Oh My Stars Where Have I Been?

I could say to the moon and maybe to the stars, and back.
I could say Guatemala, but you already know I’ve returned home from there.
I could say sick, but now I’m better, and yes, I had a nice Thanksgiving at my daughter’s house.  They even had a quilt shop in her tiny town in Arizona, but since I’d been in there several times and the fabric was all the same, every bolt every time, I didn’t think it warranted another stop.

I could plead The Fifth and just get on with it, which is what I’ll do.

November 2019 Gridsters

It’s always good to begin with a finish, even if it is only a block.  In this case, this finish went to my buddy Allison in the GridsterBee: a free online spider-web block, which we printed out onto paper and got to work with all those skinny litle scraps of fabric in that bin over there, next to the iron.

Above are scenes from my Thanksgiving (click on image to enlarge):

(from upper left, going down) 1)El Travatore, an old motel in Kingman AZ (the longest piece of extant Route 66 runs through this town), 2) the family just before enjoying the two turkeys and two kinds of sweet potatoes and salad, and multiple pies and then falling into food coma sometime later on, 3) teachers’ gifts my ever-talented daughter dreamed up and put together.

Sign at top right: a Truth.

Two views of storefronts across the bottom that my daughter designed: THE  Farmhouse used to be her shop until last year, and West of 3rd is her friend’s shop.  We went out Saturday for Small Shop Saturday, so I hope you visited yours.

Kingman N19_3

Sunday morning, really early, heading out across the Mojave Desert.  (Mojave is spelled with a “j” in California, but spelled with an “h” in Arizona, as in Mohave, and that’s just the way it is.)

Arrow Tape.png

I picked up a few of these. It’s washi tape on major sale at the Get To Work Book website.  I bought it because I’d seen this from here:

Washi Tape for stitching.png

and figured out we could draw our own lines on either side.

Washi tape Carol
My friend Carol figured it out.

Pear Tart

Monday, I launched into laundry, but later rooted out the pears we’d stuck in the fridge the week before and made a Pear-Almond Tart.  I always know the routine is coming back when I start baking again.  The recipe is over on my recipe-blog: Mondays_D19

Then fun-of-fun, we found a couple young women who wanted to learn to quilt, and so we rustled up a small group, calling it First Monday Sewday.  (We’re missing a kid from the photo, and me, of course.) It was chaos, but really fun.

Illustration FM_D19

I made up a little handout for the newbies; click below on the link if you’d like to print it out:


Relax Grant Snider

All good suggestions from Grant Snider, except for the top right.

Many years ago we took our children to Italy, scraping together frequent flier miles, and saving for months before we showed up in Rome on Christmas Eve.  Being in a different place for Christmas broke my “Overwhelm Them with Gifts” habit, well-formed after raising children for twenty years, helped along by American merchandising.

That night we walked down to Vatican City, walked through the newly opened Jubilee Door, and experienced a midnight mass where they placed the Christ Child back into the empty manger in Nativity Scenes everywhere.

Christmas Day we slept in a bit, then went out again to see the parade of the Pope’s Swiss Guards, listen to the service in Basilica of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva where, after the service, I stood to sing the Hallelujah chorus with everyone, but I did it in English.  My family sat beside me in the church for all of about ten minutes, then ducked out to see the Pope bless the crowds gathered in front of St. Peter’s.  No, we aren’t of that religion, but seeing the holiday from another perspective changed how I view Christmas.

I believe in gifts (I’ll show you what I made our families later) and celebrating, but I try to do it in a quieter way, enjoying hours of Christmas music, decorating with my husband’s nutcracker collection, baking up a few treats, while taking the incessant retail merchandising blast in much smaller doses.

Target Birds 2019
Target’s newest birds

Glad to see you all again!  I hope you ease into the holidays, too.

Mary Joseph Donkey Vatican
Favorite small sculpture in the Vatican; December 1999


9 thoughts on “Oh My Stars Where Have I Been?

  1. What a lovely, newsy post! I am feeling overwhelmed by demands to buy, buy, buy, even from lovely, well meaning shops. And hurry, hurry, hurry. I only hurried on one, much in demand gift. We have drastically scaled back, in exchange for experiences – I love tickets and memberships for gifts. Also trying to avoid the adorable, but oh so plastic (as in, I don’t even go into Target). It’s tough, though, when everything for the under 3 set is just so very cute! (and thanks for the shoutout!!)

  2. What lovely travels! I have been enjoying your pictures on IG. We drove through snow on the Grapevine after Thanksgiving which was so pretty and different than usual. Not enough to close the road thankfully. Such a quick march to Christmas this year. Try to slow it down and enjoy it as much as possible. 🙂

  3. Oh grrr…..I am being told the I cannot comment on your post. Did you block me????? lol

    Anyway…I would love to visit Rome someday for Christmas or Easter. I would think that it would be a very emotional experience. I suppose the security these days might damper the experience a bit, but I’m sure it would be worth it.

    I’m glad you did not have to deal with that storm while traveling. I heard the roads were dreadful. Our grandson came home a day early from Flagstaff since they were suppose to get hammered with snow.

    I was using my washi tape this week for my bee blocks. It works so well. Is the tape 1/2”? If so, couldn’t we use the edge of the tape for our 1/4” lines? I’ll have to measure that.

    Your pear tart looks delicious. It sounds yummy too. I’m in the middle of my big cooking state. We had Thanksgiving here last Saturday, the adult Christmas dinner on the 14th and then Christmas Eve. It’s a busy time. By Christmas I don’t want to see any more food!

    Today is the day to start decorating here. I have two little ones this morning while their mommy goes shopping so they can help set up the children’s decorations. I hate having Thanksgiving so late. How about you?

    What are your plans for Christmas this year?

    Enjoy your day, Elizabeth. Mary

    Sent from my iPad


  4. You’ve certainly had a lively time! And I was interested to hear of your Christmas in Italy. I’ll go to extremes to avoid decorating for holidays, so I will keep that in mind.

  5. It’s lovely to see the variety of things you’ve been up to. Seems like that’s the way it’s been around here too. Though I haven’t done a bit of decorating, and have no plans to. When no one comes to visit, why bother? Love seeing your daughter’s talent (I sure know where she inherited it!) in those cute storefronts and gift mugs. I’m so happy you could share Thanksgiving with your family. And it’s heart-warming to see what you’re doing with those moms and kids, teaching and sharing quiltmaking. What a beautiful gift to share with them. Pear-almond tart? I’m checking that out! And don’t I feel just a little bit smarter knowing the difference between Mojave and Mohave?! 🙂

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