Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 comes to a close...

and I am ready to see it go!  2010 had lots of good family moments, but more than its fair share of heartaches and issues also.  We had some painful transitions to go through and I didn't get nearly as much quilting done as I would have hoped.  Sigh.

But, 2011 is a NEW YEAR with new hopes and dreams.  I hope and pray that this year will run a bit smoother and have fewer of those nasty (forced) transitions!  We are settling in rather well to our homeschooling routine and the boys are thriving, so I am pleased about that.  Actually, that is one transition that was painful (the situation the necessitated a total upheaval) but I am gradually letting go of the hurt feelings and gaining a sense of peace and acceptance.  I think this was one of those things that just had to happen in order to make me see what my kids weren't getting from our situation at the time.  Now, they are beginning to love learning again.

I wish all of my readers a joyous and blessed New Year!  Hope to hear from you all really soon!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

They were a hit!

The Christmas quilts, that is!  Here are Mom and Dad with their quilts on Christmas Eve.  Yes, they live in a log cabin, so the quilts work well there.  They both loved theirs and they told me that they have curled up with them after we left on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and this evening.  It made me smile.

Christmas--the After Photo....

The festivities are over.
Even my Mom and Dad's dogs are feeling a bit pooped!

Friday, December 24, 2010


Victory at last!  Dad's quilt is completed and ready to be gifted when we see him for dinner tonight!  Whew!  I am really glad that this one is ready in the nick of time (I have never run so late in my life).  It might be awhile before my hands aren't claws, though since I did the big stitch quilting around the outside edge to stabilize it (there were 4 layers of fabric and 4 layers of batting at the edge).

I hope that all of you have a warm and wonderful Christmas with friends and family!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Close, but not complete....

Okay, I have been making lots of progress with Dad's Christmas quilt, but I keep finding more things that either keep me away from finishing up, or that create extra work for me.

But, here is where we stand...

This little baby is an absolute trooper, but as I don't have a walking foot for it (soon, very soon), I had some trouble with the edge stitching.  I used two layers of Warm and Natural batting so that it would be very warm and where the edges all are sewn (yes, I sewed and flipped--don't judge me) there are 4 layers of fabric and 4 layers of batting all crammed up in there together.  Can't topstitch without the walking foot because the top layer was getting all puckery. So...

In order to secure that edging and keep it stable, I am hand quilting around the edge, big stitch style with the same crochet cotton that was used in the interior blocks (more on that later).  Of course, after 1 and 1/4 edge, my hands turned into claws, so I had to put it down for the evening.  But here it is in progress.

This is what my completed corner looks like.  It is holding the edge stable and it gives a bit of a rustic touch, which I like for this.  My parents live in a log cabin (hence my Mom's log cabin Christmas quilt earlier this year) so rustic and folksy works well for them.

This is the backing fabric that I used.  It is part of the extra long, California twin sheet (that my Mom kept for years) that my baby brother took to camp in the summer time.  It's a nice plaid and large enough to use a single piece.  The plaid is a nice touch.

Normally, I really think that tying a quilt is kind of like cheating.  Yes, it works for awhile, but it isn't terribly durable compared to good old fashioned quilting.  But, hey, it is December 22nd and I have battled multiple broken sewing machines, bronchitis, and the lack of a walking foot to get this far, so I ain't stopping now!

Actually, I saved a bunch of the buttons that came off of the shirts when I processed them.  Of course I used bunches to make my button and twig snowflakes, but still had oodles to tie one button in the center of each square in the quilt.  I left the little ends sticking up a bit past my surgeon's knot so that it would add to the rustic flair.  The buttons don't match in size or even colors, but that makes it look even scrappier.  The more I work with it, the more I just know that it suits Dad perfectly.  Tomorrow I will work on it further and with any luck finish it and start cleaning my horribly neglected pig sty house for the festivities to begin.

