Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year’s Eve Edition–Free Kindle Book!

Happy New Year Everyone!

I’m a gal of few words right now --- I had an awesome day teaching at Fabric Fanatics, and we do it again tomorrow.  We enjoyed a terrific family dinner, all 9 of us, at Babe’s in Garland….and just returned to our hotel.

It’s only just past 9pm but I bet it won’t be much more than another hour before I am sound asleep, New Year’s Eve or not…. so I’m posting this, and crawling into jammies and into bed ---so much for staying up to ring in the new year --- I’ll do it from dreamland!

Dead Angler by Victoria Houston is free today from the Amazon Kindle store, and has received an average user rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars based on 16 customer reviews. 

You can also get the free ebook from Barnes & Noble.
Category: Mystery
Book Description:
Retired dentist Paul Osborne hasn’t fly fished since his wife died. He hasn’t had a woman tell him what to do since then either.
But in the company of Lewellyn Ferris, he’s relearning both. And when he and his lady instructor find a well-dressed body floating in the moonlight, Paul adds deputy to his list of experiences…Whether the death is accidental — or accidentally on purpose — Lewellyn is determined to rell in the truth.
She enlists Pail and his walleye-expert buddy, Ray, to help her get to the bottom of the murky mystery. Whoever thought small-town retirement could be this dangerous?
Double check before clicking that it’s still free!

And one last thing --

On the last night of 2011, and into the first day of 2012 – I want to wish you the following --

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art or love or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it. Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”-- Neil Gaiman

Much love from Texas--

Cookin’ it up in Texas!

4am comes awful early but that is the time I needed to be up to catch this flight yesterday morning! It was still dark when we took off….this beautiful picture is taken from my plane window as we passed over Richmond, Virginia --- just awakening to a new dawn.  Isn’t it gorgeous?

I love watching the scenery from the plane window…and it was such a clear morning that I could easily see where the rivers lead –I’d never caught this perspective before. I was lucky this time!

I also got plenty of hexagon sewing in ----feels good to be back at it!  Just a few more rows and this section will be ready to add to the “Mother Ship”.  Maybe by the time I get home?  We’ll see!

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Janet picked us up at the airport, baggage and all – and drove us to Plano, straight to Fabric Fanatics!  I have HONESTLY never seen so many batiks in one place in my life!  That’s all they have!  If you are looking for batiks, you won’t need to go any further than this.

Dave’s brother Myron met us for lunch, and we all went to a Tex Mex place to get our TEXAS on!

After that, we checked into our hotel, and the guys went shopping while I took a nap.

I can hardly believe that it’s been 9 years since we moved away from Texas. And it’s been that long since we’ve seen DH’s brother and his wife --- we are in contact via phone, via facebook, via text --- but there is nothing like sitting down with family and talking and laughing and enjoying each other's company in person!

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There is this huge country western place called Southern Junction that we loved to visit for special occassions when we lived out here. It’s the most unique place I’ve ever been!

First off, it’s out in the middle of nowhere, past Rockwall ---and it looks like nothing more than a storage warehouse on the outside --- but you go INSIDE and this place is HUGE!  It’s got a stage for concerts and live music, THREE bars, places to play pool, a mechanical bull, and the best part ---you get to choose your own steak and cook it on the grill yourself.

How come it is not as much fun to cook at HOME as it is to go out and stand along side a flaming hot grill with complete strangers?

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Here’s DH --- picking his T-bone off of the tray! From here you take it to the little seasoning area ---

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There’s garlic salt, seasoned salt, all kinds of peppers – butter for basting your meat –—I have no clue who this random stranger is, but she sure seemed to know what she was doing with her seasoning routine --- ((Can we say that she was “well seasoned”?? LOL!)) So I just followed her lead and put on whatever she put on!

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Big long grill, and boy those coals are hot!  Yes --- coals!  It’s not a gas grill – there’s a real coal fire there with briquettes and everything.  The smell of the meat cooking was heavenly!  One thing about cooking your own dinner though --- if you burn it? TOUGH COOKIES!  Mine is the shish-kabob there at the far right.

