Archives

UFO’s…and I don’t mean the ones from outer space…

Dresden Plate

Dresden Plate

Once again I have entered a UFO Challenge.  As quilters, many of us have projects that we started many years ago, with the best intentions of finishing them.  Then life gets in the way, or we lose interest, or some wonderful new pattern or fabric or class grabs our attention.  Yes, we can be a very fickle group!

When I started this project I lived in upstate NY in the Helderberg mountains, in this big beautiful Victorian home.

First house - Westerlo, NY 1986

First house – Westerlo, NY 1986

The majority of the colors in the house were burgundy and green – my husbands favorite colors.  They were rich, beautiful colors that reflected the colors of the time that the house was built.  We spent 13 wonderful years living in this home.  But I digress.

The pattern for this quilt was published in American Patchwork & Quilting in April 1996.  I fell in love with it and decided to make it.  The pieces are machine pieced and machine appliqued.  The colors were perfect for the wallpaper and carpet in our bedroom at the time.  Needless to say I have lived in 3 different houses since then and the colors do not go in my bedroom any longer.  BUT… they are Victorian Christmas colors.  So I will use this as a Christmas quilt after it is completed.

one corner

one corner

I need to piece the backing and it will be dropped off at the longarm quilter in early February.  I will be dropping off 2 quilts at that point.  The second quilt is made up of hand pieced stars.  It is a sampler quilt so each block is different.  I need to finish up the borders on that one and then I will show you a picture of it.

These are 2 of the 6 quilts on my UFO list.  The prospect of getting these 2 quilts done is very exciting for me.  There is a wonderful feeling when a project that you have been working on for many years is almost done.

So quilters, knitters, crafters – go check out your stash and pull out those UFO’s and get to work.  Get them done  – you will be so happy that you have completed them.  Pat your self on the back and go start another project.

Keep creating…

Be Kind…

Faith

Celtic Christmas Part 5…

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I have been plugging away on Part 5 of Bonnie Hunters Celtic Solstice quilt. (http://www.quiltville.blogspot.com/p/celtic-solstice-mystery.html)  I am in the final stretch of getting this section completed. (http://quiltville.blogspot.com/2013/12/mystery-monday-link-up-part-5.html)  I am very happy with the fabric choices that I made and I made a serious dent in my Christmas fabrics, some of which are over 20 years old.  So far all of the fabrics are from the “stash”.  I love that the Christmas section of my shelves is a little emptier than it was before.  That means that I will need to buy more fabric to fill it up.  (Just Kidding Chuck!!!)

the backyard

the backyard

We are in the midst of a major winter storm right now.  The temperature is 4 degrees, the snow is falling and the wind is blowing.  I love it!!!!  The fridge is stocked and the fireplace is ready to light.  The only down side is that I have a miserable head cold.  I shouldn’t complain because I can’t remember the last time I had a head cold but I do feel pretty lousy.  Luckily I have no reason to leave the house.

Here are a few pictures of the chaos that is also known as my sewing table.  It doesn’t look like much but all of those pieces are strung together waiting for the next step.  In some cases I need to add the final piece, in others I just need to press and trim the final step.  I will get these done soon provided the power doesn’t go out.

organized chaos

organized chaos

some completed Part 5's waiting to be pressed and trimmed

some completed Part 5’s waiting to be pressed and trimmed

After Bonnie posted the final step of the quilt I just had to put a couple of the blocks together to see how they would look.  I am very pleased with the final product so far and I can’t wait to get moving on this quilt again.

2 completed blocks - I just love them!

2 completed blocks – I just love them!

If you are in the path of the storm stay warm and safe.  If you are in warmer climates enjoy the sunshine.  I am very happy to be snowbound on the coast of Southern Maine.  I think that I am going to make a big pot of Chili this afternoon – perfect food for a stormy day.

