Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Grand Illusion Final Clue Up!

Bonnie released the final clue for the Grand Illusion Mystery at midnight east coast time!  I had just finished up the backing for my Lozenges quilt and was trying to decide what to sew next!  As always, I love her reveal!  So I quickly threw some blocks on the floor to see what mine might look like.  You have to imagine the aqua corners because I haven't cut them yet.

 I then decided to just sew one...
 Which led to three...
 Which somehow turned into six!  Only 19 more to go!  I work all afternoon and evening tomorrow though so will be slower progress I suspect.  Still it was fun to just get a couple together!

Kathy and I had a Game of Thrones season one marathon while sewing today.  It requires us to pay some attention so we had to backtrack and explain things to each other a few times!  We are liking it though.  How is your Grand Illusion coming along?

No Mystery Today but--A Pair of Flimsies!

 Well today Kathy and I did not do the mystery quilt and I was really pretty bummed about it--there just wasn't time for all that presewing at the last minute.  I made a few moth in the window blocks and was slow to get started sewing...then suddenly I realized that I could sew up the pair of 35th Ave. BOM quilt tops that Kathy and I have been working on all year.  Kathy's needed on more block (which I made) and then I got to cutting and sewing....Kathy was working on her Grand Illusion clue one all day so I did these.


 Blurry, but proof there is a pair!  I had to substitute one of the light blues in one block (which I then added to both tops as the light blue border) so I know which one is mine.  We are gifting these to my great aunts--my grandma Char's sisters Jean Ann and Sally.  I made two backings and they are all ready to go to the longarmer!
Meanwhile, Kathy finished clue one and it is finally working on clue two!  Yippee!  I need to sew a backing for my lozenges quilt.  So that is up next!

Happy New Year!

Gifts and Today's Sewing

I got some great gifts from some of my quilty friends this year!  Barb made me a Packer scissor holder which I just love!  Becky made me the coolest owl ever and a pretty potholder/dishcloth and some jam.  We used the jam on pb and j when we went to the ostrich farm yesterday.  It was delicious!
Ros made me and Kathy each a chicken pincushion!  I think it is so cute...showed it to my mom and she said--I want one.  I said, I don't have the pattern!  LOL!  Mine is the blue one.  Love pincushions!
After the kids got on their plane today I sewed block twelve of Ooh Rah!
Here are all twelve blocks!
I laid out the blue sashing fabric (before I cut it) and plopped the cornerstones on it to see what it would look like.
This one will be done before long and off to Alycia for a Quilt of Valor recipient!

 Next I talked Kathy into helping me cut (so I could sew) this Lil' Twister--tiny!  We have the process down now!  So now I have Barb's and mine to quilt.
I also added two or three more Moth in the Window blocks to the pile.  I really love making these blocks!  They just go together so quickly and I don't often work with plaids so that is fun too!
Tomorrow is NYEve already.  We opted not to do the mystery that popped up last minute in my online group.  It has a zillion tiny pieces in it and lots of precutting and sewing that we just did't have time to do before tomorrow.  I am not sure who the designer of it is either...if it is a Bonnie quilt I may change my mind, but it it isn't I am good.  Kathy will work on her Grand Illusion quilt and if Bonnie doesn't surprise us with another clue I will work on Moth in the Window and/or a baby quilt since I found out two of my Neff cousins are pregnant--Kai Len with her first and Jamie with her second!  They are both due in May.  Thinking about Dancing Nines or Princess Crown....we shall see!

26 Books to Read in 2015!

Through my quilty and book loving friend Danny I found this!  I am going to do this this year.  Anyone want to join in?  It looks like fun!  And listening to books counts too!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas Vacation with the Kids!

 Mackenzie and Hannah flew back to Wisconsin today and so I thought I would attempt to blog about all the happenings since they arrived in Vegas last Monday morning!  Kathy and I drove up Sunday night and got them bright and early.  We immediately went to the Vegas sign and got pictures.

