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It’s a brand New Year!

Hi everyone,

yes, I am still here… ha, ha, the same old MIA beast reared its head once more and holidays, family things and some sickness swallowed me for a bit, but NO MORE!
Here I am to wish you all a

WONDERFUL, HEALTHY, HAPPY, JOYFUL NEW YEAR, FULL OF LOVE, FAMILY, FRIENDS, CREATIVE ENDEAVORS AND JUST PLAIN OLD – FUN!!! 
 2014 will be our best year yet, just as 2015 will be even better, right? 🙂
I have so many new plans, new ways to organize, stay on track, create, share with all of you – I am really excited for 2014!
But before we venture into all that I feel some little recap of this year is in order!
The beginning of this year had its share of sadness for sure – we lost three beloved pets in our family… First it was time to say goodby to Marko the Cat, after almost 19 full years of love. He was such a character and I still miss him every morning… (tribute to Marko is HERE )

As hard as this was, it didn’t prepare us for two sudden and untimely losses – our beloved grand-puppy Romulus lost his battle to leukemia at only 16 moths of age

Romi was such a spunky-monkey and lived his life at high speed, never, ever stopping! As if he knew he only had the short time… I miss him so. I am not sure if it was harder watching him battle or watching our son and daughter in law go through this heartbreak (this was their very first furry family member). But they are amazing young people, they were strong for each other and now, with Romi always in their hearts, they are raising and loving a new pup, Oliver. He is just a cutie:

This was Ollie right on the day he arrived and we came to visit. But that wasn’t the whole story of that day! See how he was wearing a little sweater here: (pictured with his auntie, our daughter, Jelena)
  That was little strange, since it was actually warm still….and then I noticed something crinkly inside of it….So I pulled out this round little paper attached that said “I am going to be a big brother…” WHAAAAT??? Yes, that was our kids’ cute way of letting us know that they are expecting a baby and we will be grandparents!!! WOOOOOO-HOOOOOOO!!!
here is a later, kinda official photo and also their Christmas card of this year:

I know I am totally biased, but how super-cute is that? (oh yeah and Mr. Oliver is growing!)
Yes I am over the moon excited and yes – planning and shopping has already begun on my part…shhhh, don’t tell my family, they already think I am crazy! 🙂
These amazing gifts we received towards the end of the year sure were a good balance for the sadness of the early months – we lost yet another furry family member, our beloved Rocky.
This was just so hard for me.
It was sudden although now we know not preventable at all, yet the pang of guilt somehow still gets me sometimes… Took me a long time to control it, even though I know it is not rational, took me a long time to even think of Rocky without crying, to be able to go back to volunteer in the city shelter too. I feel ready to honor Rocky now also with adopting another great dog from the shelter, however husband is still having trouble – but, I am working on it. 😉  Soon, very soon.
 In the meantime, there isn’t a morning that I don’t think of my Rocky, while Marley and I walk through the neighborhood.

 Rocky was such a beautiful soul.

Oh yeah, there was quilting actually here in 2013, right? 🙂
Although I was definitely all over the place in terms of good blogging this year, I managed to share a tutorial or two with you. I have to say this – every time, your great comments are just so gratifying and inspiring, I am truly and deeply thankful!
We had some fun with 3D Flying Geese

and we also went back to basics – doing some rotary cutting, 1/4″ seam and binding tutorials too.

You can now find ALL of my tutorials now on one page! – see that TAB on top that says Tutorials? That is where they are! (well, at least LINKS for each one of them, that is the best I could do on Blogger, it seems…does anyone know a better way? If you do please share and thank you!)

Also, my old tutorials (from 2011) on several holiday projects remain very popular and well visited – YAY!! That is largely thanks to a fabulous site, called FaveQuilts.comdo you know about it? Subscribed to their emails yet? If not, you really, really should! It is an amazing resource for every quilter, with tons of links for most of the good, free tutorials out there. They simply do all the hard work for you – find good stuff on the internet and share it with you in an email newsletter, so it is just a click away for you! How cool is that?  And of course, at the end of the year, there is a fabulous list of 100 best projects of 2013!
Oh and guess what – I am on that list too!!! WOOOO-HOOOOO! So I can proudly display this little badge of blogging honor:

I am just so thrilled! And it is this little piece that did it (again!):

