Friday, December 31, 2010

Time to get serious............

When I went back through my photos of 2010 I only found 9 quilts that I finished.  In addition to those I quilted 5 Quilts of Valor.  I need to get serious this year and do some finishing.  I matched a bunch of wallhangings with pieces of batting in the batting leftovers box.  I also made a list of all of the quilts that I need to quilt on my mid arm machine with either meandering, loop de loop, or wavy grid.  If you want to see any of these quilting styles, go to my label list and click on Machine Quilting and scroll down.

Another Christmas cactus is blooming.  This flower is curled in under a couple of the leaf shapes.  I had to rearrange the plant to let it out.  They reduced the price to 2 for $5 so I got a couple more.  More therapy, less winter blues.

Here is another one just opening up.  They are so delicate and pretty.

Today is a sew-in at a friend's house, a good way to end the year.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Another finish, just under the wire.......

As usual a colorwash style quilt just isn't as pretty in a photo as it is in real life.  I have the binding finished but have not done any ditch quilting yet.  It doesn't 'need' any more quilting; I just want to find out if it works well to meander first and ditch quilt afterwards.  My shoulder is bothering me right now so I won't be doing it right away.
My hardware store amaryllis is blooming just in time to bring in the new year.









This bird feeder, a present from my BIL and SIL, is labeled squirrel resistant.  Well they should have made that little cover latch a little better.  It was opened twice yesterday and this little rascal just sticks his head in the top and eats.

I have had birds trying it out too.  They usually dart in and out so fast I can't get the camera focused on them in time.  This bird actually circled the whole center tube before it left.  It took 4 shots to get one with the bird in focus though.

It is time to retire my Charley Harper calendar so I was looking back through the pictures.  I like the way he simplified the black and white on the woodpecker.







I never thought about using dotted fabric for a calico cat but this painting in the calendar is good inspiration.  Every year I buy an engagement calendar with a different artist featured.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Another gift, bird feeders, and rascals....

My gift from the rest of the family was a gift certificate from Batiks Plus.  I wanted to hurry and use it because they have free shipping until Dec. 31.  I chose some fill in colors for my stash and my package arrived yesterday.


One of my friends gave me this 'squirrel proof' bird feeder for my birthday and Christmas combined.  Here is the 'rascal' who is proving that he can bend the leaves with his teeth and get into the feeder.  I put my boots on and went out and set the spring lighter so the leaves will cover the openings better when weight is put on it.  I also bent all of the leaves back into shape.

Shortly after I came inside I noticed this guy on the feeder.  He stayed there a long time so I was able to get a couple photos of him.






I even used the super zoom.  It is hard to hold the camera steady enough for it.  Another bird came to visit too.







I forgot to post this photo last week when we got the 4" of snow.  Those are coneflower heads with the snow hats on.  In the background is the brush pile that won't get picked up by the city until April.  Even a squirrel sneaked into the photo.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Binding.............

I found the perfect green fabric for the binding on the floral Kaleidoscope quilt.  I decided this one need to have a hand sewn finish.  This has always been a favorite quilt top, and now it will be a favorite finished quilt.

I got it sewn on the front and have 2 sides hand sewn on the back.  I was watching a movie while I worked on it so the time passed quickly.  This quilt ended up 51" wide and 71" long after quilting so its a good couch throw.


When I went out to get my mail I noticed icicles hanging from the gutters.  It was warm enough to melt a little on Sunday and then we were down to 0 again Sun. night and only up to 18 yesterday.  Now it is supposed to get warmer, even rain later this week.  I can't imagine that all of the snow will melt though.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Taste test session

Sorry about the angle of this photo.  I was in a hurry to document the damage we did to the tin of bon bons.  I cut each kind into several pieces and then each member of the family chose which ones they wanted to sample.  Even my 97 year old dad liked them.
Here is what remains and I guess...sigh...I'll have to eat the rest myself.  I keep the little cheat card near by so I can tell which is which.





The family had asked what I wanted for Christmas and I told them I liked the zebra dishware at Pier 1 Imports.  I had purchased the dinner plates and they got me the salad plates and soup bowls.  They are so pretty!  I have a little bit of zebra in every room of my house so they fit right in.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Snow, more snow, and quilting......