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DH’s brother, Myron, and his wife Pam!  Of course along with a steak the size of Texas, you get to grill your own Texas Toast --- as much as you want--just don’t burn that EITHER! We also had salads, and there is a "Load it up yourself" Baked potato bar!  I about needed a wheelbarrow to get myself out of there!

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Dave, the steak-master, shows us how it’s done! When he turned 40, I gave him a surprise birthday party here.  Fun Memories.  Ummm..that was almost..12 years ago!

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I know it’s crazy, but it IS more fun to cook with strangers than it is to cook at home!  And I didn’t have to do the dishes after!!

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But I did have to stop and have my picture taken with Buster, the Mechanical Bull! And NO, I did NOT ride him ---I’m not THAT crazy!

It was a fun first night!  Today we rev up for our first workshop, Love Shack and Crumb Piecing!  Bring on the scraps!  What a way to start off New Years Eve celebrations!

Don’t forget that tomorrow ((Sunday, New Years Day)) is the release of Part 8, the FINALE of our Orca Bay Mystery!  You won’t want to miss it!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Evening Edition! Free Kindle Book!

I’m a crock pot girl….if I can throw it in early in the morning and let it simmer all day, I’m happy!

If it has beans in it --- if it’s hearty, and saucy, and a little bit spicy, I’m all for it!  It’s perfect to chase the winter blahs away!

Chili Cookbook by Gooseberry Patch is free today from the Amazon Kindle store.
Category: Cooking
Book Description:
Get a taste of Gooseberry Patch in this collection of over 20 favorite chili recipes!
Grab a spoon and dig in! Warm, hearty and oh-so-delicious, we’ve included plenty of recipes for your one-pot family favorite in our Chili cookbook. Try southwestern chili casserole, Grandpa’s favorite chili and oh-so-cheesy chili dip.
I just snagged this one for myself to see how different chili recipes can be.  Be sure to double check when clicking that this is still free because things can change without notice!
I’m off to pack for Dallas!  That first class seat?  It’s MINE!  DH insists.  He’d rather have an Exit Row Aisle seat than a Window First Class Seat where he’d have to crawl over someone to get out.  So that problem is solved!

Tomorrow’s Mystery clue is set to go live bright and early!  I won’t be around to answer questions about it, our flight is at 6:20am! I’ll do what I can to check in tomorrow night ---

Bye Y’all!

A First Class Dilemma!

WOW!  I was completely blown away by how sides were divided in the comments to my “What Would YOU DO?” Post from yesterday!

Maybe I should have done this as a POLL ((I’ve never done those, might be fun thing to try for the future, yeah??)) But it seems pretty evenly divided on whether I should give it to DH, Keep it myself, Flip a coin for it, share it 1/2 his turn, half my turn, give it to a military person or an elderly person.

And here I am turning 50 in a few weeks!  When do *I* get to be the elderly person? LOL!

((Obviously, not yet!))

We talked about it last night on the way to meet up with Jason and Kim for dinner.  He told me to go ahead and keep it.  I’m not sure if I will.

Here’s the deal --- I have the air miles, he doesn’t.  Free upgrades are based on your frequent flyer status.  He doesn’t have as many miles as I do.  I had to book our trips separately because we are not returning together.  We are flying out at the same time, but he has to return home on Jan 1 – I have to stay til the 4th…and since we have different return times it had to be booked separately.

When they bumped ME up --- that made my exit row seat available to another passenger.  I don’t have that seat available to me any more.  It’s been taken!

Getting customer service to find us two seats together at this point isn’t an option because DH doesn’t want to give up his exit row seat!  I don’t blame him. 

If I offer it to a military person, that means I’ll be sitting in a non-exit row seat and still not sitting with DH.

If I want to offer it to the person who now HAS my old seat because they bumped me ---is the only way that DH and I can sit together. 

But the best and funniest comment of all came from MY MOTHER!!


LOL!! Isn’t she just a riot??  You know, my biggest fear after reading all the comments, was that I might disappoint several of you if I choose something different than what you suggested.  Over such a simple thing, I’m doubting myself!

At this point, I’m leaning towards flipping a coin, giving us each a 50/50 chance at having a first class seat to Dallas.  The other person would have the exit row seat, and since this is NOT a large plane, those exit rows are the next best thing.

