Thursday, December 31, 2009

Seven Swans A-Swimming

Traditional rich Christmas colors look so homey and welcoming when everything outdoors is leafless and colorless. The neutral coastal cottage look is lovely in its place but during a Great Basin winter that look would chill the hardiest soul. I don't even use white lights in my decorating--colored lights add magic to our tree. While I'm already mentally rearranging sofas and bookcases for a fresh new look, we still are flaunting lots of crimson and emerald downstairs.

The holiday typically hangs on for the twelve days of Christmas which don't end until January sixth when the Magi arrive--I love having an excuse to postpone dragging out the bins and packing all the goodies away for another year.

I've heard a rumor that the Dollar Store has cute little bird votives now. They're on my weekend to-do list along with half-price thread at Joann. (I crossed the thread off the list since the Queen Mother and I just returned with a rainbow of half-priced colors. ) Birds (new and old, inside and outside) will be the perfect upbeat replacements when the red-and-green explosion comes to an end.

It occurs to me that as many of us continue to nest during these hard times, birds are the perfect home accent!

Six Geese A-Laying

Old news: our snowstorms definitely helped our snowpack when they hit. Shoveling that last dump was like lifting wet concrete. The water content was HIGH! Snow, when it sits for weeks and weeks, trodden by dog paws, snow boots and tires, becomes a hard shiny icy treacherous surface. It's a far cry from the diamond sparkles flashing at one on a sunny morning after the storm ends.

The safe bet is to stay inside and bake bread, browse through recipes, unearth unfinished craft projects, mend and iron, and dream. Or so I thought until today. I couldn't stay inside for one more instant, so Kharma and I ventured out to the pasture for a walk. Surprise! The streets have started to melt and we can see pavement. The dusting of snow earlier covered up slippery ice so walking was easy. Kharma had a blast sniffing for varmints under the snow. We had so much fun that we plan to take a last-day-of-the-year hike.

I'm enjoying winter, but planning for Spring--I spent a little time researching urban chickens today.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Five Golden Rings


Cozy Winter Favorites
  • A mug of hot cocoa
  • Homemade Soup--tonight's was Barley and Lamb
  • Homemade Chili fired by Hatch Valley chiles from NM--maybe on New Year's Eve?
  • Warming my toes by the fireplace
  • Fires made from pinecones collected on the Queen Mother's birthday, old Christmas tree trunks and our own oak logs
  • Snuggling under our red plaid down throw
  • Redwork embroidery while enjoying It's A Wonderful Life
  • Toasty toes in my sparkly ivory slippers
  • My blue muffler which doubles as an earwarmer
  • My Sorels, my Sorels, my Sorels
  • Colorful tree lights adding to the dinner ambiance
  • Dog tails wagging ornaments on the tree
  • Towels hot from the dryer
  • Waking up to light reflecting off new snow
  • Games played with family and friends

Monday, December 28, 2009

On the Fourth Day of Christmas

I don't know about you but I'm assessing all those goodies that came my way last week...

My willpower is perfectly illustrated at 1:25! Hit Pause on Playlist first.
The holiday season pretty much summed up in the lyrics (loosely translated): I become the chocolate woman/Let melt my Nutella hips/the blood which runs in me is hot chocolate. Sing it, baby!

Cut to me the hips with the axe/I ate chocolate too much. Ahhhh, Truer Words were never spoken.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Three French Hens

There are some projects so special--whether because of their uniqueness or cuteness or fun factor--that they become your signature item. I make elves.

I started with these three little guys. Let me introduce you--that's Casey on the left, Elmer is in the middle and Hal's on the right.I didn't name them. While I was working on these guys, they began whispering to me. No, I'm not loco--I think this phenomenon happens to many dollmakers. Or maybe not. As we became further acquainted I learned how old they were and what their jobs were at the North Pole.

Casey is 346 years old and works as a Toy Tester in the Boys Division. Elmer is the young'un of the group--he's only 120 and so is just an Apprentice Sleigh Packer. Hal is the eldest at 378 and has progressed to Toy Supervisor.

