Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

Yesterday, as the last Tuesday of the month, I went to two quilting groups; The Sunshine Club in the morning, and Evergreen in the afternoon.

I spent most of my time ironing the large four patches that are now all sewn together.

But I also did a wee bit of stitching on the tiny Birds In The Air block for the Farmer's Wife quilt, too.

When I got to Evergreen, I got so involved that I forgot to take pictures, so sorry! The cookie exchange was delicious!
Miss Emma is celebrating the new year by playing with her cotton chew toy!

We hope you have a safe and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Happy 5th Day of Christmas!

Here's a quick report on my progress on Step 5 of the Bonnie K. Hunter mystery, Grand Illusion for the Monday morning Linky Party.
It's a little embarrassing to not be finished with it, because it is the most easy yet! I used that pale English Oak by Moda in spite of the poor contrast with the yellow.

You can see some of my teal and yellow blocks up in the left-hand corner there. If the pink is too pale for the quilt, I can always re-do that part of the step, as it is only 4 units.

Other people like to make crumb blocks with pieces of scraps that are really small. But I love to make crumb sachets using potpourri to fill them with the heady scents of either French Lavender, Victorian Rose Petals, or the Christmasy Balsam Fir Needles. My sewing station always smells wonderful!!

Yesterday, I grabbed my girlfriend, Frances, and we took a sachet to Matthew's Dad, John, who lives in a nursing home.

We had a ball singing a few carols, hymns and children's songs from Sunday School. I teased Frances about flirting with younger men and called her a "cougar," LOL! She will be 99 on March 8th, and he is only 86.

We had also brought a dish of glass pebbles and some paperwhite bulbs to start in water on John's window ledge but I forgot to take a picture of that.

Soon John decided that he liked Frances enough to allow her to try on his favorite Veteran's hat honoring his service in both World War II and the Korean War. It was a grand visit!

Back at the farm, the two kitties have been all around and in and out.

Mr. Tipper (called that for the pigment on the tip of his nose) and Miss Tanner (whose nose is all tan) are staying cozy warm in their wigwam made of folded-double thickness army blankets draped over their heated cat bed. Getting a picture is often problematic, LOL! Here's Tanner!

Now where is Miss Emma Lynne?

Why, Miss Emma is cuddling on the futon, of course!

Have some fun on this happy 5th Day of Christmas!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

New Toys

Happy third day of Christmas! I had forgotten that I'd left the camera in my car, so it got left out there overnight and no pictures were taken of presents and turkey on Christmas Day. It was all good!

Here is what's left of the turkey, simmering and making the whole house fragrant with yummy soup!

I loved the book that Felix gave to me, sorry that the photo is a wee bit misty from a too-cold camera.

It is Carrie Nelson's, "A Touch Of Rosie"! I hope that I will actually MAKE some of these quilts, but if not, I'll spend hours mooning over the pictures and have a ball doing so. I figure it's my book, so I can play with it any way that I want to, LOL!

Our almost record-setting temperatures in the 40's and 50's has taken most all of the snow away. Miss Emma Lynne enjoys a good stick chewing session almost as much as her rope toys which were in shreds within an hour of her having received them, LOL!
She figures it's her toy, so she can play with it any way she wants to! Smart dog, I wonder where she gets it from?

I had two massive spending sprees on fabrics; one at The Golden Gese in Concord, New Hampshire, and then another one at The Mothership (aka Keepsake Quilting's retail store in Center Harbor, NH).

The above are the haul of fat quarters from the Gese, and below is the yardage from The Mothership.

Keepsake's Outlet Store is doing a wonderful new thing by having large bins of precut one yard pieces for $6 bucks a pop.
There were half a dozen that I just couldn't live without and came home with me. But the real coup d' etat was a Marcus Brothers diagonal red and green print.

There were only 2 ¼ yards left on the bolt and I took all of it for the princely sum of $6 per yard. Then I did an incredibly stupid thing. I finished quilting the little red and green table topper and put some random green on for the binding.

Geez, I could've had this new one! But the new one was upstairs and I had forgotten all about my having just bought it. I swear, I'm ready for the "Home For Very Senile Quilters."

My dear friend, Grace, had sent me a copy of Angela Walters' book on Free Motion Quilting which I used to try a new design on this little table-topper. Thank you, Grace!!!

