Friday, November 25, 2011

One Nurse's Thanksgiving

Most of my adult life, we've had Thanksgiving whenever.  When I worked in the operating room, it was easier to have it on the actual day, since the OR was only open for emergency cases on holidays and weekends.  But I haven't worked there since DD was 4 years old, so all she ever knew was Turkey Day happened sometime around the 4th weekend of the month. In addition, she was only 5 years old when we moved across the country from our family, so out of necessity, it's just never been a big holiday for us.  I'm sure that's true for many other occupations, not just nursing.

Over the years, we've shared Thanksgiving with a couple of other families, but usually it's just the 2-3 of us, depending on where DD is living at the time. She was never interested in learning to cook as a child or young teen, but as she got to be college age, she began experimenting. She and some of her close friends would host a big Thanksgiving party for friends of all ages and the gal cooks a mean turkey, I must say. In fact, she's turned into quite a cook.  She didn't get it from me.

This year she was invited to spend Thanksgiving with her best friend from work and her family. I'm grateful for her many friends, as she never really has to spend a Thanksgiving alone. She may be 7 hours away, but she's still surrounded by people who care about her.

As for this household, well, I had to work Wed. night and Thurs. night, so our Turkey Day will be tomorrow. It'll be a small one, with only a turkey breast, Stovetop Stuffing, green beans, corn, sweet potatoes, deviled eggs, some sort of cranberry dish, and a storebought pecan pie (which we actually cut into tonight. Hey, in another world, it would be leftovers!)  Some years I do the whole Betty Crocker thing, but that's not going to happen this year. There are much more interesting things to do!  Sewing has been happening here, and though I'm not ready to post pictures yet, I'm happy the mojo is continuing.

So if cooking is your thing, hope you are having a great time. If shopping is your thing, stay safe! Weird people are roaming around out there. However you are spending this holiday weekend, I hope you are making wonderful memories. 

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Connecting Threads Giveaway

Pat at Bell Creek Quilts posted this info about a Connecting Threads Giveaway, and I boogied over and filled out the info.

You have to register to create a wish list, and once you do, you must add items to the wish list to total at least $50.00. Then you must email the wish list to someone, and share on your blog or facebook.

But the contest ends tomorrow, and the winner is announced on Thurs., so hurry!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

American Christmas

I received this as an email today, and I like it so well, I'm going to post this.  Most of us are quilters, and "get" this already, but still, feel free to copy it into your email and pass it around.

Christmas 2011 -- Birth of a New Tradition

As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high
gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods --
merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor. This
year will be different. This year Americans will give the gift of genuine
concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift
giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands. Yes
there is!

It's time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in
a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper?

Everyone -- yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates
from your local American hair salon or barber?

Gym membership? It's appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some
health improvement.

Who wouldn't appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American owned
detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a
book of gift certificates.

Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plonking down
the Benjamins on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift
receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or
driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.

There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants -- all offering gift
certificates. And, if your intended isn't the fancy eatery sort, what about
a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember, folks this
isn't about big National chains -- this is about supporting your home town
Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.

How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck or
motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy?

Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a
local cleaning lady for a day.

My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is
struggling to get his repair business up and running.

OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin
their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery
and beautiful wooden boxes.

Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave
your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at
your hometown theatre.

Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.

Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese
lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of light, about
fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to
burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip.

You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that
China can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring about
US, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow
their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care about our
communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn't imagine.

THIS is the new American Christmas tradition.

Forward this to everyone on your mailing list -- post it to discussion
groups -- throw up a post on Craigslist in the Rants and Raves section in
your city -- send it to the editor of your local paper and radio stations,
and TV news departments. This is a revolution of caring about each other,
and isn't that what Christmas is about?

Monday, November 07, 2011

Broke the Barrier

With all that has gone on this year, starting with my arm injury last Dec., I had lost my quilting mojo. I'd walk into the sewing room, and walk out again, totally overwhelmed and uninspired. I didn't even buy any fabric between October last year and August of this year. Not that I really needed much--my stash is getting unmanageable.

But by late September, things had begun to turn around, and I finished 3 placemats for a blogging friend's children. I didn't think to take pictures, but she did, and they're on her site, here. I handquilted the center panels, as there were parts I wanted to stand out more, and then machine quilted the outer parts, all with glow in the dark thread--and it really does glow!

I also started 3 wall hangings for my own house for Halloween, but didn't get them finished.
As you can see, I've only reached the sandwiching stage. I have some embellishments to add as well, but they probably won't get picked up again until after the holidays.

In preparation for hanging them, I bought this hanger from Ackfeld Manufacturing:
Is this not the cutest thing?

They sent me a catalog with some of their products: fabric hangers, fabric hooks, ornament holder, etc.

I had never heard of them before, but I really like what they have, and will probably order some of their hangers to include with wall-hanging gifts. I know I never seem to be able to do justice to some of my little quilts with just a dowel and ribbon.

