28 December 2012

New Stockings

It's always good to knock something
off of the to-do list, especially
when it's been there a while.

Only, I can't quite cross this one off yet--
I still have the monograms to make.
At least we were able to use them
on Christmas morning...
with gift tags as markers!

That Gift You Can't Wait to Give

You know that one gift that turns out really well?
Well, I couldn't wait to give this one!

This quilt top was completed and basted
together back in October...and then 
set aside for other obligations.  

But, in the middle of the Christmas time-crunch, 
as I call it, I was to re-discover, 
for the ump-teenth time, 
how fun and relaxing machine quilting is.
(some lessons we have to keep learning over and over!)

Knowing time was a factor, I kept it simple.
(Of course, with my simple machine, I have to.)

Yet, I thought this touch of red, 
with its beautiful print of cardinals and holly,
really stood out so the quilting needed
to be kind of special.  

I've tried quilting holly before but
with no real luck.  Luckily, this time it clicked.

The greatest thing about leaves is that no two
are ever the same.  This takes a little
pressure off when quilting them.

This was not a Christmas gift but a birthday gift.  
Even though the birthday was a couple
weeks away, I had to give this one at Christmas.

I love the fabrics of this quilt so much that 
I found it hard to give away.
(WHY didn't I buy more?  It was on clearance!)
However, the recipient was so so so happy
with it so the separation wasn't so bad.
And it's now at my in-laws' house so I'll 
get to visit it every Christmas!

New Year's Resolution:  
Gift more quilts!

The Chicken Chick

27 December 2012

Quick Flannel Quilts

Some years ago, I started making each
of my kids a gift to open on Christmas Eve.

Somehow, these have always been those
mad-dash-at-the-end kind of gifts and so
are always kind of stressful.  So I insisted
that, this year, I would NOT be doing it...
Yeah, right.
Less than 2 weeks till Christmas?  
Heck, I can pop out two simple quilts and 
2 scarves easily enough right?

Simple quilts...turns out flannel is wicked-heavy
to quilt!  And, sure enough, my son ended up
being sick and camping out in the room I use
to lay quilts out for the larger work.
(like measuring the sashing)
And I kept getting headaches that eventually 
turned into a migraine.

Needless to say, the craftsmanship of these 
two quilts will never win a single award
but they are very warm and made with love!  
(And I won't even care if they eat while using them!)

And those two scarves.....?
I'll post pics when they're done!!
Note to self:  start next year's traditional 
Christmas Eve gifts...uh....January 2!! 

Family Birthday Board

Oh, Pinterest, how do I love thee?
Let me count the ways!
Everything I need for ideas and inspiration--
and then keeps track of it all for me, too!

Like this awesome idea!  
Perfect for grandparents, right?
And a perfect project for a family to make together...
which also makes it the best kind of gift to give.

Out came my sadly neglected Cricut
to cut the "FAMILY" out of scrapbook paper
and the "birthdays" and months out of vinyl.
My other jobs were painting 
(kids can help here, too)
Modge-Podge'ing and ribbon-tying.  
Oh, and parts-ordering.
(found the wood discs here, other hardware at Lowes and Michael's)

(Poor dh--wasn't feeling well....and I put him to work!) 
And the dh?  One of his first jobs was at a 
sign-making company so this was a piece of cake.
He cut, routed, drilled the holes in the boards
and in the wood discs, placed all hardware and, 
of course, placement of all lettering.  
I often tease that he has his own font so he 
penned the birthdates as well.

I have no way of knowing whose idea this was
originally but I wish I could credit them.
I'm pretty sure this is going get around quickly!  
Everyone who saw ours loves it! 

26 December 2012

Quilting, Baking, Decorating, Crafting....But No Blogging!

My last post was really November 6th?!
At that time I was just beginning a quilt with the
"Ready, Set, Snow" fabrics using the
(same fabrics as the pattern depicts)

I'm anxious to try this pattern
again with other fabrics--some of these
aren't as contrasting as I would've liked.
Still, it is festive and fun!

Below is my completed quilt top.
(I didn't take the time to take a great pic so the color isn't very vibrant)

Though the top finished up quickly, 
I had to put it aside to focus on Christmas.
Such a busy--but fun--time of the year!
I love to spend it baking, decorating and, 
of course, crafting and sewing gifts.
Which explains where I've been, right? 


I'll be doing a lot of blogging catch-up 
over the next few days as I kick back
with a few eggnog lattes, taking time out 
to relax, reflect and enjoy this blessed season--
as I hope you all are, too.
I hope you all are having a wonderful Christmas!  

06 November 2012

Jumping Ahead?

Why am I feeling this need to jump 
ahead to Christmas in my quilting?

I love the autumn colors.
I spend the entire summer lamenting that
fall is just too far away!

Now that it's here, what am I doing?

Playing with Christmas fabrics!
In particular, Moda's "Ready Set Snow" collection. 
While spending too much time on Pinterest,
I came across this fun quilt that I had pinned.
Well, this was a no-brainer!    
It's even made with the same fabrics!
The pdf can be ordered quickly through
Ask me how I know!  [wink]

I've already started cutting it out.
If the week goes well, I'll have another top
done by the weekend!

05 November 2012

Quilt Season

The wind comes now out of the north; 
the leaves are falling and the colors are stunning.

And I've completed my fourth quilt top of this,
my most favorite time of the year--affectionately 
and appropriately dubbed Quilt Season.

Truthfully, I started this one last spring.  The garden 
took my time away from it then, but here it is now:   

From the Schnibbles pattern "Summer Day",
this quilt, with its single border, measures 49 X 53. 
To make it larger, and because I had the fabric,
I added more rows/columns and may yet 
add still another border.

