Saturday, December 31, 2011

Stars and Year's Review

Just at the end of the month I finished these two stars for a group exchange on the internet.  The December Requestor provided a pattern and wanted the blocks to finish at 12.5",  And then she said we could make them as wonky and strange as we liked.  Well, I sent for wonky, but they came out less wonky than I intended.  Maybe I should have "wonked" the center square of "made" fabric.

Now the Year in Review for finishes:

There were twelve months of the group block exchange mentioned above, but those weren't quilted.

#1 - "Extra Extra Fancy", queen sized, made from my orphan blocks and strips. Kept.

#2 - Disappearing Nine Patch, toddler sized, made from St. Patrick's fabrics, sent to Neonatal Unit.

#3 - Disappearing FOUR Patch, crib sized, green fabrics, sent to Neonatal Unit.

#4 - Checkerboard, crib sized, sent to Neonatal Unit.

#5 - Football quilt, twin bed sized, red and gray flannel, sent to Devon through Margaret's Hope Chest.

#6 -  Strip Quilt, twin sized, mostly green fabrics, sent to Margaret's Hope Chest.

#7 - Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll, a Bonnie Hunter mystery, queen sized, given to DIL.

#8 Back map and front squares of crib quilt, sent to Neonatal Unit.

#9 Beep-Beep strip quilt, crib sized, sent to Samuel Potts.

#10 Sixteen Patch toddler quilt, sent to Margaret's Hope Chest.

#11 Strip Quilt, toddler sized, baseball fabrics, sent to Neonatal Unit.

#12 - King of the Ranch, toddler sized, sent to Margaret's Hope Chest.

#13 - Strip Quilt, toddler sized, soccer fabrics, sent to Neonatal Unit.

#14 - Susan's Magical Forest, wall sized, blocks from internet Block Lotto, given to Secret Sister.

#15 - "Lego" quilt, made from 1.5" squares and strips, double bed sized, fleece backing. kept here.

#16 -  Six doll quilts, of which this is one, sent to Guild to accompany Christmas dolls.

A pretty good year for finishes!
However, I have also added a bunch of new UFOs,  eight in fact.  And then my Secret Sister gave me one, too.

That means my total of UFOs is 23.  Judy Liquidara is challenging us all to finish one UFO a month in 2012.  Looks like I need to finish TWO each month.  Can I do that?

I think I had better just plan on 16 like I did this year.  That will mean making some of the Neonatal quilts from my UFOs.

Best wishes for the New Year for all of you out there in cyberland.



A quiet New Year's Eve at home after a movie with my sweetie
Relative good health for my family
Plenty of food and warmth in the winter.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Roast Beast and Yorkshire pudding

DIL produced a high and mighty Yorkshire pudding to go with the prime rib, and then, Voila!, all the food disappeared down people's throats.

And at the direction of the matriarch [me], we held civilized conversation without dissing our siblings throughout the meal.

Wow!  Holiday madness!



Hilarious stocking gifts
TONS of help with the cooking and serving and cleaning up
Quiet when everyone left

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Last cookies

Grands are arriving a day later than originally expected.  So Grandma and Grandpa have to finish up baking the cut-out cookies.  Tomorrow there will be many helping hands to put on the icing and colored sugars.

That old biscuit cutter on the counter is always used to make the wreaths.  The cutter came from my German grandmother's household, and maybe from her mother before that.  Maybe I shouldn't put it away with the cookie cutters, but keep it out for making biscuits!

I have a cookie cutter goose and a large Father Christmas as well that have flat tin on the top side.  I have fond memories of making these same shapes with Granny before Christmas with my cousins when I was in elementary school.  The old cookie cutters that are only used once a year remind me that I made a conscious decision to use the inherited "good" china every Sunday for breakfast.  That's so that I will actually enjoy it once a week, rather than leaving it always in the china cabinet.  Perhaps there are other "treasures" that I could be using with more regularity.

Tomorrow I will pick up the prime rib roast for Christmas Day, we will decorate the cookies, eat clam chowder for supper, and for something new, have "church" at home with our three families and three generations.

