Detail from "Rain Dance," an original quilt by Sherrie Spangler

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

More Christmasy stuff

Chugging along here with Christmas projects on a dark, rainy day. I quilted the Christmas houses piece with invisible thread and I only broke two needles. I'm saving the binding for another day.

Last night and this morning I made a set of placemats and napkins for a gift (for someone who doesn't read the blog).

Over the weekend, we hung the white icicle lights inside all around the living room and dining room windows. Then I put out the battery-operated, remote-controlled candles (how did I survive without them) and the stockings. Normally I set up a forest of little lighted trees, but this year I wanted to keep it simple so I just brought up one tree. It felt good not to have to fluff and arrange nine trees! And it feels even better to know I won't have to take them down.

Have a colorful day

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Christmas houses progress

Quick update on the wool Christmas houses. I ran out of white pearl cotton and have to get more before I can add smoke curling from the chimneys. Now that Thanksgiving is over, total focus will go to Christmas ... little white lights, handwritten cards, Christmas music!!! I love the season.

Have a colorful day

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Bummed out

I posted yesterday about the cookies I made for my daughter for Thanksgiving. Well, last night her car was stolen! She lives six hours away. Insurance will pay for a rental, but the rental company covered by the insurance is completely out of cars because of the holiday.

I'm grateful that she's okay physically, but this sure has added stress to the holidays.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Christmas house progress

I'm making progress on the wool Christmas houses, but my aching arthritic thumbs are telling me to stop for the night!

I'm going to outline everything in snowy white for starters then maybe do some beading.

I also made a double batch of vegan, gluten-free chocolate chip cookies for the kid who's coming home for Thanksgiving. Tomorrow will be the big cooking/cleaning day, so I probably won't have time to sew. 

 Happy Thanksgiving!

Have a colorful day

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Christmas houses

It's been awhile since I've woken up in the morning itching to get back to a quilt project before I've even had coffee, but this little wool project almost has me doing that. I still get the coffee first, but then I go directly to my stitching.

It's a pattern called "Welcome to Christmas Town" by Chris Malone. I found it in this current magazine:

The pattern calls for fusing cotton appliqués and then machine embroidering them, but I'm hand-stitching wool appliqué on a cotton background and then I'll hand embroider and maybe add some beads.

I love auditioning different colors! I finally decided on red and pinkish-purple houses with a variety of roof and chimney colors.

Freezer paper patterns are ironed onto the wool.

Usually I pin the pieces down with short appliqué pins, but I used dabs of glue on the skinny tree trunks.

I use one strand of cotton embroidery floss to whipstitch the pieces down, unless I have the right color of Genziana wool thread, then I use that. Sue Spargo uses Genziana in her projects, but it's pretty expensive and I can't buy it locally.

This is where I'm at this morning. (That's a spool of Genziaza.) Now the challenge is to take enough breaks from stitching so I don't get a stiff neck!

Have a colorful day

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Wonderful Woolies

It was a dark and stormy day yesterday, but inside was cozy and bright because it was our Woolies meeting day!

Judy set the tone for winter with this fantastic snowy village wool appliqué quilt that she just finished. She saw the houses in a magazine and adapted them to a new shape.

Her embroidery details are so inspiring, and the tweedy sky fabric looks like a Northwest winter sky.

But the meeting started with us gathered around Pam's kitchen counter looking at the loot she got on a recent road trip ... fabric and patterns to make us drool. And in the background is Linda's chocolate chip pumpkin bread to really make us drool.

Pam also put out this sewing kit that she made from a Sue Spargo pattern, "Sew Your Seeds." You can never have too many sewing kits!

Downstairs, Pam arranged her block-of-the-month pieces on the design wall. Some of the Woolies already completed theirs and hung them in our guild show last month, but others (like myself) are still working on it.

Here's Pam's house block ... 

... and here's mine, which isn't complete yet.

Here are some of the other projects the Woolies worked on yesterday. Bright colors for a grey day!

And this scarf isn't wool, but it was worn at the meeting. Karen made it by drawing the circles with Magic Markers onto silk and then spritzing it with alcohol. Must try it!

 Have a colorful day

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Retreat update

The guild's retreat ended at 3 p.m. today, so I also wrapped up mine. I finished my little houses quilt top! Yay! It's 42 inches square and I think it will brighten the gloomy winter days. I never got around to the two wool appliqué projects that I packed.

I ate quite a bit of the chocolate cake and ravioli lasagne, didn't leave the house once, finished a cozy mystery and watched a Hallmark holiday movie. And I'm over the worst of my cold. I need to do this more often! Some of the ladies at the guild retreat sent me pictures so I could pretend that I was there, which was fun.

Now I'll get back to laundry, cooking, errands and yoga classes.

Have a colorful day

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Making my own retreat

I was all packed and ready for our quilt guild's retreat today through Tuesday at Seabeck, WA, but a cold that I came down with last week just wouldn't clear up. I didn't want to cough and hack all over everyone, so I stayed home and I'm making my own retreat.

I had all the pieces cut out for my little houses quilt, so I sat down with Christmas music playing on Pandora, snow falling outside, and started stitching.

It's going together pretty fast -- half the blocks are already sewed. I think I'd like it better if the backgrounds were a saturated color, but using black and white is something different for me that I wanted to try at least once.

More importantly, I made a dark chocolate cake to share with the group and now it looks like the group is just me! I can handle it. I cut one piece for each day of the retreat and put the rest in the freezer so that I won't eat the whole thing during my personal retreat.

I also asked my husband to pick up a pan of lasagne from Costco so that I won't have to cook during my retreat. He already was planning to eat some meat that he was going to smoke while I was gone, so now we'll both be happy. I told him to just pretend that I'm not here and carry on with his plans.

It's just about happy hour for the girls at Seabeck, so I'll grab a glass (of iced tea) and some salted cashews. Cheers to me! Cough, cough.

Have a colorful day