Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Collage Time!

I've been reading blog posts and see that 'tis the season for recapping finishes in 2011. Quite a few of those recaps are pretty darned impressive! Check out Snippets 'n Scraps, Jackie's StitchesOops-Lah, and Freshly Pieced... among many others. Or maybe not. They might make you feel sluggardly!

Creating my own collage turned into multiple collages so I could categorizing finishes. First, the quilts I made just because... 

My big finish, Snowflake Medallion (top left), was special because it won a blue ribbon at the Iowa State Fair, and was juried into the Pacific International Quilt Festival. Three of these quilts were given away: Jungle Friends; I Spy; and Jungle Safari (all, lower right).

Through Hope Quilters or Stitchin' Mission, these quilts were donated. So 14 quilts made, all tallied. Not too bad.

These 17 photos are of the "things" I made: potholders; purses; a mini wall hanging; a skirt; candle mats; sunglass cases; a selvage pillow; soft balls; coin purses; pouches; a pillow case; and insulated bottle carriers.

While I didn't make these two quilts, I did quilt them for friends. Lola's quilt and Carla's quilt.

Snowmen A to Zzz isn't a finish, but there's steady progress embroidering blocks that will be sewn into a quilt. Letters A through N, and the letter S are done.  

I also made blocks each month of 2011 for One Block Over, and starting making two blocks each month of the Blogger's BOM. They do add up, don't they!? Given how much traveling (by car) we did this past year - the Ozarks; Napa Valley; three trips to Florida; and nine trips to Kansas City - I think I did okay.

Looking ahead to 2012, I'm challenging myself to some finishes. In the order I expect to tackle these quilts they are:
Friendship Medallion - Quilt-along with Patchwork Pumpkin (Australia)
Circle of Geese - foundation paper-piecing
Disappearing Four-Patch - tutorial here
Roll Roll Cotton Boll - Bonnie Hunter's 2010 mystery quilt
Picket Fence
Christmas Stockings - Pat Sloan/Emilie Richards 2009 BOM
Periwinkle Star - hand-piecing/hand-applique
Candied Hexagons - hand-piecing/hand-applique
Starfish - hand-piecing
...and several more.
No doubt a few more projects will creep into the line-up, so that's more than enough to keep me busy for a year! Are you feel as optimistic as I am right now? Linda

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Gifties For and From

I've mentioned this before, but it bears repeating when a friend is such a good friend. Carla and I met through our blogs more than a year ago. Since our first face-to-face meeting, we have remained fast friends. Whether we attend a KCMQG meeting, visit a quilt shop, go on a day long retreat, or meet for lunch, whenever I'm in Kansas City it's nice to spend time her.

Anticipating that we'd meet sometime around Christmas, both of us did as blogging quilter-friends do. We made something. We waited until the recipient received it. Then we blogged about it.

Carla made, waited, and blogged here about the gift she gave me. It's this "Dumpling," a charming, zippered pouch.

She explained that this Ty Pennington print was as close to palms trees (one of my favs) as she could find in her stash. I love it! The bird print side is so Carla. And who doesn't love lime green and gray?

The inside is especially pretty with a fabric print of life-related words. 

Without the package of Werther's chocolate-covered caramels inside With all the traveling I do, the Dumpling will be perfect for a few toiletry items. Thank you, Carla!

It turns out that Carla and I saw and liked these these Dumplings simultaneously! I too made several of them after seeing them here on Doris' blog. Dumplings are from this tutorial by Keyka Lou. The pattern is in two sizes, but I made only the larger, easy one. Whichever size you make, you need a 14" zipper. Dumb me... I bought zippers for $1.99 each, less a couple of 40 percent off coupons from Joann's, and afterward learned about these colorful zippers at a much better price.

That VW Bug fabric is from a precious, small amount I have left from ten years ago, when I purchased several yards at Wal-Mart. Being a VW Bug owner, this fabric is as dear to me as my car. Did you know that my Bug was a surprise college graduation gift from my husband? My graduation and the car arrived in April, 2000. The Bug has 71,000 miles on it and I've enjoyed every one of them. If you're ever a passenger in my car I'll ask you to sign the guest book I keep in the glove compartment. In the 12 years I've had my Bug, I've had more than 80 passengers including an Iowa state representative, and celebrity quilters Erma Gail Hatcher, Harriet Hargrave and Sandi Cummings, among others. Can you tell I was once program co-chair for the Des Moines Area Quilters Guild? Ahh, but I digress...

Granddaughter Celina received the Dumpling with the VW Bug print.

