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Saturday, December 31, 2016

White House tour

I toured the White House yesterday with a group from the senior center.  Last time I went was over 30 years ago, wow!

This very interesting portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama wasn't in the White House; actually it was in the lounge at the Hotel Washington close by.

The tour only allows visitors on the State (or first) floor.

This beautiful concert grand piano is in the East Room, which is used for receptions, ceremonies, press conferences, etc.   You can't see it, but the legs are carved into eagles.

Tennessee marble floor in the entrance and cross halls, showing the construction and renovation dates of the White House.

The Red Room is used for small receptions; it's decorated as an American Empire parlor of 1810-1830.

Beautiful carpet, and look at the carving on the fireplace!

Another beautiful carpet, this one in the Green Room.  This room is also used for receptions.

The furniture was red, go figure!

The State Dining Room can seat 130 guests at dinners and luncheons.

There is a quotation from John Adams carved in the fireplace mantel but I couldn't get close enough to actually see it!

Beautiful ceiling in the State Dining Room!

The wall paneling is made of English oak, from the 1902 renovation.

This table is also in the State Dining Room, I don't know the date it was built.

There were other rooms you could see on the tour but because of the position of the ropes (sometimes just outside the door) it was difficult to actually see anything.

Seen but not shown here:  the Library (fuzzy picture); the Vermeil room has an extensive collection of vermeil (gilded silver); the China room displays pieces of china and glass used by the Presidents; the Blue room, often used by the President to receive guests.  The White House Christmas tree is usually placed in this room.

I had been looking forward to seeing the Christmas decorations!  Alas, they were removed Wednesday, just three days after Christmas.

When I think back to my earlier visit (30 years ago), somehow it seems we were able to see much more than you can see now.

Here's a tip:  if you're planning a White House visit - especially with a group - plan early!  Because of background checks it could  take weeks, even months to get a tour date.

Well that was my day, enjoy yours!  Sew forth and sew on.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A little t-this, a little t-that..

Three things to be happy about:
(1) this
(2) that
(3) the other

Day started out as one of those not-so-happy days - plumbing problems!  My usual plumber wanted to schedule me for between 8-10 - TOMORROW!  No can do!  Second one wanted to put me on their emergency list for "sometime today, and it may slide to tomorrow."  No way.

I guess three's the charm because the third company sent someone within 45 minutes - problem solved.  See, there's always something to be happy about!

I've heard of double yoke eggs, but this is the first time I've actually seen a double onion!

Can this be another happy thing??

Two for the price of ... two!

And where was this double onion going, so early in the morning??

Hash browns!

Didn't have my usual bell pepper though - oh well, they taste just as good!

Today I need to finish the binding on my Scrap Crystals quilt, but before all that I gotta make just one more trip to Maryland Live! casino.

Happy, happy, happy!

Have your own happy everyone, sew forth and sew on...

Monday, December 26, 2016

Sixty-four, Sixty-four...

Three things to be happy about:
(1) raising one eyebrow
(2) CNN
(3) choosing a baby's name

I hope everyone's Christmas was merry and bright!  Today's blog title reminds me of a joke I heard a long time ago, here's an abbreviated version:
As I was walking past a tall wooden fence the other day I heard a small crowd chanting from behind the fence ...  "Thirteen, thirteen, thirteen ..."  I approached a small knot hole and when I leaned down to peek through the hole, a finger jabbed me in the eye!  The crowd cheered loudly and started chanting again. "Fourteen, fourteen, fourteen..."

If you prefer to watch the full Sony version, it's here:


En Provence clue 5, sixty-four HST units...

I'm linking with the En Provence Mystery Monday link-up on Quiltville, go see what everybody else did so far, then come back!

Of the 64 HST units I did, I think this is my favorite.

No special reason, it just is.

It looks a bit wonky but it's the right size and shape!  Just the camera angle...

Cut, pieced, pressed and stacked.

Thanks Bonnie for such an easy step!

Sixty-four... sixty four... sixty-four... sew forth and sew on...

Sunday, December 25, 2016

A Blessed, Merry Christmas!

"What's to-day?" cried Scrooge, calling downward to a boy in Sunday clothes, who perhaps had loitered in to look about him.
"To-day?" replied the boy.  "Why, Christmas Day."
--A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens

Saturday Evening Post Cover, December 15, 1934

Wishing you all near and far a Christmas that sparkles with moments of love, laughter and goodwill.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Purple on the half-square

Merry Christmas, movie house! Merry Christmas, Emporium! Merry Christmas, you wonderful old Building and Loan!
--George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life

I'm glad this week's En Provence mystery clue involves making 3-1/2" half-square triangle units, because I get to start with leftover strips already cut for two other clues!

I'll use these til they're gone before cutting more.

I even managed to find three more purple fabrics that I overlooked before - or rejected for some reason.

Most things are worth a second look, eh?

I love it when my units come out the right size!

The tip Bonnie gave about holding the pointy end of the HST with your finger, rather than with a stiletto (or seam ripper) as I usually do, helped a lot.  I got less wiggle at the end of the seam.

