Sunday, December 30, 2012

What's a girl to do?

My son ran a few diagnostic tests on my home computer and all signs point to a problem with the hard drive.  NOT GOOD!  I have made arrangements with a local computer business to examine the problem more thoroughly, so this means I won't be writing any posts with pictures for awhile.   (The Christmas tree in my header will be there for a little longer... bear with me!)  The computer was purchased in 2009, and that makes it an oldie in technology years.  The good thing is that I have a reliable sewing machine, so I will have more time to spend with it, and I will have time to catch up on reading blogs!

Wishing all of you and your loved ones a very Happy New Year!!!  Here's to a year of cutting, piecing, and quilting every project, old and new, to your hearts content!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Boo hoo...

Major home computer problems are preventing me from writing a new post. I can write from my Kindle Fire, but I'm not able to add pictures. So frustrating!!! Hoping to solve the problem over the weekend.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

'tis the season...

... on Thursday, it did this.

So I did this.

I have been admiring paper pieced pineapple blocks all over blog land since Halloween when so many showed up in orange, black, and other colors of fall.  With a snow day from work, (yes, blizzard conditions cancelled work), I made the most of the day with time spent in my sewing room.  I found a three inch pineapple block on the Internet, pulled some red, green, and shirting fabrics and made this little cutie.  Finished size is 6 x 6.   I see more pineapples in my future!

I was lucky to have never lost power, like other parts of the city.  With Andrea  Bocelli, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and Josh Grobin Christmas CD's playing and most other Christmas preparations completed, (except for baking, but that really never makes my list of things to do...), I was able to move onto another WIP that I've been hoping to finish in time for January.   At retreat in September I received the off centered log cabin blocks that my quilting gal pals made for me, as part of our paper piece block group project.  (See post dated September 16, 2012). 

All sewn together and ready for quilting, this will be a simple table runner for my kitchen table.  I'll add some snowmen to the mix to help celebrate the cold, snowy days of January.  We're off to a good start in the snow department here in Iowa!

One more picture... just a simple thing that made me pick up my camera and snap a picture earlier today. 

I love how this morning's bright sunlight came flooding through my window and created this scene on my wall.  Just a simple thing... I couldn't help notice.

Blessings to all of you this Christmas!  May you enjoy this special time with family and friends, and remember the reason behind this grand season. 


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Goodies for the Christmas season...

This simple table runner was another project that I started in November of 2011, and vowed to finish for the 2012 season.  The primary fabric is  Reindeer Games by Sandy Gervais for Moda, with a few other scraps of  Christmas prints that I found in my holiday fabric bin.  I used 3" paper tumblers and hand sewed 11 rows together.  I used white flannel instead of batting because I wanted to keep it smooth and flat, and backed it with a coordinate fabric, without any binding.  I haven't added any machine or hand quilting... I may just leave it as is... simple!

I'm making progress on the hexie ornaments for the grandchildren.  Just a night or two of hand stitching and they will be ready to tie onto their presents for our Christmas Eve get together. 

Last week when I was decorating for the holidays I pulled out a flannel throw that I made several years ago as a group project with my Threads group.  This was the second group project that we undertook, in our third year together.  I won't go into detail about how many times the "rules" on this project changed... you just wouldn't believe it!  I can't help but giggle when I recall the many conversations and discussions that took place regarding the ever changing decisions!

The quilt consist of 12 flannel log cabin blocks and 12 osnaburg blocks with embroidered motifs of nature and outdoor activities.  Each participant made their own flannel log cabin blocks.  I kept mine scrappy looking, rather than the half light, half dark look of a real log cabin block.

Do you see the embroidered log cabin in the picture above?  My task for the project was to embroider 10... 1 for me, and 9 for each of the other group members participating.  In return, I received one each of the other embroideries.  I added two embroidered blocks that I designed for my quilt alone, so I could personalize it.  I grew up in Wisconsin, and that meant winters were spent on the ski slopes, and spring skiing in Colorado was a treat!  I fashioned a block with skis, poles, and the names of the resorts where I left my mark... literally.  (I fell a lot!!!)  The other block is a bird's eye view of the lake in Wisconsin where I spent many a summer with my Mom and Dad, siblings, cousins, uncles, and aunts.  When I use this quilt to snuggle under on the cold Iowa nights, not only does in keep me warm, but it warms my heart with memories. 

I hope you are all enjoying the days leading up to Christmas by doing things you like to do, and spending time with family and friends.  While we busy ourselves with final preparations, may we take time to say a few prayers for the families in Newtown, Connecticut, who will struggle to find peace and happiness in this season of joy.  God Bless them. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

We've been busy BLITZEN!!!

