Monday, December 2, 2019

Decorating for Christmas

Hello Everyone.
Let me set the stage. Christmas music playing, snow falling, lugging bins in from under the garage, getting soaking wet, adding extra lights, and making a complete mess of the cabin resulted in this ending scene.   

You can see during the daylight hours just how much snow was on the railing.  By evening we had considerably more snow.  During the process, all I wanted to do was sit in the chair and admire the tree.  I'm not finished with the decorating just yet.  I'm also going through the bins to see what I can pass on for others to enjoy.  I have enough ornaments to decorate at least four or five trees.  It is time to whittle this down to a manageable amount of plastic bins.

While I was decorating inside, Mr. Joe was decorating the outside. 

The snow has turned to torrential rain, and I think our fire season has finally come to an end.

I'm off to my guild meeting this morning.  I finished the binding on Country Courthouse, so she's ready to make her debut into society.  The binding is the same fabric as the flange.  My friend Lynnette, gave me a new thread to try called Invisafil.  It is a 100 weight polyester thread and I love it!  I'm anxious to give it a try on my next applique quilt.  You can't see a single stitch, and it doesn't knot.  It took me only three football games to get this quilt done, instead of the usual four games!  That is the metric I use for my binding gauge.  It would have been more enjoyable if my teams hadn't played so poorly.

I hope the sun is shining in your neck of the woods.  My neck of the woods is pretty soggy.


Sunday, December 1, 2019

Toyland Tree

Hello Everyone,
I'll bet a lot of us are in full-blown decorating mode today.  I started the process last week......and so it continues.

I love putting out the Christmas quilts for us to enjoy throughout the season.  I put my Toyland Tree on display in our bedroom so we can have visions of sugarplums dancing in our heads.

The quilt in the foreground is Prairie Flower.  The two quilts compliment each other in our room.

It's a very rainy day at Wilder's Last Resort.  All of the snow we received last week is melting quickly.  It is a perfect day to stitch the binding on Country Courthouse.  Two sides are finished, two to go.
I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.  We had two dinners with family.  I didn't have to cook this year! That was a first, and I very much enjoyed this new tradition.  Maybe the torch has officially been passed on to the kids.  I can get used to this.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Sale at Sew'n Wild Oaks Etsy Store

Hello Everyone,
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We had a great one with part of the family.  Today we will have another dinner, and we'll get to be with everyone.

This will be just a quick post to let you know about a sale I'm offering in my Etsy store.  If you spend $20.00 you will receive 20% off your order.  If you spend $35.00, you will receive 20% off your order and get free shipping (US orders only).  Click HERE and you will be directed to my Etsy store.  ALL items are on sale to qualifying orders.

This beautiful version of Toyland Tree was made by my friend Barbara.


 How about sending a Patchwork Math book to a friend for Christmas?

Our son put a large brisket on his smoker last night.  We've named it Roast Beast! It is huge.  He can control the smoker with his phone, which is too high tech for me.  We would starve to death if I had to figure it out. 
There will be a lot of food, and card games around our dining room table today.  I'm going to have to get Mazey out for a walk so I don't have to wear my "fat pants" all next week.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving

Hello Everyone,
This says it all.  Give, care and share thanks.

Today and everyday is the time to gather together with those we love, and give thanks for every little thing, and express gratitude for all of the good in our lives.

Happy Thanksgiving,


Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Reflections and Traditions

Hello Everyone,
Let the decorating begin!  I love to put my Christmas Village out every year, and create a magical fairyland.  I would love to live in this little village.  This is a first for me to put it up before Thanksgiving.  I don't know about you, but I feel like I'm running out of time already since Thanksgiving is so late this year.

I started collecting the houses in the 1980's.  The collection has grown over the years, and looks like a very realistic village.  My mom collected them and it was a great gift to give her year after year.  Now I have the houses I gave her, and incorporate them in my village.
I have the downtown area on the top shelf.  Then we move on to the suburbs and then on to the country area.

