Sunday, November 29

Counting the days til Christmas!!

November is almost over. Just one more day and then the countdown to that special day begins. When my children were little, we had an advent calendar that hung at the end of the hall. The three of us would sit down on the floor and one of us would read the message and then the Bible verse that went with it. And then the kids took turns snapping the ornament in place for that day. It was a special time and now a treasured memory. I passed that Advent calendar on to my daughter. Some things you can keep forever and others need to go on to someone who will treasure them anew. This year as I put up my tree, I thought of all the memories connected to almost every ornament. Some made me smile, some made me laugh and some made me cry when I thought of those who are gone now. I wondered, too, who will want all these ornaments? I know my kids, especially my daughter will want some but will anyone else ever treasure them as I do. I'm not sure anyone can and that is what makes ornaments special to each person. Sometimes they are like a photograph because you can remember the year you made or received the ornament and the person connected to it. A few years ago, I inventoried every ornament and wrote where it came from, who made it or gave it, or where I bought it. It's like a little volume of memories. Putting up the tree is a real joy for me.....even when I shed a tear or two.......because it's just like taking trip backward in time and making a visit to so many special places in my memory and mind. And with is the result of my tree decorating........

Now please don't think that those bags and boxes under the tree mean that I have already been out shopping and have it all done......... Nope.......instead, I am the queen of "fake" gifts. :-) I put the gift wrapping supplies in a gift bag and then stuff it with tissue so it looks like a gift. There's a bag for the extra light bulbs I need when one burns out and a bag filled with Christmas books, some with craft supplies for making fancy decorated tree balls and more. I just don't put food in the bags as Kaiser the Beagle would eat it and the bag, too!! Hanging on my tree are ornaments from the late 60's up to the present and from Iowa to the Far East to Minnesota to Europe and back again and around the country.....all memories of places we've lived or traveled. I love it!

This tree in the picture above is in our Family room. The ornaments on it are all ones I made and taught in Community Ed classes, at the library and at the Landing. These are the ornaments I thought I'd do one a month and post to my Keeping Christmas All Year Long Blog. I wasn't very successful at that as I kept the spirit of Christmas all year long but Easter Eggs, summer fun, health issues and then "just life" things meant I never got around to making duplicates of the ornaments. I may get to them yet, as I know what ones I want to share.
So, with my trees decorated and because my husband cooked the turkey, it left me with not a lot of work to do for Thanksgiving. I used the time to stitch. :-) Several days before Turkey Day, I cut out the little penny mat designed by Heather on the recent Cross Country Christmas Blog Hop. I was determined to finish it and give it to my daughter at Thanksgiving so she could take it home with her.
And I did! She really liked it. I really enjoyed stitching the project and cut out two more of them to take along to Iowa this next week so I'll have something to help pass the time.
Speaking of time, I got my grandson, Jacob, to give me a few minutes and help me set up my little village houses. I don't have very many and, in fact, don't consider myself a collector of them. I just like the ones I have because I received most as gifts from my mother and daughter. Jacob (and Grandpa Steve) helped me with the lights and setting them out and now I can imagine myself in this little village as a child. So this is daytime.............

and then the sun went down and night fell ..............

and then it was time for Jacob to go home. We were blessed to have the whole family together and enjoyed a good meal and a great day together.
And then the next day was Black Friday and my husband and I ventured out. We didn't go to the mall but to furniture stores. We bought something for us for Christmas and I'll post what it is when it's delivered. :-) Then it was time for grocery shopping and a quick stop at my daughter's and that's when she gave me the pretty yarn doily in the picture below. I noticed that on Thanksgiving day she was crocheting on something but I never asked. Never occurred to me that it might be something for me. I love it when I get crocheted or knitted gifts as I cannot do either one!
That's about all for this post. It will be my last one with pictures for several days to come. I'll be able to post messages while I am at my sister's but not photos. I'll be heading to Iowa tomorrow as my mom's surgery is Tuesday morning. She's doing well now and looking forward to getting through this so she can get back to enjoying family time, visiting with her friends and stitching.
I'm leaving my husband home with good stuff in the freezer and fridge so he'll not starve. :-) I also left him with instructions to plug in the tree everyday so that the Christmas spirit lights up the house. I'm betting he's not going to remember to do this. :-)
I have just one last thing for you............
Two years ago, I designed a set of postcards with an ornament to color and sent them to my grandson, Jacob as an Advent series. I posted them to my Wooly Buddies group last year for those who would like to make them in felt or wool. I have posted them to the group again and also to my Seasons BOM group. The ornaments would also look cute done in Redwork. If you are interested in the designs, they are free and posted in my groups but you will have to join to access the patterns. I provide them for your personal use and so that you can enjoy making them for yourself or with others. I'm planning to take supplies along to stitch up these ornaments (plus a few other projects, too) so that I'll have something to pass the time while waiting at the hospital. I'll check in when I can and post as time allows. Have a good day, good week and enjoy the spirit of the season!

