Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Pussy Willow Tree

Tomorrow D and I will travel northwestward to visit my sister-in-law Ann.  In preparation, we went to the grocery store this morning to purchase items for the lunch that we plan to take with us.  Last time Ann provided the meal so it's our turn this time.  We planned on cold cuts for sandwiches and the wonderful spinach and fruit salad with poppyseed dressing that ME makes (so delicious!).  I thought I'd bake something but came across a glazed bundt cake that is half vanilla and half chocolate.  I couldn't resist.  So we added that to our cart with a half pint of raspberries and whipped cream to make the cake even prettier.  This lunch will be heavy on fruit, I know, but it's better than just being heavy!
Anyway, the reason I got into this conversation is to show you something else I saw at the grocery store and purchased:

It's a grafted "pussy willow tree"!  You know why I loved it instantly and why I photographed it on an old quilt, right?  Doesn't it instantly remind you of all those really lovely primitive patterns that include weeping willow trees?  This particular specimen didn't have the most open pussy willows, but we bought it for its shape and branches. 
When I saw it, I immediately went to find D to tell him I had found something he absolutely had to see.  At that time I didn't know this is a grafted tree, and it probably wouldn't have made any difference anyway.  All I could think was how much fun D would have making this a bonsai specimen.  Since it's grafted that makes it difficult (it's grafted near the top just below the branches so one can't make the trunk shorter and for a bonsai, it's rather tall), but he decided he could still work with it. 
It wasn't inexpensive at $25, but just think of the pillowcases I've been making lately!  They're $25 for a set.  Each of us has our own way of having fun and our products make us both happy so neither of us complains over what the other one spends. 
Oh, and one last note.  I did find and purchase from eBay what might be the pattern I was looking for yesterday.  I don't have the picture to show you, but I believe it will enable me to make a wall hanging for D.  We'll see; I'll let you know once the pattern gets here.  By the way, I do find myself dreaming about the Hoffman pattern I showed you yesterday.  Once it's published, I might have to add it to my collection; it all depends . . .


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Quilt Pattern Search

One of the last things I need is another pattern (like fabric, I've rarely met a pattern I didn't like), but I really am looking for a specific pattern.  When D and I went to the quilt show in Gilbertsville last year, we saw several variations of a pattern that used a screen setting.  In looking at the wall hangings , one felt as though one were looking at a version of the old room divider screens.
Below is a pattern "Dragon Screen Quilt" I found on Hoffman's Fabrics, and while not exactly what I saw last year, this one is close.  By the way, this pattern hasn't been published yet which is another problem. 

Dragon Screen quilt

In contrast to this pattern, the quilt I saw had only three panels, one wide one in each row, and the quilt itself was wider than it was long. I know I could figure it out, but it would be easier to adapt a pattern than to figure the math out myself.   And you know me and math!
This is a gorgeous rendition of a screen though, isn't it?  Just look at these fabrics - lovely juxtaposition of swirling dragons, small geometrics, and larger floral shapes.  There are others mixed in, too, but they are harder to figure out and I haven't seen these fabrics in shops, yet.  The fabric I want to use is more of a panel that would be divided into the three parts of the screen.  The colors are very striking and very much in keeping with today's palatte.
Anyway, I just wanted to ask if anyone has such a pattern and would be willing to tell me the name of it and the maker?  Thank you!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Madison Star Quilt

I know that most of you, if not all, have by this time seen at least the pattern for Karen Gibbs' "Madison Star".  And you may have checked out her Face Book page or local quilt shops and have seen examples of the quilt.  What is very hard to convey by looking at either the pattern cover or samples on the wall is how very much this pattern adapts to any fabric choice.  Some people may look at the pattern and think, "Oh, this isn't for me.  I love repro fabric in traditional settings, and this pattern is too contemporary."  Or, "My taste is contemporary and this wall hanging looks so muted and gentle and well, old-timey."  If you like the traditional look in quilts, think "Lone Star" and all the different fabrics in which you've seen that pattern made.  If modern is what you want to pursue, take a look at the two possibilities below.
Okay the first photo is no help at all.  I just really liked the way my scraps looked after I squared up my strips.  The dark green batik isn't one of mine; it's a piece Karen gave us to practice with - more about that later. 
ME and I took the class together, and for once, she is making a quilt for herself (after years and years of making quilts for everyone else, she's about due!).  So to please herself, she purchased jelly rolls of bright batiks with Kona's Jet Black as her background.  Sorry, I can't remember if the jelly roll was from Anthologie or another fabric manufacturer.  Her strips have not been sewn together at this point.  We were to put the strips for our first strip set up on the design wall so we (and more importantly, Karen) could make sure we had sewed the strips correctly and they were in the right order.  Doesn't this strip set make you smile and feel cheerful?
This next example is mine, and I chose Rowan fabrics (mostly Kaffe Fassett but not all) from Westminster Fabrics with a Kona solid in Eggplant as my background.  Fabrics from the Rowan designers are too bright and bold and big for many tastes but cut up in small pieces one has wonderful saturated colors.  I just adore the way this looks.  By the way, the colors I have chosen will stay similar throughout the quilt but the individual fabrics will change.

