Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Christmas trees are up

 There are still some fall decorations hanging around, but the 2 Christmas trees are up and decorated.  What a struggle for me this year!!  Maybe it has something to do with the green lawn and crazy 60 degree days we've had.  I'll put the stockings on the fireplace mantle and put away the rest of the fall things later in the week.

The big tree is in the corner of the living room, and the presents will go under this one.  It is a happy eclectic mix of ornaments from 40+ years of marriage.  There are still a few red berry "picks" to stick into the bare spots, but I haven't brought them up yet. 

This pencil tree hasn't been up the past few years, but originally I bought it to go in the family room.  This fall I put it up in the dining room, in a spot I can see from my desk when I'm working. The lights and fall garland added some cheer all fall.  Now it's decorated very simply with a bunch of icicles, a few large red balls, and several white frosty looking picks.  I like it sitting in the corner next to the Christmas quilt on the wall.  

The wall quilt hanging next to the big tree is something I made about 20 years ago.  The reindeer and Santas are hand appliqued and embroidered.  And they are embellished with some bells and ribbons.

I even hand quilted this wall hanging.  It brings a smile to my face whenever it comes out as it brings past Christmas memories with it.

Do you have any favorite Christmas decorations?  

Monday, November 29, 2021

Design Wall Monday - Nov 29

 I'm really slow getting this posted today.  How is it already Monday AND nearly December?

First up this week is to FINISH the pillowcases I started this weekend.  I got Jack's superhero pillowcase all done on Saturday, but only got as far as sewing the cuffs onto the other 3.  They are draped over my ironing board waiting to be pressed.  Then I can finish the other seams.

Three of the 6 vertical rows for this Quilt of Valor are sewn together.  The final 3 rows are pinned into groups so it really shouldn't take so long.  These are also draped over the ironing board - waiting.

Once the pillowcases and the QOV top are done - IF - then I plan to go back to sewing the diagonal rows of the Wisdom blocks together.  This set of blocks has been a UFO most of the year I think, so it's time to get it to the flimsy stage at least.  It does help me to actually write down some weekly goals, but after doing almost no sewing through the long holiday weekend, I really want to focus on some finishes again. 

And I really, really need to finish decorating my Christmas tree so I can put away the boxes.  My ambition for this has evaporated. 

Linking up with Design Wall Monday: 

I'm also linking up with Monday Making: 

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Crossed Canoes - all done

 All 3 table runners I made for Christmas gifts are finished and ready to wrap up.  I did all of the binding yesterday while watching college basketball on TV.

I never did get down to my sewing room to work on pillowcases however, so that is on the agenda for today . . . after I finish making 3 dozen deviled eggs to take to my niece's house for supper.  

Linking up with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge today:

Friday, November 26, 2021

Black Friday - NOT!

Black Friday means getting up early and going out in the cold to find the very best deals. NOT!!  I don't mind shopping on Black Friday, but I have never gotten up before dawn or waited in line anywhere.  Sometime this afternoon I have 2 shopping stops to make - the grocery store and the Verizon store. I need eggs, and a new cell phone.  

Beyond that I plan to do some sewing on pillowcases for the grandkids. And I'll probably listen to radio as the Jackrabbit women playing in a basketball classic in Florida. 

Olivia's music pillowcase is done.  It matches her piano lesson bag.  

Mason's sports pillowcase is done.  He plays flag football and golf, and will start basketball next week.  As a 4th grader he still just plays "club ball".  

There are 4 more kitted up and pinned together, ready to sew.  That one with the stars is a QOV pillowcase that has been sitting on the end of my ironing board for almost a month.  The others are for grandkids.  There is a superhero case, a zebra case, and a golf one. 

And finally, I have the binding to hand stitch on the last 2 Crossed Canoes Christmas table runners that I'm making for friends.  

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving

 I'm feeling blessed this year!  Happy Thanksgiving to all.

One of the best blessings?  That I don't have to cook!  We'll be spending today with one daughter's family and her husband is the chef for the day.  The other daughter has to work and her family will join her husband's side for the day.  There might be some deer hunting involved for him too.

On Saturday we'll join some extended family members at a niece's house.  Twice blessed with Thanksgiving dinner and family.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Wonky block

 It was pretty obvious that this block was NOT going to work out using these quarter sections.  

The block is Night and Day from the Farmers Wife Sampler book, and like all of the others it's made using templates.  I was careful cutting pieces, but then lined them up slightly "off" when sewing the pieces together. That produced these wonky sections.  Oops!

