Friday, September 30, 2011

Finished for Friday: Three stitch projects

I finished up this ornament I started this week.  I love how it turned out.  This one might become a gift.  I think this pattern is so pretty I might make this one again.  Sort of a subtle Christmas symbol.

Here is a less subtle Christmas symbol.  I finally finished this piece up as a pillow.  As you can see, I still need to squish around the stuffing a little bit to get the top less pucker-y.  I put off the finishing step on this one for a long time because I always use velvet to make my Christmas pillows, and velvet makes an absolute mess in my sewing area.  When I cut it, I get these little tiny tufts just everywhere.  It takes me a while to get the whole place cleaned up.  Still, it didn't take me very long to sew this up, I don't know why I procrastinated so long with it.

Having finished two things, I looked in my basket of projects that were stuck at the last finishing step and found one more for this week.  (Please tell me you have a basket of unfinished projects!)

I had put this one off because the directions suggested finishing it with some "Regency era fabric."   Right.  I was pretty sure I didn't have anything that would work in my stash so this one went into the basket.  Guess what?  As soon as I started looking I found several fabrics that would work.  Kicking myself again for putting off the finishing step on this one.

The pattern for this can be found at The Sampler Girl.

Hope you're not as hopeless a procrastinator as I am!  Link up and show what you've been up to this week.  Thanks for playing along and have a great weekend.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

How to Drive Me Crazy

I sew.  Nearly every day.  In addition to quilts I've often made useful things like tote bags.

Shopping bags.


You name it.

In addition, our house is overflowing with backpacks, duffel bags, dance bags, gymnastics bags, satchels.

You get the idea.  If you want something to carry things in, there is no shortage in this house.

So what do I see waiting by the front door every single day?  Drama Girl's ballet gear ready for me to grab when I take her to ballet.

In a plastic bag.  ARRRRRRRGH!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Not How *I* Did Homework

I'm a semi-techy person.  I was an early adopter of a palm pilot and have used palm smartphones for years.  So when I heard HP might be discontinuing their line of palm tablets, I jumped on the chance to get them at firesale prices.  We're a tablet family now.

I've figured out how to do a lot of things with mine - keep up with blogs with the RSS reader, type documents on the go with google docs, play a few cute games.  It's a great tool to access my ever-changing calendar and I love that I can pull up my favorite recipes and prop it in my kitchen in much less space than a cookbook.

But my kids have officially left me behind on the technology learning curve now.

Here is Jungle Boy, doing a homework project with a friend via Skype.  They were working on a poster together and were talking and showing each other what they were doing.  I am in awe.

Are you thinking about getting a tablet?  Amazon is making a big announcement about their new line of Kindles and tablets today. 

Wordful Wednesday is hosted by Angie at Seven Clown Circus.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Needlework Tuesday: Christmas Rose

Tuesdays are a good day to review works in progress around here. As usual, I have several things cluttering up the house on hand to work on.

It's time to think about ornaments for Christmas.  This is the current work in progress.  It's from one of my British cross-stitch magazines from a while back.  It's called Christmas rose - a plant that I've now learned isn't really a rose at all, and seldom blooms on Christmas.  Christmas rose is just much more romantic sounding than "Easter Hellebore" I guess.

This is the next block in my "Baltimore Christmas" sampler.  The pieces are all wool on a flannel background.  This quilt will be heavy when it's done!  These are only the next layer of pieces; there are still arms holding up trumpets and legs and shoes to add, then a lot of embroidery to fill in.  This project is epic.  I love working with this soft soft wool though.

Join Heather over at Books and Quilts for Needlework Tuesday.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Makes My Monday: The New Face in the Kitchen

I'm willing to bet my family goes through more toast than the average family.  Here in the land of delicious sourdough bread and the occasional homemade bread toast is a food group all on its own.

Our last 4-slot toaster finally reached it's end.  I knew how to push the levers down just so, so they would catch and hold, but others in the family banged on it repeatedly and said choice words when the bread popped right back up at them.  So I picked family peace and morning quiet over trying to train them in the finer points of toaster use.

This new model has a digital readout of not only the darkness you select, but a countdown until it's done.  Then it beeps to politely remind you to come get your warm bread.  Already the house is split into two camps; those who walk away from the toaster and depend on the beep, and those who hover nearby, hitting the "cancel" button moments before the beep is set to sound.  We all find our thrills in different ways.  Meanwhile the debate rages on the new bagel toasting feature, which toasts the inside of the bagel while "gently warming" the outside.  I love it, while certain members of the family just can't adapt to that much novelty.

Warm bread makes my Monday.  Visit Cheryl at Twinfatuation for more Monday makers.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Finished for Friday: Final Bunny Blocks!

My "Rabbits Prefer Chocolate" quilt has been languishing as a UFO (unfinished object) for quite a while.  I pulled it out the other day and realized I only had a little bit left to finish.  So here are the three final applique blocks.

I found the tip to use a pressing board in my lap as I work and now I don't know how I survived without it.  It also makes a good base for taking pictures.  A little free advertising for June Taylor I guess.

Final block.  This one makes me smile because this is me all afternoon every day - driving around.  Of course, to be more accurate, there would be a lot of little bunnies in the back seat.  But I can daydream about a cute little sportscar.  I bet this would be easier to park than my massive minivan.

Here are all of the blocks up on the design wall now.  I still have some embroidery details to add before I put on the borders and finish it up.  I'm so happy that this phase is done!  A lot of hours of work there.

