Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My Christmas greeting

May your Christmas be filled with friends and family, food and fun, peace and joy! This is my 22nd year to make my own Christmas card design. I'm running low on ideas, and have revisited the inspiration for my card in 1990, the lion and the lamb. I gave it a Colorado twist this time, with a mountain lion and Dall sheep lamb, both Rocky Mountain natives.
"Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; The calf and young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them." Isaiah 11:6

The "family circle" is something I've been adding to the back of our card for 21 years. Corbin is fascinated with it (I think he likes it better than the front of the cards) so yesterday I got out the copies I have saved of all of the cards and showed him how his mom and aunts have grown from tiny girls into big girls, how I added his daddy and him, then Zack to the group, and how both of them have grown. In 2002, I added our pug, Jazmine the angel dog, to the design (she died in 2001, but I didn't think to add her that year). Corbin loves the fact that he's trying to take a present out of his mom's hands. The circle has had to grow from its beginning size of about 1" to nearly 2 1/2". Every year it's a challenge to fit everyone in and make the changes in their appearance from the previous year, but making my own cards is a gift I give to myself, and one I hope to continue as long as I am able.

A chicken block

I used a chicken print for the center and a vintage pillow case edge, along with some tiny buttons. Tried to use some stitch combos that I hadn't done before, but I tend to go back to the old standbys.

The little red coat rides again

We have a little red coat that has been through all 3 of our daughters. Rachel (right) wore it in 1988, Trystan (center) in 1991, and Michaela (left) in 1999. Each was 5 or 6 years old at the time. I keep these pictures in a 3 opening frame, but the coat is still hanging in the closet, waiting for another little girl.......

....or boy. Corbin was kind enough to try it on for me yesterday. In a few years we'll see if Zack is willing....

Monday, December 8, 2008

Our Broncos Adventure

I haven't touched a needle in days, which is very unusual for me, but I have a pretty good excuse. Last Friday evening our oldest daughter called and said her boss had two tickets to the Denver/KC on Sunday that she wasn't going to be able to use, and would we like to have them. Paul and I hemmed and hawed a bit; could we go on the spur of the moment? could we afford the expense? what to do with youngest daughter Michaela? With gas prices low, and middle daughter Trystan still home until her graduate program starts in January, we decided that the answer to the first question was "yes". We made reservations on Saturday for a motel room for that night, and off we went.

This is an inflatable mountain and horse tunnel that gets put up for the players to run through on their way onto the field.

Here's Thunder, the horse mascot who runs down the field after each score. Not something they show often on televised games.

Our seats were in the south stands, just to the right of the white horse statue. On either side of him, they set off flames and fireworks each time the Broncos score. We were close enough to feel the heat from the flames each time. Apparently the stadium was built for noise making. When KC had the ball, we would all stomp our feet and the noise was deafening.

Paul and I were both a little surprised at how small the stadium looked inside. It seems huge on TV, but then they say the camera adds 10 pounds, or perhaps in this case, 10 yards. As you can see, the day was beautiful, nearly 60 degrees. We planned our clothes for cold weather (we were still in Colorado in December, right?) and were nearly too hot. I brought my down coat, and it remained stuffed under my seat for the entire game. Shirt sleeves weather...a mile December....who'da thought?

We had great fun with 71,382 of our closest friends (well some of them were KC fans, but they were okay too). And the Broncos won; 24-17!
This morning I went out to start the car and it wouldn't start. It was out of gas. We made it to Denver and back on one tank. Barely.

Friday, December 5, 2008


I can't resist a sale on buttons at 1/2 price, even though I now have 6 different button containers. Not all of them are full, and they aren't sorted in any kind of coherent manner, but I have a vague idea of what is in which box. One was my mom's and is full, one was given to me already full by my daughter's employer, one was a birthday present from my sister and was almost full, one is new as of last weekend (it's a haunted house shaped tin that only contains the newest buttons I bought at the same time), one is from a garage sale a year or so ago, and then there's the one I made from a paper mache' box that has my pin cushion for a lid. The last two are pretty full, too. I have a ridiculous amount of buttons.

You can click on this for a better look. The top row is pine cones, an eagle, a wolf face, cabins, rabbits. The lower row is round metal with an embossed bear track, old sewing machine, bison, turkey, and moose.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Yellow color study round robin, Marianne's block

This is the block I just finished adding to and it belongs to Marianne in NJ. I added five daffodil-like flowers to the widest lace piece, and the owl in his leaf and flower spray.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Shades of purple and some craft show goodies...

