Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Which one do you like?

Well, I did it.  I cut the old quilt.  Just a corner for now - until I decide the best way to use it some more.  I was like a little kid trying out scissors on their bangs for the first time when I started, but it didn't take me long to just cut.  Before I started, I "had a little talk" with the quilter who made this quilt and explained that I wanted to share her work with other people and make sure that it didn't just get thrown away.  I think we came to an understanding.  
Now I am wondering which style of heart people like best.  I think the one on the right looks more prim, but I really like the one on the left, too.  I am planning to add some little touches to them over the weekend, but I wanted to show what I've done so far.  

My husband and I found the springs in a mattress in a dump.  They aren't the older kind, but I think they'll work just fine. I could rust them a little more, but not sure I want to.
 We are going back for more, but I had to prove to him that I would use them first...  I can't believe he doubted that.  
Oh, wait, he's seen my pile of unfinished projects.  
I think I am seeing a connection here. Uh oh. :O

Here is a little door-knob hanger that I made from the quilt, too.  The pictures show both sides of it.

Monday, January 17, 2011

I seriously need a distraction...

... from "pink eye" in both eyes!  Yes, both eyes.  
"Itchy, itchy, I feel twitchy." 
(Have you ever seen the book, Itchy, Itchy Chicken Pox ?) 
Well, this reminds me of how the kid in that book feels!

Ok, now that I am done whining, I'll share some pictures of my laundry room.  My husband is the brains, brawn, and designer of this little room.  It's actually a pass-through room to our garage, but he turned it into a really nice spot to do laundry.  He designed and built the cabinets and shelf, too.  Amazing.  But again, I am biased.

I love my pocket door!

The door to the garage needs painting and trim work.
So easy to put at the bottom of the list when it's in the laundry room...

Cabinets designed and built by my husband.

My primitive laundry by Mammy's Treasures.
I think good thoughts for her every time I do laundry.
My little quilt quilt. : )
It's a paper pieced pattern my MH Designs.
I bought this sign before I even had my new laundry room.
Just fell in love with it and couldn't leave it at the store.
Found this in an attic.  I love old school things!
I spelled "Welcome", but the men of the house changed it.  : )
The top red part says "Fox's A B C Black Board".
There are numbers on the back for doing math.

Wise words to think about.

And now if I have an ounce of common sense, I'll get away from this computer and do a little laundry.  And maybe sew a little.  I have some very near to finished projects to share soon!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Check out this new blog hosting a giveaway!

Marcy over at W H Baxter & Co. is having her first New Blog Giveaway.   There are lots of ways to get chances to win this adorable bunny.  Doesn't he look like Spring?!  If you go over and sign up be sure to mention that you heard about Marcy's blog from me.   :)   

And I must add that this was a fun thing to see when I got home from taking my young man back to college.  I kind of hate to see the new semester start, but I'm glad he is loving college and is happy where he is.  (But I hope he wants to come home for a few weekends before the end of the term...)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Did you ever...

...just want to take everything out of your house and put it on the front lawn and have a do-over?  This would not be in my best interest today as there  is a lovely snow falling and it would be chilly and wet.  However, that is how I am feeling.  I really do love my home and my "things" for the most part.  I enjoy my furniture, I still like the pictures and decorative accents that I have purchased over the years.  (The ones I fall out of like with get taken to Goodwill or Salvation Army pretty quickly any more so someone else can adopt them.) But I am really challenged when it comes to arranging said items.  I could really use a class or something.  I look at all of the lovely pictures that other people post (THANK YOU!), and then I look at my rooms and feel like things just aren't where they should be or something.  Does anyone else out there have this issue, or is this yet another one of the many qualities that make me what we will politely refer to as "unique"?

Prettier than I deserve...

Just wanted to pop on and share what my husband made this week.  He used only scraps of wood he had left over from other jobs.  He really is an amazing carpenter (yes I am a little biased).  This little gas fireplace is in my sewing room which is actually a pretty big room so now I have to arrange things so there' s a nice little sitting area.  And I need to get the sewing area cleaned up better - I mean a room that has this in it should look more than presentable I think!

The fireplace sits in a corner which makes the decorating of the top a little challenging.
Any suggestions?
Here's close-up of the detail he added.

Now I want to get the room painted - we've been talking about it for a while now.  We started to paint it a few years ago - hence the burgundy color on the bottom portion of the wall, but we didn't follow through with the top color(was going to be a tan shade).  Now it all needs to be done again I think.   And I want to put new carpeting in - but that's really pushing my luck.  I'd go with a wood floor, but this room is over our unheated garage.  The floor gets pretty chilly in the winter.
My husband is scheduled to begin building a house for someone this Spring.  Wonder what my chances are of getting some painting done before the thaw?  I've been so enjoying all the beautiful painting that Dan has done over at Yesterday Once More, and it's making me want to give my walls a drink.  They've been the same color (mostly antique white) for almost 20 years now.  Isn't that long enough?  

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Suggestions Welcome... And another finish :)

I have been thinking about doing the unthinkable...  

I have had this quilt that I rescued from the corner of an attic for lots of years now.  It is pretty rag-taggely, and I don't think there is any real repair.  This might be authentic prim stuff here.  But it's not usable and I am thinking about cutting it up to make ornies of one kind or another.  Currently I have been eyeing it up for some Valentine ornies, but I'm feeling a little funny about cutting up a piece of history.  Stupid, huh?  Can't use it like it is, might enjoy it the other way, but still hesitating.  I need a pep talk!  Along with some suggestions about how you would use it if you had it in your possession.  Thanks!

Also, for those of you who read this post and said to yourself, "What is she thinking of another project for?  She has so many UFO's!"  Well, I have one less UFO.  I finished the I Spy quilt binding!
So clearly I should be rewarded with a fresh project to think about...  Hey, I am following the Dilly-Dally approach... what can I say?!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Letting go of Christmas and moving on to snowmen

For the last couple of years I have been putting out Christmas decorations in December and saving back snowmen for January.  This year especially I kept things pretty simple and didn't put out a lot of my decorations. I actually like doing it this way because then when I get the decorations out the next year I find "old friends" and they feel like new things to use.  (I'm a little simple-minded at times...)  Here are some pictures of my December/January decorations.  
The first three pictures show my favorite Christmas pictures.  I leave these out for the whole winter.  They are pastels that we had done by a very talented woman in our town.  You can see her website here.  We also have a series that she did of our son fishing on a little family vacation we took.  I'll post those with some Spring pictures later. 

This one is my absolute favorite.  She captured joy on my husband's face perfectly.

It's not really a Christmas picture, but I call this one "A Gift for the Baby"
because it makes me think of Jesus in the manger.  

Our little Christmas tree in Clinton's red wagon.

I got this for gift at school this year.  The kids stood around it in my
classroom and pretended to warm their hands.
That gave me joy. :)

I took the red ornaments off the garland and left the lights and garland on the railing.  
Actually, I have lights and garland of some kind on the railing year round.
I hope the white light maker people never figure out that they could
charge therapy prices for those little twinklers. : )

The switchover from Santa cookie jar to Snowman cookie jar.  These are Nancy Halvorsen patterns (Art to Heart).

Some favorite snowman things.  I love the little burn barrel especially.
The two on each end get tealights and they look so cozy when they are all aglow. 


This is my mantel.  It's tricky to decorate because it's set into a corner.
The airplane is thinking about flying away to a new location soon,
but my husband doesn't know that yet...

I know the "Pledge of Allegiance" isn't particularly Christmas or winter,
but at our house we think it's an every day thing. : )
The snowman on the left is also an Art to Heart pattern.  He fits over a 2-liter bottle.

The plate above the shelf was done by by husband's great aunt.
We have a collection of four, one for each season
and I love getting each one out as the seasons change.

I found some joy while I was getting the snowmen out last night. : )

This is one of my favorite quilts that I've made.  See, I do finish things occasionally! 
And another New Year's finish! 
I'm planning to use it for a table topper 
or wallhanging in late summer/fall.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Kelly at Charming Chatter has suggested coming up with a word for 2011. The idea is to choose a word that describes what we'd like to see more of in our lives - maybe what we need a little work on.  (Click here for a link to her blog post about Word Up.)

I first read about this on Wednesday from Mary over at Quilt Hollow. I loved her word - breathe.  It reminded me of a sign my friend said she had hanging in her laundry room - "Relax and feel the difference."

After reading Mary's entry, a word for me popped into my head right away, but I wanted to let it percolate for a day or so to make sure it was the right word for a whole year.  I know that my word found me because I just watched "The Bucket List" with my husband over the weekend.  That movie makes me cry every time.   Anyhow, one of my favorite scenes is when the two men are sitting on the pyramid and Morgan Freeman talks about what the ancient Egyptians believed.  There are two questions asked when you are trying to get into heaven:
1.  Have you found Joy in your life?
2. Has your life brought Joy to others?

