Sunday, December 31, 2006

Gratitude Quilt

These are 8 of the 12 crumb blocks that I am making for my Gratitude quilt. When Judy L. showed us how to make Jeanne's Gratitude Quilt as an hour-a-day project in November, I was just too busy to follow along with each day's hourly task. I have wanted to make this quilt since I saw Jeanne post her version in September.

While cleaning up my studio after the rush of finishing projects for Christmas I decided rather than just put the scraps in to the scrap bin, I would do something with them. All of the scraps were Christmas fabrics. I cut the larger pieces into strips and 5" nickel squares. I sewed the bits together into 8" crumb blocks. (There is a member of my quilt guild that says she regularly sews her leftovers to used dryer sheets so that she has blocks ready for quilts when she wants them--and the bonus is that she has no scrap leftovers!)

When I was looking for ideas to set the blocks together, I came across a picture of Jeanne's quilt that I had pasted into my idea journal. The Gratitude quilt was the perfect setting for my crumb blocks! So, I am making the quilt that I have wanted to make and I tidied up my studio at the same time! I am not sure if it is progress if you add to your UFOs while busting stash or not but I am sure having fun!

Projects Finished in 2006

I see by the posts made by other members in the blogging world that quilters are adding up their finished projects for the year. Measuring your progress for the past year seems like a good idea before setting goals for the new year, so here goes.....

I keep track of my UFOs, flimsies, completed projects, on a spreadsheet. When I went back and added things up, I see that I finished 26 projects in 2006.

10 small gifts (1 Christmas stocking and 9 pin cushions)

3 bed size quilts (green crumb quilt, rail fence around the world, fall snowball and nine patch)

1 charity quilt

1 pillow (summer paint chip challenge)

6 table toppers (1 table runner, 5 hexagon / octagon table toppers)

5 wall hangings (quilt show challenge, Christmas scrap/black nine patch, 3 JOY's)

I am pretty pleased with this progress given that 20 of these projects were given away as gifts.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Crumb Quilt is Finished and Has a New Home

Remember the crumb quilt flimsy that I showed back in February? I managed to quilt this top between customer quilts this fall. The last stitches went into the binding in November and I just presented the finished quilt to my parents as part of their Christmas present tonight.

This year, my parents spent Christmas with my brother and his family and they were not around for the exchanging of presents on Christmas morning. They came back from the interior of the province today and we are glad to have them home!

We had quite the lively discussion about using quilts tonight. I consider this quilt not to be an heirloom quilt. This quilt is a scrap utility quilt--made to be used. My mother treasures my quilts to the point of being afraid to use them for fear something might happen to them.

When my parents left tonight, they had strict instructions that this quilt was not to be treated as an heirloom quilt, but rather to be used as a utility quilt to be slept under on a nightly basis, not removed from the bed at night only to be replaced as a decoration for the bed during the day. I assured my mother that the construction of this quilt would withstand machine washing and drying if necessary. ..............My husband added that if she didn't use her quilts, the quilter might stop making them. After all, if you don't use the quilts made so far, you must not need any more.
I did not put a label on this quilt yet. I was not sure what to put on the label until tonight. Mom, I will be over to add this poem to the back of your quilt at a later date:

This quilt is made of cloth and thread

To place upon your little bed.

It's not an heirloom-just to keep,

But to lay upon as you count sheep.

So use it up and wear it out-I promise I won't yell or pout.

Just tell me when its days are through,

And I'll make another, just for you.

Holiday Train

These are pictures of this year's CPR (Canadian Pacific Railway) Holiday Train. We live in a very small community, but each year CPR makes our community one of its stops for its Holiday Train. (CPR may be making up for the fact that we must tolerate the trains as they whistle right through the middle of town several times a day!) This year, the Holiday Train passed through our community on December 19.
The Holiday Train brings with it a free show--this year's entertainers were Wide Mouth Mason (which appealed to my kids and not myself or my parents) and Lisa Brokop. The evening was cold and you had to dress in layers, but it was well worth it. The arrival of this train has become part of our family traditions surrounding the Christmas season.
At each stop along the route, people donate money and nonperishable food items to the local food banks and CPR presents a check that goes directly to the local food bank.
If you get a chance, visit the CPR site and read about the CPR Holiday Train and their contributions to local communities.
Thank you CPR!

Christmas Day

We spent Christmas Day at my mother in law's and most of my husband's family was in attendance. There were a total of 32 people in that small house. After opening gifts we settled down to a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings.

As you can see from the pictures, places to sit were at a premium! There definitely was not room to sit everyone all at the same table. Chairs were borrowed from neighbours and every table was put into service.

This is another shot of my husband and I taken on Christmas Eve.

Merry Christmas everyone and all the best in the new year!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all the loyal readers of this blog!

The tree is up and surrounded by presents, the house is decorated, the breakfast has been made (I make a make-ahead breakfast called Christmas AM Wife Saver), and the baking has been taken care of (Thanks Mom! ). There is nothing to do now but wait for morning.

