Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas at My House (way too many photos)

Okay, Annie M., this is for you! It has been a couple of years since I have posted holiday decor. Here is my dome, sweet dome. I won't bore you with every decoration. I will just bore you with some of them.
This photo is from two years ago. We don't have snow yet this year, so it doesn't look as fun. Lights are the same.

Living Room


Dining Room
 Gayle (Middle Sister blog) made the middle quilt on the ladder above and the little quilt on the right, below. I made the others.

The stocking was stitched by a local friend. Ornaments made by DD#1.

Family Room
My favorite new ornaments--this "Biblical Names of Christ" set.
 Sewing Room

I have ornaments on this little tree from each of my daughters, myself, and a few blogging friends. Gayle made the little hooked pillow above, too.

The next two shots are not at my house. They were taken on my parents' front porch. Only at a quilter's home will you find Baby Jesus with a quilt. : )
 One year my Mom decided Baby Jesus looked cold, so she made this little patchwork quilt.

On the quilting front, I did get my little Nativity quilts finished. I have mine (the prototype with all of the mistakes) hanging up and you can see it in one of the living room photos above.

So, other than decorating, what have I been doing?  Haven't had my sewing machine running for over a week. I've been wrapping this stuff (my soap)...

...and doing a little hand quilting. This is the back side.
I'm loving the lights, music, and most of all, the spirit of the season!

Until next time,
Janet O.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Progress--slow and steady.

I've been wanting to try this pattern for some time (from Crafts ‘n Things magazine, December 2007; design by Mary Ayres). Well, once I got started, my compulsive nature took over. Now there are six!
 I put my own twist on them, and I made them a little larger than the pattern (6 1/2" by 7 1/2"). Once I decide what to use for binding, they will get bound and I will hang them from little hangers using little clothespins. No, I am not keeping them all! : )
They are "big stitch" quilted--well, at least as big as I can stitch. After years of being programed to take tiny stitches, I find it hard to do big stitch, much as I like the look.

My Christmas themed Lamb For All Seasons (based on Lisa Bongean's Old Glory Gatherings pattern here) quilt is bound and hanging in its place for the holidays.

For the first time ever I took my Mom's quilts off my quilt rack and put Christmas colored flimsies on it. The one in front is Practice What I Preach by Pam Buda. I started it at Pam's workshop last January.
The middle quilt is a log cabin star top made by the late Jill Reid. I need to get it quilted--I really love it over the back of my sofa.
The top flimsy is my Rocky Mountain Stars  based on Bonnie Hunter's Smoky Mountain Stars free pattern.
Maybe by next Christmas some of these will actually be quilted. And then again, maybe that is too much to hope. (Speaking of hope, I have Bob Hope's Lemon Drop Kid playing as I write. Love the old Christmas movies.)

The blanket stitching on my Spring LFAS is finished. I decided to add a chicken to this little piece. It has quite a beak--looks more goose-ish, if you ask me (which I know you didn't). Again, this is based on Lisa's pattern linked above.

 I'm still using the windmill blocks in red/blue/black and cream as my leader/enders. It is fun to have a project where the blocks come together quickly (and are larger than 3")! But since most of my stitching lately has been by hand, these haven't been multiplying rapidly.

I was going to try and post some Christmas decor, but it is late, I am tired and getting loopy, so maybe next time (though not a lot has changed since last year).
Until next time,
Janet O.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

I know what you must be thinking...

...hasn't she finished that yet?
This is a miniature version of Lisa Bongean's quilt shown here.
Obviously not (and these blocks obviously need trimming). Each of these 3 3/4" blocks (finished)  has 97 pieces and it is no small task (pun not intended) to put them together. After having not touched my sewing machine for 10 days, I finally got a couple more of these assembled. Eight down, four to go.

My little leaves (the larger ones finish at 3") are made and waiting to be put to use. They are looking pretty hairy, too. I must be neglecting the trimming lately.
I finally have a setting idea in mind, but don't know when I will make it happen--next Fall maybe?

The 4-patch is now a completed top. Gayle (The Middle Sister blog) was the only blog comment with the correct guess that the 4-patches finish at 1/2". She wins the prize--didn't know there was a prize, did you? I'll be sending Gayle a mini charm pack and a gift bag of my herbal soap. Congrats, Gayle!
I put a quarter on the flimsy in the photo so you could see how tiny the blocks are.
I threw this one together rather haphazardly, without much trimming (seems to be the theme here) or pinning. Turned out better than I thought it would, but there are some  pretty wonky spots.

