Saturday, December 29, 2007

Happy Holidays and soon New Year's Eve

I hope that you all had a marvelous holiday. We had a delightful two days with my kids and grandkids, my oldest (as in known longest) friend and her daughter, SIL and GD. Mostly I have been paying attention to Christmas, but have done a couple of things, so will show you those first:

Step #4, of Crazy Mom's Quilt-a-long:

And I began tying the Hawaiian block quilt for friend Christian (a longterm UFO)

Oh yeah - I'm trying my hand at cross stitch (again). Some of the girls from Crazy Exchange are starting a stitch-a-long, so I wanted to "play" as well. This is 18 Aida, stitched one over one.

On the holiday front, we started with a beautiful Christmas eve day, and the ferry ride was magnificent:

My dear son and DIL were in town for a week, so joined us:

The little girls enjoyed each other (as much as you can at 13 and 17 months):

And, of course, my cutest three-some:

I am so lucky to have had every one of my special people near for the holidays. Son has returned home, daughter is getting ready to move and life is about back to normal. I have been binding a couple of quilts for Stone Soup - fairly mindless TV-watching activity. Not everything is put away, but I'm getting close. So it goes. No big plans for NYEve, but have a couple of events for New Year's Day.

Good wishes for a marvelous 2008.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Coming Down to the Wire

Isn't that an interesting expression. I assume it comes from the world of horse racing - but what about this one: In this neck of the woods? We were talking about that one the other day and couldn't figure out it's genesis. Hmmmmm.

So, the big holiday celebration is almost here and frankly I'm about done with whatever I'm going to accomplish. I think I have about finished everything that was on the agenda (that would be the realistic agenda, completed in the past couple of weeks - not the outlandish one I thought of in July. :-? )

You've seen two sets of placemats (son and brother). Here is #3, kids of a good friend:

Not exactly 'over the top' but dishtowels and dishcloths have been completed. (Happy hands at home)

Somehow this has proven to be the most difficult sweater I have ever knit. I can and do knit, quite competently, but had to rip out pieces of this, over and over. Crazy making. But now just have to put the buttons on and it's ready to go. My 7 1/2yo GD should be quite pleased. She does know about it, as it was supposed to be done for her May birthday, but Nana got herself a bit behind. [she even asked me about it a couple of weeks ago. I just smiled.]

Monday the Stone Soup ladies had a delightful Christmas lunch, yesterday the refugee women had an extra class to help them finish up a purse they were all making. (extra class, 3 hrs. long, but everyone finished! YEAH!) The 3 Somali women would like to continue with the sewing lessons, but the agency's grants require that they first open the class up to new students. (in a new quarter) If there aren't enough new, then these three can return. I sort of hope they can come back - as we were beginning to make some real strides in their skill development. Today is Hajj for them. Good wishes!

This morning I baked Cranberry strusel bread. There are 13 of them in those very cute little ceramic dishes from Michael's. I'd seen the dishes last year and thought oh, next year, I'm going to do something with those. [I managed to crack one of the original 14 but had just enough dough for the 13 pans. Ah divine providence.]

If I don't get back to the computer before the big day, I hope you all have a marvelous holiday time, however you are able to spend it. Family, friends, relatives, loved ones. Take lots of pictues and share them with us all.
Hugs from Nana.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

In a Green mood, apparently

Seems that much of what I have been working on is green - so here you have it. Happily EVERYTHING is from stash, so I can feel righteous (as well as green):

Green napkins to go with these placemats.
Brown napkins, but the placemats have a lot of green in them.
Last set of Christmas placemats - green, of course! These get white napkins.

Weeks one and two from Quilt-a-long from Crazy Mom Quilts. Cute, fun and not hard. I'm making two blocks each time, just because I may want them. I'm only 3 weeks behind.

Isn't he just so cute? I am a mentor at church for a soon-to-be 13 year old. I asked her mom what I could get for her for Christmas. She reported that since they had a house fire, all the stuffed animals had to be left behind to be treated to remove the smoke odor. So "P" really needed a new stuffed animal and I found this guy. He is so soft and furry. I might really like him myself, but oh well - that's how it is at Christmas!

