25 November 2019

Holiday Prep with a Side of Sewing/Quilting

It's beginning to look a lot like Thanksgiving.
The prep is going well around here and I'm looking
forward to the part where I kick back and do fun things.
Like maybe a puzzle in front of a cozy fire.

I'm still trying to squeeze in a little quilting here and
there because "all work and no play..." and all that.
I got the border--love how it looks--onto my quilt and then
tossed it onto my bed to see how much of the snowflake
fabric I needed add all around to make it big enough.
Instead I came up with other ideas.

I decided to add a row of small trees to the top part
of my quilt to allow for folding over the bed pillows.
Shams are pretty and all but I kind of don't like
messing with them--and I really didn't want
to mess with making them either.

I'm currently loading Snow on the Farm onto the frame.
I'm considering both of these pantographs for the
quilting but I haven't tried out either yet.  Both
are sure to be challenging which I think I'm up for.

But, when I look at those trees and snowflakes, I just see
wind blowing around and so I keep thinking this is the one...
but maybe it's because, deep down, I know it's going
to be easy.  And quick.   Thoughts?
I'd love to have this done before Thanksgiving but seeing
as how we're on the homestretch here with only a few days
till THE day, I know better than to stress myself out
so I might as well give up on that idea right now.
And, there are some things more important than quilting.

I hope everyone enjoys some wonderful time with family!
Happy quilting and happy Thanksgiving!

And please pray for all travelers out there, especially
my cadet who's already running into some scheduling issues.
 <big cringe and sigh>

16 November 2019

Snow on the Farm

It was a pretty easy week around here.
I'm continuing with my "one major holiday prep chore"
per day but due to the extreme cold earlier in the week,
absolutely no yard work has been done.  Of course,
it's not really a priority like holidays and quilts.
I am enjoying the house getting a deep clean
but I'm still trying to get used to a slower progress
in the sewing room. 

I've completed the major portion of my tree quilt.
Next on will be a black border and then more snow.
For now I'm calling it Snow on the Farm.
Sure it has farm-style trees and snow all around,
but calling it Snow on the Farm immediately brings
to mind snowy days when I was little and that's
a pretty happy thought.  I'm sure if my dad were
alive today he'd scoff at me a little for romanticizing.
For him, snow meant dealing with livestock in rough
conditions, pulling out the occasional traveller
who thought they could make it through our
then-country dirt road (now a paved 4-lane)
and all other manners of hardships that come
with being a farmer and country living.

I drove through a little of the countryside yesterday
when I headed up to see my favorite quilt shop for
clearance items.  I wasn't quite as lucky as I'd hoped.
The above fabric matches well enough for a backing
but doesn't quite fit the theme or style.  However, it's just
going on our bed and I'm not picky, especially for $5/yd.

I also snatched up 7+ yards of Kansas Troubles fabric
for the same price.  I really like how all of her fabrics
match--no worries about it "working".   It always does.

While I was off snatching up fabric, I left the
Christmas pudding simmering on the stove.
It's probably not the safest thing to do but I'd already
started its 3-hour "water bath" and the timing would be
perfect to pull it right out when I got back.

Off it goes into the pantry till Christmas when I drown it in
brandy or some other alcohol and light it on fire.
No, I'm not British but I am very traditional.
This particular recipe is for Irish Christmas Pudding with
Irish Whiskey and Guinness.  I really haven't found a recipe
 that I'm in love with but it's more about the tradition.
I like the spices in this one so I am hopeful it might
be the one, the keeper.  We'll see...
But anyway, one more thing checked of the to-do's!

I came across a keeper when I tried out this
washi tape while making Snow on the Farm.

I usually draw a line in pencil or use masking tape for sewing
diagonally (HST's or whatever) but this reasonably-priced
washi tape looked a little too handy to pass up.

With flat shipping, I ordered a couple rolls so
I should be set for life there.  Totally worth it.

Had I realized I would end up at a quilt shop yesterday,
I would not have ordered online the black fabric for the next
border on Snow on the Farm.  Perhaps that will be a good
thing, though, so that I can focus more on preparing
for a relaxed Thanksgiving holiday.  It will be our
cadet-son's first time home in 5 months and therefore
the first time we'll all be together in all that time.
We also have a new little member of the family.  Just
lots of things to enjoy with family--and not be in the kitchen.
My plan for this week is to work on:
freeze-able cranberry and pumpkin breads
and cookie doughs; slicing and dicing of celery, onions
and carrots for various recipes; homemade noodles;
grocery shopping; cleaning.
You get the idea.  Every little bit helps.

