Sunday, December 30, 2007

Another December almost gone

This year is certainly coming to a speedy close. We weren't planning on anything this year for New Year's Eve due to my mother's health but my son called earlier and he's coming up for three nights. His friend Shani is going to come too and she will also bring my mother-in-law. It won't be the party to end all parties but we will at least be able to sit around and play a few games while we toast in the new year.

I'm sure many of us are down to our last few dimes with the end of Christmas. I made these money socks many years ago but plan on giving out a few more so friends can start to "sock" away a bit of money for next year's shopping. These can be hung on a door or on a hanger in the closet but I perfer to put them inside my "sock" drawer. That way I'm less tempted to borrow from it and I'm remined every day to put a bit of change in it.

There's a game my family and friends all enjoy at our house parties. You need about ten bargain shop gifts and two decks of cards.

  • Lay all the gifts on the table in plain sight. Then deal the first deck of cards to each person until all the cards are dealt. Some people may end up with an extra card depending on the amount of players. Now the fun begins.

  • The host or hostess takes the second deck and places it on the table in front of themselves. Now they pick up the top card and show it to the players.

  • The player with the corresponding card from the other deck gets to pick a prize from the table. But he or she must hide the prize on themself so the other players can't see it. Continue in this manner until all ten prizes have been claimed and hidden.

  • The next card turned up will not offer a prize but the person with the corresponding card can now claim a prize of their choice from one of the other players. The trick is that they must name the player they believe is holding the specific prize they want. ei: "Joe, I'll take that scrub brush you have hiding behind your back."

  • If they don't get it right, they lose their turn and the next card is turned up. If they do get both the player and prize right, the said player has to relinquish the prize which will again be hidden on the person holding it.

  • The game continues until all the cards have been turned up. It is funny how easily we can forget who's holding what.

  • Play this only with people who are good sports. You don't want friends squabbling over a roll of duct tape, a box of mints or hair bands.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

It was a Merry Christmas

What a wonderful Christmas in spite of the lack of gifts this year. There were a few gifts but nothing like the past years. My son came home to help me with his grandmother and that was gift enough. Oh, that and his wonderful fiesta dip! He makes this every year and it is beyond good. Not exactly diet food but every once in a while it's great to have a major cheat. I have honestly never seen a dip dissappear so quickly over the years as this one. I have included his recipe below. We serve it with tortilla chips but you can use veggies or whatever your favourite dipper is. We try and tell ourselves that the vegetables on the top of the dip make it a healthy choice. Whatever works, right?

1 8oz cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayonaise, not salad dressing.

mix together and spread out into a shallow dish. Chill at least four hours. Next spread a small jar of salsa over top of the first layer. Now add about 1 or 2 cups of grated cheddar cheese. Top with chopped tomatos, green peppers. Add a few hungry people and that's it.

Monday, December 24, 2007

I am so thrilled that my mother came home from the hospital for Christmas. It seems that we will be spending Christmas morning with the VON. Can't complain though. As I mentioned in my previous post, this Christmas has a different flavour all together. I have been lost as to what to give my mother. What do you give someone who has incurable cancer? Warm socks, a neck roll, a new housecoat . . .? Then I found a wonderful pattern that just seemed to hit the mark. A love ball!

I cheated a bit with mine. I didn't add wings because my mother is feeling a little angel overwhelmed at the moment. Plus I just glued on felt circles for the eyes. I only finished it a few hours ago but I am glad it will be under the tree for her in the morning. I found the inspiration for this at Crochet Me . Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful pattern!!! She can hold it or just sit it on her table. No matter what she does with it, she will know it was made by me to express my deep love for her.

Here is a little craft I do with recycled Christmas cards. I use canning jar lids. Just spray paint them gold. Cut out a circle from a card to fit inside the centre of the lid and glue it in place. Next place a thin line of white glue around the edge of the card and sprinkle glitter on it. After the glue is dry, shake off the glitter and glue two lids together with a ribbon sandwiched in between the lids. Voila! These are easy and make lovely bow substitutes.

