Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!!!

It's so hard to believe that the end of a year and the end of a decade are close at hand. As someone pointed out to me last night, tomorrow will be 1/1/11. Which adds up to 4, which is my lucky number and, 2011 also adds up to 4. So who knows what wonderful things await?

As 2010 ends, I'd like to take a minute to thank my family, friends, and students for a simply stupendous year. There are some surprises in store for the new year--you'll have to stay tuned to find out what.

Thank you to the readers of the blog--and a special thanks to those of you who comment. We are coming up on the 300th post--I feel a give-away coming on!

My wishes for you? Health, happiness, family, friends--and enough--for 2011 and beyond.

"See" you next year!

Big hugs to everyone!

Thursday, December 30, 2010


With just one day left in 2010 (the end of a decade), I've been trying to complete a few things.

Remember the blue snowflake batik behind the wristers a couple posts ago? Well, here's what I did with it. Three Black Spruce blocks from Judy Hopkins' 501 Rotary-cut Quilt Blocks. Nine inches finished, two inch sashing and two-and-a-half inch borders. Binding will be the same fabric as the borders. Nice long wallhanging and not too seasonal.

A detail shot of the blocks. Looks hard, but really isn't--shhhh, that's our secret!

I wanted to do a little something to put in a friend's holiday card. Raw edge ornaments are lots of fun and I don't feel bad if kids or animals (or naughty adults) give them a rough time. I papercut this pattern and then hand quilted it with Hobbs bleached cotton batting. I used Sulky Blendables in 12 wt. for the outside, and 40 wt. Mettler quilting thread for the detail work. Folk art fun!

Socks. I had one sock done months ago, and the second into the foot area. The yarn is Cascade Heirloom and the colors are much richer than they show in the pictures. I have one more pair that is one whole sock and the other is still on the ribbing--they will not be finished in 2010, but is by my chair to finish soon. I also started a hat as a gift (I wisely did not say which year it was going to be gifted!). And I have been doing some other hand quilting. And attempting to clean up my sewing rooms. I am going to have some new lighting put into my sewing rooms and am interested in hearing what you have and whether you like or dislike your choices. Remodeling is expensive enough when it is done once--having to re-do something because of an error in judgment is just ludicrous.

That's it for tonight. I will be sure to post tomorrow night to finish off the year. Hope everyone has enjoyed the holidays so far. And remember to designate a driver if you are going to be out and about Friday night.


Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!!!

If you have not finished those last minute gifts...just give up. It's more fun for everyone, especially you, not to have to sit up til the wee hours. You know you'll be cranky all Christmas Day...and your family probably knows it too.

I finished these "wristers" for my mom a couple weeks ago. Nice washable wool.
And a detail. Thank you to my lovely hand model...heehee, it's me! (Sorry, I think I'm a bit giddy!) See the blue batik in the background? That will be showcased in a different post with machine piecing. Lovely backdrop for winter wristers, don't you think?

In two evenings I knit this boa. One skein each of black and red fun fur. The knitting goes fast, but pulling the "eyelashes" back out to fluff the scarf is not nearly as much fun.

Then one evening I made two potholders and four coasters. These are both for the same friend. No worries...she doesn't read my blog!

And two pillowcases. Sorry, I am of the less is more thought for pillowcases. No fancy cuff and trim. I choose fabrics I love and want as much of those as I can get into each case. Plus I can make more in less time, making them the perfect last minute gift!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night. Spend quality time with your loved ones, remember our troops in your prayers, and tell people how much you love them. Don't assume they know.

Special hugs to each and every one of you,

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Picture This

On Thursday morning, I got up and, after doing the morning pet things, jumped in the shower. After washing my hair, I stuck my face into the flow of water and grabbed my pouf from the hook. Placing the pouf under my chin so that I could enjoy the water while wetting the pouf, I got my "Zen" on. Inhaling deeply, I thought "Wow, my pouf stinks!" (You have to understand that I have had a cold for several weeks and only just now can smell normally.) Moving my head from under the water, I open my eyes to find:

Yes, that's right...a stink bug!!!!! THAT's what stunk! The official name of this prehistoric-looking bug is Western Conifer Seed Bug, but it still stinks when startled! Needless to say, the Zen moment was gone, there was much flailing of arms and the stink bug finally released his hold on my pouf (they are quite tenacious). The shower was successfully concluded, sans the Zen, and the stink bug lived on.

Yes, I know this was probably way too much information, but really, when your day starts with a stink bug in your pouf, things have got to get better!

Here's hoping you never have to find out personally. This is one experience that is way better lived vicariously.

Next post will be some finished stuff and a bit of other stuff. Stay tuned!


P.S. I'm listening to Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts and reading Needled to Death by Maggie Sefton. And I'm watching National Velvet (the original with Mickey Rooney and Elizabeth Taylor). 1944--Wow.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Remember Fall?

