Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Pillowcase

I made this pillowcase for a grand niece - she's a horse girl and long ago outgrew her pony - she rides her Dad's great BIG horse. There are some nice tutorials out there for pillowcases - and I liked the idea of encased seams (I even did French seams on the long seams), but if I followed the directions exactly - those horses would be running sideways. I didn't want that! So, I just put the fabric down on the floor, put my pillow on top of that, and sort-ov free-hand cut the horse fabric out with scissors - adding extra, extra (French seams) on the sides for seam allowances. Then I rotary cut it nice and straight. And then rotary cut the red mottled fabric the same size. Viola - reversible pillowcase - with the novelty fabric upside right. I have a bit more of that horse fabric, so it might make a re-appearance some day in another project, but I bought it specifically to make this pillowcase, so I am glad to have that accomplished!
And, since I made a pillowcase for SB's cousin - I had to make him one too. His is for a small pillow and made out of a scrap of flannel I had on hand. He is very happy with it - so much so that since he is sound asleep on it for the night, I can't take a photo!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Alien Softie

Alien Softie - obviously from a butterfly world.

The design.
A colored version with background. Note the addition of arms.

The designer himself - my 5 1/2 year old son! I love, love, love kid's art! How could I not turn this drawing into a softie?
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Sewn by Momma. I had to make the body a little bit bigger than his drawing on the 8 1/2" X 11" paper because he really wanted to use that butterfly fabric - which was 6 1/2" and I wanted to take full advantage of the butterflys. That was a good move because any smaller and it would have been very fiddly to sew together. I used a quarter for the eyeball template - they are made out of fleece and buttonhole stitched down so I didn't have to turn under raw edges. Gotta love fleece when you don't have any felt on hand!
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I'm happy to report that the sun finally came out today and there wasn't much wind so we went for a walk and had a picnic of hot soup. 3C, almost tropical I tell you - whoo-hoo! It was only us and the deer prints out there. Oops - no palm trees so maybe not so tropical.

Checking the depth of puddles where the ice is thin enough to stomp through - good thing those boots are semi-waterproof! This photo reminded me of when I was little -my Grandpa used to make us wonderful walking sticks - they were great for checking puddle depths, among other uses. Hummmm, I think my boy needs one!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Some Stitching


The winter weather rages outside; I am thankful that I did not travel this year for the holidays. Instead - I've been inside, sorting through my projects. Sort being the verb here - as this top is missing 2 rows or so... some segments I had, the others... I couldn't find. So - it has sat - unfinished - with bits and pieces of the missing rows. After trying to figure it all out - again - yesterday, I decided to just call it good, add an inside border from fabric on hand and put dark blue yardage on my fabric shopping list for the other border. Right now it measures 72" X 81" and the final borders will probably be 8" so that will bring it up to a nice size. The photo is a bit washed out, but the light squares are all old pastel calicos. The squares are cut 4.5" and then matched with scrappy flying geese to get the pattern - really simple. The extra bits and pieces are actually enough to make a few scrappy star blocks - so that is what they will become!
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And here is a finish from November - actually the center I made last winter, but the borders went on last month and I am fairly sure I haven't shown a photo of it yet. My Scrappy Bargello - a free pattern over at Bonnie Hunter's site - http://www.quiltville.com/. It measures 90" X 82". I made this quilt from a PILE of BRIGHT 99 cent fat quarters. Then I had to figure out what to do with them all. This pattern was a perfect fit! Just ignore the fold line down the center - I didn't feel like ironing it for the photo.



Just for fun - I bought that zanny fabric for the border. I cut it both long and short ways to get the pattern to line up along the border lengths - see the photo? I was especially pleased with it! A bit of goofy-ness, why not? I like to add goofy-ness to my quilts. The binding will probably be an extra wide dark navy or purple for this one.
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It hasn't been all quilting on the sewing front... my serger is fixed!!! I threw it out of alignment by putting jeans needles in there - turns out you can't use such big needles on my serger. The needle hit the lower looper and that was the end of serging until the repair. After 5 1/2 years, I won't complain - this has been the 1st issue I've had with it. And why jeans needles anyway? I was making School Boy some corduroy pants and decided it would be a good time to change the needle and since it was thick cords - thought jeans needles made sense. NOPE! So - if you have a serger - take note! Since my serger is fixed I finished the cords for SB, plus a pair of fleece pants (the non-pill type because it holds up very well to repeated washing) AND a knit top for myself. I love my new top and it is worthy of its own blog post - so I will try to get some photos soon. In the meantime, I no longer have to do the laundry every 2-3 days because my son now has 2 extra pairs of pants. Whew - the pressure is off. EVERY pair of pants he wears (except the emergency pair) I've made. The funny thing is that he almost always picks orange fleece. I told him that people are going to think he has magic pants that keep growing with him as I seem to make them over and over again, each time in the next size up! The new pair has a red stripe on the pocket instead of yellow though - so they are a bit different than the last pair. And he loves them.

