Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

********Happy New Year*******

Just sending all my blogging friends a sweet little postcard to wish you a Happy New Year.
Please, be safe and keep well.

Until next time,
Nimble Fingers and Even Stitches

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Scrappy Tumbling Block

Good Morning to All.
I do hope everybody had a wonderful Christmas full of love and laughter.  
With four days off, I had plenty to do, but wasn't going to get away without spending just a little time in the fun room.  This is what's on my design wall at the moment.

Not the best pix - sorry
Again, most of the darks are scraps from my Cathedral Window quilt, which if you are keeping track, I now have 306 of the 396 blocks ironed into shape.
I did supplement it with a few others for a little more of a scrappy look.  Then I had fun picking out the creams.  I was surprised at how difficult it was to find a true cream color and not a greyish off-white. One thing I discovered is that it is a bit difficult to figure out just what size the finished quilt will be upon finishing it.  I usually do my math before I begin cutting.

I did attempt and came up with a figure - we'll see how close I came:)
I just started cutting the little trapezoids.  The finished 'trap' is 3 inches top to bottom.  I cut about 540 of them and figured I can cut more if needed.  Also, I will be putting a brown boarder around it so it will be a little larger due to that.

   I began sewing my lights to darks and of course, had to set a few up on the wall to see.  I think it will be one of those comfy looking quilts that makes me want to curl up with a cup of tea and take a nap by the fire.  I am so anxious to keep going on it and see just how it turns out.  
Have a beautiful three day work week and keep stitchin'.
Until next time,
Nimble Fingers & Even Stitches

Monday, December 17, 2012

Chocolate Sunday

Just a quick post so you can see the results of my Sunday in the kitchen.

A bourbon brownie cake, peppermint drizzlers and button-ups.  I made three of these plates.  I have a few more things to make for a couple other folks so I am not finished yet.
I also made hamburger soup for dinner.  It's not as exciting and I don't have a picture, but it was sure good on a cold, snowy, blustery day.
Hope you are all keeping warm and chocolaty:)
Until next time,
Nimble Fingers and Even Stitches

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

There are certain pieces of literature that everyone should know - or at least know of.  I have worked in the schools for over ten years, and I say things from literature occasionally.  Such as the title of this post.  So, just in case you have never read it, I will post it.

Dear Editor,
I am 8 years old,
Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
Papa says "If you see it in The Sun it's so."
Please tell me the truth: is there a Santa Claus?
Virginia O'Hanlon

Virginia, your little friends are wrong.  They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age.  They do not believe except they see.  They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds.  All minds Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little.  In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
     Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.  He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.  Alas!  how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus!  It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias.  There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.  We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight.  The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus!  You might as well not believe in fairies!  You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove?  Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is not Santa Claus.  The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see.  
     No Santa Claus!  Thank God, he lives, and he lives forever.  A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
Francis P Church 
The New York Sun,
September 21, 1897

I hope you have enjoyed the little read, and whether you believe or not, you can say that you have read it.
Until next time,
Nimble Fingers and Even Stitches  

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

My Christmas Quilt

Each year for the past several, December means something very special to me, that is in addition to the regular specials. The beginning of December, I quietly go to my room and slowly open the lid to my hope chest at the foot of my bed.  I peer in and my eyes sparkle and my heart does a little leap in my chest. I set aside one then another, then I see it-  
My Christmas quilt, folded so neatly (a little differently each year so it doesn't get stress folds.)  I take it out of the trunk an set it on the bed while I replace the others I removed.  Only very special quilts go in this chest.  I gently unfold the quilt and position it on the bed accordingly.  

There is a church in the middle of the quilt with an embroidered garland.  
To each side of the church is a forest scene with snowmen and women and beneath a row of houses.  A little toy drum, rocking horse, airplane and other toys are just above the train hauling even more toys.
At the foot and on the sides are vines of poinsettias and pine cones. 
 Each corner has a wreath.
Above the church, are red-headed angels.  I love them.  You don't often see angels with red hair.
And a row of bells above the angels.
You're going to love this...

