Saturday, January 25, 2020

The Month That Was Gone in a Flash

January 2020 was a month of few stitching opportunities.

 I did finish three cross stitch ornaments that had to be replaced due to my killer cat tearing them apart in previous Christmas seasons. 


We made our regular trek to somewhere warmer...Kauai...where it rained almost all day...all seven days we were there. But it was a warm rain while temperatures at home were sub-zero. 

On our way home we diverted to Oregon where we met the newest Bailey family member, our granddaughter, Kate. I love babies anyway...but it really was wonderful to hold this little bundle. 


Just two days after getting home it was Breakfast Club!

I did my own project. I just love this book...


I had to start the pattern, "Madame Butterfly." 

My design wall has the four blocks I managed to finish at class. There are 18 projects in this book for charm squares and I like so many of them. Fun book.

 I have completed the hand applique parts of the motorcycle on the newest stocking under construction.


I did load a quilt on my frame and got a bit of it started. I hope this will go quickly. My next quilt retreat starts February 6th. It would be nice to tackle the binding at retreat.


The second biggest news (after #1 granddaughter), is the sun has returned to shining on our house. We lose it for a couple of months every winter. Very happy to get it back. It was -12 on our dog walk today but it felt warmer...like it was a balmy 2 degrees.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

2019 Year in Review

I hoped to officially close out 2019 on my blog yesterday, but with the holidays our usual meeting date for Breakfast Club got switched to New Year's eve. Not good for my procrastinating habit when it comes to blogging.

Maybe one of these years I'll make a cute collage of all my finished projects for the year but this post will have to get done now so I can move on to new plans and projects.

Just a quick note about the unhappy parts of 2019. 
My dad's death in March was tough. We had a close relationship and I miss him. Every time we have a new event with our sons, I think of my Dad and how much he would have enjoyed being a part of it too.

We had a major home repair, our septic tank had to be replaced and nothing seemed to go right in the process. We fixed an issue with the drainage line from the house to the septic tank in the summer but in the fall we discovered we had a hole in our steel septic tank. I'll spare you the details but since we have lots of ground water...it found its way into our tank. The high water alarm was in overdrive!

It was an expensive and nerve wracking process that lasted over two months. 
I didn't blog about it at the time because I was trying not to dwell on it!

By Thanksgiving we were finally back to normal. 
In the process my front landscaping/rock work was torn up so I have quite a lot of work to tackle next summer. It seems really daunting to me right now but I'm sure once I get my hands in the dirt I will get in the groove and probably even enjoy it.

Quilting definitely helped me get through all the rough times.

My goal for every month is to: finish a quilt, finish a Bucilla felt kit, and finish a cross stitch kit. That means 12 of each.

 One of these years I am going to get 12 quilts done...but not this year.

Batiki Argyle II. I have it on my leather couch right now. Love it!


Carpenter Star, a wall hanging made from scraps.


My big endeavor, Sparklers.


A spooky wall hanging.


Two baby quilts with an Alaska theme batik. One gifted to my son already. The other needs to get mailed out for a baby due in February.


And my two tall tree wall hangings.


So far, eight quilts are the most I have gotten done in year. I need to improve on that number because I'm pretty sure I make more quilt tops than that every year.

 I'm just going to list the quilt tops I made this year.

Baby Honu
Gimmie Diamonds in Hawaii
Alaska Baby (X3)
Spumoni Spin (X2)
Patchwork Butterfly
Wandering Bigfoot
Pumpkin Seeds
Brown Bag Debbie Caffrey Mystery
Sweet Christmas Redwork Embroidery
Aurora Nights
Tall Tree Wall  Hanging (X2)
Halloween Silhoutte

16 quilt tops for 2019.

I also finished this major cute pincushion...to include making the pins. These pins have been used on more than one project this year. Very glad I made them.



Only seven Bucilla kits got finished this year.

The 3D Santa got started in 2018. It was wonderful to have in my decorations this year. 


