Monday, December 28, 2015

Holiday Clean-up Commenced...

Yes it's time to clean up the holiday mess.  It wasn't that bad this year and I've already made mental notes for next year:  Only make chocolate chip cookies because that is what everyone wants, ask folks to bring a dish along because it makes life easier, keep with the minimalist plan for a more relaxing day.  Our holiday was cheerful and jolly and we are looking forward to a quiet New Years Eve.  How was your holiday?


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Merry Christmas!

 Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy holiday!
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Minimalist Christmas: 2015

Our Christmas tree this is year, is ten inches high.  It might be difficult for some of my friends to believe this; the weekend after Thanksgiving usually mean my house looks like Christmas exploded inside it.

For years, my son has asked me "What do you want for your birthday or Christmas?" My reply has always been, "Less."  I don't want him to worry about buying something for me.

Last year was a game changer.  I finished decorating the house, took the dog for a walk and promptly broke my foot.  At least the house was decorated until Christmas Eve--in the middle of cleaning the house and cooking for our annual brunch--the unexpected happened: I got vertigo.  I don't remember much after going to the doctor except that I told my husband, "you have to do all the cooking and prep."  And he did.
Christmas day I kept falling asleep (from the vertigo medication) and all I know was that the holiday survived despite the fact that I was checked out.

I probably would have forgotten about all this except I spent some time this autumn deleting photographs.  I stumbled on this one from 2012:

the land that Christmas forgot AKA the after Xmas mess.  My little sewing area is in the attic and after the holidays, I would not only have to put away all the decorations but then tackle all the stuff I had moved to the attic to make room for Xmas...which of course became worse if I was doing some last minute gift sewing.  It would take nearly the whole month of January to get the house back in order and those memories flooded back as I reviewed old photographs.

So this year, all the boxes of Christmas decor have been ignored.  I spent 5 minutes decorating the window from my grandmother's house which sets above our living room wardrobe. Included is a ten inch high Christmas tree that I once used to decorate a doll house for Christmas.
My friend Beth gifted me some small glass birds (I'm an avid bird watcher) and I put them and a few other birds on a teeny tree.

And the funny thing is, I'm happier.  I feel absolutely liberated.  The Christmas presents are already wrapped, the house is in better order than in years past, and I have more time to think about things that truly make me happy.  Today I'll start preparing the cookie dough.  Some of the cookies will be served on Christmas; more will be given away to some of the seniors in our neighborhood that have become very attached to Seamus.  

I'm not ready to dispose of our regular tree.  I might feel differently in years to come and want the whole Christmas experience again.  But I wanted to post this to remind myself that it doesn't really matter.  This year I don't have to tell Peter I want "less" for Christmas.  I gave that gift to myself.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Pennsylvania Piecemaker

My new blog is up!  Please join me at www.pennslyvaniapiecemaker.blogspot.com for insights and thoughts about quilt collecting, history and the joy of living in Pennsylvania! :)

Sunday, November 29, 2015

A Quilt for Maggie

Maggie is my oldest niece and I finally was able to give it to her this weekend when she visited!  The quilt has been finished for a while but I wanted to give her the quilt personally.  She is busy most of the time, working on her degree and also has a great job in the science field.
She picked out the fabrics, etc. and I was happy to make it for her!
Simple but hand quilted and I hope she enjoys it in her condo!  Love you gal!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

 Wishing you and your families a happy and blessed holiday!
Hugs, Mickie and Seamus

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Crossroads

I've been using this blog for many years.  It started when I babysit my granddaughter and I wanted to share photos and anecdotes about her and our life with the poodles.  We had three poodles then, and Helena was not yet in school.  It is shocking to me when I think about the fact that she will be 12 years old in a few months.
Life changes.  I don't feel comfortable posting photos of the kids on the internet anymore and to be honest, we don't see them as often because of our schedules and theirs.  My business has grown from being a lecture every few months to actually having to schedule time off in order to develop more programs and catch up on things at home.
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I'll always post now and then on this blog.  But I want to focus more on the work related blog.   Part of the reason for the new blog is that many guilds have requested that I offer a blog for them to follow.  Additionally, I need to concentrate more on my research and continue to focus on writing. The new blog will be launched December 1.  I'll post a reminder of that when it is up.

