Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Happy New Year's Eve

Can you believe it's the last day of 2019? As another year is coming to an end, many bloggers are reviewing their progress and accomplishments and linking up to Cheryl's "Best of 2019" linky party so I thought it might be fun to join in. My blog indicates that I had a grand total of 20 finishes this year and I am proud of that (we will not mention that my December UFO goal was not accomplished... it goes on the list for next year!) 
Although it was hard to narrow down the choices, these are my favourites:

1. First Finish of 2019

It was wonderful to start the year with finishing Circle of Squares which was a Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilt in production since 2016. It used up 160 different 2.5" squares. I enjoyed piecing the RSC blocks over the years, quilting the circular design, and even enjoyed the winter photo shoot with hearty friends! 

2. String Quilt 

This project was inspired by Gwen Marston and finished in time for the "Dust off a Quilt Book" blog hop hosted by Bea. I was proud of the fact that nothing was purchased to make this quilt. Everything was left over from other projects - the strings, the batting scraps, the backing strips, and the binding. This was the perfect retreat project - no thinking required and lots of hand stitching. I am preparing another one to work on at this year's retreat.

3. Save The Bees

This quilt was a BOM pattern by Jacquelynne Steeves and is one of my all time favourite projects! We need honey and we need bees to make that honey for us. I enjoyed piecing the blocks and machine quilting with various designs.

4. Scrap Dance Tango

This was a mystery quilt from Carole at From My Carolina Home blog. It all started with the gift of HST blocks from a quilting friend and I just love how it turned out! Carole is planning another scrappy mystery for 2020 called The Twist so that will be fun!

5. On Ringo Lake

This is a Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt started in 2017. It is intensely pieced and quilted, and is very heavy. I love the change I made to the design by turned the sashing units into a lovely border and think the gold and blue combination is awesome in this quilt!

Pop over to the Best of 2019 linky party and see the amazing shares.
I am delighted that my collection of favourite finishes includes so many of my favourite quilting things - scrappy quilts, BOMs, favourite quilt pattern designers, Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects, and mystery quilts. Here's to more of the same in 2020!

Happy New Year quilty friends! You can probably guess that I am starting the new year properly... with a new quilting project!

Monday, December 30, 2019

Design Wall Monday

It has been quite busy around here with cleaning up after the Christmas extravaganza, and getting our home reorganized.
I was able to accomplish my 20th finished quilt for 2019 this weekend, which is very satisfying! Here I am hand stitching the binding on Slow Sunday Stitching while watching Arthur Christmas on my laptop. It was such a fun movie and I was delighted with the Toronto reference (which is close to where I live). The dialogue said "Santas always come through Canada. Nobody lives there. It's nice and quiet!" 
LOL... I live here and it's not quiet at all!

Today there is a finished miniature quilt on the design wall  ... a "Temecula Tiny Tree". Quilting was simple... straight lines through the tree in green thread, and quilted lines parallel to the tree in neutral thread in the background. So cute, and a perfect way to end the year!

I have also been catching up with the Quiltville mystery
Here is the container full of parts and pieces sewn so far.
Step #4 was a big mess for me. I forgot that I had made colour substitutions from Bonnie's original colours. I substituted pink for aqua, and then started using my light blue for aqua. Wrong!
I'm blaming the craziness of Christmas chaos.
Beautifully organized WRONG pieces!
Thankfully I was only about 1/4 of the way through sewing that step when I discovered my error, so I just started over. I had to recut the pink/"aqua" QST pieces, and will eventually resew all the step #4 HSTs. Some blocks are already done and in the container show above. I have at least a few parts sewn for each step and hope to catch up by Friday's reveal of step #6.
Linking up to Small Quilts.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the last Slow Sunday Stitching link up for 2019!  It has been another wonderful year of being inspired by your beautiful hand stitched projects each Sunday.

I like this quote: "Encouragement provides us with motivation to persevere." (Joshua Becker)

This is so true! I thank you for every encouraging comment you took the time to write to another stitcher over the course of the past year. You have no idea how much this means to us! It really helps in being able to stick with these long term, hand made projects. 

Hand stitching niece
While visiting with family over the holidays, I was delighted to see my niece stitching a gift for a friend. She was hand stitching the words "Happy Adventuring" on the band of a head lamp. What a creative idea! She was very proud of her special gift, and I was very proud to see her with a thimble on her finger, and needle and thread in hand! The next generation of hand stitchers has begun!

What are your hands stitching as this decade comes to a close? For the last time in 2019, we invite you to link up your blog or instagram post below and show us the hand work project you are putting stitches into today. We will visit and send you some encouragement to continue your stitching into 2020 and beyond!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Friday, December 27, 2019

Homemade Gifts - Part #2

Sewing the layers together

Every Christmas I make a gift for my nieces and nephews. This year I used a Happy Hour Stitches pattern for a bowl cozy. The first part of the pattern is easy and fun, but then it gets challenging. It's like making fabric origami.

Turning the bowl inside out was just the worst step. 
And this is my favourite step... finishing the bowl with some topstitching.


I used camping themed fabric with lovely sayings like "A good laugh is sunshine in a home", "Not all who wonder are lost", and "Camping makes life happy".