Happy quilting and holiday baking!

12 November 2019

And So Begins...

Another project has been finished and
successfully gifted away.

Hopefully it will provide hours of entertainment
along with warmth.

With that project completed, it's time to review where I am
 at in the sewing room.  Especially now as we near the end
of another year.  It's time to finish things up.
But guess what?  Things look really good there.

I just have my Dresden that just needs quilted.
In fact, that situation is looking so good that
I'm torn between knowing I should load it up
and really wanting to start my next project.

My one on-going quilt hasn't been touched in a while
but that's alright considering it's the holiday season.
It is, after all, an on-going project.  I do think I'll bring
that out very quickly into the new year.

You know what's going to win out here, right?
Likely the new project.  Because I'm all excited about it.

I'm making this for our bed--wintery but not necessarily
Christmas.  Simple colors to match almost any room.

Here are the background options from my stash.
I really really want to use the snowflake fabric
but I'm concerned it will take too much away
from the crisp modern look of this design. 
So, today I'll be making a trial block.

My hope is that in having such a large amount of it
on the quilt, it really will settle in to the background
and just look like the light little snowflakes that they are.
The gold stars should blend well with the trunks 
of the trees if I choose a light gold-brown.

And so begins another new project.
Just for fun and just for us.
I do love making quilts for other people
but I'm really needing this one--just the
thing before the holidays officially hit.
And maybe if I decide to be good, I'll still pull
out the Dresden and get it loaded up, too.

Also before the holidays get here,  I've been choosing one
"major clean" to tackle every day before I hit the sewing room.
It's a nice, manageable way to knock things off the list
and I typically get them done quicker knowing
it's cutting into my quilting time!
Yesterday's was the pantry, today's is the fridge so off I go!

And then one trial block coming up!
Happy quilting!

09 November 2019

Polaroid I-Spy Quilt Completed

Happy weekend!
Just stopping in quickly to share my latest finish.

The polaroid I-Spy quilt is done!
I was worried about getting it too big so I pulled
out 10 "pictures".  At 60X67, I think it's about the
perfect size for my grandson to play on.
Not great lighting--taking this at night--but I should
get a better one tomorrow at his party.

And just a quick note to any football fans out there:
this weekend's NFL pregame is being hosted at
West Point in honor of Veteran's Day!
To prep for this special edition, the crew has been
on post for several days--to everyone's excitement.

Terry Bradshaw and Howie Long joined the cadets at
lunch yesterday giving a very motivational speech and
were part of a heroic award presentation that my son,
and I'm sure the rest of the cadets, really enjoyed.

Today the entire crew was present to see Army beat UMass.
So many great pics have been shared by the Academy, 
parents and cadets but because I don't have their permission
the best I could do is steal my son's snapchat pic to share here.
I figure he's my property so that gives me the right, right?  LOL

Here in CST the NFL Pregame West Point Special starts
at 10 am tomorrow.  We're pretty excited and can't wait for
everyone, especially friends and family,
 to see and learn more about this great academy!

Happy quilting
and a special thank you to all our veterans!

07 November 2019

November, With a Finished Polaroid I-Spy Top

Good morning and happy November!

I opened up my email the other day to see that,
according to a popular retailer, "Christmas has arrived!"
Um, no it hasn't.  Not by a long shot.
I want fall to drag out for a good long time yet.
And I want to celebrate Thanksgiving!

We've had beautiful fall weather but I have been
hibernating in my sewing room nursing a lousy cold
 that I likely picked up while traveling.  Yesterday I 
vowed to get outside no matter how I felt,
knowing that the temps were dropping soon.
Just as soon as the I-Spy top was completed.

Nothing like an ultimatum.
It worked:  the top is done and I got outside to do some
yard work just as the clouds were hitting the horizon.
Good timing.
A nice big roll of white batting arrived on my porch
just yesterday morning so that was good timing as well.
I've started using more white backgrounds so it makes
sense for me to get one of those in my stash.
(If you're a "Warm" brand person, the price just dropped on
Amazon by $25 on the 90"/40ydWarm & Natural is less.)