What have you been up to this week?  Link up and let me come visit and congratulate you.  Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wordful Wednesday: Invisibility

Braces.  The word that strikes fear in every parent's heart.  The expense, the upkeep, the rules about food to eat - and the mouth full of metal.

So thrilled that only one of my kids needs a little straightening, and so thrilled that modern technology has created invisible braces. 

Now if we could just make the bills invisible.  *sigh*

Friday, September 16, 2011

Finished for Friday: The Talisman Ring

The Talisman Ring is a historical mystery by Georgette Heyer set in the Regency period of the late 1700s.

Eustacie de Vauban, a refugee from France, becomes engaged to a man she hardly knows in order to fulfill the wishes of her dying benefactor.  She runs away in the middle of a snowy night and runs right into a band of smugglers led by none other than her long-lost cousin.  Game for adventure, she throws her lot in with his and assists him in his escape from the authorities.

What follows is a comedic adventure of deceit, disguises, mistaken identities and true love found in unlikely places.  Every member of the ensemble cast has their shining moments and the witty plot is deeply satisfying.

I get the same pleasure in reading Ms. Heyer's books as I do when I read Jane Austen.  Wonderful period detail and amusing drawing-room manners.  Completely escapist books.  I notice that many of the Kindle editions of her books are currently priced under $2, so if you have a Kindle, you might want to pick up at least one to try out.  There are several different covers for this book, which has been reprinted numerous times since its release in the 1930s.  I like the cover above because it has a harp. 

What have you finished up this week?  Link up and let us see.  Thanks for joining in and have a great weekend.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


It's one of my favorite times of year; early Autumn.  I've had the summery and patriotic quilts around the house for several months now, and it's time for a new palette.  So the "Pumpkin Hill" quilt found a spot behind my harp, and the "Falling Leaves" quilt (featured last year in Quiltmaker magazine!) waits on the couch for snuggling up.  Other Fall items are coming out to each room.

Once again I look in disbelief at the number of Halloween quilts I seem to have.  I'm not even that big a fan of Halloween!  I blame the fabric designers for making too many cute fabrics.  I'm going to hold off until at least the beginning of October for the Halloween stuff though.

In the meantime I found a pattern for a crochet acorn, so I made one yesterday.  I'll probably make a few.  I was going to sew a little face on it (don't we do that with all amigurumi stuff?) but then I realized that the lid comes off - so you would be looking inside its empty head.  A tetch morbid, I think.  So it's just a plain acorn.  Maybe for Halloween I'll sew a face on and insert some curly crochet brains inside in case anybody peeks.

Do you redecorate around your house for Fall?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Quilting Jewelry

My beautiful bracelet.
My stunning brooch.
My gorgeous necklace.

And the blocks I was able to make sitting out on the sunny porch with all of my supplies within reach.

My kids laugh when I "gear up" but I'm happiest when everything stays clean and within reach when I'm outside.  However, every time I look up I notice things that need attention in the yard.   I have to minimally have water in the fountain and birdseed in the feeder and all the pots watered before I sit down.  The dead leaves and weeds I spy just have to wait sometimes. 

Do you spend time on non-gardening hobbies outdoors? 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

September 11

This is my September 11 quilt.  I will always be grateful to the many quilt designers who put this and other patterns up for free right after that horrible day.  Sewing this was calming for me, and helped me feel productive, if even in a small way, during a time of so much sadness.  It goes up on a wall every summer and I'll take it down soon after September 11.  I hope it stirs some patriotic feelings in my family and maybe even my blog readers. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Finished for Friday: Bees and Squirrels and Crows

With all the spinning that goes along with our back-to-school change in routine I haven't had a lot of time for sewing this week, but I did get a few more applique blocks done.

The colors aren't great, because this is up on the design wall in my dark garage, but this honeybee block is part of my ongoing sampler project.

This is part of the squirrel quilt.  The stars are wool.

And another incredibly fat squirrel holding some wool leaves.  This pattern is by Anne Sutton and can be found free online here.  She's only going to post it until the end of December, so go print it out if you think you might want to do this one.  She also has the finishing kit with dozens of tiny buttons available now. 

What have you been up to this week?  I once again messed up the linky last week.  Please tell me if you have trouble linking up!  So sorry for the inconvenience, I do love visiting your blogs.  Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Needlework Tuesday: Autumn Wreath

A lot of hours have already gone into this piece.  I love the colors, but there are a million color changes going on.  Keeps it interesting, but very slow going.

Here's the whole canvas.  I'm aiming for Autumn 2015 to get it done!  But as with most needlework projects, it's the journey that's the fun part.  I still have a stack of projects that are finished but need to be framed or made into pillows or ornaments or gifts. 

We're finally getting beautiful weather here, after an unusually cool summer here in Northern California.  One of my favorite things to do outside is read, so I'm enjoying every spare moment I can.  I've got another fun Georgette Heyer book going right now.

I'm thinking of my twins today and crossing my fingers as they both audition for the school jazz band.

If you'd like to join Needlework Tuesday, visit Heather at Books and Quilts.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Finished for Friday: Rosy Quilt

Yay!  The quilt is done!  I'm doing the happy dance and crossing this one off my list.  It's yummy flannels and wool batting so it's very soft and cozy.

What have you been up to this week?  Link up and let me come visit.  Sorry I got this post up late today - I seem to be in teenager crisis management mode.  Everyone is forgetting their cell phones/ music lessons/ appointments/ ballet clothes.  I've been whirling around town in my old minivan trying to get everything and everyone straightened out.

On the bright side, they all owe me favors now.  hmmm...

Have a great weekend, especially if yours is three days long like ours.

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