Sunday, December 25, 2011

Another Christmas Finish

DH had to work today, so I spent the day enjoying a long list of Christmas DVDs, singing along with Bing, and doing some sewing!  I was able to finish up this Christmas table runner for my SIL; we'll be visiting with my ILs tomorrow, so the timing was good!  She's a big fan of kitties - when I saw the fabric, I thought of her immediately.

Remember my previous post about batiks?  Well, I also have nearly finished that project (another Christmas present) - just a tiny bit of hand sewing to do, then I'll be able to show you the final product!  It's turned out beautifully, if I do say so myself...

Merry Christmas!  Now, take up your needle and sew--

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you a joyful, wonderous Christmas!!

Merry Christmas to all!

A Christmas Finish

I was able to finish the snowman tree skirt and a fun pair of pillowcases for my cousin.  I know that she's already opened the package with the tree skirt in it, and we're *so* close to Christmas that I feel comfortable showing you this picture with both gifts in it.  The pillowcases were a last-minute addition - when I saw the Christmas M&M fabric, I knew I had to do something with it for my M&M-lovin' relative!

Hope you had fun making something special for someone special in your life!

Now, take up your needle and sew!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Carolers; Santa in the House

Last evening, I finally got out the Byer's Choice Carolers and set them up.  I have enough of them that I enjoy setting up several areas; I really enjoy the holiday spirit that they lend to our home.  I noticed that "Santa" has a few on his eBay watchlist... hmmm...

Earlier in the week, DH spent time arranging his Santa collection on the bookcase - it's pretty impressive from eye level, but it's an amazing view from the loft of the second floor and the trip down the steps... I don't think I know anyone else with such a collection :)  What do you think?!

Time to go work on that tree skirt and a few other gifts.  'Til next time, take up your needle and sew!


Friday, December 9, 2011

Snowmen Everywhere!

As promised, here's a picture of the snowman-themed tree skirt that I'm making as a gift.  It was *so* hard to pick exactly the right five fabrics out of the many, many cuts in my stash.  I used a 9-degree ruler to cut the wedges, combining a total of 40 pieces for the top.

I wanted variety of snowmen and of colors (I originally thought about all whites and blues); I think I've accomplished that... what do you think?  I do like the green fabric - the snowman heads are the "o" in "Joy."  Now, I have to finish pinning the wedges so that I can machine quilt in the ditch between *every* wedge tomorrow... that's a lot of sewing :)  So let's get busy!

'Til next time, take up your needle and sew!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas!

Spent much of the afternoon unpacking and choosing just the right spot for our many, many Christmas decorations.  This is my most favorite time of the year - same for DH - so we're quite the pair when it comes to Christmas memorabilia!  I love the stockings on the fireplace (just a few of the two dozen we own), and all of the Santas around it (just a fraction of the collection, though!).

My *most* favorite decorations, though, are my Nativity figures - see them all lined up along the mantel?  These are Santons, from southern France - all crafted out of clay and hand-painted; the detail work is amazing.  The figurines are no more than 3-4 inches tall (camels are aboutn 4"; most of the adult people are about 3").  Here are a few pictures to give you an idea of the "cast of thousands" that are present to witness the Holy birth...

And yes, I have been doing some sewing - working on a lot of Christmas presents right now, so I can't reveal much of any of my accomplishments quite yet.  Tomorrow, I will post about a tree skirt I've been wrangling around the sewing machine.

'Til next time, take up your needle and sew!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Santa Sack Swap

One of the most fun things about participating in the Santa Sack Swap 2 is coming home after a very LONG day at work (in this case, made even longer by my wicked head cold) and finding packages waiting.  Yesterday, I received Sinta's latest mailing - aren't the boxes so cute?  And I love (LOVE) to make Christmas cookies - and cut-outs are some of my favorites.  I can't wait to use the ornament cutter that Sinta sent along in a couple of weeks - pictures then, I promise.  Sinta is even letting me open a package a bit before Christmas - I'll celebrate St. Nicholas Day on December 6 by opening the snowman package - thank you, Sinta!!

My head cold has made me not at all interested in working on my needlework this week, but I'm finally starting to feet better and am looking forward to a productive weekend!

'Til next time, take up your needle and sew!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Theme-a-licious 2012

Have you seen Heather's no-pressure challenge, Theme-a-licious 2012?  I love the monthly ideas and the alliterations!  I can't wait to get busy in the new year...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Batiks and Progress Report

I can't believe it's been almost a month since my last post!  Ack!  There's a *lot* that's gone on in the interim, and I'll post about all of it over the next few days.