If you read a previous post I wrote regarding this years gift exchange in my Threads quilt group (eleven members strong), you know that we changed things up a bit from previous holiday gift exchanges.  This past September at our fall retreat, we decided that each member would purchase a charm pack of Blitzen by Moda, and use the charm pack to make a gift for the member who's name they had drawn.   A few simple rules... use only the fabric in the charm pack; if needed, you can purchase extra fabric for the binding or backing only; you can use all or some of the charms.

Nor hosted our Christmas party on Monday evening.  After a delicious buffet meal,  sips of caramel apple cider, and show and tell of completed projects,  we nestled comfortably in the living room.  With a warm fire crackling, tree lights blinking, and carols playing in the background, the show began! 

What a array of prized possessions we came up with!  Each unwrapped gift was meet with ohhhh's and ahhhh's... and applause!  Here are all of the projects grouped together.

One charm pack per member - Blitzen by Basicgrey for Moda...
can you believe this?

Here are pictures of the individual projects... every single one is unique! 

Paula's gift to Queen Dee is a mini
rectangle within a rectangle.  Paula is
relatively new to quilting, and
did a great job machine quilting
this project on her own!

Sandra's gift to Paula - this mini is just stunning!

Queen Dee's gift to Sarah is a mini table topper
and includes coasters!

Janie's gift to Kathy... that's me!  I love it!

Nor's gift to Diana... complete with
fresh pine greenery! 

Mari's gift to Janie... admittedly, the rules were broken...
but that's because Mari knew that Janie wanted
a certain sized topper for her kitchen table...
and we forgive her for breaking
the rules... cuz we're easy!

Sarah's gift to Nor is a pinwheel and
half square triangle delight!

Carole's gift to Rosie is this pin cushion and the
mini quilt in the picture below... the pin cushion
deserves it's own  picture, so you can see
 the detail of Carole's hand written date.
And the cute mini to go with the pincushion!

Rosie's gifts to Sandra... snowman coasters, snowman door
hanger, mini quilt, ornament, and two hot pads.  Please note
that Rosie included the leftover scraps... they are the little
strips on the right side in the picture...
talk about no waste!  (click on the picture
to see an enlarge showing).
Diana's gift to Carole is a 3 dimensional pinwheel
block pillow!  I wish I could have shown off
 the 3-D effect of the pinwheels
better in the picture!

My gift to Mari... I totally forgot to take a
 picture at the party.  I guess I was thinking
that I already knew what it looked like! 
I took the picture above a few days after

I finished it... I'm glad it was still on
my memory card!

This was a very enjoyable group project.  We marvelled at the uniqueness of each of the gifts... all so creative!  We marvelled at Rosie's scrap leftovers... what a clever idea to save them and present them to Sandra!  We marvelled that all of the projects incorporated a different block pattern.  And we just marvelled at ourselves... because we can!

Fifteen days to Christmas... put on some Christmas music and sing along while you're cutting, piecing, sewing, and quilting!

Happy Holidays!


Sunday, December 9, 2012

'tis the season...

The days seem to be getting shorter and shorter as Christmas draws closer and closer.  The shopping is 90% done... the wrapping is 80% done... the decorating is 100% done.  I scaled back this year in the decorating department.  I decided to do smaller vignettes of what I enjoy the most.  Are you surprised as much as I am, when every year, once the boxes and containers of ornaments and other holiday delights make their way to the dining room table for unpacking, the child in you is reborn?  I have had some of my all time favorite decorations for years... but there are always one or two items that surprise me!  "Oh!  I forgot about you!"  It truly is Christmas all over again!

A wire Christmas tree holds a collection of antique ornaments,
and bead garland, some of which belong to my
maternal grandmother.


I love the bright colors of these fragile

The natural light from the window
adds to the sparkle!

This card is from my Granny & Grandpa,
signed and dated 1957.  You can also see the
 top of  the origami Santa that Sophie made
for me this year!

This greeting card is from my
Mom and Dad, signed and dated 1956.
How lucky for me that my Mom
saved some of these treasures!


My surroundings year round lean more to the traditional, primitive, and vintage look.  But there's something about Christmas that brings out a little glitz from within this country girl!

Sparkling whites and silvers, with soft greens and blues, make me wish for


And then there's the vintage tug at my heart... the pretties that remind me of growing up in the 50's and 60's, visiting both my maternal and paternal grandparents on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and marvelling at the bubble Christmas tree lights, shimmering tinsel, bottle brush wreaths, and "snow" in cardboard boxes!

