Sunday, January 22, 2023

Part II - Cross Stitch and Bucilla Felt

I hope breaking my update into two posts works for readers. I always have my blog printed into a book annually so I don't want to post daily or weekly as it would get redundant when printing. 

But I do want to post a lot of photos of these projects so it will be a biggie post.

I finished two Bucilla kits this month.

The first was a recent purchase on eBay, "Snowman Door Draft," from 2005. It was a great deal and I thought it would be fun to make. 

Instead of helping with door drafts, he's going to help with window drafts.

I enjoy putting 3D kits together. This was a pretty simple kit with just a few pieces. Kind of nice to be working with such big pieces for a change.

He absolutely looks like a pleasant fellow. I always smile back at him.

My second finish is this adorable Easter kit, "Easter Egg Friends," from 2021. Readily available from Plaid Bucilla online or Merry Stockings. 

It took me a couple of nights to finish each of the eggs

I knew they would be displayed in a bowl type situation so I did not add a hanging cord to any of the ornaments. 

Not much to say about each egg...

they are all adorable. 

Cute feet.

Cute tails.

Baby Chick

More cute feet.

The Fox...sooo cute!

The second trio.

A cute baby duck.

Possibly my favorite.

No racoons in my part of Alaska.

As usual...all the little details on these kits make them so complete.

I finished up a couple of cross stitch projects I started in 2022.

I bought Stitchy Stars as a kit from the Fat Quarter shop. The kit came with the pattern and the Weeks Dye Works Floss called for in the pattern. I used the called for fabric, 25 count Lugana in Oatmeal. I had never stitched with Weeks Dye Works floss so this was a good opportunity to try it. 

It's nice floss but more expensive than good old DMC. I would only splurge for the floss if I was stitching a large area where the variegation in the thread would make a difference in the design.

I managed to finish the eighth chart in the 12 Days of Christmas series from Heartstrings.

I had a goal of finishing all twelve when I started it in March.
It's nice to have goals. I think it is realistic for me to get the last four charts done in 2023.

My most current new start with cross stitch is this pattern I found on eBay that also included the buttons. It's Sandra Cozzolino's design, Spring Garden. She designs the Mill Hill annual Santa series that I collect every year.

The blue background is a little washed out in both photos. When I saw this pattern I knew I had a great piece of blue fabric in my stash that would work. I switched to DMC's brighter white, B5200.

White floss is my least favorite to stitch as it seams to be the most finicky to lay nice. Onto the fun colors.

And yet another moose encounter. 
I saw this fellow on my way to the grocery store a few days ago. I live in the valley of Eagle River and the guy is just about 25 feet from the river. 

A new grandchild is due any day!!! Actual due date is the 23rd but we all know that's just a guess! 

Feels like there will be so much happening the next few weeks. I'm so glad we are almost done with is the toughest month for me in the dark Alaska winter season. We usually go to Hawaii or somewhere warmer in January but the prices at the place we always stay on Kauai did a big jump...along with car rental rates. And grocery prices in Hawaii are even higher than Alaska. We've tried a lot of places in Hawaii over the past 30 years and had our favorite dialed in. I guess we were a little spoiled with our corner of paradise. 

January 2023 - Part 1 - Quilts

I thought I might start 2023 by coming up with several lists/goals for the year.


I quickly felt overwhelmed and stalled out on the planning process...and even had trouble just figuring out where to start or what to work on when spending time in my studio.

One of my daughter-in-laws has a January birthday and I had the quilt top done...just needed to quilt it. Easy...I had a starting place. 

Her birthday was the 21st and I finished the binding in the morning and had it to her that afternoon.

I started the blocks at a quilt retreat last April.

It is a free pattern, designed by Wendy Sheppard on the Windham Fabric website. It has several names, Pineapple Cocktail, Pineapply Ever After and Pineapple Delight.

I did a pretty simple quilting design...a little ruler work and lots of big bubbles.

So far I have met my goal to finish quilting one top a month.

When I'm stalled on what to do...
I've designated a scrappy project as my default project. 

This is Sky Full of Stars Mini II

I have all the blocks done, just need to get all the rows sewn together. 
These scraps are HSTs leftover from a king-sized quilt.
In cleaning up around my quilting space I happened upon this quilt kit and decided now was the time to start it. I have no idea when I bought this but probably at least three years ago.

All the pieces were laser cut so all I had to do was follow the layout and iron.
A fun kit...I just need to cut the border pieces and then the hard part...stitching all the pieces in place. 

Hopefully it won't take me another three years to get the outline stitching done. 

Way back in December I had an issue with one of my vintage Bernina's so I paid a visit to the quilt shop that services Bernina machines. Bad news...not something they can fix. The automatic buttonhole feature doesn't work any more and Bernina doesn't fix the computer boards or sell replacement ones anymore. It still does the basic stitches so all is not lost but what a bummer. 

I have two other Berninas that have automatic button hole programs that work but of course it was my favorite machine that has the problem. console myself I indulged on a great sale at the quilt shop...60% off kits. 

I had admired the "Soar," fabric release online and when I saw this kit at such a great price it only took me a few seconds to talk myself into getting it. 

Then I saw some finishing kits for Hoffman panels. The kits were all batik fabrics and precut. All that is required is the panel...

and I had the panel...aging in my stash.

And then I saw another finishing kit for another Hoffman panel...

yep...I had that panel aging in my stash too!

