Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Frosty, Pink Morning

How I love these mornings that are clear and frosty and the sky goes all pink. No snow, mind you - this is the N.W. and snow is something of a rarity. It's 8am and about 33` in the backyard. Georgous!

Christmas with children and grandchildren was special, as always. In the days after got one more visit with my son and DIL before they return to the East Coast and 'real' winter weather and dinners with friends. So nice!

The dog had a great time right in the middle of everything. AND the new science experiment worked!

Want to let you know that I am excited to be heading to the Rose Bowl Parade. I'm not a great football fan, but have watched the parade on TV for more years than I want to count. So for the first time I will get to see it "up close and personal". Yeah! Details and photos next week.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Very Merry Christmas

And if you don't celebrate this holiday, warm wishes for good times with family and friends. Prettige Kerstdag - to my Dutch-speaking friends.

My Stone Soup Quilting group had a lovely luncheon for we volunteers. Is is such fun to be treated to a lovely meal and of course, charming company. One gal brought along a couple of 'show and tell's'

Sorry the red one is sideways. She used Native designs and then worked those as the centers of the blocks. The buttons, very typical of Indian blankets are both sewn and glued. The blue/green are batiks and even the cream is a batik she found in one store. I've never seen one like that. It's fun to see new things to keep your mind going. I'm not a designer, but do have a myriad of ideas bubbling away just waiting to get going.

Although several things are not yet finished, I couldn't wait to get started on a particular new project. My daughter is named Amalie - an unusual name. I understand it's origin is Scandinavian and I first saw it in a painting of some of Queen Victoria's Scandinavian cousins. So now fast forward to this past summer and while visiting Shipshewana, Indiana (an Amish community) I found this Darlene Zimmerman pattern: if you can't read it, it says Amalie's Log Cabin

Ms. Zimmerman takes real people and creates letters about their life and their quilts. Well, of course I had to make this quilt.

I have begun, per the instructions, making the red stars

These will finish at 4 1/2 inches square. The larger photo is to try to show you the fabric I found at Yoder's Amish Store in Shipshewana. I loved this fabric design and felt like it was just right for the pattern. I have lots of left-overs in creams but did buy a few fat quarters of the needed browns, although I have several of those as well.

So you know where you can find me whittling away at the stack of 1 1/2 inch squares to make my flying geese. I think I have finished 19 or 20 of the needed 36. Onward, but ain't it fun?

Happy Holidays.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Holidays Approaching

A little more than 1 week to go. It could get frantic if I let it - but I'm just enjoying each day's happenings. Monday was my CTA (Clothing and Textile Advisors) group's annual holiday cookie exchange:
This box is a little less full than it was on Monday afternoon. But of course that was only because we had a friend over for dinner on Monday night (not that I have eaten any - no?). I had made my requisite 5 dozen cookies from a recipe new to me, but oh so yummy. Eggnog cookies that are frosted with more eggnog and a touch of rum (or rum extract) and powdered sugar.

We also did an ornament exchange at the CTA event. This year they were required to be something homemade/handmade to go on a holiday tree. It was wonderful to see what clever things people came up with. Here is mine, which I simply adore [is there a frustrated embroiderer trying to emerge here?]

The little french knot berries are just marvelous.

Nana has about finished up her 'Nanamade' gifts. I'm sorry I forgot to take a photo before I wrapped them - but my friend Shirley did this pattern and shared it with me last summer. Oldest GD saw it and virtually 'swooned'. So thank you to Shirley, I made 3 for her (the one with the 3 American Girl dolls) and 1 for youngest GD with the baby doll.

Cute, clever and easy to do. I used "conversation"prints for the tops and then just muslin for the lining. They finish up about 20 x 12, plus the ribbon.

Latest sewing project (other than Christmas) is a lap quilt that I committed to making some while ago. Paula has done this type of thing, too. It's easy to say 'yes' and then when it's time to complete the whole thing, it has somehow lost some of its glitter. My goal was easy and fast and the to-be owner wanted something to go with her newly redecorated maroon/wine colored bedroom. So here it is. 2 or 3 borders to be added and then finish a back. It is a very soft Moda flannel.

Tonight is a local comedy duo's annual Christmas presentation. I don't think you can call it a play, but a series of very funny skits. I just felt like laughing. "Ham for the Holidays"

Tomorrow night is my quilt group's holiday potluck and ugly fabric exchange. [actually it is fun to shop during the year for the worst looking stuff you can find!]

Phew! Enjoy the days as they fly past. Life is good.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Holidays are Comin

Those little elves have been getting busy - I finished the pillowcases for the 'grands' - they love things that are "Nana made", so these flannel cases should help them stay warm.

I have been part of a Christmas Gift Exchange. I mailed mine a couple of weeks ago and suspect it has arrived at its destination, but as I haven't heard for sure, I must wait. However, my exchange gift arrived and it is just the cutest:

Now just skip the "fat" part and I will be a happy girl.

Thank you Ina.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I'm interested in your opinion

I have noticed more and more, recently, that some blogs are as much advertising as they are content. I don't know nor can I read all your blogs - but do you have advertising on your blogs? Tell me how you made that decision. The blogs that I really love the most do not have any advertising on them. However, there are a few that I read faithfully, that do. I have even begun to be solicited to put advertising on my blog. Hmmmmm.

