Monday, December 31, 2012

Adios 2012

There have been years I couldn't wait to see come to an end.  2012 wasn't like that but I am ready to turn the page in the calendar and start over again.  I'm always so sad when Christmas ends that the quicker we get back into the swing of our normal routine the better. 

We did have a great Christmas despite the (self-imposed) stress that December started with.  I'm used to having a very productive Thanksgiving break.  The major decorations are up, sewing gifts are well under way, shopping has started, and I'm feeling in control.  This year, instead, I had company.  That bonus week we got between Thanksgiving and December was lost to double time at work.  Then the cold hit.  That horrid hacking-cough-cold.  I was wiped out for a solid week.  Then the stress hit.  So much to do and time was getting short and I never felt ahead of the game.  Finally, as the kids started coming home the weekend before Christmas, a calm came over.  Phew.  I think the kids would agree that they had a nice Christmas too. 

Once I felt like Christmas was under control I hid out in my sewing room.  I took Merry, Merry Snowmen to my quilter when she mentioned having my Old Fashioned Christmas quilt done in a week.  So, I wore myself out finishing The Great Pumpkin, hereafter named: The Killer Pumpkin.  I'll elaborate on that name change when the quilt comes back and is ready for its debut.  I'm in no rush to see that thing again so don't hold your breath.  In the mean time enjoy Old Fashioned Christmas.
It was a kit that used this very cute fabric as the focus fabric.  It's surrounded by fussy cut pieces from a coordinating fabric.  Check out the wonderful snowflakes in the quilting. 
I love everything about this fabric. 
And on the back...I found this neat paper doll fabric.  I had a variety of paper dolls when I was young.  I think what I liked best about paper dolls is the detail in the dolls and the clothing.  The colors were so vivid. 
I am going to make a couple of New Year's resolutions but I'll post about those tomorrow. 

Until then...Happy New Year. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

There we have it, the countdown is complete. 

A few more snowmen caught my attention this morning while I was getting the dining room cleaned up and the table set. 

These little fellas are sitting in front of a Sue Hillis piece.  Her Christmas colors are always so bright and cheery.  ('Fellas'....that's my grandmother speaking thru me!)

I have a few more Jim Shore snowmen tucked on a book shelf.

Along with a couple wooden ones. 

The house is festive.  We are just awaiting the arrival of the oldest daughter.  I will rest easy when everyone is under one roof for a couple days.

Hope your Christmas is Merry & Bright.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Let it Snow*man.

I like snowmen.  I rarely stitch them but I like to decorate with them.  I think the vast stretches of white don't lend themselves to stitching, however, I am working on Lizzie Kate's 6 Fat Men from last winter....

The snow stitches dont show very well and take a lot of time.  It's still cute. 

I made this wall hanging a couple years ago.  Recently, I visited a quilt store with the same pattern made up in a different charm pack...mine was from a kit and mirrored the pattern's fabrics...but the look was totally different made with different charm packs.  I'd love to make another but can't find the pattern!  Naturally.  I could probably use the finished product to guide me along if I was so inclined. 

 I favor snowmen in either groups of represent my family...

 or in groups of my own kids. 

I have some singles, too.  This guy from Brazil...even when I travel I like to bring home snowmen. 

I bought this next one on the hottest day of the year at a candle shop in an amusement park.  My husband're buying a candle?!  Think it will still be a candle when we get home? 

My newest snowman is a Jim Shore design.  I love the candy cane and matching quilt pattern on his body. 
If the snowman isn't too Christmassy he can stay out all winter. 

I've enjoyed seeing every one's posts of their decorated houses.  Mine is coming along.  I'm slow this year.

Happy Stitching. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Christmas Memories.

My friend Lee recently wrote a beautiful post about her Christmas memories.  She got me thinking about my own memories of Christmas.  I grew up in the 60's when Christmas wasn't so commercialized.  Nobody decked the halls in the style we do now, we didn't hear Christmas carols for 7 full weeks before the 25th, or get run over with nonstop commercials.  I can't remember anyone on my street putting up lights on the outside of their house nor can I remember anyone putting up their tree before the Thanksgiving left-overs were gone. 

What I do remember is how exciting it was to stay up a little late on a school night when a Christmas special was on.  I'm not sure if my favorite was Charlie Brown or The Grinch.  We only got to see those shows once a year...not every other day and twice on Sunday if we own the DVD.  As a young working professional, living hours from my parents, a group of similarly situated co-workers had a gathering at one of our homes to watch either Rudolph or the Grinch because they had cable and 'got' the channel that it was on.  It was just a little trip down memory lane as we all started negotiating our adult lives...newly away from home during the holiday preparations.  I am sad that my kids have lost the opportunity to experience that little thrill. 

