Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Is It Over Yet?

All the gifts are unwrapped, the wrapping paper is tossed out and we're getting back to normal. So, now I can show you some of the my secret sewing for Christmas that was occuring!

Above is some kitchen towels that I did for DD. I found this Debbie Mumm striped fabric with owls that was Perfect for DD - she LOVES owls! And, it was in her colors as well. So, I figured it couldn't miss. Quick and easy, and I like how they came out. I may be making some for me, in my colors, of course! (please, no owls and no orange!)

My main sewing was making pillowcases for lots of people. I love finding fabrics to suit each person. I also get the bonus of a little leftover fabric to spark up my scraps.

These two were for DS (on the left) - he's "into" planes (15 years in the Air Force!). Those are the dials that are on the plane dashboard. Although, now he tells me they're all screens! Instant antique?? And on the right was for my FIL, the hunter.

These were for DIL, on the left. Hopefully it matches their bedroom! And friend K on the right. Celtic knotwork and in her colors!

These both were for DGD A. The one on the right, with the penguins, is for her small travel pillow. She picked this fabric out of my stash.

And these were for DGD L. She picked out the kitties-in-the-teacups fabric from my stash. She unfolded it and put it on the floor, then she layed on it to see if it "worked". Kids are so funny!
Our weather has warmed up to the high 30's/low 40's and gotten back to our "normal" grey and rainy. We still have ice on the lake, but I think it's getting pretty mushy now, although the ducks are still walking on it. We had the white Christmas, which was fun - our first in 30 years! But after a bit, the thrill was gone. Then it finally warmed up, started raining, and the snow disappeared in 2 days. It was quite a shock the other day to wake up and look out the window and see all GREEN!

I've gotten started, again, on this fabric journal I started last summer. It's been sitting on the cutting table, nagging me, but I didn't know quite what I wanted to do. Then other things took priority. I'm sure you know how that goes!

I'm doing each page in a color. This is not for anything in particular, it's a "just because" project. It's kind of an art quilt project - just to get my toes wet in that direction. I'm approaching it as each page is a design unto itself, kind of a mini art quilt. It looked like a small enough project to not be intimidating. Well, I got intimidated! Then I got stalled. Hopefully, I'm un-stalled now.

Anyway, I finally had some ideas on what to do with the "green" page that I was stuck on. It also happened to be the first (only) page I had started. So, I got that finished on Sunday.

Then I got an idea for the "yellow" page, and it's almost done now. Wow, it feels good to get going on this. Hopefully, I can keep up my momentum on the rest of the pages.
Everyone has been discussing what their resolutions will be for 2009 on their blogs. Using up their stash, finishing old UFO's, and so on. I've been thinking about this too. For the last few years, my standard resolution has been "finish up some of my many UFO's". Well, that's been OK. I've gotten some done and some partially done, as in "not quilted". I'm thinking that perhaps I need to be more specific with myself. Take a look at what UFO's I have and actually decide which ones I should finish this year. I think it might help me to focus better. I know I'm not too good at the focusing part. I tend to pick which project to work on next based strictly on if I feel like doing it or not. Mostly, I guess, it's NOT, to be honest.
So, in the next week or so, I'll be going through my old projects and making some decisions. I think I should post them on my sidebar, to really kick myself in the pants and be accountable. I hate that, you know. But maybe it will help. I want my quilting to be fun and kind of off-the-cuff, but that kind of thinking has only led to waaayyyy too many unfinished projects!

Shade is telling me that it's time to get back in the quilt studio and Get Busy! He is sooo right!
I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year's and that 2009 will be healthy, happy and Quilt-y!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to All!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas. . . . and that Santa is good to you!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Arrives!

Happy Winter Solstice! We have had this scene in our front yard for the entire week....it has snowed every single day here. That's very unusual for here. Usually this precipitation would be rain. And none of the snow has melted, either.

I walked around the house taking pictures on Thursday, after we managed to get to the grocery store. This is my little ceramic bunny in the snow on Thursday. He doesn't look very happy, does he?

This is what he looked like this morning! He's really not happy! I didn't go outside to take his picture, just shot out the window. It's too cold to go tromping around today!
Monday Update: Bunny is now completely covered in snow. There's a little dome where his head used to be. I'm sure he's frowning under there. LOL!
But, I have managed to finish my Christmas shopping. We got to the store on Saturday morning, along with most of the residents of the surrounding area, and got home in the nick of time! It started snowing again while we ate our lunch. And it snowed and snowed and snowed! Then we had quite a windstorm last night and another 4 or 5 inches of snow. We have around 8 to 10 inches on the ground now, because some of it blew off to another county. It warmed up to 32 degrees for about an hour today and we got a little rain, then the temperature dropped again and we now have a nice crunchy crust on our snow.
I'm having flashbacks to those winters in Michigan when I was growing up!
The kids here have gotten to start their holiday vacations a couple of days early. Some people are getting out - those with snow tires and/or 4-wheel drive. Because we live out in the boonies and the roads in our neighborhood don't get plowed or salted. The main road (highway) stays pretty clear, but we've got to drive 2 miles to get to it. And we don't have snow tires or chains, having previously lived in sunny California. So, it's an adventure to get out! We have to drive to the airport tomorrow because my FIL is coming for the holidays. I'm hoping it will be an uneventful trip there and back.

