Farmer's Wife Quilt Along Week 31

Hello hello!  Hope you had a lovely Christmas.  I've had an amazing few days, but more about that later this week ... or next.

Today I have new FW blocks for you in colors I'm calling "The Kitchen Sink" palette. :)

I've been DYING to make this block - Postage Stamp - since I started this QAL back in June.  This sort of piecing is really one of my all time favorite activities. 

I was going to wait a while longer to make it, for no particular reason, I guess. 

But suddenly I was inspired by a few things ... this image I found at one of my new favorite blogs (well, new to me - she's been around for quite a while!)  Something about the pretty, colorful ornaments on this tree ... I actually get butterflies in my tummy when I look at this photo.  I can't explain it.

And the thought of what Christmas usually looks like - an explosion of color with all the gifts, wrapping paper, decorations, lights, candy ... especially if kids are involved.

So I decided to cut one square from every print I'm using for my FWQAL quilt and found that I had almost enough squares for 2 blocks!

I just threw in a few more whites and voila! 

I have a feeling that when it comes to the final quilt there'll be a few blocks that won't play nicely with the others and won't be allowed to join in.  But I'm sure both these blocks will make the final cut because ...

I ... LOVE ... THEM ... SO ... MUCH!!!  It's sad really ... how much I love them.

So much so that right now I'm totally wanting to make a huge quilt with just these little 3/4" squares. 

Don't think I won't!  In fact, I just might do that with all my scraps at the end of this QAL. 

One of these days I'll show you the quilt I made that ended up with literally thousands of tiny pieces.

You think I'm joking, don't you? 

Dude.  I don't joke about things like that ...


Pretty Wishes

Wishing you a very Pretty Christmas and a Lovely Holiday!

xo, Kristyne


Felt Christmas Deer II

After my OCD stitching on tissue paper (but I'm SO happy I did, just LOOK at her cute li'l rump!) this quiet charmer went together much faster than the tree.

And by the way, I did the tissue trick with the eye & nose, but managed to freestyle the ears & leg outlines, just sayin'.

LOVE her. :)

I picked a pretty pale pink ribbon (I know, what a shocker, eh?) for the hanger to go with the floss color used for the ears.

And I have a confession.  The pattern says to embellish both sides of the ornament, I'm sure to make it reversible in case it twists around on the tree.  That's one of the things I admire about Alicia - her loving attention to detail.

But I didn't do that ... partly 'cause I'm a little lazy and partly 'cause I wanted to do this instead ...

But wait ... there's more!


My 8 year old daughter has a little school mate from Australia who is visiting Canada for only one year while her dad is on a work exchange.  She goes home in a few days and my daughter is sad her friend is leaving.  When she saw me making this deer, she asked if I would make one as a farewell gift.   (I know, my heart is breaking just a little too.)

Of course I said yes.  But I had to chuckle about this next bit. 

When she saw me fiddling around with the bows for the tree, she asked if we could put one on her friend's deer. 

Now normally this would be a little over-the-top cutsie ... even for me.

But for an 8 year old? 

Come on. 

Even all you hardcore no-bow people have to admit she's pretty darn cute.


Stockings, More Bows & a Little Red

Christmas is oh so close now ... kinda like it's breathing down my neck.  I'm not ready.  But then again, I never am.  Somehow all the "essentials" seem to get done, a few things I THOUGHT were essential turn out not to be, and the world doesn't end if some of the "non-essentials" don't get done. 

Today I don't have anything new to show you so I thought you might like to see the stockings I made for my daughters a few years ago. 

Whoops, Another Tangent Alert!

It was a very weird year when I was craving just a teensy bit of red in my traditionally white/silver Christmas decor.  Normally I avoid red.  I never wear it.  I don't decorate with it ('cept for Valentine's & Christmas).  And I only occasionally quilt with it a very little bit.  But ... I dunno what was up with me ... it was just weird.