Hope you are all doing well and having an easy (and warm) autumn!  Hugs, Mickie


Monday, October 26, 2015

Last tomatoes, winter on the horizon...

I've picked the last of the tomatoes and have been gradually been putting the garden to bed for the season.  There is a lot going on here (my husband's health) but will wait to post about that later.

Nothing cheers me up more than acquiring new quilts.  I struck gold at a local auction last week when I got a day off just to myself (a rarity these days).
This is an Amish quilt from Lancaster County, circa 1905.  I can't photograph the quilting too well but believe me it is a beauty!  Anyway, I just wanted to post something before the end of the month.  Hope everyone in blogville is doing well.  Hugs and hugs!

Friday, October 2, 2015

The apron, the poodle and a wonderful weekend!


Don't ask Seamus about last weekend.  He was a bit miffed despite all the company we had visiting!  Dear Jessica and Peter came up for the weekend.  They wanted to get out of Philadelphia during the Pope visit and spend some time with family.  We had a great weekend!
On Friday Jessica had another sewing lesson--this time with my friend Carol who taught her how to make an apron, we had a wonderful day!
Working away...except SOMEONE wanted to be in the middle of everything which kept Jessica giggling...
 Seamus is very attached to Carol.  She accompanies us on our evening walks and he can always rely on her to throw the ball except when she is explaining how to sew an apron....
 Adoring looks at Carol....
 When one tactic doesn't work, try another...
 The finished project!!!!
Peter had picked out a great movie for us to watch on Saturday night.  It was a perfect "mom" movie called "Chef."  If you haven't seen it, I recommend it!  It was very heart warming and funny!  
Other things are occurring here and will be keeping me busy during the next few weeks.  More updates about that later...
In the meantime, have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

On the Road Again...

I started back on the road again in August and been to various groups to lecture.  It's a busy few months for me but I wanted to check in just to say I'm here and okay.   I'm sad to see summer fade, isn't everyone?  Despite the heat and challenges of keeping the garden hydrated, I've enjoyed my outdoor time and so has Seamus.
Tonight I'm headed to Mt. Laurel, NJ to give my "Storytime Stitches" lecture to a quilt guild.  This quilt is one of two "Pussywillow" quilts I own; I have it in this aqua and also in pink.  The pink is going with me tonight.  
I see Seamus slowing down this summer and I'm also trying to keep him happy and occupied.  He's almost 9 years old and it pains me to see him out of sorts.  Perhaps it was the high heat, perhaps he was bored, but he seems most happy when we have visitors to the garden like Katie and Natalie and the Pom-Poms (one is pictured here).  I haven't had much time to even keep up with the blogs but I have next week off so I should be able to read up on everyone's fun during the last few weeks.  Hope you are all staying well and enjoying the cooler weather!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Summer is fading...but not the heat.

The days maybe getting shorter but we're in the midst of a heat wave here in eastern Pennsylvania. The first thing I do these days is take Seamus to the park to get his ball game on before the sun is totally up.  It's searing for him and his coat is a bit longer than what I would like--but we are awaiting his new groomer to finish up her grooming school in the next week or so.  
I'm sewing upstairs in the early morning because by noon, it's too oppressive to be in the attic.  I am getting some things done and am taking three quilt tops to the machine quilter today.  I have three variations of black, grey, and yellow completed.  The first you saw here.  The second is a gift for someone who checks my blog, so I'm not posting a photo of that one (it's her birthday present).  I made hers the biggest so she could really cuddle up in it this winter.
I had a lot of scrap fabric left and I knew I would most likely never use it so I made this "good to the last drop" quilt.  I just used as many of the scraps as I could.  It's very random but it was freeing to just assemble 8 inch blocks and keep moving.  Afterwards I found I could make a medallion of sorts in the center.  I thought that I would use the piece as a backing but my girlfriends veto-ed that and said no, quilt it like a regular quilt.  I'm interested in seeing what it looks like when I get it back from Terri, my quilter.

Hope you are staying cool and having a wonderful summer.  It will be gone before we know it so enjoy it while you can!  

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Heatwave!

