Sunday, 30 December 2007

Autumn Windmills

Pictured here is the quilt that I gave to my father in law for Christmas. It is composed of a traditional quilt block called 'Dutchman's Puzzle'. I was fortunate to win them at my local quilt meeting during September.
It did provide me with some learning opportunities. According to the pattern the blocks should have finished at 12 inches. Not a one of them was actually that size. In fact they varied by as much as an inch. Note the block in the top left corner; I had to add strips of muslin to the top and left side of it to bring it up to size. Not a big deal.
The next challenge was that I wanted to back the quilt with a piece of dark, leaf printed polar fleece. This would have shown through the cream coloured fabrics and made the quilt look dark. It would have lost the crispness between the light and autumn coloured prints. The solution was to cut 12 squares of plain muslin at 12 1/2 inches and pin them in place behind each block. This also served to bring each block up to the size stated in the pattern.
Now that each block was the same size, it was straight forward to add the sashing and corner stones. The outer edge is finished with double fold binding in the same colour as the outer boarder. The quilt finished approximately 58 x 73 inches.
Hopefully the quilt is now in my father in laws den where it will keep him warm during the chilly months to come.

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

On the 12Th day of Christmas...

A fun day was had by all family members. We each did those things that needed doing. The kids are long in bed and Santa has paid his visit. Parents are ready to snuggle under the covers and all is well. Good Night.

Sunday, 23 December 2007

On the 11Th day of Christmas...

We're into the last minutes of the day and I'm still sewing on a gift. Its not that I didn't know I had a deadline, after all, December 25Th arrives as the same point every year. I guess my timing could use some improvement. I still have a few hours work to do, so will keep this short so I can do a bit more before sleep time.

Again, there were presents to day. A music disk for son. A Bratz doll for daughter, which happens to be missing a foot (the shoes are part of the detachable foot). I've sent an email to the company asking for a replacement, will be interesting to see their response. For hubby, a bag of Jack Daniels filled chocolates. I had originally planned to give them to him this past Monday, but that was a work day and the idea didn't seem too bright.

There won't be typical presents tomorrow morning, though I do intend to make a nice breakfast mid morning. As far as I'm concerned, if someone were to make me a hot breakfast, I would consider it a wonderful gift.

Saturday, 22 December 2007

On the 10Th day of Christmas...

Today was a visiting day. We were out of town to visit at the house of my cousin, her hubby and 3 little kids. Joining us for the day was her mother, her brother and his wife and 3 little kids. Also my older sister, her hubby and their 5 kids. Needless to say, it was a house full. The little kids (5 out of 6 are girls) are getting older, so a bit more character and personality developing. Its always neat to see the kids growing into themselves.

I love these family gatherings and wish we would plan them more often. We all live in different cities and with jobs and such, its harder to see each other. We have been keeping better contact by using the Internet, but nothing beats sitting beside each other and chatting.

Yes, there were presents for my family today, but I figure they pale in comparison with visiting family, so they are not being mentioned.

Friday, 21 December 2007

On the 9th day of Christmas...

As it gets closer to the 25Th, the kids get more excited and harder to handle. Several years ago we started giving them a movie a few days early and they would watch and re-watch it. That was enough to get them through those few days. As they have gotten older we have moved from Disney Cartoons and now to action flicks.

This morning hubby received the new Bruce Willis movie "Live Free or Die Hard". It is rated 13+, so have yet to determine whether its appropriate for daughter.

This morning she was happy with a pair of purple socks with a skull cross bones surrounded by flowery looking things.

Son was even happier as he received food. They are a rolled cook which is filled with a cappuccino cream. They are about the thickness of my baby finger but twice as long. The brand name is Caprice, but I don't know what you call the cookies.

I am looking forward to watching our new movie this evening and helping daughter with the Christmas tree.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

On the 8th day of Christmas...

Does your family have holiday rituals or traditions? When we got married we knew that we would start some new ones, and when we had kids those would change as the kids made their suggestions and preferences known. Its been fun.

For years it was filling the Santa calendar that I introduced you to on day one. This year no one is even moving Santa along. I guess that is a tradition that has served its time and we are ready for a new one. I'm OK with that, we are not a family living in stasis, but a active, evolving 'organism'.

