Monday, December 31, 2012

It was a very good year

A quick post to comment on the past year, get myself grounded for the coming year, and to say Happy New Year to all who read my posts.  This Christmas season has been full and rewarding for me, not a lot to post about, not a lot of quilting, but many, many memories and happy days in my December.

I do love new beginnings, and I do love setting goals, or priorities, or call them resolutions if you must.  I like to aim higher than I am now, but realistically too.  As for last years priorities, I did alright.  Many of them are works in process, but I am proud of myself that I followed through with some major dental work this year.  Really, it was not much of a big deal except for the financial aspect of it all, but anything that involves me and a dentist is a big deal.  So, that is a feather in my resolution cap.

Tonight we will celebrate the old year, welcome in the new with our second annual New Year's Eve Bonfire and BBQ.  Last year my son and his wife had a piece of property, a lot of plans and a huge brush pile.  That was the beginning of our New Year's Eve tradition.  Now they have a home, a new baby, and many more reason to celebrate the future.

Thank you to all who read and follow this post.  It means a lot to me.  I appreciate you all.


Monday, December 24, 2012

My favorite day of the year

Merry Christmas Eve.  This is my favorite day of the year.  From the moment I wake up I am happy that it is Christmas Eve.  All my shopping is done, all the errands and wrapping, and now I can take a deep breath and absorb the day.  I have some cooking to do for tonight and tomorrow morning, but somehow making Christmas eve dinner and Christmas brunch are not work.  Just anticipation of good to come. There is a calmness in my spirit, and yet there is still the anxious joy of waiting for good things to come.  We go to church tonight, Christmas carols will make me smile and cry at the same time. Through out the season I try to pause and remember why we celebrate, what is the basis of my faith and belief, but Christmas Eve brings it all together for me. This is my favorite day.  I want to wish anyone reading this a blessed Christmas.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Successful cookie decorating

My first, and hopefully annual cookie decorating party was a huge success.  I am still riding high.  I am in one of those moods where everything is good because everything went as well or better than I had hoped.  I am so happy.  
 I covered my dining table with newsprint, had a few frosting colors ready.

Sugar cookies just waiting for some decorating

My goal for the day was to have a cookie decorating activity that would be age appropriate and fun for my grand children and their friends.  I also had a kid friendly lunch planned.  Honestly, I  didn't have high expectations, because that just sets one up for disappointment.  I did plan and tried to make things easy and kid friendly, but then again you never know with infants to toddlers.  I could not be more pleased with how it all worked out.  Here are several photos to share my day with you.

I think this is a beautiful picture of my daughter with her daughter.

Bella, our oldest decorator at age three really showed off her decorating talents

Ethan and his friend Jack think the cookies are great.

It was such a good time.  After everyone left I had to call my friend just to tell her how happy I was and how well the day went.  It was well worth the effort and planning, and I look forward to doing it again next year.
Thanks for sharing my joy today,  I appreciate your company,

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Enjoying the Season

I don't know how to start, with an apology for not posting, an excuse for not quilting, or just admitting that I am enjoying the season.  With all the additional activities during December, I am doing less and less sewing and quilting, and I am okay with that.  I have had seasons full of stress, late nights, frustration, and I just don't want to go there this year.  I am trying to slow down and not get overwhelmed.  But, with that there is some regret too.  I am still working on the Celtic Knot, but rather than hours at a time, I fit in minutes when I can.

Today I am baking cookies in preparation for a cookie decorating party on Saturday.  That will be an adventure with six little ones doing what they can with a bag of frosting and a blank cookie.

So, for those of you frustrated with my lack of quilting, I apologize.  Quilting is a very important part of my life and this blog, but it isn't all I want to post about.  I hope you are enjoying all that Christmas is.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Zeb's Stocking

I finished my sequined project, it is a stocking for baby Zeb.  

My Nanny made sequined stockings for our entire family.  We had seven children, there were seven cousins,  assorted Aunts, Uncles and others, and we all had sequined stockings.  For many years I thought that everyone, everywhere had stockings like this.  When I married I made a stocking for Steve, and have made one for each addition to our family.  Today I finished and present Zeb's stocking.

I used my stocking as the model and pattern, but some things are updated.
Larry the cucumber from Veggie Tales, Emily's favorite

This is the stocking my Nanny made for me.  The sequins are not as bright, but the sentiment and memories are still strong as they were when I was a child.  Thank you Nanny.
He needs his own stocking holder, but Zeb's stocking now hangs with the rest of his family.  They just make me so happy.  I am so excited for my children to have Christmas with their children and share the joy and meaning of all things Christmas.
Thanks for sharing my stocking journey and starting Zeb's journey.  I appreciate it.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Sequins and beads

I have been working on a Christmas project with lots of sequins and beads.

This is one of those projects that seems to take over.  I am close to finishing this one, and will be so excited to show it to you all, hopefully next week.  Until then, have fun working on whatever you are creating and thanks for stopping by.  


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Stitch in the Ditch

Let's talk about Stitch in the Ditch, (SID).  I will share why and when I SID, and when I make exceptions.  Whenever I am doing custom work, I SID a lot.  I do my ditch work before I do the decorative stitching because the ditch work stabilizes the piecing and eliminates distortion when the decorative stitching is done.

First off, I would do the SID on the seam lines before the loops, but for this picture I did not.  See how the seams don't lie nice and flat?  In the next photo I did the SID and I think it shows how the triangle shape lays nice and flat.

In this photo, I did ditch work on all sides of the green, and then I did the decorative stitching.  By doing the ditch work first, my edges are nice and crisp and there is no distortion when I start the other stitching.

In this photo, I wanted to show that I would do SID along all the edges of the colored piecing, but I did not do any stitching in the white areas.  I am going to fill the white area with dense swirl stitching, and I will stitch right over the seam lines, so in my opinion, SID is not necessary here.

All edges around the colored bands are SID, giving them nice crisp definition.  Again, I do all ditch work before I do the decorative stitching.

I hope some of this made sense and I was able to explain myself.  SID takes more time, and often thread changes, but I think the difference it makes is worth the extra time and effort.  A lot of time was put into piecing the top, and giving that piecing the extra benefit of SID to emphasize the detail of the piecing is well worth it.

So, SID is up to individual quilters, this is just why and when I do it.  Thanks for reading, I appreciate it.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Santa Quilt

This is not a new quilt, and it is one of those projects that took a couple eight years to finish.  It is one of my favorite quilts and Christmas decorations.

I made this quilt way before I knew anything about FMG or that longarm machines even existed. I did the quilting on my domestic machine, and there are quite a lot of wobbly lines.  Oh well.

When I was making this quilt it was all about the machine and hand applique of all the Santas.  There are 25 of them, and each one is different.

I love this quilt, even though I look at is and see so many things that I would do differently today.  That is what our quilt journey is all about, looking back and seeing our progress, and looking to future quilts and imagining what will be.  Now that I place more importance on the quilting aspect of a quilt, I appreciate this wobbly lined quilt even more.  I remember working on this when my children were little, each Santa taking on a personality of it's own, and the satisfaction I felt when it was finally finished.  A quilt is so much more that just a quilt, it is the story they tell, and the untold story only the maker may know.

Thanks for dropping by, I appreciate it.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Micah and Holly's new dresses

I have a clever and creative friend who makes the cutest children's clothes from vintage fabrics.  I have wanted to buy some of her designs for quite a while, but just needed my little ones to get a bit bigger.  Today was my day.
 Holly and her new dress made from a vintage table cloth. How clever is that?

 Micah says hers is a keeper for sure, again made from an old table cloth.

And the back, see how cute the back is?

The clever designer of these cute clothes is my friend Sue and you can see more of her cute designs on her website.  I do love making things for the girls, but it was really fun to buy cute and unique dresses to get us ready for the holiday season. 

Thanksgiving here was a wonderful day full of family, love and food.  Now, on to Christmas.
Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate it.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Slow progress

I am starting work on the Celtic Knot quilt.  I love looking at a quilt loaded on the frame all ready to start.

Each of the cords is quilted differently, and the background is concentric circles.  Once I had a plan in mind it all fell into place.  My initial plan changed, but now I am on track, and quilting merrily along.  This one will take some time, and I am alright with that.  I enjoy the process of quilting, the zone I get into, and I try not to worry about how long things are taking.  I am in no rush, and find I get uptight when I try to push myself too far and go faster than I am comfortable with.

With the holidays here, and the new baby, school break for by adult kids who teach, we have many family things going on.  Last night everyone was here just hanging out.  Four adult kids, and all four grand babies.  It was wonderful.  I am content to put my sewing and quilting on a break when necessary, and enjoy more time with the kids.  I do feel an obligation of sorts to keep up with my blog, but even that can take a break from time to time.  This week I think will be one of those times.  What with shopping, cooking, eating, baking , more eating, gathering and playing.  It is all good.

Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving week.  I am grateful.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sometimes less is best

This adorable baby quilt was made by Annette, and she tells me it is her first quilt!  Well, if this is her first, I hope she continues quilting because she is an amazing quilter.  Her machine applique was some of the best I've ever seen.
These pics are all sideways, and that is just the way they are.  
There is minky for the back of the quilt and the goal was to make the finished quilt soft and cuddly.  So, I went with no batting and minimal quilting.  Mostly SID and a just a little more.

There is just a little hint of quilting on the back.  It worked out perfectly.

A few hints for working with minky.  I loaded it with the selvages on the leaders.  This way the side to side stretch is minimized.   When I rolled it, I was extra careful not to stretch it, and left it quite loose while quilting.  Other than that I had no issues at all.  The little bit of quilting kept the top and backing together, but did not interfere with the softness and cuddliness of the finished quilt.  So, for this quilt, less was best.

Thanks for checking in, I appreciate it.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Another finish

I am so happy to have this quilt finished.  I do like it, but I don't 'love' it, and I actually had a bit of a struggle making myself finish it.  I like the colors, (they are my son's colors, and this will most likely go to him) the fabric is super soft flannel that looks like wool, but I don't really like the pattern.  Oh well, it is finished, and that I really like.

Before and after quilting, what a difference. 

A view from the back.

And now I have two empty bins.  Woo Hoo!

I am on a self imposed mission to finish up all my outstanding projects, in as timely a manner as I can.  What I have learned through this is that projects are much more fulfilling to me if I do them when I first want to do them, and work my way, all the way through a project.  Rarely does this happen, but this is my ideal.  Too often when I come back to a project I have lost some of the initial thrill that I had when I first purchased the fabric, made the first cuts, and started creating.  After it sits in a bin, gets pushed back on the shelf, now it is more of a chore.  I still like it, and I still like sewing and quilting, but just not as much as I initially did, so now it is more difficult to find the time and motivation to finish it. That, and I am trying to restrain from starting anything new, until I finish up more of the old.  Enough already, I am just happy this one is finished.

Thanks for checking in, I appreciate your company, and of course I love your comments.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Welcome home Zeb

I would like to introduce you to my new grandson, baby Zebulun, or Zeb for short.  He was born on Monday, and his arrival was early and fast.  Today he got to come home. 

Oh, a newborn.  Such hope and promise, love and perfection.  There are just not words adequate to describe all that is an infant.  So much in such a tiny little person. 

I am overjoyed he is here, and all is well.

Now a family of four.

Thanks for sharing my good news.  I appreciate your company.