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Posts tagged ‘holiday’

Speed

Have you noticed that the months of November and December go faster than any month of the year? It’s like these two months are on speed and I’m on molasses. The month between Thanksgiving and Christmas always finds me totally unprepared and way behind schedule.

Set myself up an assembly line in the den so I can watch Christmas movies while I work.

We know it’s coming with 12 months notice. It comes the same time every year and each year I’m behind in my list of things to get done. I’ve even shortened the list to a minute fraction of what it once was.

Someone apparently likes pink. Not my favorite..

Sleep doesn’t come easily when your mind is letting you know all night what’s left to be done before mailing is no longer possible. Since I make most my gifts from what I have available, my creativity has to work overtime as well.

 

Many days are taken up with fun things. Last weekend I went to the Hazelnut Festival in Mt. Angel, Oregon with my blogging friend Crystal, at Conscious Engagement.  There are better photos on her blog. She did the driving, I bought lunch. Santa was on the porch calling us to dine.

Having a chat with Santa

It’s less than an hour away from my house and two from Crystal’s. It turned into a beautiful day but quite chilly. They were wise enough to hold it in a large hall out of the elements. I bought a lovely hazelnut cake made by the Benedictine Sisters to share over the holidays. There was Chocolate hazelnut handmade pasta to make as a dessert. I can’t wait to try it. Hazelnut butter and so many things made with them I had a hard time leaving it all behind.

I’m dancing to the music

Next week will be full as well. Sewing group will have their all day (5 hrs) gathering to share our finished projects and our gifts for each other. Mine are ready for the bows.

Each one is a little different. For quilting friends.

Even the Pulmonary Fibrosis support group my sister, daughter and I attend will have their monthly gathering at a restaurant downtown. Thank goodness my daughter is a wonderful chauffeur. The drinks (if we imbibe) will be on us but the nibbles are gifted by the foundation. The chauffeur never imbibes and drives. I taught her well.

My first visit with Santa in over 30 years.

This holiday is once again going to be quite different from others. I’ve been gifting from my collections and making lots of bowl cozies for family members to give as their gifts to friends. Since they already have theirs, the making of these others will be my gift to them. I’m slower these days but finding a rhythm.

6 cozies made for my sister so far. She gives them as gifts

Today will be baking day. A favorite for both my daughter and me. We usually spend Saturday’s together and baking in my better-appointed kitchen than she has is fun and tasty. I can only say, I wish you were here. Now it’s time to start our breakfast.

Beginning of baking

How are you doing with timing?

 

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

What’s New?

I’m trying to figure out this New Year thing. Saturday turns into Sunday and everything is supposed to be different? My house looks like the same mess it was in yesterday. In other words, same stuff (putting it nicely), different day. My mind is as chaotic as my home is right now so forgive the fragmented writing, please.

packing boxes mixed in with Christmas decor.

packing boxes mixed in with Christmas decor.

I was awakened at midnight by the fireworks that sounded like gunshots going off in my neighborhood and it took a while to go back to sleep. I’m a very early riser. Why do we humans like to celebrate things? Maybe  to keep life from being mundane. Animals don’t do celebrations. Every day is good to them. I know there is a lesson in there.

I got time for Christmas. Something I really need.

I got time for Christmas. Something I really need.

Christmas is over. I love/hate Christmas, though this year was unlike any of them. I had a lot to do this year that just didn’t get done. I spent most of my time working on a quilt for my son. He is moving all his stuff to snow country. After expressing a fondness for a soft plain quilt he saw in a craft show, I made it my mission to get one made before Christmas so he would have it with him. I had no idea what I was doing and no pattern or measurements. He wanted “soft” so that’s what I made. Flannel on one side, Minky® on the other. Other than an embroidered fleece blanket for my niece to take to college next fall, the quilt is the only thing I finished this year.

Quilt for Tech Support.

Quilt for Tech Support.

Isabel Rose is her name.

