Wednesday, December 31, 2008

"A Ribbon at a time"

My post title today comes from Emily Dickinson (No. 318)--it's a line describing the sun rising; however, I've had the line going through my mind as I've been organizing for the new year. I started to feel overwhelmed just by the amount of projects on my lists, so I have to keep reminding myself to take things "a ribbon at a time."
My photo today is of my only true "winter" quilt--I have lots of Christmas quilts, but not many to put up when I put them all away (note to self: make more winter quilts)! This quilt is called "snowbuddies," and since we rarely get snow here these little guys are usually the only snow people around! I don't have many Valentine's quilts, either, so I've also added a few of those to my "to do" list.

Getting back to organizing...I'm just do you organize your ideas for projects you'd like to work you have an inspiration board? An inspiration notebook? Do you save quilt magazines or just save the patterns from them that you'd like to make someday?

Hope you have a wonderful New Year's Eve!
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Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Presents

We had an enjoyable Christmas at home with our children--it was great to be able to spend time together and just enjoy the season. We enjoyed the family and friends we were able to visit with and missed those loved ones who we weren't able to see this year.
Here is a beautiful framed piece I received from my friend Dawn. I absolutely love it! How did she know that I've really been wanting to make quilts with hexagons? The stitchery is lovely and perfectly complements the block! Thanks, Dawn!

And here are a few more of my "quilty" goodies...the angel on the left is a lovely gift from Valerie who was my SSCS partner. She is gorgeous and came with such a lovely stand as well! The quilt book and the "May your bobbin always be full" sign came from my friend Gail (no blog), and the gorgeous needle case and wooden spool ornament are also gifts from Dawn. I also received a beautiful iron quilt rack that I've already hung on the wall in the front entryway...first on my list is to make a new quilt for it!

I love the days after Christmas as well...I didn't venture out to shop, but instead I'm busy getting organized for the new year, putting things away, and getting ready for lots of new projects that I can't wait to share!
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Monday, December 22, 2008

And Visions of Quilts Danced through Her Head

Things in the "gift shop" are winding down--once two more bindings are stitched down I'll be done with what I have to finish...although there are a couple of small things I might also do! Here are some things I got done last week...I'm pretty sure all of the recipients are non-blog readers...except for older daughter who has been warned not to look at my blog until after Christmas (the pink set with bag, notepad holder and glam bag are for her).
I've made and delivered a few more pennie pockets as well...they are so cute when filled with yummy treats like candy canes and See's chocolate balls!
I've had a lot of fun making all of these gifts, but I have to say I'm really ready to make quilts again. In fact, I just can't wait to start some new projects...and now that everything is nearly completed on the Christmas list...I have a new list! I want to wish all of my blogging friends a Merry Christmas and hope you have the happiest of times with your family and friends this week!

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snow Day!

Things have been crazy a little hectic around here. Yesterday my daughter and I decided to make sugar cookies; we make them every year, but we decided this year we should make a double batch. I have no idea what made us think we needed to make 12 dozen sugar cookies (but if I keep eating them the way I am, they might not make it to Christmas)! Four hours later, (and with some of them put in the freezer to decorate later) we were finally done. I've also been working on gifts, most of which I can't post pictures I wondered what picture to post today. I finally decided to share the light display my wonderful next-door neighbors put up each year--it is truly spectacular. Thankfully, my house doesn't show in the picture because our lights are meager, at best (I've been meaning to put up more, but we've had rain nearly every day this week--and I'm never going to complain about the rain)!

And, to top this off, my younger children are home today for a SNOW day?! (I'm sympathizing today with the bloggers back east who have this happen routinely). How am I supposed to work on presents/wrap/clean/write Christmas cards with everybody home? Parts of Las Vegas got 8 inches of snow yesterday, causing all southern Nevada schools to close today. We spent a lot of time looking at the news last evening to see the winter wonderland pictures people from all over the county were sending in!

