Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas to all

Our Christmas gathering on Sunday:

 Decorating cookies

 For some reason they wanted to gather under the table...
..... Robert, Angela, Rhett, and Ashlynn
 Elizabeth, David, Lily, and Elise ....

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

12 Days of Christmas swap

Our 12 Days swap has wrapped up, so here are the pictures.   I made totes and tea towels, and one mug rug.   Along the way, I was able to use up some of my odds and ends of fq's and fabric. 

I like how they all turned out, but I must say I really like the little mug rug with the ducks.  They are surrounded with nature fabrics, and flying geese overhead.  Almost hard to let that one go, but I know I can make another. 

I received some wonderful gifts in return.  I've said it before, but there are some talented ladies on the HGTV Quilting & Needlework Forum.     Elise was my helper in opening the daily packages, so here she is as we opened the box.

This shows:

Quilter Jen:  a roll--up tote, great for shopping
KaylaQuilts:  a knitted drink cozy
JoyfulSewer:  a fabric box (great for a thread catcher when you're hand sewing
LilacSue:  a Santa ornament
PatV82:  a coffee cup organizer (I bought a pattern a few years ago, and never made glad she did!)

Quilter Chris:  bracelet
Patricia Anne:  4 coasters
Motqltr:  zippered bag, knitted/crochet scarf, trial size paper piece quilt block, and novelty mini-
LynnSews:  hand sewn felt needle case
KarrieLynn:  wine tote bag

(and KaylaQuilts' knitted drink cozy made it into this picture too)

Gemsq:  colorful bag (I have a feeling Elise will want to claim it, but it's mine!)
DJillm:  kleenex holder, great to tuck in your purse or pocket

This is the third year I've participated in this particular swap.  I hope we do it again next year.

Stay tuned, tomorrow I'll get back with some Christmas pictures of the kids.  :)  

Hope your days are merry and bright....

Friday, December 20, 2013

December happenings

I think I mentioned earlier that I was keeping my eyes open for a chenille spread for the twin bed.  I originally thought I wanted a lavender or purple, but had a hard time finding one.  Let's face it, not that many places sell chenille spreads anymore, it's pretty much comforters.  I found one at a garage sale that I thought might work, even though it was queen size.  In my excitement of finding it, and the bright sun, I thought it was lavender...turns out it was a blue.  No problem, my friend Linda was glad to take it. 

Then I got the bright idea to look on Ebay.  Lo and behold, there were chenille spreads!  Granted, you can only go by the pictures and what the seller has to say.  But as I thought about it, being previously owned was not a problem for me.  The bed is in the toy room anyway, and won't get everyday use.  And even if it gets dirty, it can go in the washer.  I decided on a white one, which the picture showed to be in pretty good shape.  The seller disclosed it has a couple of pulls on the tufts.  For $10 plus shipping, I decided to give it a try.   It shipped immediately, I washed and dried it upon its arrival, and here it is.  Not bad at all.
Getting into the last days before Christmas, I've visited a few stores here and there.  Last year just a few days before Christmas I bought my Kitchen Aid mixer.  This year, I happened to see something that I've kind of been needing, and just splurged and bought it.  I'm glad I was able to help the economy.  :)   It's almost sad when there's nothing you really need, but little things give me pleasure.
My friend Linda and I finished the t-shirt quilt for a mutual friend.  I'm really pleased with how it came out, and she liked it too.  I asked her to let us know what her son thinks of it.
When I bought my little Janome sewing machine a few years ago, it was because my Singer had been giving me problems.  The Singer has since been sitting in a closet.  A few weeks ago I decided to get it serviced.  After having  it serviced, I decided to sew a project on it. didn't take long to realize my Janome is my preferred machine, and the Singer will remain a back-up.  I admit it, I've gotten spoiled to choosing the needle-down position, and to having an automatic needle threader!

That's all for now.  I plan on being back before Christmas, but if I'm not,  Merry Christmas to all.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Friday favorite again, among other things

Brrr!   It's cold outside!  But that's helped me get a bit done, so I'm fine with it.  Especially since I was able to stock up on a few groceries ahead of time, and my electricity has stayed on.  Not everyone one was so fortunate, and many have been without power.  

Earlier this week Elise let me know she wants to sew.  She liked the idea of sewing a quilt top for her Sarah doll, so, she chose some fabric, layed the squares out in an order she wanted, and did the footwork on my sewing machine while I guided the fabric through.  Together we tied it off.   I think I now have a helper for whenever I sit down to sew.  :)
I haven't done my Friday Favorites in a long time, but looking at my sewing bag, I realized I needed to put it on here and tell it's story.   Many years ago, probably about 34 since I think I was pregnant with Elizabeth, Mom was in town for a visit.  We were browsing through the local 5 & 10, and I really liked a piece of fabric that was a lush green jungle print with a tiger on it.  It wasn't suitable for clothing, but Mom had the terrific idea of a sewing bag.  She sewed it together that afternoon, and I've been using it ever since.  I'm sure she never realized the pleasure I would get out of it.  In fact, each time I pick it up and use it, I think of her.  I'd say that in itself makes it pretty special.  In it's early years, it carried counted cross-stitch projects that I worked on during my lunch hours,and as years rolled by and interests changed,  embroidery and quilting projects were occasionally toted to work.  Since I'm retired, it can usually be found next to my easy chair, and going off to my QB Saturdays.  Who knew that a simple sewing bag could bring such pleasure?

