Tuesday, December 31, 2013


I am ready to deliver this quilt back to Irene, the maker of the quilt.  She is a lovely and colorful lady, can you tell that she likes purple?!!  Thank you for giving me a healthy dose of pure purple in all of its shades and hues!
Field Greens by Madison Cottage Designs

Friday, December 27, 2013

the story of our holiday

And here's how it all went:

We had a very enjoyable holiday over the last few days.  We did do a little driving, but not terribly much.  It takes about 3 1/2 hrs. to drive to Jackson, MN, where we gather for the Hansen group.  We were there in plenty of time to help with the meal set-up for the ~25 people who could make it.  The food prep is all shared by the families, and sister-in-law Jean has a big open home that can accommodate all of us sitting down to eat at once.  We spend the afternoon visiting, playing card games, snacking, and then we have a little Christmas "service" that is our tradition.  Complete with reading the story of the birth of Jesus, candle lighting and singing of carols.  It is memorable and important for all of us.

After the hubbub of that gang, we spent the next day in relative quiet at the home of my parents.  They live about 30 miles away from Jackson.  My mom loves to cook a traditional meal, so we had ham and turkey and all the fixin's together with my brother and sister-in-law.  Ian, Ben and Brita were with us, but because Ian had been up the night before with a bad croupy cough, they decided not to risk staying overnight and took him home to his own bed.  Thank goodness, his cough improved and we were so glad for that.

On Christmas Eve day, Ian needed a babysitter since both mom and dad had to work.  So he came to visit us for an overnight!  How lucky can we get?!  We had such a good time playing, learning, exploring and entertaining each other.  Brita and Ben joined us Christmas morning, and we had a good lunch of several appetizers, salad and a tray of cookies and candy for dessert.  We tried to learn a new game, Farkle, during naptime.  I know it's a pretty popular game, but we found it a little hard to follow and none of us had ever played before.

Ian looks a little sad below, I think he was not happy because he knew he was leaving Grandpa and Grandma!  But he did get to go home and open up a bunch of other presents, so I'm pretty sure he forgot all about us quickly!

Yesterday I was putting away some of the Christmas wrapping supplies, and found a favorite old album on the shelf.  This was from about 1979 or 1980, a singer, Nicolette Larson,  that I really liked.  I would like to hear it again, especially her songs Just in the Nick of Time and Dancin' Jones.  This was music that I would put on the record player and turn it up when I was cleaning house, and it made the job much easier!  I wonder what happened to Nicolette?  She was partly responsible for my daughter's middle name, Nicole.

I finished some quilting on this quilt yesterday--

I don't remember the pattern but I will find out.  It is going to be a class at Bear Patch this winter.  I quilted it simply with a flower pantogram.  Here is how a pantogram works--

It is a stitching diagram printed repeatedly on a roll of paper, laid on the table that supports the longarm.  Normally, those white rollers would be holding the fabric of the quilt.  You can see the needle at the top of the picture.  On the bottom right, the little blue thing is a laser light clamped to the carriage of the machine.  You can just make out the little red light on the paper below it.  As I steer the machine to keep the laser light on the stitching line, the machine is running and the needle is stitching on the quilt fabric.  This is a good functional way to do some quilting that gets the job done faster than most freehand designs.

And that's the lesson for today!

P.S.--sorry for the weird picture placement and spacing, having a few issues with them not following my directions!  They are all supposed to be appearing in the center of the page, according to my formatting, but something is not lining up correctly!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

holiday time

Merry Christmas to All!

I always enjoy the opportunity to share my thoughts and happenings here with you, thank you for noticing!  2014 is coming on fast, so I had better get some projects organized to tell you about!

Thursday, December 19, 2013


Some beauty in nature--

At the top is a big mound of snow peaked above the little birdhouse in the backyard.  The patio chair that remains outside looks like it has a real nice cushion of snow!  And that tabletop would be a great cooler for bottles of adult beverages.  The pic on the bottom left is interesting because it shows the layers that represent the individual snowfalls we have had. The sun was shining through the snow.  And the birdbath looks like too much bubblebath was added!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Merry Christmas

Photo Card
View the entire collection of cards.

A Holiday Greeting to my faithful blog readers!

Best Wishes for the Holidays!

Whoa!  There has been some time lapse since the last posting here!  Sort of slipped onto the back burner for a couple weeks.  Actually, I was busy posting (and still am) over on the Bear Patch blog every day for our 12 Days of Christmas event.  So handy to use the wonders of the internet even when I am away from home.  The same magic happens in Arizona just like it does from my chair at home!

