Friday, December 31, 2010

Hem your blessings

I found this great  quote:
"Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don't unravel." (Author Unknown) on the web one day. 
2010 has been a very challenging year for us but thankfully, our children are happy and healthy despite the struggles this year. 

My mom is back in the hospital so DH and I are monitoring her situation and also my nieces who were visiting her when she got so sick again. Last night Uncle Brad made the girls shrimp stirfry and I taught Christina to embroider:

We wish everyone in blog land a healthy and safe holiday and new year of peace and plenty.  Please be careful if you are going out this New Year's Eve!!!!
Hugs, Nana Mickie, family and poodles

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Pie Time Wallhanging

Finished this one Sunday night.  I'm giving it to Jess, my oldest son's girlfriend.  She is a wonderful pie-baker and we adore her!  I found these vintage images and just had to do something with them (the puppies sealed the deal).  My favorite blocks are the last two:

Monday, December 27, 2010

Wimpy weather

Hubby and I were expecting a good amount of snow last night.  Heck, the meteorologists were expecting 8-10 inches!  Instead we got a measly inch and a half but it looked pretty last night:

"Dude, our ball has turned into a snow ball, I must repeatedly bite it!"

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas merriment!

Love our kidlets!  Some parts of Christmas may make me a little grumpy, until we get our kids together for our traditional merriment after brunch.  This year, my camera didn't work until the last half hour (grrrrrrr) but otherwise it went okay.  We just wanted our kids home together again.......

Merry Christmas

Friday, December 24, 2010

12:50 PM, Eastern Time, Pennsylvania

Santa is arriving in India!  Yeh Santa!!!  And yeh to this young pup who is 3 years old today!  Happy Birthday Seamus! 
Seamus celebrated his birthday today by going to work at the nursing home and giving all his friends some loving dog therapy.  They all enjoyed his Christmas eve visit and wished him a very happy birthday!

In other news, it is also our youngest son's birthday today and he and his family will be arriving in a few hours for the traditional birthday dinner (my husband is making a chicken stir-fry).   Hope to get pics of the kids today (I keep forgetting my camera lately).  More later as we watch Santa progress...

Christmas Eve Day, 9 am: in Pennsylvania the land of liberty

Per Norad, Santa is headed to Darwin, Australia!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas...

Unfortunately that doesn't seem posibble be this year.  However, we are watching a possible snow storm for the day after Christmas.  That would be wonderful too since snow days in our home = peace.  Who couldn't use a quiet snow day after a busy Christmas Eve and Day?
P.s.  This is my new wallhanging, small and easy to do but I love it :)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Greetings

Merry Christmas to everyone!  I never did send out cards because my mom's poor health has kept me too busy but here are the cards we had ordered.  This one features a painting Nana had done and which I always have hanging in our living room.  She passed away in July and I miss her terribly.  Still, I love that the beauty she always appreciated lives on in her work:

 And of course for our doggy friends, we featured our favorite photo of Seamus and Ted frolicking in the snow.  I've posted this photo before on the website but I still love it!
For every window that closes, another opens and this year, we learned many things from the challenges we had to face. 

I may have not had much time to myself but I have learned to enjoy a simpler and more basic Christmas.  Anyone who knows me well, knows that I REALLY love Christmas and go all out to decorate the house, bake, and make or buy presents.  This year I have been happy to hang two garlands and put up the tree.  The little time I had left, I'd rather spend with my husband or sew.  I didn't go over the top with presents either, keeping to the minimal because I would prefer to spend time with my family than stress out about what I did or did not buy.

I'm not sure how my kids are going to react to this simpler Christmas when they come home but I hope that we simply have a good time.  So here it December 18 and Christmas is done (including cleaning the house which I did yesterday).  Last night I sat down and watched "Miracle on 34th Street" and felt at peace.  I wish the same for all of you............
May your holiday be merry and bright.
Mickie and the Poodles

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Charm Quilt

I'm just about to put the sleeve on this one but pinned it up to photograph it. This is a Christmas charm quilt.  Each tea cup is a different Christmas fabric.  I think Helena and I will have fun with this on Christmas Eve.  She loves to play games like "I Spy" and "Where's Waldo" so I'll make her hunt for the different pictures in the quilt.  Each block is 3 inches and there are 90 different blocks.  Making the teacups was what I did whenever I was stressed during the last few months.  It's funny how fabric can bring back so many memories!  Some of the fabric in here was 30 years old :) 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Another Christmas Quilt

 Copyright MJMcLaughlin, 2010
We took Mom back into the hospital today for another procedure but I am happy to report that she was allowed to come home.  We do have to take her back for another one next week but I am happy for her that she gets to sleep in her own bed!  Peace and Joy to you all!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

In Honor of Paddie

 Copyright, MJMclaughlin, 2010

Monday, December 6, 2010

if you enjoy dogs...

