Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Kyle's Pile Revisited

A while back I was sharing about "Kyle's Pile" that I had stumbled over for almost a year.  It was a pile of flannels with a pattern that I had bought over a year ago and had left on the floor of my sewing area so that I had to  walk around it, over it or on top of.  What was the point of that???

Well, I have completed that quilt and the family enjoyed snuggling under it while they were here for the holidays.  It was perfect.  I had the quilt done and it was being used.  It was no longer a pile waiting for some attention.  Tah Dah!

Starry Nights
(a pattern by All Through the Night)
It felt so good to have that completed, the floor now has an open space, and it frees me to work on something else. No more guilt.

With the new year fast approaching, it is always a good time to make plans, organize spaces and thoughts, reflect a bit on the past and for me it is a time to get a new journal.  The other day I wandered through Barnes and Noble and found a fun new one. It really can be anything type or style.  But something that you would enjoy writing in, making lists in, keeping track of thoughts and ideas, events or whatever else is important to you.  I have kept a journal on and off for many years.  Sometimes it's more of my thoughts and events or things I am thankful for.  But one type of journal I have always kept is a quilting journal. It includes lists of potencial projects, old projects that need to be revisited, new ideas and a list each month of what I intend to get done.  The best past is when I can cross something out and add something more.  It allows me to see that I have accomplished a lot!

But opening a new journal is like opening up all kinds of wonderful, new and exciting possibilities.  Just look at all the blank pages just waiting just for you. What should I do first?

Happy New Year and lets fill up those pages!!!
Until Next Time-Kyle

Monday, December 28, 2009

Back in Our Places

I had a wonderful Christmas with all of my family able to come and share some enjoyable family time.  We had a very cold and "White Christmas", just what Kate was hoping for.
It was the perfect picture of a Christmas in Colorado.

We ate fantastic food, prepared by Elizabeth and Don and by the ravioli elves. Notice their working conditions! That's Elizabeth and Martin creating dinner in the store room of the basement. That's where Ed keeps is special pasta making table.

 We played games, put together a puzzle, watched movies, went to the movies, we really enjoyed Sherlock Holmes, did a bit of shopping, played on a Wii, and took lots of pictures.
  It's hard to set the timer of the camera and get in place!

One more time

Merry Christmas!

Now, we are all back in our perspective places.  Kate is back in warm and sunny Florida, Bobby is visiting his folks in Colorado,  Elizabeth, Don, Martin and Ed are back to work,  Jessica is still on vacation and I am putting decorations away.  Holidays are fun  and exciting, but I'm looking forward to getting my schedule back to normal.

Until Next Time-Kyle

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Christmas Count Down

I am counting the days until everyone shows up for Christmas. In 2 days, Kate and Bobby will be flying in from Florida, They will be leaving the rain behind and exchanging it for snow. I can't wait.  Jessica will be picking them up at the airport and bringing them to Fort Collins.

In 3 days, Elizabeth and Don will be showing up. On Thursday morning they will be arriving and bringing Christmas Eve dinner, Greek style.  Can't wait.
What will they be cooking?
Lamb, of course.

Martin will be arriving after he's done at work and I will be home when the Fig Leaf closes.  My sister, Jane, will be here Christmas morning.

Now that I am through baking some cookies and rolls, Ed will take over in the kitchen.  He has sauce and raviolis to make for Christmas dinner. He will have lots of elves to help him, rolling and filling each ravioli.  He's got to pass on the techniques and secrets so the tradition can continue.

We'll be adding this years ornaments to the tree.  Reminders of special places and events that happened in 2009. Here are just a couple:

A wedding program, a Guatemalan doll, a wine label from Napa, CA

American Gothic from the Chicago Art Museum, a Florida alligator, a Red Sox jersey

the best place to get a cannoli in Boston, and bread in San Francisco

I feel very blessed that my family will be all together for the holidays. It will be a wonderful time just loving on each other, laughing and playing together.  That is the gift that I will treasure the most.

Have a very Merry Christmas-Kyle

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dear Santa

Christmas is an exciting time when you are a kid.  Time seems to move in slow motion. The big day will never come.  I can remember writing letters to Santa describing exactly what I wanted him to bring me.  When  new catalogs came, I would dog ear certain pages just so everyone could keep track of what my hearts desires were.

On at least one occasion I must have been able to tell Santa directly what was on my list.  Don't I look like I should be from the original movie," The Miracle on 34th Street" .

It was always such a mystery to me how Santa would always bring exactly what I wanted, plus so much more.  It was all so magical.  I played and played with that doll house.  I had it for a very long time.  Santa listened very well.

