Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve

I seem to have talked some more quilters into joining the New Year's Eve Mystery quilt over at Hooray! I decided to follow Bonnie's fabric choices for my mystery quilt. Unfortunately, it was not hard to pull a zillion fabrics from my stash:
These are all fat quarters or part fat quarters. I may not have enough of the cheddar/gold but I definitely have enough of the other colors.Where did I get all these pinks when I don't like pink?????? It's going to be nice to use up some of this reproduction fabric so I can buy I mean so I can reduce my stash. I don't know if I will start cutting tonight but at least I have the fabric ready.

I am looking forward to staying in tonight for New Year's. S. and I are going to watch a movie and snack on my mom's super-duper party mix (called Scrabble in my family. I don't know why. Anyone have any guesses?)
Everyone have a fun and happy New Year's Eve!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Might as well add one more new project to 2008...

Well tomorrow I will look back at my 2008 goals and find out where I stand. So before I have to face that, I am going to start one last new quilt project in 2008. Might as well go ahead and chalk up another UFO to end the year. Along with lots of other quilters, I'll be starting Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt. I'm going to make this all from stash and I need to dig out fabrics. I'll post my choices tomorrow. Bonnie's quilts are always great so I know this will be a fun way to start out another quilty year.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Guess they made the "nice" list

Yes, the cats ended up on the "nice" and not the "naughty" list this year (of course they always get gifts for Christmas and random other days during the year). In my goal to support everything local, organic, fair trade and/or small businesses as much as possible. I found this great website that makes cat and dog toys here in the USA from dye-free, chemical-free, fair trade, organic materials. Exactly the kind of company I want to support.
Here are the toys: one catnip mouse and a bunch of catnip baby carrots. Well I had to hid the box before Xmas and on Xmas Eve, we celebrated with presents.
Gomez loves paper and he had fun running, sliding and hiding under paper. All the cats enjoyed boxes to jump in and out of and hiding places to attack from.
Gomez says "this toy is mine mine mine!!!!"
Stella may have had a little too much catnip.
Edgar Poe is trying to look cool and aloof but doesn't realize he has paper on him.
Where is Morph? On my lap helping me take photos and staying away from the general craziness. He'll wait until later and play with all the toys when the others are sleeping. Endless fun here at Chez Crazy Cat Lady.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Boxing Day

Happy Boxing Day! There was a great article about the history of Boxing Day in the NY Times today. I think America should adopt this holiday too. Everyone needs an extra holiday.

Speaking of all things British (not a smooth segue but oh well), I watched the first few episodes of the British comedy "Jeeves & Wooster" last week and am waiting for more episodes to appear via Netflix.
I love British comedy (Monty Python and AbFab are my favs) and this series is funny as can be (besides I love me some Hugh Laurie!). If you like wry, dry humor, you will love this series. I'm going to add the P.D. Wodehouse books to my long list of books to read.

I did end up crashing yesterday and fell asleep watching TV in the late afternoon. Dinner was leftovers from Xmas Eve and that's about the level of excitement for Christmas here. Today, I am avoiding the sales and sewing until I leave to work at SBux tonight. It's cool and rainy and dreary outside so it's been a lounging kind of day. The cats are all sleeping (Gomez is even snoring LOL!)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas at Starbucks

Hope everyone is having a great holiday! I worked an 8 hour shift today at SBux. Wow were we busy!!!! You would think no one had anywhere else to go or anything else to do--they all came to our store. This is my 7th (!) Christmas working at SBux. It's actually a lot of fun. Most people are in a good mood (today there were 3 unnecessarily rude people. Please! Just for once don't take your issues out on service workers!!!!!) and our regular customers bring us goodies. We all make the best of it (by having LOTS of espresso and candy and cookies). I even wore a Santa hat all day (my mom is gonna faint). I'm usually not so festive...

Here is the secret projects I was working on:
A reproduction pink & brown quilt for my mom.
And a flannel quilt with sled dogs and polar bears for dad & Shiloh (the Princess Alaskan Malamute).
Well I am off to relax with the cats and watch movies or perhaps take a nap.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays-Eve

We beleaguered state employees received a "get-out-of-work-at-2:00PM-today" email. So I skedaddled out of there and have the night off of SBux (you can tell there's a recession when I am not working every night at SBux during the holidays...). I am cooking my holiday dinner tonight since I do work all day tomorrow.

