Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

So. 2008? How'd that happen?

Happy New Year to all and to all a good night (drive carefully, if you drink, do so responsibly, wear your seatbelt, call if you're going to be late.... yeah, I'm a mom)

Resolutions? Hmmmm.... increased patience, generosity, and time spent with kids - with older kids, because once this baby pops out, I am well aware that it is 24/7 for a while with her, so have to choose a lot of activities with baby riding along in a carrier or even latched on and eating.

ETA: Oh yeah. Professional goals. I hope to finish my NaNoWriMo novel and go back and edit it so the early, exploratory scenes line up with the way the characters developed. And add some other scenes. Basically, make it a novel. It might never be good, might never be published, but I want to FINISH it.

Yes, seven months along and I'm starting to really feel it - pelvis and legs aching when I stand up for 5 hours at work, constant heartburn, and YIKES! we still need to choose a name and get a crib and a car seat (we have one convertible one that a friend gave us, but I would like to start with a little one to fit in the car better and fit the baby in better). And we need t-shirts and sleepers. Otherwise, we're pretty much set. I think we have enough cloth diapers and covers, even. A friend in the UK is going to send some girly ones. I will make a few anyway, because really fun and pretty dipes make me smile. Well, keep me from fainting during the worst of the poop, anyway.

Then in year-end best-of, Romantic Times released its nominations for Reader's Choice awards. Looky there! Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer, Wendy Roberts (which I reviewed, what, yesterday?) because it's not all romance novels, and some other books that I read and liked. And a follow-up in a series that I hadn't even realized was published yet - obviously, I wasn't waiting with bated breath, but I did intend to read it and it was on my amazon wishlist with about 100 other books. A few that I read and said "feh" about, too, but there are about 100 on the RT list in about 20 categories, so, well, horses for courses, as my British friends say.

But wait - not Lani Diane Rich's Fortune Quilt? That was one of the very very best books I read all year, romance or otherwise. Too bad I'm not an RT member or subscriber or whatever so didn't get to nominate....

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Good mystery book - Mom, you might like this one

I read this book yesterday. Yes, the whole thing. Nice, slow day. Excellent, fast-paced book.

The main character runs a cleaning service in Seattle that cleans up crime scenes. They specialize in cleaning up blood and guts (there's another company in town that does the meth lab cleanups), so there are some icky images and dark humor at times. So not only does she clean it up with the help of her employee, but often the dead people come to see her, but only the ones who, uh, haven't yet gone into the light. She often has to convince them that they really are dead or agree to pass on the message they think they have to leave before they go.

So she's cleaning up a murder-suicide and a man walks in. She assumes that he is a ghost and doesn't even pay close attention, but she later learns that it wasn't the murderer, but a real, live person, a friend of the dead couple, who had no business being in the house. Then she meets the ghost of the murdered wife who is trying to communicate about what happened, but can't.

I figured out the mystery before the main character did, but she was emotionally invested in the wrong answer. But there was another, smaller mystery that totally blindsided me and I had to go back through to look for references that should have niggled more than they did.

Anyway, lots of adventure, several ghosts, another medium gets involved, a few kisses but Mom will be glad to know nothing steamy, and just overall a really good plot.

And now I have to wait until December 08 to read the next in the series! Augh!

ETA: I just requested her first mystery book, "Dating Can Be Deadly" from the library. I guess that'll have to hold me for a bit....

Friday, December 28, 2007

And so the winter break continues

and continues and continues.... We're through the second week of three and we still haven't gone out and done anything. We don't generally, because I am lazy, but this time I am even lazier than usual.

Gingerbread-man-making party at a friend's house tomorrow. They don't eat the gingerbread we already have, but it should be fun anyway. And maybe I will drop them off there and get to work on DS1's birthday presents. Now there's a crazy idea.

I cut out a bunting for the baby and found a zipper for it in my sewing box, so I don't have to buy one of those. Score! Oh, and I have some bias tape that will do that I got a bag of from the thrift store a year or two ago. So I'm all set :)

I made chicken leftover pie for dinner. One breast of chicken, made gravy from the chicken juice, leftover peas and corn, half a huge leftover baked potato, and non-leftover cheese inside, and pre-made pie crusts that I was going to use for apple pie, but I figured we still have a ton of Xmas cookies. It was a bit soupy, but is firming up as it cools down. I ate too much of it, but had hardly eaten anything at lunch.

