Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Happiness is ... time with the family!

On Christmas Eve, I packed the car to the gills with kids, presents, the dog, you name it! Well, everything except the camera. So, no Christmas photos from me. They'd be kinda crowded, anyway. There were 16 of us at my mom's house - the four of us, my twin sister and her crew of 3 more, my brother and his crew of 3 more, my younger sister and her crew of 2 more, and my mom. Oh, and 5 dogs. And one really freaked out cat. And only 1 bathroom. But this will be a Christmas to remember! It was the first time since there have been grandchildren that my siblings and I have all been with my mom at Christmas (yeah, and I FORGOT MY CAMERA!). Plus, Ericka and I had LOTS of well received homemade gifts under the tree. Check out the hat she made me:

(Hubby got a little carried away with the camera, wanted to take a photo from every angle!)

And it appears that posting a Christmas Wish List on your blog works 'cause I got EVERYTHING I asked for. Thank you, family of mine!

I also received this awesome fabric postcard in the mail from Janet. I picked it out of my mailbox on my way to my mom's, and everyone there was so impressed with it, as was I. None of them had ever seen a fabric postcard before!

See Anne of Green Gables on the tree - such a sweet touch, Janet, to have you remember that I loved that story as a child and just listened to it again this summer/fall while quilting.

After two nights at my mom's house, my twin sister came to my house for two days with her two kids and hubby. Day one we just lounged around eating and playing games because it was COLD outside, but today was warmer and absolutely beautiful, so we went outside for some fun. First, we walked about a mile and a half down the road to a cave that we noticed but had never explored.


(still walking...)

(We made it!)

Then, back home, after hot cocoa and a late lunch, we went back outside to build a fire in the firepit and roast marshmallows.

Now that they are gone and the house is settling down, I'd love to go do some sewing, but we leave early in the AM to ride with the basketball team on the bus to Atlanta for their game against Emory on Thursday, and I've not packed yet. (truth be known, I'm still UN-packing from my two nights at mom's house!) The boys and I are super excited. I have prepared some sewing to take with me on the bus - time to sew the center circles onto the dresden plates on my plaid dresden (how did I forget to do that earlier?). My sister also uncovered a small Tree of Life wallhanging that I made from my father's ties and shirts that I can quilt on. I'm so excited to be riding on the bus so I can sew, read and nap to my heart's content!
I'll catch up with you all again this weekend. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I may not be ready for Christmas

...but Donald (aka Santa Claus) is! Here he is in his (recliner) sleigh with his (amazingly tiny, black) bag of toys, and all of his reindeer lined up and ready for take off!

After I wandered into the living room, found him thus and snapped a photo, I went into the kitchen to fix a cup of coffee. I nearly spit it out laughing when I heard him mutter, "Oh man! We've got to go back to the North Pole. I forgot something!"

(He gets that from me; I hustle the kids out of the house every morning only to have to come back one out of five times because I've forgotten something.)

Oh, and remember the quilt shop that was going out of business where I bought lots of fabric last month? Well, yesterday was their last day. I just had to go down and say goodbye. It just so happened that I bought some fabric while there, too. Lots of it. All at 45% off since I finished the bolt for all the fabric I chose. Now I'm prepared to make lots of Christmas presents for next year, too! (at least that's how I rationalized this purchase of 33 yards of 19 different fabrics to myself - Mrs. P, I don't want to hear even one tiny snicker!)

(Stripes, which I've been collecting for a striped quilt, and while I enjoy making wonky letters, these pre-printed letters could come in mighty handy!)

(Don't laugh, but when the proprietress asked if I was looking for something in particular, I told her I wanted to "brighten my stash". I think I bought one bright fabric. Oh well, you like what you like.)

(I did manage to pick up a couple 30's repros, as well as some of the Virginia Quilt Museum fabrics, which I love. I also had to pick up those flower panels because I have a tiny bit of that in my stash, but not really enough to make anything with. Now, I do!)

Do any of you remember the old Dunkin' Donuts commercials where the guy mutters, "Time to make the donuts..." That's me, only it's "Time to sew on binding..."

May you finish all your Christmas projects before midnight, December 24th!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Another present ready to wrap!

I should be sewing down binding, and I'm going to get to it in just a few moments. But first, look! I made my first apron!

