy Halloween for my quilting daughter Vanessa! Her top is finished! Vanessa designed and executed (good word for Halloween right?) the top all herself.
Some of the blocks are from the pattern crazy eights, the applique ones are designs she drew and gave to me to execute. ;-) I'm thinking of quilting some BIG black Spider webs with spiders in the larger orange pieces that she used for spacers.
So we are going to do the sandwiching and pinning tonight.
This would be my least favorite part of quilting. I much much prefer to send a top, a backing and some batting to my favorite cousin and have her do all the putzy lining up work.

But, I should be able to manage this quilt on my regular machine. (what

am I? nuts?) And not give her any more work right now. If we lived closer I would take it

right to her and then offer to hold the baby and cook supper so she could quilt it for me. Of course we all know who would get the better end of that deal!
As you can see Vanessa is all ready to wrap up in her new quilt, it will be perfect to cuddle under when watching scary Halloween movies~

Today was flu shot day and I'm not sure if that is a trick or a treat.

Oh anyway- HAPPY HALLOWEEEEEEEEEEN!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

No School today!

My youngest daughter and quilting partner had a school vacation today. Unfortunately I had to work, and her dad is working nights, which means sleeping during the day, which, sadly, interferes with our sewing time (Our sewing room is just across the hall from the bedroom.)
Nice run on sentence wasn't it?
Well, genius' that they both are, daddy brought Vanessa's sewing machine, the ironing board, and cutting board downstairs to the dining room so she could sew!

This is what I found when I came home from work~ She got 23 scrappy 9 patches done for her next quilt!

She is going to do the disappearing 9 patch for this one. I love that she is as into quilting as I am!!
Life is Good!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Ta Da

What fun this has been! I got the binding on the baby quilt tonight and yes there is a label on the back. It's not a prize winning label, but it'll do! ;-) Now if I could just steal away and wrap the baby in it myself I would be the happiest quilter in WI and CO!

I had so much fun collecting fabric and figuring out what to do with it for this quilt. And luckily there are left overs so I can do something else too! I just love the red and pink together in these fabrics. So cheerful! Next up is helping my daughter finish up her Halloween quilt~ Pictures soooooooooon!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Much progress!

Yesterday I got to work on the baby quilt some more and I got the little border on and the outer border on, and the quilting done! I will need to go back to the quilt shop for some more of the red to bind it with, because it just looks to me like that is what it really needs. I am loving these 30's repro fabrics, and I never used to like them at all! My cousin says the baby is just a sweet little bundle and so pink and cuddly. So I with her red hair I feel like this quilt is perfect since it's both pink and red.
Today I spent some time brushing and taking care of various pets. The bunny really needed his little toenails trimmed, and the dog had about 81 burrs in his tail. Then I spent some time sitting in the sun with all of them. The dog doesn't show up in this picture because he always has to be right next to me. You would think with three leashes they might get a bit tangled up but they don't. They DO get wound around the chair legs though. And of course, I started picturing a quilt with their leashes going all over it.

Friday, October 19, 2007


At last I am making progress!!! AND, I have batteries in my camera so I can show it!

First I have to show off these GORGEOUS towels that my Flori-friend made JUST FOR ME! As you can see she is really having fun with her new embroidery machine, and she is GOOD at it! I love love love these towels!!! The pretty apple fabric is some that she picked up in New York City for me! How cool is that? I have imported fabric! I think it will be the highlight of the apple quilt I've been planning for years...........
Next I have the progress on the new baby quilt! I am having so much fun with this! I collected reproductions all during my cousins pregnancy, so I would have a nice assortment to play with. I kept changing my mind on the blocks, and finally decided on these chimney stone ones with snowballs in between them. First I tried using the pink print as the alternate blocks but it looked waaaaaaaaaaay too busy, then I tried just white, which looked really pretty, but not very practical as a baby quilt. I like how this looks. I'm going to do a narrow border of the red print, and then a wider border of the pink with more of the chimneystone blocks as cornerstones. The pink has red flowers in it, and it looks so neat next to the red.
As you can see from this closer shot, I seem to have enough blocks for a king size baby quilt! Fortunately I do not see this as a problem! I plan to whip together a couple more baby quilts to have on hand, and play around with whatever is left. The baking dish is full of 1 inch four patches........... I know I know WHAT was I thinking??? ;-)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

It's a girl!


I was going to do the whole post in pink in honor of my favorite cousins new little baby girl but it's too hard to read!

She arrived on Oct 11, all healthy and red hair and dimples. Not that I get to see first hand, sigh. But mommy called to let me know. I soooo wish that Wisconsin and Colorado were next to each other~ With apologies to anyone living in the states between us, I would like to get rid of those areas so that we could be closer.
Now I need to know what is seriously wrong with me - (Flori and Leigh, you be quiet!) I did not get her baby quilt done yet! As you can see from the picture it's not even cut out yet! I have never been this slow before! I have excuses, but really that is all they are. I mean so what there were colorguard flags and band uniforms and purses for the shop- there are always things like that! And it's not like I am not excited about this little cutie pie, because I REALLY REALLY am! She is even partly named for me!
I wonder if I was afraid to cut into the fabrics. Maybe it was fear of cutting?
Well, tomorrow I am going to whip out that rotary cutter and get my buns moving!~ That is just all there is to it!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

More paintings

Thank you all for the nice comments, and the lovely emails. I got some requests for more paintings so here is part of my gallery. ;-)

This one is rather large, it takes up most of one wall in our bedroom. I love painting BIG! ;-)

Also large, this is my first abstract. I would tell you what it started as, but then that is all you would see, instead of whatever it brings into your own mind..........

These are my jaunt into some portraits. I also have a couple more nudes, one that was actually commissioned (yeah me!) but I wasn't sure if that would go over too big online. Some people are funny about that, and used to make comments when they saw them at our house. I guess maybe there is no age limit on immaturity?

I haven't gotten much done on the quilting front lately. I am in the process of working on 3 quilted purses that were ordered. When they are finished there will be pictures- I promise! Fall has come to

Wisconsin! Earlier in the week it was hot and humid with record highs of 87° and today we are just breaking 40°. Long time Wisconsinites always say, "if you don't like the weather, wait 10 minutes".

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Time flies

Oh my gosh, suddenly time has speeded up incredibly and I can't think where it's all going! I thought things would settle down with school starting. Wrong! Everything is on hyperdrive here. I can't believe it's already been two weeks since I went on retreat and blogged about it. Well, as promised, here are the art pictures. They are oil pastel and watercolors.
This one was to get my hands wet so to speak. I always have to do a mountain for my favorite cousin~

I was just sort of wandering around in my mind on this one. glad it wasn't scary!!!! ;-)

Calm, water views, I love living so close to Lake Michigan, it's like driving past a living watercolor every single day.

Feeling a little fun here, I was thinking of how my kitty curls up in a circle to nap and this is what she would look like if she was a quilt. As always I am hoping no one reading this is a psychiatrist!!!