That same year, I also bought a few small red ornaments to "sprinkle" on the tree in amongst my silver & white.  The result?  The tree looked like it had chicken pox!  NOT what I had in mind.  Omg, I swear it was the most ridiculous thing EVER ... hilarious, but ridiculous.  So I took 'em off and put them all together on a plate. 

Less pox-ey, more festive ... MUCH better!

Back to the stockings.

I had such a hard time deciding on design and fabric.  Oy!  When I have so many options swimming around in my head I get crippled with indecision.

In this case, I was at least certain I wanted to use this adorable fleecy roses fabric.  In white, it makes the PERFECT cuff.

But for the rest of the stocking?  I couldn't decide on patchwork, checkers, stripes, English paper-piecing, embroidery, applique, cross-stitch ... for the love of all things holy PLEASE make it STOP!

As you can see I wimped out, curled up into the fetal position and just went totally easy with a cross-hatched single print.  Yawn.  I know.  You don't need to tell me. 

I hope that at least the big bow distracts anyone from noticing how lame the rest of the stocking looks.

Told ya bows were in my DNA! ;)

But I let the girls pick their fabric - from a very limited selection pre-determined by moi - and they seem happy with them.

Every year I have these grandiose plans to make out-of-this-world, drop-dead-gorgeous stockings for them.  But I really can't narrow my choices down enough to decide what that looks like!

Sigh.  Maybe next year ...


Felt Christmas Tree Part Deux

Ok.  GUESS what I did this weekend ...

Red WITH Bow,


Cream WITH Bow,

Cream WITHOUT Bow.

Altogether now ... just in case you think I was only messing around with Photoshop ... which I'm not even capable of doing ... on account of my technical incompetence and all ...

Tangent Alert!

I went out with friends a few weeks ago and I was going to be late so I needed one of their cell #s to call when I was on my way.  How do you think I "entered" the number into my cell phone? 

I wrote it on a sticky note and stuck it to my phone. 

No joke.  I know, it's pretty sad.  But I hope it makes me appear more charming, less pathetic.

Second Tangent Alert!

So, I was in high school in the mid-80s and I worked at a Laura Ashely store all through the 90s so it's pretty safe to say that bows are in my blood.  In fact, I bet if you look at my DNA under a microscope, you wouldn't find a double helix,

you'd see a garland of bows.   ;)

That said, as I get older my taste is migrating slowly away from the fussy & frilly to more understated forms of pretty. 

But if you ask me if I prefer the bow or the no-bow version of this tree, I'm gonna have to sit  comfortably on the fence.

Kits available here.  Patterns available here.


Farmer's Wife Quilt Along Week 30

Wait for it ...






Red, White & GREEN! 

Last time ... promise.  ;)

#65 - Peaceful Hours

With a name like that I prob'ly shoulda made this block with blues and/or grays.  But I just kept seeing a wreath so I went with it.

And how perfect is that fussy cut design in the middle?  Doing the happy dance over that one!

#86 - Squash Blossom

I was seriously tempted to use orange fabric for this block.  You know me and my tendency to interpret things literally.  I kept thinking zucchini. 

But since there is no orange in the Flower Sugar fabric lines, I settled for red.

Hmmm ... maybe I shoulda gone with yellow instead.  But at this point I really can't be bothered to remake this block so red it shall stay.

Does anyone happen to know if there is such a thing as a squash with a red blossom?  I might sleep better at night knowing one really does exist.


Felt Christmas Deer

Ok.  This post might make you think I'm totally off my rocker.  But I'm normal in other ways - as in I sleep with my eyes closed and put my pants on one leg at a time - so please forgive me, kay?

When I added the beads & sequins & embroidery knots to the tree, I simply eyeballed as suggested in the pattern.  No problem.  They're just randomly fallen snowflakes, right?

But the spots on the deer ... well, I don't like freestyling these sorts of embroidery details.  And you know how I don't like my embroidery markings to show.

