I read in Anna Maria Horner's sewing book that when making a quilt, you should find that you are almost spending as much time ironing as you are sewing. Today I can say that was true! Six more rows to go.
Did you know the Kindle can read the book to you? I'm thinking of trying that while I sew. Though the voice sounds a bit computerized - not like the normal sounding voices the characters have in my mind.
I downloaded a free book and it's fairly good! "Hostile Witness" - by Rebecca Forstar
I hope everyone had a great Christmas! We enjoyed a Christmas eve church service and a relaxing Christmas morning. Then it was off to the cinema as a family to see Tom Cruise in the new Mission Impossible movie. What? There were other actors in the movie you say? I've been a Tom fan since the 80s! My husband pointed out that Tom is getting wrinkles in his face. ;) Verdict was - It was a great family movie!
Well with all of my sewing and wrapping for Christmas, the sewing area has recently gotten out of control.
So before I get back into my projects I forced myself to get organized.
I had some new stuff to organize, after all! Thanks Santa!
I've had this fabric in mind for about a month now and when I saw it go on sale on fabric.com, I filled a cart! It's called Going Coastal. Can't wait to use it. It'll have to be a keeper as the colors and theme are perfect for our little harbor town house. I also bought a yard of my first Anna Maria Horner fabric. Yippee!
While I was organizing my fabrics by color, I peeked under the table and sure enough, my ever faithful sewing room buddy was getting comfy in his bed.
Here's a shot of all the fabric stacked nicely in it's new home on the shelves! I have read on blogs about the different approaches to organizing fabrics - by color, by designer, dots together, stripes together and so on. I went with by color and kept that new collection together as the one exception. I also pulled out the geometrical looking bolder prints and kept them together. Solids stayed together for the most part. The bottom shelf is heavier fabrics. I have an idea in mind to cut a mix of the heavier fabrics in strips and braid them into a rug.
Speaking of "I have an idea" - this is hanging on the wall waiting for me to come back to it and turn it into a big quilt! I can just see it as a big puffy one that I will probably tie off rather than quilt by machine so it can be really fluffy.
Duke thinks that sounds like a really comfy place to lie down! He has already started practicing for it!
So I'm all organized now and ready to roll! Should I work on one of my 4 quilts in progress, or start something new? Or will I continue to spend my time playing 10 games at once of Words with Friends, my new addiction?
And now here is a shout out to my favorite blogs of 2011:
I was out doing a little last shopping with my gal-pal, Sheila, hitting our usual fav spots: JoAnn, Target and TJMax. Oh yes, all three in one night! But why should the fun stop there? We decided to go crazy and see a 10:20 showing of a movie. Living on the wild side we were! We are part of a book club that happens to be Twilight fans. Our group was first in line for the last movie. We've calmed down a bit since then and well, almost missed seeing this one in theaters. Edward did not disappoint! :)
Picked up some last minute gifts for myself at JoAnn last night! Oh just some little stocking stuffers. Do you stuff your own stocking, too? I am the official stocking stuffer for all of us at our house. What would the kids say if mine was empty? No worries.....it will have some great quilting gadgets in it. I can hardly wait! Thanks to Santa, I'll be hand quilting my Chasing Chevrons quilt with some new size 8 thread that comes in a ball. No separating strands and repeatedly knotting and starting them? Yes! I'm excited. I'll also be trying spray basting for the first time, using my new Dritz basting spray from Santa.
All of our family presents are wrapped and under the tree! Duke opened his present from his Texas Grandma early:
He loved the thoughtfulness, but asked me to kindly relay to her that he is more of a bone chewer than a toy chaser. He did give it the royal sniff over and claimed it as his own, laying next to it on the floor with his nose resting on it.
Signing off now to listen to my son on the radio! Mitch and his friend, Cody have a show every Friday from 4p-6p and it streams live on http://www.kghp.org/ ......I'm their #1 fan!
Found a recipe on line for dog treats and thought it would be fun to make them for Duke!
They sounded just like what he likes - peanut butter flavored! Usually he gets the milk bone big box from Costco but on special occasions, I surprise him with the peanut butter flavored box from Trader Joe's. Either way, he's always happy to get his cookies!
