Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Decorating and gift making

For some reason this year, as soon as the last mouthful of scrumptious turkey and dressing were off my plate and into my mouth I was excited to start ushering in Christmas. I asked my sons who were home from college to "go get Christmas." They knew what that meant-trips into the house with large plastic bins full of Christmas decorations. I carefully packed away Thanksgiving, turned up the Christmas music and began the joyous ritual. A ritual that has become a tradition and also becomes a trip down memory lane as items are unwrapped and almost discovered as if for the first time all over again. It's amazing how you forget what you have packed away.

My fun snippets wreath wallhanging has a new home right in the kitchen. It was fun to make and even more fun to look at each day.

In the meantime, I'm still putting together gifts for Christmas. This beginnings of a tablerunner (below) is now going on the back burner as I have come up with an even better plan for my #2 Christmas gift. My daughter likes the hexagons though and wants an entire quilt made of these, so that project will have to wait until after Christmas. So for now, I'll try to finish the 3 other gifts I have going all at the same time. #1 gift is in the machine quilting stage, so I'm nearing the end. #2 gift is now ready for the final piecing. #3 gift is an embroidery which has about 2 more hours worth of work, then it will be ready for the finishing stages. I enjoy making things when I know exactly who I'm giving them to. I only wish those whom I'm making these for could know how much I think of them while I'm working on their gifts. Handwork and quilting cause me to slow down a bit in an otherwise hurried and frenzied season. That's a gift to myself!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

A few more things to do before our home is filled to the brim. Grocery shopping, changing sheets, setting out clean towels and fun magazines for the guests in their rooms, dusting, vacuuming, menu planning, etc.
But one thing I never want to lose sight of is just what my embroidery says, I must always give thanks for my bountiful harvest. I see the hand of the Lord in my life and I would feel so ungrateful not to acknowledge where my blessings come from. I look forward to being with family this week, laughing together, playing games, eating, listening to each other's stories and laughing some more. I love seeing how excited my youngest girls get when they know cousins will be coming to our home. They already know at such a young age that family is what matters most.
Have a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving week!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Moving a bit closer to Thanksgiving

Now the table setting is starting to take shape.
First to come into town is my oldest son who arrives this Saturday. He'll be a big help in some of the heavier work to be done for preparations. Second to arrive is second oldest son on Monday. Again, more hands to help, but also more fun around the house. We love to play games as a family, so I'm feeling a big game night coming on. I'd love to hear about everyone's favorite family games.I love Jim Shore's creations and this is one that I leave out all year. For me giving thanks is a daily action and this beautiful piece reminds me to find things I'm grateful for each and every day. That's easy because all I need to do is look around.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Getting Ready, bit by bit

Mr. and Mrs. Tom Turkey salt and pepper shakers

I'm getting ready for Thanksgiving guests next week, putting a few things out each day, picking up, cleaning out, etc, etc. Bit by bit things are coming together.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


While looking for something else, I opened a box with many of my UFO's-- blocks with no home, leftover blocks, and just changed-my-mind blocks.
It's actually been quite some time since I've seen the contents of this container so looking at everything brought back memories. I think they're over 10 years old now.

I pulled these 3 blocks and decided I should turn them into pillows, an easy fix for lonely one-of-a-kind blocks. This red and yellow one will actually look awesome in my family room, so it's probably the first one I'll transform. Can't wait to see how they turn out.

A few more touches

All I have left on this one is to attach the flowers, sandwich, quilt and bind, then Ta da, on to the next project (actually I've already started my next project. I can never just have one thing going at a time). This was fun to make and I loved using lots of my batiks.

Monday, November 8, 2010

tis the season

Pretty much every year as soon as Halloween passes by I get the wonderful season fever. It's a fever of anticipation, love, family, giving, thanking...did I say family! I'm looking forward to having a house full here for Thanksgiving. Our house has become the destination spot for Thanksgiving and I love it. Two of my brothers (I have 6 brothers so it's not really even a majority) and their families will be coming.

Last weekend I went to a holiday bazaar with my friend Tracey and my daughter Kristina. The hand made items were all so cute, but I must say that I think the women don't charge enough for their awesome crafts. I know how long they take and what talent it takes and I was so surprised at some of the prices. With that said, how could I pass up this cute tree and the 2 houses. Each piece sold for a little over $2. I should have splurged and bought one more house. Tracey bought 3 houses and I'm thinking that's what I should have done. Oh well. I love how it looks.

In the meantime, I'm busily starting to get my plans together for my handmade Christmas presents. This is a preview of what I'm working on now. It's on my design wall. I think it will be perfect for "her" (can't say who in case she pops in on this blog.) I've pinned the flowers on to see if I like them. I love them! So now I need to decide how to attach them.

The key to a less stress holiday season for me is to do only a few handmade items since they take so much time (there's always next year for other friends and family) and to make lists. The other big help for me is to play Christmas music while I'm working around the house. It always sets the tone of the day. Is it too early to play Christmas music? Not for me. My DH is a big fan of Christmas music so we have tons of CD's to choose from. Lucky me!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Swap block

Here's my November block for my flickr group, Bee Scrappy. This will be a fun quilt when it's all put together. It's based on this blog from Nittany Block Party. The hardest part is matching the white strips. Took me a couple of tries.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Artist in the family

I have no drawing skills at all. In fact, my stick figures are even hard to recognize at times. But my 10 yr old daughter Leah took an art class and came home with these beautiful pictures. I had to frame them and show them off. She loves drawing and is feeling that wonderful confidence that comes when we recognize a new talent. I love seeing her beam with pride at the pictures she can paint or draw. It's hard to find good art classes for young people, so when I passed a sign along the road for art lessons, I jumped on it. I'm hoping her teacher will continue to hold more and more classes. She's a great teacher and taught several different techniques.
So now I've told Leah that she's an artist on paper and I'm an artist with cloth. She gets that. I've also told her how great it feels to be creative in life. It feeds our souls and feeds the souls of those who behold it.

Binding on...

I finished my mosaic quilt and showed it at my group, Material Girls Idaho. I quilted it at my friend Tracey's. She just got a new Gammill and it was fun. I didn't like putting it on the machine, that was a little confusing and time consuming, but the quilting was a breeze. It sure beats trying to wad up my quilt and fit it under my little sewing machine to quilt it. Not that I didn't make any mistakes, but it makes me want to try again. I know lots of practice will make things better each time. So now I will gather a bunch of quilt tops that never made it to the quilting stage and use them for practice.