Monday, December 31, 2007

Quilting in the New Year

Inspired by Tonya, who I've never met in person, but have read her blog faithfully, I tried my hand at marking freehand fans tonight. it was sooooo easy. These are 1-1/4" apart. I decided to quilt them with white thread on navy blue fabric. Have I lost my mind? Partially, LOL!!

This is what I got finished in less than an hour. Some of my friends say I piece and quilt entirely too quickly. It's a burden I'm willing to bear! These are going so fasy. When I quilt the blocks, I have to turn the quilt at the end of every piece because I can only quilt from right to left. That takes time.

My family, parents, and temporarily adopted daughter watched "Flywheel" tonight. It is by the same church that made "Facing the Giants" more recently. A very moving story line about a husband/father/used car salesman who is not doing a good job at any of those things and turns his life over to God. Watch it if you haven't. After the movie, we prayed to thank God for the past year and trust Him for the one coming up. I hope you do the same.


Hand Quilting Godsend

This is a Christmas gift a friend made for me this year. It is called a chatelaine. It's already been so useful in keeping all my hand-quilting supplies together. She paper pieced the strap, and it has neat features...

The third square up from the bottom above the spool of thread has a magnet sewn under the top layer of fabric. I don't use this much, but it is a cool feature.

This is a built-in needle book that snaps closed. It is also on the thread side.

This is on the scissors side. It is a little pocket for my thimble. What a GREAT idea! Right below it is another pocket that I keep my hera marker in when I'm doing a quilt that I am using it on.

These are "hangers" for scissors and thread. They are thin straps with snaps at the end. I am using safety scissors because all I'm doing with them is cutting thread. I started with my pair of trusty Gingher embroidery scissors, but they are way too pointy and sharp. I didn't lose any blood, but I had to hold my breath that they wouldn't fall open and inflict a fatal wound to me or a quilt.

Just wanted to share this special gift with you.


Machine quilting on I Spy Quilt #1

Here is our first (of this batch anyway!) I spy quilts quilted. I used a variegated primary color thread and just quilted swirly pinwheels in the yellow blocks. I did the same in the border. I don't usually quilt in the novelty prints. How did that "quilting thread" square get in there?

The yellow thread blends into the background and seems to disappear from view.


Sunday, December 30, 2007

My Blue Nativity Quilt ~ Better Late Than Never...??

Above is a nativity quilt that I intended to hang in my foyer this year. The bright yellow basting thread is still on it because it's not finished. It is hand quilted with navy blue thread.

I didn't get the embroidered piece at the bottom until several days before Christmas. By that time, all my other decorations were cemented into place. Maybe next year? I did not know that it would take over 2 weeks to embroider one little piece of fabric. This is about 34" x 40".

This quilt is about the beauty of blogging. I have never found an applique method I liked. I read a blog of a woman who loves to applique. She even has a tutorial for this very method on her site. A big bloggy thank you to her at Thee Handworks.

I should make a list of all the *inspirations*, ideas, and insights I've received from reading a handful of favorite blogs. I'm talking about the ones that make me want to be a better person, be more loving, smile at my children more (now the rubber is meeting the road, huh?). They are out there, and I appreciate them.

Just a close-up of the manger area.

And CLOSER still, LOL! Next thing you know, you'll be in the manger. This method (back basting) was so easy and effortless (notice I didn't say fast--I don't want to lie) that I will not be afraid to applique again.

Have a blessed Sunday. I'm off to choir practice in a few.

My DD2's best friend will be staying with us for a week. She often calls me her 2nd mom. I can't hold a candle to her first one, so I'll be happy with that.


Saturday, December 29, 2007

I Spy Quilt Top ~ No Text

DD4 I Spy Quilt Top

The picture for this post will appear above...I am editting my post, and it won't allow me to add a picture. Sorry for the inconvenience!


For those of you who have been patiently is my DD4's I Spy quilt top. I have to quilt it, and one of the other girls will sew down the binding. We try to include "boy" and "girl" fabrics for the center so it can be used by all.