I hope that everyone who reads this post has the opportunity to celebrate Christmas (or the holiday of your choice) with the ones you love.  Can't wait to see what I we can get into quilt-wise for 2011!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Borders and Astronomical Delights

Okay, I will freely admit that I am a night person and that often the best chance I get to do anything remotely creative is after everyone is in bed and I can enjoy the quiet.

Tonight, I got the quiet AND a really cool lunar eclipse.  Between checking the eclipse and cutting and sewing border strips, I feel kind of accomplished tonight (and seriously sleepy).

It's really too wide to show it effectively on my curtain rod design wall.  But, the eclipse was lovely and I got to see it really well.  Once the clouds came rolling in heavily, I had gotten to see it and I figure it's just backwards from here on out.

The quilt top is completed.  Tomorrow, I get to piece the backing (and some batting) and see how this new machine does some simple quilting.

I really liked the piano key border idea, but the more I work with this top, the more I think it suits my Dad.  And, I really like that!

I am off to bed.  I promise to take a better photo of the top sometime.  Yawn!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Finally! Some Progress (and Pictures)!

Ta-daaa!  Here it is, the majority of my Dad's Christmas quilt.

For a quilt that is mostly navy blue and beige, it really is "reading" as green.  It's kind of funny, but that will definitely affect what I choose for my borders.  I can either play up the green or play it down with navy or red.  Choices, choices...

Here it is hanging on my cheater "design wall" as I have been calling it lately.  I am looking at it and pondering which of my new thrifted shirts will become the first border.  The original pattern calls for a piano key border, which is absolutely gorgeous, but I am running so short on time, it may prove very unpractical!

Readers (both of you!) may remember that I had a very unfortunate situation occur with my first quilt ever made from vintage shirts.  It was to be a baby quilt for the new honorary grandson, but it disintegrated in the wash.  I disintegrated when I found it.  Fortunately, the baby's living great grandmother made him a quilt, so I didn't feel quite so bad.  But, I am definitely making him a "big boy" quilt for a twin bed.  Anyways....

It was a big step for me to even consider making another quilt out of shirt material after that.  But, I have a new sewing machine and my old, second hand machine may have been the culprit, so I am stepping out on faith here!

Hubby who originally hated this pattern when I first showed it to him, really seems to like it now that he sees it in person.  He keeps telling me that he really likes the "ring" in each block.  It's not really in each block, it is kind of like an optical illusion thing.  The "ring" is formed by a secondary pattern when the blocks are butted up against each other.  Nonetheless, it does give a lot of interest.  Isn't it funny how secondary patterns emerge with some quilts?  When I first looked at this one, it almost looked like an exploding star to me, but hubby immediately focused in on the rings.

I cropped this photo to show the actual block unit that is used to create the quilt top.  The color placement in my version is not quite the same as in the original version (due to my error) but I really like that it looks extra scrappy this way.

I am very pleased with how this is turning out so far.  Now, I am off to dissect a few shirts and start auditioning borders!  Can't wait!

More Antibiotics and a Special Delivery!

Well, hubby started feeling bad yesterday, so this morning he went off to the doctor like a trooper.  He NEVER wants to miss work, so it was a little unusual for him to voluntarily go, so I knew he felt really badly.  Looks like he has a bad upper respiratory infection.  But, he is really good about taking his meds, so he will be quickly on the mend.

Right now, DS12 is the only healthy person in the family.  He has finished his antibiotics and is getting rather ill with the rest of us sickos!  Today, I took DS14 back into the doctor's office (for the 3rd time, no less) to pitch a fit and finally get him some help.  But, after I pitched a fit on the phone and refused to see the doctor in the group that had been so un-helpful, I got to see my favorite doctor and she, of course, came to the rescue and now, I am confident that DS14 will be on the mend shortly.

It's been an ordeal to try and regain some semblance of health around here.  Not fun at all!