And suddenly, I have only a few days until Christmas!  Since we are having some family gatherings on Saturday and Sunday, I have only today plus 2 more days to organize what's going to whom!  I have some handmades to gift, along with some other goodies, but the shopping has been minimal so far.  Have made good use of the availability of items via the internet, plus the shipping is fast and when done via Amazon it's FREE due to the fact that I paid for a Prime membership.  That has proven to be totally worth it for 2 reasons:  the free shipping plus the free video availability for movies and programs on TV.

Decorating has been low-key around this house, we chose not to put up our big tree for a change.  So we are using this little fella instead and I like the pretty simplicity--

The stockings are hung by the chimney with care--

and gathering little lumps in them gradually.  Next year there will be one more stocking for the new little grandson, and I think I might have to get a bigger mantle!  Got a big box shipped off to Dan in Montana, he won't be with us this year and I just hope the box gets there in time.  Wish I could have Amazon ship all of my things, because they sure get it to happen fast!  Sort of like the Jimmy John's of the shipping world!  The package arrives a few minutes after the order is placed!

Bob and I bought presents for each other already so that eliminates some planning and shopping--

we really needed to retire our good old couch and recliner, they had become less comfortable for sitting without extra pillows for back support.  Not sure whether it was a result of aging bodies or aging cushions, but we are loving the comfort of these new pieces!  We got extra firm seat cushions on the couch, and they are just right!  The only downfall I have encountered is that this couch has exposed space underneath so the floor has to be kept clean down there!

From our couch to yours, Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Homeward bound

In spite of the fact that I almost always allow at least an extra hour before flight time, I still usually don't relax until I am in my seat. Always so many little things to remember--where's my ID, boarding pass, book, knitting, M&M's and last but not least, Bob. Luckily, we have it all together so far!

Yesterday was cold enough in the morning that we found some ice crystals on water beside the trail. That turned out to be a short hike, but later in the day we warmed up and walked the Girdner Trail. Great trail system around the Sedona area. 

Now it's time for a little reading and knitting and anticipating the single digit temps that await us!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Vacation fun

We are still down in AZ, enjoying the fact that it is snowing back at home and we aren't there (for once!).
Today we are over in the little town of Clarkdale to take a scenic ride on this train. 

Yesterday it was much sunnier and we hiked to a place called Devil's Bridge. We'll, actually I sort of chickened out and stopped below this rock formation while Bob continued a little farther. I am not a big fan of heights!

And when back at our cozy little spot, I have a little time with needle and thread to work on an applecore sample. 

Time to sign off--all aboard!

Monday, December 2, 2013

time out

 Squeezed in between our Thanksgiving holiday and commencing the Christmas season, we (Bob and I) have snuck away for a little vacation.  Someplace warm!  We are visiting Sedona, AZ, for a week of basically doing whatever we choose to do!  It's not very often that we get the chance to do that, so I have been trying to take a bunch of pictures so I can always remember what it feels like!

So far we have had temperate weather and mostly sunny skies.  Just right for some great short hikes in the surrounding areas.  There is a plethora of trails around here, so there is no shortage of outings.  Yesterday we took a trail that crossed back and forth over a creek bed--

It is dry at the moment, but only about 1 week ago they had a heavy rain and this would have been full of water then.  The effects of the erosion were easy to see.  Glad we could get around without waders!

We haven't really seen very much wildlife here, other than ravens and this little guy--

He seems to have staked out his territory near the entrance to our unit, and just watches us go around him!  He's really little and helpless, so we are fine with sharing our roomy space with him!  

Here's a scene from another hiking area--

These colorful cliffs and landscapes are such a contrast to our usual surroundings in MN, so they really catch our attention.

Today we drove up to the Grand Canyon, and witnessed a unique phenomenon.  The area has been experiencing an "inversion" which creates thick fog in the canyons, resulting in this--

It was like the whole canyon was full of fluffy cotton candy!  We didn't realize just how special this experience was until tonight when I was looking at headlines on the Yahoo homepage, and saw a picture and story about it!

By lunchtime, the fog was mostly lifted, and we had the usual magnificent views of this wonderful National Park.  I think I am adding 2 more things to my "bucket list"--an overnight at Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the canyon, and a Colorado River raft trip.  I would love to see the view of the canyon from way down there at the bottom!