I did try taking one section apart and re-stitching it.  But I quickly realized it would be much faster to just simply make the block over again from scratch.   

That was a much quicker solution and this time the block went together nearly perfect.  I'm glad the second block for this week is the Snowball.  Easy peasy!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Seasonal décor

Christmas decorating doesn't typically begin around here until Thanksgiving weekend, but I got a small head start this year.  It was definitely time to take down the Halloween quilt hanging in my dining room.  This cardinal quilt has now taken it's place.  Since I hosted the monthly pinochle group last night, it seemed like a good time to switch them.

The autumn garland is still on my pencil tree, but that will stay until I bring up the Christmas bins from the basement over the weekend.  The white truck is something I just bought at a recent arts and crafts show, and it is looking nice and wintery on the fireplace hearth in the family room. 

Today is a non-sewing day for me.  Manicure appointment in the morning, donating blood in the afternoon, and switching out my work laptop for a new one in between will keep me busy.  

Monday, November 22, 2021

Design Wall Monday - notebook cover

My notebook cover is done.  Before doing any sewing, I switched to a larger 3-ring binder but the cover fit perfectly, which I worried about, and turned out just how I imagined it would.  

Narrow red borders helped the selvage panel stand out a bit from a small print background.  I dug into my 30s reproduction stash for that blue print and the red.  There is just enough quilting to hold the cover to a layer of batting.  The lining inside is simply muslin.  Why waste something pretty when it won't be seen at all?

I added a simple pocket inside the front cover using 6 leftover 30s print HSTs from some previous project.  I have a big zipper baggy full of these little leftover HSTs, 4-patches, and pinwheels, etc.  Might as well use them since I save them, right?  

This notebook holds my ideas and inspiration for scrappy projects.  For example I've saved some of Bonnie Hunter's Addicted to Scraps pages from the Quiltmaker magazine, and some block patterns from blogs such as Mary Quilts.  In those page protectors there is room to tuck in some sample blocks with the patterns. By switching to a big thick binder, I'll have room for lots more inspiration.  

What is on your design wall today? 

I'm also linking up with Monday Making:

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Scraps, scraps, and more scraps

 I'm still trying to come up with a final idea for my scrappy notebook cover.  I auditioned some orphan blocks, but have come back to the selveges, although I haven't  decided yet exactly how to use them.

The notebook I'm covering is the one I've been using to keep scrappy block ideas for a few years.  And before I finish the cover I need to decide if I want to switch to a larger binder.  No point in making a cover and then finding it doesn't fit a bigger size binder. 

For several years I've kept track of various scrappy block patterns that I like and may want to return to at some point.  So the pattern goes into a page protector, and I can slip in some sample blocks that I've made too if I want.  And they collect in this binder.  The page protector can be hung on a hanger using the hole when I'm working on that pattern for a larger set of blocks.  Then back in the binder.  

One of the scrappy projects that has been dormant for quite a while has been the fabric squares we collect at guild.  When a member travels they try to find a regional fabric, and then give everyone a 6" square of it at the next guild meeting.  This project box has the current collection of squares just waiting to become something special. 

I used a lot of them as star centers, and a few years ago I made a queen-sized quilt using those stars.  It's on the bed in the basement guest room.  But one of the scrappy block ideas I had saved was this Pat Sloan block from her Winter Fun series.  That leftover star, and 2 of these were in the box with the squares.  Evidently I planned to use scrappy neutral backgrounds in a variety of shades.

This one was kitted up in the box, so I sewed it up quickly on Saturday morning just for fun.  It is a quick block, so I may kit up a few more to use as Leaders/Enders periodically.    

Hmmm . . . this hasn't helped me decide how to finish that notebook cover.  But it has made me decide to use a bigger binder.  

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Saturday projects

 I've done a lot of scrappy projects over the years, and that has increased since following the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  And starting this fall our Sew Vintage group (local) is going to also focus on fun scrappy projects.  After all, our grandmothers really LIVED that motto to "use it up, make it do" - and they really knew how to use those scraps.  

So, the project we've been challenged with is to make a notebook cover for a 3-ring binder to keep our scrappy project patterns or instruction in.  Here is ONE idea I had - using some selveges for a front panel section.  I have a whole bin full of selveges, and didn't make even a slight dent in them with these.  A scrap of muslin is what these are sewn onto.  

Another idea floating around my head is to use an "orphan" block on that front cover, and there are quite a few left over from previous projects.  I'm sure there are some small ones that would work.  I just know that I want to make this cover fun . . . and scrappy of course.

