NYC at Thanksgiving…

The other big Thanksgiving event in our family is that Elanor is visiting her Aunt Celia and Uncle Jeff in NYC—at Thanksgiving! Aunt Celia planned an amazing trip. They are doing everything! I look at the pictures and am just amazed—and happy for the three of them.

They went to see the floats (with the balloons inflated but tied down) the night before the Macy's parade and then they braved the windy cold Thanksgiving morning to go to the parade itself…

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They had hot chocolate by the tree at Rockefeller Center…

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And they went to the Top of the Rock!

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FAO Schwartz, the American Girl store, Central Park… Elanor is enjoying it all! This is a very special Christmas present for her, one that she will never forget :-).

 

Traditions…

I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving yesterday! We had a traditional Thanksgiving, which for us always includes a house-related project. We don't have any projects to do at our house so this year we planned to install new windows in our grandkids' bedroom.

After a recent local fire I got extra nervous about the fact that the windows in their bedroom were not openable. When our boys were little we lived in a house with the same problem and we didn't have the money to fix it. We do have the money now.

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We've replaced windows at Chris and Lorna's house before. Getting the old windows out is half the battle so, in preparation, Steve took off the aluminum storm windows on Wednesday. I joined him and, luckily, before busting out the first window, we unwrapped the replacement and guess what—it was wrong! All three windows went back to Lowe's and we are now waiting for new ones. Sigh. The Thanksgiving project will be moved closer to Christmas.

However, Thanksgiving just doesn't feel right to us without a project so we came up with a new one. Steve did some promised sheetrock patching in their living room and then went home to prepare the turkey dinner. Chris and I put a back on a leaning bookcase—it no longer leans—and then we spent several hours tidying up their mudroom. That included knocking off the glitery, flaking, ugly popcorns from the ceiling. That's not me in the photo, but you get the idea.

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I wore a dust mask, but not a hat or goggles, which would have been a good idea. I didn't use water, but I did use a wide scraper just like that drywall knife. It took almost no effort because no one had ever painted over the popcorns.

TIP: If you have a ceiling with popcorns that you don't like, don't paint it! Scrape the popcorns off. It took less than a half hour for the 7' x 10'-ish room.

Chris decided what to take to Goodwill and what to keep. He decided how to rearrange everything, while I almost successfully didn't make (many) suggestions. It was fun to spend the time together! 

I know why holidays feel like the time for projects to me and to Steve. We would always head home for the holidays and we always took part in projects at my mom and dad's. And once my dad (a project king) died, mom still had things that had to be fixed. I blogged about building her fence at Christmas in 2009… good times, as Jeff would say.

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No matter how you are spending this holiday weekend, I hope it includes fun times with those you love :-).

 

Ho ho ho…

I don't know about you, but my weekend was a blur—a happy, active blur!

I Christmas shopped with a friend in Dallas on Thursday. (Side note: The Container Store is THE place to go for adult stocking stuffers!) The weather turned cold on Friday. The combination of cold weather and shopping put Steve and I both in the mood to decorate for Christmas on Saturday. 

We braved the cold to string lights on the trees out front. I don't think we can be seen from the space station, but it's very festive. 

The stockings are hung…

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I made two new stocking holders from rocks, wire, and ribbon. I like rocks better than the kind of stocking holders you can buy, but that's just me. 

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I put out the Santas, including Mr. Potatohead Santa. He looks happy next to Darth Tater.

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Steve built some new shelf/supports for the North Pole village. I have more pieces but we only put these out. They look better under the white cabinets than they did before the remodel.

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Some of these houses are more than 25 yearls old! How did that happen so fast?

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There's more in the way of Christmas decorations, lots more. It's like a Christmas-decoration bomb went off in the house! The nearly 30 year old Christmas tree is up, with lights but no ornaments. It's brittle but still looks good. I plan to hang the ornaments on it after Thanksgiving. 

I am feeling a lot more festive now. I hope you are looking forward to the holdays as well!