One of the best gifts I remember getting was the year, my sister and I got new bikes.  There really must be a Santa because those bikes just magically appeared under the tree Christmas morning.  Wow!

Mine was a pink and white Schwinn Spitfire and Jane's was a turquoise colored Schwinn .  We rode those bikes forever.  Sometimes they were rockets and sometimes they were horses.  Of course, my horse was named Spitfire. The bikes had multiple speeds,which was controlled by how fast or slow we petaled.  I can't imagine how Santa got those bike down the chimney and right into our living room.

One year we got these fun stuffed monkeys.  I think I still have mine in a box, stored away!

It's been a long time since I wrote a letter to Santa.  What would I ask for now?  I'm sure he knows my heart and my desires.  Guess what, He always comes through.

Until Next Time-Kyle

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Free Spirit Detour

This past weekend I took a break from the holiday preparations and escaped for a bit of R&R south of the border-the Colorado border that is.  Ed and I and our good friends, Kay and Rudy, drove south to Santa Fe.  The Santa Fe experience is enchanting, as they say in New Mexico.

We lucked out on the weather and had a marvelous time.
Santa Fe is only about 6-7 hours away from home, depending on who is driving.  Rudy was the lucky driver and we sure appreciated him doing that.  I have been to Santa Fe twice now and find I really love it there.  All the blending of the Spanish, Mexican, Pueblo and Anglo cultures is lovely to experience.

What was the best part about the weekend was the fact, that I should have been home checking things off my ever growing list.  It isn't very often that I allow myself to deviate  from what is expected.  It felt great to be rebellious, free spirited, uninhibited, daring to go against what I should be doing. HA! Our trip was a  wonderful Christmas present to each other... just what we needed.

         It might have been a bit cold this weekend, but our hearts were warm.  Maybe it was from all the green and red chili we ate!
Until Next Time-Kyle

Saturday, December 12, 2009

What's On Your Tree

Every time I say the word "TRADITION", I hear the music from " Fiddler on the Roof"  I hear Tevye's rich voice saying "TRADITION, TRADITION!"
Christmas is a time rich with tradtitions.  I love to hear what other families do each year to celebrate together.  One of  our traditions has to do with the ornaments that we hang on the tree.  There are no red shiny balls, garland or iclicles, white lights, yes, but that is all that is traditional.

Over that past 27 years we have collected items that represent where we have traveled or what we have done over the year. For example:

The little new england sea captain is one of the first ornaments we collected because of a visit back to Connecticut in 1982.  Thus began a fun tradition that we think about all year long.

Hear are some other things we have on the tree.

A gourd from Santa Fe, a Chinese Santa Ed got in Beijing, Hungarian money

The Chinese Santa is one of our favorites.  Do you see the red star and sickle in Santa's pack? He is a Communist Santa.

 Here's our bottle of Chianti from Italy, and our little Tijuana Santa

 Elizabeth added a bottle of Guinness from Ireland
 A Swiss Cow Bell and Hard Tack from Ft. Laramie in WY

 Frosted Flakes from Playa Del Carmen
A tiny beer stein from Berlin before the wall was gone

Kate and Jessica added the box of Mozart candy from Salisbury, Austria

We have hundreds of memories hung on our tree.  And, of course, we have more to add this year.  I'll share those later.  It's been a fun tradition that Jessica, Kate and Elizabeth are now continuing on their own.  When we were all up in Estes Park this fall, they each had to get an golden aspen leaf to hang on their tree this year.

Until Next Time-Kyle

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Quilts for the Holidays

Oh, the weather outside is frightful,
But the fire is so delightful
And since we have no place to go
Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow.

Well, those lyrics are part true.  The weather has been frightful and the fire is delightful, but with Christmas just around the corner I do have many places to go, so the snow can stop any time!

Because it has been so cold, I have taken some of my Christmas quilts out of hiding and we are using them to snuggle under and decorate with.  Here are 3 of my favorites. This quilts is called "Angels on High"  I made it in 1991 and I still love it.  It was during my folk art period and I used plaids and stripes in everything. If you are wondering who lives in the cabin, I answer that question on the back of the quilt.

My girls would say that Santa lived there, so that's what I put on the back.
Remember, I was in my folk art period
so that's the folksy Santa version.