There are tricky parts to this pattern.  The first one is keeping your 8 different fabrics (#8 is the background color) in the correct order.  If you label everything as the pattern tells you to and follow the directions carefully, you'll be fine.  The second one is learning how to sew an accurate Y-seam on the sewing machine.  It's easy to do by hand but not so easy on the machine - unless you follow Karen's instructions and practice  using her methodology.  Below is a photograph of  ME's and my practice Y-seam blocks (hard to see but the dark green batik from the scraps photo forms the base in these blocks) hanging out together on the design wall.  Pretty neat don't you think?

All this being said and done, the pattern is extraordinarily well laid out and written (read it all, use a highlighter to mark the tricky bits for the size you're making, follow the directions!).   While you can certainly do it yourself, I do recommend taking the class from Karen using whatever fabrics you like best. 
Whether you make it yourself or take the class, do put yourself in the designer's hands.  If you've always done things a certain way, allow yourself to be flexible and try it Karen's way. After all, she created the pattern, wrote it up, made ten Madison Star samples, and knows what she's talking about!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Grandson's Visit

Our grandson's visit was great fun!  At eight he is full of energy but willing and able to channel that energy.  We played Uno and chess, read stories, and played with toy soldiers (actually that was mostly D playing with grandson and soldiers while I looked on and tried to act as though I was both interested and knowledgeable).  We went on errands, to hobby shops (for more toy soldiers - !), to the movies ("Escape from Planet Earth" an only so-so animated), and to the Discovery Center in the Pine Bush (small but good for young ones - and older ones, too!  All too soon it was time to drive him halfway back to meet with his dad who then took him home.
Photos?  Well, only a few as I believe in being very careful what I put "out there".   Remember those toy soldiers?

Obviously, this tiny set is not new, but G'son is now old enough not to put them in his mouth (!), but I think here he was trying to take advantage of D and capture a desirable soldier.  D was not having any of that!

Then there was the cookie making.  Like me, G'son clearly believes that more is better!

Reluctantly, all these cookies went home with G'son.  What's not to like about M&M's and an abundance of sprinkles?

Finally, this one is our grandson engrossed in his IPad game (what did we ever do without these gadgets?) on the way to meet his dad at the end of the visit.  Among other things he now plays Hearts after watching and helping me play it on my Kindle Fire and Mahjong which D taught him this visit.  Grandson promptly won the first two games he played.  It amazes me the difference technology is making in the lives of the younger generation, and I do believe that some of those changes are for the better.  Do you remember what it was like in the automobile on long trips?  Despite games and books there were still too many tired and cranky kids (and adults!).  Now there are more options that really engage the younger travelers, and I'm all for that.

Until next time, G'son.  Thanks for spending some time with us and making our lives brighter!

Monday, February 18, 2013


Our grandson is here for a few days.  What a treat for us!  It means that I won't be writing any entries during that time as night time (when I usually write) is meant for games after supper and reading before bed. 

I know you understand, and I will be back soon.

