09 December 2016

A Forest of Creativity

DIY Christmas trees
(several pages, if you have time and/or interest)


in case you're bored...

the cutest tree I've seen this week

Some repeats here, but also some genuine treats!

Oh, how this one made me laugh!!!

gotta love this one


And finally, from my sock mania (or is that maniac?!?) days...

08 December 2016

Quilts for Lyra and Kaela

Back when I finished Lyra's quilt top, Heartless was my favorite top ever so far. I had never pieced so many little triangles in borders before, I LOVE flying geese, the border design was one of the most unique I'd ever come up with, and this was my first mostly white quilt top. I'd been scared to death to make a mostly white quilt, particularly with lots of piecing, because I worried the seams would show through.

With white batting and a black backing (the last of the sheet I cut up to back Noah's quilt and Lexi's quilt), Heartless, which started with one of my very own Spoonflower designs, looks just perfect to me!

I had planned to be far more fancy with the quilting, but I was on a tight deadline to finish seven quilts for cousins by Thanksgiving (which I didn't achieve), so simple crosshatch and echo quilting would have to do.

I did, however, have fun quilting white on white on Black Friday, since I made a resolution two years ago to celebrate White Friday instead of Black Friday from now on because I abhor the commercialism of the season. We didn't get any snow for Thanksgiving this year (and haven't had much since, either), so I had to make my own White Friday.

Another fun thing about quilting during my days off during Thanksgiving was being able to take pictures of finished quilts in daylight instead of with the flash at night! This time of year, it's dark when I leave for work in the morning, and it's dark when I get home. So it's darker than dark when I finish a quilt at night after work.

I have two more unused just slightly different Spoonflower panels incorporating nearly this same design, and right now, I'm leaning toward making fancy borders like this on at least one of them, then taking the time to quilt it more attractively. That likely won't happen until some time next year, though. Not because I don't love the design!

I deliberately saved Kaela's quilt for last so I could do some fancier quilting. Almost all the other quilts I finished for Christmas this year were stitch-in-the-ditch or outline quilting. Since beginning Hearts of Gold back in June, I'd wanted to practice my free-motion quilting on this quilt.

I wanted to symbolize all the emotions and healing that went into making this top with quilted hearts, swirly hearts and bulging hearts all over. Unfortunately, I was still on a deadline, even though I missed my original deadline, and I got discouraged after the first couple of hearts because they didn't turn out that well. This is the first free-motion quilting I've done in several months, so I was pretty rusty once again. I even forgot to change one of the machine settings before I got going on the first heart.

Nevertheless, I kept going, outlining each heart one at a time, trying to make each one better than the last. After about eight hearts, I was getting a little more comfortable with moving the layers through the machine without pulling and distorting the fabric. The lines started looking more confident, too.

I used the remaining blue from a sheet I cut up to back another quilt that feels like a lifetime ago, and the binding is the remainder of the shimmery gold Artisan Spirit I used for the hearts and am SO glad I didn't use to add applique hearts to Lyra's quilt also. Because then I wouldn't have had enough for the binding on this one!

It feels SO good to be done with this year's Christmas quilts! I still have a niece whose quilt hasn't been sent yet because her younger (but grown) brother needs a quilt, too, and I haven't even started his. A new nephew is coming in January, and I plan to make another quilt for him (but not from a WIP because I don't have any suitable for boys). Lurking in my hopes and dreams in the deepest recesses of my heart are Christmas quilts for four adoptive granddaughters and four adoptive grandsons I might be able to begin establishing relationships with if my adopted kids are able to finally connect the dots. I also have panels I bought to make lap quilts for both my mom and my dad ages ago but have never started, and there's that quilt for my sister-in-law I've been wanting to finish for Christmas or her birthday every year for going on about five or six years now. So plenty of gift quilts remain on my horizon.

But for right now, this very moment... I get to work on something for me!!!

After I finish admiring Kaela's quilt, that is...

Linking up with Busy Hands Quilts, Crazy Mom Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

06 December 2016

Light the World

Personally, I think we should do this every day and not just in December...

05 December 2016

Snowflake Monday

I was looking through past Christmas blog entries, looking for a specific post, when I was moved to (happy) tears after reading the third straight search result. Suddenly, I realized instead of linking to just ONE special Christmas blog post, I should make a list so they'd all be easy to find, and I could justify a Saturday morning trip down memory lane with all my favorite Christmas memories wrapped around me like a favorite fleece snowflake blanket instead of folding laundry and cutting down and mulching the now withered garden.

I hope your December is treating you as well!

