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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Connecticut quilt shops

Yesterday my friend Jean and I took to the roads for the day and headed to Connecticut. The goal was to see at least four quilt shops and to go out for lunch, which we did! Of course, no road trip would be complete (for me anyway) without a stop at McDonalds to get a large Diet Coke.This was our last quilt stop. Thimbles is a great little quilt shop in a lovely little town called Woodbury. Jean is getting Christmas fabric that is 40% off. We both decided that we would spend the month of January finishing all of the Christmas projects that we did not get done.
Of the four shops we visited today, Common Threads was by far the best!! This shop is packed with great fabrics that you cannot always find everywhere. For example, she has a huge selection of homespuns, plaids, and wool! She also has kits for a million projects that range from easy to hard. The owner was an absolute doll, so spending money with her was a joy!

This is the owner, who was so helpful, friendly and gracious. I blabbed forever about my new Ipad (I am not ashamed to say that I am obsessed with it. I even told Jean that I could not wait to get home to my Ipad!) The owner and I discusssed different podcasts that we like and she told me to check out Mark Lipinski's. Even though I am not too crazy about him, I did listen to one for a few minutes when I got home. I liked it. His voice is nice and even though he is hyper, it was fun to listen.

Jean and I both got a wool project. Plus we are going to do some paper piecing next week, and got some patterns for that.

After a great day, it was time to go home and dream about quilting and fabric and Ipads. Today I am going to work on my Sunbonnet Sue. I got three done the other day and want to get at least three done today. They are actually coming out really cute.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

clean sewing area!

You can tell I am off for a week!! First of all, I rarely get to post anything on my blog during the week because I have been so busy with school this year. Don't really know why except that I do tutor a student a few days a week until almost 5:30 and by the time I get know how it is. I am done with the tutoring though, so should be able to keep up with it a little more often. Our parents do like to see what we are up to since we are all long distance and all, so I will make a good effort.
Today I cleaned out my little sewing area by the dining room. It really is teeny, tiny, but I do all of my work in there when it is too cold to sit in the attic or at my machine out on the front porch. I promised my friend Colleen at the quilt shop that I would show pictures! Of course, I had to show my new Ipad, which was playing an Alex Anderson podcast while I cleaned and then sewed. She is a great quilter and I love the sound of her voice.
All neat and tidy again after Christmas sewing and wrapping. You can see my sewing room from the dining room and kitchen, so I like to keep it neat (which I usually do since I work better that way anyway.)
I used to have this green cabinet as our entertainment center, but it is now too small for the current televisions, so we moved it into the sewing room where it houses my ancient computer (with a tower and everything!!!LOL) which I use for my embroidery machine. I usually hang projects I am working on right on the door so I remember to finish them and so they are handy.
The doors do close all the way to keep it looking neater, but today they will be open all day.

Here it is with the doors open. I have my big cases of thread in there with a little set of drawers which hold my ribbons, buttons and velcro. On the screen is the embroidery piece that is on the machine right now. I have always wanted a Sunbonnet Sue quilt, so that is what I am making with embroidery. All of the scenes are of her doing something sewing-related. This will be a wallhanging. I know A LOT of people just hate Sunbonnet Sue, but as a long-time quilter, I thought I should do at least one with her since it is tradition. I am using a yellowish background fabric that I thought I hated, but it looks pretty cute. Then I will use 30s fabrics as frames around each block.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Workers and slackers

When Evelyn's boyfriend Jon came over today, all the kids were done plowing, shoveling, cleaning, etc., so they went sledding down our driveway and in the back fields. Evy is pulling Jon (who is about a foot taller than she is!) down the driveway. Jon had to shovel for hours to get his driveway cleared out! Plus he had to make a space for Evy's car so she can come over later----he said that took the longest! Penny knows how to stay warm in the blizzard! Although she was a maniac when she first went out this morning. It is funny to watch the dogs run wild in that snow. They are like puppies again.
Millie is 12 years old today!! She never has a problem finding a warm couch with a blanket on it. Let the two legged animals do the work if they want to--that is her motto.

It sure is nice to have a grown son around to help out on days like today. He enjoyed it so much that he went to three other neighbors and cleared their driveways secretly.

A snow day

I made this VERY quick quilt top yesterday for Evelyn (she doesn't know about it yet though) from a kit I got in Connecticut a few weeks ago. It is all flannel and the fabrics are so pretty. It literally took about an hour to cut and sew. I have tons of flannels in my attic sewing room, so will use them all up to make these for people.
Rob took these pictures of a bird on our woodpile on the front porch. Smart little birdy knew to get close to the house.

Rob did most of the snow plowing today. He had to chop a tree that had fallen in the driveway before he could finish. It is still blowing hard out there, but it is not too cold even with all the wind. Evelyn wanted to make something fun for her boyfriend's mother, so when she saw this owl clothespin hanger, she had to have it. We had some fun laundry fabric, so she cut it all out, did the fusing for the eyes and some of the sewing. I sewed most of it though, and I am glad I did because even though the pattern said it was easy, it really was tough at times and a novice would have thrown it into the woodstove after a few hours of fussing with it.

On Christmas Eve, Rob and his girlfriend Ali made a gingerbread house. It came out so cute. Ali is pretty cute too!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Bargello table runner and some aprons

Last month we started this bargello table runner at Pieceful Quilting. I had never even tried it before, so a few of us signed up. Once you get the hang of it, it really is easy. You just have to be careful to cut and sew very accurately (not one of my best traits!:)
I also made a few aprons for a friend right before Christmas. I had some great vintage fabric for Christmas, so used them for these two aprons.

