It is that time of year when I run around like a chicken with it's head cut off (not that I've ever seen such a thing). I seem to overbuy for one person's stocking while being a bit short on the next one. I promise myself that I will finish these projects and then avoid them by doing other things. I am frazzled!
So, we try to take the focus off the busyness of Christmas every year (I don't always succeed) and focus on the reason we are celebrating. This year we are reading Tabitha's Travels for our Advent story. This is one of three Advent stories by Arnold Ytreeide. Almost every night there is a cliff-hanger, making children eager to hear more in these action packed stories. Each evening, though, the wrap up of the story points back to Jesus in some way (even though we don't see Him until Christmas).
What a way to celebrate! Make everything focus on Jesus. Whether or not he was born on December 25, it is the one day we set aside to remember His miraculous birth and what a difference He has made in our lives. If He hadn't been born to die, I would still be stuck in my sin, separated from God forever.
Hallelujah! Glory to God in the Highest! For Unto Us A Child Is Born!
My White Christmas dream has come true because the Lamb of God has washed me whiter than snow :)
May your Christmas be blessed with His Love!
Yes, that is our tree, complete with a tipsy quilted angel on top. The children decorated it one afternoon while The Army Guy and I were doing other things.
We were the only people to show up for the 12:01 am showing of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader this morning. We had a great time and enjoyed the movie A LOT! The children should remember this as a very happy family memory (and not just mandatory fun).
They got Eustace Scrubb right :) Caspian is the right age :) And the ending was right, too. It looked just like I imagined it from the first time I read the book (almost 40 years ago!).
No, it is not a visual of the book. They do veer a bit from the story by adding an element that is their vehicle for tie-ing the story together in the short time of a movie. There were also a couple of telling/not showing instances...again, I think this was so that the movie could move along. They also got some things out of order in the book's time-line, but that really didn't detract from the movie, IMO. While there were a few things *I* might have done differently, I think this was a great adaptation of the story as they kept the important elements.
It would be one we would like to see again (and would even pay to go see) and we will definitely be adding it to our home library when it is released :)
I have not been doing much quilting. My quilting machine needs some TLC that only a shop can provide and I had a craft show to prepare for as well as a trip to MI to visit with family over Thanksgiving.
At the craft show in McBain, I sold lots of soap and a bunch of these Story Starter Cube sets. This is the only set that I had left. I have two sets to make up for Christmas orders. Both sets ordered were not the Fairytale set (shown here) so I'll have some work to do, getting the pictures on the blocks, sewing up bags and laminating the instruction cards :)
I drew up all the pictures for the blocks and we came up with four different sets; Fairytale, Sci-Fi, Adventure and Everyday. All of my children think they are great and have been thinking up new ideas for the cubes...I think they want to have their own sets!
While in MI, The Army Guy had a family Christmas Party.One of the highlights of the party was the Dodge Ball Game. At least most of the guys and a lot of the kids thought so!
They also had cookie decorating available and Princess Sunshine took part.
My guys (The Army Guy and The Boybarian) got into the Christmas Spirit by adhering NOEL confetti on their foreheads. Thankfully, they fell off in the Dodge Ball Game :)
It was time for another round of the Obnoxious Fabric Swap and I finished up swapping them last week. It is a fun swap that I hostess twice a year on the About.com Quilting Forum.
Florals reigned supreme in the obnoxious mix (as they always do). What in the world are some designers thinking when they make some of the weird color combos? Next up were the Amphibian and Lizard category. Lots of brights, a few skulls, some psychedelic designs, weird color combos, texture prints...and some that must have been taking over various stashes around the country :) I saw a couple of fabrics that I would have purchased had I seen them on the bolt...and not for this swap!
The picture is from the center of my living room while I was swapping. I sit in the hole in the middle and swap directly in front of me (see the stack, the spreadsheet and pencil?) and have all of the piles arrayed around me. You can not see all of them as the picture is rectangular and the piles of fabric were a bit farther out on each side (and on the couch and love seat!).
Yes, that is Killer Bunnies on the ottoman. The boybarian has been begging to have a family game night, but we haven't all been home for a game night in weeks!
Another UFO project that I came across recently *sigh*
This was from a (small) swap of blocks and I now realize that 8 blocks is NOT enough for a quilt. I should have signed up to make more blocks for this swap! I'm going to have to do some digging out of fabrics to make more so that I have something to work with.
I am going to leave them on my design wall while I dig for the pattern...maybe I can make up a few each week and eventually have enough for a quilt!
at our retreat one of the participants showed us Bleach Discharge.
