Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Christmas in February!

As many of you know, I'm from a large family, a family of 12 (yep, there's 10 kids and only 2 parents)! I grew up in rural Minnesota so I'm very blessed to have three of my sisters living in the Pacific Northwest, within 4 hours of me. Last week-end, we finally managed to get together for a belated family Christmas celebration. Between the 4 of us, we have 10 children, aged 11 and under. It was a frenzy of activity and happiness.

I, of course, was scrambling at the last minute to finish a couple of homemade Christmas presents.
I made a few pillows for my sisters. It's Minnesota! Yep, I think I need to make one of these for myself! Love it!
In case you're wondering, the "M" is not for Minnesota, it's for my other sisters last names. :)

And here are a few scenes from our Christmas celebration!
That's me all scrunched up with the littlest ones, I love having babies and little guys in my house. It makes me very happy. And yeah, there are little blonde boys everywhere! And that's my sister Linda with her husband Seth in the background.
I strung lights on our little fake tree, just to make it seem a bit more like Christmas (in February).
Amongst the blondies we also have a cute little brunette who happens to be very excited to open presents!
Almost ready. My little red-headed girl is sorting and handing out the presents.
I love this one. I love the aftermath of 10 kids and 8 adults opening presents. It makes me happy.
My nephew Paul.
My sister Nora and two of her boys checking out their new legos.
My sister, Maija and her son Paul checking out his presents.
My nephew Hank and his very own happy apple. My sister recently did a painting of a happy apple (click here to see it) so I was happy to dig through my box of vintage toys and give this to her son. Don't you love the chime of the happy apple? I took it out of the box and even my big kids were mesmerized by it.
Such a sad little pumpkin. My big girl and my sister Linda's little girl well, they were a bit out-numbered by 8 rambunctious boys, but at least they've got a few more vintage toys to play with. There are also two more (boy) cousins in Michigan and we're so excited that come May, they will have a little sister!

Growing up, our Christmas eve meal was traditionally my mom's homemade pizza and on Christmas Day we would have a big turkey dinner. We strayed from that a bit as we opted to have my sister Maija make sloppy joes, not just any sloppy joes, but sloppy joes just like mom makes. Erik also made a buffalo sloppy joe for a bit of a variety. Both were very good. For dessert, we stuck with the family tradition of root beer floats. Yum! A bit of my mom's cooking and family tradition goes a long way.

It was so nice to get together with three of my sisters and have them all here. With growing families, it's getting harder and harder for us to all get together, so I'm really grateful for an opportunity to be together for Christmas, even if it was in February! We certainly missed our other two sisters and four brothers (and their families) and our parents. All twelve us of were together last summer for my brothers wedding and it felt so good to all be together. I can't help but wonder when all twelve of us will be together again... aah, the thought of a Christmas with the whole family... well, it may only happen in my dreams, but it's lovely nonetheless. Oh, and a bit cold! Brr!

Thanks for joining me in our belated family Christmas! I'm honored to share a bit of our life with you! Merry belated Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Chevron Quilt!

Remember that chevron quilt I was talking about making and I was determined to not post photos of it until I finished it completely, well I give up. Here it is.
I'm really pleased with it. However, I found it a bit more challenging than I had expected.
 Here's the stack of fabric I started with.
 Sewing them into triangles.
 Laying out the strips.
As each zig-zag was finished, I pinned it to the wall so I could get a feel for what it was going to look like.
And then I spread them onto the floor so I could shuffle them about. I struggled with the placement of the lights and dark fabrics and then settled on putting the dark zig-zags on the top and bottom of the quilt. I'm not sure if I'd do it this way again, but I had to make a decision and go with it for fear of it never being finished if I waited til it was perfect! Actually, if I made this pattern again, I would probably only pick all dark or medium-dark fabrics instead a mixture of tones especially the lightest ones, because they lightest fabrics get lost a bit next to the white.
And here it is, one more time. It's hanging in my living/dining room greeting everyone who enters my home. Someday, I plan to dive in head first and figure out how to machine quilt, and I thought that day would have already come and it hasn't. So, I'll add this quilt top to my stack of quilt tops that need to be finished. I guess I can console myself with the fact that at least I finished the top of this one (I have three more quilts started that haven't reached this step yet. Yeah, I should probably do something about that). Oh, the joy and struggle of being a creative person... so many projects I want to do, so many projects I get sick of doing, so many projects that you really have to be in the mood to do, so many projects that I never finish because a new project comes along, so many projects...
As with many creative endeavors, I find that the day always comes when tackling a new project sounds easy and not overwhelming. So, (the quilts and) I will wait for that day...

As always, thanks for checking out what's sewing at GretaBag! :)

Have a beautiful day!!

Monday, February 27, 2012


On Saturday, at the spur of the moment, Erik offered to take us to see the Harlem Globetrotters and of course, we said yes!!
I am so into watching sports these days, so I was thrilled to go! And the kids are always up for doing something fun! And all four of us together, well that was a huge bonus!!
 Erik took this panoramic shot on his notepad.
Those circles on the floor, those were for 4 point shots. The last three minutes of each quarter the 4 point shot was activated. We were very impressed by how many they could make! They had some serious skills!
Whew! Thank goodness the Harlem Globetrotters won the championship and we can see them on tour again next year! Oh, it was a nail biter, but the Globetrotters pulled it off AGAIN! My kids are so relieved that they won! Ha ha! I love their innocence, I wasn’t sure how “believable” it would be, but the kids were very genuinely concerned about them winning. It was so cute! They had so much fun! And Erik and I had so much fun watching them - and the Globetrotters!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Hometown Sign!!

