Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Christmas Project ... and a Promise for Next Year

So the day after Christmas was just as exciting for me as the holiday itself. As many of you know we brought back a variety of items from my father-in-law's house after cleaning it. Most of the furniture went to storage after I made a detailed list so I'd know what we can get rid of here before consolidating (do two people really need 6 TVs?)

So in all the turmoil of the recent weeks and the holidays on top of it, my precious (though small) craft closet became a catch-all for anything that my husband didn't know where it went or what I would deal with "in a minute." So, day after Christmas I decided to takle this former haven of solice here at Rose Manor. This is what I was greeted with after I opened the door (I was lucky to get it opened!) ...

My poor closet looked like it had contained Hurricane Ike for a week! My close friends were amazed that I hadn't lost my sanity with my OCD tendencies. I too wondered how I hadn't lit a match and started over.

I completely emptied it out and after 4 hours of sorting and disposing of trash, I loaded my Tahoe (after removing ALL of the seats) with stuff to be donated to the post Thrift Store (which provided scholarships for military spouses and children). I reorganized and after threat to my husband resulting in promises to get rid of the old printers and relocating his guns within the month, this is what I walked away with ...

After all that cleaning I found quite a few half finished projects in there. I'm hoping in 2009 that I will get a good number of them marked off. SO after a bit of organized chaos, I've managed to make a list of what needs to be done. There is no promis that I won't start anything new, but hopfully the "to be done list" is smaller by the end of 2009.

I'm not really one to make New Year's resolutions, because I really don't think you have to wait until a certain time of year to make choices that will make your life better. However, this year, I decided (not resolved) to get some projects finished this year. Mostly cross stitch, but a few others as well. So here it is ... my mighty list of procratination.

To be Sewn:
□ Pink and Blue Baby Blanket
□ Pink and Blue Doll Quilt
□ Freedom Wallhanging
□ Purple Quilt Block
□ Christmas Wreath Pillow
□ Blue and Gold Heart Quilt (new project I will tell you about soon)

To be Stitched:
□ Army Seal
□ Daisy Tabletopper
□ Rose Quilt Blocks
□ Rose Pillowcases
□ God Bless Me Pillow
□ God Bless Me Blanket
□ Stuffed Lion
□ Lindsey Stained Glass
□ Easter Bunny and Egg-Mom
□ Easter Bunny and Egg-Me
□ Roly Poly Santas
□ 12 Small Christmas Ornaments (former SAL)
□ Love, Honor, Cherish Centerpeices/Placemats

Needless to say, I have more than enough to do without starting any new projects, but we'll see. There are a few things that I'd like to do for the house such as ...

□ Christmas Stocking George
□ Christmas Stocking Michelle
□ Christmas Stocking Sgt. Major
□ Mistletoe Tree Skirt
□ Kitchen Towel- Christmas
□ Kitchen Towel- Thanksgiving
□ Kitchen Towel- Halloween
□ Kitchen Towel- 4th of July
□ Kitchen Towel- Easter
□ Kitchen Towel- Valentine’s Day

I'll post my progress periodically, but please feel free to inquire at anytime, it may motivate to get some of these projects done.

Until our next visit ...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Our First Christmas ...

Well maybe it wasn't our first Christmas, but it was our first Christmas at home. For the past 7 years we've been together, we've spent our holidays traipsing from one Family event to another. Usually 3 a day. It was so exhausting and left us very cranky and lacking any holiday cheer.

This year we stayed home. Christmas Eve we had a candlelight dinner. George had marinated some steaks and I cooked some veggies and we had a nice bottle of wine before watching a movie. I had to wait for him to fall asleep so that the neighbor could bring over the Craftsman tool chest I'd gotten him. It seemed like it took forver to get it across the street and every noise sounded like a cannon. He was alseep in the livingroom so I was sure he'd hear the garage door. But I got it safety tucked in the garage and then woke him up to go to bed.

Christmas morning we woke up and I made pancakes. Actually first I prepared the ham by marinating it in Bourbon before cooking it in a brown sugar and Bourbon glaze. As you may imagine, Sgt. Major was VERY helpful ... all the way to the fridge ... as seen here ...

Then we opened presents. Puppy first ... we got him this oversized bone and a stuffed animal with squeaker. That damn bone turned him into Cujo and now, two days later we still cannot walk into whatever room he is in without him growling an lunging at us. {sigh} He was such a nice boy before that bone turned him eveil. George and I have decided to take it to the garage. We try this every few months. but those stupid bones turn him into an evil pup. Here he is guarding his treasures ...