Keep sewing and

Be Kind…

Faith

Celtic Christmas part 3…

view of backyard

view of backyard

Good snowy morning from southern Maine.  Since Saturday we have gotten 2 feet of snow.  It is a winter wonderland outside and for the first time in several years we are going to have a white Christmas.  I realize that for a huge part of the world there is no such thing as a white Christmas but having grown up in the Northeast of the U.S., I love having a white Christmas.  Some would, and have called me crazy but I still get just as excited about a snow storm now as I did when I was 5.  There is some rain predicted for the weekend which could put a huge dent in my snowshoeing plans, we will just have to wait and see.

I have been spending a ton of time sewing lately – as have many of the Bonnie Hunters fans around the world. Here is the link to the latest mystery – http://www.quiltville.blogspot.com/p/celtic-solstice-mystery.html.  I have not finished Part 2 yet but I am definitely making progress.  To see everyone’s progress check this out – http://quiltville.blogspot.com/2013/12/celtic-solstice-mystery-monday-link-up_4572.html

some chevrons done other parts in progress

some chevrons done other parts in progress

String piecing progress

String piecing progress

I have also started Part 3 – I have all of my bits and pieces cut.  One of my good quilty friends Georgette, sent me the short cut that was mentioned here – http://quiltville.blogspot.com/search?q=gretchen.  Unfortunately, I had already cut all of my 2″ strips so I couldn’t utilize this helpful short cut.  I cut them all using the EZ-Angle as mentioned in Bonnie’s original directions.  I did speed things up by layering 4 strips of fabric at a time, so it took me less time than I thought it would, but I still need to sew them together.

bits and pieces

bits and pieces

As you can see I have made 1 pinwheel – yes I did sew it wrong the first time, and I know that I will again.  Pinwheels always give me some trouble.

one correct pinwheel

one correct pinwheel

I think that I am being very careful only to realize that I have goofed.  Hopefully the goofs will be few and far between.  Only time will tell.

I will be sewing again tonight – one thing that Bonnie’s Mysteries do for me is get me into my sewing room.  I get so many projects finished just because I am in my sewing space.  I am also usually digging through my stash which causes me to find long, lost and forgotten projects.

view from my sunroom - icy windows

view from my sunroom – icy windows

With winter here, ahead of schedule, I am anticipating getting a lot of projects started and finished this winter.  As I have said before there is nothing better than a quilt in your lap on a cold winter night.

I am looking forward to Part 4 on Friday morning – I do not anticipate getting very much of it done before the release of Part 5 but my head will be working on it.

Have a wonderfully Merry Christmas – keep sewing and,

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

Celtic Christmas…

first step cut and ready to sew

first step cut and ready to sew

It is that time of year again.  Christmas and a new Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt.  Bonnie Hunter – one of my favorite quilt designers has a mystery quilt every year.  It starts the day after Thanksgiving and ends some time in January, she posts new steps every week and we sew like mad to get the quilt steps done.  This year Bonnie’s quilt is called Celtic Solstice – here is the link up.

http://quiltville.blogspot.com/2013/12/celtic-solstice-mystery-monday-link-up-1.html

Her colors are very bright and while I am sure that her quilt will be amazing the colors just didn’t work for me.

work in progress

work in progress

So, after careful thought and a little bit of sleeplessness I came up with a solution.  I am making the quilt out of my stash of Christmas fabric.  I have been buying Christmas fabric for 30 years so I have lots of choices and fabric.  The salvage on one of the fabrics said 1991.  Yup, lots of old fabric.  By using it up it will free me to buy more with no guilt!

chain sewing

chain sewing

Bonnie has given 2 sizes for this quilt – a twin/double bed size and a king size.  I have opted for the King size – that way when I am done I will have a wonderful large quilt for our bed.  I will use it every year for the month of December.

completed units

completed units

I am not yet done with the first step but I will finish it today.  I am more than half way finished and that gives me the incentive to keep my little Featherweight chugging along.  I am very happy to be using up all of this old fabric – the goal is to refrain from buying any new fabric for this quilt.  I have never done that before – and I may not be able to do it with this quilt either.  I may need to buy some fabric for the back but hopefully I can be resourceful enough to make due with what I have.

A little Christmas thought – from The Little Book of Christmas Joys – 

#248. Read “The Gift of The Magi” by O’Henry  It always brings tears to my eyes and warmth to my heart.

Be Kind…

Faith

Flower Show and some other cute stuff…

My beautiful Orchid - Blooming in my sunroom.

My beautiful Orchid – Blooming in my sunroom.

We woke up to snow and wind this morning. Don’t get me wrong, I love the seasons all of them including winter, however I am about done with winter this year. I need some Spring in my life. We went to Portland this afternoon to visit the Flower show. The displays that the landscapers put together are absolutely amazing. It really makes you long for a yard free of snow and the smell of dirt. We always get ideas for our yard and gardens.

Weeping Cherry

Weeping Cherry

I love this Weeping Cherry Tree – I have the perfect place for it in my back yard.  We will have to wait and see.  I love to imagine the yard free of snow and full of flowers poking their way up through the mulch.

Here are a few more little plants that I want to add to my gardens.

Lenten Rose

Lenten Rose

Maidenhair Fern

Maidenhair Fern

I also saw a lovely little flower called a Ranunculus ‘Bloomingdale Mix’ – it seemed to be in almost all of the displays.  It is an annual and I usually like to plant mostly perennials but this little flower is so sweet.  Of course did I get a picture of it – Nope – missed that one.  I got a picture of the name card but not the actual flower.  Oops.

After the flower show we went to grab a bite to eat at Allison’s in Kennebunkport, ME.  This is the view from the parking lot before we went in to dinner.  I love the amazing colors in the sky.  What a beautiful sunset.

Beautiful Sunset - Kennebunkport, ME

Beautiful Sunset – Kennebunkport, ME

I also spent the week sewing – I was making gifts.  There are some people who I really love to make gifts for,  they are people who also like to create, people who really appreciate the passion I have for creating things.  Mari is one of these people.  Mari is also a creative person – we are both a bit stifled in our actual jobs because we would rather be making things with our time.  We both love to cook and to create for others.  Kindred spirits for sure.  Mari loves whimsical things.  I made her these gifts for her birthday.  I think the purse fits the description of whimsical.

Little bag

Little bag

stitch details on bag

stitch details on bag

Pillow

Pillow

So once again this evening I am in my sewing room.  In a few minutes I will be parked in front of my little antique Singer Featherweight machine stitching my swap blocks.

Have a nice weekend and don’t forget to set your clocks back.

Be Kind….

Faith

Block Swap…

A couple of weeks ago I was perusing Facebook, and I noticed a post by one of my favorite authors – Marie Bostwick http://mariebostwick.com/. Marie has written loads of books about a woman who goes through a difficult time in her life – moves to a new city/town and opens a quilt shop. As a quilter this has always been something that I have wanted to do. Life and finances have always kept me from doing that – it is still on my bucket list but the lottery may need to be involved for it to happen at this point. We all need our dreams. But I digress….

The post was regarding a block swap – as a reader of Marie’s Forum I was very interested in this project. We were instructed to check out Bonnie Hunter’s blog http://www.quiltville.blogspot.com and check out her tutorial for The Guilford County Block http://quiltville.blogspot.com/2012/08/its-guilford-county-block.html. To sign up you needed to let them know that you were interested – forum posts and e-mails started flying all over. We have 22 people who have signed up – they are from all over the place – the US and Canada seem to be the most interested.

We are making the blocks pink and brown – not colors that I would usually use together but I am happy with the blocks. I am using Batiks which I love to work with. They give you such a range of color tones within each piece of fabric. We can use scraps within our stash but I decided that I would buy some new fabric.

 

This is a picture of my first attempt at the block.  OOPS – I flipped one of the pieces and this is what I got.   Not bad but not right.  That is why they call it a practice block.

First attempt - oops

First attempt – oops

 

 

This is what the block is actually supposed to look like.

