Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye 2010!

Saying "goodbye" to 2010 doesn't hurt my feelings one bit!  It's been a year that has pulled me in a million different directions, and I'm ready to get on with some new normals. 

I have accomplished a lot more than I realized, however.  I joined the 25-Motif Challenge to practice techniques and keep track of how many things I really do tat.  It doesn't seem like I accomplish much tatting, but I have completed one challenge, and have started another.  I actually tatted a doily, entered it into both the county fair and the state fair and earned ribbons at both.  I have given away numerous bookmarks, and even found a couple of tatters that are interested in getting together as 'Twin Cities Tatters' to have a group devoted to tatting.  As far as my tatting life goes, 2010 has been a good year!

I will end 2010 with motifs for my 2nd 25-Motif Challenge.  The first one is my #6 - pattern is 'Snowflake 7' from Festive Snowflakes and Ornaments, in Lizbeth Jelly Bean thread, size 20.  I really love this pattern - it tats up so nice and neat.

Motif #7 is the 'Wheel of Nine Rings' from Christmas Angels and Other Tatting Patterns. I have looked at this pattern many times - the look just appeals to me.  This one is in DMC white perle cotton, size 12.

I started both of these motifs with intentions of putting them on some satin Christmas balls.  I never did figure out a small bottom motif to use for connecting it all to a ball for a pretty ornament - maybe next year!

Farewell 2010! 
I'm really looking forward to all the good things I know are coming in 2011. 
Happy, Happy New Year!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Peace & Joy

May the spirit of Christmas bring you


wherever you are.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Traditions

Lefse-making is one of our family's Christmas traditions.  My Grandma always made the Christmas lefse without fail, even when she wasn't feeling so well, and probably shouldn't have been working with a 500 degree griddle.  I posted all this last year too (HERE) - but I'm going to do it again, because it really is part of my Christmas preparation every year!

Grandma taught my cousin and I how to make lefse the way she did it before she passed away.  Boy, did we laugh alot that day!  I wish I had pictures of the first attempts at rolling out mashed potatoes :)

For several years I had "Lefse Day" at my house the end of November.  My cousin and Mom and aunts and kids joined us, and we had a fun gathering to make the lefse.  The tradition has dwindled down to my daughters and I making the lefse now - a mother/daughter day that we enjoy while it snows outside, trying to get us into the holiday spirit.

Lefse is basically mashed potatoes, fried like a tortilla!  I boil 5 lbs. of potatoes in their skins, and then use a ricer to rice the potatoes with butter.  That sits in the refrigerator overnight.  The next morning, the potatoes are mixed, 3 Cups to 1 Cup of flour, and then rolled into balls.

 The lefse griddle gets a light coat of paraffin wax.  This has always been tricky (if
 not hilarious), as we try to avoid the smoke alarms going off by fanning any smoke from the wax toward open windows.  We've had many laughs over the years trying to get the griddle "just right" so the lefse doesn't stick.  Most people just throw flour on the griddle, but Grandma taught us to use as little flour as possible so the lefse stays soft.

We take turns rolling, frying, and transferring to the towels.

We even make sure Grandma enjoys making lefse with us - her picture watches us.  She would be proud that her family's lefse tradition is being carried on.  When Grandma was young, she helped her mother make the lefse ON Christmas Eve, on a wood stove.  It's hard enough on an electric griddle - I can't imagine trying to regulate the heat on a wood stove!

Once again, the lefse is ready.  In the freezer until the Christmas celebration.  Some like it with butter and white sugar, some like it with brown sugar, and MY favorite way to eat lefse is warmed up and wrapped around some leftover Christmas ham. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

On the "Naughty" List

I am embarrassed to say I've opened some Christmas gifts before I even have my own Christmas tree up!  Secret Santa gifts from both Intatters and the Tatting Forums have arrived, and I just couldn't wait :)

This wonderful box-full of tatting goodies is from Alizandria on InTatters.  Butterflies, a dragonfly and a Christmas ornament all tatted with my favorite color blue, along with the blue threads used.  One is variegated blue Rubi thread, and the other is Lizbeth Carribean, size 20.  And a whole container of beads!  I can't wait to play with all these goodies.

I participated in the Tatting Forums Secret Santa exchange as well, and this is from Tattin' Kat.  BBQ rub from Kansas City, postcards of her home area, and a pretty painted glass ornament along with more tatting goodies.

A painted mint tin (cute, cute, cute) and a matching shuttle. (I knew I've been saving those tins for a good reason!)  Tattin' Kat is lucky enough to exchange tatting for lovely painting done by her Mom.

And this lovely tatting - Jon Yusoff's Merriment Coaster/Doily pattern found HERE.

So,now I suppose I'm on the "naughty" list because I opened my gifts early.  The recipients of the gifts I sent either haven't received them yet, or are on the "nice" list and are waiting until Christmas to open them . . .

Ha! It was worth it - what a way to get into the holiday spirit!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Week of Thanks

This is the week I spend with my Mom.  Every year the men in the family are deer hunting over Thanksgiving week.  This has been the norm for me all my life.  Others wonder why I "allow" my husband to be hunting over the holiday, but this is how I grew up.  I believe I've only ever seen my Dad once in my life on Thanksgiving.  It's the way we roll!

Mom always comes to stay for the week, and we do some Christmas shopping, visit quilt shops and go out to eat.  We visit with eachother and with Mom's sisters - for this one time each year we just bum around together.  This year hubby is home - only the 2nd time in 28 years he's missed "the hunt".  Being out of a job doesn't allow the annual camaraderie, but we are thankful nonetheless.  We have a roof over our heads, food in the fridge, we are healthy, and have fabulous family and friends.  

Mom stopped at her sister's on the way here, and my aunt sent two tatting shuttles for me.   My aunt always remembers that I tat, and forwards me anything to do with tatting.  These may have belonged to my great aunt, or even possibly my great-great aunt.  Not sure how old they are.

The first one is larger than a Clover, and marked with TRADE-Gloria-MARK.  I have never seen this before, but it seems like a wonderful shuttle to use.

The other one is this blue marbled one.

This one is marked Susan Bates WHITE DOT, and is marked PATENT APP'D FOR.  The ends are loose, or "sprung".  I haven't seen a shuttle like this before and haven't had much time to research it, but I did find a little information by Teri Dusenbury HERE.  I will have to do some more snooping on these shuttles when I have a chance - but these were a fun surprise!  

I also received a Secret Santa gift from the Intatters exchange from Alizandria!  Some lovely tatting, an ornament, and some thread and beads.  I haven't had an opportunity to take photos yet, but will post that next time.  It's so fun to participate in exchanges!

I have only finished this one snowflake - and with mistakes at that.  This will be Motif #5 of my 2nd 25-Motif Challenge.

Motif #5
Snowflake #7 
Festive Snowflakes and Ornaments
Blue variegated thread, size 20

Mom & I will NOT be found shopping with the maniacs at 3 am on Friday.  We will be snug in our beds until we are good and ready to hit the pavement.  No deal is worth fighting the crowds at that ungodly hour for us.  Will YOU be shopping?

Happy Thanksgiving :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Let it Snow!

 I'm starting on snowflakes just in time - we had our first winter storm warning today, and have a sloppy 8 inches of heavy, wet snow on the ground.  Fortunately it's not a weekday, so the roads should be cleaned up by Monday morning's rush hour.

Motif #2 of my 2nd 25-Motif Challenge
Snowflake #4
Festive Snowflakes & Ornaments
Lizbeth Caribbean, Size 40

Significant Snowfall #1 of 2010
in Minnesota

There were a lot of cars in the ditch, but we still managed to meet for our first tatting get-together of the Twin Cities TattersAt least there are two of us interested in sharing techniques and proving that the lost art has been found!  We will be meeting the 2nd Saturday of the month beginning in January, and will always be prepared to teach beginners that want to learn, along with focusing on a specific technique.  If you are interested in joining us, email us at twincitiestatters (at) gmail (dot) com.  Today we accomplished a couple of butterflies for our business cards and enjoyed a lot of good conversation.  Snowbound in a coffee shop sounds pretty Minnesotan, doesn't it?