Casey and his pals lounge around our home each December. On their bench, under the tree, on a Christmas pillow, in a doll's rocker (which just happens to be the perfect size for an elf). The boys enjoyed posing them and moving them from place to place. We never knew where an elf would turn up or what he'd be doing.

For many years, there were only three elves. The boys grew and our nest got emptier. I finally decided that the kids were grown enough to deserve their very own elves and I couldn't part from my old friends. So Lance and Jacques came into being. Jacques went into Pierre's keeping last year. (I figured anyone grown up enough to own a house, especially a home that simply oozes hospitality and gets dusted with magic every December, deserves to be entrusted with (finally!) his special Christmas elf.

Somewhere along the line I gained an wonderful up-for-anything almost-daughter. I also inherited a step-granddaughter (woo-hoo!). I taught her to knit, draw what she sees not what her mind thinks she sees, and she taught me about Build-A-Bear. So this year I decided that two new elves would join the crew. But they couldn't be boy elves and my pattern didn't include dresses. So I sketched a couple thoughts down on paper...After spending some time on my trusty sewing machine and raiding my stash of Christmas fabrics I came up with these two cuties. Meet Solange and Gretchen:They now reside with Jacques in the wild hinterlands of New Mexico with my faraway family. Knowing that there are three little elves inhabiting Casa Coyotesong warms the sugar pine cones of my holiday heart!

Silly

Two words: Mr. Bean. Lambs. Okay, technically that's three words.


And you might want to pause my Playlist so you can fully enjoy the sound effects, sorry about that.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Ho Ho Ho!

Survived--even enjoyed it! How could it be otherwise with the Christmas Spirit in every nook and cranny?

Reindeer...
and lots of Santas. Santas in the kitchen,
Santas on the dining table, (I love my peppermint swirl candles!)

and the jolly old elf himself descending from the cold air return. He acquired a pack this year--about time.
And speaking about elves, their annual invasion occurred on schedule. They watch out for naughty and nice behavior even from my computer tower. He's trying to look chummy with Winston the Snowman, but he can't fool me! Definitely on the lookout.
Little elves given to us on our first married Christmas. They've been cozily sitting in many, many years of Christmas trees.
Elves resting after the Big Guy successfully arrived and filled the stockings.
Maybe they're hoping for a nice hot cup of cocoa.
All the animals dressed for the holiday, even the Reets crickets. Someday I'll have to post about the many Reets creations that decorate our home.
It's exciting but tiring. Even Kharma feels like taking a nap.
It's time to ignore the unfinished projects in my workbasket. They'll keep till next year.

I'd rather sit and enjoy the beauty of another decorated Christmas tree. The soft lights color the holiday perfectly. Each ornament comes with a memory of people and places.

I'll sit back and enjoy the peace of a white Christmas and remember my favorite part of the holiday.I can't resist lambs or babies.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Pogonip Tradeoffs

Last Monday we were gifted with a rare December pogonip appearance: So delicate. These crystals didn't get to grow very long, but still the leftover rose leaves were gorgeous. The yews were even more striking with their deep green coloring, but I couldn't tromp through the deeper snow to take their photo.

I was so excited about our pogonip and determined to take photos before I left for work, that I left my lunch behind and didn't realize it until I was in the school parking lot. I almost cried. The trails I'd stomped down the week before had disappeared under new snow and hiking through two feet of freshly-poured concrete would have been easier; it had taken me twice as long to slog through the snow as I'd estimated. I was very late, very tired, and lunchless.

Still...we had pogonip!

Friday, December 18, 2009

My Inner Child

The only two words almost as nice as Summer Vacation are Christmas Break!And I'm officially on mine as of 3:30 pm today.

Yippee-Ki-Oh-Ki-Yay!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Snowy Tails

There were dog tails, of course, as we took care of the "wildlife" after our snow storm.

