Monday, December 31, 2007

A Quilter's Christmas

Before we head into 2008 I thought I would share some of the goodies Santa (aka Mom and family members) and others sent me during my mini-blog break. I've been truly spoiled this year in terms of crafting/quilting toys to play with!

First up is a wonderful coffee table book I won from Tracey over at Thee Handworks. It came in the mail the week before Christmas and I've been having so much fun reading through it. Of course, with a new book in the house I also had to tell myself to get back to my sewing! Thank you so much for this fabulous book!!! Now that the major crunch for Christmas is over, I'm looking forward to a few sessions curled on the couch with this one!

Another blog "win" that I just need to share is this one! I left a comment over at the Michael Miller fabrics blog Making It Fun, they decided to send something to everyone who commented so it was a double pleasure for me! These are "samples" (in quotes because to me 4 yards of anything is more than just a "sample") of the new trim lines they have coming out in January. Let me just say that the ruffled ric rac is just WAAAYYYYY too cute and I can't wait to find a project to use it in! And the bias tape? Oh my, this I can think of uses for too! (and just how did they know I love orange??) I'm thinking I'm in trouble when the full line comes out as well :0).

As for the goodies from family, oh my! I got this lovely trio from my Mom (along with some blades for the rotary cutter, some new needles for my machine, oh -- and since I didn't get a photo of it -- a new Rowenta professional iron!!! WOooo Hooooo!!!). I love the new rotary cutter (I've been wanting one since I first saw them over at Stashmaster's blog this fall) and I can't wait to test drive it! As for the embroidery scissors -- my old, falling apart, orange handled Fiskars have met their maker!

Mom also indulged my renewed knitty interests too (sorry if you only want quilty content but these yarns are going to be showing up again on my blog -- as well as a few others I need to post about!). I got this wonderful knitting carrier (and I may have bought Mom one as well in red) as well as the yarns and the new pair of addi turbos inside of it. Yummy, yummy.

That Koigu yarn is just so much fun to work with and I just couldn't resist casting on this on Christmas day. (ok, yes, I still have a purple sock to finish -- I know -- but I'm having second sock issues and I just couldn't resist this one. Especially since after my gift making frenzy of the past two months -- this one is self-indulgent in the extreme since it's for me!) I'm loving how this one is turning out!

If you were wondering what pattern it is, it's the chevron scarf from the Last Minute Knitted Gifts book I got for Christmas as well (along with its companion Patchwork book!!!). I love this book and I finally have my own copy (and can stop borrowing it from the library). Since this is the third project I've made from the book already -- I think it's a pretty sure investment!

I also got this yummy Noro yarn to make a pair of fingerless mitts from. Another project that is all for me that I can't wait to get started on! It's not as colorful as some of the Noro yarns -- but, ummm, can we say silk and cashmere??!!?? Oh yes, I can see my hands staying warm as I knit up and quilt up a storm this year!

And finally (at least for today) I also got this fun ball of white fluff with iridescent sparklies in it to try my hand at making some of these that I saw over at Trail Mix designs (and in the book -- but, seeing them made up really was the bug). I got the One Skein book as well for Christmas so I'm all set to whip up a few little cupcake goodies. These should be fun to make!

I did get a few other things for Christmas (pj's, the first season of Veronica Mars -- good for watching while knitting and/or sewing) and other assorted goodies though none really relating to crafting/sewing/quilting. I guess Santa appreciated all the time I spent in the sweat shop before Christmas! I am still trying to catch up on my blog reading and I have at least three more posts I've been plotting in my head! Hope everyone has a safe and wonderful New Year's celebration tonight -- me? I think I'm going to be playing with my new toys and thinking about taking down my Christmas decorations!

Friday, December 28, 2007

It's a wrap

Well -- another year, another Christmas come and gone (almost -- still have one day of presents with the in laws to do) and yet another year where I SWEAR I am going to get my presents done earlier next year! Geesh -- ya think after 35 years I would have learned better. Oh well -- most of what I wanted to get done got done, and what wasn't finished? Well -- I have some IOUs out there. I suppose I could have gotten a couple more things finished -- but that would have meant missing out on things like cookie baking (Miss Tinkerbell had a blast and can you tell her favorite color these days is pink?). Yeah -- it's ok that a few things didn't get done to have those memories :0).