Summertime highs have finally arrived to our part of Pennsylvania!  I started the week doing some inventory of my quilts including the quilt that features this block.  Now it is too warm in the attic for inventory so I'm cutting fabric for future quilts.  It passes the time until we can go out and play in the garden.  Seamus doe NOT like the heat and has to be coaxed to take a walk these days.  We get up early (very early) and head to the park to walk and play so he gets some exercise.
How do you keep cool in the high heat?  

Monday, July 20, 2015

Monday Wash Day

It's Monday and yes that means Wash Day!  Today I'm hanging wash out.  Might as well take advantage of the heat, and to be honest, I don't like running the dryer when we already have the a/c running full blast.  
I did some sewing early this morning but even with the central air, the attic is too warm by 10:30 a.m.  So I'm back to puttering around the house and doing some much needed cleaning that I've been neglecting.  So I'm back to wash, cleaning baseboards and dusting.  
Stay cool and safe if you are experiencing the same high heat!  Have a great day!



Sunday, July 19, 2015

July Update

It's summer and I'm not doing as much sewing as I normally do in July.  The reason?  It's been beautiful here in Pennsylvania!!  We are just now experiencing some of the hot and humid weather we connote with the month of July.  I've been spending a lot of time hiding out on my swing, walking Seamus or the always needed weeding.


Yesterday I went to the Paper show at our local Agricultural Hall.  It's full of musty old books, magazines and ephemera and I like to go whenever it is here.  Here's something summery I picked up:
I hope you are having a wonderful summer!  Stay cool and safe!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Turtles at Second

We've had quite a wildlife week here! 
Bird on a Wire:
 Last week I was puttering around the garden when something landed above me.  It was a small hawk and he didn't move when he saw me below him.


He was so close!  It is a low wire.  I couldn't believe he wasn't leaving.   When the storms started and we was still there, I told my husband "that one is in trouble."  He was.  We found him under the wire the next morning.  We don't know if he had some kind of illness or if he had been attacked by crows (common around here).  Either way, it made me sad.
Turtles at Second:
So on Sunday, I took Seamus to the baseball fields for a nice walk.  Our friend Mary and her dog Bindy were there.  They are our neighbors and the dogs get along well.  Mary was upset because she had spotted a large turtle on the baseball field and she was afraid it would fry in the heat.
Because there are a lot of snapper turtles here, I asked my husband to return to the field with me so we could move the turtle before the neighborhood kids come along and possibly get their finger cut off. :(
Fortunately, it was a box turtle and she was in distress but not the kind Mary imagined.  She was laying eggs in the sand!
It was fascinating watching her and when she was finished, we helped her get back to the creek. The field is weeded over but there was still good sand under the grass.  So we have a batch of turtle eggs incubating at second base and we will keep an eye for when the little ones hatch (2-3 months).  
Otherwise, I am doing some sewing but mostly absorbing as much outdoor time as I can.  There is always work to do in the garden and I'll post more photos of the garden tomorrow.
Have a great day!




Sunday, July 12, 2015

Greta updates...the Goldilocks saga

Greta went home yesterday.  She seemed relieved to be home.  The first week at our house was like vacation and fun time for her.  But the second week, it was obvious she was looking for her place in our home.  

Of course when she came over two weeks ago, she had immediately taken over Seamus' brand new bed (doesn't Seamus look a bit peeved?):
I had to chase her out of Seamus' crate (a sacred and safe place for our dogs).

And then there was Thursday, when I actually left the dogs to do some errand and came home to find that somebody had peed on my couch!  It wasn't a lot of pee and I could clean it up but it probably reflected the dog that takes medicine for incontinence.  

 It must have been the same dog that DH found on the couch when he was with them Friday and went downstairs for a second and then couldn't find Goldilocks Greta until he looked on the couch.  She was curled up fast asleep there and must have decided the couch was "just right."  
"What's a feller to do?"
So Seamus and I were relieved to have her go home.  Last night, I took Seamus on his evening constitutional and it was as if the whole neighborhood re-greeted him.  People (and their dogs) were out and he got to visit with a lot of his friends (and especially dog friends) that he couldn't see when Greta was here because she isn't always appropriate with little dogs (she thinks they are rabbits).  Lots of doggy kisses were given to the gentle giant.  He was a happy man when he got home, had his treat, curled up in his (fairly) new bed and fell fast asleep.   Life returns to normal...