Wednesday, December 31, 2008

baby quilt top

The top is finished, now I just have to decide how to quilt it, and what color to use for the binding. I'm thinking a lovely coral color - the color of a perfect sunset. Decision making is not my best trait and suggestions are welcome. Thanks!

The casual approach to New Year's resolutions

I started making New Year's resolutions in 2001. I have a really casual approach which works well for me. I resolve to do whatever it is sometime in the year. That takes all the pressure off, but gives me kind of an open ended goal. That first year I started doing yoga at home from a book. An aquaintance told me I wouldn't be able to do it "the right way" at home and I should attend classes. Time and money both being factors, I stuck to my original plan, and still do yoga every morning for 20 minutes. It's hard to believe it's been eight years!

Some years my resolution is for self-improvement, other years for home-improvement. One year it was to replace the bathroom tile, another year to replace the kitchen carpet. Later rather than sooner is my usual agenda, like the year I finally took care of a skin problem (that turned out to be cancer) in November.

This year's was to do something about the garage. The roof had a hole created by a visiting racoon who used it as an entry to the garage attic. The door was so difficult to raise I mostly decided it wasn't worth the effort. Both problems had been taken care of by mid-summer, which is pretty prompt for us! I have to say that Larry is very supportive in helping me fulfill "my" resolutions, especially since they sometimes involve hiring someone to do something.

The other part of my casual approach is that I don't have to decide today what my resolution for the new year will be. I'm thinking - porch- it's a complete disaster. What is supposed to be a lovely sun porch is so full of things that we can hardly walk through it. I'm also thinking - quilt show- it would be quite an achievement to enter one. I'm also thinking - Etsy shop- how fun that would be with my little wall hangings.

I usually make more than one per year, and so far I've kept all but one in eight years. That one was about helping someone who didn't want help. So be it. Another learning experience.

Wishing you and yours a very happy and healthy New Year, with or without resolutions!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Tidying up

Yesterday I spent all afternoon tidying up. My sewing area hasn't been this neat since last summer. It was fun to refold some of my stash. I got ideas just by seeing the colors together.
We have two babies due at work in May.

So I got started on a quilt. This is the pattern Jodie ( showed us when she was making her husband's granny a 100th birthday present. It started as nine patch squares, then I followed her instructions and cut each one into fourths.

I just found out today that one of the babies is a girl, so the next one will be pink!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A gift for the cat.

Larry's mom is really good at choosing just the right presents. Look what she found for our cat - his own condominium! As you can see, he likes it a lot, and spends quite a bit of time there. It's light as a feather, easy to relocate, and stores flat if needed. Nice! She likes Thomas Kincaide artwork, so when I found this fabric, I was excited to make placemats for her. I used cotton batting, and quilted a diamond pattern. I found some coordinating green for napkins.
Now it's time to tidy up the house, write thank you notes, and think about New Year's resolutions. :>}
Wishing you all the best.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

My dad made this about 20 years ago. I love all the memories we have of him.
One of Larry's guitar students brought guitar cookies. Cute! I've never even seen a guitar shaped cookie cutter before.
Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

My favorite sweatshirt

It's too bad I only get to wear my favorite sweatshirt one short season each year. I bought it at a craft shop 15 years ago, and I just love it. Whoever made it did a very nice job. We went to Anna Maria of Aurora where Mom lives, for the Holiday Buffet. Just look at that chocolate fountain. Mmmmm. It was such fun to slide a juicy strawberry into the fountain, and remove it dripping with chocolate. Messy, but fun! Tasty, too.
Wishing you the joy that the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, brings to us all. (He'd want a chocolate fountain at His birthday party, wouldn't he?)

Mitten tutorial

Tonya ( shared her photos of the first snow they had in 20 years in South Louisiana. Her seven children played in it - their first snow! - until their hands got cold. This tutorial is for her and anyone else who would like to make a pair of mittens.

Draw around the person's hand for whom you are making the mittens. Leave lots of room for the fingers to move - it helps them stay warm!
You might try your first one out of a scrap - you'll be making adjustments for size and shape the first time you try it. When your pattern is perfected, cut two pieces of fabric and two of lining for each mitten. I used the same fleece for both, so cut four pieces for each mitten.

With right sides together, stitch around the edges, (I used a 3/8" seam allowance) leaving the wrist open. Clip curves. Turn the fabric piece right side out. Leave the lining piece inside out

Tuck the lining inside the mitten.

Stitch the two pieces together, using two rows of stitching 3/8" apart. This forms a casing for the elastic. See above photo.

Cut a piece of 1/4" elastic a little bigger than the recipient's wrist. Insert it into the casing, stitch ends together. This keeps the cold and snow from getting in.