Isabel Rose is her name.

When the truck pulls out with everything from his room and the storage unit, I will start my new year. Sorting and selling. We have already sold many things through a neighborhood website that just popped up. Yay!!! I still have a village to sell and all its inhabitants. There is nowhere to store them year to year anymore and nowhere to display them. Anyone need a collection of dust catchers?

Alpine Bakery

Alpine Bakery

New for me this year will be just one thing. Find ways to move more. Just my body, not my house.  None of what I do involves a lot of movement. I’m also planning to try new things this year. Maybe connecting with more blogs that ask us to write something specific, and possibly take some classes to meet new people. I tend to be a hermit. One of those extroverted introverts. People scare the dickens out of me but we need each other.

People sharing ideas and good fun

People sharing ideas and good fun

Also new this year, we’ve had an unusual amount of snow already and extra cold temps. Looks like more is on the way. I won’t mind once the kid has his rental truck safely where it’s going. I don’t wish driving in this crazy weather on anyone.

Handmade by a quilting friend, this snow-mama came home with me.

Handmade by a quilting friend, this snow-mama came home with me.

It already feels like a very different year. In my bones different. Let’s hope it brings more good than not. So are you really expecting anything NEW about this New Year?

 

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

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In Search of the Lost

Happy New Year One and All. I have never been so glad to see a new year as I have this year. I’m not saying the last year was bad by any stretch of the imagination. It was challenging at best and I’m totally worn out.

Having spent the last six months of it going from being quite content with my perfectly lovely apartment to moving into my own home brought about some surprising stresses. I lost things. While moving 5 times in the last 5 years, things went missing. Still have not found my saucepans and cannot bring myself to get others as I’m sure they will appear when I stop looking. I am missing a drawer caddy filled with crafting tools and as I was trying to make banana bread, the masher could not be located. It did eventually turn up as will all the other things I’m missing, I hope.
Arriving home late December 1 after being away for five weeks, I woke up and it was already January 1. Where had the time gone? So much had happened or not happened.

Wonderful gifts came in from perfect strangers (perfect in my opinion anyway) and new friends alike. I’ll show you soon. Somehow in the rush of it all, cards were detached from gifts so I couldn’t figure out where some things came from. There was a sweet bookmark with a paper cut snowflake and for the life of me I can’t find who sent it. I received a beautiful card with no return address and a signature I couldn’t make out.

Will the sender please let me know who you are. I so appreciate the gift.

Will the sender please let me know who you are. I so appreciate the gift.

I’ve lost time. Time to promptly send thank you notes for the wonderful gifts I’ve received. I’ve lost the time to make many of the gifts I wanted so much to send out. I lost my oomph for the holiday and just as I almost located it, the holiday was over. Darn. I may have lost my patience once or twice and I’ve lost my sister as a housemate. Though she’s delighted with and extra hour at each end of the day to do better things than to sit in the parking lot we call a freeway.

When I have some time.

When I have some time.

Here's how I thought time got away from me.

Here’s how I thought time got away from me.

I’ve lost my battle with the bulge. I’m hoping it’s not gone permanently. I’ve lost my home to a bit more clutter than I’d like and next week once the weather has warmed up to just cold, Christmas will go back in its boxes and I’ll hunt for clutter free surfaces again. A great deal of my clutter will find its way to an online sale.

Please let me know if you come across my mind. I haven't made it up yet.

Please let me know if you come across my mind. I haven’t made it up yet.

I’m sure you have all heard the old adage, “of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most”. Well, mine has been missing for quite a while now and I’m in desperate need of it. When something is lost you go back to the last time you remember having it. Oops. I don’t remember when that was. My mind wanders off alone, unsupervised so often, that sometimes I don’t realize it’s gone. If you happen to see it, tell it there will be a cookie waiting if it goes back home. That usually does the trick for a bit.

Another card with no return address to say thank you.

Another card with no return address to say thank you.