And as Mama said --- we’ll spend time together on the GROUND :cD

Fabric Herding :c)

Sometimes I feel like I’m nothing but a Fabric Herder.

I simply move fabric, from one area to another.  I try to keep it within boundaries.  If it threatens to over run the edges of its container, I shove it back in.

Occasionally I have to “Thin The Herd”!

But I’m also a Good Fabric Herder, I’ll go searching for the “One That Was Lost” and find use for the smallest obscure scrap to the point where I know I am bordering on ridiculous.  But if that one small scrap will do the job it needs to do --- if it will fill its purpose---then it has value, and therefore just as good as any NEW fabric that I could bring into the Herd.

There has been a LOT of herding going on during the entire month of December down in the basement.  It all started with the 2-1/2” strip bins.  Remember the BEFORE?

I’ve done it all ---ALL the sizes now have color families and containment enforcement!

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1-1/2” strips!  CHECK!!  You will notice that there are two big bags of neutrals?  Those were all pulled out of the amazing string package I was gifted by Alycia D in Marrietta, GA! There were lots of strips pre-cut to this width…BONUS!  In with the 1-1/2” strips they went!

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Next it was the 2” colors.  They are in there!  Can you believe that I now have ONE EMPTY DRAWER? This took up two drawers before I organized it.  And those rolls of strips are EASY to simply unroll on the table top, pull the strips I want out of it, and roll them back up and back in their bags they go.  This is going to save on ALL those ravelly edges!

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2” Neutrals.  I use these A LOT!  I do tend to use my 2” strips more than the 2-1/2” ones –it’s just the scale that I prefer in my patchwork.  There are not as many neutral 2” strips as there are other things because I get into these constantly.

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With that revelation clear to me…it explains why there are twice as many 2-1/2” strips than anything else!  These take up 2 drawers.  Remember my discovery of JUST HOW MUCH PINK there was??

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The wild pinks are now contained and ready for a project.  There are just more GUYS in my family than girls, and I don’t do a lot of pink quilts --- as an accent, yes, but quilts don’t often turn out predominantly pink in my world.  I may have to change that just to use some of these up!

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2-1/2” neutrals and there isn’t a whole lot of them either!  So when I’m making something, I’ll go to these bins first, pull what I can use, and then add to them with strips cut from Fat Quarters or yardage to make the mix more insteresting, and this gives me new fabrics to work with.  But these are right here ready at my finger tips.

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The 3-1/2” drawer doesn’t have much in it either!  I don’t tend to do big enough blocks that use this size a lot, but I have SOME.

This brings me to an email I got yesterday from my friend Nancy in PA --
Hey Miss Bonnie,

Hope you are doing well.  Sounds like you all had a great Christmas and have enjoyed your time in the basement :o)

I have a question for you regarding saving strips.  I know you said that you tend to save 1.5, 2, 2.5 and 3.5 inch strips.  However, the more I peruse the patterns, I see more 2-inch used than anything.  So I guess I'm asking what do you do with the other sizes?

I know if I set myself down I could probably convert some of them to using the 2.5 inch strips... but I'm just wondering if saving all of the sizes, especially the 3.5, is really 'worth it'.. if you know what I mean.

I guess I need some advice on this one.  Thanks for taking the time to answer.

Take care and hope to see you in February in Carlisle,

My answer to her was short and easy --- mostly because I was typing on my phone while DH was filling the car with gas on our return trip from Charlotte last night ---

My answer is simple. Save what YOU will use and don't worry about the others :)

It really IS just that easy.  Look at what you are sewing.  What sizes of blocks do you usually find yourself drawn to?  Look at the past several projects.  Look at ones you’ve set aside as “wannado’s” for the future.  What sizes are they going to use?  CUT THOSE.  Don’t worry about the others.  You can always cut the other sizes later.

As for me – I have learned where I need to fill in, and what NOT to cut!  Ahem…do NOT let me cut ANYMORE 2-1/2” PINKS!!