When I was growing up we usually got our tree a few days before the 25Th and kept it up into January for Ukrainian Christmas. We still get our tree late, but it rarely stays around till New Years. Is a shame to chuck it out so fast, I don't mind the dropping needles that much and it generally smells so nice.

When we got married I started buying the Droste chocolate letters for both of us. They are not too big and come in a pretty box. I did learn that you have to buy them the first time you see them in the store or risk not getting the correct letter. I tried to get them this year, but all I could find were my initial and 3 of the initial for our last name. OK, better that than nothing, so I bought them. Fortunately about 2 weeks later I found all the initials in another store and bought more. So this morning, for their 8Th day of Christmas they received the initial for our last name, those for their first name will wait for their stockings.

Hopefully hubby will bring home a tree this evening, and daughter will perform her traditional decorating of the tree. yippee, love that one.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

On the 7th day of Christmas...

When I started this 12 days of Christmas thing, I didn't realize that it would be so tough thinking up worthwhile gifts to give to each member of my family. I generally like to give them things that they need and will enjoy. Doing it this way is forcing me into the gift giving. arg!!!

I did manage to find some nice black socks for hubby this morning. We started giving black socks a few years ago when they was an advertising that bemoaned people receiving black socks as gifts at Christmas. I spoke with mother about it, and we decided that everyone in the extended family would receive black socks. It was quite the event shopping for them as the sizes ranged from new-born to men's extra long. I think we bought 18 pairs of socks.

Son likes math and science and I was fortunate to find this book, "The Birth of a New Physics" by I. Bernard Cohen. It looks like a very readable book which I'm sure he'll enjoy.

Daughter is currently doing a school project on the Vikings. When we saw this book, "Viking it and Liking it" by Jon Scieszka, she knew that she would glean some valuable background material from it. While it is written at about a grade 3 or 4 level, I suspect that she will still enjoy the story.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

on the 6th day of Christmas...

This past weekend we had huge amounts of snow fall. Somewhere in the neighbourhood of 30 cm( or 12 inches). Hubby has made it to Chicopee, our local ski hill, twice in the past few days.
Keeping to the current weather spirit, his gift this morning is "North American Ski Resorts" by Marty MacLennan. This 2001 book covers resorts in Canada and the USA. There is a wealth of information for each resort including: location, facilities, family services, local community and tons of contact numbers.
Also in the trend, all three received Cadbury Magical Elves. These are chocolate elves with 'popping' candy. Kind of an interesting feeling in your mouth. Myself, I don't really want my chocolate jumping all around, by my kids love them.

Monday, 17 December 2007

On the 5th day of Christmas...

My day started with a rush. I had forgotten to put out each of the gifts. They were selected and sitting in a grocery bag but not on the table. Hubby pretended not to notice while I place a bag of mini Coconut Chocolate bars at his place. Son came downstairs shortly and immediately unwrapped his over-sized Hershey bar. Then he re-wrapped it and put it in his lunch bag. Ok, I guess its better than eating no lunch.
Daughter has a snow day from school, no buses, so It was a while before she descended to find issue 1 of Faeries' Landing by You Hyun. This story is printed American style and reads from front to back. It is aimed at a 13+ girl audience. My daughter is in a phase where she loves anything magical, so this attracted her immediately.
Perhaps by now you are noticing a trend in my gifts, chocolate does tend to factor largely in our eating lives. I love the feel of it in my mouth. What else is there to say.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

on the 4th day of Christmas...

Today we are being visited by a major winter storm. I thought that my gifts should be of a more personalized manner.
For daughter a package of scrap booking supplies, they are some three-D stickers with her initial. Hubby received some Toffifee, which have been a hit with the whole family. Guess I need to buy a full size box, not this sample size.
My son has spent the day reading the book he received, 'Horrible Facts: the grim, the gruesome and the ghastly' from Brain Benders. I didn't make it through the first two pages with its stories of tapeworms and other very gross examples. My son says its perfect and he is almost half way through. He loves books of facts and such.
PS, the Tassimo did make it onto the counter today and daughter says the hot chocolate is 'awesome'.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

on the 3rd day of Christmas

We have been debating the purchase of a new coffee maker for the past while. All agreed upon the Tassimo machine. Hubby and son were visiting a friend and used his machine. They both felt that the coffee was quite good.
Even though the machine is destined for a space under the tree, today they received their personal supplies. Daughter, a package of hot chocolate disks, son received cappuccino and hubby, the coffee disks.
Thanks to Tassimo for the picture that you are viewing.

