Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Years Eve

A time for reflection, a time for letting go of the old hurts and problems in favor of a new beginning. I love new beginnings, wiping the slate clean and starting over, tucking away the good memories to review at a time in the future and taking a step forward. New Resolutions, New Goals.

As a quilter: a time to muck out the sewing room, reorganize, reassign, make lists. A time to finish up the old and start new. In that vein, I made a block for a hug quilt for an online friend. I used some old to start something new:

Just a block made from 1.5" strips of red sewn together and hearts cut from the piece, fused to the background, buttonhole stitched down. (And signed in the center -- that's not frayed fabric, it's writing with a red pen!).

I wish you all a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2005

Another Drab and Dreary Day

We have had at least a week of gray skies and relatively warm weather for December -- the snow is almost all takes longer to melt in the woods behind the house, but the front bare patches are actually green. It's rather hard to find a good spot to take a picture, so still resorting to finding places in the house. This will be the last finished quilt for 2005.

A closeup of the label, and a shot of the pieced backing -- the gold is actually a Christmas fabric and the teddy bears have Santa hats on them.

Seems like I blocked the light for the label....well, duh!

I've started working on a couple of designs for my newlsetter that I need to have finalized by the end of January. So, the month of January will be stressful, to say the least -- guess I don't work well under pressure!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Boxing Day

Christmas was wonderful at our daughter's. (Wish I could remember to bring the camera down when I come down to spend time on the computer -- haven't even checked the pictures yet and I know I got a good one of Briana in her Pollyanna dress!) I'll have to tie the camera to my wrist tomorrow.

Today was spent doing the usual day after Christmas stuff -- laundry, putting away the gifts, taking down the Christmas stuff in the main floor bathroom and turning it back into the everyday bathroom it is! Also pulled my sewing tables out away from the wall, tossed the two throw rugs in the washer, washed the quarry tile floor under the tables and sealed the grout (just under the tables, don't want to overdo you know :-). Put the clean rugs back down and moved the tables around to make room for the plastic drawers of scraps. Need to buy another set tomorrow and made room for that one, too. That was pretty much the extent of working in the sewing room though. I hope to get a handle on the scraps this coming year and keep plodding along in that direction.

I did finish quilting the Christmas Pineapple Blossom and even put a label on it, but haven't finished sewing the binding down. Hopefully tomorrow I will make some progress and get some pictures up.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone.
I'm going to be quilting today on the Christmas Pineapple Blossom and loading the car for the trip to DD's in the morning. A nice relaxing day for Christmas eve.
Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Early Christmas

My Christmas present finally came in, DH hooked it up yesterday and I've been playing today. I already had the Handiquilter, but ordered the handles and frame to put them on and they finally arrived. After putting a practice sandwich on, I ended up turning the handles upside down though -- my arms got tired this way!
I've already learned some things that frustrated me previously, and the only problems I had today were getting the tension adjusted correctly on the Brother machine and I broke one needle and had to stop and take the plate off and clean the dust out underneath it. I am learning to slow way down and it's nice to have the speed control on the handles and the start-stop button too! I'm pleased with my work so far, so that says something -- I've not been happy with my machine quilting for a long time -- so, I'm pleased that I am actually re-learning to do it right!
Tomorrow I think I'll load the Christmas Pineapple Blossom (after I make a backing for it!) and play some more!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Finished the Scrappy Blossom

The Scrappy Pineapple Blossom top is finished! Not a very good picture , but I did a cut 1½" dark red inner border and the outside border is cut 3½" navy blue print.

I pieced a backing from the leftover pieces of homespun and brushed cotton from the Buggy Barn tree skirt and a couple of FQ's of brushed cottons. It turned out dark and doesn't show up in a picture at all, so you'll just have to take my word for it! Also made the binding. Just need to make up a label now and oh, yes, quilt it!

And, I've decided to start posting my quilty new years resolutions as I think of them -- kind of a test to see how long my good intentions last -- I'm going to post them on the right hand side of my blog!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Cooky Day with the Grandkids

The aprons were a smash hit! This is me (I'm the white-haired grandma with no eyes when I smile - in case you couldn't tell).

Briana is 7, AJ is 22 months as of yesterday. He has hit the terrible twos and I love every minute of it! (Paybacks are extremely fun -- my own mom used to say, "I can't wait til you have kids of your own!")

We had a great time making cookies and playing. Then I had to drive back home, go out to dinner, then crash in the recliner! Totally worn out, but worth every second of it! LOL

Friday, December 16, 2005

Making Progress

Well, I see we're having troubles with pictures on blogger again. Anyway -- I got the top put together and a 1½" cut deep red inner border put on. Hopefully, Sunday I'll be able to put the final border on!

Tomorrow I will be baking cookies with grandkids -- such fun!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Back to the Pineapples

I worked on the scrappy pineapple blossom quilt today -- even took pictures. They're in the camera which is still upstairs and I'm too lazy to run up and bring it down, so I'll upload a picture tomorrow!
I have finished the blocks -- they'll be 6 across by 7 down. I hope to get them sewn together tomorrow and have pulled two fabrics for an inner border and the outer border. I'm pleased with the way it's coming together, except for one thing.
I love Miss Bonnie's idea of putting the needle over one notch to sew the second line on the scrap triangles before trimming, but for those of us that have short-term memory problems, there should be an alarm that sounds when we go back to sewing the next strips on the block! I have forgotten about half the time to set the needle back and it makes a difference in the final block size. I do not frog stitch unnecessarily, so will trim the blocks to size and hope it doesn't show! It's a scrap quilt, right?! LOL

Monday, December 12, 2005


Happy snow day! Actually, it didn't snow today, but it did over the weekend and we're supposed to get a lot more on Wednesday.

