Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Calm Countdown

Although it hasn't always been so, this year these last days before Christmas have been relatively stress-free for me.  (Is it possible I'm becoming wiser with age?)

I've wrapped all the presents except for a couple that are still scheduled to arrive.  (Eeep.  My fingers are crossed, yes, they are.)

The decision has been made (and I can hardly believe it myself) not to bake any more Christmas goodies to have on hand.  I did make a batch of Spritz cookies last weekend for dinner company.  Other than that, I'm not baking any more this year.  Why?  Well, because I received some wonderful treats in the mail from a friend in South Carolina (many thanks again for your thoughtfulness, You-Know-Who!) and a local friend brought over a fantastic assortment of her own baking endeavors.  Anything else produced here would be overkill.  (That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.)

We finally got a few more inches of snow this past week.

Now we're hearing the coming week will bring quite a bit of snow to our area.  Just in time for Christmas, but not so nice for folks who have to travel.  Here's wishing safe travels for any of you who will be on the roads this next week.

Gosh, we've been eating so much good food these past couple/few months.  I don't mean this in the quantity sense but rather in the quality sense.  Our freezers and pantry are stuffed with the fruits (no pun intended) of our labors, and I know all this good food will keep us big and strong.  (And able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.)

Papa Pea did not get his deer this first season that he's hunted in many years.  No matter, as he truly enjoyed spending the time out of doors.  That doesn't mean we don't have venison in the freezer.  Our good neighbor got his deer along with a bachelor friend of his who came to hunt on his property.  We went to their house one night and helped them process the deer.  Good Neighbor is an expert at it, and we wanted to take lessons.  They insisted we take home some of the meat for ourselves, plus we were also given a big bucket of scrumptious scraps to give to Chicken Mama for our granddog's eating pleasure in the next month or so.

Time has been allotted today for working on my new winter quilted shower curtain I'd like to have completed and ready to hang right after the first of the year.

I made the backing (just plain muslin because it will never be seen) and sandwiched it this morning.  After I mark the quilting lines (sooo time-consuming, whine-whine-whine), I'll be ready to begin the machine quilting.  No batting in this particular project; if I do put batting in a shower curtain, which gives the quilting more "definition," the curtain ends up being heavier than I want to deal with.

There's no floor space in our house large enough to lay out a quilt for sandwiching without moving furniture so I do mine on the kitchen table.

I make sure all layers are straight and wrinkle-free, then I start pinning across the center of the quilt and work my way (toward me) to one end.  Then I turn the quilt and work on the other half.

Being able to work on the quilt at this level, rather than on the floor, really saves on the knees and back.  Although even doing it this way, I'll admit my back muscles are happy when I'm done.

I'm eager to get back to my project so I'll sign off here.

Hope your last week before the big holiday is going well and you can find a little time to spend at your sewing machine, or to sit and do handwork, or to read and relax.  A tall order, I know, but it's important to take care of yourself!


Sue said...

Impressive quilt--quite pretty. You have so much talent.

Glad to hear you're taking it (relatively)easy this holiday.And hooray for cookies in the mail. That's always good!
Merry Christmas, Mama Pea!

Sandy Livesay said...

Mama Pea,

It is a very tall order to take care of ourselves!!!

You have enough snow for all of us :-)
Were expecting snow the day after Christmas. The weatherman stated it maybe just a little bit though. Nothing like what you have.
Even if you don't bring home a deer for the freezer when hunting, it's good to get out in the middle of mother nature (aka: God's Country) and just be. This will help get rid of any stress, and relax the body. Something we don't do enough of.....that is just relax.

It's great to be able to learn a new process or steps when processing animals for the freezer. You have great neighbors, can I borrow yours ?

Now get of the computer and go have some fun working on your quilt.

Linda said...

It is lovely.

Sparkless said...

That is one nice shower curtain! I can't believe you hang such a beautiful work of art in your bathroom. Actually you probably see it more in there than if it were on your bed.
Glad to hear you are enjoying your holiday season. We aren't doing as much baking this year either. We just eat if all if we make it and no one needs all those cookies. So now we just make a few of our favorites.

Unknown said...

Nice job! Wishing for a white week this next week....

Kristina said...

I always love to see you quilting adventures. You are very talented. We are concerned of Son traveling, but we are praying for good weather for it.

DFW said...

Beautiful quilting, as expected. Can't wait to see the finished product. The snow looks so lovely (for now). Good for you for taking it easy this year!

Mollie said...