Not your typical vision of Las Vegas is this? Well, hopefully I can get SOMETHING done today! Happy one week before Christmas everyone!
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Monday, December 15, 2008

This Weekend

This weekend I got to go on a little get-away with my husband. He had a meeting early Saturday morning in St. George, so we drove up Friday night and had a nice dinner with Cold Stone after! Saturday morning we had a little Christmas shopping to do... and of course I had to look for fabric on sale! First I found some Moda "Swell" on 50% off, so I got a few 1/2 yards to add to my stash. Next I found a treasure trove of fabric at Ben Franklin. I don't ususually shop there for fabric, but was really happy to find that all of their Christmas was 40% off! They had lots of Moda and Michael Miller, so I started making a pile. I got mostly 1/4 and 1/2 yard pieces since I'm sure everything will go 75% later (but just in case, I had to get some now)! I did get bigger pieces of some Christmas whites and the Michael Miller dot that I'm planning on using for my cottage sashing.
I was able to get some gifts finished up this weekend as well. I decided to make pillows out of some of my little Christmas stitcheries. When I started these I wasn't exactly sure who I was going to give them to, but as I worked on them this weekend I decided on their recipients.
And, I played a little with my sewing machine. I've had this machine nearly 12 years and never tried the quilting bar. It works great!

Hoping to get a few more gifts done today. I thought I would be done by now, but I keep thinking of other things to make, or I think what I've made isn't enough and I need to make more--do you ever do that? Merry sewing to all!
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Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Perfect Zipper

First, this is my little drummer boy; I painted him about six years ago. I think he is one of my favorite little Christmas decorations because when I was young "The Little Drummer Boy" was my favorite Christmas song. Some years ago I did some tole painting and made quite a few holiday decorations. Looking back, I think of all the quilts I could have made during that time...but I also learned a lot about color and design from the experience that has helped me in fabric selection for my quilts.
I've been working on a little gift set for a friend who has a birthday this weekend (she doesn't read my blog). I made her a little notepad keeper, and a "Clutter Bug" bag from patterns by "This and That." Last night I also decided to add a "Little Glam Bag" to the set (pattern by Pink Sand Beach Designs). I was almost giddy with delight at the way the "Little Glam Bag" went together. I've been sewing and putting zippers in for over 30 years (I started pretty young)--and this bag has what I consider the most perfect zipper! For those of you who haven't yet ventured into zippers...this is the pattern you should use first!
The "Little Glam Bag" is the bag in the lower portion of the photos. I took the bottom photo from above to try to show the difference in zippers. In the "Clutter Bug" bag the zipper went in fine, but I'm never happy with zipper bulk in the side seams or with the edge on the zipper pull side. The Glam bag pattern has you attach a fabric tab to both ends of the zipper before you sew it to the bag. It resulted in a perfect-looking top and no zipper bulk in the seams! In addition, the Glam bag is fully lined, which I love! I really like all of my other zipper bag patterns, but I'm going to try to adapt them all to use the Glam bag zipper installation method.

I'm hoping to finish all of my Christmas gifts by Saturday so that I can enjoy the Twelve Days of Christmas without deadlines. I just might get side-tracked though...there are little trees that Nanette shared that I really want to make, free stitcheries to stitch, and so many cute bird ornament patterns that are calling to me. Also, I can think of about ten "Little Glam Bags" I might just need to make--I had better go buy some more zippers! Happy sewing!
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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

It Was a Wonderful Mail Day!

It's always fun when there is a package slip in my mailbox...yesterday there were three! Of course, I couldn't even wait to get home to open them...had to open them right there in the car! The first one I opened was from Stephanie. Stephanie and I did a cottage exchange...and oh how I oohed and aahed when I saw her cottage. I love everything about it--the black roof, the polka-dotted cottage and dooor, the polka-dot chimney, the lacey curtains on the windows, the vintage cottage resident busy decorating in the windows, and the lovely little doorknob. Stephanie also sent one of her beautiful flannel pillowcases. Polka dots again!!! And the penguins are so adorable! Thank you Stephanie!

I also did a cottage exchange with Jane...and again, I was oohing and aahing! Her roof is the cutest green snowflake print, a polka-dotted door, pink and green windows...and the cutest "Ho Ho Ho" fabric for the cottage itself! Jane also sent me two charm packs of fun fabrics that I can't wait to use! Thanks, Jane! I can't wait to add the cottages from Stephanie and Jane to my neighborhood!