Thursday, November 26

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wherever you are, and whether you celebrate the holiday or not, I hope you have a lovely day. I share this little quilt with you that I designed and stitched in 2000............

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you to all my quilting friends, blogging friends and each of you that read, comment, or follow my blog. You are all a blessing!
P.S. If you want to see the Hay Bail Turkey that sits on Main Street in Henderson go here and you can see him in last November's post. He looks the same this year. :-) You'll also find the recipe for my son's favorite Christmas candy that you might want to try. Yum!

Tuesday, November 24

Almost forgot to mention....

that today is our 41st wedding anniversary. We sort of celebrated yesterday with a trip to Mankato to eat at Happy Joe's because pizza makes me happy :-) and Steve likes chicken and such so with the buffet we can both enjoy our favorites. We did a little bit of shopping for some supplies and, of course, I found a little Christmas ornament to add to the tree. :-) We're thinking that after the holidays, we'll go some place for dinner and it will probably be to Khan's Mongolian Barbecue as that's a favorite place for us. I just like it when someone else cooks!
Talked to my mom and she's sounding good but tired. As my sister said tonight.....we'll just take one day at a time and won't try to plan much more than that.
No photos tonight, no finished projects as the day was filled with lots of phone calls and sprinkled with some cleaning and decorating. I did do some stitching, though, while I watched Dancing with the Stars tonight. My favorite was Donny so I was glad he won. Steve was hoping for Kelly or Mya. That Kelly really blossomed. She looked like she was having such a good time. I thought her partner, Louis, was going to cry when Carrie Ann was praising Kelly. It's amazing what encouraging words can do for the soul!
Time to close up shop for the night. :-)

Here are the winners.......

of my "Friday the 13th Lucky Day Giveaway". I've sent e-mails to each winner and their packages are all ready to go. All I need to do is add the addresses and they will be on the way to.........

Tudy is the winner of the notebook and fabrics.
Dee is the winner of the Gold bag of star fabrics for an old friend and
Lisa is the winner of the Silver bag of star fabrics for a new friend.
And Gari is the winner of the final prize of fabrics as someone
who has commented on my blog in the past 40 days!
I would love to give a prize to all of you who commented. I enjoyed reading each comment and started out to answer each one.......and then, my mom got sick some things had to go. I will be replying to each of those comments as I really appreciated some of the thoughts you shared!

Also, the charm squares are cut and ready to go to this past summer's Christmas in July charm square winners. I think they'll get packaged and addressed before I leave for Iowa, but maybe not. You will get them soon though. Nothing new to report on my mom so it's like being put on hold in a phone conversation. Can't quite do some things and also hard to think straight til this all gets worked out.


Monday, November 23

Song to remember...........

It was a busy day with lots of phone calls and errands. My mom will be transferred to Iowa City and that's all I know now. She's doing okay, just a little uncomfortable, but getting some rest and soon to be on the mend once they do the surgery. I appreciate your thoughts and messages. Yes, it's been a bumpy road for her. Hoping this time the doctors will take care of things. Not sure when I will go to Iowa until we know what doctors there will be doing. That's all I know for now.
No pictures tonight but I want to share a link to a song I heard on the radio a couple of weeks ago. Some of you may have heard it, but if not click here and take a listen. The song is "Alive and Well" sung by Kenny Chesney and Dave Matthews. The song spoke to me the minute I heard it. In spite of all that life hands out, I'm "alive and well". Hope you are, too. :-)
Night all......

The tree is trimmed.......

but I forgot to take pictures so I think I will wait til after Thanksgiving to share photos of the finished tree. Actually, there are two decorated trees........the big one in the living room and a smaller one in the family room. The one in the living room has 40 years worth of ornaments on it. The one in the family room is decorated with ornaments that I designed and taught in community education classes and at Murphy's Landing (now known as TheLanding - if you live in or near the Twin Cities make a visit in December as it's a wonderful place to step back in time to Christmas Past!). Many of the ornaments on our big tree are from trips we took when my husband's job took him overseas. I love to visit "far away places". As a kid, I loved that old Perry Como song of the same name. I imagined I would travel someday and I am glad that dream came true. I don't do much traveling these days, except to Iowa to visit my mom but the postman brings me things from "far away places" ......... like this..........

As I mentioned in my previous post, Jenny organized "A Very Quick Christmas Swap". On Friday, I received my package from swap partner, Marlene. I was also swap partner to Jenny. :-) Her package arrived on Saturday afternoon, just when I needed a break from tree-trimming. She sent me an extra fat quarter because she didn't think her ribbon was very "Christmasy". I think it's lovely and it will end up in a crazy quilting project as little florets. :-)

After I took the photo, I almost threw the envelope away and then I's an original sketch from Jenny. Can't toss that in the trash so it's going in the scrapbook file. :-) Thanks, Jenny!
On a serious note, my mom is in the hospital. She's developed some issues related to the kidney stones. The doctor wants to keep her for a couple days and run some tests so that surgery can go on as scheduled for next week. I have appreciated all your thoughts and prayers and ask that you keep it up. She's doing well, but what a bumpy journey she is having. We'll know more tomorrow about what the week will hold.
That's all for tonight. Have a great Monday and a good week!

Saturday, November 21

Oh, Christmas Tree!

Yes, I know that it's not yet Thanksgiving so I shouldn't be putting up the tree so soon.......but I'll be heading to Iowa right after the holiday to be with my mom when she has surgery. I had this plan that if she came to visit that we would talk about Christmas memories from the past. I think that would have been so much fun. Instead, I set up the tree by myself but later on my husband helped with the lights. He had no choice but to help me with the lights as he's taller than I am plus he's the one who has to replace light bulbs when they burn out. You see, we have these lights we bought years ago (like 15 at least) that do this cool "fade in, fade out very slowly" thing and he really likes them. However, the bulbs burn out all the time so I'm not happy when the lights don't work. I solved my problem, though. I put white lights all around the tree first and embedded them deep with the branches and then we added the "fade in, fade out" lights. Now if they don't work, I have back up!! I am so pleased that I thought of this!

So, here's the tree prior to adding the lights. I show you this so you can see that it's a nicely shaped tree. It's as old as the lights. It keeps shedding. See the photo below.............. You would think it was a real tree!! I figure that eventually the tree will go bald and we can finally get a new one. New lights would be nice, too, but Mr. Engineer likes to fix things so I'm sure they'll be back next year. :-)

I tried to take a couple of pictures after all the lights were on...including my back-up lights and the "pizza light" as it's known that tops the tree.
I really need some photography lessons but I kind of liked this one and the way the tree reflected in the window in the living room. Tomorrow, I'll add the decorations. It will take me all day because I love looking at each one and remembering where they all came from or when we made them. :-)
And speaking of decorations, I'll have a new one to add to my tree thanks to a package that came in the mail today. I only signed up for a couple swaps this season and one was Jenny's "Very Quick Christmas Swap". All you had to do was send two fat quarters, a yard of ribbon and two buttons - all Christmas themed. Here's what I sent off to my partner, Marlene and also to Jenny. I offered up to do two swaps if there was an uneven number and so I got to swap with Jenny, too!! (I love her blog and her Shabby Roses BOM!)

Here is the package I received from Marlene. Each item was gift wrapped and, if I was to wait til Christmas........well, I didn' was just too tempting. There were two lovely fat quarters, the ribbon, and two of the cutest angel buttons and a Santa ornament!! So Santa will go on the tree tomorrow and the angels are going to become an ornament, too. Thanks "sew" much, Marlene!!

I also got an e-mail with good news. I won a giveaway over at InchWorm fabrics and I've got some blueberry muffin goodies coming to me all the way from Pago Pago. I'll tell you more about that when the goodies arrive plus a little Pago Pago connection that I had several years ago. Funny how things happen!
There was not much sewing action going on here today because I was determined to get the tree set up. I'll get back to my projects on Sunday after church. I'm just happy the tree is up, that it didn't fall over and that I didn't fall off the ladder! Oh, and the lights are still working! :-)
Have a great weekend!

Friday, November 20

Christmas Fabric Fun!

I am so glad that Gudrun and all the other designer's decided to host the Cross Country Christmas Blog Hop. The stories they have shared and the patterns have all been really great. Thanks to them, my sewing room is a chaotic scene of Christmas fabrics draped over the ironing board, on my chair, on the floor, in a box, you name it.......Christmas fabrics everywhere. Out of that chaos, came the mugs for the Molten Chocolate Cake bags (go here for the info and pattern) and the Candy Canes from Carrie .........

Those little bags were so super easy and I'm not saying who'll be getting the ones in the picture but they will really like them, I know that for sure. I thought the candy canes might be a bit difficult but they, too, were really easy to stitch and stuff. While finishing up the cutting of all those charm squares for my blogging friends, I discovered that I have some really cool stripes that will make neat candy canes. I am going to do the glue and glitter thing to them (it's in the directions so go here to read all about how to make them) because glitter is one of those things that I love to do because I love the sparkle! I think I mentioned it in my last post, but I found the mugs for a buck each at Michael's. I need to get some more now because I have a list of who should get one of these. :-)
In addition to Christmas fabrics spread all over the room, I also was sorting through fabrics for something that would be appropriate for Thanksgiving. Surely in all that fabric I had something that would work but I discovered I really don't have much that has turkeys on it. I wanted pieces that will work for a mini sampler and I finally found some things that will work but it's not quite what I was seeing in my mind. So, does that happen to can see it in your mind but it doesn't come out quite right when you actually make the item? Sort of like dancing for my mind, I can see myself dancing. In reality, I am not sure I could dance if I had to!! Gotta dream, though, don't we? I'll sleep well tonight as there will be all sorts of Christmas projects and fabrics dancing in my head. Who cares if I can really dance, when there is fabric to play with? LOL!
Kaiser, the beagle is still "on the mend". We are hoping that his hip/leg problem is not permanent and that when the drug that caused his problems gets out of his system, he will improve and can walk right again. Time to turn out the lights and go to bed. Later, friends...........

Thursday, November 19

Oh, JOY!

My Wednesday was a better day for me and for Kaiser, our beagle. I started my morning by going to over to our vet and getting a different antibiotic for Kaiser. He slept almost all day - the dog, not the vet, but is still bothered by joint pain and doesn't like going up and down the steps. Kaiser is evidently a very sensitive dog as first it's the allergies, then the skin infection because of the allergies and then the reaction to the meds. He's just wandered in here from a nap and is curling up to take another nap! Ah, the dog's life!

SO what made my Wednesday a better day? This...................

I put the garland and lights along the front porch railing! This may not seem like a big deal but I've had it on my list since last Saturday. The weather has been so nice here that I kept telling myself to get the job done!! So today after lunch, I did just that!! There was bit of sunshine and I didn't even have to wear a coat while I did the job! It's not quite done, though, as I have to get out the bows that I'll add but I'll get to that this weekend.
The day wasn't all good, though, as my mother has decided she just doesn't want to travel right now so I won't be going to get her for Thanksgiving. I was really hoping she would come for a visit. Instead, I'll go down to get her right after Thanksgiving and then go on to Iowa City to my sister's where I'll stay while my mom has surgery.
Surprisingly, my aunt Loretta called from Florida and it's not often she calls. She's moved there permanently so it was nice to chat with her. Our family is now spread far and wide and we don't see each other very often. Sometimes, I really wish it was different but that's not realistic.
I played with my Christmas fabrics in the late afternoon. I stitched up four of the little bags designed by Terry Atkinson for the Cross Country Blog Hop (go here for the project) and they are going to look so cute in the mugs I bought. They're in the dishwasher so photo will come later. Then I cut a ton of charm squares for my blogging friends who commented on my giveaway post last July. I am finally going to finish this project and get their charm squares mailed off before Thanksgiving! You may see your name below...............

AnneMarie was the actual winner but several of you were so committed to commenting daily that I had to make charm packs for all of you. The winning pack will have about 100 charm squares in it and the others will vary. In the picture above, I am only just starting to portion out the stack of charm squares that I've cut. They would be fun to use in a placemat or totebag or something.
Thursday promises to be a day of stitching. We'll see what I accomplish by my next post. :-)

Tuesday, November 17

One of those days.....

when plans didn't go like I thought they would. Kaiser the Wonder Beagle has not been well today. He is on an antibiotic for a skin infection and was experiencing some side effects. He nearly had a seizure and it scared me but good. Then he was so tired. No more meds for him and hopefully he will be better tomorrow. I was a hovering Doggie Mama today as I was so worried about him. He drives me crazy sometimes but I don't like to see him suffer and be sick.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I was at the doctor last week (I went in the morning, took the dog in the afternoon) and that was because I have an inner ear issue and was having some vertigo (had never had that before and that is most interesting - very wierd sensation, to say the least). I'm on an antibiotic, too, but thankfully no side effects. So, today did not go as planned. I really didn't get any sewing done, although, I did cut out a number of Christmas charm squares for my patient blogging friends. I was going to string lights along the porch railing and never got to that. I did finish my Agatha Christie mystery so at least I finished something! Tomorrow, I'll start fresh and perhaps Wednesday will go better. :-)

A pillow for my sleepy head...........

I finished the "Bulb-a-licious" project! It's a design by Sandy Gervais that she has shared on the Christmas Blog Hop (you'll find all the details at Gudrun's blog - Gudrun'sWorld). To check out Sandy's blog just click here and you'll be there. I really liked the pattern she offered but almost right away, I knew I'd make it into a pillow instead of a table mat. I used woolfelt for all of the applique pieces and flannel for the border and corded binding. This will go nicely with a couple of other flannel Christmas pillows that I made a few years ago. I'll take a photo of all of them together when I get to that part of my decorating.

This project was fun and very easy to do. I stitched up the applique part while waiting at the doctor's office last week. I changed the design just a bit by adding the words NOEL to the ornament. Once I was home, I had to lay it aside but tonight, I added the border and binding, then the backing and a couple of buttons in the back for closure and it was done!! Next project I'm going to do are some of the little bags by Terry Atkinson so I can make up Christmas mugs for my grandson and niece. I found really cute mugs at Michael's so tomorrow, I'll see what fabrics I can find that will go best with the mugs.

All of the designer's are offering some really fun projects but even more enjoyable are the stories that are being shared. I can't keep up with reading all of them but hope to come back to them later in December when things settle down a bit. Thanks to all of the designer's for sharing so much fun.
Time now for a bit of a read before I go to bed. Got an Agatha Christie novel that is calling my name. :-)

Monday, November 16

And another good Monday morning!

I hope it's a good Monday morning for you. I spent the weekend tidying up a couple bedrooms and my quilty stuff that I had taken to programs in the last two months. Do you ever drag out a lot of stuff and then never quite get it put back where it belongs? Well, everything is back where it belongs except a few things and that will get finished later today!! Feels so good to have the bedrooms all neat and tidy that I just walk in and it makes me smile. :-)
I also spent time this weekend sewing, talking to my mom on the phone, and getting out Christmas decorations. I am going to decorate early (did I already mention this?) because I'll be going to Iowa in early December and no time to decorate then.
So what was I sewing on? I had two was the project from Sandy Gervais in the Cross Country Christmas Blog Hop. It's almost finished and I'll share a photo of it on Tuesday. The other project was a leaf block for the new BOM that I have begun in my Wooly Buddies Group. Here it is..............if you would like to come along on this project, you will have to join my Wooly Buddies group. Just click the button on my sidebar for the link to Wooly Buddies. I will not be posting the patterns for this series on my blog although I will post my finished blocks here.
I also have another "wooly opportunity" that will begin in January. If you live in or near the Mankato, MN area, you can join me for "Wooly Wednesdays" at Firefly Quilt Shop in Mankato. Owner, Janice, is adding more wools and you'll soon find a whole new display of the goodies that you can enjoy. We'll meet from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. on the 2nd Wednesday of each month. For more info, you can contact Firefly Quilt Shop at 507-344-0441. You can find them on the web at
That's all for tonight/this morning. :-)
See you tomorrow!

Friday, November 13

Lucky Day today! It's a Giveaway!

It's been a long time since I've had a giveaway and so I think it's high time I offered one up for my blogging friends. This will be my "400th + post and it's almost Christmas Giveaway!" I hadn't really been paying attention to what number I was up to, until the day before I went to Rosebud's*Cottage for a visit to the new shop location. Actually, I was headed in that direction because I was bringing several dozen cookies to my son and the guys at his work and it was only a few more miles over to Rosebud's. With the cookies delivered, I had lots of time to check out the fabrics and goodies, and then the wool. I had a purpose.........I was on the look-out for a couple of good green wool colors. There they were and now they're here. The more I looked around, the more I saw things I'd like. And then I saw these...........

Neat little notebooks that will make a great place to list your current projects. Then there were the fabrics from Sandy Gervais' Gobble Gobble line. I bought five fat quarters so I can make a tiny sampler quilt. Notice that there are two notebooks and two piles of fabric. One set is for me. The other set is for one of you out there in Blogland. Just leave me a comment on this post and you could be the lucky winner of a notebook and a set of Gobble Gobble Fat Eighths. :-)
There is only one rule for the comments..........this first prize is only for those who have previously visited my blog. Read on if this is the first time you have stopped by............

You've probably heard that saying "Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver, the other gold." Well, that applies to blogging friends. Some of you have only recently begun to read my blog, some of you have been reading since I first began and others are just finding me right now as you read this post. So, I have old and new friends and to celebrate that ............

I have two gifts ......... one for an "old friend" and one for a "new friend". Each of these gift bags is filled with three fat quarters of the brightest, cheeriest, star fabric that I have seen in a long time! There might also be something else in the bag but only the winner will get to see that! Just leave a comment on this post and tell me if you are an "old friend" or a "new friend". And yes, the "old friends" will be getting their name in the drawing twice for a chance at the notebooks or these fat quarters. It's kind of a seniority thing but you new bloggers will be "old blogging friends" when I do my next giveaway and that's going to be New Year's Day and a fine one that one will be!
Back to today, though, and one more gift bag. This little red one will be won by someone who has posted to my blog in the last 40 days so somebody is already a winner! Like several other bloggers, I like to reward those who read my ramblings on a fairly regular basis. In the bag you'll find one-half yard of that pretty red fabric and a full yard of the green with gold holly fabric. I figure that there's a tablerunner or something festive in this fabric for some lucky winner.
So when is the drawing date? It will be Tuesday morning November 24th. You may leave comments starting today and through midnight November 23rd. No special requirements for the comments. must have a link to your e-mail address or blog so that I may contact you if you win. No link, no win.
Happy Friday the 13th. Hope you all have a great day!!

Thursday, November 12

Another finished project......

I even surprised myself that I could finish this in two days! I have a spot for this and that is part of what inspired me to do this little wall quilt designed by Gudrun of GE Designs.

I had another reason to make the quilt and that was to practice using my walking foot. To be honest, I made a few mistakes along the way. The technique is easy but.......using flannel proved to be soft and fun but the flannel "moves" sort of like velvet does (for those of you who have sewn with velvet you know what I mean). When I finished stitching all the pieces for the tree, I realized that it was "skewed" on the batting and sort of leaned to the left. Now this wasn't a real problem as the batting is larger than needed. However, I used plaid on the back of the quilt and it definitely is "skewed" but the quilting looks nice and no one will see the back anyway!
When the quilt was finally finished this afternoon, all I had to do was add buttons. I have four boxes of "theme" buttons like the one in the picture, plus a basket full of my buttons from the 70's and 80's and then I have small drawer full of vintage buttons. Do you think I could find ten buttons that looked right on the quilt? Nope. Those vintage gold balls would have looked great but there was one missing!! I almost gave up and then decided "I am going to finish this now", so I mixed trees and gingerbread men. I'm not liking the trees, though, so will buy something that will replace them next time I'm out shopping.
So, would I do this again? Yes, however, I won't be able to do another one anytime soon. Unfortunately just as I was stitching the border pieces on, my walking foot got "tired" or something. It started "clunk, clunking" and I finally I had to remove it and put my regular foot back on the machine. Then I just pinned and sewed the final border very carefully. I really can't machine stitch that table runner, so I am thinking that I need to go back to the idea of hand-quilting the design I want on it. I do handwork so much better and find it is so much more relaxing. And that's what I have planned for the day on Thursday. I have a wooly project that is calling my name and I am looking forward to lots of hand-stitching!
Tomorrow is Friday, the 13th. For some that's an unlucky day but I have something fun to offer so be sure to stop by. :-)

Wednesday, November 11

In honor of Veteran's Day.....

I present my "Soldier's Heart" block for my "Grace and a Prayer" Quilt................

I designed this block a couple of year's ago when I needed a block for a group quilt for a guy. I wanted a block that looked masculine and so I pulled this striped fabric because it reminded me of a man's shirt. I cut the base of the heart, then stitched the two top pieces in place. I appliqued the block to the background square and added a button as it would be at the neck of a shirt. At the time, I cut out a duplicate set of the pattern pieces and always planned to make up the block. I thought it would be perfect for Veteran's Day because it made me think of my dad's shirts. It's not done in patriotic colors but it will work in my quilt. Now I realize not all soldier's are guys. There are a lot of women who have served and given their lives in the Armed Forces. I just happened to be thinking of my dad and also of a high school friend who lost his life in Vietnam. You could make this heart feminine by adding lace or anything else that might suit the person you want to remember. The important thing is to REMEMBER those who have served their country.
If there is interest in the pattern, I can draw it up and post it tomorrow. Have a good day!
Edit: A little change in plans ....... if you would like the pdf for this block pattern, please send me an e-mail with "Soldier's Heart" in the subject line (click on "about me" to get to my e-mail).

Tuesday, November 10

My tree is up!

Ha! Ha! Fooled ya! Bet you thought I meant I had my Christmas tree up and decorated. Well, not quite but I do have the tree section done for Gudrun's quilt (go here for the pattern) that she has posted on her blog. Gudrun spoke at our quilt group in Prior Lake so I've seen her great fabrics and quilts and her "quilt-as-you-go-projects". I thought I'd give this one a try and it's fun and easy to do.

At first, I was going to use cotton Christmas fabrics and then when I got into my Christmas stash I found my flannels and that is what I am using for the quilt. I wanted the tree all in the same plaid and think I will add red heart buttons to it for decoration. There's another border to add and then the prairie points. I've never done them before so this was a chance to try that technique, too. I had never used the can of quilt basting spray that was in my cupboard so I had a first-time try with that and love the product! I am enjoying some time to work on projects and it is so fun and relaxing.
I'm continuing to make plans to have my mother visit us for Thanksgiving. I can tell you now that she will be going for surgery for kidney stones (two stones that are too large to pass must be removed). Didn't want to say anything last week as she hadn't told her friends and some of them read my blog. Her surgery is not scheduled until Dec. 1st. In the meantime, she is doing well and, I think in about a week, my brother will bring her as far as Algona and we'll all meet there for lunch and then she'll come home with me. I think we will have some good quilty fun and I do plan to get my real tree up before Thanksgiving this year. I can do the work while she rests and we can share memories of Christmas past. Praying that the weather will hold off and any snowstorms will come after December 1st!!
All for now. See you tomorrow with a "heart-felt" block for Veteran's Day. ;-)

Monday, November 9

Monday morning going fine...

......and the whole week looks to be interesting with lots of bloggers posting great projects for the holidays and loads of giveaways. I thought I'd recommend one event that you all might already know about ...... but just in case, you might want to go here and visit Gudrun's blog for all the info on the Cross Country Christmas Quilter Designer's Blog Hop.

Lots of Minnesota designers are participating plus even more from across the country! I've printed out the pattern that Gudrun is sharing today and you'll find that here. It's a really "sweet" Christmas tree wall hanging and I immediately thought " I could start this today because I finished three projects this past weekend!" Isn't that great logic for starting something new?! LOL! Plus, since I will have to choose Christmas fabrics, maybe I will finally finish cutting that pile of Christmas prints into charm squares that I have promised to several blogging friends! I might get two projects finished in the next couple of days!
Off to play in my Christmas fabrics. Back later......

Good Monday Morning!!

Oh, yes, it's going to be a good Monday because I had a good weekend!! I actually finished some projects......completely.......not one seam left unstitched!! So what did I finish?

This lovely bag which is a pattern designed by Nanette of Freda'sHive. Nanette sent the pattern and kit to me at Christmas last year and it has been at my sewing machine waiting to be stitched. Then I took it along to our retreat this past August where I sewed the strips together and then planned to machine quilt it. Didn't happen. The machine I brought to the retreat wasn't compatible with my walking foot from my machine at home (and I'd only ever used it once on that machine!) so the project went back to my sewing desk waiting to be finished. One day I looked at the panels and thought, "you know, I think I'll 'chunky quilt' the seams with Perle cotton" so that's what I did. My friend, Denise, taught me the term "chunky quilting" and sometimes it's just the right look (especially on flannel projects). In this case, I felt it was just the "right look" on the fabrics that were in Nanette's kit. I goofed, though, when I stitched the layers together. I placed the stitched strips, batting and backing together and proceeded to hand-quilt it. Then came time to add the rick-rack trim and that was when I realized I shouldn't have sewn the lining to the batting. Oh, well, move to Plan B.
As you can see on the back side of the bag and on the inside photo, I sewed a strip of red print along each panel edge, stitched it in place and then added the rick-rack. It worked! No mistake is really a mistake in quilting. You just have to get creative and come up with a different way to correct that mistake. LOL!

I intend to use this bag as my "goin' guilting, lots of fun, maybe some shopping" bag. I plan to see that it gets lots of use! Thanks, Nanette, for the great bag design and the pattern and kit.
So, what else did I finish? Neither of these projects are very big but they are FINISHED and that feels so good! I embroidered the "Time for Tea" design for this potholder and you can find the design here . Then I machine stitched around the heart and flowers to secure the layers of batting, silver heat resistant fabric, etc. I didn't use my walking foot on this one and it worked out just fine. But then I thought, maybe I should give that walking foot a I did and here's my walking foot project.
This little fabric panel (approx. 7 1/2" x 9 1/2") was in a bag of scraps that I won at a quilt club meeting. I thought it would make a cute hot pad and a good practice piece with my walking foot. And it was! The walking foot works great! I don't think I'd want to quilt large items with my machine but I enjoy small projects more anyway. I just did an outline around the chefs and a little stitching here and there. It went so fast!
So there you have it, my reasons for why it will be a good Monday. Hope you had a great weekend, too, and enjoyed finishing a project or just enjoying time with family or lovely weather. Have a good day now!

Saturday, November 7

Seasons of the Heart November and December blocks..

I love the colors in this block...........

This year in Minnesota our fall colors weren't nearly so vibrant as those in the block above. Cold weather and rain quickly turned the usually pretty fall colors to damp leaves that dropped quickly from the trees. It was surprising to me how quickly the leaves fell to the ground! Oh, well, last year was colorful so if I need to be reminded, I can just look back at photos taken last fall.
This is a time of year when we think of "counting our blessings" and giving thanks. I have much to be thankful for even when some days seem like there are too many challenges. I remind myself that there is always someone struggling far more than I am and so, I, count my blessings!!

The block for December is a gift. You can use your imagination and wonder what is inside. The gift block also allows someone to do it in different colors for those who celebrate Hannukah or Kwanza.

Whatever the gift that is inside this box, I know that it is a "gift of love". Most gifts are given with love and Christmas is a special time when we can share gifts with our family and our friends. Some of the best gifts given are those that go to kids and families that are served by Toys for Tots and other organizations.

Note........pdf files of my patterns are posted in my Yahoo Seasons group. Just click on the Snowman on the sidebar and join the group!

"Christmas is for Kids" as the saying goes but kids come in all ages and sizes. I'm my mother's "kid" but I'm 60 years old. I love Christmas. My grandson is just ten and he is hopeful for a certain gift that is on his list. Christmas is a time of hope and giving, love and living. Sometimes things challenge us and the hope and giving, love and living are hard to find. I have a little chance for you to share a bit of that hope and love. My blogging friend, Janice, learned of a little boy who has cancer and wants to get as many Christmas cards as possible this year. You can send him a card by going to this link and you'll see that the story is true and you'll see the address of where to send the card. Mine is going in the mail in the morning. Make it a season for this little boy to "count the blessings" he'll find in those Christmas cards and the gift others will have given him just by mailing those cards. :-)
Night all.

Friday, November 6

Double Snowman Treat!

There's not a drop of snow on the ground here in Minnesota right now but I managed to conjure up the last of the Snowmen for you and here they are.............

This November Snowman is best buddies with this little deer that lives in the woods in our backyard (or so I imagine). He knows just how important friends are and what a blessing they are in our lives! Wouldn't you agree? I was inspired to draw this design by the real deer that wander across our backyard and the "not so real" deer that graced the front yard where my parents used to live. They loved those deer and when the time came to sell their house and downsize, the deer were transported to a friend's yard where my mom can still drive by and see them. Nice, huh?

Inspiration for this Santa snowman was easy. As so many of you do, I have wonderful memories of Christmas when I was a child and when my kid's were small. There was lots of Christmas joy when we awoke in the morning and got a peek under the tree. There was always some special thing we really wanted and the stockings always held a sweet surprise or two. :-)

This pair are the last two snowmen for this year. If you want pdf files of the pattern pages, you'll find them on file in my Yahoo BOM group. Just click on the Snowman on the sidebar and join the group. Hope you have enjoyed these guys and gals! I'm working up another series that will be suitable for Redwork or traditional embroidery and will post more info on that at the end of December. I will be gone in early December and that is why I posted both blocks for you at this time.
In my next post, I'll share the Seasons BOM Applique block designs and patterns, also for both November and December. That's all for tonight!
Have a good Friday!!!