S. and I are having roast chicken, glazed carrots and parsnips, salad, and for dessert apple pie. I wish I was having Christmas dinner with Amanda in England (see her menu here). But this will have to do. I love baking and when I have time--it's one of my favorite things to do.

Whole Foods had these beautiful Empire apples on sale. They are crispy and slightly tart--perfect for baking. I have enough to make 2 pies, one for now and one for the freezer to have later.
Yes, I am a food snob (and Martha wanna-be)and make my own pie crust. Today, I decided to make a French apple pie with a sweet crumb top crust.
Ta da! Can't wait for dessert and coffee and presents!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Solstice

Happy (official) first day of winter. I'm catching up on blog reading and love all the snow photos. Wish it were snowing here (sorry Karin!) Since it went from mid- to high 60s yesterday to windy and cold today, it might as well snow.

Yesterday was a fun time at the cookie swap. It was the first official gathering of Pat's new Silver Thimble Quilt Club. I need to explain some backstory (if you want to skip the story, just scroll down to cookie photo, I won't mind).

For the past 4 years, Pat was the "Sister Superior" for our Stitch n' Sisters sewing group at the LQS. Well the LQS, Stitch n' Quilt, closed this month and we needed a new place to go. Pat started up the sewing group again and we are meeting at a fellowship hall now. This group is the best ever. On the 3rd weekend of every month, we get a 5-hour sewing time (Friday day, Friday evening or Saturday day) and we can purchase a quilt kit (at a discount) or work on our own projects or work on past projects. There are about 60 of us spread across the three meetings and I am so happy to get back sewing with everyone after a few month hiatus. In honor of our newly reformed group, Karin has anointed Pat with the title "Most High Exalted Thimble". Check out Karin's blog for photos of our first project starting in January. Melisa, The Wonderful, owner of Sweet Home Quilt Co. is providing kits for this quarter so ya know they are going to be great and we'll all have to buy them (pssst: Melisa offers an online discount to bloggers, how cool is that!).

So here are the cookies I brought to the cookie swap: Andes Mint Chip Cookies.
I discovered Andes mint chips last year and hunted them down again this year (found at Super Target). They are so yummy! Don't you just love Andes dinner mints? This recipe is on the back of the package. So have a cup of coffee, enjoy some cookies, and send some snow this way.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

This Elf is Done

Yikes I didn't realize that it had been a week since I last posted. Bad bad blogger! I had a really busy week trying to get Christmas and Hanukkah obligations done and attended some parties and oh yeah worked...
I finished my handmade presents (woo hoo) last night--before midnight--even better! I had four helper-kitty elves assisting with the present wrapping. Oh we had fun.

Example: Kitty elf #1: Let's take this ribbon and rruuuuunnnnn!

Kitty elf #2: No even better let's eat this ribbon Yum!

Me: Let's not eat ribbon. Here play with the tape. Haha tape on your paw.

(Repeat. And shred some paper for good measure.)
Kitty elf #3: Here I'll get cat hair on this present before you send it.
Kitty elf #4: I'm not getting out of this box, you can't make me!
So with all that help, the box of gifts were mailed this morning (kitty elf #4 not included; cat hair probably a little). I baked a couple of batches of cookies for a cookie swap. And now I am trying to catch up on some emails, blog reading, laundry, and housecleaning. Tomorrow, I'll report on baking and the cookie swap.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

An Artful Saturday

I finished one Xmas gift last night. Hooray! Of course I can't show a photo but do a happy dance with me cause it's done. One more left to finish up.