We went to the Christmas Eve service at our church and true to tradition, after we got back home, while everyone is still wearing their good clothes, we took our traditional Christmas pictures. We usually take the pictures in front of the Christmas tree--however, everyone has grown up now and we all dwarf the tree when we stand in front of it. So the next best backdrop is one of my Christmas quilts in the dining room.

Dusty's Stocking

This is the latest quilty thing that I have been working on. I dug out my tried and true stocking pattern and directions last night. This is a stocking for my daughter's boyfriend. He will be joining us Christmas morning so he needs his own stocking.

Like every year--my list of things that I want to accomplish before Christmas usually exceeds the time I have available. This was the last thing on my list and I thought I had run out of time. I considered buying a stocking but after going out looking Friday night and seeing what was available, I decided that I would find the time to make one. I can't believe what junk the stores are selling.

This stocking is particularly suited for the recipient as he considers himself somewhat of a cowboy. My husband says it is even "cowboy sized" as it is plenty big enough for stuffing full of all kinds of things. It even has a picture of the "red guy" that is usually banned from my house. Those of you who understand my preference for snowmen over Santa will understand that comment. *LOL*

Friday, December 15, 2006

Paw Approved

My mother commissioned me to make a table topper for her sister for Christmas. We mailed off the table topper at the beginning of this month so that it would make it to its destination in plenty of time for Christmas. When my aunt called to say that the parcel had arrived, my mother told her to go ahead and open it and enjoy it. She did.

What we suspected would happen, in fact did happen. The topper is also being enjoyed by my aunt's roommate, Misty. This is a picture of Misty sitting on the table topper.

I think all of us who quilt are not surprised to see Misty attracted to this quilt. After all, when I was sewing the binding on this one, my cat was wanting to lay on it.

I would say this quilt has definitely been "paw approved"!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Pin Cushions for Tuesday Night Quilters

These are the pin cushions that I made for the members of the Tuesday Night Quilters' group. Back in November when we were working on our hexagon table toppers, I noticed that not everyone had nice thin pins that are suitable for quilt piecing. I decided that I would give everyone a package of Clover Quilting Pins for Christmas. It didn't seem right to give pins without a pin cushion to go with them so I made each person their own pin cushion. This is a picture of the completed pin cushions.

If you are interested in making your own pin cushion, the directions can be found by following this link:

The only tips that I would add to these instructions are:

1. An old CD makes the perfect sized circle template for this project.

2. I traced my circle onto a square of quilting cotton and then I sandwiched my cotton square with my wool square and sewed the two pieces together - right sides together following the pencil line. After I was finished sewing on the pencil line that I drew for my circle, I trimmed the seam allowance down to 1/4" away from the sewn line. It is much easier to sew your circle shape before it is cut out and then trim it down to size than to try to keep two circle shapes together as you sew your circles maintaining a 1/4" seam allowance.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

More Christmas Quilts

These are two quilts that are currently hanging in my entrance.

This first quilt is a small wall hanging that I made in 1999. This quilt is called, "Snowmen Melt Your Heart."

This quilt is made from Shoe Fly blocks and was finished in 2002. Both quilts share the same snowman print fabric for their borders.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Long Arm Quilting and Christmas

Like so many other long arm quilters at this time of year, I have been busy with customer quilts and have not had time to work on my own projects.

I have finished my last customer obligation this weekend. This is the last customer quilt to go on the frame. This quilt is a cheerful scrappy log cabin.

I love log cabin quilts--especially those made from scraps. I think this quilt appeals to me because it reminds me of the quilts that quilters have been making for their families for generations out of the scraps they had on hand.

This quilt has been quilted in the Baptist Fan pattern using the Circle Lord template which gives it that traditional look.

Smartie Cookies and Christmas Quilts

This post is in response to the Calico Cat's inquiry. The quilt on the chesterfield or couch in the previous post is my son's Christmas Quilt. The quilt is lap size--47 1/2" x 71 1/2" and was made as a Christmas present for him in 2002. The pattern is Cobblestones. You may know this pattern by other names as it has certainly been in the public domain for a very long time. This was a fun scrap quilt to make using up all sorts of bits of leftover Christmas fabrics. This picture was taken on Christmas morning in 2002 of my son and his new quilt.

That same year I made my daughter a Christmas quilt too. Her quilt is the Chinese Coin pattern and it too was made from the same Christmas fabric scrap bin as her brother's quilt. This is a picture of my daughter on Christmas morning in 2002 with her Christmas lap quilt.

This is the recipe for the cookies that my daughter is shown baking in the previous post. This cookie recipe is "no fail" and has become one of the favorites of our family.

Smartie Cookies

1 cup margarine, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
Smarties or M&M's for decorations

Cream butter and both sugars together. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Mix in vanilla.

Add flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix well. Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Press Smarties or M&M's on top of cookies using 3 or 4 per cookie. Bake in 375 degree F oven for 8 to 10 minutes until golden brown.

Makes 4 dozen.

