November/December Notes

(Header shot is of a horse-drawn carriage, curbside, in New Orleans.)

Happy New Year!

We were away the first half of December, so I decided to do a combined-month blog post.

HOLIDAYS:

Thanksgiving was a week of puzzles, games, movies, and food!  This is Rob (#3 Son), hard at work.  Isn’t it good to know that my sewing lights get a little extra use?  All the “kids” were home off and on all week, and it was so much fun to have them around.  I’m a lucky mom.

Rob (Son #1), above, working on a puzzle.

Fast forward to Christmas time, and we had the whole family in town again…what a blessing!  It was a blur of movies, games, and meal prep & eating, laughter and fabulous family time.  Lucky Dave was still home when we got a little snow, and he volunteered to get the shoveling done before his dad got up.

SEWING:

Lots of handwork was done on the cruise, but since I don’t have a decent picture, I’ll update sewing next month.

PROJECTS:

Apron:  Super-easy pattern by Perkins Drygoods, “My Favorite Apron”.  I love this style, as it is equally good for men or women.  Looks like it’s only the body cut out in this picture, but it finished up great and I used it all through the Christmas cooking.

Zippered Bags:  I really enjoyed making these bags from the “Stowaways” pattern from Atkinson Designs.  The pattern includes instructions for six variations of small bags.  They are easy and fun to make.  (The two smaller bags below are made following the pattern.)

I loved the shape of the middle-sized bag above, so I increased the size to make a makeup bag.   I added a layer of clear vinyl to cover the lining so I will be able to wipe the inside clean.  I was really pleased with the result.

If you want to make the large-sized bag, you will need the Stowaways pattern, make the “Sassy” so you understand the construction.  My modification increased the main fabric piece cut to 15″ x 19″.  I love it!

KNITTING:

Aaah, knitting was totally ignored.  But I bought yarn.  In New Orleans.  So technically it was a souvenir.  Not STASH.  A SOUVENIR.

TRAVEL:

November was a good month to stay home, and so we did.  December, on the other hand, was a good month to go south, waaay south, to the Panama Canal!  We both really enjoyed traveling through the canal on the Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas.

Panama City, before we entered the canal from the west.

Our ship will be entering the lock on the right, behind the green and white ship.  This set of locks stair-steps us up higher than ocean level, so we can travel across the lake to the set of locks that will stair-step us down to the Atlantic side.  In the photo above, you can see how much higher the green ship is than the red ship.

It’s a tight squeeze for the cruise ships, but they are made to barely clear the width of the Panama Canal.  This was an awesome trip, and I highly recommend learning about the construction of the canal, and then, if you have a chance, take a trip through it.

Most Panama Canal cruises start or end in one of the Florida ports, but this cruise started in Los Angeles and ended in New Orleans.  I read in a guide book that New Orleans is best experienced on foot, and that is just what we did and it was a wonderful experience.  Just a couple of pix:

We attended Mass at the St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter.  It was beautiful inside and out, and makes for a striking skyline feature.

Later in the day, we stopped by the Cafe Du Monde, as we heard their beignets were outstanding.  The line was at least two blocks long, 4 to 5 people across.  So we continued with our sightseeing and came back later.  Definitely worth a visit!  (Beignets are square pillows of dough, fried like a doughnut, and served under a very generous blanket of powdered sugar.)  Their other specialty is chickory coffee with milk, which was also delicious.

PHOTOS:

My little photo gallery for November/December photos is in the right-hand sidebar at the top of this page, and I added photos from our visit to the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium in New Orleans.

So many happy memories from these two months…2018 was a wonderful year

Wishing all of you a blessed, healthy, and prosperous  2019!

~Sue

November 3rd Report

The featured image above is my “auditioning” my Thanksgiving table.  New napkins and placemats!  Getting me in the mood…it will be here before we know it.  On with October in review:

STITCHIN’:

October was a very busy month…a trip to Alabama to sew with my auntie, progress on my Ruffled Roses, and I finished the MQ Mystery top!  The quick-and-dirty summary is:  lotsa sewing!  But you came for the details…

RUFFLED ROSES:

I did the matchstick little border and the paper-pieced lattice border.  Those borders are framed by a peach 1/4″ border.   The next big border is an appliqued swag and roses border.  I have the applique pieces prepared and ready to glue baste.

MQ MYSTERY:

I got my top done in the month the mystery ended — a new record for me.  This was a mystery by Minnesota Quilters, the pattern is “Flight of Fancy” by Kari Schell.  I don’t believe it’s available outside the group, but it could possibly be in the future.  Here it is, blocks laid out but not yet stitched (didn’t take a final picture).

