30 December 2016

A Look Back at 2016


The odometer of years ticks by and it's time to say goodbye to 2016.

As always, I've taken a fair number of photographs.  Here is a look at a few of the ones that I feel are my very best of the year.  
2016 Best Photos Lisa P Boni
From a snowy road photographed on my way home from work last January, to the beautiful blossoms of spring, summer and fall, views of both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and one of my two exquisite granddaughters that I have been so blessed with this year, these are the photos that I felt went a little bit beyond being just a photo.  It's always so hard to choose which ones to include in this group!  

2016 Art Mosaic
One of my goals for 2016 was to spend more time painting.  While I wasn't able to paint quite as much as I had hoped, I did manage to do quite a number of oil paintings and watercolor sketches!  Hope to continue into the year ahead!  

2016 Stitching Mosaic
There was time for stitching too.  I finished up the blocks for CQJP 2015 and mostly finished the quilt (just a bit more quilting to do on it before binding it).  I was able to finish Mollie Feathers; stitched a cover for the special Holiday issue of Crazy Quilt Quarterly (and a second piece that was my first attempt).  I made a couple of pincushions, crocheted enough coasters for the living room, stitched a mug rug for my stitching table and did some Altoid tin samples.  

I also spent much of the year working on my lecture and power point for two of the quilt guild presentations I did, created a stitching sampler with instructions for my classes, wrote a Mini-Stitch book, created a pattern and instructions for Altoid Tin kits, which I sold at one of the workshops.  Just putting the kits together was a huge time commitment and not something I will likely do again!  Needless to say, there wasn't a lot of time left over for stitching! 

2016 Daily Stitching
Once all the workshops were over and I got settled in my new job a bit more, I had time to stitch at last and had fun with some little Daily Stitching pieces, each about 3"x4".  Just little vignettes to get myself stitching and try something different for a change.  Hope to do much more with this in the future, though it may morph and change throughout the year.  

2016 Yard and Garden
The garden was AMAZING! this year!  Photos simply can not do it justice.  The roses in June... oh my!  Truthfully, this yard is so much larger than I can really handle on my own, but having roses blooming like this makes it all worth while!  

2016 Travel mosaic
I was thinking it was going to be a light travel year, but I ended up being able to make three wonderful trips! In the spring, my sister joined me for a road trip to South Dakota to see my Dad's side of the family and to visit the old home places.  Then in September I had a wonderful week on Cape Cod with a dear friend, quickly followed by a road trip to Kansas City for the CQI Retreat and the chance to meet up with yet another dear friend!  October brought my last trip of the year to California where I taught a workshop for the Santa Clara Valley Quilter's group and the opportunity to spend time with a close friend from high school, whom I hadn't seen in many years.

I love that each trip involved the chance to spend time with people who have been important in my life in addition the opportunities to see new places and revisit others.  Memories of these trips provide such inspiration and food for the soul.  They really keep me going, whether in the fun of planning, or in the actual taking of the trip, and then reliving the memories as I share the photos and stories here on my blog! 

As I look back over the past year, I realize how little I've blogged this year, especially since my job change this fall.  I hope to do better in the coming year! FaceBook and Instagram provide the instant gratification of "likes" and comments, but it doesn't provide the deeper dialogue that a blog can, and that is something that I've been missing.  

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Before I finish this post, I thought I'd take just a brief look at my holiday decorating.  Since I knew I would be working through Christmas and not seeing any of the family, I kept things very simple.  I put up the snowflake lights in the windows, decorated the tree with lights only ~ not a single ornament!  

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The mantle wears the lit green garland most of the year, so I just changed out a few of the decorations for Christmas ones.  A Willow Tree nativity, a white wood dove, some whitewashed trees and a little village of wooden houses that I made several years ago.  

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Outside, there are some new snowflake lights along the path to the side patio.  It looked so lovely in the snow with the kitchen tree's lights reflected in the window!  I may have to plant a small fir tree there just to have lights on it!  Since I didn't have help this year to put lights on the house, I put simple green lights on the fence, which I was able to do without a ladder!  

