Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wrapping Up

It's really the end of 2011, isn't it? I feel like December went by so quickly, but I think I say that every year. Christmas with friends and family was wonderful. New Year's Eve will be (thankfully) quiet; we are ringing in the new year by going to brunch at my son and daughter-in-law's home and then taking in a live performance of Beauty and the Beast. 

I had it in mind to make a few gifts for Christmas this year and am pleased to be able to say I was able to make it a reality. A quilt each for my daughter's boyfriends and pillowcases to match, plus, a pillowcase for the stocking of my son's friend who joined us on Christmas day. I am planning a few more for next year, which totally justifies the post-Christmas sale fabric shopping I have been doing, doesn't it?

The quilt in the photo is a lap-sized Yellow Brick Road featuring fabrics from Emily Herrick's Going Coastal line, supplemented from my own collection. It was machine quilted by a young quilt designer who lives in an adjacent town. She is just getting her longarm business started and I was happy to be able to support her new venture. She did a large, looping meander all over the top; I think it perfectly echoes the sand dollar motifs on the quilt backing. This quilt will be staying in the family as the recipient proposed to my daughter before Christmas! She is very excited, and we are as well. You can see the snow we had on the ground the day this photo was taken; by Christmas Day, it was all but gone.

The end of the year is hours away. They (whoever "they" are) say that whatever it is you spend New Year's Day doing is what you will be doing all year. I will be enjoying time spent with family and the arts - I have much to look forward to if there is any credence to this statement!

A blessed and peaceful New Year to all!


Sunday, December 18, 2011

A New Stocking

The list of projects I'd like to finish for Christmas includes several stockings. This is the first one I've finished this year; it is for my daughter's boyfriend. My daughter was very excited to show it to him but I guess he didn't have the same over-the-top reaction as she had to her new stocking - it's a guy thing, I'm not too worried about it. For them, I'm sure a stocking is much more interesting on Christmas morning when it is packed with goodies. For this stocking, I sewed together leftover charm squares and other scraps which I cut to be 5" square. I quilted 1/4" away on both sides of each seam. The back of the stocking is solid green and is quilted as well. I only sandwiched the outside fabric and batting before I quilted. This allows me to create a separate lining which I can use to turn the stocking inside out. I slipstitch the opening closed after I turn it and voila - no seams are showing inside, or out! I also put a label inside for the recipient - that probably helps Santa out when he comes to fill the stockings!

I am putting the binding on another gift quilt today. I enjoy being able to sit and stitch by hand. It's a welcome break when things get busy at this time of year.

We have snow falling today though the weather forecast says we will not be having a white Christmas. The last couple of winters have brought us plenty of snow; I think I'm okay with having less this time around.

Enjoy the season!


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Santa stopped by

I came home after a long day at work last week to find a package waiting for me. I was delighted to find a swap gift inside. An online quilt group I belong to usually does a swap at Christmas time. My gift came to me all the way from Kansas. Terri made me a lovely table runner which happens to fit perfectly on my brand new coffee table. We've been doing some renovations around here and it seemed a good time to consider new furniture for the living room. The last time I bought some was when my daughters were born - they are 20 now! Our family is growing and I wanted to have comfortable seating for everyone so I found a sectional, coffee table, and wall unit which work just perfectly in our small condo and a store that could get me the goods in time for Christmas. Jackpot! I'm proudly showing off my new runner here. Thank you, Terri, for making such a perfect gift for me!

In between marking final assignments and the painting and furniture arranging I have managed a bit of sewing. I am helping Santa out by sewing a few new stockings to be filled. I'll post pictures here when I get some. The tree is up but not decorated yet - we're waiting for one of my daughters to get home from university this weekend so she can help to trim the tree. She's a Forestry major and rather opinionated - I wonder what she'll say about this year's specimen?

It's almost the shortest day of the year. Where I live, that means the sun won't be fully up until nine o'clock in the morning or so and it will easily be dark by 4:30. The great thing about that is the days will only be getting longer from there out!

See you soon.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Catching up...

I really want to be part of the blog community; online quilters and crafters are some of the coolest people I have ever *met*. I got a bit off course and haven't posted for awhile. I decided (and therefore, my husband decided) to do some quick reno's in our house in time for Christmas. Our kids are grown and now they are bringing home boyfriends and spouses so it was time to get the family room more updated and do something to bring in additional seating to our living room. Of course this meant we had to redo the floors which led to get the idea. I offered up my sewing space as a storage repository for displaced furniture and my office was taken down to accommodate the installation of new flooring. Everything is pretty much back together now and it looks fresh and so much brighter -I'm very pleased.

So now it is time to get back into my Christmas workshop. One tradition around our house is opening stockings on Christmas morning. I grew up in a home where my father's German heritage led us to open gifts on Christmas Eve - there were certainly no stockings. I married into a family that embraced the stocking tradition and I have to say, I really like it. Somewhere along the line, my kids started to say "stockings are our favourite part of Christmas" - that just helped me to enjoy the process even more. I put all kinds of things in stockings and, truth be told, they probably add up to just as much as a gift, but it's so much fun. This year, my kids are students or newly relocated and money is tight for all; we drew names for gift giving, but the stocking tradition will go on as planned. I am actually really excited about this is less time hunting down gifts means more time planning neat ideas for the stockings.
Last year, my daughter asked for a new stocking. She wanted something modern, so I came up with this one. She loves it. In fact, she has it hanging on the door knob of her bedroom so she could look at it all year. I also made a stocking for my new daughter-in-law in a less modern aesthetic. This year, there are boyfriends (who I think are here to stay) and friends with nowhere else to be on Christmas and another daughter asking for a new stocking. A co-worker is looking for one as well. The elves need to get to work!

Of course, I may not be playing by the rules when it comes to giving gifts this year...quilts are coming back from the nice lady with the longarm so I'll be happily handstitching binding on a few projects before the big day arrives. The best part about that our evenings are chilly so having a quilt on my lap for binding is not a bad thing at all!

I love Christmas; I love getting ready for it. We don't go crazy with elaborate preparations but we put love into everything we do and it's perfect for our family. I hope your plans - whatever they may be - are coming together well!