Here is a photo of the production table. Each stage of the pattern is represented. 

Stages of Bowl Cozy Construction

I made one bowl with rounded corners, but didn't like it as much, so went back to the square corners. These gifts were a big hit and I have already had requests to make 3 more!

It's Friday, so you know what that means... it's Frolic day! The next step of the Quiltville mystery pattern is posted today. I haven't finished last week's sewing yet, but am excited to see what is next!

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Homemade gifts - Part 1

Sometimes I just get weird random inspirations to create things. I don't know why these are the things that were made this year, but I know that when I get obsessed with an idea, I have to make it.
Resistance is futile!

Last year it was a paper pieced Sisyphus, and this year it was an embroidery and selvage project.

The embroidery patterns are by Gail Pan, and include holly, a stocking, a star, a present and a heart.

I added one selvage (which was the selvage of the backing fabric) above the embroidery designs. Then many more red selvages were attached below in a quilt-as-you-go style, so that the quilting was completed as the selvages were added. 

A side effect of this project is that I may have become a teeny tiny bit obsessed with selvages. There are often random interesting images on selvages... look how cute this bunny is! Why does that make me so happy?! 

I don't even know what to call this project since I don't know what it is. It's too large to be a mug mat, but too small for a tabletopper... maybe it's a "candlemat"?
All I know is that it's finished, and the new owner can decide what it actually is! I also know that it contains lots of love and my wishes for healing and hopefulness for 2020.
Tomorrow I'll post what I made for my nieces and nephews.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Christmas is here!

Merry Christmas to all my wonderful blog readers! 
I hope you have a few moments today to catch your breath and enjoy some stitching and/or blog reading. I find the holidays to be quite frantic most of the time, but much less so now that my kids are older. The biggest change is that they sleep in on Christmas morning so I have time to get a nice breakfast ready, read my quilting blogs, and get the food organized for the day. 

Granddog Max has been getting in trouble trying to open the gifts under the tree. He was sneaking right in between the presents and slowly ripping off the paper.
Eventually all the gifts had to be removed from under the tree and put on the dining room table!
Today he will be in his height of glory... it's his favourite day and he loves opening presents.

Don't we all!?!?
Here is a lovely gift I received from Jacquelynne Steeves thanking me for participating in her Happy Little Things BOM! So fun!

I enjoyed making a few gifts for friends and family this season, and will write more about the projects once those gifts have been received.
I wish you a wonderful Christmas and hope you enjoy all the sights, sounds, and treats of the season!

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Frantically Frolicking!

I missed Design Wall Monday yesterday (which I never miss!) but truthfully nothing is on my design wall right now. It's just such a busy time, and I really should not be sewing anything that is not essential for Christmas giving, but of course I am!
My sister came over for a quick lesson on the specialty rulers to make the step #4 Frolic blocks. 
We experimented with different rulers, and we both decided to use a different technique. I'm using Bonnie's Essential Triangle Tool, and my sister is using the EZ angle ruler for the HSTs, and the large square technique for the QSTs. All of this mumbo jumbo only makes sense if you are following the mystery.

Here are our blocks after the ruler experiments - my sister's aquas on the right, and my 11 sets of blocks on the left. My colours look so dull beside hers!
This is where we are ... nowhere near being finished this step...
or Christmas gifts! 
Oh well, that's okay, everything that needs to get done, always gets done!

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Slow Sunday Stitching

It's Sunday - time for some rest and relaxation. It's the last Sunday before Christmas and everyone is working on frantic preparations, and folks are bordering on nervous breakdowns at the mall, but I encourage you to take even a few moments to slow down and enjoy some hand stitching today. I promise you it will help you to calm down, think more clearly, and be more efficient in completely all the tasks on your to-do list.

This week I have enjoyed working on some projects to give as Christmas gifts, and can't show them on my blog yet, so I want to show you this photo of my friend Debbie's new embroidery floss storage system. 
She is hand stitching the Crabapple Hill Snow Globes BOM, and look how she is winding the floss colours on clothes pins. See how she is writing the colour number on the end? And how she is pinching the end of the floss in the clothes pin so it doesn't unravel... genius idea and so darn cute!

What are you hand stitching today? Are you finishing up some gifts for Christmas?  Enjoy the countdown to finishes and link up your blog post below so we can peek in at what you're doing!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
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Friday, December 20, 2019

Gifts getting finished!

There are 5 days left to finish up all your Christmas gifts!  I always work on projects to give away right up until Christmas Eve. Whatever I am able to get finished makes me happy, and whatever doesn't get finished, goes in next year's pile!
I have been collecting selvages for a while and made 4 hot mats from red selvages for gifts. They were fun to make in a quilt-as-you-go style. I hand stitched the binding on the back, making it a little longer so I could loop the end over to make a hanging tab.

Then I took them to the local park for a glamour photo shoot, but it was really cold, so the outing was brief and the photos weren't great.
You can't even see the cute little gifts in this photo!

Trying again... that's a little bit better!
Oh well... the idea was great, but the execution left a bit to be desired! LOL
I'm sure the new owners will enjoy these hand made gifts!

