Friday, November 21, 2014

How *NOT* to make a quilt block

I've been following along with Lori Holt on Instagram (@beelori1) as she releases blocks for her new Christmas sampler.  Some are from her Quilty Fun book, and some instructions are only available on Instagram.  I've had quite an adventure with the mitten block.

I had this cute Santa fabric, and I thought it would be perfect.  But really it's just too much white with a white background.  The mittens lose their shape.  Also, having the cuff stripes go that way makes them look like jar lids. 

How about this pretty flower fabric?  And just to get wild, how about flipping one of the mittens?

Ugh.  Looks just wrong.  Doesn't look like a pair any more.  Time to grab the seam ripper.

So now they look like a pair, but why don't the borders fit?  What the heck?  I had cut the mittens the wrong width.  I could rip them again and put a wider background strip in the middle, but it was time to move on. 

Try #3.  The fabric is a little less interesting, but they're the right size and I like the pink background.  You can see a few more of the blocks in this picture.

The excess mittens will probably go into the back of this quilt.

Despite the overthinking and mismeasuring, I'm really enjoying this project and can't wait for the next block to come out.

She also released a cute turkey pattern on her blog that I whipped up into a pillow:

Rainy days make me happy to be inside sewing!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Animal Advent #7

Here is the dapper Peter Penguin.  Hard to see, but he has a martini glass in each hand.  I think I will pick out the white stitches and make his glasses gold or silver so they show up better.  I love his little eyebrows and the way he leans on the number 7.  Apparently he's flirting with the animal in block #8.  I'm working on her right now and she's adorable.

You can find the free pattens for all of these advent animals at Brooks Books.  They are being released one per month, and they don't take too long to stitch.

I have a lot of projects going on right now that I can't blog about.  It's the season of secrets.  My hands have been extremely busy though!  Christmas starts early for crafters.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Farewell Halloween, hello Thanksgiving season

 True to form, Jungle Boy created his own Halloween costume again this year.  The legs are "cat tails" from the costume store and a girl at school helped him figure out how to sew them to his shirt.  

We had a great Halloween here.  Lots of the teenagers stopped by our party.  I cooked for two days and it was all worth it.  I'd rather have the kids at my house and know where they are and what they're up to than have them running around who knows where.

Later in the evening they got together a game of Clue.  I was sitting in the next room and I could hear the whole thing.  Between the rampant cheating and the kids who just didn't know how to play, it took a lot longer than it should have for them to figure it out.  I felt like shouting "Miss Scarlet!  In the library! With the candlestick!"  I think I had as much fun listening to them as they did playing.

I fired up the chocolate fountain and made maple bacon skewers for them to drizzle in the chocolate.  It was a big hit.  Find the recipe here.  Well worth the time.

Now I've got all of the Halloween decor in boxes ready to squeeze back into the garage.  I have a few quilts and decorations for Thanksgiving.  I'm one of those people who doesn't like to get Christmas started until Thanksgiving dinner is absolutely over.

I took a little time between cleaning dishes on Saturday to make this little quilt.

 I love vintage postcards and this just makes me happy. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Whacky Witches in Stitches - Finished!

Here it is.  My epic cross stitch completed.  I'm so happy to have this done for this year, even if there are only a few days left until Halloween.

The frame and bow is my idea.  I turned under the edges of the stitching and used Alene's permanent fabric glue to attach it to the purple fabric I had stretched on the background.  Then it obviously needed a bow.  Halloween tends to be more cute than scary at my house.

We used to have a huge Borders bookstore near my house.  It closed years ago and stood empty for a long time.  Yesterday I found that it's now a huge craft store!  Yay!  It will probably become my new home away from home.

As much as that store is tempting me with Christmas ideas, I'm stubborn about making sure Thanksgiving has it's season.  And I still might have one or two Halloween projects to finish up...

If you're interested in doing this project, you can find the pattern at

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Halloween Town is finished

I'm so happy that this one is finished.  I'm hoping to find a frame for it tomorrow. 

This has been a real joy to stitch!  The pattern can be found at Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery.  I'm now thinking I might use some parts of the pattern to make some smaller pieces.  I love the bats and the owls and the little trick-or-treater.

I got my new Bosch dishwasher.  I thought my old dishwasher was quiet but this one is absolutely stealthy.  Also, it's  much more high-tech than my old one.  So many settings.  As usual, I'm the only one in the house who takes the time to read and understand the manual.  I think I'll make a power point presentation to teach the family how to use it. 

It's about 90 degrees here today.  This is usually a beautiful summery month for us - but this is a bit ridiculous.  I want to drink hot cider, not iced tea.  My life is so hard.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday Stitching: Halloween Companions

Here is a fat cat I just finished, with his little mousie companion.  The cat weighs a lot because he's filled with crushed walnuts.  I got wise and stopped getting this at the quilt shop when I found it at the pet store for much less.

The mouse is filled with emery.  I love the nice weight it gives the mouse, and it's supposed to be good for needles, but it's a little messy to work with.  Really superfine black sand.  I only spilled a tiny bit, but it wasn't easy to clean up.

You can find the pattern at Bird Brain Designs.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Autumn Woods mini quilt

I had a spare couple of hours yesterday morning so I made this bow-tie mini quilt from a charm pack of "Autumn Woods" fabrics.  I love the muted colors.  Next month I'm taking a hand quilting class so I'm going to set this aside until after that.  I like to quilt the little ones by hand.  I'm looking forward to a refresher on techniques.

On the home front, our dishwasher appears to be on its last legs.  I'm in denial, but we've used it daily for about ten years.  The last time a technician came out, he said we should only be running it twice a week.  Was he kidding?  We have to run it every day around here.  Maybe other people eat out a lot more than we do.  Or do they use paper plates?  I can't even imagine.

So there are two courses of action; let my husband go to an appliance store, where somebody will easily talk him into something, or take it into my own hands and do extensive research, which may or may not come up with the same model.  I can spend forever and make myself crazy comparing features and checking consumer magazines. 

I'm guessing it's not going to be free, either. I'm still in sticker shock over all the little incidental expenses to get a daughter started at college.  What can you do though?

Do you have a favorite brand of dishwasher to recommend?

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