Today I went to the High Museum in Atlanta with S. and E. to see the Terracotta Warriors exhibit. This is the second place the warriors have traveled outside of China; the exhibit came here from the British Museum. The warriors date from 210 BC and were made for China's First Emperor. There are over 8,000 figures of generals, cavalry, infantry, musicians and civil officials, and horses, birds, chariots, and more that were made to protect the First Emperor in the afterlife. Here is the Wikipedia entry for an overview. It is a truly amazing archaeological discovery. The site is over 22 miles square (the size of Manhattan) and only a portion of the site has been excavated.
(This soldier and horse were in the exhibit.)
I have been fascinated with the terracotta warriors since undergrad when we studied the site in my world archaeology class. This amazing site was unknown for over 2,000 years until a farmer discovered it in 1974. Can you imagine? I am fascinated by the fact that each figure was individualized with different facial features and hair styles and expressions. Even the horses have different expressions and mane and tail lengths. These figures were all painted in bright, vivid realistic paint and I imagine if you saw this in 210 BC it would look like a living army!
(this is a view of the actual site in China).
I bought the exhibit guide which has a lot more detail about the history, discovery, and artifacts. If you are anywhere near Atlanta, you need to see this exhibit!
While at the High, we also saw the latest installment of the Louvre exhibit. This time, there was a really great Vermeer (The Astronomer) and two drawings by Michelangelo.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Belated Tree Skirt

I got this tree skirt shipped off to my sister-in-law this week. It is only one or maybe two years late....The fabric is Moda's Mistletoe Manor so whenever that fabric came out, that's when I started the project. This great pattern makes two tree skirts at the same time (I made the other one for my mom; she already has hers) so it's a great pattern if you have more than one tree, you have a friend that likes the same fabric that you do, or you need two gifts. Visit my friend Pat at Silver Thimble Quilt Co. for the pattern.
Here's a cute photos of the cats. There is poor Stella on the bottom being used as a pillow for Morpheus and Gomez. Morph has a shiny new red collar as his at-least-a-decade-old one bit the dust. What a great way to spend a rainy day.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Playing Catch Up

Looking ahead to all the things I need to be doing or should have already done, I realize how far behind I am this month. Is everyone out there in the same boat? The U.S.S. I-Can't-Believe-It's-December-8th!!!!!! Could we possibly move Christmas to Monday December 29th so I have an extra week and weekend to get stuff done?

Last Saturday, my quilting buddies and I had a sewing day at Sweet Home Quilt Co. We took over the upstairs and worked on projects, made frequent trips downstairs to check out the shop and stack up fabric purchases, talked each other into buying things, and made Melisa laugh (at us) with us A LOT! I worked on secret gifty things so I can't post photos yet.

Sunday was crazy day at Starbucks and I didn't get much done after that. Tonight I better get a move on and get some stuff done. I made a big pot of Cajun Bean Soup (Mr. The Quilting Booklady's recipe) and it's simmering away right now. This should take care of dinner for the week so I won't have to worry about that. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Cajun and Creole food! Maybe it's all those weekend days watching Justin Wilson on PBS back in the olden days before the Food Network when TV's had dials and rabbit ears and we all learn to cook from Julia Child. OK must go, there's bindings to sew, soup to stir, rice to make, Xmas cards to find somewhere in the dreaded closet-o'-stuff-I-have-no-where-else-to-put, and 900 other things to do. More tomorrow (with photos!)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tea Leaves

I am out of my new favorite tea and it is another chilly night here in the ATL. I bought several different teas from Murchie's Tea & Coffee when I was in Victoria, B.C., this summer and I absolutely LOVE their Queen Victoria Blend (followed by their No. 10 Blend).
I am out and I think I'll have to order some from Canada sometime (or go back to Victoria...
Since I haven't posted a cat photo in awhile, here is Stella on the #1 Preferred Heat Vent in the house (between a door jamb and a bookcase).

Monday, December 1, 2008

Unseasonably Seasonal Weather

I seem to have brought freezing cold weather with me from Michigan. Funny, I don't remember cramming it into my carry-on bag. It is beginning to feel a lot like Christmas here in the ATL (I'm thinking Christmas in Key West would be nice myself...). Current temp is 40 degrees (but feels like 34 thanks Weather Channel). Current count of cats covering the heat vents: two. Current count of cats running around the house like maniacs: two.

Did anyone buy "Cyber Monday" sale stuff online today? I have resisted so far, even though Melisa at Sweet Home Quilt Co. is having a cyber Monday and Tuesday sale too. My friend Becky over at the Quilting Booklady is asking for recommendations on internet shopping sites for gifts (besides Amazon). If you have some favorite sites, hop on over there and let her know.

Going to work today was really hard after having a week off. All the stuff was still piled on my desk where I left it. And now I have just enough time to warm up with some hot tea before I head out to Starbucks. Tomorrow after work is a sewing night for me woo hoo!