Friday, December 27, 2013

December Friendship X and + Swap

I hope everyone is having a lovely holiday season. Here in Central California, it has certainly been warm. Unseasonably warm. And I think we are nearing a record for no precipitation, certainly not a record that we had hoped to achieve.

Today is the Friendship X and + Swap reveal, the last Friday of each month. Each month we make two identical sets of four X and + blocks, keep one set, and send the other to our swap partner. My partner is the lovely Carla. I know--I'm really lucky to have her for a partner!

Here are my four blocks for December.
This is what is on my design wall right now. The top three rows are my blocks and the bottom two rows were made by Carla. I love how they all play together.
Just to refresh your memory, we are basing our fabric choices on this color palette.
I'm ready to get started on the blocks for January.

I didn't do anything in the way of sewing gifts for Christmas this year. But on Tuesday, I did whip out these four pillows. It was a simple sewing design, and yet I managed to make a bunch of math errors design decisions.
And I even did exposed-zipper backs! Now I need to stock upon some longer zippers at Zip-It, my favorite zipper supplier
Corey was my inspiration with the pillows she made from the "chalkboard" fabric she designed. She hasn't made it available for sale yet, but I found this panel on Spoonflower. I just love Corey's panel so I hope she makes it available for next Christmas because these pillows were great fun to make!

Do you ever watch The Quilt Show? Every year, Alex and  Ricky choose a Living Legend. Since the show started, Mark has made the plaque that they present to the recipient. He makes it out of fused glass, using the logo from The Quilt Show, but choosing colors based on the recipient, so no two have ever been the same. Past recipients who now own a piece of Mark's artistry include Jinny Beyer, Eleanor Burns, Yvonne Porcella, Libby Lehman, and of course Alex owns a few of his pieces too. This year's choice was Michael James. It's always fun to find out the name of the recipient ahead of time and help Mark choose just the right glass. This year he went with something understated and elegant, a really hard to glass to photograph, but kind of an iridescent black.
I hope Mr. James likes it. I'm always so proud that Mark makes these really beautiful pieces of art that in turn live in the homes or studios of quilters.
I'm linking up here today. Because it isn't very often that I have something to show on Fridays. :)

Whatever your plans for the weekend, hope it is a happy one.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Really Random Thursday, 12/19/13

A winner and a winner.

First, the winner of the SMS Giveaway Day, was number 22, Katy, who said:

I follow your blog via Bloglinv'.
Thanks, Katy! 
And I was a winner as well. Have you seen the phenomenal quilts made by Geta?
She lives in Romania and making stunningly amazing quilts. And I won six of her patterns! I won't be able to do justice to them, but I'm sure going to try them! Interestingly, I had already purchased a couple of her patterns, this one just last week: 
It is all English paper pieced with really detailed instructions and templates. I'm excited to try these other patterns as well. And please PLEASE take some time to go look at her work.

I've been sewing. Surprised that you are seeing some actual sewing on a Really Random Thursday? I have caught up on my blocks for the Mid Century Modern Bee. Rene' wanted a string block. 
I had the best time going through my scraps. This is a messy process but really fun. In fact, I'm thinking I might want to "organize" my scrap situation in the new year by making a whole quilt for myself out of these blocks. 

These blocks are for Mary.

I had fun choosing the perfect fun texty prints just for her.
I finished knitting my Honey Cowl. It is really kind of wrong to even call it that. I made so many mistakes on the pattern that I might have designed my own pattern. But the yarn from Phydeaux Designs is fabulous and the mistakes don't show up so much since it is variegated.
This week my friend Dotty (she is the one who started me on my quilting journey)  took several of us out for a holiday lunch at a really wonderful restaurant. It was in a town nearby, an elegant restaurant kind of on the outskirts of town. The food was really good. I took this picture for Mark because he comes from Minnesota where they drink "pop." 
Upper right: Dotty and Jennifer (her daughter--which explains the funny picture), 
Lower left: Deborah and Vicki

I forgot to post this picture from a couple of weeks ago. Mark and I were at Charlotte's school for grandparents day. Even though I have a total abhorrence to slithery things, these were kind of cute didn't totally freak me out. They were clever actually--made out of neckties.
As I was waiting in the long check-out line at Joann's yesterday, I saw these in the "impulse buy" section: cute little lipglosses. Stocking stuffer possibilities?
And I'm testing a pattern that Amanda Jean wrote last weekend for those cute little "candy" packs--the 2 1/2" squares. 
Isn't it a cute block? The pattern is great. You can find it here. The little bricks are fused on. All my blocks are completed and now I'm trying to decide on (a) sashing/no sashing, and (b) what thread color to use to stitch around each of the individual blocks. I thought of zigzagging around each brick with black because I'm too lazy to change color so many times  as a design element. Amanda Jean suggested using grey instead. Do you have thoughts/suggestions? And why I didn't think of this design myself, well, I can't even figure that out, considering I look at this clock in my sewing room nearly every day.
I'll close with this thought. I feel this way sometimes, especially with Christmas less than a week away. Which reminds me--Really Random Thursday will return on January 9 so  we can all take some time off and return in the new year, okay? Have a wonderful holiday, everyone. See you next year! 
Your turn.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Really Random Thursday, 12/12/13

It's been cold here. Yes, I realize that "cold" is a relative term. But when Mark saw ice in the gutter at 3:15 in the afternoon, in Fresno(!), that's cold. At least for us.
Mark comes from Minnesota and this is what "real" weather looked like when he was growing up.
So if you want to hear the weather caster in Minneapolis/St. Paul making fun of Californians, watch this short video. And do NOT miss her last line. Dripping with sarcasm... I get it.