 I'm not real proud of my piecing on this one.
Lots of little pieces, esp triangles (bias), can just get 
things out of whack sometimes but when it's 
all done, I think it'll look fine.  

 I was very happy to finally have a stiletto to help 
me out with all that piecing!
A belated shout out to Debbie at Stitching Therapy:

I won this stiletto and other goodies a while back
and just want to let her know how much its being
used!  My previous "stiletto" was a wooden skewer!
This one hangs on my lanyard with my scissors
where they are both always handy.

On the coffee scene, the red cups are back
at Starbucks!  Another sign of the season that
I always look forward to!  Peppermint mochas and
caramel brûlée lattes, cold weather outside, maybe 
a little light Christmas music?
(and I mean just something instrumental--way too early for Jingle Bells!)  
Perfect for hibernating in the sewing room!

Now, do I put Summer Day away till after the holidays?
I'd much rather be working on seasonal colors...

01 November 2012

Checking In on a WIP

Because I was in a basting mood,
I ignored my sore fingers and back that I
obtained after basting this:

and this:

to bring this 2-yr old quilt top out of hiding.

This is another of Lynette Jensen's 
(Double Star Crossing Quilt--70" X 98")
In fact, it's the one on the cover.

I definitely went through a 
long period of enjoying her quilts, fabrics and style!
I can't say what my preference is these days but 
I do love this one and can't wait for it's completion...

30 October 2012

Greatest Addition--& Subtraction--to My Sewing Room

This is the best change in my sewing room yet.
Last year, I re-painted, moved things around,
optimized space/storage and added a nifty shelf
with lots of organizing options.

I'm a person who needs space,
and I just wasn't feeling it.
I decided it was finally time to chuck 
the ironing board for something like this:

I use our old kitchen table as my cutting table
and, not in the picture below, a matching 
baker's rack provides great storage.
The breakfast bar was just an extra surface
for things like my computer & embroidery machine.  

I found a small piece of aspen for about $10.
(I think it was 3X3?)
I also saved some time by having Lowes 
cut it to size for me.
The simple directions can be found here.
 (The Insul-Brite I had, but I did want fabric that coordinated with the room.  
Buying just fabric and the board, the cost for all was under $20!)
I chose to use a staple gun instead of tacks.

I also put non-skid pads on the bottom;
these do a great job of holding the board in place.
(Hard to see in pic but marked with the arrows--I ran out of them
so I didn't get one in the middle-front.
So far, I don't notice so I may not bother to buy more)

Bonus 1
My cutting mat fits perfectly on one side.
In working on these flying geese that required a 
lot of piecing, ironing, cutting and piecing again,
this option is ideal!  So handy!
(As long as you don't try to, ahem, iron on your cutting board!)

Bonus 2
The breakfast bar is a little higher than a regular 
table or ironing board and therefore much easier 
on one's back!  If you find one of these at a garage sale 
or thrift shop, grab it for your sewing room!

Bonus 3
Wider and more stable work surface.
(I have a small cutting mat that has an ironing surface on the other
side but I never use it!  Just doesn't seem to be functional enough.) 

The things I used to keep on here?
My new MacBookPro is so 
compact it can hang out anywhere.
The embroidery machine & my Cricut are now
on the shelf below.  The ironing board can be taken
off and slid along side the table whenever I need the
surface for something else.
My old "real" ironing board?  It's back in
the laundry room where it belongs!
Thanks to Pleasant Home for such a great idea!

Linked to:

21 October 2012

The Christmas Projects Have Begun, Too!

On to my next project.
This is Lynette Jensen's "Star Sled Quilt." 
(more applique!)

Both my sister and I chose a larger print 
than Lynette used in her book Cozy Cabin Quilts.
This complicated the cutting-out process 
but, we survived. 

Mine is definitely Christmas-themed. 
I just love the print--there are even snowmen in 
most of the yards!  So cozy!

My MIL loves quilts, neutral colors and Christmas.
The way this is pieced (or not so pieced!) together,
this seems more a blanket than a quilt.  It has
some neutral colors but also those of Christmas.
What do you think?  By the time I quilt it, 
it should have a more quilt-y feel and look...maybe?
Should I give it to the in-laws for Christmas?

My sister chose a more versatile theme--just
a general "winter" print.  I think she has someone
in mind to gift this to for Christmas as well.

My sled quilt is all basted; I have even begun quilting.
But then I noticed an issue with the stitches.
So, off to "doctor" went my sewing machine 
for its put-off-too-long tune-up.
Now there's nothing for me to do but knit...
and go to jury duty this week [shudder].  
Lucky me!

20 October 2012

The Fall Projects Finally Begin

For once, my absence is due to sewing! 

Recently, my sister was able to come along
on the quilt shop hop that I participate in every fall.
Each armed with our project ideas, 
we were able to get just about all we needed 
by raiding the clearance racks of 11 different shops!
Whatever else we needed....well, did I mention
we went to 11 different quilt shops!?

I've had this idea from a McCall's quilting magazine
in my files for years and I'm so happy to have finally
made it!  It really makes our mantel a focal point.
 (Too much applique for my tastes--not doing it again!)

Doesn't every project have its lesson?  This one? 
If you haven't quilted in quite a while,
 you probably should warm up before going straight
to the real thing.  This is hanging above my fireplace,
though, so no one should see it too close up!

The area above the mantel recesses a couple
inches but we've never filled it in with, say, 
a mirror or tv.  My alternate:  a wall-hanging.  
And now, I choose to focus
on my one wonderful moment of genius 
instead of the last 10+ years of, um, not-so-genius.
 It JUST recently occurred to me to hang it 
by a tension rod.  Smart, huh?
(We won't talk about the painful hours I've spent over the years
trying to get things to hang there correctly!)

Another project to follow....

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