Until now, that is! He politely said, "no thank you," when I offered up this tree! I tried putting one in his doggy bed and another in his food bowl. But no! The next day they were both where I left them. So, I have the most adorable dog treats all ready to go for Christmas presents! Here's hoping there's a dog out there that will like them.
So if you remember, this is where I left off with my Chasing Chevrons quilt top. I decided that since I had messed up a few of the blocks and left them out, this looked a little sparse, so I made more blocks. I was ready to lay out the quilt top again, and decided that rather than follow the pattern that Jennifer had made, I would randomly lay the blocks out and see how it looked. I also decided to group the colors together more.
This is what I got:
Too much chaos! I just felt there was no flow. It was too hectic. Nope, yuck, don't like...
So I picked up all of the blocks and made little stacks of them, by color. Then I printed Jennifer's pattern
which you can find here. I gave it to my 10 year old, Jack, and asked him to call off the boxes with the direction the chevron was pointing or "gray" which was a "no chevron" block. Then I randomly chose from the piles and placed them in rows as he called them out. Here is what we got!
Much better! More order here and the balance of the colors being spread out throughout is much more appealing to me. Here is the same layout from the side:
The pattern is basically Jennifer's with a few extra chevrons thrown in. Have I over thought this?
Probably! But I am a Libra, so I can't help it.
Jack deserved an outing to a skate park after all the help he gave me, don't ya' think? ;)
Here he is skating a bowl at a new park in Tacoma. He loved it!
I've got some stacks to sew into rows next. It's at that point that I usually stop and start a new project before completing the one I am doing. So if I can make it from rows to quilt top - it will be quite an accomplishment! I have the backing fabric ready to go, too. Am thinking of doing some hand quilting on this one, not completely sure yet.
The countdown to Christmas begins! Four days until Duke opens his presents. Oh you better believe there are packages under that tree with his name on them!
Didn't mean to take a break from the blog! I've been busy like everyone else these days, preparing for Christmas. We kicked off the holiday with some friends and some White Russians last weekend to celebrate our town's annual Christmas lights boat parade. The boats looked beautiful!
We were the people carrying red cups around and laughing lots! :)
The last couple of days I've been at the sewing machine trying to finish up some Christmas gifts. Months ago I envisioned giving each of my Aunts a quilt for Christmas. Instead, they are getting potholders! Maybe I should be calling them "mini quilts". Oh my goodness where did the time go? I had the colors picked out for the quilts, but somehow never got them started. There's always next year!
Last night the Argosy Christmas Ship sailed over from Tacoma to our harbor town, as it does every Christmas season. We love it!
The Gig Harbor High School choir treated us to a nice surprise - some Christmas caroling at out house. Then we all walked down to the park for more singing entertainment followed by the arrival of the Christmas ship to our public dock.
This year live music by a local college choir on the ship, filled our harbor. Oh what a night! I just love this night of the year. My ten year old and I stood at the end of the dock with Duke, clapping and waving to the singers. When it was over, we walked back up the dock past all of the docked boats adorned with Christmas lights that they had turned on for the event. Magical I tell you! Duke enjoyed sniffing all of the other people but thought the music was a little loud.
I really hope Santa brings me the Iphone 4 since it has a built in flash and my Iphone 3 doesn't. But you get the idea of how sweet Duke looked in his red scarf sitting nicely for his picture in front of the ship.
I'm back to making more chevron blocks for the Chasing Chevrons quilt. In my last post you can see how it is looking. Not colorful enough, right? Yes that is what I thought, too. At first I wasn't sure about the randomness of the pattern, but after looking at it a day later, I definetly like random!
Here is a glimpse of all of the Chasing Chevron Quilts in progress:
I've been pressing and trimming and pressing and trimming and finally...I have all of the blocks ready to lay out and sew together for the Chasing Chevrons Quilt-Along quilt top. I had a few blocks that were not up to par, either sewn in the wrong direction or had a spot on them (how in the world?) so they were put to the side.
I can't wait to see it all laid out, row by row!
It's not too late to join in!
I started some Christmas baking today. My Grandma Jewell always made these cookies and I have her recipe, in her handwriting, in my recipe book. I consider those kind of recipes - treasures.