Friday, 14 December 2007

on the 2nd Day of Christmas...

On the Second Day of Christmas I gave to my true loves...

My daughter was thrilled with the pink, glass Christmas Tree. It stands about 15 inches tall. So why a pink tree? I was browsing in the store one day and saw this tree and thought my daughter would love it, but perhaps the price a bit much, so didn't purchase it. When looking through a local magazine a week ago, I came across a pic of all the similar sized trees on sale at that particular store. I asked my daughter if she was interested in a tree for her room and told her that I had seen one I liked and if she chose the same one, I would buy it for her. Without one moment of hesitation she pointed out the same tree. The rest is history...

For my son I gave a laminated sheet of guitar cords. I could hear the pleasure in his voice as he pulled it out of the package and realized what it was and commented to all in hearing range.

At my Bookcrossing meeting last evening, one of the other members suggested that I 'catch' this Rough Guide to James Bond book and bring it home for hubby.

It is now in his possession.

This 2002 publication profiles each movie including actors, director, a synopsis of the plot. Further in the book is a chapter on various James Bonds, a chapter on James Bond Girls, followed by Villains, Gadgets and music and more. This pocket size book is a mine of Bond facts and pictures.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

On the First Day of Christmas I gave to my true loves...

For the previous 13 Christmas's I have hung this advent calendar. The first year my sister Nancy helped me fill all the pockets with chocolate. It was only minutes before it fell of the wall with a crash and bundles of chocolate went rolling and bouncing across the room. Ok, so i learned to only put a few days of chocolate in it at one time.
As my children got older and more daring, I had to resort to filling i t one day at a time as they were prone to sneak days ahead.
This year I didn't put it on the wall until this morning so I could take this picture. Instead I thought I would surprise them with gifts for the 12 Days of Christmas. I haven't been able to determine whether they should start today, or does the counting start on the 25Th and continue into January. Using gift givers license, I decided to start today.
For the first day of Christmas I gave to my true loves, Sweetness. We can all use more of it some days. Hubby promptly ate his, son sort of grunted a thanks, and daughter shook her box of Smarties and put them in her lunch bag.
I don't know what I'll give them next, but I hope to have fun searching. I do plan to stop at the music store...

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

The Mitts are still working

I got out for another run on Monday. Yippee, the mitt effect is still working. We are having freezing rain today, so will see how it goes tomorrow. Might have to walk instead.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Hind Shadow Mitt

I haven't been doing much running lately. It started with a sore foot about 3 weeks ago, and then I just didn't get back outside. I don't have a treadmill, so I always run outdoors. Its been nasty weather here lately so I really didn't want to go out.

Yesterday my neighbour (also a runner) brought me a new pair of running mitts. They have a wind proof layer on the top of the hand, a breathable palm and most wonderful is the terry covered thumb. Terrific for wiping the nose. Its been awful taking off the mitt to get out a tissue, now I don't have to, I am so excited. Well, truth be told, I was so excited this morning that I went for a run. 4k and every step reminded me that I hadn't been out for a while, but I sure did feel good. Oh, I love these mitts.

Who would have suspected that a pair of mitts would have done so much for me.

Now to wait for hubby to get that hot tub installed, imagine what that will do for my post run routine!!!

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

I watched this movie several months ago and it struck me that I didn't know the stories behind many of the main characters. That is, the Gentlemen. These include: Allan Quatermain, Captain Nemo, Dorian Gray, Agent Tom Sawyer(?), Mr. Hyde and the Invisible Man, and also Minna Harker.

Yes, I know who they are, but I don't know their stories. It set me to wondering whether I would have got more from the movie if I did know their histories.

I have set myself the task of finding and reading the following:

Dracula by Bram Stoker (Minna Harker)
Captain Nemo by Jules Verne
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells

Currently reading:

King Solomon's Mines, Allan Quatermain, by H. Rider Haggard

it shall be interesting to see whether my current understanding of each character is anything near what the author originally put to paper.