Monday, December 31, 2012

The Story of 32 Quilts

Ahh the Christmas holiday, full of family, food and mostly fun. I am finding out that as I get older I like CONSISTANCY, ROUTINE and a lot less CHAOS. Don't get me wrong, I love watching the little kids faces on Christmas morning, the excitement of watching them open their presents and the whole magic of the holiday. I just want it to last for only 2 days and not 2 weeks!

My husband and I come from large families. It is very typical for a Christmas Eve to have about 40+ people and they are all family, no friends. It is controlled chaos with lots of hugs and kisses and good food. I think this year's most interesting present was a disco ball, complete with colored lights.

This is a very small house we pass by on the way home, it is about the size of most people's garages. Every year they decorate to the hilt! Every square inch of their house and yard is covered with some kind of lit up decoration. I think they add to it every year too. The grandkids call it the "crazy house".

Dylan and Mary gave this to us for Christmas, I am thrilled. We lose power a lot so now we can make coffee. We had to read the directions because we grew up with Mr Coffee.

Nancy opening a present

OK now to the story of the 32 mother in law, Nancy came to stay with us for a few days. Her daughter Ellen also spent the night. Nancy was tired and went to bed early while Ellen and I stayed up to visit a little longer.
The next morning Ellen and I got up to go to a Zumba class when it hit me. I store all my quilts on the guest bed and cover them up with a quilt from Pottery Barn. This way they lie flat, they don't get exposed to the sun to fade, a perfect storage spot, except that I forgot to take them off the bed.
Yes my mother in law slept on top of all the quilts! She said it was a little warm.......I am still scratching my head!

So as the year ends I will not make any resolutions. I feel like a resolution is a set up for failure. Instead I want to make some goals, it just sounds more positive. Maybe I am just fooling myself? What goals or resolutions are you making? I think I need some sewing goals but I also need some house goals, painting, cleaning and organizing etc. I tend to let my house go when I am in the midst of a sewing project and it bugs me. I am the product of a mother that had floors you could eat off of...not that I want to aspire to that but at least clean enough to not have it nag at me.

Happy New Year to all my quilting friends! Happy birthday to my grandson Griffin, who turns 8 today!!!


Thursday, December 20, 2012

What Book Are You Reading?

I love this vintage Santa Claus cookie jar. I don't even remember where or when I bought it. It is circa 1975, the year I graduated from high school. It is completely plastic, yeah! I can't break it!

A gift that was finished up finally, it's only been 4 years since my son, Colin and his wife, Jenny got married. They will totally not be expecting it!

One of the cousins was in charge of getting people to sign the blocks. She did the best job she could but a lot of people missed signing them. I am taking it with me on Christmas Eve to have some of the family members who got skipped over sign it.

I have a perfect holiday book for you to read. By perfect I mean you can pick it up and put it down without worrying about what you read the day or two before. It is a fascinating look at why the rooms in our homes are the way they are today. The section on ironing is enough to make me never complain about it again! Talk about drudgery....
On wash day they talk about certain fabrics being hard to clean so they would take the dress apart, clean different parts in different methods (a horror in itself) and resew it!
Who knew stale urine makes your sheets whiter! Yes, I know the question you all are asking yourself is how do you know when the urine is stale????!!!!
It is at times humorous and very informative. Did you know that before people had tables (dining) that they would sit on benches and a board would be balanced on everyone's knees to place you plates etc. Hence the name "room and board"! There are tons of interesting things to learn.
Thanks Christine for a good pick!


Wednesday, December 19, 2012


I have been stitching every night. As soon as dinner is over and the kitchen is clean I RUN into the family room and grab my applique to see how much I can get done before 9:00. That is about my time limit plus I like to read before I fall asleep.
I am enjoying the Stars and Sprigs, as long as a block is prepped it goes pretty fast.

Just in case a block gets finished I also have my other project that I talked about HERE to work on until I get the next Stars and Sprigs block ready.

I really enjoy cut away applique, it is simple and easy to do. Very little decisions have to be made except for one fabric. You do it exactly as the name, cut a bit and applique, cut a little bit more and applique...... It keeps the pattern very symetrical and fraying is very minimal.

Yesterday I went in to my local quilt shop, The Quilt Block because I was almost out of Mary Ellen's Best Press. I love this stuff and it also smells so good. The have a few different fragrances but I like the Linen Fresh. No flakes and no clogged sprayer.

While I was there they had a beautiful quilt top that instantly caught my eye. I have been looking for a pattern to make my daughter a quilt for her wedding and this is the one. She wants more purple, blues and greens so these colors won't work. If you like it they sell all the fabric and pattern in a kit so you might just want to stop by and get yourself a little Christmas present....
The blocks are 16x16 which is a good size, it makes a big quilt with only 20 blocks, I think twin size.

Is there anything better than some new colored pencils and some cool looking empty notebooks? Ahhh, the pristine pages waiting for some ideas and drawings to be put down.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

No Diary Block Tuesday

The big day is one week away. I love this cup, my friend Suzanne gave it to me for my birthday. the eyes are a little scary though...
Every year Christmas creeps up on me and I am always scrambling at the last minute. This year things are under control and I am enjoying it a lot more. I can still keep to my every day things without feeling the pressure of doing everything that needs to be done for Christmas. Procrastination....a bad thing. I must keep that in mind for next year.
I recieved this adorable little present in the mail from my blogging friend Barb of Fun with Barb . She has an amazing blog so be sure to check it out. Don't you love the little elves?
This stunning pillow was made for my birthday by my friend Cynthia. I have written about her in my blog and if you could see the quilts she makes..........Cynthia you need to start a blog so we can follow along with your projects!
In the past 4 years we got 3 new neighbors which may not sound that unreal except there are only 5 houses on our street. The one couple are on the young side (30's) and really good neighbors. Every Christmas they come up with a unique gift for everyone. This year they roasted coffee, brought it over and ground it up for us (we do not have a grinder)! The next morning we used their coffee and it was delicious!
The other neighbors sent over home made sticky buns right out of the oven, very very good.
I on the other hand will have to get a little bit more adventurous for next year......the pumpkin bread looked pretty pedestrian next to all those goodies!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Ramblings of a Crazy Old Lady

I have lots of pretty antique plates that have been waiting for a good idea.

Here's how to make one....

Take a dessert size plate.......

and a dinner size plate that look nice together.....

and one glass candle stick holder.....some glue made for glass and there you go. You can use them to drape your pearls and diamonds for a very eye catching jewelry holder or you can use them to keep your pins, buttons and miscellaneous sewing items looking cool in your sewing room.

I made one for myself too. This has a platter on the bottom and a ring holder on top. I did not glue the ring holder on yet. Still trying to decide.

My tree skirt turned out great I am very happy with it. I love the true red color.

Yesterday my guild held a silent auction. I bid on this and won! I love that random brown plaid block on the left hand side. It is completely hand pieced.

My friend Christine made this little quilt a while back and I kept telling her I was going to steal it. She gave it to me for my birthday to keep me from becoming a thief!

So today is my birthday and I am spending the entire day sewing. I am ashamed to tell you it took forever for me to make this block today! I am terrible at piecing and really strive to make it somewhere close to the right size. I have the 1/4" foot and everything but unless I go agonizing slow it is always off. At this rate the applique will go faster than the piecing!


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Diary Block Quilt

Warning: Long post of pictures and words!
Today is the final day of my Diary Quilt Block Tuesday. The last block is made and the quilt is together at long last. The block shown is filled with lots of symbolism. I finally decided to have my name on it instead of initials. The "K" is for my first name, next to it is a pin that has my maiden name on it. That was important to me because I just realized all my interest in sewing did come from family members.
The first person was my great grandmother, Grandma Dolly who sat me on her knee at the age of 4 to embroider a tea towel, the next person was my Grandma Aggie, who made a tied quilt when my mom was in the hospital giving birth to my youngest sister. I was 7 and thought this was amazing that some one would do this! Next was my mom who taught me in the most painful way possible how to make coulottes in the 1970's.....I knew there had to be an easier way.... the last person was my cousin Mary Beth who came for a visit and whipped up some things on the sewing machine for me and my sisters. She was 6 years older and very cool, after all she had a blue princess phone in her BEDROOM, unheard of at the time.
A shamrock because I am Irish, a clock because there is never enough time to sew, scissors just because what is sewing with out scissors? a postage stamp basket pin that a friend who died gave me a long time ago, an antique button from my grandmother's button box, the pin with the little red cross on it is an antique pin that says "perfect attendance" because each block was completed on time!
The music pin because it is the truth, I grew up with the best music ever, I feel sorry for kids today. My Mary medal because she is my favorite. Two patches from my Girl Scout sash, the sewing badge...... the stitches that I used to sew this on my sash will make you laugh! The wings are for how freeing this quilt made me feel.
Pretty bad!
This is the entire quilt which is a little difficult to see. It is a gloomy day here so it is hard to find a spot to take a picture.
When I went back to look at my original post I found that I did keep to my rules
I only messed up on the size of one block and added some strips to get it right.
I kept it pretty light and fun, nothing too serious.

The one thing I did not do was use a lot of new techniques, I stayed with what was familiat to me.
The colors were pretty much what I wanted with the exception of 2 blocks, but they stayed because that was the rule. The bottom right block was the only block I really did not like. It is supposed to be a redbud branch....hummm.

They are all quilted differently and not all heavily.
I did not use any paint and I thought I would but I used a lot of Barbie accessories!.

Each block was made on time except for the 2 times I was sick. It was the can't get out of bed kind of sick.....
I loved including the blocks that the grandkids made, it got me off the hook those weeks.

Only one was made on Tuesday, afternoon, nothing like waiting until the last minute, and I had no idea what I was going to do....

Overall I really enjoyed this project. The blog helped keep me honest and on track. I am the type person that does not want to disappoint. Many people were waiting each week to see what was next. By the last 5 blocks I was getting burned out. I wanted to move on.

The following are my favorite blocks

This one took 5 minutes to make and is one of the best ones!

I really like this one because it is the last one and I wanted it to be symbolic of the whole idea behind this quilt. For days I was rolling ideas around in my head and was starting to panic I would not be able to come up with something good enough. It sums the quilt up perfectly.

I was asked if I would do it again?? Maybe in distant future, I want to do some other things now. It was such a good learning project, I could meet a deadline, come up with some creativity every week (well some days) but most importantly I look at everything differently now. Every day I would look to see if  this or that would work in the Diary Quilt, I am still doing it!
Thanks for tagging along, your lovely comments made it all worth while!


Monday, December 10, 2012

Miscellaneous Monday

Some of the Quiltinis and I went to NY city last week. As usual we had a fabulous time.
I bought some Liberty of London at City Quilter.....

Christine looked at some sparkly things for her daughter's wedding....

Merimeko, lots of inspiration but no buying....$99 for a onesie....I don't think so.........

Knitted Chandelier
Knitting Needle light fxture

The Lion Brand Yarn window which always has something exciting to see....

The windows at Macy's.......
Christmas in NY is exciting, we plan on going back in the spring.

Tomorrow I will show the completed Diary Block Quilt. I hope you are excited to see it!