Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas, Gifts & Doggie update

I hope that everyone that celebrates had a wonderful Christmas!  I know that I did.  My best gift was having both my sons home from college.  We even had an 'extra' son for Christmas. My oldest son's best friend came to spend a few days with us, all the way from Maryland.  It felt like old times, when the boys were growing up and were all here, all the time.  I miss their noise in the basement.

my boys and an extra 'son' for Christmas
Hubby and sones were good boys.  They got me just what I asked for, for Christmas.
hubby, wearing glasses Santa gave him in his stocking

my new adjustable sewing machine table

Sew Adjustable sewing machine table
and, the table was Made in the USA!

My youngest son 'tied' me a scarf for Christmas. 

up close of tied scarf

me modeling my new scarf
 He also made a scarf for his girlfriend.  Neat!

I had to try out my new sewing machine table Christmas night.  I whipped up a large mug rug (or pot holder).  I only made the top, I didn't finish it.

new (unfinished) mug rug

I also wanted to show what a friend gave me for Christmas.  She made the placemats herself.  I got 4 placemats, but, only took a picture of one of them.

placemat from Kay

pin cushion from Kay
Last Saturday morning, I had to make an emergency visit to the vet with my little dog, Katie.  Katie has bad knees, ever since the big dog ran her over when she was still a puppy.  Now, her right back knee is in really bad shape.  We're trying to see if we can get it somewhat better without surgery.  She is seriously restricted in her movements for 3 weeks, and on meds to see if they help.  Katie is not happy with this!

Katie in her pen

Katie in her pen
Katie isn't allowed to walk or jump at all.  We even have to carry her outside to do her business.  She isn't happy about her confinement.  At least oldest son is home, and takes her down to the basement to sit with him while he plays video games.  We have Lazyboys down there, so she is very comfy while he plays.  She is even sleeping on the day bed in the basement with him, since she jumps down from my bed during the night, but, she stays on the bed with him.  (Yes, he has a room upstairs, but, he prefers the basement, go figure).

On top of Katie's confinement, she also has to lose weight, poor pup.  Less food, and no snacks, either.  She barks at us when we leave the room and don't take her with us.  I set up another pen by my computer, too.  I need to find one of those 'doggie strollers' so that we can take her with us on a walk.  She loves to be outside, but, at 22.5 lbs, I can't carry her very far.

I'm headed out for the Thursday sew-in.  Have a great day!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Finishes! Parties! Snow! Finishes!

Yipee!  I finally finished all the stitching on my Christmas presents, and got them all mailed on Monday. 

4 mini quilts done!

5 mini quilts done!
Last Christmas I gave mini Santa quilts and quilt stands.  This year I made Valentines mini quilts for their stands.  I'm thinking of making Spring themed mini quilts for next year.  Most of these are  hand quilted, but, in order to get them finished, I did machine quilt 3 of them. 

I found these cute little snowmen at a craft fair earlier this month.  They are microwave popcorn, decorated like snowmen.  I gave some of these as gifts (with cash attached).  They are so cute!  The hats are made out of gloves.  These were sent to some college boys, so, I'm sure they can always use more gloves (and snacks).  If I could draw, I'd make some of these myself for next year. 

microwave popcorn snowmen

card on microwave popcorn snowmen
My oldest son and I mailed all our out of town packages on Monday.  Yipee!

On Monday afternoon, I finally started the gift for the Thursday sew-in exchange.  I won these fabrics (except the backing), from Sandi, over at A Legacy of Stitches.   These were fabrics from a table topper that she'd made (shown at the bottom of that post).  I took her idea (I didn't know the measurements) and made a few changes, and whipped this up. I made the top before we headed out to see The Hobbit (IMAX 3D). 

table topper that I made

backing of table topper
In order to get this finished (I finished it Tuesday night), I machine quilted it.  I stitched down the binding while the family watched a movie at home. 

On Thursday, my sew-in group had our Christmas party.  We all brought food to share. Some of the yummy foods included chicken and dumplings, beef bourguignon in puff pastry, shrimp, baked spaghetti, salad with strawberries, and, of course, desserts!  YUM!

the food table

my plate (first serving)

Thursday sew-in group

We also had a gift exchange.  We each had to make something ourselves for the gift exchange.  Here are what the ladies went home with.  Some of the pictures also show the maker, too.