But we've been busy around here while watching the snow coming down. All the presents are bought, some are even wrapped. All the sewing is completed. (Of course, I can't show anything here because it will give away the secret. Maybe later, OK?) All the cards have been sent, the packages have been mailed and all the cookies have been baked. We decorated the sugar cookies this evening while watching a movie and trying to stay warm. All I have left to do now is to do some (not too much) housecleaning and to make a few plates of cookies to take to the neighbors. Whew!
This is so different for me! I'm usually working my fingers to the quick right up until the last minute. This is nice. And we're not sick either! *Knock on wood* I could get used to this!
I wish everyone a warm and very happy Holiday, whatever you celebrate!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

Once upon a time, there was a quilt shop called "Going To Pieces", and it was situated in Pleasanton, California. It was my favorite quilt shop of all time, at least so far. They did a wonderful window display in their large front window. One year, not too long after I moved to that area, I saw this little quilt in their Christmas quilts display. It just really appealed to me. I spent quite some time standing in front of the window, trying to figure out how this quilt was put together and memorizing as much of it as I could. Then I went home and made this quilt. Now, I'm sure my version isn't quite as good as theirs was, but it was the best I could do at that time with my skill level. And, you know, I'm still happy with this little quilt. It measures 20.5 inches wide and 15.5 inches high. I still like it's graphic appeal.

The cardinals quilt in my last post isn't the only cardinal piece I made for my mom. I also made this tablerunner for her, a few years after the quilt. It was a pattern by Atkinson Designs, and very easy to do. This runner also lives at my house now.

And, of course, at every photo op, Shade has to "test" whatever quilt-y thing I'm photographing. This time we managed to do it without Dunkel. Shh, don't tell him he missed it!

Snow day! This is the view we were greeted with this morning. The snow started last night and was sticking before we went to bed. We got about 3 inches or so of the white stuff. The wind howled all night and most of today too. It's still blowing like crazy out there. We're currently at 24 degrees, but with the wind chill it feels like 11 degrees, according to The Weather channel. Our high today was a whopping 28 degrees, which lasted all of about an hour. So nothing melted today. It's supposed to get down to 17 degrees tonight. Wow, that's pretty cold for us. I know that's wimpy for some folks that live where it does this all the time, but we're not used to it. We were going to go to Seattle to see all the Christmas-y sights in City Center (where the Space Needle is) tomorrow, but decided that perhaps it would be best to delay that for a few days. It's still supposed to be sub-freezing temps. Yes, we're wimps. As long as we don't lose power, we're good for a few days here. I have my fingers crossed! If the power holds, I may do some Christmas baking. Uummm, that sounds good!
I've been sewing away on some Christmas presents but I can't show anything on my blog, yet. Still have lots more sewing to do, and only a little shopping left. I've been enjoying seeing everyone's decorations and preparations on their blogs. It helps put me in the Christmas spirit. I hope everyone else is having a good time getting ready for the big day!

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Cardinal Quilt

My mom loved cardinals. They were her favorite birds. As Mom got older and we kids left home, she stopped decorating for Christmas. (I didn't understand how she could do that back then, but I sure do now!) So, when I found this fabric with cardinals on it, I decided to make this wallhanging for her. That way she could enjoy her cardinals AND do at least one easy decoration for Christmas. This is about 30 inches square. This quilt lives at my home now, so now I get to enjoy it. And it reminds me of my mom, which makes me happy.

I don't remember doing this machine quilting with metallic thread. I'm surprised to see it looks as good as it does! I didn't have a very good sewing machine at that time and it hated metallic thread! The pin dots on the green fabric are metallic too. It's from the glitzy 90's - I made this in 1994. I know this because I actually put a label on the back of the quilt. Woo hoo! (more on that thought later)

Last week we had some pretty cold weather for here, and lots of local fog. One day we were really foggy. Then, about 2 or 3 in the afternoon, the sun actually came out! DH took this picture in our back yard. We thought it was really pretty to see the sunbeams through the fog. That grey area on the right hand side of the picture is fog on the lake. By the time he got out there with the camera, the fog was dissipating pretty quickly.