First, though, I want to show off some projects I've been working on - all with batiks.  Now, I'm not naturally a fan of batiks.  I have an ingrained perception that "batiks" equals "Oriental" in look and feel, and I'm not drawn to Oriental-themed fabrics or designs.  However, the projects I've been working on have really given me reason to pause and re-evaluate my feelings about batiks...  and I think that they've found a real place in my collections.  For starters, I'm working on a quilted thread catcher for a friend of mine for Christmas.  The pattern comes from "Simple Quilts and Sewing," #121, published by the editors of Quilt magazine.  For those who aren't familiar with thread catchers, they typically have a little bag/sack for thread ends and scraps, and are anchored on the arm of your chair or on the sewing table by an attached pin cushion.  My friend is big into "color" - where I am an earth-tones gal, she doesn't hesitate to wear turquoise, yellow, bright green, or other vibrant colors.  I had a lovely Alexander Henry print picked out to use as the main fabric, but realized, as I started construction, that the design was much too large to be effective in this piece.  A quick trip to my LQS (Quilting Adventures, Richmond, VA) helped solve the problem.  Usually, I don't unwrap the lovely folded up fat quarters, but I'm really glad I did with this one.

I love, love, love all of the wonderful colors in this piece - if you look closely, you'll see pretty much everything.  Green, orange, yellow, blue/turquoise, red, purple...  As part of the construction, I did the quilting; that was also a first for me to do some quilting based on drawn lines (instead of stitching in the ditch).  I made good progress today on the overall project; can't wait to show you more later this week!

I'm also working on two lap quilts, both which happen to be all batiks, and both of which I purchased as cut strip kits on eBay.  I assembled the log cabin squares on this one ("Sunrise II") during the Labor Day weeked retreat at Quilting Adventures.  What a great opportunity to focus, focus - and any of you who've put together a log cabin quilt know that there's a LOT of sewing in one of those projects!  Anyway, here's the corner block so that you can see the wonderful turquoises, reds, ambers, and more - all favorite colors of the friend who is receiving this quilt.  And for me, almost none of the prints in these batiks had any Oriental feel to them.  Once I finished the blocks as initially purchased, I realized that the 12 together were not going to make a quilt quite as big as I had hoped.  I was fortunate to have assistance from Joyce Hartley, the owner of Quilting Adventures, in selecting the outer two blue and outer two orange prints to augment the original kit.  I think she did a great job!

And here's the 12 squares sewn together before I added the border (another experience at the LQS).  Holly was "helping" as only a kitty can do...

I started working this weekend on the other lap quilt as well - greens and purples for my mom.  I expect to similarly augment the finished blocks, too, to get a slightly larger lap quilt.  The individual from whom I purchased the kit included a finished block to help guide my sewing:

...and here's how far I progressed today... still lots of sewing to go!

I hope you had a great weekend!  I'm very excited about the progress I've made on Christmas presents.  Have another one to show you tomorrow that I really love.  'Til then, take up your needle and sew...


Monday, October 10, 2011

A Day Off!

How nice to have a day off, especially following a 3-day work weekend on the Eastern Shore.  Over the weekend, I participated in the 19th Eastern Shore Birding and Wildlife Festival, based out of Cape Charles, Virginia.  We had fantastic weather for all three days, with good numbers of birds on Friday.  While the birding wasn't quite as good on Saturday or Sunday, it was fun to visit with old friends and to share the excitment of new birdwatchers.

On our return home, I was greeted by a box from Sinta, my partner in the Santa Sack Swap 2 exchange.  This is the very first exchange I've ever participated in, and I'm having a great time thinking of things to create and send to Sinta.  While I've been *this close* to opening packages already received, I've really enjoyed getting into the Christmas spirit four months early!  I hope that Sinta likes the items that I've sent to her.  Is there such a thing as "Exchange Anxiety?!"
I also took a little time today to visit one of my LNS, Haus Tirol in Williamsburg.  My goal was to purchase a last few items for my contribution to the Grab Bag exchange at the upcoming Pals 2011 Stitchin' at the Beach in Myrtle Beach, SC.  Have you seen the Gloriana Silk Chenille?  Wow, wow, wow - wonderful colors!  There might be one of those packages in my exchange bag.... :)

Now, back to some stitching!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Fall is in the Air

Business brought me to New Hampshire today - the crisp, clear, cool air of autumn is so invigorating!  DH got left at home, but someone has to take care of the kitties...  My projects and scissors traveled with me; I'm looking forward to spending some time with my needle and thread.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

"Just Get Started," She Said

I have no idea what the mental block is about posting to my blog, since I so enjoy reading those of others and want to share likewise with our community of stitchers.  A couple of days ago, I received a package from my Santa Sack Swap 2 partner, Sinta, and she included a note in it that, in effect, said "just get started" with the blog.  It was just that last push that I needed.  And I think I'm that much more inspired because the note accompanied a beautiful "sack" made of wonderful Christmas fabrics and fun pom-pom trim.  To call this tote a "sack" is to really do it an injustice, and I look forward to using it for many years.  Many thanks to my swap partner, Sinta, for a lovely gift and a gentle nudge.