Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Mission accomplished

Sometime in 2013 I sort of, kind of, thought about, semi-promised myself that I would finish my Blackbird Designs Anniversaries of the Heart before the end of year... and I did.

I just picked this up from Bev the framer at Joanns and I have to saw it blew me away when she took off the brown paper wrapping. I knew I loved it before I took it to her, but oh my goodness, what a wonderful finish a good frame makes. I LOVE IT!!

I picked a very simple frame in, about 2 inches in width with a mottled gold/bronze finish. I've tried to include a close of the frame in these two pictures.

This is the top left corner which happens to be my oldest son's birth month.

And this is the right top corner which happens to be my youngest son's birth month.

I think this section is a great one to usher in 2014...

a wish for good health, good luck and happiness... for all of us.

Happy New Year!

carol fun

Monday, December 30, 2013

Finishing up 2013 with a Finish on Design Wall Monday

Now this is the way I wanted to close out the year... another top finished and ready to go to the long arm quilter. This is my Kaffe Pineapple Blossom quilt. You can find the pattern here on Bonnie Hunter's website. I made the 12" block. You can find the cutting instructions about halfway down the page.

OH CARP... I just saw that the block in the top row, second from the right is a mutant... the last triangles are on the wrong side... how did I miss that???  Okay, I'll be taking that out today... at least there is still have one more day in 2013.

I think you can tell this isn't on the wall, it is on the floor of my sewing room. I have another quilt on the wall I didn't want to disturb. I had a hard time photographing this quilt. The color is really hard to capture, but suffice to say it is really BRIGHT!!! An overload of cheddar... a melted mass of color!

Here are some close-ups of the fabrics..

It came out bigger than I thought it would. That happens to me a lot. I was going for a throw size and this ended up 76" square. Well, that will be a generous throw.

Here's hoping the 2014 is a productive year for all of us!
Happy stitching-
carol fun

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Staying small on Slow Stitching Sunday

Since finishing my Blackbird Designs Anniversaries of the Heart last week, I decided that I should do some small stitching for a change so I'll be able to experience a finish in less than 3 years. To that end I started another BBD piece, just much smaller...

This is A Stitcher's Companion from the book Honeysuckle Manor. It will finish about 5" square. The pictures washed out the color of the fabric. It is a soft pink-y peach and is an unidentified linen from my stash. Likewise the floss is also nameless. I found it tossed in the bottom of a basket. It changes from a light rose to a dark rose and occasionally some copper spots.

And I stitched up this little piece which is the start of a new collection for me -- Christmas ornaments that have deer on them.

This is about 3" X 3.5" and is from the Prairie Schooler. I loved the deer and it seems appropriate for my new house as the neighborhood I live in is called Deer Park. A very accurate name, as we have a ton of deer. Every evening there are at several groups that wander through - sometimes as many as five in a group. Now I assume they come from the next neighborhood -Amberly Village- which has a lot more wooded area. My neighborhood was built in the 1950's. Small yards with the houses close together. I've already been warned that the deer are ravenous, so instead of planting tulips, which they consider a delicacy, I planted daffodils - about 120 of them. I can't wait to see how they bloom in the spring.

I dated this one 2013 and plan to do another deer themed ornament next year and the year after that and the year after that and the year after that.... you get the picture - LOL!

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Friday, December 27, 2013

On the Needles for the end of the 2013

Hello -- I hope everyone had a nice Christmas - lots of good food and good company. It was lovely here. I fixed a well received prime rib dinner which we ate noon and by 2 pm I was snoozing in my chair in a food coma. We are having the left overs tonight with the prime rib returning as sliders on those yummy Kings Hawaiian rolls. Can't wait!

I did get a little knitting done in between the food prep and finishing up presents. One solitary sock...

Now this is old old yarn - Opal Rendezvous. I wish they would make more like this - thick stripes, thin stripes, several colors. I just LOVE it! Actually this is the 2nd pair of socks I've made with this yarn. It was one of the first pairs of socks I ever knit and I have been wearing them very regularly for several years. I noticed the other day that they were getting a bit thin on the sole and I was sad that I would have to retire them. But a quick scan of the internet yielded a ball of this yarn on ebay. I quickly grabbed it. Yesterday I got to thinking that having another ball would be lovely, but alas, it is no where to be found. Glad I got it when I did.