Across the pillows are Santa in his sleigh and his nine reindeer - even has Rudolph leading the team.
There are some pieced sections, but it is primarily needle-turned applique.  There are bells on the harnesses of the reindeer, buttons for holly berries, all the toys are appliqued as well as the poinsettias and pine cones.  There are embroidered embellishments throughout as well.  I do not take credit for this lovely work of art.  I actually won it at the Baker City Quilt Show several years ago.  It was the end of July & I was asked, "You couldn't win an air conditioner?"  I was thrilled to say the least.  This is such a wonderful example of the talent that sweet group of gals possess.  I admire them and am eternally grateful.  The beginning of January, I will gently refold it, place it back in the chest, and look forward to next December. 
Until next time,
Nimble Fingers and Even Stitches  

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

But He Wasn't A Right Jolly Ol' Elf, The Real Story...

Each year about this time, I hear the conflict of Christians vs. Santa Clause.  One thing that you probably don't know about me is that I get on little research kicks.  I find a topic that interests me and run with it from 'living simply' to 'chocolate' and from 'Colonial Habits' to yes, 'Santa Clause.'  When my children were very young, they came home from the sitters a little upset one evening.  They were told there was no such thing as Santa Clause.  They knew that the ones in the department stores were not THE REAL Santa, I had told them that from the get go. I will attempt to relay a bit of the story that I learned in my meager research and that I shared with my children.
There was a Turkish Priest named Nicholas.  So he lived in Turkey not at the north pole.  He rode a horse - no flying reindeer. 
 From what I read, that came from Zues in Greek mythology.  Also, he wore a long white robe as was custom at the time.  He was kind to children during a time when children ate last - so often had little to eat.  They also bathed last; the men washed first, then the women, then on down by age.  (That's where the expression 'don't throw the baby out with the wash water,' came from.)  Needless to say children were just children.  They had to work as well, doing what they could to help the family.  Their jobs included anything from street peddling to gathering fuel for the fire in addition to things like washing and milking.  On Christmas Eve, in honor of a very special child being born, Nicholas liked to give to the children such things as a bread roll or potato.  Nuts were a special treat.  He did this over the course of years, and the children looked forward to it. Nicholas was well liked and respected. 
 After his passing, parents would secretly give a small treat or token of affection to the children in Nicholas's name - a very honorable act that is to give in someone else's name if you ask me.  He began being referred to as Saint Nicholas.  
Over the course of I can't remember how many years, he has been morphed into a sales gimmick.  It was gradual; however, until Coca-Cola in the 1920's (don't quote me on dates please) offered the red & white suited and plumper version in their mass advertising, he wasn't a "huge" icon and appeared in various forms.  The marketers thought being plump made him friendlier looking.  And Coca-Cola choosing to go with the red & white suit - hmmm.  It did work however, and it worked well.  Today, children know no other Santa and ask for and expect huge gifts.  And, they are often rewarded for their greed.  (Yes, I know there are those who aren't.)
 I chose to tell my children the real story.  Or at least the real story as I know and understand it.  I prefer to call him Saint Nicholas.  And, I think it is a wonderful Christmas story about being a giving Christian and not only giving, but giving in the name of others.  How many children today would do that?
God Bless & Merry Christmas

A little disclaimer - this is just what I recall and some of the particulars might be a little askew.  The point of the story remains sound.  I mean to offend nobody and am not offended if you choose not to agree.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Bathroom Tree

Yes, you read that correctly.  I have a tree in the bathroom.  It is just a small tree, but I look forward to decorating it each year (for the past couple years.) My bathroom is kinda an aged peacock color with black accents, white porcelain, claw-foot tub, a bachelor's mirror over the sink, and an antique dresser. That said, the tree has white accents rather than the standard red and green.  
Whole View

There are also some crocheted snowflakes a family friend made.  Her husband said if she was making old fashioned snowflake ornaments, that she had to starch them with sugar like in the olden days.

Some are regular flat pretty little snowflakes, and some are ice cycles and some are three-dimensional.
I don't O/D on the ornaments for this tree; however, I think a few white feathers tucked in here and there would be beautiful.  Hmmm, might have to do a little more shopping.(Ah shucks)
I love the look of it when the lights are off.
I have had fabric to make a little tree skirt for quite some time, but alas it's still in the form of fabric and not in the form of a tree skirt.  Maybe next year;)
Until next time,
Nimble Fingers and Even Stitches