Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Goals Report Card

I decided to review my progress of the goals I set for myself in 2011. My intentions were there to start with. I developed a 100 point grading system. (Geeky, I know.) By the skin of my teeth, I am not failing. I could get a 63.5 if I really push it. As of this writing, I am getting a 60. See, told ya. SKIN. OF. MY. TEETH.  But, hey, passing is passing. Right!?!?!
What happened? Where did I go wrong? I'll tell you. It was all in the planning. Or rather, the lack of the planning. You see, I had these great ideas on how to make my year (my life) more interesting, BUT I didn't develop a plan. I think I only REALLY looked at my goals twice over the course of the whole year. But just so I you don't think I was a total failure, here are some of the things I DID do.

And here are the blocks I made for charity. I am part of an online quilting bee that makes a quilt a month for a child in need. It makes me happy to know that I am doing something good every month.

The bottom two quilts are two of the quilts made using all of the blocks from 10 contributors. It's pretty cool how 10 people, from all-over the US and Canada, can use totally different fabrics and have the quilts turn out so beautiful.

Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled b!tch session:

2012 will be different. (I know, I know, you've heard that before.) I am going to take this little lesson learned, AND apply it to the goals I have set for this coming year. GASP. Before I get into the details of HOW, I must warn you to clean your glasses and put on your pocket protectors. It's going to get a little geeky.

I plan on holding monthly planning meetings with myself. I am going to schedule it onto my calendar, so I WILL remember it. I will reveiw what I have done, what I need to do and when the best time to do it will be. Furthermore, and hitherwither, I will have sub-committee meetings to determine what steps are necessary for each of my goals. Sounds really geeky. Doesn't it?!?! That's okay. I know it is. AND I am okay with it.

How 'bout you? Got any GOALS for 2012? If so, how are you going to attain them?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

12 Joys of Christmas - 9th Joy

Outside Christmas lights. I love the sparkle and twinkle. They add a lot of color to my ride home from work. I am probably one of the only people who really appreciates those who leave their lights up way after Christmas has passed.

Although this is #9 of my Christmas Joys, it is the last to be posted. I just didn't get around to getting a picture of the outside lights until now. AND, although it is the last to be listed it certainly doesn't complete the list of my Joys. There are plenty more. I just picked 12 because it seemed like a good number at the time I came up with the idea.

12 Joys of Christmas - 11th Joy

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

WOYWW - Final Edition of 2011

Collateral damages from this last week of celebrations.
A little bit of this, a little bit of that.

There are a few projects in mind, but not in the works just yet. I need to do a bit of tidying up first. And maybe finish that little deer Christmas ornament. Yikes. Uh, wait, since it isn't going to be for this year, I am already ahead for next Christmas. HA.

You can see what others are up to at Julia's Stamping Ground.

Go ahead and snoop. You know you want to.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

12 Joys of Christmas - 10th Joy

Starbucks Christmas blend has been a tradition since I don't know when exactly. But every year as soon as it comes out, I'll get some. And then I KNOW that I'll get more from Santa.

Maybe it's all in my head, but it tastes great. And those cute packages don't hurt either.

Monday, December 26, 2011

12 Joys of Christmas - 12th Joy

The decorations. I love the decorations. I usually have too many ideas, so nothing looks complete. I also tend to run out of time. It's like Christmas sneaks up on me every year. Does that happen to you too?

This year Melissa decorated the mantle. We really scaled back. There are some things that HAVE to get put out.

Like Mickey's Clock Shop. It's been a tradition forever.

And the Nutcrackers. Melissa has quite the collection. She plays with them too. So there really isn't a display. Well, not one that stays the same. It's constantly changing.

A spot is found for these little guys too. Made many years ago. Tradition.

When the girls were little, I got this little Nativity set. I loved that they could play with it. I didn't want to put a fragile Nativity set out and tell them NO you can't touch. It just seemed so wrong. So this one was perfect. I LOVE that they now demand that it still gets put under the tree when we decorate.

(I still have a few Joys left to share with you. Look out for them before the end of the year.)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

12 Joys of Christmas - 8th Joy

Like I said in the beginning of the 12 Joys, they aren't in order. Of any kind.
They are just being posted as I get them down.

That being said, here is the 8th JOY:


I love that the girls have not gotten too big to fight over whose turn it is to put an ornament on the ADVENT CALENDAR tree.

Danny and I made this together when I was pregnant with Megan (18 years ago). It has been hung up and used every year since then. I made the quilted tree and he painstakingly painted each detail on the little ornaments. I made him initial each one on the bottom. He drilled holes in the top of each ornament and made the hooks out of earring wires. I sewed little beads onto the tree and the ornaments get hooked into the hole in the bead. The ornaments are timeless.

If I were to make an advent calendar today, the fabrics would be more modern. More ME. But I won't. I LOVE this one. It's US. A team effort that lives on every year.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

12 Joys of Christmas - 7th Joy

Giving. It's so much fun and so very satisfying to see the JOY on someone's face when they open their gift. Making people happy. Not so much with the object that they have received, but with the warmth that they are loved enough to be the recipient of ANY gifts. It sure does make it that much sweeter when they LOVE their gifts.

I am the one who is usually too excited to wait for you to open what I give you. It takes a lot of will power to wait. I DON'T, on the other hand, have any problems waiting to open any gifts given to me. Weird. Huh?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

12 Joys of Christmas - 6th Joy

Oh, the cookies!

For 11 months out of the year I am a savory person. I prefer salty to sweet. BUT come December, I have a HUGE Sweet Tooth. Bring on the cookies. I love Christmas cookies. Chocolate chip cookies. Peanut Butter. White Chocolate Macadamia Nut. Raspberry Thumbprints. ALL of them are targets this month. BUT, I am not a very good baker. I just am not patient/diligent enough to make it work. I am VERY easily distracted. I burn more cookies than you can possibly imagine.

BUT there is a saviour in the house. Megan has become one of the best bakers in my family. She usually makes the baked goods in the house. This year it's no different. She actually showed Melissa how to bake sugar cookies. A terrific gift in my opinion.

One of these years I'll host a cookie swap. But that's a whole other post...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

12 Joys of Christmas - 4th Joy

Gingerbread houses. Making them. Okay, maybe not MAKING them, but, assembling and decorating them. How can it be Christmas without a Gingerbread house.

It's hard to get things done during the holiday season. Along with the regular holiday activities, our family has birthdays. So, sometimes the gingerbread house gets put off until Easter. But not this year. (At least we have good intentions that it will be a Christmas gingerbread house and not an Easter gingerbread house. This years house has been assembled and is just waiting for the decorations. It'll probably have to wait until Saturday. Tonight there is some last minute shopping that needs to get done. A package to get together for the post office tomorrow. Tomorrow night we have Megan's tutor coming and I have to pick up a ham and some other goodies for the office Christmas party. Thursday is Megan's Christmas concert. I love going to those concerts. They sound so amazing. AND Friday is Megan's 17th Birthday. She wants to go to the Admirals hockey game. SO, we won't have any time to decorate the gingerbread house until Saturday. 

Last year we cheated and used glue guns to assemble the house. No worries. No one in this house eats that little gingerbread house. We just pick off the candies. And those are set into frosting, so we are okay. Otherwise it's assemble the house and wait until the next day to decorate. We used the glue gun again this year. Now just have to make the frosting...

Monday, December 12, 2011

12 Joys of Christmas - 5th Joy

Oh, Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree....

You know the rest. I don't. But I can hum along. I love putting the tree up. Pulling out the decorations from years past and adding a new decoration. Playing Christmas carols and reminiscing with each bauble pulled from the box.

In the most recent years we have had an artificial tree. It just seemed the thing to do. This year, since our plans changed at the last minute, Danny promised the girls a real tree. So we went to the lot and picked the best one for us. Once we got it home and positioned it seemed a heck of a lot bigger than it seemed in the lot. Good thing too. We have many, many ornaments.

The girls all have a little collection that is theirs. Ones that have been given to them from their grandparents and other loved ones. I have my favorites. Ones that were made for me by the girls. I particularly love the ones with their pretty little faces glued onto them.

The handmade. This was made by 2 year old Melissa.

Another handmade. This was a joint project between me and Morgan.

A cute couple. It's a tradition that we get a "couple" ornament every year.

And the new. This is Megan's new ornament this year.

New and old together. A thing of beauty.

What I really love, is a tree crowded with ornaments, old and new. The ornaments speak as to who we are, and what makes us tick. The tree tells the story of US.

And it's really pretty when you turn all the lights out and just sit with a hot cuppa and "watch" the tree. Sigh. So very relaxing. Don't you think?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Friday Fill-Ins - On Sunday evening, why, I'm almost on time...

Anyone in the holiday spirit? I'm getting there. we go!

1. As I neared the cashier, I realized I had forgotten to check the list and didn't get half of what I needed.

2. The Red Pyramid is what I'm reading right now. It's a book for youths, but I like them.

3. I didn't start out this way, it's taken years to cultivate this style.

4. I really like who I have become to tell the truth.

5. The best way to win my heart is to do something nice for someone I love.

6. This is the reason I am ME!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to going out for dinner, tomorrow my plans include getting a tree and decorating it and Sunday, I want to get groceries and finish my Christmas shopping, then make Christmas cookies with the girls!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

12 Joys of Christmas - 3rd Joy

Here we go, back to Thanksgiving. It's when the Season REALLY starts for me. Thanksgiving dinner is ALWAYS served on the Christmas china. ALWAYS. I don't have Thanksgiving china. I don't think I would actually breakdown and buy it. It would be used for 1 day. Nope, not getting that. BUT CHRISTMAS china, now that's something that gets used. In this house anyway. I was pregnant with my first child when my mother sent me my first set of Christmas china. It was a starter set. It was for my birthday (which is in early November). Then another box came. It was a mistake that the company sent 2 boxes. I didn't find that out until a few years later. Anyway, I LOVED (and still do LOVE) the china.

Between Thanksgiving and New Years, it's our everyday china. Used for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Snacks and whatever else you use plates and bowls for. Everything tastes SO MUCH better in these dishes.

My collection has grown. There are now place settings for 12 and serving pieces.
AND I have ornaments for the tree too.

Silly little tradition. BUT it's part of the season.

Is there a special plate or mug you use during this wonderful season?

Friday, December 9, 2011

12 Joys of Christmas - 2nd Joy

My joys are not in order. I really don't think I could decide which I like the best. I am simply presenting them to you as I feel like it. Yup, it's all about JOY.

Christmas music plays on my car radio from Thanksgiving to Christmas Day. (Okay, not really Christmas Day because we don't normally drive anywhere on Christmas Day.) I set the radio to the local station that plays Christmas music for ME during this time period and there the dial stays. (Okay, it really isn't a dial any more either, it's digital. But you get the idea.)

Some of my favorites are:

Drummer Boy - Everyone has something to offer

Mary Did You Know - It moves me

Christmas Shoes - This one ALWAYS gets me teary eyed
(I am pretty sure these are the shoes too.)

Joy To The World - Mostly because I know most of the words

Santa Baby - We all sing along to this one 

And there are SO MANY more. I'm listening to Christmas music right now.

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

WIP Wednesday on our own version

This week I have a couple of finished projects to report, BUT, I can only show you a sneak peak. Sorry. Melissa and I swapped stockings with Whitney and Aidan.

Here's a sneak of Melissa's first ever sewing machine project. The stocking she made for Aidan. I am ever so proud.

And here's a little sneaky at the stocking I made for Whitney.

I can show the whole stockings once they get them. I don't want to spoil the surprise completely for them.


I am also putting the binding on the Granny lap quilt I made for my mommy for Christmas. Don't worry, it'll get done in time. I am 3/4 of the way done. Should have it done tomorrow night.


Then I'll just have to make another secret project. That I can't share because the recipient reads this blog. (wink, wink)


And for the professional side of things, here is my workdesk. The one where I do the work for which I get paid.

Even here I can't help but be a bit artsy fartsy. See all those different colors markers. Yup. I really do use them. All.

(disclaimer: This picture was not taken today. Or even yesterday. BUT if you were to see my desk right now, you would not be able to tell. So I am using it anyway.)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Quilt Block Swap - NuBees

We swap quilt blocks.

So far I have loved making these blocks and sending them off to their new owners.

We are challenged to make the same block design in the different color choices of each member in the Bee. Each swapper picks a color combination that she wants for the quilt blocks she will receive.

It's great fun to design a block. It's also great to use color combo's that I would have never thought to use. It's challenging. BUT the best part is the friends I have made. And am still making. These ladies are talented and fun.

It's a wonderful feeling to send my creations off to join those made by all of my friends' creations. My humble little blocks will be in other peoples' quilts.

Okay, I lie. I have a hard time parting with them.

Monday, December 5, 2011

12 Joys of Christmas - 1st Joy

Everyone has traditions. Things you absolutely MUST do every year. We do. We have traditions that take place every year, and some that happen every year or two. Candy Canes are the first Christmas Joy every year for me.

Usually the season starts when the CANDY CANES are bought. I get a little tingle in my throat. They are the beginning of something wonderful. And I can't resist. I started carrying the little ones in my purse to hand to clerks, cashiers and toll takers. (And of course to snack on myself.)

The little ones are just the right size to offer a little treat without having to wrap the rest.

I just can't imagine a Christmas season without them. Can you?