Sunday, December 30, 2012

Happy Review Year 2012

The year 2012 in review, collage style (click to enlarge).

Four of these are UFOs to be quilted in the New Year, but all in all, considering what else occurred to divert my attention, I'm happy with this picture!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Random Round-Up

I'm trying to get my mojo working again after Christmas.  You know how it is when you have things you should do, which may not be what you feel like doing? 

Yeah, over here, that's me.  There's a quilt I should be finishing, but did I work on that today?  I did not.  Instead, I decided to start something altogether different. 

I pulled out some of the thrifted men's shirt stash to make this quilt.  So far, I've gotten the pieces from the light shirts cut out.

Somewhere along the way, I got an ear worm of lyric from an old Jethro Tull song, which seemed apropos.  Of course, then I had to go listen to the whole song, because the guitar (and melody) is sweet.

"Skating away...skating away...skating away on the thin ice of a new day..."

As far as the sewing mojo goes, sometimes you've got to slide back into it sideways, I think.

* * * * *
Last weekend was full-on, pre-holiday housecleaning time.  In the middle of dusting, I decided to pull everything off the shelves in the office and rearrange the Pyrex to display the Snowflake pieces in a grouping.

Being that I only have about five pieces in that pattern, I rounded things out with a totem of gravy boats,

and some vintage tea tins, coffee pots (yep, there's a little motion-activated red light in the percolator), and crochet hooks.

It works, for now.

* * * * *

Having several days off in a row for the holidays, we managed to watch quite a few movies, including Premium Rush (fair to good), The Avengers (I'm not big on comic book heroes and over-the-top action, so for me it was just okay), Lawless (surprisingly good), and Catfish (wow, what a strange twist; but Nev Schulman is adorable).

But last night we watched the best one of all, Pitch Perfect.  I laughed out loud a lot, and pretty much any time "Fat Amy" (Rebel Wilson) said anything.  Funny, and entertaining with the singing/musical aspect of it.

* * * * *
My nieces got a kick out of their pillowcases on Christmas. 

We had a good time with family, as always.

Nick, Michelle, Norm
Russ, Darrell, Jen
Gerry, Nita, Terry
My daughter gave me a new cutting mat for Christmas, which I really appreciate, since the old one next to my sewing machine was about as rutted as an icy side street around here.  I also treated myself to a couple quilting books.

I'm looking forward to experimenting with some improvisational-type fabric play in the New Year. 

How about you, are you making plans to try something new in 2013?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Twenty on the 20th

The official tally from Snowpocalypse 2012 in our county was 20 inches!

This was deck view yesterday, after it had finally stopped snowing.

It was 9 degrees when I woke up this morning, but the sun is shining brightly and it really does look like a winter wonderland!

Despite blizzard conditions, the mail still came through on Thursday and brought with it a squishy containing these beautiful fat quarters from Michelle.

It was definitely a day brightener!  I just love those rich colors and fun prints.

Yesterday was the day to finish my Christmas crafting.  

I got the last of the pin-up guy/girl pillowcases done—and wrapped before I thought to take a photo.  Then I put one last Christmas pillowcase together just for me.

I made candy sleighs using this tutorial, which I first saw when Thea made them—thanks for the great idea!

Somehow I seem to have missed the bottom row of four Hershey miniatures, but they still came out cute.  These will be for nieces and nephews.

It was the winter solstice yesterday, and I am so happy the days will be getting longer, minute by minute, from here!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Oh, the Weather Outside is...

We got a little snow last night.  

That's a reserved Midwestern way of saying "about seven inches."

Which also means:

a) SNOW DAY!!! [schools closed/people advised to stay home]

b) snow removal [no caps or exclamation points].

Right now it's still pretty quiet, except for the sound of my neighbor's snow blower and the occasional siren.  That's because it ain't over yet.  

More snow + wind = blizzard warning today.  Oh, and temps will be about 20 degrees colder tonight.  Good times.

Really, though, it's a matter of perspective.  From inside my cozy house, it's kind of pretty.

However, I was out there at 8:00 a.m., shoveling by hand the two feet of snow pushed into the bottom of the driveway by the snowplow overnight.  That was not so pretty, nor was I, sweating inside my coat, wet from snow on the outside, hair matted to my head under a knit cap, glasses speckled with moisture, drippy nose threatening to form icicles.  On the plus side, my cheeks were rosy.

As I sit here right now, I can feel my lower back seizing up thanking me.  I'm sure my arms will thank me later for all those reps.  This snow was wet and heavy.  On the positive side, I may have worked off those homemade dark chocolate nut clusters, sweet potato chips, caramel corn, macaroons, and marzipan I've been feeling guilty about lately.  Or at least a couple nut clusters, anyway.

Norm is pulling a 12-hour shift today and not due back home until after 5:00 this evening.  Had I waited until then, the snow at the end of the driveway would have frozen into a solid mass.  You gotta do what you gotta do, is what I'm saying.

* * * * *
I'm still finding things in the sewing room under this pile or that.  The other day I went looking for a missing quilt pattern and instead found a Ziplock bag full of old Christmas cards from ancestors and relatives I never knew.

This one is about 100 years old.  Back when the mail carrier left his own Christmas greetings.  I kinda think maybe he was sweet on my ancestor, Melita (or vice-versa).  She has a few pictures of him in her scrapbooks, one with his horse and buggy taken on his mail delivery route.

This next one is about 75 years old.  I actually found this one among the pages of a German Bible (if that's what "Biblische Kausandachten" means), along with numerous tracts announcing the schedule of Holy Week services "in English" from 1930 through 1934.  One of the tracts even had a pressed four-leaf clover inside.  (If you went to church services "in English," why did you take your German Bible, I wonder?  Did you only go during Holy Week?  And why did you date all your tracts—by the way, thank you for dating all your tracts.  And what happened after 1934?)