Of course, I didn't like it that I still had a cough and couldn't go and be at the hospital while my honorary grandson was born.  They are worried about infection and I totally understand that with mommies-to-be and babies in such a fragile condition.  Even though I am on day 4 of my antibiotics, I figured it best not to scare anyone.  So, sadly, I stayed home and got messages by phone and text while I took care of my own brood.

But, I am still a little bit sad about it.  I wanted to see him, even if only through the nursery glass.  I am told that he has a head full of jet black hair and a perfectly pink complexion.  I will do my best to see him tomorrow and welcome him to the world.  I will take my mom with me (the honorary Great-grandma).  The doctor said he would hook me up with a sample of cough meds if necessary to get me past the nurses once it was certain that I wasn't contagious any more.  He totally "got" the baby thing when I explained it to him.  It seemed silly at the time, but I just might try it tomorrow!

Friday, December 17, 2010

A little bit of progress

A few blocks completed and pressed for Dad's lap quilt.  The colors are supposed to line up so that it makes a cute, secondary design when the blocks are alternated without sashing.  It makes the pattern, but not quite the correct way since I messed up the order of the colors.  Oh well.

Life is a little wonky, right?  Especially on bronchitis meds!  LOL!

Right now, all of the little 9-patch numbers are done and I have done the first 12 of the snowball blocks.  12 more snowballs to go and then we can start assembling and making decisions about borders and backings.  I will be very much relieved when this final gift is completed.

My Mom tells me that Dad, "sits around and shivers like a chihuahua!"  Great visual.  So, I figure that he really needs a quilt.  He is diabetic and is feeling the cold more these days.  Mom, however, still has hot flashes and thinks that the proverbial "Nanook of the North" is sweating in his igloo!  Now, I hope that Dad will get to cuddle under his very own quilt, made of guy fabrics, and stay completely and totally warm!

We can only hope!

The verdict is in...

Acute bronchitis.  Cough.  Cough.  Wheeze.

For now, I am holed up with quilt, antibiotics, magazines, laptop, inhaler, hot tea, etc.

Sniffle.  I am slowly working on my gift quilt.  Hope to have some pics to show tomorrow.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Feeling puny

I am off to the doctor's office first thing in the morning to see if I can get rid of this crud.  I have picked up the same, croupy, deep cough that I typically get with bronchitis, so I am anxious to get rid of this.

My honorary grandson will be born no later than the 20th (they induce if the mom hasn't gone into labor on her own).  So, I have to get better, because it just won't do that I can't hold that sweet  baby that I have been waiting so long to meet.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

We got snow for the Snowflake Event...

Well, kind of.  The kids were calling out excitedly, "it's snow, it's snow!"  So, I opened the front door to look through our storm door and noticed that the "snow" was bouncing on our wooden steps and small landing.

Snow shouldn't bounce.  I have lived all of my life in Georgia, but I was raised by Yankee parents, so I know things like the fact that snow doesn't bounce upon impact.

Hubby thought this was funny and set out with DS12 to determine if this wasn't snow, what it was.  Nothing like a teachable moment in this house!  They went out and inspected the icy things and determined that the centers are white with a clear outer ring.  This indicates that there was a bit of real snow in the center and ice formed around it while it was in descent.  In meteorological terms, this is graupel, a German word for snow surrounded by ice.  I thought that in honor of the Snowflake Event, that I would make note of this.  Those poor little snowflakes tried to come to Georgia, but they got ganged up on by ice crystals.  So sad.

However, we weren't depending on Mother Nature for our snow.  Here are our homemade snowflakes:

I made this little snowflake (no pattern, just having fun) to hang in the little window that is high up on our front door.

The boys and I made the paper snowflakes that make up our mantle garland this year.  It was really fun.  They liked it, but didn't have much patience for doing the more intricate designs.  These were all done free-form.  The quilted mantle scarf was made last year.  The "Better Not Pout" sign was made by my mother and given to me to post conspicuously for the boys.  The red candles are real wax, but battery operated and really flicker.  The small, china cups hold tea lights (when my tea lights are used up, I will get battery operated ones to use).  The red candle on the left was a recent gift.