The old cosmetic suitcase, with its original lining and mirror,
belonged to my Mother.  Little did I know as a child
what a role it would play in my adult life!

BELIEVE is quilted, bound, and done!  I couldn't be happier with it!

This was a truly enjoyable project!

Tomorrow night is the THREADS quilt group Christmas party.  I am so excited to see what everyone made with their Blitzen charm pack!  My camera battery is charging as I write this... hoping to post pictures by the end of the week!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

THQA Blocks 10 and 11

This past week was a busy one, but I don't mean in the sewing room!

I was finally able to spend a few short hours today piecing together the last two blocks for Joanne's Thread Head Quilt Along.

Block ten is Improved Four Patch (from EQ7), and
block eleven is a Plain Variable Star.

These are the last of the whole blocks for the quilt along.  I'm going to make a few more of my favorite blocks to equal sixteen, so I end up with a nice sized table topper.

I learned a few new tricks by participating in this quilt along, especially Fast Flying Geese, Easy Hourglass, and Easy Half Square Triangles.  I    have enjoyed choosing my fabrics and making one block a week, without really knowing what the final layout of my finished project will be.  In her first post about the sew along, Joanne showed several finished layout options varying in size, depending on how many blocks you make.  I know I'll be using 16 blocks to make a table topper, but my exact layout is still a mystery, even to me.  And so the fun continues!

For more information about the THQA 2012 click the icon on my sidebar.  Once again, thank you, Joanne!

BELIEVE is quilted, (shared duties by Aimee and myself), the binding is on, clipped into place, and waiting for a quiet night of hand stitching.  Once I find a star button to sew on top of the tree, it will be finished in time to enjoy this holiday season!

Tell me what's been keeping you busy...


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christmas Tree Skirt... Check!

Primarily used ADORING fabric by Sandy Gervais for Moda;
 Sixty 3 inch paper hexagons

Wonderful stippling by Aimee with Varigated Sulky Thread
Christmas Red and Green # 733 4053

Ready for it's rightful place come December... under the
 Frazier Fur Christmas tree in my daughter's home!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Shakin' it up for a Christmas Gift Exchange...

Every Christmas for the past eight years, one of the two quilt groups I belong to (we call ourselves Threads), has the customary gift exchange.  In years past we have numbered the gifts as they arrive at our Christmas get together, and then each of us draw a number.  Most of the time we draw names in September at our Northwoods retreat.  But it seems that by the time December rolls around some of the members forget the name they drew, and someone has two gifts under the tree because of this.  Everything works out before the evening is over... no one goes home empty handed, but there's a lot of, "I thought I had so and so... or was that last year?"  and, "I could have sworn I had so and so!"  To avoid confusion this year (goodness... there's only eleven of us!), we changed things up.

We still drew names... BUT WE ALL KNOW WHO HAS WHO... we WROTE THEM DOWN... and we all RECEIVED A REMINDER of who we have at our November meeting!!! 

AND we changed up the gift idea itself...
Everyone purchased the same charm pack... after auditioning several candidates on the Internet while at retreat in September, we decided together on Blitzen by Basicgrey for Moda.  We set rules to follow... and they are:
You can ONLY use the fabric in the charm pack...
You may use all of the charms or just some of the charms...
If needed, you may purchased additional fabric to use for backing and binding ONLY...
You can make whatever you like for your gift, as long as you follow the above rules.
I have my project completed.  The recipient reads this blog so I can only show a little of it...

A special thank you to Creekside Quilting in Clive, IA, for allowing one of our members to purchase 11 charm packs this past September to distribute to the Thread gals... we may have cleaned them out!  (Thank you Barb!!!)

Our Christmas get together is Monday, December 10th.  I'm excited to see what everyone made using a Blitzen charm pack and I'll share pictures on a future post. 

Let's hear from you... how do you do your Holiday gift exchange?

Monday, November 19, 2012

On the design wall...

Block number nine for the Thread Head Quilt Along is the Single Irish Chain block. 

Single Irish Chain

When I decided to join this weekly block quilt along I planned to make a table topper with just the first nine blocks.  But I'm enjoying this too much to call it quits, so I'm going to make at least sixteen blocks.  That way I'll end up with a larger table topper, and with the prints and colors I am using, I think it will be the perfect table topper for the month of November. 

I have 10 blocks because I made two Churn Dash blocks

And that gives me until next November to get it done... sweet!

(For more information about Joanne's Thread Head Quilt Along, click on the icon on my side bar).


Saturday, November 17, 2012

BELIEVE in Friday Night Sew-In...

I'm making progress on another planned Christmas project...