Tuesday, November 3

An Election Day Block .........

for my "Grace and a Prayer" quilt.........

I actually made this block a few weeks ago so that I would be "one step ahead of the game" and that was a wise move. I made it when I did the block for September 11. It's just another idea for a nine patch block. To make the block, I cut 3-1/2" squares that are then sewn into rows of three and then those rows are sewn together to make the 12-1/2" block. There's a bit of a variation to the center square as I sewed four 2" squares to the corner of one 3-1/2" square - right sides together - then folded the fabric back to create the triangles you see in the each corner of the square. With the block squared up as in my photo, it makes me think of a cross but if put "on point" in a quilt top, it could resemble an "x". The nine-patch block is one of favorite blocks (Churn Dash is my favorite). It's easy and depending on the fabrics you use and if you "fussy cut" designs in the fabric that you are using.......well, you can come up with a lot of different variations from just a few nine-patch blocks. If you want to see other blocks for this quilt that I'm making called "Grace and a Prayer", just click on the label link below and all posts related to that topic will be displayed.
So, I'm "up-to-date" on this project and will have another block in this series next week on November 11, Veteran's Day.
Tomorrow I'll be working on the Seasons BOM blocks and will get those posted soon. I will be posting both November and December blocks. :-)
Time to "turn out the lights"......

Monday, November 2

I can't believe it's really November!

It really hit me today that in only a few weeks it will be Thanksgiving and then Christmas!! Time just goes too fast it seems. I enjoyed getting that hour back this past weekend and because I was preparing to go to Iowa to see my mom, I got all caught up on laundry, cleaned my house, prepared some meals for my husband since I'd be gone, etc. etc. I even gathered some projects to take along to work on while I was there but now it will be a couple more weeks before I go to see her and stay for a bit. She's doing well and I appreciate your prayers.
My mom doesn't have a computer so she doesn't read my blog but she knows that I post my stitching and quilting adventures here and that I talk about her and family members, etc. etc. I'm not sure she'd want me talking about her health all the time, though, so I think from now on, I'll just let you know when a little prayer or kind thoughts are needed. When we get together in a couple of weeks, I'm going to take her to the library and show her my blog so she can see what it is and then I'll let her decide what she'd like me to share.
I am pretty tired tonight so think I will head off to bed. With a clean house and no laundry to do, and no meetings or anything on the calendar, I have the entire rest of the work to work on my own projects. I can work on my Seasons BOM blocks!! I can also work on a new project that I am offering on Wooly Buddies for a 15 month Seasonal Wool Throw. You'll find buttons with links on the left side of my blog that will take you to the groups where the blocks are posted. So, while I can't believe it's November already, it is nice to know I have some extra time to work on projects that I wasn't expecting to have! Hope that makes sense!
Good night and see you all tomorrow!

Sunday, November 1

The Day after Halloween........

and the Trick or Treater's have come and gone! There were no tricks, only a lot of kids having fun gathering candy and treats. I always enjoy the younger kids in their costumes but the group that was having the most fun was a group of about ten young girls who were probably in their early teens. They reminded me of a slumber party I had when I was a freshman in High School and how much fun my friends and I had that year on Halloween!

I didn't carve a real pumpkin but had pumpkin shaped candles that glowed in the dining room and kids could see them when they arrived to ring the bell. Then there was this trio in the photo above that were shining in the kitchen. I love the glow of candles and got the smell of pumpkin by using scented tealights (a thoughtful gift from my daughter!). It was a nice evening and I enjoyed every ring of the doorbell!

Today, I decided to pack all the Halloween stuff away but will give you one last glimpse of Halloween at my house. I've shown you several of my miniature gift boxes in the past and almost forgot to share the ones I made for Halloween. Soooooooo, here they are.......little pumpkins, ghosts and candy bars made from Fimo clay, wrapped candy bars created from magazine ads, and tiny "Trick or Treat" bags that I drew and then colored that are filled with tiny treats. Everything is scaled 1"= 1'. The largest box is about 8-9" tall and the tiniest one is about 2" tall. This series was done in 1991 and earned a Blue Ribbon at the Scott County Fair. :-)

Just one last picture to's Kaiser, our beagle. He's wearing his favorite "costume".........his blue blanket that he must be covered with when he goes to sleep. Yep, he's a spoiled dog. He looks so funny when the blanket sticks to him because of static and he walks around like he's wearing a robe or something. LOL!
On Monday there will finally be some answers regarding health issues for my mom and a decision will be made for a treatment plan. When I post next time, I should know more what the next few weeks will hold.
Have a good Monday!!

"Peace can be found in the piecing of a quilt."
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