Looks like a white Christmas here in my little corner of the world. Right now it's fluffy powder but as soon as it warms up it will be snowman time. Both Paul and I love building snowmen although they are rarely men. Usually they are snowdogs. Below is a pic of my snowman pins in a shadow box. Hopefully tomorrow there will be a new pin under the tree for me :-)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Pondering Christmas

I was hoping to get some more Christmas crafts posted but life has a way of getting in the way of blogging. My mother has cancer and is not doing well. Yesterday we made palliative care arrangements and it has left me crushed. The chemo is knocking the stuffing out of her. It's her fear that is the worst part of all this. She is confident in her faith but she's not ready to go. We bought this house just this past summer with wonderful plans for some great adventure. Now it seems she will not be a part of that adventure and it no longer seems that important.
Just last month, I had to say goodbye to my most beautiful dog of almost 13 years, Beulah. We were eating homemade cookies and after she scored a bite of mine she turned to my husband for a share of his. Before he was done, she was in a grand mal seizure. The doctors tried to stablize her but 34 hours later, we had to say goodbye. There was no way the doctors could bring her back to her former self. It was the right decision but I can't stop crying. Our other dog, Brady is moping and looking for his best friend. That just adds to my sadness.

Above is Beulah looking beautiful and to the right is her upside down on the couch. That was her favourite position. Below to the right is Brady waiting to fetch something, , , anything, , , please? No, he's not morphed. He really looks like that.

One thing I am finding in the midst of all this upheaval is that Christmas has very little to do with presents, glitter and feasting. Those are holiday festivities. Fun things we have created to give a festive air to a much more important message. The birth of Christ was supposed to be the birth of peace on earth and goodwill towards all men.

I'm sure next year I will be more into the festive side of the holidays but this year I am more focused on the deeper meaning of Christmas. After all, what gift could even begin to compare with the precious time I have left with my mother, the happiness given to me by my dog of almost thirteen years and the joy my remaining dog faithfully offers to me or seeing/hearing from my kids?

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas or joyous celebration of whatever path you follow. Remember to take a moment and look past the gifts and into the eyes of our loved ones, both two legged and four. I wish you might find the kind of love that was born to us over 2000 years ago.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


I wish I could get a better picture of these but the glass reflects the flash from my camera. I have been collecting Christmas Tree brooches for several years now. People always comment on how pretty they are. They just sparkle in the light and you can't miss them. I also collect snowmen brooches but the glass from that shadow box got broken in the move and I haven't had the time to repair it yet. Maybe I'll just take the glass out all together this year.

Paul and I had to walk downtown today to get some Ensure from the drugstore for my mother. Happily, we are very close by. The walk was nice going because we had the wind at our backs but coming home was a different story. There is very little traffic today. The snow has created wonderful drifts in the yard. I want to get a picture of them before Brady goes outside to fetch his ball and pee on them.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Can Christmas be so close?

It's only 10 days until Christmas Eve. Where does the time go? I think this is my first year of being so completely unprepared for it. I have a few trees up, have done a little decorating and have purchased some gifts but I haven't even started my Christmas baking. Today, I promise myself.

To the left is a pretty little snow scene on top of the corner shelf. The house is cut from 2x8 inch lumber and the snowman and trees are from 1 x 6 inch lumber. The white paint splattered on the finished pieces add the excellent effect of snow. It's a simple design from a Christmas book that I no longer have. I can't even remember the name of it but I will try and find out. I made several projects from that book. Most of which one of my sons stole when he was setting up for his first Christmas in his own place. No matter. What greater compliment is there than that?

In the opposite corner to the picture above there is a small Christmas tree adorned with crocheted snowflakes. I need to make more but that will come after Christmas. In front of the tree is one of my bears in a child's rocking chair that Paul picked up at the auction a couple of weeks ago.
Here is a snowflake ornament that was a gift from my friend Jill. The ladies in this next ornament represent Lisa and I. She is another friend and though we don't get to shop together, we dream about it. I like to imagine the shapely dame in the black dress is me but I think it is more likely her.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

more quilts

This is a flannel rag quilt I made for my mother. It has flannel on both front and back and has quilt batting sandwiched in between the layers. I made this for her because she is always cold. Since her cancer has returned and she is undergoing chemo, she has lost a fair bit of weight and is often feeling weary. The quilt is now too heavy for her. She now wraps up in a flannel sheet by the fireplace. I suppose I should take the quilt upstairs because this old house is drafty and cold.

I love fabric yo-yo's. You can make so much from them. This is a bed topper I made several years ago. It still sit on the guest room bed. My mom has made a bag load of yo-yo's but has not put them together. I am hoping to get that done for her before Christmas but if not, then in the new year.

This is a quilt I made for my mother-in-law. It was inspired by Cynthia Walters' technique found in Snippet Sensations. I was going to make her a bed quilt to match but I don't think she was too impressed with this. Oh well, not everyone likes the same things. I know she was greatly impressed with my Mammy quilt, below. It was made as a celebration of Canada's role in the emancipation of slaves through the underground railroad. It hangs in the third floor hall and opposite and over the stairs in my tumbling block quilt. The borders are from the same fabric so even though the themes having nothing in common, they compliment each other beautifully. I hand pieced the tumbling blocks while watching a lot of old movies. The templates were made from contruction paper which made it easy to work with. I was working on a grandmother's flower garden but I was using plastic templates. I find them a little hard to work with and gave up on it. I still have all the pieces, I just need to put them onto paper. Someday . . .