The NOT funny part was when I was fitting the elastic to his waist he puffed his belly out - just like a horse when you go to tighten the saddle strap - and I didn't notice. So - of course, the pants fell right down after I got it all sewn inside. I had to set it aside for 2 days before I had the heart to take it apart, but it is done now, yeah! The thing about sewing clothes for kids - you can not procrastinate because if they turn into a UFO - they simply won't fit.
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AND - just before Christmas I made SB 3 patchwork juggling balls... but only filled them with stuffing (no beans/rice) so they are light-weight and he has had a good time throwing them at a target taped to the door. Can you see the target taped to the door behind SB in the orange pants photo? The weather really is keeping us inside and I am TRYING to come up with creative things to do so we don't go shack whacky. I really mind the cold weather.
SB received a few gifts to keep him occupied - which gives me extra time to sew.

We do not put the presents under the tree until Christmas Eve. Amazingly - the gifts arrived by post just in time from Europe. SB asked me - Momma, did you get me a present? I told him that I had to go shopping and should leave so I could be back by the next day... he ran to the door and held his hands out wide... "Don't leave Momma, it is OK if you didn't buy me a present, Christkin (Christ Angel - as there is no Santa in Austria and this is my DH's culture) will come and Santa will come and my aunts and uncles sent me gifts. Stay home Momma!" But of course, I did have presents for him as well.
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We did have a wonderful Christmas - complete with a BIG fondu Christmas Eve fondu for all 3 of us (lots of salads and side dishes), Christkin came and we opened presents. Christmas morning SB ran to the tree and his face just dropped when there was nothing there, thinking Santa had missed our house. I very quickly reminded him that he put his stocking on the couch - the relief on his face as he ran over to the couch was comical - it was all I could do not to laugh because that would hurt his feelings. Last month SB was begging me for new winter boots and even after Christmas he is still ooh-ing and ahh-ing over those boots, so let me tell you - we had one very happy boy come Christmas Day - he even loved his new house slippers and is still thanking me everyday for them. We finished Christmas off with a very nice meal with a family that invited us for the 2nd year in a row to join them to celebrate. Not the Christmas I remember as a child (being from a big family), but the Christmas of MY child, and now also me. All in all, it was very nice.
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Here is a photo of our snowman family - all 3 of them/us! They are actually very pretty - a bit translucent and the glitter scarfs seem to change color from pink to light green depending upon the light. Today's light is... snow and freezing rain. Ah well, in anycase, I really, really enjoy my holiday decorations!



Monday, December 22, 2008

December Update

Didn't December just start yesterday? How did it get to be 2 sleeps to Christmas already? Not to worry though - I got all my shopping done in November, all wrapped and done. Although - it is tempting to keep buying and buying, I will admit - but hey, I had a pretty strict budget for the gifts in our household and really stuck to my list. Not that it is a bad thing - we have really emphasized special meals, baking, homemade gifts and ornaments, Christmas photos and cards... and we are having fun. Here is a photo of the pumpkin breads we baked for school & acquaintance presents. I also made pumpkin breads for my quilt group. Those cute little cellophane bags were 30 for $1 at the dollar store - score! They look so pretty and festive!
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We had to take ANOTHER overnight business trip which brought us near the mall. We only ran into Wal-Mart for a few necessities - just a few food items we can't get where we live - and School Boy wanted to buy a Pez dispenser and candies for our next door neighbor. She is in her mid-80's and always has Pez - and SB is very good at finding them at her house and eating them! So, he picked out a Disney princess dispenser that he thought she would like. Isn't that sweet? We've been invited to friends for Christmas Eve dinner and we started to look at the boxed candies/gifts/etc. to bring as a gift before I put a halt to all such thinking - we are going to make sour dough bread and something else home-made. Since we were at the mall I wanted to walk in there and see how it was decorated. I was really disappointed that there were NO decorations at the mall! SB doesn't know any different so he was just as happy looking at the ornaments at the Halmark store. Anyway - we were at Wal-Mart/mall for less than an hour and went back to the hotel to enjoy the pool.
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A very funny thing - when we were away and driving down the street - all the houses had trash bags out on the curb and the garbage truck was picking up all the trash. I said that it was Trash Day. SB chimed in that we didn't celebrate Trash Day but all families are different. I told DH - I think we really live out in the sticks if our son thinks Trash Day is a celebration! LOL.
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BUT - we DO have celebrations! We had the most amazing Santa Parade on Saturday night. Never mind that it was -8C - there was float after float in the parade. We rode on a float and SB had a great time waving and waving to all the people who turned out to see it. Many people just parked in parking lots facing the road and sat in their trucks and honked as we went by. 2 guys were very funny and had built a bon fire at the end of their driveway and were sitting there with their lab - looked like a Norman Rockwell scene, really! And then - amazingly - tons of people braved the cold to wave and shout Merry Christmas. It took about 45 minutes so we were very happy to go into the WARM firehall afterward for our cookie and hot chocolate. It was very cold, but fun. Here is SB in front of a float with a curling theme.

