Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Look Back at 2009 . . . . . .

I'm just wrapping up my 5th year of quilting. For the last several years I've written down a list of quilting activities that I would like to accomplish during a given year. Goals are really too strong of a word, more like a list of things to keep in mind or try to accomplish as I progress through the year. It's a fluid list, if not on paper than in my mind.

Here's the list I wrote down this time last year, exactly what I wrote down:

1. Learn something new each month.
Right off the bat this one totally cracks me up, so once a month I'm supposed to learn something new, something quilt related, what if I learned something new twice in one month, oh no, I learned too much. I think what I was really trying to say and will have on my 2010 list is to be open to try new things and take advantage of learning opportunities as they become available. But the bottom line is that I DID learn so much this year, about myself, others, and quilting.

2. Keep quilt journal.
This I did do, but not as well as I could have. I wrote down lessons learned from each project, the pattern name and finished size, and the date I started and date I finished the quilt top, and who quilted the top. Next year, in addition to the information above, I would also like to keep track of the fabric I used, if I used a family of fabric, the number of pieces in the quilt top, and the actual number of hours logged, not just the span of days.

3. Add piping to one project
This I did not do. Not so much because I didn't want to, but I just never made anything that I thought could use some piping. But making some Tuffets is high on my list for 2010 and I think that would be a good place to start, on something small like that.

4. Look at a quilt book every week.
I didn't look at a quilt book every week, but I did go through all the pattern books that I do have at least once this year. Some books were marked with projects I liked at some point but that did not appeal to me now. I also marked new patterns. I wrote the date in the front flap of each book so I would know the last time I looked through it. The main point of this statement was to be aware of the patterns that were at my fingertips and not to go out and buy a bunch of new books. I only bought 3 new pattern books this year, 2 were for baby quilts and one other.

5. Keep up with new magazines.
I meant quilt magazines, but I was not specific in my goal. I have 2 unread magazines at this point, so I've done pretty good. One thing I did learn is that I don't enjoy the magazines as much as I did when I first started quilting. Everything was new in the beginning, now they all seem to be the same, "fast and easy". I've let 2 subscriptions lapse but am sticking with one subscription, which is enough, and should be easy for me to keep up with.

6. Log time in sewing room.
I marked my calendar when I started and finished a project, that's it. I think tracking the time I spend in my sewing room on a project would be interesting, I need to work on that in 2010.

7. Use Red batik fabric.
I bought some lovely red on red batik fabric in 2008 and was hoping to find the perfect two color pattern for my fabric, I did not.

8. Make 2008 quilt book on snapfish.
I thought it would be neat to have a book of all the quilts I made in 2008. I'm over that.

9. Complete 12 quilt tops
I completed 12, possibly 13, depending on when I finish up "Oh Christmas Tree", it's going to be close.

10. Sew a quilt for each brother.
This I did do, Quilt # 40 went to my baby brother and Quilt # 21 went to my older brother. I also made a quilt for each of my nieces.

11. Make a civil war quilt.
This goal really pertains to some pink and brown civil war fabric that I have in my closet but have not used. I did not use it 2009 but I did make "North and South" for my Mom for her birthday so I met this goal because it was poorly written. Oh well!

12. Make a star quilt.
When I was reviewing my patterns the beginning of 2009, I noticed that I had a huge percentage of patterns with stars in them, but had never made a top with stars! This year I made two quilts with stars, "Vanilla Stars" which I've yet to blog about and "One Star Two Star Red Star Blue Star, my October Schnibbles.

13. Make a throw for me.
I did not make a throw for me to use but I did take Quilt #3 out of the closet and start using it. I love it, what was I waiting for!

14. Make Harmonic Convergence Quilt
This I did, it is Quilt # 45.

So those were my "goals" and I did pretty good, but here are some things that I accomplished that weren't on my list:
1. Made my first baby quilt.
2. Started my first block of the month.
3. Created my first UFO - Faceted Jewels.
4. Participated in my first on-line challenge - Red and Cream Snowball Challenge, aka "He Knows When You Are Sleeping.
5. Bought my first family of fabric with no pattern in mind - William Morris Workshop (goal for 2010 find pattern for William Morris Workshop fabric!)
6. Started my blog - my biggest and most fulfilling task of the year. It's been time consuming but the rewards of meeting so many new quilting friends have surpassed my wildest expectations. I made 3 quilts that I love and never would have made if it weren't for my blog. Thanks to all of you for helping me make 2009 such a successful, fun, and fulfilling year.

Tomorrow, 2010 "goals" !

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Morning . . . . .

We had the nicest Christmas. We leave our decorations up until January 1st so the time between Christmas and New Years day is a relaxing time for our family. We eat leftovers, stay in our PJs until noon, go to the movie, and just enjoy our time together as a family.

We are a very lucky family, every year we say, "That was the nicest Christmas ever", and every year we mean it.

Cooper had the nicest Christmas ever too.

"I love getting presents......"

"What could possibly be in this box ......"

"I don't care, the outside tastes great ........."

"Squirrels in a log............I Love Squirrels........"

"Just what I wanted .........."

Tomorrow I'm going to review the quilting goals I made for 2009.......goals is a strong word, they were more like guidelines!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!

First I would like to say "Thank You" for all the wonderful comments on my Christmas decorations. Some of my decorations are ages old, plus I've pretty much done the same decorating in this house for the last 5 years, sharing them with you this year made them all seem new and fresh to me again. I've enjoyed it so much.

Before the big "Oh Christmas Tree" reveal I thought I would share my Christmas dishes. Now you're not surprised I have Christmas dishes are you!

The Friday after Thanksgiving I get these dishes out and put my everyday dishes up. We eat every meal off theses dishes the whole holiday season. I've had them for ages.

About 5 years ago I thought it would be fun to have Christmas china for our Christmas dinner. After eating off these dishes for weeks, using them for Christmas dinner didn't seem all that special.

So after looking for several years for the perfect Christmas dinner china I decided on these.

We even have something for Santa to eat off of!

OK, are you ready, here we go .....

First I had this....

Then worked up to this..

And this is where I am now.....I've finished 42 rows, 33 more to go! I'm still loving it!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

It's Christmas Time in the City . . . . .

Yesterday I did the big grocery store stop. You know the stop, where you're in the store forever looking for items that you only buy once a year and don't remember where they were last year, let alone where they've moved to this year....yes that stop. So anyway, I'm going up and down the aisles, marking things off my list when I get to the dairy section. "Eggnog", that's what's on my list. Eggnog has been on my mind since Halloween, that's when my favorite brand showed up in my dairy case. Now I don't want to spoil eggnog for the innocent by revealing the details of the nutritional label, suffice it to say that there's a good reason why it tastes so delicious and why I don't need to be drinking a quart of it every week. So for 8 weeks I've been looking at my eggnog in the dairy case saying, "See ya Christmas"..... Only yesterday there was no eggnog!! All gone, already bought and consumed by everyone in town but me! Oh well, it's not like someone's going to look at my chubby cheeks and say, "Thelma, you need some eggnog". But I'll be missing my glass of cheer, on the rocks, with a little nutmeg sprinkled on top. Rest assured I'll be drinking eggnog on Halloween next year!

OK, the Christmas tour is winding down at my house, here's my last Christmas Village vignette that I call "Christmas in the City"

This is a hustling, bustling town. It even has Starbucks just in case you need a little caffeine to help you with your hustle.

Here's some folks moving in on Christmas Eve, they have a red couch!!
What town doesn't have a movie theater and friendly firemen.

Santa's brother is even selling Christmas trees. (Santa was downtown, didn't you see him)

Here's some little ones all decked out in their Christmas pageant finery.

Here's the view from the blimp........

I hope you all enjoy your Eve of Christmas Eve and get everything done so you can start enjoying this happy time of year.

Don't forget, if you have time tomorrow stop back by, I'll be posting my progress on "Oh Christmas Tree". I was able to squeeze in a little more time in my sewing room yesterday.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Few Good Snowmen........

I'm still squeezing in time on "Oh Christmas Tree", I'm not going to meet my first goal of having it pieced by Christmas Eve, but there's still hope for New Years Eve. I'll post a picture on Christmas Eve of my latest progress.

So while I was home, and family members were opening their quilts, look what I opened,

Cookie jar # 18, I like the ornaments on the tree plus her pink stocking hat and pink buttons!

And cookie jar #19! I think I'll leave this one out through February, it doesn't shout "Christmas".

And another ornament for my snowman tree, doesn't she look like she would be friends with the snowlady wearing the red coat, what a great Christmas purse.

Speaking of trees, here's the family room Christmas tree. It has multicolored lights and icicles.

It has our oldest collection of ornaments, I love them all.

Here's a baby carriage some special friends gave us for my daughter's first Christmas.

Here's an ornament my daughter made in school, yes those are painted macaronis on a paper plate. It must have been a tight budget year for the art class. It sure has held up well, it's over 20 years old.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas With Family . . . . . . .

This weekend we traveled 100 miles south to celebrate Christmas with family. One of my quilting goals for 2009 was to give quilts to family members for Christmas.

Here they are, stacked and read to be wrapped. You've seen most of them before,

Quasi Jellystone, Quilt # 49, for my niece,

Kara's Jungle, Quilt #44, for my other niece.

"Under the Stars", Quilt #40 , for my baby brother and his wife.

You can read more about any of these quilts by selecting them from the category list to the right.

