I'm back to normal! I was so disappointed to get a cold last week, it's been about two and a half years since I've had a bad cold or flu. I was going for a new record and instead I got sick twice in a month. That's just dumb.
I feel terribly behind, but I'm not going to worry about it too much. I have e-mail and comments to respond to, and I will get to it soon, promise! I'm not ignoring anyone, just trying to get all caught up. Meanwhile I promised to share quilt tops, so here is a little glimpse:
It was dark and gloomy this weekend, so this is the best I can do for now, but I think you can see that I've got quite the bonanza here. I think my New Year's resolutions for 2009 will involve finishing a couple quilts, starting with the Double Wedding ring quilt.
I need to do a little research first. I'm somewhat concerned about the stitching. It's all done by hand, and I'm not sure just how sturdy it is. There are a few places where pieces need to be restitched. I think the fabric itself is still in good shape. Also, the rings are actually the edges of the quilt, it's not square, so I think I have to turn the edges under and sew it by hand? Or can I bind it normally? It would be a pain, but it's doable with a bias binding. I'm just not sure if that's how it's traditionally done. Any expert quilters out there? Mom, what do you think? Either way, it's going to be so cute when it's done.
The four-pointed star is fun too. I haven't looked too carefully, but I don't think there are many fabrics repeated. I think it might have been made from the family's old clothes. These quilts have been in the family for a long time, my mother-in-law doesn't sew or do any kind of handicrafts, and she doesn't really know who made what or when it was made. I think the fabrics look like they are mostly from the 1930s and 1940s.
I feel like I hit the lottery with these quilts. There will be periodic updates, I'm sure. I'd really like to finish and use them. That seems like the best tribute I can give their makers.
Despite the gloominess outside, it was warm and cozy inside our little house, and I put up the Christmas tree last night while the fire was roaring in the stove (thanks to Mr. HeyLucy, fire-builder extraordinaire). Between the tree and the fire the cats were in heaven. At one point I found Lucy sitting in the middle of the tree, precariously balanced across several branches. Oi. They especially like it when the lights are on. I still have all my glass ball ornaments to hang, but that should be done sometime over the next couple days. I wire them to the branches with florist wire, so the cats can't easily bat them off, although they will try.
I also made the most delicious hot chocolate ever, to sip under the Christmas tree lights. Here's the recipe, if you want to try it yourself:
For each serving mix together in a saucepan: a generous teaspoonful of good cocoa powder, an equal (or slightly more if you want it sweeter) amount of sugar, a tiny capful of good vanilla and some finely grated Belgian chocolate (about one square inch). If you're feeling adventurous, add a pinch of cayenne pepper. You won't taste the pepper, but you'll feel the heat when you drink it. It's quite nice. Add a little milk, and stir until all the powdery bits are well incorporated into the milk. Add more milk to make a big mugful. Heat gently, until piping hot, but don't let it boil over! I speak from experience when I say that you will have a big mess that is not fun to clean up if it boils over. And here's my top secret weapon to make it truly the most delicious hot chocolate ever: get yourself one of these little gadgets, and whip up each cup for a minute or so before serving. I found mine at a local Ace Hardware store for $10 or $15 I think, which is a little extravagant for a tool I use for only one thing, but it doesn't take up hardly any space and it really makes all the difference, so I don't regret purchasing it at all. Serving it in a pink café au lait bowl, and sitting down with some knitting and a feline companion will make it just perfect.
There will be more Christmas-y stuff here this week, and a special Christmas gift for my lovely blog readers, so be sure to come back soon, I don't want you to miss out!