Archive for December, 2009


We have celebrated a wonderful Christmas – one of the best ever! There is plenty of food, both leftovers and new stuff in the freezers and pantry. Today, December27th, is our son’s birthday and the spareribs (which he taught us how to do in a proper manner) are in the frig soaking up the spicy rub. He has requested my Blackberry Crisp for dessert and all is well in hand. The house is still semi-organized and clean. The Packers play the Seattle Seahawks at noon and it is snowing outside…

My cast has been off since December 15th and there are simply No More Excuses – I am returning to the sewing room – this is what I face on entering my domain…

What a mess!

Another view…

Not a clear work surface anywhere!

I did not have the courage to show you what lurks behind those closed doors…

Where does a quilter begin? I suppose by putting stuff away – ugh…and then when I finally have some room to maneuver, the first thing to address is finishing up some borders for a friend’s quilt tops…and then working my way through projects that were half started…and at the same time, prepare backgrounds for two major applique pieces…it feels like I have been away for ever – and am so happy to be returning to what I love so much.

Because my right hand grip is still not where it needs to be – my doctor says allow for 5-6 weeks…DH put some insulating pipe wrap around my old Olfa cutter to give a more substantial hold. In addition to the broken wrist healing, arthritis has really flared up in that hand, so this padded handle should help alleviate that.

It has been many weeks since I have been able to share any works in progress and viewing all the quilting blogs helped to keep me motivated – it will be fun to finally do some genuine Quilting posts in the days ahead. So for now, I am going to sign off and head to the woman’s cave, keep an eye on the Packers game on my TV (if things get nasty, there is always new background music on my iPod) and try to rejoin the land of quilters…while straightening up, my thoughts may wander to flowers and Spring…the azalea my Mom gave me 2 years ago for Easter is beginning to bloom in the sunroom…

Have a great week as you prepare to welcome in the New Year – our favorite neighborhood bear – Mr. Gruff – sends greetings from snowy Wisconsin and reminds each of you to…

Always take time to stitch…(I sure plan to do just that!)



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The Best Gift…

Safe arrival –

Before the snow storm –

A lapful of happy shelties –

Spending Christmas with our son –

The Best Gift we could have



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Holiday mail…

Receiving mail this time of year is always extra special and so much fun, isn’t it? Now, I am not including the annual arrival of our property tax bill the week before Christmas – the powers that be sure can time that one on schedule! The kind of mail I love to find in the mail box are Christmas cards from friends and family scattered all over the country and as far away as Australia – that would be my husband’s side of the family. Love their exotic stamps!

Bright red envelopes, touches of gold, cute stickers, colored inks…everything says Open Me Now! Most include a note or letter that brings us up to date on their doings…health, a new grandchild, trips taken – all eagerly read & enjoyed. Today a package from my husband’s sister – a beautiful tin of genuine English biscuits and a tin of Lady Grey tea to brew and savor. And oh, how I love empty tins later for storage!!

Sometimes the week before Christmas brings a breath of Spring to come – gardening catalogs have all ready started to appear. Dreaming of how the new Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea would look in one of the flower beds & my friend, Dee, tells me we definitely need to order the new lettuce “Outback” – what an appropriate name for the gardens at Taylorsoutback.

And sometimes, a totally unexpected surprise arrives – our friendly UPS guy dropped off a package yesterday (“What can Brown do for you? – Bring FABRIC!) . A few weeks ago, in my blog, I just happened to mention that Dots candy was a favorite of mine and I had long searched for fabric with that design logo. Well, as I have found out since entering Blogland – everyone is so sharing and thoughtful. Lo and behold – Becca over at TurtleTraxToo knew of a source for this very fabric and mailed me yardage. This is just the sunniest, happy piece of fabric…

Have to hit the LQS after the holidays and pick out some bright coordinating pieces to make a fun lap quilt this winter. Thanks Becca!

And before I forget – Micki over at Irish Muses has posted a wonderful Irish giveaway – be sure to visit her and check out the goodies she will be sending to one lucky winner!

Christmas being 5 days away and all my stitching group and guild parties wrapped up now, it is time to take stock of where we are at…presents are ready, only need final touches on one more; online orders are done & on their way; simplified decorating is done; cards are ready to be mailed on Monday (late this year); scaled back baking is underway; our high maintenance “middle child” Molly has been to the groomer & the other 2 need baths…let’s see…what am I forgetting? Oh yes, go to the airport on Tuesday to meet our son, who arrives from Alaska. That is kind of like, TOP Priority! Once he arrives, things will center on family time and handing over car keys (Mom, can I borrow the car??) so that he can reconnect with area friends. I know the days ahead will go much too fast and I plan on savoring the moments. When there are a few quiet times, I will curl up in my favorite chair with a new book that has been recommended by Pondside (visit her blog – she writes beautifully) & enjoy a cup of coffee or tea in a special mug from a friend who visited Celestial Seasonings in Colorado recently.