What do you use for hanging wall quilts?

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

More Pictures from 10/31

A bit blurry--it was hard to stand still long enough for a night shot, but it's the only one I have of the whole scene under the tent.

The Mourners.

The "deceased".

  Zombie Girl.

Freaky Spider.

Welcome to November, everyone.

"Over, Done With, Gone."

(Can you identify that quote?)

Where do I start????

Since I have lost 4 family members and a good friend all in 10 months' time, I just didn't get into the Hallowe'en frame of mind as early this year. If you've followed my blog, you know that I start dreaming of props and spooks and things that go bump in the night 'long about May or June, and usually have a theme by July.  DD came up with a theme for me, and I really like it, but never got around to putting it together, so I've decided to use her idea next year, and no, I am NOT sharing that right now, thankyouverymuch.

So I'd just decided to put most all my stuff out there, sort of in stations, for people to walk around and view. Aliens over here, mad scientist's paraphernalia over there, and a cemetery in the upper 40. Okay, yard.

I pulled out my 2 life-sized skeletons and Short Stuff (the little skeleton) and placed them in lawn chairs. Then I pulled out my casket from under the back deck where it had been tarped all year, and stacked it on 4 pallets I'd picked up from the loading dock at the hospital.

Hmmm, what if it rained? I guess I could still use the tarp, but wait: I have the canopy tent I bought last year for my Gypsy Curse theme.  I could place that over the casket. Then, bingo, ladies and gentlemen, we have a theme: The Funeral.

What can I say? It's certainly been on my mind this year.

So for the last 2 weeks, I've been in a frenzy, trying to put everything together. I bought the 12 pumpkins, but when it came time to carve them, only 4 were soft enough to carve. The other 8 were hard as gourds, necessitating a large knife and a mallet to pierce them!  All I could do with those were geometric faces--the usual triangles, etc. It took way longer than usual, and put me even farther behind. The good thing is, I got to watch some of my favorite Hallowe'en movies while brutalizing pumpkins!

Bless her heart, one of my neighbors came over about 3:30, walking her dog, and decided to help me get the last minute stuff done. It was probably the first year I've not regretted them changing Daylight Savings Time to the first Sun. of November instead of the last Sun. in October. We only got one Trick-or-Treater before 6:15.

Here are some stills from the evening. I was so busy, I didn't get out there to take pictures at twilight, which is the best time for Hallowe'en pics, so I'm debating lighting all the candles and battery-powered flicker candles tomorrow evening just so I can get good photos.

The zombie body in the casket. He sits bolt upright and moans "Welcome to our graveyard."

One of the tombstones. It reads "Ye who walk o'er me will wish you'd died 'fore me."

Entrance through the cobwebbed cemetery gate .

The front porch.  I had orange light bulbs in the porch and garage lights--that's why everything looks so red here.

 Rats gnawing on bones.

The Mourners.

If you're watching "The Walking Dead" on AMC, you'll get the significance of the next two pictures.

Tricycle Zombie Girl

Some of these required a flash and thereby decreased the creepiness, so I probably will go out at twilight and take more pictures. At any rate, Zombie Girl crawls out of the garage, but needs a flat surface, so I had to place a sheet of insulation foam there to bridge the narrow step. It was covered with leaves at the end, but she managed to push most of them off. 

This is the one prop that scared some children and brought one pre-teen to tears. Most of my gruesome and scary stuff was at the back of the graveyard so that parents could bring their little ones to the front door, but there was just nowhere else to put her. She was sound or motion activated, so sometimes she didn't go off, but unfortunately with excited little ToTs yelling and running around, she was set in motion at a couple of inopportune times.

We had lots of Trick-or-Treaters come around, but there was no way to count them all. Some came while I was trying to turn on lights and light candles, and then some came back later when it was dark just to walk around and look at the props. I dressed in old scrubs and zombied up my face, slung a stethoscope around my neck and became Zombie Nurse. Even the kids got what I was. I was having such a good time, I just sat out on the porch steps awhile and watched.

I have a rule that most of the neighborhood knows now. All ToTs are welcome, no matter the age, but you must be dressed up in some way, even if it's only a mask. Costumers get a handful of candy, no matter how big or little you are. But if you come to my house, enjoy my efforts, but don't make any effort of your own, you get only ONE piece of candy. That's begging; expecting something for nothing, in my book.

What can I say? I'm a Conservative. (And that is most likely the only political statement you'll ever see on this blog. I don't beat people over the head with my views.)

Most of the visitors were done by 8:30 pm. It was a school night, after all. I still had the porch light on and the front door open, and was sitting down at the computer, when I heard a noise on the porch. I turned around, and their, staring at me through the storm door, was Michael Meyers! He was tall, dressed in the correct mask and dark clothing, was all alone, and never spoke a word. I swear, he 'bout scared the snot out of me! 

Serves me right, huh?

I shut everything down after that.