Saturday, December 26

Ho Ho Ho

I hope everyone had a nice Christmas. Ours was short but sweet. Everyone liked their prezzies and Michelle made a delicious lunch of butternut squash soup and salad. Chris made grilled cheese sandwiches, but neither Michelle nor I can eat wheat bread (gluten). At least I have company.

Speaking of gluten...nice segue, I thought so, thank you. I tell ya, it is hard to stay gluten-free at the holidays! A little cookie here, a bite of pecan square there, and every appetizer either has bread in it or it is sitting on bread. A little bit seems so innocuous at time, but it is cumulative. I had a sandwich after golf last week--lunch comes with the greens fee, so we all go into the bar and eat after the round. I usually don't eat the bread, but this time it was really good rye bread, perfectly grilled, and I was really hungry. So I didn't stop at one bite but I ate the whole thing--screw it. A few days later we went to a party and the hosts had it catered--with people wandering around with trays of hors d'oeuvres, all on bread products. The entree was turkey Wellington, which meant it was wrapped in puff pastry. The side dish was scalloped corn (I think) and it had bread crumbs on top. Sigh. I tried to eat around the pastry and I turned my back to the decorated Christmas sugar cookies, which are my favorite. The next day our neighbor showed up at the door with her special homemade pumpkin bread. Yes, she knows I'm gluten intolerant. I had a couple bites. Delicious. A day or so later I think I am coming down with a cold--my sinuses are clogged, my chest is tight, I am wheezing, and coughing, coughing, coughing. But I feel fine, I'm not sick. What's up? It's the gluten. 

Okay, so what else is new? Sewing! Yep, I'm going full steam ahead on the elephant quilt. 

I finalized the drawing. Man, I agonized over the drawing way too long! This is as good as it's going to get. You heard me.

I traced it onto freezer paper and began cutting up the templates and piecing. 

The templates. Fiddly, isn't it.

This is where I am so far. There are a few pieces I'd like to change but I don't think I'll bother. 

I have no idea why I am making such an unusual quilt. It is directing ME, not the other way around. Trust me when I tell you it demanded to be made. Hey, who am I to go against the Muse?  

Thursday, December 17

Seasonal Greetings

First, a little housekeeping: I apologize if my Windows 10 / Live Writer hiccup caused you any inconvenience. It totally perplexed me, and I had promised to take JJ to the movies today. I upgraded to Windows 10 a few days ago (with learning curve and customization issues) and, at the same time, Blogger no longer supports Windows Live Writer and they won't talk to each other. Anyway, my blog post got all messed up. It took me a while to figure out what was going on and even longer how to fix it. They are still working out the kinks and now they say it won't be operational until 2016. I guess they're going on holiday leave? Meanwhile, I'll have to blog from the Blogger website (pain in the ass). Here is my original post:

We have been busy, busy. I am sure you are too. There are lots of holiday gatherings and parties around the new ‘hood, as we geezers are a social lot.

I have been working in the studio a little each day as time permits. I decided to revisit the elephant quilt for some bizarre, unknown reason. It will go in the Africa Room aka the Powder Room.

I enlarged it to working size—I use the grid method so I can put the eye in the exact right spot, as you will notice immediately if it’s not. This is the drawing I will use to create the templates (out of freezer paper) and to keep everything organized as I cut up the template sheet. The drawing stays intact.

My M-O is to draw the picture and then tape the paper to the window and trace the drawing on the reverse side so the finished elephant will face left. I was having some difficulty because my usual pen dried up and I had to use a big, fat marker. Dang—no good. So I tweaked the photo in Photoshop to bring out the highlight areas better and I will draw right on the freezer paper. The above drawing will still be my guide. I will need to make two drawings, one for the larger areas of light and shadow that will be pieced, another one for the small wrinkles and lines that will be fused on. Yeah, it’s time consuming; I keep reminding myself that it’s the journey, not the destination.

I have chosen the fabrics: The more the better, and I have some new ones coming Friday. I can hardly wait!

In other news, we celebrated JJ’s birthday last night. We had the kids over to celebrate, I made short ribs of beef and some other stuff. Son-in-law Chris made this photo from when we lived on the central coast, around 12 years ago. We were out wine-tasting. What a great gift. 

Still playing golf weekly, and getting my game back a little. Some friends from the central coast are coming to town and we will have a little dinner party Friday. Then more parties on Saturday and Sunday. Never a dull moment.

Gotta go clean up the kitchen. It’s usually JJ’s job, but I can’t expect him to clean up after his own birthday party. Have a great weekend! 

Sunday, December 6

Happy Hanukkah

Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah. We are not Jewish, but we are going to the lighting of the menorah at our community park (which is actually a greenbelt between the geezer and the all-age side). They will also light the Christmas tree and we can finally deliver the toy from last year that we never gave to the cause.

Life is always so busy this time of year. I don’t know how I/we managed to make Christmas happen when we worked, it’s hard enough to do all the “stuff” when we’re retired.

I finished the table runner. It’s a long thing, it took four pictures to get it all—here are three:

It is perfectly straight, my camera distorts it. 1-IMG_2803


I really like it because it’s all about the fabric—it’s not a “picture” of something, the fabrics are the stars of the show, as it should be—in my opinion. It really holds your eye, sometimes it’s hard to pull away from it. But now it’s all packed up and ready to send, and all I have are these photos.

I enjoyed making it so much that I am going to make another one for the niche in our bathroom. I had originally planned to do an underwater scene, but I couldn’t get past the idea stage into the design stage, so I’m going to do one like this, only in softer colors—grays and beiges, and maybe some light blues—because we are monochromatic around here. And I COULD put fish and coral in it with the quilting line…

Here’s another photo of me actually working on the thing but it didn’t make the cut because of the unfolded sheets on the sofa-bed behind me. Oops. I included the better photo with the instructions on how to care for it and what it’s made of, all that.

I had most of my batiks strewn around the room with this project so I took the opportunity to fold them all to fit in the [four] drawers, and reorganize them once again. It took a whole day. Uh-oh, I see one that needs to be moved…1-IMG_2807

I put the tree up—I was only going to use the top two-thirds and put it on a table but that didn’t work. So I had to do the whole thing, but I didn’t do the 110% job this year. But it’s up. And the prezzies are wrapped. Done! 1-IMG_2809

These are such busy times with all the festivities, and JJ’s birthday is next week—we are going to have the kids over to celebrate Papa’s birthday instead of doing a Christmas Eve dinner, our usual tradition. It gets me off the hook for the fancy dinner, and frees up the kids to do what they need to do the night before Christmas. It won’t be long before Santa stops dropping down  Savannah’s chimney and we’ll be back to doing grown-up stuff like eating and drinking on Christmas Eve.

Golf tomorrow, then Tuesday is our book club’s holiday luncheon. We are reading The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure. It is a story of the Nazi occupation in Paris during WWII and an architect who designs clever hiding places for Jews inside their homes. This becomes increasingly challenging and intriguing as the Gestapo becomes wiser. The stories of the offenses by the Germans are at times hard to read, but the book is engaging from the first page.