I did get quite a bit of my list of insanity done though. I think there were only two or three "I really think I can do this" items that didn't get finished (or started for that matter) and the others -- well, they were optional to begin with. Wanna see? (ok -- who am I kidding -- I love the show and tell parts of my blog -- why else would I mention these things?)

Mom's hand quilted pillow. DONE!!! Remember when I mentioned that I had started this way back in October? Well, Mom said she might like it -- hehehehe. So, along with all of the other first efforts -- she got my first hand quilted piece. I ended up turning it into a pillow per her request (for decorative purposes only upon pain of death -- REALLY). You should be able to click on the photo for a better view, but if I do say so myself this turned out beautifully. (ok -- side note here -- isn't it nice when you manage to impress even yourself with your own work?)

And for those of you who wondered whether or not the pre-printed blue lines from the wholecloth came out when finished, the answer is yes. They do. Totally, utterly, and completely. I washed in cold with just a little bit of detergent and I couldn't be happier with it. Not even a hint of the blue left. For anyone who is thinking of trying one of these as an intro to hand quilting? I have to say go for it! I went to the shop where I bought it to get another one for myself. They're out right now -- but when they get them back in, I'm all over it!

Dolly. DONE. Truly one of the most important ones too. And, no, dolly was not nekkid when I gave her to Tinkerbell. She had a snazzy little outfit in pink and green (since, as Tink has been saying for about a month or more -- Santa was going to bring her PINK presents). I was even proud of myself for using fabrics from my stash to make the outfit. I was so tempted just to go out and buy new -- but I resisted and I couldn't be happier that I went ahead and used what I had.

Dolly even got a blankie so she doesn't get cold in her crib. There was some doubt this one was going to happen. I just used the left overs from making the outfit and did a quick and dirty on it. I took my cue from modern quilts and just kind of started cutting and putting it together. I'm really happy with it too -- which confirms for me that I tend to over complicate things too much.

I did "cheat" a bit though -- it's not "quilted". (ah - yeah, like 2 days before Christmas I was going to actually quilt this one, nope, insane is one thing -- the other is just plain crazy). Thankfully pearl cotton and tying is a viable option!

As for Miss Tinkerbell? Oh my -- all the effort that went into this one was sooooo worth it. She loves her dolly. She won't go anywhere without her. She puts her in her crib, and covers her up so sweetly. Of course, a certain guy in a red suit and a bunch of elves got credit for her. Humph. I suppose I can share with the big guy -- knowing she loves it so much is what is really important.

Tinkerbell's train mat. DONE. This is the best photo I have of this one -- and really, not that much to it. A pre-printed panel with some quilting (again -- glad there isn't a better picture since the quilting on this one is, well, horrible would be kind, but -- for what it is -- it does the job) and a binding. A solid backing in a coordinating fabric, and you have yourself a train mat. As for my opinion of the workmanship in it -- I'm not being hard on myself (really, see me sing my own praises above). I'm being honest that I have NO clue what I'm doing when I do free motion quilting and that I need to practice. For what this "blankie" is (something to be put on the floor and played on), what I did is fine. I would just like to do better than ok. It's a goal -- and this is a good thing :0).

What didn't get done? Knit bag for AL -- I found another gift bag to use (though, I do believe Mom left before I could put the scarf into it -- drat!!! Oh well, I'm one up on a gift for next year!). And in case anyone kind of recognizes the fabric in the back -- yep, the gifts I made for Mom that I hinted about earlier? Yep -- a whole passel of drawstring bags. Mom filled them up with goodies, but I made the bags :0).

