Friday, December 23, 2011

Mini Quilts, and Costumes Galore!

Recently mini-quilts have captured my attention. Thanks in large part to Kathie and Dawn, I have now made seven mini-tops in the past few months. I have quilted three of them so far.  This most recent mini flimsy finish used some scraps gleaned from the scrap tub at a now closed LQS. Whenever I saw holiday fabrics I snatched them up. The plaid and the holly fabrics were both from the scrap tub. I hadn't planned on using them together, but when it got right down to it, I like what they do for each other. I want to quilt a holly pattern on this, but I will need more FMQ practice to get those leaves to really look like holly. It may have to stay a flimsy for a while longer.
See the yellow chalk pencil lines?
But I did finally finish the binding on this little quilt that is currently in my header. A few of you had suggested straight line quilting and I liked that idea. I'm happy with the result. I  used the "double bubble" design for the outer border. I'm sure there were other designs that would have looked better, but I am very limited in my repertoire of quilting designs I am comfortable enough to use. This isn't perfect, by any means, but for my third FMQ piece, I am satisfied with it. One problem, though. I used a Fons and Porter yellow chalk pencil to mark the straight lines. I have used the white pencil on hand quilted pieces and on my last FMQ piece, and it rubbed off easily when I was finished. This yellow isn't coming off. Any suggestions? Does it just have to go through the wash? If you have any experience with this color chalk pencil and can give me some ideas, I would appreciate it.
For now this little quilt sits proudly beneath my German Pyramid Nativity. It fits the top of the cabinet perfectly!
And while I am on the subject of Nativities, I have to come clean. No, this isn't about my soap making! I have been teasing Subee about her pencil boxes and other forms of organization and OCD-ness. Well, I have skeletons in my closet of obsessions, too.


These photos were taken at our family party last Monday. This is the nativity that the little ones put on, and I have three grandchildren in the mix. The costumes are my obsession. It started years ago when we didn't have enough little ones to fill the roles and we started drafting adults in the parts. I felt like the bathrobes for shepherds and oversized men's white shirts draped with tinsel garland for angels and old brocade draperies for wise men that we had been using with the children didn't quite cut it for adults to wear. So I started making adult size costumes. For several years we put them to use. See below.
 But the new adult costumes made the children's costumes look shabby, so I had to make new ones for the kids. The problem was that I never knew when to quit. Each year it seemed there was someone I needed to costume that I couldn't fit and I would make a note to get a costume made that size for the next year (even though that person would probably not be that same size the next year--chances are someone would be). I just kept sewing and sewing--grabbing fabric at thrift stores and clearance sales--I could fit anyone from a 6'5" wise man to a 1'6" angel.  Then a few years ago I was in charge of the program for our church Christmas party. I decided that the children should do the Nativity scene accompanied by the songs they had been learning on the bell chimes. I didn't have costumes the right sizes for so many children that were similar heights--so I sewed some more!
Do you know anyone else who has three large Rubbermaid tubs filled with Nativity costumes? Even now I find myself fingering fabrics at the thrift store or clearance tables in JoAnn thinking, "That would make a great angel costume", or "What perfect fabric for a shepherd's robe." I still have a box of fabrics for potential costumes that I dip into now and then to make "just one more wise man this year."
So, my apologies, Subee. I have no room to tease. I may not have pencil boxes, but I have Rubbermaid tubs of costumes that are about to burst. May have to start a fourth one. : )

Have a wonderful holiday weekend, everyone!
Janet O.

19 comments:

  1. Doesn't your Yellow Pencil have an eraser that came with it? Your stars look good and I like you scrappy mini too. I follow Kathie as well, I'll have to check our Dawn's blog. I love the costumes. As the family grows you have to make more, it's a given. They look great! Only two more days Until Christmas. I think I'm ready to have a great Wrapping Party. I don't have many big thing to wrap so it won't take too long. Merry Chrsitmas!

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  3. Was trying to let people know the answer to Mary's question, but it is late and I wasn't very precise. The eraser on the pencil does a great job on the darker fabrics, but on the light background I feel like the yellow is visible no matter how much I rub the eraser over it.

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  4. Your nativity wardrobe closet has yielded some definite benefits... what lovely photos. You are abundantly talented, your family has their priorities in order... well done, you! Merry Christmas, Janet and wishing you many more nativity reenactments in the years to come!

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  5. I love the little quilts - I also make lots of them. And the costumes are wonderful! What a great tradition! and having the costumes makes it so meaningful.

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  6. nice costumes and I like mini quilts too, though my daughter seem to snatch them up for her bears etc....

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  7. I love your family tradition and you are very blessed to have such a big family to carry on the fun. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

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  8. Good job with the quilts, Janet. Very festive! You may just have to throw the plaid stars in the wash. To keep my straight lines straight (well, kind of) I use masking tape or the guides that attach to my walking foot.
    Thanks for sharing your costume obsession. Too funny! I've made a couple of nativity costumes, too. It brings to mind the angel costume I made for my daughter when she was about 8 years old. Poor thing had to deal with a shepherd miss using his crook during the reading at church. She didn't look very angelic!

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  9. I like that German piece. Does it come apart for storage?

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  10. Hi Janet - I'm still here!!

    Love the FMQ on your minis and that is quite the collection of costumes which allows you to accomodate almost anyone who can join in. Do you let the little ones play dress up other times of the year?

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  11. i had that issue with the yellow pencil as well; i used it on a white on white fabric and had to wash 2-3x plus treat it separately. it'll come out but it'll take work. love your costumes!

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  12. I had a grey colored pencil that didn't erase from anything I tried it on and I had to trash it. In fact I've still got lines marked on my first quilt that I don't think will ever EVER come out. *sigh* :) Your nativity costumes are so sweet...and definitely worth a fourth tub! :)

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  13. Your nativity costumes are wonderful! A couple years ago I made some wisemen costumes for my nephews. This year I made a new angel costume for my niece...I have a long way to go to catch up to you though!

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  14. I try to only mark with General's Sketch and Wash pencils - just love them. Touch wood, always come out.
    Your small quilt projects are beautiful - I agree a wonderful way to learn techniques, so so fun to use around the house.
    The costumes are spectacular - go for another tote full!!

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  15. I have trouble with the yellow pencil and the yellow tailor's chalk. They don't always wash out either. I finally stopped using them. Now I use painter's tape (the blue kind) for straight line quilting. I love your German piece and the mini is the perfect setting for it.

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  16. I, too, have a love affair with small quilts (see my recent post titled Little by Little). I'd like to display them all together one day so they really make a statement.

    Your costumes are awesome!

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  17. Love your costumes!!!! How wonderful that whole family participates!!! The small quilts are perfect!! Love the holly and plaid together!! The quilt the German Pyramid Nativity is perfect!!! Lovely

    Blessed Christmas Lovely Lady!!

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  18. I loved this post...all the memories your family must have from the years of your live nativity. It's just amazing! Merry Christmas to all of you!

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  19. I never have cared for those yellow pencils.
    Your mini is wonderful!!! Love it! I tell ya...I have several all over my house and you can never have too much "instant gratification!"

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