I'd really like to know what you think about this.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Beautiful Winter Day

(Lots of photos)
Living in the Pacific Northwest, we have a distinct shortage of Vitamin D - not nearly enough sunshine through most of the winter. So we must take advantage of those select days of sun, despite the temperatures. Today when we left the house it was 30`F (-1.1C) at 1:45pm but here is what we found in a near-by park:

Someone's blog mentioned lots of robins. We couldn't count the number we saw today:

As Fred Rogers used to say, "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood".

Sunday, December 6, 2009

"It's Beginning to look a lot like Christmas"

The first party of the season - great fun - an ornament exchage. And this one is the one I drew: just perfect for a sewer. It's buttons and little tiny spools. Cute, heh?
And this is the other one that also came to our house - a glass bird on a holly branch. Sure to get you in the spirit of things.

Quilt group on Thursday night - I haven't been able to go in ages, so it was great to see everyone. Judy is finishing up her black and white string pieced blocks. We made these a year ago for our Christmas party and she won the raffle for the blocks. Don't they look terrific with the red.
I was able to use the 'design wall' to put up my Buggy Barn crazy flowers. We decided that I needed to tea die the blocks with whites. I have done that and it definately helps them not stand out so much. We pretty much came down to a yellow for sashing - seemed to go well with virtually every block. I would never have predicted it, but you have to see what happens when you are able to lay them out and try different colors.

Last night was a cutting night. Got flannel cut for pillowcases for the grandkids and 3 sleeping bags for the American Girl dolls. Nana is busy getting ready for Christmas.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

See - I wasn't kidding

Well I have been doing a few things, just didn't have the photos ready to prove it. [and then I dropped the camera on my way to the computer - actually bounced it down the stairs - yikes! A few funky photos but I think all is OK. Phew!]

So: Borders for Christmas Lights

Sew little rectangles with 5" squares (I didn't have a charm pack, I just cut them) and tie them onto a wreath.

To become string pieced squares. I have never sewn these on paper - have you done that? I usually use muslin or something else thin (and cheap).

Are these not the cutest things you have ever seen? I found these at a fabric sale in a bin of bits and pieces. They are 'oatmeal' color yarn, about 2 inches tall. Won't they be just the most fun on the Christmas tree?

The sun is shining, so think I'll head out for a walk after some lunch. Ain't life great?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bye Bye Birdie

This lovely 22 lb-er served us all very well. You might even say she "gave her all", so to speak. But the left-overs left the house in a multitude of baggies, so everyone could enjoy the day after phenomenon. And life has pretty much returned to normal.

No photos to show yet, but working on a Christmas string pieced something (wall, table-top, not sure just what), a Christmas wreath made with 5" squares (stuffed and tied to a wreath as a base), adding borders to Bonnie Hunter's Christmas Lights mystery (from Quiltmaker magazine) and lurking as folks are beginning Bonnie's Carolina Christmas. Hmmmm. Such fun! Life is good.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy (almost) Thanksgiving

How do you like these colors? Looking a bit more fall-ish? I have tried those very nice, fancy backgrounds, but had some difficulties so I had shifted back to this plain one. Maybe I will try again, but meanwhile a soft melon color should lead you to pumpkins and falling leaves - right?

The northwest has had one major storm after another these past weeks. Rain and wind - big time. Another one is due in today. Alas! The ski areas are happy with early accumulations,but there is lots of flooding and soggy ground. So. . . . . . one must stay indoors and create!

On Saturday I took a class on making Parols. Charming decorations - in fact I really like the plain wooden 'skeleton' almost as much as the covered ones. On Sunday we brought them into the church, at the end of the service, as an introduction to the change into advent. They will be hung on the wall at the front of the church, behind the choir. Should be pretty impressive.

The way we learned: You begin with 1/8th inch dowels which are made into a star shape, held together with very narrow strips of masking tape and 24 gauge wire. Make a second star shape and attach the 2 stars together at the points. Then 5 "spacer" pieces of dowel are added to the middle to give it depth. Then it is just a matter (easier said than done, I might add) of covering the framework with tissue paper. Obviously anything with a flame would be dangerous but they re such fun just to be hanging.

My turn to host Thanksgiving, so we will be 10 adults and 6 kids (and my house isn't that large) so it will be a wonderfully chaotic time, no doubt. I hope that you and yours find new (and old) ways to recognize the abundance we all have and be truly thankful. And for each of you, I am happy to be able to say "Thank you".

Friday, November 20, 2009

Lucky me!

As I opened the front door today, there, inside the screen door, was a parcel from my Crazy Exchange friend Joke. Somehow she thought that she owed me an exchange and so she sent me the most amazing stitchery. It is the Alphabet in Fraktur. For those of you who know about these things, it is a Chatelaine Design, with silk and beads.

This all makes my little efforts seem rather paltry. Oh well, as a friend used to say, 'that is why there is chocolate and vanilla'. So here are a couple of little gifts I finished yesterday:

The little sayings came as a panel - just cut it apart and add some borders and there you are. A Christmas tree for a friend's very little apartment. It is just so very nice to have little things to share.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Blocks finished

I have finished up my Buggy Barn blocks. Now just to finish square-ing (how do you spell that?) them to 11.5 inches. Notice how the fabric for the flower petals on one block, are also the background on another. And then that same fabric is a flower center, in one of the blocks.