I have some more links to share:

First, remember that I told you to remember about quilt labels? Well, Carrie from Miss Rosie's Quilt Company, has some wonderful suggestions AND instructions for quilt labels on her blog La Vie En Rosie. She tells us what she uses to write the label with, how she incorporates the label into the backing of the quilt and even that she puts quotes she's collected onto her quilts. It's very informative and some really great ideas! I'm inspired to actually do some more quilt labels. Because, truthfully, I've gotten lazy about putting labels on quilts and wallhangings. I think it's important, but I'm just lazy about it. And I think a lot of quilters are that way too. I know I wish my grandmothers had labeled the quilts that I now own. It would make the quilts even more special to me.

Kim at Kim's Big Quilting Adventure blog has a post that's an easy Christmas Santa applique tutorial. It's very cute, and pretty darn easy.

There's been a wonderful ad on TV (I know, that sounds impossible, doesn't it?). I love this ad. It's the best I've seen in a long while. It's very heartwarming and always makes me teary. I love the little penguin. Believe it or not, it's for the Washington lottery. Although I'm pretty sure it was filmed in California - it looks just like the Mission Peak area. Anyway, it's called "Every Bird Should Get To Fly". Take a look and see if it makes you teary too! (maybe I'm just wierd)

My DD sent me to this fun little game. As a quilter, I pride myself on my being able to "eyeball" measurements, etc. Well, this one will test you! It's called the "eyeballing game". You have to "eyeball" parallelograms, right angles, midlines, and other geometric shapes and things (but no 1/4 inch test!). At the bottom of the screen on the left-hand side, is a link to Help/About that will help you understand how the game works. You go through the measuring things 3 times to get a score. My first score was bad, because it took me a couple of times to figure out what you're supposed to do. I'm finding that I'm consistently good at some of them, like the convergence point and the circle center, and consistently bad at others, like the parallelogram. It's fun to see how you do, as the game gives you a comparison to what you thought it should be and what it really is.
And last, here's another fun "find out about yourself" personality test. But this one has a twist! It's all visual! It's called Visual DNA. I don't know about most quilters, but I'm a very visual person. So this was fun. The email I got about it said this:

This is not scientific but fun. At the end where they give you the results, you have to click on the tabs of the notebook and it'll open into a new page. Interesting . . .This is different...try it !When you click on the link, a series of about 14-15 pictures will come up. Click on a photo in that category that appeals to you. Again, 14-15 different pictures will come up, click the one for you and move on. Just continue to keep picking. At the end it will give you a profile of yourself.... It's called a visual DNA.... Your choices dictate your profile.
Some catagories, I didn't really like any of the pictures, so I don't know how that skews it. I didn't learn anything new about myself, but I still like taking these "tests". My test told me that I'm a "hands on" artist. That's it in a nutshell.
Have some fun with these. They're a good break from shopping, gift wrapping, cookie baking and all that other fun Christmas stuff!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Another Little Fabric Book

Do you remember that I started a "secret project" for my sister, way back in July? I started a fabric book, inspired by Gwen Marston and her little fabric books, and then didn't like it for my sister. You can see how this started here and here. So, I made her another one that I showed here. Well, I have finished the original fabric book that I first started and have given it away. So, now it can be revealed! The above picture is the front of the book.
I'm going to babble on while I show you the rest of the pages.
I made a vest for my oldest granddaughter, which I completely forgot to take a photo of! (Duh!) It was a printed panel, and was a vest for school - you know, 'A B C' and '1 2 3' and that sort of thing. She's been patiently waiting for it since I showed it to her last summer. (Note to self: do not show children something you're going to give them until you're ready to give it to them!) She started kindergarten this fall, so I figured it was just right for her at this age. Any older and they won't wear that kind of thing. I think.

Well, you know how it is with little kids. You can't give something to one without having something for the other one. So, I decided that this little fabric book would be just the thing to give to the younger granddaughter.

I think she was a little disappointed that it wasn't something to wear, like her sister's, but she loves kitties, so I think she'll be OK with this.

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. We had a great time over at DS's house with almost all of the family; DD and her hubby couldn't make it up here from Nevada, and we missed them! But my sister and her "sweet baboo" joined us for the day. It was the 1st time we've had Turkey Day with her for about 15 years.
The next day, "Black Friday", we met my sister and her sweetie in Seattle - we went to dinner and then saw a play. That was also a lot of fun! I NEVER EVER go out shopping on that day - or even that whole weekend. There's nothing in this world that I need badly enough to go out that day!
I'm finally feeling better. Got rid of the sinus infection (Yay, antibiotics!) and the accompanying headache. Now, maybe I can get back to sewing jars for the witch's pantry, and also all those secret projects for Christmas! (I can't believe it's December already - where did the year go??) My quilt studio is calling me to come visit it and play for awhile. Now if I could just find someone to wash the dishes and go to the grocery store for me. If I ever win the lottery, that's what I'm gonna spend the money on!