On Christmas morning we got up to another Christmas card scene.  We got about 3" of snow the day before and about an inch through the night.  It warmed up just enough so I could get the driveway cleaned off again.


Since my party is today, I had the day to myself yesterday and got another quilt quilted.  There are still 50 tops hanging on hangers so I didn't make a lot of headway this year.




This top is over 10 years old.  I decided to meander it on my mid arm machine and then go back and do some ditch quilting on my regular machine.  I am not interested in trying to ditch quilt on the mid arm.  I decided to go ahead and trim it and maybe I'll bind it before I do the ditch quilting.

This photo was taken through a screen looking out at my burning bush with the berries and snow.






This is a branch of the redbud tree with all of the seed pods, brown against black and white.  I have to admit that it looks pretty with all of the snow,  but I'm not enjoying driving in it.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!!

~~~~Merry Christmas!!!!~~~~

A couple times I have mentioned that I give my smallest scraps to a friend, one in my art quilters' group.  This little wall hanging was a gift from her to me.  The little triangle squares are about 1" and the logs are about 3/8" wide.  She is a free spirit and I love her work.

I hope you all have a special holiday weekend.  My party is tomorrow and my granddaughter is cooking!  Dad is back in his apt. and on his best behavior.  Every thing's OK here.

Friday, December 24, 2010

A special delivery.......

I had never received a package like this until yesterday.  Inside was a silver bubble wrap package, and inside that was a cold pack on top of.............



this tin.  A sticker on the outside of the box said to refrigerate the contents immediately upon arrival.  My daughter had told me they were sending this to me.



My grandson who is a junior in college helped make the video for this company's website.  I went to the website to see why they were shipped in a cold pack.  It is because they don't use any preservatives so the bon bons need to be refrigerated until the day you are serving them.  It sounds like they should be eaten at room temperature.

Included in the package was this calendar.  The first picture says "Here's to another year of sitting around eating bon bons".  That's what we all do, right?  Actually I've never had one so this will be a new experience.  I'll see if I can hold off until my family comes for Christmas and then we can all experiment together.

I made my last batch of spritz cookies so now I can put the press away.









W*l-M*rt had cactus plants 2 for $8 so I invested in a few.  It is cheap winter therapy in my opinion.  This is the first one to bloom.  I had never seen this many buds on each leaf segment.  I got a rose colored one and 2 very dark rose.  The buds fell of the dark ones so I'll have to wait until they want to bloom again.

I always need my close up shot too.  Some of the buds on this one are drying up too so I may not get many flowers this time around.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The day started out great......

Yesterday morning my sister in law stopped by and we exchanged gifts and chatted awhile.  After lunch I sewed the binding on this Christmas quilt and washed and dried it.



This is its official portrait for my folder that contains photos of all of the quilts that I have quilted on my longarm machine.

I may have to go back with my regular sewing machine and tack down the embroideries in a few places because they are pouching out.



At 4 I went to Dad's to check on him and his wrist was extremely painful so I gave him 2 Tylenol and turned on the TV to distract him.  At 5:30 when my brother and I got there with pizza, he was still complaining that his wrist was painful.  He wanted to go to the ER.  I don't think he fell and it is probably arthritis but I couldn't take any chances.  We quickly ate and then took him to the ER.  2 hours later he left with his arm in a sling and a temporary cast and totally unable to hold onto his walker which he needs because he is so unsteady. He also needed ice packs all night.  An hour later we checked him into the nursing home next door to his apt. for a few days.  I got home after 9, exhausted.  I'll find out the results of the X-rays this morning.

Added noon today: no broken bones.  He will stay at the nursing home for at least 2 days until he is steady with his walker again.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Did you think I was kidding?

We really do have snow on the ground!  In this flowerbed it is about 16" deep.  It was heavy wet snow too, not like the fluffy stuff when it first came down.  I shoveled about 4" off the sidewalk.  My back complained later.


This is turning toward the driveway from the porch.  In the grassy areas it was about 12" deep in the morning.  It got up above freezing so the snow is compressing now.  The pile is by my driveway, where my plow guy pushes it.

