Friday, December 28, 2007

Happy New Year!

Before jumping into my list of resolutions, I just want to take a moment to thank each and every blogger/quilter who has stopped by to visit me this year. Although I started my blog with the idea of it being more of a journal or record of my quilting, it has really turned to a more social outlet for me. I love sharing with you and reading your comments and in turn, visiting everyone and learning not only about your quilting but about your lives and families. You have become my friends. Although I have not met anyone face to face, you have become a part of my life that I cherish. So to everyone, good luck on your resolutions and a happy, healthy new year!

So here is my list of resolutions on the quilting front for this year:

1. NO NEW CHALLENGES or SWAPS! Last year I got myself in a real bind between my guild's quilt challenge and doll swaps and postcards, etc. I definitely bit off more than I could quilt! The exceptions for 2008 are the following: Sharon B's Take it Further challenge,a postcard swap with 6 ladies in the UK, and my LQS's redwork Snowman BOM which I think starts in February, but that's it!

2. KEEP CHRISTMAS ALL THRU THE YEAR - I had a hard time with Christmas this year. Not much spirit and lots of stress so I thought I would try to keep the spirit of Christmas in my heart all year long and at the same time get some Christmas projects done BEFORE CHRISTMAS! My idea is to complete one Christmas project by the 25th of each month. My hubby, also known as mini Santa, thinks this is a great idea! I have lots of patterns for wall hangings and different decorations that I would like to make and by the beginning of December I will hopefully have 11 new gifts and/or decorations ready to go.

3. FINISH ONE UFO EACH MONTH. I know some of you have a list as long as your arm, maybe longer! My list is under 25 which I think is quite reasonable and I am looking to keep it from growing too much longer. I have the list made which is the first step. Now to jump in !

4. USE THE STASH BEFORE SPENDING CASH! I don't feel overwhelmed by my stash but in the spirit of trying to be more "green" (help save the planet!) I want to use what I have before buying new stuff. I also admire the ingenuity of the ladies "down under" who recycle fabric through the op shops. I have some great blouses and skirts that would make great additions to my quilts. And I have some really beautiful fabric in my stash. Now is the time to set it free instead of keeping caged in my closet. Here's a green sewing blog. Check it out!

5. ADD SOMETHING QUILTY TO MY BLOG EVERY WEEK. I admire all of you who are able to blog every day! Unfortunately, I'm not able to do that right now but I think I can manage a weekly posting, if not two.

6. DO MORE HANDWORK. My DH and I watch lots of TV, mostly basketball in the winter, so I have plenty of opportunity to do handwork. I love redwork and knitting so I will try to keep a little basket of projects next to my chair. My hubby gave me a lovely book of stitches for crazy quilting and embroidery. I really admire Debra's work so I may try a little CQ while I'm at it!
7. TRY SOMETHING NEW. I have had a subscription to Cloth, Paper, Scissor for the last year and have not had an opportunity to try any of the wonderful projects. This year my goal is to experiment with 3 new concepts/projects.

On a personal level, I also have a few things I hope to do (it goes without saying that eat less, exercise more is on this list, AGAIN!):

7. READ TWO BOOKS A MONTH. This is a mutual resolution for my hubby and I. I'd also like to share what I am reading on my blog. I have found a couple of great books from fellow quilters and had some interesting dialogue about the books so I will be adding my book list to my blog.

8. LIVE A LITTLE GREENER. My DH has always been a big environmentalist so it was bound to rub off some. I bought reusable bags for the grocery store this year which I use quite faithfully. We recycle and have a compost pile which is used April through the first freeze. I will be looking for other ways to leave a smaller footprint on this lovely planet.

With this list, I should have a little time left over to clean my house occasionally, do some laundry, feed my DH and the kitties and go to work! LOL!!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

363 days until Christmas!!!

My DH reminded me of that this morning! He is really Santa at heart. This Christmas was not one of the best. Unfortunately, family squabbles on hubby's side of the family disrupted the holidays. But my little family enjoyed a quiet day with one of DH's brothers and his family. We also got to see my brothers and their families on the 23rd. Here is a picture of some of the nieces and nephews. The triplets will be 13 in February. The littlest one is actually my great niece, Avianna, who just turned 3. The little blonde in pink is my little god daughter, Bridie.