A Blessed time for you all!



Travelers arrived safely
Kitchen full of food
Christmas comes whether we are ready or not

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bed gone, lights on

I did manage to clear off the piles of fabric and with much help from our son Peter the bed was moved from my sewing room to the basement rec room.  Hmm, I guess there were things that even found their way UNDER the bed.  After our Christmas visitors leave, I will need to rearrange everything in this room.  Maybe I will even arrange for a "design wall" that is vertical, rather than the "design bed" I have been using!

Bit by bit some decorating is being done.

Peter also helped put a few lights in the yard to welcome night time callers, so far just a few deer.



Dear Son lives in our town
Eating dinner by the light of FOUR Advent candles
Cookie dough in the refrigerator

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Lego Quilt finished

And here it is on our queen-sized bed.  I had decided to back it with polar fleece, and skip the batting.  With all the seams on the front, this is a HEAVY quilt.

I asked Catherine to use an over-all quilting pattern with some curves to it.  This scroll pattern shows up well on the back with the black thread, and really disappears on the front.

After I got the quilt back, I simply cut the fleece one inch bigger than the top, turned it to front and zig-zagged it down.  A very easy finish as a break from my work on clearing the bed in the sewing room.  But nice to be able to add one more finish to the list for 2011.



A light dusting of snow to brighten the ground
Progress on clearing the bed
Beginning the pre-Christmas "O" Antiphons tonight

Friday, December 16, 2011

Party and what's next

The SpoolSpinner's Quilting Bee had their holiday party last evening.  There was a beautiful house to meet in, LOT of talk, and way too much food, and the exchange of gifts, and the drawing of new Secret Sister names for next year.

 Here is Adrienne showing the gift quilt she received, perfect for her love of lime green.

And here I am with my Secret Sister, Susan Shantz, showing off the "Magic Forest" quilt.  She says she loves the bright colors, and has a high rod around her living room where she can hang several quilts, which also have black backgrounds so far, and this will go well with them.

I learned from this experience in the last few days, that working with black fabric and black thread is now going to be a PAST experience. I love the contrast, but my eyes just really cannot handle it any more. When I was doing the free-motion quilting, I couldn't tell how to space my work, and I missed several sections altogether.  On sewing the binding down on the front by machine, my last step, I was a little dubious most of the time as to whether I was catching it down.  Way too much tension was created in my neck and shoulders!  So I apologized to Susan for any misses, and told her she was getting my last piece of "black work".

For next year we are going to handle the Secret Sister a little differently.  We each brought five FQs of our own fabric in a Spartan bag [local grocery chain] with our profile information.  Everyone grabbed one, not her own, and is to use these fabrics in next year's holiday gift, more added if we want.

So here are the five FQs I put in my bag -- my favorite combination of Red, Black and White.  I tried to use a combination of various sizes of print design.  I will be greatly interested in what turns up next December!  What do you think you would do with these?


Next project is not so much fun, but very necessary.  This bed in the sewing room needs to be totally cleared off.

What, you don't see the bed?

Look down in the right corner, there's the corner of the bed frame.  My dad made this frame down in his basement wood shop to surround a daybed and it had room under it for a pull-out additional narrow bed.

This bed needs to be transferred to our basement guest area, so one of the grandchildren will not have to sleep on the floor.  The transfer helper is coming on Monday afternoon, so I have to start figuring out where all this stuff is going and how it is going to be organized.  Plus I need to leave enough space in the room for the bed to be moved, it doesn't break down any more.

Hmm, I think it is only going to be accomplished if I use Fly Lady's method of "15 minutes at a time".



Found lovely red fabric for my black winter coat's new lining
Found a tailor who will do the job for me
Looks like a "free" weekend to slowly get Christmas prepared

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Magical Forest DONE

At 45" x 53"  it was finished at 3:45 pm, and I need to leave for the Bee holiday party at about 5.  So a whole hour to get everything wrapped and food packed and camera in hand.