Next time I’ll tell you about my search for all the things I’ve gained. Don’t shake your head, I know what you are thinking here. I’m too tired right now to care about that and I want to give it proper attention. There is always tomorrow, I hope.

What have you lost that you would like to find in the New Year?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of a Bit More Time

It’s here, it’s here and as usual, I’m not ready. Where did the time go? I realize I’m a good time waster. I love to just sit and read or write or even watch a good sappy holiday movie on television. I know, I know. Some of you are telling me to get rid of the TV so I can get more done. Have given that great thought but in the healing process, sometimes you have to just sit there and do nothing.

My kitchen helpers are busy too

My kitchen helpers are busy too

I made my lists, checked them twice but unfortunately, timing is everything and nothing ever goes according to plan. I forgot to make a shirt my son had envisioned for someone on his list because I couldn’t find the right shirt in a good color. So once he was here, I let him pick out the shirt and I worked at doing the embroidery, praying (really hard) that it came out straight. Very small shirt on very large hoop made me break into a tiny sweat.

It's a play on her name and it came out straight

It’s a play on her name and it came out straight

I managed to finish another batch of snowflakes with each taking 45 minutes to stitch out. I did get some reading done while keeping an eye on the machine and replacing bobbins as they ran out. Hard work? Not really.

The bakery is open and the fat friars are working hard.

The bakery is open and the fat friars are working hard.


Groceries were bought in the early morning hours when others were having their first cup of coffee so that’s done. But somehow, with company in and out and stuff being moved from one room to another to accommodate and visit, I let myself get too relaxed, falling a tiny bit behind, as usual. I no longer stress about the holidays but I always want to do one more thing. I just need a bit more time.

I’m not signing up for the winter semester of writing class to spend more time getting sewing and embroidery projects done. I don’t have the stamina for all of it but I will miss seeing everyone. We had a grand time at potluck in mid-December. Santa even showed up and had brunch with us.

Even Santa had a story to read. It was quite moving.

Even Santa had a story to read. It was quite moving.

Today we go see family and deliver our gifts to the youngsters. None is all that little anymore. My daughter has done her usual magic and made our tiny purchases look like they came from Saks Fifth Ave. I’m always happy to have someone to feed and spoil a bit so having company is a bit of heaven for me. Cooking for an army is easy, for one, not so easy.

May your day be filled with all the good we received. Yummy!

May your day be filled with all the good we received. Yummy!

So as you can see, I’ve run out of time and space and I know you have so little time left you probably won’t get to read this till next week, but that’s ok. Cut yourself some slack and if you find a tiny bit more time, ENJOY it! That’s what I’m going to with mine…if it shows up. Merry Christmas or Happy Holiday to you and yours.

Just one question. Are you ready for it to be over or are you already planning for next year’s Christmas?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of a Different Way to Celebrate

Ok, I know it’s old news but I haven’t had a chance to really process it. July 4th is over and behind us but for me, this year’s celebration was a whole new experience. It actually happened on July 5th so those that had to work on Friday could stay up late and not have rest disturbed.

I have most often lived where fireworks are illegal and only to be watched by sitting with a very large crowd of people at some arena. Since I’m not crazy about crowds and my children are grown, (I think they are anyway) I most often don’t bother with the fireworks or celebration at all. When living in Arizona, June and July were fire season. We were lucky to get to barbecue and only with gas. So this year, my children and I drove the hour to their cousin’s place and experienced a real block party.

My son took the photos for me.

My son took the photos for me.

My niece’s boyfriend has lived on the block a long time and has been doing this July 4th extravaganza for several years. His parents have their own fireworks stand and he builds the displays that go off and dazzle you with ooh’s and ahh’s. I have never seen them up close and personal. The applause at the end of each round of display was worthy of any big time celebrity.