At the risk of sounding like I'm an Amazon rep, I want
to share a favorite product of mine--if I haven't already?
 I would not be without this marking pen
in my sewing room for anything.

I use it for marking everything.  Here I'm marking where to
line up my vertical sashing pieces when sewing my rows
together--because nothing looks worse than when
sashing doesn't line straight up on your quilt.

Does it make you nervous seeing a black pen so close
to white fabric?

How about I just draw right on it!?

Remember the carpet commercial where a guest
spills something scary like red punch or wine and the
hostess says, "That's okay!"  That will never be me
with my carpet but it is me with this pen.

Because, in just one second, the tap of an iron
erases it completely.  It's absolutely magic.
(why can't they make red punch and wine like that?)
It's only advertised as an erasable pen so I never
would've thought of it for sewing but for finding
one in a quilt shop.

I noticed it gets mixed reviews for its erasability
on paper but I've used it for a year and it has
come right off of every fabric I've used it on.
The only issue I've had is when I mark things and then
for some reason decide to iron a little wrinkle or seam
and poof, it's gone.  Gotta think ahead there!

Back to the Polaroid I-Spy quilt...
Today, with the cold wind blowing outside,
makes for a good long arm day.  I didn't get an exact
measure of it but it's on the frame now.  I'd call it
a "large throw".  I have a simple design picked out so
there should be no problem getting it done today.

Now if I could just get over this cold.
Tomorrow marks day 7, and we're having company
for dinner on Saturday.  Surely it'll clear up by then?

Happy quilting!

04 November 2019

Seeing More of America's History & New Quilt Started

After a great time at Parent's Weekend,
the hubs and I said goodbye to our cadet at West Point
and headed down to Philadelphia.

Independence Hall

A couple years ago we visited the famous historical
sites in Boston and drove down to Quincy
to see the home of John and Abigail Adams.

Liberty Bell

This visit to Philadelphia allowed us to visually fill in
even more pieces of the Revolution.

Site of the signing of the Declaration of Independence

So much of the styles and designs of this era are my favorite.

Like these chairs.  Maybe it's weird that I get excited about
chairs but I've always wanted a bench in this style.
I've have never quite found one but maybe I'll do a little
more active looking now.  In fact, I'd like to incorporate
a little more of the Colonial style in our home.

It turns out these chairs are all just replicas.  Except for
that one at that head table where George Washington
presided--it's the real deal.

I couldn't get enough of the houses in the historical area.
And another love of mine:  window boxes.

And shutters.
And these doors.  And all these colors.
(I loved seeing these styles in England and Ireland, too.)

More window boxes.  

I kind of felt like the Beatles should be walking across...

I took a silly amount of pics but it was all just
so perfect, especially with the fall weather and leaves.
Btw, we did grab some Philly Cheesesteaks
'cuz, you know, when in Philly....!

Also when in Philly, you have to run up the "Rocky Steps"
which we did, and then take in the view.  I hate to downplay
the Italian Stallion's major moment, but those steps are
really easy to run up--and I'm pretty out of shape these days.
Of course, I didn't run miles and miles first like he did.

Hubs had a great time with all of this.
So did every other visitor there.

Like I mentioned earlier, seeing all of this colonial style has me
thinking how I've always wanted to bring that into my home.
I don't really like to decorate so I don't mess with it much but
this has me inspired.  From a quilt perspective, I'm not really
big on those from that era but I can do some research there
and could pull out bits and pieces of ones I do like.

Yes, I'm finally getting around to our favorite topic.
The latest project around here is my grandson's I-spy quilt.

As I usually do, I made a trial block.
Now work with me here:  I'm making them in the 
Polaroid Picture style, each having a shadow, so this
is what I've come up with.

Aren't these two so cute?

I put in some good hours and ended up with 110
of these just as the sun was setting.  
Now to see what size of a quilt this will all make
after I get the "shadows" on them all.
 I have to be pretty quick about it because I need to
have this completely finished by this weekend
when my grandson turns 2.

And btw, his teensy (6lbs 8 oz) little sister arrived just fine.

Happy quilting!

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