Monday, December 29, 2008

Tidying Up

Our holidays were wonderful this year.  We reminisced, celebrated the day and our good health, and talked about future dreams.  My son was delivered back to school in record time on a sunny Sunday.  His girlfriend, bless her heart, was kind enough to meet us halfway.  I returned home to this glorious sunset taken on the bluff overlooking our farm.  My house is at least 200 ft below in the valley beyond.   

The only visitors left at our home are the early morning risers looking for a fallen apple in the orchard.

I was able to sneak in some time to sew over the holiday.  I worked hard to get a long awaited crazy quilt block under way.  I hand pieced most of the fabrics and should be able to start the embroidery by the New Year.  Sorry, I can't show you any photos until June.  It will be part of a quilt top gifted to our current guild president.  I am back to doing a lot of work by hand lately.  I love the soothing feeling you get from a darting needle.  

Housework is next on my list.  I plan to get everything in order this coming week so I can relax a little bit and get caught up on my blog reading.  I have been checking for updates as time permitted these last few weeks.  I am getting caught up little by little but will be leaving fewer comments so I have more time to read.  

Wishing you all a wonderful New Year full of joy and peace!


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Every Christmas brings out the little kid in me that couldn't wait for Santa to arrive. We would read "The Night Before Christmas" each Christmas Eve. I also remember setting out cookies for Santa and even hearing his sleigh bells one Christmas! I cherish so many wonderful times with my family past and present.
I wish all of peace, joy and the merriest of Christmases this year. Thank you for your friendships near and far.
Update: I just had a Currier and Ives moment. Yes, sometimes life here really is as it seems. When the sky lit up this morning I looked out of my office window and I was able to see mom and the twins (our local deer family) moving up the hill through the snow. Out the other window was a family with horse and buggy traveling to town.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Oh The Weather Outside is Frightful

Sorry to start my post with this out of focus shot of Jack but I just couldn't resist sharing this picture of our snow puppy. This shot was taken on Friday morning after we received 8" of snow overnight with a total of 12" by the time the weather broke.

Saturday brought more snow and a choice, do I travel in the snow or wait until Sunday when 30 mile per hour winds were forecast? I chose the snow. The 9 hour trip took 14 hours. It is good to be home safe and warm. Next year my son is getting a bus ticket for Christmas...
As you travel north of where we live the land levels out quite a bit. There are rolling hills and the occasional limestone outcropping. Into the Northwoods the roads are lined with pine trees, oak and birch as far as the eye can see. It was too snowy to capture the distant tree lined hills today. I had also hoped for some pretty shots of Lake Superior but had to settle for this freighter in drydock and a grain storage facility in Superior, WI. Duluth Harbor, located between Duluth Minnesota and Superior Wisconsin, is the largest and the farthest western port on the Great Lakes. The chief exports from Duluth Harbor are grains from the US and Canada, coal and iron ore. Here is a link to the Lake Superior Martime Mueseum's webcam. Not much action today.

Here is a link to some quick facts about Lake Superior. There are so many beautiful places to see along the shore line. More about that on another visit.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Waiting for the Snow Storm

It has been a snowy winter so far. We have received about 15 inches since the beginning of December. We are due for 10 inches tonight and tomorrow and expect two more snow storms in the next seven days. I have to pick up my son from college in Duluth this weekend and hope to make the 9 hour round trip during a break in the weather.

We finished decorating our Christmas tree tonight. Christmas cards are started and most of the shopping is completed. We are looking forward to visits from family soon to come.

I wish many happy and memorable days ahead for you and the ones your love as the new year approaches. Happy Holidays! - Chris

Friday, December 12, 2008

Local Attractions

In late October and early November the local male deer go through a rutting season. My husband and I had a chance to see the "rut" in action. Five bucks were competing for the affection of one doe in the field behind our house. It was quite a sight to see. This buck was by far the oldest and strongest of the bunch and also the victor.
--Friday night you will be able to see the largest full moon of the year. The moon is closest to the earth this time of year. Look for high tides in coastal areas.
--In the early evening on Sunday, December 14, there will be a "window of opportunity" to view for Geminids meteor shower in a dark, moonless sky. Between the times that evening twilight ends and the time that the bright waning gibbous moon rises, there will be about an hour of dark sky available.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Homestead Cabin Retreat

I spent the weekend at the Homestead Cabin Retreat. Each time I have stayed there in the past I have taken projects with deadlines and put lots of pressure on myself to get them completed.
This time I decided to take a few works in progress. Friday night was spent by the fire under my king size bed quilt while I hand quilted and spent time with some of my favorite girlfriends. It was such a wonderful way to unwind and re-energize my spirits.
On Saturday I broke out my tumbling block quilt top which I started hand piecing while on vacation visiting my MIL in Florida three years ago. This project has been close to completion for two and a half years.

I will be adding stars to the top and bottom of the quilt top. I have not been able to figure out a good way to finish off the left and right sides of the quilt with out losing definition of the tumbling blocks. Does anyone have a suggestion?

We shared lots of ideas with each other. I taught a quick tutorial about ruching. Cindy and Susan took it further and made some beautiful ruched flowers to embellish Christmas gifts and pincushions. Another Cindy joined us and brought along her paper crafts made in a recent class.

Here is another habit (or did I mean hobby?) that I could get addicted to.

Snow came on Friday night. It was wonderful to sit by the fire and watch it falling against the backdrop of a rustic log cabin. I was one of the first to rise. These are the scenes that greeted me in the morning. A little bit of heaven in the middle of nowhere.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Favorite Bloggers and Beautiful Things

A few weeks ago I received this from Lynn & Linda, two new blogging friends. I have been remiss in passing this on. I read so many wonderful blogs and it is really hard to choose. You all deserve this award. I chose four blogging friends that I have not recognized before.

Here are the rules:- Five people are allowed to receive this award: four dedicated followers of your blog and one who is new to your blog and lives in another part of the world.- Please link back to the person who gave you this award.

Jude of Cariad in Crete
Bindu of Transient Lives
Embellisher of Million Little Stitches
Jackie of Jackie's Stitches

And a new blog I have recently found: Britt-Arnhild's House in the Woods in beautiful Norway.

I had a few minutes to shop at the craft fair this weekend. I purchased a few Christmas gifts for my family and bought this for myself. I have always loved glass paperweights and I couldn't resist this lampwork necklace made by Jamie of Uh-Oh Art Studio. All of my favorite colors! See more of her work at her Etsy store.
Monday night we had our guild party at Patsy's retreat. We had a gift exchange of something handmade. By chance Patsy and I each exchanged gifts with each other. This is the second year in a row that Patsy received my gift. This year Patsy received two of the Christmas ornaments I designed, last year it was one of my snowflakes. Here is what I received from Patsy:

It's perfect for me. I love hand embroidered linens and this hand towel in soooo lovely! I adore the little quilt basket ornaments. I will enjoy unpacking them each year and remembering her friendship. I also love the tissue paper she packed this gift in. Don't be surprised when you see me using pattern tissue paper if you order from my Etsy shop. I just purchased a ton of patterns left over from Jeanne's fabric sale to use for packing material. Patsy, you are a genius! Follow this link to see the party decorations. It was like walking in to a fairly tale, dazzling and so picturesque!