Guilford County Block

Guilford County Block

 

However this is also a practice block because it isn’t 12.5″ square which is a requirement for the swap.  I am using my new sewing machine and I am still fiddling with the seam allowance – it has to be exactly 1/4″ in order for the block to measure 12 1/2″ square when I am finished.  If you don’t have your blocks exactly 12 1/2″ when you assemble your quilt it will not be square – it will be all wonky.  You don’t want a WONKY quilt!!!

Last night I fiddled and fiddled and finally got my seam allowance correct and now I am making 22 blocks that will be 12 1/2″ square.  So I will be sewing Guilford County Blocks and then mailing them off by April 16th.  In return I will receive 22 Guilford County Blocks made by 22 different people who love quilting and love Marie Bostwick books.

I have never done a swap like this before – I am looking forward to seeing the blocks that I get in return and I am also looking forward to making these blocks into a quilt.  Just the idea of 22 different people interpreting the block and picking fabrics is exciting.  So after I get my blocks all assembled I will send them off to the quilter who is organizing this and then I will wait to get my 22 blocks in return.  I will show you the blocks as soon as I get them.

More snow coming tonight – hopefully it will all blow out to sea and we will not have to shovel.  Beautiful weather is coming for the weekend.  Don’t forget to change your clocks on Saturday night.  We lose an hour  – bummer.

 

Be kind…

Faith

The Blizzard of 2013

view out front door

view out front door

 

Well it started to snow here around 3 am on Friday, and it snowed, and snowed, and snowed, and snowed etc. Of course the wind was also blowing very, very hard.
We were all set – we had been to the grocery store, we had food, water, WINE, a generator, gas for the snowblower. So we settled in and watched it pile up and oh my word it did. It is practically impossible for us to measure how much snow we got because it was blown all over the place.

The wind blew so hard that it made it very difficult to sleep – it was very noisy.  We were up early Saturday morning – anxious to see what had been dumped on us over night.

the living room window

the living room window

 

view from mud room door

view from mud room door

 

 

There were spots in the yard that had no snow and spots where it seemed to be over 6 feet deep.
We waited until Saturday afternoon to get started. The wind was still blowing very hard but for the most part the snow had stopped. We bundled up in our warmest layers and headed outside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the view from inside the garage – Chuck had climbed out the mudroom door over the snow drift to an area on the driveway where there was only a few inches of snow.

Hi Chuck

Hi Chuck

 

We realized that we were going to be moving snow for several hours – there was just so much of it.  It is really one of the largest storms that I can remember.  Chuck was snowblowing and I was knocking down the high drifts.  You couldn’t really shovel it because there was no where to put it.  Moving snow is hard work – THEN……

the calvary arrived!!!!

the calvary arrived!!!!

Our wonderful neighbors came and helped us dig out – then we all moved down the street to do several more neighbors.  All in all over the two days we cleared 5 driveways and cleared paths for the oil men to be able to make deliveries.

That is what Chuck is doing here….

the front walk

the front walk

 

The snow drift in our front yard was probably 6 ft high – hard packed snow.

This is what a neighborhood is supposed to do – group together – work hard – have fun and get it done.  It is fun to pay it forward and do for others.  We are all a little bit stiff today but we all have decided that the work we all did together was fun.

Thank you residents of Channel Cove for helping us have fun playing in the snow for lots of hours this weekend.

Be Kind….

Faith

Super Bowl Weekend Plans….

So I would classify myself as a pretty big football fan.  I usually am very excited about the Super Bowl games but this year not so much.  I won’t get into all of the reasons why I don’t want the Ravens to win or the reasons why I do want the 49ers to win but I will not be glued to the TV all day on Sunday waiting for the “Big Game” to begin.

OLDEST BIN

OLDEST BIN

Instead I will be sorting.  I have way more bins of fabric than I have room to store them.  I am going to sort through the scraps that I have been saving for close to 25 years and slice and dice until I have nice neat piles of strips and bricks of fabrics.