My youngest son ate one and said, "These are my favorite cookies!" But come to think of it, he says that about the pumpkin cookies and the lemon bars, too. Hmmmm... My Mom makes these as well, and hers are just "better" than mine, that's all I can say. Not sure why, but that's just the way it is.
We had a fun weekend attending the tree lighting in the downtown of our harbor town. There were so many families in attendance, it was great. Santa arrived on a firetruck and hot chocolate was served to the community. I love events like that - it's what makes living in our town so wonderful!
My older son, Mitch, was there along with his girlfriend, who took this picture of Mitch and me.
They are both Seniors at Gig Harbor High School. I love the harbor town memories they are making. I know one day they will look back on their teenage years, living in Gig Harbor, and realize how lucky they were to live amongst such wonderful families in such a beautiful place. Next up in our community is a boat parade of lights. We'll stand on the dock with a warm drink and watch the boats parade by, all lit up with Christmas lights. It's quite a site!
Here's hoping I'll have a quilt top to post tomorrow!
So I thought these were every Friday night, but went to check into it and ....there's no party tonight. Oh well, guess I'll have my own party!!
Here is my set up for the night. I am ready to hit the ground running! Chevrons and more chevrons ...
I got my spiffy little $6 mat today to trim up these 3 inchers without having to turn my larger mat. And see the rotarty cutter? Reularly $21.99 on sale for $6.99. Yes! I love a good sharp blade. I was sawing fabric with my old rotary cutter dull blade and that wasn't fun!
I am trying to decide between a flannel backing (using these 2 above)
The kids are crazy over the carbonated drinks called, "Ice". After hearing, "we never have anything good to drink in the house" recently, I picked up a 24 pack at Costco of the Ice drinks. Drinks in the family room are usually no problem since bottled water doesn't do any harm.....but red colored Ice drink? With quilts on the couches and stools? OMG! First I hear the scream, "Oh no, it exploded!" - then I look over from the kitchen to see red dots behind the boy running into the kitchen. Of course the first thing I say is, "Did you spill it on the quilt?" Never mind the carpet, the furniture or the white t-shirt he was wearing, my mind goes right to the quilt! Thank goodness, the answer was no. The quilt/s were all red-spot-free.
Meanwhile back in the kitchen, my teenager was busy at work making heart shaped pancakes for his girlfriend. Are these not the sweetest thing?! I'll say it again, Senior year, please slow down. The big news is he hit "submit" on the first college on-line application last night. It was a big moment! I jumped up and down for him, mainly because he finally had the courage to hit submit after reading and re-reading it for two days.
And speaking of reaching a "finish line" - I wonder if I will actually finish this quilt? It is my 4th quilt that is an incomplete quilt-top. Since this one is an on-line quilt along found here I am making a real effort to stick with it all the way through to that last stitch of binding. Can she do it? I think I can, I think I can!
Although a little snuggle time with Sir Duke on the couch sounds really nice, too!
This summer I logged many hours at the skate park with my youngest son. My take-along sewing project most of the time was felt Christmas Tree garland, using a tutorial posted by Anna Maria Horner found here.
Today, I put it on our tree!
It was really easy to make and I love the homemade, colorful look it gives to our tree. Most of the ornaments on our tree were made by the kids or by me during my elementary school days! I'm so glad my Mom saved them.
I used lots of colors, trying to limit the green circles since I thought they might not show up as well on the green tree.
I love the blanket stitch on felt. It's so easy and very forgiving. I changed the thread color, using whatever contrasted well with the color of the felt.
It was hard to decide which picture to post here because I love all of our ornaments so much! Here are two hallmark ornaments. My first son was born in 1993, and that was the year I received the Mom ornament from my Mom. The mixer ornament represents my love for baking and is signed on the bottom by the artist!
Of course I have a framed picture of Duke on the tree. He's one of the family!
We love our Duke!
My son will be excited to see this on the tree when he gets home from school. He knows first hand of the hours logged making it!
This was what it looked like "in progress"!
I hope you enjoyed this tour of our Christmas tree! I am linking this post to Sew Modern Monday and Fabric Tuesday, a couple of great places to go for other great ideas in blog land!!