Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last Day of 2009

......and a time to reflect on the accomplishments of the year past......and look forward to the upcoming new year and all that it holds. This has been a year of change for me. Lots of change. Some good....some not so good. It's been a good year overall though. :>) And what of the new year?? Do I have plans? Resolutions? No plans really. And no hard-fast, set-in-stone resolutions. It would be nice to finally finish (or at least make a huge dent) in my UFO pile. It would also be nice to lose about 20 pounds (yes, I have hit the point where I really need to focus on losing a bit of weight. You know it's time when you are not happy with yourself.....and I'm not happy with being pleasantly plump). Other than that.....well, I just hope to continue enjoying the things that make me happy.

I thought I would share a couple of pictures of my "boys". Pictured above is my miniature schnauzer. He will be ten years old in February. He suffered a stroke and was very ill little over a year he still has his times when it is very difficult for him to get around. The sparkle is still in his eyes though. :>) Makes me happy to see him running across the yard (when he does....which isn't very often).

Pictured here is the "big guy". And I've been told that he is very large for a Golden Retriever. He is actually a Golden Retriever mix. Mixed with what we do not know. He was the proverbial pound puppy. We adopted him when he was four weeks old. He had a rough beginning (very sick) and the vet wasn't sure he would make it. Here he is six and a half years later. :>) Doesn't have the best hips, but is still very active.....loves laying on the porch watching the world go by.....and playing with his toys. He's perfectly content to spend an afternoon sleeping in the sewing room (right in the middle!!) while I stitch away. He also loves the sound of the spinning wheel in motion. He is happy to lay next to it for as long as I can treadle. I think he finds it funny as that sounds.
Time to share pictures of my latest finishes.....and I have had a couple with which to end the year. Yea!! The first one is a small snuggle quilt that I made from a panel that was sent to me. Really didn't know what to do with it. Inspiration hit one day.....and I had a completed quilt the next. This one is going to my youngest's college roommate. I think she needs "quilty hugs" right now. She has had a rather difficult first semester.
My other completed project was a knitting project. I finally finished the socks I have been working on and off on for the past couple of months. They are for my youngest....who loves them. :>) I call them the "Mardi Gras Socks" because the yarn reminds me of all the colors you see in association with Mardi Gras (although I've never been....but have seen lots of footage and pictures). The fiber used for the yarn was hand-dyed by my youngest. I did the blending and spinning of the yarn itself. The picture of the pair doesn't really do the yarn justice, so I took a couple of close ups to show the color of the yarn knit up. They turned out really pretty. Both socks are different in coloration so I made sure to use the same pattern for both. The sock pattern is my own. Couldn't find one that I liked and thought would work with the yarn. Happens. Just glad I'm able to write up a simple sock patterns that I can actually knit up fairly easily. :>)

Wishing everyone a new year filled with lots of love, laughter, and joy!!!

Monday, December 21, 2009


I finally have a chance to share pictures of my latest quilts. Yea!! The last couple of weeks have been so busy! Didn't help things any that I had a plethora of classes as well. Pictured above is the end results from one of my classes. I simply LOVE how this quilt turned out! The class was called "Magic Square Quilt". The technique for this quilt was relatively simple....once you figured it out. This is a no template. It's a simple cut and sew. The "magic" lies in the cut. It is an easy quilt to make, just not an easy one to explain. This was a 3-part class. Class one was learning how to make the cut.....and seeing all the different options you can get from the various cuts. We also played around with color, value, and piece placement. I was lucky enough to get four blocks sewn together during class. It gave us all an opportunity to play around with a few blocks on the design wall.

Class two was just a continuation of class one. Everyone came back with completed blocks and then got to spend time playing around with placement....and eventually sewing them together. I came to class with a completed quilt center and fabric for a piano key border. Some time was spent playing around with fabric/color placement in the border......and then I settled down to getting my border pieces cut out. I loved seeing how everyone else's blocks had turned out....and some of the design possibilities.