This is a little trick I learned from watching my mom back in the 70's when she was making what I thought was a seriously ugly brown & orange & yellow sunflower crewelwork that hung in our decidedly 70's era diningroom (complete with mirror-tiled accent wall!) 

Sorry, I digress.  Where was I?

Oh yes, trick.

First I trace the embroidery details onto a scrap of tissue paper.

See?  I include the outline of the deer so I can line it up with the felt.

Next I pin the tissue to the felt, lining up the outline.

Then I start stitching through the tissue.

And then when all the embroidery was done I GENTLY tear the tissue away.  (Sometimes tweezers help to get the little bits out.)


Oh, but I'm ok eyeballing the sequins once all the other stitching was done.

Go figure.

These gorgeous felt ornaments are by Alicia Paulson of the wonderful blog Posie Gets Cozy



Felt Christmas Tree

There just aren't adequate words in the English language to describe exactly how I feel about crafting.  When I poured all these sparkly, colorful beads & sequins onto the saucer my heart skipped a beat.  Seriously.  I may have even squealed out loud a little. 

It's all just so ... so PRETTY!!!

Making things - especially pretty things for people I love - makes me really happy.

Major bonus when whatever it is turns out even better than I'd hoped! :)

The idea for this little ad-libbed 2011 label just came to me at the last minute.   All it took was a piece of unbleached muslin, pinking shears and a fine-tipped marker.

My husband said it looks like a price tag ... I nearly clocked him one.  He's also the same guy who thought this was a placemat.  See what I have to live with?  ;)

But now I need your advice ... to bow or not to bow?  That is the question.

What do you think?  I'll go with marjority rules as of bedtime tonite.

Pattern available here.


Felt Christmas Ornaments Progress

Well, that was easy ... I got all the pieces cut out!  Look out people, Mama's on a roll!  Haha :)

There was a moment of panic with this one ... I somehow lost the green for the top section of the tree.   I suppose that's what you get when you open a kit and then take all the things out several times and play around with them as you contemplate starting and then eventually change your mind and end up ignoring it for far too long. 

But I found a green felt scrap in my cupboard.  I don't think it's a PERFECT match to the original, but it's pretty darn close so it'll do.  I may change the floss color, though.

Ooooh, she's gonna be so cuuute ... I love the sequins and stitches on her hind quarters.

LOVE this one - even though it looks ... er ... more involved ... than the other two ornaments.

Now ... which one do I do first?  You'd be smart to bet on one of the easier ones.  I'm in the mood for more of the "instant" rather than "delayed" kind of gratification ... ;)

Oh, and by the way, does this "shrubbery" ...

remind anyone else of this ... ?

LOL!  It's been like over 20 years since the last time I saw "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" (yes, seen it more than once ... cult classic when I was in University) and STILL that word cracks me up every.single.time.


Felt Christmas Ornaments

When I was growing up my mom always gave us a new ornament for Christmas - sometimes store bought, sometimes handmade by her. 

When she found a kit she liked, she'd make them and we'd each get a different one.

I never once saw her working on them - she was very sneaky stitching away while we were at school or in bed.  To this day, the ones she made remain among my most treasured ornaments. 

And I miss seeing the ones that belong to my siblings. 

Guess I'm uber sentimental about some things.

So when I found this kit (now available as a PDF) at Posy Gets Cozy a few years ago, I NEEDED to make them.

Well, I got as far as cutting out all the templates and then sorta lost steam. 

Not sure why. 

It's not like me to not finish something I'm so excited about. 

But I'm determined to finish them this year.  I'll keep you posted ... ;)


Farmer's Wife Quilt Along Week 29

More Red, Green & White

#42 - Fruit Basket

This is another one of those blocks that needed just a hint of red.  When I read the name, "Fruit Basket", of course my basket was going to hold apples. 

Or in this case Christmas apples - also known as pomegranates. :)

#60 - Noon & Light

Well, this one didn't turn out QUITE the way I had in mind.  I was THINKING wreath with berries & little red blossoms.

But when I did the final press and turned it over, the wonky hot pink berries on a lime green wreath just seemed very ... Dr. Seuss-ish ... like it belonged to a Who down in Whoville!  Haha!

Lucky for me, I love Dr. Seuss and I especially love "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" - watching it on tv was a family tradition when I was growing up and it continues to be one with my girls.  But since the invention of DVDs, they don't have to haunt the TV Guide to find out when it's going to air only once a year ...

So this block is going to stay exactly the way it is - with all its Grinchy green-ness - and I will giggle every time I see it. :)


Humility Bootcamp?  

If you're not a parent but plan to become one some day, take my advice and practice humility.  You're going to need it.

For example if you live in a cold climate, your child might make an announcement that goes something like this ...

"Hey Mom, I just farted in my snowpants and now I'm all extra warm!"

... followed by hysterical laughter ... in the produce department of a grocery store ... with lots of people around. 

Just sayin'.


Mystery Block Of the Month

Thanks to those of you who commented on my framed blocks in yesterday's post.  FYI, they fit a 5" (finished) block and I got them from Ikea a few years ago.  I'm pretty sure they're still available for something like $6 / pair.

And also thanks to everyone who shared their delinquent holiday decorating habits.  I feel better. :)

                    *               *               *               *               * 

Wohoo!  Halfway for my Fat Quarter Shop's Designer Mystery Block of the Month project!

I confess I breathed a sigh of relief when I opened this package.  Thank goodness it was an easy peasy lemon squeezy design.  Things are a little hectic around here with Christmas etc. and I needed a break!

This is the first block (for this project) where I did some fabric swapping.

Each block in this quilt is a flower head with stems & leaves under each block.  The finishing kit comes with the same green as the bottom of this flower (shown on the pattern), but I prefer the blue-ish green color (on my block) so I switched it. 

Which created another problem ... I don't like it when the same color bleeds into each other so I had to switch both of the blue prints.

Then I switched the large red floral for the smaller print - I think this small floral is my favorite print in this fabric collection. :)

MAN these mosaics are fun! :)


Making Room for Christmas

So, does anyone else have to take down Valentine's Day decorations ...

and/or (in my case AND) Easter decorations ...

to make room for the Christmas stuff?




Farmer's Wife Quilt Along Midway Mosaic

It didn't occur to me until mid afternoon yesterday that I could make a nice midway mosaic of my FW blocks.  (Well, I snuck in next week's blocks too ... ) 

What do you think?  This is just a random arrangement via Flickr.  I didn't feel like manually sorting them.

Yep, that "Bat Wings" block (top right corner) is definitely too red.  I'll have to redo it. 

I've never made a quilt like this before and I'm loving the entire process. 

Do you ever look at a quilt in progress and wonder where it will be 100 years from now?  Will it be preserved as a family heirloom and end up behind glass in a museum with a sign saying "maker unknown" because I was too lazy to label it?

Will it perish in a fire or a flood?

Or will it be loved and cuddled with and snuggled under and maybe even barfed on by a sick child and end up all stained & thread-bare in someone's attic? 

And will someone ever look at this quilt and wonder about me?  And will they know that I started making it to have fun with a wonderful online community of blogging quilters?  And will they have any inkling of just how.much.joy I had making it and sharing it with you? 

Sometimes I wonder about these things.  But I always come to the same conclusion.  I honestly don't care what happens to it after I'm done making it and maybe enjoying it for a while.

One thing that would absolutely devastate me is if one of my daughters felt obligated to keep something I've made, even though they don't like/want or need it.  I know what it feels like to not be able to get rid of something I think is absolutely hideous just because someone I loved made it.  I hope my daughters understand that getting rid of something I made doesn't mean they're getting rid of me or my love for them.

I think I'm going to make them pinkie-swear on that. 


