Saturday, December 31, 2022

Antique inspiration...........

I saw a photo of an antique quilt on a couple different blogs and thought it looked like fun because it has lots of my favorite shape in it, triangles of course.  I didn't analyze it well and made triangle strips going 2 different directions.  By the time I realized that I had over 30 strips of 5 triangle squares sewn together so I went in my own direction.  Yesterday I finally made decisions and got the borders all designed and sewn on.  It finished at approximately 64" x 75.5".

Here is the inspiration quilt so you can see there are a few similarities.  I decided to have insert strips sewn in to calm down the design a little and then made the decision to do a scrappy border instead of all one color.  You could probably sleep under the antique version whereas mine might keep you awake.

I don't know if I will finish anything else today.  I will be working on the many collages that I will need for my monthly recap and yearly recap and that will take a few hours, double checking that I have all of the photos in them.  I may only have the monthly recap ready for tomorrow and the yearly one on Monday.

Friday, December 30, 2022

Another finish...............

I spent most of the day hand stitching the binding, sewing the bottom edge of the hanging sleeve and sewing on a label on this colorwash wallhanging.  It ended up about 29.5" square.

The backing has another color stripe in toward the center of the backing.  I used that same color stripe for the hanging sleeve.  This one is made of all batik, front and back.  

I worked for a while on the border for the Sunday only top but only made decisions on one of the borders.  I need to work harder on that one today.

I spent a little time looking through the Kaffe Fassett's Quilts in Wales book and this is my favorite quilt.  I'll use it as a jumping off point but probably not using many of the same fabrics.  It is square so I will be adding rows of rectangles to make it rectangular.  It is named Vintage Library.  If you do an internet search you can find the photo of the whole quilt because they are selling kits for it.


Thursday, December 29, 2022

Choosing binding.............

The binding is finally selected and cut for the colorwash wall hanging.  It is very dark, dull purple.  You could almost mistake it for dark brown.  Nice and neutral.

I got it sewn on and hand stitched about 4" to make sure I like it.  I think it works well so I'll be stitching away today.

I did another load of laundry yesterday and there is still one more load to do today.  I usually do a load once every 5 days, dark one time and light the next time.  I heard recently that the younger generation doesn't sort their clothes by light and dark when they do laundry.  I wonder if that is really true.

The light coming in the east window was just perfect to get another photo of a red bloom.  I didn't notice those 3 curls near the center until yesterday.  I'm disappointed the other stalk is growing taller.  The buds started opening a couple days ago and it looked like it was going to bloom a little shorter and all of the blooms wouldn't have to fight for space.  All I can hope is that it will get taller than the other stalk and the blooms will be higher.


Wednesday, December 28, 2022


 A Christmas present arrived at my house yesterday.  I haven't spent much time looking at the book yet but I'll be going through to choose my favorite quilt soon

I opened to the first page and found this.  My daughter attended Kaffe's presentation in NC in October and she asked Brandon and Kaffe if they could personalize my book.  Wow!

In case you missed this in the last photo.........

Speaking of Kaffe, I got a few of his new 85 and Fabulous fabrics.  Since I have some pieces of the originals which he has repeated for his birthday collection I wanted to compare them and see if they were identical.  The new is on the left, old on the right.  The older one has some lighter colors and the red-purple ring on the big bullseye is a slightly different color.  It is easy to tell them apart because the new ones have a larger white selvage and bigger lettering.

Look for this motif in the next photo.

New is on the left, old is on the right.  This is the only new one that I can tell is an enlarged version of the old one.

I stripped the bed and did a load of laundry.  While that was running I chose some fabrics that I will use to make most of my test blocks with in 2023.  I may add some more as I go but I think I have a pretty good group of values for 2, 3 or 4 color blocks.  The dark ones in the top row are a dark teal, not black as they may appear on your screen.  Sometimes the only thing holding me back from testing a block is not being able to decide which fabrics to use.  I figure if I always have this group ready for cutting I will get a lot more blocks made.  The bonus is they will all work together for a quilt in the future.

We will be above freezing today and maybe get up to the low 40s.  50 tomorrow and Thursday.  I will get out and fill my bird feeders and enjoy the heat wave.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

First quilt top finish for December................

