Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Aftermath

Christmas eve we had dinner of beef tenderloin...I wanted to do the old family beef fondue with mustard and chili sauces, but I decided to cook the tenderloin whole in an Asian-inspired sauce with soy sauce, honey, ginger powder, garlic, and pepper.  In fact, it turned into a rather international dinner...French bread, Swiss cheese fondue, and Asian beef.  It was delicious!

Afterwards, we cleaned up the dishes, and went to open presents.  Each of the kids had five or six presents consisting of games, videos, and assorted entertainments.  Kelly had two presents--a cozy sweater and a wonderful Sounders rain jacket.  I had one gift...an iPod gizmo for my car.  Not that I'm complaining, mind you...I love my iPod gizmo.  I hope it will significantly improve the sound in the car--the thingy I have only works in the right speakers, which doesn't work well with some songs where they play with the balance between speakers.  [I asked for a GPS gizmo for geocaching, but I also complained about the sound quality of the iPod.]

Christmas eve, Santa came and left gifts for the kids and stuffing the socks.  Ben got two DS games that are for the 3DS, which sucks because he doesn't have a 3DS.  Maybe one of the girls will be nice enough to allow Ben to borrow their 3DS thing from time to time, but I'm thinking that we may have to trade in the DS for a 3DS, which will cost $150.  Ben has a savings account with some money in it, and we can pull the money out for that.  I just didn't want to buy another DS machine--we've already purchased five of them.  Stupid machines.

The other thing we did was get Emma a phone.  I've never seen her so happy!  It'll be so much nicer to be able to text her and say, "I'm running late" or "Math teacher needs to see you after school" (they email these notices to the parents...like it does any good if you're not anywhere near your computer during the day and don't know that you're supposed to pick them up late).

We goofed around for a few hours, then went visit Kelly's uncle who lives in town, but we never see him.  They have an open house every year and people come by and nibble, chat, and view Marjan's little village of lighted ceramic houses, train tracks, and characters.  She has a pop-up shelter on her deck with walls on it, a mini heater, and filled with tables covered with these little homes and winter scenes.  I love the look of these things, and someday I'd have my own collection.  When I do, I'd like to get this Christmas Story house, which comes complete with the Fragile leg lamp in the window.  It has a whole series of buildings, so you can create the entire town.

Christmas dinner was turkey, red potatoes, green beans and bread...I was going to go all-out and make cranberry sauce (I'm the only one who likes it), and home made bread, but I really didn't have enough time or energy.  Kelly picked the carcass clean and is making soup with the leftovers.

Now that the holiday is over, I'm hoping to have some time to put a new outfit together.  This is the one that I have in mind--something from the Ottoman empire...Persian...or Turkish...I have some blue linen and some yellow, too.  I have the undertunic made already, as well as the salwar (pants), and I'm betting I could make two layers over the Christmas break--one in dark blue and one in the medium blue...but I need some muslin to make the pattern first.  I want to have them done by 12th Night, which is the second weekend on January.  I'd love to have something to show to the Costumer's Guild, even if it doesn't count towards my Journeyman level...but I can get the documentation done for the other pieces and bring them to show.  I had entered them a couple years ago and they LOST the records!  So while they had the information and sent me the beads for my achievements in the Junior and Senior levels, they somehow didn't get the records put where it could be found again.  Mysterious.  Luckily, I have most of the documentation in the computer and I can throw together a group of items to show...hopefully I can get this train back on track and I can get a few steps closer to finishing my Journeyman level costumer challenge!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Gifts

I finally decided to make some American Girl dresses as gifts for some little girlies I know.  I pulled out the dress pattern that I bought about three years ago and made copies of the pattern.  I didn't want to cut the original pieces, in case it gets lost.  Of course, I cut too many pieces for the first dress, not quite clear on what pieces are for which garment--there are three garments in this pattern for a shirt, a dress and bloomers.

I first made a dress from yellow and blue Civil War calicoes, and then made a pair of red bloomers to go with them ("That ain't nothing but my red silk petticoat you done give me.").  I then made a dress and bloomers from some 1930s repros in lavendar, green and white.  Both still need snaps on the shoulder straps and either elastic or ties in the bloomers, but they are otherwise finished.  I want to make a couple more outfits tomorrow for some other girlies I know.

