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Celtic Christmas – part 2…

 

 

 

Our Christmas tree this year.

Our Christmas tree this year.

Bonnie posted part 2 of the mystery on Friday but before I could get sewing I needed to decorate the house, and Sunday was such a beautiful day we took Gracie for a walk.

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When all of that was finished I started cutting and stitching like a crazy lady.  I have been working on some Christmas presents but I have also been working on Celtic Christmas aka Bonnie Hunter’s Celtic Solstice http://www.quiltville.blogspot.com/p/celtic-solstice-mystery.html.

I am not finished sewing but I am finished cutting and marking.

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I have started to sew. Bonnie’s hint to mark all of the center lines does make getting a true rectangle much easier.

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I have put together a few of the chevrons just to be sure that I had the concept correct.

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As you can see I am keeping Bonnie’s instructions right in front of me because the potential for mistakes is very high with all of these angles.photo (50)

I have been saving the triangles that I am trimming off.  I haven’t decided whether or not I will use them but i just can’t bring myself to throw the out right now.  I have seen that many of you have completed this step already – one question – do you sleep?

I love to look at all of the different combinations of colors that everyone is using.  It is such fun to try to imagine what the end result will look like.

It is snowing a little bit here in Southern Maine right now and that is fine with me.  I have no where that I need to go so I can stay home and sew.  Enjoy the process.

Be Kind…

Faith

 

What Christmas really means to me…

Our Christmas tree this year.

Our Christmas tree this year.

Christmas – what exactly does that word mean to you?  It isn’t about manic shopping or tons of “GREAT” bargains, it isn’t about getting the best gift for your kids or from your kids.  It is about tradition, it is about family, it is about love, it is about laughing and memories.

A friend recently posted on Facebook that she couldn’t take 19 more days of Christmas music, she was not raised as a Christian so she does not have the memories or traditions that I do, so I suppose I understand how annoying “Christmas” can be to her.  My first thought of course was – Change the station, but then I started to really think about Christmas meant to me.

As a child we decorated our tree on Christmas Eve, the rest of the house would be decorated through out the month of December but the tree was always decorated on Christmas Eve.  We would start it and our parents would finish it.  As we got older we would finish it with them.  I do remember very specific directions about how to properly place the tinsel – I also recall some good natured arguments about the placement of the tinsel.  Side note – I do not use tinsel on my Christmas tree!  I also remember waking my parents up at about 4:00 in the morning (I of course did not realize that my father had only gone to bed about an hour earlier) –  to open presents – “GO BACK TO BED FAITH” was what I heard from their bedroom.

Gracie as Rudolph

I have wonderful memories of Christmas and none of them have to do with the gifts that I received.  I remember my mother accidently doubling a recipe for cookies and consequently having a ton of cookies to bake.  I also remember the time my mother was putting candied cherries on cookies only to have my younger sister eat all of the cherries off of the cookies.  I remember my grandmother ringing bells under the table and telling me that there was a present upstairs that Santa’s helpers had left me.   I remember Christmas Crackers on Christmas Eve and wearing funny crowns all through dinner.

Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread Cookies

Christmas for me is about remembering precious moments and creating new ones.  It is about the love that I always felt growing up, it is about the cookies that my mother made and my grandmother made that I now make.  It is about talking about the memories with your children, and parents, and cousins and dear family friends.  It is about going out with your dearest friends to cut your Christmas tree, drinking hot chocolate and eating candy canes and then going back to the house for a wonderful meal.

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Christmas is about the season – it is about family, friends and memories.  It is about being thankful for the blessings that we have and about sharing them with each other.

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But most important it is about LOVE – I love the season, I love the reason for the season, I love the time spent with family and friends.  I love the rush and the crush, I love the trees and the lights and the cookies.  I love the Christmas carols!  I love the walk on the beach on Christmas morning, when there are a few snowflakes falling and the air is cold and brisk.  I love the anticipation of seeing someone that I love opening a one of a kind gift that I have made especially for them.  I love the warm, comfy feelings that I have when I remember tucking my children into bed in their red sleepers on Christmas Eve.  I love the total exhaustion that I feel when I have done all of the things that I feel need to be done to make it a “perfect” Christmas.  What makes it perfect is the family!

I hope that you can feel some of the spirit that makes Christmas special and wonderful for me.  I hope that you can make memories with people you love

Be kind…

Faith

Bass Harbor Light House…

Bass Harbor Light

Bass Harbor Light

In mid October Chuck and I took a couple of days off and headed Down East.  Our destination was Mount Desert Island.  We try to get to Bar Harbor once a year.  It is one of our favorite parts of Maine.  We love Acadia National Park and if you have never been there it is definitely worth the drive.  It is an amazing mixture of mountains and ocean.  Towering pines, crashing waves, amazing wild life and a wonderful place to relax, walk, ride a bike and see nature.