Have a lovely week!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Mary Corbet's New Enthusiasm

Thanks to LP who laughed out loud at yesterday's entry and told me so and to ME who was amazed at Windex's "new" powers (note: do remember that I had used some common sense with the turpenoid first!) and then gently pointed out that I really should have put something down before painting.  Ah, but that would have been sensible!
Today I did nothing amazing other than cooking and tidying.  With visitors coming I did think I should spiffy up the house.  Not too much, mind you, I don't want them to think they've wandered into the wrong place! 
So tonight I am weary with nothing special of my own to share, but I do want to pass along something that might make you shake your heads in wonderment. 
You may remember the name Mary Corbett whose prowess with an embroidery needle leaves me speechless.  I subscribe to her blog (and I highly recommend you check her out) and today she talked about embroidering eggs. 
Yes, eggs.
I will say nothing more, but I do think you should check out February 14, 2013's entry on her blog to see what I'm referring to:
After you read her entry, just remember; some people think I'm crazy!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Funny Thing Happened When . . .

Yesterday when I came home from painting class, I was still wrapped up in the painting and reluctant to leave it alone.  Usually I don't do much painting here because there's really no safe place to paint.  My easel is in the computer room which has an unprotected carpet on the floor (horrid, ugly, old carpet, but it's what we have for the time being).  Yesterday that didn't stop me.
I had two palette knives going, one in either hand, and both were loaded with paint.  I don't know exactly how it happened, but I managed to drop one - the bigger of the two, the one with more paint (cadmium blue), naturally.  D was at the computer in the same room so there was no way to hide what had happened.  Of course, I told him I'd clean it up (though I had no idea how), but I knew it was my mess, my responsibility.
Fortunately, he had to go out so I was able to run through my repertoire of cleaning tricks (it didn't take long, I really don't have very many).  First I took out my turpenoid (what used to be straight turpentine is now something similar but not exactly the same - I never took chemistry so I have no clue), paper towels, and cloth rags.  Scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed at it.  I did manage to get quite a bit out, but that section of the rug still looked quite bluish (and so did the paper towels, the rags, and me).
Okay, I thought to myself.  I'll let it dry a little, and then I'll use the Resolve (our go-to cleaner for hair balls from our cats).  Downstairs I went to arm myself with the next set of cleaning supplies when I had an idea.
Do you remember My Big Fat Greek Wedding?  Guess what I used instead of Resolve.  Yup.  And it worked!
Windex is truly awesome stuff.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Road to the Lake, Day 3

While I promised I wouldn't weigh in every time I put a speck of paint on my canvas, I do think it's all right if in these entries, I show you each step in a particular painting.  For example, today I'll show you the first step, the underpainting, again:

I want to make sure you don't forget how scary this looks!  And I would follow it with the day I started to put down the "first pass", i.e., when I started using the paint in colors that may or may not remain when the work is finished.  In other words, the "sketch" (above) is finished so it's time to get down to work.  Except, it turns out I did not take a picture that day - probably because I had promised not to bore you.  So I guess you'll have to imagine what it looked like. 

Instead, I'll show you what it looks like now:

The second day, I worked on the foreground vegetation on the right hand side, the road with its shadows, and the sky.  Today I worked on the field in the middle ground, the tree on the left, the lake, and the mountain in that order.  Once I was home, I re-sized the farm buildings - barn in mid-right and farmhouse (the ghostly apparition that is merely saving a place for the building) - back to almost accurate scale.  I had toyed with the idea of making them more prominent but realized today that didn't suit the "story" of the painting - which is all about the excitement of this first view of the lake as we drove down the road
You may notice that I am not trying to paint every blade of grass or each individual weed.  Instead I am trying to let the color give you an idea of what is in the painting figuring that your mind will do the rest - filling in the blanks I leave.  It's more impressionistic than realistic.
Anyway, what remains to be done?  A lot actually.  The sky as it is now has to go!  I was experimenting with ultramarine blue instead of my usual cadmium blue.  This color doesn't fit the brilliant palette I'm using for this painting.  Stay tuned for a new sky next time. 
All of the trees need work and many of them aren't even there, yet!  Both of the trees on the left - the one right on the road and the second down by the farmhouse have only their basic real color (as opposed to the underpainting color).  The evergreen on the road will be covered by the frame (if this painting ever is framed, of course, but one has to think of that) if I don't pull its branches out farther.   The tree on the right (look back at the first painting) has been covered almost completely by lake and mountain.  That was deliberate as this tree is deciduous so there will be more space between branches and leaves for background to show through.  It's easier to paint the background first!  The trees behind the buildings aren't there at all, but they will be eventually.
Then there are the buildings.  The farm, of course, but also the cabins across the lake below the mountain - and their reflections. 
Once all of that is at least laid in, I'll have to step back and see what doesn't work, what does, balance of color, perspective, focal point and so on.
It will be a couple of weeks before you see this again, but I will continue to show you in that one entry all the stages the painting has gone through.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Busy Sewing Day