We're now just a couple days from Christmas and I'm still stumped on what to get Kelly.  He doesn't want Cabela's gift certificates--he has nothing he needs there.  He wants a band saw.  That's a bit out of our budget.  Everything I get for him is the wrong color, the wrong size, the wrong brand...so I often end up feeling like I wasted time and money buying anything since he doesn't like it.  However, last year I got a gift certificate for a loom from "Kelly Wood Products"...he was going to make something for me, but in the last 363 days, it has not yet materialized.  I'm thinking I'll give him a gift certificate for something...maybe I'll fulfill it before Dec. 22, 2013.

As of this morning, I still needed to get a few more small gifts for Christmas morning.  Ben still believes in Santa, and I have a few small things set aside for him, but I still needed to get a couple more things for the girls.  I was thinking about making a doll dress for Emma (even though she doesn't play with them anymore, she expressed an interest in having a couple more outfits), and I thought I'd make a little doll quilt for Cammie...something I could make really quickly in a day.

So this morning, I set off to the stores before most people had finished their first cup of coffee...on a Sunday.  I also think a bunch of people were still in church, so I found a decent parking spot at the various stores and was able to get a few more little things for the girls and I did find something for Kelly.  He better like it...or else.

I also sewed a few strips of fabric together to make a doll quilt for Cammie.  I've kept this carefully hidden from her, so this should be a surprise tomorrow when she unwraps it.

This afternoon, Cammie and I sat down and made a couple of dresses for the American Girl dolls while watching Christmas movies.  She picked the fabric for a dress to make and I walked her through the process.  In the meantime, I made two dresses for Christmas gifts.  This first one is shown with its pantaloons, and on a doll.  After fitting it on her, I realize that the straps are *really* long.  Almost twice as long as they need to be.  Not sure why that is...I'll have to make some alterations and figure out how I want to attach the straps to the dress in the front.  I could use velcro or snaps.  I don't really want to do buttons, but that's also an option.

Here she is in her pretty little sundress!  This is such a cool pattern and there are so many options to alterations, design elements, added aprons, trims, etc.  I'm so glad that Cammie made one for herself so that she can do more in the future.  Hers is made from three different blue fabrics...I didn't get a picture of it yet.  She's still got to add the bottom trim as well.

This second one isn't actually done yet.  It still needs the bottom trim fabric. I may make it in yellow and make it ruffle instead of lay flat, just to mix it up a little.

But the kids are currently distracted with a movie so I am going to go wrap Santa's gifts...

Saturday, December 22, 2012

HP and the Sunshine Band

The sun has broken free and is giving us that blessed combination of bright skies, cool air, and complaining kids.  Complaining because they need to play outside when the weather is good, but they don't wanna.  They claim it's raining but it's nearly cloudless out there.  Interestingly, it's the neighbor kids who are complaining louder than mine.

I finished three more HP blocks for the quilt.  First a bunch of books on the shelf.  Woo.  I'm looking forward to stitching all the labels on all the books--not that I really enjoy the embroidery, but it'll be fun to figure out which books have which titles.

I wasn't entirely happy with the fabric choices I had--I really needed a light grey for the wings of the snitch--you can barely see them against the background, and the paper of the books is almost the same color as the background, too.

Finally, there is the shelf of identical books.  I think these must be part of a series--Standard Book of Spells, books 1 through 6.  He never did go back for his 7th year, so I'm thinking that's what they'll be. This is the last block of the second row, which means I'm officially 1/3 done with the blocks.

Next up:  Hedwig.  It's another one of those blocks with some 58 pieces to it.

However, I'm thinking now might be a good time to catch up on some holiday plans.  Gift bags for the in-laws & beloved friends.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Concert

Not surprisingly, the end of the world failed to come.  I guess that means I get to try to finish more of my UFOs, and hopefully get the Harry Potter quilt done!  Someday...after I get my long arm machine fixed.