What a rotten dog, But I digress.

Next it was our turn to exchange gifts. George got me an 80G Zune and new cell phone, both the same color as my computer. I am so excited that all my electronic toys match! (I know, I'm a total dork, but whatever!) I'll post a pic as soon as I am willing to put them down long enough. He also got me 3 of my top 5 holiday movies ... White Christmas (ultimate favorite, I love Bing Crosby!), Miracle on 34th Street and It's a Wonderful Life. I grew up without a TV and my stepmother never let us help with any decorations, she'd put up the stockings and IF we had a tree while we were all sleeping. So when I grew I kind of reverted to trying to recreate those Christmas memories that most people get when they are children.

George got a BlueRay player, two movies to go with it (something about Star Wars Clones and Tropical Thunder), the Craftsman tool chest, a hat from our college to replace the one he lost and a Texas hitchcover for his new truck (Oh, yeah, I'll have to post a picture of that soon too!)

After than we watched movies and ate luch (ham, green bean casserole and yams) at about 1 p.m. After that we just hung out about the house and played with out new toys while trying to stay out of Cujo's way. For desert we had Port (that is some SWEET tasting stuff) and pumpkin pie. It was an absolutely great day!

Until our next visit ...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas ....

Merry Chistmas from Rose Manor and a very disgruntled Santa!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmastime at Rose Manor

Christmastime has arrived here at Rose Manor. It's such a wonderfully peaceful time of year. Since I make my holiday list in January and start gathering gifts in February, by November I only have last minute gifts and the planner I get my niece every year (she's as organized as me, which is a given since she shares my name.)

The tree has been decorated ... twice and gifts are being wrapped. This will be the first Christmas we spend at home and to be honest, I am very excited. I tire of the frantic traveling from one relative to the next. It's so stressful making sure no one's feelings get hurt, that gifts aren't forgotten and that somewhere in all that craziness we don't forget to spend a little time with each other and the puppy.

But, back to Rose Manor and it's decorations. Each year I try to make a new set of ornaments. Our tree is all red, white and gold, so the ornaments, all in a Victorian theme follow that color scheme. Here is a sampling of some of those treasures:

This was made from white and gold cording that I hot glued to a styrofoam ball. I made two different sizes in this cording and red and gold cording.

I made a variety of these by rolling them after putting paint inside. Every few hours I'd turn then and two days later, this is what I got. I did a variety, but word of advise, the red and white may turn pink, but it's still pretty.

Here is a gold version of the same ornament.

This is one of my favorites, but a bit of a sad story, many of them turned yellow. I'm guessing it was the fabric stiifener not doing good in storage. This is the lone survivor. Any one have ideas to keep them from turning? I am hooping to find more round doilies so I can make more.

Thiis our current tree skirt. Many years ago my made these for Christmas gifts and I got to help stamp them. When she stopped putting a tree up I got this one. I recently found a monochromatic poinsettia cross stitch patternt that I want to use to make a tree skirt with. Maybe it will be a project for 2009 and I can debut it next year.

Until our next visit ...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Join me for a cup of tea ... part 7

Thank you for joining me for today's tea party ... pull you chair to the table and pour yourself a cup of tea or fill your plates with sweets - today, I will tell you about a group of people who inspire me.

Their dedication and devotion are immeasurable. Despite criticism and disrespect they endure, some even to their faces. I am talking about America's service members. It must be so hard to defend the rights of people who picket the funeral of their fallen comrades and welcome home ceremonies. I can't imagine what it must be like to deal with that kind of hate and continue to fight for their freedom of speech.

They leave their families behind while they fight to help others achieve the freedoms that many take for granted here. They fight for what they believe in, regardless of what others think or say. As Lt. Col. Hal Moore said in the movie We Were Soldiers …, “American soldiers in battle don't fight for what some president says on T.V., they don't fight for mom, apple pie, the American flag... they fight for one another.”

They are honorable men and women who ask for nothing in return.

This week I debut (on this site) a special treasure. My husband brought this marble tea set back from Afghanistan.

When his bags arrived in January 2006, a month after he came home, he said he had a surprise that he had been carrying around for a few months. When I opened it up, I was stunned. It was breathe-taking and beautiful. I was like a kid at Christmas. I cleared off the glass table in the kitchen and put it on the top. Not satified, I moust have moved it three or four more times before returning it to that table.

I love haw the little cups and the decanter sit on a little serving plate. All snug and perfectly. George said they drank a lot of tea over there when visiting with elders, Chi specifically, but like a true Texan went back to his coffee shortly after coming home. My drink of choice depends on my mood and the weather.