Remember my gnome ornaments I told you about last week?  I finished up the other 5.  Two of them went to Lily and Elise's tree this past week.
 And these three will go to my little neighbor girls.
Guess that's it for now.  Stay warm, and stay safe.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Are you counting your blessings?

Happy Thanksgiving to all.  I think this is probably my favorite holiday, a time to reflect on the good things in my life and realize how blessed I am.

I enjoyed my day at Robert and Angela's, and Elizabeth and Elise were able to join us as well before she joined David at his Dad's house.  Can't ask for a better day than to be with my kids and grandkids.
After lunch we had a bit of craft time, and the kids each made a snowman ornament for the Christmas tree.  I was so busy working with them that I didn't get a picture of their masterpieces, but we had a good time.

Recently we got together and went to see The Nutcracker ballet.  I've never been to a ballet performance.  Elise is taking a dance class, and Ashlynn has in the past, so I thought it would be fun to go.   It was put on by Ballet Frontier of Texas, and the majority of the cast were students at their school.  Such a nice way to see a performance at a reasonable price.  I'd like to go to more of their productions.

Speaking of Elise's dancing, here's a picture from her first performance.

In sewing news, I came across a cute little gnome tree ornament on fellow blogger Roolen's blog.  In fact, I'm making 7 of them for Christmas this year.  Here are the first two I've completed.  The others are in various stages, close to completion, but these two jumped to the top so I could take them for Ashlynn and Rhett to put on their tree.   By the way, if you click on the link to Roolen's blog, you'll see it's in Russian.  She has a Google translator button on the far right side, so it's easy enough to be able to read it in English.
And, final project in the works for your viewing.  My friend Linda and I are making a tshirt quilt for a mutual friend.   I've enjoyed working on it, as I've never done one with the shirts joined directly to each other.  I usually have a sashing in between the shirts.  But this is a nice change, and it's fun that she could put so many shirts in it.  This same size with sashing would have been 12 shirts.  It appears in the picture that it will have a border, but that is actually the backing fabric, there will be no border.
Okay, that's more than enough.  I really need to post more often so it wouldn't be so long!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

bunco and quilting

My Bunco group met Tuesday night at my house, and as usual we had a great time.  This was one of those nights when everyone was there.  Let's face it, trying to get 12 people together every month can sometimes be a challenge as life can get in the way.  When the need arises, we get subsitutes and keep playing. Since we had everyone, I wanted to get pictures of the group.  So here we are!

And what was on the menu, you ask?  Inquiring minds always want to know.  I got some sliced beef from Spring Creek BBQ, and the ladies had the option of a plate dinner or sandwiches.  I  made some baked beans and potatoes au gratin, along with deviled eggs.  Dessert was a cherry danish, using my friend Judy's recipe.   We also had some munchies of seasoned oyster crackers and M&M's.  We eat first, then the games begin. 

The Bunco mug rug consolation prize was won by Lisa (top picture on the far left).

I made another paper-pieced block, this time a squirrel.  It went together well, but after it was together I could tell the medium brown fabric blended in with the background quite a bit.  What do you think?
So then I got the bright idea (well, stole the bright idea) of using something to give definition to the outline.  I used a pigma pen.   Don't know if the picture shows really well, but it does stand out a bit more.  And where did I steal the idea?  If you remember, I brought home a ton of magazines from a garage sale last weekend, and this idea was in one of them.
That medium brown fabric is a piece that my sister Sue gave me years ago, and was also used several years ago in this next piece you'll see. Its the background the moose is standing on.  Its always fun to make something with those pieces that you can make a personal connction with.
Speaking of sister Sue, today happens to be her birthday!  You might want to hop over to her blog and tell her happy birthday yourself!  She always likes visitors.  :)

Have a good day everyone...and happy birthday Sue!

Friday, November 8, 2013

garage sale

Here I've been gradually picking away at the clutter around my house, and have donated sacks to charity just about every month.  So what do I come across today?  A garage sale.  Yep, you guessed it, the lady was a quilter.  She wasn't at the sale, her niece was coordinating it, and you could tell the niece wasn't a quilter.  Apparently Auntie is downsizing into a senior living center, so many things had to go. 