Kharma obviously thinks that a cooking pot equals food, but under this Revere Ware pot, filled over and over with boiling water, is our pond and in the pond are five very cold goldfish without a breathing hole. There was a nice opening created by one of our soccer balls floating on the pond. (Yes, intentionally.) But sub-zero temperatures and twenty inches of snow kinda ended that good idea. Today I bailed out the extra water under the pan so I could try melting an opening again. Then I realized I was bailing out the pond! I can imagine those fish tails swishing happily right now as they can breathe again through their little skylight.
The dogs and I refilled all the thistle socks too. Not five minutes after rehanging them in our cherry tree, we had visitors. I can count fourteen goldfinches in this photo. The snow below is peppered with black seeds which some cute little black-headed birds clean up for us.Kharma, who's had a bird fixation since she was a teensy puppy, has left the wild canaries alone. Amazing! And Zelda, who usually slurps up excess seeds until they irritate her throat and reappear magically (to put it delicately), hasn't touched a one. If I didn't know better, I'd think our pups know that the birds are treading a fine line between survival and a wintery demise.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

A Snow Day

Brace yourselves, America, a storm is on its way. That ten degree morning temperature now seems almost tropical. My nose hairs gave that subzero twitch when I scraped away the last bit of snow from our driveway this morning. Brrrr. And another bitterly cold night in store before we get a little warmup. (Yeah, yeah, I know, all the Alaskans and Canadians are laughing at me calling minus two "bitterly cold". You're entitled--I do the same thing when the Calfornians start moaning about twenty degree nights freezing their pipes.)

It snowed for thirty solid hours. Just little flakes, but one after another after another--until fourteen inches were piled on every surface around our cottage. Our Christmas tree took on a new look while awaiting its move inside.
A day earlier it looked like this. It's really the same tree, honest!
Our outdoor furniture got new seat cushions courtesy of Jack Frost and Father Winter.
My favorite new garden accessories are the gnome hats that magically appeared on every solar lantern.That's Lilypad Pond hiding back there under a layer of snow and ice. Somewhere Nemo and his buds are wondering who turned out the lights on their pond.

Silly us, we didn't stock up before the storm so we're short on veggies. Thankfully, I never lack for projects. This gingerbread man is the first in my holiiday series of redwork embroidery and thanks to a snow day and a half at school, I was able to get a nice start.I sat in a sunny window and stitched away. I coulda shoulda been doing something else, but my little gingerbread man is my reward for not pigging out at breakfast.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Fir Sure

Tree Permit: $10
Gas: $12
Cutting our Christmas tree before the snow flew: Priceless

My sweetie muttered, "Costco," when we passed in the kitchen Saturday morning and I replied, "Christmas tree!"

We managed to make the Costco run and still install the roof rack... grab our jackets, gloves, snow boots and extra socks...pack a limb saw and rope...select some Christmas CD's...and leave for the Plumas National Forest before noon.

We stopped at the Williams House Museum in Portola, staffed by a cute older couple who could sub for the Clauses if necessary, and bought two permits: one for us and one for the Queen Mother. Then we sat in the parking lot trying to read the illegible map that the Forest Service publishes annually showing which areas are open to cutting. My plan was to head toward Quincy if possible, hoping to find both nice firs and some fresh sugar pine cones. We passed through Spring Garden and headed up Little Squirrel Creek toward the switchbacks leading to the higher elevations and better trees.

The temps were above freezing and the sun was shining as we stomped our way through the forest looking at trees. (I should probably say right now that we can't choose and cut a tree until we've looked at every tree around.) The manzanita, willow and other underbrush was so heavy that I soon fell behind. They were impossible to go around, so we had to go over, and my legs are the shortest ones in the family. Every step involved a high step onto and then balancing on springy branches while taking the next high step. What a workout! I eventually let my sweetie look for the perfect tree while I carted armfuls of pine cones back to the Forester, because I'm reconciled to the fact that although I propose lots of wonderful trees, he's always the one who finds the one we choose. Eventually we linked up again and chose a nice layered white fir for our tree and an "old-fashioned" fir for the Queen Mother.

The sun set just as we tied our trees on the roof rack for the trip back to the Biggest Little City. Our cheeks were rosy but our fingers were frozen from touching metal car parts as we tied knots in the ropes--thank heavens for the seat warmers in our Subaru! We drove back munching on crispy Golden Delicious from our tree, listening to John Denver sing Christmas songs, and anticipating spaghetti for dinner.

Today started slowly until we looked west right before lunchtime and realized that the predicted storm was arriving much sooner than expected, so we quickly headed down to the Queen Mother's home. We not only delivered her tree, but put up her icicle lights and assembled her lighted reindeer while the winds howled and the snow started to fly. Hot chocolate not only tasted wonderful but warmed our cold fingers when we were finished.

We started the day at ten degrees F and we ended it with an inch of snow, feeling good about getting the lights up and having nice fresh firs ready for decorating soon.


Friday, November 27, 2009

10:21 a.m.

My own personal version of Black Friday.The Queen Mother made the felt jack o'lanterns when the boys were small and I always wanted to find a fun way to display these pumpkins. I blanket-stitched the pumpkins to a suede-like black square last night while we watched a movie and digested our turkey dinner.

The Wizard of Oz was the perfect movie--Thanksgiving lends itself to "there's no place like home" and I'd just finished My Pritty the day before. Plus I was Dorothy for Halloween but I still need some ruby slippers (on my shopping list). This morning I sewed the finished pumpkin squares into pillow shams; each boy will have one of their own. Now they--the shams not the boys--can be easily used each October then stored away nicely with other Halloween paraphernalia.

I was able to complete all my cute goblins because I found a nice black wool blazer at Savers half-price sale on Veteran's Day which is regrettably after October 31st rather than before. I felted the wool in my washer with lots of hot water and agitation followed by a tumble in a hot dryer. Cutting away the lining and then using a seam ripper to deconstruct the jacket was messy but fairly easy; I had a nice selection of black wool felt to choose from when I needed a cat body or penny rug "tongues". Voila! Finished projects.

This is the last Halloween project for the year (I promise!), so I can safely pack away the Halloween/Thanksgiving storage box when I take down all our Thanksgiving decor. I don't have the hair that I need for the Queen of Halloween so she'll have to wait and I'm saving some embroidered Halloween themes for next year. Right now I'm moving on to some unfinished Christmas projects while I root through my crafts to see what new projects excite me. I'm ready for a little green and red in my life.

And I just happened to acquire a red jacket at the same Savers sale that is just begging to be used for a Santa or??

2:18 pm (yesterday)

Making Thanksgiving dinner was obviously way too relaxed in our house if I had time to sit in my cozy blue recliner, watch Mamma Mia!, and finish this little witch while the turkey roasted without turning into a somewhat bigger witch myself!

The three things that I don't remember until too late: lighting the candles, opening the wine/sparkling cider, and putting on music. From now on, when someone asks me what they can do to help, I have an answer!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Satisfied

What a beautiful day--blue skies, sunshine, sixty degrees. Thanksgiving doesn't get much better than this!

Here's reason #583 why I love the Internet: learning how to fold a fancy napkin!Not as important as the recipe for Pumpkin Soup or the directions for Balsamic Roast Asparagus...but since I baked the bread and pies last night, I had some time to play with the napkins. Haven't you always marvelled at the folded napkins at nice restaurants? They just make the meal taste that much better.

There's always one who just has to nibble before dinner's served, isn't there!
I love squirrels and acorns--this little guy is vintage. You can see his brother in the photo above, right behind the crystal. They used to live on the Queen Mother's coffee table but now come play in my house every November.

Serving pumpkin soup meant that I got to use my soup tureen for the first time ever (it's been passed down from a family friend to the Queen Mother and then to me) along with the Mikasa "Breckenridge" plate (acorns again!) I found at a yard sale last Spring I love the deep jewel tones of the tablecloth with our gold-rimmed china.