So I got 10 units sewn and ready for pressing, just enough to get my feet wet on the new step!

Santa rides tonight, look for him!  Sew forth and sew on...

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

All Provence'd up!

Marley was dead: to begin with.  There is no doubt whatever about that.... You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a door-nail.
--A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens

221 neutral 4-patches:

100 magenta and neutral triangles in a square:

168 dark/light purple 4-patches:

80 dark purple and neutral triangles in a square:

A picture is worth a thousand words: all caught up - En Provence is on point!

Welcome to the first day of Winter, sew forth and sew on...

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Back in neutral

Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grind-stone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner!
--A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens

When I was in the Dollar Tree a few days ago I saw this package of Marie Callender cheese biscuit mix ...  why not give it a try?

They look like biscuits, nicely browned ...

Taste test ...

hmmm ... they were sorta dry in my opinion.  The package did say add more butter if the dough is too dry; guess I shoulda!

On the other hand, I only spent a dollar.

All my sewing time is still being devoted to En Provence; I'm glad to say I finished almost all of the Step 1 neutral 4-patches!

When the first clue was released I was trying very hard not to repeat two-piece combinations - it was taking a lot of my time!  I cut my strips 6-1/2" long to get the fewest identical combos that I possibly could.

I had to wake up and smell the lavender!  Way too much time majoring on the minor, some combinations will repeat, and it simply can't be helped.  And in the long run does it really matter?

Strip pairs ready to be pressed and cross-cut into two-sies

Paired two-sies to be sewn into four-sies

I usually cut the four-sies apart in groups of 10 after sewing a string.  This helps me keep count; I can see at a glance - I have 40 4-patches ready to go!  I'll press and twirl em later.

When I finish up the neutral 4-patches today I'll be all caught up!  While I wait for the next step maybe I'll pull out the hourglass leader-ender units to work on, or maybe I'll do a bit of decluttering.  

Sew forth and sew on...

Monday, December 19, 2016

Deep purple

OMG I'm dreaming of purple!  Would you indulge me for a minute??  Anybody remember?

Now for the real reason you're here  😉

Working on the Quiltville En Provence mystery, I'm collecting the smallest, tiniest, bonus triangles in history -- they're called pixie dust!

Pixie dust falls right in line after crumbs...

Some from Orca Bay, some from Allietare, some from Texas Tumbleweeds, some from Scrap Crystals ... you get the idea!

What to do with those tiny gems?  Why, you put em in a bottle - and I have 3 bottles of em!

Seriously though I finished all 80 of the step 4 units.

It's easier to keep track of how may you've done when you kit them up, then pin together in groups of 10 as you sew.

10 become 20, 20 become 60, and before you know it - you're done!

I like to include a lot of unrelated fun fabrics in my neutrals, little things you wouldn't think twice about if you saw them alone.

There's even some Christmas fabrics in the lineup, I like to mix it up!

So that concludes step 4, now I can get back to the remaining neutral 4-patches from step 1.

Getting there!  I'm linking with Bonnie's En Provence linky so you can see what everybody else is up to!

Sew forth and sew on til later...

Saturday, December 17, 2016

On Dasher! On Dancer! En Provence!

"Will you buy my hair?" asked Della.
"I buy hair," said Madame. "Take yer hat off and let's have a sight at the looks of it."
Down rippled the brown cascade.
"Twenty dollars," said Madame, lifting the mass with a practised hand.
"Give it to me quick," said Della.
--The Gift of the Magi, by O. Henry

Every so often when I turned on my camera, I'd get a card error.  Time to get another card!

Oh my how things have changed!  The last time I bought a card (5-6 years ago??) it held 2GB; on the other hand, the card that came with the camera I bought a year ago is 16GB.  When I went to get the new one (Costco), I didn't even see  a 16GB card, the lowest was 32GB!

Just look at the packaging - why do you need a large 12 x 18" cardboard to hold a tiny little 1 x 2" inch square??

Who knows what, anyway!

With Part 4, I think we've just about reached the halfway point in the Quiltville En Provence mystery.  Don't quote me, though!

We have to do 80 of the triangle in a square units; I cut enough purple wings to make 40.

In going through my purples, somehow the pieces seem to be fewer than I thought, not as many of the dark fabrics in the mix.

Oh well!

I need to cut 10 more from neutrals.  They look like snowflakes, don't they?

I probably shouldn't have said the "S" word, they're calling for freezing rain and bad driving conditions until around 11 a.m., and my guild's meeting is today at 10.

I got an apple pie from Costco for the party; I'd hate to eat that entire pie by myself!

Sew forth and sew on

Friday, December 16, 2016

Push that purple! Some more!

"One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher.... Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty-seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas."
--The Gift of the Magi, by O. Henry

Today's post is brought to you by the color purple!

Served with Tazo Passion herbal infusion -- a magical blend of hibiscus, lemon grass, rose hips, mango and passion fruit flavors.

Often described as an herbal tea, there is actually no tea in it at all.

 It's a good cuppa!

So this is what 170 purple 4-patches look like ...

All posing as a single act just one more time ...

Ready for the next step!

Sew forth and sew on...