The other "scrappy" thing I'm playing with today is a sample Storm At Sea block, made from batik scraps from the blue scrap bin.  Since I know that I want to make a SAS project in 2022, I've been looking at a wide variety of ideas, but . . . it was time to try out a couple of techniques for making the blocks.  this one is paper pieced and is about 12" square.  But there are some pieced techniques I've been looking at too that don't involve paper.  

I'm linking up with Rainbow Scrap Challenge today even though I'm a bit derailed from the rainbow today.

Friday, November 19, 2021

End of the week - This n That

 What's new around here this week?  

Well, I made a second Saturday Sampler block.  I'm really in love with this star block.  Searching my stash to see what I could use without any new purchases - and the result was this grey background, and batiks.  The grey isn't a batik, but does have a bit of a batik vibe.  Plus it's a very pale shade of grey so I think it will allow clear contrast even with lighter batik colors.  At this point I'm not sure if I'll still to cool colors of batiks (I have a lot of them) or add some warm colors too.  We'll see how it goes.

The first of 3 Christmas table runners is done. These are only about 16 x 20, but it took forever to actually finish the binding.  Lots of interruptions this week as I've worked a lot more hours than usual.  I'm hoping to get a second one quilted today and attach the binding.  

And it's THAT time of year - college basketball.  That meant 2 back-to-back trips to Brookings to watch our Jackrabbits play this week.  That is 1 hour 45 minutes each way.  On Wednesday evening the men played Montana, and Thursday night was a doubleheader with both men and women's games.  Those make for some late nights to bed after driving home.  Just call us die hard fans!  And next week the men play 3 nights in a row at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, which is only an hour away.  

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Winner, winner!

I am very excited about winning one of the giveaways that was part of the Island Batik blog hop this month.  The blog hop featured various Island Batik fabric colorways used in Storm At Sea quilts.  And let me tell you, there have been some stunning projects shown by their "ambassadors".  

I won a beautiful jelly roll of Calm Lagoon, one of the colorways from Island Batik.  It was the giveaway by Jane at Stitch By Stitch.  Her quilt was just gorgeous done in this group of colors. I don't know yet what I'll use them in, but since I love batiks I know there will be just the right project for them eventually.  Thank you Jane!!!

If you haven't checked out this blog hop, it's well worth the time.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Holiday sewing

 Finally, I made the commitment on fabrics for Saturday Sampler.  It will be a Christmas quilt - with scrappy centers using reds, greens, and white.  Each of the 12 blocks will be slightly different fabrics pulled from the stash.  The framing of all of the blocks will be this grey snowflake and the dark red hounds tooth print.  The center block is 12" finished, and then the 3.5" frame is added to all sides.

Seeing the store sample, and chatting with Cindy about color choice helped me make a decision.  The original pattern called for 2 different background colors (grey), but she was doing hers with only 1 color (white).  I realized that was one of the things keeping me from choosing a background - selecting a second shade of grey or something else. So . . . one shade of grey is the decision for me.  I may still make a second set of the center blocks using a totally different color scheme - maybe bright batiks, but I probably won't do the framing around those blocks.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

The "To Do" list is growing

 Every time I think I have just a couple of high priority sewing tasks lined up to work on, then something else pops up to distract me.  I really need to stay off of Pinterest and stop Googling project ideas!!  And after going to the Sew Vintage group on Saturday afternoon, I came home with my head spinning with even more new inspiration.  Boredom is unheard of for me!

Our focus in Sew Vintage for the next few months is to think about how we work with scraps.  I already do a lot of sewing with scraps and love it, but there are so many areas I haven't explored yet.  So much potential fun!!  One of the ideas we've been challenged with making is a quilted notebook or binder cover.  This photo is from Pinterest, but it is just one of dozens of ideas I've been looking at.  Now, how do I decide what I want mine to look like?

And of course after picking up this first month's pattern for the new Saturday Sampler, I came home and had all kinds of ideas about what fabrics I might want to use this year.  The main plan is to use my stash of Christmas fabrics but I think I might make at least one more set of blocks using other fabrics in the stash.  This is the center of block #1, before adding the framing.  I love this block already - it's a star, so of course I love it!!!  This Saturday Sampler will be an actual "sampler" with 12 different blocks, but set in a unique way.  So - if I do extra sets of blocks, I may just make the block itself and not add the extra framing. 