Just Around the Corner
A Blue Christmas
A New Day
My First Project Blizzard
Another Memorable Project Blizzard
Nine More Days
The Best Kind of Christmas
Christmas Quilts from the Denver National Quilt Festival and Quilts at the Capital
(which, sadly, have both become memories, too; no more big quilt shows in Denver)
Snowflakes from Photos
When Hope Seems Lost
The Neverending Christmas

Some favorite Christmas video posts from years gone by:

Sugar Plum Fairy
Angels We Have Heard on High
Change for a Dollar
The First Gift

You may do whatever you'd like with snowflakes you make from this pattern, but you may not sell or republish the pattern. Thanks, and enjoy!

Picotless Christmas Memory Snowflake

Finished Size: 5 inches from point to point
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 7 crochet hook, two-holed 1-inch to 2-inch button, empty pizza box, wax paper or plastic wrap, cellophane tape, water soluble school glue or desired stiffener, water, glitter, small container for glue/water mixture, paintbrush, stick pins that won't be used later for sewing, clear thread or fishing line

Christmas Memories Snowflake Instructions

Round 1: 1 sc in button hole, ch 7,[1 sc in same buttonhole, ch 7] 2 times, 1 sc in next buttonhole, [ch 7, 1 sc in same buttonhole] 2 times; ch 3, 1 tr in starting sc to form 6th ch 7 sp of Round.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.

Round 2: Ch 6 (counts as 1 tr and ch 3), 1 dc over post of tr directly below, * ch 7, 1 sc in 5th ch from hook, ch 12, sl st in sc, ch 5, sl st in sc (tri-picot made), ch 2, 1 dc in next ch 7 sp, ch 3, 1 tr in same sp, ch 5, sl st in 3rd ch from hook (picot made), ch 2, 1 tr in same ch 7 sp, ch 3, 1 dc in same sp; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last tr, last ch 3 and last dc of final repeat; sl st in 3rd ch of starting ch 6; bind off. Weave in ends.

Finish: Tape wax paper or plastic wrap to top of empty pizza box. Pin snowflake to box on top of wax paper or plastic wrap.

If using glue, mix a few drops of water with a teaspoon of glue in small washable container. Paint snowflake with glue mixture or desired stiffener. Sprinkle lightly with glitter. Wash paintbrush and container thoroughly. Allow snowflake to dry at least 24 hours. Remove pins. Gently peel snowflake from wax paper or plastic wrap. Attach 10-inch clear thread to one spoke, weaving in end. Wrap fishing line around tree branch (or tape to ceiling or any overhead surface) and watch the snowflake twirl freely whenever you walk by! Snowflake also may be taped to window or tied to doorknob or cabinet handle.

02 December 2016

Friday Funny

What do you get when you turn a couple of teenage boys loose with digital editing equipment? A pretty darned cute mini-morph Star Trek!

01 December 2016

Quilts for Haeley and Lexi

There was a touch of disappointment prior to Thanksgiving because we wouldn't be able to make a somewhat traditional trip to Moab, with the little side trip to deliver Christmas quilts to cousins in Salt Lake, because my husband had to work, but there is much to be thankful for this holiday season! I used my four days off to finish all four of the girls' quilts!

Here are the first two!

I started Haeley's quilt top by bordering my Hearts of Gold II panel from Spoonflower with a border of red in September the night before we left for Washington to participate in this year's Deception Pass Classic to benefit the fight against multiple sclerosis. We were gone for ten days. When we returned, I couldn't remember what I'd planned for this quilt, other than appliqueing some hearts I'd planned to cut from the remainder of the sparkly gold fabric from the Hearts of Gold quilt top I'd finished in June.

Before I realized I wouldn't be able to deliver the quilts in person, I knew if I could finish up seven quilt tops, I might be able to quilt one every night or two as Thanksgiving grew closer. So I decided to do rainbow borders around Hearts of Gold II, which worked up in a single night!

I backed it with pink Kona because I thought pink would make a great color for the binding. Actual quilting was finished Thanksgiving Day before we traveled to enjoy turkey with my in-laws.

Hearts of Gold II

Lexi's quilt was finished on Black Friday, the only truly Black Friday activity I participated in on a day when I stay as far away from stores as possible. I backed it and bound it with the leftovers of a black sheet I'd also used to back Noah's quilt. I'd been calling the quilts by number... One of Seven, Two of Seven, Three of Seven... in reference to a Star Trek spin-off I never got to watch because it came out after I went TV-less (by choice). The cousins' mamas would have figured out who was getting which quilt had I displayed the finished tops on Instagram with recipients' names (They don't read my blog, thank heavens!), and I wanted the quilts to be a surprise. When I finished Five of Seven, or Lexi's Quilt, someone finally picked up on the Star Trek reference. I was tickled it took five quilts before anyone connected Seven of Nine!

Linking up with Busy Hands Quilts, Crazy Mom Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.
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