Saturday, December 19, 2020

Cat Drama

 My cat Eli, has a mysterious health issue so that has put a little damper on my creative mojo.

He is doing great with his floppy cone. He can eat, drink water and get around pretty easily. He has two sores on his face he scratched up so this keeps him from doing more damage. He has a rash and we don’t know why. Otherwise...he seems completely normal and his blood work was perfect. Monday we meet with his doctor to reassess. 

I did finish a set of cross stitch snowmen ornaments that were my last official decorating project for 2020.

This set is from Mill Hill, series two of their Snow Charmers kits. I had done series one at least 15 years ago. I joined both series in a display.

I am still Christmas...I will finish making bears to sit in the new helicopter and motorcycle stockings I made this year. 

These little bears are pretty challenging to make. I also need to make three for previous stocking finishes. It is not so fun to hang out in my sewing studio when there are so many pretty lights and decorations in the rest of the house! 

I did get my Christmas newsletter written and Christmas cards were mailed yesterday. I managed to also get the last gift bought yesterday. So...despite no quilting...I have been working on other tasks.

This is a normal scene in my sewing studio. Logan, who is the youngest...always seems to be the last in the pecking order so he is resigned to the carpet when the cat takes over one of the dog beds. Don’t feel too bad for him...sometimes he just goes upstairs to the master bedroom and naps on our bed. 

And cat really is that big. If you haven’t read about him before, he is a 25lb Maine Coon.

Friday, December 11, 2020

The Final Stocking Post Plus Four Banners

There a few Bucilla stockings in different places...

Three went to our son and his family in California.

The stockings for Zack and his wife, Tina. 

And our granddaughter’s stocking,

I have made three Bucilla wall hangings, two that were with a Nordic theme so I grouped them with three Bucilla stockings that are also have a Nordic theme.

The third banner, a design from Mary Engelbreit.

And the final banner is not a Bucilla product but a quilted banner. 
The banner was a kit gifted to my by my  mother-in-law.

I suppose it fits well with a post about stockings.

Just a quick little chat today!

Thursday, December 10, 2020

The Most Precious Stockings

I was a mom with young boys when I got a chance get away for a long weekend ski trip to Salt Lake City with several girl friends. Like any girls’ trip there was some shopping involved. We were near the Mormon Temple downtown and wandered into a gift shop. Way in the back was a quilting section and hanging on the wall were adorable quilted stockings with little bears in different themed settings: a train, a canoe, an airplane, an angel bear...

I had never seen anything as unique as these stockings...and no quilted stocking design since then has topped the detail of these stockings.

The designer, Jodi G. Warner of Hearthsewn, came out with one new stocking design every year. This was before internet shopping or eBay. I used to write her every year for an update on her designs for the year. She had a little printed catalog. One year I found a booth at the Houston quilt show with her patterns but only that one year. I did have a couple of quilt shops in the San Antonio area but as a mom with young kids I didn’t spend a lot of time quilting. Mostly I collected the patterns.

Our move to Alaska really propelled my quilting progress. Both our sons were in school and I was fortunate to be able to be a stay-at-home mom. I would get an hour or two in the afternoons several days a week to work on projects. 

My first Bear stocking.

I was a very good clothing seamstress but without a work place to dress for, my sewing skills were directed to quilting. These patterns were the best introduction to several quilting techniques. Most of the patterns had a section of patchwork, a section of hand appliqué and a section of paper piecing. And since each section was pretty small I could usually finish one part in a sewing session.

I had to make the bears too! I had to make the dress for the bear and her wings. She and the wings are detachable.

An Airplane of the family favorites. The bear has a little parachute attached to his back. (Yes...I had to make that parachute. It’s actually just a little real parachute.) He sits in a pocket and is easily removed. I used to hang these stockings on our stairway railing and I often found the bear removed and placed somewhere in the garland...that always made me smile. 

Oh my goodness...the fishing bear is such a fun one! The fish are paper pieced. I was so thrilled to find a wire candy cane to use as a fish hook. I managed to find a little plastic fishing pole at a craft store. This bear is wearing a fishing vest. So many details in each stocking.

It was so exciting to have stocking designs that fit in with our new home in Alaska. I had to make red shirt for this bear. 

The mama bear in the kitchen has to be one of my favorites. The cook stove is paper pieced. The mama bear is wearing an apron complete with a front pocket and  she has a big bow on her head. Searching for all the special buttons was always a challenge.

The gardening bear. I was so thrilled to find the perfect mini rake and shovel. I had to make the little gardening glove for the bear to sit has very short fingers.  I think there was a copyright issue with this design as it disappeared from the designer’s inventory by the next year’s stocking release. (Debbie Mumm had a gardening theme of quilting fabrics and projects that looked exactly like the carrot seed pack about the same time this stocking was released.

