Making : A Christmas quilt

For years, I’ve been wanting to make a Christmas quilt.  But by the time the decorating for Christmas arrives in our house, we are deep in activities.  Between birthday celebrations, swim meets, and all the making that we need to do for the craft fairs, it leaves little time for just sewing, sewing for us.  After the crafts are done, then I have the list of gifts I’d like to make for our family and friends.  So, there’s not much time until after the holidays.


So this year, I decided to go ahead and get started, after all the holiday making was done.

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I had a pattern in mind, so it was a matter of picking the fabrics that I wanted to use for this quilt.  And started cutting.


Started matching them up and sewing.


Then the blocks.

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Now, the top is done.  I have the back for it (an old sheet) and and the fabric I want to use for the binding.  I’ll finish it after we are done with this next craft fair coming up.

the kitchen during Christmas

we’ve been cooking and baking a lot lately, but not all were photographed.

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Some menu-making, lots of friends over, having fun.

DSC_0693 copyLucas made these gnocchi’s the last time he was in his outdoors day.  They made them with acorn flour they had made from scratch.  They were really good, so we shared them during  dinner when he got home.

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Inspired by Amanda’s post about grits we’ve had a couple of dinners this month. I use SouleMama’s recipe and some ideas of the topping and a combination of other online recipes.  And some more ideas I’d like to try.  It has been popular and a favorite of everyone.  A win-win meal I’d say.

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There were many days of baking.

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There was fudge made, and biscotti, and chocolate thumbprints.

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And of course, sugar cookies as well.

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And a day of decorating them all.DSC_0004 copy DSC_0001 copy Yellow and blue stars.

DSC_0006 copy Blazer Dancers…

DSC_0005 copy DSC_0007 copy DSC_0011 copyEiffel Towers.

DSC_0009 copy Basketballs and Blazers players.  Yellow snowmen and gingerbread men.

DSC_0012 copy DSC_0028 copy Smiley faces and Christmas trees.

DSC_0019 copy Squirrels and porcupines and baseballs.

DSC_0023 copy DSC_0018 copy DSC_0029 copyAnd a day of packing for friends to enjoy.

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And cinnamon rolls dough being mixed by everyone.

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I’d say, these were the best cinnamon rolls of all time.  Probably because we all worked on them together.

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I have to add to the goodness of these is seeing our kids hand over a plate over the fence, full of warm cinnamon rolls to our friends.  It is as much of a tradition as it is to make them and eat them.  Sharing them with our friends that morning, as we have for close to a dozen Christmas mornings, is a sweet gift that reminds us how lucky we are to have them in our lives.

How I wish I could have pictures of our kids delivering and taking these plates over the fence with Christmas morning faces with their brief smiles and comments of presents received… because in these 12 years they’ve changed and grown up so much, but it’s probably the same plate being offered all these years.  To sweetness of all sorts!  I hope you’ve enjoyed some good sweets too.

the weeks during Christmastime…

The last few weeks, besides celebrating Christmas, there were lots of things brewing, cooking, knitting, sewing, reading, singing, making… so much more!

… we went to the annual Solstice Bonfire celebrated not far from our house by the City of Milwaukie.  We’ve gone for years, but it was a little disappointing this time.

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They do the bonfire at a park on the river, so you can see the water and the Christmas Ships… well? The ships cancelled their trip up the river that night because of all the debris in the water (because of all the rain we’ve had) AND there were no carolers either.  No carolers!!! But the fire… oh yes, the fire was lovely indeed!

DSC_0744 copy DSC_0746 copy cropped This sign says “Attention: No Fires Allowed”… though this fire is made and organized and watched by City employees it was funny to be standing in front of the sign…

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I did enjoy the warmth and darkness of that night, standing by the fire by the river moving by, while the rain stopped for a little bit and reminded us that the light is coming back.  But I am in no hurry.  We are staying warm, dry and I feel lucky.  We have all the goods made and preserved during the summer to enjoy when apples are oranges are what’s most common in the stores.