You must check out this website and especially the current blog on moving with dogs.  Everytime I read it again, it makes me laugh hysterically!  ENJOY!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Our Giving Tree

 It's been a stressful year and stress makes me (somewhat stubbornly) productive.  This is our Giving Tree.  We (me and the poodles) made a lot of gifts for the patients at the Hospice that Seamus and I volunteer at:
Yeh it's over 100 different items and that is good.  It's important to make something positive out of challenges.  Tomorrow we have our volunteer breakfast and my coordinator asked me to bring these then so that the volunteers could take things for their patients.  I'll take a breather for a few weeks and then start all over again for valentines and the regular (birthdays, hugs, thanks to veterans, etc) for the patients. 

In other news, Mom is home again from the hospital and still requires a lot of care.  My brother and I share responsibilities and it has been working out very well.  We are both bushed though and Mom is very weak yet.  It'll be a long haul for her, I'm afraid.

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Doll Spread

A spread of Indian Head for Dolly's Bed

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gratitude Pie...great for Turkey leftovers

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!  We celebrate the friendships we have made in blogland and hope each of you have a safe and happy holiday. 

Hubby and I are visiting Mom in the hospital and then having a quiet turkey dinner at home.  A few weeks ago, we made a different kind of shepherd's pie...with (cooked) Turkey and sweet potatoes.  Everyone who tried it, loved it!  Here's our recipe in case you want to try it:

Gratitude Pie (not your Mama's Shepherd Pie)

1/3 C lt. sour cream
2 sweet potatoes
2 C diced raw vegies (we had onions, celery, carrots and zuchini on hand when we made it)
1 T chopped garlic
1 T olive oil
1/2 C chicken broth
Leftover turkey about 1 and 1/2 C, shredded.
Other frozen vegies you might have on hand (we used frozen peas)
Grated cheese (optional)

*Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

*Grease 2.5 deep dish casserole pan

*Peel and cube potatoes.  Boil until soft in two Seperate pans...about 7 minutes depending on how small you cut them.

*Combine and Mash potatoes together, add sour cream, blend briefly with hand held mixer.  Set aside.

*Heat oil in deep saute pan, add diced raw vegies and then garlic.  Cook until tender.  Add 1/2 C chicken broth and pulled turkey, cook until leftover turkey is warm. 

*Pour the turkey mixture into bottom of greased casserole dish.

*Add layer of frozen vegetables on top.  Do not mix! 

*Top with layer of mashed sweet potatoes, smoothing top of casserole.  Sprinkle with some cheese (not a ton of cheese) and paprika to taste.

Bake 30-35 minutes. 
Bon Apetit!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Vintage Revisited...

Remember when I talked about Mary Kerr's book, Vintage Revisited?   On Wednesday, our minigroup met and shared the quilts we had made.  If you recall, we started with this bow tie block, circa 1900:

It was wonderful to see my friends again (I've been so busy with my mother's health issues) and share our creative processes: 
Pam is a gardener and she used buttons to make these funky flowers.  Some of them are buttons on buttons!  What a great idea!  She loves black and white and red quilts and this one will go with a bed sized quilt she has been making.  I love the border print she used as well which ties it all together:
Both Kim and Pam used some reproduction fabrics in their quilts and I love the result Kim got with her bowtie quilt.  Her quilt has a really crisp feel to it!  I think the plaid fabric in the border adds a really fantastic dimension to the quilt.  She worked on hers while recovering from illness.  Look at the cool fabrics she used:

Julie went a different route using embroidery to embellish hers.  The strawberry fabric makes it sing!   She is going to hang hers in a room in her house.  I love the greens  and the gingham she used.  She still needs to bind hers (and she has an awesome binding too!) and will have done it by our December guild meeting:

Close up of one of the embrodiery sections:
Then there is mine,  I went through various ideas before I settled on "Peter's Merry Little Christmas" celebrating the special relationship my son had with my Dad and the various Christmas traditions we have in our family--like Danish Ribbons, St. Nicholas Day, my Dad's tradition of nerf guns or sword for the boys (and Dad which made Christmas particularly raucous) and the annual gifts of slinkys and yo-yos:

PS--the black and white plaid fabric is the train rails and the reindeer antlers.

I emailed Mary Kerr today and hope she will check out our blocks...and if she did one, we will post her photos too!  

Next challenge?  A dresden plate block that Pam supplied us.  Our new challenge quilts are due in March and we are all probably going to start ours in January, but the ideas are coming already!!!!! 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Gifts from Aunt Bube!!!

Last week, Sandra came to visit us here in Pennsylvania and we had a wonderful time.  She and Dennis were good medicine for me and we laughed and shopped (a LOT).  I have to post the wonderful gifts she brought us.....
My personal favorite is the notebook but check out the pillowcase she made for Helena and the bibs for Miles (my grandchildren).  The bibs are reversible!  I love them, they are nice and thick for boys his age :)

Thank you Aunt Bube!!!! We wuv our gifts!!!!