It is something I'd read about but had never tried so I was interested.
First we spent time laying various things out on our fabric. (The stones were to keep the leaves from blowing away...) And then we sprayed over the fabric with a bleach/water solution of 50/50 and let it set in the sun until we were happy with how much color had discharged from the fabric. At that point we rinsed the fabric in water and then used a chlorine stopping agent so that the bleach would not continue to eat away at our fabric. Then we rinsed them again and set them out to dry:
I think my piece turned out pretty cool. I have some ideas
for an art piece swirling around in my head...
let's see if it all comes to fruition ;)
Most of us used a Moda black for our discharge pieces. I understand that different fabrics will give different results. Some black fabrics will discharge gray, some more of a purple...test before doing this on large or important pieces!
while recuperating. I'm getting a little bit done every day...not much, but it is more than nothing (like last week) and that makes me happy.
This is what I worked on most of the week. I used machine applique that mimics hand applique - no fusing and turned under edges. I'm hoping that it will be acceptable for our guild raffle quilt...that the hand piecers won't reject it!
Everyone in the guild will need to make up some Four Patch blocks, so I thought I'd sew up a couple using fabrics from the basket block. I had them all the same in the EQ version I drew up, but I want them to be scrappy, not all the same.
Now I have to work on getting the various block instructions written up and printed off before our next guild meeting :)
I'm hoping your monitor doesn't show this picture as dark as mine does...it is not that dark in real life!
It has been a while since I spent some quality time with my sewing machine. I was working hard on quilting so we could take down the quilting frame and move The Peanut into her room and out of the den. And then I made up some soap...and now I'm recuperating from surgery *sigh* my poor neglected machine.
This morning I went down to the dungeon and worked on Clue #2 for a mystery quilt over on about.com. You can barely see the white fabric against my design wall, but it is there.
I also cut up inspiration fabric for our guild's next raffle quilt, so everyone will have a color palette to work with.
For more inspiration visit Patchwork Times and drool over the many design walls posted there!
today I made a bit of soap...this is Cedar and Sage sitting nicely in the mold. I will unmold and cut it tomorrow. The recipe behaved beautifully. The specks are parsley...I thought they would give a good look to the soap. Parsley is one of the very few things that retains it's color in the saponification process. Most other botanical items turn brown.
I also made a small test batch for a customer. He wants a more moisturizing soap, so I cut WAY back on my coconut oil, used both cocoa butter AND shea butter (in higher percentages) and superfatted a bit. This second batch overheated and grew out of the tube.
You can see that it even cracked on the top. I stuck that baby in the refrigerator to cool it down and it stopped growing at 1" above the disposable mold. I have to admit that I unmolded this one WAY early as it was already pretty hard at 6 hours and I wanted to see what was going on inside. The plastic lining on my disposable soap mold (AKA Pringles can) bubbled with the heat and left me with moon crater soap that smells lovely and I'm hoping will be delightful on the skin - so who cares how it looks?
I miscalculated on my test batch and so I will have two weird shaped soaps...should have put some rope in them so The Army Guy could have soap-on-a-rope. These are 3oz bathroom cups that I had handy when I realized that I had too much soap :)
The Peanut has been sleeping in our den since she came home from school. The quilt frame takes up her whole bedroom, so she can't use her room until the frame comes down.
Today I quilted the last quilt of the week. I have to be done because I am almost out of batting (I guess I could do a couple of baby quilts if I had the tops ready). The frame will come down this weekend (maybe Monday).
I think I will name this one These Are a Few of My Favorite Batiks because they are. Some of these I'd been hoarding for a while and didn't want them to go into just any project.
I'm thinking this might end up being my "retreat" quilt. The one I take along to cover my bed. Last time I didn't even think to bring a quilt and I was the only one *blush* without a quilt on my bed.
On this quilt I thought I'd try a free motion feather all over design. I'm very tickled with how it turned out. I will be using this on other quilts in the future...after I find a new home for the quilt frame!
I have been quilting, quilting, quilting and now I'm getting another couple of tops ready so I can quilt some more :) I'll be binding later.
The Peanut has been sleeping in the den ever since we brought her home and I really would like to have her move into her room, so I have to quilt some tops as quickly as possible so we can tear down the Voyager to make room for her bed!
Today I am working on a Twisted Mystery Project, so I can't show you what I'm working on. I have someone's bundle of fabric and I need to make it into a quilt. I have added a bit of fabric, and was cutting some strips to use in the next step:
boring, I know. BUT it gives the fabrics I received star billing, so I am plugging away, happy with the results so far.
Better get back to it, I'd love to load it on the frame later today and don't have the top or back finished yet :)
BTW, the Twisted Mystery is by a group on line. We all send fabrics in to a central location and the host shuffles the bundles and sends them back out, but we have NO IDEA who we are working for :) The reveal comes this fall...
Murphy's Law: "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong".
Over the weekend, The Peanut graduated from Word of Life Bible Institute. She completed the two year Bible course offered. So, we set plans into motion to go up to see her graduate :)
My parents and my sister planned to come, too. They arrived on Thursday and then we caravan-ed up to Schroon Lake, NY together.
Wednesday...the toilet stopped working. I reached into the tank (gross!) and found out the chain and the flap thingy were broken.
Thankfully we had purchased a new toilet to match the new sink, so Army Guy replaced the toilet on Thursday, rather than replacing the chain/flap.
I needed to do laundry on Thursday if I was going to be gone over the weekend. So, the washing machine decided to not drain. I got lots of error codes, but not clean clothes. My Army Guy and I worked with it off and on (while taking care of other tasks - see paragraph above and below) and I finally got my clothes clean.
The children were in charge of vacuuming the floors on Thursday (so grandparents could have clean floors to walk on) and the vacuum decided to make nasty, loud, horrible noises. Time out to play with vacuum to see if I can make it work (yes, someone had vacuumed up a zip bag).
Friday was a good start, we stopped at the mall and used our Joann's Fabrics coupons and went to Ollies for other bargains. And then we hit the road :)
Saturday we got on the road in decent time, but half hour up the road the van overheated. We limped off the road and found a place to pull in. My dad and Army Guy went off to find help. *sigh* it might be a cracked head. Nothing can be done on the van on a Saturday and we are not in a metropolitan area. No rental cars available nearby. Army Guy found one an hour and a half away (yeah, right!) and then went with my dad to see if there was on at the airport in the last city we passed through.
FOUR hours later (sitting in a little restaurant with a teenager, a preteen and a young one) we finally got back on the road with a four door sedan rented at the airport. I am SO glad that my parents were along and the guys could take care of issues.
We still have to deal with a minivan sitting many hours away. May it not cost more than we can afford to fix the thing up...our reserves seem to have been eaten up by car repairs over the last couple of months already!
So, we missed having supper with The Peanut. We did see her for a few minutes before her practice, and then later after Baccalaureate. My sister got to see a bit of how campus had changed from her days :)
Sunday, it rained. Graduation had to be held indoors and we couldn't all get tickets, so some had to sit in an overflow location and watch a video feed.
Not only did it rain, the afternoon brought a lovely three hour power outage to the town. Dark clouds and no power in the Inn *sigh*
Monday we all crammed in the four door sedan to make the (long) trek back to our house and our GPS decided to play tricks on us. It took us off and right back on the interstate, so we didn't believe it the next time it tried to get us off the interstate and we went (way) out of our way.
We came home and found that the other toilet was leaking (guess what the Army Guy did today?).
This will be a weekend of family memories to remember...and may we not have a repeat any time soon!
BTW, This Guy really liked the quilt that I made for him :)
This is a quilt I made a few years back in response to an ArtImage Challenge. Several times during the year a piece of art was chosen and then we were to create a quilt inspired by the original art piece.
I knew that American Gothic was a portrayal of a father and his daughter so that got me thinking about the relationship a father should have with his daughter.
This quilt is named A Father's Relationship with his Daughter. (told you it was kind of a weird name)
I chose to use a flower to portray this. A father should be the one to nurture his daughter, shielding her from what could harm her, giving her a firm foundation so her roots are strong, giving her stability so she can grow up and out and bloom into something beautiful.
I thought Ricky Tims' Caveman Quilting techniques worked well to go with my vision for this quilt, making it more free form as a man does not have full control of how it will all turn out in the relationship, just like this method of piecing!
I free-motion quilted using a flowing crosshatch, swirls, hearts and straight(er) lines in the flower.
I have entered this quilt in an online contest at The Quilting Gallery. The contest starts Friday the 20th, so if you are so inclined, pop over and vote for my little quilt!
I just bought fabric to make borders for the White Bag Challenge that I've been working on, but I really need to get some quilting done as The Peanut comes home from college in two weeks and she is going to want her bedroom back (I have taken it over for my Voyager).