The next task will be an easy one - drop off a partially hand quilted UFO at the local senior center for the ladies there to finish quilting.  My phone rang on Monday morning to inform me that my quilt was next in line.  This was a Saturday Sampler from many, many years ago.  It's a Row Quilt, and I actually did begin hand quilting it myself.  But I'm so terribly slow that I quit after just a couple of rows. It was a good time now to just hire it done, and the ladies at the senior center do beautiful work.  I'm very excited about seeing this finally finished after more than a decade.  

And still high on my To Do list for this week is to make the next 2 Farmers Wife Sampler blocks, and add the framing on at least 1 more Laundry Line block. 

Monday, November 15, 2021

Design Wall Monday - Creativity moves to my kitchen

 First of all - there is nothing on my Design Wall this morning, although I'm getting ready for a busy week - sewing, work hours, and much more.  And one of the first things I plan to sew this week will be starting the new Saturday Sampler.  This is our first block - and I love the colors in this sample block at the shop. Stay tuned this week to see if my fabric choices work as well as Cindi's fabrics.

My biggest accomplishment over the weekend was spending Sunday with my 2 daughters making lefse.  We had so much fun, in spite of being novice lefse makers.  None of us had ever made it ourselves, and we definitely made some mistakes.  But we learned a lot and next time will go better.  We made good use of YouTube.  

For those of you who are not familiar with lefse, it's Norwegian flatbread.  Picture a crepe, but made of potatoes. The dough is made from riced potatoes - with butter and flour, plus a bit of salt and sugar.  And it's rolled very thin and it's fragile.

Note - my kitchen counter still has a thin film of flour on it this morning, in spite of getting scrubbed twice when we were done.  That flour was everywhere.  LOL

We learned NOT to make those balls of dough ahead of time, because the potato dough just absorbs the flour and goes back to being extremely sticky.  And we learned that not all recipes give very good instructions, hence going to YouTube several times.  

Laura did most of the "cooking" of the lefse, but we all took our turns at each step.  Jerilyn was the best one of us at rolling the dough paper thin.  

In the end, we made a lot of lefse, although most of it wasn't as pretty as it might be with more experience.  We ate some, the girls each took some home, and I even put some in the freezer to have at Christmas.  So, I call our first lefse making day a success. 

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Taking the day off

 I'm taking the day off to make lefse with my 2 daughters.  Hope it turns out just as yummy as this picture looks.  

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Back to sewing

Today is the day that we'll get our first monthly pattern for the new Saturday Sampler program, and I just know I'll dive in as soon as possible to make that first block.  But I'm also trying hard to stay focused on forward progress on some Works In Progress as well.  And tomorrow I'll be making lefse with my daughters.  Hopefully we'll remember to take some pictures. 

Friday was a good day to hunker down at my desk, and at my sewing machine.  With the wind howling and the temps dropping I had no interest in going out to shop or eat out. 

The 3rd (of 9) block for Laundry Line now has it's pieced frame.  That leaves 6 to go. Slowly but surely I am determined to finish this one.  I changed up how I pressed some of the seams in the frame, and it seems to be helping the blocks lay flat. This Kim Diehl quilt could almost qualify as a Rainbow Scrap Challenge project with so many different colors.  

I added a couple additional blocks to the ones received in the block drive from guild members as well as Facebook friends.  The blocks are currently on the floor while I determine if any need to be moved to distribute the colors more evenly.  Jelly Belly Bar blocks are a free pattern from Fat Quarter Shop, and this will be quilt #3 using them.  

And now that I have my main sewing machine back from it's tune-up and deep cleaning, I am ready to begin quilting the Christmas table runners I've been sewing.  The Peppermint Candy runner is sandwiched and pinned, and will be the first one in the line up. 

I'm linking up with Rainbow Scrap Challenge today:

Friday, November 12, 2021

Getting a slow start

I'm getting a very slow start this morning, and I think it will be a good day to hunker down and stay home.  I have some budget updates to finish for work this morning, and then I plan to sew finally.

There is a blizzard happening north and east of us, so it could be a lot worse.  We have sustained 40 mph winds, and just a dusting of snow.  BRRRR!  And that geranium that has continued to bloom on my front porch might finally be frozen.  

Yesterday was a busy, busy day.  Our group was honored to present 2 more Quilts of Valor at a Veteran's Day luncheon.  These men received their quilts in front of a big crowd. It was such fun!!

Mr. Gibson and Mr. Homes both seemed so pleased.  

And our group better get busy making more quilts because I think this event has put Quilts of Valor on the map in our community.  We even received a nice donation toward future quilts from someone after the presentation.