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… I realized I love seeing what everyone is doing… for the most part.  I don’t go to Facebook often, and I don’t really write much, but I do go check it out to see if I have the luck to see my nieces and nephews in photos or stories.  They grow up so quickly, and being so far away from them all, makes me a little sad not to see them grow up into the beautiful little… well, young people they are right now.  From almost 30 years old to 15, the youngest.  Graduations from college, from high school, finals, exams, jobs, marriages have happened… so much we’ve missed by being up here, but it’s the choices we make in life what makes us what and who we are right now.  And with everything in mind, and even a little heavy heart, I would have to say that I wouldn’t change any of them.  I have this amazing little family of my own, and we are so close, and so lucky to be together.  Though I wish I could have them (my nieces and nephews) a little closer at times.

And I have to say, at this time of the year, I do love seeing the photos of Christmas, and vacations, and end of the year school activities for them.  All of them getting ready for summer break, Christmas and all, with summer attires, that remind me of the Christmases I grew up with.  Summer Christmases.

And now, in my own home, we pack and cover ourselves with blankets, sweaters, hats and gloves and raincoats most of the days.  I wouldn’t trade it either, I love our winter Christmases and the coziness it comes with it, turning us indoors for a while, being closer together.  I do love it.  But seeing my family in Chile so summery and ready to celebrate their own holidays and vacations, it’s fun of course.  Nature and this world where we live, is so big, and funny and an amazing thing.

… thank goodness for technology that let us see families and friends far away.  This is as we were talking on Christmas Day, half worlds apart.

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… delivered some goodies to our friends.

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… Lucas made this gingerbread house with some friends, it looks so cute!

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…. went to see a friend dance in the Nutcracker, and reminded me how beautiful it is when you have someone you know in it.

… the sun appeared briefly for few minutes few days ago. Not too warm, but to give us a little light.

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… have been sewing, sewing, sewing.  Knitting, and making of all sorts is (and was) happening all around the house by everyone.  It is a fun time of the year.

… there’s been playing too. Lots of it!

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… we’ve been baking all kinds of cookies and pies.

…  we’ve been enjoying Mark being home.  I know we are lucky to have him home for long periods of time like these, and summer break of course.  We feel so lucky.

… my parents had some celebrations they went and sent us this photo.

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… we’ve watched movies.  Lots of Christmas movies, many we’ve never seen.  We are so behind the “Must See” movie list that we have lots to choose from.

… there’s been lots of swimming too.  Practices and meets and more coming our way.  We are excited.

… we’ve been putting together some packages to be delivered to the homeless at a park close by.

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… we found this big photo of Siena from ten years ago. Where and how does the time fly so fast!  (I want to fond one of Lucas and do the same.)

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… we did our annual Christmas visit downtown and enjoyed it.  With some new highlights, and new places to visit, and continuing others making sure we don’t miss.

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… I found a new book I need to check out and read it very carefully.  Love it!

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Hope your past few weeks have been fun and hopefully not too chaotic or stressful.  I love ending the year with so much happening, all the making, the surprises, the secret-making, the surprises, and I try to remember that all this is here for us to share and to enjoy with those we love.  Because nothing is sure, we just have right now, and I don’t want to miss any of it.

Christmas Day

DSC_0014 copy And early morning.

DSC_0028 copy Tea in hand, sitting down and enjoying every minute of it.

DSC_0035 copy Smiles, laughs, surprises, secrets revealed.

DSC_0043 copy Hand made presents.  Yes!  Lots of them!

DSC_0044 copy DSC_0046 copy DSC_0047 copy (Have you’ve read the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place by Maryrose Wood?)

DSC_0051 copy DSC_0059 copy Home made cinnamon rolls… the best recipe ever, I believe.

DSC_0071 copy A game board made especially by some friends to these friends…

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Gifts made out of wood, fabric, paper, Legos… and yes, we also received Legos, games, books, and art supplies. Plenty and lovely presents, thankful to receive them all. DSC_0108 copy DSC_0109 copy Later, a walk to the park on a beautiful Christmas day, that from wishing snow it turned out to be one of the few sunny, clear days we’ve had this month.  I’ll take it too!

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DSC_0134 copy Two beautiful boys and love of my lives.

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An evening meal together, thankful for what we have, thankful for what we received, and thankful for being here together, after a wonderful, wonder-full day.

