Sunday, December 29, 2013

Gingerbread Fun

Like most towns in America our downtown area was abandoned in the 70's and 80's and malls were built in the suburbs.  Over the last 15 - 20 years the city council has been trying to attract small business back to downtown.  One area has been pretty successful in the last 5 years and now hosts a whole variety of small shops and restaurants.  One of the businesses is a bakery that makes primarily fancy cakes.  The owner baked gingerbread houses and placed them in 25 - 30 of the shops and businesses on the street and set up a tour map for visitors to come and see them.  The baker decorated each house to look like the store that housed it.  My friend who is entertaining her foreign exchange student and his mother asked my daughter and me to join them for the afternoon and we toured the gingerbread houses.  

I took only a couple of photos, but we had a lot of fun visiting lots of shops and places I had never been in before.  Here are the few photos I took:

This house was at a shop that sells plants and supplies for hydroponic gardening.  Yep - grass on the roof.
Same house, just wanted a better photo of the snowman.

This one is shaped like a handbag for a trendy boutique.

This one is in a bank.  Those are gingerbread men at the front corners.  The initials BMO are on the roof.

A couple of the businesses no longer had their houses as they had been damaged.  When we entered one shop, we looked around for quite awhile and couldn't find the house.  I finally asked the owner where their house was and she sheepishly told me they ate it!!!!  I nearly died laughing.  She said they couldn't always get away to eat lunch, so they started eating the house one little piece at a time.  Ewww!!  Usually those things get so hard and yukky, I can't even imagine wanting to taste them.  I just could not stop telling this story to other people.  

After the tour, our husbands met us and we all went out for dinner at the local brewery.  This is my friend Joyce with her guests trying the local brew.  They also make a terrific root beer which is my drink of choice.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Almost There

I can hardly believe that there are only 2 more days til Christmas.  It seems like December has been a blur, but I have enjoyed every minute of it.  And there is still more to do.  My friend has had a foreign exchange student living with their family for the last 3 years.  This year the young man has started college and is coming back to visit for the holidays and bringing his mother.  She does not speak much English.  I offered to help my friend entertain her guests as the mother would like to experience a traditional American Christmas.  This cracked me up as my friend and her husband are spending Christmas at their son's college dorm.  He is an RA and has to stay at the dorm through the holidays.  After she takes her Christmas dinner to the dorm, they are going to the movies.

I finished my last little snowman block.  See my previous post for the link to this pattern if you would like to make some too.

I also got the binding on this 12" Merry block from the 100 blocks magazines.

When I put this little hanger on the wall, I failed to remember that we move all the furniture so there is room for the Christmas tree.  That means my little quilt will be viewed through the lamp shade!  LOL.  Live and learn.

Hop on over to Judy's blog  to see more great designs.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Snug as a Mug on a Rug

I was looking through Facebook on Sunday and saw these cute little mug rugs.  I followed the link to a tutorial here.  They were so quick and easy to do.  I made 8 of them on Monday and Tuesday and took them to my stitching group last night to gift to my friends.  Several people were no shows so I have a few leftovers.  Aren't they cute?  and so easy to make.  I like that a lot.

Oops!  One blind snowman!

I found this cute snowman fabric in my stash.  Perfect!

Hope you are enjoying the build up to Christmas and not feeling stressed.  I still have shopping to do.   And now that I think of it, I haven't started my Christmas cards yet either.  Off I go.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Designing Monday

This is the only sewing I did this week.  It was all hand sewing which I do usually in the evenings or weekends while watching TV.  I appliqu├ęd the Dresden plate flower during the first half of the Packers game.  Good thing I finished, cause the second half was all Packers action and I had to watch every play.  Finally a win!

I hope to have it quilted today so I can sew on the binding at my stitching group tomorrow night.

Hop on over to Judy's blog to see more beautiful designs.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Photos to Share

Last Sunday we decorated our church sanctuary for Christmas.  I took some photos after it was all done.  The head of our committee is very artistic and has lots of great ideas.  Her husband finally told her that we had to all go home after 4 hours.  He said she would just keep going because she always has another great idea.  We were going for a winter forest theme with lots of little trees.  The Nativity Set is on the altar.

Little wreaths hanging on the paraments.  Little trees in the right corner.
The road to Bethlehem
Green hydrangeas on the tree.  The tree topper is gold, silver, white, and green twigs, feathers,  flowers, and ting ting.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Designing Monday

Here is my newest project.  It is block # 341 from Vol. 4 of the 100 Blocks series.  I am making a 12 inch quilt to hang for Christmas.  I love to do simple embroidery so this should be fun.

I made the same little quilt last year for a friend and ran into the same problem.  This little block includes a small Dresden plate.  The instructions call for 16 blades for the plate.  When I got them all sewn together, they would not lie flat, so I took out one blade.  Still wavy, so I took out one more and now it works fine.  I had forgotten about this little dilemma that I ran into last year.

Hope you are enjoying your days of Advent and looking forward to the season as much as I am.

Stop by Judy's blog  to see some beautiful designs today.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Advent Celebration

Each December our church holds a service just for women to welcome Advent.  It is a time of reflection and preparation for the upcoming season.  A time to slow down and a time to remember why we are celebrating Advent.  It was a beautiful service by the women of the church including musicians and singers, gifted speakers, and even some of the junior high youth.

After the service we gather in the Fellowship Hall for a tea.  The younger girls serve refreshments to the women and they are so excited.  Each table is decorated with china brought from home and inventive centerpieces.  I decorated a table again this year and took photos in the afternoon while the hall was empty.  Thought you might enjoy seeing a few of the tables.

 This is my table. My centerpiece is white taffeta with a white candle.  Then I added gold mesh ribbon, gold floral picks and bleached pine cones. I also used two margarita glasses filled with snow and gold beads.   I put green snowflakes on the plates to add color to the gold and white.

 No decorations on the table, but the dishes are so adorable.  Each piece has a different line from The Night Before Christmas.  Down the middle of the table are all the serving pieces for the tea set.  Really lovely.

 Cute hearts.   This was really cute from across the room while sitting at the tables, because all you could see is red and white.
 Each napkin had a beautiful Bible verse and the little tents on the table had verses as well.
 I love these Hadley dishes.  We had a little child's tea set of Hadley dishes when I was growing up.  The centerpiece was the cone below.  I don't know what it is for.  Any guesses?

Santa's Toy Shop

The Nutcracker Ballet including a Green Bay Packer ......
and a toe shoe.

Sparkly Poinsettias

Precious Moments Angels

 The lady who decorated this table told me her friends got together and bought these lovely holly dishes for her as a wedding gift.  What a fantastic idea!
 This table had 3 of these cute lanterns and a burlap runner.  Burlap is so big this year.
 She used alternating polka dot napkins and gingham napkins.
Each plate said 1776.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Auburn Had it All Sewn Up!

My husband really enjoys watching football -- college and pros.  So needless to say, our TV was on most of the weekend from the Packers at Thurs. noon thru Sunday night.

One momentous game was the Auburn- Alabama game.  Each team made a touchdown starting at the opposing teams end zone and running the entire length of the field. .  Auburn's was the winning touchdown of the game.  But, to me this was not the highlight.

The highlight was when Auburn's equipment manager pulled out a sewing machine on the sidelines and repaired a wardrobe malfunction for one of the players.  Once they got the jersey back on the player, there was still a rip, so out came the needle and thread and the job was finished by hand.  Hooray for sewists everywhere who save the day, be it football jerseys, Halloween costumes, last minute alterations in the school play, etc. etc.  What a great moment!

I doubt this will ever make the highlights reel in Auburn's training camp, but it was still a victory to me!

Kathy Matthews of Quilting!Sewing!Creating!  has great coverage of this story if you would like to learn more.  It is worth the read.

Designing Monday

I love how these blocks turned out.  I remade the template for the white background in order to get the required 10" finished block size that the pattern states.  I discovered once I started putting the blocks together that the star points would not meet.  I can only guess that all the pattern pieces were  too small.  I downloaded the templates from a free pattern provided by All People Quilt.  There was no gauge on the pattern, so I couldn't tell until it was too late that they are the wrong size.

I guess it doesn't really matter.  I think the blocks look great and the fabrics were fun to choose.  I like that there is so much white space available to quilt in.

Next comes the borders, so that means this top will make at least one more appearance on the blog.

I also took some photos this morning of our church sanctuary.  I am on the decorating committee.  We decorated for Advent a week ago and I forgot to bring my camera.  We like to keep a photo book of or work so we can make remember what we have done from year to year.  Thought you might like to see what we have done.  It is always fun to share ideas.  The star banners on the far right and left are ones I made last year for Advent.  I am glad the committee decided to use them again.

Hop on over to Judy's blog  to see more great designs.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Designing Monday

I received an email this week ( I think it was All People Quilt ) that had a free pattern attached.  I downloaded it and decided to make it.  The name of the pattern is Wish Upon a Star by Gyleen X. Fitzgerald.  The photo of the quilt was really sweet -- made in 30's feedback prints and very girly.  I printed out the pattern pieces - only 3, How hard can this be?  Made my templates, scrounged through my stash and got busy.  I made the center stars for 7 or 8 blocks on Saturday.

Then Sunday made a run to Joann's for some bleached muslin for the background.  I decided to make one test block before cutting out all the background pieces and it is a good thing I did.

This is a quilt of @#$!!# SET IN SEAMS @#$!!#!   Oh my.  That was some bad language I just used.       I hope I didn't offend anybody.  I managed to get the background sewn onto the first star with a lot of gentle pulling and pinning and stretching.  After ironing the finished block I laid it out on my cutting mat to measure.  9 1/2".  I could swear the pattern said 10".  Let me double check that.  Yep- 10".  Oh yes, and that is the finished block!  Say what?

So I went back and remade the template for the background and added an inch to the outside edges.  I made another test block and Voila!  They now measure 12" unfinished.  Plenty of extra to trim off and  oh! those set in seams are just a breeze now.  I am liking how these blocks look and the beauty is when they come together.  Stay tuned for next week and I should have the center finished.

Hope you have a yummy Thanksgiving and lots of leftovers.  I am definitely thankful I solved the mystery of this quilt before I made all 12 blocks incorrectly.  Hop on over to Judy's blog to see some more yummy sewing.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Me? An Artist?

A chance meeting at church on Sunday led to a fun class on Monday.  The class was painting silk scarves.  I am the first to admit I am not an artist - can't color, can't paint, can't sculpt or draw.  If you give me a quilt pattern, I can usually follow it and I'm pretty good at picking out colors that go together.  The teacher of this class said NO Sewing, so I knew I was out of my element.  She gave us a brief explanation and demo of the process and showed us many samples of her gorgeous work.  Since I was a beginner (and not an artist, remember?), she recommended that I try the simplest technique and design.  Works for me!

We each received a blank white silk scarf which we ironed to freezer paper to keep it from wrinkling. We picked colors and painted on a paper towel first, then a silk swatch, and finally we were ready to create.  I started by putting some black and silver lines using a resist type paint, then went to town with the fabric paints.  To get some watery special effects, I used two sizes of salt.  We dried our scarves, ironed them to set the paint, washed them in a fixative, and ironed once more. And

TA DA!  Here is my gorgeous scarf!

The most fun part was painting the fringe.  Isn't it fun?  Now I want to make more, more, more!  Maybe I CAN do art!  I'm wearing it out today for lunch.  Can't wait.

I also saved my little swatch.  It's about 12 inches square.  I am thinking I might be able to make a little rosette pin if I can figure out how.

 We had company for the weekend and they left us this beautiful bouquet and a bottle of wine as a thank you gift.

You probably didn't know I have my own vineyard and wine label, did you?

Well I do have a vineyard that consists of two grapevines, but no, this I haven't tried winemaking yet.  I do think it is pretty cool to have a wine named for me!  LOL!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Designing Monday

I have been making more hexagons.  I started this as a hand project to do at my monthly stitching group, but I could see there is way too much yakking and not enough sewing to make much progress.  So I decided that I would work on it during TV time.  I know lots of you have been through the hexagon craze already, but I seem to wander in and out of it.  I have other shapes in my collection and hope to get around to those one of these days.

I got this little leaf runner bound and hung for the month of November.

Enjoy a day of stitching and hop on over to Judy's blog  to see some beautiful designs.