Oh my word! My sister painted this sign for me! When she gave it to me I tried not to cry (cuz, I'm from Minnesota and well, cryings not really our thing) but, I cried a little cuz I absolutely love it! And well, she made it for me!

Actually, I'm from Sebeka, MN which is exactly 1537 miles from MY house!

Oh, I can't tell you how much this means to me... I live where I live because that's where God wants me (and my family) to be and I love it here... but, Sebeka, Minnesota will always be my home!

It's true, I left my heart in Sebeka, Minnesota!

Well, part of my heart...  :)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Quilt for my parents!

Remember that quilt I started way back in September, well I actually finished it (with the help of some good friends, of course)! We have this cute little group in our community, called the Crafty Ladies Club and we meet once a week and work on various crafting projects; some for ourselves and some for the community, and we certainly employ a lot of teamwork! Well, since I waited til the last minute to finish this quilt (in time for Christmas), I was glad I had these ladies to call on for help.
 They're all so lovely and eager to help. Here are a couple of them stretching my quilt and tying it.
And these ladies, well... I want to be like them when I grow up, they're absolutely lovely!
 And here's my kiddos! They are trimming the yarns on the quilt.
It was certainly a group effort to make this quilt. But we did it, it was completed in time for Christmas!
 I sent it on it's merry way to my parents in Minnesota! I think they like it.  :)
I wish I could have seen them open it, but I tasked my sister with the job of taking a few photos for me(thanks, Dayna!). 
I loved making this quilt for my parents! I don't see them nearly enough, I live too far away from MN. But, I can't wait to see them this summer! It'll be fun to see the quilt on their bed too, I love seeing my creations being put to good use!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Junk Show!

Oh, I just stumbled upon these photos from a Junk Show that I went to a couple of weeks ago.
I met my sister Nora there and her sisters-in-law (and my friends) Jenny and Juliana. This was the first booth we saw when we walked in and well, we were all stunned. So many letters in one spot, it was amazing! I stopped and stared with my mouth open and then was a bit embarrassed when the vendor caught me. I have a feeling she had the reaction all day long.
I looked for a perfect "L" and didn't find it, but I was thrilled to see the potential for some serious creativity; it makes me giddy. I loved the letters, but I didn't come up with something that I just had to take home with me.
My nephew JACK and his name.
Just a couple more photos from the show. There was so much to look at, it was just divine. 
I could look at this stuff all day, over and over again...

I love this little chandelier above the bed (in a travel trailer)! So cute!
But this here, well this I just had to take home with me. For $14.00 it was mine! It's probably the most expensive piece of milk glass that I own (or at least paid for). And truly, I'm not sure I have an understanding of the definition of "milk glass" (I should probably do something about that) but that's what I'm calling this. I guess I'm not sure what's milk glass and what's not. Some of the white glass I have looks more like watered down milk and while I still appreciate the beauty, I prefer the super crisp white color of this footed bowl.
And it goes so well with my other pieces.
Oh, and I picked up the little footed cup with spout right here, in this corner for only 75 cents! It looks like it was meant to be part of my collection!
I thoroughly enjoyed going to the Junk Show and hanging with my sister and her sisters-in-law. I love this kind of stuff and it makes it even more fun to go with others you love (and love the stuff too)!

I can't wait for next year! This show always seems to fall on Super Bowl week-end, so I'm always scrambling at the last minute, deciding whether I should go or not (you know, whether I'm prepared for the Super Bowl Party or not) but, each time I've gone, I am not disappointed and I can't wait for next year! 

Monday, February 13, 2012

New GretaBags made from coffee bags!

A long time ago, my hubby brought me a big pile of coffee bags. I was giddy and overwhelmed at the same time, so the coffee bags sat for probably more than a year. Well, one day last week I woke up with an idea to make a messenger bag out of the coffee bag. Seriously, I was dreaming about making bags! And I was no longer overwhelmed by the thought of sewing and wrestling with burlap! The time was right. So, I dug a couple coffee bags out of storage and started cutting them up. I didn't follow any pattern, I just wung it, winged it uh... I just made it up myself! The material is bulky and lumpy, and the seams well, let's just say they have character, just like the burlap. But overall, I'm very happy with the result!
Here are three new bags that I made this past week! I really love a messenger style bag for thrifting, yard sale-ing, shopping... you know activities when you need access to both hands. I especially loved this style of bag when my kids were toddlers; I needed a hand for each child, and my purse needed to take care of itself!
It was super fun to pick the liners for the burlap bags. Basically anything goes and I love that kind of freedom in crafting! How cute is this black and white damask print?
I'm loving the orange and white floral!
But, the black and white chevron is my favorite!!

I also made this giant tote bag, it's about 23" x 17". A good size for a lot of things! It was fun to see how the burlap would look in this size.  I'm thinking I'll make a medium sized tote bag too.
 This is one side.
The other side.
And the inside. Oh, I'm such a sucker for hounds tooth! And chevron and gingham and...

Oh, these coffee bags were really fun to make and it was fun to push the boundaries of what I normally do. At the beginning, I certainly had a few moments of "brain strain" but I conquered it! I really loved the challenge of making these and I love that I finally made some new GretaBags for my Etsy Shop!