Saturday, December 20, 2014

It's Almost Christmas Already--Happy Holidays!

Here I am, catching up once again!  It has been a very busy month and I've meant a hundred times to get a post together.  Better late than never, I hope. 

Our quilt holiday meeting on December 8 was a lot of fun.  We had a potluck dinner, a drawing for gift cards, a Dirty Santa gift exchange game, the results of the crayon challenge, a fat quarter game, details of next month's ugly fabric challenge, show and share, and preview of a round robin that anyone could join.  My crayon challenge project turned out well, I thought.  My crayon colors were gold and yellow-green:

The colors are a bit off in this photo as the gold is much more gold in person.  The little trees were a bit frustrating to make at first, as I kept cutting them too wide at the base.  But I got the hang of it after about 6 of them :)  This runner is less than 24 inches wide so these are very small trees.  It's displayed on my coffee table for the season.

I won these great Gingher scissors in the gift bag exchange. We drew numbers and in turn picked a bag or wrapped gift at random from a table.  There was Dirty Santa stealing and my sister Kathy ended up with the most popular gift of the night, an Ott light, as only two steals were allowed.  These fat quarters came home with me in the game where we stood in a circle and passed the fat quarters to the next person every time the word "THE" was said in the "A visits from St. Nick" story being read.  Fun!  Next month's challenge is an ugly fabric one.  And boy, it is ugly.

Hideous shoes in hideous colors.  We are to make one 12.5" block--keeping the modern aesthetic in mind.  It's going to be tough!

Here's a nighttime shot of our tree this year.  I bought a new tree topper that is a reasonable facsimile of an expensive Capiz shell star.  Erica and I had quite a time with putting on the lights.  It took two store visits and two days to get all the lights we needed and then ON the tree.  We bought new LED ones this year and they look fine.  I can't seem to be able to stop buying new ornaments!  One day we may need that 9 foot tree Erica never stops asking for :)

Here's Lucy in her nest of tissue paper as we unwrapped the ornaments.  She loved it.

My early Christmas present to myself was swapped with my husband's early Christmas gift to himself, so we are both down one present to buy .  I bought him new pickups for his guitar :)  This tower of 40 fat quarters was jammed into a priority envelope, amazingly enough. Lots of yummy prints in this Minnick & Simpson collection.  With the great sale from Green Fairy Quilts, each fat quarter cost about $2.10.  Score!

Cove gets a handmade ornament from Mimi tomorrow.  I tried to make it more modern by doing a "negative space" version of the cross-stitch alphabet letters.  This stocking is about 6-7 inches long and I'm pretty pleased with it.   Here's the little devil standing alone for a number of seconds at 9.5 months (his mama helped him stand up).  He'll be 10 months at Christmas.

Still on the to-do list are the Holiday Newsletter with photo (which we haven't had taken yet), more shopping, wrapping, and all the celebrating!  I'll be working Monday and Tuesday but then won't have to work until the 29th.  Hope you are all enjoying the festive times and family gatherings.  Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

It's December already

Thanksgiving was a blast--always worth the extra work.  We had 22 people and tons of good food. My request to my sister was for her to make a 7 layer bean dip, a dish our paternal grandmother always had at Thanksgiving.  Kathy was dubious but researched how to improve this simple dish and knocked it out of the park by melting the cheese a little and then adding finely chopped olives on top. Yum. We had great weather and there was plenty of room for everyone.  It was a really good day.  I even got gifts!  My SIL Laura bought me this beautiful pheasant--which is actually a gravy boat.  Isn't it lovely?  From Williams-Sonoma (but no longer available).