They actually pull a permit from the city to have a live band, block off the street at both ends (short street) and shoot off the fireworks in the middle. They have until 11:30 p.m. to get it all done. They were done by 11 so they were golden. The band was really loud, there was food from the entire block like you could not even imagine. When you thought there was no more food, someone brought in reinforcements.

Happy Hippy Band

Happy Hippy Band

Lots of eating took place and even some street dancing. I did very little of the eating and none of the dancing. My cane doesn’t know its’ right from its’ left. We observed. Children were everywhere having a great time playing in the street and waving lighted sparklers. Amazingly, not one of them was injured. Singles mingled, parents’ relaxed, new love smoldered and old couples enjoyed an evening out with no fuss.

Sparklers are an old,old favorite of children.

Sparklers are an old,old favorite of children.

I brought 36 deviled eggs to the mix and made my rice and noodle pilaf for my niece and boyfriend. That’s what it costs me to get in the door. They didn’t share the rice dish and tried to keep many of the deviled eggs for themselves too. I guess I can cook a little. It was worth it for the novel experience of a block party. The little gatherings we had with our snow-bird neighbors in Arizona was downright sedate compared to this.

I don't think she had any eardrums left

I don’t think she had any eardrums left

I’m so ready for a nice block of my own but I’ll leave the fireworks to the experienced hands. I guess there are so many ways to celebrate the holiday. This one took me a little out of my comfort zone but was so worth it. I love to watch people having a good time.
How do you handle new experiences that test your comfort zone?

Holidays are all different depending on the company and time of your life
.~Dominic Monaghan

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of a Respite

Like a lot of the country, we went from cold and rain to a major heat wave. I have abandoned my living room and kitchen. When it’s hot, I can’t eat. I’m grateful my bedroom is not on the west-facing side. My sister brought me her portable AC unit that I had to try to find a place to vent it. I have sliding doors and the window it vents out is in the sewing room. Not ideal but I’ll take any help I can get. These are unusual temps for this area and these old buildings have no insulation. I’m not complaining though because so many places are hotter by a lot. I’m grateful my laptop can go to my bedroom where it’s cooler.

My son is coming for a very short visit over the 4th of July. It will cool down a bit by then. His aunt is visiting her daughter an hour from us and we will go down to see them and celebrate. My ex-sister-in-law was here for a couple of days before going back to her daughters. I gave her my “Welcome to Spring” embroidery that she loved so much. I can make another later. There will be no sewing of any kind for the next week. Only hugging and talking. Don’t you just love those kinds of holidays?

Even with my lack of real motivation the last couple of weeks, I did get a little something accomplished. I finished the quilt for my friends rescued dog and finally got over to give it to her. It was hard to get pictures of Chloe as the high pitch from the digital camera bothered her ears. Chloe welcomed me like I was family. You can see here how much she looks like my Schatzie did. She seemed to like her blanket. Her mom had another hospital run the week before so I was glad to get a chance to visit after my sister-in-law went back to my niece’s house.

free form pattern flannel front

free form pattern flannel front

green minke on the back for softness

green minke on the back for softness

Chloe on her blanket

Chloe on her blanket


One blind eye just like me

One blind eye just like me

Between getting the little quilt done, I was also able to help encourage my daughter with her new shirt. We both loved the fabric. I didn’t like the pattern instructions. I told her next time we would do it differently for a better finish. She is so happy to have this accomplishment under her belt. That makes taking on another easier.

She doesn't like her picture taken. Me either

She doesn’t like her picture taken. Me either

She is normally the queen of procrastination. I think it’s a family trait. I have to work hard to beat it. She is proud to wear it as it turned out so well. Now we need to figure out what we will tackle next. Once the company is all gone and the heat abates a bit, maybe I can think again. Funny how your brain melts with the rest of you. I’ll be taking some time to organize my thoughts and my workroom.

How do you go from one project to the next? Do you keep lists of things to do? Are you projects in front of you or do you have to go find them? Are you taking a little respite during this holiday? What keeps you moving forward?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself