Saturday, December 31, 2022

Ringing the Old Year Out

And ringing the new year in. This is my last finish for 2022. My husband works for a non-profit and they are having a fund raising Gala in February. One of the things this involves is a silent auction. He asked me if I'd like to make a quilt for the auction and of course I said yes!

I immediately knew I wanted to do stars. I love stars, but I sometimes shy away from them because they can be difficult to do. But when I searched for wonky stars, I found Elizabeth Hartman's tutorial for her Sparkle Punch quilt. I didn't want to do that exact quilt, but it got me started.

I don't have any pictures prior to the pin basting, but this is how it looked at that point. I chose not to make quite as many stars as Elizabeth did, but I do love the way the wonkiness makes them appear to twinkle a little bit. For the background I used Kona Pacific. I didn't want too dark of a color blue, and this one was just what was needed. I had some fabrics in my stash and bought some more to make the stars.


I was looking for a way to quilt this so there would be an illusion of movement. My first idea was swirls, but when I quilted swirls on my Christmas quilt just before this, I decided that wasn't the look I was going for. So I then decided to do organic soft waves, horizontally. To me this gives the feeling of a gentle breeze.
These pictures are before the wash and dry crinkle part. I decided to bind this quilt in the same solid color as the background. This is how it looks where there are partial stars. Where there are no stars, it disappears.
The backing is a wide back of cross hatch by Caroline Friedlander for Robert Kauffman. I wanted a wide back to make it easy on myself, and so it would have a very cohesive look. I gave it a name, and a label with all the information, since I don't know where it will end up.
Here you can see how the binding just disappears on the edges of the quilt. I think it is such an elegant look for this quilt.

And here I also included one of my new woven labels on the quilt. It is really my signature.

Here is the beauty shot of the whole thing, taken outside under cloudy skies. This is as true to color as we could get. I love the way the stars are so random on this quilt. I could happily love it and hang it on a wall in my house. Well, that's it for today and for this year. I wish you all a very happy new year. I hope this new year is better for all of us.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

One Last Thing

 I decided this morning to post one last thing before Christmas. I have been madly sewing and baking every day almost. I really love having the time to do that since I no longer work. My one last thing is that I finished my Pas de Deux quilt top. This has been a year in the making. It is a pattern by Rachel of Stitched in Color. We have been having a sew along for the past year and now...we are finished.

What made me fall in love with this quilt pattern was the colors and all the different block styles. Rachel has a wonderful sense of color and these blocks are amazing. Some were easy, some were difficult. All were wonderful to see finished. As with many of her other classes and sew alongs, I learned so much by doing this.
I chose to mostly follow Rachel's color choices to the best of my ability, with my stash. I did not buy any fabrics for this quilt top. That made it challenging for me in some of the colorways, but I like to be pushed. It makes me more creative sometimes.
Some colors I didn't have enough scraps of, so I had to slightly alter the plan. That's good, though. I son't need to have an exact duplicate of her quilt. (Notice the rainbow on the yellow block?)
There are a lot of partial seams in this quilt top, which I have done before. I can't imagine Rachel trying to figure all this out. It seems very complex to me.

The hourglass blocks at the bottom are another example of having to adapt my color plan. Rachel used a dark burgundy with her oranges. That is a color I don't really have and I didn't like the purples I did have, so I found some dark blue to set off the oranges. And it works!

Now this quilt will sit in the queue waiting to be quilted. It is number 3 in the queue. I also have one other quilt that is getting a bunch of hand quilting before it gets machine quilting as well. I have a busy 2023 coming up I guess. Have a very Merry Christmas and I will see you soon.

Friday, December 16, 2022

Christmas Quilt is Done!

 So, after baking off a bunch of cookies this morning, I finished quilting and binding my Christmas quilt.

I decided to quilt it in a swirly design, but I tried to make the swirls bigger than I have in the past, so that the quilt would be softer for snuggling under this winter. The sweet little Tomte just made the quilt for me. I had the pattern from Moss and Lotus a few years back and with this little bit of green in a mostly red and white quilt, they stand out.
Look at all that crinkly goodness. And it is pretty soft too. All of the fabrics in this quilt came from my stash. I usually buy a few Christmas fabrics every year, but I don't always do anything with them. This year I decided to pull them all out and see what I could come up with.
It's hard to see, and it doesn't photograph well either, but I quilted some words in the quilt. I like to do that sometimes. This quilt says: Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noel, Feliz Navidad, and Buon Notale.
This is as close as I could get, to a picture of the entire front of the quilt on this dark, cold, rainy day.
The backing is Tinsel, by Rashida Coleman Hale from 2015. I bought a bunch of it from Cindy at Live a Colorful Life last year when she was destashing.  You can kind of see the letters from Buon Natale here, but they are backwards.

This shows how weird the light was this afternoon. This looks more blue, than the minty green that it really is.
The binding you can see here is the same fabric in white background as the backing. Again, I bought this from Cindy. It turned out to be the perfect binding. I didn't have a good green, which was my first thought and the reds and whites would get lost.
     The quilting here almost makes it appear that the wind is going to blow his hat away.
This is the first use for my new labels that I got from the Dutch Label Shop. It is a woven label, and the first time I have had a colored label instead of black and white. I wrote the year on the back.
These are the four color catchers I threw in the wash with the quilt and a couple of towels. I knew with all that red fabric there might be an issue. But they did their job. Have a great weekend and I hope to see you soon.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Cold and Rainy Day

 So it's been very cold and rainy here today. High in the thirties and raining almost all day. We have gotten over and inch and a half in the last 24 hours.