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The kitchen windows each have a lovely scandinavian candelabra in them.  

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In the dining room, I put out my small faux feather tree with just little wire lights on it this year and my trees in the snow painting.  I love how the living room tree is reflected in the mirror here!  

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The living room tree with the window lights on Christmas Eve before I left for work.  

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I've spent nearly every evening that I haven't been working sitting in the living room simply enjoying the lights and the peace.  It has been more "Christmasy" than when everything is loaded down with decorations.  It has made me remember that Jesus came as a light to the world.  He brought peace to those who believe in him.  Even when struggling with a difficult year, underneath, there has been peace.  

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I couldn't resist the little "elf" tree and since I was missing having a real tree, brought this home and found it a spot in the kitchen.  It's amazing how much you can do in the kitchen just by the lights of the tree and the window candelabras!  

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Due to my work schedule, I wasn't able to make my beloved Christmas Eve services this year.  Instead I took a walk through the park near my home.  Each Christmas, a group of neighborhood residents takes the time to line the paths with luminarias.  It was a magical walk.  

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In the park shelter, there was a lit tree and this view looks down the street to the Christmas lights of my home in the distance.  

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The park shelter sits next to a now mostly frozen pond.  All through the year it is a favored site for weddings, quinceanares (a celebration on a girl's 15th birthday to acknowledge that she is now a woman), yearbook photos, yoga classes, etc.  Walking through the park on this lovely Christmas Eve  made for a lovely peaceful walk before starting what turned out to be a very hectic and busy night at work!  

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In the mornings, when I sit in my chair and turn the tree lights on, it looks like bits of dappled early morning sunlight peeking through the branches.  Peaceful by night, peaceful by day.

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017!  I'm looking forward to meeting and getting to know you!  

24 December 2016

Merry Christmas!

20161224-O Holy Night
Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!  
May you be blessed this Christmas season with much love and joy!  

I originally began this when Pam Kellogg asked me to stitch a piece for the special Christmas issue of Crazy Quilt Quarterly.  But as I worked on it, I realized that it didn't have quite the graphic impact that a cover piece should have and so I set it aside and completed the Christmas Tree piece that she ended up using.  Since then, I've worked on this, but still don't have it quite finished.  I wanted to share it anyway!  


And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.  And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying  in a manger.”  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
Luke 2: 8-14

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24 November 2016

Blessed Thanksgiving!

It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to thy name, O Most High;
to declare thy steadfast love in the morning,
and thy faithfulness by night,
to the music of the lute and the harp,
to the melody of the lyre.
For thou, O Lord, has made me glad by thy work;
at the works of they hands I sing for joy.
Psalm 92:1-4

So lovely to look back upon this year and to see the many blessings that have been given to me and to find so many things to be thankful for!

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Whether it is the beauty of the world around us,

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Or watching the garden grow and bloom,

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Or witnessing the season's changing glory,

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Sunset on Cape Cod
This world is a constant reminder to us that the hand of God is ever present.

Nauset Beach
I've been blessed this year to witness the beauty of two coasts.  The Atlantic...

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and the Pacific;

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To experience the vastness of the plains

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from the Badlands of South Dakota

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to the peaks of the Rocky Mountains.

2016.05.11JessieGraduation05 This year saw the graduation from college of my daughter! An enormous accomplishment for her!

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I've been blessed with time to paint...

Week 1 of Daily Stitching.
and time to stitch!

And there has been the move to a job closer to home, freeing up many hours in the day and decreasing my stress levels enormously! So many things to be thankful for!

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But most precious of all has been the time spent with those I love.  Catching up with precious relatives that we don't get to see often,

Friends!          Gerry & Lisa
And lovely time spent with dear friends! (and many more who aren't pictured here!)

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One of my most favorite things has been gatherings at home with my kids.  Few things make me happier than to have them all gathered around the table together and listening to their friendly banter, laughter and conversation!  What a joy to have a family that enjoys spending time together!

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And this year, the special blessing and amazing gift of two precious granddaughters!  So incredible!