There were two places that pieces broke off during shipping, but you can’t even tell.

Until our next visit ...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Join me for a cup of tea ... part 6

Welcome to another Saturday tea. This week I preview a new teacup.

This teacup has a bit of a funny story behind it, but in order for you to find the humor I must explain something. My mother is one of those people you cannot just buy a gift for. Despite something she might like (such as fabric for a quilt or a cute goat item because that is what they raise on their farm). You have to wait for her to tell you what to get or else take trip with her when she returns it. She is also a woman who believes if it did not come from WalMart, then she does not need it. With that in mind ...

Sometime in 2007 my husband and I were in Houston visiting our families when my mom said," Hey! Maybe when you come to visit you can help me go through all of the kitchen cabinets and get rid of stuff." (That is the sort of thing my mom plans when we visit, but it is better than helping worm nearly 100 goats!)

"Um ... o.k.!" I replied without much enthusiasm.

So the day came and there we were in our stocking feet in the kitchen (no shoes allowed on her hardwood floor!) with boxes spread out and my stepfather safely hidden upstairs as not to be asked to assist. One cabinet at a time, I climb up on the ladder and hand down all of the containers, cups, bowls and other items she miraculously crammed into those wooden hideaways.

When cleaning out one of the top shelves, I pulled down this hummingbird tea cup and saucer.

"This is pretty," I said handing it to her.

"Then you can have it," she said.

"Where'd you get it," I asked absently, as I placed in aside on the counter.

"I don't know," she replied. "It couldn't have been important if I don't remember."

"I guess not," I mumbled as I climbed off the ladder. "I think it look familiar. I might have that in a cross stitch pattern."

"I think it's kind of ugly," she replied absently.

I moved the ladder and started on the next cabinet, forgetting about the pretty little bird in flight.

After a few hours of working we had cleared all of the counters and boxed up the donations for a local charity or something, I boxed up the few things that I wanted and headed back to my father-in-law's.

Days later I unpacked the cup and saucer with the other items and put it on a shelf in the kitchen, making a mental note to put it on display later with the others in my small collection.

Fast forward, a few months later, my husband was deployed and I was looking for some bowl that had disappeared as they often do and I came across this set. Suddenly, it clicked. I knew where I had seen the set at. I finished what I was doing and opened up the laptop. Going to one of the flower pages visit for special occasions, I searched and quickly saw it ...

Yep! Plain as day. It was part of the floral arrangement I had sent my mother the previous Mother's Day. I guess once the flowers had died, she put the cup and saucer in the back of the cabinet and forgot about it. So there it was, a cup and saucer that I thought was so beautiful eventually made its way back to me ... maybe I should have told her to put some flowers in it before she gave it back ...

Until our next visit ...

Monday, December 1, 2008

What is pink and blue and has four paws?

Apparently, my half finished quilt!

This is part of a quilt I started on about 7 years ago. I thought that this would be a good project for the new year's list of projects to finish. (It is NOT a short list either!) On top of it is our 64-pound English Bulldog, Sgt. Major who (I guess) feels that the carpet is not soft enough and the quilt blocks remedied that!

I started the quilt when I found some fabric my mom had. For those who may not know, my mom is an avid quilter ... or was. A few years ago she bought a quilt supply business from a friend and now barely has time to make the quilts for display. Kind of sad, I think, becasue she used to get so much joy from it. Although she still enjoys it, she doesn't get to labor over it like she used to or rotate on projects depending on her mood. (She can tell you a story about working night and day to finish a quilt in like 3 days while my stepfather was left to fend for himself for dinner. He just went to his mom's after work!)

Anyway, I really liked these two fabrics and he thought of making a quilt from triangles sounded fun. Unfortunately, I think I made it harder on myself. A few months into the project my mom was looking it over wheile I ironed it one day and said, "You know you could've done the same pattern using squares..."

Great! I was making it twice as hard on myself so I started to make squares. Later I realized that I couldn't just switch in the middle of the project unless I changed the pattern somehow. Besides the sizes were all ). A little overwhelmed, I put it away and no doubt started another project or two or three.

So now, I revisit it. I don't know if there is anymore fabric than the remaining pieces that I cut. Maybe my mom has more, maybe not. But looking at it, I think I can make a small lap quilt from the pieces I have of the triangles and another wall hanging size from the squares cut. Or a crib sized blanket and matching doll blanket ... I kinda like that idea. Especially since we are ready to start a family.

Here are some options. Any suggestions?

Until our next visit ...