On other fronts, my mom has been moved to hospital that is closer and has more liberal visiting hours so I am over there everyday sitting with her and challenging the doctors.  She isn't much better and now has bloodclots in her lungs.  The clots are the doctors main focus and they also have her on an IV for nourishment.  By the time I get home at night, I'm usually too exhausted to get on the internet.  I'll catch up with everyone as I can. 

Hope everyone in internet land is doing well.....Take care and see ya when I can......

Friday, October 15, 2010

3 Kitties and a Mad Lamb :D

Recently, I found a set of five embroidered blocks at a flea market (the fifth is the same kitty close up but in the wash).  I thought it would be fun to scan the blocks and use the photos to make some home made cards.  Don't you think that Nurse Kitty would make an adorable "Get Well" card?  So there were 4 kitties in this bunch and one lamb that is looking really annoyed.  Maybe because it was clumped with the cats? 
Ah the things that amuse me...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Vintage Revisited

It's been a long tough summer with losing my Nana, losing my baby Paddie (the dog), and now my mother is in the hospital with some other problems.  It's why I sew so much (therapy) these days.  Anyway, I am now working on a mini-quilting group challenge with some friends.  We love Mary Kerr's book,
Vintage Revisited, and decided we wanted to do a Vintage Revisited challenge ourselves.  When we emailed Mary to tell her that we wanted to do this, she said..."I'll play with you too!"  So we have all been given one block:

This block is from the early part of the 20th century and we were each given one.  We can do anything we want with the block or the fabric from the block but it has to be incorporated into a 24 x 24 inch wall hanging.  I know for some people it may sound tough, but I have found this challenge very stimulating--perhaps because it was a good escape.  I actually designed THREE different wall hangings that could incorporate this block.  At 5 a.m. this morning, the third idea came to me and I am now off to the races because I love the idea of it and I always wanted to do something like this.   I'm off to work on it now......I've had months to do this and it is due the first week of November so I've got to get cracking!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

4 a.m.

Stress is a real bummer.  It's made me eat too much, sleep too little, and neglect both home and garden.  Anyway, what to do at 4 a.m. when you can't sleep?  Make presents for the kids.  The halloween bag I made for my son Peter and his gal Jess to hold their halloween care package and the Christmas totes I just love how they turned out. 

I 've been stopping by the dollar store on my way back from different excursions and have a nice collection of fairly nice cotton towels from there.  I added some of my favorite little pieces of leftover fabric to give them a festive look this holiday.  I love the ice skating fabric which is my favorite because it can be used after Christmas:

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Sometimes we can learn so much from our pets and sometimes they truly touch us.  This past week as I was cleaning, I decided to pack some of Paddie's things up and take them upstairs to the craft room.  My goal is to make a shadowbox honoring her and the love she brought us.  I found a beautiful box and began packing.

It must have been the tinkle of the tags on her collar because the boys ran to the table where I was working.  Both stuck their noses in the box and sniffed and sniffed.  Eventually, Seamus left.  But Teddy wouldn't.  He just stayed and stayed and sniffed and sniffed.

I wondered if we were sharing a common moment.  One box of Nana Betty's sewing accessories has a small plastic bag in it with some things she was saving: buttons, fabric, a few notions.  But when I open that bag, I can smell the scent of her home and it immediately comforts me and reminds me of all the love she showered on us.  I always close that bag right away, as if to preserve the sweetest of fragrances--which it is to me.

Teddy sniffed and sniffed but he is also my fragile child.  He is the dog that lives insecure, fearful, and can be aggressive because of it.  Paddie had kept him in line.  If he was really out of whack, she would push him against the wall and hold him gently there until he calmed down.  It got to the point in our world, that she would just have to stand up and the boys knew they better cool it NOW!  Seamus had gone back to playing but Ted stood guard over the box.  "That's enough boy," I gently tried to divert him but he wouldn't waiver.  I ended up closing the box and set it on the steps, closed the door, and returned to cleaning. 

Teddy didn't resume wrestling with his brother.  Instead he paced and paced in front of the door that leads to the staircase as if awaiting her.  Inevitably, I had to take the box up the stairs because I am certain he could still smell her. 

I have been told by some people that their dogs did not miss their dog friends after they had passed.  Strangely, to know that both Seamus and Ted had not forgotten Paddie and that Teddy was so affected helped me greatly with my own grief.  We are bonding in different ways now, not better or worse, but a different routine is being smoothed out and our lives continue. ..

Friday, October 1, 2010

Russian Proverb

Here's a wallhanging that I made for our guild challenge this September.  I have a background in Russian Studies and own lots of matroyshkas that I bought during my visits.  I've been fascinated with the trend of quiltmakers using these motifs during the past few years.  Anyway, this is the best I could draw from some of mine.  The translation of the Russian proverb is:  "The egg does not teach the hen."

Thursday, September 30, 2010

part of the Halloween care packages

For Peter and Jess and also for Nicole in her new apartments.  I added leftover Halloween fabric to some cotton towels and found pumpkin dish scrubbers at Joann's (FOR A DOLLAR!!!).  Off to finish their gift totes........