Friday, December 23, 2011

Finished in the "nick" of time!

I'm not the kind of quilter who enjoys sitting at the baby shower stitching the binding down.  I work well with deadlines, but I hate the pressure of doing things at the last minute.  I  prefer to be done well in advance of the deadline.  This year, I let things get ahead of me and had several projects I was working on a day or two before I had to have them done.  The biggest one was this quilt for my step-granddaughter.  She asked for it in June, after I gave one to her brother for his graduation.  She said - to her mother, who told me- I don't think I can wait 5 years to have a quilt of my own. NO quilter could resist that sentiment, right?
So I knew well in advance, chose a pattern and started collecting the fabrics.  But there was gardening and a baby quilt and other gifts and challenges due ahead of this, and (say it with me) I had time.  The pattern I chose didn't work out due to the fact that it was written for fat quarters that have 18 x 22 USABLE inches.  I rarely get those, how about you?  So there was a pretty major setback, since the fabrics I had were purchased for that pattern.  I was lucky enough to find one I ended up liking better in French Braid Transformation, by Jane Hardy Miller.  It's a variation of the one called "the Wavelet".  The border and background were late additions, but they really made the quilt sing for me! 
I quilted this myself.  The first large quilt I have done since having "miles" of space for quilting on my elna excellence!! 

The quilting doesn't show much on the front, so here's the back.
  I don't think it's my absolute best work,  but I'm pleased with it.
I finished quilting it last Sunday.  I machine stitched the binding Monday and finished the hand stitching on that Tuesday evening!  Today is Friday.  We usually have our Christmas gathering with this side of the family the week after, but it worked out that we did it today!  How's that for the last minute?

The other last minute project I managed to get done the very last day I had to do it was my "Brown Bag" challenge piece. We each received a paper bag with seven items:  A zipper, a piece of rubber shelf liner, a wire dish scrubber, a flat wooden bead, a hair scrunchie,  a paper doily and a man's tie.  We were told we could do anything, that the items could be used in the project or to alter materials for the project, and that we had to use everything in the bag.  When I dumped mine out to see what was in it, I laughed and said it felt like dumping out my purse.  So it was easy for me to decide what to do! 
The wire scrubbie I used to paint the purse fabric.  I stenciled with the paper doily. The tie, the zipper and the painted wooden bead are part of the bag.  And the rest are some of the contents of the purse. Also in the purse are the interfacing from the tie, the brown bag, scraps of the purse fabrics and the instructions that came in the bag!  I traced my own hand, added bits of old jewelry, some beads and actual odd keys to complete the piece I call, "It's in there somewhere"
Other than taking the tie apart and the painting, I started it a mere 6 days before it was due and was literally tearing and throwing fabric as I worked.  It worked out pretty well, but I wouldn't want to work like that very often!
Next on the list- blocks for an online swap which have to be mailed in 2 weeks and a January quilt for the office.  Wish me luck!

My green tip this time is for the holidays.  Saving pretty bows, gift bags and boxes to use again not only saves precious resources, it saves money. Use one of the gift boxes to keep the bows from getting crushed until next year.
If you are entertaining, use it as an excuse to get out the good dishes rather than using disposable dishes.  Or go the thrift store and buy mismatched dishes to serve your guests.  Let them take the plates home with leftovers, or re-donate them when you're done!

I am grateful for:
The look on Amy's face when she saw the quilt
Good travel weather for the holidays ( for most of us)
Christmas lights
Christmas cookies
Guy will be home in 3 days!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The holiday rush!

Let us start with Thanksgiving.  When asked, I always say it is my favorite holiday.  Nothing is expected but family and food!  What more do we need?  It makes me very sad that this wonderful holiday doesn't get the respect it deserves.  I was appalled by the fact that so many stores opened late in the day  for "Black Friday".  Having worked retail for several years, I knew of only three days of the year I was guaranteed not to have to work.  Now it's down to two, apparently.  I was even more appalled when the media reported it was a smashing success. That means it will only get worse. Dave Barry once said, "If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be 'meetings."  I would add black Friday to that!  Humbug!

  Speaking of being a humbug,  I admit to being a bit of a Grinch.  I just don't see why this one holiday should take up a whole month of my time!!  But here I am, spending hours decorating and shopping and baking and still making gifts, which I never do.
(I guess I can't say that anymore)



I kind of redecorate the whole house for Christmas. Not the huge displays you see in magazines, but all of the knick knacks get swapped. 

Most of the gifts are made, in spite of my whining.
Fabric star snowflakes, from PennyMarble Designs.

 I even made some gifts using the Xcentric block we learned from Anita Grossman Soloman.  The Christmas stripe is one I just found in my stash!

The blue tote was a wide stripe I used for one of those magic table runners  
Try to act surprised if you get one of these, ok? 

Here are some green tips for the Holiday season:
 * Recycle last year's cards into this year's gift tags. Use serrated scissors to cut the front of the card into appealing shapes and sizes.
 *   Make sure this year's cards are made from recycled paper.
 *   Put E-mail to work and send paper-free electronic greeting cards.
 *   Avoid wrapping paper. Use newspaper or brown craft paper that you can decorate yourself. Sunday comics also make a colorful, recyclable wrap kids will love!

I am grateful for:
Having a little one to play with once in a while.
Guy is coming home at Christmas!
Christmas cookies (even though I have to put in time on the treadmill after!)
Christmas music, especially the silly ones like this.