The back has nativity pictures surrounded by a different evergreen forest.

Hope my Secret Sister has a place to enjoy this.


Now to answer Julie's question about the Advent wreath quilt.... How do you add more flames as the weeks progress?

The flame and the aura are fused together and left detached from the quilt.   I simply keep four of these in an envelope, and then PIN one more each Sunday above a candle. The aura has sparkles in it, so the pin heads mostly look like just another dot of white from any distance.  At the end of the season the quilt is retired with just the candles on it, and the flames are returned to the envelope.

This quilt hangs on the kitchen wall opposite the big window to the driveway.  I can see it reflected in the window while I'm at the sink, and also when I drive up to the house.

We also have a "real" Advent wreath on the dining room table.  We use only that candle light for dinner each night.  Getting a good deal brighter now that we have three candles lit!



Rain, not snow today
Spoolspinners party tonight
First experience with cortisone shots to the knees went well

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Magical Forest pinned

I finally decided that what the forest needed was some stars in the night sky.  As I worked away, it began to seem that five was the right number, less than the columns of trees.

I began looking for the backing fabric.  I was lucky I didn't find it right away, because I found this one instead!  I had sent a snippet to BumbleBeans, and had quite a chunk left.  Perfect!  My Secret Sister can use the backside for the Christmas season and then turn it over to the front for the rest of the year.

Then into the kitchen to clean off the peninsula counter for layout and pinning.  It didn't really take very long, but now my back is aching.

I'll have a "sit down" until dinnertime and let my unconscious work out the quilting design for this middle.

[After that's done, I'll add the star border and maybe a bottom border and quilt them separately at that point.]



A retired husband who does some Christmas shopping
Watching the birds at the feeders
A comfortable recliner

Friday, December 9, 2011

Magical Forest center

Well, the center at least is all together for my Secret Sister.  I am struggling with what to do next.



Getting some more Xmas presents purchased
Leisure time for reading
Can afford to pay for cleaning help!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sunday, December 4, 2011

GRWC Concert

OK, Julie asked what we were singing, and here's the answer.
Our winter concert is only half of the songs that will be in the spring concert.  The Small Ensemble sings two songs at each.
The Last song, "Be like the bird", is a round, words by Victor Hugo.  This one has really been running through my mind because it is beautiful and because of the setbacks I've noticed recently.  Answer: just keep singing!




Saturday, December 3, 2011

Magical Forest coming together

Couldn't face the idea of 350 HSTs, so I am putting together the blocks I received from Block Lotto earlier this year.  This will be a gift to my Secret Sister at our December Bee meeting.

I have about 34 blocks with the black as background.  And same reversed.  I have the black ones put together for a center, and now I need to decide whether there will be the opposite coloration on the outside, or simply end it somehow.  It's the "somehow" that takes a lot of time.

Concert tonight, need to take:
vestlike robe
cookies [chocolate covered pretzels]
cough drops
water bottle
stool [to stop my arthritic knees/back giving out]
cheat sheets, to study right up to curtain time

Wish me luck!  But actually we're pretty awesome.



Drugs for pain and congestion
Enthusiastic and talented singers
Confidence because my section leader is standing right behind me!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Step 3 Orca Bay mystrery

Bonnie says, "350 HSTs that measure 2 inches square".
I say, "I don't want to do it!"
I going to take the day off, and maybe tomorrow too.


Found and purchased one Christmas present today
Made my "cookies" for after the concert tomorrow
Got Block Lotto quilt blocks into the mail

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Ready for Step 3

What you see are the 72 string blocks required by Step 2 of Bonnie Hunter's Orca Bay mystery.  They are jammed into the same basket that is holding the 224 [+6] hourglass blocks required by Step 1.

Wow!  After being gone for five days over Thanksgiving, I thought I would be behind for another week.  But, "gotter done".



Survived exercise class, tho' my back has been sore since Monday
Survived quarterly meeting with financial advisors
Getting better at the Hebrew song for Saturday concert