November's end included some shopping, sewing, planning, and a lot of family time.  Grant's cousin and her husband came up from further south and we had a thoroughly enjoyable takeaway dinner at home Friday night.  We hadn't seen them since DD Elaine's wedding three years ago.  They always loved our kids and its a great thing to see them enjoying them as adults.  Grandson Cove was greatly admired, of course :)

Then on Small Business Saturday I did a little "me time" shopping.  It was all me because the only thing I bought was fabric! I started out with an online sale at Green Fairy Quilts.  A fat quarter stack of Minnick & Simpson Crazy for Reds was on for a great sale, with free shipping.  I couldn't pass that up.  Then I went out to Superbuzzy to catch their sale, and ended with a few purchases at my local fabric store.  It was a very satisfying few hours and no fighting through crowded mall parking lots.  Selfish, I know, but it wasn't all for me!  Here's the loot:

A little Cotton & Steel, some Kona, an acrylic template, and some prints.  Some of this is for a Christmas gift and some is for a baby quilt. And some is for a Modern Quilt Guild December challenge.  The challenge involved blindly choosing two crayons and then making a no more than 24" quilt from only tones of the selected colors. 

My crayons were yellow-green and gold (metallic).  Now, while these are colors I like, it was a little challenging to come up with an idea for a quilt, until I saw this post on Diary of a Quilter of her mini tree quilt block.  While I do prefer her color combo of white, red, and green for the Christmasy look, I think the gold and green will make cute trees too.  Another great idea for mini trees is on Amanda Jean's blog, Crazy Mom Quilts.  She has a pattern for her trees.  I like both of them.  I'm going to be stitching that up this weekend for the guild meeting.  We're also having a gift exchange and a fat quarter game.  Looking forward to it. 

The black and white Kona will be used in my next project, which is a baby quilt for a friend of my daughter's.  A few weeks ago we went to Superbuzzy to choose a pattern and fabrics for the future baby boy, due January 1st. 

We chose the Scout pattern from Cluck Cluck Sew.  I picked up the black and white Kona for the center stripes.  I'm afraid I will have to use these fabrics without washing since the 1/4 cuts might skew too much to get the several width cuts I need from each print.  I know lots of people don't wash their fabrics first but I always have.  I do have a box of Color Catchers!

Meanwhile, the Winding Ways quilt blocks are still being sewn.  I'm hoping to get them all done by the weekend and then call my quilt commissioner to come help lay them all out in rows.  Oh, and then there is the decorating, shopping, partying, card addressing, and general Christmas mayhem that fills up the next few weeks...trying not to panic!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Here's to time well spent with those dear to us.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Monday, November 24, 2014

Design Wall Monday

On and off the Design surface are the Winding Ways blocks.  Due to some recent time sitting in doctor's waiting rooms, I was able to pin a bunch more pieces.  These curvy blocks require a lot of pinning, which of course adds to the total time it takes to make a 12 piece block.  But after some dedicated hours I have a pile of finished blocks:  

All 36 copper blocks are complete, and join the 6 cream blocks already sewn, and the 9 combined teal and copper blocks for my planned layout.  I have 30 cream blocks to make before assembly can happen but I'm feeling that downhill slope!  Feeling virtuous, I allowed myself to start a new project.  Well, this is two year old idea that I've wanted to make. 

This is a picture of the finished mini quilt I made in 2012.  I bought this as a kit at Helen's Hen House Quilt Shop in Florissant, MO (the website now shows a new name and location for the shop), which I made and gave away in 2012.  I always meant to make one for myself, and was reminded of this during my scrap drawer organization a couple of months ago, when I found some leftovers from the kit. 
Most of the browns in my new Turkey came from a bargain-priced scrap bag I bought at Helen's Hen House. I had fun digging through my nicely sorted 2.5" and 3.5" scrap drawers for additional prints and background selections. 
Poorly lighted shot of the quilted sandwich. I changed the kit layout to add a plain row to the right of the tailfeathers. 
This fat quarter for the backing also came from Helen's Hen House.  I used a couple of leftover triangle-squares for corner hangers and will bind this with a Jo Morton print.  I had a really fun time putting this together and plan to get the binding on tout suite.  

Thanksgiving is rushing up fast and there's a lot to do in the next few days, as we will host as usual and I've just learned of three more guests coming, making our total 22.  I've taken Wednesday off but this dear little grandson will be spending it with me, as his daycare is closed that day: 

Silly face, Cove, waiting for more snacks, please, at his last visit. He's getting close to 9 months old and already trying to stand alone for a few seconds, I hear.  Four teeth now, and as active as can be.  I doubt much holiday prep will happen Wednesday, but can't wait to have a Mimi day again!

See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.