Monday, December 29, 2008

Year End Flimsy

I hustled and got a flimsy completed so I can send it to Kat for quilting later this week. Several months ago, I was the lucky lotto person for my online mini-group and I sent them all different blocks using some Civil War fabrics I'd received for Christmas last year from my friend Kathy.

I love how this quilt turned out! Kathy and I, using the same fabrics (we split a fat quarter pack), both made samplers using a finishing kit from one of the participants in a designer sampler from an online shop. We both used blocks from Marsha McCloskey's Block Party and I was lucky enough to get many of my blocks made by pals in the group.

Now Kat will work her magic on it and I'll bind it in time to deliver to a special someone who will remain anonymous for now.

I also completed stitching on the first block for my latest Halloween endeavor, "Hocuspocusville" by Crabapple Hill. I found the kit at the Napa Quilt Show at Thimble Creek's booth and had to have it!

Is it possible to have too many Halloween quilts?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Best wishes to one and all for a Merry Christmas and Happy Hannukah. I hope you enjoy your celebrations with family and friends as I am. Be back in a few days!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Why Quilters Do What We Do

This picture is totally staged, but I love it just the same. Benjamin loves all of his quilts and that is all one needs to do to ensure a continuing supply, isn't it?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Meme

Here's a fun one from Diane at Going to Pieces

Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot chocolate, but only the real deal. The occasional egg nog is OK too, but the calories....oy vey!

Does Santa wrap presents or set them under the tree? Santa always wraps presents. Lately, though, Santa has been making reusable fabric bags in an effort to go green.

Colored lights on tree or white? We change from year to year, but usually colored. This year we bought a live potted tree that we hope will stay small enough to bring in for a few years.

When do you put your decorations up? The first week of December if I'm "on it."

What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? It has to be the stuffing. Mom's recipe using Mrs. Cubbison's seasoned dressing (NOT cornbread) and adding chestnuts.

When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? To borrow a quote from Francis P. Church, Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. You can read the entire text here.

Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? When the kids were small, I adopted a tradition shared with us by our neighbors on Kate's first Christmas. New P.J.'s were given and opened on Christmas Eve so the morning photos would be sweeter.

How do you decorate your Christmas tree? I have ornaments I've collected for years, but since I'm now using a small, live tree the branches won't hold the weight of the heavier ornaments. I'm using some lovely blown glass old-fashioned ornaments my daughter gave me. They are light and they remind me of the few old ornaments my Mom had from her childhood. I also use some tin icicles a friend sent me from Amish country as part of a Secret Santa exchange years ago. This year the tree is on a tabletop with part of my Christmas village around it.

Snow! Love it or Dread it? I love snow, but mostly when I don't have to go out in it too much. Learning to drive in the snow when living in Ft. Collins, Colorado and Reno, Nevada was not too much fun. A good book or some hand quilting and a cup of hot tea in front of a snowy window is nice.

Can you ice skate? What, are you kidding? I'm too klutzy.

Do you remember your favorite gift? A Kitchen-Aid mixer.

What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Taking time to see family and shopping for gifts for the kids on the Salvation Army tree. One year we bought for a whole family and that was a blast.

What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? My husband's fudge--there is none better--except his Mom's, but it is her recipe. Oh wait, my (step)Daughter Sarah makes Rocky Road that has addictive properties once likened to crack cocaine. Either/or is good.

What is your favorite tradition? When I was a little girl (and up to my teens) we would have hot chocolate and home-made doughnuts after the annual Christmas parade. The parade was always held on the Monday night after Thanksgiving and we always observed the tradition. When I moved back to Visalia with my two children, we observed it too but with bakery doughnuts. Then, they started letting everyone and his cousin be inthe parade and it wasn't done until after bedtime on a school night!

Which do you prefer, Giving or Receiving? Giving, definitely. Occasionally, someone will surprise me with something great and unexpected (size and cost unimportant), but I'd much rather be on the other end of it.

What is your favorite Christmas Song? "I'll Be Home For Christmas."

Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? Neutral, but I do like peppermint.

Ever recycled a Christmas present? Never.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Quilts For My Boys

Unlike their mother, who had to wait 18 years for her Christmas quilt to be finished, my little boys will have their Christmas quilts tomorrow.