Then I worked on a kit I had opened several years ago and became quickly overwhelmed with and put it in the bottom of a box.

Noah's Animals. 
Twenty-five pairs.


I worked on these animals from the second week of January 2019 until April 30, 2019. 
Wow! And I did work on them regularly in the evenings. I need a sweet, small Christmas tree to display them on next year. The one I used this year is really too small for 50 ornaments!

These Holiday Shopping Spree ornaments were also very time consuming.


No photo but also got a set of three Nutcracker ornaments made.

The stocking kits go much faster. I only made three of those this year.

Santa Says Hello


Snow Princess


Ornamental Deer


Only seven Bucilla kits...very low count for me.
 But that Noah's Animal kit was like four or five kits in one...just saying.

I did great on the cross stitch kits, getting 13 ornaments done. 

South American Santas



Victorian Santas


Christmas Eve Santas


Two more were Skiing and Sledding Santas. 

I also made some of Jim Shore ornaments designs release in 2019.

 I made Snowman with Lights and Snowman Dancing. 
  
I blog because it gives me a great feeling of accomplishment to review my work every year. 
I like to give myself a little pat on the back now and them.

I am officially closing out 2019 and welcoming 2020.

Hope you have a Happy and Productive New Year!

Friday, December 27, 2019

Tall Tree Wall Hanging Update

Just a quick update to let you know the blocking process went well! 


I played with laying out the ornaments and realized I still need to come up with a hanging solution for more ornaments. But...at least it looks like both of these wall hangings will work for next Christmas. 


Thanks for all the wonderful comments and ideas. One of the ideas I liked the most was using a wood frame to attach the quilt to...it might really need that support. Hopefully I can get this project up early enough next season to play with solutions if I run into problems.

Let's hope I've out-smarted Eli.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Christmas Workshop

I pulled a vintage Bucilla kit from my stash to mindlessly work on in the evenings during this holiday season. Only sequins needed to be added to this adorable tree skirt. I am going to use it as a decorative table cloth. 


It took me a little longer than I thought...11 evenings of stitching sequins. The circle is distorted in this photo...it is perfectly round.


The kit included red rick rack for the outer edge but I would like to get some red jumbo rick rack and line the backside. I will probably use white felt on the backside...don't want any slippery fabric.

My tall tree duo of wall hangings continues to include too much drama in the construction process.


How in the world did I manage to get this tear in my fabric? I was having tension issues with my midarm and in the process of ripping out the bad stitching my seam ripper did this slit. ARGH!!! I added some fray check to the edges.

The tension issues were due to my stitch regulator crapping out on me. It dawned on me I don't need a stinking stitch regulator...after 10 years of quilting I am surely capable of quilting at a steady speed....


All my tension issues disappeared when I turned off the stitch regulator.

Still have wonky edges to the extreme on the quilt top that got washed before it was quilted.


Both wall hangings are soaking in hot water since I had at least one of the batiks bleed when I washed Eli's vomit off the top. Both will get blocked. If I get them looking straight enough I will add buttons for the ornaments to hang. Sooo...maybe they will be on the walls of my home next Christmas. I have a back up plan that will include a lot of decorative garland around the edges that will help disguise wonky borders if they persist. 

And here's Eli....


still getting in the middle of my quilting projects. 

I have six boxes of printed cottons I kept from Nancy Halvorsen and Debbie Mumm. All my other fabric in the studio is batik. I have kept those cotton prints for several different projects I have dreams of making...someday.

Instead of starting Bonnie Hunter's Frolic mystery, I stared working on this stocking pattern.


I got through two of the paper piecing sections. The next biggie is to applique the motorcycle parts...there are so many tiny pieces!!!

And there was a great price on this Bucilla kit I couldn't resist. 


Wish I could figure out how to get into Santa's time continuum that allows him to deliver Christmas presents around the world in one night. I'd love to finish several projects in one night!