However, it isn't all gloomy here because a Christmas present to me, from me (I am such a good gift giver - LOL!) arrived. Five skeins of Blue Moon Fibers Socks that Rock... and oh do they rock my world.

From left to right we have Free Range Chicken, Honey Cocka, Sunshine Superman, Chickabiddy, and Crabby McHappypants. Someone at Blue Moon is on a chicken kick and there are several new colorways with chicken names... so it was destined that some should come and live at my house, right? (Shake your head up and down, up and down. Good.)

The hard part is deciding which one to knit first... and what to knit.  I love socks from this yarn even though they don't do well with machine wash and dry. But they are worth the extra effort.  I have been perusing Ravelry and found a couple of ideas - this hat called Sockhead, and this cowl called Willow, and this cowl called A Grey Loop.   All of these are free patterns.

I read with interest Judy L of  Patchwork Times resolution of "knitting the stash" in 2014. I'd like to do this, but I figured a little stash enhancement before Jan 1. wouldn't hurt. And perhaps a trip to my local yarn store before the New Years Day may be on my calendar.  Now just as Judy isn't sure she can stick to this, I too have my doubts about my behavior. I do pat myself on the back that I don't buy nearly the amount of fabric and yarn and paper goodies as I use to ... kinda like a drunk that has cut back from a couple of 6 packs to less than one... I'm better, but not there yet.  I don't make New Years resolutions, I prefer to call them New Years suggestions... which have a teeny tiny sliver of possibility of  coming to fruition. I promise that I will do it but I promise to try to try... and that is the best I can do - LOL!

Happy knitting-
carol fun

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

I hope you have a Merry Little Christmas! I'm looking forward to cooking dinner for my boys and sharing a relaxed day. Mother Nature cooperated and has given us a dusting of snow, so we'll have a White Christmas.. which coincidentally, is the movie I will be watching as I snooze off my Christmas feast.

Thank you to everyone who stops by and reads my rambling. I truly appreciate your interest and wish to express my gratitude for all the support you've given me this last year.

Merry Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year!

carol fun

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas socks

Finished just in time - Christmas socks for me!

If you enlarge the picture you can see a bit more clearly that the yarn is red with pink and white. My niece bought this yarn - it was Stroll from Knitpicks - I forget the name and lost the ball band.  My niece didn't like the pink in it and gave it to me. Now it is a good thing that I don't like matching socks because these two skeins knitted up very differently. The first one has narrow stripes that remind me of a candy cane, but the second one ended up with wide swathes of the red alternating with the pink and white. Personally I like the second sock best. I love when yarns pool and flash. I wish both socks came out like this one, but either way it is certainly a festive pair of socks.

Happy knitting-
carol fun

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I thought I was done decorating...

but I was wrong. My Christmas cheer returned and after the success with the gingerbread man garland in my kitchen, and I was seduced into making some snowflake ones which I put up in my bedroom and my living. room.

And from this angle you can see my Christmas quilts which the Dude finds quite comfy.

I realized the other day that I haven't shown any pictures of my decorating in my bedroom. This room is all about me (as if the rest of the house isn't -LOL!) The wall color is Regale Blue by Sherwin Williams. My oldest son said it was a blue fit for a queen (I suspect some royal sucking up in that statement but I'll take it). The buffalo check curtains and the sheers came from Country Curtains. You can see them here and here.

I love the sheers. They look like Scherenschnitte to me.

And I have lots of samplers in this room too.

Oh and here is a picture of the snowflake garland in my dining area.

Here's a close up of the snowflakes.

I cut these out of scrapbook paper that had a vintage-y vibe in shades of cream and gold. I used the Sizzix die, Snowflake # 2. I got it here. I sprayed them with Krylon Glitter Blast - I LOVE that stuff -and strung them on some brown and white Martha Stewart bakers twine from Micheals. Oh I did have to punch those holes in the snowflakes, which took a while but I like that I could hang then without having the twine show a lot.

So again I think I'm done with my Christmas decorating, but there is still a week left, so we'll have to see what happens.

Happy stitching-

carol fun

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The REAL Studio Tour - Storage Ideas

Vicki Welsh of Field Trips in Fibers is hosting a link up party to share your storage ideas in your sewing room. Check out all the great ideas here.

