Monday, December 31, 2012

Go Cats

Bonnie Hunter is breaking her Friday mold and putting out the next step for the Easy Street Mystery Quilt this morning.  And me?  I will be on the road to Jacksonville, FL for the Gator Bowl tomorrow.  DH is a Northwestern grad and if his team gets a bowl bid, and if it is within 500 miles (east, west, or south) then we try to go.  So, go Cats!!

I did get Step 5 of Easy Street done and all my pieces are packed up in a box, ready for the next step.  I am like most people I am hoping that we will start putting some of these little pieces together and thus start to get an idea of where this mystery is going.  However, by the time I get back in the studio on Wednesday, I will be behind and will have some real sewing to do to get caught up again.


006My design wall has those Funky Chickens on it again.  I am trying to figure out a nontraditional setting for them so up on the wall they are going again.  I still needed to take the stabilizer off the back of each block so they are going on the wall as this is done.  As you can see, there are still 4 more blocks to go in this process.

I also have 4 of the 5 teapots on the wall.  They have been stitched (see previous post)/ appliqued.  I am using the button-hole stitch and various thread colors.  And I really think the stitching is making them look even better.

005This is on my Design Cutting Table.  It is the January block in the Carol Doak Mystery BOM.  January? you say.  Well, she figured that some people would have time to sew while their husbands were watching football so she gave it to us early.  I, of course, will be watching football with my husband (see above) so yesterday afternoon I knocked this out.  I have to admit that the four quadrants are not sewn together yet but I think they look pretty good just pushed together, don’t you? 

And one more thing:  003
This is my new toy.  It is a Windows tablet that I got so I can draw in EQ7 using a pen rather than a mouse.  Of course it has Windows 8 so we now have two learning curves all at the same time but I’m up for it……I hope.  Rolling on the floor laughing

I hope everyone has a fun and safe New Year’s Eve and a restful and possibly productive New Years Day.  I’ll be thinking of you all and your sewing machines. 

              GO CATS!!

Linking with Patchwork Times, What a Hoot Quilts, and Quiltville.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Past

Well, another Christmas has come and gone.  For the two of us it has been quiet and fun.
ready for gift opening
When our children were little they clamored to open presents on Christmas Eve.  So we settled on opening gifts that had been sent and left the ones from each other for Christmas morning.  DH and I have continued that tradition but now there are more of the “sent” ones than the ones from each other.  So with coffee and pie at the ready, we prepared for our gifts.  And I must say we were greatly gifted.

One of the things we were given was a box with pancake mix, syrup and all the fixing for a good Christmas breakfast.  So, of course, I broke out our new electric griddle and we had pancakes.  I had planned to take a picture of the pancakes on the plate with butter and syrup but forgot until they were all gone.  But let me say that it was a great way to start the day.

After some more gift opening and Santa sock stuffing, we were on our way to the big city (100 miles).  One of the traditions we developed after all of our children moved away to start families of their own was to eat Chinese on Christmas (it used to be the only place open) and more recently to go to the movies. 

So Chinese it was.  I love Kung Po Chicken and was delighted to not have a buffet but could order what I wanted.  And we brought a bunch back so I will have at least 2-3 more great meals from it.  Yea!!!

And then we went to see The Hobbit.  We saw it in I MAX 3D and it was great.  Of course I loved all of the books and all of the Lord of the Rings movies so there was no doubt I would also love this movie.  And I have a “slight” fear of heights and tended to squirm and jump a few times.  DH just laughed at me but he jumped, too.

When the movie was over we made a stop for a bowl of soup and brought some Village Inn pie home for today’s treat.

Our evening was topped by a pretty interesting storm.  We rode on the edge of it all the way home and only got a little rain at the end of the ride.  We, however, had gusty wind most of the way which made driving interesting. 

After we got home the storm hit.  We had power blips and for some reason our internet connection is down: I am running on my iPhone’s hotspot.  We got 3” of rain and are still having very cold wind gusts but the worst is over and it is going to be a really good sewing day.

Now, everyone get some rest so you will be ready for New Year’s Eve.  We will be going to bed early as we will be traveling to Jacksonville, FL for the Gator Bowl.  DH is a Northwestern grad and we can’t miss them when they are playing anywhere near us.

Have a great week.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas to Everyone

Coffee Break
Santa stopped by this past week for a little coffee and talk.  It was so nice to see him able to relax on the deck even at this very busy time of the year.

But since I had all of my Christmas gifts either bought or made I was able to have this on my design wall.

All of the yellow and orange are steps 2, 4 and 5 of Easy Street.  I can’t express how excited I was when I finished step 5 on the day it was introduced.  I have never been so caught up.

3.5 inch squares
I also have a bunch of 3 1/2” green squares cut but Bonnie said we didn’t need them yet.  Well, then, why did she have us cut them up?     Oh, yea, probably because eventually we will be sewing them to something else and, yippee, I’ll be ready.
Also on the wall are two of my teapot BOMs.  I finally began the applique process, doing the blanket stitch this time.