So both panels are now cut and ready to be completed with a border.  
 I also cut out the Soar line of fabric for the Take Flight kit.
I have a quilt retreat starting February 2nd and I hope to finish all three kits there. 
And while I was cutting out those kits, I decided to finish cutting other kits in my stash.

I don't consider myself a kit stitcher but I think I am because I have two other kits in my stash. 

I expect all of these quilts...when be gifts.

I'm definitely ready for my retreat.

Lots of moose around the hood. The deep snow drives them down the mountains and into neighborhoods. My husband took this photo in the wee hours of the morning so no other traffic on the road. This moose is licking the snow covered road in front of a Walmart so lots of lighting. He was not inclined to move when hubby drove by.

Part two for January updates will be about cross stitch and Bucilla kits. 
Lots of fun projects to share.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

A December Full of News

The biggest highlight of 2022 arrived on Dec. 13th, our second grandchild, John Austin. 

My son and his wife live in Anchorage, about 40 minutes away so we are pretty excited to be so close to this little guy. 

Like most of the U.S., we've had our share of winter weather. We received 5-feet of snow between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Yes...this is Alaska...and we do get a fair amount of snow but in the Anchorage area we get it in smaller batches throughout the season. We broke a weather record for most snow accumulated in a 30-day period.

I spent a good number of afternoons shoveling snow off our back deck, which is prime time for my sewing room projects so you know where I'm going with this...

Despite being snowed-in...I did not get more time to spend on my projects.

We got 23-inches in one storm. That's our hot tub sitting on our deck.

We didn't get any wind with that snow storm and as the snow stacked on the deck handrails, it started leaning and created waves. This one made a curl..hang ten!

The next major weather event started on Christmas night when we had steady freezing rain all night. We lost power for six hours and awoke to an quarter-inch of ice covering our deck and everything else. The best money we ever spent was adding a generator to our house in the building stages. We loose power a handful of times every winter but we always have a warm house.

We were unable to drive the next day...though our city and state roads were sanded by the end of the day. Luckily, my husband, a Fed Ex pilot, had gotten home Christmas night from his latest trip. We didn't need to go anywhere big deal.  

But, being a Fed Ex pilot...and one just home from international travel...hubby woke up at 3 a.m. and decided to get on with his day. He took my car to visit his airplane hangar and got it stuck in a snow berm that surrounded his hangar. 

So I got a call at 4 a.m. to bring his truck to the hangar. Too much ice around the hangar for the truck to gain any traction to pull out my car. So a tow truck was called a few hours later. FYI, getting a tow at 4 a.m. runs $595...getting one at 8 a.m. runs $170.  We waited for daylight.

Luckily, we do have towing insurance.

But I learned on my drive home that snow packed tires are not balanced tires so I was unable to drive faster the 40 mph or the car wobbled. Our nice warm garage took care of that balance issue as it melted all that snow packed in my tires. 

Sooo...between time spent with the new baby and weather issues...I really feel like I haven't spent much time working on projects.

Enough discussion about the weather...time to talk stitching.

I have a few additions to my holiday decor...

This cross stitched Grinchy quote was finish earlier this year but wasn't ready for display until it was time to decorate the house. I had some ancient Art to Heart fabric that looks like strips of ribbon that I mounted on a board and then added the linen fabric, also mounted on a board, surrounded by a mini-ball trim in a berry color from an Etsy shop, Lady Dot Creates.

My biggest holiday finish was one of my nagging UFOs...making bears to fit in a series of quilted stockings. I needed to make four and last year I had all the legs and arms done. Just needed to make the bodies and heads. I easily spent five afternoons working on them. 

The stockings have little pockets for the bears so their absence was noticeable for several years.

The firetruck now has a driver. Bear to the Rescue.

These stockings were annual releases from  Jodi Warner of Hearthsewn from 1991 to 2010. 

Bear in the Bag

These stockings (minus the bears) were so much fun to make. Each stocking usually combined several techniques; paper piecing, hand applique, fusible applique and patchwork.

Bear Outside the Box

Bear in a Flurry

And I finished the latest felt stocking, from Merry Stockings, Tropical Tidings.

I found the cutest surfboard fabric on Etsy for the lining.

This was such a fun kit. I loved all the details.

Super cool pineapple.

An adorable Santa face.

The perfect lining in place.

Coconuts in the trees and with Christmas lights.

The starfish and turtle...with their little hats...sweet.

And a drink to start Santa's winter vacation.

I also finished a Santa cross stitch project. 

This piece is so much brighter in person. I bought this as a kit on eBay. I am not adding, "January," to the really looks more like December to me.

The only sewing I have done was to work with leftover HSTs to make a mini quilt. I had an afternoon where I needed to sew for my mental sanity. I got two blocks done in a couple of hours.

Yesterday, I decided it was finally time to make some design boards for quilting. I've made many to work with my Bucilla kits that are rectangular. A quilting friend gifted me an 18-inch square board and I use it all the time. So I made two, 18-inch squares, six 12-inch square boards and then four, 6-inch squares that I like to use with cross stitch and Bucilla kits to store needles that are threaded.

I always like to end my post with any recent visitors. The dogs saw this moose cow one morning through a window and alerted me to her presence...lots of intense barking. 

She wandered to the other side of the house where a nice sized bull was munching.

I managed to get a photo of them both together but there was another cow a little too far away to include in the photo.

A belated  Merry Christmas to you! 

We are having our big family Christmas on Friday the 30th. Both of my sons are pilots sand they will both be in Anchorage that day...finally! Just hoping the weather doesn't cause trouble...good weather is in the forecast.