Thursday, December 31, 2009

December 31, 2009

December 31, 2009, Blog entry

I have been missing in action for a spell. Had to open up Santa’s workshop, card making shop, and bakery. All are closed now and maybe I will have some time to do things on the computer again.

Never again do I want to even contemplate the number 8. Seems nearly everything I had to do ended up in making 8 of the critters, which I found boring after the first two. My daughter bought material for me to make her grandmother, my mom, some new placemats and napkins. I got the fabric and made them reversible. Made 8 of those and they were in solid colors. Then, the napkins were in a print to match each side and made 8 of them for each side. Still time left so I made 8 coasters that had an absorbent material inside each one. That was two sets of 8. On Christmas Eve I made myself go back to the machine and with the material that was left over, I made two hot pads for the table, one to match each napkin and coaster.

Another bright idea I had was to make the great-granddaughter a fleece blanket out of LSU material and a hat to match. Looked like an easy thing to make, but I had to cut out two of them, cut 7” from each corner, and then cut into the material every inch up 7”. The pattern said it was a “no sew” thing, but I believe it would have been easier to just sew around the thing. Once all of these “fingers” were cut, I had to take matching pieces from each of the two sides and tie them in a knot. Boring!!! I pulled a cap pattern off the net that was adorable and made the hat. Well, when it was finished, it would only have fit a tennis ball or maybe even a golf ball. Back to the city for more fleece and this time I just cut what I imagined was a hat that would fit her head. I sewed a deep cuff to they could pull it down over her ears in the cold weather. I won’t be guilty of another “no sew” anything.

I always give a check to the kids, my parents, and the grandchildren so they can either get what they want or put my money with some other they may get to purchase something they wanted and didn’t get. Instead of that impersonal check, I decided to make scrapbook paper covered cardboard wallets. I cut a notch in each side, folded the bills, and tied them into the center of the wallet. I used Velcro to secure the part that folds over onto the top and then put a sparkly sticker on the front. I had to make 11 of those. Everyone seemed to like them although the Velcro did tear loose from the paper since I didn’t tell them to carefully open the wallets. For the two younger grands I made money trees. I accordion folded 80 one dollar bills and stuck them into a Styrofoam cone with florist’s pins and stuck a glittered pick in the top. It looked so sparse that I started to go to the bank and get more money, but then I would have had to increase everyone’s money so it would come out fair. I told Bill that I couldn’t cut the top out of the cone because it would look stupid. He suggested cutting some of the bottom of the cone. Duh!!! Why didn’t I think of that? They ended up being way too cute. I bought some picks with red glittered berries and silk leaves on them and tore them all apart and stuck each berry all around the tree. Their mother said, “Oh, you can’t take the money out of the tree. We need to save them to put out as decorations next year.” Again, Bill suggested she give them what money was on the tree and that way she can keep them and they will still get their money.

Another 8 that I made, and won’t do ever again, is take a Mason jar and make it into a button jar/mending kit for each family. I found little mending kits with threads, needles, tiny scissors, a few buttons and thimble at the dollar store and put that inside each jar. Then I had to cut some large circles out of fabric and some smaller ones. Hand gathering material takes way too long, but there wasn’t any other way I could think to do that. Each jar lid had to be stuffed with fiberfill and sewn tightly to the lid. Next, I used fabric glue and attached fabric to cardboard circles, then stuck those to the round, puffy, pincushion top. They turned out very cute, but 8 were just a bit too many to make. Oh, I stuck pins in the top of the pincushion as well.

For Zoey I wanted these little bell bracelets children in Thailand wear on their ankles and you can find them when they walk out of a room, when they are toddling. The best price I could find on the net was $45 and shipping and I just wouldn’t pay that. I decided I could make her some out of jingle bells and cording. Easy to do, but then to make them adjustable I needed to tie square knots. I have tied probably 5 million of them in my lifetime back when macramé was the thing. I had a hard time doing it. I could sit on the back porch and visualize how to do it and then come inside and would mess up. I made three of them and if her mom likes them, then I have the stuff to make her some more colors of them. She has taken 11 steps alone now and it won’t be long before she will be everywhere and I am sure into everything.

Next, I thought it would be nice to make candy and cookies to share with the neighbors. It started out with me deciding to make my son some white chocolate covered pretzels, which is something he loves. From there I went to fudge, Martha Washington’s, cow patties, a carrot cake, and White Christmas meringues. No, I didn’t make just one batch of each. I made two of each. I have shared with the neighbors and took a lot to my parents, but there is still some left and for some reason or other, when I walk past the table, this magnetic force makes my hand shoot into a container and come out with chocolate calories. I ran out of time and energy before I made the cookies I wanted, but had I made them first, nothing else would have gotten made. I will make my Cosi Ducci cookies when all of this other stuff is gone.