The outer border on this one is one of my favorites...a Timeless Treasures black with crayons and squiggles floating around on the background.

Busy day here at the Parker ranchero. My DH asked each of our 8 children (at the breakfast table) what they needed as far as "Daddy time" today. My DD3 asked him to help them clean off and organize our patio. Bless her heart, she has a lot of me in her! They went through our many bicycles, garden tools, yard machines (mowers, trimmers, etc.) and got that area all cleaned up. What a great difference that will make now and in the future!

I plan on going up and cleaning up my bedroom. It's the toxic dump for all the extra stuff we have that doesn't have a home. I need to better organize my decorations. We have many seasonal decorations that tend to float about in my room if they're out of season. I think I should invest in a couple more plastic large bins with lids to have places for all these things. Some are floral arrangements and things that don't pack well. I need to get those together.

How do YOU store your wall quilts when they're not on walls? We have many, many (and I do mean MANY) wall quilts of various sizes. What happens is that I make an every day quilt for a wall space, then I make a Christmas one for that same place (similar size, matching room, and so on). They I make a patriotic one. Hmmm...a fall quilt would look nice, wouldn't it? But where do these quilts live when they are not on a wall? In my bedroom, of course! I don't want to fold the large (over 40") ones because they get near-permanent wrinkles in them. Fortunately, there are only 2 places where I have ones that large.

You can peek at my Web shots album to see some of these. I should photograph those that aren't in there for posterity's sake, too.

Off to attack that messy bedroom (or at least a small portion thereof...need a few minutes to hand quilt, too!)...


Friday, December 28, 2007

Small Luxury, Gigantic Joy

This is a picture of the area beside my computer screen and sewing machine (they share an L-shaped desk). You see one of my luxuries...a Yankee Candle. Yesterday I discovered that there is a Yankee Candle store about 20 minutes from my house! Oh, joy, oh, delight! I splurged and got 2 more. The large 22 ounce size was only $10, so I got 2 of my favorite scents, Christmas Berries and Harvest. I light one of these babies every day for a little while. Makes the sewing room smell soooooo good. This one is vanilla caramel. Mmm-mmm.

This morning DD3 made a batch of cookies for some teens who will be visiting this afternoon. I hand quilted the string quilt while I supervised her efforts. The cookies turned out perfect, and I hand quilted an entire block on my quilt. I'm using white thread and quilting 1/4" inside each piece of fabric in the block. I'm going to freehand a double wavy line in each sashing strip and quilt those in navy blue.

I left out a little detail. Yesterday I hand-basted the whole string quilt with thread. So it is now ready to hand quilt when I have free moments. I do not use a hoop. If a quilt top is fairly small, I usually baste with safety pins. But they get in the way on a large project. I like the way the thread basting is supple but keeps those layers in place.

I love to see hand quilting done by others. Please send me a link to pics you have of completed projects. This quilt practically demands hand quilting because of its age and pattern. Stay tuned!

Tomorrow I may take some pics of a chatelaine I received as a Christmas gift. It will keep all my hand-quilting supplies together. Very clever.

Until then,

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Carolina Crossroads ~ Unit 4 Finished

This little handful is the Carolina Crossroads unit 4. I started on them bright and early yesterday AM. There are 40 blocks. I am very intrigued to know where this quilt is going. Since I'm very short on free time, I'm content to let Bonnie lead the way w/o any guesses on my part.


Yesterday's Work in Pictures...

Above is a pic of ALL I have left from the 1930's string blocks I inherited at Thanksgiving. I'm so proud that I was able to wait until I studied them to make sure I used as much of them as I could. All that is left from the trimmings is the handful of 3/4-1" wide pieces above. Not even enough to make a block w/o a zillion seams. Below is the layout I decided on. After the blocks were trimmed, some of the knots were cut off, so I wanted to stabilize the blocks ASAP. Here is the result (minus the navy blue borders I'm now cutting and about to attach...