Hubby and I are having a sweet, small Christmas together. Both our sons are far from home this holiday. We are anxiously awaiting the new year...our first grandchild is due to arrive January 2nd. 

You know I will let you know right away when the newest Bailey arrives.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 16, 2019

Eli Needs a Santa Hat

Eli loves Christmas...mom leaves all this great stuff for him to play with all over the house.


I'm making two Tall Tree wall hanging quilts in hopes of displaying some cross stitch ornaments. I've got one quilted. Before this top made it to the quilt frame...Eli vomited on it...ewwww! 


So I had to wash a top that was a mass of bias edges. Thank goodness I had already removed all the paper from this paper-pieced pattern. The dried top was a wonky mess. I did my best to straighten it out with ironing...and it was looking good on the quilting frame...but as soon as I unpinned it the borders began rippling out of shape.

I will try to block the tree after the binding is added but my confidence in this project as the answer to displaying cross stitch ornaments is wavering.


I am enjoying a quilt that came out perfectly square when I quilted it last year. I need to add some more Christmasy stuff to the top of the treadle desk...more stuff for Eli to attack.

I have a few more quilted Christmas items.
It is a huge challenge to get nice photos of my quilted stockings I hang in my breakfast nook.


I cherish these stockings the most...


Each stocking took me about 40 hours to make.


The designer, Jodi Warner, used to release a new stocking every year. 


2010 was the last year she came out with a new stocking design.


I still have her designs from 2009 and 2010 that I want to make.

Oh well...maybe in 2020!

And speaking of Eli...


When I walked in the door from an afternoon dog walk...I caught Eli removing a few ornaments from the tree...three were on the floor below him.

He really would look cute with a kitty-sized Santa hat...or maybe he is really a Grinchy cat...hhmm.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Additions to Decorations

The Nutcrackers needed some stockings to join their display. 


This is my narrow front entryway so very dark and tough to get a nice photo.

These stockings are from the designer Nancy Halvorsen.


I'm a big fan of Nancy Halvorsen and have a quilt top patiently waiting to get quilted.


Next up was to get the Bucilla ornaments on the the tree.


Plenty of room for more ornaments!


A look at the stockings on the other windows of my great room.






Hope you enjoy this little look at Christmas in my home...more to share on another day.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Christmas Decorating

I have been busy in my Christmas workshop getting my decorations ready. 

I made a hand-appliqued Nutcracker quilt many years ago but it only got hung once in my current house...it was just too big. I pulled out my rotary cutter and removed the eight-inch border and put a sweet binding on it. Problem solved. It is a wall hanging and not a bed quilt anymore.


At Breakfast Club last month I tackled my own project and got most of one "Tall Trim the Tree,"  wall hanging pieced. It is a paper-piecing pattern on a large scale. It measures 25 x 75-inches. I am hoping to use them this season to hang the many cross stitch Santa ornaments that must be placed out of my cat's reach. That means the bottom edge must be 4-feet off the ground. I still need to quilt them but it could be a project I get done this season.


I work on Bucilla Christmas felt kits year round and just finished this set of Classic Nutcracker Ornaments. I don't often make major changes but on this set I added the nutcracker teeth to the bottom three ornaments and the beard on the Santa ornament. I also added more beads and some metallic thread in some of the stitching. 


My collection of Bucilla stockings are starting to get hung.

Not the best lighting...it's dark in Alaska in December! I tried using a flash but it didn't help. I'm sure my iPhone is capable of taking a better photo but I haven't taken the time to figure it out yet. 


I am slowly making my way through my stocking collection to add cotton linings. I've gotten enough of them done for my window displays...35 stockings. I only have 14 hanging so far. The garlands are all in place.


We officially hit the year mark since the big earthquake last year. All the talk about it on the news and our dark winter has upped my anxiety level. I'm trying very hard to get over it and just enjoy my own pace during this season. Some new snow is helping to brighten the season.