We opened gifts with my daughter’s family on Christmas Eve this year since all of us went on Christmas down to Alexandria to my parent’s home for Christmas day. My dad is almost 90 and mama is 84 and who knows how many more Christmases we will have with them. Two of my brothers with their children and grandchildren were there, one brother dropped in later after spending Christmas with his wife’s people, a SIL’s mother was there, my daughter and her husband, my parents, and Bill and I. It was a very enjoyable day, but I was happy to get home to my quiet house.

On Monday we drove to Conway, Arkansas, to have Christmas with my son and his family. His oldest son and his wife stopped by early on Christmas Eve to exchange gifts as he was called back to work. We had a really nice time with our son’s family and of course enjoyed the grandchildren, who we don’t get to see regularly now that they have moved. Instead of going on the 6 lane through Little Rock, we took a longer scenic route through the mountains which added probably a bit over an hour to the trip, but I would have had a panic or anxiety attack had I had to drive on that crazy freeway. Nice sunny trip up there, but misted on us on the way home. Just thankful it was pouring down rain.

Our friends we usually spend New Year’s Eve have gone to Mississippi to see grandchildren, Melyssa is tied up tonight, and our other friends have gone to the casino for the night. Guess we will ring in the New Year just us two.

I am sure health wise this next year will be better for me as unless it is an emergency, I won’t have to have any surgeries. My doctor wants to do my shoulders, but I told him after this last knee surgery with the infection afterwards, wild horses couldn’t drag me into a hospital unless it was life or death. No way. Nada. No!!!

They say what you are doing on New Year’s Eve you will be doing all year long. Well, I just sat here and paid all of my bills that have come in and I hope the new year brings something a bit more interesting than that. J Wishing all of you the best in 2010. Please pray for those in need, who are ill, and for our soldiers who are keeping this country free.

Happy New Year, 2010!!!!


Saturday, December 5, 2009

December 4, 2009

It has been a few days since I last posted. Lots going on, like staying on the computer reading other people's blogs and reading emails. I think maybe I am addicted to blog hopping and visuals of neat things. I am definitely a visual person.

We had a tiny bit of snow this afternoon here in NW Louisiana. What a surprise. Nothing stuck. It is cold out there and is supposed to get down to 29 degrees tonight. Snow is nice if people are used to it like when we lived in Denver. They have the equipment and people know how to drive in it. Down here, the road crews don't have a clue and people definitely don't know how to drive in it. I don't think we will be building any snow people this year.

The other thing about the cold is when it ices over. We lose power and it is dark, very dark. I have a flashlight next to my desk, one by the bed, one by where I sit at the eating bar, and there are others all over the house. If we didn't have them, we would be knocking ourselves out running into furniture and walls. Definitely not my idea of fun. However, we bought a generator for those times and at least we won't lose the food in our freezers like we have done in the past.

Our son drove down from his home in Conway to Grand Cane to wrap his pipes. They are already wrapped, but it has been a few years since they were done and he was worried that the wrapping might be deteriorating. Plus, it is a way to get to hunt that illusive giant deer roaming his woods. Two jumped out in front of us on the way home tonight - Bambi and his dad. At least they didn't want a piece of our truck like they did my cousin's car the other night. Those things can ruin a ride.

My daughter stopped by this afternoon and brought me part of my Christmas present. She wanted me to have it to wear to any parties I have this time of year. She also bought me a beautiful white scarf to dress up the cranberry jacket she bought for me. She is one thoughtful child. I checked my planner to see when our retired teachers luncheon is so I could wear it and it was yesterday. Day late and a dollar short. I do have one other thing on tap and of course Christmas day. Now, in the South, we usually are wearing shorts on that day, but I am ready if it is cold. Lovely gift and I love it.

My time seems to be spent running back and forth to Shreveport to the chiropractor with my back and shoulders. I am finally getting some relief from the pain. I still find myself going to pick up something heavy and then I remember why I mustn't do that. I told my doctor that he could come home with me if he would bring that table I told you about in an earlier post - the one that seems to have the 18 wheeler rim in it that runs up and down your spine. I need one of those planted here at my house. Surely would save a lot of gasoline.