 

 

Grandchildren and the great outdoors…

Lorna and I took Elanor, Jack, and Bear to the Dallas Arboretum yesterday. The weather was perfect, the pumpkins were pretty and the new Children's Adventure Garden was a hit!

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I took my 'big' camera especially so that I could take photos of the kids…

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There was face painting for the kids. Jack really got into character!

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Elanor was a little less into it.

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Bear perched on a mushroom, with help from his mom…

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But mostly he watched from the stroller…

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Amazingly enough, Lorna and I were ready to go before the kids were. They really enjoyed the interactive exhibits and activities in the adventure garden. Even though it's more than an hour away, we'll go back. 

 

Thinning the herd…

My stash lives in a small closet. The shelves are 5' wide and 12" deep. I don't let my fabric grow into other closets. When the shelves are full, I sometimes stack fabric on the floor. Well, it had gotten out of control. The closet floor was completely covered with a stack of fabric that was about 18" tall.

I am visiting an English class at Austin College later this week. The students have read My Jim by Nancy Rawles and are going to make a quilt for the author as one of their class projects. I'm going to give them a quick couple of classes on how to applique a block. When I say 'quick', I mean 2-3, 1-hour classes. I voluteered to bring fabric making this an excellent time to thin the herd of fabric in my stash.

I realize, now, that I should have taken a 'before' photo but it was just too emabarrassing. Here is the fabric that got culled:

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And, another view, to help show how much fabric this is. FYI—the tallest stack is 12" tall.

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None of this is 'bad' fabric. In fact, it was hard to cull much of it. But a funny thing happens when I do this… even if I like a fabric a lot, once I put it in the pile to go away, I no longer love it. In fact, I'm not sure why I had it in the closet in the first place. It's weird, but true.

The stacks of fabric in front are ones that I think the students can work with. I don't want to overwhelm them, but I do want them to have choices that can work together.

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My stash now fits on the shelves. It is more organized. I know what I have. That doesn't necessarily mean that I won't have to hunt for a particular piece, but there you go.

FYI: If you click on the link for Austin College, some of the banner photos are from the dedication of the IDEA Center, the spectacular new science building on campus. Steve is Dean of the Sciences and he is so very proud of the new building and of the work going on inside it! He's in some of the photos.

 

Pretty pictures (and a quilt show—with classes)…

There's a new quilt show! The Small Town Quilt Show — in a Big Town Way, is sponsored by High Valley Arts Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to encouraging excellence in the arts, including visual and performing arts.  

The Show will take place June 26-28, 2014 at Zermatt Resort, Midway, Utah. This three-day event is for quilters, sewers and lovers of the art of fabric at all levels and interests. I'm one of the teachers and I do hope to see you there! Click here to see all of the classes. Signups have just begun.

And here's the pretty picture! I can't remember where I was when I took this but I imagine that a happy farmer owns it. How could he not be happy!

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Here is a different farm, in Colorado, also lovely…

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It's hard for me to imagine what it would be like to live in such a remote area. But life plopped me in Sherman, TX, and I never thought I'd live here, either. Home is where you make it.

 

Pretty pictures…

I take pictures of people I don't know… much like I have seen Japanese tourists do when I've been on vacation. I used to not understand why they wanted images of people they didn't know, but I understand better now. People are fascinating to look at!

I took this young woman's photo because of her outfit, which is clearly a costume. She was playing on the street for tips. Where do your eyes go?

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There's a lot to look at, but I always focus in on the tights.

This next woman was posing for photos… I don't think she was posing for me exactly, but I took her photo anyway. You can tell that she is HAPPY! And her outfit is pretty cute, too :-)!

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There is a lot to look at in this photo as well, but I always come back to the figure. Did you know that that is why people are in so many ads? People like to look at people. A bar of soap, for example, just doesn't hold our interest.

I took the next photo in Times Square as well. I love the mix of the complementary colors, red and green. It looks like Christmas (but it's not).

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