My third package was from Julia. I recently won a give-away from Julia and was thrilled to open the package and find extra surprises! First of all there were five homespun fat quarters, a gorgeous pumpkin girl stitchery--traced and ready for me to sew with even the coordinating floss included! Julia also sent along two yo-yo makers, in two different sizes as well as some yummy chocolate (which she told me I didn't have to share)! Thank you, Julia!

Two more Christmas quilts to share today...both of them made and given to me by my friend Dawn (isn't it great to have quilting friends?)! The first is a table topper, and the second is a lovely table-runner.

Have a wonderful, wonderful day!
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Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Cheer

Some of the decorating is done...I've been doing just a little bit each day. This is one of our Nativity scenes. I love this one and have actually thought about leaving it out year-round!
And...our stockings have been hung on the bookshelves with care! Yes, it's true that we don't have a fireplace, so the bookshelves have to make do! Our stockings were crocheted by my Grandmother. I've had mine since I was a little girl; when I got married she made one for my husband, and then made each child one for their first Christmas. We love our stockings, but they are rather big. Sometimes Santa has to be very creative so that it doesn't cost him a fortune to fill them!
Jacquie recently had a post about her trees (you should go over and look at them--they are a lot of fun). As I brought out the decorations this year I realized that I have more trees than I thought (but nowhere near as many as she has). These ceramic trees came from my mother-in-law when she scaled back her decorating a few years ago.

I also received these crystal trees from my mother-in-law. The Snow-Babies figurines were gifts one year from my husband's grandmother. Someday only the ice-skaters will be here--as my children will take all of the decorations and ornaments that are theirs when they have their own homes. We also have a fun collection of Santas and music boxes--again, gifts from my husband's grandmother...and again, many will leave one day!

Oh, and I have to send you over to Nanette's. Nanette's blog is one of my favorites, and she is having a grand celebration this week in honor of her one-year blogiversary! She has lots of prizes and tons of fun ideas to share!
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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Merry Christmas from my Christmas Cottage!

It's beginning to look like Christmas here...the decorating is going well...I'll be sharing some pictures this week! Have you navigated through Moda's website lately? It's a great place to go! I love looking at the upcoming fabrics ready for release as well as browsing the free patterns section! Recently I took some time to find out about their relatively new Fabricmatcher website. I have been wondering if the upcoming line "Patissiere" would coordinate with "Fig & Plum." "Fig & Plum" matches my bedroom set, and I've been thinking about making a quilt from it for my room...but I wanted even more fabrics to choose from. I saw "Patissiere," and wondered if it would work in the quilt as well, so I headed over to Moda to see if I could figure it out! I discovered by using the Fabricmatcher tool that the fabrics do coordinate, so now I'm anxiously awaiting the release of "Patissiere" to start making my quilt! While I was over at the Fabricmatcher site, I entered the November contest by designing a "Holiday Bliss" quilt. I had great fact, it was a lot of fun. The family patiently waited for me to design my quilt (because they wanted to use the computer)...and if it hadn't been Thanksgiving weekend when I discovered it...I might have designed a few more quilts while I was at it! Moda has a monthly contest as I'd really like to win sometime...and December's is easy. Simply download the fabricmatcher banner to your blog, link it to the site, post about Fabricmatcher, and then let Moda know that you've entered. Easy, and you could win a basket of Moda goodness! on the link on my side-bar and go see what the fun is all about!
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Friday, December 5, 2008

I Collect Fabric!

I must send a special thanks to Nanette who yesterday gave the inspiration for this post title. I have always collected books, spoons, china, family heirlooms, and even inspirational quotes. But not until yesterday did I realize that I collect fabric! Thanks, was just liberating! Today I'll share my last Christmas fabric purchases for the year (unless I finda a really, really good sale)! Anyone who knows me knows that I love Christmas fabric...and I just had to buy these Alexander Henry vintage Christmas prints.

I also had to have the Micael Miller dots and the Lecien green dot fabric! But really, no more Christmas fabric...I need to save up for "Sweet," "Aviary,"and "Snippets"--yummy Moda fabrics that will all be coming out next year!