Last night, the school hosted its annual Christmas musical spectacular!  It started with a couple of numbers from the Kindergarteners, who then sat in a line on the stage to watch the beginning band.  Cammie is sitting on the left in the plaid dress (a second-hand purchase for a grand total of $7!  And it still had the NEW tags on it.)  This is the best photo I got of her all night--she was sitting still with the band and in the front row.

When the band started to play, she was hidden behind the music sheets and I could only see the skirt.  The band was awesome!  Considering this beginning band just started playing three months ago, they played "Joy of a Man's Desiring" and "Jingle Bells" and they did a great job!

This is the rest of Cammie's class (once again, we were so far back that I couldn't see if the photo was blurry until I got home).  She wasn't in this group because while Cammie and a few others are in band, the rest are in choir.  

At the end of the show, they have the big all-school number.  This year they mixed it up by singing "Silent Night" in four different languages--English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and sign.

Ben was in the front row, of course, bowing deeply at the end...no one else was.  A mom near me says, "That's not my kid..."  I leaned over and said, "No, it's mine."  We had a good laugh--she's a sweet lady.

I have to get a new headlight for the car--I swear I just did this a year ago...but maybe it was the other side.  Luckily they're easy to replace, but you'd think they'd last longer than 7 or 8 years.  I bet the headlights in the cars from the 50s and 60s lasted decades.  Now I have to figure out what kind of headlights I have now--yellow, white, blue?  No idea.

The other day, I was looking at a recipe that called for "full cream milk".  I thought, 'What the heck is full cream milk?  Is it whole milk?  Or heavy cream?'  So I went and opened the Google machine and I came across this article on healthy food written by the Daily Mail in the UK, and it's a bit of an eye-opener, but affirms some of my thoughts on "diet" foods.  Substitute foods are bad for you (no kidding!) and you should eat natural whole foods in moderation.  Butter, eggs and milk!  Shocker.  The biggest surprise was realizing that 2% milk is still low fat when you think that 20% is the limit for everything else.  2% fat is 98% FAT FREE!  Whole milk is still less than 5% fat, or 95% fat free.  Nothing unhealthy about it.  Drink whole milk and ENJOY!  And I get to enjoy some high-fat egg nog with a steak and veggies...but I need to cut back on the sugar and go for more walks.

The little kids are out of school now--finally...a few of the schools finished up last week--and Emma gets out of school today in a couple hours, and she is going directly to the theatre with her buddy, Miss E to go see the Hobbit.  Kelly went and saw it with his Dad last week.  I'll probably see it when it comes out on DVD.

This afternoon, I hope to get some sewing done on the Harry Potter blocks.  I also still need to take the broken part in to the sewing store.  I better get dressed and get on with my day.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

In the Wake

I went to the Thursday night guild meeting and picked up a couple of packets for the raffle quilt they are assembling.  I got kits #11 and 12, which are part of the pointy border areas that go around the edge of this spectacular batik quilt.  It's all paper pieced, which I have gotten into a little recently...see posts on Harry Potter Quilt of Insanity.  Here I am sewing the fabric onto the paper.  OK, the paper is just used as a sewing guide, since the fabrics have to be sewn to each other with at least 1/4" seam.  You first sew pieces 1 and 2 together, lining them up behind the paper (holding it up to the light...).  Stitch and flip, finger-pressing open, then add piece 3.  Repeat to end.  The paper will later get torn away and the pieces will look like this!

OK, not exactly like this.  The extra bits have to be trimmed up around the edge, but the instructions said to leave that to the assembly team to complete.  They don't want to risk anyone accidentally cutting into the main part of the design...they probably don't have extras of this paper pattern.

But before I started these, I made one more HP block from the kit.  It took a LOOOOONG time to make this one with all the little bitty pieces.  I turned on a movie when I started and finished about the same time as the movie.  Seriously.  I think I like using this box as a photo box for the blocks...although I think I should probably press the blocks with an iron before photographing.  The books look a little lumpy.  I haven't decided if this is just an hourglass or if this is the Time Turner.  It's a bit big to hang around the neck, so I'm going to say hourglass.  I can't imagine Hermione tucking this down her robes without looking...suspicious...or in need of the hospital wing for an engorgement charm gone wrong.