This top is about 55" x 66-1/2". I am adding 9" borders. I am eager to start hand-quilting this. I enjoy looking at each fabric when I hand quilt. These blocks STINK! That is the result of 77 years of storage who-knows-where! Most of the fabrics are small checks and some stripes. Makes me think they are leftovers from making clothing for children, aprons, and that kind of thing.

Below is a close-up of the thread used to sew the strings together. Does anyone know what was used for "string" in those days? It is so thick, and leaves huge holes where it's been pulled out.

Please enlighten me!

I didn't want to buy fabrics to finish it, so I chose a navy blue Thimbleberries Christmas Street print. It was dark enough to contrast with the blocks, and I have a 20-yard bolt of it! I want to use something light for backing. It will be quilted with white thread, and I don't want the thread to show on the back...much. I'm going to quilt inside each "string" to accentuate and strengthen them. I hope it turns out well.

Should be a nice throw size when I am finished. I'm going to quilt with navy thread in the borders with free-hand drawn fans if I can stand it. I am a perfectionist, and suffer because of it.


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Does This Look Like Happy Holidays?

This is my youngest daughter. She will be 10 in February. With the busy-ness of our lives (holidays, home schooling 8 children, having a home business, and life in general), I have neglected making time to teach her to machine sew. Well, wait no more!

We make an "I Spy" quilt for all the new babies in our church and close friends. We need to have 5 ready for the next 6 months or so. I let my daughter lay out the squares on our little design wall (I cut them out). With just a little instruction, she already is sewing her rows together. We are using Bonnie's webbing the top method, so there are no misplaced blocks.

The top is 4-1/2" novelty blocks with 4-1/2" yellow tone on tone alternate blocks, forming a checkerboard. The quilts finish about 40" square. We just started doing this about 6 months ago.

This is definitely happy holidays for me! This is the 4th installment for the Carolina Crossroads quilt. I had to make my triangles a tad larger than the original instructions. Fortunately I checked after cutting just 5 squares. I keep reading it over, but I must have missed something.

This is an aerial shot of unit 4 on my ironing board down to the floor. I will be ironing them in a few minutes.

I'm probably one of the few people that woke this AM and checked Bonnie's blog first thing. The family and I were watching "It's a Wonderful Life" last night, but I kept falling asleep in the living room. So I conceded and just went to bed. As a result, I was the first one up this AM. By a long shot.

I checked the blogs I read daily, then did more hand quilting on my Christmas 2007 quilt (which is rapidly approaching completion) until others started stirring. I was so excited to see that unit 4 directions had been posted.

My DH is teaching 3 of my girls how to play bridge. The 4 boys are all engaged in a strategy computer game. So that left DD4 and I to occupy ourselves. We played 3 games of 10,000 (she won 2 out of 3, so she was very happy). Then I decided we had time for her to start some machine sewing. She is doing so well.

I'll post a picture of her progress later today.

DD1 made home made cinnamon rolls for us and 3 neighbor families. GOOD morning! The smell must have calories, they are so aromatic!!

Why am I sewing today instead of merry making? We've had a family staying with us for the last 10 days or so. They flew home yesterday AM. We had so much busy-ness while they were here with visitors, outings, etc., that we are taking a couple days to rest and relax. Relax is spelled s-e-w-i-n-g to me. We are not exchaning presents among our immediate family (and just a few other than that), so that isn't even a factor. Back to relaxing (sewing) for me and DD4.


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Candy Coated Blocks

Here are the blocks I made last night. There are only far. I'm debating about how to set them if I do indeed make a bunch. Do you see the ring of color around the center motif? A very easy and lovely pattern. Looks like it was really difficult, doesn't it? This was a free pattern from McCall's Quilting's web site years ago. It's amazing that I can hold onto a quilt pattern I want to make for YEARS, but can't remember where I left my shoes this morning!

We are going caroling again tonight, so there are many cookies to bake and foods to make for the fellowship time afterwards. We are also having a big lunch of baked ham, sweet potato casserole (hi, Kairle!), green beans, home made rolls, etc. I'm just waiting for my girls to vacate the hopefully clean kitchen so I can do the cooking I need to do personally.