Here's one I've not blogged about

I made this from the Eleanor Burns, Quilt in a Day Flying Geese book.
It took longer than a day. This is Quilt # 21

Each goose is individually quilted as is the flower border.

This went to my other big brother and his wife.
(he has a red couch too, it must be in our blood)

Here they are, all wrapped and ready to go, they are all sleeping in their new homes tonight.

How about a few more Christmas Village's a little country vignette I have set up in the family room.

I would like to live in this town. Tractors in the Christmas parade.

Country dances in a barn, red pickup trucks with trees.....

a dairy barn with Christmas wreaths..... Who wouldn't like this town?

Plus here's the best spot of all, a store that sells pies and quilts!! Have I ever mentioned pie is my favorite food, pizza pie, chicken pot pie, cherry pie, coconut cream pie..I just love pie. Who wouldn't want to live in a town with a quilt/pie shop!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Progress . . . .

I had a very productive day yesterday. It didn't get off to a great start, for some reason I woke up at 2 am, and then started counting the days until my daughter gets home for Christmas, the 23rd. Then I started worrying about all the things I needed to get done. Why is it that problems seem to be magnified in the middle of the night? Anyway, I finished up my shopping and got my presents for friends that live not near but far in the mail. I didn't even have to pay extra for air, I had enough time to pay less for ground shipping, guess I wasn't as far behind as I thought.

At any rate, I feel more in control of my To Do list and expect to start sleeping better. I didn't get any time in my sewing room, but that's to be expected this time of year....I guess....

To bring you up to date,

This is the top I'm working on now.

This is where I stood the last time you saw it.

This is where I am now!
(wow, the sun must have been out when I took this picture)

I went ahead and added the star while the quilt top was a manageable size.
I'm still loving this pattern and these small blocks.

At first I had this quilt hanging over the bannister in the living room, then I decided that was just too much for that room so I replaced the red and cream quilts that are normally in the sunroom with it.

About 10 years ago, my daughter and I went to one of those ceramic places for an afternoon of crafting and girl fun. This was before I started quilting. I thought ceramics might be my artistic calling.

We didn't do this, but it's cute, don't you think?

We did this! Ash and I split up the ornaments. For some reason we felt compelled to use every odd color in that store! I still remember how much we laughed and enjoyed doing something different together. Just a few more days until she's home again, I'm ready!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Tour Part 2 . . . .

Now for a little Christmas tour of the Living Room.

Here's the living room tree. It's a tall one.
I had a hard time getting a good picture of it.

It's mainly decorated in red, silver and gold.

Here's a better view of the top.

Here's the mantle.

I only decorate these window ledges at Christmas.

One of my favorite things in this whole room is Santa's hat on the bannister. He left it last year, but he'll be back so I'm leaving it out for him.
Sometimes the simplest things are the best.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tree Update and Mail Call . . . . .

I'm squeezing in a little sewing every chance I get.

I could not be happier with the first 5 rows of "Oh Christmas Tree". Only 68 more to go!

My row/bargello method of piecing this quilt is working out great.

The pattern called for one fabric as the background, I'm going scrappy and am pleased with my decision.

After I got the first 5 rows together, I decided instead of using a solid fabric for the border per the pattern, I would add more 1 1/2 inch squares with a scrappy red zig zag pattern. So now I'm making red and cream strip sets.

This quilt will have almost 5,000 squares. I don't think I've ever made a quilt using such small pieces but I really like it. And it's easy, but don't get easy confused with fast, it's not fast, but I'll take easy.

I've had a couple of amazing mail days. I won these lovely things for posting a comment on Rene's 50th post on her blog Rene Creates.

She sent some Thimbleberries charm packs, some great red fabric and some cards that Rene made herself. I already raided the charm packs of their greens, I was really needing some greens for "Oh Christmas Tree" and these were a perfect match.

Isn't this the coolest card, it matches Rene's blog. Go check out how she got them.

Rene also sent THIS!!

It's the first time I've seen this, how perfect is that, a cupcake calender!

Here it is, all ready for the new year. Thank You so much Rene.

I also got a box of goodies from Allyson at Fat Cat Quilts. Allyson and Nicole are hosting the Red and White Snowball Challenge. I finished my challenge top before Thanksgiving, making me the first one done.

Allyson sent all these goodies for finishing first! I vaguely remember Allyson mentioning prizes as part of the challenge, but I didn't expect to win all this!! The ornament in the upper right says "Alaska". This is the first ornament on my tree from Alaska. I'll think of Allyson every year when I decorate the tree.

I put my "Quilting Queen" sign right here, for everyone to see first thing.

Have you ever seen chocolate letters? I hate to eat it, it's so cute. I guess I could eat the chocolate and save the box! That's as close to getting something with my name on it as I'll get!

Allyson, thank you so much. I feel like a double winner, to have my quilt done and to get all these wonderful things.