I love this apron pattern. It is called Vintage or Totally Vintage...can't remember. It was easy, and I thought the little scalloped front piece was adorable!

A few days ago, the weather channels were calling for a nor'easter, but we were not supposed to get too much snow. Yesterday, that had all changed and we are sitting in for a major amount of snow. This is how the sky looked this morning.

The snow has been falling now for about 10 hours. I have shoveled out the walkway and the steps by the door at least four times. The wind is howling, and I am sitting here all cozy by the woodstove. I made a super easy quilt today (8 inch strips all sewn together---gorgeous flannels too) and I played Scrabble on my new Ipad!! I love that thing. Hope you all had a wonderful holiday.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The best sister-in-law!!

Kenny's sister is one of my best friends in the world!! We have had a very close relationship since the minute he and I started dating, so I consider myself to be very lucky to have her (and her lovely family) in my life for all of these years. She is very talented in the needle arts and has made me a lot of beautiful things over the years. Two winters ago she and I picked up a gorgeous needlepoint picture and she made it for me that year. Well, I finally had it framed at Micheals and you should see how it looks!!! The wooden frame is rustic and then I had three mats put around it to bring out the colors in the picture.

I still squeal when I look at it!! When my friend Deb came over for her weekly sewing lesson last week, she could not stop raving about it! Both of the kids have claimed it when I pass on! :)

We plan to hang it upstairs in the hallway in a spot that will make it the first thing you see when you go up there. I cannot say enough how much I love it!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pumpkins and witches

My Auntie Ellen has just finished treatment for lung cancer and is now cancer free!! She was finished the week of Halloween, so I made her this crazy quilt pumpkin to hang in her house to remember how special this season will always be to all of us. Seriously, she was amazing before, during and after her surgeries and treatment. She knew she would beat it and she has. That sure made it easy for the rest of us to be positive and hopeful.This little wall hanging is all paper pieced! I never did hang it up for Halloween this year. Maybe next year. Or I will put it in Evelyn's hope chest for her as a surprise. I do love it and it was a really fun class at the quilt shop. Now I am onto Christmas projects. I have a few classes coming up and a few things I am working on here at the house. There is always something to make with my sewing machine!!
Oh!!! We had a little blizzard here yesterday morning. I was not sure, but thought I saw snow on my way to work, and within an hour it was blustery and snowing like crazy. There was about 1/2 inch on the ground, and it snowed for a few hours, but went away by lunch time. You could not see far in front of you while it was happening. How weird!! The kids at school were so excited, but no early dismissal for them! :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Look what I got from mom and dad!!

The flowers are from my neighbor, Kathy, whose daughter is getting married this week!! She left them on my steps today to say thanks for the help with the party last month. How sweet (and unnecessary!!) was that? It was more fun than work for me, but the flowers are so lovely and add a nice touch for the fall. When my parents came here last month for their 50th anniversary, they brought me this AMAZING old-fashioned telephone table/chair. Remember when your phone was stationary and you had to sit there to talk? Well, this table was made for those conversations!! The phone went where the flowers are in the previous picture. My mom made the pillow, cushion and little table mat! How fun that both parents worked together on this project?! I am so lucky. Can you believe how the colors match my dining room perfectly? Whooo hoooo!

My black Lab, Penny, got in the way here, but I wanted to show you the big opening on the bottom. I will probably put books there, but left it empty for now. This piece looks like it was made for my old house!! I love it.

Final Halloween Pictures and Fun

My kids had a Hillbilly Halloween party last weekend over at the river. Everyone had to wear a plaid flannel shirt and listen to country music (which many of them do anyway). They went pumpkin picking together and then sat at the river and carved them. We were invited to come along too, but I was feeling a little sick, so I stayed home. Kenny was happy to carve pumpkins though, so he went for a while. Here is the table with some of the finished masterpieces.
I thought they were all so adorable. How about this owl with branches on top!!??

I got the job of awarding prizes for the top three and I picked this howling wolf as one of the best. It was hard to choose. The kids were not near their work, so I did not know who made them.

This is Miley Cirus!! She had a singing card next to her that you had to open to listen to!

This is vomiting pumpkin. I thought that was funny when I saw it with all the beer bottles surrounding it. Of course I found out that Evelyn made that one. She has a sick mind like me!
The Saints are even represented in New York. This was so nice!

Kenny chose this one as one of the winners because it was so old-fashioned like the ones we used to make when we were kids.

This turned out to be a fun day for the kids (who are really not kids anymore, but still have fun like they did when they were young). I like the way they all look in their flannels.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A surprise for Kenny's momma!

My mother-in-law has always been wonderful to me and my kids, so when she loved the last Halloween wallhanging I put on my blog, I thought it would be fun to make one just for her. She is like me and Kenny...she LOVES Halloween. There was a great embroidery disk with beautiful cross-stitch pictures on it, so I used that one to create the pictures.
I made the pictures every night for two weeks, which was fun because while I was making it, I thought of how much she would love it. Aren't the colors just lovely? If you click on the pictures, you can see the faces, and shading on each one.

This was probably my favorite! I loved the greens in the hat and on the pumpkin!

This design took two nights to do because of the number of color changes. It was amazing to watch it come to life! :)

On Friday nights, we have a "sit and sew" at the quilt shop for 4 hours. We have pizza, garlic knots, and snacks and we can work on whatever projects we want to while we are there. I brought this little quilt last Friday and had my friends help me decide which pictures went in each section. Then they picked the border fabric too. That made it even more fun!

I was able to post this today because I just got a call from her that it finally arrived. She loves it and was surprised to get it. I was happy to send it to her since I knew it was going to a good home! LOL