The only other thing I really wanted to get done that got postponed was my mil's apron. But, since we're not exchanging gifts until tomorrow -- um, I actually have a little time. I've actually taken the past few days off from sewing anything (though I may have started a new knitting project -- just maybe mind you). Looks like break time is over though -- I need to get back to my sewing! I've also got a bunch of thank yous, photos of new goodies (Santa was VERY good to me), and some new things in progress to get to, but that's for another post! Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and is having a safe week leading into the New Year! I'll be back soon (really -- I'm just about caught up with non-computer stuff, but if you could slow down with your posting so I have a chance to catch up on reading??!!??)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Still Sewing...

So -- I've been a bit quiet lately. It's not that I haven't had anything to post -- it's just that I haven't had time to actually get to the computer and do anything about the random thoughts running around in my head.

I mean -- there was a whole post about the trip to the mall to see Santa (her first time) -- with a mini-rant about the commercialization of Santa's area. This particular mall was pushing a recent release Christmas movie (that bombed so I hear). What ever is wrong with generic (non-advertising laden) castles and gingerbread and other North Pole type deals? Or trains -- I can deal with trains! But Noooooo -- we get some really bad crud from a movie that stank. Great. Oh, and the giant walk through snow globe? Yeah -- great idea -- except we were in there for about 15-20 minutes while waiting. All that fake snow was such fun to pick out of my daughter's hair in time for her picture with Santa (and don't EVEN get me started on the whole "photo package" deals). On the other hand -- if I thought she was excited about the tree -- well, let's just say seeing the big guy was even more exciting. No running back and forth to the kitchen -- but I swear if she started shaking and vibrating any more she was going to break through some space/time barrier.

Mom has been here since Monday -- which has been wonderful. But, I feel like I'm working her half to death with very little reward. UGH. My kingdom (or, really, just my small corner of the cornfields since that's all I can offer) for a nice, relaxing, don't have to do anything visit!

I have been working on my projects (and finishing things) but I don't have any good photos right now. I'll try to get everything photographed and show and tell soon. Really!

In the meantime -- it's two nights until Christmas and I have three must finish projects to complete (one hand sewn binding, one doll quilt to tie and one apron to make). Will I make it? Stay tuned to find out folks!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Checking It Twice

Or in my case, since I've made a list I'm not sure now I can complete, I'm double checking it to see where I can cut corners and/or delete items. *Sigh* Still -- some of it is getting done. Despite other holiday delays, I do have progress to show (and a second post in one day!).

4. Knit bag for B's gift. Almost done. Need to finish the icord. DONE !!!! And really, since the actual bag has been done for about a month -- um, about time. The pattern is from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, and may I say again how much I LOVE this book? I swear there are about 10 more patterns I want to try and play with! (AFTER Christmas that is -- the list of things I want to do in the new year is a whole 'nother ball of wax)

13. Doll crib mattress for dd. I have the stuff I need to make it. DONE!!!! Or, well, in this photo it's ALMOST done. I had to go out to Joann's and pick up some more button forms to finish the tufting (yes -- I am insane -- was there ever any doubt?) It even fits in the doll crib perfectly -- and what is this?

It looks like the dollies wanted to test out the new bed, and do a dry run for Christmas morning. But look -- they now have arms that are attached. And faces!!!!

Yep -- I finally stopped putting off until the last possible minute the part of the dolls that scared me pondering the hair color decisions and went for it. And now I have some decisions to make -- see, I've had some vague ideas that I would finish BOTH dolls and give them to Tinkerbell for Christmas. Hmmm...but, well, see above about having to be a bit more realistic. Up until this point working on two of them has been relatively easy -- but we're now at the point where I'm going to have to make clothing and doll quilts. Um, I have time, honestly, to make one set of clothing. That is if I want the doll to have a quilt and/or some of the other accessories (I've already decided her coat and purse will wait and I'm tempted to say her PJs will as well). So -- the quandary -- do I go with blondie there or with red?
I'm not all that fond of blondie's hair color. I thought I could make it look a bit more "natural" than the straight up yellow (I had vague ideas of trying to match Tink's blond/brown locks). This, of course, was before reality set in and I remembered that my skills with paint and a brush are -- um, well, not non-existent, but, limited is a better word. That plus -- it looks like blondie here got into her mother's makeup and decided to do some clown cheeks.

The other option is red. Red's cheeks look rosy without being garish. But, well, see above about skills with a paintbrush. See -- I may have, just may have mind you, made a boo boo when painting her hairline. I could claim that red here has super fine hair and has a few wisps escaping an otherwise careful do -- but, well, it's a mistake. And an obvious one. And I'm not sure if I can let it go.
So -- there are the options (the third option -- start again and re-do is NOT viable). Unless someone has some suggestions about how to get the fabric paint off the part I don't want it on for red -- I have to choose one or the other. Any suggestions? Picks? Help?
In the meantime -- both these ladies are nekkid -- and I need to get cracking on making some clothes!

Slowly, Slowly

There is slow progress here at casa de cornfields. The list of Christmas insanity is getting done. Kind of. It is nice to know I'm not the only one who does this to herself -- but still. There are interruptions -- both of the runny nose kind (though, it looks like the redness has gone away mostly and I'm not sneezing as much, still coughing up half a lung though) and of the "I really need to have more than an advent calendar hanging up in my house" kind. One of those distractions was much more fun than the other btw.

This is my way of saying we finally go the tree up and decorated on Weds. night. Yes, I did say we bought it on Sunday -- but, well, remember the picture of the ice outside my window? Yeah, that had been around since Saturday or so. So, live tree purchased on Sunday needed a few days in the garage to thaw out before coming inside. But, it's in, it's up, and it's even decorated. (though -- I still need to hunt down the angel for the top)

I have to admit I haven't been all that enthusiastic about Christmas trees the past few years. It has nothing to do with the whole real/artificial debate. (though -- as an aside -- we do cut trees for a reason. The last artificial tree I played with was my mother's and the darned thing gave me hives! Yes, I can actually say I am allergic to artificial trees -- or, well, at least to the dust they collect) It has to do with the fact that since the first year dh and I celebrated Christmas together -- I'm the only one who has seemed to care whether or not we have a tree in the house. And, frankly, after having to beg, plead and/or just do it all myself -- I was getting to wonder whether it was even worth doing. I know, not very Christmasy -- but, there you have it. I figured the holidays are stressful enough without having to add another layer of stuff to do as well as building resentment.

This year? Oh man -- sooooo worth it. See -- this year Miss Tinkerbell is old enough to really be into the whole Christmas thing. And SHE was thrilled that we she had a tree "in her house." Make no mistake -- it is HER tree. I got such a kick watching her excitement, it helped me remember why I love Christmas trees, and the smell of pine, and the whole decorating thing. And of course, she "helped" decorate. (don't tell Tink that these ornaments are Mommy's -- one of the first Christmas presents her Daddy bought for me. Though, I'll let her claim them since she keeps walking up to them and saying "Hello, Clarice" -- and doesn't understand why Daddy and I are cracking up!)

When she found out it was time to decorate the tree? Well -- you know how young puppies get when they are really excited? They kind of shake and vibrate and run around in circles kind of yapping away? Yeah -- um, I didn't know human beings did that too. 'Cause she kept on saying "My Christmas Tree" and running from the kitchen into the living room and back again until she was able to dig into the boxes of ornaments. And then there was the fun of trying to explain that no, not ALL of the ornaments in the boxes would fit on the tree. The bulbs I bought when I didn't have many ornaments have given way to all of the "specialty" ornaments I've collected over the years.

My tree may not look as put together as others out there -- but all of the ornaments have memories. I like it that way -- it doesn't match, and not all of them may seem seasonally appropriate (hey -- the Halloween one was an engagement gift -- we got engaged on Halloween night, so it seems appropriate that we have this one on our tree every year), but they are all special. I can give up some glass balls for those kinds of memories.

And just so this post isn't devoid of anything crafty -- yes, there are the homemade kind on there too. A lollipop made out of polymer clay I made a few years ago and a cinnamon stick Santa -- made almost 10 years ago now. Both fun to do -- but, really, I'm just waiting until Miss Tinkerbell's handiwork is on the tree. And I'm loving watching her be so excited about a pine tree, some lights and a box full of memories!

I do have progress on the list, but this post is way too long as it is (really -- I can blather on about things!). So, I'll do a separate crafty post about the progress made.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Rudolph's Nose

Isn't the only one that is bright red and shiny right now. Though, I imagine his hurts a whole lot less. Ick. After posting my to-do list for the insane, I got my annual bout of bronchitis. Fun, fun, fun. Cough, cough, hack, hack, oh what fun a sneeze attack (sung to the tune of plop/plop, fizz/fizz), And to top it off, my husband seems to have caught a related buggy thing so we've both been walking around like zombies. Gotta love that codeine cough syrup. But it does make the idea of playing with a rotary cutter not quite as attractive as it might otherwise be. (I like all of my appendages attached thank-you-very-much!)

Despite the temporary setback of being ill, I do still think I can finish my homemade Christmas gifts (see -- insanity, but I'm gonna try to do it darn it). I've been plugging away slowly but surely and I do have some progress.

17. Advent Calendar. Done!!!!!!! It's even been hung up and we've been pulling slips of paper from it every day. I've had to do some covert rearranging of activities though. Saturday we were supposed to go get the tree -- with dh running a fever and my coughing/nose blowing exploits that got delayed by a day, but otherwise a success. We've been busy with playing with some of the goodies inside (gotta love those paint with water books -- so far I think we've colored the entire book that was in her grab bag, and the scratch and sniff book was a big hit as well). And, since this is the grand sum of my holiday decorating thus far -- hey, a bonus!

8. C's messenger bag. I have the stuff -- need to design and make. Done!!!!! Yahooo!!!! This one needs to be in the mail pronto so I'm really glad I did get it finished.

It ended up being more of a "mini" messenger bag -- still big enough to put manila folders in and/or a three ring binder (heck, even a laptop if needed) but still small enough to be used as a largish purse if desired as well.

And considering I was working without a net on this one (pattern? I don't need no stinkin' pattern!) I think it turned out well if I do say so myself.

I'm still seriously in love with these Heather Ross fabrics, and since my cousin (the intended recipient) has been riding horses since she was 8 or 9 (and she's a year older than I am -- ok, only 10 months and three days) the fabrics are perfect for her.

And honestly? If it weren't for the whole, I've been drugged out on an opiate derivative cough medication thing, it would have taken me an afternoon to complete. Now that's my idea of a great quick project!

Other projects have had some spotty progress at best -- not a whole lot to show there. So, I will leave you with the view from my computer/guest room window. Pretty -- in a, gee I hope the temps don't drop too much so I can actually walk outside kind of way.

Though, it does make you feel kind of Christmasy -- I think it's time for some more cough syrup, a bit of hot chocolate and a cuddle under the blankets before I get back to the sweat shop!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Progress from Santa's Sweat Shop

So, some progress in the past couple of days. This is good. If I can keep up this pace everything should be done in time for Christmas. This year even. Well -- ok, so I may have to speed it up a little...

Anyhooo --- I thought I would share the full extent of the insanity that I'm playing with here in the cornfields. So, like Santa it's time to make my list. Check it twice. And see whether I'm going to get done or not. In no particular order of importance, my "to do before Christmas" list:

1. Commission for Mom. Done!!! In the mail. Out of here! Yahoo!!! (all 5 of whatever it is I was making)

2. Gift for my god daughter. Done!!!! A cutie pie little pair of funky monkey pj's (she loves monkeys -- go figure). And, as a bonus, a little bag to put them in (instant and reusable wrapping paper -- woo hooo). And before you think I'm crazy for making the bag (well -- you will when you see the rest of my list) I will say that I wasn't going to do it. Until, well, someone -- I'm not naming any names mind you, but someone may have forgotten to look and see if this fabric is directional before cutting out the PJ bottoms. And, well, this someone may have had to recut them (thank goodness I someone bought WAY more fabric than the pattern called for). And well -- someone may have decided to make lemonade out of lemons with the bottoms that were cut upside down. Someone mind you -- I'm not admitting to the mistake!

3. PJ's for dd. DONE. Remember that we've been in Santa and Rudolph heavy rotation these days? These will be part of her advent calendar gifts this year. I saw the fabric at Joann's and couldn't resist. Not the best stuff in the world to use -- but for a pair of PJs that are going to be worn for a limited time -- yeah, it works. And since I already was making a pair for my god daughter -- easy enough to make two instead of one.

And just because I can't resist -- a close up of the t-shirt. A simple patch top stitched down. And I chose Santa vs. Rudolph because she loves Santa. Me? I'm in love with that green and red polka dot fabric. Don't know why -- it makes me happy!

4. Knit bag for B's gift. Almost done. Need to finish the icord -- she's getting a smaller (and different color) version of this (the cover photo, not the cabled one).

5. Knit bag for AL's gift. Haven't started. Need to get B's gift off needles.

6. Weave in ends of knit scarf for AL's gift.

7. One on One doll quilt exchange. Blocks made. Need to get together, quilt and bind.
8. C's messenger bag. I have the stuff -- need to design and make.

9. Train panel play mat for dd. Need to back, sandwich, quilt and bind.
10. Hand quilted pillow. About 80% done. I have the hand quilting done. Need to make the pillow backing and binding. Not too bad.

12. Dolly for dd. In progress. Doll body made, need to finish stuffing, attach arms and paint on the face and hair. After that just need to make an outfit. Or two. As for the accessories -- um, we'll see. (and no -- you're not seeing double. I couldn't decide which color fabric to use for the body so I made two. I probably won't give both to dd -- I'll figure out what to with the second one later).

13. Doll crib mattress for dd. I have the stuff I need to make it. Simply covering some foam so shouldn't take long.

14. MIL's apron. I was going to make my mil a quilt this year. Really. I was. I even have the fabrics cut and ready. Um, so not going to happen. I mentioned this to her -- and sweet woman that she is understands completely and asked for an apron. An apron? I can do an apron. And I KNOW this project is an afternoon or less.

15. Small handbag/bag for S. This one -- um, she may be getting a gift card. This one is truly an "If I can get around to it" gift. Though, PamKittyMorning's pattern does work up quickly...

16. Messenger bag for DH. May get delayed until his birthday. Since it was supposed to be a gift for our anniversary, leaving it a bit longer may be ok.

17. Advent calendar. Yeah, I know it's already December. I know this should have been done a week ago.'s not. On the plus side, it's almost done. Really. I just need to finish sewing down the binding and the hanging sleeve. Though, I would appreciate it if you didn't look too closely at the quilting. This was a quick and dirty. I've had this panel by Makower UK hanging around since dd was in an infant carrier. So, it's been a PIP (sorry -- I don't keep my undone projects in grocery sacks. I keep them in plastic bins -- so PIP instead of PIG) since sometime in 2005. So, this is a bit of a stashbusting effort, and a FWYH entry.

I'm really not in love with it either (HEY -- HEY -- I see you, I told you NOT to look at the quilting!) -- which may be one reason it's taken me so long to finish it. It's cute and all, but -- not sure. It just doesn't sing to me. And I've been seeing such cute ideas for Advent calendars all over the blogosphere. Really -- look here, and here, and well -- there's an entire flickr group dedicated to them. Some of the ideas are really great and they are fun and funky -- something my little offering isn't. year. At least I can introduce the concept this year and then work on a new one that speaks more about our family's personality AFTER the holidays. For now -- those little tiny pockets (honestly, you can't fit much in them) will get stuffed with pieces of paper that either give dd a chance at some goodies in a grab bag and/or activities we have planned (including some more handmade Christmasy goodness -- but, um, this list thing is starting to depress me -- so, I'll take pics and talk about it as those happen).

And what am I doing hanging out on my blog?!? (other than taking a break from the slave driver elves here in the sweat shop?) I've got sewing to do!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Santa's Sweat Shop

Bet you didn't know there was a North Pole annex here in the cornfields did ya? Well -- that's what it's been feeling like around here. All Christmas, all the time. And I haven't even BEGUN to decorate (unless you count digging out the Christmas videos for dd -- I think I have now seen Rudolph, Santa and Frosty more times in the last three weeks than I ever did growing up, and my poor husband who HATES the Santa one, or is it Rudolph? -- um, yeah, moving on).

Anyway, I have been in full on gift making mode these days. And -- amazingly enough, I've gotten a few things done! (hooray -- I'll have to post the full list of what I'm actually trying to finish for you to truly appreciate the INSANITY that runs rampant in this house though. Next year, I swear, I will be starting earlier!)

First up on today's project list are some little ornaments. Gifts for teachers and other folks who I don't see often but want to do something homemade for. I will fully admit these are "cheater" presents. Simple panel squares backed with some additional yardage, a snippet of ribbon and some leftover batting. Pillowcase it and top stitch around the edges.

Still home made, but well -- um, yeah, I had to make quite a few so this is about all the time I had! They are cute and I refuse to feel guilty about not piecing something. Really. (yes, I am trying to convince myself as much as I am you).

The next round of finished presents I can't actually show you. These were commissions from my Mom, and one of the recipients reads my blog. But, I do have permission to hint and tease (hi DJ!). So -- to whet the appetite of a certain someone (and, well, hey -- I like taking pictures) here's the hint. I finally got to use some older Hoffman Christmas batiks I bought long and long ago. I love these fabrics but just hadn't found the perfect place to use them.

Not enough of a hint? Hmmm...well, ok. One more tiny one. So these are done and even out in the mail already. I still will be going to the post office on a regular basis -- but one project completely gone from the stuffed bins waiting for me to get to them. Plus, a project mostly from stash. This is a good thing.

Oh, and lest you think that Santa's Sweat Shop is only producing goodies for me to give? Oh no -- not by a long shot. I've also been working on more shop samples (and if you click on the link you can see the earlier ornament samples on the web site -- yes, I'm easy to amuse). These cuties are courtesy of the Quilts and More Winter 2007 issue. It's a fun and pretty quick little pattern to hold an ipod (and yes, my large "old" ipod fits in it too -- I checked!). Might make a good present for a teenager -- especially if you make it up with some of the cute Chocolate Lollipop or Urban Gardens fabrics I was playing with. The pattern calls for a 1/4 yard cut -- but I used fat quarters and had fabric left over.

I've also managed to finish some hand quilting. I'd show a photo -- but, well, this one has turned into a Christmas present for someone who reads my blog. So, I will take photos when I finish binding/making it into a large pillow (per the recipient's request) and show them in a post-Christmas round-up. I will say that I really did enjoy the process and I want to do another!

I'm also busily working on a quilty project -- but I don't have any in-progress photos to share. I will try and get some, but since I'm hoping to be done with it tomorrow (I must say, the SciFi Tinman miniseries has been great for getting some of my handwork projects done!) -- you may get a completed picture rather than in-progress (I hope, I hope, I hope -- this one has a deadline that has already come and gone).

Finally, a bit more catching up -- I've been meaning to post photos of these, and keep on going way too long in my posts. Remember me talking about ordering the patterns for my daughter's doll from Australia? Well -- the folks at Jet Music and Books also hold a monthly drawing for free pattern giveaways to customers. And guess who won the October contest? Yeah, li'l ole me! So, two Melly & Me patterns to go with my Lolly collection! Woo Hoo!

I REALLY want to make these. I do -- but, um, if I start one project right now that is not for a Christmas gift -- I'm never going to get done. But, I'm just sayin' wouldn't this guy look fabulous made up out of this fabric? With this for the ear inserts and the tummy? And maybe this for the shorts? I'm just sayin' (and copying shamelessly from Vicky).

Well -- that's it from my corner of the sewing sweat shop. Now to get back to work -- man those elves get cranky if you take a break that's too long!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Catching up...

This post is going to have a lot of little "catch-up" stuff in it. Some quilting, some not so much. I've been thinking of all sorts of things I want to post about but haven't gotten to it and now I just need to get it all out.

Thanksgiving day -- we had a great day here in the Cornfields. I actually cooked (it happens rarely around here). And just to prove that I can do it. A photo. Yep. I took a picture of the bird coming out of the oven. But -- really, it was Normal Rockwell perfect. Not only was it pretty to look at, but it was yummy too.

Also, a few folks have asked if Miss Tinkerbell got to go out and play in the snow (I am seriously behind in answering my emails folks -- I'm playing catch-up there too!). Unfortunately -- by the time we'd had some breakfast, gotten dressed, and realized the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade was way cool to watch most of it was gone so nope -- but she keeps on waiting for more of the white stuff.
Black Friday. Ok, I read on a lot of blogs that most of you stayed home and sewed rather than fight the crowds of shoppers on Black Friday. I'd love to say I did the same. Nope. I HAVE to go shopping on that day. I do. It's a memory thing. That being said, I mostly went out to go to Joann's. They were having some major sales and I needed a few supplies for Christmas gifts.

So not all of that was for Christmas presents. I did buy some DMC floss for a project that I will be dealing with AFTER the holidays -- but really, it was on sale! (and with the extra % off for getting there before noon, um, I think I paid something like $.16 per skein -- for those of you in Europe, please remember that is the devalued American dollar -- so in terms of Euros, that's .11 or .08 Pounds. Yes -- we are spoiled here!) And how could I resist doing this pattern? Paula was kind enough to pass it on to me when she was done with it. (I loved seeing hers in progress as well as Carole's) I'm thinking that green tea dyed fabric will be perfect! Thanks Paula!

When I came home I was actually inspired by this. A table with not a thing on it. For a reminder of what it usually looks like you can go here. (and honestly? That full work surface picture is a bit cleaner than normal as well) I had to clean up my work area and kitchen so that we could eat Thanksgiving at the table (I thought it was only right that we actually eat there every so often).

The area that DIDN'T get touched in the mad dash to get everything ready for dinner though was this mess...

Yeah, um, well...look, I have NEVER claimed to be a domestic goddess. (just because some of you may not have BELIEVED me when I said how messy my home/work are is...doesn't mean I wasn't telling the truth). And this doesn't even include the piles of stuff that got taken upstairs to be hidden until after Thanksgiving dinner was over. *sigh*

So, I decided to do a little bit of cleaning and organization for my own sanity. Projects I'm not going to even think about until after the holidays and fabrics waiting to be put away into the stash got shoved placed in bins and removed from the area. I will also say, in the interest of full disclosure, that both of those bins were overflowing by the time I was done since I also brought down the piles of stuff from upstairs while I was in my cleaning frenzy. One bin for "projects" I haven't gotten to. One for fabrics to be put away. I think I need to join Judy L's stashbusting effort -- I love my stash, don't get me wrong, but I need to finish some projects before I buy more stuff for new ones! (yeah, we'll see how long that one lasts -- but honestly? It would be a good idea!)

And here it is -- the after. All organized and almost everything there (other than my basic tools and gadgets) is destined to be a Christmas present or something I need to work on before the holidays. We won't mention that those bins are still stuffed -- but, I will say in my own defense that some of it is because I just pulled the fabrics I want to use, not the correct yardages. Some of what is there will be going back into the stash after I've made the projects (or at least, that's what I keep telling myself -- and it's even somewhat true -- I've been working on some things and I did put about 4 1/2 yards of fabric back into the stash yesterday because I cut what I needed out of it). It is helping -- but I still think I need an elf or two who know how to sew to show up at my place.

And since this post is getting loooooong (when do mine not?) I will save some of the goodies I have been making to show later! (some new shop samples out of some yummy and yummier fabrics) I have been busy -- and this whole cleaning thing has really helped!