Another memory involves a count-down to Christmas present my grandmother made.  My birthday is in early December and on my 9th birthday a box arrived that included the candy laden count down wall hangings.  There was one for each child in the house.  It was long and thin and had 24 peppermint candies tied to it.  We were to eat one candy each day working our way to the top where a Santa button perched.  That was the COOLEST thing I'd ever had!  Number involved candy.  Something we rarely got. (I sound like a kid who grew up in the 30's or something but really, we never had candy in my house.) And second, my mother bought 2 bags of peppermint candies each year so we could refill these lovely count down treats.  I have such vivid memories of watching the line grow shorter and shorter as the month wore on. 

I'm pretty sure that's where my love of advent calendars comes from.  When my kids were little I stitched this one. 
Every year, at Thanksgiving, I tie on the new candies and the kids take turns snipping them off.  There is an extra basket of candies for everyone else.  I'm not sure how much they'd miss this if I didn't do it.  It wasn't until supper time today that anyone cut the very first candy off.  I bet I do it more for myself than them.  The proof will come when the last child flies the nest and I'm still tying those candies on.
A couple years ago I made this one.  It's from JBW Designs.  Each day a new little picture gets attached.  This one grows fuller as the month goes on. 
I am going to make my first stitching resolution for next year.  I'm going to get this pattern out and work in it throughout the year...doing 2 or 3 parts each month so I have it for next year. 
It's another one where you add to the picture each day to count up to the 25th. 
If feels like a realistic goal.  Mostly I keep my stitching promises.  Here's hoping this one is manageable, too. 
Let's hear what you remember. 
In the mean time.... 
Happy Stitching.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Where does a blogger go

when they appear to have disappeared from the face of the blog world?  Why, it's to 2 retreats within a month's time.  I know...poor, poor me.  It's my reward for putting in umpteen-gazillian hours doing good deeds for no pay and minimal reward. 

First.... I was off to a brand-new-to-me quilt retreat.  We each had plenty of room to work. 

Check out this homemade pressing/storage unit. 
So cool and so useful.  I took pictures in hopes of remembering what it looked like while dreaming of finding a similar shelf unit that could be adapted. 
Next, I met my stitching buddies at our annual self-created stitching weekend.  We take over one of the sitting rooms of a B&B.  We sit and stitch and catch up for hours and hours.  Such a nice way to spend a few days. 
Since it's the holiday season and my sewing room comes alive with the sound of Christmas music, I should have a few things to post over the next few week. 

Happy Stitching.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Made it thru the rain

The storm has blown thru and we're still here.  Phew.  We were in the path of Sandy as she passed thru New York State.  We had some serious winds and lots of rain but held up pretty well.  We have a lot of experience coping without electricity.  For us, the worst part is that we have a well at our house so were without running water.  We have a generator but try to use it sparingly since we never know how long we'll be without power. 

School is cancelled but I will go to work for the morning then start packing my bags for my weekend away.  Up until this morning I wasn't so sure that would happen. 

I hope everyone else is safe and sound. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Long time no post....again.

I guess I haven't had anything interesting to post about.  Sometimes no post is better than a bad post, right?  Fall is our busiest sports season.  Also, as I wrap up my huge committee chair job, I have found myself in charge of 3 fund raisers that are in various stages.  Pampered Chef anyone?  A wonderful consultant has agreed to do a fund raiser and donate her commission.  It's awesome that there are people who will do that!  We all have our opinions about those home party events, but some of my most favorite kitchen items are from Pampered Chef so I'm happy to organize the event. 

On the stitching are my latest finishes....

This is one of the little extras that came with the Lizzie Kate Halloween mystery pattern. 

I also finished the mystery. 
 I especially like pumpkins and acorns this time of year. 

I've started Lizzie Kate's 6 Fat Men.  I've spent just as much time stitching with the wrong color as I have stitching with the correct color....hence no pictures.  I am heading to my annual fall stitching retreat next week so I need to get a handle on this piece as the large sections of white snow should lend themselves to group stitching. 

My block of the month quilt projects are winding down.  I've torn apart my sewing room so I can re-organize so I won't be showing you anything from that neck of the woods today.  Maybe soon.  I went to a new quilt retreat a couple weeks ago.  (New to me.)  It was so nicely organized.  It was a small group but the shop owner hosts 5 or 6 a year.  The only down side is that it's 4 hours away and in a part of the state that gets hit hard by winter.  We signed up for the one next fall which should occur before any snow flies.   

I started reading JK Rowling's new book.  I'm having trouble putting it down.  It's nothing like Harry Potter, so don't read it or not read it based on your opinions of those books.  Her style is so well developed.  I appreciate that.  John Grisham's newest should be landing in my Kindle library any day now.  I'm looking forward to some long quiet afternoons.  (As if....) 

