Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sew, Sew, Sew

I am starting to get bored of this top. It's not taking shape like I thought it would. Maybe I will just set it aside for a while.

The houses don't look right. One of them has a side missing. Even though my husband likes the wrap-around window look, it just doesn't .......... to me. I am not trying to be perfect with this project. But, I would like to be proud of it. Otherwise, why finish it? It may just end up at the bottom of my UFO basket. My frustration level is rising, so for some relief I will just take a break. Maybe move on to some Christmas craft project.
I send my nephew handmade ornaments for Christmas every year. He is 10 now and it's getting harder for me to find a crafty ornaments that he would like. I've done beaded, felted, quilted, and folded star balls over the years so far. This year he is getting gingerbread men beaded ornaments. They were a lot of hard work. I can't tell you how many tiny seed beads I lost in the carpet and under the couch making these.
Speaking of my couch..........why do couches EAT everything that falls to the floor? It doesn't matter what it is. My couch likes the newspaper, beads, keys, bottle tops, you name it-- if it falls to the floor that couch will learch forward to grab whatever it is and roll it to the back near the wall. It sits back laughing and mocking me as I get on all fours searching for the lost items. If my husband is trying to find something, the first thing I ask him is "Did you look under the couch?, I think it fell on the floor". It's not funny, seriously.
I am in the middle of watching the X files season 6. I loved that show. Even if it was corny and unreal. Hey, what isn't these days. TV really stinks. My DH watches the reality TV shows. Come on, once you've seen one you've seen them all......too boring for me.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Wow, what a rush

Thanksgiving....what a great holiday! Anytime there is a holiday to celebrate food or the eating of food and the gathering of food, it just can't get any better than that. Like any worthy awards ceremony, I would like to take this opportunity to Thank my husband and my son for all the help setting up, cleaning up, taking down, and laughs afterward we shared. I want to Thank my mother for her wit and wisdom in the kitchen that she has gratiously handed down to me. Thanks be to the turkey, the stuffing, and the cranberry sauce, may they never grow moldy or lose their place at our table. And one last thing, Thank God there are after T-Day sales so my guys get out of the house which in turn frees up time for me to sew. Amen. OK, nuff said about T-Day!

So, after a few hours of sewing, I've come this far. I have been dwelling on the words for this wall hanging, but haven't come up with anything solid yet. Maybe just a few simple words at the top like; Let It Snow; Winter Wonderland; or how about Over the River and Through the Woods?

My mind is blank right now, but with some embroidery work on the snowman and maybe a holiday movie this afternoon, something will come to mind.
So, I'm keeping it short today.
Here is what I have so far:

Monday, November 19, 2007

Check'n the list

This year we are making the Thanksgiving holiday easy (for me, thankfully) by going out and buying a ready made pre-cooked turkey! This frees up time and saves a little oven electricity.

YEAH. After making Thanksgiving dinner for the past 25 years from scratch, this will be a new thing for me. One Thanksgiving, a long, long time ago, we were soooo poor that we didn't have turkey or the fixings. We had a sad looking scrawny chicken and a few sad carrots to go along with it. But, I remember it so vividly because we were so poor and yet so happy AND most of all thankful for that scrawny chicken.

Since the cleaning is done, shopping is done, and the turkey's done, I am going to lock myself in my sewing room and get some projects done! So hopefully, I will have something more to post in the next week or so.

The sunrise this morning was just gorgeous. By the time I figured out where my camera was, the wonderful colors had faded. There are just some colors that are undescribeable. If only I could get the same feeling in my quilts. Some of my more arty quilts come out ok, but most of the time I look at it as a stepping stone and where I can make room for improvement.

Here's a quilt I did for an family member in-law. It's only slightly larger than, say, a regular size computer keyboard.

I had fun doing it and I like the turnout, but I would change things if I did another one. I should use my sketchbook and sample skills better. My City and Guilds teacher would be appalled if she knew I wasn't keeping up with my sketchbook. Oh well, my loss I guess.

Snuck in an hour of sewing before the boys come home. So, made a few snowflakes for my winter wall hanging.

I have run out of both backgrounds. I know they look the same, but one has silver stars, which I really like. Looked online for more, but can't remember where I got it from to begin with. Not sure what color I will make the letters in. Am thinking about something brighter. I'm scared to use the red I have. It might look like blood or something. Green seems too dark. Any suggestions from you? Please make some as I am having a mental block. All the Christmas quilts I have ever done did not include blue and silver, but I have had this fabric for a few years and wanted to use it.....now what will go with it?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Blah, Blah, Blah Day

It's time to clean my house today. Dirt and stuff everywhere, so I absolutely HAVE to clean up so I can sew tomorrow. I have gotten myself in a mess since last weekend. Let me explain. On the 3rd I put away the Halloween decorations and thought as long as I am in the storage room... get the Christmas decorations out. I always decorate early anyway so I can enjoy them and it puts me in a good mood, very festive. Well, I have literally 17 boxes of Christmas decorations, so they are everywhere. The three trees (fake) are up, but only 1 is fully decorated. The other 2 are naked with the ornament boxes surrounding them. My son put the garland on the stairwell along with a string of lights, so that looks marvelous. Guess I will just shuffle the boxes to be emptied against the wall and put away the empties for now. At least it will look like I cleaned. HaHaHaaaa!

My attention span must be getting shorter with old (er) age. I have 2 queen size quilt tops partially finished in my basket and oh, I don't know, maybe 5 or 6 wallhanging size tops in there as well. The projects I am more likely to finish are small mini quilts or postcard size quilts. I have way more fun in the designing process than any other except of course finishing the dang things.

This is a picture of a mini wall hanging I did last summer. I wanted to make it look like a framed picture with a white matboard and black frame......well, I like it ok.

Here is a close up.

So, will I be able to finish Tonya's Winter class? I am hoping to, but will not promise anything. I am so glad she has tutorials to follow or I would really be lost.

Back to the housework and dreaming the impossible (quilt) dream.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Fruitcake and Trees

I am in the spirit today. I am making fruitcake to start the holiday season off right. And I have joined Tonya's Winter Class, so am making trees. This is the first time for me with the wonky free piecing. My trees are surely wonky, maybe one or two are a little too wonky? One problem I'm having is getting my head around how much fabric I will eventually go through. All I have in my stash are fat quarters, so I guess I will have to break down and buy more fabric.....yeah, real heartbreak there (sarcasm)..... or make it scrappy. HMmmm, will have to ponder that decision some more.
Here is a picture of my progress today.

And here's 3 more trees.

I didn't take a picture of the fruitcake, but boy does it smell good! I had to nick a piece from one of the loaves already. A little more rum sprinkled over the top shouldn't hurt. Thank you, cousin Peggy, for giving me the recipe. Honestly the only ingredients I changed was the addition of rum, can't get enough rum in the diet, and omitting allspice and cloves. Don't like those spices, so left those at the store. Haven't bought them in years.
Here's the recipe if anyone is interested:
Christmas Fruitcake
1 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
4 eggs, room temperature and slightly beaten
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour + 1 cup more
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup pure pineapple juice
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup dried cherries
2 cups macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
2-8 Tbsp. Rum, NOT extract, the real stuff (optional)
Preheat oven to 275 degrees f. Grease 2 regular loaf pans, set aside. Combine oil, sugar and eggs. Beat well for 2 minutes. Sift the 2 cups flour with the baking powder, salt and spices. Stir in juice. Mix the last cup flour with the fruits and nuts, then gently fold into the batter. Pour batter evenly into the prepared pans. Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely. Start with 2 Tbsp. rum and sprinkle over the loaves. Add more rum if you feel you need to. Wrap tightly in foil. Can be frozen for up to 1 month.
My mother used to make fruitcake when I was growing up. I hated it, Sis hated it, and I think my Dad hated it. Just the smell of the citron fruit made me sick to my stomach and then Ma would dowse the whole thing in brandy after it baked, then she would wrap it in cheesecloth. Everyday until Christmas, she would pour what seemed like another bottle of that cheap brandy over the cake, which by now had looked like a rock. It reeked the entire house of alcohol. I guess they just don't make it like they used to. Thank goodness! She doesn't make fruitcake anymore. After so many years of rejection from our family, she finally threw in her apron. We, of course, were saddened outwardly, but our hearts and pallets were rejoicing!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Welcome to my Quilt Block

Hello and welcome. I am 45 years young and have been quilting for 25 years. I still feel there is a lot I don't know about the art and have a lot to learn. I am hoping to connect and learn a lot from you all. Please keep me inspired!

I have a tendancy to give up in the middle of things and veer into another direction if I don't feel the quilt is going the way it should. Sometimes that's a good thing, but most times it ends up in the bottom of my unfinished basket. Out of sight out of mind.....move on, big failure, nothing to see here!

My son informs me I have done a lot of interesting sucesses. Here is my favorite quilt.
You can't see much of the stitches in the photo, but it is heavily quilted using my machine.

Currently, I am decorating for the holidays, so I have taken it down and put up another favorite quilt I finished last year. It is also machine quilted. You'll find that I do a lot of machine sewing and quilting, otherwise I would get nothing finished.

Here is a close-up of this quilt.

I am glad I got to share a few of my quilts at this time. Check back and I will add some more.
Today is definately a November day. It's gray, cold and wet so great weather to stay inside and get some quilting done.