This wallhanging was made as a sample for Sew Many Antiques in Pearl City, IL last year. Now it resides at my house every winter. I like making a few wallhangings like this -- I have lots of wall space for hanging quilts!

No quilting today, but I did catch up on some paper filing and did some laundry -- well, actually, still need to fold a couple of loads!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Sunday's doin's

Today I baked cookies (I needed to try out a couple of recipes for chocolate cookies!) It was a tough job, but someone had to do it! Have you ever had chocolate cutout cookies? They are excellent! I got the recipe here: (actually, I got the recipe from their catalog -- they have the coolest catalog for spices - comes with recipes!

Anyway, spent the day baking cookies and watching the Bears lose -- waaah! Then stopped to take a picture of our Christmas tree this year: we have a 7.5 footer that I put the lights on the first year and DH stores in the shed in a huge box that he built for it, that takes the loader on the farm tractor to lift and haul onto the back porch so it can go in the library. We are not having Christmas at our house and DH was not looking forward to hauling it out, so I stuck this little 3 footer on a table, added a string of lights and there ya go! It'll suffice!

I took a picture of one of my Christmas quilts, too. This one was a mystery quilt way back when - probably about 7 or 8 years ago - it was an Inspector Cluesew mystery online. And, being a Maverick, I did mine with Christmas scraps! I love it -- it's one of my favorite quilts. It is folded over the back of the couch with a couple of my previous life's hobby - cross-stitched pillows.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Off on a Tangent

I'm way behind on my blogging again -- both readin' and writin'. I'm going to try to catch up this weekend. I did get a chance to get into the sewing room this week, and instead of working on my Christmas Pineapple, I got this brilliant idea to make my two grandkids aprons for next Saturday's cookie day. I'm going up to WI and we're going to establish a new tradition -- making cookies at their house instead of mine! So, I thought it would be fun to give Briana, 7, and AJ, 22 months aprons -- 'course you should know that I can't sew a stitch unless it's in a quilt! Plus, I didn't have a pattern -- so I found a facsimilie thereof and faked my way through it. The kids won't care and I think they'll like 'em. Didn't take too long, either!

So, then, I went back, figured out what to do for borders on the Christmas Pineapple and put them on today -- I'm calling it done (except for quilting, of course), and moving on. Probably go back to the scrappy pineapple blossom and make some more blocks.

Spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning up the sewing pit. I went to Bonnie's site this morning and saw her fabulous fabric cabinets all neatly lined up and stacked with fabric and was ashamed at the mess my fabric cabinets are in!
Didn't actually clean them out though, but put all my mess away that cluttered the kitchen island (cutting table), and the pile of "stuff" in the corner of the sewing room and both sewing tables. Have a stack of books/magazines/papers to go through and put away/file/throw away soon - probably go through them tonight yet. Left the pile of 2" scrappy strips on the sewing table so I can just jump right in and make a few more for the scrappy quilt. Well, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Christmas Fabric Blossoms

In between laundry and hanging my winter/Christmas quilts today, I played with the new Christmas fabric. I discovered that making a "planned scrappy" is not as easy as it sounds! The above parts are actually two separate blocks. And one must be careful to make sure they are exactly the same two blocks -- putting one fabric in the wrong place changes everything and you lose the pattern! Ask me how I know!

Anyway -- the one on the left was way too boring for me -- yes, all the colors would have been represented if I make enough blocks, so the center star would be blue, red, green, yellow -- but wow, how boring it is. I much prefer the scrappier look of having all four colors meet -- each "star" will still be different because the colors will be in different spots, and that gives it some cohesiveness for those that can't do scrappy and still satisfies me because I love scrappy! I'm going to make more blocks and see where it takes me - haven't decided how big it's going to be.

And this is my first Dear Jane block. And as the author of the book says, "Done is better than perfect"! Actually, it was rather fun to make by hand. I have another one ready to press the freezer paper to the fabric, but I keep getting grabbed by the Pineapple Blossom whenever I walk into the sewing room!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

More Pineapple Blocks

I've been busy playing with fabric lately. Also started a Dear Jane just because. I'm planning on doing it all by hand, but we'll see -- have the first one almost done. Bought muslin for the backgrounds and will use scraps of course for the rest!
Also bought some bright Christmas fabrics yesterday. I think seeing all of Finn's great Christmas quilts inspired me -- I'm really running low on Christmas fabric scraps and these were calling my name in the quilt shop! I'm toying with doing a planned Pineapple Blossom quilt with them! We'll see....

Speaking of Pineapple Blossom, I've now made 16 blocks --couldn't decide how big I was going to make this quilt, thought maybe 16 blocks and a good border will make a nice size table cover or throw for the back of the loveseat, but they are so much fun to make, I just might make some more for a bigger throw. I have a whole pile of 2" strips just waiting on the sewing table for me to decide!