In the mean time....happy stitching.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The last of my

summer projects are ready for their close-ups!

This summer I set out to work on my collection of McKenna Ryan quilts.  They involve lots of applique pieces using fusible web.  The fussy detail of these pictures pays off in the end, but boy you need patience and a good pair of tiny scissors. These wall hangings are all part of Beach Walk.  I bought the first 2 as kits then pulled extra fabrics from those plus bought a little bit of yardage to make the 3rd...which I couldn't find as a kit.  

I found these shells in the bead section of Joann Fabrics.  They had little holes drilled in them so they could be strung on a necklace. 

I added a little free motion quilting and a scattering of shells. 

I thought this one was really plain so I added some flip flop buttons. 
I have 2 more McKenna Ryan kits but they're going back in the 'to-do' basket.  I've had my fill of this sort of project for a while.  I'm ready for some straight forward piecing. 

I can't believe it's almost October.  I'm going to look for some fall-theme projects. 


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Newly framed

This first one is the Lizzie Kate piece I stitched at a retreat this past winter where Linda of Lizzie Kate was a featured designer.  The piece was exclusive to the retreat and I had Linda sign it.  I didn't notice until I brought it home that I totally forgot my own initials.  
This second one is 'Christmas Village' by  Prairie Schooler.  I loved working on this piece. Carol was generous enough to loan me the pattern....thank you, Carol. 

Seeing my pieces framed is such a thrill.  I know it can be an expensive finishing option but I try to keep it simple (translate...less expensive) by not getting a mat or glass.  I like a thin layer of batting behind the piece to add a little body and a frame that allows the stitching to stand out.  Often, people say they don't have a framer in their area.  There are frame shops everywhere.  I have used a variety of framers over the years and most know what they're doing.  I stay far away from 'big box' store framing departments.  I just don't get the same sense that they know how to handle needlework.  I'm sure they do great work when framing a piece of art work done on paper, but I'd prefer to have an experienced framer stretch my needlework.  I lost faith in a long time framer a few years ago so searched out a new shop.  I just walk in and ask if they have experience with needlework.  You can tell by their answer if they know what you mean.  I paid about $125 to have these both framed...which isn't bad considering they'll look great for years and years. 

Happy Stitching


Monday, September 17, 2012

Long time, no blog.

It happens to all of us.  Busy+busy=no stitching to show. 

I did finally finish this very cool wall hanging.

It's just one block out of McKenna Ryan's Storybook Farm quilt.  I love her quilts and keep wanting to make one block or another from each but they're so tedious.  I've actually done 4 this summer....this one plus 3 blocks from Beach Walk...which aren't quite finished. 

I'm trying to catch up my Block-of-the-month projects now that my life has settled down.  I'm hoping for continued calm so I can feel caught up soon.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

What does one

write about when there is nothing to write about? 

My life is chaotic and full of things like this.....

We've returned the two college students to their respective 2 hours east, the other 2 hours west. 
It's time to fold up the kitchen table,
 reduce my grocery list from this.....
 to this. 
There is still one at home but she's very involved in school activities...both after school and in the evening.  I see her off in the morning, attend meets once a week, and make sure there is something to pack for lunch and supper. 
It takes a while to adjust but I'm ready for fall.  I barely sewed this summer given all the goings on but I'm hoping this fall allows me some quality time with needle and thread.  I see the light at the end of the tunnel for the enormous charity related project I took on last fall.  That should also free up my time around October.   
Fingers crossed I'll have something worth showing soon.  I have projects in various states of done-ness so there is hope.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A thing of beauty.....

Pretty?  I know...can't I take a better picture?  It's been moved to my sewing room where it awaits some serious play time. And trust me, nothing in that room is photo ready!  I'm currently using my back-up machine as my main machine is STILL at the repair shop getting a lobotomy.  Guess it takes a while to order a new main board from Germany.  While I'm very fond of my Pfaff machines, I've been craving a Bernina.  Now that my happiness quotient has declined regarding Pfaff, I shopped for and purchased this Bernina 350 Patchwork model.  I think the two of us will produce some lovely quilts over the coming years.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Weird Summer

This summer is just plain weird so I'm calling it 'The Weird Summer'.  Makes me think of the book:  The Weird Sisters.  Did anyone read it?  I liked it.  The sisters were hardly weird.  I have sisters...I know about these things.

Anyhow, I have an empty nest this summer, I've traveled to exotic places, I've barely sewn, and I'm tired all the time instead of one should feel during summer break. 

On the upside, my husband and I are having a blast squeezing in all the things we can't do when kids are home.

