Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: Best year ever!

It's true, 2013 brought me more happiness than I ever had anticipated.  Two big reasons:
Peter and Jessica!
I remember listening to an interview of Cokie Roberts years ago.  She was asked if all her professional accomplishments had helped her gain more confidence and poise.  She said it wasn't that at all, but had more to do with her children growing up.  As a mother, we never stop worrying about our children, she said, but there comes a point when you know that they are not only grown-up but are solid in their values.  Then, she said, we can relax and feel confident.

I completely concur with Cokie.  Peter and Jessica respect each other, are kind and active in their community and make wise financial decisions.  I think their marriage will continue to be a happy one.  This realization has brought me more joy and peace than I ever expected.  I couldn't ask for a better daughter than Jessica and I'm proud to have her in our family.  And Peter?  Well he's relaxed and happy and calls me all the time for ADVICE (can you believe it?).  It's wonderful!

Another thing that helped this year be the best ever:   Most productive sewing year in almost a decade!  Sandra and I had a UFO challenge going and it REALLY really helped keep me focused on finishing.  I completed 22 UFOs in additional to my regular sewing and am now also doing a UFO challenge for my guild.  

I'm already prepared for 2014 and I think it will be another good year for sewing.  I'll talk about my goals tomorrow.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

December 26


Christmas was wonderful, all our children were home and even the nieces made it here!
Christina loved her quilt! I've given myself a deadline of March to finish Maggie's (other niece).  This pattern is from the book, Wonder Blocks, by Terry Martin.
We can tell the dogs are getting older.  They were both well behaved during all the holiday madness.   Teddy is now 7 and Seamus turned 6 on Christmas Eve.
This is Teddy this morning.  He's exhausted after his long Christmas day and cuddling with one of his (many) new toys people brought him.  I think we are all going to take it easy today!  Hope you are getting so much needed post-holiday rest too!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

It's Christmas time in the city...

Our snow is melting quickly as we have had a two day warm-up.  The fog yesterday made walking the dogs and taking photographs a fun activity.  The thaw is temporary, already the weather people are saying we shall have cold temperatures tomorrow again, possibly a light snow shower.  

Hope you are all done with holiday preparations and relaxing before Christmas!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Fish Fun!

 Another donation/UFO quilt finished last night.  I think this fish fabric is a fabric we may have picked up when we were planning my (now 35 year old) son's nursery.  The rainbow fabric someone gave me in the last 10 years.  When I saw it, I knew it would work with the fish fabric and put the border on the last piece of fish fabric that I had.  I think it works perfectly!  I only had to buy the yellow border which I thought was really fun and is currently on the market.  This will be donated to the pediatric oncology ward.  I think it is very cheerful!
We've still got a lot of snow here but the weather people are saying mild weather is on the way.  We can only hope!  Have a great day!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Baby it's cold outside...

21 degrees outside and still snowing.  First day of winter hasn't arrived and yet this autumn we've had over a third of what we normally get in snowfall.  Snow this early usually means a tough winter for all of us.  I'm going to stock up on thread the next time I'm at the store and make sure I have all the sewing supplies I need!
Stay warm and safe!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Oh the weather outside is frightful...

We got some more snow yesterday.  But the real news is the cold so there is a lot of ice outside.  We salted our pavements and our streets are passable but the dogs are still bored.  Unfortunately a lot of people don't clear their sidewalks so walking is very problematic yet.   No temperatures above freezing until Saturday when the high will be 34--and unfortunately that day we will get more snow and ice.   So this is winter...if the weather outside is frightful, the sewing room is delightful so I have two more finishes:  the dog house quilt and a donation quilt for the premie ward at the local hospital.
Today I am hoping to quilt my fish quilt and I have enough dog house blocks for another quilt which I am changing a little.  Hope you are all staying safe and warm!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Too long away...

We've been fairly busy here which is why I haven't been around.  My husband is rarely home and to have him not only stateside but off from work for over a month is a pretty unusual experience.  So here have been the latest updates:
Thanksgiving at the newlyweds!
 "The Beards" All the men at the feast.  

Perfect turkey again from Peter and Jessica!  The food was all from scratch and wonderful!