My husband, our guest, and some of our older boys are going to have a paintball war this morning. Can't imagine that being fun, but then again, they don't enjoy sewing either.


Friday, December 21, 2007

The Ups and Downs of Life

"Oh--I've been using this gizmo wrong all along!"

Our family has been hosting some friends from out of state for over a week. With that comes special meals, special requests for goodies, snacks, eating out. Need I say more? I've been on a quest to lost weight. Before they arrived, I had lost 15 pounds in about 6 weeks. Well, some of it has come home.

There--I feel better. Got that off my chest. Now I need to get some of it off my thighs, LOL!

Went to another wedding today. This is the second one in less than a week. Definitely an UP moment for the bride and groom. Very different from the first wedding. What is so neat about these two weddings is that they expressed the personalities of the couples so well. We knew the couple of today's wedding so well. Now that it's over, we can definitely say, "That was so ___ & ________!" Fun and unexpected moments.

I had a brief panic attack today. I was surfing the ring for the mystery quilters for Bonnie's Carolina Crossroads (BTW, I love that name--probably because I live in NC). There is a box to the side there if you want to check out some of them.

I thought for a few seconds that I had pieced unit 2 incorrectly. I have never made 9-patches with creams/lights in the corners. I sure didn't remember doing that for this quilt. Must I mention that those fat cells are replacing memory cells? As I quickly looked back through my posts, there was my picture of the perfectly pieced units. Whew! There are 100 of those buggers. I was already planning an alternate quilt. Hate to waste even the smallest pieces of fabric! But much to my relief, I really did follow the instructions. I am so enjoying seeing the variety of colors and fabrics others are using.

I made 2 blocks today with Christmas centers from Thimbleberries' Candy Coated Christmas line from years ago. There is another quilt I want to make with these motif blocks. I got 10 yards on clearance ages ago and have been wanting to try a couple. I plan to use a variety of greens and reds to give it my typical scrappy style. Guess I'll take a picture tomorrow. My family and company are upstairs watching "National Treasure", and I should go make an appearance. Just had to sew for a few minutes tonight.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

My Broken Leftover Dishes

This is a close-up of MY quilt like the one in the post from yesterday. My 2nd daughter's best friend wanted to learn how to quilt. The girls made the same quilts, in different colors (FWIW, my daughter was already experienced).

When they sewed a square on a rectangle to make a flying geese unit, I had them double sew the seams so we'd have an extra HST square to play with instead of throwing those away. That resulted in some very small HSTs. I made MY friend (my daughter's friend's mother--got that?) a quilt identical to mine. She wants to learn how to hand quilt so she can also hand quilt hers. We'll do that some time this spring, I'd imagine. When I was photographing this, I noticed an omission. Do you see it??

I didn't finish the hand quilting! In the second block from the right in the top row, I neglected to finish the "x" through the block (the top right fourth of the block). I guess that's my humility block. Should I finish it? I used dark brown thread. There is a cable quilted in the border.

I was having trouble getting a picture of this because my human quilt holders were all busy. So this is not flat. But you get the picture.

These little blocks are called "Broken Dishes", but since I made them from pieces of other quilts, I called my quilt "Broken Leftover Dishes". The girls thought that was cute.

I keep this on my living room wall when a seasonal quilt is not residing there.

Does anyone else like to hand quilt? I'm about 2/3 finished with the hand quilting on my 2007 Christmas quilt. I'd like to see your projects. Drop me a line so I can peek at your blog if you have one. If you don't have one, what are you waiting for??


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Share the Joy!

This is a quilt I made for my latest apprentice quilter. Long story, but I met a woman my age who had a daughter that had "always wanted to learn to quilt". After the mom was at my house and saw some of my quilts on the walls, table, beds, quilt rack, etc., she asked if I would be willing to teach her daughter. The mom admired a quilt I had made for myself from this same pattern, similar colors, but my borders are burgundy. When her daughter made a quilt top (nearly finished!), I had her double sew the squares so I could make her mom a wall quilt of her very own. I quilted it this afternoon and sewed the binding on. Daughter is going to finish it and give it to her for Christmas.