Each Dumpling I made has a different fusible interfacing because I kept trying to find one with the right amount of stiffness. Pellon's "heavy" interfacing was too light and a suit weight interfacing was too heavy. A piece of extra heavy interfacing I unearthed was just right. Though I gave away each of these Dumplings, none of them went to Carla.

So it's my turn to say I made, waited and am blogging about what I gave her.

I came across this little cutie called a Snappy Coin Purse. Carla received the one in the middle with the typewriter letters print.

Just a little hand sewing is needed to join each of the corners into a box shape.
Snappy Coin Purse from the back
Isn't in wonderful how accessible and darling these patterns are? I appreciate every idea and tutorial that I might make... and that I might also receive! Linda

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Post Christmas Post

A friend commented that my blog has been a bit quiet lately. She's right. Between spending several weeks with our daughter Jill, and family, and having access to only snippets of sewing and embroidery time, not only has my productivity been drastically reduced, but so has blogging time.

While at Jill's house, I've continued to make these for "Friendship Medallion." Jill has my old Bernina QE153, so I can sew whenever I'm at her house.

I embroidered another "Snowmen A-Z" block, and the letter "O" for ornament is underway. I think this alphabet quilt may be a 2012 finish!

The kidlets have been my focus - a happy way to consume my time.
Tay, Aesa and Celina

We always take formal holiday pictures...

... but with two little ones (and a frustrated big one), smiling faces are not always easy to capture.

Just before Celina and her dad departed for their Christmas eve flight to the United Arab Emirates, Celina paused for this picture showing off her new Sperry "Angelfish" shoes - a gift from us. For one week, she and her dad are there to join a family gathering of his family.

Tay with his new backpack, standing on the "I Spy" quilt I made.

Not-yet-talking, 13 month-old Aesa says "auh-oh," and manages to communicate everything else by sign language and "ah-uhn?" sounds.
In Florida, grandson Austin is who we didn't get to see in person, but we're grateful for Skype so we could watch him open a couple presents on Christmas morning.
By email we received this photo of Austin and his friend Daphne. According to our son, "they could be heard in the next time zone." Santa's jolly humor, and patience, is very appreciated.

I read on another blogger's post that she received push-back from a reader about putting up pictures of her family. It's difficult to understand such a complaint when a reader is free to not read a blog post. While I enjoy blogging about many things, particularly quilting, this blog is also about the people in my life. In four more days I'll be wrapping up 2011 posts, and then, for the third consecutive year, I'll order a printed blog book from Blog2Print. For me, it's the best way to remember the things I deemed most important. The book is a tangible record of my interests - a diary, if you will - for my descendants.

By the way, my Christmas present was a gift certificate for a haircut from my favorite - I-trust-her-implicitly - hair stylist in Kansas City. Check out my blog profile photo to see my new, shorter do. Here's how I look from the back. I love the way it lays and moves, and of course, I'm hoping I can make it look like this myself!
I'll leave you with this chuckle. Last week, Jill, Celina and I went to lunch together at a Kansas City Mexican restaurant called Salty Iguana. Inside the door was this sign. Do you 'spose it's a typo, or is there such a thing as "Quiltless Quesadilla"? What does one look like? More importantly, aren't you glad you can get one 50 percent off!?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Ornaments

After seeing ornaments on others' blogs, and enjoying the "history" behind them, I thought I might share a few of my homemade ornaments. I made and gave these to my parents for their tree. After mother died, in December 2002, they were passed along to our daughter, Jill, where they now hang on her family's Christmas tree.

The gingerbread girl is a reflection of my counted cross-stitch years - the early 80's when I owned a needlework shop called "The Stitchery Niche."

Then came a good half-dozen and more years of smocking. Jill wore pretty smocked clothes, as did a few other children I outfitted for a small income. Smocking also took the form of Christmas ornaments, and Easter eggs for an Easter tree!

Throughout the years, I've dabbled at crafts. These red felt skating boots are one of my favorites. The blade is a large paper clip!

For the days ahead I'm wishing you beautiful memories of times past, and much hope and faith in the promise of eternal life through the birth, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Have a merry and blessed Christmas, dear friends. Linda

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Selvage Blog Giveaway

Karen, at SelvageBlog is hosting a giveaway of a 2012 AQS Quilt Art Engagement Calendar. It just happens to have one of my quilts in it!

Check out April 30, 2012.

If you'd like to try to win, head on over.  Tell Karen I sent you. Linda


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holy Family

I'm not decorating for the upcoming holidays. No. I'm not a Scrooge.