I cooked black bean chili last night, so the night before I had soaked the beans and saved the water for dyeing. Here's the lace I did. They are obviously made of different fibers because of the difference in which they absorb the dye. And they're not dry yet in this photo, but they have been set in the microwave and rinsed in cool water.

These are some of the things I worked on yesterday trying to get ready for the show on December 2nd. I actually wrote a list of things on the dry erase board on the refrigerator and as I completed things yesterday I had the pleasure of walking up and swiping an item off. The CQing was already done in each case; just the putting together needed to be done, but that's the least fun part for me, so I put it off. I thought the little cabinet-like things would be terribly easy to finish, but they fought me all the way and required some steps I hadn't planned on. The smaller boxes are paper mache ones I purchased at Hobby Lobby and had intended to make into combination pin cushion/button boxes but that didn't work out, as I'd done the CQ pieces too small to cover the tops if I included as much fiberfill as would be required. They're cute anyway, and could hold chocolates as a gift, then be used as a desk or vanity accessory.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Two more fish-tail stockings

These both have eyelash yarn as seaweed and two lampwork bead fish. One has some lace fan coral made out of lace, and the other has several mother of pearl buttons representing shells. I have one more blank foundation to do in this shape and was hoping to find my Laurel Burch mermaid fabric, but apparently I've either used it all or hidden it from myself. So I went to two fabric stores looking for mermaids and couldn't find any except some weird things that looked like a combination of octopus and mermaid.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My own fabric from Spoonflower, and more stockings

I recently stumbled upon this website for a business in still in beta form that will take your design and print it on fabric. It's called Spoonflower and it's no longer in beta form.
I debated for about a week about what design to send. I didn't have time to come up with something especially for this, so I looked to my 20 odd years (some odder than others) of Christmas card designs and sent the one from 1998. I scanned it into my computer to make a jpeg, and that's what I emailed them. The original card is only 5.5"x 4.25". The design on the fabric is slightly larger than 8.5"x11", and I bought a full yard at $18 plus $3 shipping. I've gotta say it's quite the little ego boost at $21! There's no minimum to buy, and they use 4.3 oz. Kona cotton. When I placed my order, you could order as little as a fat quarter, but I'm glad I got a full yard.
I don't know what I will do with this particular piece of fabric yet, but at least one image will be the centerpiece of a crazy quilt at some point in the future. And I will absolutely use Spoonflower again!

And here are two more odd Christmas stockings. I have two more fish tail shapes to finish embellishing and one more to piece, but time is running out.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More Christmas stockings.... the form of boots. These are some more Victorian ones. I especially like the pink poinsettia done in silk ribbon embroidery on the left one.

And these are sort of Western style.

And here is a purse that I made with myself in mind, but it will be for sale at the show in December. If it doesn't sell, I'll be happy to keep it.

Lampwork beads

I bought these recently from Oriental Trading Company. I think they were pretty reasonably priced, but the shipping $ is always a deal-killer for me. Luckily I had a code for limited-time free shipping. They are angel fish beads and bird beads. As always with lampwork being hand-done, some of the beads are prettier than others. Some are downright goofy looking, but overall I'm happy with the purchase and will be using some of them on projects in the very near future.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Halloween was a scream!

We have regular family dinners on Friday nights at my mom's house, so with Halloween falling on Friday this year, we all came dressed up. My sister Gayle, who lives with Mom, was a Whoopee cushion. Michaela is Miss Peacock, a part of our Clue board game character set.

Rachel and Jared are Miss White and Colonel Mustard, while Zack is a pteradactyl and Corbin is the character Link from Legend of Zelda. He really looks good with pointy ears.

Here's the whole Clue group, doing what they do best, contemplating mayhem with their weapons. From the left, that's Paul as Mr. Green with a lead pipe, me as Professor Plum with a rope, Trystan as Miss Scarlet with a wrench, Michaela as Miss Peacock with a knife, Rachel as Miss White with a candlestick, and Jared as Colonel Mustard with a revolver. Happily everyone survived the evening.

Nephew Devin looking dapper with the sultry Miss Scarlet. They make a lovely couple, but alas, they are cousins.

Assorted characters; Pebbles Flintstone, pirate lady, hippy, Wilma Flintstone....

Will and the Flintstones, Jarad and Morgan.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Victorian boot Christmas stockings

On CQ for Newbies, Mary L. has been hostessing a Victorian boot swap every year for 3years now. Each boot is to include 4 squishies (baggies with CQ stash inside) to be swapped with another boot and squishies. Last year I got a boot that was made by Sharon R. and I liked her pattern so much better than the one I'd come up with that I used it this year. I've done some boots for selling (hopefully) at the craft show and one will be swapped with Mary's swap. So far I have these done:
For some reason I was on a red/black/white binge.

And there's this one with more deep Victorian colors. I've also got some Christmas stockings shaped more like cowboy boots and some shaped like fish tails (with under the sea designs), and I'll post pics of them when they're all done.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Here's what we were doing last night:

And here's how my project turned out:

Tonight we'll be having our usual family dinner at my mom's house, but the menu will be a little different. I'm fixing a big pot of ground brains with rat kidneys (also known as chili with beans) and our drink choices will be even more odd:

The labels are from a package I bought at a dollar store. The fine print on Ye Olde Spider Venom says, "This is a novelty label. Although it's probably not spider venom, Morbid Industries cannot guarantee the safety of the container contents. Please drink responsibly." I can guarantee that when I attached the label to the bottle, it contained lemonade, but I didn't watch it last night, so who knows what may have happened. The brown bottles contain root beer, and the green one ("Zombie Virus, exquisitely crafted from the world's finest brains") is Fresca.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

My block is home!

This is my block from the RR! I love all the things the ladies did on it. Thank you to Lisa B. in Arizona, Linda B. in Nova Scotia, Pam in Cornwall, UK, and Sherry in Washington. Now I hope to make it into a wall hanging, pocket-like thing to hold Christmas cards as they arrive.

The last RR block....for this RR anyway!

This block belongs to Linda B. in Nova Scotia. It got out of order after taking a long leisurely journey across the Atlantic Ocean, but I think it's almost back up to speed. I got it in the mail on 10-28 and have done my work on it quickly, but well, I think, and it goes to Lisa today for finishing touches.
I did the herringbone based stitch under the fan, using some perle cotton that I dyed myself in variegated pink, blue, and purple.

And I did the lace motif and feather stitch vine, both also dyed by me. I hope I left enough room for Lisa to work some magic too!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Round robin block; Christmas in Arizona

This block belongs to Lisa in Arizona. We are both members of a Fabulous First Timers RR on Crazy Quilting International. Out of the 5 ladies in our group, 3 of us chose a Christmasy theme for our blocks. Lisa uses soft greens and winter whites to decorate her home at Christmas, and this block will be the centerpiece of a tryptic CQ wall hanging. She asked for wildlife and natural motifs as opposed to Santas and reindeer. So that's what I gave her! I added the moon, leaves, and snowy owl button in the center patch, as well as the seam treatments around him. I also added the tiny squirrel button under Pam's beautiful tree (he's wondering if those little red beads are edible), and the cardinal in the pine bough in the left lower corner. As always, if you click on the pic, it will enlarge so you can see detail better.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The page 56 challenge

I was reading Jane's blog and she had this challenge. Here's how it works:
1.Grab the nearest book; not the book you like best or the most interesting or the most impressive, just the one nearest to where you are now.
2.Find page 56.
3.Find the 5th sentence on the page.
4.Copy sentence #5 and the next few sentences that follow into your blog.

Here's how that went for me:

There was something strange happening to her, something completely unexpected, something tremendously exciting. She had thought herself immune to these feelings, and now she found she was wrong.

I haven't started reading this book yet. My daughter brought it home to me because it has a quotation on the front by another author I enjoy, Diana Gabaldon. The bit I took out from page 56 sounds like this might be a romance novel. It doesn't look like a 'bodice ripper' by the cover, but then, you know what they say...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Yellow color study round robin

I thought I'd better post a CQ related photo, as 3 of the last 4 posts have been a bit off topic. This block belongs to Pam C. in NSW, Australia. I'm not sure you can relate unless you've done an international RR, but having in my hands a block that originated on the other side of the world is just mind-bogglingly wonderful to me. And getting to put my own work on it is incredible! My yellow block will also eventually be in Australia and get worked on by Pam, so that just doubles the boggle!