Now that this part of the fabric herding is taken care of….I have THIS to deal with:

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These are my boxes of crumbs.  And I admit this is not all of them.  THIS is what makes me feel like a hoarder instead of a herder ---and I am on the lookout to find another “extreme piecing” project that will put these to good use.  Probably something paper-piece-able so it would be an easy take a long project with little prep ahead of time needed. 

Whatever happens…do NOT let me break down and sort these by color family and iron each piece, okay?  Cuz if I do --- you will surely know that I have jumped into the deep end!!

If I get brave enough --- I may show you my strings and where they live too.  But just maybe!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What Would YOU Do?!?

I’m faced with a bit of a dilemma!

In the wee small hours this morning, 5:55am to be exact ---and no, I don’t like that number as well as I like 11:11---my phone rang.

Phones ringing at odd hours always scare me just a bit, but in my foggy stupor of interrupted sleep I picked it up, only to find that it was a recorded message from United Airlines telling me they had bumped me up to first class on my flight from Dulles to Dallas on Friday!


((That's 2 days away, why couldn't they call during "business" hours, and not at 5:55am!))


This WOULD be a good thing, but I’m not traveling alone this trip!  DH is flying with me….and now he is stuck back in coach, and I’ve got a first class seat!

So..what would YOU do?!  I could offer it to HIM as a gift and leave ME back in coach.  I could offer it to whoever is sitting next to him, and we could BOTH sit in coach.

We could flip a coin for it and whoever gets heads, gets first class?

This is a big dilemma folks!  Because there is no way to afford to BUY him an upgrade.  The upgrade is more than the price of the ticket I already paid for for him to come with me.


And Dang-it-all ---I really WANT first class! LOL!

So…tell me…if it were you…..and your DH….what would you DO!?

I’m sure this will be part of our big discussion on the way down to Charlotte this evening!  And maybe on the way back too --- or maybe….we won’t be talking at ALL to each other after I bring this up to him!!

Little Things!

Make Me Happy!!

We’ve got 4 days left of 2011.  Just FOUR DAYS! I’ve always liked the number 11.  I remember having other kids around who would rush to make a wish when the clock turned 11:11.

It must be a “digital age” thing.  I don’t think that 11:11 was so significant when we had watches and clocks with actual dials on them…but in with the digital age, it never fails, I look at my clock, and there it is blinking at me…11:11!

I took this screen shot of my phone back in November when I just happened to look at it, and there it was again..11:11!  And yes, that is my wallpaper—an antique hexie inspiration quilt!

11:11 is so significant to the romantics in my family that my brother and his lovely new wife were married at 11:11 on 11/11/11 --- while I was at sea.  Little things like this make me happy.  They make life just a bit fun.  They keep our inner child going!

Don’t you think we need something like this that is QUILTER related..some little thing that only QUILTERS do?  I don’t know about YOU guys, but I like making a wish with every brand new bobbin ---wishing for good tension, good thoughts for who the project is being made for ---- and wishing that I catch when that bobbin runs out before I sew a mile and a half not knowing I was sewing threadless!

Other things that make me happy? Something as simple as a new pair of cookie sheets!

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Oh, Thank You Sam’s Club! For providing me with more stuff that will never see the kitchen as it was intended to! LOL! These sheets are to be marked “SEWING ROOM ONLY!”

You might remember me showing how I was madly kitting up triangles like this:

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THAT cookie sheet?  It was the perfect size for carrying from the cutting table to the sewing machine.  But I’ve had THIS cookie sheet since I got married..and boy…has it seen better days!  It is much better left in the kitchen than used for sewing.  As I was posting pictures I thought…GEE ----If presentation is EVERYTHING, these cookie sheets are revealing more of my kitchen than I want anyone else to see!

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Not only that…how unattractive is THIS picture?  Do you see the 4 patch pairs all lined up ready to sew, or do you see the stains and 30 years worth of wear and tear on my cookie sheets!? Boy, if these pans could talk, they have just about my whole life wrapped up in them -- my boy's whole life.  They've done their job well.  But they need to STAY in the KITCHEN!

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Yeah, I’m at it again!  Pushing those pairs through!  But the next time I cut --- those brand new cookie sheets will be what carries my pieces from the cutting table to the machine!