As you can see, it isn't actually a Christmas card, but the cellophane outer wrapping of a card or group of cards.  I imagine the cards themselves had a similar graphic.  The above photo shows the front (left) and back (right).

Now we get into the early 1960s with this next one, so it's about 50 years old.  Simple yet pretty graphics (click to enlarge).

And finally, this one from the early 1970s, below.  I love the graphics.  Can you see quilting patterns too?  See the interesting negative space (or whatever that's called) where the three candles intersect?

Okay, I have to get up and move now, before I can't anymore.  I hope you are enjoying the day from the comfort of indoors, and don't have to clear snow—but if you do, remember to lift with your legs!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


I had a lovely Christmas breakfast with friends Kathy and Marie this past Saturday.  They now have their gifts, so I can show here on the blog what I made for them.

Marie gave me a fabric bundle last Christmas.  It was fun to work with it and then give it back in the form of a table mat/mini/wall hanging.  When I was de-cluttering the sewing room back in October, I moved a stack of vintage platters and noticed that one of them coordinated with what I had made for Marie. 

That led me to make a similar Dutch Rose/Swoon block for Kathy in fabrics that matched another vintage platter.

By then, I was on a roll with the theme and made two more, one to match this Universal Cattail platter...

and one for this Stetson Marcrest Swiss Chalet platter.

Inspiration is everywhere, don't you agree?

And here is another mini I made during that time.  These are scraps left from my Chain Linked quilt.  Quilted in a variegated Sulky thread on top with white Isacord in the bobbin.

(Back - "Woodcut Garden" by Paula Prass)
I've paired it here with a thrifted retro Peace bank by Enesco, circa 1999.

May we all find true peace this holiday season, and foster it day by day.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Hammering Out Another Wheel

I finished another wall hanging yesterday.  This Carpenter's Wheel is going to a friend and fellow quilter with a birthday in between the holidays.

I started out intending to use Christmas fabrics, similar to the one I made for my sister recently (which she has hanging in her kitchen now).  However, I just wasn't quite feeling it this time, so I looked around at what else the stash might have to offer.

My eye quickly settled on the beautiful purple print this same friend had gifted me last Christmas.  I pulled a batik scrap and then another light blue/pink/white batik for the third fabric.

Here is the free pattern I used for the block.  I cut the squares for the HST pieces at 3-7/8 inches and the solid squares at 3-1/2 inches.  The project finishes at about 24 inches square.

The backing was a thrift store find earlier in the year.  Love those colorful sun/moon faces!  Also, I wish you could feel this soft fabric and its wonderful quilted texture under your fingertips.  Dreamy.

It is quilted in a Sulky variegated thread with just the right amount of shimmer.

I'll be mailing this out soon, so it will arrive in time, of course, but also because the longer I look at it, the more I might want to keep it!  ;)  Fortunately, I have some leftovers that will make a fun mini or mug rug.

Linking up with:

December Finishes

Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tuesday Museday

I added a button to my red felted wool ornament post for Deck the Halls with Dreaming in Patchwork.

Dreaming in Patchwork

Allison is having a linky party through December 30 where you can link up any post showing your handmade holiday decorations.  "Ornaments, tree skirts, pillows; if you make something that spreads Christmas cheer through your home, it is eligible to be linked up!" Allison says.  AND participants will be entered in a fun charm pack giveaway.  Be sure to check it out, and link up if you can!

Around here, I am working on what I think is the last Christmas gift sewing.  Pyrex comes in handy when trimming dog ears in front of the TV.

Are you done with your holiday sewing yet?  (I can hear many of you laughing right now.)  And as I typed that sentence, I just remembered two more things I am partway done with but have to finish.  And sew it goes.

Musing:  Sometimes I catch myself doing something very, what shall I say, quirky?  I started to write them down this week to share, but I stopped at four, for now, because dumping the lot of them all at once might make me sound like a total nut job.

  • Quirky things I eat/drink:  [Really, where to begin?]  I have been drinking iced tea mixed with diet ginger ale.  It started when I had a sore throat a couple weeks ago and has continued, because it's quite good!
  • Quirky things I do in bed:  Floss my teeth.  [What did you think I was going to say?]  Usually while flipping between Letterman and Leno (or Fallon/Kimmel if it's later), whoever has the more interesting guest.
  • Quirky things I do at work:  Avert my eyes from the gross photos whenever I have to look up specialty medical terminology in the desk reference.  Seriously.  If I do catch sight of the pictures, it's like a train wreck:  Hard to look away, but you really wish you hadn't seen it.  I try to focus on the words on top of the page and hope that whatever word I need isn't between leukoplakia and lichen planus [random example].
  • Quirky things I do in the sewing room:  I use the flat side of my seam ripper to guide thick or oddly oriented seams under my presser foot.  I'm pretty skilled at this, but you do have to be very careful to get it out of the way quickly before it gets under the needle.  Not that that has ever been a problem for me.  Nope, never.
What about you?  Care to share a quirk?

Something that is not at all quirky is this apron, though it is uniquely and completely hand stitched.  I had to repair a side of the pocket that had detached, and, wow, nothing like a little pressure of someone else's teeny-tiny hand stitches to make you sit up a little straighter.

I mean, just look at the stitching.  (Click to enlarge.)

Here is a pin I've placed for reference as to size.  (Duh, it was sitting on a cutting mat with inch marks, P.)

And no, I am not going to show you my repair.  I'd like to hang onto what's left of my dignity today, thank you.

I bought this at a garage sale a couple years ago.  The elder gentleman said his mother had made it, I'm guessing in the 1940s or '50s.  I bought it primarily because I liked the tree print but soon came to appreciate the overall handiwork.