Those who sleep under a quilt,
sleep under a blanket of love.

~Author Unknown

Saturday, December 8, 2007

vintage ads

When we moved into this house, I was generously gifted a box of magazines from the previous owners, Ken and Nancy. The magazines are mostly BH&G, a few American Homes and Chatelaine . They date back to 1934. What a treasure. I have really been enjoying these old magazines. It's like a walk down memory lane. My mother's memory lane too.

What really makes me laugh is the old ads. Many of the products are still around but most have long since disappeared. All the better for us. I can comfortably tell you that I have never done my dishes or vacuumed my floors while wearing high heels!

I plan on posting some of these ads from time to time. That is after I starch my apron, take the curlers out of my hair and make sure I have a steaming hot dinner on the table for my husband as he walks through the door. Hey, I love the idea of yesteryear as much as so many of us do but I wouldn't trade my microwave, jeans or blowdryer for all these wonderful products. As for my husband, we take turns cooking. He's a man who knows his way around a kitchen and I love him all the more for it.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

recycled Christmas cards

ere is a sweet little project to recycle some of those Christmas cards you received from last year. I cut out an oval shape out of clear plastic as a template. That way you can centre it over your card to get the best image. You can use two card front but I like to use one card front and the Christmas greeting from inside for the back. Place the two ovals together and punch holes around using a small punch.

To crochet:

Rnd 1: Sc into any hole, chain 4 or 5 chains depending on how far apart your holes are. Sc in next hole. Continue around. Sl st into first sc.

Rnd 2: Sl st into chain space. Ch 1, sc, hdc, 2 dc, tr, 2 dc, hdc, sc in chain space. *Sc hdc, 2 dc, tr, 2 dc, hdc, sc in next chain space.* Continue from * around, Sl st into ch 1. finish off.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Christmas decorating

This is a sweet little set of snowmen made from gourds. My son's girlfriend and I each made a set several years ago. They are a favourite of my husbands and everyone who sees them is completely charmed. I got the pattern for these from the same book I got the pattern for my button snowman quilt. From Better Homes and Gardens All Through The House. What a wonderful book. It is filled with idea after idea.

Every year I make up little ornaments to put on Christmas gifts instead of bows. This year's ornaments are Victoria boots fashioned from felt and embellished with decorative stitching and beads. I cut out the toe and heel piece backwards which is why the pink boot is right instead of left. I have a collection of craft magazines that has constantly grown over the years. I often go back ten or twenty years to find a decoration. This pattern was from a BH&G's 1988 Christmas edition magazine.
The Santa letters were done during my folk art days. They sit on the third floor trim going up the stairs.
I don't know of any rule that says frogs can't be angels. This little gal was bought for me by Paul 6 years ago. She often stays out for the full year because she's not really dressed in Christmas garb.
So many of Christmas decorating supplies have yet to be unpacked. Hopefully next year I will have the house fully decorated. Between the move, my mother's chemo treatments and the loss of my most beloved dog Beulah, I just haven't had time. Family must come first in all things. Still, I am trying in the middle of all these trials to make Christmas as meaningful and merry as possible. There is one tradition in my house that has to be observed. It is my Cranberry Orange Coffeecake. Every year my family has a slice of it with tea or coffee while opening gifts. We skip breakfast and opt for brunch instead. I will post a picture of it later along with the recipe.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Let it snow!

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

We have been visited by an ice storm. Fortunately the roads have been plowed, salted and sanded and they are now clear. What remains is ice on the branches of trees. We were driving home yesterday from my mother's chemo session and the sun was bouncing off the ice. No tree I could decorate could be as beautiful as the trees decorated by nature. Autumn is my favourite season but as it slides into winter, I begin to think that they are one and the same. I love winter. Some of my best projects have been made in the winter months. Sitting under an afghan in the summer while you are crocheting it just isn't the same. To the left is one of my snowman quilts.

My friend Jill, once asked me if I liked snow. She and I have a passion for journaling and often ask these kind of questions. Do I like snow? Ha! I love it.

  • I love the way it looks.

  • I love that it has no real scent.

  • I love that it's fresh.

  • I love that you can build snowman.

  • I love that you can go tobogganing.

  • I love that you can go skiing or snowboarding.