And – oh boy! Mentally prioritize quilting projects to get back to very soon…have really missed not playing with fabric…

And I will reflect on the kind of year it has been…the roller coaster stock market ride, my 65th birthday, trips with friends, beginning a blog and meeting new friends online who provide constant inspiration; sad losses & new worries about aging parents, a son’s reassuring weekly phone calls & his career accomplishments and a husband who is always there for me.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish each of you, my dear readers, a most special holiday season – whatever your faith, however you observe this time of year. Each of us has the gift of 24 hour days and the fact that you decided to spend part of those minutes walking with me on this journey we call life is so treasured.  I appreciate each and every one of the comments and emails you have taken time to share and look forward to being together in the days ahead.

With all the blessings of the season –


A sweet pillow stitched by Barb in my Garden Club

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Over the river….

and through the woods – in reality, more of a creek…but a nice, short drive to our favorite tree farm. (Snowflakes compliments of WordPress!)

We loaded up our 3 girls in the family truckster right after breakfast & headed out – just down the road a piece…where we were warmly welcomed…

We walked down some of the rows of planted balsam & quickly found our tree for 2009. Doug, the owner of the tree farm, cut it down & bundled it up for us.

With temperatures in the 20’s it was a good time to be out in the fresh air. More snow is predicted for tomorrow with falling temperatures again throughout the week. The dogs got a good romp & Zoe, the owner’s dog tolerated the invasion of 3 furry shelties quite well. The tree was loaded in the back of the truck and we headed home in order to get the tree into the house before The Game (Packers vs. Da Bears) started.  Way to go Packers!!!!

It has been a busy week with errands. Our applique group gathered for lunch at the house on Thursday. Barbara Jean, Joyce, Kathy & myself (from left to right) had such a nice day talking about quilting, solving the world’s problems & enjoying Barbara Jean’s homemade Peppermint Bark – Yum!

I was able to give them each little table mats – something that had been finished before the wrist.

The green cast comes off this Tuesday and it can’t be soon enough.  And a quick project I can highly recommend as very fun with immediate results (not requiring rotary cutting!)  is my Ellen Medlock purse – all ready for the holidays.

Can hardly wait to get back to some quilting soon – but in the meantime, there is some serious baking to do & special preparations for the arrival of our #1 Son on the 22nd. Be sure to visit his latest Alaskan photo posting – incredible images of hoar frost covered trees & sunsets that take you to another world…go to Sixty One North. And after you do that…

Always take time to stitch…

Have a great & productive week!


Our tree - December, 2009

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The day after our snow storm…

As I walk from room to room…

Some of the views out our windows…all layered in snow drifts – like being wrapped in a warm quilt

From the upstairs loft – looking over the roofline towards our south field…

Looking out over the pond through great room windows…

From the south guest room window – a glimpse of my snow covered potting shed…thoughts of far away Spring…

From my sewing room (chaotic!) window…

Must get back to work though…company’s coming tomorrow – a soup lunch on a cold winter day…

Our bear who greets everyone – brrrrr!!!! I think the red salmon he is clutching is frozen….

Wishing each of you a warm & cozy day – what is in your busy thoughts today????


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A Touch of Christmas…

Judging from some of the blogs I follow weekly, everyone is really sewing up a storm…definitely feeling a tad sorry for myself &  the inability to handle a rotary cutter or scissors with dexterity. Having finished up a couple of small projects, I need to be content with that for now. The wrist allows for small movements in cutting, so it takes 3 X’s as long to do something but that is better than nothing. Just wish I had something new & sparkly to show off – give me until January & I will be making up for lost time, though.

Keeping in mind my earlier vow to simplify Christmas preparations this year, the weekend has been dedicated to bringing A Touch of Christmas into our little log cabin. Fortunately, there is a completed quilt that has been around for a few years &  while it doesn’t necessarily look “Christmasy,” it comes out every holiday season. The pattern is from a QNM issue (1996 or 1997?)

A little simple hand applique & pieced houses – I always liked the pieced fence border around the “village.” It was made the year our son went to Bosnia & helped to keep my worry level in a better place.

My DH had 2 shooting events this weekend & before leaving, he brought up some storage bins of Christmas decorations to keep me busy. I love little trees & small ornaments.

The first one is a “feather tree” with some vintage glass balls & the only remaining pieces from my folk’s first Christmas tree – circa 1944 (Miami, Florida) Mom wanted me to have them & they grow more precious each year.