The border is on the Christmas quilt.  I decided to use some denim in the border too rather than try to match the checked flannel if I pieced it. It isn't spectacular looking but it is a quilt that will be crumpled up on the couch, not hanging out full view.








This is the piece I used on the back.  It is a brushed Moda print from one of their Christmas lines about 8 years ago.  I had a huge piece of it and it is so soft.  It's a deeper color than it looks here and the dots are deep red.


I quilted it last night too.  I just did a meander free hand and went around the embroideries instead of through them.  Now I need to pick a binding.





Don't you think my refrigerator belongs in that commercial where they show a bunch of things that look like faces?  I forget whose commercial it is. 

A friend made the potholders and gave them to me last year.  I like them as eyes and they are way too pretty to get dirty.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Done shopping, more snow

I went shopping yesterday morning for the last few things I needed for Christmas.  It was in the 20's and clear.  Then about 2 p.m it started snowing and by 10 p.m I had 3.5" of light fluffy snow on my porch.  Now they say it will turn to rain this morning.  I baked a batch of pink spritz last night.  I don't know why I chose to make the little men.  My kids used to like them but my kids are in their 40's now!
These disgusting little blobs are supposed to be snowmen.  I changed the disc after a few of them and started making the trees.  I would say the dough is a lot more manageable now that I am beating the butter and sugar for about 4 minutes before adding more ingredients.

I had intended to get the border sewn on my denim and flannel Christmas quilt yesterday, but it didn't happen.  Hopefully I will get the border on and get it quilted today.

Monday, December 20, 2010

A day of relaxation.........

I just love the delicate flowers on the Christmas cactus.  This is the second bloom and if I'm lucky there will be 3 more.






I put the pot up high so I could get under the bloom to take a photo. 

I didn't do any sewing yesterday.  Instead I put in some time on the computer and created a new 'page' on my right side bar, Quilted Journal Covers.  One of my readers mentioned she would like the photos all in one spot, and I agreed that I wanted that too.  There are only words at the top and then lots of photos.  You can click on them to enlarge and then if the little magnifying glass appears, click again for an even closer view.  Enjoy............
Last night when I got home from Dad's place, I baked a batch of spritz cookies, using the recipe from my Betty Crocker cookbook that I bought in the 1950's when I was in high school home ec.  I recently learned some new things about making spritz from a cooking site, like beating the butter and sugar for 3-4 minutes before adding anything else.  Also they said to add the flour a little at a time while running the mixer at a low speed.  The chocolate ones are always more tender than the plain ones so I'll have to make another batch to see if the plain ones come out tender too following these new tips.

A couple nights ago I baked shortbread cookies following a recipe from Sharon over at Grass Roots Quilting Studio.  I had never made them before.  I love shortbread and was really surprised by the recipe.  Follow the link if you are interested.  Madame Samm has a larger batch (4 times larger) of the same recipe but she adds dried cranberries and white chocolate chips.  I might have to try the cranberries in my next batch.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A humbling day...........

I had this great idea.  I pulled out this leaf print and one the Brandon Mably prints and did a little bordered square, 3 times.






My first idea was to turn under 1/4" on all sides and applique it to strip piecing that had already been quilted.  That should be easy, right?  Well 2 tries later I still have a wonky applique, so I have to call this one my humble piece.  I thought I could do it.......





It was such a pretty piece of strip piecing too.  I probably won't sell this one. 







On the next one I pieced the square into the notebook cover.
That worked better.












This stripe is one of the Brandon Mably fabrics too.  I haven't used the third bordered square yet.





Then I used a wonky log cabin square that was a leftover and added some batik fabrics to it for the back and inside flaps.











I like this one.  Of course I like any of my crazy pieced and wonky log cabin squares made of batik fabrics.  I love piecing with crooked strips.




I had one more strip pieced Kaffe fabric section that I made into my final journal cover last night.  I did the wavy line quilting again on this one with red thread.







This was a simpler one to make but I like it just as well as the others.  So it was a good sewing day, a humbling day that not everything turns out as anticipated.