Farmer's Wife Quilt Along Week 28

THE OFFICIAL HALFWAY MARK!!!  These are blocks 55 & 56 out of 111! :)

Red, White & Green

Considering the stores have been playing Christmas Carols since like EASTER, I thought I'd show a little restraint by waiting until DECEMBER to make Christmas-themed FW blocks.

#97 - Waste Not

I L.O.V.E love this block.  The first time I saw it in the book I KNEW the windmilly thing needed to be red.  Because the red pieces are so skinny, I fussy cut the fabric to avoid blotchiness.  I think the solid red (well, there IS a very tiny dark dot for interest) is fabulous. 

See, I've had it in my mind's eye all along that red would just be an accent color here and there in this quilt.  This block is EXACTLY what I had in mind.  Nice, strong, crisp contrast, but not too much red.

#85 - Square Dance

This Flower Sugar print is responsible for all the gingham I've been using. 

I love this panel type print - especially when you fussy cut ... its like 2 prints for the price of one.  But until now I hadn't found a way to use these pretty little wreaths.  I was SO happy to find this block with such a big square in the middle. 

PLUS, I like how the wreath sort of references my Christmas theme for this block too.  Almost like it was planned ... ;)


Daisychain Sampler "I"

I is a cute flower made almost entirely with lazy daisy stitches.  Love it.

Whenever I mark out a lazy daisy stitch, I ALWAYS use just 2 dots.

One for where the needle goes DOWN and one for where the needle comes UP.

See?  This way, if I pull the stitch too tight (or not tight enough) there are no markings underneath to tell on me.

Nifty, eh? (And yes, those are 3 Colonial Knots - not French Knots - in the flower center.)

My daughter just walked into the room as I was writing this post and "informed me" that 'hi' is a word in the alphabet.

"Did you know that, Mummy?"

Love her.  :)


"It's Personal"

Remember these monogrammed drawstring bags I made back in June?

I made them for my daughter's friends.

Some of you asked if I'd write up a pattern.  Well, I am nothing if not accommodating ... ;)

So when Lecien asked if I'd like to contribute a free pattern to their ZAKKA recipe collection I already had the perfect project in mind.

It took me a while to get it done because I couldn't decide on what fabric to use ... that is until I got home from Quilt Market with the most ADORABLE FQ bundle of "Woodland" by Natalie Lymer of Cinderberry Stitches.

So if you'd like to make a few (or several) of these for Christmas, the pattern is free and you can download it from here.


Farmer's Wife Quilt Along Week 27

Pink, Yellow, Green, Blue & White (again)

I'm fascinated by how Flickr traffic can tell you what's popular.  Sometimes I'm a little slow with all the technology stuff, but it finally occurred to me that I can tell what people prefer - in terms of my FWQAL blocks - based on the # of view & comments etc.  Apparently this color combination is a favorite ... and we aim to please!

I love it too, especially on a day like today when the warmth of the sun has DEFINITELY left my part of the world for many many MANY (and a few more) months.  If I can't have happy colors outside, might as well find them here. 

(That reminds me, better go get the family some Vitamin D supplements for the winter ... )

#108 Periwinkle

So, remember my thing about gingham?  I decided to experiment and see if the same visual disturbance happens when different colors are used.  What do you think?  I'm both surprised and pleased with these results!

#66 Windmill

This block just cried out for 4 different colors.  And this is the first time I used this white print for a background.

It is one of the new "Flower Sugar" prints and I used a leftover scrap from the backing of my Quilt Market quilt - which is a free downloadable, just sayin'.  I will forever think of that quilt whenever I see this fabric. 

Makes me happy. :)


Daisychain Sampler "H"

Ok.  This wasn't so bad, satin-stitch wise, I mean.

I didn't worry as much about the edges being perfect.

'Cause I knew they would be hidden ...

... with a little outline. :)

You know, with all the yellow I've been using lately in my FWQAL blocks and now this pretty little letter, I really need to rethink my relationship with this color ...