  • I love that you can build snow angels.

  • I love fat fluffy snowflakes and tiny crystal snowflakes.

  • I love wearing a black coat and seeing a perfect snowflake on my sleeve.

  • I love watching my dogs play in the snow.

  • I love rolling a huge, mammoth snowball and just parking in front of a friend's front door.

  • I love that cold snow sounds squeaking under your feet.

  • I love hitting Paul in the back of the head with a snowball.

  • I love watching the snow fall in front of a street light late at night.

  • I love trying to identify objects buried under fresh snow.

  • I love watching snow drift down our street while sipping hot chocolate.

  • I love taking a hike and seeing tiny animal tracks in the snow

  • I love the way snow sits on the branches of the evergreens

  • I love the way snow drifts over the front of a house.

  • I love the way snow looks like white sand dunes in the desert.

  • I love that I can see my black dogs at night in the field.

  • I love it when snowflakes land on my eyelashes.

  • I love that you can build a snowman and leave it on the hood of your son's car.

  • I love to be all bundled up and still have cold cheeks.

  • I love seeing my breath.

  • I love it when Jack Frost visits my windows.

  • I love that 2" of snow can balance on something as small as a clothesline.

  • I love to watch the pine boughs bow their branches under the weight of snow.

  • I love the winter birds that visit our feeders when there is a lot of snow.

  • I love winter gardens.

  • I love the serenity of snow.

  • I love the shadows that go unseen except on snow.

  • I love to eat snow. White only!

  • I love that snow can stick to vertical surfaces.

  • I love to build snow forts.

  • I love to put snow in a big bowl and use it to chill wine.

  • And if I listen hard enough, I can imagine that I can even hear the snow fall.

I hate slush!

To the right is a snowman wall quilt I made. The pattern can be found in Better Homes and Gardens, Christmas all through the house

Monday, December 3, 2007


I have enjoyed making quilts for quite a few years now. All my quilts are for use and enjoyment. I don't worry about exact corners, perfect seams, mitred bindings, etc. If I did, I would never make anything!
Finished is better than perfect.

To the left is my flying geese wall quilt. I know the colours don't work with that wall paper but that was just before I redecorated the room, just before we moved. It is one of the few controlled quilts I have made. Most of them have just been scrappies.

The quilt on the right is one I made for my eldest son Jay. I called it Pennies From My Garden because even years after he grew up and became a man, I continued to find lego men, GI Joe's, and Star Wars figurines in my gardens. Every time I dug one of those up, I could almost hear the echo of his laughter from so long ago. The pattern is known by two different names. Chinese Coins and Garden Path. I borrowed from both these to name mine. Pennies represented all the priceless memories I dug up and From My Garden for the latter as this was one of my son's favourite places to play.

The blue quilt here was made after watching an episode of Simply Quilts. The guest was Bethany S. Reynolds and she was demonstrating her Stack and Whack technique. I just had to give it a try. It turned out quite well and now hangs above the bed in the master bedroom. I've received many nice compliments on this quilt.

This next quilt is one I made for my youngest son Alex. It is a log cabin quilt from the book Winter Warmers by Leisure Arts. This is one of the first quilts I made.

"All my scattering moments are taken up with my needle."
~Diary of Ellen Birdeye Wheaton

My picnic quilt is one of my personal favourites. It is made of 4" squares. There are two squares of each fabric used. In the quilting, I used small rickrack which framed each square beautifully. On the border, I made an ant stencil and using black paint and fabric medium, I stenciled ants all around the border. It is a whimsical quilt that every one loves.


I have always been a collector of sorts. My dad was quite a collector and when he passed, I inherited several of his collections such as his license plates. There is a plate from 1929 through to when they stopped renewing actual plates to where they only renewed stickers. My mom is also a collector. She's the one who got me going on china and linen. She also collected pigs but has most of that collection in temporary repose. My love of collecting was as natural to me as breathing. My husband Paul is now also a collector especially of walking sticks but mostly he is on the lookout for something to add to my collections. Sweet guy. I think I'll keep him.

Some of my (our) collections continue to grow and some I put a halt to. Sometimes you just reach the satisfaction (saturation) point and anything beyond can clutter your collection. One of the collections I've stopped is my teddybears. Perhaps someday I will resume the collections but not until I find a place for all of them in this new house.

My collection of gloves continues to thrive. This past Thanksgiving, everyone was assigned a vintage hat. The ladies also got to wear shawls, gloves, boas and scarves. It was a lot of fun and even the men got into the game. Paul wore a curly red wig, a black cowboy hat and green rubber boots. Gotta love that man!