Quilters sewing their Frolic blocks!
And guess what today is?!?!
It's Frolic Day - Step #4 is posted. I wonder what we're sewing this week in between finishing our Christmas sewing!?

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Frolic Update

Can you believe it's one week until Christmas? Why does December always go so fast?!?
'Tis the season for multi-tasking and this week I was able to eat sugar cookies AND sew at the same time!

Frolic Step #3
We are now 3 weeks into the Quiltville Frolic mystery and for  this step we made HST blocks. 
These block piles don't look like much, but quilters know how many hours of cutting, sewing, and trimming this photo represents.

Here are the result of the efforts so far. My blocks on the right and my friend Sandy's blocks on the left. Sandy is using yellow instead of raspberry/reds and I can't wait to see how our colours look in the finished quilts. 

At this point in the mystery quilt process the accomplishments just look like a bunch of disorganized pieces, but it really is a miracle waiting to happen... just you wait and see!

Monday, December 16, 2019

Design Wall Christmas Tree

Have you been following along with the Temecula Tiny Tree project?
It has been fun to use up these small green scraps in cute little blocks. This is the order in which we made the blocks, but I didn't follow the block layout exactly as the instructions showed. The lime green in some of my blocks really stood out and had to be carefully spaced.

It was an interesting construction method, to piece the rows of the tree, then trim off the whole side on an angle. I was nervous cutting that angle, but it worked out perfectly.

So so cute! I found the background fabric with little green stars in my stash. If you would like to make your own scrappy tree, you can download the pattern here and the block patterns are on the Temecula blog.

Thanks to Temecula Quilt Company for such a happy little Christmas project!
Hop over to Small Quilts to see more design wall postings.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly link up for hand stitchers! I hope you will make yourself a cup of tea or coffee, and visit the links below for some creative inspiration.

Do you have a favourite hand stitched Christmas decoration that you get out every year to enjoy again? This is my most treasured cross stitch that I made in 1992. It has symbolic meaning for me and every year when I pull it out of the box of Christmas decorations I am delighted to see it again. So many memories are stitched into our projects.

I am putting the final stitches into the binding for a gift that should go in the mail asap.
Are you working on Christmas gifts today?

Link up your blog or instagram post and share what you are hand stitching!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Friday, December 13, 2019

Mystery Overload?

Yes we all know I am a quiltaholic!
And yes I am also a mystery quiltaholic!
I can't help myself and am powerless over the decision to start a new mystery project.
Can't. Help. Myself.
On Wednesday I posted my Frolic mystery quilt update. It has been a slow starting mystery, so I have had lots of time to work on other projects.

Here are some of the Temecula tiny tree mystery blocks. All the blocks are made from green fabrics, which don't look like much now, but which will be made into some sort of tree eventually.

I'm also sewing the Meadow Mist mystery, and the December blocks have been posted, but that's only one step a month, so I'll catch up with that in the New Year. My quilt is in spring colours and I don't really feel like sewing those blocks at Christmas time!
Okay... back to Christmas related tasks... just as soon as I check to see what step #3 for the Frolic mystery is! LOL

Happy Friday the 13th... let's quilt!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Frolic Step #2

For the second Frolic week we made rectangle blocks from neutrals and "raspberries". Instead of using strips, I used up a lot of left over charm squares making these blocks. These are from the "Miss Scarlet" charm pack. If I cut carefully I could get 6 pieces from each charm square. So happy to find a place for these leftovers!

Here are my blocks. The variety achieved when using charm squares is wonderful! 
These first 2 steps have been quick and easy. While I'm eagerly waiting for step #3, I guess I'll work on finishing some Christmas gifts!

Monday, December 09, 2019

Shoo Flies

I'm busily working on Christmas presents, and there is no time for putzing around in the scraps. But I was looking for a binding fabric and unearthed this baggie of batik HST blocks. I have no idea what project they were from or maybe someone gifted them to me, but aren't they pretty?

I started sorting them to see how many there were that matched. When my children were younger this would have been a job I made them do an educational exercise to learn matching skills. But they are grown up now and refuse, so I have to do it myself. I should have left the baggie closed, but I didn't and well... before you know it, I was making more of those darn Shoo Fly blocks.
49 Shoo Fly Shoo blocks

So then I had to put a few on the design wall to see how the project is coming along. Wow that lion block really jumps out, eh? 

Okay... back to what I'm supposed to be working on.
Don't get distracted.
Christmas is coming.

Linking up to design wall Monday.

Sunday, December 08, 2019

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to Slow Sunday Stitching! 

We meet here every Sunday to celebrate the art of all varieties of hand stitching. If it involves a needle (or 2 or 3!) and thread, and stitches taken with your hands, we want to know all about it!
This is what I am hand stitching these days ...some embroidery projects for Christmas gifts.  Is there anything more fun than embroidery AND selvages?!?! 
I have a rather large collection of selvages that are an untapped source of enjoyment. Most people call this garbage and throw it away, but as my friends know, I consider this a treasure! Do you know how many wonderful things you can make with this collection of colour and inspiration?!?!
What are you hand stitching today?

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter