Thursday, December 30, 2010

Lists and Goals for 2011

Wow, I can't believe we are rolling into 2011 this weekend. Where did the time go? It's also the time of year that I make a few lists. I try to break down my projects into catagories because they are in such different stages.  There are several terms out there for quilters, my favorite being WIPS. Works in Progress.  I honestly don't have any projects that I've mentally abandoned, although there are some that did not get touched this year.  These projects still remain on my list.  There was a purging day or two in my studio and that got rid of UFO's.  Life is too short and too busy to stress over something that I have no interest in finishing. Quilts are like books, there are no rules that say you have to finish a bad  uninteresting project.
  • Hand Quilting - 5
  • Hand Applique - 2
  • Kits - 4 *I've not started any of these
  • Hand piecing - 2
  • Tops in the Piecing process - 14
  • Tops to be Machine Quilted - 9
I've got each section with specific projects.  I'm in the process of cutting for a top. I included that, and I have my 25 block BOM Beyond the Cherry Tree included in this list.  It will not be done in 2011, but I'll stay focused on this.  Some of these can be finished  moved to a different list simply by putting the blocks together,  one project is all hand quilted, I just  need to make the pieces into pillows!  Given that I have some things that I haven't sewn a stitch on, and some that are oh so close to being a finished top, I know that I'll make some headway with things this year.
So what's on your list?  Do you regroup at this time of year? Notice I made no resolutions or specific commitments to finish.  I have enough projects on the go that I can pick and choose and bounce around and still make progress.
Thanks for all the comments, it lets me know that you are stopping in and visiting my little corner of blogland and I'm very appreciative.

Happy New Year to all!


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

You Just Need to Ask

I hope everyone has been staying warm and safe this holiday season. Here in the Pacific NW, we had a typical wet and green Christmas. I love the snow, though. Maybe because I have a Subaru with studded tires, or maybe because it just looks magical.
As I was visiting a few blogs, I popped over to Victoria's to catch up on things. I knew she lived in NYC, experiencing the terrible storms. I asked her to send some snow my way. This is what I woke up to today.

 Pure beauty.  There was just enough snow to dust the trees and make everything all clean and bright, but not so much that we couldn't get around.  And typical for our area, it was all melted away by noon and the sun came out for a minute.
 The only down side to the snow was that my landscapers have been busy in my back yard.  Since it's dark when I get home from work, I had to wait until the morning to see what they had done. Hmmm, everything was covered with snow, so the only thing I know for sure is that my garden boxes are nice and full of dirt, ready for planting this spring. I'll have to wait until tomorrow to see the transformation of my garden.

I don't have much to show with my quilting projects as I'm working away on block 6 of Beyond the Cherry Tree.  Everything is prepped and I'm still quite a few stitches away from having this block finished. I'm also making lists. Projects that need to get finished, projects that need to get quilted, projects that are 1/2 quilted....well, you all know what I'm talking about!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas to All

I'm sharing two of my favorite Christmas pieces that I've done.
Wishing everyone a wonderful Christmas season.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dear Postman

I know you are busy this year, but really? Did my package have to arrive looking like it got run over by a reindeer? Seriously, there was precious cargo in that envelope.
This is the second envelope I've recieved like this, and one I mailed out was also recieved at the other end looking like this. Hmmmm
Do I need to leave some cookies and eggnog in my mailbox?
Good thing zip lock bags were used to protect these.

Yes, my swap has been completed.  I sent off 9 sets of 6 and recieved 54 blocks with only one pair. Wow. I couldn't see one fabric duplicated and most of these prints are brand new to me.  This is an amazing swap group!
This package arrived with nary a scuff, thank goodness.  It contained my Christmas present to myself.
In closing, Annie and I want to wish all my blog readers a very Merry Christmas.  Thanks for stopping by and leaving comments, it's appreciated.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Friend's Quilt

I was so excited to see this that I have to share it with everyone.
I know, some of you are groaning, "it's just a panel", but I need to explain. This was made by DebS and I taught her to piece last year. She is so creative with her ideas and this one is no exception. This was also her first time doing fusible applique and her only lesson was over the phone!
A big whoohoo to Debs, this is fabulous. And yes, she machine quilted it herself too!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It's a Busy Time

Wow, am I behind on blogging. I've been busy with the Christmas season soon upon us. I love to bake so that has taken a few days and evenings. This is what I took to Sunday dinner at my sisters place.
I had a last minute quilt for Debbie so now it's back at her place for binding. There has been a scrappy Christmas quilt in the works for years, I started it by hand, blah, blah. Knowing I had no more customer quilts, I promised myself I would quilt this one. Being scrappy, and not made of the best materials, I did not want to invest a lot of time into the quilting and since it's Christmas, ribbons seemed like a great idea.
This top is 48 x 60, the perfect size to use up a scrap of wool batting that was in my bin. I used a variegated red/green/cream thread and I'm thrilled with the results. Having the binding all ready to go made it easy to stay motivated on this. I came home from work last night, fed the 4 legged kids and headed down to my studio. I didn't come up until the binding was on! Now to relax with the binding and then wash and enjoy.

Here is my "tree" this year. It's huge.  The local hockey team was selling them as their fund raiser, so this was delivered last weekend. It's gorgeous.

I'm staying on track with my applique blocks from Beyond the Cherry Tree.
 Block 5 is alive and I'm going to start prepping #6.

Christmas is also a reminder for all my check ups. Everything is done and A ok. So if you haven't had your mammogram, put it on your list;  it could be the best gift you give yourself!

Friday, December 10, 2010

'Tis the Season

There's been a little bit of sewing going on around here. The fun part of this gift was that I did the stitching last year and all the half squares were bonus blocks from a scrappy red and cream project. A little stitch in the ditch on the machine, a few lines of hand quilting and, voila, a lovely gift.
Along with stitching, I love to bake and this time of year keeps me busy. I remember throwing out my pastry cutter last year so it was on my shopping list on the weekend. Hmmm, how many stores do you think I had to go to in order to purchase this? The Kitchen store in the mall was sold out, after the staff sent me to two different sections to look for it. Then I wandered through the mall to Target. Nope, sold out there. You have to love the staff at this time of year. When I told her I already looked where she pointed me, she then pretty much said, "what do you expect at this time of year, this is when people buy this item". I replied, well, you would think the buyers would BUY that item for this time of year. Then I made my way back through the mall to my car, and stopped at my third and final option. Talk about taking a lot of time and effort to buy a simple kitchen item.
I was very happy when I could finally purchase this, and I went home and broke it in on a batch of shortbread cookies. Yum!
I've got a gal pal arriving tonight, so stay tuned for some photos of wonderful Christmas baking in the next few days.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sharing the Love.....a Day Late

I'm so excited for Tonya from Lazy Gal Quilting. Her new, and first book released yesterday, Dec 7th.
Although it has been released, it's not in stores until later in December.  But you can buy it from Amazon on their pre order directly from Tonya's website, like I just did.
I've used her letter technique for the first time on my Liberated Amish Quilt challenge.  I have to admit, I put off making any letters for a few months, I was intimidated by all the wonderful words I was seeing all over blogland.  Then the deadline was actually on the current calendar page and I had to jump in. After making only a few letters, I have to admit, I was addicted. They are so fun and it's easy.  You can't go wrong.  It it's too long, cut it off.  If it's too short, just add another strip!
Here is my second effort at the free form letters. This is what makes this quilt so amazing.

Join in the fun. Once you get started, you will want to add words to all your projects!
I've been following Tonya's blog for a few years now, and I'm so excited for her. She motivated me to make letters, I hope you make some letters too.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Where the Addiction Started

I'm looking back at s few quilts that I don't think I've shared on this blog before. The two appliqued ones hang in my house and the Weaver Fever gets brought out every fall for the burst of color it provides.
This quilt is very special to me for a variety of reasons. 2003 was my first venture into applique of any kind and the teacher was excellent. Shelley has a passion for applique and threads and she certainly passed that along to her students. You never know what you will get out of a class. Not only did I get a passion for applique, I got an amazing friend. Muriel also took this class and she later called and invited me on a shop hop and we've been hopping and shopping ever since. Lastly, I hand quilted this piece. In the summer of 2004, my dad was having surgery for colon cancer and my sister and I drove up to stay with Mom and just hang out for the week. I worked on this most times I was at the hospital, and with it's bright colors it added some cheer to the drab hospital room. Dad recovered 100% and is still going strong, and I look at this quilt every day.
This next little quilt was adorable and I just love how it turned out. Nothing special about this one, except I machine appliqued it and then hand quilted it. This isn't my style of patterns, but I love this one. It hangs in my bathroom so I see it every day!
Blogger is acting up and won't let me bring in any more pictures, so this is it!
A very short trip down memory lane.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mission Accomplished

I promised myself I'd finish this top before I went to bed tonight. I got it done Saturday a.m. I started this from a box of fabric that was given to me when I first started quilting. I didn't know there was "good" quilting fabric, I just thought what I was given was what was out there. Plus you can see I did not have any understanding of value. And I didn't value my time. I say that because most of these blocks were hand pieced. Yes, when I pulled it out earlier this year, I finished the blocks by machine.
I'm not loving the black sashing, I tried some funky black and white prints and I really liked them. I backed off because I just wanted this finished and I really didn't want to invest much more time and effort into this. Plus I had lots of scraps of black that I was able to use up, so it fits the quilt. Now I will quilt an allover pattern on this, bind it in black, wash it and put it out at Christmas.

Santa came early, look at the book that arrived in my mailbox. Yes, I bought it for myself, so much for the book diet I'm supposed to be on.
Simply amazing quilts in this book.
An original crumb/scrap quilter, wow!
My dog. She has followed me everywhere this weekend. I love her so much!
And a little holiday spirit. I got my front porch done, with the exception of some red ribbons for the greenery.
The holly this year is outstanding, tons of berries on it.

And yes, I got a new ironing board cover.

Dear Santa

I've been good, honest!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

"Tis the Season......

....No, wait! It's Thanksgiving, not Christmas. I couldn't tell by looking out my front door.
Oh, I'm sure there will be lots of snow pictures being posted this weekend. This is what my pumpkins now look like. I was so proud to have grown these and had hoped they would last until this weekend. It has been a success, the snow is preserving them for a few more days.

My back yard has a bit of an issue. The winds were so strong last weekend that my fence fell over. I'm thankful it went into my neighbors yard, now there is a bit of an incentive to fix the fence. I seem to remember a conversation I had with them about the fence in the summer......hmmmm.

My g.f. Muriel (no blog) loves to make matching items to go with her quilts. This sure looks inviting after seeing my chairs.

I'm thankful that I have a gas fireplace so if the power goes out, I'll stay warm. I'm thankful that I have water this weekend, unlike Monday morning.
I'm thankful that I have a Subaru so I can make it to Thanksgiving dinner.
And I'm thankful for the friends, family, fabric and health that I have in my life.
Enjoy the season.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Change isn't Alway a Good Thing

There were a few emails asking for my shortbread cookie recipe so I'm sharing it here today. I know I said it came on the cornstarch box. We never had this recipe written down because it was always on the box. Then they changed the box. I called several people and had them check their cupboards for an old box. What relief when Joann had one in her kitchen. Then I wrote down the recipe. They don't even put cornstarch in a box now. It's in a plastic tub. But that's another whole issue. Here is a recipe that you need to write down, or copy and paste.
1/2 C corn starch
1/2 C icing sugar (powdered)
1 C flour
3/4 C butter
Sift dry ingredients. Mix in softened butter with a pastry cutter. Continue mixing with a spoon and do the final mix with your hands.
Roll into 1" balls, flatten with a floured fork on ungreased pan. Bake 300 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes (edges slightly golden)
Makes 3 dozen cookies
Cool on a rack and enjoy! For a more festive display you can add a little piece of green or red candied cherry on top before baking or drizzle with chocolate after they cool.
Store in a sealed tin.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Christmas Baking and a Found Treasure

I spent Friday night baking with my g.f. that I've known since Grade 2. Ok, that was 1969 if you want to do the math ;-) She's a gardener extraordinaire while I'm the quilter. She told me she had a needle at one time, but she can't seem to find it! Can you tell she needed to be gifted a quilt with a statement like that? Yes, she certainly did need a quilt, and she has just started to re do her living room, taking it from formal to cozy country. This worked in perfectly.
We got a good jump on some holiday baking. Shortbread cookies. It's not Christmas if you don't have shortbread cookies made from the recipe on the cornstarch box.  Honestly, they are the absolute best cookie that will ever melt in your mouth.

I've never made Ginger Snaps for the holidays, but these were so yummy.  It took 2 pans for us to get the timing and size right. Do you think that had something to do with the cocktails?? Anyways, we got into a good rhythm with these goodies and they are so delicious.
And finally, while my g.f. was rolling out the Ginger Snap dough, I was making these on the other side of her kitchen.  Oh, the smell of short bread cakes baking in the oven; there is nothing like it.  This is a recipe my Grandmother made, my mom made, now my Dad makes it, and I haven't come across anyone who hasn't liked this wonderful, melt in your mouth, short bread.  I left both cakes at her house and she took one over to her Mom and Dad's.  When my g.f. finished doing the chores, she stopped back in and her dad had eaten 1/4 of it!  I warned her that it was goooood!
On the quilting homefront, I got the last of my 9 patches done for a swap. 9 sets of 6 will go in the mail tomorrow. Once this swap is finished, I'll have 4 very scrappy civil war quilts. I'm going to put swaps on pause for 2011. I need to finish the ones I started in 2010.

I will leave you with some pictures of a quilt my g.f. had out to show me. She started off by saying, "well, you won't think this is very nice, but..." Oh my gosh. I grabbed it up and started pouring over the fabrics. I explained to her how quilters LOVE to see things made from those who stitched before us. This is from the late 1960's, it was made by "Granny". She was born in 1899 and died in 1999. My g.f. remembers having this on her bed in 1969 when she moved. There are no poly pieces in this, but in the last one you can see how the orange has faded. The back is solid orange, but it's pieced. Fabric was probably still 36" wide.

What a treasure!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Some Piecing MoJo

It's true, a finished flimsy from my sewing room. I started this when I had other projects on the go and I'm so glad I kept at it. I do not need another WIP in my sewing room.
About this top: It's approx 60 x 70. It was made with 2 charm packs of Fandango and the solid is Bella Solids by Moda. The striped stop border and outer border are also from Fandango. I purchased the Charms from ETC in Hood River while I was away at a quilt show in Stevenson, WA and the borders from FatQuarterShop. They packaged my fabric in a zip bag and for that I'm thankful. The envelop was torn open when it arrived, but my fabric was in perfect condition. I love stripes for stop borders. I was going to bind this with the striped fabric on the bias, but using the stripe on the straight grain is much better.
This was a great design to showcase all the fabric in this collection. It's outside of my normal fabric choices, but it's a gift for a beautiful young lady. I thought it was fresh and modern, a bit trendy, just like her.
Now to get it on my quilt machine and feather it!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I've Been Working on This

I don't have much to post because right now I'm in the middle of several piecing projects and none are at the finish line.  There are also a few hand quilting projects on the go at my house, with one that is getting to the end, so I'm trying to pick that project up in the evenings when I can sit and stitch.  And finally, I'm working on this.

It's a BOM from Sentimental Stitches. She is now publishing block #14, but I'm just on block #4. This is my winter project and I'm trying to get 2 blocks per month done. If I can keep up that schedule, I can get caught up by July 2011. Seems like a long time, but the quilt has 25 blocks and an appliqued border.
I have a saying on my office wall, Success is not always about achievement. Sometimes it's about endurance. This project is going to take endurance.
Pop over to Beyond The Cherry Tree blog to see what others are doing with this quilt pattern.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Take a few minutes today......

In Flanders Fields
by John McCrae, May 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields

Saturday, November 6, 2010

New To Me Sewing Table

I've wanted a Koala sewing cabinet for quite some time. I've gone and looked at different brands of these and just couldn't bring myself to spend that much money on a table for my sewing machine. It just seemed a bit indulgent, especially now that I have a house and have been spending money on landscaping and my yard. When I got an email saying there was a table for sale on Craigs list, $175. I looked at it and called right away. Here is my new to me table.
I have the leaf leaning against the wall, but I have room to put it all the way down if I was to need the extra space behind my machine.
It couldn't be more perfect. The previous owner upgraded to a beautiful new cabinet. She had the same brand machine so the insert fits perfectly and I didn't have to make any adjustments at all with the height of the machine bed. Thank goodness for the guys at work. Two strong young men and a pick up truck. All they cost me was a batch of homemade cookies!
I got this all set up on Thursday evening and was itching to stitch. I took advantage of the rainy day today and did some piecing. What a difference it makes having a proper set up. It's so much more enjoyable, and I think more productive. This project is from 2 charm packs and a couple of yards of Moda Bella. It's all 1/2 sq tri's so there's lots of trimming.

And here is the final design. I need to purchase the border fabrics. The dark stripe for a stop border and the big print with the dark chocolate background for the outer border and binding.
This is so out of my norm for colors and prints, but I think it's going to be perfect for the person I have in mind.
We get an extra hour tomorrow, grab a coffee or tea and stitch!