The title of this post says it all.  That's about all I accomplished today - sewing, and it was fun! 
Over the weekend ME and I took a class on Karen Gibbs' pattern "Madison Star" (which we nicknamed  "MadStar"), and for reasons too trivial to go into, I had difficulty taking in the instruction for the first hour and a half.  So today I wanted to make sure I worked on our "homework".  If I had problems, I wanted to be able to e-mail Karen.  As it turned out, I had been able to catch up enough in understanding the process during the class to be able to sew some strip sets together today.  I finished the two largest sets which gave me quite a sense of accomplishment (we started the biggest in class, and I just decided today to continue working my way down from largest to smallest).   Throughout the week, I will continue to whittle my way down to strip set #1 so I will be all ready for the second class.
This pattern is a bargello star made with two and a half inch strips from jelly rolls (a handy name for 40 strips rolled up and tied with ribbon).  While I love star motifs, making this quilt is a personal challenge that I set myself.  I have a tremendous respect for Karen's ability as both the designer of the pattern and as the teacher so that's not part of the challenge, but my fabrics are. 
Challenge #1:  I chose to purchase jelly rolls featuring Kaafe Fassett's fabrics for this quilt.  Now while I like most of his designs, I don't like all of them.  That's one of the problems I have with jelly rolls.  You can't really see what you're going to get in the package when the strips are all rolled up!  Today I found I had to keep telling myself to look at colors and not to get hung up on designs I don't care for.  Since the strips will be cut into smaller pieces, the color is really all that matters. 
Challenge #2:  I don't do well with randomness as I'm sure I've said before.  I am a fan of controlled randomness when I am allowed to say, "I don't like this here; I'm going to chose another fabric instead."  Fortunately, it turns out that that is Karen's approach also.  However, my jelly rolls have a few different strips in different packages so I can't duplicate colors in each set as I feel should.  Karen says that doesn't matter, Noel, so trust her!
When I have this quilt finished I'll show you and tell you how I feel about the process and the end result.  One thing I can tell you is my quilt will be bright and cheerful!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

After the Storm

Human beings are funny creatures.  Here in the Northeast we tend to complain about the cold weather and/or the length of the winter season.  Snow and ice are viewed as enemies, gray skies are depressing, and let's not forget what we say about plummeting temperatures!  Icy roads scare us (or many of us) and sidewalks are seen as treacherous paths waiting to help us fall.  If you listen to the catalog of bodily complaints, you know that our fingers, toes, ears, noses are all threatening to "fall off" in frigid weather.  We hang on our favorite weather predictor's every word and take those words as the truth.
Often those words are accurate, and we nod our heads in agreement and discuss our sagacity in stocking up on batteries, ice-melt, perishable food, and movies (just in case we have power).
But if those words are not wholly correct, and the storm (as in the current case) is not as ferocious as we anticipated?  We become incensed!  We vilify the false information that took the possibility of a record-breaking storm away from us and the foolishness of closing of schools.  We cite snowfalls in neighboring, more lucky towns (because they actually got the storm) with awe and a bit of envy.  We turn on the abilities of the once favored weather person and snort in disdain. 
How do I know all this?  Because I sat with two groups this weekend and listened to the conversations about what we missed.  And I, too, joined in and lamented the fact that the predictions were wrong, and therefore, I, too, do not have tales to pass on to my grandchild about the "Big One" in '13.
But I do have some photographs of the glorious scenery on Saturday.  Enjoy them as you mull over and chuckle about what you said after the "storm".

 Snow be-decked birdhouse.

Subject of earlier snow studies - really like this one with the shadows.

Trees and sky - so beautiful!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Warm Wishes

Friday isn't usually a "Blog Day" for me, but today I thought I'd send you my warm wishes for a happy and WARM weekend!