This old pie safe is a great way to display my collection.  It takes hours and hours to get it just right.  First I had to remove my cookbook collection before I could start decorating.  The books are now all stored under the guest room bed.  I'll have to fish them out with a rake after Christmas.  Heaven help me if a recipe I want to make is in the middle of the stacks under the bed!

The anticipated snow started falling yesterday afternoon.  Normally our storms begin with rain, and turn to snow over time.  The temps plummeted, and it just started snowing, and snowing!  It kept on snowing through the night, and it's still snowing.

I named this post "reflections and traditions".  Not only was I seeing the reflection of the lights in my village, I was reflecting about family and Christmas traditions.  A tear came to my eye when I opened a box from my aunt, addressed to my mom's house in Paradise.  They are all gone now.  My mom passed first, then my aunt, and her cute little house in Paradise was lost in the Camp Fire in Paradise. All gone now, but the tradition lives on. 

After we dig ourselves out today, I will start putting up the tree.  Living in snow country adds an extra level of effort to your day and life.  There is always yard work throughout the year, trying to keep the pine needles at bay, and now snow shoveling for the next four months. Maybe it keeps us young?  Maybe it's the reason the Tylenol bottle is heavily tapped in to?  Maybe it's the reason for a nice afternoon nap.


Monday, November 25, 2019

Country Courthouse Part Two

Hello Everyone,
It was a marathon week of machine quilting Country Courthouse.

I didn't keep track of my exact machine quilting hours, but it was about 35 hours of quilting over the past 6 days.  I would spend about 5 to 6 hours a day at the long arm.  I stitched in every ditch which created this look on the back.  The back is also where I could spot my mistakes once I took it off the long arm.....and there were more mistakes than I care to discuss!

With the anticipated snowstorm barreling down our way, I'll have lots of time to work on binding.  We were going to head to the city house to spend time with the kids, both big and little.  We are rethinking our trip, and may just stay put and enjoy the snow, and decorate for Christmas while humming, "I'm dreaming of a white Thanksgiving".

When we made an early morning trip to the grocery store yesterday, we only bought the ingredients for the dishes I was going to make to take with us. I had absolutely no intention of making a full-blown turkey dinner, since we didn't think we were going to be here.  Two dinners were planned between our two sons, one Thursday and one Friday.  Turkey on one day and barbecued brisket on Friday. I made a comment to Mr. Joe yesterday about the one and only frozen turkey in the freezer compartment at the store.  Now, I wish I'd put that bird in the cart! 

As with a lot of mountain communities, when the shelves are empty, they don't get refilled right away.  We may have to go dumpster diving in our own freezer compartment to come up with a meal.  Not to worry, this quilter is prepared to put a nice meal on the table.  It may be a non-traditional meal, but it will be tasty. 

I'm finishing up writing the directions for Country Courthouse.  I can work on it if the power goes out.  Quite often the first major snowstorm of the season knocks us off the grid.

Mr. Joe's dream is to be stranded in a mountain cabin with the woman of his dreams.  In his daydream, he pictured the woman several decades younger!  To that I say DITTO!



Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Machine Quilting Country Courthouse

Hello Everyone,
Just as I get the time to machine quilt Country Courthouse, the weather turns chilly.  Some quilters have their long arms in a nice, cozy room......mine is in my garage here at the cabin in the mountains.  The good news is, the big garage door will be closed so I won't have to worry about a bear wandering in.....a very real possibility.

I quilted the spine on the border, then I start filling it in with feathers.  I have to take a lot of pictures, to refer to when I work my way down the quilt.  Some days my feathers can be smaller than others.  It is a real balancing act to get them even all the way around the quilt.