Class three was the finishing class. It was here that we got to see what all the quilts looked like. If anyone needed help with anything, this was the class. I came to class with my quilt finished. I spent class stitching my binding to my backing. Another classmate showed up with not one, but two tops done. She just needed to add borders....which she did in class. Her quilts were very striking. The third classmate showed up with stacks of completed blocks. She needed help in deciding on the placement of all of her blocks. We all had fun helping her. By the time class had ended she had sewn together at least half a dozen rows of her quilt. Her quilt was done in soft pinks, blues, and florals. Very, very pretty. It was a wonderful class. :>)

Pictured above is a small wall hanging that I decided to squeeze in between projects. It was in one of the latest quilt magazines that arrived in the mail. Not quite sure which one right now. Anyway, I just had to do this one.....even though it was originally done using hand applique. I had the urge to see how small of a piece I could do using fusible web machine applique. You see, one of the classes I'm taking is a Block of the Month. It's a beautiful applique quilt...only using fusible web and decorative stitches. Well, it's been ages since I've done fusible web and I just had to do another project (finished my current block the same day as class). I was looking through my magazine when I saw this wall hanging. I simply loved it and the rest is history (as they say). No decorative stitches were used, except on the flower pot. The pieces were simply too small. I did have a wonderful time putting it all together. Made me realize how much I enjoy machine applique and now I'm determined to do a bit more. :>)
Finally, we come to "The Elvis Quilt". This is a quilt I made for my mother for Christmas. She is a huge Elvis fan (as in...."I was standing next to Pricilla when he flew into could have been me......"). She was born and raised in Germany. Came over when she married my father....who was stationed over there....and that is all I will say about that. Needless to say, when I saw this panel hanging in the window of one of my favorite fabric shops I just knew I had to buy it. It was easy buying fabric to go with. The hard part was figuring out what to do with it all once I got it home. I'm not much of a "panel" person so this was incredibly challenging for me. I spent who knows how long thinking, sketching, thinking, and sketching some more....and still didn't have a clue as to what I was going to do with it. So it all got set aside. Until one day when I was watching a Fons and Porter quilt show on my local PBS station. They were doing a one-block quilt using their pyramid ruler. Well, I simply loved that ruler and just had to have one. So I did the hour drive into town and was lucky enough to get the very last ruler that my local JoAnns store had. While driving home (and feeling so lucky to have gotten the very last ruler), it dawned on me. I finally knew exactly what I was going to do with the Elvis panel and matching fabric I had bought. Out came the sketch pad. It only took a few sketches before I knew exactly what I was going to do. The end result is pictured above. I think the finished quilt came out to be about 70" x 80".... a nice size to snuggle in. It's currently on its way to Floriday. I hope she likes it.

Only a few more days until Christmas. I have all the gifts made that I'm going to make. Just about everything is wrapped and under the tree. Cookies are made (I made 12 dozen yesterday).....and I'm as ready as I'll ever be. :>) We did get some snow.....followed by freezing rain......followed by more snow. Then warmer temperatures and rain. Lots and lots of rain. We have a slight carpet of snow still left.....and lots of very large, very deep puddles of standing water everywhere. My poor critters!!! First the frigid temperatures.....then snow (which they seemed happy with)......and now all this rain. Wonder what Mother Nature has in store for us next?

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May it be filled with lots of love, laughter, and joy. :>)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Quilts for Kids

Wow, I can't believe how long it has been since I last posted on my blog. Sure doesn't feel like it's been all that long. Guess that goes to show me how crazy things have been around here lately. It's like the days are just flying by!

Pictured above is the very first Quilt for Kids quilt that I have made. It didn't take long at all to put together. A couple of hours at the machine resulted in a completed top. Another couple of hours resulted in a completed quilt. This one has been mailed off and received. A second kit arrived a few days ago and it patiently waiting for me to put it together. It will most likely have to wait until after the holidays though. Still have a few more things to finish up in the sewing room.

Usually we have snow on the ground by this time of year. Not so this year. Bare ground. :>( I really hope we get some snow for Christmas. Can't imagine not having snow on the ground Christmas day. Well, just because there is no snow, it doesn't mean that we don't have the cold weather. We have had plenty of spades!! You know it's been cold when the high hits 9 degrees and you are going "yea! It's warming up!". Yesterday was the warmest it has been in well over a week. The high was a balmy 23 degrees. Yea!! Snow is in the forecast. Now whether we actually see some or not.....who knows. Thankfully all the critters have nice heavy coats on them and are doing well with the frigid temperatures. All except my older llama. He was sheared this past spring so he doesn't have a full fleece in yet. When the temps dipped into the negative numbers he was out there shivering.....and there wasn't anything I could do for him. I wanted to cover him, but knew he wouldn't stand for it (literally.....and I really didn't feel like taking a hard hit from him with it being so cold). So I simply fed him some extra llama pellets in addition to putting out extra hay (which I had been doing since the frigid temps hit).....and then encouraged him to be more active........which wasn't a problem since the alpacas had decided to help by antagonizing him. It's so nice when everyone works together. :>)