Since then, I started another block of books, but only have 1/3 of it done.

After the Friday shooting, it was difficult to focus on much, so I spent a great deal of the weekend just puttering around.  I finished the baby quilt on Saturday, despite having a broken stitch regulator.  I need to take the thing in to get fixed...hubby suggested that I just take the broken part in rather than hauling in the 70 lb. behemoth...a much less physically-taxing endeavor which I am in favor of.  Maybe I'll do that in the morning.

I also mailed out a bunch of Christmas cards, which I haven't done in three years.  In the process, I discovered that I was missing a great many addresses in my book, or had ridiculously outdated information.  A high school friend was still recorded under her ex-husband's name; cousins still listed at university addresses, even though they graduated years ago; spouses and children were missing completely...luckily I have most of them on Facebook, so was able to get new physical addresses for many--others haven't written back yet.  I sent out about 40 cards--one of them still went to the wrong address (I got the corrected version after it was already in the locked outgoing mail slot).  I could have sent more but I ran out of momentum and stamps, even after a store run to get more stamps.  I'll catch 'em next year.  Or in three years.

Santa, I am not.  As per usual, I'm making a mental note to make a list, and hoping I have the forethought to check that list twice, once I find it again after losing it...  I hope that we have a fairly balanced number of gifts for each of the kiddos and a good selection of toys and games, and I will have likely failed miserably at making sure that no one feels that someone was favored over someone else.

I hope at least that they'll think well of me when I'm old enough to go to the retirement home.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


I don't normally allow my Facebook and blog lives overlap (other than sharing pictures) but I found this to be really funny.  A friend (acquaintance) posted one of those text images to her wall:

"If you have a friend who tells you that they are leaving their marriage because they've "fallen out of love" or they're "no longer happy." Being a Real Friend doesn't mean hugging them and helping them pack their bags. Being a Real Friend means telling them that they're about to make a terrible decision and encouraging them to fight to restore their Marriage."

Why is this funny?  Because she is divorced.  She was also sleeping with a married guy who eventually divorced--for the second time--and then married her.  She moved into his house within a couple weeks of the former wife leaving.  That's irony.


The weekend was spent sewing a bunch of 4 patches together.  I just got the bug to sew some of the scraps together, so I grabbed the baggie of 3" squares and found that many of them had two or more pieces of each fabric, so I matched lights and darks into 4-patches.

On Monday, I went up to the guild meeting, probably the last one for the next few months. My DH's union is in the midst of negotiating a new contract, although I don't feel that they're really negotiating in good faith--the company offers a crap contract and the union doesn't bother to counter-offer before threatening to strike...they're going to be nice and wait until after the holidays...gee, thanks.... So we won't be able to spend $30-40 a month on gas to and from the guild meetings, and we'll likely have to cut out all entertainments from movies to non-food essentials...maybe even turning off cable.  If it gets really bad, maybe I'll find a job...depends on how long the strike goes, I guess.  In some ways, I think it'll be good to try to focus on local functions & guilds for entertainment, but at the same time, I know I'm going to miss going up there.  I will probably renew the membership and go up from time to time to keep in touch--maybe in the summer when there are fewer issues with getting up early the next day to take the kids to school.  I got home at 1 a.m. after spending a bit of time with my sister.  The visit was nice, but then I realized that it was already 11 pm and I had to stop for gas before hitting the road.

Anyway, the guild meeting was a Christmas party potluck and raffle with the "high end" raffle goodies.  During the other 11 months of the year, the raffle table has small bundles of fabrics, books, sewing tools & trinkets offered at 3 tickets for a dollar.  During December, they have $1 raffle tickets for much larger items.  A few of them were nice, but I got the impression that they were not as amazing as they have been in years past.  The Olfa mat was half the size as previous years; the Ott Light was a table top version, not a floor lamp; the kits were miscellaneous fabrics (some of dubious quality) and had just a couple yards, not a big basket full of new fabrics; the books looked second hand or at least several years old.  They did have $50 gift certificates for several different area stores, but since I don't live up there now, I wasn't that gung-ho about dropping tickets in those containers...I'd have to spend $35 just to drive there.  I entered a ticket to win entry into the spring retreat, but alas, didn't win that.  I dunno...it just wasn't up to par.  