Every year I anxiously awaited the new year’s design and I was always amazed. There seemed to be no limit on the adorable scale!

A polar bear in an igloo with a quilt...this screams “Alaska!”

I taught a class at a local quilt shop to make the polar bear stocking so I actually made it three times. 

To commemorate the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City she made a skiing bear...and yes...I made those skis. Popsicle sticks that were soaked in water then shaped to dry, sanding to make the tips and then painting and adding ribbon straps.

Some years were a little more simple in design which was appreciated.

The confectionery bear had a new technique. I had to make the lace. I couldn’t find any peppermint candy buttons in the right size for this stocking so it sat in storage for a while until I found the perfect ones.

Oh...and the ballet bear...I had to make a ballet slipper for the bear to sit inside...definitely a big challenge.

A tricky little mitten to make for snowflake bear.

Bear to the Rescue...a return to a traditional design.

The bear that sits in this red bag is in my workshop...I’m referring to it as I make some new bears.

Sometimes a fabric line from the season would be just perfect.

Another year when I thought a current line of holiday fabric was perfect for the stocking design.

And just this year...after aging nicely in my sewing room...I finally made the last two bear stocking designs.

A very detailed motorcycle to appliqué! This one needs a bear too!

Most of this helicopter is paper pieced.

I am making six new bears so I’ve got a little assembly tray ready to stuff legs and arms while I watch tv in the evening. The bear pattern changed about year six of the stocking designs but I had pre made several of the original bears. Of course I like the new bear design better but it is pretty time consuming to make a tiny bear. I will get them done...someday.

There are no more bear stocking designs from Jodi Warner...she moved on to other things. 

I forgot one!

This bear looks like he is barely holding on! As simple as this stocking looks, I remember it being harder than I expected.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

More Stockings

 As a new quilter living in San Antonio during the 1990s...annual treks to the International Quilt Festival in Houston became another source of enabling my stocking stash. I found a pattern for little stockings...about 10 inches tall. It took me years to complete all of these little stockings. I did all the blanket stitching by hand around all the fusible web fabric pieces.

I used to have a personal goal to finish making patterns I bought at the Houston show before attending the next year’s show.

 I dropped that little goal a long time ago.
 Now those patterns I’ve bought at the show and never make, are like souvenirs of my fantastic trip.

Back to the important topic of more Christmas stockings in my collection.

There was a wonderful booklet from Nancy Halvorsen...okay...there was more than one...but...

There was one booklet by Nancy Halvorsen with six large stockings based on, “The Night Before Christmas.” Before I became a batik-a-holic...I collected all things designed by Nancy Halvorsen.

The appliqué pieces were fused in place. I top stitched and quilted each appliqué piece at the same time...on my domestic sewing machine. No longarm in my studio at that time. 

I hand-stitched the wording.

Joining this display of the, “The Night Before Christmas,” is a set of cross stitch Santa’s designed by Pat Thode called, “The Twelve Days of Santa.”

I discovered the cross stitch Santa series while on a hockey team trip for one of my sons to Colorado Springs. My son was in 6th or 7th grade so players still roomed with parents but during the day he was busy with team activities. Sweet! I took off in my rental car and visited two fantastic quilt shops. One of the quilt shops had a huge needlework section and I discovered several of the Santa charts....but not all....grrrr. I think I googled needlework shops and saw there was one in Colorado Springs. 

The owner was so great. I told her about trying to find the other Santa charts and she had them. She also gathered all the fabric...a different piece for every chart. I totally trusted her. I had never stitched on anything but Aida cloth at that point but these were all different colors and thread counts, 28 and 32 count linens and evenweaves.

The shop owner suggested I stitch one a was a good goal...I’m sure it took longer than a year for me to finish all the Santas.

I did all the finishing myself...though it is a bit vague in my memory. I got some help via internet searches. There weren’t YouTube videos to watch but there were bloggers who shared their finishing techniques. I remember making tons of the cording....twisting it all by hand. I spent days working on them, stitching the front and back pieces of covered cardboard together. I hand stitched all the cording around the outer edges. Every year I marvel at what a great job I did. I love the variety of quilt designs in the coats of the Santas. 

That needlework shop was such an inspiration to me! Sadly, it closed soon after that visit, as a year or two later when I was back in Colorado was completely gone. 

Stay tuned for more stocking stories!

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Innocently Shopping in a Craft Store

 That is how my Bucilla felt kit obsession began.

We were living in San Antonio and a friend and I went on a trip to Garden Ridge Pottery. I think they were a Texas chain of craft stores. HUGE! Two warehouses full of everything. There was a cafe in the middle of the two warehouses to refuel your energy tank. 

I spotted two adorable Western themed stockings...two sons...perfect.