My "Sistah" Becky started it all by giving me a Sandy Gervais "Holly Jolly" Jelly Roll for my birthday last year. As I was trolling that very dangerous website The Fat Quarter Shop, I saw this pattern, so I ordered it and another Jelly Roll and was off to the races. Last January at Becky's winter sewing retreat, I got all the blocks made and during the ensuing months, I did the applique of the boy's names and put the tops together. I did modify the original pattern by deleting the top row and adding their names. I also made matching pillowcases with their names for use during the holidays and then for storage of the quilts in the off season.

I bought backing in LA at Quilt Festival and gave all to Becky over the summer and she quilted them up on her HQ16 and got them back to me at PIQF. Now they are bound and will be dropped off by the UPS guy tomorrow.

I also included in the package, a little something for Mommy, a tiny quilt made in the Snooze-You-Lose Mini-Group. The stockings are fabrics I saved from Kate's original Christmas quilt started in 1979. This mini-quilt is cool because it sits over a plastic 8 x 10 self-standing frames and can be removed for other seasonal quiltlets. This picture is Kate "helping" me quilt it in 1980. No wonder I didn't get it finished until 1997!!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Nothing New Here

Since the kids left, I've been getting my decorating done and a wee bit of quilting. I have done a whole lot of work on my other love, the garden. I decided that I needed to flip my compost heap before the rains came and sogged it up and made it too heavy to sift and turn. (Because in spite of the season to date, we will be getting the rain we need.)

We compost all of our yard prunings, grass clippings and leaves except the thorny stems of bougainvillea and roses as well as all of our vegetable kitchen waste. Since I watched a video from The Slow Cook's blog, I'm going to add my dryer lint too. Twice a year, our compost pile yields a considerable amount of black gold. When added to my flower beds and container vegetable garden. Wednesday was a beautiful day, cool and foggy and the perfect weather for playing with my compost.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Hanging out with my boys

The boys came to visit Nana and Pop for Thanksgiving, so we were very busy chasing kids.

I presented their Christmas quilts, so photos will follow tomorrow.

I hope your Thanksgiving found you happy and healthy and in the company of those who matter most to you.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Baby Quilt Received!

I'm a member of the Round Robin Bloggers, a project we started about a year ago that was inspired by MayBritt's projects last year.

This year, a member of our Round Robins, Amy The Calico Cat, started another project--her first baby--and that baby is due in just a couple of days. The bloggers did what we quilters do and started a quilt for Amy's baby. Sharon (Quiltgranny's Shoe) assembled it, Beth (Beth's Quilty Blog) quilted it and I did the binding and label. I do owe Julie (Floribunda) an apology for omitting her name from the label. I'm so sorry Julie!!

Now to sit back and wait to see whether the baby is a girl or a boy!

Cool Give-Away!

Little Blue Cottage is having a giveaway of Denyse Schmidt fabrics.

Check it out here!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

In a Bind

I'm working like crazy trying to get the binding sewed down on a couple of quilts I need to finish before our guild meeting on Thursday, so nothing exciting to show yet.

I did get another DMBOM from The Fat Quarter Shop and completed it. I think this is my favorite block so far.

Note: This block is messed up! The side pieces are reversed! New kit is here and repairs will be made. Oy--when the ADD types sew and watch TV at the same time!

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Little Engagement Gift

Last weekend I whipped up a kit given to my by my dear friend Nancy, NP. I selfishly wanted to keep it, but since Scott and Erin announced their engagement on Halloween and as of this writing, intend to marry next Halloween, I felt a little seasonal gift was in order.

Nancy sent me this darling kit from The Fat Quarter Shop that included a pattern, some backing and binding, rick-rack and a charm pack for the line "Pumpkins Gone Wild." Sandy Gervais designed this line, and I just love her funky, happy fabrics.

The kit worked up quickly and I liked that, so I may order another charm pack and make one for me!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

YES WE DID!!!!!!

Feeling relieved and at peace this election day Presidentially speaking.

I'm sorry about the expected passage of Proposition 8. Marriage is marriage, regardless of gender. I've been married three times, twice to men who didn't seem to grasp the concept. In my not-so-humble opinion, if a same-sex couple can find the happiness that I finally found this time around, well, more power to 'em.