Our menu:
  • Roast Turkey
  • Finnish Orange Bread
  • Balsamic Roast Asparagus
  • Yams
  • Homemade Cranberry Sauce
  • Pumpkin Soup
  • Knudsen's Organic Sparkling Pear Juice
  • Pecan Pie from our traditional family recipe
  • Apple Pie (made with our own apples!)
Entertainment provided by:
  • Kharma and Zelda lurking politely beneath the table
  • Frodo, Crystal and Muffin twittering loudly
  • Six goldfinches jockeying for the five spots on the thistle sock.
Why is it that clean up takes longer than the meal itself?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Brrrr

I checked the thermometer when I came back from my morning walk--twenty-two degrees.

With no wind, actually pretty comfortable. Of course I don't set out without my gloves on and my hood up but they don't last two blocks before I'm warm enough to begin going bare-headed, unzipping the hoodie and eventually peeling off the gloves. That's what hills will do for your heart rate!

It was even warm enough to ride my bike to work without sacrificing my extremities to frostbite. It seemed warm anyway until the day was over and I reached the back door only to find it was locked. Yes, I knew my sweetie was taking the Queen Mother to the airport and then making a Costco run since it's only a block away, and I knew that would take a couple hours--but somehow I figured leaving the back door unlocked would signal that I didn't have my keys with me (bikes don't have ignitions, y'know).

Fortunately I'd left the leaf rake outdoors so I attacked the leaves closest to the pond. Fall cleanup, exercise and keeping warm in one tidy package! After picking up dogsicles (how do two dogs generate so many little presents?), I was able to rake the rest of the lawn. Still no sweetie, so I moved on to the side yard. Kharma had made a nice little nest for herself there amidst the peach leaves swirled by the wind, but leaves have to be raked before November turns wet or snowy.

Alas, the garbage can was full, the sun went down and my teacher shoes weren't exactly keeping my tootsies warm. So I retired to meditate on the front porch while I waited for the sound of a garage door opener and ignored my frosty toes. It wasn't exactly dark but the solar lanterns were coming on before I heard our Forester turn in the driveway.

I had a good excuse for needing a huge cup of hot chocolate and some peanut butter/oatmeal/chocolate chip cookies before I emptying the fridge for minestrone soup.


Note to self: we definitely need a spare key left with the neighbors just for times like this.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

10:10 pm

Basement cat (lolcats addict, here)Her nickname is Tabitha.

What a difference decent light makes in a photo. Jack looks soooo much better in this one.

On to the next project. Yes, another Halloween one, otherwise they will sit here for another year.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

11:20 pm


Finished! On to the next project...

Sunday, November 08, 2009

The Reward for Exercising

I enjoy my morning walks. Getting out of bed way too early. Fighting off teary eyes and drippy noses from allergies. Tripping over my own feet. Sweat. Steep hills. Sharing the mornings with a friend...a friend, I knew there was some reason I liked to walk.

During the summer, my walking partner is young. After the university classes begin each fall, I walk with her mom instead. They are my neighbors and my friends as well as my exercise partners. I enjoy each of them soooo much. It's our combined senses of humor that binds us together as much as the walks. We all like to laugh, and I admit that I love to let loose and be outrageous when I'm with them. It's nice to shed my polite teacher persona and let that mouthy, sometimes bawdy, broad take over.

We hike in all different directions to keep the walks fresh. Fortunately we're near the edge of town--we've seen twin fawns near the river, quail in the scrub and bunnies almost everywhere. We've met lots of new puppies with their proud owners. Sometimes we'll reverse a familiar hike and are amazed at the new things we'll notice just by changing the perspective. Summer walks are different from autumn hikes. Hills challenge different muscles than speedy flat walks. Tuesday walks keep us scanning our environment, because Tuesday is trash day and there's no telling what treasures we might encounter. I'm always amazed at what people will throw away rather than donate. Their loss, my gain.

