Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

 I took these photos with an iPad, just to play. The colors are WAY off, but they show that I've actually stitched the binding onto the two baby quilts.  I used my sister's tool and instructions, some YouTube videos, and a magazine my sister loaned me to get the job done. 
In the above photo, the yellow is actually lime and the dark green actually turqouise. I'm amazed by the color shift. 

I decided to hand stitch the binding down on the back. One quilt is done and  the second is half way there.  I plan to finish it tonight, for my final finish of 2013.
I love this card that was originally sent my my grandparents.  Best wishes to everyone for a healthy, happy, and peaceful new year!

Monday, December 30, 2013


Oh, I got some wonderful presents this year, many of them hand made.
 A fully jointed, very soft teddy from my niece.
 Mickey Mouse pillow case from my sister
 Small runner from my sister with a marquetry pin in a quilt pattern
A very snuggly scarf from my sister-in-law. 
Some much needed inspriation from a friend. 

I realized my photos focused on the textile gifts--there were also many lovely gifts of food, generosity and sharing.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Fun paper stockings

For many years, I've stuffed stockings. First for my siblings, beginning when I was in college, and then, as our family grew, for my parents, siblings, husband and their spouses.  I made stockings for the kids as they came along but told the parents that filling was up to them (they still do fill them, too, I love that!)

So this year I was lagging and idealess and was going to skip it.  Then I got an idea. 
I had one idea for one item (small LED flashlights). So I drew a stocking on paper, kind of zentangle-ish.  Copied it. Got out the sewing machine. Backed it with notebook paper I had on hand and stitched around the outline. When it was nearly complete, I tucked in the light and a couple of candies and stitched it shut.  I stapled on a small felt ornament for color.  I was going to color them but ran out of time.  I left the blank at the top for names, but ended up writing them in that big star near the top.  I was rather pleased with it.  I left the image full size, so if you click on it, you should be able to print your own stockings to stitch up.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Awesomeness

 My sister hosted our Christmas gathering and we had a wonderful day. We had a great dinner, scooted upstairs to trim the baby quilts I'm working on and cut the bindings (I could not have made them without my sister's help!), and then gathered around the tree. 
 The paper began to fly. (My sister made the cool table runner my sister-in-law is holding.)
 My niece is holding the amazingly awesome jointed teddy bear she made for me. I adore him.
 More unwrapping.
Hubby and my friend are opening their stockings and vamping with some candy cigarettes from my stocking stash of goodies.
The aftermath. We all sat back and took a deep breath and then wandered about to chat and visit and look at each other's gifts. 

I am truly blessed to have such an awesome family.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

 Merry Christmas, Everyone!
 Stay warm and safe and enjoy the day!

Friday, December 20, 2013

More holiday fun!

Yesterday I took the day off for a long overdue Girl's Day! We decided on a posh lunch out, a bit of shopping and also a few tasks that would go better together.
We dined at Fiora's in Geneva.  It was nicely decorated and we had a lovely lunch.  My sister is above.  We all had soup and salad, but different choices.
Here's my lunch. 
Here's my sister-in-law, about to take the first bite. 

After lunch we decided to walk it off down Third Street in Geneva, looking into the little shops and visiting the Little Traveler. Then we headed back to my sister's.
I had gotten my two quilt tops sewn together. Here they are.  We laid them out on my sister's floor and pinned the quilt top to the backing.  It went pretty quickly with three of us.
So quickly, I forgot to take photos.  We all liked the patterns and they came out pretty flat and mostly even.  Next step-quilting. I'm going to machine stitch on the diagonal.

Then we went into the basement to check out some of the pile of bins from Mom's. They've been there about ten years now.  We made a few dispositions but mostly just looked to see what was left and to begin thinking about what to do with it.  I suggested scanning the family history docs and seeing if one of the family history buffs in the extended family wants the originals. 

We found dad's high school year books, which were pretty cool to look through (1937, 1938 and 1939), a 1920s Lindbloom High literary magazine and a year book from Oak Ridge, Tenn, where Dad was in the army during WWII.  That looks to be the most interesting.  I have them now to look over and then will pass them on.  

All in all it was a lovely day.  

Today was another fun day.  We had our Holiday Party lunch and it was really great. I sat with a great group and we had nice conversations. The dessert was lots of fun candies (Swedish fish, malted milk balls) and little tiny cups of chocolate or eggnog mousse. I ate too much.
I was awarded my 25 year pin with lovely comments from the Dean.  Wow! I can't quite believe I've been at the University that long!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

fun times and finishes

 On Dec. 7 a couple of good friends, former coworkers, and I got together for a lovely lunch at Don Quijote restaurant in Valparaiso, Indiana.  We had a great time. It had been far too long and we vowed to get together more often.
After lunch I visited some local shops.  Imagine Beads and Needle&Thread.  Both shops had experienced devastating fires in the past year and both had relocated.  Imagine Beads is now in a bright, sunny spot on Rt. 30, west of the university. There are great classroom spaces (and classes to fill them) and lots of lovely beads, books and supplies.  I found some beads a friend was looking for.

Needle & Thread has resettled in a Victorian house on Lincolnway.  They primarily have fabrics, washed to remove any smoke residue from the fire (not a whiff of it anywhere).  They have a few patterns, a nice selection of felt, floss and perle cotton. 

I got the fabric for the two table runners above there.  I made them up by the end of the weekend. I decided I needed a bit of sewing machine practice before tackling the baby quilts--I haven't sewn by machine for quite a while.
I made this test sample. It came out with 1/4" seams and lays flat so I feel good to go on the rest.
In the meantime, I wanted to make some baby shower gifts.  I found these Martha Stewart onesies on sale at Jo-Ann's. I thought they were cute. The materials were nicely organized and they stitched up quickly.
In the meantime, we've been making holiday plans, working on clearing things out, shopping for gifts, and keeping very busy.  Oh, and shoveling snow.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Baby Quilts-Layouts

Here are the layouts for the two baby quilts. The final size should be 36" X 44"--which is crib size. They look a lot bigger here because the squares have the seam allowances all around and they're spaced out a bit. 
You can see how the angle and the light changes the colors.  The colors in the picture above are more accurate. We tried every color option in the center of the design above, before deciding that yellow was best.

I wanted the patterns to be very different and I think these two designs accomplish that.
After we had them laid out, and took the pictures to use a guides, we carefully stacked each row and then all the rows and placed them into baggies and squeezed out the air (thanks Nan!) so that they will not shift around.
The next step is to piece each row across and then to sew the rows together to make the quilts.  I'm borrowing a sewing machine from a friend for that step.

I'm thinking about tying them, rather than quilting. Do you know if that's as long lasting?  I'm not planning to use batting, just the top and bottom layers.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Baby quilts--cutting

I spent a lot of our long holiday weekend getting the baby quilts going. The previous Sunday, I visited my sister with one of the quilt square fabric pieces and she showed me how to cut it. During the week I looked at the rulers and cutting mats I have, many of which were mom's.

So, on Friday I set up to cut the squares--in the bathroom of all places. Our kitchen, where I usually do things like this, was in disarray to make room for plumbers to get their machinery into the basement. They were to show up at 9:00 a.m. When they didn't show at 9:00, nor for the later appointment date, set up when they didn't arrive by 10:00, hubby called in an alternative plumber who kindly came by after 4:00 p.m.--meaning the kitchen was unusable all day. The bathroom has the best light in the house (a diffuse north window) and is the most out of the way place I could set up the ironing board with the cutting board on top. It actually worked out very well and I got all of the quilt squares cut.
One thing we noticed when we began laying out the squares, is that the green, which in this photo matches the background green in the print (taken in incandescent light), stood out as dull and intrusive in daylight.  It looked awful with the other colors so we pulled it from the mix.  The green in the print is actually much more of a lime color...quite bright. That's the kind of thing you really can't tell (at least I often can't) until I'm putting the colors together in patterns.
And here we are on Saturday, at our Thanksgiving gathering, laying out the pieces into patterns on my sister's carpet.  Kim, Nan, and I laid the pieces out and Hannah commented from her spot on the bed (and took pictures for us).  Getting us down on the floor isn't bad. Getting back up is a whole 'nother thing (not pretty).

I think it's interesting that in this picture, too, the green in the print looks very much like the pile of green squares set to the side by Nan's foot.  It did not look at all that way in person. Luckily, I had plenty of squares of fabric to make the quilts without the green.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Finished ornaments

 Last night was our EGA chapter's Holiday Party. It was lovely as usual.
At the party we had an ornament exchange. My ornament for this year is the Christmassy one on the left.  It was a kit by the Purple Thread (Sharon Verbos) called A Stitcher's Christmas. I found it at House of Stitches.

I liked the design enough that I made a second one for a friend, with a purchased scissors charm. I had the little metal rings from chain maille earlier this year. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving Part II

On Saturday, we drove up to my sister's home. Everyone was able to come. I think it's been a year since we've all gotten together. It was great!
We feasted on turkey, mac&cheese, acorn squash biscuits, home frozen green beans and sweet corn, baked white and sweet potatoes, gravy, and salad. It was all yummy. My sister's an amazing hostess and we all had a lovely time.
Of course, there was dessert--some of us nearly missed out. We were upstairs working on a quilt when the chocolate pie nearly vanished.  We each got a taste and it was awesome. There were also meringues and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.
Just about ready to chow down...

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Our Thanksgiving

We've had a lovely long weekend. First, on Thanksgiving, we went to Brookfield Zoo on Thanksgiving Day.
It was a clear, chilly day and we had a lovely visit.
When we got chilled outside, we wandered inside where it was warm.  We saw the baby snow leopard and the new baby gorilla.
I became a butterfly!