This is our fireplace.  I really like the warm, golden glow that the candles cast over the decorations.  It just looks warm and cozy to me.  The candle lanterns on the hearth were given to us one year full of cookies!  We have used them with candles in them every year since.  The lanterns help to keep the kitties from playing with the flickering flames (silly cats!).

Here are a close up of my latest decorations.  They are snowflakes made up of twigs and buttons, painted white and stuck to the rocks with a (gasp!) glue gun.  The glue holds them securely but can be popped off of the rocks fairly easily.  I like that they add a bit of a rustic texture that goes well with the rock fireplace surround.  I found the tutorial to make these here.  I really enjoyed using items that were readily available (buttons from repurposed shirts, glue gun, twigs, white craft paint).  It really cost next to nothing, but looks so festive.  I think these will stay until spring.

Many special thanks to The Pleasant Times blog for hosting this Snowflake Event.  The entries that I have seen so far are stunning and inventive!  I hope you have enjoyed seeing my take on snowflakes.  Please stop back by anytime!


What a whirlwind week we have had!  Two sick kids, doctor's visits, doing math at home to play catch up (yuck) and trying to get things together for the Snowflake Event that starts tomorrow.

The snowflakes were the fun part!  Loved that!  I am waiting to put the finishing touches on my twig snowflakes so that they can go on display this evening and be blogged about tomorrow.

Pretty much, the week can be summed up with this photo:

Sleeping kids (snoring included) with big ol' size 14 teenage feet sticking out from under the quilt they stole borrowed from their mom.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Snowflake Event!

Isn't this button adorable?  I am so excited about the Snowflake Event that begins next week over at The Pleasant Times blog.  For some reason, the entire button isn't showing but just the graphic.  That's okay, you can check them all out at the blog.

I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with.

Friday, December 3, 2010

First Project with the New Machine!

Here it is!  It is the first official sewing project on the new machine!  You didn't think I would wait long to do a little something, did you???

This is a project that I found on  These will go into my gift baskets for family members.  I did get the kitchen towel and potholders at Dollar Tree.  I am making two of these for a total cost of $1.50 per gift.  Woo Hoo!

It's HERE!!!

Late last night, UPS tracking informed me (finally) that they had a delivery date set.  It was to be delivered sometime between 8 am and midnight TODAY.  Well, since I live out in the boonies, I assumed that it would be far closer to the midnight estimation than the morning one.  I was SO wrong!  Around 9 am, UPS showed up with the most amazing little sewing machine, just for ME!

I have sewed a bit just to try her out and welcome her!  As you can see from my very messy sewing table in the dining room, no time was wasted getting her up and running.

Okay, now I have to run a couple of errands and I really need to clean this nasty house of mine, but then, I will sew and sew and sew!  Of course, tomorrow I work all day at a Christmas bazaar, but after that, I will sew and sew and sew!  Oh the gifts we will sew together.  Sigh.

Woo Hoo!  Oh my new little joy!  How I heart you!!!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

This is just too stinkin' cute!

You just HAVE to check out the quaint, little snowflakes on this blog.  She shared a tutorial on how to make them and everything.  I can see so many ideas from this basic tutorial.  I can't wait to get started!  They don't look expensive to make at all, either!

Plus, remember the Snowflake Event beginning the week of December 12th at The Pleasant Times blog!  This is just going to be so much fun!

I guess I am going through a bit of the winter doldrums here, but I just haven't been feeling like myself lately.  I am not keeping up with things in my life.  I just feel icky and want to sleep--like I am fighting off a cold or something.  So, since these snowflakes are getting me excited, I am going to go with it and really indulge!  Maybe it can help me shake it up a bit and feel a little better.  Let's hope so!