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 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 ...


Farmer's Wife Quilt Along Week 26

Yellow & Gray

Is this color combination still trendy?  Or is it like so totally last year and I'm just embarrassing myself?  I gotta say, when I started seeing yellow & gray everywhere I was getting a little annoyed.  Never really warmed to either color.  And putting the two together looked like ... well ... kinda sorta like dog pee on the sidewalk.

Sorry.  But it's Friday and I'm allowing my self a little grossology license today.  Have I ever mentioned I have an occasionally-difficult-to-restrain gross streak in me? 

(All my friends are going, "OCCASIONALLY?!!")

HOWEVER, since the new Flower Sugar line has both gray AND yellow in it, I've been forced to reconsider yet another one of my very narrow-minded opinions. 

Happy me.  Another horizon broadened. :)

And despite the typically modern look this color pairing always seemed to have, I think these blocks look decidely old fashioned ... I think because of the pretty little rosy posies.

Block #29 - Economy

Why oh why am I compelled to fussy cut all these center blocks?!  Can't - help - it.

Block #77 - Seasons

I think this week is the first time I've used the same prints in reverse colors.  This block has the gray version of the yellow print & the yellow version of the gray print in the first block.  Love it.

Now if I tried to explain how exciting that is to a non-crafty quilty person, they'd look at me like my big toe was trying to come out my nose. 

But I know YOU get it.  :)  YOU know what I'm talkin' about.  YOU know that such considerations are not only rational, they're critical to our general well being.

Have a great weekend everyone!


Pincushion Prettiness III

We have a winner  ...

"Archie the Wonder Dog", congratulations!  I know you're going to enjoy Gigi's beautiful pin toppers. 

And remember, Gigi's Etsy Shop is just a click away if you're looking to treat yourself or find that perfect little something for the crafter in your life.  She's always coming up with new designs so you never know what treasure you're going to find!

Here's my last pincushion for you this week.  Yep, that's an egg cup!

Ok.  I didn't make this one.  Gigi did.  In fact, it was part of the FIRST giveaway she made for my blog.  But you never saw it.  Even if you've been reading my blog every day from the beginning.  See, I have a confession to make.  When she showed me this first giveaway set last summer, I held it in my hands (I may have even snatched it ... I can't remember) looked her dead in the eye and apologized because unfortunately I was going to keep it for myself because I really really really needed it so could she please make another one. 

True story.  I can be embarrassingly obnoxious.  (Please don't blame my parents ... they really did try to teach me better.)  But apparently I have enough other redeeming qualities that she overlooked my terrible manners and agreed.   (Love you, Gigi!)  (Oh, and I DID compensate her accordingly ... I'm not THAT horrible!!!)

Anyhow, this perfectly pretty little trio - plus yet another Shabby Cupcake of hers that coordinates so nicely colorwise - sits here in front of my computer screen and I look at it countless times a day. 

I love it.  I don't know if it's normal for such things to make me feel so happy.  But I don't care.  Knowing the person who made these beautiful pin toppers - AND being able to call her friend - makes them even that much more special. 

Thank you Gigi!  This was fun.  We should do it again sometime ... ;)


Pincushion Prettiness II

I got yet another adorable pincushion kit at Quilt Market.  (Last day to enter my giveaway!)

This one is from the sweet Brenda Riddle.  Her new Durham fabric line with Lecien is soooooo pretty.  We're shabby chic soul sisters, me & her. ;)

One of the prints in this line features an uber-feminine paisley and Brenda used that motif as the inspiration for the design on this cushion.

Like Lynette's cushion yesterday, this one also  uses a single skein of COSMO Seasons variegated embroidery floss.  Isn't it just so lovely? 

I woke up very early one morning at Market - like dark o'clock early - and I couldn't get back to sleep so I parked myself in front of the tv and happily stitched away until the rest of the world woke up.  (Why sleep when you can lazy-daisy stitch yourself senseless!)  A few more moments here and there and I had all the stitchery done before I left Houston.

The kit came with a tiny ricrac trim and a square of the gray paisley print for the bottom.  Brenda showed me her finished cushion and suggested I quilt the bottom fabric.  I loved the idea so much that I did the same with Lynette's design that I showed you yesterday. 

The original shape for this cushion was a basic square.  But I got this idea in my head to echo the shape of the stitched paisley motif (I later came to my senses and modified it into an oval) which left the perfect little spot to hold a few of my favorite Gigi pins.

And I added a scrap of pink fabric to form the sides ... I wanted the cushion to be "3-D".

I've had this little set of Gigi's cupcake pins for a few years now.  I'd LOVE to put them in this pincushion, but somehow I just can't bring myself to take them out of their pretty packaging!

I keep these on a message board above my computer so I look at them several times a day and smile.

I have one more cushion with a set of Gigi's pins to show you tomorrow.