And this is what I'll be doing for the next little bit...binding. Remember all those table runners I was making? Well, I've got to get the bindings on! The pile of two on the left are the finished ones; the pile on the right are my tasks for today. Tomorrow I have about five more to work on! Oh, and just in case you haven't seen this from Gail's a super cute Christmas stitchery you can do today!
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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

"Just Because"

Do you ever buy fabric "just because?" I used to do that a lot, then I went through a stage where I didn't buy anything unless it was for a certain project. Now, I've reverted to the "just because" stage. I picked up these lovely Michael Miller fabrics over the weekend. I didn't have anything in mind for them...they were just sooo lovely!

Recently, I also bought a yo-yo maker, just because I'd been wanting to try it. (I've been thinking about making a garland for the tree (for next year) out of yo-yo's). There was a fun, free pattern for "Pennie Pockets" from Monica at The Happy Zombie the other I got out the yo-yo maker!

I'll have to was almost as fun as covering buttons. I could easily cut a stack of little squares and take the yo-yo maker, fabric and a needle with me wherever I go. I might get a lot of yo-yo's made that way! I also made prairie points for the first time since they were required for the "pennie pocket!"
It's really a fun little can fill it with whatever goodies you'd like. Monica also tells you how to make it a different size...which I might try. A lot of miniature "pennie pockets" would make a great Christmas tree garland as well!
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Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving Weekend

All of our children were home for Thanksgiving for the first time since 2003--the six of us had a wonderful day with my in-laws, a sister-in-law, and two nieces also in attendance! After the dishes were done and put away I decided to start on some Christmas gifts for my older daughter's roommates. I have a great new pattern for making a quilted cover for a 5 x 8 notepad that I wanted to I made three! One I'm going to keep since it matches my "Cotton Blossoms" bag (it fits perfectly inside)!
The large pocket on the right side holds the cardboard back of the notepad, and there is also a smaller pocket on the left that will hold pens or other papers. This is really a nifty pattern. It is called "Just a Note"by Little Scraps from This & That patterns. I found it on-line at Fat Quarter Shop. Making these little notebooks also gave me a chance to make more covered buttons--I was having so much fun!
I also made some little bags from the same pattern company. This pattern is called "Sweet Stuff." These bags were really cute (and again...I got to cover more buttons)! I have a third little pattern that I didn't get to this weekend; I'll get at least one made up this week to share.

By Friday night I had made three notepad holders and three little bags--and along with some other little things I'd already made, my daughter had quite a selection to choose from. She ended up taking seven little gifts back to school. Although there was no Black Friday shopping for me this year, I did venture out on Saturday, making it to Joann's just in time to use their Saturday morning coupons! I bought zippers and more buttons to cover and also picked up some table-runners from the quilter, so now I have more binding to do this week! I've enjoyed making all of these small projects, but I'm really wanting to start some quilts! I've got a couple in mind that I just can't wait to start...but first I'd better get my Christmas decorating done!
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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you all have a wonderful day! We will have eleven for our Thanksgiving dinner!

Along with cooking and eating and cleaning, I'm going to try to find a few minutes to read some of my favorite quotes from William Bradford. I read a lot of his writings in college before I knew he was my direct ancestor (yes, William Bradford is my tenth great-grandfather)! Thanks to a lot of research by my great-Aunt, members of our family have been able to join the Society of Mayflower Descendants. (And thanks Mom, for doing all the paperwork and giving me my membership for my last birthday)!
Happy Thanksgiving!
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One Button

Yesterday I made my first fabric-covered button. I tried to show several members of the family; they were mildly impressed. I, on the other hand, was thrilled--I immediately wanted to keep covering more buttons with fun fabrics! Such a simple little process...but what great results! I'm definitely going to stock up on the parts and pieces to cover buttons of all sizes.
I know I shared this bag before, but now that it has a matching fabric-covered button it is really complete!
Today I thought I'd share my Thimbleberries "Hometown Christmas" quilt. It's a king-sized quilt, so it was a little difficult to photograph. We usually use this quilt from November to January, but it hasn't been cold enough yet to put it on the bed.
The present blocks were my favorites to make!
Of course, I alwo loved the star, the tree, the houses, and the cardinals!

I've also made one flannel Christmas quilt. This is just a cozy throw we keep in our family room during the holidays.

