Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tattoo Tale

A recent discussion on HGTV message boards about tattoo's and who has them and what we think about them inspired me to share pics of my son's tats. It is a creative expression both from the artist and the adorned, meant to be a statement of some sort, reflecting something of import. My 23 year old, college graduate son, is enlisted in the US Army. He is scheduled to leave for boot camp on February 7th. It didn't come as a surprise to me that he felt the need to serve. His large eagle tattoo is a nod to his patriotism.
"For family we live. Through family we live on..." Andrew Gramza, 21, his cousin (his dad's wife's nephew) died as a result of injuries from a car accident in November, 2010. Michael had this sentiment tattooed on his back to commemorate him.
"Urraim" was his first tat on the back of his right arm. He researched Gaelic words to find the one that would express how he felt about his family. Honor, respect and reverence. Choosing a Gaelic word for my father, Michael Joseph Darcy, who was from Ireland.
The one thing I advised to both Melissa (who has two tattoo's also...will get good pics of them soon) and Michael was to make sure the ink means something to you. A dancing Tigger on the forearm might seem like a cute idea at the time....avoid this!
I don't have any. I don't plan to get any at this point.

Christmas is over. I managed to keep most of the holiday stress and chaos free. Dinner at my sisters was as crazy as it got! Michael brought Jenn for a few hours and Melissa brought Dave for dinner. The tryptophan (turkey was the main food fare) kicked in and the 50 minute drive home was too long! Ian and Darcy were wonderful. I will be sharing shopping time with them this week as we continue the birthday tradition of buying exactly what they want with my gifted money! It is an event...we shop, we eat and we talk. Fun for all of us.

I have a big, huge, quilting job ahead of me. I keep putting it off. I can't put it off any longer! My black and white and red "penny" quilt must go under the needle. I am not a fan of machine quilting. Quilting to me is the least fun part of the entire process of making a quilt. Dread. Frustration. Aggravation. This all awaits me and my Bernina. Ugh.

I have learned:

  1. Michael and Jenn are engaged! She is a sweetheart. She is on board with the military thing and where it will take her. They will make a good team. Hoping we can count on a date for his "leave" after boot camp and training. June is the target month!
  2. Vacation this week. No work. No oppression. I can always bid out! With 4 years left, you would think I would not have to consider this. Since @*@ has been on the scene...his boss was fired, he has "fired" a long time female worker...twice fired another guy, two others have felt the need to bid out of our service center to avoid being fired. Complaints to human resources about discriminatory behaviors. Pending lawsuit. Every day is a challenge. Not a good one. 
  3. Bruce Springsteen on tour in 2012...rumor has it Buffalo on the list! 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Live Well & Be Happy. My Wish for You.

That's all we can do, isn't it? These words resonate with me. So much that I have stitched them twice. I may stitch them again.
Will make a nice pillow. Silent auction at our quilt show in October maybe? I need to cut some more wool and have some satisfying handwork at night. Love stitching it.

Busy time of year. I have conscientiously made them less hectic. I don't like that it all gets soaked up with have-to-be-here and have-to-be-there's....making sure I have the obligatory gift in exchange for their obligatory gift.  I am sure the bleak state of the economy and daily reminders that all is not well in the entire world (and this is on my limited news updates, since I don't read the paper, nor watch news with any regularity), has everything to do with my realistic attitude. I truly don't want any gifts, unless it is something made for me, with what you have on hand. Make me a CD of music you know I like...an ornament that says me to you...a little treasure you may come across in your junk drawer, that you know I would see the beauty in. Play a game of Scrabble with me. Leave me alone to create! I will enjoy my holidays with this in mind. Therefore, I will enjoy the special-ness of the holidays. You say Scrooge, I stay sane!

Last week's guild meeting was so inspired. Not only was it our annual Holiday Party, with many yummy dishes and goodies, but was the Bag Challenge reveal and Secret Sister Santa Stocking exchange. I was absolutely thrilled with the solutions to the challenge Elaine and I gave these brave participants! See this post on our guild blog (scroll down a bit to get to the bag challenge!) I was just so excited by this reveal that I didn't get pics of the wonderful stockings 20 women exchanged! Believe me, they were wonderful. I wasn't sure if the stocking thing was a good call when I decided to do it, but my friend Melanie told me to go with it and if it didn't work out, change it next year! It did work out!

I love this winged mannequin with tulle skirt and ribbon accents. Jen made it for me. She is a very talented paper artist. Melissa and I have taken some classes from her, the latest one we made 15 Christmas cards and 3 ornaments. I love her style and am so happy that she is really getting her own thing going teaching more. She knows I like winged things!

I have all 16 of my F8 blocks back now. Everyone did such a great job on them. Thank you! Now to decide how it will all go together.