"The Calm Countdown." It has such a lovely ring to it. And you sound (read?) calm. And I think you've said quilting calms you. No baking for me this year. I will say that this weekend I will be relaxing by planting some Iceland poppies outside--just bought a new trowel today. Can't find my old one. Yes, am grateful for nice weather most of the year. But I do miss the snow that can make a Winter Wonderland! Enjoy your holidays, Mama and Papa Pea, and that busy daughter of yours!

Mama Pea said...

Sue - Hoping you and your hubby are enjoying these pre-holiday days. Do you have enough snow for skiing? Snomobiling?

Mama Pea said...

Sandy - You're right about it being sometimes (most of the time?) difficult to take care of ourselves . . . being that we're the caretakers and care givers! When you sit down to relax, do you find it hard to really relax because you keep thinking of (and probably even popping up to do) everything that needs to be done? Yeah, me, too.

You can borrow our neighbors, but you have to give them right back! We're so fortunate to have them. I appreciate them all the more when I hear stories of neighbors who are not kind, thoughtful and helpful. Ugh.

I got a bit done on the quilting today . . . and plan to do a little more tomorrow! Yay, yay!

Mama Pea said...

Thank you, Linda! :o]

Mama Pea said...

Sparkless - We really do see our shower curtain a lot since it is smack-dab in front of one when one sits on our porcelain throne!!

I'm feeling a smidge guilty for not making my usual large assortment of favorite Christmas cookies . . . but I'm determined to stick to my guns and NOT DO IT!

Mama Pea said...

Nancy po - Thanks. Let's hope Mother Nature is good to all of us and delivers good weather, whatever that may be!

Mama Pea said...

Kristina - I'll say a little prayer for his safe traveling. Even if he has to be a little bit delayed, just so he makes it safe and sound!

Mama Pea said...

DFW - Well, both of us know how to work hard; now we have to learn how to relax hard! A little more "playing" is a goal for this coming year, too. And the busy, sometimes hectic holiday season is a good place to start.

Thanks for the nice words about the quilt/shower curtain.

Mama Pea said...

Mollie - Hard for us to imagine going outside to plant anything, but I know you have that luxury year 'round. And you, no doubt, get more healthy sun on your skin than we do these months so I envy you that! When we go out, we're so covered up that about the only exposed skin is our face . . . and sometimes not even that!

Thanks for your holiday wishes, Mollie. Hugs to you.

Sue said...

But taking it in stride---lots o' hiking, so still getting "out".
Hey, forgot to ask--drowning in seed catalogs yet??---my gosh, it's getting earlier and earlier every year!!!

Leigh said...

Wonderful photos. I'm so glad your cookie decision has had such stress-free results! We had family Christmas at my son's last night and so the "rush" is over for us. So nice to not have to do all that cleaning and cooking except for a few dishes to bring. And I'm sure they liked not having to pack up the kids and then bring it all home again!

Anonymous said...

As always, I LOVE your shower curtain :) You are so talented!
I am making one thing for Christmas eggnog poundcake to bring to my cousin's for Christmas afternoon. That's it. I'm not even making myself pies. The waist will be happy about that!

Sandy Livesay said...

Fantastic news on being able to work on your quilt.

Mama Pea said...

Leigh - Ah yes, all the cooking and cleaning that go along with hosting a holiday celebration at your own house. I've often wondered how things could be structured differently so the woman of the house could enjoy holidays more . . . and have less work associated with them!

I didn't realize you had a son living close to you, but glad you do. In our highly mobile society today often kids (and other family) are all the way across the country.

Mama Pea said...

Stephanie - Even though I'm not a "sweets" eater, I already feel poofy and logy from the holiday treats I've indulged in. Watch out first of the year! I'm cleansing my body of all the not-so-good stuff . . . and making my waist happy, too!

Carolyn said...

Just thinking about all those millions of tiny quilt pieces make my head spin. HOW do you do that?! Well, however you manage to do it, it looks beautiful.

Mama Pea said...

Carolyn - Nah, the pieces in this one aren't tiny at all. The block is a basic Split Rail Fence and one beginning quilters often start with. All straight lines, no curves, no triangles, nothing on the bias. (Well, except for the border inset pieces.) You could manage it easily. Really.

Susan said...

That is going to be the most amazing shower curtain! I am all for someone else doing my baking for me. But, since no one will, it's up to me. However, I, too, am cutting way back this year. I am not to be trusted alone with ANY baked good.

Carolyn said...

Just like the ruffles, right?