Wednesday Giveaway

Thursday Update: Congratulations to the lucky winner, Barbara Burkhalter! Be sure to mark your calendars for next week’s Wednesday Giveaway.

Welcome to the Wednesday Giveaway! This week you have the opportunity to win my 2nd-to last copy of our much-coveted out-of-print book, A Slice Of Christmas. It has a very slightly dinged corner, but other than that it’s in primo condition.

sliceofchristmas-cover

This book is full of wonderful Christmas patterns. Click here to see the quilts.

If you’d like to enter your name in the drawing, leave a comment below before 12:00 midnight, CST, February 15, 2017. I will use a random number generator to choose a winner. Good luck!

Happy new year!

Have you wondered where I’ve been? The short story is that I have been chained to my sewing machines. Well, not really ‘chained’, it only felt that way because I was on a very tight deadline.

Last summer when we were in Germany with the kids, Celia (DIL) asked me to make her a special, magical quilt — for Christmas. That was in July.

IMG_3576

Do you know what makes a quilt magical? A unicorn! Yup, that’s right, she asked me to make her a unicorn quilt. Celia doesn’t make quilt requests often, so I said “Sure, I can do that!”.

I was traveling a teaching a lot, but I got to work on it late August. Once it was drawn and on the wall in September I realized that this really is a magical quilt and that others would want the pattern. C&T agreed to publish it (next spring) but they wanted to show it in more than 1 size, with and without a border. That meant I needed to make a 2nd quilt. Again, I said I could do that without really thinking through the time it would take.

As it turns out, having 2 quilts in the pattern is better. I met my deadline for everything (2 quilts, the manuscript, the models for photography, etc.) with a few days to spare.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Celia got to see her quilts on Christmas morning and she truly did have a tear in her eye. I can’t show more of the quilt because I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but trust me when I tell you that you are going to want to make a unicorn quilt of your own this spring :-).

My year is off to a very good start and I hope yours is as well!

Christmas pillows…

My DIL, Celia, always puts the cutest Christmas pillows on her sofa and bed. I admit to being inspired! I often buy pillows but you know what? We can sew and pillows are EASY! I made these 2 blocks when I was teaching Pick-Up Sticks (from The Quilter’s Practical Guide To Color) with the idea in mind that they would make a good pillow.

pillow-1

The four 8″ x 8″ blocks in each of the larger blocks are the same, they are just turned differently. I sewed the blocks together, being careful to leave an opening for stuffing. You could insert a zipper on one side and insert a pillow form if that suits you better.

pillow-2

I turned the pillow right sides out and pressed with steam, using my new Laura Star iron. (More on that in a future post.) It did not take long to stuff it with polyfil and sew the opening closed.

pillow-3

I love a fast project! I’m not sure which side I like the best.

pillow-4

The Santa pillow came from Hobby Lobby. It didn’t look nearly as good in the store as it does on my sofa :-).

pillow-5

 

Happy December 26!

I last posted 10 days ago (that’s a long time in blog-world) but this was an intentional choice on my part. I wanted to take a small social media break. It was nice! What wasn’t so nice was that during these 10 days many of the women in my family came down with a head cold. Mom, at 83, has it the worst. She slept through Christmas, but is showing signs of improvement today. The rest of us are more on the mend.

Despite the colds, Christmas was lovely. Celia and Jeff flew in from NYC on the 23rd. I love it when they are here! On Christmas Eve, Chris and Lorna and the little kids joined us for church and then dinner and some presents.

On Christmas morning there was more celebrating. Celia and Jeff had already told us that our gift was going to be a summer vacation with them. They sent us on a scavenger hunt Christmas morning to find out where we are going. I am lousy at deciphering clues, and Steve wasn’t much better, but after many hints we found our last clue. If you are a Die Hard fan, this at least is an easy clue:

WhereIsHansGruberFrom

We’re going to Munich with the kids next summer! They have been there before and have lots of ideas about what to see. There will be castles! This is something wonderful to look forward to and Steve and I are both very excited. Being female, I’m already thinking about what sort of clothes I need to pack :-).

Steve and I then went to Chris and Lorna’s where her family and more friends had gathered for breakfast and their gift-a-palooza. Bear may have been the happiest with his Octonaut Octopod and various Gupps. Jeff and Celia went to Celia’s parents’ house. I must say that it’s extremely handy that our sons’ wives families all live in Sherman.

After lunch, Steve and I and Jeff and Celia headed to Oklahoma City for more celebrating with the other half of the Goldsmith clan. We ate too much, exchanged stories and gifts, and just generally had a good time.

I have lived through Christmases that were less happy and relaxed so I really do appreciate this year’s celebration. If mom had been better it would have been perfect. Luckily Christmas is an annual event and we can plan better health for next year. (Note to self: lots more hand washing and never touch my nose.)

I hope your Christmas was all that you hoped it would be. If you are on the road, safe travels.

PIE NOTE: Because it’s Christmas, I made pies, which I’ve posted about before. I realized that the gluten free pie crust recipe I posted in October 2013 had a pretty significant transcription error. You add 2 TEASPOONS of lemon or orange juice with the egg, not 2 tablespoons. Deep sigh on my part. The old pie crust recipe I posted will work, it’s just not as good. I’ve corrected the recipe on the older post, but here is a link to the corrected pie crust recipe. I’m sorry for any baking inconvenience that I have caused you to have.