And, I forgot to post these bookmarks I finished for the Tatting Forums 'One-Bookmark-a-Month' Challenge.  I will count these as Motifs #3 and #4 of my 2nd 25-Motif Challenge:

Motif #3
Lizbeth Mocha Swirl and Mocha Brown, Size 40

Motif #4
Lizbeth Mountain Breeze and Off-White from the stash, Size 20


Next week begins the mad holiday rush at our house.  The men in the family go deer hunting in Wisconsin over Thanksgiving week.  My Mom comes to stay, and we shop and eat and visit and eat and shop and laugh and shop some more.  We get a start on the Christmas shopping and making our Christmas lefse, and we'll be sewing and tatting.  And so the season begins!

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Snowflake, A Shuttle and A Fight

A Snowflake
I'm starting my 2nd 25-Motif Challenge with a snowflake  - just in time for our first forecasted snowfall on Wednesday.  I hate it when it snows in October!  I noticed I got a little carried away with the picots as I went  - I started out pretty reasonable, but apparently I was going for "fluffy" snow.  I did this in plain old white cebelia size 20.  I know colored threads are pretty, but snowflakes just seem like they should be white.

Motif #1
Snowflake #2 from Festive Snowflakes and Ornaments
edited by Barbara Foster

A Shuttle
The best part was that I got to try out my recent splurge.  I've been wanting a shuttle from the Shuttle Shop, and I finally broke down and got the latest design in tulipwood.  Is this beautiful or what?  I enjoyed testing it out - it's very smooth and nice to tat with.  My first custom shuttle, I'm afraid, could lead to an addiction.

A Fight
I finally got back to working on the bag to match my tatting press over the weekend.  The bag and I got into a little disagreement.  OK, a fight.  Twice.  Quite frustrating to sew the bag shut and not realize it until trying to turn it right side out.  And then sewing up the handles completely confused me and made me momentarily crazy.  But, the seam ripper came to the rescue and we ironed out our differences after I slowed down and thought about what I was doing.  I'm such a dough-head sometimes.  This is the Project Grab Bag pattern I found HERE.  I thought this was a great bag for various projects - the looped handle makes the bag close well enough to avoid dumping things out, yet has enough extra loop to hold onto or hang on a doorknob. Finally done and ready to fill with a project or two.  I may have to make another one of these.

Oh yeah - and as long as I have a press with a matching bag, it was only fitting to make a matching shuttle too.  Right? 

Monday, October 18, 2010

An Historic Weekend

While heading to a state park in western Minnesota this weekend, we stopped in a small town in search of a cafe to get some lunch.  Sometimes small towns only have one cafe, so we ended up in an antique store to look around, and also inquire about restaurants. When I asked about tatting shuttles and antique needlework, the owner pulled out a bag of shuttles he had just gotten and hadn't put out yet.  I spied this:

An antique sterling shuttle!  I have only seen these a couple of times in antique stores, and for about $100 or so.  The store owner wasn't too sure about how to price it, so I waited for him to decide what to charge.  

Let's just say I still can't contain myself.  It's mine :)  Oh yeah - we did get directions to a cafe for lunch too.

On to the state park.  Both of us have pretty much lived in Minnesota all our lives, but neither of us have been to this western part of the state.  Lac Qui Parle State Park is about 50 miles from the South Dakota border, and is more prairie and grassland than where we live.  We've never gone this direction because we thought the land would be boring, flat and just grass and cornfields.  Well, most of the way it is just that, but the park was a pleasant surprise with beautiful views like this:


Even though it was chilly, we enjoyed hiking around and learning a bit about the history of the area.  Lac Qui Parle Lake is actually part of the Minnesota River that is created by a dam built to control flooding.  This is an area full of Native American history as well.  This replica of the mission that was here was interesting to hike around and read about the attempts to teach the Dakota tribe English and convert them to Christianity.  While walking, we could just imagine the Native Americans and fur traders walking the same land.

 We hiked to "the" Cottonwood tree - the most massive tree I have ever seen.  Supposedly, this is the largest cottonwood in the state.  The picture doesn't really show the sheer magnitude of this tree!

The sunset and sunrise were beautiful, the stars and the milky way were awesome, the owl hooting and the geese squawking were pleasant sounds of nature.  Once again, we enjoyed a much needed relaxing, peaceful weekend.  And, once again, I took a million photos.