Trim half an inch off the lining at the opening. Turn the fabric side over the lining and stitch the hem. You have a mitten! Now make the second one so someone you love can play in the snow with warm hands.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

More Christmas Fun

Look what came in yesterday's mail! The very talented Suzanne ( from Australia sent me a custom made card - it's soo beautiful; this photo doesn't nearly do it justice. AND she sent a photo of two charming kangaroos just hanging out waiting to have their picture taken. Thanks, Suzanne! Santa Claus came via fire engine on Sunday. The snow had melted, and it was pouring rain all day. Santa is such a good sport, he brought along an umbrella in the appropriate colors. I"ve mentioned before that we love our fire and rescue workers (they rescued Daniel!) so I ran out with some cookies just out of the oven.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Six Day Quilt

Several weeks ago I was thinking about making a guitar quilt for David. Then he drove for seven hours to pick up a set of drums he had purchased on ebay. After playing guitar every day of his life for ten years, he became a drummer. His guitars sat gathering dust while I searched for drum fabric. When you type "drum fabric" into google you get some really odd results. Things to make drums out of, or to muffle drums with. If you type "novelty fabric drums" you get Santa with a toy drum in his pack, or a marching band with a drum, or. . . lots of things that weren't what I was looking for. So I typed "novelty fabric music" and found the most beautiful guitar fabric. Of course I already had some guitar fabric that I wasn't going to use since David is a drummer. But then one day I came home and he was playing his guitar. So I bought the beautiful guitar fabric. I had to work fast, because it was 2 1/2 weeks before Christmas. I made the back first, attached the batting, then used my tried and true "quilt as you go" method. It's not heirloom quality, or show quality, but lots of love went into it, and I think he'll like it.

The colors didn't photograph very well. That light non-color is really lime green to match the lime green guitars.
Now I have some baking to do, and a few other Christmas secrets. Wishing a joyous Christmas season to you and yours.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

All decorated for Christmas!

It was much warmer yesterday, so Daniel helped me bring the decorations down from the attic. One of my friends said since we had left it this late, we might as well not do it at all. So silly! It's not late.My dad made this dollhouse many years ago. We like to set it up for Christmas.
I made this wreath for Larry before we got married. It's been around a long time!

Larry's mom needlepointed the Raggedy Andy pillow the year David was born.

We have a small tree - no room for a big one.

It's been fun getting ready for Christmas. Next time I will show you the project I'm working on, that I almost left too late. . . but I still have two weeks to finish it!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Way too cold!

Brrr. . . it is way too cold to go up in the attic today to bring down the Christmas decorations. I spent the time making some for other people instead. This one is for Larry's boss, Dave. They are a tree service, so I had to include some trees! We also always give him a BIG bag of peanut m&m's - his favorite.
I made the Raggedys about 34 years ago. They've held up well!

The cat has been a big help all day. Every thing I worked on was under his scrutiny.

The Christmas cactus is at its peak. Lovely!

I hope you have a joyous time preparing for Christmas.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

National mitten shortage

Have you ever tried to buy a pair of mittens for anyone over the age of ten? You can't - at least not in our local stores. Gloves you can find everywhere. Cold cold gloves that keep all the fingers separated, never allowing them to warm each other up. After a couple of false starts I made this pair for Larry. Of course I couldn't wait until Christmas to give them to him. It's cold now! Another little quilt ornament. These are fun!
I hope you all have a great week.

Christmas cactus update and a good book

This book has the best ideas! It is full of gorgeous patterns, and most of them would be beautiful for any time of year, with a change in color. This book and I will be spending a lot of time together in the next few weeks. :>} Our aloi plant spent the summer in the porch, and recently came in for the winter. It got big! It reminds me of a large green octapus.
The blossoms on the Christmas cactus are opening up. The flowers looks like pink birds getting ready for flight.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

We Gather Together

One of my favorite songs begins: "We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing. . ." It was so wonderful to get the whole family together for a happy occasion. The last time we were all together was for our dad's funeral.
We borrowed the lobby from the assisted living facility where our mom lives. Sara and Pete set up the tables while Judy and I assembled the food which we had prepared at home. Meanwhile Janet and Kari were in Mom's apartment, visiting with her.

Janet and Kari drove for 16 hours on Wednesday, coming all the way from Kansas. Sara and Gil and Mark and Ashley drove for 9 hours from Tennessee, and Nathan flew in from North Carolina.

We were glad Larry's parents were able to join us. They live only two miles from Mom's home.

For all this we give thanks, and wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving. (Even if you live somewhere where you don't celebrate this American holiday!)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Exactly One Million Things To Do

I have exactly one million things to do this weekend, so here I sit at the computer. :>} The snow makes quite a few things on my to-do list more difficult, but it is pretty. This photo was taken from our living room window. See the mailboxes down there that were surrounded by flowers in the spring and summer? Now they're surrounded by snow. Daniel kindly keeps our driveway shoveled all winter.
The buds on the Christmas cactus are filling out. Another few days and they'll open up. Nice!
Company is coming on Wednesday for Thanksgiving. This is the kind of company that sees behind the shower curtain and in the linen closet, since they'll be staying a few days. I have some serious cleaning to do! I did buy six new washcloths - perhaps they'll never see the old ratty ones. I have four days off this week - who-hoo!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

More Christmas sewing, and red shoes

My nephew, Nathan, is all grown up now with his Master's Degree in computer science. It seems like yesterday I was choosing picture books or toys for his Christmas present. This year I made him a wall hanging to hang on his very own wall - he is a homeowner!
It is reversible, so he can use this side after Christmas.

Land's End had these shoes on sale, so my mom and I both bought a pair. They are waterproof, and so perfect for the kind of weather we are having. . . the cold, wet kind. We wore them to the dentist today, and got some compliments on our red feet. She looked especially colorful as she also has a red coat and a red purse. Those are flannel lined jeans above my shoes, and I'd like you to know that my legs are not really that fat!