Thursday, December 20, 2012

Really Random Thursday, 12/20/12

Do you remember these pillowcases from last week?

They are being put to good use. In addition, I had some extra Christmas quilts that I thought the kids would enjoy. Looks like that is indeed the case.
Mark and I were at the central coast of California over the weekend. We had read about something called the "king tide," where the high tide is really high. I did a little comparison photography. The picture on the left was taken in the morning and the one on the right was later in the afternoon.
We walked past a giant poinsettia plant.
We stretched out the celebration of my birthday a little longer and I had the most wonderful salmon dinner.
We played Farkle--why haven't we done this before? It was lots of fun.
Discovered the best iron at the hotel. So I ordered one for myself. Merry Christmas to me. :)
From our room we could see the tree of lights that is always at the end of the pier this time of the year.
We watched the heartbreaking events in Newtown, Connecticut. Having a 6-year-old first grade granddaughter, I couldn't even imagine the heartache. This is the picture that kept flashing through my head. Our youngest grandchild safe in the arms of his Dada. And the arms of all those parents who will never get to hold their child again. A reminder to savor every precious moment.

For this holiday season, this is what I'm focusing on the prints in our dining room.
And most of all, this:

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Really Random Thursday, 12/13/12

Our niece, Becky, called yesterday Dozen Day. And last night there was a segment on the local news about a girl who was 12 yesterday, on 12/12/12, and she was born at 12:12 a.m. Crazy, huh?

So my goal for this post was to find 12 random things. Here goes...
1. We have cute grandchildren. You might or might not be surprised to know that, since I hardly ever mention them  show pictures of them as often as possible.
2. Last Sunday, we had one of my most favorite Christmas traditions, soup and cookie night, although this year it was soup and cookie afternoon. We have homemade soup and applesauce, then after Aaron and Christa leave to do some Christmas shopping, we make cookies with Charlotte and Levi. I think Gabe will be a big help next year. This year we made "melting snowmen" where you crush Oreos and mix them with a little cream cheese, round them into balls, dip them in white chocolate, plop them on another Oreo and decorate. Serious work, making cookies...but it helps to wear a Blue Bell ice cream hat that your Grandpa brought you from Texas.

And you can never have too much frosting!
(The green apron Charlotte is wearing is the one she always choose--it was made by my grandmother!--smocked with cross-stitched gingham)
3.  Charlotte drew Mr. Elf. I love his Christmas tree eyes:
4. Levi and I put together some Christmas Lego sets the other day. Let me rephrase that. Levi put them together, while I watched. He is a Lego pro. He did not need my help.
5.Mark and I went to an Art Hop last week because one of our good friends had a photography exhibit. There was a singing group from the local junior college, along with their brass ensemble. A strolling photographer took a picture of us and then put all his pictures on a website (really low resolution so it's teeny).

6. We had our second annual firepit the other night. Mark gets our firepit fired up in the driveway and everyone on our block is invited for hot cocoa and apple cider. It was a big success.
7. Cute pillowcases I finished making last night. It was nice to complete a quick project.
8.This is a sneak peak of another project, not quite so quick... It's going to take some major time commitment to complete it in time but I can't wait to show the whole thing!
9. After several years of no Christmas gifts for adults in our family--we usually just donate to a charity project through our church--we decided to do a little something. It's just the two of us, my parents, and Aaron and Christa. Instead of drawing names, we drew a letter of the alphabet. The plan is to get a $25 gift card from someplace that begins with the letter we drew, and be creative about it. These are the letters we ended up with. I got the  "C" but rest assured I won't be getting the gift card from Costco...or CVS pharmacy--way too easy and obvious.
10. The winner of the calendar giveaway by Terri Wilhelm Designs is Allison, who said:

I would like to make a little something for each of my sons, but right now my machine is in the shop, so I don't know if that is going to happen. The 90" square quilt for my Dad definately isn't going to be finished....Thanks for the giveaway, and best of luck to your friend!

Congratulations, Allison. I'll be contacting you so I can get your information to Terri.

11. This has been up in the garage rafters for years, but Mark got down this Christmas tree card mailbox that I painted in the 1970s. Wow, that sounds like a lifetime ago. It's kind of scratched up, but nice to see again.

 12. My favorite Christmas carol is Carol of the Bells. Here is one of my favorite versions. Enjoy the pictures (especially all the cute little babies in their Santa hats....yep, you'll just have to watch and listen to see what I'm talking about).

And there you have it. A dozen pieces of randomness. What's been happening in your life this week?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Terri Wilhelm Designs

I've mentioned my friend, Terri, a time or two. She designs and makes the most amazing totes, bags, zippered pouches, just to name a few things. I have an official collection of things that Terri has made. Seriously. Some people may collect Dolce & Gabbana or other designer labels. I collect Terri Wilhelm.

Not only does she make fabulous sewn items (and lots of great patterns, too), she has branched out to graphic design (she has cool fabric on Spoonflower). She has many items that would make wonderful holiday gifts. Notecards, field guides, calendars.  In fact, you can find a free download for the cutest gift tags here.

Terri is such a gifted artist and because she is a good friend, I really want to spread the word. Terri graciously agreed to give away one of her 2013 calendars to some lucky commenter. I seriously jokingly wondered if there was a way I could "fix" things so I would be the winner.
But don't worry. I'll leave the winning up to one of you. I hope you will stop by and say hi to Terri. Do some shopping while you are there.

I'd love to know if you are giving handmade items this Christmas.Leave a comment and I'll choose a winner on Wednesday, December 12.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Deck the Halls winner!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to check out my tutorial for the selvage Christmas tree. I hope you had a chance to check out all the tutorials because there are some really great ideas.Here is a picture to give you an idea of the fun projects that Jennifer helped put together. Although the giveaways are closed, it's not too late to start one of these creative projects for this holiday season.
11/28: Petit Lyons
12/4: Jednoiglec

The winner of the $20 gift certificate is No. 171, Barb, who said:

I love the traditional colors of red and green with splashes of white and royal blue all enhanced by bits of silver and gold.

Barb, I'll contact zip-it and get your contact information to them.

We did a little bit of vintage decking the halls ourselves--I had Mark get this Christmas card mailbox down from the rafters. It's something I painted in the 1970s and some of the painting has been scratched off over the years. It's been years since we've gotten it down and it's kind of nice to have around again.
Are you working on any holiday sewing/creating this weekend?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Happy mail

Having the mail arrive has always been one of the highlights of my day. It goes back many years. Now that I have relegated most of the bills to arrive via computer, and tried to get myself off as many junk mail lists as possible, the mail that does arrive is mostly happy mail. Sometimes it is fabric that I have ordered (Should I be worried that the mailman once thanked me for helping to keep them in business? Do I wish he would not have mentioned that with Mark standing right there....?)
Just kidding--this is NOT my stack of mail...
Sometimes it is something fabulous, made by someone else. This arrived a few days ago, one of the blocks from the Stash Trad Bee, made by the fabulous Corey of Little Miss Shabby. Aren't those little green martians in the center the best?
Also in the mail that day was something from Helen in the U.K. I just love it that the package says Royal Mail. That just elevates it a whole different level, doesn't it?

Inside, was a Union Jack, with Helen's tiny careful piecing. I think Helen uses hers for a thread catcher but I plan on using it as a needle book. It is SO cute! She also added some very British-inspired fat quarters and a little Pantone notebook--in ORANGE!!  She knows me well, I think.I hope you stop by and say hi to Helen and Archie (you'll see his sweet face in her blog header).

I can't remember how long ago it was that Carly and I became friends. It's been awhile. I just love everything about her--her writing, her creativity. She is even part of an improv group. That would freak me out, but I sure would love to see her perform some time. So months ago I asked if she would be interested in a private pouch swap. She said yes (I was so excited). We never decided on a firm completion date. That's a bad judgment call on my part, being an active member in the Procrastination Club. So one hot day in August, a package arrived from Canada. Oh.My.Goodness!!!

First there were the snackies--she knows we think Old Dutch potato chips are the best. Ever.
She also included some honey, jam and Saskatoon berry chocolates that come from her region.Yum!
And some postcards, selvages, two Canadian maple leaf patches,a note pad and a little Canadian license plate with my name on it.
While I was completely wowed by her generosity, that was nothing compared to the pouch she made. Isn't this gorgeous? Those are little pieces that finish at 1/2"!!! I'm calling this the back.
This is the inside (she also knows I adore orange--we have that in common too.)

And now look at this side!
Isn't it utterly amazing? A rainbow of teensy tiny pieces with a cathedral window effect. I have been wanting to post pictures of this for ages. Well, since August! But I just couldn't do it until I had completed my part of the swap (feeling a little guilty for taking so very long to get it done!). It went into the mail a couple of days ago and I could hardly wait to share this treasure. You all will probably be beating Carly's door down now, wanting to do a private swap with her, right?

My heart just warms each time I look at the beauties that have come in the mail from far and wide, from women whose connections have enriched my life in so many ways.

I'm linking up at Friday Felicities.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Really Random Thursday, 12/6/12

Things that have not started. Yet.
should be sewing. It is December 6 and I have not even started with my holiday sewing.

I love globes. Of all sizes.
Last weekend I was down in southern California, via Amtrak. This was at the Bakersfield station. Love the way it bobs and floats on the water.
Things that happened while I was away.
About 1 1/2 years ago, the microwave above the oven stopped working. It was built in. So we hauled out a tiny cheap microwave that we had sitting around. For weeks every time I needed to use the microwave, I would walk over to the broken one, open the door, and wonder why there was a bowl with some screws sitting inside the microwave. Oh yeah. It's broken...

The problem was that to replace it exactly, with the trim kit that fit, was an astronomical $700. Um, don't think so. So we used the old one. It worked fine.

When I came home Sunday, one of the first things I noticed was this counter by the cook top. Hey, where is the old cheap white microwave?
Mark worked for hours during the weekend installing a new microwave. A very moderately priced microwave, using the existing trim kit with some modifications. Well done!
Except now I keep wandering over to the empty counter top, looking for the cheapie microwave. Such creatures of habit we become...

Something you don't see everyday.
Yes, indeed. Sighted in Barnes and Noble, a man wearing a kilt, perusing the magazine section.

My last name isn't Ford, but it should be.
Mark still gets his hometown newspaper from Minnesota. The other day there was an article about three sisters whose names were: Shelby, Galaxie and Fairlane. I bet their father has only ever driven Fords.

Decorations in my sewing room.
 I can guarantee this Target plate will be used as inspiration for a Christmas quilt,
And in honor of the 12 Days of Christmas, this video is worth watching to the very end:
What's been going on in your life in the last week?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

WIP Wednesday

It's Wednesday and I'm glad to finally have something to show, especially since my good friend, Elizabeth, is hosting, and all of what I have to show was completed at her house last weekend!

The most wonderful thing about blogging is the friends I have made. Elizabeth and I finally met last January at Road to California.We spent about two hours walking around, getting to know more about each other. Last Thursday I took Amtrak down to see her. First of all, I highly recommend Amtrak, although I wish the whole trip was on the train rather than just two hours on the train and four hours on an Amtrak bus. But never mind.

It was fabulous weekend. Around Halloween last year, she posted pictures of her quilting group which has gotten together nearly monthly for 16 years! The Halloween party looked like so much fun that I repeatedly begged politely asked if I could attend this year. It worked out for me to come to the Christmas party this year.

Thursday night after supper, Elizabeth and her husband, Dave, took me to a spectacular place pretty close to where they live. Oh the lights...
And the cupcake shop,
Okay, these moving figures/animals were slightly creepy, since they just moved around without singing, but the lights helped a lot.
 The next morning, we went to IKEA, where I purchased some fabric.  Good thing we are each honest quilters...
 When we went home, we got the house ready and started warming up the most delicious chili.
Her quilting friends were welcomed by this very festive door.
After supper, the tables were cleared off and we started sewing. Elizabeth has the nicest friends. I felt very comfortable with all of them.
There were nice little gifts for everyone, pincushions made from an antique quilt,

and the cutest zippered pouches, made by Elizabeth and her friend, Leisa.
The next day, Elizabeth and I spent the whole day sewing. I had brought along my Farmer's Wife blocks. I'm only putting 81 of them on the front of the quilt. The other 30 are going on the back. (Or maybe only 29--I counted and counted over and over, and can only find 29--I know I did all of them so some stray block must have attached itself to another quilt...).

Chain piecing...

The stack on the left looks kind of weird because there are sashing strips on two sides...
(I probably should mention that a couple of these pictures were "borrowed" from Elizabeth's blog...)

Anyway, 41 will have straight sashing, 40 will be set on point, alternating with each other in nine rows of nine blocks. These are the only two that are completed.

This is one of my favorites:
Elizabeth worked on pillow shams for a beautiful Christmas quilt:

I started this cross stitch on the train--another benefit of not doing the driving!

This was such a fabulous weekend. Sewing together, getting to be closer friends, both of which are works in progress. Thanks, Elizabeth!