 Coleman stayed home with the dogs since he had gone to Vegas with us in May and because our car only seats four people!  After this picture, we went to our hotel (The Luxor--shaped like a pyramid) and unloaded, caught breakfast and then headed back out to Circus Circus.
 My mom told me I had been there as a kid (I thought the May trip was my first time to Vegas, but turns out it wasn't!) so I wanted to see it--I remembered nothing!  It was alot of fun and Hannah immediately won close to 400 bucks (on my 20!).  All told, Kathy won over a hundred too.  Mac and I weren't so lucky but we were able to play for a long time and had fun.
 Kathy and I put our feet up for a bit and the kids went to check out the fabulous Titanic Exhibition.  They LOVED it!
After dinner and a change of clothes, Hannah and I went to see Cirque du Soleil's Mystere and Kathy and Mac went to see the Laugh Factory.  We all enjoyed our shows!
Hannah and I then walked most of the strip (the other two were still at their show and they had the car) but it was a lot of fun to see so much of the strip.  We walked through the Bellagio because my parents told us it was really decorated at Christmas time and worth a look.  It really was amazing.  We stopped and watched the water show and taped it for Mac and Kathy to see later on.
Tuesday morning we picked up the Titanic pictures, had breakfast at MacDonald's and took some pictures outside.
 We then started the drive home.  We stopped at the Hoover Dam and since there was a long wait, we did the short tour.  It was interesting.
Yes, we were suckered in to buying loads of pictures along the way.  We then stopped in Chloride (a dinky little town) and walked through the ghost town (there was not a soul in it but us) and we had lunch there.  The ride home seemed to take three times as long as the way there!  We spent the night at our house then after Weight Watchers (Wed. AM due to holiday)--I gained a pound--we drove to my mom and dad's place.  Christmas Eve came way too fast!  We did another Packer family pictures (it has been three years since the last one and three of us have broken up with the wives/partners from that picture!) but Christopher had not slept in three days so he is not in this picture (is inside sleeping!).
Sam is bending over holding Colton next to me, then Mom in the white holding Tessa, then Ben and Hannah and my sister Tina.  Behind Tina is Mackenzie, then my Dad (step), Coleman, Bug and Kathy.   Christmas Day was spent hanging at my folks' place being tempted by way too much food.  This week was the hardest week I have had since joining WW.  I know the holidays are hard, but I realized that my family is all about the next sweet thing (oh we should have pie, oh we can go here for strawberry shortcake, etc.!! AAAH).  I come by it naturally anyways!  Christmas eve we played Quelf and laughed and laughed.  Mom went to bed early (never happens) and Dad stayed up late with us (also never happens!).  Christmas Day we had egg brunch for breakfast (one of my favorite things we make twice a year) and then lazed around a bit.  Kathy and Coleman went back home to the dogs (and work) that afternoon.
 We did the annual puzzle.  This one was hard but it was so nice to have Hannah and Mac there to help me do it!  Usually I have to talk people into sitting with me for ten minutes!
 Hannah bought me a new game so we learned how to play it.  I also taught them Dutch Blitz (my favorite card game followed by Five Crowns) and they loved it and were good at it too.
The next day--Friday my folks and I took Hannah and Mac on a road trip.  We were supposed to go to Jerome but traffic was WAY backed up going north so we went to Wickenberg instead.  We did some shopping and then drove to Prescott (via the windiest road ever!).

We wound up having lunch at a pie place.  I tried for Subway, I was outvoted.  The pie was EXCELLENT.  Sigh, cannot wait to weigh in--NOT!  Everyone tells me to relax and enjoy but I normally stick to things or completely go off.  I guess I am doing well because I am not completely off anyways.  We played more games that night and learned how to play Mac's new game which involved trains and Europe.  It was fun.
Finally on Saturday we had a chance to go hiking!  Hannah and Mac and I headed over to Saddle Mountain (behind my parents' house) and struck out.  
 It was a challenging workout for me trying to keep up with them!