The fun will end soon as the youngest will return home this weekend.  She'll be trailed by her varsity sport's schedule and, before I know it, I'll be right back in the fall school schedule.  I keep comforting myself with the thought that it's really the last summer I'll be obligated to drive someone to practice at the crack of dawn every morning.  I've learned that the junior year of high school is really the last year anyone needs Mom's Taxi.  By next summer she'll be driving herself and I'll be home praying the phone doesn't ring until she's safely back.  I've done it twice before...I can do it again, I keep telling myself.  This child comes with a whole different manual than the other two, though, so the learning goes on. 

Anyway, as promised and encouraged by readers, I have a picture of my finished Part 1 of the Lizzie Kate Halloween project.  No amount of loading and linking would make a hyperlink work.  I have no idea what that's all about so I'm posting it below....way below.  Only look if you want to see Part One of Lizzie Kate's 3 part Halloween mystery project.  In the mean time check out's the view outside my bedroom window the other morning.

It was even closer when I first caught sight of it.  There was a second one that moved out of range too quickly to get a picture of. 




Don't look if you don't want to spoil the surprise when you stitch your own Lizzie Kate.....

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Does anyone else

LOVE this show as much as me? 

I discovered it on HGTV on a Saturday night when nobody was home.  I only get to watch this kind of 'chick' TV when I'm home alone.....

If you haven't seen it, look for it on Saturday evenings.  It is so much fun.  Makes me want to hit the antique stores and get creative.

I've been catching up with my block-of-the-month projects but I need to buy a new camera before I can show you.  Mine survived the rain forest but not the first day home.  It suffered a bizarre accident involving a bottle of sun screen.  You know, sun screen...the stuff we rub on our skin to protect it from the sun's evil rays?  Apparently it takes the finish right off the surface of cameras! (Not to mention how thoroughly it gums up every moving part.)  Who knew? 


Saturday, July 14, 2012


You know how people always say they need a vacation to recover from their vacation?  I'm not sure what I need. 

What does a person need after a trip where their luggage....their rugged, hard sided, 10 year warranty luggage looks like this by the 3rd day?

The Central American country I visited has umpteen million miles of roads that look like this. 
Honestly, it takes about 1 1/2 hours to travel 30 miles on these bone jarring roads.... and the picture just doesn't do them justice. 

Maybe I'm calling this adventure a vacation and it wasn't a vacation.  It was an adventure.  I think I need bed rest because I'm not hard sided or rugged and my 10 year warranty expired.  I did, however, avoid being eaten alive by bugs.  Thanks to the Passport Health Office who gave me some serious bug spray.  I didn't read the directions until half way in...oops...only spray on clothing before putting them on.  Well, all the worked great.

Anyone else working on the new Lizzie Kate Halloween mystery piece?  I started it by accident.  I really wasn't going to work on it but it came in the mail, I had an hour or so free, and my other focus piece was in an entirely different part of the what's a girl to do?  Stitch what's at hand. 


Saturday, June 16, 2012


I honestly thought the Mother Ship had landed!  Today I was at our local outlet mall when I rounded a corner and saw this.....

I've been to that exact same part of the mall twice in the last 6 weeks and that wasn't there. 

I LOVE Longaberger.  Once upon a time I was a consultant.  I have a truck load of the stuff so quit buying a couple years ago but how does a person just walk on by? 

I suppose having the Longaberger products available to everyone, without the benefit of a home party or consultant, makes them a little bit 'every day' but I DON'T CARE. 

Now on to my explanation for why there are no sewing projects to photograph.....

Life is chaotic this summer.

My son has gotten very serious about his running (as if he wasn't before) but is now signing up for lots of races.  One or another of us go along as his 'support staff''.  Today it was my job.  I love going to cheer on the runners.  He won 1st place for his age group in a local 5K.  He ran a half marathon a couple weeks ago....which to the longest race. 

Aside from the world of kids, I am very involved in a couple of charitable projects that are taking up quite a bit of my time. 

And lastly, I am accompanying a group of high school students on an adventure filled trip to Central America.  Go Mom!  Keep in mind that my idea of communing with nature is to view it through the picture window.  One of our 'adventures' involves a zip line.  I have wanted to try that ever since the first time I saw someone do it on The Amazing Race.  However, I am very scared of heights.  I told the kids that if I start to look scared they are to wrestle me into that harness and throw me off the platform.  There is NO WAY I'm coming home without doing it. 

Wish me luck, safe travels, and send me for a sanity check. 


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Does everyone remember

the big bag'o'patterns?

Well, Mary has taken what she wants and added to it.  Now she's doing a give-a-way on her blog.   I don't know what she took out of the bag or what she added but if you want another go at it, hop on over to Quilt Hollow and enter again. 

Good luck and happy stitching.