From our wood burning stove to your tootsies -
Happy Weekend!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Day at the Movies

Today I went to see the movie "Quartet" which I know some of you have seen, and some of you have chosen not to - possibly after reading the reviews.  Most of those that I read did not give the movie many points.  According to them, the movie was improbable, highly predictable, slow, etc., and it was compared unfavorably to a stage version.
If one is looking for a real slam dunk of a movie that will win Oscars, I admit this is not the one to go see.  If, however, you are willing to be charmed, to have a pleasant afternoon, and to hear some fine music, this is for you.  Taking the criticisms one by one, here's why
  • Some of the plot elements are improbable.  And that's bad?  In the world in which we live, the happy improbable is a welcome diversion.
  • The events are very predictable.  That's true, but people can certainly be predictable so one could also say the movie is true to life.  A "cliche" becomes a cliche because of the kernel of truth within it.
  • It was slow in the beginning.  How many excellent books have we all read that started out slowly?  I can't remember how many times I began Girl with a Dragon Tattoo and put it down after more than a hundred pages.  Eventually, I determined to stick with it, I'm glad I did.   Since this movie was geared to the older generation, it doesn't seem to me this complaint has much weight.  We have the time and the experience to let "slow" develop. 
  • It isn't as good as the stage version.  I never saw that so it doesn't matter.  And who was it who said, "Comparisons are odious" or something like that?
  • This movie is pitched to boomers. So what? It's nice every once in a while to watch a movie that not only stars but is also about people even older than I!
Part of the problem may be that this entertaining film is just that.  Entertaining.  Funny.  Diverting.  Lovely.  It is a "feel good" movie for people like us, and so I say if you like to be entertained, do see it - just for fun.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Crazy Quilt Block 3 - Update

This is block 3 of the crazy quilt (aka CzQ) on which I'm working.  You may remember the photograph below from early January when I had just gone back to working on this project.
I've continued to work on it off and on, and below is a photograph of  where I am now.  I kept on thinking about the huge carrots in the purchased applique piece you see in the mid-right of the block, and in my mind I saw a cartoon panel in which a rabbit is reaching for those gorgeous, yummy, last-all-year carrots.  So I put a rabbit in the block.  Since it was a cartoon in my mind, I didn't want to embroider a life-like rabbit.  Instead I have a plaid rabbit done in wool and ultra suede (the red-brown is the ultra-suede and came from a dress belonging to my mother-in-law).  You can see he is reaching for those carrots-in-the-sky.
You can also see that he has been harvesting carrots if you look at the garden behind him and the basket at his feet full of the succulent vegetable.  Do you think it is his garden?  Or is he helping himself to the fruits of someone else's labor? 

In the photograph below in the upper left, you can see some twining vines with two bunches of grapes made with layered beads (the larger bunch is layered, the smaller is not) and two bunches of embroidered carrots.  There will be flowers and probably more carrots in this area eventually. 
And I will leave you with a close up the rabbit.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Last Minute Sketch

For art class this morning, I took only my pen and ink supplies.  My thought was that since I also had Crazy Quilt Class in the afternoon, I didn't want to run the risk of carrying wet smears of oil paint on my clothing or hands and transferring those smears to fabric.  I wouldn't be happy, and I can't even imagine how I would feel if the transfer was made to a CzQ block belongig to someone else.  I shudder to think . . .

So I spent an hour working with the dip pen because I'm still not used to the feel of it as it moves across paper.  I worked on a sketch of gulls in flight (photo courtesy of Mardi), and it was spectacularly awful.  I learned that dip pens were intended for use on smooth paper (like vellum, perhaps? excuse me, "duh" moment here), and I was using my bumpy watercolor paper.  It was so awful I hid it in my folder so I wouldn't have to see it. 
Anyway, while hiding the dreadfulness, I found a photo that said, "Try me" in a chirpy voice.  So during the last 15 minutes of class time, I worked on a pen and ink sketch using my fountain pen, a new cartridge, and the watercolor paper.  Although certainly not finished, it has promise as a study for a finished work. 

I won't bother with what is wrong with this work because it really is a quick sketch.  The paper should not be horizontal for this particular scene, but when I started I didn't think I'd get around to adding the figure and all the vegetation.  I was more interested in the ramshackle barn, and ironically, I spent the least amount of time on it. 
Let me just say that I like it enough to work on another sketch of this subject soon.
Oh, I should also say that D recognized both the site and the person with no hints.  "Happy days are here again . . ."