It's not even 6 and I'm about ready for bed. Dh had better hurry home....

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Well, I was going to put a link to a website with some headache-inducing Xmas light shows, but there's an extremely rude song on the same site, so I won't. Oh well.

We had cinnamon rolls this morning. From a Pillsbury Grand can, so don't tell my mom who bakes the best rolls ever in the world from scratch.

THEN! We opened presents. Woah, good haul this year. We hardly know where to start. Santa put computer games in the stockings, so while we were waiting for the rolls to bake and Daddy to get his behind outta bed, they started in on Putt-Putt.

The big hit? Screaming, flying monkeys. In masks and capes. Thanks Granny.

Lots of books, some games, some movies, and a train roundhouse. Too many things to play with all at once! Currently watching Looney Tunes.

And stuff for Mommy and Daddy, too. Books, crock pot, necklace, ear plugs (oh yes!), towel and slippers for the future baby.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Kids very excited now. It's 5:45 and I finally wrapped the presents and we put them and the ones from Granny & Grandpa out by the tree. Still the ones from DH and a box from DH's mom to go out when Santa arrives and sorts everything and fills the stockings.

I suggested they go to bed at five. DS1 announced he'll go to bed at seven or eight. Which would be a laugh, since nine is pretty early for them these days. This after reading today's Baby Blues.

Frozen pizza for dinner. Not sure when DH is coming home because he didn't answer when I called. He said he was coming home early - he usually gets here a bit after 7. He left really early today - he even set his alarm and got up at 7 AM. Dang, but his alarm is LOUD. It took me an hour to get back to sleep. Maybe it's that I am used to my quieter one on which I hit the snooze three times every morning...

Right. I'm about ready for bed myself.

Friday, December 21, 2007


1) presents for out of town all done and mailed except sister. She's getting..... dunno. gift card. late.

2) presents for immediate family all done except stocking. Trains Galore sent TWO boxes with duplicate roundhouses They're going to send UPS back to pick one box up. And yes, both had my name and address outside and on the packing slip.

3) haven't even started sewing new stockings

4) birthday? we've got ten days to worry about that

Took kids to 99 cent store to find present for DH. Found a few bits and pieces. He still hasn't given any useful hints except for one book and I got him that - from my Mom and Dad, though, so still nothing from me. They are decorating cards and a gift tag for that.

I think I'll get busy wrapping stuff tonight when DH gets home. and relabeling the gift from my mom to my kids on which she put DS1's name and cousin #1's name, which starts with the same two letters as DS2's name. Poor Granny! And lately I've been taunting her with naming the new baby to rhyme with the other kids.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

On the first day of Christmas...

OK, so I guess that's officially in a couple more days. But anyway.

It's the second weekday home with the kidlets. They were pretty good yesterday, except when they weren't. How hard can it be to make two angry kids go and play by themselves instead of picking on each other and both being miserable? A lot harder than you'd think. "He shouldn't be pestering you, but if he is, then GO SOMEWHERE ELSE, DON'T KICK HIM IN THE NOSE!" sounds reasonable, doesn't it? Sigh.

Only a week until Christmas and presents for my family have not been sent yet. Most have been ordered, but haven't even arrived here to be sorted out and wrapped and all. Or in the case of my little brother, I have the fleece, it just hasn't been made into anything yet, much less wrapped and mailed.

So now I'm down to the urgent to-do list
1) presents for out-of-town family
2) presents for in-town family and friends
3) stockings for kids
4) birthday presents for DS1, whose b-day is a week after Xmas

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas is (almost) here!

Today was the kids' last day of school. Yeah. Way early. We have three weeks ahead of us and no real plans. Uh oh. Museums. Play with friends. I'd like to take them sledding, if it has started snowing in the mountains but I don't think my midwife would approve and DH doesn't particularly like snow....

Yesterday afternoon, I spent a couple of hours sorting through fabric, patterns, and various sewing junk, so the front room looks a little less like the fabric store puked on it.

