Saturday, January 5, 2013

Oh, Christmas Tree! lovely were your branches!

I hate putting Christmas away.

December was such a busy month, and I was late at getting everything done.  It was a struggle trying to accomplish what was expected of me!  By the time we got the tree up a few days before the boys came home, to after the New Year'd been rung in, seemed like such a short time, and already I was faced with the task of undressing it!

I was kind of sad, and grouchy about the job at hand.  But what started out as a chore, was transformed into a walk down memory lane, a trail of blessings.

I guess I must have missed it when I decorated the tree a couple of weeks prior, being under the pressure of having to get it done!

Taking those trimmings off the tree, one at a time, made me think of all the people who gifted the ornaments to our family over the years.
I made a series of crocheted balls one year.
Another year, folded stars with cross-stitch

The homemade ones that the kids made while they were in school, or spending an afternoon with Granny.
The ones I, and sister-in-law Gail made.  We were an over-achieving bunch!  When did we ever have time?
Gail made these adorable Santas
Deda's spray-painted pinecones

The bronze spray-painted pine cones tied with cotton string, remind me of Dan's grandfather, who is long gone from our lives...
Quilted spools one year.

Who would've thought, that these adornments would serve as frozen moments of time?
from a family whose kids I'd taught Sunday School one year

I'm glad I didn't miss this blessing the second time, because it communicated the love shared over the years.... that surfaces but once a year.
Plastic canvas Santas held Hershey's kisses
clothespin reindeer

Log cabins

button wreaths

made after his first Christmas!
nail-punched frozen juice tins
dough ornaments made before I was married

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Cougars, Wolves and Grandmother's Flower Garden

What do all these have in common?

My husband and I just spent a few days at our family's cabin on a lake, with no power, internet, cable, satellite, or telephone.  Well, almost.  We do have a generator for big jobs, and solar enough for lights.  And sometimes I can get cell reception out, if I remembered to take my cell phone!  But for the most part, we only use these conveniences if we have to.

At first, it seemed awfully quiet, after a busy December.  But then, it just felt so peaceful, with just the crackling of the wood stove, and the ticking of the clock.  I had thoughts of how nice it would be just to live this simply all the time!  I would sometimes feel the urge to look something up on the internet, or email someone, but it was satisfying enough to just make a list of things I needed to remember to do once I got back home.

So, what did we do while we were there?

Well, my husband Dan loves to photograph wildlife, so he was off every morning, seeing what he could see.  And a couple of afternoons he took me along with him, to share in his discoveries.  One afternoon we hiked up to the top of a small hill and made a fire on which we boiled some water and made some tea.  (Hubby likes to practice his survival skills) We did find some wolf tracks, which is very unusual for the area, and he came across a wolf kill (3-point elk), that made our dog very uneasy being around.  We even went out one night with a thermos of tea and some chocolates, hoping to catch a glimpse of, or hear the howls of a wolf.  Don't worry,  I was too scared to get out of the vehicle!

The area is also known for cougars, which sometimes show themselves in the community.  We have never seen one yet, but my hubby met up with some cougar hunters on the days he was out.

He did get some amazing shots of bighorn sheep, which frequent the roadsides.  Our dog is getting real good at keeping quiet (in the Jeep) while Dan attempts to capture those perfect images.

I must admit, he didn't take these shots recently, I just couldn't wait for him to download the new ones!

As for me, I did a number of things on our getaway.  I did some reading (local history is a favorite).  I took some crochet projects, but soon realized I didn't have the right sized hooks for one, nor the pattern for the other.  I addressed some envelopes for my Ireland Tour, but my most fun activity was working on my Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt.

I started it a couple of years back, yes, one summer at the lake!  In fact, I even blogged about it at the time (July 27, 2010).  It was the perfect little hand-work project, and I've take it to my guild meetings once in a while.  I'm convinced the ladies there don't believe I will ever finish it!  Well, I'm finally at the stage where I can put it together, and see where I need to add and subtract hexagons from it.  It is just going to be a wall-hanging.  It makes me smile every time I pass by it.  Don't you just love those kind of projects that bring you so much joy?

I'm so thankful for the plastic picnic table cloth that I use as a design board, it helps to keep my pieces in order while I assemble it.  Otherwise, I don't know how else I could do it!  I take a photo of it every time I move a few pieces, updating my "plan", and deleting the previous photo, so it doesn't confuse me.  This is my "backup" system!  I'll be rolling it up and taking it to guild meeting with me, to show the ladies that I really do have a plan for all those hexagons they saw me piece!

I will put the body of it together first, then decide how to finish it, auditioning it against different fabrics, and bordering it, possibly with a viney applique, and then hand-quilting it, hopefully in time for our quilt show in September.

If these last few days are an indication of the year to come, then 2013 will be a great year!

Happy New Year!