Like my clematis trellis acquired from a garbage can last year. Someone's castoff curtain rods became some fancy bronze fleur de lis plant stakes this summer. A little vision and they regain their usefulness. The pickings are definitely better in the warmer weather though, a fact I was bemoaning just last Tuesday as we set off. The Trash Fairy must have heard me because on the way back, hidden behind a trash bin, were...

Ta-da! Not one, but two, perfectly nice pots. I love the whitewashed terra cotta look. They are five gallon size and my patio looks much classier with the newest blueberry bush ensconced in my treasure instead of the black nursery pot. Thank heaven they're lightweight plastic because hauling them home would have been a challenge otherwise. Two walkers, two pots, two saucers--perfect! I'm delighted with the whole Green Movement because it puts a whole new positive spin on my dumpster diving repurposing.

Tuesday was also an early release day at school so grabbed my list and headed out run errands that afternoon. Two hours and four stores later I straggled in empty-handed, grumbling about how Joann Fabrics bums me out and wondering if I was the only person in the universe who can go to Home Goods and not find anything. Then it hit me--my day wasn't a waste at all. I had two new wonderful pots and I didn't have to pay one little cent for them. See, it pays to exercise!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Vintage Addiction

The quilts and crafts and friends are all delightful each year at PIQF. The icing on the cupcake though is a visit to my all-time favorite store in the Bay Area--My Friends and I in teeny, cute, downtown Niles. It one of those stores in which I can always find ornaments/collectibles/kitchen utensils/decorations/linens/etc. at reasonable prices which seem to make spending money there effortless.

Join my friends and I as we enter--see my skinny friend (I like her anyway) in her snazzy slim jeans checking out their always inviting and creative front window display. Girl Friend, you look amazing!That other jacketed lady just unsuspectingly walked right through my shot. Sorry, lady.

I could have sat right down in this corner filled with green glass and been happy for the rest of the day. You know me and my apple green obsession this year. (I didn't check my photos before we left so, sadly, the poor light does not do justice to the vintage beauty of this glass.) Can that little green juicer right up front come home with me anyway?

Another booth, this one filled with delectable silverware. Food just tastes better on pretty silverware. Girl Friend has started collecting butter knives and I was determined to get some for her. As I hurried ahead, at a brisk pace unlike my usual saunter through this store, I scanned every bunch of silverware and picked up all the butter spoons. Somehow GF found some butter knives anyway...but that's how I discovered that she likes the little flat ones best which helped me eliminate several before I snuck up to the cashier and paid.
Love this bony little felt punkin man--if I didn't already have so much Halloween decor I would have brought him home with me.

While I was sneaking around buying butter knives, Girl Friend was surreptiously paying for this little lamb.Guess whose flock just added a new member! Isn't this the sweetest lambie pie ever?

My friends and I'll be in Niles again next October searching for our next treasures from My Friends and I!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Spooky and Savory

My creepy-crawly spider jack o'lantern

Witchypoo pumpkin

I remembered to bring the pumpkins in off the porch the day before so they could warm up before I carved them (which is pretty organized for me). But they sat on the counter until late Halloween afternoon when my sweetie began giving me grief about always waiting till the last minute to carve them every year. Who me? Waiting until the last possible second?

And of course this year I found all our patterns but couldn't locate the pumpkin scoop and saws anywhere. So I winged it and picked two simple patterns, eyeballed the shapes, drew them on the pumpkins with a Sharpie marker, grabbed a paring knife and started carving. I think they turned out amazingly better than I expected. (I made a giant mistake on Witchypoo version 1.0 but it's hidden on the backside.)

The carving went so quickly that I had time to wrap our tree in eerie purple lights, rake the leaves into faux grave complete with skeleton bones peering out, a tombstone and some dead flowers. I've always dreamed about talking one of the kids to hide in the leaf grave and grab a trick-or-treater but my kids have better things to do on Halloween, I guess.