Well, that's all for now...I've got a table to set and lots of food to prepare!
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Monday, November 24, 2008

Little Bits of Time

First things first...the giveaway results! For my last giveaway I had my daughter choose a random number; this time I decided to use the "random number generator!" So....congratulations to....Jacquie of Tallgrass Prairie Studio! Jacquie, please e-mail me your snail-mail address, and I'll send the little Christmas goodies on their way, just in time for decorating! With preparation, one can accomplish a lot with little bits of time. My preferred way to sew is to be able to have hours and hours with no phone calls, housework, or interruptions; that's just not the way it usually goes, though! Especially during holidays and other busy times, I've had to learn to work with little bits of time. This weekend I was able to get some things accomplished because I had done much of the preparation work last week.
I machine quilted and bound (with scrappy binding) one of my Fig & Plum table runners. I also made three fabric baskets and two little "This and That" bags from some of my Fig & Plum scraps. Nine potholders are sewn together and ready to be machine quilted. So I accomplished a little.
Here is a runner I can finally share with was for my Mom for her birthday...and since she's such a big fan of black and white fabrics...I knew I couldn't post it until she'd received it! I was on the phone with her when she opened it, so that was fun!

Just a couple of Christmas decorations to share today. The first is a gorgeous Christmas pillow made for me by my Grandmother, probably about 15 years ago. The second is one of my earliest patchwork projects ever! It is a tree skirt I made for Christmas 1985; of course, I didn't use a rotary cutter, cutting everything out with scissors and a cardboard template. I clearly remember using the yarn ties to try to cover up the places where my corners didn't match!
One last accomplishment this Secret Santa Swap gifts are finished, wrapped, and will be on their way to Australia today! Oh, and I'm still looking for one more person to make a Pay it Forward gift for (see my sidebar for my little group). I won't be send out those PIF gifts until after the holidays...but I'd really love one more person to sign up! Happy sewing, everyone!
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Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Little Bit of This and That

First, I have to say "Thank You!" I have absolutely loved reading every comment and all of the lovely ideas you have shared with me for preserving my little vintage finds! I also need to send a giant "Thank You" along to Jodi at Simply This That and the Other for featuring me on her blog yesterday. I was honored to be chosen and truthfully feel unworthy of the recognition; however, I've found some great new blogs because of it! (Oh, and you just have to look at her darling Christmas cottages she posted today)! One more "Thank You" goes out to Kathy at The Humble Quilter for giving me the cool butterfly award this week!

I've been busy--and I know I'm just going to get busier...can you believe Thanksgiving is in a week and Christmas is five weeks from today?! I like to have projects ready to work on whenever I get a few minutes, so I do some of the steps assembly-line fashion to speed things up later. I have 10 more potholders ready to be sewn--the fronts and backs are cut, the handles are made, and the batting and Insul-Brite is cut as well. I've also got a couple of little bags and a few more baskets ready to sew--handles made and major pieces sewn together.
Finally, I'll just finish up with a little more Christmas--here are my Christmas placemats. I made a set of eight from a Debbie Mumm pattern. I like this pattern because they are big enough to hold the plates and silverware--and I love flying geese!
Last, but not least, three little Christmas pillows; I love to set these around the house. I've got a long list of additional ones I want to make as well!
Have a great day, and happy sewing!
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Little Vintage

Yesterday Stephanie posted about some wonderful wooden spools she was able to buy from an antique mall. I went looking for wooden spools of my own since I have some of my great-grandmother's sewing things and also my husband's grandmother's sewing box. In my husband's grandmother's sewing box (which I believe was her mother's as well) I first found this darling vintage package of needles--what a treasure! Underneath this there were many wooden spools, and all of them still have thread on them!

I found a few more wooden spools that belonged to my great-grandmother; she also had lots of buttons she had saved. I carefully rinsed the buttons and separated them into two jars--one for the colored buttons and one for the white and off-white ones. I love the white and off-white ones best!
I'm going to find a great jar to display the wooden spools in, but I'm wondering about how to display the vintage needle package...any ideas? I hate to just put it back in the box where it can't be appreciated!
And, since I'm feeling a little caught up now on my Christmas projects, I've decided to do a little give-away! I would love to send someone a Mary Englebreit "Isn't Christmas Jolly" fabric basket and two matching potholders! Just leave a comment before Saturday evening, and I'll announce the winner next Monday!
Happy sewing!
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