Saturday, December 29, 2018

Regarding My Absence

Dear Readers,
I apologize for seemingly dropping off the edge of the internet, but Christmas came too quickly and I suddenly needed to finish two projects. Those that know me well, know that while I love to start new projects, finishing them is another matter! As testimony to my "finished-is-better-than-perfect" philosophy, I am posting pictures. This third simple, hand-tied comforter was finished and mailed to my niece's step-child before Christmas! Sewing for a young princess is always fun! Pink, lavender and blue are my favorite colors too and add a bit of Disney, with a touch of lace and I'm all in!
For my niece's little princess, I simply sewed lace around a Disney Frozen
Princesses fabric panel and then appliqued it onto a background of patchwork
 squares. Would you believe these squares were left over from another
comforter made some time ago?

It is backed with a soft sheet brought up and over the front to edge this
hand-tied comforter. It should keep this little princess warm all winter!
Of course, it needed a special princess pillow case to go with it.
And another one in fabrics left over. Sleeping on pink is always good!

Then onto making a crazy-quilted Christmas stocking to better match one made almost forty years ago before my youngest daughter was even born! I was a bit rusty after not doing crazy-quilt work for several years and I had to content myself with what came of it. See the picture below. Again my "finished-is-better-than-perfect" rule was applied! This is the way projects go when there was no time to waste as Christmas neared. It was done in the nick of time for Santa to fill! I will include pictures of our other family heirloom crazy-quilted Christmas stockings that we have used now for the past 39 years!!

This crazy-quilted stocking was made for my youngest daughter's boy-friend
to better match hers. You can see below that the match was made, though
each is unique and different.
These are our family stockings that we have used for almost 40 years. The
stocking on the lower far right is the one made this year, and as you can
see still looks vintage! Fortunately I still had some similar fabric, which made
for a better match!
Our Christmas stockings fit right in with our old-fashioned tree, though
they fit in regardless how you decorate.
This manger was made by my husband when he was a young boy. It is
at the center of our home each year as we celebrate Christmas along with the
creche set he and his mother purchased piece by piece after his catechisim
lesson at the local Cenacle in Brighton,Massachusetts. Fortunately we have
another set just like them that were his parents, along with the manger his
father made, so each of our children will inherit a similar set.
Our Addie-boy was delighted that he had a real tree to sit under! After getting
tangled in the lower string of lights, and him making a mess of our tree skirt
 as well, we placed a couple of folded paper towels on saucers with a
bit of "Goo-Gone" on them under the tree. Cats don't like the smell of citrus
and this made him choose another favorite spot to "camp out". 

I am relieved that Christmas has come and passed! Although I love advent, it seemed that our Christmas preparation wasn't complete until but a day or two before Christmas! I got into the real Christmas spirit just when my niece's car was stolen in Denver and in it were coats for my niece and her step-child, along with gloves, hats, boots, backpack and lunchbox. Her young family was already financially stressed with the Christmas season and so I went through my house and crafts and did a bit of shopping as well to put together what I could to help meet their needs and got it packed and sent in time for Christmas! The intent was that my package would at least bring some warm hand-me-downs and a few gifts besides! Fortunately her car was found, though her personal items were lost and gone forever! I have made my first New Year's resolution already: I am going to start planning for Christmas 2019 now! Holiday rush equals holiday stress! Of course, I already knew this, but how quickly I forget!

This holiday also came with unexpected news. My end-of-the-year doctor appointments brought another shock! I had found an article on line about a woman with Chronic Lyme having issues with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome. It read too much like my own health history to not share with my doctors. I didn't give it much more thought. Not only did they listen to me, but agreed with my finding and are considering the possibility that this issue might well be cause for some of my health issues. I am to be pre-tested in January, to be followed by more testing should such other inflammatory reactions occur again. It seems I continue to be a "red herring" in the medical world!

After getting over the shock of potentially having still more medical issues to address, I have been reading more about mast cell dysfunction and have found the information most helpful! I have already made changes in what I ingest. The more information I have regarding what might annoy my body will help me to better honor its preferences! I have ordered books to study in the new year. I figure knowledge is power and hopefully I will learn how to avert medical crises! It also came in the nick of time to stop myself from becoming the Holiday Grinch as we hosted our two daughters and their significant others to celebrate Christmas here at Little House! As I review 2018 and set new goals for 2019, I will once again add health goals to the top of my list, cross my fingers and pray for another productive year! I have lots to do and am eager to get started! Planning and setting goals are part of what I need in order to focus and accomplish my sewing dreams!

Take care, my readers and have a wonderful and healthy New Year!! Sincerely, Jane McMillen

(E-mail me at if you are interested in possibly ordering any Christmas stockings. If enough are interested, I may well make a "batch of them". Note that the male stockings are made with a boot cuff, heel and toe of matching fabric, and the female version has lace and a band at the top. I am charging $45 each plus shipping and handling. Know that they are pieced using a foundation of unbleached muslin, and then embellished with hand-embroidery and measure about      24-25 inches long and about 7 inches wide. They are backed with a heavy, rich fabric and a strong ribbon hanger is added to the inside top of the stocking. When filled by Santa they are guaranteed to bring delight year after year! I will heed my resolution and will make only a limited number of these during the first months of 2019, so as to leave plenty of time for my other quilting goals and not push making them too close to the holiday season. Each is a one of a kind Christmas stocking of heirloom quality and properly stored will last for years of use!)

*A special thank you to my husband for his help in photographing the pictures included in this blog!