On the second day that we were there the day started out rainy and dreary.  Not a great day to take a long walk.  We decided to take a short drive to Southwest Harbor – the most southwest corner of Mount Desert Island.  It is also the location of Bass Harbor Light.

Bass Island Light

Bass Island Light

This lighthouse is perched on the very edge of the rocks.  The views are amazing, even on a drizzly day.  We were on the edge of the rocks looking down on the crashing waves.

To the left of the Light house there is a path that brings you down through the woods to more rocks.  It would have been a great place to bring a picnic.  There was a very steep set of wooden steps that brought you even closer to the water.IMG_2521

I love walking through the woods on a rainy day – it reminds me of playing in the woods behind the house with my sisters when we were kids.

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There is a certain scent in the piney woods that can’t be duplicated by a candle or any thing else artificial.  It is a the smell of the woods – I can’t find the words to describe it, but I love it.

We wandered around the lighthouse area taking pictures and talking to other visitors, then we hopped back in the car. The rain was letting up just as the weatherman had predicted.  We drove through Southwest harbor – stopping at a local quilt shop to pick up a couple of yards of fabric to supplement the stash.  Then on to Eagle Lake for our hike.  We had our knapsack packed with some trail mix, cheese, apples and a couple of bottles of water.  The hike was a 6.1 mile walk.  I will write a post about that in the near future.

Off to my sewing machine to work on a quilt for the veterans.  Love being in front of my sewing machine!

Be Kind…

Faith

Wow – 1 year anniversary!

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Who would have thunk it???  I wrote my first blog post over a year ago.  I have really enjoyed sharing my world with you and I hope that you have enjoyed taking a peak.  This fall has been very busy – we have done a bit of traveling, we have watched our beloved Red Sox win the World Series, I have worked on many charity projects and Chuck has removed bags and bags of leaves from the yard.  Over the next couple of days I will share a lot of the wonderful pictures that I have taken and tell you about some of our adventures.

In September Chuck and I celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary.  Don’t ask me where those 28 years went.  It is pretty nice to be married to and spend everyday with your BFF.  We really enjoy each others company, we look forward to spending time together.  That is a really good thing because we work together also.

We took a trip to Bar Harbor in October.  Thankfully the idiots in Washington had re-opened the Federal Government so we could walk through Acadia National Park with out “breaking” the law.  I have some really pretty pictures from our walk around Eagle Lake.  It was mid-October so the trees were in full color.

leaves on the carriage road around Eagle Lake

leaves on the carriage road around Eagle Lake

I have been very busy being the President of Evergreen quilters.  We hosted 85 quilters from all over southern Maine for a pot luck dinner and speaker.  We had a wonderful meeting and handed out some fabulous door prizes.  Leroy the Chicken was one of the door prizes.

Leroy

Leroy

Leroy is a very large pin cushion.  I need to make one for myself.  I would love to have Leroy keep me company while I sew.  I would just need to keep him away from Gracie -he is stuffed with crushed walnut shells.  It seems Gracie likes to eat pin cushions that are filled with crushed walnut shells.  She devoured Henrietta the hen a few months ago.  Bad Dog!

So stay tuned – I have loads of wonderful things for you to see and read about.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog – I really enjoy the creative outlet that it gives me.  I also love to share bits and pieces of my daily life here on the coast of Southern Maine.

Remember…. Be Kind…

Faith

A baby quilt….

A Quilt for Nolan

A Quilt for Nolan

 

A young lady that I have known for many years just had a baby.  Meredith and her husband Garrett have been friends of my son Charles, for many years.  They graduated from high school together.  They had a beautiful baby boy named Nolan on September 23rd.  I had been working on a quilt for him since the spring.  I never really expected it to take me so long, but as I worked on the quilt I kept getting new ideas about how to complete the quilt.  I finished it last week – and put it in the mail on Monday.  I think that Meredith should receive it in the mail today, that is why I am posting pictures of it today.

I used the Eleanor Burns Irish Chain Quilt book for the basic design of the quilt.  I changed the borders and added some new details.  I used the Electric quilt program to make 4 1/2″ blocks for Nolan’s name and the stars in the corners.IMG_2503

 

I paper pieced the blocks so that they would be very accurate.  Paper piecing is a great way to have your  star blocks finish with pointy points.  I think that paper piecing is either something that you love or hate.  For many years it frustrated me but I persisted and now I love it.  Paper Piecing is a very accurate way to piece small blocks or blocks with a lot of points.  So if you haven’t tried it give it a try, eventually you will love it.

 

I machine quilted this quilt.  The theme of Nolan’s nursery is Elephants so I quilted elephants in the center of the Irish Chain.

Elephant Quilting

Elephant Quilting

I really loved working on this quilt.  I love the way yellow and blue work together.  It is one of my favorite color combinations.  I have another quilt in the works with the same colors – but that is a potential gift so it will remain under wraps until a later date.

I was able to get 2 items crossed off of my To-Do list.  I completed the placemats for Meal on Wheels and the block for the Veterans quilt. Two looming deadlines that will be met.  PHEW!!!

Enjoy the beautiful fall weather – the trees around me are a blaze of color.  I will post some pictures soon.

Be Kind,

Faith

I want to make quilts….

But I have so many things that I need to get done.  The things that need to be finished are not fun things – I don’t necessarily feel like I will be creating anything.  I will however feel a sense of relief and be happy that I have finished these things when I am done.

Here is my list:

1. Placemats to donate to Meals on Wheels.

2. A block for a quilt to donate to the Veterans.

3. Tote Bag to donate to the Battered Woman’s Shelter

4. Mug Rug for a swap in November

Sometimes listing what you need to do makes it less of a chore.  As I look at this list (there are a few other things that I should add to the list) it doesn’t look so daunting.  So tonight I am going to get at least 2 of these things done.  I love the quilting group that I am a member of and I love the fact that we do so many wonderful things for groups who are less fortunate than we are.

the mystery box

the mystery box

An unexpected gift…

I get together with a bunch of ladies once a month to work on hand work – we all have projects that we are working on.  Stitching down a binding, working on hand quilting, doing embroidery work, and several of us are working on Hexies.

 

wonderful little hexies

wonderful little hexies

One of my friends gave me a wonderful gift the last time we got together.  It was given to her by a woman who was cleaning things out.  It is a box of wonderful 30’s fabric and the start of a sweet little hexie quilt.

I am overwhelmed with this wonderful box of quilting history.  The previous owner even left her thimble and a threaded needle.

work in progress

work in progress

There is a template in the box made out of sandpaper.

This was such a wonderful unexpected gift and treasure.  I will work on this over the next few years – I know it will be years because these hexies are little, smaller than anything else that I have worked with.

sandpaper template and unfinished hexie pieces

sandpaper template and unfinished hexie pieces

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the treasure uncovered

the treasure uncovered

 

So this wonderful box will be put on a shelf for a bit and then I will dig into it and hopefully make the original owner proud of my work.  I will send you pictures of the items on the list as I get them done. Tonight I will dig into the “to-do list” and get it started.  I am looking forward to the feeling of accomplishment when they are done I will show you some pictures of them.

Go Red Sox!!!  the game will be on in the background tonight.

Keep sewing…

Be Kind…

Faith

Creatively Distracted……

unfinished projects

unfinished projects

 

The weather is beautiful today – the next few days we have 80 degrees predicted and then rain.  So I would rather be outside walking on the beach than working.  But alas I need to work to continue with my creative habits.  As I have mentioned before I purchased a spinning wheel.  Oh the fun I am having!! I have worked with 4 different rovings since I brought my machine home.  It is really amazing to see the difference in the yarns that I am spinning.  I do see some improvement.

I plied 2 strands of spun yarn to have a thicker yarn.  The fiber that I was spinning had lots of variations in the color.  I am really please with the results of the yarn – the variation in color reminds me of the ocean.

while still in the process of being spun

while still in the process of being spun

This is the yarn after I spun the 2 strands together.  Pretty cool don’t you think.  I think this will be knitted into a Christmas present for someone who will remain nameless.

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the last of my fiber to be spun until the end of next week

 –  the last of my fiber to be spun until the end of next week

So I will finish up this fiber that you see above and then I will dive into my quilting.  I am going to promise myself that I will work on my quilting at least 2 hours every night.  The way that I am talking it sounds like a punishment – it of course is not – I love to quilt and to make quilts but I am like a kid with an attention deficit problem – I keep flitting from project to project.  Lots of fun flitting!!!