2 teapots
The teapot on the right is upside down, showing the stitching only.  It’s kind of cool to see just the outline, don’t you think?  On the left is my pretty flower teapot, the one where the spout was so light it almost disappeared into the background.

flower teapot
But look how great it looks when outlined by the thread.  I used the buttonhole on all but the “shading’’ pieces where I used a small zigzag.

dots teapot
It’s harder to see the stitching on this one because it is black and blends in so much better.

dots handle
You can see some of the stitches here but I can tell you that it is not easy to stitch on those little pieces.  The light gray shading on this handle was one piece of fabric under the black handle but it still needed to be stitched….oh, my.

dots shading
And this shading was done using the same fabric as the pot but I darkened it with a fabric pen. 

These teapot have been so much fun.

After all that sewing I spent the weekend having lunch with my daughter and great grandson, shopping alone (with no buying Crying face) and then shopping with DH and buying (he is a really bad influence on me).

Today is Christmas Eve.  DH and I will spend the evening opening the gifts that have been sent by our families who live far away.  We will eat chili and watch old videos of Christmas’ past and remember when it was much noisier  around our house.  On Christmas day we will have a late breakfast (blueberry pancakes)and open our gifts to each other.  We will also spend time remembering that on this day we celebrate the birth of Christ, our savior.   What a wonder to live in a country where we are allowed to celebrate and share our faith: we are so blessed.

Merry Christmas!

Linking with Patchwork Times, Quiltville, and What a Hoot.

EDIT!!  Look what Santa brought us this morning.  Meet Elsa.  Doesn't she look happy to be here?  She is our 8th grandchild, second granddaughter and we are so excited.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Is a Comin’

Coffee Break
This is where I spent all Wednesday afternoon, out on the deck having coffee with Santa.  It was in the mid-70s, the sun was out and I was able to finish one book and start another.  What a great way to begin the week before Christmas.

Home Dinner Theater
The night before we had dinner theater.  One of our family traditions, and our favorite, is Magoo’s Christmas Carol.  Even without the children here (ages 44-50) we still sing along and anticipate the funniest part, seen above.  We are watching one Christmas show every night: it is a way to enjoy our old traditions in a current way.

Steps 2 and 4
On the quilting front, I completed all of Step 4 of Easy Street and got them sewn onto Step 2.

3.5 inch squares
I even got the green fabric cut into 3 1/2” squares, ready to use in the next step.  I really don’t enjoy the cutting part but spacing it out a week apart seems to make it not so bad.

Filed away until Friday
After I got all that sewing and cutting done, I boxed everything up and put it away until Friday.

I did do some additional sewing.  I have begun the applique on my teapots.  My usual applique technique is a small zig-zag with invisible thread.  This time I am using the button-hole stitch with a coordinating thread.  I got one done and am in the middle of the second one.  I will be showing them on Monday.
Have a great week.  Don’t get too cold or blown away by the storm that is right now crossing the country.  Gari

Monday, December 17, 2012

Fun in Alabama

Step 4 a
Up first is my design wall with Step 4 of Easy Street.  I have a few of the units done, including being attached to Step 2, and the rest of Step 4 half done.  I would have had them all done Sunday but a trip to Pizza Hut for a taco pizza completely derailed me.

Step 4 b
This time I was able to put yellow and orange together in the same unit: again my two favorite colors, united.

But I didn’t start working on Easy Street until Saturday afternoon because I had started a new project.
placemats on frame
These are two placemats designed by Sindy of Fatcat Patterns.  And she is offering it free this month. 

placemat 1
I prepared the applique on Friday and did the quilting on Saturday.

placemat 2
One of the differences between the two are the packages where I reversed the fabric.  Also, I bound one in green and the other in red.

placemate santa
I did circles overall but did more specific quilting on this motif which is part of the fabric.

Last Monday I finished wrapping all the gifts we are sending and mailed all but the ones to my mother.  Her’s I will mail this week insuring that they arrive closer to Christmas.  The reason?  Well, she tends to open them as soon as she gets them and I hope to have them there for her on Christmas, or at least as close as I can get to it.  Now all I have left to wrap is the ones to DH.  I have his hidden in the studio so part of today will be wrapping, again. 

Yesterday we shopped for our Christmas tree.  We have a great artificial, lighted one but there is currently no room for a tree in the living room.  That great tree is now brightening our deck: it looks great.  So Sunday we bought a 3 1/2 ‘ Norfolk Pine which is sitting at one end of our dining table.  And there are even a couple of gifts, wrapped, under it.  Almost every day more and more signs of Christmas appear in our house: it is really beautiful here, inside and out.
Oh, have you seen the New Year’s Mystery at Longarm University?  It is a picture quilt to be pieced prior to New Year’s Day and then quilting lessons will be given out throughout the day.  I have done one of her quilts/lessons and it was great.  This quilt, I think, would make a great wallhanging behind our Christmas Village next year so I am thinking about signing up.  Want to join me?
I will be linking to Patchwork Times and Quiltville.  Stop by and see what lots of other people are doing.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A New Man at Our House

A few weeks ago, while going through the many catalogs of “stuff” one can buy for Christmas I came across this mannequin.  I set the picture aside and decided that when the holidays were over and my bank account was somewhat replenished, I would get him for our front porch.  Then later I was telling my mother about him and she offered to buy him for me for my birthday.  And I jumped on that offer and here he is.  I have already been shopping for clothes for him (he is 6’ and slim: doesn’t fit in our family at all).  Anyway, I was going to get him a Santa suit but this isn’t the time of year to find one in the second hand shops so all he got was a hat.

Then last evening DD and SIL came over with an older suit he no longer is using when he plays Santa for the groups and kids around town.  Of course they forgot the pants so I am calling him a Redneck Santa, at least for now.  He really looks great welcoming us home.

needed glasses
DH even contributed some reading glasses in case Santa gets bored sitting out there watching the birds.  This new man in my life is called Fred: I’m not sure why but it just seemed to fit.

Gift Wrapping mess
In addition to getting Fred set up on the outside, I have been wrapping gifts on the inside.  Almost every surface was covered with wrapping paper, boxes, and gifts: what a mess.

Wrapping helper
And help was always there when I needed it.  But I did get the job done and gifts were even put in the mail.  I wrote on Facebook that I love making gifts and even enjoy shopping for them but I really don’t like wrapping them.  I am always glad when that part of the season is over.

Sky & Sadie
Last night we had a visit from our great grandson, Sky.  He is 4 and just the right size for our miniature daschund, 

Placemat trees
And, finally, I was able this morning to get back into the studio.  This is the beginning of two placemats from the same designer as my Funky Chickens.  I really am a little further done than this but I didn’t get a picture so will show more on Monday.

Have a great week and weekend.  Gari

Monday, December 10, 2012

Quilting and Family

Step 3 done
I don’t believe it, but I am still all caught up with Easy Street.  I will say that even though some people may not think that 2” pieces are not small, they seem pretty small to me.  And to sew the bias edges, over and over and over again, is really tedious.  However, this Step 3 came out Friday, I had the pieces all cut Saturday and all sewn Sunday. 

Step 3 segment
64 of these segmants
and we still don’t have any idea what we will be doing with them.

12 Funky Chickens
But this is what is on my design wall today: all 12 Funky Chickens.  I am so in love with these chickens, they may just live on that wall for the next month.

Funky Chicken #12
And here is Chicken #12.  Isn’t she pretty?  I hear her saying “Don’t tell me I am the last one!”

Teapot #5
And the last thing I got done last week was December’s Teapot.  I have had this fat quarter of fabric for a long time and love it for a teapot.  I wish I had more of it: I can see that it would work great on a kids quilt.  Oh, well.

On Thursday our daughter received her pin for completing RN school.  She has been working as an LPN for the past 3 years and soon, after taking and passing the Nursing Board exam, she will begin her career as an RN.  We are so proud of her!

Nurse done
I made her this quilt as a graduation gift and surprised her with it at the graduation.

Nurse quilting closeup
I bought the nurse fabric when she started back to school but didn’t start the quilt until this last semester.

Nurse minky quilting 2
And, this was the first time I have quilted with Minky fabric and it quilted like a dream.

I am linking up with Patchwork Times, What a Hoot, and Quiltville
Have a great week.  Gari

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Fun Week

Last night DH and I attended a concert called Joy at the Beach directed by Karen, a friend from my working days.  The singing group was formed following Hurricane Ivan, which devastated the Pensacola Beach area, as a way of healing and a promise of rejuvenation.  They have been presenting musical programs now for 7 years.  It was a fun and refreshing program.  And, based on the audience, Christmas is not just for children!

new t-shirts
While in Pensacola we made our obligatory stop at Dunkin.   As usual they had cool stuff for sale and we had to get this, a DD t-shirt.  Now I admit that I don’t like Starbucks coffee (too bitter) but I found this really funny and so two of them came home with us. 

Today I added something to our Christmas village scene.  It is the quilt on the right, a feathered star quilt top I finished 2-3 years ago and still haven’t quilted it.  I was very annoyed with the big blank blue wall and remembered that I had this “star” quilt that would just fit that space.  What is funny is that Flight School, the quilt on the left, was first hung as a flimsy and then quilted after that Christmas.  Maybe that bodes well for the Feathered Star.  Who me?

A walk in the woods
Several times a day I walk in the woods with these two dogs.

two roads diverge
Note that although we are all walking in the same woods, two of us are going in two different directions.  Sometimes I feel like I am being pulled apart: did you know that doxies are VERY strong?

sled dogs
Sometimes they pull together, a lot like sled dogs (and I am the sled).  We all get our exercise when we go for a walk in the woods.

Fall color
But besides the exercise we are always running into beautiful things hiding out in our wonderful woods.

Setp 2 DONE
But lest you think that life is all travel, music, decorating, puppies, and wood walks, I have been sewing.  Here you see the results of having ALL of Step 1 and Step 2 of Bonnie Hunter’s Easy Street Mystery DONE!!  And it is only Wednesday.  I even had time to draw the Teapot BOM for December and to pick out the fabric. 
I will be on the road again tomorrow but will be back for the Step 3 unveiling on Friday.  Open-mouthed smile