I did buy $10 worth of tickets and was able to bring home one of the prizes:  a bin of weird fabrics.  Upon closer inspection, there were 12 fat quarters of mixed genres, one yard of modern fabric in brown & blue (not my style, but I'm sure someone will get a nice bag out of it), and a fat quarter from a Big Box Fabric Store that shall not be named.  There were also a couple of other things in the box--a membership pin, a fabric glue stick, which should come in handy, and a marking pen.  I really just wanted the bin.  

I also bought one ticket for the Christmas raffle quilt, which was far smaller than previous years.  I'm not sure if they didn't get enough participation, which is possible, but I don't remember hearing more than a mention of it once or twice during the year--then again, I was overwhelmed with the quilt show, so my participation was limited in every other arena.  It's a tree skirt.  I don't recall the exact size, but it's about 55" across; just smaller than a standard round banquet table.  I quilted it (no mention of that at the meeting...thanks for the promo, guys!), but didn't win it.  Didn't even catch who did win it.

So I got home (very late) and slept fast for a super-busy Tuesday.  I sewed a few more 4-patches together and figured out how many I'd need for a twin-size if I alternated the 4-patches with solid squares.  I thought that sewing two 3" squares together into 4-patches, I could pair them with 5" squares, which I have a TON of!  Oh wait...math is wrong.  I need 5 1/2" squares.  Dang.  Gotta cut more scraps into 5 1/2".  Then I almost forgot that it was a Girl Scout day.  Extra caffeine to drag me through the day.  Went to bed early that night.

Then yesterday was the usual church in the morning at school, which Ben and I skipped and went to get a muffin for breakfast--he didn't eat enough that morning--and then it was an early-release day, so scooping up kids, off to karate...fast dinner...skip evening karate for the girls so they can catch up on homework (but Ben went).  Hopefully they're good now.

Finished sewing the 4-patches that I needed for the twin quilt and found a baggie of 5 1/2" squares--not enough of them to actually make the top, but maybe 50 of the 80 that I need, so it's a start.

The dust in the house is starting to get to me.  Mostly it's the old carpets...I can smell it and I want, more than anything, to rip out all the carpet and have a giant bonfire in the street.  I'm waking up with a stuffy nose and we've already put the dust covers on the pillows and mattress, and it's still bothering me.  I'm also really frustrated with my clothing and my dresser.  Maybe I should just pare down to a few outfits and toss out anything I haven't worn in at least two years and make a t-shirt quilt out of the stack.  More projects....

Friday, December 7, 2012

No Rest for the Weary

I starting piecing the 9-patch blocks into big 4-patches--each 9-patch had sashing strips on two sides, then I sewed four of those together to make bigger blocks.  In this picture is the 4-patch blocks and strips of 9-patches that I had to add on the bottom edge and right side to even out the numbers.  Or rather, ODD out the numbers.  There are 9 blocks per row, 9 rows to the quilt...81 blocks.  Part of the plan to assemble this quilt is to alternate 9 patches with dark squares in the corners and center, and light colors in the corners and center.  This, I think, helps make it twinkle.  If quilts can twinkle...I suppose they can...

This morning, I got up, thinking that it was going to be a great Friday...that I could finish assembling the quilt top and get some work done on some other projects.  I got Ben through all his medications, loaded the kids in the car, and dropped Emma off first.  She hustled up to the front doors of the school while I took the little ones to their school.  I was about half-way there and I get a call from Emma.  She fell on the stairs and chipped her tooth.  Oh no!!

Dropped off the little guys and called the dentist.  They said they could fit her in at 10:30, so I went to pick her up and wait for an hour before heading over to the dentist.  They fixed her up and her teeth look like nothing ever happened.  She wouldn't let me take a picture of her broken teeth, but imagine the left front (her left) missing the chunk below the braces...it was about 1/4 to 1/3 of the front tooth. We didn't realize it at the time, but she also chipped the other tooth, too--not as significantly, but he filled that one, too.  Now we have the waiting game to see if there was any nerve damage that would mean a root canal and more work.  We also have to bring her in later, take the wires off to be able to see underneath the brackets to make sure they got it all cleaned up.  We have to coordinate that with the orthodontist...who I'll have to call next week.