KNITTING:

Yesterday I started the Spotlight Shawl.  Love this yarn — Madelinetosh Pashmina in a yummy cocoa/turquoise mix.  There will be a second color of the same yarn introduced, which will be turquoise.  Fun easy knit so far…

CARD MAKING:

I started making little watercolor paintings a couple of years ago (and when I say “painting”, it’s not artistic…it’s more like painting the side of a barn).  After they are dry, I cut them up into smaller pieces, run them through my Cuttlebug embossing machine, and make a card.  They are fun and easy.  I did about 50 of them on Tuesday.  (They make great gifts.)  If there’s any interest, I’ll do a little tutorial.

TRAVEL:

I spent a fun and relaxing week in Huntsville, AL, with my Aunt Bert.  I was still recovering from some medical issues, and she pampered me royally!  I am truly back at 100% and it feels wonderful.  We did a lot of sewing, some card making, and she introduced me to The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which I loved and devoured the first season.  Looking forward to Season 2 in December on Amazon Prime.  (language not for the easily offended…)

MORE FUN:

This was a super fun week, meeting a longtime friend for breakfast on Wednesday (Arlene and I are celebrating at least 53 years of friendship), meeting other friends for lunch on Thursday, and joining in a gathering of sewing friends for stitching on Friday!  Life is good.  Here is a shot of Arlene, taken at the Galleria at Ampersand:

FOOD:

The apples have been wonderful and cheap, and we’ve been eating a lot of them.  My favorite breakfast is the Dutch Apple Pancake recipe on the Williams Sonoma site.  Pictured below, ready to go into the oven.  It puffs up like a popover.  This is a double recipe in a 9×13 pan, plus I increase the apples by one or two additional because I like lots of apples!  Good cold the next day or heated up.  Yum!

READING:

I’m listening to “Bone Box” by Faye Kellerman.  Too early for a review.

PHOTOGRAPHY:

I added a couple of photos taken in October in the right-hand column above.

You can stick a fork in October — it’s done!

~Sue

October’s Post

BLOG MAINTENANCE:

I have a new header!  I spent a ridiculous amount of time (two days) building the “My Happy Place” blog header.  I used mostly PhotoShop with some final tweaks in PicMonkey.

Well, I guess part of that two days was spent making other adjustments to the appearance of this blog as well, such as making the text bigger and changing sidebar content.  Now that I’m done playing around, I’m happy with the blog’s appearance, for now,  and it shouldn’t need that kind of attention again for a long time.  Yay!

QUILTING: 

DONATIONS:

I ended up with an unplanned project this month when I came home from a guild meeting with a nearly completed “Fancy Fox” twin-sized quilt.  Jean from our guild donated the completed blocks.

I added some stitching, and finished sewing the top together, and it’s now ready to be quilted.  It will be be donated to a local foster child program.  So cute…

I stitched up an easy little-girl quilt in pinks and black.  I know, kinda strange colors, but I like it.  This will also also be donated.

Diamond Chain table runner, and I’m almost done with the binding.  This was a kit with Jinny Beyer fabrics and pattern.    And don’t you just love Wonder Clips?  Free pattern and kits  for purchase available HERE.

SEPTEMBER’S PROGRESS:

  •  Ruffled Roses:  Planned to add matchstick border, add lattice border.    Half done.
  • Make 200 half-square triangles for my Lady of the Lake quilt.  Done
  • Bonus Progress:  The Fancy Fox top is done.  Need to quilt and bind.
  • Table Runner:  Nearly done with the binding.  

Travel / Fun:

I love it when our sewing group does a quilting retreat in Chaska, MN.  It was an 18-minute drive, just across the river.  We spent three days/two nights sewing and laughing and sewing and laughing.  I completed  200 scrappy half-square triangles done for an upcoming project.  I also worked on my Minnesota Quilters’ Mystery Quilt (I’m waaaay behind).

I’ll spend a few days in Alabama with my Aunt Bertha this month.  I see knitting, sewing, and more fun in our futures!

FOOD!

Best fall treat/snack ever is a Honeycrisp apple with some white cheddar cheese.

Yesterday I made Alton Brown’s Ginger Butternut Squash soup.  I’ve made it before, and it is delicious.  Click HERE for the recipe.

PHOTOS:

The ruby-throated hummingbirds have been very entertaining, but they have finally left for their big trips south.  Good thing, because it’s been chilly here lately.  Here are some photos of the little female who spent a couple of weeks just sitting by the feeder, storing up some fuel for her trip.

“Photos of the Month” (hummingbirds this month) are now located in the right-hand sidebar.

September’s a wrap!  See you next month.

Sue

p.s.  Hopefully I fixed the problem that kept “new” commentors from posting comments.

by Sue Hecker — Maker, Traveler, Photographer, Mother & Wife, Lover of Life