My son got home on Dec. 24th about 3 pm from Vermont. Luckily, his Christmas present arrived by UPS about 20 minutes earlier. I was sweating that one out! He wanted snowshoes which were ordered from LL Bean on the 12th! I'm not sure how I can mail FQs to England and have them arrive in 5 days yet something coming only 4 states away takes 2 weeks! But he was really happy with them. I got lots of quilty things from my hubby including a lightbox which I had hinted at and he actually found! He had to call a quilting friend to figure out what it was first! LOL. I got Hubby a digital frame for his desk at work. He loved it. I spent a good part of the day on Monday loading photos for him, including this picture of Alex when he was about three

and this one of my DH from college during his DJ stint at the college station.

Yesterday, I did all of the returns and exchanges, just a couple really and DH and I hit the Hallmark stores for our special ornaments at 50% off!! It's always a gamble that there will be any left but we were lucky this year and found all the ones we wanted.

I am on a much needed vacation this week. The last few months at work have been difficult. I think my boss knew when I asked for the week off that this was very necessary. I am enjoying some time with my son and puttering around in the sewing room. I've got two of my "Pay it Forward" gifts ready for the mail. We had lots of rain last night which turned to ice so I am waiting until tomorrow to hit the post office. I hope to get a quilt on my frame and quilted in the next couple of days. I am also mulling over some quilting New Year's resolutions which I will share after the weekend.

Hope that everyone had a Christmas that was homey, happy and bright!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Dan, you will be missed

For many of us, music is an important part of life. Music adds "flavor" to events and happenings. Just hearing a certain song can take us back in time to an important event - a first date, our wedding, the birth of a child. We all have a favorite band or singer that "speaks" to us. For me, back in college, that person was Dan Fogelberg. His music lead me to the first true love of my life, Richard. Although my relationship with Richard ended many years ago, my relationship with Dan continued. So it was with great sadness that I read today that Dan Fogelberg had died at the very young age of 56. He had been fighting prostate cancer for several years. I had seen him in concert many times, the last time being in 2004. His voice was as sweet as ever and took me back to days gone by. Thankfully, his music will live on. Dan, you will be missed.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Holiday greetings from across the Pond

Over the last couple of days, I have received unexpected surprises from my internet gals in England.

I received this lovely Postcard from my friend, Christine, who was my exchange pal in ArtWeMail over the summer. She is the gal who sent me the lovely bag and beautiful Liberty fabric. She is super talented as you can see!

I also received this lovely snowflake card from my blogging buddy, Kate North. If you have not checked out Kate's blog, please do!! She is a really creative lady! Her card arrived ironically on my doorstep yesterday afternoon following my 2 1/2 hour drive home from work in a snowstorm. It started snowing around 11 am and when I left work at 1:30 there was about 4 inches on the ground. I arrived home at 4:00 to Kate's Snowflake card.

I also received two lovely redwork patterns from Anne at Quilting Bebbs. She generously offered them in exchange for fabric. They are absolutely adorable and if I start them right now I might even have them finished for Christmas! Christmas of 2008, that is!! If you follow Anne's blog you know how super busy her life is with kids, a DH and a job. How she finds time to quilt is beyond me! I think she might have found a quilting elf that comes in the night and helps her! Is that true, Anne???

The first storm has passed (which was called "Winter Storm Alexander", we like to name our storms in the U.S. for some reason)and we have shoveled out but there is another storm expected on Saturday night which the weather guys are calling a Nor'easter. This one will be a mixed bag of snow, sleet, and ice. Oh the joys of living in the Northeast!

Thanks for all of your great comments about my Convergence quilt. I didn't know that there were others who were not familiar with Ricky Tims. He came up with the convergence concept. Check out his blog!! The quilt that I did is based on the traditional convergence which takes four pieces of fabric which are joined then cut into strips vertically, moved around and sewn back together vertically. After that you give it a quarter turn and you cut it into strips on the horizontal, moving them around and sew them together. The book is called Convergence Quilts. My DH shook his head when I explained it to him. He doesn't "get" the cutting up and sewing back together concept!! LOL

I have a pretty long list of errands today and I am having dinner with some quilting friends tonight so I better scurry!!