Lately, I've been feeling like this world has gone totally crazy.  And I've been letting that crazy-ness overwhelm me.  I'm going back to simpler times.  Enough is enough.  I'm not going to give more energy to toxic situations and people.  I'm not going to worry about things I can't fix or change. I'm going to concentrate on things I can do. I'm going looking for joy.
My word for 2011 is going to be JOY.  I want to pay more attention to the joy in my life.  And I want to be more active about bringing joy to other people, too.  

I have a beautiful 30 minute drive morning and night on my way to school and back home.  I love my drive. (Except on windy, snowy days in winter when I can't see anything, including the road, which thankfully is not often.)  Today on the way home I saw one of the most beautiful winter sunsets I have ever seen.  There was still some blue sky showing, along with puffy gray and white winter clouds.  A bank of clouds  floated just above the horizon and the sun was behind those clouds.  I hope you have all had the chance to see how incredible the sky looks when the sun is shining from behind a cloud, illuminating every edge of the cloud in such a way that you just know heaven is behind there.   Well that's what I saw.  And it was amazing!
As I drove I was wishing that my family could be with me to see it.  I was wishing my 4th graders could be with me to see it. And I was wishing I had my camera so I could share the joy of that scene with anyone who happened to read my blog.  In my quest for joy, I am going to attempt to have my camera handy so I can share it.
I hope you have had some kind of joy in your life today...

Update - Unbelievable, but true...
My husband got home just as I was hitting publish on this blog post earlier and he told me that he was just talking to someone who saw the most incredible sunset they have ever seen today.  They told him that when they saw it they knew they were seeing heaven.  Then I showed him what I had just written.  
What a coincidence that she described it just like I did...  I'm so happy that someone else saw it, too. :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Two finishes!

I think that humbling myself by putting pictures of most of my unfinished projects might be just the cattle prod type motivation I needed to get these things done!  Here are my first two finishes.  The quilts needing just binding are next!

So glad to be putting this away with the Christmas things all ready to go for next Christmas!

This is going to hang outside my classroom door for January.

     Today is back to school for me!  I feel so spoiled to have a job where I get to enjoy long breaks at holiday time.  I am ready to get back into a routine and hear all about how vacation was for my kiddos.  We are going to start the day with some "shopping" in the book orders so they can spend the free book coupons I gave them for Christmas.  Today's bonus question for math will be "How many times in the year 2011 will the date be all ones?"  Do you know?
I hope everyone has a good first Monday of 2011!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

It is contagious!

My sister, Libby, joined the blog world today!  She already figured out how to post pictures with captions.  She has a lovely home and lots of cool collections.   I love the handmade quilt she got for Christmas.  I need to plan a trip to Missouri and arrange a distraction...
Head over and check out her pictures.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Where to begin with my New Year's Resolution?

Ok, on Thursday I said I would take pictures of the unfinished projects I found while cleaning my sewing room.  Well, here they are!  I would love it if you would leave a comment to say which project you would start with and why. :)  The projects are definitely not in order of when they were started.  I thought about doing that, then realized that I would have to sequence about 10 years.  Not going to happen.  So I've numbered them as they appear and tried to give a little info about what needs to be done.

#1  From a block of the month - they each need quilting and binding.
I have the binding ready for all of them.  Also the turkey needs work.
 I didn't really like the pattern for it so I want to adjust the tail feathers.
The club was called "Bloomin Dozen".
I plan to hang them outside my classroom door.  I finished September (apple) and October (pumpkin)
in time to use at the start of the school year, but lost my steam or something with the rest of them.  

#2  My first attempt at curved piecing.  This is done except for hand sewing the binding.
I started this during a weekend quilt retreat about a year and a half ago.
This is a Terry Atkinson pattern called "Winner's Bouquet."

#3  Another block of the month from 2010.  I believe I have six block that haven't even been started,
plus there is a whole patchwork element that needs to be completed.
This pattern is from The Stitch Connection and it's called "Joys of Winter."
#4  This needs to be layering, quilting and binding.
I think this baby has been kicking around for at least 3 years, but I'm not positive.
This is a Quilt in a Day Pattern.  I had a book, but she's reworked it and it's now a pattern called
"A Better Star for All Seasons."