And this is a float that shows Christmas around the world... from ice skating on one end to palm trees & sand castles on the other. The world is actually a huge buoy! It is hard to see in the photo, but it was really great - and the world spun around too. I didn't get many photos because I thought I was being smart by bringing the big camera which takes better night photos - and the battery froze. My little camera fits in my pocket so I can usually keep it warm enough between shots that it will work. Lesson learned! Really, there were a TON of floats - and the fishermen around here excel at turning their little dory boats into Santa's sleighs.
We have snow. Actually lost the power last night around midnight for about 4 1/2 hours. DH was telling me that one of our friends had to get up in the middle of the night to go down to the lobster pounds to get the lobster out of the water so they wouldn't drown. After about 5 minutes I still couldn't figure that out so had to ask - ummm, don't lobster live in the water? How are they going to drown? Well, yeah, but like fish - they need the oxygen to be pumped in. Oh right. Except they were able to get the generators going so the lobster stayed put. I heard on the TV today that this is the 1st time since 1971 that ALL of Canada is going to have a white Christmas! I think that I will go get dressed in layers of winter gear and go outside to play with SB.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What's on your tree?

















I love my tree! I am one of those people that like to get the tree up very early in December (OK, so it was late Nov. this year - but it was snowing!). It's fake anyway so I don't have to worry about it drying out. It comes down right after Christmas. This year I was smart and put it in front of a blank wall instead of the cluttered bookcases! It truly is more beautiful in person when it is turned on and all glittery than the photo shows.
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I have my favorite decorations... lots of birds, apples, shells and crochet snowflakes. We have little wrapped presents, cute boxes and musical instruments. There is even a wooden horse that I very artistically painted when I was about 3! Plus several ornaments that were gifts. It is all pretty durable stuff - those fancy glass ornaments always seem to break on me so I don't have any. SB wanted 2 garlands this year so I figured - why not? Never put 2 different garlands on before and I am happy I gave it a try - because I like the look!
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Having the tree up over the course of the month provides extra opportunity to add to our ornament collection. This year SB made that construction paper tree at school and proudly brought it home to adorn our tree. OK! There's room. One cold weekend we traced cookie cutters onto construction paper, got them cut out and then SB went to town with the white glue and shaker glitter - oh what fun! So, we've added those creations too - they are actually nicer than I thought they would be. A neighbor gave SB an ornament he admired on her tree. We were at a store and SB bought 2 small disco balls - who even knew that HE knew they were disco balls?! Then a friend showed SB how to make candy canes by twisting red/green/white pipe cleaners together - so now we have an assortment of candy-canes in various stages of being twisted together. We were at a friends the other night and she had the cutest little cross-stitched ornaments on her tree - maybe this year I will make a few here and there and next year they can be added.
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One night I spent a little extra time with my camera settings and took photos of SB in front of the tree - all printed out and sent off in the Christmas cards. I added text (his name and date) on the photos we used - this one is very similar to one we used but not exactly.
SB even taught me a lighting trick - focus the camera and then sweep the camera up and down as you take the photo and you will get some neat streaking lights in your photo. Just take lots of photos because sometimes the lights streak right across your subjects face, but we did get several fun shots. By having my tree up early - it was ready to go in plenty of time for those Christmas photos.
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I am thinking this weekend we will make those cinnamon glue ornaments... (the ones you cut out with cookie cutters and bake) but maybe not. We have that glorious thing called snow which means SB will want to be out sliding. Before it snowed we collected a bag of pinecones - we are going to spraypaint them gold/silver/or white (depends what the store has for paint), shake on a bit of that glitter we like so much and add them to our tree too. If we don't get to it this year - I will just put the bag of pinecones in the tote of ornaments for next year. We have plenty of ornaments. But of course - there is always room for more, especially the home-made kind!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Binding