Thanks again to my English friends for adding some special cheer to the last few days!! Happy Christmas to all of you!

And, I hope everyone has a great weekend!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Snowy Evening - Challenge quilt revealed

Last night was our guild's Christmas party. It was great to get together before the holidays with ladies that all share a love of fabric and quilting. Of course there was lots and lots of food and chocolate, etc and good conversation. The party was held at Cheryl's house, a member who opens up her beautiful home to us every year. She is the only female in her household with four boys and her hubby but it has to be one of the feminine looking homes I've ever seen. She loves the Victorian era and her house is a real showcase! Of course it was decorated for Christmas and was really beautiful.

Now, for the challenge!!! I received this year's super secret challenge soon after our June picnic. The challenge was called A Snowy Evening. and was based on Robert Frost's poem "Walking by Woods on a Snowy Evening". The quilt could only be 24 inches wide but could be as long as you wanted. It is and has always been one of my favorite poems and ideas immediately started to swirl around in my head.

Here is my entry which I called "Mr. Frost Converges with Mr. Tims on a Snowy Evening". I had never done a convergence quilt before and I am hooked!!

My original inspiration fabric was a landscape piece with white pines on it but I had a hard time finding any other fabric to go with it. I stumbled onto the Hoffman batik with the trees in a shop in Greenfield, Mass and the other pieces were right next to it.

My drawing skills are kindergarten level at best but thanks to good old Google I was able to find coloring pages of a horse and sleigh to use for the silouhette.The words, of course, were running through my brain the entire time I was putting the quilt together. I had such a great time making this quilt. .

The gal who comes up with these challenges couldn't be there last night which was a shame since there were some fabulous quilts. She is always trying to get us to stretch our quilting skills and our imagination. One gal is a fabulous hand quilter. She had always wanted to do a whole cloth quilt. Her entry was white with trapunto snowflakes and exquisite hand quilting that looked like swirling wind. Another gal got around the width issue by making a book! She had pages which depicted the different parts of the poem and it was all bound together on a white pine frame! Lastly, a gal did a circular quilt in the shape of a snowflake. The center of the snowflake showed a little town in the distance and the road with the horse. It was made entirely of felted wool. Everyone agreed we all stepped outside of the box on this challenge.

Of course, forgot my camera! But another member is going to send me pictures which I hope to post soon!

Well, that was my last major quilting obligation. Now I am going to take a little rest from quilting and pull out the knitting needles. I have a couple of scarves to finish for Christmas. Now, is it knit 1, purl two or purl two, knit 1??

Saturday, December 08, 2007

I've opened the Door to Christmas

I have opened the door and let Christmas in! There are things about the holiday season that I don't like, which I ranted about last week. But I am taking a good friend's advice and just concentrating on the parts that I love- the decorating, the baking, the music, and the joy of sharing gifts with the important people in my life.
My DH and I went to see Wynonna Judd's Christmas show on Thursday night. It was really great. She has a wonderful voice and sang lots of classic carols. It was a nice way to start the Christmas season.
We have just about finished our decorating. The trees are up and so far the kitties haven't attempted to climb them. Here they are being angelic!! They usually sleep together then the mutual licking begins which always ends with someone biting someone and then the wrestling starts just like siblings.

Many of you have been sharing your favorite ornaments or Christmas decorations. I found this when we were decorating. I have it hanging in my sewing room where I can see it. It has been with me for 49 years - My first Christmas stocking! I retired it from active duty several years ago and I have another for my goodies. This one really brings back my childhood holidays. All of my brothers and sisters had one but I think I am the only one who still has the original. My mom always put a quarter and a tangerine in the toe of our stocking. We may not have received much some years but those two items were always there. We were allowed to open our stockings before Mom and Dad got up. The stockings were always put at the foot of our beds. I think it was Mom's way of grabbing a few extra minutes of sleep before we attacked the presents under the tree.

Today I am home finishing my super secret challenge quilt which will be revealed tomorrow at my guild's Christmas party. I am also making Magic Cookie Squares. Thanks Libby for the idea. They are super easy and super good!!

We had an ice/snow/sleet storm last night so the roads are pretty bad but luckily I switched my off day with another gal in the office and don't have to leave the house today, which is ok with me!!

Everyone have a great day!!

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