The workbook suggests that you keep pushing yourself to try out new designs. That gave me the impetus to do some little Christmas trees joined by jingle-squiggles all along the red border.

Thank goodness that the red fabric is pretty busy and hides lots of "whoops-its!"

Here is the back that shows off the quilting a wee bit better.

It was lots of fun, sort of like "planned doodling."

Our little congregation has candlelight services every Christmas Eve. We enjoyed the fellowship of worship tremendously.

Here are the men on a small ladder to light the kerosine lanterns from 1826, still in use today.

Did I mention that Grace also sent along a quilter's mug big enough for a quick swim? LOL! Thank you, Grace! The mug is pictured beside my tiny tree adorned with Janet's beautiful miniatures. Thank you, Janet!

When my "kid" sister, (she's 54) Lucinda, was here for Thanksgiving, one of her hostess gifts to us were some fancy flavored coffees. Dark Chocolate Cherry is Felix's favorite, but I loved the Caramel Macchiato. We are surrounded by our abundant blessings!

Enjoy some stitching and some family fun, too!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Presence

Several years ago, I had the most wonderful opportunity to attend a Unitarian artist's retreat on Star Island, just off the coast of New Hampshire, to practice up on my watercolors. It was a week of no television, no radio, and no phones other than those at the hotel desk. One morning, while awaiting the bell for our community dining breakfast, I was reading in one of the hotel scrapbooks and stumbled upon this treasure from a Christmas Eve sermon. Reprinting it here is my Christmas gift to all of you.

Christmas Presence

"I wish for you, all around you,
People who love easily and forgive quickly;
Whose eyes are stars when you are night,
Whose voices are trumpets when you are silence.
I wish for you people all about you who are gifts in themselves
And whose presence in your life is an all year-round present."

-James H. Curtis (1931-1973)
Unitarian Minister

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Parties, Quilts, Stray Dogs, & Stray Blocks

Gracious what fun we had at the Friday Quilter's Christmas party! Everybody brought in pot luck food and the buffet was delicious!

Maureen was making more of her fish-shaped terrycloth hand towels, this time in bright yellow. And Beverly was making a quilt that I think was all minkee plush. It is so soft and pretty!

There was the cutest triangles quilt, too!

It's all sandwiched and pin-basted and ready for quilting.

Back at my house, the ironing board had collected chains of piecing that needed pressing. Is this a "pressing problem?" LOL!

After an hour, the tangle was all smoothed out and it looked like this: Ahhhhh, so much better!

The 4-Patches are not for the Bonnie Hunter mystery, Grand Illusion.
The little 4-patches are for my Civil War Sunny Lanes blocks for the swap in February, and the larger 4-patches are for the next regular swap in March.
While I was at The Golden Gese Quilt Shop on Friday, I did splurge on a couple of teal Fat Quarters for the mystery. These Kim Diehl designs were perfect!

I hope that one Moda pink is not too pale for the mystery. I just love it, so in it goes!!! My friend, Stacey sold me the pink wayyyy too long ago. Time to use it and not hoard it! Her shop is here.

The Holiday stress seems to be affecting the local pets around here. Felix and I are the Animal Control Officers for two towns, Gilmanton and Belmont, New Hampshire.
Yikes! We had a dog bite (dog bit owner accidentally during some rough tug-of-war play), a lost dog that was found who had been hit by a car, but was not too severely injured, a noisy nuisance barker, and a second "found" dog running loose, all in one weekend. Sheesh, calm down, everybody!

Only four units of Step 4, those "mirror images" got made by me, but I learned how to do them.

I did do the careful orientation of the little HST's and dropped them onto the yellow 2 ½ strip.

Then I sewed down the side of the strip to cut them apart later with scissors on the ironing board.

It worked well on the black strip, too.

Clip carefully, though! You don't want to create a crooked edge. Take your time.

I was so pleased that I had pressed the pieces correctly to get nesting seams that I forgot to spin them.

If you are just visiting here for the first time, there is a fun Monday Linky Party for you to visit to see other people's progress. Here is the link to Bonnie Hunter's blog.

Miss Emma Lynne was looking everywhere for her kitty friends yesterday.

Keepin' the feeders full for the blurs that are the chickadee guests, darting away at my presence.

Stay calm and quilt on!

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