Friday, December 30, 2011

Twenty Twelve

I can't help but think of this picture of Joe when I was consider my sentiment for the New Year.  He was jumping on the bed and eating a cookie at the hotel we stayed at earlier this week when we took a quick trip to the coast.  He was happy and carefree and for those brief moments there was no agenda and there were no rules. He was somewhere that was completely new and exciting for him.

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Every year I look forward to the new year for some of the same reasons...a fresh start and new goals, but, most importantly, a new length of time. It's like the beginning of my new 365 day work week. In 2012, I feel ready and excited to make some new things happen in my life, some things I've been thinking about for a long time.

I predict this year is going to be big! Mark and will be celebrating our 10-year anniversary and we'll be sending our first off to kindergarten. We are hopeful that we'll have some exciting house projects on the horizon and an opportunity to make right the family vacations we missed in 2011.

I could make a long list of things I want to accomplish but I don't know how interesting or useful that would be. For the most part, I just want to DO more than I did in 2011. And better, of course. : ) Cheers!


Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Christmas-ish Quilt

I finished this quilt just before Thanksgiving, but was trying to find the right time to share it here. Over the past month, it sat on this chair and I noticed how well it blended into this little corner of holiday cheer (which I created to show off the kid's artwork). So, anyway, I've come lately to think of it as a Christmas-ish quilt.  (Excuse the terrible iphone pic!).  

Favorite Corner

I started this quilt back in May after pinning this one from Anthropologie. I loved the diamond orientation, the large scale cuts of fabric, but especially the solid diamond borders that frame the interior of the quilt. Love that! I knew from looking at it that it was really just a big log cabin block set on point, with even width borders for all the corners.

Loulouthi Diamond Quilt Top

When Anna Maria Horner released Loulouthi, I knew it would be perfect for this design. I also used a couple of prints from Innocent Crush. I was stuck for a good while trying to find the right color solid to use for the diamond border. And, then so conveniently, Anna of Noodlehead shared her Loulouthi quilt. I knew the bright gold solid (which is Patricia Bravo's Empire Yellow) was just what I needed. Bingo!

Loulouthi Diamond Quilt Back

For the back I simply pieced a few scrappy strips between larger white solid strips.

Loulouthi Diamond Quilt Closeup

I quilted it with straight lines crosswise to the diamond shape.  And, I bound it in one of those awesome Stockings prints from the Loulouthi collection.  I think it measures around 60" square, but I honestly don't remember.

This quilt should have been a breeze to put together, but somehow or another with all of those large cuts of fabric, the whole quilt top got totally stretched out and skewed.  Probably cutting big pieces on the bias or poor handling - or both.  Whatever the case, I had to take the top apart and put it back together again.  And, then it was originally supposed to be a LOT bigger, and had wide white borders around it.  But, I didn't like that so I took them off and used them for the back (thus, the pieced backing).  Long story short, I had a major case of the "I'm so sick of looking at this quilt, it was supposed to be easy and because I don't know what I'm really doing it has become a major pain-in-the-you know what".  At the end of it all, I honestly couldn't decide if I liked it at all.  (By the way, I think I have a complex, because I totally do this same thing with cooking...if I smell something for too long or it becomes much more complicated than I anticipated, I inevitably loathe it...weird, I know.)  Anyhow...this quilt grew on me over the holidays, sitting in that corner like a piece of art, just like my kid's artwork hanging on the wall.  It fit right in and made me happy.  I think I could even make another now!  

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

Today was about as perfect as a day could be! We did our traditional Christmas Eve hike, we decorated cookies, and we celebrated the true meaning of Christmas!

Christmas Eve Walk

Maggie sang at church and her picture of the nativity scene that she drew at preschool made the cover of the church bulletin today. We are proud and very blessed parents.

Nativity Pic by Maggie

We are enjoying this special time and the company of Mimi and Pepa (Mark's parents). Tomorrow will undoubtedly be magical!

True Blessings

Wishing you and yours a warm and blessed Christmas spent with those you love!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

{ One Day at a Time } Cutting it Close

My Mom knit Christmas stockings for all my brothers and sisters (7 of us!) and all of her grandchildren!  That's 23 stockings people!  Here are our stockings that she knit all hung up.  Aren't they wonderful?

Made by my Mom

So, a few years ago she got me a kit to knit one for Mark so that we'd all have "matching" knit Christmas stockings.  I started last December and actually got quite a bit done, but then put it down until a month or so ago.  This stocking knitting is tedious stuff.  I have no idea how she sufferred through so many of them.  I picked up some new techniques making this, like the colorwork on the santa, which I did completely wrong the first time.  And, I've never actually knit a sock or added embellishments.  

Made by Me!

We laughed a lot over Thanksgiving about how ginormous this thing is! I think I've become a little bit too relaxed of a knitter and my gauge is getting too big. More loot for Mark, I suppose. That is, if I can finish it, um, tomorrow. I still have a couple of letters and the seam to sew up and need to add some "bling" (sequins and such) to it. It will make me happy though to see all those handknit stockings hanging together. Thanks, Mom, for making something so special for all of us!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

{ One Day at a Time } Oh Rats

Joe's new favorite sayings include "Oh, wats (rats)", "Oh Brova (brother)", and "Good Gweef (grief)".   Sound familiar?  Charlie Brown, anyone?  Well, I definitely felt these sentiments today when my peppermint bark flopped.  : (  I was so looking forward to this holiday treat after making it last year.  But, somehow I managed to screw it up....Oh, Rats! 