I pressed the 12 big quilt blocks and then sewed this top together.  It is number 4 in the series with Kaffe Fassett yarn dyed woven stripes.  I have 2 more that I would like to make and then I think I'm done with stripes for a while.  All of the edges of the blocks are bias so it was hard to smooth this out on the design wall without distorting it.  The size is approximately 59" x 79".

I also finished quilting the batik colorwash so I'll look for binding for it today.  Only 5 more days to sew finishes for the month/year, Tuesday through Saturday this week.  I want to finish the Sunday Only quilt top for sure, just the border left to design and sew on.


Monday, December 26, 2022

Multicolor batiks...........

Most of my batiks are sorted by color but then there are the ones that are too multicolor so they get their own shelves.  Last night's fun was taking them down and sorting them by under a yard and over a yard.  This will make it so much easier for me to find backings for my colorwash quilts or any other small quilt.  I'm loving the nice neat stacks.

My favorite find was this purple and gray blue mottled fabric.  I have a half yard of it.

I found 5 other mottled fabrics that need to go down to the basement studio to join the others.  I have enough mottles left to have another sale of them.

There were 3 other interesting ones that I think I should use soon.  The dotted one on the left is a lot prettier in person.

This is another batik I would like to use soon.  It is pretty and also challenging to figure out how it will cut up. 

I will be doing a lot more sorting and documenting some of the fabrics that I want to use soon.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Merry Christmas.............

Merry Christmas!

This is the Christmas card from my friend Linda Swanekamp from the Art in Search blog.  She is a talented artist who paints and makes quilts, and many more talents I'm sure.

She comes up with a new idea each year for her cards and I treasure every one of them.

4 of the buds have opened on the Amaryllis, just one more to go.

I couldn't stop at one photo of the gorgeous red.  It is hard to capture all 4 blooms in a photo and this one shows the unopened bud better.

We got up to 12 degrees yesterday but still strong winds.  7-14 day forecast has us having above normal temperatures.  I'll take that, thank you.  Actually the 40s will start in about 5 days.


Saturday, December 24, 2022

Blooming in time for Christmas..............

The first blooms are open and there are going to be five on this stalk.  I took this photo in the morning yesterday and another has opened fully since then.

The points of the petals are white and the rest a beautiful red.  This bloom is 7" across.

I filled my three bird feeders late Wednesday and there  have been a lot of birds braving the cold and wind.  It got up to -3 degrees yesterday.  They are in the Viburnum bush outside my kitchen window here.  I trim the bush down every spring because it blocks my view of the back garden and then by fall it has grown back up again.

 Even Jack Frost didn't linger in the -9 degrees overnight to make an intricate design.  This one is pretty simple though still pretty.

Yesterday I packed the last of the cookies in boxes for my local family members and then I had 7 containers to wash in addition to the Chex Mix bowl and pan.  

Today I will do some sewing.  I need to press the big X blocks made with the Kaffe stripes so I can sew that top together before the end of the year.  Also on the slate is finalizing the borders for the Sunday only project.

Friday, December 23, 2022

Stocking finished............

 I knew I needed to go into the studio early yesterday and finish the Christmas stocking before I did anything else and it was finished by 1 p.m.  It took me about 4 hours total to make it including time looking for the fabric, looking for the embroidery pattern and then the embroidery and all of the cutting and construction.  I took my time and didn't have to rip out any stitches.

While I was making 2 more batches of Chex Mix for the local family members I sorted my large Kaffe collective scraps.  I was looking for some that will work in Colorwash (pile on lower cabinet, low volume lights and everything else (large prints, duplicates).

Here are the low volume prints spread out a little more.

There was one more group, the small scraps.  Some of them will get cut into triangles soon.

Yesterday it was 28 degrees in the morning and the snow started around 9 a.m.  We didn't get much snow but it was blowing around with the strong winds.  By 10:30 last night it was down to -8 degrees.  Next Thursday they are predicting 47 degrees; so much variation in our weather.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Stocking progress........

I decided to reposition the embroidery a little lower on the Christmas stocking so the design wouldn't be so close to a seam.  I still have to make the cuff and embroider the name on it.  I was tired last night and decided I should wait until morning to tackle that part of it.

The lining is a modern Christmas print by Alexander Henry, lots of cute animals.  I like the lining to be light so you can see down into the stocking.  

Yesterday I paid all of the bills for the rest of the month, picked up a few groceries I forgot on Monday and delivered a Christmas gift to my sister-in-law.