After Jenn, Michael's GF, and I made a run to Joann Fabrics and Michaels yesterday, we both worked on a project at the kitchen table. This is what she made! A 94 cent composition notebook was transformed with scrapbook paper, lace and old Scrabble tiles into a mother/daughter journal. She even made a bookmark we completed with silk ribbons and tucked it inside a pocket in front cover. Nice gift option.
I posted a pic of this postcard for Cloth Paper Scissors, a few weeks ago. I knew it needed some tweaking. I  added the silver letters and used some Tim Holtz black soot distressing ink on the game card to take up some of the white space. I need to mail it now. This is for a call they have right now.

My daughter Melissa turns 29 Tuesday. 29. years. old. I remember when my sister and i found out my mother was 29 by overhearing our grandmother expressing shock at a 29 year old nun playing football at recess. My mother's twin, Kathy, was the nun. Noni and I commiserated and announced we knew how old our mother was! Sneaky little children!
At 29 I had been working for 11 years and had 2 kids and a first house. 
Happy birthday Melissa!

Clifford, Melissa's cat, has come back home. Home is here. He was running away. I am sure JJ, the little dog, had everything to do with that. I am happy to have him though. There was a short adjustment  period for Chester and Fiona, but all seems to have settled already.What's a little more food and a bit more poop to scoop?!

I have learned:

  1. I don't like working in the setting triangles for a quilt top set on point. Thearica's Ronald McDonald raffle quilt in the works! Ugh. Not having fun.
  2. RoCo showing members only exhibit. Really cool stuff. Worth the time. 
  3. Extreme Materials 2 at MAG in Rochester. I liked quite a few pieces, but some left even me thinking "what were they thinking?" Menstrual blood belongs....well, not on a canvas. 
  4. I love the singer's voice in this commercial for j'ador by Dior. "Heavy Cross" by Gossip.
  5. Watching "An American in Paris" with Gene Kelly. So far, so good!
  6. My SSSS stocking gift package mailed to ------------- in --------. I have received mine and we will all open them together on the 23rd! 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Secret Santa Sister Stocking

I made my first lined Christmas stocking. Found a good tutorial on a blog that showed how to pull the inside out through a 3" opening in the lining seam. Easy. This will be for my Secret Santa Sister Stocking on HGTV message board. I used all red fabrics and thread, with silver beads, Scrabble tiles and a cool vintage edge from a chenille spread. I have made a few gifts for the stocking but cannot show them til my SS has opened her gift on December 23rd. Nicki plans it so we all try to open at the same time. I haven't done this swap before but everyone raves about it. Kind of excited actually!

Mary Lee gave me a bag of Kunin felt and I decided to find the pattern I knew I plucked out of a Fons & Porter magazine, December 2006. "itty bitty penny rug" by Bonnie Sullivan. Loved the pattern and presentation. It is 5" x 7" and they mounted on wool in a rustic wooden frame. Stitching wool is so satisfying. I love seeing the way the edges pull down with each tiny stitch.

I have such a great stash of wool from Salvation Army and friends! 
I have started another project from this book, Applique Outside the Lines. I love the words "love well and be happy".  I used this sentiment last year on a tablerunner for a benefit auction my sister ran for a dear friend. This one will be smaller. Not a linear presentation, it is configured on a square wool base. Not sure what it will be yet. A wallhanging? a bag? a center for a quilt? For now I will enjoy stitching it.

Back to work yesterday after a great vacation week. Went with my sister, Noni, and Ian and Darcy to Cincinnati to gather with my cousins Tracy and Jeff and their families. My aunt and uncle from Florida and aunt and uncle from Louisville also there. We made the trek last year. My sister and I are all that is left here, so it is nice to be a part of extended family for a couple of days. My cousins did not grow up in Buffalo but they were present  in our younger years and a visit with them was always highly anticipated! Laughing is the one common denominator in every interaction. There is an indisputable bond and I am glad to know it again.  I was on the fence about leaving my kids.I couldn't commit to going until the weekend before. My kids are 23 and 28. Not little children!  Of course they were fine and involved in their significant others' Thanksgivings. 
This is the 3rd time I have tried to finish this post! I have not felt well all week. Sore throat started Sunday and has progressed to a sinus infection. Waiting on call back from doc now. 
It is snowing.
Michael is in the air right now on his first flight ever, to Minnesota for his game tomorrow! He bought a couple CD's on iTunes last night....soothing music. Melissa told him to sit near a cuddle buddy and listen to Faith Hill!

I have learned:

  1. Talia, a 31 year old HGTV quilt message board member, died last Wednesday. She had gastric bypass years ago and has had increasing health issues ever since. Sad news. 
  2. Bruce Springsteen will be touring next year! Hope he comes near Buffalo.
  3. Reading When God was a Rabbit. Good book. Laughed out loud already. 
  4. Nicki and Thearica are featured in Pat Winter's newest issue of Crazy Quilt Gathering
  5. the Ikea store in Cincinnati was a sensory overload experience! I loved it! I bought a yard of this fabric and am only sorry I didn't cut more! I paid $6.99 for the yard. I want an Ikea store in Batavia!