Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Out with the old

It's probably been just about a year since I last posted about how much I like the clean slate that is January. There's something heady about a fresh new calendar. With the holiday crazies clearly in the rear view mirror, the new year promises the wide open spaces of unencumbered time.

 Of course that's silly. While the parties and family gatherings of the holidays are behind us, each day still has only twenty-four hours.

I'm nothing if not an optimist. Even when the sky is falling down around my ears I still think someday this will be funny. January just feeds my inner Pollyanna. The days are getting longer and there are few things more beautiful than sunshine on fresh snow.

It's no secret that the past several months have been physically difficult for me, but I've had a bit of an epiphany. After the docs pronounced me "as good as it will get", I found myself getting crankier every day. Being told "if it hurts, don't do it", and knowing that everything I enjoy hurts, I felt that all the doors in my life had closed.

During a rowdy conversation with my youngest about life and destiny, free will and predestination it dawned on me why I've been so frustrated.

I don't take "no" for an answer! I never have, even as a kid. Just tell me that I can't do something, or that something can't be done and I'm busy trying to prove you wrong before the door closes behind you.

There's always a way. Where there is life, there is hope. I thrive on hope. So, I've decided if I'm going to hurt anyway, at least I'll have fun while I can. And all of a sudden, I have my life back. Just like that.

There are so many new ideas, projects, techniques and challenges swirling in my head, and I'm breathless with the joy of possibilities. There's a big new quilt in the design stage, dare I say "block of the month"?

Yet another new toy this fall, my Silhouette electronic die cutting machine, just may become my new favorite applique tool. Imagine being able to down load a file and have the machine cut out those pesky templates for us! To learn the machine, I've been making these darling little paper houses, designed by Marji Roy. Too cute, huh!

Does New Year's Day mark a welcome new beginning for you, or it is just another day? Do you make resolutions? What are your hopes for 2015?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Annual Gingerbread House Build

After all the dregs of another turkey dinner are swept away it's time to break out the gingerbread. I just love doing this for, and with, the grandkids. When we broke out the fixings Alex exclaimed, "oh goody, we get to make a mess!" We always have a crazy good time, and every year the houses get just a little more involved.

Nate, my oldest, and Alex get right to work on their houses. We use a three piece cookie cutter set to get the basic shapes. I think I broke down and bought a gingerbread house kit one year, just to get the cutters.

The grands still mostly rely on the cutters, but the kids are branching off into designs of their own.

Amanda and Nicole get moving too. Nicole is a take-charge kind of girl. gotta love that about her.

Of course, as far as the kids are concerned, it's not time for baking until the snowflake aprons and chefs' hats appear.

The real fun begins when it's time to build and decorate the houses. Just look at how intense the two engineers are! They are not content with cookie cutter houses. They always come up with something interesting. Nicole, on the other hand, is all about the glitter, she's my tomboy princess.

Finally it's time for our close-ups.

Alex wanted his picture to look like he was about to smash the house with his arm. I'm not sure that's the kind of thing that Captain America would do, but there you have it.

Amanda's winter wonderland house. Isn't she beautiful? (I'm pretty sure she has no idea how beautiful she is, which is part of her charm.) When it comes to mates, all of my boys have chosen very well.

Especially considering what they have to work with.

But then, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.