I'm the second to get to work on this block, and I took over the upper left corner, adding a seamline of wheat ears done in a yellow variegated perle cotton that I hand-dyed myself (when I say "hand-dyed" I mean that quite literally; you can always tell when I've been playing in the dye, as my fingers get dyed too). The interspersing leaves are plastic attachments that I bought in Denver. I also added the applique kitty (a purchased applique that has been waiting patiently in my button box to find a home on a block), the beaded sun (beads I added to one of those spare buttons that came with a sweater I've long forgotten and no longer own), and the seam down the left side, which is a leafy design that is also done in hand-dyed perle cotton in shades of yellow and yellow-green.

Yesterday was the first cold day of the fall, and we hadn't turned our heater on yet, so I made a fire in the fireplace. Jaxon LOVES a fire in the fireplace. As soon as I open the glass doors, he's right there beside me watching everything I do as if he's trying to memorize the steps so he can do it himself someday. Once the fire is going, he'll stand in front of it for a few minutes soaking it in, then he'll flop down and have a nap. I think in this picture, though, he is practicing some type of doggie yoga. Let's see, you cross your right hind leg over your right front and hold and breathe......

Friday, October 10, 2008

Socks of a different color

While I was on the CQ retreat, one of the stores we visited was Berry Patch in Niwot, Colorado (I think I mentioned it in a previous retreat post, but I didn't take any pictures there). One of the things I bought there was a package of socks for my daughter Trystan's birthday. She had to wear a uniform during her last year of Catholic school, and since then she's favored "wild-ass" undies and socks.

I think I found the wildest socks ever. The company that makes them is Little Miss Matched, which you can find here. You buy them in a package of 3, not a pair, and none of the 3 match. They might be color-coordinated, like the examples I've pictured, but they don't match. These are the ones I ordered for myself.. If you look closely, you'll see that the leaf prints on one sock are oak leaf shaped, while the other is a maple leaf.

And these are the ones Michaela chose:

I'm not affiliated with littlemissmatched, I just love a fun idea when I see it! But I will tell you that if you visit their website and sign up for email from them (they don't send email often, so don't worry), they will give you one free pair, I mean package, of socks with your first order.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Has this ever happened to you?

We went out to eat Chinese food at a buffet last night, and instead of a dessert item, I chose to eat a barbecued spare rib. The sauce on it was so sticky that I immediately had it stuck to the back of my front teeth, which was uncomfortable, but at least no one else knew it was there. After another bite, I had it stuck to the front of both of my front teeth, too. Nice red sauce (very un-sauce-like sauce!) adhering tenaciously to my top front teeth, so I couldn't speak or smile without revealing it. Much lip and tongue maneuvering didn't dislodge it; this stuff was STICKY!!!
I thought about scratching it off with my fingernails, but my 13 year old daughter was sitting right beside me and I do like to set a good example of etiquette for her. My husband and 23 year old daughter were across from me, and behind them, a wall, so I felt I could surreptitiously and in a very lady-like manner, wipe the sauce away with my paper napkin. Bad idea. The napkin stuck firmly to the sauce, and being paper, tore off and stayed there, leaving me with paper "fangs" and a very strange look on my face (according to 23 year old daughter, who laughed in a very unladylike fashion).
Then husband begins laughing and soon I'm afraid they are both going to fall on the floor. So much for etiquette....fingernails to the rescue! But how to get them to stop laughing??? I guess I should just be glad they didn't have the camera or video recorder they were wishing for.
Please someone, tell me this has happened to you....

Monday, October 6, 2008

Odds and ends....

Here are a few things I've been doing lately. First is a yellow color study round robin. This block belongs to Laura R. I was the first to work on it, so all embroidery and embellishments are done by me.

Next is a sane quilt that I made for a wedding present for our niece, Sarah and her husband Don. The center panel is something I bought from Equilter, one of my favorite online stores.

These two hearts are some I made for Chains of Hearts, and they've already been claimed by Susie W. in UK and Maretta O. in Victoria, Australia.

I joined an ornament swap and have already sent out my two ornaments (more than a month early; yay me!). These are not stuffed with fiberfill. They actually have CQing stash goodies inside, and are stitched shut so they won't fall out. The recipients will get to snip the threads to see what CQ Santa has brought them.

And lastly we have a second block for the breast cancer quilt that Leslie E. is making. I'd already done a block for it, but after she gave me more wedding fabrics in the squishies she gave out at retreat, I just had to do one more.

Now I've got to get busy with things for the craft sale on December 2nd.