It was a new record for me--63 floors of hiking!  It was a long hike too!  At least I worked off the pie!  We were supposed to all go to Zoolights that night but things didn't go as planned so the three of us headed back to my house, had tacos, replaced my car battery and watched two movies all night.  I did sneak in a little sewing that night and did the Christmas Past and Presents that day.  
Sunday I got up early to get to sewing before the kids were up.  I finished up Bonnie's clue #5 and did some Moth in the Window blocks.  Hannah came out and wanted to sew!  We sewed most of the day with Mac coming up to visit some too.  
Wow readers if you are still with me--finally something quilty!  Hannah was so proud of herself to finish this!  The directions weren't the best and things did not always come out to size, even with my help but she persevered!  We did pause in the middle to watch the Packers win and to make smores (I know, I know!) in Kathy's new firepit.  My family was supposed to head our way after the game to go to Rawhide, but that didn't happen so we opted to stay home again and play games.

Monday morning (only yesterday) we got up early and went to the Ostrich Farm that we had taken Monica to last year.  The kids loved it!  The animals were so much fun with the birds being the biggest hit!  After that we dropped Kathy at work and went hiking (Coleman didn't want to come.) again!  This time we went to South Mountain and went farther than I have ever gone there before on the main path. 

South Mountain

With all the time in the car on Monday we managed to read "The Gift of the Magi" and most of "The Time Machine" which I had never read.  We finished that one at home later that night.
We also finally made it to zoolights!  It was cold for Arizona but we had fun.  My brother Sam met us afterwards to say goodbye to the kids.  
Today went by fast with the kids sleeping in, doing laundry, packing up and heading out.  I feel like they were here for a month because we packed so much in!  It was so nice to connect with them in person.  They are so much fun and I love that they still love to play games and be read to!  (Or at least they humor me!).  I am sure it will be a few years before they get back here again on Christmas and they may have partners with them (Mac just got engaged to Liz and Hannah lives with Nathan) so this may just be the last vacation we get with all the kids single.  We made lots of new memories--and I am so thankful to the universe that my family is all happy and healthy as we go into 2015!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

All Caught Up on Grand Illusion and...

 Kathy got me this fabulous quilty angel for Christmas and I hung her in my sewing room.  LOVE IT!
 Despite being at my mom and dad's until Saturday late afternoon, I did manage to get our easy clue 5 done!  Love being all caught up and ready for whatever Bonnie throws at us!
 Here is all of it together!
I spent a good part of today sewing (part of it watching the Packers win!) with Hannah.  We watched quiltcam and Bonnie shouted out to us which was fun!  Cannot believe Bonnie will be here in a few weeks!  I made these five Moth in the Window blocks to add to Coleman's quilt.  Also managed to get a Wild and Goosey made--really shocked this happened this week!  
Hannah wouldn't let me take a picture with her in it today (didn't do her hair, etc.) but will get one tomorrow.  This is the project she worked on all day today.  About six or seven years ago she started cutting this one in Wisconsin...when we moved I took it with me but it didn't see progress til now.  She is calling this "Greybear" after he kitty who is 16 years old now.  I am going to get Ros to quilt it for her for her birthday (heads up Ros).  
 It was really fun to have a relaxing sewing day with Hannah!  Mac came up and went through pictures and asked me questions about them and such.  We also took a break and went out and had smores by Kathy's new firepit.  I am trying to stick to my Weight Watchers, but Christmas, parents house, travel, eating out and kids do not make it easy!
I will be linking up with Bonnie at Quiltville in the morning!
Here is Mac, Hannah and I in Wickenburg on Friday--went with my parents and shopped.  I am wearing my new long sleeve shirt from Mom and Dad and holding my new Vera Bradley purse from Mom and Dad--we were all spoiled this year!

A Little Bit of This and a Lotta Snow!

Barb and I got our A Quilting Life BOM made right away this month.   Bekcy completed her "Ruby" Jubilee!  LOVE IT! I just got the ...