I Did, Did You?

Monday, November 03, 2008

Sew-A-Row Season

Well, it's that time of year again, and the Sew-A-Rows are rolling in. Here are a few that I just photographed that were late (and two of them were mine!), along with the starter rows.

This project was started by Pat and finished by me (top row). Pat donated some lovely Hmong reverse applique bands to go with her squares and though I was able to use a long piece, there is still one more for the other end if desired.

Pat also contributed these lovely pieces of Southeast Asian cross stitch and Veline, Marguerite, Diana and I all added other bits of imported textiles from Guatemala and South America.

Finally, Joyce started this Christmas fabric Log Cabin and was joined by Earlene, Elizabeth, Genie and Meri Kay to make this darling Christmas wallhanging. The embroidery on the lower set of birds is done by hand and this picture does not do justice to this piece.

As always, my fellow guild members continue to amaze me with their creativity. The Sew-A-Rows will be starting a bit later this year so I can hopefully get some really creative starter rows without the pressure of getting them turned in before the holidays. They better look out because I'm going to start bugging them this week.

Stay tuned for more pictures!

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Best Treat!

Son Scott just called and after several months of teeth-gnashing and worry, he popped the question to his longtime girlfriend Erin and she said YES.

WooHoo! Color us excited!

Note to "Anonymous":
Yes, as a matter of fact, they do lean left, and proudly so,

Trick or Treat

Best wishes of the day. Must go get ready for the influx of goblins. It rained off and on today and while we need the moisture, I hope it doesn't keep the kiddies home. I love Halloween!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Which, by the way, is an excellent book by Ray Bradbury, but also a great description of my sewing room these days.

Yesterday, I accomplished most of the top assembly of the Verna Mosquera BOM. The bottom row is not attached yet because I have a wee bit of embellishing to do as well as appliqueing down some of the small areas that overlap after the blocks are sewn together. My goal was to finish the main part of the top by Halloween and I've done it! The borders are applique as well and those will be next.

Here is my progress on the kit I bought at PIQF, a Day of the Dead quilt. Cutting out all of these little spaces from the white fabric after bonding the Steam-a-Seam II was tedious, but it's done! This quilt will not be finished for this year, but I've managed to make a pretty good start on it.

As a reward to myself, I signed up for another Halloween BOM, this one Baltimore Halloween by Pearl Pereira and Amidon Quiltworks. This one is a bit more complicated, but I'm up for it.

The question is, how many Halloween quilts can you make before you have too many? Is it possible?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I'm Not Lazy, I'm Busy!

It has been a busy week with the Snooze-You-Lose mini group and The Lunch Bunch getting together (isn't having quilty pals the best?), but really people, I haven't even unpacked most of my PIQF booty except for one thing. Oh, and the sleep study follow-up. Maybe once I get the breathing machine (CPAP), I'll get enough sleep at night to give up naps which will equal more sewing time!

Sadly, I didn't sew as much at PIQF as I'd hoped, but I did manage to start a NEW project that I purchased while I was there. I think I'm more of a handwork person when it comes to travel on short trips, so will plan accordingly next time.

I did, however, run into a blogging pal from Down Under! Tara, aka Tazzie, was visiting the US on vacation and was hanging out on preview night with my old buddy from way back, Marilyn! I knew she was going to be there, but didn't dream I'd get to meet her in all the hubub that is PIQF. We are pictured here right near the Bonnie Blue Quilts booth where a bit of damage was done by one and all. It was great to finally meet Tazzie as I'm using a cute sewing mat I bought from her under my travel machine whenever I use it. She's a sweetheart, just like you'd think from reading her blog.

I've finished all but the final block for the 1800's sampler and most of the lattice stars are done as well. I'll be putting them up on the design wall tomorrow (maybe) and asking your opinion on arrangements. The next installment of the Designers Mystery Block of the Month is done as well.

I got a couple of quilts back from my Sistah Becky that she'd worked some magic with and now have them to bind before Thanksgiving. Because they are a semi-secret project, I won't post pictures until they are delivered.

Applique Skeleton Update: 2 ribs left and then the dentition!! (It has been suggested by my Sistah Kathy that one tooth is just enough and I'm thinking she may be right!)