Lots of details on the western Santa stocking that were a fun little challenge. I felt quite accomplished when I finished this stocking

It was several years before I saw another Bucilla stocking kit.

We moved to Alaska and western-themed stockings didn’t seem right.

Enter my discovery of eBay...the ultimate enabler.

These have hung on our mantel place every since.
I made a few repairs two or three years tabs that were doubled and added cotton linings.

I kept seeing more adorable stocking kits.

And then it happened.

I became a Bucilla kit hoarder!

I have many more kits in my stash than I have finished which will scare you when I next show the many stockings I have actually made. I really need to sale a few on eBay...probably many of the kits I originally bought on eBay. I’m not quite able to let go of them yet.

I went to a double decker display on my large picture windows.

I will have to come up with some ideas for future stockings I make.

And 14 more stockings behind the tree.

I pick my favorites to hang behind the tree.

It certainly makes for a bright and cheery atmosphere.

Hopefully I will stay on task and share more tomorrow. 

Monday, December 7, 2020

The First Quilted Stockings

 If you have been quilting since the early 1990s...many of the fabrics in my first stockings will look very familiar. I see you nodding your heads...yes...Debbie Mumm fabrics. I tried to collect them all!

I still have her books and a a tub of her fabrics I just can’t part with even though I really don’t think I will make more projects with her now...historical fabrics.

Here’s a fun fact. 
I was a broadcast journalism major in college and my first job was working in sales at the Yakima, Washington, ABC affiliate (1983...really a long time ago!) The weather man was Steve Mumm. Many years later I was reading an article about Debbie Mumm and there was a picture of her husband Steve...the same weatherman Steve! 

I don’t remember ever meeting Debbie Mumm...if only!!!

And the designer of these stocking patterns is also a very well known quilter, Nancy Halvorsen of Art To Heart. I have three tubs of her fabric in my stash and most of her sweet little books. I have at least one quilt top of her fabric and designs in the quilting que plus a UFO.

Hope you enjoyed my Christmas quilt history tour today.


Sunday, December 6, 2020

Here’s How It All Started

In 1983, when I was in my senior year of college, I worked on a Christmas tree embroidery kit.

Yes...this is when it all started...

...the innocent pursuit of Christmas projects.

And here I am today...this is just a portion of my accumulation of Christmas projects. 

I will try to post a few photos every day of my Christmas treasures.
I’m a slow decorator as every piece I touch brings me many happy memories.

I am equally slow to remove my decorations and have been known to still have many pieces on display until March...plenty of time to share!



Saturday, November 21, 2020

Gearing Up for Christmas

 Winter weather helps increase holiday spirits. 

Just trying to look on the bright side of cold, dark days.

I am always amazed by the snow/ice crystals that form on everything when temperatures drop into the teens.  I get totally distracted during my daily dog walks.

I have started putting up all the garland with lights around the house. Today I hope to hang some Christmas quilts which will get me to the last of the garland hanging.

My studio is a little chaotic. Thought I would share what my poor quilting frame looks like between quilting’s like those treadmills folks wind up using as clothing hangars.

I do plan to quilt a Christmas quilt on it next.

I’ve prepped all the cross stitch ornaments I finished this year for wool felt backings. I stitch the perforated paper to the green wool as I find gluing the felt backing does not last in all cases.

I am struggling like everyone with feeling shut in...always a problem every winter but of course this year is worse. So...I gave myself permission to work on whatever makes me happy at the moment. 

I am done with Santa ornaments for this year but have started a set of snowmen ornaments from Mill Hill that are small projects and only take two or three evenings to complete one kit.

There are six snow folks in this series. One done.

I am working a little everyday on making rows and getting rows sewn together for the Royal Gardens quilt. I thought I wouldn’t make any changes to the original pattern but as I am working on it I feel the need to create a different border. 

I am one kit short of my personal goal to finish 10 Bucilla kits a year.
 I picked a kit from my stash that I feel confident I will finish before 2021.

Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving! 

I'll be spending it calling family this year as no one will be in the Anchorage area this happens when hubby and sons are pilots. I switched to a plant based diet several years ago so I am thankful I will not be fixing the traditional meal everyone else likes to have at Thanksgiving. 

Hubby insists we make a turkey roulade when he gets home but he will tolerate side dishes that are modified to my new tastes. I'm anxious to try a couple of new recipes. 

We have two Bailey family tradition for Thanksgiving. 
First, we all share what we are thankful for this year. 
Then, after dinner we watch, "It's a Wonderful Life." 

I'm very thankful for the connections I feel to so many stitchers around the world. 
I have really relied on internet relationships this year!
Even my workouts are through the internet now!
Thankful I have that option. 
I know so many folks have many more real struggles.