My husband was supposed to be hunting but he got sick with a heck of a cold/flu thing (which he graciously shared with me) and so he has been home.  Before I got sick, I was just holding down the fort.  Here is Seamus doing some dog therapy work this past week.  More updates later this week!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!
 and Happy Hanukkah to all as well!
placemats I made for Meals on Wheels

Sunday, November 24, 2013

quiet days

The golden days of autumn are officially over.   Here are some of the views in our neighborhood before the cold and wind entered out world:

 Teddy wants to smell every leaf...
My husband is home for the rest of the year and even on vacation.  Since we don't often live together (because of his job), it's a bit of adjustment for both of us to be around each other so much.  One of the things we are working on is a rickety doll house:
It isn't worth much and is our second dollhouse of the season, another one we got from a friend before she moved but that one was adopted by a family member with a young granddaughter.  This one is just a prototype for us to see what we can do.  It's just a hobby and if it doesn't work, no big deal.  

Our own granddaughter already has a variety of doll houses but at nearly 10 years old, is quickly outgrowing this stage.  Each time I see her I can't believe how grown-up she has become.  

We are thinking a lot of our blessings these days.  My friend's one year old grandson, Michael, is going on the list at Children's Hospital for a heart transplant.  It's been a sobering few weeks for the "quilting aunties"  (our mini quilt group) as we watch helplessly as our friend and her family confront this enormous challenge.  If this isn't enough, Michael's Mom is also pregnant and going to be induced on Tuesday.  The new baby's heart will have to be checked as well.  If you can, please keep Michael and his family in your prayers.

Peace and hugs, Mickie

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Meals on wheels placemats

FINISHED!  Our guild collects these for our local Meals on Wheels clients.  I make one or two with Christmas scraps and the rest are winter themed (yeh that's a lot of snowmen scraps used up).   Anyway, it's out of my UFO box as well!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Christina's quilt...

Years ago, my niece Christina asked me to make a quilt for her.  We picked the pattern--Wonder 
Blocks by Terry Martin==and bought all the fabric which she picked out.
A few months later, I told her I had over a 100 blocks completed and she said, "oh I'm painting my room purple now."  So I've had these blocks hanging around since then.  I decided to put them together in a throw for her because now that she has graduated from high school, she might like it to simply wrap up in at night.  I'll give her this one at Christmas.  To be honest, I don't know what color her room is now...
Special thanks to Sandra for suggesting the pink before the green border.  It worked very well.  Thanks Sandra!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Sail Away

Here's a quilt I picked up recently at a flea market.  It is a common ship quilt but these aren't often found around this part of the valley.  Two of the sail boats are invisible on this photo because the fabric faded.  Anyway I like it because so many of our family members are in the navy.  Might have to make my own one day...

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


I'm working on a bigger project but have finished some small projects as well:
Made some pennants for two of my nieces to decorate for Halloween.  One is in her first dorm room and the other has an apartment but LOVES Halloween.  Instead of just storing the scraps I threw them in this crazy table runner for niece's dining room table.  At least the fabric is all used up.  Then I got a special request for a brick themed bag.  Turns out the brick fabric works well with some of the leftover cat fabric I have so I'll probably make another small with those scraps (anything but storing).
In other news, one of my dear friends made this quilt for Peter and Jessica.  Pete loves Autumn colors so I know they will both appreciate it.   Here they are snuggling under it after they got it (sweet newlyweds).  Isn't it lovely? Have a great day and happy sewing!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

And the hits keep on coming...

OK, not so much hits but action around here continues to roll along.  This week the repair on the front roof commenced, only to develop in a new roof on the front of the house:
So far this year, we have replaced the central air and hot water heater, had major masonry done on the house, chimney and garage, now the roof plus DH is working on the garage (see photo of dogs above).  We had structural damage repaired on the garage after we removed two trees that were alongside it when we moved in.  DH and I worked yesterday painting but he has taken over as my hands can't do much more these days.  It will be grey the same as our siding and fence.  Today he is up on the ladders doing the top parts of the garage.  Then we will do the windows.
The garden has taken a hit for sure with all the construction but it is good to get it all out of the way at once.  We will, however, have the back roof done next spring.  The roofer didn't have that on his schedule and to be honest, doing our roof is problematic.  The guys have to be on safety harnesses because of the odd pitch of the house.

Our house is 96 years old.  I'm thinking we should have a 100th birthday party in 2017 to celebrate the centennial of the little cottage.  It was the first house in this part of town and probably by that time, we will have fixed even more of it.