This cupboard full of trays of soap is one of the reasons I haven't been sewing much. Fifteen batches of soap made and curing for holiday gift giving. Such a relief to have that done!! It is the only thing I have done for the holidays. I don't want to hear about how you have your shopping done and gifts all made.

Today DH and I took a little outing to celebrate an upcoming event. He took me to my favorite not-so-local quilt shop to the south of us (I have a favorite to the south and a favorite to the north). A 90 minute drive to get there, but we stop at a favorite ice cream shop on the way home and get the best coconut almond ice cream cones, so he is happy to go. 

Okay folks, that is all for today.
Until next time,
Janet O.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Scavenging, scrounging, and accepting hand-outs.

These lovely star blocks were passed to me a while back by Karen (Log Cabin Quilter blog). There are more stars than will fit on my design wall. 
They were half stars when I got them, because the pattern she had used to make them had you assemble the rows with half stars and the stars were completed when you sewed the rows together. I am not following the pattern, so I sewed the stars into full blocks. Apparently I wasn't careful enough, because now that I am squaring them up, I can't get them all the same size. I am probably going to need coping strips, so this is going to take time. I want to create  small cheddar stars around the cornerstones. This will be one big quilt! And there will be enough blocks left to make a lap quilt. Thanks so much for these lovely stars, Karen!

After making my miniature Kim Diehl quilt last month (which, BTW, I am naming "No Big Diehl"), I had lots of scraps that I set aside.  I scavenged more at Kim's class. After seeing what tiny pieces I use, people were handing me what they had planned on throwing away and asking, "Do you want any of these?" I did. : )

I used those scraps to make some Halloween and Christmas ornaments, and then some non-holiday colored ones. I finally got them to the point that now they just need to be stuffed and sewn up.

Of course, there were scraps left from the ornaments, and I couldn't just sweep them into the garbage, so I started making little 4-patches. I haven't sewn the blocks together yet. Can you guess how big these blocks are or how large this will be when they are sewn together? If you have some of these fabrics you have a clue. ; )

At the Carmen Geddes class last month, where we made the leaf hot pad afterward using the fusible product she was demonstrating, there was a point in our instructions where Kris (shop owner) said we could throw away the triangles we had just cut off. I think I gasped, or groaned (maybe both), and she added, "Or you can give them to Janet."
I collected a nice little bag of Fall colored batik bonus triangles that day. Using batiks from my stash, I am making them into small leaves. Still toying with layout ideas.

My 84-year-old mother is working on what she says will be her last quilt. She's not planning on going anywhere, she just thinks she has other things to do before her time here is up. As usual, I got her scraps once she had the quilt sandwiched in the frame to start hand quilting. There were a few units that she had assembled that she didn't use. I am trying to use those units actually sewn by her to make a few blocks.
There were a few HSTs, 3 complete and 1 partial hexie flower, and lots of trimmings from the piano key border of Mom's quilt. I'll be able to make 4 blocks like this if I complete the partial hexie flower. Just need to stitch down the hexie flowers on these two blocks. I seldom work with colors like this. Kind of fun, for a change.

All the wool on my Christmas "Lamb For All Seasons" has been stitched down. (This is based on the Old Glory Gatherings pattern from Primitive Gatherings.)

Until next time, enjoy the moonrise. : )
Janet O.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

It's about time!!

This was only my March UFO.  I made the final border really large, but may trim it down. I want enough space in case I choose to do swirly feathers. It isn't a top that I think needs feathers, but I want to practice them, so I figured it would do. Then it will be bound with the black polka dots fabric in the sashing. I haven't measured this since I put the borders on today (finally!!!), but it appears to be exactly 80-something by 90-something. : ) I had to put it on my design wall sideways.
My year of the UFO has been an abysmal failure! My goal was that by now I would have 7 UFOs to flimsy stage. I wasn't even expecting to finish one a month. I cut myself some slack for the summer months and the holidays at year's end, and gave myself one "bye" month just in case. Little did I know.