I have had the privilege of sharing the gift of quilting with several young (and middle-aged) ladies. It's exciting to see their sense of accomplishment. Go teach someone what you know!


Snowmen, Cookies & MORE...

My family goes caroling every year to neighbors and sometimes off to friends. Sunday (a non-posting day) was filled with church activities. Monday I personally cooked all day to prepare for a fellowship time after caroling at a nearby nursing home Monday night. I had to add the "personally" because my oldest children usually do most of all of the cooking here for long periods of time. I still vaguely recall how the process works, so I give them time off for good behaviour occasionally! We are caroling again this Saturday. My DH likes us to leave a goodie bag, plate, or box, so we'll be baking up a storm again come Friday. Above is a plate that we gave a neighbor earlier this holiday season.

I'm still working on the Carolina Crossroads quilt from Bonnie. I am all caught up with her current instructions. It amazes me that some folks think they *know* the design (and have for some time). By my calculations, the quilt will end up having 6,400 square inches of area. We have finished approximately 15% (321 three-inch blocks) of said area. There's a lot more coming, quilters! I'm just obediently following along, not even trying to guess where we're going. I live in NC, so I'm already here!!


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Waffle Time & Wedding

This is the Waffle Time. It's a pattern by Atkinson Designs. It can also be made as a runner. Any large focus print is nice for the center. This is one of two identical Xmas gifts for my 4th daughter's Sunday school teachers. They'll be given them tomorrow. I did some freehand peacock quilting on them in a slightly metallic thread.

A couple from our church was married today. The church was already decorated with beautiful wreaths and lovely hurricane lanterns for Christmas. Everything was beautiful. We spent from 10 AM until just a few minutes ago getting ready for it and now we are in recovery mode. It's nearly 8 PM. We're all ready for bed! So good night...


Friday, December 14, 2007

Antique String Blocks & History

Above are 12 of the 22 plus antique string blocks I inherited from my FIL that were made by my DH's great aunt, Ruby. They are about 12" square. I want to make a quilt and hand quilt it with Baptist Fans or something that will preserve the historical time period in which they were made.

I am thinking of using a dark blue sashing with a chrome gold/yellow star where the blocks meet? What do you think?? I wanted to use a red (since the maker's name was Ruby), but there is not any red in the quilt blocks. These are just ugly enough to be pretty.

This is a small portion of the backs of one of the 9-patch string blocks. It has been interesting (to say the least) to read the backs of the blocks. Look at these prices!!

It seems like destroying history to take the paper off the backs of these blocks. I am going to scan and print some of the more interesting pieces to incorporate into the quilt back somehow (before I tear them off, naturally).

Any suggestions on setting them are welcome. I have many smaller blocks. It appears that these larger ones are 9 of the smaller. So if I have a large enough center with the 9-patches, I may use the smaller ones around the edge somehow.

Looking forward to your input.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Finally--Pictures Separated by Text

A big THANK YOU to Leah for her technical assistance. See my last post for success...picture, text, picture, text, etc. But, you know, I promise that what she suggested was what I was ALREADY doing!! At least it works now.

Tomorrow I'm going to send a pic of my antique 1930's string blocks. I have an idea for a setting and want some input.

Have a blessed night,

Antique Extravaganza

My father-in-law brought me a box of "quilts" at Thanksgiving. He had been cleaning out his storage shed and came across a box of quilts his aunt had made or kept. There are not really any quilts at all, they are all blocks, units, or partial tops.

Most of them are stained. I have purchased antique quilt blocks and cleaned them with good success. Above is 12 of 29 butterfly blocks. All of the pictures in this post are currently listed on eBay. The only thing I'm keeping to finish is a set of string blocks (eat your heart out, Bonnie!). The string blocks are pieced onto newspapers that have 1929 and 1930 all over them. How historic is THAT!

This is a section of a double wedding ring quilt. It's about 41" x 75". There are also 65 completed melons in addition to the piece shown. Hand pieced. The background is a lovely pink color.

These are Wedding Ring blocks...17" square. In a word, HUGE!! There are 16 of them. Again, hand pieced. Whew...someone spent a lot of time making these. Your eye candy for the day.

Hope you are enjoying a few relaxing quilty moments among the holiday mayhem. Remember to count your blessings.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Another Wonderful Day

Well, it's been another wonderful day. That's all I could think when trying to come up with a title for today's post. I am blessed in every way. The majority of today was spent with my oldest daughter. She is 17. A joy to be with. Yes--I ended that sentence with a preposition. I could tell her that she is a joy, and she'd believe me. But somehow I think it will mean more when she reads it on my blog...and I'll know when she does! :)

This quilt is a little one (half-size version) I made from a free pattern Marcie posted. I made one full size, but this is the 50% smaller style. I made one for my 3rd son's Sunday school teacher, and I'm keeping its twin. The red and white stripe just gives it some zip. It's only about 12-1/4" square.

Blogging gives me time to stop and think about things that would just fly by otherwise. I have read so many ideas on the blogs of others that have given me inspiration. Somewhere (I forgot where!) I read the challenge to end every day thinking of blessings from that day. So as I wait for my DH to come to bed, I make a mental list of blessings from that day.

At the top of the list today is our pediatrician. He is an energy-giver...always has a big smile and a friendly disposition. I had to take DD#1 to see him today for asthma control. He changed her medicine schedule and gave us what I calculate to be nearly $200 worth of samples. Thanks the Lord! What a blessing that was today, and so unexpected. Then DD & I did a little shopping, went out for lunch, and just enjoyed each other's company. What fun!

I need help from someone about blogging technicalities...all my pictures end up at the top of my text. Is there a way to move them around once they're in the blog box before publishing? I haven't been able to find it if there is. HELP!!


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Mine and Hers

Above are two wreath quilts that are similar. I have finished hand quilting both of them, but still need to wash and dry them. They are basically the same center, but mine (the bottom one) has more red. The top one (hers) has just a berry of red. Mine is a bit larger, having more border area. I like them both. My 3rd daughter (13) pieced them both. She did a marvelous job, didn't she??


Monday, December 10, 2007

month by month quilt

Calendar Block Quilt

Month by Month Quilt

This is the quilty thing I've been doing this afternoon. It was after 3:30 when I got home from running my morning errands. Yes, MORNING errands. We do have a huge family, but the vittles don't seem to last as long as they used to. Two grocery stores, bank, post office, dry cleaners, piano lesson, etc., etc., and there goes most of the day.

The pictures above are a quilt my friend, Misty, pieced when she lived here. Her family moved back to Colorado this past summer. They are coming Wednesday to visit and stay with us until Xmas Eve! So I figured it was time to get a-quiltin' on this baby. She's going to sew on the binding while they are here and finish it. The second picture is a close up. It's nearly 2/3 finished, so there is light at the end of the tunnel. I needed to take a break for my back's sake.

Thanks to all who are leaving such nice comments. Below (at least that's where I'm hoping to get it) is my own month by month quilt, which, no doubt, inspired Misty to make one of her own. Well, stink! I can't figure out how to do this, but the picture will be SOMEwhere! LOL! I'm getting this blogging stuff, but my brain is so full of other things.


PS: I see that the picture is ABOVE this post. Well, of course! I'll get it some day.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Scrappy 9-Patch Blocks for Carolina Crossroads

In this post, I hope to explain how I make a scrappy quilt. So many people who see my home quilts will comment on their own inability to put a scrap quilt together. Nearly all my throw size and bed sized quilts are scrappy, gradually made over as long as a year. Some are limited in colors (like my red, green, and cream Christmas quilts shown below in older posts).

See my Web Shots album for some examples (click the link on the left).

In the pic above, you see the beginnings of my 100 nine-patch blocks needed for the Carolina Crossroads mystery quilt that Bonnie is hostessing.

When I pieced these, I took scraps of black (MY accent color) and made a strip of black, color, and cream, paying absolutely no attention to what color the color was, or the cream for that matter.

Then I took a color and put a cream on each side. These are all long strips (well, as long as the scrap would allow, and all from my 1-1/2" wide strip bin). Lastly I took a cream with a color on each side. I just made a bunch of each size on Friday, knowing it wasn't nearly enough.

Saturday, while I was waiting for my children to finish their cantata practice at church, I subcut these strips into 1-1/2" wide pieces to make the 9-patches. I kept a tally (the 3 x 5 card on the left side) to see how many I had of each strip needed. I had enough to complete 46 blocks (held together in groups of 10 with pins), so now I know how many more I need.

The great thing about making some blocks and then having to make more is that I can see if I'm heavy on one color. I know I need more greens and browns to round things out.

I do NOT worry about a weird fabric that might stand out. One of the other tricks of scrap quilt making is distributing the weird fabric over the face of the quilt so it doesn't all end up in one corner. Another way to cover that is to purposely add several other weirdos (sorry, fabric collection--nothing personal). If it's still ugly, it hasn't been cut small enough. I liked that fabric enough at one point to BUY it, right??

I'm eagerly awaiting the next installment of the mystery. I've never done one before. I am not even curious to know the final design. Just blindly following and trusting Bonnie. Lead on!


Antique Sideboard at Christmas

This is a picture of an antique sideboard in my kitchen. Those red walls really look great during the Christmas holidays!

We've always had so many young children at home that it was difficult to decorate much. We don't have all those little niches that I see decorated in magazines. We USE all our space.

Then I realized that there are a few areas that are decorate-able and safe. This is one of them. My 3rd daughter likes to set up this little village for Christmas. Each building was a yearly gift from one of my aunts. Each has a light inside, and they are on in this picture.

The garland hanging from the shelf is made of torn strips of homespun fabrics, homemade felt snowman, and rusty tin ornaments (moon, sun, and stars).
I will be sharing a quilting-related post next.


Saturday, December 8, 2007

Decorating with Quilts

Kathie asked us to share how we decorate with quilts. We moved into a different house last year. I have a large (largely useless) foyer that I at first considered a waste of space. I finally realized that it *is* the perfect place for a little decorating. It's the first thing one sees when entering our front door.
This past fall I made two little quilts to decorate the space. This picture shows one--a small square quilt I draped over a crock under a little antique table.

The quilt was made from left over squares from a Pineapple Blossom I made from Bonnie's pattern. I used plain squares for between the pinwheels and hand quilted simple diagonal lines through it. It's one of my favorite small decorations. It's all fall hues of purples, oranges, browns, greens. I like to see real people's houses, don't you?
Notice that each triangle is made of two main one and another on the tip.


Friday, December 7, 2007

That Thing She Does

This is before and after for my 1-1/2" strip bins. Just 30 minutes or so of cleaning off my cutting table. I've been doing this for years. This is enough for the rest of my Carolina Crossroads 9-patch blocks and then some, I hope. I've made many quilts from my 1-1/2" strip bin. Using a large variety of fabrics makes them nice and scrappy.

I'm so glad to see Tazzie is joining the mystery quilt. I'll be watching your progress!

Just got home from DH's Christmas party. He works with such a great group of guys. Their wives decided to come to my house the next time the guys have a get together! What in the world will we do?? Eating chocolate and doing a craft are high on the list!

Talk to you all tomorrow...Joan

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Carolina Crossroads...all Rail Fence blocks.

This is a picture from last night of the 100 rail fence blocks for Bonnie's mystery quilt, Carolina Crossroads. I fully intend to keep up with this. Our next assignment is to make 100 9-patch blocks. Already mentally there. My 3rd son is helping me by doing all the pressing for this quilt. He is earning Christmas money. I run a sweat shop here. I might pay him the whopping sum of $2.00 for a LOT of pressing. It saves me so much time.

My quilt's accent color is BLACK. That's the color of the center strip for all my rails. It's been interesting to see some of the other color combinations. I don't think I've seen but one or two that I actually LIKE.

Just a short time ago, you never would have found black in my quilts (or house either for that matter). Now each room (and quilt) has a touch. I had lots of black scraps left over from the Heritage Stars shown below. Each star in that is a different black or combination of blacks. That yields lots of small pieces.

I employed another Bonnie trick to keep track of how many units I have finished...pinning 10 together (how did I manage before Bonnie?). When I forget how many I already have (as I often do...must be another sign of old age), I just count pins. Each one represents 10 blocks, units, whatever.


Snowman Pictures at Last!

The above is the quilt I mentioned earlier this week. I had pieced this a couple years ago. It got lost in the shuffle of moving last April, then I realized I needed to UNquilt it and REquilt it. This is such a cute design. The head and body are log-cabin type favorite. The scarf is a lovely design and looks so realistic. I think it needs a bit more quilting...maybe some snowflakes in the background with white embroidery floss or perle cotton?? How about some wind swirls?? At least it's up for this year. To be improved for next year possibly.

The other malfunction this quilt was that he did not have a nose until yesterday. A snowman w/o a carrot nose is like a day w/o sunshine! Just did not seem right. The one I embroidered on is a bit small, but maybe it was a baby carrot?? LOL!


Carolina Crossroads...Humble Beginnings

Bonnie over at started a new quilt (as often as she breathes)...she said it was going to be a secret, a mystery...a woman asked her if she'd post her directions so others could join in, and as with so many Bonnie things, the rest is history.

These little blocks are actually the reason I started you could see my progress. Voila! Installment #1.



Well, my dreams have been realized.

First, for your calorie-free enjoyment, a cookie from the last baking (was that 2 days ago?). MMM-mmm.
This is just to whet your appetites...quilting and otherwise.

Now that I can download pictures, the sky's the limit.

Stay tuned...errands to do, but lots of blogging when I get back!


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Snowman Fun

This cute quilt top is one my 17-year-old daughter pieced for a customer last Christmas. I think it's very cute, and I have too little wall space in this house!!

I'm making headway on the Carolina Crossroads mystery quilt. My 100 rail fence blocks are pieced. A picture is safe and sound on my camera. Still waiting to be able to download them. My DH assures me help is on the way!

Today's sewing activity included cleaning off my cutting table. I am fortunate to have a permanent area for cutting and another for sewing (back to back in the same room). My cutting table is a banquet-sized table that DH built up for me so my back wouldn't suffer while I cut. It's perfect. I cut up all the small pieces piled up here and there from working on customer quilts to feed into my 1-1/2" scrap bin. If I have a big piece (larger than 2" square, LOL), it goes into a pile. coming.

I am nearly finished piecing 3 small table quilts (or wall quilts, depending on how the future owner wants to use them). I am using a Christmas Street Thimbleberries print for the focus. Kaleidoscope type blocks (4 of them) with red sashing in between and a dark green outer border. Pics perhaps tomorrow!
It's so fun to hear from other quilters.

Thanks to Kairle for reaffirming my tentative plan to make my own Baptist Fan stencil. How neat to hear from a good friend I've never even MET!

I'd be interested to know if you hand quilt, and how do you decide if a project is WORTHY to be hand quilted?

I machine and hand quilt. Always have a hand quilting project going. I have two times a week that I know I'm going to be sitting in the car for up to an hour. Violin and piano lessons. I've gotten tons of stuff done in that time. There aren't any stores (or much civilization for that matter) near where the lessons are, so it would be a waste of time to do anything but just STAY. Not really enough time to come home. A blessing in disguise!!

Let me hear about your hand quilt projects. I love to see quilts others have made.


Tuesday, December 4, 2007