Life is busy, but as the kids say, it's 'waaaaay' good.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

How to make placemats

I don't know how to do the tutorials I see some using - theirs are very professional and this one isn't. Hopefully, however, this shows you how to do this.

Take 4 fat quarters, or comparable fabric pieces. Choose fabrics that you think go well together. I cut mine to approx. 17" x 21".
Stack them up and make 2 horizontal cuts (in the whole stack) and 2 vertical cuts. It is more interesting if they are not parallel.
Shuffle the stacks so that each of the 4 different fabrics are represented in what will become a completed placemat. Try not to put the same fabric next to each other - in other words you have 9 pieces among the 4 fabrics.

Now reassemble the whole thing. Because you are taking out 1/4" seams, it will not perfectly line up. Don't worry! This one really 'bad' one is about 1/4" off (horizontally) but you don't have to worry. This next one is quite close to aligning.

When the 9 pieces have been reassembled into a whole, press like mad. Press the back and from the front. Place the reassembled whole on top of a piece of batting. Along each seam line, stitch through the top and the batting. You can use decorative stitches or here I used just a plain zig-zag. I would suggest you avoid stitches that are really thread heavy - open, airy stitches seem to work well. A wavy line is very attractive.

Your eyes will follow the line of the stitching and will not see those places where the seams do not align.

Make the back by laying a piece of fabric right side down on top of the stitched top. Stitch around, leaving an opening to turn it right side out. Trim seams, cut your corners, turn it right side out. Slip stitch the opening closed - I do this by hand. Press, press, press. Top stitch approx. 1/2" from the edges.

Do let me know if you have questions or if I have not been clear. Good luck. These are fun and easy to do. You can be most creative - copy the colors of someone's dinnerware or the colors of their dining room, maybe reflect their hobbies or interests. Go for it!

Monday, December 3, 2007

In the winter we talk weather

Amazing to behold, snow in Seattle. Despite what many think, we do not get much (if any) snow here in the winter. And that is a very good thing because we are a city built on 7 hills and havoc rains (so to speak) when it snows. People don't know how to drive in it and there are hideous traffic snarls. This came mid-day Saturday and was about gone by Sunday morning. Phew!

Sewing projects in process, despite inclement weather include HST's for my White Chocolate quilt. I have completed 106 out of 194. And I have tried my hand at a needlepoint scissors case, likely to be a Christmas gift for a friend. For a first effort this isn't too bad. I used to do lots of cross stitch and still have floss and books on that. Perhaps one of these days I'll clean them all out.

Barb at *We* Quilt asked about the placemats. I would be happy to show you how to do them - they are quite simple really. However, I need a couple of days to get the fabric ready and photos taken - it's boring just to read words. So give me a few days to get organized and I will show you what to do. You will be really pleased at how quickly they come together. Thanks for asking, Barb.

Stay warm, stay dry. Life is good!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Things to do while nursing a cold. . .

Try as I might, I haven't avoided this one. At least it isn't requiring bed rest, but I'm feel pretty puny - so have just been futzing around the house and doing a few things. I have done a bit of cooking. [I am a very good cook but would prefer to be in my sewing room rather than standing at the stove.] So, on to the fabric items:

This is a quilt being made for Stone Soup Quilts (for patients at the Fred Hutchison Cancer center, undergoing treatment). All the fabric is donated. You can see the challenge with the dark blue, as it is faded on the fold lines, so I had to cut around those. I was anxious that I would have enough, but it worked just fine. This log cabin pattern is the standard layout used for these quilts and they do turn out nicely. I will return this to the church next Monday - the usual Stone Soup day, and it will be sandwiched and backed and quilted and bound. As it has been 'mine' - I chose the fabrics - I bet I can choose the backing as well. I pieced a couple of backs, as well, this week. [tilt your head, I forgot to rotate the finished top]

On my own stuff, I have made these fun, oh-so-easy placemats. Not sure who they will go to, but it's a ready-to-go Christmas gift. Just 4 fat quarters and some backing. Thank you Mary Louise for showing me how to do these.