Karen (maker) & Jan (receiver)

up close view of pockets
what I came home with.  Lovely!
Jinny with the kitty pillowcase she'd been admiring

Jinny also got a kitty scarf (she loves kitties)
Kay (maker) with Marilyn (receiver)
Jo (front) with her notebook cover full of goodies (maker Jinny in back)
Danette with her goodies from Jan (Danette made my snowman wall hanging)
Marilyn (maker) with Karen (receiver)
Kay with her applique gift, made by Jo
Mary went home with my table topper
 Mary has a blog, too.  She also posted about our party here.

Some of the ladies also made other gifts to share.  Here are some of the lovelies I came home with (I didn't picture the candy, sorry Danette).  The candy is HIDDEN from my guys!

card from Marilyn

hexie ornament from Karen

mini folding tree napkin, made into a lovely ornament, made by Mary

hot pad with towel by Kay
I also had more finishes this week.  Stupid me didn't get pictures of them before mailing them off on Monday.  I made three cupcake Birthday mini quilts.  One for my niece (Dec 29th birthday), and one for Chris, over at We Love Quilting!  Her birthday is Dec 25th!  (Happy almost Birthday, Chris!)  Chris shows hers at the blog post above. 

I made three of these, extra binding is shown on side (oops, I didn't get pictures of the completed quilts before mailing them out)
 I also had another party on Thursday.  Our Venturing Crew has the Christmas party at my house.  Fun!  More food, and fun teens and parents.

food in the kitchen

more food in the dining room
Thursday night, we were expected to get hit with the snowstorm that hit most of the rest of the midwest.  We hadn't had snow for 290 days, breaking all previous records for the area.  Our expected 2-6 inches turned out to only be a trace of snow, but, that's ok.  More is expected for Christmas Eve.

not much snow
On Friday, I finally got a chance to wrap the presents for under the tree, here.  Now our tree doesn't look bare, like it had looked.  The poor tree really needed some presents under it. 

Sorry if I haven't commented on your blogs.  I'm a week behind on my blog reading, and hope to get caught up in the next few days.  It's been a very busy week.  I only mentioned part of what I did.  I'll be headed to the vet later this morning.  I think my little dog blew out her knee.  She did it Thursday afternoon, but, was much better on Friday, but, in the wee hours this morning, she let me know it was really painful.  Hopefully it is just out of joint, and can be helped quickly and easily. 

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Wego Quiltin' Santa Quilt

We've had a few block exchanges in one of my quilt guilds.  The first one was a Santa block exchange, way back in 2005.  This was my first block exchange.  The rules were to make a 12.5" (unfinished) block, using traditional Christmas colors.  There either had to be a Santa in the block, or, Santa fabric.  12 people signed up, so, we each had to make 12 blocks.  I'd only been quilting for 4 years at this point.  I'd only had one 'real' quilting class. 

Wego Quiltin' Santa block exchange quilt
(Sorry the colors came out so bad, this is really a stunning quilt in person, I've just never been able to take a good picture of it).

We had 6 months from the sign up to complete our blocks for the exchange.  The blocks were 'exchanged' at our July meeting.  We then had until the December meeting to make our quilt top (it didn't have to be quilted by then, thank goodness). 

As usual, I didn't want a smaller quilt, and I didn't want the traditional layout of 3 blocks across, and 4 blocks down.  I always have to make things different (read: more difficult). 

I'd taught myself how to do mitered borders, so, I had to add some in the middle.  I found the dark green with flowers material at a garage sale, years before.  I just loved it as a 'frame' for the middle blocks.  Of course, I had to set it on point.  I'd never done this before, so, I just 'winged it' as usual.  I didn't have a clue what I was doing, but, it worked.  The whole quilt measures 58'" x 90".  My sons said it had to be BIG so that they could fit under it as they grew. 

Here are close ups of the blocks.
top, left corner blocks

top, right corner blocks

center blocks

bottom, left corner blocks

bottom, right corner blocks, mine is the far right block
  Of course, I didn't have a clue what block to make, so, I practiced on a few blocks to see what I liked (I didn't have a clue how to do applique at the time).  I put my extra block that I'd made on the back of the quilt.  I didn't want to waste them, and I like decorated backs.

back of quilt

my extra 'tryout' blocks on the back
I'm a hand quilter, so, I hand quilted this.  What fun!  My hand quilted quilts are like an 'I Spy' of quilting motifs.  There are bells, sleighs, wreaths, Christmas trees, and Santa's face in the quilting.  There are also strings of Christmas lights, including the 'plugs' at the end (my hubby's favorite part).

hand quilting of Christmas light string, including the 'plug'
Sorry about the blurry picture. 