Happy the people to whom such blessings fall!
Happy the people whose God is the Lord!
Psalm 144:15

Wishing you and yours a Blessed Thanksgiving!  

21 November 2016

Daily Stitching

Daily Stitching - Nov.17.2016
I've been working a lot lately.  What days I've had off have been filled with a long list of chores and items to complete.  I've been missing my time with the needle, so I picked up a scrap of linen and some silk bits and stitched these autumn leaves and snowflakes ~ a tribute to the season's first snow, in the short amount of time I had before work one evening.  

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The next evening, I stitched the aspen trees outside my window.  

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Then it was the quickly falling maple leaves on the tree outside the kitchen window.  All these stitched in an hour or so, before heading out the door to work.  

Daily Stitching - Nov.20.2016
Sunday was my day off, a bit more time, so I stitched one of the Black Eyed Juncos that showed up with the snow this week.  Winter must really be here since they have arrived!  

Daily Stitching - Nov.21.2016
Though I work again tonight, I had to be up early for a work meeting, and try as I might, going back to sleep just wasn't going to happen.  Perfect opportunity to spend a bit more time stitching.  One of the squirrels searching for fallen seed under the bird feeders. 

It's becoming a sort of nature/seasonal journal in thread on linen with a bit of silk.  They are small, only about 3x4", edges left raw.  What will I do with them?  No idea just yet, but for now, I plan of keeping them all together and see where they take me! 

I've been posting them on Instagram, Facebook and Flickr.  It's good to be playing with needle and thread.  How long will these daily stitchings last?  I have have no idea.  As long as I have energy and time for them.  And ideas.  For a while, I sketched and/or painted daily.  Then I did a photo-a-day project that lasted a few months.  Now it's Daily Stitching.  



17 November 2016

November Roses

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What a treat to be able to pick roses into mid-November!  Not just a blossom or two, but a lovely large bouquet of them!  

Last year, the roses made it into the first week of November, but this year, without a hard freeze yet, they have continued to blossom through today.  With our first hard freeze and snow expected tonight, I opted to bring these beauties inside to enjoy for a few more days.  

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So glorious!  

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Had I not turned the water off back in mid October, I'm sure there would be even more blossoms! 

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The last of the leaves are changing and falling.  Spectacular colors!  Son Zach helped me bag up the huge mound of leaves that I had raked up.  There will be more, but the bulk of the job is done.  

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As I looked through other parts of the garden, I was amazed to see Hollyhocks still blooming!  I've never had them last beyond September before!  

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The Blanket Flowers still bloom

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as well as a last few petunias.  

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The berries on the Spindle bush still hang in a glorious riot of color!  Such abundance of them this year!  

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Thomas enjoying the autumn sunshine through the window.  

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I've spent my days off this week finishing up our family cookbook and taking a few last photos for it. So good to have this huge project complete at last!  

One of my projects for this coming year is to resize some of those loved recipes into smaller amounts more appropriate for one person.  I so rarely cook for 6 or more, and thats what most of our recipes were for.  For me, that is enough food for two weeks since one portion usually equals two for me!        In the past I've tried freezing the extras, but I learned that once it goes into the freezer, it tends to stay there until it is past its prime and ends up getting discarded. These Sesame Noodles were my first go at resizing a recipe.   It made two "me" sized portions, which is about how long I like to eat leftovers!  Perfect!

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I've had a wee bit of time to get into the stitching studio this week as well.  Working on finishing up some projects, so nothing new to share at this point.  But I've loved the view out into the garden from where I sit.  The only souvenir that I brought home from my trip to California was this little Goldfish Chime from the gift shop at the Japanese Garden.  So sweet and a perfect complement to the roses blooming outside in the garden.  

As I finish writing this post, I look out the window and the first tiny snowflakes begin to fall.  The seasons change.  I'm so grateful to have a bouquet of lovely roses to ease the change.  And as I ponder the changing season, this verse comes to mind: 

The grass withers, the flower fades;
but the word of our God will stand for ever. 
Isaiah 40:7

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