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the craft fair

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Two weeks ago we went to the first of two craft fairs we’ll attend with a table of our handmade goods, this year.   We love to make things.  We like to craft, try new things, learn something new.  We are always looking in books, magazines, online for new ideas.  We talk, we share, we try, we learn.

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We started selling our handmade goods a while ago.  We’ve always been making things.  We like making our gifts.  We think of who is receiving it and create something for them, and sometimes we share what we like at the moment.

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So when some friends convinced us to sell our things at a Winter Faire about 4 years ago, we got hooked.  Siena really liked the idea of selling and being part of a fair.  She’s always been the one wanting to have a lemonade stand, or come early spring or late summer, she’d have a hot chocolate stand instead.   She has also convinced me to have garage sales, so she can organize things, set them out (like a store), out price stickers, and sell them.  And a big bonus is that she is so organized, that she loves cleaning her room, and Lucas’s room too.  She likes going through the drawer and shelves throughout the house and asking me what are the things I don’t use or things she thinks we don’t need.  I love it.  She is my decluttering force.

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Siena was 7 and Lucas was 4 years old when we went our first craft fair to sell.   They made the crafts they could, helped me put sets and kits together.  I made few things I had made for us, for the house, for them to play with, and we were ready to go.  I remember being so nervous.  Nervous to the unknown.  To what people would say about our goods.  Nervous that we wouldn’t make enough to play the table fee.  Because the cost of the materials wasn’t much, since they were almost seen as craft supplies for our homeschooling.  Not that it mattered to anyone but me, in my worries about budgeting.

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And that first year, we made so much more than the table fee, that I was surprised we had pulled it off.  I never thought we had that much worth in goods.  I guess, we hadn’t counted how much inventory we had.  But most importantly, was what we experience personally, each one of us, that day, standing by our table and by our handmade goods.  Siena hearing the comments from the passersby, or directly to her.  A little 7 year old girl, making all sorts of presents for friends and selling them now, at the same time learning to sew and learn to talk to people who would ask how she made things and just strike a conversation with so many people.  She’s good at that.  She always has been.

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That first year also, she had learned to twist balloons.  She’s always been in love with balloons and didn’t surprise me when she asked to watch videos on youtube, and get books at the library to learn to make a flower and a dog.  She twisted balloons at that first fair too.  Her fingers wore blisters by the end of the day, and she was exhausted, but her little person was filled.  Filled with wonderful comments I hope she’ll never forget.  She does remember the one bigger kid (teenager) who approached her to ask for a balloon and as she watched Siena make it, she told her “I am much older than you and I can’t even make that! You are amazing!”  Siena repeated that story for many weeks afterwards that year.  We still bring it up, because it meant so much to her.  To all of us.  Because she made us proud.  She always does.

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The second year came, we did another fair.  The following year Siena convinced me to go to a second fair too since we had already made things for the one.  So we did.  And have been doing two fairs a year, for the holidays, the last three years.

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Lucas likes to make things too, but different things than Siena.  He likes to work with wood, and has painted things, and created other projects that he enjoys.  We all help him.  We all help each other when we need support.

We talk about the fair and what we’d like to make new each year.  What things we’d like to change or make more of.  No one expects to push anybody in making anything.  It’s all about what we each want to make.  It’s about enjoying what we are doing.  It’s about having fun.  Having fun while making and creating because we like it.  Getting that cash for selling our handmade things is a bonus.  A fun one for sure.

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We just had our first fair of the season last week.  It was just the three of us for setting up. Mark was at work.  Lucas and Siena helped unload the car, and carry the boxes of goods in to our spot.  Siena had practiced setting up and the arrangement of things how we wanted them, the previous days.  While Lucas and I went home to get the last few things, moved the car and parked it in the right spot, Siena arranged our spot mostly all by herself.  It looked beautiful.  She really did a great job. We were there for two days, and we had a lot of fun.

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This year, as with every passing year, they have both changed how much they are involved in the fairs, and in the making.  Siena this year wanted to change few things, she wanted to make new things, and has been part of the whole process, more than before.  And it gave her a different perspective of what it takes to make it work.  She was aware of the fees we had to pay.  The cost of the supplies.  The way we buy the supplies, where, when and how.  The cost of the shipping, and how to make it work in a timely manner.