[We have a front loading washing machine and it is just the perfect height for working on little projects.]

There you have it for today - snuffle, snuffle.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving and on to Christmas. . . . . .

I am happy to report a wonderful Thanksgiving. My Dear Daughter and her 3 children, as well as my friend of 32 years, her daughter and son-in-law and 17 mo. old granddaughter all joined us for a yummy potluck dinner. Delicious! And so easy. [Everyone had left and the dishwasher was running by 5:30pm]

I started with some cleaning in the sewing room. Look at that - you can see the table top. Meanwhile I have been putting needle to fabric, in a variety of ways. Finished attaching a label to the Christmas quilt and to the baby quilt. Did some outline quilting on a flannel Christmas 'cheater' for my daughter's house. My LQG has an annual raffle quilt and I took a turn at selling tickets at a fairly new quilt store. (Lovely fabrics)

We follow Women's Basketball at the University of Washington. They held their annual Thanksgiving week-end tournament and I'm happy to report that UW won. Yeah team! Today was the Seattle Marathon and I was recruited by a friend and competitor to be a Course Monitor. So I clapped and cheered and encouraged the walkers and runners on to the final mile. It was cold (low 40's) but sunny which helped everyone's mood. Tomorrow it's back to Stone Soup Quilts. Life is good.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

WIP Wednesday

I see that phrase used and think it is quite a good descriptor. For me, that is exactly what today will be. The last couple of days I have been working on finally completing a number of things that have been in various stages of completion or otherwise. This afternoon I will drive a friend to a medical appointment and have two bindings to sew down. I always sew the front side of my bindings by machine and do the back side by hand. What about you? One is the baby quilt - as soon as I get that one in the mail I think I can show you. The other is a Christmas table runner I started for myself ages ago and never finished. So on Monday I trimmed it to size, yesterday sewed on the binding (which is fairly narrow, but it is all I had of that fabric) and today will finish up. Yeah!

Judy L. talked this morning about decorating for Christmas. I like to wait until after Thanksgiving (and probably will this year as well) but I think I'm anxious to get started as we won't be here (in this house) for Christmas. We are going to my daughter's to be with the grandkids. I remember my parents always came to our house for Christmas morning - to be with the kids! It's interesting how many of us mimic those holiday traditions our parents followed. So decorating is poised to start SOON.

I finished sewing the sections of of the Christmas tree skirt together. It was not as difficult to match up the pattern as I had feared. I have, however, put it aside for a bit as backing and BINDING it will be a major headache, I feel sure. At least it will be huge going all the way around. But as we won't be here it isn't quite so critical [she said having started it about 5 years ago] :-? Instead I will finish up the things that have to get in the mail and complete before Christmas and then come back to this. I'm feeling like I do qualify for Works in Progress on this Wednesday.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Keeping busy

Patty Anne and I went to one of the Rusty Barn Productions - sewing, quilting and crafting expo at the Puyallup Fairgrounds. They wouldn't allow any photos inside (sadly) so I can just report that there were probably 60 vendors - many I had not seen at previous Sewing Expo's (I'm referring to the ones sponsored by WSU Extension). We showed rather remarkable restraint in our shopping.

Some fabric, 120" tape measure (having just heard Karen Kay Buckley say that everyone should have one of these and I didn't) a chalk pencil that irons off, some redwork patterns and some cherrywood scraps for embellishing sweatshirt make-overs. The sweatshirts class was the only class that we attended. Good thing, as the poor woman didn't have a microphone and the walls were simply fabric over rods. Hard for all of us.

On Friday we went to the Tacoma Art Museum to see the Gee's Bend exhibit - quite renowned. Today, to my pleasure, a gift from a crazy exchange friend, Mary, arrived. She was wonderfully generous.

A handkerchief bag, an embroidered tea towel, very "Dutch" fabric, a to/from tag, embroidered heart on a heart hanger and a lovely Dutch quilting magazine. Aren't I so lucky?