While in the throes of winter, I found it comforting to look back to late October and wind-swept clouds and storm tossed Lake Champlain. No coat required. No boots...or mittens...or hats...or scarves. Do you remember those days?

I am ten rows from finishing the second wrister. Today was a day to run errands, plus my new laundry room window was delivered. Not installed...but in the building! How exciting is that!

Plus...Nona rocks!!!! She won Hell's Kitchen. Russell was a sore loser--nobody would have wanted to work for him--and then he threatened to blackball his whole team if they tried to work in any city he is. A perfect example of poor sportsmanship. Proving yet again that "if you can't be a shining example, you can serve as a horrible warning"!

More tomorrow!


Tuesday, December 14, 2010


A great day to be inside and sewing/knitting. Several weeks ago I had made 34 blocks from the Gems pattern by Blue Underground. I finished two more today and set the top together. I originally thought I would do a 6 x 6 set, couldn't count to six across, decided I had enough blocks to do 7 rows and couldn't figure out why I had one extra block. (Obviously not a good math day!) These are the same fabrics I used for Serenity and I still love them. The colors are not reproduced very well here. The ones that look almost white are a yellow/lime green and beige. But you get the picture (hee hee!). For those of you who are thinking of doing this pattern, the more fabrics you have, the easier it is to arrange. I just wanted to use up what I had.

A peek at my chandelier and its resident. I am in the process of replacing the plastic prisms with real glass ones. I got 10 at an auction recently and thought that would take me quite a ways--until I started replacing them and found I need at least 31 more! So it is a work in progress. None of the real prisms show in this pic.

And this is an up-to-the-minute picture of my Christmas cactus in bloom. Only one flower opens at a time--but they are so beautiful.

I also basted a small hand quilting project and have knitted on the hand warmers for my mom. One is done--the other one almost half. Also spent a bit of time looking for the perfect hat pattern; I have some beautiful light rose wool that keeps nudging me.

Hope your day has been productive--or not--whatever the best one is for you.

I just finished listening to The Charlemagne Pursuit by Steve Berry and am now listening to Lost Empire by Clive Cussler. And Christmas Glee.

Hugs to all,

Monday, December 13, 2010

Good Stuff and Just Stuff

After almost 24 hours and at least twelve tries, the photos downloaded. I'm not sure what the problem was, but I'm going to quickly move on before something else happens!

A few weeks ago, several of us who meet to quilt were asked to do quilts for a hospital nursery. The quilts were supposed to be 36 inches square, machine quilted and sturdy. I made the two that follow. The other ladies used smaller squares and borders--beautifully done. But they all wondered why they hadn't thought of doing the bigger squares--thirty-six 6.5 inch squares. I cut and pieced both tops in a couple hours. The machine quilting took a couple hours each and I machine topstitched the binding in place. Not a single hand stitch!

The quilting on the first one is done with (sort-of) straight lines on the diagonal as well as horizontally and vertically. I used variegated King Tut thread in both needle and bobbin.

Same fabrics, just arranged differently. Each quilt has a couple "different" squares because I ran out of a couple. All the fabrics were from my stash; I used muslin for the backs and an old Jinny Beyer print for the binding.

A close-up of the quilting on the second one. Just started on one side and drove a crooked path to the other side. No lines match or mirror each other. Whenever something went a bit wonky, I told myself that some wee one would love it despite its faults. Two good things.

And now Just Stuff: First, birds...lots and lots of birds. This was taken in November. I think they were all smart enough to head south. Or I definitely would have seen them in the snow. Okay, we've had enough winter. We are going to be so lucky to get lake effect from now until early Thursday, with high winds and bone-chilling wind chill temps.

Looking for some great Christmas music? Try Glee the Music, the Christmas Album. It's toe-tapping, waltz around the room good.

I haven't forgotten the window story--just need to get the window painted and the curtains up to show the before and after pics at the same time.

Last Saturday I hosted the annual make and take ornament class at the local library. Twelve people came and made tree ornaments complete with hand quilting, buttons, stars and imagination. I think I figured out this was the 11th year--and each year is a different ornament.

Guess I'd better close for now. If you can, stay in and do some quilting--it's perfect weather for that!

Hugs to all,


Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Change in the Weather

The day started with temperatures in the 60s and high winds, followed by torrential rain and flooding. About noon the temp dropped and we had:

Yes, snow. Every tiny branch was coated. This is the view from my new sewing room window! More on that in another post. And a detail of the first snowfall in December. (It's not the first of the season.)

I've been keeping busy and have lots of show and tell. Just have to get the pics organized and up on the blog. Don't give up!

Hugs to all,

P.S. Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. Truly a time to be thankful for so many things.