WOW!  Has everyone been busy! It’s only Wednesday and we have  80 people who have shown pics of their progress on Orca Bay on last Monday’s Mystery Monday Link-Up! Go ahead and go see what they’ve been up to….all those stars!  It looks so great!  Two more days, and part 7 will be released Friday!

This evening we are driving down to Charlotte to meet up with Jason for a post-Christmas get together!  Charlotte is about half way between us and it makes it do-able for us both to meet up there.

Yep! Little things make me happy ----I hope you find joy and smiles in small things too!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Afternoon Edition–Free Kindle Book!

I have 3 days to get all done that I need to before leaving for Dallas on Friday! DH is coming along with me.  His brother and family are from Wiley, and he hasn’t seenh is brother in at least 8 years. 

I really feel that we are “of an age”  ((Don’t you hate that term?!)) where seeing far-away-family is CRUCIAL.  It’s not convenient to find the time or the funds to go visit family across the country, but the memories are priceless, and it is just something we HAVE to do.  So I treated DH this Christmas with tickets to Dallas to come with me over New Years.

I’ll be teaching classes,  he and his brother can pal about and spend time together, even for 2 days.  It’s worth it.  How can you put a price on that?

So, once again, I’m PACKING!  DH also loves to read, and I thought this was a good one for the kindle app on his toshiba tablet for the flight:

Retirement Can Be Murder by Phil Edwards is free today in the Amazon Kindle store, and has received an average user rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars based on 50 customer reviews. 
Category: Mystery 
When Jake Russo is transferred from a New York City beat to sunny Sarasota, his reporting life slows down. Instead of covering life in the big city, he’s stuck writing puff pieces about bridge games and shuffleboard. His biggest challenge? Sticking to his diet.
That all changes when an older resident mysteriously dies on the beach. Jake has to figure out why and how she died. With the help of his bumbling octogenarian cameraman, Jake will have to overcome his lack of confidence and find the truth. He’ll discover love, conspiracy, and surprising secrets in Florida’s retirement communities.
Light as a day at the beach, this playful mystery is an early buffet of flirtation, intrigue, and senior citizens gone bad.
And yes, I know this sounds like a funny genre for DH to want to read, but he LOVES the Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich!  We can hardly wait until that movie FINALLY--- after over a decade of wishing ----will be in theaters in 2012!  And I thought this would kind of be the silly slapstick kind of stuff he finds in the Stephanie Plum books. Good enough for a flight to Dallas and back :c)
And – if HE thinks it’s good --- then I guess I’ll have to read it too!
I’ve been reading Rena’s Promise – Slowly.  It’s moving.  It’s horrifying.  It’s true.  And it’s hard to swallow.  It’s tough enough for me that I have to read something ELSE after reading that, just so I can get to sleep.  Seriously.   I’ll never be the same.  This didn’t happen during MY life time, but it happened during my parent’s life time --- and I’m haunted.
Did you ever give thought to what your life would be like if you could not READ!?  If you CAN read – do!

Sew Day!

Yesterday morning I headed out the door to drive over to Lewisville to spend time with Karen in HER basement….I could get a tshirt that says “Sewing in the basement, your house or mine?!”

I got there a bit before Lisa…started setting up.  We were going to sew all day, and be treated to a wonderful lunch of quiche and salad --- and lots of left over Christmas cookies.  Doesn't that sound wonderful?  Someone else cooking? I'm all for that!

Laura was supposed to join us, but poor thing, she had to stay home and put her beloved pooch down.  It was time.  He lived a good long life, was much loved ---but it was time.  Our hearts ached for her, and we understood why she would not feel like hanging out.

Laura, if you are reading this, do know that you were missed and our hearts were breaking for you!  Those puppies are such a part of our families ---it's so tough when it's time.

Of course, the girl of the hour was SHELBY!  Spoiled rotten and oh so sweet, she steals everyone’s heart!

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Karen worked on her Storm at Sea UFO that she started a couple years ago..she’s got it to the design wall stage, arranging the blocks and getting them ready to sew together!

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Lisa was busy sewing on a snowball quilt that has followed her around as a “take along” project for sew days for a while…..She got her top together!