I found another Christmas gift for Bill and Zoey. I think the tea set will have to wait a bit, but she will have it when she is old enough to drink from a cup. I believe in being prepared. :-)

Ellie Mae, Emily Anna's dog, came back to Louisiana with my son. She will use the potty outside, but still loves to wet the floor. My grandson had enough of that and sent her back to his sister. She and Pepper were a sight before another grandson picked her up. She is a tea cup Yorkie and he is a Lab mix. They chased each other all over the house while she was waiting on her taxi cab - Terrell Thomas's truck to drive her back to my daughter's house. She is cute, but I don't want to get attached to another dog after losing my dear Bisquit two weeks ago. Still too fresh a memory of him around here.

I am trying to find a way to get Bill to do something to at least finish my kitchen addition. First, I was going to buy a hutch, but then I wouldn't have a work area. Nex, I thought about putting my old school desk out there and building bookcases above it. Then I wouldn't have the cupboard space I need. Today I thought about putting the desk out there again, but in the corner and purchasing cupboards that you put together like I did in the little dining room. I can't remember where I bought them, but I think it was either from the Sears or J C Penney's catalog and I don't even think they have catalogs now. I will have to check that out. It would be as cheap as purchasing the lumber to build a set of cabinets. For now, they can be open ones, but eventually I want glass doors on it whatever I get. Decisions, decisions.

We have made plans to spend Christmas day with my parents at their home and I hope my brothers and their families will be there. I just hate it when families get scattered and it is neigh onto impossible to get everyone together in one place at the same time. Life was much simpler before the grandchildren grew up.

Today I began sewing the 8 placemats for my mother's Christmas gift from my daughter. I had cut them out the other day, but hadn't the time to start sewing. All of them have been sewn and need to be turned and top stitched - they are reversible. Then I will have two sets of napkins to make for each side. I bought some felt kind of material for stuffing because I think I have enough fabric left to make coasters to match. If there is still some left, then I am going to make some napkin rings. My mother uses cloth napkins and placemats for every meal. She loves it. I like paper plates and paper napkins. I think I do that because I have always been rebellious.

Bill got up the outside lights and it really looks nice. Last year after Christmas I bought a deer and two doe that are lighted. They are supposed to raise and lower their heads, but maybe they were on sale because they just stand there. Better than not having them. Once I can find the hanger, I can get the wreath up and the house will look nice. I have a fake pot of poinsettias on the table and that is the extent of the inside decorations. I don't mind doing it, but taking it down is what I hate. One year I still had the tree up at Valentine's Day and my dad asked me if I was going to leave it up until Easter. He should have never said that because to show him I could, I did leave it up until Easter. I guess you could say I am hard headed and stubborn.

Yesterday while I was in the city I got some LSU fleece and am going to make Zoey a blanket and hat. They gave me a free pattern that shows you how to make the blanket without sewing it. You just clip so far into the fabric and tie knots from both sides. I will also sew some knot things throughout the blanket to keep the two sides together. There was the cutest "bat" hat I found on the net and I will make it out of the same fleece and on the "bat" ears you tie ribbons - purple and gold, of course.

I ordered crisp money from the bank to make "money trees" for the two youngest grandchildren. I plan to say in their cards that I had PaPa look all over the yard and he could only find two of them and cut them down just for them. I also ordered crisp money and will make paper wallets and put the money in them for the older grandchildren and children. Plan to do that for my parent too.

For Bill I found a soft sided toolbox several months ago and yesterday I got him a new set of screw drivers. He ruined one of his putting my new sewing table together. Boy is that a wonderful table. It has a grid printed on top that has measurements on it. Nice when you want to cut things out. The machine has its own spot and this little door opens and a leg drops out and my serger has a little shelf all of its own to sit on. Now I won't have to take the machine down or the serger. Just cover them and they will be ready for the next project.

My sweet uncle is still in the hospital in South Carolina and is waiting on a room at a neighboring hospital that has in-house rehab. I understand he is making the nurses laugh. He is such a funny man and can make you roll in the floor laughing. Their only child is with them and is taking his mom back and forth to the hospital. They have made a decision to go into an assisted living arrangement as soon as my uncle regains his strength. Both of them are almost 90 and my cousin lives in Florida and can't get to them fast enough if they need him. If only they weren't 1000 miles away I could do something to help. The only thing I have ever hated about living n Louisiana is it is so far from all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins. I have missed so much by not living close to them. Out of 8 children, there are only 4 of them left. Best relatives anyone could ask for. My brothers and I really missed the closeness of the family by only getting two weeks each summer with our only cousins.

I see that is is late and I have a lot of sewing to do tomorrow. Guess I will have to wind this down and will see ya'll later.