Snow will start today and now they are down to 2-5" of light fluffy snow and high winds.  I'm happy their early predictions of 6-14" isn't happening here.  Now IN and MI is where the most will land and they always seem to get more than us.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Time to make a Christmas stocking..........

It took at least an hour to look through my Christmas embroidery designs to find an appropriate one in the right size for this Christmas stocking.  Then another hour looking for all of the thread colors it called for.  When an embroidery is going to take over an hour to stitch out I want to be sure I have the recommended colors from the designer of the embroidery.

I'm going to have to move the stocking outline to the right another  quarter to half an inch to get the embroidery placement better.  I used an erasable pen to draw it.  I'm using old blue jeans to make the stocking.

The Amaryllis is going to be red.  It opened a little more during the day yesterday but I don't think it will be in full bloom for a couple more days.  Photo taken with daylight from the east window.  It is really a prettier red than this.

Update on the "big storm" they have been predicting with early reports of 6 - 14" of snow.  Now it is down to 2 - 5" because the main part of the storm is going farther east than they first thought.  The worst news is -5 degrees Friday morning with a high of 3 degrees during the day and high winds.

I think the last 2 blooms on the red cactus are going to gone before Christmas day.  No new buds have formed on any of the rest of the plants.  I think I only have 3 that haven't bloomed at all out of the 15 I have.


Tuesday, December 20, 2022

A day to slow down................

Yesterday I got the two packages mailed in the early afternoon and then did a little grocery shopping.  Sunday was such a busy day I was ready to just veg out for a few hours yesterday.

Finally last night I chose thread and started quilting the colorwash I showed last week.  I have 7 rows quilted in the ditch in one direction.  There are 7 more seams in this direction.  If I decide I need to quilt the other direction too there are 14 more ditches to sew in.  

Now they are talking about 6 - 10" of snow starting Thursday and all day Friday.  Very cold for Christmas Eve and Christmas day.  They can't pinpoint exactly where the heaviest snow will be yet.  They have projected 17" at O'Hare airport in Chicago.  That will surely disrupt a lot of family parties.

Monday, December 19, 2022

It's all about the treats...........

First up was baking the second kind of Kringlas with the chilled dough.

You can find recipes for almost every baked thing I show by going up to the search box in the top left corner of the blog and type in recipe or the name of the treat, such as Kringla.  Another way but a longer journey would be going to my label list on the right side bar and click on Food.

The second was the chocolate spritz.  It is a little harder to tell when they are baked just right because they are already dark.  I have burnt some in previous bakings because I thought they weren't done and they definitely were.

These are made with the recipe in the original 1950s Betty Crocker cookbook.  We were able to buy the book through our home ec. class. (click to enlarge photo)

I use my Kitchen Aid mixer to mix them and don't work the flour in with my hands as is in the recipe.  I was glad they put the number of ounces of chocolate to melt because it is 4 squares for 2 oz. now compared to packaging back in the 50s when 2 squares was 2 oz.

Next was fudge.  The recipe isn't on the Marshmallow Creme jar any more.  I had to go to the internet to find it.

Next was English Toffee Squares.  I had nuts on my shopping list last week and still forgot to buy them.  Most of my family likes them without the nuts.  I have posted the recipe for this previously.

The last item to make for the day was one batch of Chex Mix.

Now I have the variety I need to mail 2 packages.  I will make more Chex Mix today while all of the ingredients are out.

I should be able to start quilting my colorwash today.  I watched the weather forecast last night and now they are predicting a huge storm with 6" of snow for us on Thursday into Friday.  However they show the storm track a little south of us.  Time will tell.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Baking roundup..........

Friday night I mixed the dough for one of the kinds of Kringlas that I make and yesterday morning I baked them.  I mixed the dough for the other kind yesterday afternoon and I will bake them this morning.

Last night I baked the pink Spritz cookies.  I plan on baking the chocolate ones today.  I only use Land O Lakes butter because it has the lowest water content.  Inexpensive butter has a higher water content and the cookies would flatten out and not hold their shape.  I also use cold eggs (yolks) and my dough always comes out good to use in my cookie press.

The last tray to bake was trees.

This is the best tray though, the broken or misshapen cookies.  I get to eat those right away.

A few days ago I baked the shortbread cookies.  They are a favorite of my great-grandchildren.

I hope to finish up the baking today so I can mail out a couple packages tomorrow.