Speaking of snow, last week I saw a link on the Sew Mama Sew website, under "gifts for geeks." It was a link for Star Wars snowflakes, along with a video on how to fold the paper in case you don't remember. I printed some out and gave them to Aaron. Christa was out of town, so after the kids were in bed, he made good use of his time.
I think Yoda is my favorite.

It's cold enough to wear a stocking cap. Jessie knitted this one for Levi, and now Gabriel is wearing it.
We had "soup and cookie day" the other day--my favorite holiday tradition. Aaron, Christa and kids come over for homemade soup, then they either go shopping or go to Starbucks, while the kids and I make cookies. 
sometimes the chocolate even ends up on your nose
They are supposed to be Christmas mice, with a chocolate covered cherry body, but I mistakenly got the ones with no stems--so no tails for these little critters. 
I think they still tasted okay, however.

Of course, the ladder-climbing, musical Santa gets a lot of attention.
Mark was watching football the other day, rewound the DVR when he happened to see this--a torn football jersey getting repaired. On the sidelines. Because college football teams always travel with a sewing machine, right?
And finally, are some of your presents being delivered by Amazon Santa-zon? This would be tragic.
P.S. There's still another day for a chance to win the Sew Mama Sew giveaway here.

Your turn.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

WIP Wednesday: X and + blocks

Let's flash back and pretend that it is the last Friday in November. Why, you ask? Because that is when you should have seen these blocks.

I'm part of the friendship x and + block exchange. I have a very patient swap exchange partner (thanks, Carla). She is always on time. I am nearly always sometimes a little bit tardy.

We chose this color palette:
Each month, Carla and I make a double set of four blocks, one set to keep and an identical set to share. These are my blocks for November. You can see Carla's post here.
And here are our blocks enjoying each other's company (mine are the top two rows, Carla's are the bottom two rows).
Want to hear something shocking? December's blocks are already finished! So look for a totally on-time block reveal on Friday, December 27th. I know. I can hardly believe it myself...

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced. That is something that hasn't happened for a long time either...

And it's not too late to enter the SMS giveaway for some patterns and a charm pack. I'm having such a good time reading about everyone's holiday traditions!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Patterns and Charm Pack--It's SMS Giveaway Day!

The giveaway is now closed. Thanks to everyone who stopped by!

Welcome to Live a Colorful Life. It's Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day and I'm so happy you stopped by.
Included in the giveaway are two patterns designed by me, the latest issue of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks (which includes one of my blocks), and a charm pack of California Girl by Joanna Figueroa for Fig Tree and Co. (because I'm a girl from California).

One of my favorite holiday traditions is "soup and cookie" day where our son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren come over for homemade soup. Then while Aaron and Christa are off shopping, or just having some quiet time at Starbucks, the grandchildren and I make homemade cookies. This year we made these:
For a chance to win the giveaway, leave a comment letting me know if you have a special holiday tradition. If you are follower, leave another comment for a second chance. All readers are welcome. The giveaway ends on Friday, December 13, at 5 p.m. PST.

Be sure to check out all the other fabulous giveaways (supplies) here (handmade items).

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you will stop by again.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Really Random Thursday, 12/5/13

I hope all my American friends had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We had a fun day with family and lots of yummy food.

We began our day at the parking lot of our church. Our son, Aaron, started what hopefully will be an annual Turkey Trot from our church parking lot--with the choice of walking two miles or for those runners, a 5k. He and his friend, Randy, mapped the whole course out by chalking official arrows on the roads and sidewalks to keep everyone on the right course. The cost to participate was two items of nonperishable food for our church food pantry. There was a good turnout.
This was my walking partner. Isn't she beautiful?
There has been a local Turkey Trot at the park for years. After our church Turkey Trot, Mark and I went to the local bagel place and saw a few of the "other" group's participants--more and more people seem to be dressing up for that Turkey Trot. Maybe our church participants will decide to do that next year too.
Then it was on to Aaron and Christa's for a day of family and good food.
 My parents are excellent pie makers. Yum!
We are especially thankful for these three.
The rest of the weekend, Mark and I completely redid the closet in our bedroom. He ordered custom closet organizing units from the cabinet shop where he works. They were delivered earlier in the week and stored in the garage. We realized that they might not make it around the corner of our hallway so before pulling everything out of the closet, we gave it a try. No go. So this was how six of the units entered our house: through the bathroom window.
 Whew--they just made it through. Size of units: 14"x30"; size of window, 15"x31"
Before (this closet had not been repainted since we moved in 24 years ago):
After (my side):
My favorite part might be the shelves for shoes. Mark never thought I would get all my shoes in the number of shelves on my side. Ha! I have room for six more pairs. Clearly, I need to go shoe shopping...

After (Mark's side):
Yes, he has empty shoe shelves--so maybe I could even get more than six pairs!
Mug shots:
Thank you, Heather!

One of my favorite Starbucks mugs from years ago--Jolly, and the mug from Canada looks particularly festive this time of year. 
My cousins went to the Holy Land for nearly three weeks. I jokingly asked them to bring a Starbucks mug if they came across one. Of course, they did not. But they DID find this coffee shop in Bethlehem.

 Cathy had the picture put on a mug for me.

I'll end this week's post with a couple of Christmas-y pictures. Each year we get C, G and L ornaments for their tree. I try to pick something representative of the past year. This year they had a season-long pass to Disneyland and have been able to go quite a few times.
And one of my season favorites--my collection of Jim Shore Santas which I display in the sewing room.

Your turn.