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Today wasn't a total flop though.  Mark and the kids helped me a make a couple of batches of thumbprint cookies (my personal fave!).  And I made some of Mark's favorites...snowdrop cookies.  We will decorate cutout cookies on Christmas Eve!

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Ah, well, things just flop every once in a while.  I remember the year my Mom asked me to make the corn casserole for Christmas dinner and I forgot to add cornbread mix and what we ended up with was something like corn soup.  Easiest. casserole. ever.  We still laugh about that.  So it goes!

Monday, December 19, 2011

{ One Day at a Time } Finally Family Time

It's finally here!!  After a month of craziness, I'm ready to slow down, just hang and be a family.  The never-ending birthday festivities are done, the great five year old room remodel is done (well, sort of - more on that larer),  most of the shopping (and wrapping!) are done, two handknit gifts for unsuspecting people are done, and I gave up on Christmas cards about a week ago!  So what's left?

Well, hopefully some more walks like this:

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Where we discover reindeer prints.

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Probably a trip to the movies (Muppets for sure!!).  Some cookie baking.  Definitely some peppermint bark making, although peppermint hot fudge sauce is also calling my name.  Some what-shall-we pig out on Christmas Day meal planning.  Hopefully some baby holding (yes, that's our new niece little Riley).  Just a little bit more decorating.  While singing, of course.  And, lots of togetherness like this.  And for the record, this is the closest we got to a Christmas card photo.

Us


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Five

I got to spend some unexpected extra time with you these days leading up to your 5th birthday.  And, you leaned on me a bit more than usual since you were sick.  I took notice of those pieces of you that are inherently you, and those bits of you that are new.  Mostly, I think that you are a happier girl each and every day.  You have always loved growing up, thinking and talking about the next big thing.  You couldn't have been happier to turn 5 today, and we couldn't be happier to have you as our daughter.   Love, love, love you sweet Maggie Lowe!   

Five

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

{ One Day at a Time } Swooning and other Stuff

  Oops...missed a couple of days here.  It's okay though because I was busy sleeping and eating fried chicken and honey with some girlfriends.  All good things!

Just a quick post today to show what's been keeping us busy.  I've been working on some giant, GIANT pillows for Maggie's bedroom (which is getting a major surprise updo for her birthday next week!).  They are based on the Swoon quilt pattern.  I knew I couldn't pull off an entire quilt, so I decided to do pillows.  I kinda love them! 

Swoon with 1001 Peeps


The kids and I had Glitterfest 2011 here on Tuesday.  I cut shapes out of felt and the kids painted them with glue and doused them with glitter!  Simple fun, and very messy!

Glitterfest 2011

Some people liked more glitter than others....and did not want you to say one word about it!

Whatchu lookin at?

Later that night "Mr Elf" found all the glitter pieces and hung them on a garland.  Such a clever little guy, that elf!

Mr Elf madness

And now the sickies are entering our house. : (  My little Joe-man has an awful cough and cold.  Lots of down-time and snuggles and 1960s Spiderman shows.  More opportunity to sit and reflect, I suppose!

Little feet

Sunday, December 4, 2011

{ One Day at a Time } A Laugh

So, in all honesty, I haven't done a good job of "taking time to reflect" these past few days.  Life, beyond the holidays, has been a whirlwind.  But, I did have a REALLY good laugh just now when, out of part desperation and part curiosity, I Google-d "gifts for parents".  I couldn't help but look at this list that someone made on Amazon for their "retired parents"...it includes "The Clapper" and a giant remote control, but the thing that really got me laughing was the waterproof mattress pad.  And, the comments by the list-maker are quite amusing as well, albeit a bit harsh.

Now, having laughed really hard at something that perhaps was only funny to me, I think I want to reflect and laugh some more.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

{ One Day at a Time } A Walk in the Woods...

When life seems crazy and your 3 year old is going through a "Daddy phase", go for a walk in the woods to pick up pine cones.  And try your hardest to listen to and understand every word he says.  You'll both be glad you did.







Friday, December 2, 2011

December { One Day at a Time }

I walked into Target on Tuesday to get one thing, and I experienced a scene of people, chaos, and lines that made my heart start pumping.  It was, apparently, the holiday lunchtime madness.  After picking up that one thing, I found myself in the toy aisles scouring for ideas, feeling suddenly panicked that we had not purchased one gift yet.  Then I paused and remembered that it was still November...still November!  This year, more than ever, I feel the need to pause and reflect each day during this busy holiday season.  So, I've decided to try to spend some time here every day this month, reflecting on each day.

Today we put up the tree and decorated.  This tree came home with us from West Jefferson, where we spent a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend with family.  Decorating the Christmas tree is such a nostalgic experience each and every year.  Undoubtedly, we all found comfort today in picking up an ornament and recalling the past.       

Joe Buddy

Maggie Tree