I haven't been doing alot of sewing these days - but when I do sew I've been concentrating on working on finishing up things already started. I got this quilt back from the long-armer this summer - my busiest time of year... so it has been on the shelf waiting for a binding (although - I should say that I have done the binding on 3 of the 5 quilts I got back so I am making progress). I do my bindings all by machine - front and back - so it shouldn't take too much longer now that I've got it started. (It's my checkerboard logcabin that is pictured in my sidebar). I'm thinking the red binding is going to look great!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Week Flew By!




Saturday again, already? It was a BUSY week and today - I hope to sew a little (or at least pin together) - this is my project. You might remember these blocks - in July I pieced the 12 crazy blocks, then made them into stars in October. Off and on in November I pieced the strippy blocks (they are all pieced on phone book pages) for the border and made the sashing units. So - now, finally in December I am up to setting them altogether! Slow and steady wins the race. I won't know how that pieced border fits until the center is done - I have extra blocks made... just in case. I am thinking that I will have to add a narrow spacer border to make that outside edge fall where I want it to. Better photos when I get to the next step - these are a bit washed out, but at least you get the idea.
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What did we do this week? Well, Sunday we made our first batches of Christmas cookies. And SB missed a day of school this week, there was no helping it - we had to make a business trip - a long one at that which unfortunately to my sea-sickness prone son involved a rough boat ride. You know it is going to be rough when the chairs are chained down.
But, as always - I try to combine a bit of fun with business. I can NOT believe that SB went down this water slide at the hotel... I am scared of heights (this thing has to be at least 3 stories) and there is no way you would get me up there. Good thing DH was with us and he went down with SB.

And SB got to go on some fun rides at a popular indoor amusement park we visited.


I successfully stayed out of all the big box stores - DH was just amazed that I did not want to go shopping, but really, I already have all the Christmas shopping done (and wrapped) and personally, I don't like to bring SB into stores. So, we went to a pet shop and looked at all the fish (SB's first time in a pet store - he loved that!) and went out to eat instead (for our other meals we had packed a huge cooler and our hotel room had a fridge and microwave - when traveling with kids - for the most part it is easier to have your own food with you). DH always does an excellent job of packing "picnics"!
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Wednesday night the library hosted a Christmas party for the kids and we went to that. SB made a cute little craft project! Thursday is my busy day with early breakfasts at the restaurant, quilting group from 9-12 and then SB had a play date in the afternoon at a friends, and I stayed to visit with the Mom. Thursday night we made St. Nicholas bags for his classmates (we filled them with oranges, Hershey Kisses, Werther's originals, Life Savers, a candycane, a pencil and Christmas stickers). Friday he had 2 friends over to play. Also during the week somehow we managed to get homework done, I worked on my paperwork and managed to do all the other normal stuff that needs doing. After SB was to bed - at night I put the final borders on Scrappy Bargello and pieced all my Rose blocks together (but now I am thinking that maybe I did that last week?) and made SB 3 little balls for juggling - I still have to take the photos though. And I made a few 9 patch blocks for my quilt groups quilt too.
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Last Saturday we went to the school to see Santa. Plus I seem to remember that we celebrated Thanksgiving with all those kids. Was that really only a week ago? It seems like it was ages ago! And see - that is 1 week - just flew right on by!!!!

THIS Saturday is St. Nicholas Day. SB left DH's shoes outside the door last night - thinking he would get ALOT of goodies in a bigger shoe, but St. Nicholas founds SB's shoes and left them outside the bedroom door, filled with goodies for a good boy! He was so excited! Today we are celebrating by having a special fondu dinner -




So- I'm off to start my salads for the fondu (we will have lots of food because DH also makes some of HIS favorite salads!) I also am going to at least PIN the quilt blocks together - might not actually get to the sewing bit until tomorrow but once the pinning is done - I will be 1 step closer, right?