Christmas Baking and Decorating

It is definitely starting to feel like Christmas around here! My daughter looked after the baking of some Christmas cookies while her brother and girlfriend looked after decorating the tree.

A favorite cookie in this household has always been "Smartie cookies". The cookbook calls them Frog Eyes but we have renamed them Smartie cookies. Since the kids were small we would make these cookies decorating them to reflect the season. You can buy Smarties and M&Ms coated in colours to match the seasons--Valentine's Day, Christmas, Easter, etc.

This my daughter baking Christmas Smartie cookies.

This is my son and his girlfriend decorating the tree.

Another shot showing the "supervisor" of the operation--Dad!

Monday, December 4, 2006

The Snowman Collector

With all the snow outside, this quilt seemed appropriate to post. The quilt belongs to a customer and is called, "Snowman Collector".

I quilted this quilt with Bottom Line thread and I used Circle Lord's wave template. The combination of a fine thread and this template add just enough texture without overpowering the applique on this quilt.

I also collect snowmen and may have to make one of these for myself.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Are You a Dedicated Quilter?

According the recent Quilting in America 2006 survey sponsored by Quilter's Newsletter Magazine the dedicated quilter is:

* Female
* 59 years old
* Well educated (72% attended college)
* Affluent ($87,026 household income)
* Spend on average $2,304 per year on quilting
* Quilting for an average of 13.5 years

I am much younger than the dedicated quilter and I know that $2,304 in quilting supplies, classes, etc. does not get you very far! This survey tells me that the dedicated quilter is likely retired or close to retirement which means I have many more years of quilting ahead of me! Yahoo!

Something else that I found interesting the survey is that the average dedicated quilter owns an average of 2.6 sewing machines and 24% own more than 4 machines! If I count my retired Kenmore, my antique Singer, my Bernina that is used for piecing, and my APQS long arm, I own 4 machines!

Finally, 4.7% of all quilters are dedicated quilters and account for 88% of total quilting industry expenditures. That means that if the remaining 95.3% of the quilters out there started to spend anywhere near what the minority or dedicated quilter spends on quilting, there would be an explosion to the quilting industry!

Check the survey out yourself; it is an interesting read:

Saturday, December 2, 2006

November 2006 - A Month For the Record Books

The headline on the front page of our local paper for the last day of November read, "A November to remember--wettest month ever--snowiest November ever--wind, flood, ice...but no locusts--yet". Well that statement does sum it up. I am thrilled that the month of November is behind us.

For November 2006, the snowfall and precipitation was the heaviest since statistics started being kept in 1937.

The month started out with Vancouver receiving 14.4 mm of rain on November 3 and a further 44.6 mm on November 4. This was the month's biggest one-day total of rain.

On November 5, heavy rains swelled the Chilliwack River flooding homes and causing the evacuation of hundreds. Flows peaked at 1,040 cubic metres per second up from a normal rate of 20 cubic metres per second.

November 15 brought 100km/hr-plus winds which snapped trees and left many homes in the province without power. The Sea-to-Sky Highway closed because of fallen trees and BC Ferries cancelled sailings.

November 16 brought a boil water advisory to Vancouver and surrounding cities. The turbidity levels in the reservoirs caused by the heavy rains did not result in contamination but the advisory held due to the level of murkiness.
Abbotsford broke the one-day snowfall record with 53.1 cm falling on November 25.

November 26 brought a further 44 cm of snow which combined with the arctic front resulted in below normal temperatures and ice formed.

November 27 continued to bring snow. Schools and universities were closed and the RCMP advised against travelling the highway. The arctic air continued to sit over the Lower Mainland sending temperatures to -12 and lower with the wind chill factor.

November 29 brought yet more snow followed by sleet and finally warmer temperatures and rain.

Today we are still dealing with this white stuff. The sun is shining and the temperatures are up from the past week. However, evening brings lots of black ice resulting from the snow melting during the day and freezing after sun down. Driving is still treacherous!

These are pictures of what it looks like outside here today.
This is the view from my office.
This is the view off of our back deck. A little nicer weather than the pictures that I took last weekend from the same vantage point!

And then the front of the house.

And the view down our street.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Mom's Sweat Shop

These are my recent finishes. My son says I am running a "sweat shop" in my studio. Sometimes it might seem that way as I sit in front of my sewing machine for hours on end. Christmas is approaching and projects need to be finished.......

This is a hexagon table topper that I made with the fabrics that my Mom purchased on our trip to the U.S. some months ago.

There was enough fabric to make a second table topper. This time I made an octagon shaped topper.

These projects can be reversed if the backing is selected carefully. In the case of the first two table toppers, this is the backing that is on them. Once Christmas is over, the toppers can be changed over to a winter bird fabric to finish the winter season.

This is a table topper that I plan to give my MIL for Christmas.

This is the fabric on the back of my MIL's table topper. The flowers on this one match my MIL's carpet in her living room.

This is one more table topper that I will be giving away in a gift exchagne this Christmas.

These small wall hangings are so fun to make that you can't stop at just one! Here we have Joy, Joy, and even more Joy!