I have this Christmas Quilt on the frame. I love Mary Engelbreit stuff and this jelly roll called me from the shelf last summer...so here it is on the frame in the process of being quilted :)
Since I worked past lunchtime getting block A done...I had to cut my afternoon shorter so I can feed the children (you'd think they would feed themselves by now!).
I have 12 of Block B done. In the morning, I should be able to get blocks C and D done...as long as I don't have to frog-stitch!
Another problem I had this morning was during cutting. The Snowman faces FQ was WAY wonky/off grain. So I had to cut them that way or not get enough pieces. And one of the homespun fabrics was too small a FQ, so I had to figure out what to substitute for a couple of pieces. In Block B, I have a few extra snowman faces, Block A has some extra swirl fabrics. I can't remember if C and D have substitutes or not :)
Along with making sure The Boybarian stayed on track with school, and giving Princess Sunshine her assignments, I cut out the quilt and sewed the first twelve blocks together...twice. I sewed them backward and had to rip them all out *sigh*
This afternoon, I hope to get all 12 of block B finished.
Not loving the colors...I like most of the fabrics, but it is way too brown for me.
I'll plug away at it and finish it as it is easy...but...it won't be my favorite Christmas quilt (maybe I'll have to gift it to someone this Christmas, eh?).
Today and tomorrow I plan to take part in the Quiltathon over on Patchwork Times. Last night (rather, in the wee hours this morning) I pulled out my white bag challenge fabrics, added a couple more (I want it bigger than the pattern) and set it on the cutting board so I have no choice but to start in on that one this morning :)
If you have been reading my blog, you know that the snowman head print was the inspiration fabric, my aunts, sister, mom and cousin all added FQs and now I have to make something before our get together in October. I chose the Crazy Eights Pattern by Bits and Pieces but want to make a bit larger pattern, so I added a few more FQs last night.
If I get bored with working on this one (the colors are a bit dull), I will start cutting fabrics for a mystery that starts September 1st on the about.com quilting forum. One of the members is leading us in the DaChintzy Code Mystery that she wrote. My fabrics are a bit brighter for this one.
And I can always head upstairs and quilt on the Christmas throw I pieced from a Mary Engelbreit jelly roll (last year).
I also need to help the children keep on task with some schoolwork (we started this week) and go to the theater for a rehearsal for an Old Time Radio Show coming up this weekend...so I hope the time spent with fabrics is QUALITY time ;)
My pitiful looking design wall has some blocks that Princess Sunshine is working on. I think I need to take all the extra threads off (how???) or just put up a new flannel backed tablecloth (cut in half, I have a tiny spot to hang it).
Mean mom is "forcing" the children to make quilts. The Boybarian is almost ready to put his quilt on the quilt frame, but Princess Sunshine chose a much larger and more complicated design, so hers is taking much longer. She has four more of these blocks to make and then she gets to work on the stripes that will become the corners of these blocks...it will be gorgeous when she is done!
I have been busy with the Voyager. I finished off two quilts and mailed three (one of them being the purple Spin Cycle quilt) the end of last week (payday being Friday) and loaded This Guy's Quilt that I started a couple weeks back. I've almost finished the quilting and then the binding (my least favorite part).
I am doing a freemotion fleur de lis inspired design that I've been doodling...it is the second quilt I've used it on and I'm feeling more confident on this quilt than the last one. By the time I get to The Boybarian's quilt (that I only have a few blocks for, see last week's design wall) I'll be doing it in my sleep!
Princess Sunshine turned 17 today :) It was a BUSY day as she has been at Theater Camp this week and today was the Finale and Performance. It was good day, and we are all looking forward to a lazier day tomorrow :)
For her birthday I was inspired by the tutorial on this blog and immediately went searching ebay for an elongated Penny...and found a Brontosaurus one (she used to REALLY be into dinosaurs) that was perfect. I found a fun belt at Goodwill and bought the other items needed...and crafted away (it was a quick and easy project).
I chose to use a chunkier belt than the tutorial shows as I thought it would be a belt she would like. The woven belt just called her name when I walked past it in the store...those wimpy little belts didn't stand a chance once I spotted this one.
BTW, she loves it (at least she says she does).
Now to figure out why some music is freezing up her new MP3 player...
A Quilter who designs and teaches quilting. My children have all graduated from our homeschool and the Army Guy is getting ready to leave Army life behind on the way to a civilian career. I dabble in other crafts, teach homeschool art classes and a bit of gardening ...
Psalm 5:11&12 (KJV) But let all those that put their trust in Thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because Thou defendest them: let them also that love Thy Name be joyful in Thee. For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.