I have an old HandiQuilter (HQ16) vintage 2006.  This machine has been a workhorse for years and years!  I love it, even though it is not computerized at all.  I've had to teach this old dog (me, not the machine) new tricks and make it quilt what I want to quilt.  I named my machine Arthur, as in Arthur Murray, because my machine and I have learned to dance across the quilt together.  I clean it, oil it, and it is good to go.  I wish I could give myself a shot of oil in all of my working and non-working parts!  Where's Dorothy and her oil can when you need her?

I wanted to quilt something a little different in my setting triangles.  My goal is to create a lacey look around the border.  You never know what look you are going to achieve until it comes off the machine.  

It takes me about 4 minutes to stitch in the ditch around every Courthouse Steps block.  Multiply that times 85 blocks.  There are 64 nine patch blocks.  I haven't quilted one yet, so I can't calculate my time.  In a nutshell, I'll be quilting into infinity and beyond!

I have a small space heater in the garage which may have to be turned on today.  I wonder if I can quilt while wearing mittens??? 


Saturday, November 9, 2019

Sew'n Wild Oaks Retreat Part Three

Hello Everyone,
This is going to be the last installment for the October Sew'n Wild Oaks Retreat.  I think I should have T-shirts made that say, "I Survived The 2019 Sew'n Wild Oaks Retreat!"  The quilters survived the biggest power outage of the year, low temperatures, and no bathrooms.  But, we all have a great story to tell with memories and camaraderie to last a lifetime.
This is a picture heavy post of the girls and their quilts.  My sister Gail, brought her Zinnie's Choice quilt to share.

Some of the girls stayed at one of the two motels in Arnold.  Laurie and Nancie had heat, hot water, but no power.  They said they weren't able to do their hair in the morning, so I provided them with hats to wear.  What good sports!  I didn't expect them to wear the hats most of the day.....but they did!

Here are some of the projects they girls worked on during the retreat.



More sharing.  The evening show and tells were off the charts impressive. 

I always like to take table-mate pictures of the girls.  In some cases, the pictures are of house-mates.

This quartet always has a great time!

The girls were modelling the aprons that Candace made for us.  This is the group that stayed at my cabin.  They are doing their best figure skating pose.  Next they will be performing a double axle!

It was pretty chilly during the retreat.  Normally the group will walk around the Snowflake Lade a couple of times a day.  Not this year. 

One day during the retreat, there was one mama bear and three cubs doing the backstroke in the lake.  This is a great picture of a paw print compared to a tennis shoe. Now they believe me when I told them about the many bears in the area.

The Plaidettes perform every year.  This year was no exception, and we were wonderful!  We have definitely refined our act and realized that we can't sing and dance at the same time. 

We stick to singing.  The songs this year all pertained to wind, since wind was the reason for the power shut off.  Here is an example of our playlist:  Windy, Blowin' in the Wind, Catch the Wind, and we closed with a rousing rendition of Mariah.  Did I mention how wonderful we were?

Here's the entire group of retreaters.  What a glorious group of women! Steadfast, resilient, strong, kind, and supportive are just a few of the adjectives I would use to describe them.

 The final day of the retreat landed on Halloween.  I'm completely fascinating in my fascinator!

The fireplace kept us warm throughout the 4-days.  The chef kept us well fed.  The Blue Lake Springs staff met our every need.  In the beginning of this post I mentioned that we didn't have a bathroom....let me tell you why.  The septic system didn't have a generator hooked up to the pump. All of the porta potties by the lake had already been removed for the winter. During the retreat, we had hourly runs down to my cabin.  (Runs is a poor choice of words....oh well!)  Do you have any idea how often 34 women of a certain group need to use the bathroom?  Well let me tell you that I was running out of TP at the cabin.  I rummaged through the linen closet and found a Charmin mega roll six pack.  I've never been so excited in my life over TP!

So another retreat is one for the record book.  A retreat full of good times shared with good friends.  We were all blessed to be able to share this time with each other.  Quilting brought us together, and our love and friendship will keep us together.