Friday, December 28, 2007

To Sew or not to Sew?....

Okay, so now that the holidays are over, and I have the whole week (and more) off from work, you'd think that I would be locked in my sewing room working on charity quilts or even a UFO or two?
That would probably be the natural course of things, since I spent the two days before Christmas hand-sewing bindings on two of my children's Christmas presents (table runner and couch quilt). (I'll post pictures later, as I can't believe I fogot to take a picture of the two gifts!!I'll have the recipients take them and send them via email)
I think it might have been on my mind more if I hadn't gotten sick at church on Christmas Eve (and all through the night- isn't there a song by that name?). And it's too bad, since I had a GREAT time at my sister's home.
We played 'Catch Phrase" with 12 of us- about half the crowd and had so much fun, that my husband even made a comment about how much he enjoyed it (and he's not a crowd kind-a-guy...)! He's the guy in the black sweater...
With the exception of my daughter Julie and her son, Malakai, who were dealing with being sick (gee, wonder where I got that?), all the cousins got to catch up with each other, expecially since one is in college, one is out of state, and one has gotten married (AND EXPECTING her first baby in May of 2008!!! Eeeze myee greeeen waaad enough?---is my grin wide enough?)I wasn't even doing well on Christmas day... or the day after. Malakai, my grandson, enjoyed ALLLL the cars he got for the holiday and his new blanket his Aunt Janet made for him.
If I had been doing better, more pictures would have been taken, but not much was done. Not by me, anyway! As the kids went off their separate ways, I went mine (to bed).... to continue being sick.
Of course, now that I'm well, and everyone is back to work but me, I guess my time is occupied with cleaning up and clearing out all kinds of stuff! (And does this feel good!!!) I will get to sew, but clearing out my 'piles of stuff' feels better right now. At least I know what the next project is.... a baby quilt for my newest grandchild to be.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Midnight quilters

I'm not sure if this is a local thing.... but I've been doing it for a few years and LOVE it! Our local quilt shop in the next town, twice a month, sets up a room in the back of their shop with tables, ironing boards, and for a small cost will let you bring your sewing machine and the latest project to their shop to work on. It runs from 6pm til midnight and it includes dinner (mostly pizza and salad and drinks). We have the BEST time getting our UFOs, WIPs, WHIMMs, etc. worked on while seeing what the others are working on and being inspired, encouraged and given a quick tip or two that makes our hobby much more fun. The nice thing for us (and for them) is that they keep the shop open for just us and run a tab for the evening, just in case we need a break from sewing, and need to replenish. (We all bring something to snack on for the evening, too). We learn so much from each other. Usually, two tables are set up as cutting tables, two for food and the rest usually hold 2-4 people with their machines. I haven't been to one since the summer and I'm soo0 looking forward to it. Thank you Lee for watching Kai for a few hours so I can get there on time...
I'm bringing a table runner to finish (for Xmas), and may work on the binding on my daughter (& her beau's) quilt for xmas.
His side is the orange (Orange Twist) and her's is the back side... I literally was doing the binding on Christmas Eve day (they went out of the house for lunch). Whew! (the elves must have been on my shoulder.)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Okay... about those Cookie Elves...

About 10 years ago, we became friends with a family, whom we would later find out led a secret life. They would spend days upon days prior to the middle of December in their kitchens, secretly mixing, blending ingredients, shaking objects of various colors on their creative mounds... They would wrap them up individually, bag them and tag them, then sneak out to their 'sleighs' and shove any and all family members in. Then off they'd fly into the night (actually, many nights) and bombard your house in the dark of night so quietly that until you hear the loud quick banging and realize it's coming from the door only strangers use, it's too late!! They've HIT!! And all that's left in their dust is a small paper bag, taped to your front door, filled with a cookie for each member of the family to hang on your tree (only to be eaten when removing the ornaments from the tree. ( This year the became ecological-friendly by 'going green'...)
Now, shoot, I NEVER seem to see it coming! Hey, that doesn't mean I haven't seen the van's tail lights(oops, I mean 'sleigh dust') just about to slip out of sight down the road. I just haven't caught the actual 'culprits' -- oops, I mean elves(!) doing the dirty deed. They've been doing this for 45 yrs now, so I guess that's why they are soooo good at it. Check out their web site listed over there on the right, in 'My Favorite sites to visit' and see some of the poems they include in the bag. Hey, Elves.... I'll be ready next year! Watch out! Now, do you notice how little quilting is getting done? Never fear, I'm wrapping a few presents for those at work and finishing a table runner (gift for the) party on Sat., but then it's hibernating to the sewing room to get two other gifts sewn for Christmas. I have plans to 'sneak' out to a 6pm-midnight sew-in on Friday, the 21st.... (last minute Sally, again.)

Unconventional Christmas tree-this year only!

Well, I think we have made this the 'final' decision (but then, I have one more week to change my mind-- and isn't that a 'woman's perogative?). This is the Christmas tree for this year. Now for those that know me WELL, this is soooo not right, but having a daughter and grandson living here, with ALLLL their stuff, makes you rethink space.