It is a tutorial on how you can use those cute fabric panels available now, but also (and maybe more importantly!) on how to miter corners! You can find the tutorial HERE

So all in all – this year has been both hard and good, sad and very happy, yet another one to be deeply grateful for. It usually all comes together over the holidays, doesn’t it?
This year, I was stressing a bit over the presents and things (as usual) and eagerly awaiting our daughter to come home from far away…She travels for work (she has masters in public health/epidemiology and goes to far less fortunate and developed places in the world (but just as beautiful and full of great people!) – and this time she was in South Sudan for a month. Just as she was to come home for the holidays, fights broke out again there…so you can imagine how holidays and shopping suddenly lost all importance. Yeah – not fun for a parent, at all.  However, she was never in any immediate danger and managed to get out safe and with only few days of delay. My heart started beating again and NOW holidays could begin! 🙂
So here we are – holidays in Vujcic house:
First I would go around and place my vast collection of Snowmen. Yeah – Snowmen are my thing, love them in so many shapes!
One in the left corner here is actually vintage, given to me by a dear friend, from her late aunt’s house. Six identical little guys come all the way from France, from my sister. This year they all went on the mantle

 And above the mantle is one of the oldest wall hangings I made – Attic Window Santa’s Flight. I always cringe with this one – it has ALL the imperfections of the beginner (oh my, that binding is so not great, not to mention some sloppy hand quilting in the border…), but my kids say it isn’t Christmas ’till that one is on the wall – so there. 🙂

 Here are some more Snowman – one joggling snowballs in the air – a very special gift from my best  friend. Jim Shore beauty is another treasured gift from a friend.

 This one – a very special one in my heart, made by our youngest son, Vuk, when he was in first grade. It is simply the best. 🙂

 The guardian of the tree:

 Personal assistants/phone answering crew? Ha, ha! The biggest one is actually French (again, gift from my sister), so apologies if you call and he answers in French…

 The dining room Snowman (yeah, he samples all the food?) 🙂

 The singing ones – those Hallmark series of Snowman that really sing holiday songs (with batteries) – had to have them all!

 So after I go around with my Snowmen crew, my other job is to put lights on the tree – I am very particular about that, just ask my family… I can just tell you this – it takes me 8-9 long strings of white lights, most branches are carefully wrapped, minimal wire showing…yeah, I am a bit crazy. 
Once that is done, we plan a family night with EVERYONE and kids (mind you, our youngest child is 26, so “kids” only in this mothers heart) trim the tree. This year was a bit late, since we had to wait for Jelena to come safely home. This was just a happy, happy evening:
Jelena, Lauren, Stefan and Vuk debating on placements…

 Lauren and Stefan very focused here…

 Here is Vuk  being careful with some ornament

 Jelena and her boyfriend Steve (US Marine, amazing young man, shhhhh…don’t tell on me, but I so, so like him!! hope he is THE one!)

 And, after all is done, the last is my husband, aka DAD, putting the top!!

 TA-DAH!!! Tree is ready!!!

Oh wait! Not really…something is missing? Presents of course!!! NOW it is ready:

Honestly, this photo was taken Christmas morning, just before everyone got up or to the house…and it was LITERALLY ready only hours before that…that is how late I was this year (yup, presents wrapped till 2am that night!). But hey, it was just as special, just as magical and wonderful time with my family…I am so, so grateful for that.
Our beautiful kids…

 OK, nice photo now please everyone! (just ask them, I am a designated family pest with camera! )

Steve came later in the morning, after having time with his family, yeah, she was a happy girl! He…he….

Presents were open, wonderful, thoughtful, funny, useful, silly…just fabulous. It would take pages for me to show you all, but you know it anyway – you had all that in your own homes too!
Here is just one, our lovely son and daughter-in-law gave us – a special new ornament for the tree:

yes, it says “Grandma”. How lucky and blessed am I?
It took a tripod perched on the couch, multiple (and unsuccessful) trials to get Marley in the picture, and few takes with delayed timer, but here it is:

Vujcic family – wishing you blessings of family and friends, good health, daily laughs and joy and happy, happy New Year!!!
From tomorrow my friends, we go back to quilting, back to usual weekly posts (Beating the Monday blues, Tuesday tutorials and many many more!) and lots of creative fun!
Have a wonderful Thursday,
Marija