Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Holidays to all!

Hoping you are all enjoying your holiday week and finding time to sit down with a hot cup of cocoa and do some relaxing. Everyone seems to be having bad weather - it is cloudy and dreary here in the southwest as we expect some rain to roll in tonite.

But I am ready for Christmas - I may bake a few cookies tomorrow but my shopping and wrapping is done which is unusual for me. Usually I am running out at the last minute trying to finish.

I finished up the 2nd of the 3 Prairie Schooler angel ornaments today. That leaves one more to do and I will try to get it done before yearend. These were on my UFO list for this year so I'm anxious to cross them off the list if I can. I'll be doing the finishing work to match the first one I made a few years ago. But that won't take long if I can just finish the stitching.

I wish you all happy holidays and a wonderful 2009 with lots of happiness, good health and time to do what you enjoy. Thanks to all who have stopped by my blog this year!

Monday, December 15, 2008

A little "celebration"

I'm counting the days to vacation this year - I'm off work from Dec 23rd to Jan 5th - wahooooo! I can hardly wait! Our company shuts down every year between Christmas and New Year's and with so many people taking additional vacation tacked on, work slows down a bit from now until the end of the year. I finally get time to do all those things I put off like cleaning up my email etc.
I was really busy last week getting ready for my Christmas luncheon last Saturday. Cooking, cleaning, making little table gifts, ironing tablecloths, putting the last of the Christmas decorations out - whew! I had the ladies from my quilting group over (9 of us) and some members of another quilting group we've got to know - 13 people in all. Everything turned out really well. I had DH take the doggies over to "grandpa's house" so we could have a nice peaceful time without the dogs barking, jumping on people, etc. The lunch buffet turned out well, we had a gift exchange, show & tell and just a generally great time.

One of the ladies from another group we've met rescued some old quilt blocks she found at an antique store that was going out of business. She made them into a quilt top and didn't it turned out lovely? The blocks were paper-pieced in the 1930's and the papers were cut from old newspapers and magazines from that time. Our friend has rescued several old quilts and quilt blocks she's found - isn't it nice to think that someone's hard work didn't go to waste. You wish that the original quilter who made the blocks could know that someone finally finished them into a real quilt. I always wonder if some day my UFO's will end up in a store or garage sale - scary thought!

This photo below is of a scrap quilt made from nine-patch blocks that our "sister group" exchanged. My group is doing the same thing -we've been exchanging nine-patch blocks every month for a year but we each still don't have enough to make into a quilt. It takes a lot of these little blocks to make something but isn't it lovely when it's done? I love scrappy quilts!

Just yesterday I finished up this little project below.

It's for a dear coworker of mine whose birthday was last week. She's a committed quilter and crafter like me and we've been friends for many years. I saw this sold as a kit and just had to make it for her. If you notice, it has a tape measure around the cake and the candles are made to look like spools of thread. Perfect for a quilter! She's coming over this week and we're both taking the day off to have a sew day at my house. It should be fun. She's also going to help me make her famous caramel recipe - I've tried it 3 times on my own and just can't get it right. Making candies can be tricky - I can cook most things but for some reason this just has me stymied. And I just LOVE good caramels! I'll let you know how they turn out this time - I'm feeling that finally this is going to be successful.

I don't have much stitchy news today. I haven't had time to stitch in over a week - I'm having withdrawal I think. I want to get back to my PS angel ornaments. You know, it was nice having my quilting friends over who were all amazed at all the cross-stitch I have up in my house. It makes a difference when visitors know how much work it is and can appreciate it. Have a great day friends!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

My PS wreath and SBEBB ornie to show

I’m busy busy busy getting everything ready for Christmas. I finished up the last bit of decorating this weekend, putting my Christmas village out and then put away all boxes & miscellany in the garage. I do enjoy all the decorations once they’re up but it sure can be a lot of work. Luckily my DH got most of the Christmas cards done already do I don’t have too many to do tonite and then that task is done as well.

I wanted to show a photograph of my Prairie Schooler ornament wreath. I already blogged about the ornaments themselves awhile back but I found a wreath on sale at TJ Maxx and thought it would work well for the ornaments since it has a natural look to it. Well it turned out to be harder than I thought to put the ornaments on it – ugh! I had to trim down the pinecones & things to make some flat places for the ornaments to hang, then figure out some way to tie them on. I had 8 ornaments but it looked too crowded so 2 went on the tree instead. Well here it is anyway after the frustration and I think it looks nice in the family room.