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It wasn’t only about how much money we had made at the end of the weekend.  This time she was interested in knowing when and how much did we earn after paying for the table fee and the supplies.  Not a bad thing at all.

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Then, we were ready to deposit the money in the travel account.  For all of us we felt that all of our efforts had paid off.  Each one of us, was happy with what we had made and what we had brought home.  A great lesson and a great homeschool unit in sewing, woodworking (and other craft skills), math, reading, life skills, and entrepreneurial ideas.  All in one, without even knowing it.

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And most importantly remembering even in the midst of crazy set ups and carrying heavy boxes, figuring out the new folding table, attending and talking to people for many hours at a time (etc…) that it’s all for fun. Having fun together throughout the whole process, throughout the year.  As we think in months in advance of the new projects and new ideas to create, making them work, and making them look pretty.  For us, it’s all about having fun.  About learning something new each year, but most importantly just having fun together.  And this first one was indeed fun.  Now to restock and create more and maybe new things for the next one coming up.


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Halloween this year was a scary one.  The day before was pouring rain, the morning was raining hard too, but by 1 pm, the rain stopped and it didn’t rain until later this weekend.  It was a beautiful evening making it that much more fun.

DSC_0046 copyLeaves are falling non-stop.  Lucas has been keeping up, raking them up.

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Glendie, helping Lucas fit into a costume she made for Siena when Siena was 2.  That’s 10 years ago. DSC_0049 copy DSC_0051 copy DSC_0056 copyAnd we waited for this little guy to come (and his parents) to have dinner and go trick or treating together.   DSC_0040 copy DSC_0053 copy DSC_0057 copy DSC_0060 copy DSC_0064 copyWe had a Panda and Flash and our guest Batman appearance.

DSC_0068 copyAnd we gathered with a whole bunch of friends, to walk around our neighborhood together, hanging out.  Some of these kids went on by themselves this year.  Others let us go with them.  We’ll take all the Halloweens we can.

DSC_0073 copyThe loot. 

DSC_0081 copyAll of it.  Now, after a couple of hours walking, chatting, laughing, running, trick or treating and having fun, we get home for the yearly exercise of dividing the candy by kind and discussing what kinds every one likes better than others, and which ones taste better than others.  Deciding what to keep and what to give away. A fun evening indeed.




As it has become, the tradition is to get together with our friends on Christmas Eve, and celebrate with a special meal, as I did growing up in Chile. Together, in family, with our dear friends.

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This year, even more special than ever, with the cutest little one in our arms.  And she can’t make this aunt happier with her beautiful smile.  A special gift indeed.

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And a morning, full.

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Full of surprises.


Full of playing.


Full of traditions.

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Full of handmades.

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Full of smiles and fun moments.

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And this photo to remember later, that we did pretty good on the cleaning part.  Just a handful of bags for the garbage.  A grocery bag full of recycling.  And a whole bunch of fabric bags and boxes we will reuse and use them again, many more times in the future.  Ahhhhh… it feels good to waste less.  It feels really good.

We had a beautiful, slow Christmas. Together as a family.  I love seeing the faces of these three lovely people I live with, open their presents.  Those presents we’ve been hiding for a while.  Those we’ve been making for a while.  Those we thought and figured out how to make for that special someone.  How beautiful it is to share with those we love.  This time, it was again, just wonderful.

Hoping your holidays were beautiful too.



christmastime at home


I love Christmastime.  It is my favorite holiday for sure.  And I love it that we can be home, and be together.  It is just perfect.


I love the lights, the tree, the decorations, the candles, the making, the gatherings, the celebrations.  Even the darkness… yes!  It makes the light (and the lights!) even that much more special.

DSC_0173-small DSC_0174-smallThe making, the elfing, the secrets, the learning, the thinking, the believing.  All of it, it’s so special at this time.




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The wishing, the making (yes, lots of types of making!), the stories, the traditions.

DSC_0012-small DSC_0015-small DSC_16-smallThe new, the playing, the making, the wishing, the giving, the receiving.

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So much fun.  So much fun.