Pre-9/11 we had well over three hundred kids come by, then only eighty in 2001. This year we had less than thirty kids come by. (I have a very sad look on my face just thinking about it.) I loved, our whole neighborhood enjoyed, having hundreds of children come by; Halloween used to be an Event in our neck of the Haunted Forest. They were thirty very cute kids though. One little panda bear, who couldn't have been more than two and a half, roared at me VERY LOUDLY after getting his treats. I didn't know that pandas could roar that long with that much volume.

For the first time we had two dogs come by: a mad scientist in a lab coat and a skunk. They must have known that we always have homemade dog treats around and both left looking very satisfied. Maybe they were the start of a new trend. You heard it here first, folks!

Then the next morning all the spooky Halloween decorations disappeared, both inside and outside, and the Pilgrims and cornucopias made their appearance for Turkey Day.

Yesterday I popped the jacks into the oven. Tonight we supped on Pumpkin Soup made from our jack o'lanterns. Think gingery, spicy, rich and delicious. It wasn't quite as good as the pumpkin soup I fell in love with at Buenos Grill, so the search goes on for the perfect soup recipe at Allrecipes.com.

Fortunately I have five more cups of pumpkin puree to experiment with.

And did you know that dogs like roast pumpkin almost as much as they like watermelon rind? Omnivores, both of them.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Apron Mania and Other Excuses


I always have extra energy after our annual quilt show and sleepover party because my friends are so talented that they inspire me. Thanks, ladies!

And with the weather being so gorgeously gold and blue this week, I've been using all that energy to sew aprons, blanketstitch doggies, rake leaves, train the doggities, muck out The Big Guy's room, and generally catch up on housekeeping that I let slide for three weeks.

Blogging dropped low on the to-do list, alas. You know it has to be bad when housework takes priority over Internet fun. I feel like I've caught up so now I'm back. Coming soon--photos from my favorite vintage store in Niles as well as this year's pumpkin masterpieces. Right now those masterpieces are roasting in the oven to supply us with pumpkin muffins or possibly the new (healthier) pumpkin pie recipe I've been itching to try.

I'd better get my camera batteries all charged up so I can share the results of my apron-making frenzy. And the latest finished projects. And the Thanksgiving decorating.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Talented Group

Those of us who gather each October for PIQF are a fairly talented group of crafters. Some are a little more into it than others. Someone might be obsessed enough that her daughter had to buy a new suitcase just to hold the craft supplies needed on the flight up (you know who you are). And some craft with the group just to be nice. Most of us tuck our crafting into the crevices not filled by our jobs.

But one of us oozes creativity day and night, and my camera batteries happened to be fully charged when I arrived at her house. She not only has great ideas and follow through, but her color sense is spot on. (I'm also in awe of her ability to finish projects, since mine can hang fire for years before they're completed.) Each year I anticipate discovering what new accomplishment she'll display. Quilts? Gift cards? Purses? Jackets? Floral arrangements?

This year brought glass tiles turned into necklaces with the help of some diamond glaze plus graphics cut from magazines.

This is just one of her amazing magnet boards. I took this photo inside at dusk, but you get the idea.Each one has a different theme--from sophisticated to simple, from trendy to classic, from subtle to outrageous. Each comes accessorized with magnets: some spell l-o-v-e or h-o-p-e or l-i-v-e (which I rearranged to spell L'vie because I can't leave well enough alone) or fit the theme (food, cartoons, puppies). These magnet boards are selling like hotcakes and the craft fair is weeks away. I'd be surprised if she has any left by then.

Her sweetie is a woodworker and a thoroughly nice guy and her house is filled with lovingly built furniture. These hand-carved wooden ornaments exhibit another of his skills.I can't decide whether I like them wooden or painted better. These mini masterpieces would be the first things I'd buy if there were extra money. Dratted depression.

In her free time, when she's not crafting to add to the girls' college fund...she's been busy quilting some graduation presents too--from wild to demure depending on the lucky recipient.
I just enjoy soaking up her creativity. And quite honestly it's nice to chat with someone else who shares my passion for trying something new.