My SBEBB Christmas ornament exchange partner Rosa Tom in Iceland received the ornament I sent her today so I can now post a photo of it. I really enjoyed making this one. I added some sparkly glitter to the snow part. It's from JCS Best of Christmas Ornaments book.
I'm also happy to present my Quaker Garden back from the framer! I struggled picking the right frame as the colors in this piece are not really the norm, but I think it looks really nice. I'm just so glad to have it up on the wall finally! I stitched this on Lakeside Vintage Pear with Gloriana 100 silks. I love those silks! The regular Gloriana silks to me are a bit fuzzy but the 100 series has a real tight twist and are a joy to stitch with. I love them but there aren't too many colors available.
I've been on a bit of spending spree lately it seems. I ordered about $20 worth of Vicki Clayton silks to try out some colors. I need to cut down on my expenses for some of the projects I have planned and her prices are so good. Aren't they just luscious? Not sure how I'll use these yet but they were colors I thought I would have a need for.
I finally made a decision on linen for my Pride & Prejudice neighborhood. My LNS didn't have a piece large enough in the count I wanted, and I was tempted to order some different linens online but hated to buy something I've never tried for such a big piece. I went through my stash and decided I would do Vintage Lentil from Lakeside. I already have a piece of it in a different count so I know sort of what it will look like. So as soon as my big piece of 36-ct Vintage Lentil comes in I can start basting or begin the border (which I haven't yet decided on).

Hope you are getting all your holiday tasks done and still fitting in some time for stitching!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Planning those new projects....

Is everybody counting down to Christmas? Once Thanksgiving has passed it seems like you start to panic realizing everything you need to get done! I had a nice weekend but busy. I finished my Christmas ornament for the SBEBB exchange and mailed it off on Friday. Wish I could show it here but I better wait until it gets to its destination. I was very happy with it and want to make one for myself now! Isn’t that always the case? We send off these cute things but don’t always get them made for ourselves. Then I started on a Prairie Schooler angel ornament and here’s my progress so far. I made one of this set of 3 a few years ago and promised myself that I would do the other 2 this year. Well I might not make it before yearend but I’ll keep trying at least. Maybe at least one will get done. I would like to hang all 3 of these vertically on a big ribbon.

I did get to the LNS this weekend and spent about an hour and a half there. Once I get in the place I seem to lose all organized thoughts and become overwhelmed! I have to make sure and take a list with me otherwise I will come home without what I went there to get. I spent time picking out linen and threads for the Beatrix Potter SAL on Hazel’s blog. I got a big piece of Lakeside Linen’s Vintage Maritime White in 36-ct. I fell in love with a Waterlilies thread called “Chili” and then I found 3 coordinating colors in Needlepoint Silk. The NP silks look a little bright in the picture but they really match the Waterlilies thread just perfectly in real life. I can’t wait to start this piece!

I spent all Saturday evening planning out my Pride and Prejudice neighborhood sampler. I think I’m almost there! I taped together 12 sheets of graph paper, then cut out the basic motifs in the same size paper so I could play with the placement of houses and buildings, and people. I plan to make this sampler 320 stitches wide by 300 stitches high. I photocopied the major things I want to include (personal use only!), then I'll fill in as I go with trees, flowers, and animals. Since every designer uses a different size graph to print their charts, you kind of have to plan the sampler using graph paper that is all the same size. I still have one corner to work on – mostly because I’m going to have to do some drawing/designing of my own on that section – couldn’t find just the right charts to use. It may not not look like much from the photo but it’s my “blueprint” for making my sampler come to life. I’m anxious to get started! I still need to find the right linen before January 1. I’m thinking of ordering some linen from Sassy’s – never tried them but they look pretty. I’m tired of the same old thing and want to try some new colors. Anyone have any favorites? I haven’t seen just the right blue, would like a very pale sky blue but thinking maybe I better play it safe and get a neutral like Sugared Coffee, Creamy Cocoa, or Tan Marble. It is so hard to pick out colors on the computer! You really need to see them in person so I am just not sure what to do.