Notice the toys already up against the box heater.... and the only chair in the room (well, okay, there IS a couch off to the immediate right of our cat, Squeaker). If I put our currently used tree up (next photo), it would literally take up over 25% of the room. Seeee? Now, I know I could put the toys in the computer room, or even the real tree in there, too. But think.... I have elder daughter coming with her beau for the holidays and they usually sleep on the living room couch (you know, that one that you can't see) since it folds out into a queen-sized bed. And truly, if we set the real tree in the computer room, it would take up every available space in there, too. Did I say our house is small? I now see that the nylon string that holds up the spirals will hold up 'light' ornaments, but as you can see, not too much is going on it (of course, our favorite, "Monkey in a red pouch" made it....)

I suppose the only thing that will make us put up the 'real/fake' tree is the protest from the traveling daughter (then she can put it up ,decorate it AND sleep on the 'small' fold out bed from the twin bed...). But for this year....oh well. Did I tell you we got hit by the 'cookie elves'?..... That may be another posting.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Signature Fabric

A few years ago I read that some quilters have a 'signature fabric'... something that says something about them. Something that speaks to them. A fabric that they put in every quilt they make. Even though I remember thinking that was such a great idea, I had no idea what I would use as MY signature fabric, .... until I saw this fabric.
It had a lot of qualities that I would say mean something. My favorite color rose is salmon (albeit a softer shade), and I do tend to use 'bright' shades of fabric in my quilts... it's a bit 'wild and crazy', of which I'm a little bit... and the olive, ...oh, the olive.
Let me tell you about the olive. My oldest daughter just doesn't tell too many people she loves them (even though we all know she MUST!), so when she went off to college, I announced that I was changing my name. "What??" she asked. "Yup, I'm changing it to 'Olive Umom' and I expect to be called by my full name from now on." She just smiled and slowly shook her head.
Well, the emails we traded during her tenure at college, started or were signed 'Olive' many times (she did say "I love you, too, Mom" as I turned to leave her in her first dorm room... =-)-- and a tear slide down my cheek as I walked down the hallway...) and even now, we use the endearing term, "Olive". So you can see this is a very appropriate fabric for my signature. Now I make sure I put some part of it in most every quilt. It's almost like an Alfred Hitchcock movie...... ("What did she write???"...yeah, I'm not multipersonalitied...). You know,... when Mr Hitchcock made a 'guest appearance' in all his movies, sometimes just a 'whisper' of an appearance, way in the background, in a crowd. Well, so it is in my quilts.
Hey, dear daughter.... "Olive"

Can I push the deadline any more?

Okay! I have finished the binding on the quilt below in the "Unconventional Baby Quilt" posting, just need to trim those pesky threads...(in my 'marvelous' machine quilting stitches- I'm really not great at it, but I'm just 'doing it' anyway!!). I suppose I should wash it, since it's going to a 'baby' and it would be nice to make sure the quilt won't fall apart with the first washing.
In the meantime, my grandson, Kai, walked over to me on the couch and 'snagged' it to wrap around him to watch "Frosty the Snowman"...
He's my critic. My official critic. He just LOVES to snuggle with my 'flimsies' (tops done but not quilted). I guess it passed inspection. It's 'snuggle-able'.
I love you too, Kai
...............Maybe I'll make a 'pillowcase' to hold the quilt, instead of wrapping it in 'shower' paper (which I would have to get to a store to purchase on the day of the shower- bad idea) , then tie is with ribbons (which I have in the house). Okay, I have to take care of that now....later (did I tell you the shower is in less than 4 hours???? Yikes!)

Monday, December 3, 2007

Unconventional Baby Quilt

I am trying like crazy to finish a 'baby quilt' for a shower this Sat., but as you can see I'm really writing here instead. This girl who is pregnant is a co-worker/friend's daughter and last I remembered she was NEVER gonna have kids. (Yeah, right....). Well, I guess her husband convinced her. She thought it would be "Max", but now it's a "Sophie". I decided to make her a baby quilt of the most unconventional kind, since 'it won't be a girlie-girl', and I remember they love Maine, I started with the border fabric. I've always wanted to make an "I Spy" quilt of some kind, so I pulled some 'critter' fabric from my stash for the center of the blocks. I love log cabin blocks, so I decided to paper-piece this so I could design the blocks to go in a maze, as though the critters are following a path from the center to 'get out of the forest'. I made sure I used a lot of my stash for the 'paths', then after cutting all the sashing and the border pieces, I realized when I went to look at my notes that I'd planned for (7" paper-pieced blocks) but after they were sewed, they were actually 9" blocks!! Since the sashing and the borders were all directional, I thought I might be in trouble.... I gotta tell ya, I prayed a lot, closed my eyes and put it together! It worked. I knew I would have extra, I guess I just skated through with 'less' extra. Did I mention I was a "Fly by the seat of my pants" kind of quilter??? I have it all machine quilted (NOT MY FORTE!!), except for the border. I decided to add a kid-friendly pieced back to it-- red fabric with tan, black and white dogs on it... since they have a Chihuahua, named Chuck. Hope to sew the binding on this week (don't have a choice) at work on my breaks.