The second quilt that is perfect for the holidays is this one:
I love this quilt too, especially because it was made over the period of a year, as a block of the month with my quilting friends.  Like the Halloween quilt that I described before,  we would get together once a month at different coffee shops in town, and exchange applique templates and ideas.  Even in the summer months, when we would meet, my dear friend, Becky and I would set the holiday mood by always bringing something Christmasey.  We called ourselves the HO HO DING DONGS after the famous Hostess cupcake treats and because we were just plain silly.  I made this quilt all from flannel in 2002.  What's fun about a quilt like this is how everyone puts their own personalities in each of the different blocks.  Each quilt becomes a individual's piece of art.


The third quilt is a Red and Green Irish Chain.  It's the most traditional Christmas quilt of the three..  I made it in 2003.  I love the simplicity of this pattern.
Quilts are perfect to use to decorate with  during the holidays and they are practical as well to fend off the frightful weather.

Until Next Time- Kyle.

Monday, December 7, 2009

First Christmas

I love the sounds of Christmas, the music and carols, the HO HO HO's and Merry Christmas's, the laughter, and on every street corner the sound of silver bells, along with all the FA LA LA LA's.

The sounds of our Christmas' changed when our children came along. It's different seeing and experiencing the holiday through the eyes of a child. Their joy and excitement is very contagious. Their view is always fresh, it's seeing things with new eyes. It was wonderful during the Christmas of 1981 when my daughter, Elizabeth, celebrated her first Christmas. It was so much fun starting new family traditions.

 Playing with new toys

Why do we have a tree in the house?

Santa had to bring lots of toys in 1984.  Kate and Jessica were a month old and had no idea it was Christmas, but they were our gift under the tree that year.  Don't you think they look like elves?

Kate's not sure if she likes the hat and Jessica's in denial

They actually had a memorable Christmas that year.  I had tucked them under the tree in little infant seats, while we had dinner.  All of a sudden, we heard a SWOOSH!, looked over, and the tree had fallen over right on top of the sleeping duo.  They didn't even wake up with all the excitement.  It's a story we tell every year.

Thought I would add one more first Christmas picture.  Do you know who or when?  She sure is cute!

The sounds of Christmas have changed over the years as everyone has grown up.  But who knows, someday maybe there will be the giggles of children once again.  If not, I'll just have to sing FA LA LA LA LA.

Until Next Time-Kyle

Friday, December 4, 2009

Jingle Bells

Do you hear them?  It's December 4 and it's time to be jolly!  It's time to get into the Spirit.  I haven't done any decorating yet, but I have done a bit of shopping. With the snow and cold weather we have had the past few days, it definitely makes you realize Christmas will be here soon.

The Christmas song " I'll Be Home for Christmas" makes me remember the first Christmas I was not home for the holidays.   Ed and I were just married and we were living in Fort Collins.  Ed was working on his master's degree and we lived in married student housing on campus.  We lived on $300 a month and there wasn't much extra $ to be able to fly home.   Driving home wasn't an option. So we weren't able to be with our family and friends that first Christmas, but we were with them in our hearts.  It was a hard time.  Long distance calls were expensive, there was no email, or any other instant communications.  So we made the best of it and started our own family traditions. My mom sent us a small canned ham in the mail for Christmas dinner!  We have not made that a family tradition!

Now that my own family is grown and out on their own, it makes me wonder what my mom was feeling when we apart during that first holiday.

Fortunately, my family will all be together this holiday.   Kate will be flying in from Florida, and Jessica and Martin, the newly weds, and Elizabeth and Don, will be coming up from Denver.  I will count my blessings having  them all here together one more time for Christmas.  Soon they will be starting their own family traditions. I probably won't send them a canned ham!

Until Next Time-Kyle

The picture of Ed is the only picture we took during that first Christmas and the only Christmas picture we took for many years.  I guess film was expensive too.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Viva la Friendship

If anyone was at Lucille's Restaurant yesterday for breakfast, you might have noticed there were several groups of women celebrating their friendships. There was a very large group in the back with lots of presents, another larger group of young professional looking women eating and talking, and several tables with just two women sharing breakfast together. But, also, there was a delightful foursome laughing and sharing and celebrating a dear friend's birthday. (We don't keep track of which one specifically anymore)

My friends, Becky, Julie, and, of course, the birthday girl, Debbie, were at Lucille's throwing a party.  It was Debbie's birthday. And we wanted to let her know how special she is to us.

At a birthday party, we aren't there to celebrate an accomplishment, but to celebrate the fact that, we're all thankful that, that person was born, and is an important  part of our lives.

Our long term friendship has allowed us to celebrate MANY birthdays together. Thanks, Debbie, for being a sparkle in my life. Joyeux anniversaire! 

I made the title French, because Debbie loves Paris and has been there 4 times!!! :)

Until Next Time- Kyle