This will be for my brother's girlfriend's daughter (can I just call her my niece?), who is 11. I remember her saying something this past year about liking to cook, so I bought her a cookbook, and made her this apron to wear while trying out all her new recipes. I'm trying to get the next generation to embrace aprons the way I do!

I'm proud of:
my first pocket, lined

and decorative stitching along the bottom

Hmmm, the closeups of those features make me think maybe I shouldn't be too proud. So they aren't perfect; I'm proud of myself for trying them!

I could have finished the ends of the ties that go around the waist better, but I'm not going to lose any sleep over it.
Wait! Did you just hear that? There is some binding calling to me...gotta go!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sleepovers are fun!!!

After karate testing yesterday (at which both Jason and I broke boards with our hands - woo hoo!!!), Jason's best friend and his two younger sisters came over for a sleepover. What parents wouldn't want 24 hours with no kids around this time of year, right? Besides, their mom is my co-den leader for cub scouts (although make no mistake, SHE does all the work!), and this is the least I can do for her after all she's done for us. In addition, crazy as it seems, the more kids there are in my house, the more time I have for myself!

So, they went sledding outside (perfect - these photos were taken from the door of my sewing room - I could keep an eye on them while I sewed),

and I sewed binding strips together.

They did karaoke and then a rock band (yeah, I STILL haven't finished painting my basement. I would much rather sew.),

and I sewed binding strips together.

They played air hockey,

and I sewed binding strips together.

They watched Frosty the Snowman,

and I sewed binding strips together.

I helped them make Christmas presents for their mother from my stash of pre-cut 2" and 3.5" squares (my kids made presents for their teachers),

while I sewed binding strips together.

They played Charades,

and I played, too, so the teams would be even, 3 boys against 3 girls. They beat us last night, but we had a re-match this morning and soundly whipped their gloating boy tails!

So, when their dad came to pick them up 24 hours later, my boys were worn out and ready to just sit quietly with popcorn and a movie, and I have enough binding to sew onto my brother's quilt. In fact, I have enough scrappy binding to sew onto his quilt 2 and a half times!!!

I guess I got carried away! Oh well, I am prepared for the next quilt that needs a scrappy binding.

Now, it is off to find something fun and Christmasy on TV to watch while I work on quilting my GGG quilt and sew down the back of the binding on Curtis's quilt. Happy Sunday, everyone!

Friday, December 17, 2010

A day off?

Since we've been working so hard this fall, my gem of a boss gave us all an extra day off to use whenever we wanted during this holiday season. I decided to use mine yesterday.

Oh, the plans I had for myself! And then it snowed. And they closed the schools. So I went from having a blissfully silent day all to myself to having a day with a house full of snow-crazy kids. Oh well. You know what Woodie Allen said, "You want to make God laugh, tell him your plans."

I did get some stuff done.

  • I spent an hour hand quilting my GGG quilt. Still lots of stitching to do before that one is done. Can we slow the clock down just a bit before Christmas gets here?

  • I started collecting pre-cut 2" strips to sew together as binding for my String Quilt. (see comment above regarding the time left before Christmas)

  • I started customizing some long-sleeved onesies for the babies I know. These cute little panels were in a box of scraps I received from Becky (I think it was Becky...) a while ago, and I thought they were perfect. So, they are fused onto the onesies, and now I'm going to go around them with a blanket stitch by hand.

    (my favorite - I'm so country...)
  • I am always appalled by how much I spend helping Santa fill stockings every year, so I made some lilac -scented sachets to put in a couple of stockings. I didn't have to cut anything to make these; I just headed to my scrap tins for some pre-cut scrap squares and bonus triangles from other projects. I made 11 total - these 8 are the ones I brought in to work today to give to all the women who work in a support capacity in my office because they are AWESOME people!

  • My custom quilt block frames arrived from Angela (and her husband, Jim), so I put my wallhangings in to see how they looked.

    FABULOUS, in my humble opinion! I need to straighten them out a bit and trim some of the backing and whatnot, but these are nearly ready to be wrapped up.

  • I finally succumbed to my children's pleadings, and we decorated the tree. See my tree skirt down there? LOVE IT! Although it seems a bit to small. Whatever.

    (How do you take a decent photo of a lit up Christmas tree!?!)

I'm so glad that it is Friday. I foresee lots of sewing in my future this weekend, along with a sleepover for 3 of my kids' friends, karate testing (Jason and I receive our advanced Brown Belt tomorrow morning, and Donald will receive his Orange Belt), and, since the snow is still on the ground, some outdoor play. Here's hoping that your weekend is just as productive and fun as I hope mine will be!

Monday, December 13, 2010


Overcast. That word held many meanings for my Sunday.

First, it was the weather. Blah. Gray, cold, a perfect day for staying inside, which I did. I would have liked to just sew, but the filth in my house got to be too much, so I spent the morning cleaning. I have to say that, when I did go down to sew, it was without the guilt that sometimes accompanies me as I do what I want to do, rather than what I should do.

Second, it was a stitch that I employed for the first time as I made two additional T-Shirt Drawstring Backpacks for my sister and her son. I may need to go back to my niece's skirt and employ the overcast stitch in a couple places there so that her seams don't unravel.

I like that the t-shirts they gave me had images on both sides so these bags are reversible.

Third, overcast described my mood. Six students from my university were involved in a car accident, and two of them were quite banged up. One, a student who has been to my house on a number of occasions, may be paralyzed. Another couldn't be identified for a number of hours because of the extent of the injury. I spent the day in a cloud of sadness and dismay and an aching heart for those kids, their parents, the driver, the whole web of lives that this accident touched. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers as they begin the long recovery process.
On a happier note, I finished piecing the Plaid Dresden so my design wall is now empty and ready to receive a new project.

I have lots of hand quilting to do, so I hope to be disciplined and focus most of my sewing energy on getting some of these tops quilted, but I know myself and that I'll be sneaking down to visit my sewing machine every so often, so the design wall won't be empty for long.

Friday, December 10, 2010

I did it!!!

I'm not sure what made me think I could create an article of clothing from scratch.

Sure, I can alter an existing piece of clothing:

(Dahlia sweatshirt for me)

(gnarled tree sweatshirt for father-in-law)

I can repurpose clothing:

(drawstring t-shirt backpack for Donald)

(memorial t-shirt quilt from my dad's shirts)

But to MAKE clothing from scratch!?! I wouldn't know where to begin! Then I saw this adorable skirt tutorial at Moda Bake Shop and the seed was planted. Perhaps I could make something for my niece...

It wasn't easy, but I DID IT!

Why I chose to make something with a drop waist and pleats and lots of topstitching is beyond me...

But I love it! I hope she loves it too! Tomorrow I hope to find an inexpensive long sleeved t-shirt to go with it that I can applique some coordinating fabric onto (a flower, perhaps, or maybe just some circles/dots), along with some tights (she lives in Massachusetts - brrr!). But even if it is only this skirt that gets wrapped up and put under the tree, I'm thrilled. I'm not sure I'll ever try to make another, but now I can at least say I've done it. (Thanks, Sam, for your clothes-making inspiration!)
Quilt guild meeting tomorrow. And then, after that, only 2 more months until Bonnie Hunter is coming to town. Woo hoo! Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

Monday, December 6, 2010

I survived!

What DIDN'T we do this weekend!?! First, the parade on Friday night. Of course, it snowed! But we kept warm inside decorating our cars until the very last minute.

Once we were out there, the snow stopped and the kids did a great job moving forward - having a movie to watch helped!

I brought up the rear carrying the banner I made from fabric fused to fabric. I cut the letters free-hand - kind of fun, although some letters (S, N, W) are hard to get right the first time!

Saturday and Sunday were super busy, too (I won't bore you with the details of the 2 basketball games, Santa's workshop, movie, luncheon with our "adopted" international student, grocery shopping, laundry, blah, blah, blah), but I did get some sewing done.

1) All four of my wallhangings are now completed and just waiting to go into frames - photo to come when the frames arrive.
2) I finished all the sashing and cornerstones for my Plaid Dresden and got one row sewn together (I know, the photo looks the same as last time, but I promise you, there are more sewn seams this time!)

3) My latest Leaders & Enders project has been to make scrappy log cabin blocks from my scrap bag using 2" strips. Here's what I have so far, all in various stages of completion, and none completely done.

4) I did all the prep work for a project I am working on for my niece for Christmas. I've never made clothing before, but I'm trying out a skirt. We'll see...

Today is bright, but frigid, and I really just want to be on the couch quilting and sipping tea, but you know how it goes. Instead, I will embrace my full life and the excitement that each new day brings!