When I inquired if there were any quilting or sewing items, she said the sewing machine was sold, but she had some magazines and bits of fabrics and trims.  I got a sack of buttons, and a couple of little 25 cent bags of fabric, then she said I could just have the magazines if I wanted them.  We got it all loaded in my car, and I spread them out just a little while ago.  Not only are there quilting magazines, there are books, crochet magazines, a couple of patterns, and a couple of cross stitch kits.  Free.  I told her to make sure Auntie knew that it all went to a good home, someone who appreciates what she had.  I also mentioned I have a few quilting buddies, and they'll share in it with me.

Yes one is sideways, I'm too lazy right now to change it.

It was almost sad seeing the niece be somewhat cavalier about Auntie's stuff.  She was plenty nice enough, just wanted to get it out of there.   She had a big stack of puzzles, and I could have had them all for $5, but I didn't have the room...though I did get 2.   She did redeem herself in my mind though when she said there was no way she was selling Auntie's quilts.  :)

The other sad thing is that just a few months ago I went through my stack of magazines, and cleared out close to as many as I got today.  (eyeroll)  These won't be around too long.  I'll cull out articles that catch my eye (particularly interested in foundation paper piecing right now), and share them with friends to do the same.    Having cleared out a bit of shelf space, I don't want to fill it back up.

Oh well, such is life.  And yes, I'll still drop in on garage sales when one looks really good.  :)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

hands, strings, and news

The other day when Elise was here, she happened to put her hand on top of mine, and I wanted a picture.  She was happy to oblige and do it again.  I love seeing the difference between the young and older hands.

Remember my string quilt I was working on several weeks ago?  When I got it together, I realized it needed borders to make it a workable size, but just didn't have the heart to continue at that point.  I put it away until about a week or two ago, and was able to have the mindset to get back into it.   I've stitched the 2 side borders to a foundation, and have a good start on finishing the quilting on one of those two.  They will then be attached (remember its a quilt as you go project), and then I'll work on borders for the top and bottom.  I'm glad I put it to the side instead of just rushing to bind it as it was.
Here are the two side borders, which of course will actually be joined with the same black print that join the other blocks.

I haven't decided yet how I'll do the corners where the borders meet.

In other news, I got a bill for my newspaper subscription the other day, and it was double what it was previously.  I pay for a 6 month subscription for Sunday and Wednesdays.  As I looked at the statement, I noticed it included the digital version of the paper.  I really didn't feel it was worth paying extra for that, though I concede it could be nice.  But I'm already able to get on the paper's website and see news stories, obituaries, editorials, and quite a bit of other items of interest.   When I called to talk to someone, I was told they have included the digital service on all subscriptions now, and they couldn't separate it out.  At that, I (politely) told her I'd just cancel the service when it came to it's termination date.  I can always pick up the Sunday paper for their ads and coupons when I need it.  Amazingly enough, she told me about a special they happen to have, and I can have the subscription for $36 (less than half of the billed amount) and yes, it will have the digital newspaper included.   Works for me, but it's a shame you have to make the inquiry to get a good price.  Reminds me of the cable TV services.

That's it for now.  Hope you're having a good week.    :)

Monday, October 28, 2013

October stuff

About a year ago I had bought a new iron.  Seems like I may have dropped the one it was replacing, can't remember.  I don't think I had it a month, and I made the mistake of putting it on felt.  What a mess!   I tried to clean it, to no avail.  It was so bad that I just bought another  new iron.  However, I just couldn't see tossing the scorched one, so I put it back in my closet in its original box with its original booklet.  After all, I hadn't had it very long.

Then yesterday Lisa and Linda were over working on a quilting project, and Lisa accidentally ironed on something that attached itself to the iron.  Linda suggested putting some table salt on waxed paper, and iron it to help removed the scorch.  Sure enough, it worked.

Seeing how well Linda's method of salt and waxed paper worked yesterday, today I pulled the iron out of the closet and gave it a try.  Can't say it worked very well, maybe a bit.  I looked on line, and found a method of using heated white vinegar.  Nothing to lose, I tried it.  Might have gotten a few particles off.  Then I figured I definitely had nothing to lose, so I dipped an SOS pad in the warm vinegar, and started scrubbing.  It came off!  

Happy days, now I have two good irons!   Its good to have friends come to the rescue, isn't it?

In recent news, Elizabeth celebrated another birthday.  Beautiful little girl, beautiful woman, beautiful person.  

 I host Bunco next month, and we always have an option of giving a booby prize...oops, guess I should be politically correct and say a consolation prize...for the person with the least winsIts hard to find items that specifically say Bunco, and I've told Party City they could make some serious sales if they would start carrying Bunco party stuff, but they haven't listened to me.  So I just made my own Bunco mug rug.  Pretty cute if I do say so myself...and I do.  :)

 Guess that's it for now.  Have a good week and safe Halloween...