This is one of my favorite quilts.  Almost everyone signed their blocks, so, I know who made each block.  There is only one duplicate fabric in this quilt (the peppermint fabric, in the log cabin block, top, left, and used in the middle of the quilt and the backing).

The same guild had another Santa block exchange last year.  I posted about it here.  I still haven't finished that quilt.  Some of the ladies were in both exchanges. 

One of my fondest memories of this quilt was when I finished the last stitch on the binding, my youngest son took the quilt, laid it on the floor, laid down on it, then called the dogs over to lay on it.  Yea!  It was appreciated and used.  This quilt sits on the corner of the couch in the computer room all year long.  It is never put away. 

Merry Christmas!

PS:   This quilt is entered in the Christmas quilt contest over at The Quilting Gallery.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Block Exchange, Winnings and a different type of quilt

I participated in a TOBE (Treadle On Block Exchange) this fall with my people powered sewing machine group.  I sent in 5 sets of blocks (12 blocks in each set).  The blocks that I made are at this post.  I used 5 different machines, one for each set of blocks.  These are the blocks that I got back.
Fall TOBE blocks
I received 60 blocks back.  My 60 blocks came from 16 different people in 10 different states, using 34 different treadles and hand crank sewing machines.  Each colored fabric is different, and, each block is signed on the muslin half, stating who made it, where they are from, and info about the machine used to make that block.  I have extras of the blocks that I made, too, that are not shown with these.  I won't have time to sew these together until next year, but, don't worry, they'll be sewn on a people powered machine.  This will be a great quilt to bring to demo's when I show off my vintage machines.  The oldest machine (that I noticed) was from 1862.  Cool!

I have decided that winnings come in spurts.  I didn't win the Mega lottery last month (probably for the best), but, I have won some things on blogs.  I waited until the latest one arrived earlier today to post.

From April over at KoolBeenz, I won some fabric and thread. 

Winnings from KoolBeenz
Thanks April!

Sandi, over at A Legacy of Stitches had a giveaway, too.  I won the red fabrics.

Winnings from A Legacy of Stitches
Thanks Sandi!  These are lovely!

I'm thinking of a secret project for these great Christmas fabrics that I won.  I can't tell yet.  Don't worry, you'll see the project later this month.

And finally, I won a blog giveaway way back last February.  Poor Debra, she has quite the tale to tell about her giveaway and what happened to them BEFORE they ever got mailed.  You'll have to check out this blog post of hers over at My Life is a Stitch.  Lets just say, my winnings went for quite a 'ride' before I ever got them. 

Lovely card

cute pin and mini charm pack (2" squares?)

fabric marker and glue pen along with cute bag to hold everything
Last, but not least, I FINALLY got me a new phone.  My old phone would die on me during phone calls, or if I sent more than 3 texts.  It just wouldn't hold a charge anymore.  I had to wait until November for a new phone.  We finally picked out new phones (this was happening to both my son's phones, too) over Thanksgiving, while oldest son was home.  The phone store only had one of these phones in stock, so, oldest son got it, and hubby ordered everyone else's phones.  I chose a phone like everyone else's, so that they can finish teaching me how to use it over Christmas.  I've never had a phone with internet access before.  Lets just say that I'm not very tech savvy.  I WAS savvy enough to order me a fancy phone case.

Quilt my Phone case for my new phone
I heard about a site where you can get custom, quilty phone and computer cases.  Well,  I just had to have one for my new phone.  QuiltMyPhone sent me my new case BEFORE I even received my new phone.  There is a rubber case next to the phone, then a hard shell on the outside.  There are lots of different 'quilts' you can pick from, depending on what style of phone you have.  If you sign up on their site to receive notices, then they will let you know when they are having a sale, too.  I purchased my phone case during their 'Black Friday' sale.  I'm very pleased with my case.  Having a great case makes me want to learn how to use this phone, even more (did I mention that I'm NOT very tech savvy???)  I HATE to learn new phone technology, but, so far, I'm doing pretty good with this phone. 

Hopefully I'll have some 'finishes' to show later this week.  I'm working on the binding on 9 mini quilts (8 are Christmas gifts), and I have to baste and quilt 2 other mini quilts that also need to be in the mail before Christmas.  I still have to start my 'secret project' that is due Dec 20th (I'll show pictures then) and, best of all, MY BOYS WILL BE HOME ON THURSDAY FROM COLLEGE!!!!!!!! Yipee!!!!!!!!!!

Have a Great Week!