When I was planning my new sewing space I knew I wanted to include as much storage as I possibly could. I have been pretty successful with this and have most of my work areas doing double duty.

Here is my ironing area.

The top is a an oversized piece of plywood - 23" X 55". I covered it with several layers of batting and then a layer of that silver ironing board cover material. On top of that I stapled a fun twill fabric from Moda that has tape measures on it in my favorite shade of yellow. The bottom part of this unit is a 9 cube bookcase from Closetmaid. You can see it here. I got mine and the fabric bins on sale at Target. Lots of storage for fabric and odds and ends.

And this is my cutting table.

It is a kitchen island from IKEA called Stenstorp. You can see it here. I love the butcher block top, it offers a nice solid surface for cutting. And underneath there are two shelves that hold more bins for storage. The bins came from the kids department of IKEA, they are called Kusiner. I have patterns and rulers tucked into these.

The biggest bin is 10 X 14 - you can see it here. And the littler ones are 10 X 7 - you can see them here. I've turned these bins around so the mesh sides with the numbers are to the back side of the shelf.

I'm also very fond of the large - the 2 gallon size - with the slider top ziploc storage bags for corralling projects.

You can fit a layer cake or a jelly roll even two or three, the pattern and the border fabric for a quilt in one of these.

And I like the the small Sterlite storage boxes - the ones with a latch handle. This one is about 22 qts. I get them at Walmart.  I have a ton of these and like them because you can't load them so heavy that you can't pick them up.

I have lots and lots and lots and lots of storage containers in my home. My theory is that you can have more stuff if you keep it organized. Now possibly this is my way of justifying my borderline hoarding tendencies but that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Oh I do love my stuff!

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Monday, December 16, 2013

Skipping down the yellow brick road on Design Wall Monday

Well this is lots of fun... I am skipping and sewing my way down my yellow brick road of a quilt.

As I mentioned last week my starting point for this quilt is the Helix pattern by Crazy Old Ladies. You can see it here. And as I discussed last week I have made the sewing more complicated by piecing the strips with individual pieces of fabric - more complicated and time consuming but lots more fun!

So far along with polka dots, stripes and plaids, I've worked in a monkey and some cats and some eggs.

A bunch of bananas... for the monkey!

And as the Beatles sang, "all we need is love"...

And speaking of the Beatles, Paul has made an appearance. I know Elvis will be along in a little while.

So far most of the pieces I've used are small - less than 2" - and up to this point, I haven't repeated a fabric. I have quite a collection of strips and bits and pieces that I've tossed into a laundry basket and I'm going to see how long I can go without a duplicate piece.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The culmination of some very Slow Stitching on Sunday

I did it!! My Anniversaries of the Heart by Blackbird Designs is DONE!!! I put the final stitches in it last night and I'm whisking it off to Bev at Joanns this afternoon to be framed.

As best as I can figure I started this at least 2 years ago. The copyright on the first pattern is 2010, but I know I waited until at least the fourth or fifth pattern was released before I started. Now I've worked on lots of other things during this period so an accurate accounting of how long this took me is impossible. My goal at the beginning of 2013 was to finish this by the end of 2013 and I am very very very  very very happy that I met it.

Now it became apparent when I started personalizing my sampler that the gals at Blackbird Designs have bigger families and more information on their families than I do. I ended up with several large open areas that I had no personalization for, so I decided to add some little sayings - like this month...

and these two months- November and December - both had big spaces I had to fill. I took the easy way out and used short phrases so I could stitch them over two threads.

And the last double section provided numerous challenges as a result of mistakes I made. The biggest one was I stitched the house 5 stitches to the left of where it should have been... and I stitched it twice as I had problems with the thread colors. When I went to add the personalization I was smacked between the eyes that I had 10 less threads to work with - arghhh!!! There was no way on God's green earth that I was going to pull out that house, so I spent hours figuring out how to work around my error. In retrospect I may have spent more time figuring out how to work around the error than if I had pulled out the stitches.... oh my goodness I don't want to think about that!!

Also as you can plainly see my name takes up waaaaaay more space than "Barb Adams". In the end I am happy with my personalizations and changes I made. It truly makes it my sampler.

So now I can finally engage in some guilt free cross stitching. Every time I've picked up another project in the last couple of months I could hear this one whispering "you said you finish me before the end of 2013"... and now it is silent... yeah for me!