The 2nd little tree is snowcovered  with a set of cross-stitched miniature stockings made by one of the owners of a needle arts shop which was located next to my quilt shop. So many memories…

The 3rd tree is new for me this year. It is set up on the pass through ledge of our kitchen.  It might be hard to see them clearly, but there are tiny 1930’s reproduction kitchen utensils attached  with red or green checked ribbon. Potato masher, ladle, sieve, rolling pin, etc. make up a set that I had coveted for 3 years. My Mom surprised me with them while I was picking out something for her! She is 84 & I am 65 – we can still get into mischief together…There are growing concerns with her memory & some confusion so times together now are to be treasured more than ever. It is difficult to see these changes happening.

Friday night, we joined friends for cribbage & dinner “farther Up North.” Their home is situated way back in the woods down a narrow, winding unpaved road. It is so quiet  & they are frequently visited by bears & of course, deer. While we played cribbage, we watched big fluffy snowflakes fall outside & then drove back home at night through a swirling snowfall. It is still the beginning of our long winter &  the snow covered ground & trees is magical. I just heard there is a winter storm watch posted for the next few days…doubt we will make it to our guild Christmas party. By February, the white stuff will have gotten really, really, annoying!

That is about it for now. Still have some finishing touches to do around the house & the main tree to take care of next weekend. I will be sharing a few more photos as things progress.  Instead of a pincushion this week, I would like to close with a photo of a stenciled box that is the gift I brought home from our Liberty Ladies gift exchange on Thursday. The box is handmade & the stencil is a bronze powder application. It is so lovely & included the contents!

Please take a moment to leave a comment & tell me where you are from.  I really enjoy hearing from each of you. Have a good week, take care of yourselves…

And always take time to stitch…


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Thoughtful Thursday…

Dear friends -I hope this finds each of you having a good day in your little corner of the world. With Thanksgiving accomplished,  the fall decorations are disappearing and the silly, lopsided pumpkins are discarded (hope they are not frozen fast to your front porch!) Here in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, the surrounding woods are silent once more & there are no glimpses of Blaze Orange bobbing up & down the roads and trails.  Deer season is over and reports are fairly dismal of a lower than normal count. We are not hunters at Taylorsoutback, but many of our neighbors are & rely on venison for the freezer. The DNR claims an increased wolf population as one reason. My own, uneducated thought is that the does have been over hunted in the last few years even though fewer doe tags have supposedly been issued.

Thought I could finally share at least one thing that has been finished for gift giving. Made another sewing box which will be presented to the recipient today. Most of it had been done B.W. (before the wrist) so finishing it up wasn’t too bad.

These boxes are such fun to make – a little glue, a little sewing, a little putzing around & it makes a nice gift for the quilter or stitcher. You can often find the patterns at your LQS or they can be ordered online from Needleboxes, etc. The company is located in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. We have been through that area numerous times and I never knew about the store. We are hoping to get up that way again in 2010 & I would really love to include a stop there!  The selection includes many different styles & sizes.  This particular one is called “Granny’s Sewing Box.” Once you buy the pattern you can reorder just the template packets for a little cost break too. Look in your button and embellishment box for a unique accent on the lid.  This one features an old brass button, butterfly stamped finding & red glass bead. I chose reproduction fabrics because the gift exchange is with our quilt history study group – Liberty Ladies. These boxes are also striking when covered in batiks or Hoffman metallics. See an earlier one – in my Archives – April 5, 2009 – Thoughts on a pincushion—have to learn how to do a direct link to archives.

Included inside in some of the compartments – needles, threader, a tiny tube of handcream & in the center thimble box – chocolate!

Hope she likes it!

Other things in my thoughts this day…checking on wreath prices locally – 18″ to 24″ sizes to go next to the doors – $15.00 – $20.00. A big 36″ ring wreath for the front of the house $40.00. Wondering how that compares to your neck of the woods?

A trip to the Christmas Tree Farm near by – don’t you love the fragrance of a just cut tree? We have cut a tree from our woods in the past, but with my track record of falling recently, thinking we will pass on that idea!

Listening to Mary Chapin Carpenter – from her Christmas album – one of my favorites – “Hot Buttered Rum.” And Sarah McLachlan – singing “River,” and Michael Buble – “My Grown up Christmas List.” Loving the “wintery” songs before working my way into more traditional Christmas music.

Christmas shopping is moving along but really having a hard time coming up with an idea for my folks…if they would head to Tunica, MS for some casino time after the holidays, I could come up with a number of ideas to make their trip even more fun…

What is on your mind today? Would love to hear from you!! Take care and…

Always take time to stitch…


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