Saturday, December 11, 2010

Twelve Days of Christmas and a Double Rainbow in December

Pin It Phew!  Christmas orders are all done for the year (Celebrate!  Celebrate!  It's that time of yeeeeaaar!) and I finally have a chance to relax a little bit.  But I'm not relaxing at all.  I quilted five quilts in the last two days!

The final Christmas quilt I had for this year was a doozy at 115x110 (yes, it is wider than it is long).  Is anyone familiar with Nancy Halvorsen's Christmas panels?  The quilt shop down the street did a Block of the Month program with fussy cut blocks from one of her panels.  I have to say, I adore the customer that brought this top to me, and I absolutely love the way she set it together.  It was the first time she ever came up with her own setting and I think she did a fantastic job!  She always leaves the quilting up to me, but she did say she'd like some feathers in her sashing.  And I know from experience she loves stitch in the ditch.  So, I decided to not just do your regular run-of-the-mill feathers, but to do a small feather sash motif framing each block. 

I really had to fight the urge to stitch in the ditch in all of the blocks, since I'm the stitch in the ditch queen and all, but I think they turned out pretty nice.  I also did pebbles through the sashing around all of the little feather sash motifs, and stitch in the ditch in her pieced border (or sashing?  Whatever you want to call it!). 

I suggest clicking the pictures to get a full-sized view.  So!  I'm in love with this quilt, and really don't want to give it back to her!  But since she wants it on her bed for Christmas, I suppose she's going to be ripping it out of my hands (today, in fact).

Three of the five quilts I've done in the last couple of days were for Anna Maria Horner's Rainbow Around the Block project, for a total of four completed (I did one before Thanksgiving!).  It's really neat to look at these tops and think about the people that made the blocks that went into them.  It's obvious that they were made by people of all ages, skill levels and tastes.  This is an awful picture of one of the quilts hanging over a cabinet that holds some of our yarn.  : |

Now this next one is probably my most favoritest charity quilt I've ever quilted EVAR (so far!).  The pictures really do these puppies no justice.  The colors are so awesome, the fabrics are adorable, I just love it.


In other news, I've been up since 2:00 this morning (about to get ready for work!) working on binding one of those customer Christmas quilts.  For those of you that don't know, my cat is just as crazy about sewing as I am.  Whenever I'm sewing, she's trying to lay in my lap, play in the quilt, etc.  When I lay blocks out on the floor to decide how I want to set them together, it takes longer than for most people because my cat is always diving into them, making them fly all over the place.  While machine stitching the binding onto this particular customer quilt, she got into pretty big trouble for trying to lay on it and play in it.  Now that I've got it folded up and back in the sack, I suppose she figures the coast is clear and decided it was time to nap on it.

Silly kitty.  But I love her anyway (and the hearts on her butt!).

I may not like Christmas (not because I'm a Scrooge, I promise I have a good reason!), but since I have a chance to breathe this year, I'm feeling a little more of the holiday cheer than normal.  I hope you all are prepared for Christmas and your stockings are hung!

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

NQR: San Diego and one big "OOOHRAH!"

Pin It Ahhhhhh.  I'm back from San Diego and have had the last few days to settle back into the swing of things.  I look back on the fact that it was four days ago that I returned home and am still wishing that I was in beautiful California.

The weather was wonderful when the plane landed, around 8:30 Wednesday night.  Thursday morning, I woke up to this.

Such a beautiful California sunrise!  There wasn't a lot of time, as festivities at MCRD San Diego started pretty early in the morning.  We didn't realize what a day we were in for. 
The first thing I did upon arriving on base was visit the museum's gift shop and stand in line to purchase two t-shirts, one of which I am currently wearing.  Both stating that I'm the proud aunt of a US Marine.  (enter heart swelling here)

After a bit of exploring, the guy running the show (I don't remember if he is actually a drill instructor or not) gave a speech and told us what to do, what to expect, what was allowed and what was not.  STAY OFF THE GRASS!!!

Then, it was time to stand and wait.  Wait for what?  I already have tears in my eyes just thinking about it.  They call it a "Motivational Run".  You'll see why in a moment.  USMC 2nd Battalion Golf Company recruit count started at 500.  It ended with 480.  I was surprised there were only 20 that didn't make it.  The following video is 480 graduating Marines, and their loved ones getting to see them for the first time in 3 months, as a completely different person.  

I cannot watch these videos without crying like a baby with colic.  No joke.  I don't think anyone realizes or understands what a HUGE deal this is until they go and see it for themselves.  This second video is the second pass after they've made their way around the circle.  The video is a little shaky because by this time I was, well, shaky.  And jumping up and down!

After the motivational run, there was still another 2 hours or so to wait before we got to see our Marines, once Liberty Formation was done.

FINALLY I got to hug him.  And I wouldn't let go.  I really wouldn't.  Words cannot express the amount of pride you feel when hugging them for the first time.  This is USMC 2nd Battalion Golf Company Platoon 2147 (my nephew is right behind the drill instructor).

(My hair is pink again now!)

After Liberty Formation, we got to spend the day together, from 1pm until around 4:30.  We ate, talked, walked around and shopped.  Then he went back to his Marine bootcamp life and we went back to our tourist lives.

The next morning we were tired, but couldn't wait to see the ceremony.  There was a full parade, complete with the Marine Corps band, and even the little "Devil Dog" herself, a bull dog with a higher rank than my nephew!
The ceremony itself didn't last very long.  I have this last video.  It was SUPPOSED to be the recruits officially graduating by receiving their final orders from their drill instructors.  Unfortunately I pushed the button on my phone a little late.  So all you hear is the graduates' response, and then see me running up to him.  But I'm still posting it anyway.  :o)  *insert more tears here*

After graduation we had tentative plans to go to Sea World but that got canceled really quickly when we all realized how tired we were.  Instead, we decided to take a walk to Old Town, which was adorable.

After seeing a few sights of Old Town, we decided to take a hike up a cluster of hills in a residential neighborhood just behind the park.  This was our reward.

A beautiful San Diego sunset!

Unfortunately, I didn't see the ocean except from the plane, but I'm okay with that.

All in all, it was an excellent trip.  I'm so amazed and so proud for what Marcus has accomplished.  If you don't know, Marine Corps has the most difficult bootcamp training of any of the US military.  Just hearing about "The Crucible" is enough to make you cry.  Much less to go through it.

There's my trip in a nutshell.  If nothing else you got to see some pretty California sun.