Hope you are having a great weekend.
Happy stitching-
carol fun

Friday, December 13, 2013

Done Decorating

Okay - I'm feeling a bit grinchy. I had this post together 2 days ago, at least I thought I had it together. Somehow, for the second time this week, I've had a post get scrambled and parts of it disappear after I wrote it. Grrrrr... I had much snappier patter the first time I wrote it and it took two days for me to get up the energy to re-do this, so here it is.

I have kept the decorating for Christmas pretty simple in this house. It is 1/3 the size of the house I moved from and it isn't a grand house. Just a nice little bungalow, so here it the dining table. Simple Disappearing 9 patch table runner, my favorite peppermint candles and a new candle holder courtesy of the 60% off sale at Joanns.

The tree - you can't tell it in this picture but I may have gone a tad overboard with the tinsel, but I love how the lights sparkle off of it in the dark. Big Dude loves both of those chairs as was evidenced by the humongous amount of cat fur I lint rollered off of them yesterday. The tree sits in the front window and gets lots of people driving by.

This is the baker's rack that is doing the work of a mantle and a foyer table, and doing it quite well, if I say so myself.

At the top we have my Quaker Row sampler by Bent Creek. They did it all in one color of floss but I changed it up and added some red and gold. A smattering of Santas along with one of those flameless candles. Its flickers nicely in the dark.

Second shelf, my nativity scene. I needlepointed this set in 1985 and I still love it. It is sitting on my latest little Christmas quilt, Tickle, from Miss Rosie's Quilt Co. And if you look closely you will see that my creche has a chicken in it. Makes it even more special.

Third and fourth shelves - A basket of gingerbread men. I made these years ago. They start as scraps of batting, you paint them with a mixture of glue, instant coffee and cinnamon and "bake" them in the microwave. I hand stitched the faces. Next to the gingerbread guys is a little Christmas sampler from Blackbird Designs appropriately called "Merry Christmas." And the bottom shelf holds a nice collection of Christmas-y quilts.

Swinging around the room you can see my gingerbread guys quilt and my solution for a place to hang the stocking when you don't have a mantle. You hang it on your TV cabinet. These stockings are big - just shy of 24" tall. I made them eons ago, finishing the boys' stockings before their first Christmas. I don't know if you can tell (click on the pictures and make them bigger) but I used a ton of different fibers and decorative stitches on the stockings and even waaaay back then I found a way to work yellow into my Christmas decorations. The background for the boys' stockings is a lovely light gold color. I like yellow, always have, always will.

So there you have it. I'm done decorating and now I'm going to sit and enjoy the view... right after I spray the tree with some piney scent - I'm so classy - LOL!

happy stitching-
carol fun

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My favorite kind of man

Inquiring minds want to know... what is my favorite kind of man?  Well it is a gingerbread man! They are soft and warm and if they get too mouthy you can bite their heads off LOL! I have a couple of gingerbread men in my Christmas decor, but not enough. Darlene at Quilting Daze was just commenting this morning that there doesn't seem to be a lot of gingerbread men stuff out there this year, and I concur.

But to remedy the situation a bit, I put this together...

a garland of gingerbread men to dress up my kitchen!

And I found that gingerbread man potholder on the cabinet door when I moved, I don't remember when he came from but I like him!

I made a longer gingerbread man garland for the big window in my kitchen - sorry for the glare of the sun in the picture. It is a glorious sunny day, which makes up for the 3" of a "dusting" of snow they predicted. Oh the little gingerbread plate in the lower left corner of the picture came from Pier 1 this year.

I die cut them from chipboard with an old, out of production Sizzix die that I got on ebay. Too cute - nice plump little guys about 4" tall. Now the chipboard was blah, so I spray painted them with my current favorite spray paint, Rustoleum Hammered Bronze and then I sprayed them with a new to me find -spray GLITTER! OMG -- I LOVE this stuff!!

Here's a close up to the little guys.

This year I hung my gingerbread man quilt in my living room. I've shown this before on the blog. It started as a potholder - really! It was a pattern in Fons & Porter magazine years ago and was suppose to just be a potholder but I loved this block, and baked sewed up a dozen.

I made the little guys out of a brushed flannel and tea dyed the rick rack and added googly eyes - I love googly eyes!

I'll show more of my  Christmas decorating tomorrow!

Happy stitching -
carol fun