The wind has been blowing from the north and it just feels cold today. So, what do we do on a day like today? We sew and we bake. And since it is December, we bake cookies!

These pictures were from our Cookie Sunday last weekend. We try to get together every year for a day of cookie baking and now the kids are old enough to be of real help.

I think it's safe to say we all had a good time and enjoyed some hot chocolate as well as cookies.

I made some tiny gingerbread houses to sit on the rims of our hot chocolate cups. These were so fun to make.
Sunday we tried making some jam thumbprint cookies. They turned out pretty good.

This is the Stollen I made from a King Arthur flour recipe. The blob in the middle is homemade almond paste. Less expensive than store bought and super easy to make.
This is a pistachio, chocolate and candied orange shortbread. Recipe came from the New York Times. It turned out delicious.
I had some extra gingerbread dough so I tried making gingerbread men to sit on the rim of a cocoa cup.

These checkerboard cookies are a recipe from Smitten Kitchen. The dough is made in the food processor, super easy. Putting together the checkerboard log for slicing was a little fiddly, but with a pizza cutter and my acrylic ruler it went rather well. Sometimes it helps being a quilter. My next post will be my finished Christmas quilt!

Friday, December 9, 2022

Even More Christmas Stuff

 I have more Christmas things to share this morning. I have been very busy, sewing and stitching and baking. More baking to come, as I am making Stollen today. The dough is in the kitchen rising even now.

First of all, my Christmas quilt top is done!!! It came out measuring 61 x 63.5 so a good lap size. I think I know how I want to quilt it and I am busy getting the backing together. The backing will be a Christmas Washi Tape fabric that I got from Cindy at Live a Colorful Life last year when she was destashing.
There are these adorable tiny tomte on the green strips. The pattern if from Moss and Lotus on Etsy. She has many cute tomte patterns. These littly guys finish at 2 1/2 inches.
I finished this stitchery from BeCo Productions.  Hers was  all green in ombre fashion. I decided to do the french knots in red and the stars in yellow and I am very happy with how it turned out.
Another picture of the tomte. I alternated one tomte and then two on each of the green strips you see in the quilt.
This is a mini quilt I made a few years back with the tiny tomte pattern. In this one each little tomte is wearing a different pattern. The tiny trees I drew up myself to fit the spaces. This is all paper pieced, but oh so very easy.
This is my French hen from the twelve days of Christmas patterns by Larissa at MmmCrafts. I haven't decided how many I'm going to try to make this year. So far I am happy with all the birds, as that is how I've chosen to decorate my tree, with most all bird ornaments.
I had some blank gift tags, so I am sewing scraps to them to customize gift tags. This is a very easy project. You can cut your own tags and use up some of those Christmas scraps.
Last one, the back side of the French hen. Those little chicken feet just slay me. So, I'm off to bake and sew some more. Have a great day and a wonderful weekend.

Monday, December 5, 2022

A Little More Christmas

 I am really starting to feel the Christmas season. It gives me a warm glow inside. I want to do all the seasonal things. We started last weekend by watching the entire Macy's Thanksgiving parade. I haven't watched the whole thing in years.

Here is the picture of our fully decorated tree that I promised to post. In addition to the birds, there is a Kansas City Chiefs snowflake ornament and my Santa that I made a couple of years ago from the pattern by Mmmcrafts on Etsy. I also hung my glass icicles that I bought quite a few years ago from Crate and Barrel. 

Here is an old wooden Santa ornament and new garland I made. The pompoms are from Benzie. You can find them on Etsy or at Benzie.com. They are so much fun to string.
I have a sort of addiction to bottle brush trees. I now have well over 100 in various sizes and shades of green. Last year I added a couple that have teeny tiny lights on them. I love those especially.

I decided to set them all up on top of the china cabinet this year. A couple of years ago, I got tired of them falling over all the time, especially the smaller ones. I had a bunch of old wooden thread spools which I wound baker's twine around, and I hot glued the bases of the trees to them and I love the look. The two tiny ceramic houses are a new addition from last year. Not bought as Christmas decor, but moved here to be in the trees for the season. Found them on Etsy too.

Also new this year, I am working on a Christmas quilt. I have been wanting to for a couple of years at least, but never got motivated in that direction. I finally pulled out all my Christmas fabrics.
I first decided to make strip sets and keep it to the mostly red and red and white fabrics. Then, I found some that the design was oriented the other direction. So, I made more strip sets with just them.
Then, I decided it needed something for visual interest. I needed to break up all that red and white a bit. So I pulled out my tomte patterns from Moss and Lotus that I bought a few years ago. I made the tiniest tomte in the bunch. And I love it.

This is going to be a great Christmas quilt for sure. I am hoping to get it done by Christmas, but we'll see. I don't really feel as stressed by the season this year. No deadlines to worry about really. I am trying to just enjoy the season. So far, so good.

The last thing on my list for today, is these pot holders. I have been meaning to make some for awhile now, so I decided to make these Christmas ones for now, and I'll make some every day ones real soon.
These are just made from scraps I had from other projects. I love having holiday pot holders. I hope you are all well and enjoying the season. See you soon.