At the October AQS show in Des Moines a couple of my quilting friends and I purchased this BELIEVE kit from the Yellow Creek Quilt Designs booth.  The pattern is from the book entitled Christmas Favorites by Art to Heart.  About a week ago we got together to trace the letters and cut the fabric blocks, giving each of us a jump start at completing it on our own.  Friday night arrived and my goal was to make this my FNSI project.  So there I am in my sewing room.  I spread out the  blocks and letters on my cutting table, stepped back for a look, and did what I have done so many times in the past with kits that I have purchased.  I decided to make some changes to the fabrics laying in front of me.  (Why do I do this!?!  It was a KIT!!!)   I pulled my fabric bins from the closet shelf, looking for a little brighter gold, a deeper red, and and a black print that didn't have holly leaves, because several of the green fabrics in the kit had holly leaves.  (How ridiculous is it, that I didn't want a black print with holly leaves!  Really?)  After auditioning several brighter golds, deeper reds, and black prints without holly leaves, this is what I came up with... and I love it!

I machine appliqued the letters to their blocks using a blanket stitch. The black fabric with cream colored dots, the top border, came with the kit, and it was a large piece that was supposed to be used as the backing fabric.  I thought it was too cute for the back.  The green fabric bottom border (if you look closely it has holly leaves!), is also from the kit, and I put it where it is supposed to be.  (See, I can follow some directions!)  The pattern doesn't call for side borders, but I wanted mine to have them.  The top border in the pattern is not as wide as the bottom border, and I like that idea, so I will be trimming the black with cream dots just a bit before finishing.  I'm searching for a gold ceramic star button for the tree top.  For the backing, my plan is to use flannel... just need to pull that bin out from under the bed in the sewing room, and find the perfect, soft print.  I'll machine quilt this one myself, keeping it simple... unless I stare at it long enough to change my mind again!   Geeeezzzzz, I may have this one done before December 1st!  

Okay, let's hear it!  How did you spend your Friday night?  Did you stare at a project long enough and decide you needed to change fabrics?  Or is it just me?


Monday, November 12, 2012

Thread Head Quilt Along...

Block Seven - Twelve Triangles

This was a fun block to make! 


Block Eight - Shoo Fly
Always a favorite!
Finished in the nick of time... waiting for Block # Nine! 


Countdown to Christmas Check List...

... daughter's Christmas tree skirt...


... in the very capable hands of a talented machine quilter.  (No, I'm not touching this one!)

... hexagon ornaments for the grandchildren... work in progress... probably will be
finishing these the day before
our Christmas Eve get together...
like most years!

... Christmas gift exchange present for Bowties... (one of two quilt groups I belong to.)  Haven't started, but have a few ideas!  Due date -December 3rd.  (yikes!)

... Christmas gift exchange present for Threads, the other quilt group
I belong to...  I've started, but I can't say too much... the recipient reads this blog!  Due date - December 10th.  (double yikes!)

... BELIEVE wall hanging purchased at the October AQS show in Des Moines... getting together soon with Carole and Nor to get started.  (Carole and I purchased the kit.  Nor is using fabrics from her stash).

... tree skirt for my Charlie Brown Christmas tree... maybe 2013. 

Well, I must admit this list doesn't look to over bearing.  It's just a matter of time management, and maybe a few afternoons of getting off work early.  I need to prioritize the projects according to their due dates! 

How are your Christmas projects coming along???


Sunday, November 11, 2012

It's Veterans Day

On Sunday, November 4th, I was lucky enough to be sitting inside Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI with 70,000 other Packer fans.  Because the Packers have a bye this week, the Community owned Green Bay Packer Organization scheduled their Celebration of Veterans Day on the 4th.  


A large, rectangular red, white, or blue card was taped to each bleacher seat before the game.  (Volunteers did the taping).  During the playing of the National Anthem 70,000 people held up their cards to display the message "THANK YOU MILITARY."  There are slots in the cards at eye level so you could witness this grand site.  I fumbled with my camera hoping I would be  able to capture what I was seeing from behind my little eye slot.  And there's nothing like a flyover at the end of the singing of our national anthem!

During the halftime activities the crowd's attention was directed to the large screens on each end of the stadium, and we were introduced via Skype to a large group of soldiers in Afghanistan, standing at attention.  We were instructed to stand, put our right hands in salute formation,  and on the announcer's cue, we saluted the soldiers.  In return, the soldiers saluted us.  The roar and cheers from the crowd was deafening!  It was a special moment!
Our mass group salute to them was a small, endearing, and heartfelt gesture...  and I was happy to be part of it!

Remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers, not just today, but everyday.