Monday, February 4, 2013

Sunday's Sewing

Warned you that today would be about the sewing I did on Sunday.  Well, I may not have specified sewing, but you probably knew anyway.  ME and I went to one of the local quilt shops (JQ) for a Super Bowl sew-in.   There were far more sewers than I anticipated, but it all worked, of course.  After all, these are quilters I'm talking about.  The only downside was that I didn't get a chance to talk with some friends that were seated in an out of the way place (Hi, Pam and Mary!).  That was more my fault than anything else because I "got my mojo back" and spent my time industriously sewing.
After Sunday, I really feel that I have passed through the Valley of Post-Holiday Distress and Meh-Feeling.  Here's why I think that way:

I managed to make seven and a half blocks before it was time to pack up and go home, yeah!!!  The half block was my brain telling me it was time to pack it in because I made a mistake and sewed the star points to the wrong color.  Definitely time to quit.  
This is a Kim Diehl pattern that ME and I are both making (I altered the weight of the churn dash as I prefer this version).  ME and I chose the fabrics to use but not how they would be used so our color combinations will be different.  For every block I make, I sew an identical second block to give to ME.  Theoretically, we'll each have enough blocks for a bed-sized quilt faster, and the color combinations will make the quilt more interesting.  We are calling it our Girlfriend Quilt.  She makes half of mine, and I make half of hers.
We will each do our own version of the applique block that is the centerpiece of this quilt.  I may be ahead on the churn dash blocks, but ME will finish the applique before I will have even designed mine! 
We switched places in the "nothing's working for me today" phase yesterday.  While I sewed, ME socialized.  It happens that way for all of us sometimes.  I just hope that it doesn't last for her as it did for me.  Maybe tomorrow's Crazy Quilt Class will help her get her groove back.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

New Page

A page has been turned, and this weekend was wonderful. 
Alice came for a visit and  to celebrate her birthday (technically Monday, February 4th so - happy birthday, Alice!).  She arrived on Friday just in time for a turkey dinner, some conversation, and TV watching before we all tumbled into our beds. 

Saturday it was off to Troy for the Farmer's Market.  It was our first time for the indoor, winter version, and we got there early enough to be able to cruise the entire market before making purchases.  We had breakfast there, bought some items, and left just as the crowd was building.  It is a trip we certainly will make again.  Then we crossed the street and went to one of David's and my favorite independent bookstores.  We all had a good browse and left with some books to read. 

Crossing the river again, we went to the NYS Museum to see both the Seneca Ray Stoddard and Gordan Parks exhibits.  Stoddard was the early photographer of the Adirondacks and was highly influential in the creation of the Adirondack Park.  While I thoroughly enjoyed the photographs of the Adirondacks (especially those of the grand hotels with their guests, the transportation for those guests, and the activities in which they enjoyed their stay at those hotels), I was most pleased to see some (three) of Stoddard's oil paintings which I'd never seen before.  It is an exhibit worth seeing, and the descriptive cards and placards made both the photographs and Stoddard's place in the conservation of the Adirondaks far more clear to me.
The second exhibit, also of photography, focused on the work of Gordan Parks.  He was a black man whose career took off in the early 1940's.  He was one of the pioneers of portraying the faces and lives of black women and men who worked in menial jobs, the unseen faces of charladies and their families for example.  There are also some wonderful photos that remind us that children can find joy in play no matter who they are or where they live.  Alice and I particularly enjoyed a photo of a dance class of six or seven little girls jumping from a bench in their white dance not-quite-tutus costumes.  This, too, is an exhibit well worth seeing.
And of course, being at the museum, we had to admire the mastodon!
Afterwards we lunched at the new deli, Nosh, on Western Avenue near the entrance to Crossgates.  VERY good deli fare, and all three of us recommend it based on D's beef brisket, Alice's tongue, and my Reuben sandwiches. 
That evening we had a dinner of pork and sides as well as red velvet cupcakes all selected by Alice.  Then Nancy called to wish her sister happiness, and Alice was finally able to open her gifts (guess what I made for her. You're right, pillowcases!).  More chat and TV and off to warm beds.
Which is where I'm headed now - my warm bed.  I'll save the good times of today including some sewing for tomorrow's entry. 
Enjoy your Monday!