So, by NOON, I was back home and ready to get started on some sewing.  Sheesh!

In about 90 minutes, I finished assembling the quilt top...minus a couple of borders, that will be added on soon.  It now measures 98" square, so once I put a couple borders on it, it'll be closer to 108".  As a Hobbit might say, "Bigginses."  I even considered making this two twin size quilts, but decided on one giant one instead.

No worries--I have plenty of squares to make into more 9-patches...3" squares, 4 1/2" squares and gallons of 5" squares.  In fact, I could take the 3" squares and make them into 4-patches.  These will measure 5" and I can alternate them with the 4-patches.  I'm sure I can make a few twin size quilts out of the scraps I still have lying around.

Hopefully we'll have a less adventurous weekend.  I have a 40th birthday party to attend tomorrow, but other than that, I'm not making any plans.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Out of the Box

In order to keep things organized in my sewing room, I decided to box up some of the fabrics in groups for projects.  Some of these are blocks that were swapped with the guild and I wanted to keep them separate for future quilt projects.  I may be able to combine some of these--like the bugs, birds and dots--for a fun kids quilt.  These boxes are from our Friday night pizza orders!  Of course, these are *clean* boxes that we get our chicken wings in, not pizza, and the wings are first wrapped in foil, so if the boxes are greasy at all, they get pitched; they are not used for fabric storage if they're at all dirty.  Of course, recently the pizza place recently reduced the number of wings from 10 to 8, so they also reduced the size of the boxes.  Not something that is very useful now...not really.  Maybe I'll have to order larger boxes of 16 instead of just small boxes of 8.  The kids will eat them all, so it's not a worry about waste of food, and chicken wings will keep in the fridge for a day or two if they don't eat them all.

It's been a weird week for me--I started getting a pain in my neck a couple weeks ago when Ben was in the hospital that still hasn't fully subsided...it's better, but not completely gone.  Then about four or five days ago, my back suddenly started to hurt.  I was just sitting in a chair, minding my own business (waiting for the kids at karate or something) and it just started to ache then grew to discomfort, then eventually to pain over the course of 30 minutes or so. Over the next few days, it was troublesome getting up stairs, in and out of the car, and simple things like getting dressed.  Sleeping hurt.  The walk in clinic doctor suggested I take some pain pills and go see a rhumatologist.  He also ordered a blood draw to do some tests, and the vampire who stuck me hit a nerve.  It hurt closer to my wrist, just a couple inches below my thumb.  After a couple days, it hurt MORE and started to cramp up.  I went back to the doctor this morning to make sure it wasn't anything to worry about.  He thinks it'll slowly repair on its own.  Let's hope so.

I also went to the chiropractor today who worked with my back for 20 minutes and although I'm not "cured", I sure feel better.  He was able to unkink my hips and back that were so frozen that even the Miracle Balls couldn't fix it.  The only thing that irritates me about this chiro is that he's chronically late.  I either have to assume he's going to be 15 minutes late for the first appointment of the day or make an appointment later in the day so his tardiness doesn't piss me off.  My friend, Jade, tells me that I need to tell him so.  I should...after he's done working on my neck.

With a kink in my neck and my back tied in knots, I sure wasn't feeling like doing any holiday decorating.  The younger kids took the initiative to do it.  Kelly pulled the boxes out of the garage, and they pulled out the tree and assembled it, then decorated it by themselves.  They did a great job!  They even put on some of their new hand-made decorations that we did in Girl Scouts the other day.  Way to get into the Christmas spirit, kids!  We still have a bit of decorating left to do and the necessary tidying up--putting the boxes away, hanging the Christmas quilts, and hanging the lights outside.  The other neighbors have gotten their lights up on their houses, which looks festive and lively...twinkling in the breeze...especially when the wind is blowing like it has been for the last few days.