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YAY!  It’s GORGEOUS!  Shelby watches on, thinking that will soon be her soft place to land ---she owns ALL the quilts, don’t you know!!

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I spent most of my day sewing all the half square triangles I had cut for this project – it doesn’t look like much, but there are 600 half square triangle units in this container!  That’s 1200 triangles!  Sewn, and pressed and stacked!

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We had a great time!  I kept forgetting that it was the insane “Day after Christmas” madhouse out in retail-ville --- we certainly had a better time in the basement! And yes, that is the Quilt Muse smiling over my shoulder from the shelves..LOL!

I don’t know how I would survive without other crazy women to sew, laugh, eat with!  Good friends to cry with, dream with ---

Monday, December 26, 2011

Sandy’s Boxing Day Sew In! With Give-Aways!

If you are looking for the Mystery Monday Link-Up post you can find it HERE!

I got an email as I was about to head out the door about a Boxing Day Sew in going on over at Quilting for the Rest of Us!

Nonnie wrote:

Dear Bonnie,

SORRY, I did not think of this sooner!

Could you please post a link in your blog to our BOXING DAY SEW IN and give aways.  We figured this is a great way to get some sewing time in.... INFORMATION is on Sandy's blog.   I did post this on the  quiltville mailing list.  I thought this would be a good way for Mystery quilters to get caught up in a fun way
Sure thing, Nonnie!  I’m just headed out the door and glad I caught this in time to post it before I leave for Karen’s.  I took a peek at Sandy’s blog.  Looks like a lot of the quilt-chatter is happening over on twitter,  as well as blogs so if you are a twitter-girl you’ll be able to keep up with what everyone else is doing.

It also looks like there are some great prizes --- just leave your comment, I left mine!  Good luck to everyone!

I’m glad to know that there are lots of us trying to avoid the after Christmas Blitz!  SAY NO to shopping, and YES to SEWING!

Have fun!

Mystery Monday Link-Up! Part 6!

And I’m a bit brain dead this morning!  With all this holiday stuff, I forgot to set this up to go live earlier this morning!

I awoke with a start about 10 minutes ago, sat straight up in bed with an “OH MY GOODNESS!!” And here I am bleary eyed on a day I could have slept in trying to get this typed up and running!

I’m all packed to go sewing today at Karen’s!  YAY!  I packaged up all those triangles I cut the other day, and we’ll see how far I get on them. I can tell you that having all the scrap strips sorted by color family made cutting them SO QUICK!

I’ve taken the ham bone from last night’s Christmas dinner, and it has been simmering in the crock pot on low all night with some 16-bean mix for ham and bean soup.  We’ll have that for dinner tonight after sew-day.

And that’s about all I have to talk about since we enjoyed such a wonderfully relaxed Christmas! I even took a nap --- wonderful!

Let’s link up! If you’ve linked before, you don’t need the directions below, but because we have new people joining us every week, I still want to be sure they know what to do:

If you are a blogger, please link your post showing your Orca Bay Mystery progress on Part 6 ((Or any other part, no matter where you are in the mystery)) below!

Remember that we need the url of the specific POST, not just the address for your whole blog.

To get the correct address in the linky –right click on the title/subject line of the post you wrote about your quilt progress. Chose “copy link address” and paste this url in the form when you link.

You can also CLICK the title line of the post you want to link...and copy the url from the address bar at the top of your browser that way.

For instance, my blog address is  quiltville.blogspot.com but that isn't enough. I can't link to the WHOLE blog, I need the address of the post. The address of THIS post is    quiltville.blogspot.com/2011/12/mystery-monday-link-up-part-6.html  See the difference?

**NOTE**  You do NOT need to include the http:// when you insert your address into the linky!

If you link to just your whole blog, I’ll have to remove your link and have you try again because I can’t fix it FOR you.

We'll leave this open until MIDNIGHT eastern time Thursday night to give you time to write your posts! I LOVED seeing what links came in last week! If you missed those, you can find them linked in the Orca Bay Mystery tab at the top of the blog ---just look at the bottom of that page below the step links for the Mystery Monday Link-Up Links!
Happy Monday!