When I was asked, back in March, to do the mini quilt trunk show in May, I became laser focused on minis and have had a hard time disengaging from that mode. What can I say? I'm hooked! So here is the news from the mini front.

My "Fall" Lamb for All Seasons (not to be confused with the Halloween LFAS which you can see in the post linked here) is now ready to go up on the wall as soon as October is history.                                                             If you are new to the blog, this is part of a series of seasonal little quilts I have been making using the free Primitive Gatherings "Old Glory Gatherings" pattern.

Next up is what I am calling Cherry Chocolate Churndash. This was a copy of a quilt made by Kathie Holland (inspiredbyantiquequilts blog). I admired hers and she offered me fabrics to make one like it. The churndash blocks finish at 3".
I am really smitten with it. You can't see the quilting very well from the front.
 This back view gives you a better idea. Recently Mary, (quilthollow blog) described how to get a good photo of quilting designs, and I concur. It is how I take my photos of quilting, too. In the morning I lay my quilt in front of an East facing window and let the natural light spill across the surface. The shadows accent the quilted pattern. Then I take the photo WITHOUT a flash.

I think the quilt is very happy in its new home on this table in my bedroom. Love the colors, the fabrics, and the pattern! Thanks so much, Kathie!

Another nod to Kathie for the fun blocks shown here.

These windmill blocks finish at 4" and are made using one of the little templates found in this set from Baycreek Quilting. I lifted this photo from their website. Kathie had recently made a little quilt from these blocks and provided the link to order the templates.
You can order them from Baycreek Quilting here.  You get this entire set, with shipping, for under $10.

I am using this for my current leader/ender project. I don't know how large I will go with this. Right now I have just cut a bunch of reds, blues, and blacks from my scrap basket. I'll see where I am when I have used these up and decide whether or not to cut more.

We've had some gorgeous sunrises lately. A few days ago I told some of you I had run outside in my pjs and scampered across my frosty lawn, barefoot, to get to the corner of my yard for this shot without any power lines in it. I think it was worth it. : )
Until next time,
Janet O.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Meeting some goals!

Okay, so they are last week's goals (or last month's), but at least I am meeting them!
 I'm finally caught up on the Primitive Gatherings 10th Anniversary SAL (click on link on her sidebar). I think the next installment will be coming soon, so it was a relief to get the last wool pieces stitched down on this.

"Tiny Nines" is a finish! I machine quilted the center in a simple crosshatch and hand quilted a narrow cable in the border. This finishes at 7" square. The 9-patches finish at 3/4".

 My tiniest ornaments ever are completed (not as tiny as Raewyn's!). The Disappearing Pinwheel blocks finish at 1 1/2", and with the 1/4" border all around, they finish at 2". The ornaments I usually make are 2" before the border, so they finish at 2 1/2". You can see the basket ornie hanging between them in the photo below. Just a bit bigger.

Two more Burgoyne Surrounded blocks have been assembled (that one on the top right would not lay flat--even with that miracle product, Best Press). These blocks are inspired by Lisa Bongean's quilt shown here.
 I have the strips cut to make several more--I plan to make twelve of them. But it takes great concentration on my part to assemble them correctly, and I don't often have the power to think that hard by the time I get to sit down and sew in the evening. Since I am making the golds/oranges scrappy, and the blacks are consistent through each block, I can't just strip piece everything. It is slow going.
Once I have the units for each block made and can lay them out, it is fun to see how much they shrink during assembly. I had mistakenly told some of you that these blocks have over 100 pieces. I must have been half awake when I counted them (that is no surprise), because they each contain 97 pieces, and they finish at 3 3/4".
I've shared this photo before, but it gives you a good size perspective.

A week or so ago we had an amazing sunrise, and I missed it because I had blinds and curtains closed to keep out the cold morning air. Now I check to see what the sky looks like and this morning I caught this.
Sorry about the power lines, but it was rainy (doesn't look like a sky like that could be raining), windy and cold, so I wasn't going to run downstairs and out on the road to get the shot without the power lines. Some days I would, but not today. Besides, color like this is fleeting, and by the time I got out there, it could have been gone. It was gone within minutes, for that matter.
So I will enjoy the view with the power lines and be grateful that I have electricity on this cold, wet morning!

Until next time,
Janet O.