#5  The applique needs to be finished on this as well as binding.   It's been this way for well over a year.
I think I have made at least three of these for gifts - funny how you can finish them for someone else...
The pattern is called "Be Thankful" and is by Cottage Creek Quilts.

#6  This needs to have the edges trimmed even then quilting and binding.
I can remember the name of this pattern.  If you need it let me know and I will look harder. :)

#7  The placemats and wallhanging in this set need to be layered, quilted and bound.
These were in a kit from my favorite quilt shop, Material Rewards in Dansville, NY.
I don't think there was an actual pattern.

#8  This needs layering, quilting and binding.
This was a class I took for learning to use Thangles.  Everyone else in the class used the really big Thangles and made tree skirts.  I made a much smaller table topper using the same pattern which was handed out in class.  (I wonder if there tree skirts were finished in time for Christmas 2009 which is the year I took the class...)

#9  This is an embroidery design my mother did.  I already made another like it into a cute little wallhanging for my mom.  Seems like I could get around to finishing this.  It needs borders, layering, quilting and binding.

#10  This is a banner that I started while on quilt retreat a year and a half ago, I think.
 It needs layering, quilting, and binding.

#11  These will be banners.  They have The Pledge of Allegiance on them and I wanted to make one for me and one for a gift for no one in particular yet.  Gee, no emergency = no finish.  Now I see the pattern!
They both need to have the banner section finished, then layered quilted and bound.

#12  These are leftover squares from a king size quilt I made for our bed for Spring and Summer.
I want to make them into pillow shams or throw pillows for the bed.
I know I have a nice picture of the quilt, but not where I can find it now.  Grrr.
The pattern is called "Strip Search" and it's by G.E. Designs.

#13  This was another block of the month from last year.  It needs layering, quilting and binding.

#14  This lap size quilt also needs layering, quilting and binding.
It is from a great book called "Scrap Basket Surprises" by Kim Brackett.
This is a really nice book with 18 different projects for using up fabric in your stash. 

#15  This is a little table topper that needs layering, quilting and binding.
Can't remember this patter either but can find it if someone is interested.

#16  This "I Spy" quilt needs layering, quilting and binding.
I made it with no pattern.  Just cut squares and sew them together., add borders and you are done - except for the layering, quilting and binding, of course. : )

#17  Another quilt from "Scrap Basket Surprises".  This one needs layering, quilting and binding.
Gee there really is an emerging pattern to my lack of finishes, isn't there?

#18  A leftover block that I thought would make a cute little pillow.
I don't like the background fabric so I think I need to do a little coffee/tea staining maybe.

#19  This table topper is from a free pattern from Timeless Treasures.
#20  (I just remember there is another one very similar to it over my chair in my sewing room.)
For these I think I will do the no binding finish. Just turn it right sides together and stitch around
leaving an opening for turning.
 It uses a 60 degree angle ruler.  I just checked the site and it says it is no longer a free pattern.
I can help you out if you need help finding the pattern.  

#21  Table topper that needs... you guessed it....  layering, quilting and binding.
It also needs a button sewed onto each prairie point.
I can find the pattern name if you are interested.

#22  Long lap robe.  This needs layering, quilting and binding.
It's from a Quilt in a Day Pattern called "Tossed Nine Patch".
This is a great beginning quilter pattern.
True story - I gave the fabric for this quilt to my husband for his birthday (2009).
I gave the finished top to him for Father's Day (2010).
Hmmm... Valentine's Day 2011???

#23  Same pattern as above.  Needs that same finishing, too.

#24  Another "I Spy" quilt.  This just needs the binding hand sewn on.
It started out as a gift, but I had trouble with my machine and it caused a small hole in the backing.
They got a diaper genie instead....

#25  This needs just a little more hand quilting.  Plus it is actually a Christmas Countdown calendar,
so the little ornaments need an embroidery thread loop attached to them.
This was a Nancy Halvorsen  (Benartex) panel from several years ago.
And yes it's been started for quite some time now...

#26  This is the very first quilt square I sewed when I got my sewing machine (circa 2000?).
If you look closely you will see that the log cabin pattern didn't get followed correctly, but the effect is still there.  
(Hey I was busy figuring out how NOT to sew my fingers to the fabric at the time!)
I want to make this into a pillow, I think.

As I've worked my way through documenting this unfinished pile of projects, I've remembered a few more that I haven't uncovered yet.  But I think maybe I have enough to choose from with this pile, what do you think?

Happy New Year, and good luck getting 2011 started on a positive note!