I’m back!

I am happy to report that I was able to stand on my now bunion-less right foot. I am stunned. I can walk and it doesn’t hurt! I thought the doctor was crazy when he said this would be the case but I’m happy that he was right. [I had the same surgery, done by a different surgeon, on my other foot years ago and it hurt a lot more, a lot longer.] I am being very careful not to overdo it.

The day I found out that I could walk, I also found out that I had a screamingly bad case of thrush. I’ve never had thrush. My family practitioner said it could have been the stress of surgery. I’ve taken the anti-fungal drugs and given up sugar. Now I’m taking caprylic acid, probiotics, and drinking water laced with vinegar. I really miss sugar. Even though I’ve dropped 4 pounds, I think I like sugar more than the weight loss.

But wait, there’s more! I also got a sinus infection in the middle of all this, along with the 2 1/2-day headache that goes with it. Today I woke up finally feeling like myself and am happy happy happy!

That leads me to this video. A friend (thank you Mark H.) told me about the elf yourself app for your smart phone. Try it. You’ll love it! That’s me and Steve and Celia and Jeff dancing with the kittens :-). Ho ho ho!

Piece O’ NYC: Christmas in July

It’s July! Happy 4th! Jeff and I don’t usually do anything unique for the 4th other than make a good southern meal. This year it’s home fries with pulled chicken sandwiches and a fruit salad. I miss my parents’ ribs and bbq, but this is a nice substitute when you don’t have a grill…
July is hot as heck in the city. I miss the Texas heat this time of year, because Sherman always had downright dry heat. NYC has humidity along with heat. It’s gross — it’s makes the subways smell gross, it makes my hair do gross things … everything.is.gross.I run like a banshee in the mornings to work so I can get there before the humidity meets the sun and they claim subways and then me. Enough about heat though, let’s take a minute to think about a colder time of year (which we’re really familiar with in the Northeast) and talk about the holidays! I LOVE Christmas. I could keep holiday decorations up all year ’round. No joke you guys, I’m a Christmas freak. I have a bazillion Christmas quilts to request of Becky … though I think she’s essentially put up her white flag after making me that last Christmas pillow.

Fortunately, the city really sparkles and transforms during the holidays. You’ll spot random Christmas trees up in places, even on the sidewalks, and tons of holiday decor everywhere. So, if you ever visit during the holidays (starting from Thanksgiving to January 1), this is what I highly recommend you do — please note, they’re super touristy things, but I love doing them all!!!

  • See the Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade. Jeff and I act like kids on Thanksgiving morning: we wake up excited for the food we’ll he’ll make and then we drink lots of coffee and head over to the parade to at least catch the Hello Kitty float go by (I have no float preference but that one because, you know, it’s a cat and it’s cute). Then (here’s the best part!), we come home and I put up my (fake) Christmas tree — YAY!!!!!!! *insert pity face for Jeff who hates helping me with this while we he cooks everything*IMG_8236 IMG_8228
  • Go see the Christmas Spectacular. I thought I’d hate it, but in fact, I’ll go for the rest of my life if I can. Nothing beats floating snowflakes, mass amounts of sequins, and ‘happy’ holiday singers! If you can’t deal with the Rockettes (like Jeff), go see the Nutcracker at Lincoln Center (even he likes this one). Here’s a good, and SUPER easy, way to locate cheaper tickets or discount codes – Google them! I just typed in ‘discount code for Christmas Spectacular’ last year in Google and BOOM, cheaper tickets (who knew!)!

radiocityIMG_0494

  • Go to Rockefeller Center to see “The Tree.” The biggest tree in America comes to town, and across the street from it Saks Fifth Avenue will usually do some sort of light show as an accompaniment. Here’s a tip – they put the tree up around Thanksgiving and even if it’s unlit, it’s still great. Go see it the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving at like 8 to 9pm after you’ve gone up the Top of the Rock for a night view of the city. No one is around!

IMG_8324xmas1 copy

  • Go ice skating. But I recommend you doing it at the ice skating rink that pops up in Bryant Park each year. It’s quieter, often cheaper, and the Park hosts a fun Holiday market. We grab hot apple ciders from a booth close to the Library and head to the ice (well, Jeff does because I’m too scared to skate…I’m also clumsy, so it works well for me).
DSC_0055

Jeff and Ella testing out the rink back in 2013!

  • Grab the only souvenirs and gifts you need from the Holidays Markets. One of the best ones is at Grand Central – pretty venue, lovely gifts. Another good one is at Union Square.

Show & Tell…

Jean Temme sent me this photo of her newly finished Christmas quilt. She took elements from two of our Christmas books and mashed them up into this very cute quilt. Way to go, Jean! I love it!

JeanTemme

FYI: the Santa, sled, reindeer and stars are from Welcome To The North Pole. The rest of the quilt is from Quilt A New Christmas, which is out of print. I still have some copies in stock so if you want this book, don’t wait too long.