Our children aren't coming home for Christmas. With great distances to travel with little ones and all the necessary paraphernalia associated with 13 month-old, 19 month-old, and 27 month-old children, it's just plain work to go anywhere. So, without the need for a Christmas tree, I pulled out my favorite seasonal wall hanging, put it in the entryway quilt rack, and called it enough.

Dilys Fronks of the UK is the designer of this 2003 piece: "No Crib for a Bed."

It's batik, and one of the few pieces where I've used decorative stitches to enhance the design.

The star rays are stitched with gold metallic thread. The horizontal line of what appears to be colorful beads is a decorative stitch made with variegated thread.

These silhouette-type nativity scenes were offered each year, from 2003 to 2006, in the magazine Quilt It: for Christmas, when it was still being published. I have the 2003 and 2006 issues. "Holy Family" is the 2006 design and I think it's my favorite. I have only a picture of the one I made; I gave it away. Someday, I'd like to sew another one for myself. 

In my mind, a nativity is the best and most significant reminder of this holy and blessed season.

A couple more of my four very special blessings...
Aesa, 13 months 
Aesa and Tay
Tay, 27 months

Monday, December 12, 2011

Blocks for This and That

In the five days I've been at home since our Florida trip, I've spent some time at the sewing machine. Yay! I also spent two days sewing with Hope Quilters (read about our day here).

For myself, I played catch-up on the November 25 release of the third block in the Bloggers' BOM. Pink is outside my comfort zone, and putting these particular colors together is a first, but definitely fun. It's an unusual block, don't you think? I'm making two each month since they're only 8" X 8" when finished.

These two 12" X 12" star blocks have been sent off to join other star blocks to make a quilt for a special someone who's having health problem. 'Nuf said.
Martha Washington Star
Broken Star
Upon request, and following certain guidelines, back in August I made and sent this 12" X 12" Single Wedding Ring block to someone who was going to sew collected blocks into a quilt as a wedding gift for one of my blogospheric buddies. I haven't heard a word about the status of that quilt and that makes me feel disappointed. Should I be? Update: The new bride has received the blocks; it was never intended that a quilt would be given to her. She - Shannon at Pieceful Kwilter - will post about the blocks when she has a chance. She's a busy professional longarm quilter - understandable given that it's pre-Christmas, giving time.

I've also been crazily sewing tiny 1-1/2" X 1-1/2" squares into these cute nine-patch blocks - only 72 of them needed for my Friendship Medallion quilt. It does seem to be taking a long time.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Perpetually Stitching

Even while on the road for hours and hours, and wherever we're traveling, I'm not entirely content unless I have something to work on. An otherwise tediously long trip by car can be almost pleasant while listening to an audiobook and stitching. During our 23-plus hour drive each way, to and from Florida, we were entertained by "Valley of the Horses," the second book in the Earth Children series written by Jean Auel, published in 1982.

While listening, my hands were busy with this embroidery piece. It's one of the latest designs by Crabapple Hill called "The Night Before Christmas." It sews into a pillowcase.

Before leaving on our trip, I prepared everything including cutting the three fabric prints for the pillowcase. For the embroidered part, I used my light box and a Sewline pencil to trace the design onto a tone-on-tone snowflake print fabric.

Thanks to my Aussie friend, Tracey, I was able to embroider the design with a lovely, hand-dyed, variegated Australian thread made by Cottage Garden Threads. Tracey mailed it to me from South Australia and in exchange I sent her my New Life Quilt pattern. A great swap, I'd say! 

The six-stranded thread is quite pretty with short color variations from cherry red to burgundy. I stitched with two strands.

I began stitching on the way to Florida, and completed it shortly after arriving. Then, was able to sew it into a pillowcase on my traveling Featherweight sewing machine.

I finished it in time to mail to Kansas City as a gift to our granddaughter, Celina, for her 13th birthday.

Later, she thanked me sincerely and reluctantly told me she isn't using the pillowcase! Because she showers at night and goes to bed with damp hair, she doesn't want to ruin it. 

How sweet is that? I guess I'm glad to know she likes it enough not to want to risk damaging it.

During the car trip from Florida back to Iowa, I completed these stitcheries.

They're part of a long-term project, "Snowmen A to Zzzz," also by Crabapple Hill. When I first started stitching these, I worked on the alpahbet letters I happened to like best. Now I'm just working my way through the alphabet. The  letter "M" is already stitched, so "N" is next. As always with UFOs, it's good to see progress. It might even be a quilt by Christmas 2012! Linda


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