So my spinning is part of my distraction – the nice weather is part of my distraction – the desire to cook (because of the cooler weather) is part of the distraction.  But as you can see by the photo at the top of the page there are quilts to be finished.  1 is a baby quilt, 2 are Christmas quilts that I have been working on for years, one is a mystery that needs to be marked for quilting and then quilted.  Plus I have many other projects on my shelves waiting for my attention.  I also have not mentioned the unfinished sweaters that are in the bags by my couch.  Far too much to do and far too little time for it.  There needs to be more time in the day, if only I didn’t need to sleep I would be getting much more done.

Remember to let your creativity shine – it is fun and rewarding.

Be Kind…

Faith

Latest Quilt challenge….

Fabrics for Challnge

Fabrics for Challnge

Back in April we signed up for a challenge at Evergreen Quilters – we were given 21 8″ blocks. I wrote about it here – https://quiltingonthecove.com/2013/04/03/faith-in-me/.   I had an idea of what I wanted make but I have to admit that I procrastinated for over a month and then I started cutting and paper piecing the background.  I used my Electric Quilt program to print up several various 4″ log cabin blocks.  My plan was to use the fabrics to make a background for my garden.  The lower part of the quilt is the ground and the steps into the garden.  There is a stone path and as your eyes work upward the sun is setting.  I was thinking of a fall sunset with all of the reds and oranges as the sun goes down.  Ok, so you may need to use your imagination but that is what creating a quilt from a disjointed pile of fabrics is about.

Flower Garden Challenge Quilt

Flower Garden Challenge Quilt

I added bias cut stems and 3 dimensional flowers.  I am really pleased with the final outcome.

3 Dimensional Flowers

3 Dimensional Flowers

I neglected to take a picture of all of the wonderful creations that my fellow quilters made.  Silly me, but they were amazing!!!

I have a ton of projects in the pipeline – several with deadlines.  So I will be very busy in the next few weeks.  I also have pickles to pickle and salsa to make so it will be a crazy few weeks.  Life is good – fall is coming and I am ok with it all.

Be Kind…

Faith

One UFO done…

My quilt guild has a UFO challenge every couple of years. This year I signed up to finish 4 quilts. They are all pieced and only need to be quilted. Two of them have been UFO’s for over 10 years. One is all hand pieced star blocks done in Christmas fabrics. I love the top and I need to find just the right long armed quilter to quilt it for me. The other one is a Dresden plate quilt block that is machine pieced and machine appliqued. Hopefully they will be done soon, but they will not be done by Monday when the UFO challenge is taking place.

I did finish one of the quilts that I signed up to complete. I started this quilt my years ago at a quilt retreat in the Catskills. It was a wonderful retreat and a fun class.

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Part of what took me years to complete was the hand quilting. I quilted some feathers in the corners and along the edge.

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I machine quilted the rest of the quilt with metallic thread. It gives the quilt a little extra Christmas sparkle. This will either be used as a wall hanging or a table topper. For now it will be stored in a closet in a pillow case to keep the dust off of it, but come December it will be used to decorate as well as reminding me of a great fall weekend with friends.

I have also been spinning yarn with my new spinning wheel. Here is a picture of the yarn that I have spun. I am happy with it. Not bad for a novice. I really love it and hope to, take a class soon to really learn what I am doing right and wrong.

First spun yarn

First spun yarn

Have a nice weekend,

Be Kind…

Faith

New toy….

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I have wanted a spinning wheel for about 25 years. I go to county fairs and I always go to the sheep barn and the Wool Nooks and watch the spinners spin. I have been looking for second hand spinning wheel for years with no luck.

I have finally decided to bite the bullet and go buy one. I purchased a Louet S10 double treadle. I bought it from a wonderful yarn and equipment shop in Bath, Maine called Halcyon Yarn. It is a shop that is full of amazing yarn, fiber, equipment for knitting, spinning and weaving. I could spend hours just browsing through this shop.

I brought home this box…

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Then, like a little kid on Christmas I opened it and started to assemble it.

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It was quite easy to assemble it…it came with a bag of fiber so I started to spin as soon as I could. It looks very easy but it does take practice. I have some yarn spun as you can see here,

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I will be spinning a lot in the next few days. It is very relaxing and so far it is as wonderful as I thought it would be. The potential for spinning beautiful yarn is huge. I don’t expect fabulous things at first but with practice I will figure this new skill out and enjoy it immensely. I need another hobby right???

Sometimes we have to be bold and just do it! That is the way that I feel about my new wheel. Maybe if I had a bucket list I would be able to check it off of the list. I know that it is a dream come true and something that I have been contemplating for many years. I will have fun, I will knit something fun with my handspun yarn and someone I love will receive it as a gift. Life is good!

Be Kind…

Faith