LOTS OF MEMORIES HERE

LOTS OF MEMORIES HERE

I know that this project will be a walk to memory lane.  I can see just by looking at the fabrics in the baskets that there are fabrics from quilts that I made when my children were babies.  Many of these scraps of fabrics are from clothes that I made for both of them over the years.  It will be a lot of fun to look at all of these fabrics but what will be even more fun will be the bags of fabric that are ready to be made into new quilts.  No $ spent and laundry baskets of jumbles of fabric emptied.  How great is that!

MORE!!!!!

MORE!!!!!

I have a storage container with 3 drawers in it that fits very nicely under my sewing table and a box of 2 gallon zip lock bags ready to be filled with slices of fabric.  My plan is to cut 3 ½”, 2 ½” and 1 ½” strips when I can.  I am going to cut  1 ½”, 2 ½” squares, 5” blocks. I am going to cut a variety of bricks 2 ½” x 3 ½”, 2 ½” x 4 ½”, 3 ½” x 4 ½” and possibly 4 ½” x 6 ½”.  These are all sizes of fabrics that can be combined easily with strips to use in quilt tops.  I will then sort them by colors, not to fussy but general sorting.

Where most of it will end up

Where most of it will end up

I am looking forward to getting all of this organized.  I have been trying to use more of my scraps lately just to add some zip to my quilts and to also use up fabrics that have been sitting around for years.  If I have an organized way to get at the scraps it will make my job that much easier.  All of this organizing has been inspired by Bonnie Hunter – you can see Bonnie’s tips on this here – http://quiltville.blogspot.com/2005/06/scrap-users-system.html.  Check it out – she has loads of clever ways to get your scraps controlled.

I am really excited about this.  Ok call me crazy for being excited about something as mundane as sorting and cutting fabrics, but I know that in the end the reward will be great!  So wish me luck and I will show you the results when I am done.

Enjoy the weekend and the game.  Remember to do everything in moderation, eating and drinking.

Be Kind….

Faith

Oh Baby it’s Cold Outside…..

Brrr – When I got up this morning it was 1 degree outside.  It is currently 4 degrees – wow what a warm up.  It hasn’t been this cold in Maine in years – I believe the weather man said this morning that the last time it was this cold was 2000.  Thirteen years is a really long time for mild weather.  Don’t panic this is not a post about Global Warming.  It is more a post about past memories of cold weather and snow.

When our children were born we lived in the Town of Westerlo.  It is a small town in upstate NY in the beautiful Helderberg Mountains.  It is the southwest corner of Albany county but it is a world away from most of the county.  It  is just high enough in elevation to make it snow when it is raining in Albany.  It is always a little bit colder “in the Hilltowns” than it is off the hill.  When our children were little we would guess how cold it would be when we pulled into the driveway.  You would have to have your guess in before we started up the hill.  Very often the change in temperature could be as much as 5 degrees.

First house - Westerlo, NY 1986

First house – Westerlo, NY 1986

This is the house that we lived in.  It was built about 1856.  It was a lovely home and I miss it.  We have many very happy memories of family times and parties in this house.

I used to love it when it snowed – I actually still do.  I like to make some comfort food – chicken pot pie, meatloaf and mashed potatoes, pot roast, just to name a few.  A pot of soup or chili are always good choices on snowy days.

Charles 20 months old

Charles 20 months old

This is picture of Charles when he was about 20 months old.

He loved being pulled around the yard in his sled.  He was one cool dude with his shades on.  I used to love kissing those cold rosy cheeks!  Memories are wonderful.

Elizabeth 2 years old

Elizabeth 2 years old

As you can see in these pictures my little darlings were all bundled up for the snow.

Charles 3 years old

Charles 3 years old

They were probably outside for about 30 minutes before complaining that they were cold.  I am sure that Daddy had something to do with the building of the snowman.

Snowman winter 1991

Snowman winter 1991

We don’t have snow like that any more.  Of course a big part of that is where we live.  Some years we have alot of snow and other years like 2012 we have no snow.  Right now we have cold but not alot of snow.

So if you go outside – bundle up and be sure you have a big cup of hot chocolate or tea waiting for you when you come inside.

Enjoy  – this too shall pass.  In July and August we will be complaining about how hot it is.

Be Kind…

Faith