Emma's hexagon quilt is coming along quite nicely.  Since my back was hurting over the last few days, I needed to do some sit-down projects, so I got the pieces sewn into rows. Hanging the rows up every 30 minutes or so helped stretch things out after sitting, but kept me from doing anything too strenuous, like lifting, bending, or standing too long.  Just 22 more seams to go on the body of the quilt...although I have to add 30-60-90 triangles on the ends of these rows to make them square.  THEN I can sew them into a quilt top and add borders.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Out of Whack

I'm enjoying watching the neighbors setting up all their lights and decorations around their homes.  I'm only just starting to get in the holiday mood--after having our Thanksgiving usurped by medical issues, I was having some difficulty being all merry and bright.  Now that we're settling into a new routine with scheduling new medications (only one more week of this chaos), and things are looking good (medically speaking), I'm now feeling more of the joy creeping back in.

Unfortunately, my back is still out of whack.  I'm going to call for an appointment with the chiro tomorrow and see if he can unkink things.  The Miracle Balls aren't doing quite enough to untangle my hips, back, neck and shoulders, so a big nudge from a professional is what I need.  I'm not totally crazy about the guy I've seen before, but the reason I stopped seeing him was for unprofessional reasons--he was routinely late for morning appointments, which ticked me off.  I talked to the gal who recommended him, and she said that I should just tell him why I stopped coming.  She agreed that it's not cool to pull that kind of thing; she's been seeing him for years and said that he would appreciate the honesty.  We'll see if I actually say something.

One other things I realized about using the Miracle Balls is that the carpet stinks.  I don't have a shampooer anymore, and with my back all tied up, renting and carrying the industrial thing up the stairs doesn't sounds like a great idea.  A friend suggested that I sprinkle baking soda on the carpet...I'm going to have to get an industrial size box.

I quilted up two small quilts yesterday.  The first is a small wall hanging for Michele.  I quilted some leaves into the yellow sections and did a simple echo around the foliage, and then removed it from the frame.  I think I will put it back on and do some quilting in the brown frames--maybe something that looks like wood grain.  I didn't have any brown thread, so it seemed a good time to stop.

Then I put on a quilt for a new customer, Karen M.  She is a teacher and is making this baby quilt for a co-worker--her first quilt ever!  She took a simple panel and added a couple borders on it, then did the same for the back to make it large enough.  I quilted it with Dr. Seuss feathers, but I called it "Monkey tails and banana peels."

I started putting Emma's quilt top together by sewing the half-hexagons into strips.  It takes a lot of organization to do this.  The first problem was that I had laid them out horizontally on the design wall and I needed to take them all down in order to make room for tacking up the finished rows.  Actually, the rows have become columns...if that makes any sense.  I couldn't take them down one row at a time and put it back easily...it would have taken a lot more pins to tack it up and keep it organized.  In this way, I only need one pin to hang each column and keep them in order.  In addition, each row had to have 15 or 16 pieces in each row sewn in order.  If one gets out of order, the whole pattern will be thrown out of whack.

Did I mention that when I got my blood drawn, they hit a nerve?  Yeah.  That was delightful.  Instead of feeling the stick in the elbow, I felt it about 3" above my wrist, near my thumb.  Like someone jammed a nail in my arm.  It took about an hour before it stopped stinging, and now three days later, the stinging sensation is back.  I was looking online, and it happens sometimes and can take days or weeks for it to stop stinging...and in rare cases, is permanent.  I hope this isn't permanent--it wasn't like she was digging around looking for a vein, she just snagged it when she stuck it in.  Hopefully that's not something that's permanently out of whack but will just take a few days to heal up.  However, even though my weight has creeped back up to where I was a couple years ago (sadly), my blood pressure is still 107/80, and my resting heart rate is 72.  Weirdly, my temperature was 97.0.  I'm just a cool chick, I guess.

Cammie and Ben got to assemble the tree the other day and did all the decorating themselves, including putting the lights and ornaments.  They did a great job!  There are still a few more items that need to be set up (like the nativity and the Advent quilt), then we can take all the boxes back out to the garage.

I'm looking forward to feeling better, decorating more, and fully enjoying the holiday season.  I have some great ideas for Christmas shopping and making quick--but thoughtful--gifts.  I wanna be all Christmas Cookies & Holiday Hearts...bring it on!