DS1's PJs are all done. He wore them to bed last night and got the pants dirty this morning, so had to wear last year's PJs to his class PJ/movie/gingerbread house party anyway. And good thing I had been rifling through his PJ shelf and found that last year's PJ pants had a huge hole in the bum and fixed it before this morning. But then again, if we had done any laundry at all this week, he could have worn his red sweatpants with the new PJ shirt. Then DS2 announced that jeans are too squeezy and all his sweats were in the wash, too, so he ended up in velour PJ pants which almost look like sweats, even though his class was having a regular day, not a PJ party.

DS2 picked out some improbable pieces of quilting fabric for a new stocking. I think I'll pick a background fabric and decorate it with his choices or sew them together and use the other fabric as lining. DS1 was grumbly and announced he didn't want a new stocking. Must find out if that's really true.

When sorting fabric, I put aside a stack of things that would look good in my brother's wedding quilt and some others that would make cute girly baby clothes. The stack of whatsis terry cloth (the really thick, soft stuff that's looped only on one side? Burly?) is still on the floor under the little table that has my barely-used iron on it, so just need to cut out diapers and get sewing. I have some Aplix (it's like velcro) and metal snaps are around here somewhere. Oh wait. I might need elastic. I have some old diapers to repair, too, mostly elastic problems and mostly in larger sizes.

Right new list:

1) Presents presents presents. Really must get going on them.
2) Sew DS2's stocking.
3) Maybe do the baby sleeping bag/bunting now
4) Clean house. Vacuum house. Whine about carpet beater thingy that doesn't work and hasn't for about a year, but will cost as much as I spent on the thing new to replace. Sigh.

Read and edit blog posts carefully. Up at the beginning I said "... if it has started sewing in the mountains..." One track mind.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

progress report on latest to-do list

1) haven't started stockings
2) big presents for kids done online - a couple of shared things, so need to find individual stuff, too. No one else bought for.
3) wedding quilt? Ah. Not yet.
4) clean up sewing area. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
5)Plugged in outside lights. Didn't get or hang wreath. Am thinking ribbons instead.
6) Made gingerbread men (and other shapes of gingerbread) for cookie exchange. Got loads of yummy stuff in return. Trying to go easy on sugar, since it gives me a headache, I certainly don't need the calories, and it activates my heartburn.

BUT I did just make PJ pants for the boys. Trying to decide if I should make shirts for both or only for DS1. DS2 sleeps with just a pull-up thingy most of the time and says the shirts twist around him or he's too hot or they make him choke and he can't sleep. Maybe I'll make him a regular shirt that sort of matches and he can wear it during the day if he'd rather. Then again, DS1 usually sleeps in his clothes...

SOOOOO. New to-do list:
2) stockings
3) PJ shirts
4) presents for rest of family
5) baby clothes and diapers. Make and/or buy. Just bought a bunch of super cute stuff from an online retailer that's going out of business. I have quilted fabric and a pattern to make a bunting/sleeping bag. I have three tons of fabric, I just need to figure out what we need most and just do it.
6) brother's wedding quilt (sorry, David, it keeps getting bumped)
7) Just saw a couple of the kids' little stuffed animals that have been sitting by my sewing table with holes in them for a few months. Feeling guilty.

ETA: Took care of the stuffed animals, sewed a button on some school pants that have been sitting there since oh, about when school began, put the elastic in the other foot of nephew's Halloween costume (he wore the rest of it already, these are just the shoe covers in bright orange), found the envelope with a friend's quilt squares and realized she never got back to me on if I should make it just the size of the squares or add to it and what colors to use. all of this helps slightly with the cleaning up sewing area. Very slightly.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Christmas quilt pictures

Finally finished!

Detail of the binding. I LOVE that fabric.

Similar quilt I made for a friend and her family last year. Zoom in to see the Hanukkah fabrics along with the Christmas, moon and sun, orange, lemon, cherry, coffee, breast cancer, snow, and generally loud stuff. It was sort of a charm/friendship quilt where a lot of the pictures meant something.

I'm thinking I should have made ours a bit bigger, too, but I had 48 inch wide batting on hand this year and used the much wider and thinner warm and natural for theirs last year. Anyway.

International and Christmas light pictures

International Night first:

My Japanese boy and my Plains Native American in the teepee in the Kindergarten room.

Two of the girls from DS1's class in the kimonos I hemmed. The red-headed and blonde Japanese, you know. (Heads deliberately cut off for privacy)

Afterwards, we went to the street near here where they all go crazy for Christmas.

Silly boys

Odd expression, but good bone structure ;)

Odder expression!

Christmas meme (this time straight from Liza!)

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?

Well, I'm trying to be a good girl and make cloth bags to reuse, but every year most stuff ends up in wrapping paper.

2. Real tree or artificial?

Real, with roots, to be planted later. We still have one in a pot from a few years ago that we used a few times, but it's not looking so happy, since I forget to water sometimes in the summer and the pot isn't big enough.... We planted last year's and it has shot up. We got a sequoia this year, so I am afraid to plant it as it will soon take over the entire yard. Maybe I'll re-pot the new one and plant the old one and see if it lives.

3. When do you put up the tree?
Early in December

4. When do you take the tree down?
Early January

5. Favorite gift received as a child?
I want to say the year I got a big doll whose hair grows when you pull on it and goes back in when you pull the string. Chrissie?

7. Hardest person to buy for?
DH or maybe my dad. Stereotypical, I know.

8. Easiest person to buy for?
My mom and my kids. Though my mom doesn't want anything and my kids want everything.

9. Worst Christmas gift ever received?
I must have blocked it out.

10. Mail or email Christmas card?
Um. Forget/run out of time nearly every year. I manage to send out a few, generally.

11. Favorite Christmas Movie?
The Christmas Story. Or the Grinch (the original, not that atrocity with that unfunny comic guy)

12. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
Oh, right about now. EEK!

13. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
They end up at Goodwill after a few months.

14. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?

15. Lights on the tree?
Of course.

16. Favorite Christmas song?
Don't really have one anymore. I'm not religious anymore, but love the hymns anyway. And everything pop-ified (at least in oldies) has been drilled into my head at work. Oh, but I love the a cappella choral stuff like they used to do in Madrigals in college. Sigh.

17. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
I like staying home, but would like to go back to Ohio.

18. Can you name Santa’s reindeer?
Of course!

19. Angel on top or a star?
Star when I was growing up. Don't usually put anything but garland now.

20. What do you leave out for Santa?
We haven't left anything before, but DS1 has been making noise about it this year, so I guess we'll have to.

Friday, December 7, 2007

New to-do list:

1) Xmas stockings for kids. Let them choose fabric? Sort through bins of fabric for possibilities. Trying to NOT buy fabric until I have used some of what I have.

2) Determine Xmas presents for, well, everyone. Haven't even started. Probably a llama for my mama - or at least a leg of llama (roasted with mint sauce?), not sure how much the Heifer project and World Vision want for one of those these days.

3) Start on brother's wedding quilt.

4) Clean up sewing area so that my junk fits in the corners and you can actually approach the chimney - or come out of it, if you're a certain dude in red.

5) Buy wreath for front door. Plug in net of lights that I put on the bushes outside the other day. Find a spot for the lovely beaded gold garland I haven't yet hung up anywhere.

6) Decide what cookies to make for cookie exchange, which is Monday or maybe Tuesday. Get recipe. Probably buckeyes, since I am from Ohio. But 6 1/2 dozen's worth of dipping peanut butter balls into chocolate? Hmmm....

Field trip blues

DS2's Kindergarten class went to the fish hatchery yesterday - same one that DS1's class went to a few weeks ago. Did I even blog about that?

With DS1's 2nd & 3rd grade class, it was the first time in the many many times we've visited that I had actually seen them bringing up the salmon once they've reached the top of the fish ladder, killing them, taking out the eggs, and squirting in the milt (what the male fish call their semen), and everything. Our guide was also really good with the kids, on their level without being patronizing, etc etc. The weather was chilly, but sunny and great.

Yesterday, not so much. First off, it was sprinkling. All morning. Then, the teacher decided that what the heck, we should still take the kids to play for a while and have their snack by the lake above the dam and go for a short walk through the woods, even though it was chilly and raining. So by the time we got to the actual hatchery, everyone was already a bit cold. DS2 has been fighting off a cold for 2 weeks and the day before this, he had a barking cough and I had been starting to think about taking him to see the doctor. He was much better yesterday, but still a bit off. He even announced in the car on the way there that one of his ears wasn't hearing right and it was "beeping" so obviously there's still some sinus pressure.

Let's just say that DS2's teacher is not a person who is easily contradicted and that none of the parents who were driving were ready to stand up to her. Not even me. Bad mommies and daddies all around.

Anyway, we had two lovely young women (big class so divided into 2 groups) as guides and the one for our group was holding up a picture of a salmon and expecting the kids to read the labels on it. Um, these are Kindergartners. Some can read, but they're mostly not up to anatomy and physiology words in small type on a sign you keep moving around. She was generally over their heads, but in that high-pitched speaking to small kids voice.

And they weren't even hauling up the fish yesterday, so we watched the video. Then we went down by the fish ladder, where we didn't see any fish coming up, since the gate at the bottom was closed, and got colder. Anyway, they gave us some fish food for the young trout in the raceways and we went back to school instead of having lunch there at their wet picnic tables. If I hadn't had another kid in the car (sweet little boy, very little idea of how to stay with the group), I would have just taken DS2 home because he was really worn out and sad and clingy - he didn't even want to feed the fish. As it was, I took them back to school and we ate our lunch there, then I took him home.

We then did optimal rainy day activities -- we got under a blanket to warm up, and read some books, then took a nice, long nap. Not often that I get to cuddle up with a warm child during the day. This is the same kid who wants to sleep in my bed every night, so I do get to cuddle with him regularly and even beyond my tolerance level, but I appreciate the nap time more for it being rare.

When we went to get DS1 at 3:00 - we actually were a bit late, just barely within the grace period - the storm drain in the courtyard was already backing up. By the time we got there this morning, the courtyard was full - there were men from the district trying to unclog it and they were almost up to the tops of their knee-high boots right by the drain. This was a source of big excitement for the kids, of course. I was making photocopies for DS1's class and nearly every child in the class just had to go use the restroom in the hour I was there so they could check out the progress of the work. I said we should be teaching swimming lessons. Too bad it doesn't freeze around here or we could have a skating rink fundraiser. It was basically really lucky that it didn't rain even more than it did, because it was only a few inches below flooding the classrooms.

Why more people should play video games


And good for him!

Thanks Jen R (and I think Liza did this one a few weeks ago, too)

cash advance

Cash Advance Loans

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Well, that was a mistake

Ended up yelling at the kids.

Never decorate a tree with hyper elementary school kids when you have a massive headache and are sleep deprived.

Of course, the fact that I told them about 80 times to settle down and not throw things or flail their arms around, etc and yet they kept on doing it has made me lose my tolerance.

I have put them on alert: if they knock the tree over, it is getting un-decorated and that's it. Not sure if I can do that one. Maybe they'll just be banished from the front room for the duration.

Done with quilt!

Phew! I just finished sewing the binding on my Christmas quilt.

We're decorating the tree tonight - the kids and I got it yesterday and with the school International Night and a visit to the street near us that goes absolutely wild with Xmas decorations, it was nearly bedtime when we got home. DS2 had a meltdown about not doing it and then fell asleep really early, all worn out. He then proceeded to have a hard time staying asleep and came back into our room twice and fidgeted. I stayed up too late reading a book anyway, and then had him fussing, so didn't get enough sleep.

I haven't done anything at all about cleaning up my sewing area yet. Bad Mommy!

I want to make new Christmas stockings for the boys this year. I need to see what I have in seasonal-colored fabrics and see what they want out of that. Otherwise, I might go for felt....

Right. Going to run a couple of errands before going to get the guys from school...

Monday, December 3, 2007

So, yes it was...

Yep. they were at Palisades. DS2 tried to help my friend plant and weed, but was going all crazy fun with the big shovel and digging up the actual plants she was trying to keep, so she found them shovels, buckets, etc and they played for a couple of hours in the sandbox. We haven't been sandbox-ing much lately and probably should be. DS1, especially, spent all of last school year in the sandbox. No sandbox at their school this year, at least not in the "big kid" play area.

I dropped the kids off at school and then went and camped out in the coffee shop of a grocery store and typed almost 1000 words. I couldn't find my notebook at the last minute, so didn't type up what I wrote the other day. Instead, I rewrote most of the scene from where it got too long and the father wasn't behaving as I thought he would. This time is better.

Then i went to DS1's class where it turns out they weren't going to do spelling this week, so I didn't need to be hanging out at the grocery store near school.

Then a nice lady came and stole some of my blood. We're changing life insurance again.

I just cut strips and ran them through my binding maker thingy and ironed them, so the binding is ready to put on my quilt. Maybe I'll even get to it tonight after karate and supper. I have to say that while the red and white round peppermint candy fabric is a bit much as a full piece, it is totally gorgeous as narrow strips. I am such a genius.

Busy day and it's only 2;40. 2:40???? tIME TO GET THE kids! Augh!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

pick pick pick

I did have to work after all. The supervisor that i spoke with yesterday said i didn't, but she was apparently looking at last week's schedule. oops. So I was 40 minutes late, then got sent home early. Oh well.

Then I decided to make the whole border of my wild Christmas quilt just tone-on-tone white trees with little red birds. So that's sewed on. I cut the batting to the size I need it. I decided to use my piece of red on white A. Henry fabric that just says "Christmas" on the back, but i needed it to be a little wider. I cut strips of a red and white striped fabric. I proceeded to sew the first one all the way down the side - a good four feet, maybe more - before noticing that I was sewing it back to front. So here I am, checking my email and blogging and intermittently picking out stitches. Sigh.

Stupid good-quality thread! For every stitch I pick out, I can only tear one or two more stitches.
Oh, and the kids were picked up by a friend while I was out. She told DH that she was taking them to "Palace Eight." It took me about an hour for it to seep in and for me to realize he meant "Palisades" which is her son's school, so she might be gardening, but they are surely playing on the playground (though yesterday DS2 was eager to do some digging instead of just trimming hedges, so he might have tried to help some). I wonder when I'll get them back? DH doesn't know. He figures that she always brings them back, so wasn't too worried about where they were going or anything.

Yard work, birds, new table

So yesterday.... I got some hedge trimmers.

I already had some small pruners, but not the big clippers. So I went a little nuts. Now you can walk to our front door without pushing your way through the jungle of the hedges and getting smacked in the head by the giant lantana. The garage door is in no danger of being blocked by encroaching hedges. You can look out the front window and not just see tangled rose bush and lantana.

I even washed the bloomin' window! I got viciously stabbed in the pinkie finger when a rose bush branch snapped back as I was trying to work behind it. Well, it's a bit streaky and the glass on the outside seems to be permanently cloudy toward the bottom. As far as we can tell, these are the original windows from the 70's. They rattle around in their aluminum panes and let the wind blow right on in.

Oh, and then I watered the young trees (we haven't had enough rain yet) and pounded in food spikes and then dumped bark around the bases (note to self: need more bark for old Xmas tree) and trimmed off some of the tiny branches close to the ground on the maple. (Anyone know about shaping maple trees? This one still flops over on top and has random spots with long branches and the rest are tiny. Anyway.)

DH had cleaned up the leaves last weekend and so all I want done is for the lawn to be mowed one more time. Probably should put on fertilizer and seed, actually, and I've always wanted those lawn aerator shoes...

So I worked for over 2 hours and after I came in, I sat down for a few minutes then could barely get up, I was so sore. DH made crepes for supper and I hobbled out to eat, then went back to bed. I didn't sleep really well. I'm not too sore today, but am glad I don't have to go to work.

Oh, and the birds seem to have rediscovered the bird feeder and thistle sock, so I have little crowds of arguing finches fluttering around. And I was careful and left some of the flowers on the lantana, along with some new buds - I was still getting butterflies a few days ago, but haven't seen any hummingbirds in a while.

I should refill my hummingbird feeder and hang it out front. I've had it outside the kitchen window, but hardly ever see the birds. Ants found it the last time I had it full and they drained it.

Oh, and we got a new dining room table, which I should have mentioned much earlier. We like our old one, but it is a squeeze to fit more than four people and a friend was selling her big one that can seat eight without fuss and six chairs. So we had the whole thing put together and end-to-end with our old one and all the chairs the kids could find in the house. We can seat 14 that way, or if we pull the tables apart so people can sit at the ends, 16. Or 18 or more if we start to squish people. Last night, DH took the small, mostly dead sofa out of the front room and took the leaf out of the old table and put the now-square table by the front window. Ready for a Christmas tree :) I just need to tidy up my sewing area. EEK!

Oh, I finished all the applique and sewed the blocks together and I just need to put a border on my Xmas quilt and then can slap on backing and batting and stitch in the ditch and it will be ready for use. Should be soon...

Right. Where's that to-do list?