So I'm not on the blog right now a lot but I look forward to a winter of sewing and quiet (indoor) projects. I'm off to get some more clean up done in the garden. Have a great day!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Linda's tablerunner and horses

I used 5 of the last 6 wonder blocks to make a table runner for Linda's new sunroom/kitchen/dining area.  She had a specific size she wanted and it worked well with the blocks plus she loved the colors in the blocks.  Her new baby horse is really growing!!  Niina is only 5 months old but look how big she has grown!  Doesn't she look adorable with her Mom?  The other two horses are Maysie and Calada (don't ask me for correct spelling).  Aren't her horses gorgeous?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Yahoo-- BAD Need email advice...Please share your preferences

I have had a Yahoo account since the 1990s.  However, I am having so many problems with their email system and thought I would ask people about their email preferences.  Yahoo continues to change their formats and I spend about a day or two figuring out new versions which seem to be "updated" (translation: more complicated).

I woke up today to a whole new system again and now I can barely read the font they are using.  What do you use and how often does the format change?  I am looking for a normal email system that is easy to read, etc.

Any insight would be so helpful!
Thanks, Mickie

Saturday, October 5, 2013

A little present

I finished a little present for my friend LoLo.  We worked together in my past life as a college administrator.  We often did 'liquid lunches'--back before there was a coffee shop on every corner, we frequented the first one in our city, sneaking out and loading up on caffeine.  Our lives are so different now.  LoLo is finally pursuing her longtime dream of becoming a nurse and just started her hands on courses this fall.  I'm only doing quilt lectures and programs and spending happy times with my family and garden.  

Anyway, we still keep in touch and I hope to see her soon.  If you are interested in the pattern, I got it at Urban Threads which is one of my favorite places to buy funky embroidery patterns.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Asian inspired:

Throw quilt completed! 
 I found this wonderful Asian inspired print:
 To match a number of wonder blocks I had:
I think the fabric was exactly what I needed.  I have a few wonder blocks left and am going to use those for another project and then I can scratch these UFO blocks off my list!
How's life where you are?

Friday, September 27, 2013

9/10th of the law

My husband put this bird house up years ago. We've had faithful tenants ever since--sparrows can be found in the house through the winter and warm months.

We are doing a lot of restoration work on our property and I know that we will have to replace the bird house soon but I hate to as well.  I love the antics of the sparrows.  We can have as many as two or three perched on the roof of the house; they appear to be vying to get in the house.  One plucky one always sits there (not unlike one of our dogs guarding a toy) and won't leave the house until the "coast is clear".

Clearly possession is 9/10ths of the law in the ornithology world too!
Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

bear pillow

A ufo finish but one for my friend's niece who is 5 years old.  The pattern is from the old Fat Cat site and I made a few of these years ago when Sidney's site was young.  This was an extra pillow that I knew would come in hand someday.  Anyway, this one is for Lexie!
Hope you are having good weather!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Baby Bunny Quilt

I'm still plugging away at UFOs but the nice thing is I have a bunch that I quilted over the summer and am now just binding.  I love this UFO challenge.  Fortunately, it will be a while until I'm finished but I continue to plug away at them.  After the UFOs are completed, I forsee a stash busting challenge for me.  
Anyway, here is the baby bunny quilt.  It's more square (about 47 inches) because I wanted to use up all the fabric and blocks I had.  At the time I made it, I figured it could be used in the bottom of a playpen---of course I was thinking that playpens were still the square yards we had when raising our children.  Things are different as I learned when Helena was born almost 10 years ago.  Anyway, I put off the completion because I already had another bunny quilt finished.
 It's the bunny fabric that I love.  It reminds me of Easter at my Nana Betty's when I was a little girl.  The other bunny quilt I have has the same print but with a muted aqua background instead of a dusty rose.
The weather is beautiful here in Pennsylvania but breezy which is bothering my allergies.  I'm going to work in the garden later this week but will head back up to the sewing room today to do more work.  I spent the last three days cleaning out the attic closets and fall cleaning the sewing room and it looks and feels wonderful in the sewing area....Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

star quilt

I'm still trying to knock out UFOs and this one is off my list now!  
Yeehaw, I'm delighted to get another thing off my long list!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Another Finish

Centennial wall hanging using a reproduction handkerchief commemorating the 1876 Centennial in Philadelphia:
I have an original handkerchief from the event in green: