Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year, All!

Wow! What a year! What a month! What we week!
Glad they're over.

Spending every waking hour working or with an ailing family member. 

Finally able to work on my Some Kind of Wonderful blocks. I've been practicing appliqué for 2 months, and just finished stitching the main section of my actual block! Looks great!

I may no longer refer to appliqué as "the A word"!

Here's to wishing you and yours a safe and healthy New Year!


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Not Forgotten

Haven't forgotten all my blog friends. We had one family member pass away and another rushed to the Emergency room during the holidays.  It's been an exhausting few days, waiting. 

No show-n-tell on the horizon. Luckily, like most of us, I did have a small kit to grab out the door and help pass the hours.

Only wish I had prepped my Some Kind of Wonderful blocks to work on. First blocks due by Saturday, and I'm going to miss that deadline.

Take care & have a safe, healthy New Year ❤


Thursday, December 22, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday - Late Edition

A little late.... Internet is down again <sigh>

But, to cheer myself up, thought I'd share my promised pics from the Wayne County Holiday Light Display!

They look small but each is minimum 10 feet tall.  Click to enlarge.

Thank you, WikidKriket & Rockin' Robyn, for laughter, cocoa, and tunes!


Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Finish - Joyeux Noel!

Finished my little wallhanging! Can't wait to gift it tomorrow!

Can't go into details - though I don't think the recipient reads my blog.  She really appreciates quilting and has a French background. Wish the photo was truer (lot brighter, in life), but it's dark when I leave in the morning and when I get home. 

I didn't skimp on the back, either- appliquéd label and quilt sleeve. Now onto my snowmen!


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Basting Done!

It's times like this I value my blogging buddies!  Basting on TWO projects completed using Allie Oops technique!  Basting all these years was such a labor and yet I could never get the back smooth -voila!  I have the advantage of having a full-size table to use - it's the open pins that make all the difference.  Thanks, Allie!

Now, off to do a little quilting..... a little wrapping....

Hope to share some finished projects shortly!
Stop by on Wednesday - will share some pics from the Wayne Holiday Lights display.


Friday, December 16, 2011

Santa's Elves

If you could ask Santa's elves to take care of one dreaded quilting chore, what would it be? It's been a week and my snowmen STILL aren't basted. <sigh>

Basting bites.

Ok, off I go. My goal is to show you my snowmen this week.

Good cheer!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Blue Christmas

I must admit.... I'm a little sad this Christmas.

My best friend is having a quiet Christmas in Maine.  Another confidant is facing life's issues in Pennsylvania.  A third is all the way in Boston. And my work cohort & quilt critic has moved to Utah.  So far away.

I do take comfort in my quilts, though.  My house is too small for a real tree so it's decorated with Christmas quilts & wallhangings.  Many of them in the gallery below came from my friend, Lisa, over the years.  Seeing them.... I can feel her spirit nearby.

These are only a few of my holiday quilts. Every year I have to pick and choose what goes up.  About another dozen in the cedar chest and one more in the works.

Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday - Waymarking Edition

Have you been to The Henry Ford lately?  Went with the family to enjoy Holiday Nights!

Then I had a visit with the Big Guy...

And am enjoying the Michigan winter wonderland....

How're you relieving stress this season?


Friday, December 9, 2011

Busy! Busy!

December is the month of birthdays in our house - 6 in a very short window.  Spending so much time with the family and ignoring these poor fellows.....

Hoping for some free time tonight!


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday - Waymarking Edition

Friday was my annual "Sister Shopping Day" day with WikidKriket.  This year we poked around Ann Arbor, and one of our stops was at Peaceable Kingdom. 

Notice anything unusual about this picture?

Peaceable Kingdom is one of nine establishments in Ann Arbor that has a "Fairy Door" installed!

And let's not forget the local artist who had to add his two cents on the front sidewalk!

You just never know what you will see if you keep your eyes open!

Happy Holiday Shopping!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Catalicious Embroidery!

I’m in heaven!  In case you aren’t aware, the two sweetest things in my life are Oscar and Ginger.  LOVE my pretty kitties!  Imagine my thrill when I came across the free “Catalicious” embroidery patterns on Bronwyn Hayes’ Red Brolly blog!
Meet Brutus!  There are 10 free Brutus patterns (and Bronwyn promises more in the new year) as well as some other pretty amazing patterns under her Free Patterns section.

Also, Bronwyn very generously shared 3 Christmas samplers for 2011:
I am a believer!
Happy Stitching!

Monday, December 5, 2011

New Gail Pan Christmas Design!

I have to admit that Gail Pan is one of the reasons I became interested in the quilt blogging world. Last year I searched on the Internet for a free embroidered Christmas tree design, and I came across her free holiday designs from years past.

Gail is an Australian quilt designer that specializes in some really amazing redwork patterns. I've been lucky enough to purchase several this summer. Just wonderful! 

It was through her designs that I started searching out other Australian designers and, eventually, joined my International Stitch-Along group.

Today she posted her 2011 free pattern - only available on her blog through this month. Here is her photo from her post:

Photo from her blog

Make sure you save this one while you have the chance!

Happy Stitching!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Cough - Cough - Sneeze.... Sniffle...

Boy, I've been a bad blogging friend lately!  I've lost my internet 3 times this week and have been down with a cold/cough.  Also, don't know about you, but here in Michigan it has gotten so dark and so gray so early.... very hard to get motivated.

I have started to decorate for Christmas.  I don't go overboard because I live in a very small house (my nephew calls it the "doll house"), but I have put up some of my recent projects. Thought I'd share several of them from last Christmas.  Love these little hangers by Ackfeld - Ginger has already knocked them over once!

Holiday Bells

Snow Much Fun

And, I know you've probably seen this a million times on this blog, but, once again, Snowman and Friends is up too.

Snowman and Friends
Snowman and Friends is sitting next to my Tis The Season Stitch-along quilt.  Hopefully I'll have more to show you soon - still plugging away at my new applique project.  

Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Spent some time this weekend on beautiful Belle Isle (historic island in the middle of the Detroit River).

Took this picture of the newsboy statue with the Detroit skyline in the background.

"Partners" is a statue of a newsboy and his dog. The original statue was dedicated on this spot in 1897 in the presence of over 5,000 Michigan newsboys.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sewline Pencils & Applique Tips

Good evening, friends and neighbors!

Hope all of you had a fabulous Thanksgiving.  I came down with a cold, but that just motivated me to relax for four days - woot!

I did get a chance to practice more applique - all practice but no completed blocks yet.  I've been trying various techniques: freezer paper on top, glue stick applique, regular needle turn, and freezer paper/starch.  I normally buttonhole but am determined to give this a try.

I'm finding that regular needle turn on large pieces and freezer paper/starch on the smaller ones seem to be my thing.  My friend Caroll has a great tutorial on freezer paper/starch applique (makes a darn cute Halloween witch with baggy leggings!).

So far, I've been given some great applique advice by different friends (sorry, I'm getting older - can't remember who said what!):

  • For the most part, you need to know more than one technique because the same technique won't work in every instance.  I like the flatness of freezer paper/starch on the small pieces, and it's less stressful not having to worry about shredding.  However, regular needle turn on large pieces adds a little poofiness.
  • Nobody is going to sit next to you comparing your project to the picture in the book.  Only you will know if you deviated, and, if so, who cares!
  • Make yourself an "applique kit" so, when you decide to add applique to your work, you're not scrounging around and trying to remember which needles, marking pencils and pins worked best.
  • (This one is from my own previous blog posts) When you do find a technique you like, write it out on a big index card so you can replicate it in the future.  Nothing is worse than having to "reinvent the wheel" each time. 
  • Buy a package of round toothpicks from Cracker Barrel.  They are a little thicker so they hold up well if, like me, you store it in your mouth in between stitches (I know - very bad). Wet toothpicks are fab for tucking seams into the right place.
  • My friend Lisa sent me one of these Sewline pencils from Maine for Christmas last year.  LOVE them!  They come in many colors, mark crisply, disappear pretty easily, and are very comfortable in your hand.  It wasn't, however, until I took this picture that I realized they are color-coded up near the clicker (the one on the far right is white).
This half-circle was my first attempt at "needle turn" applique.

Well, all for now, tomorrow is a work day, and it starts pretty early.  Do you have any more tips to add?

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just sleeping off the turkey!

I am thankful for my fabulous family, my loving Oscar & Ginger, for my ability to support myself in this terrible economy, and for all my quilting friends who inspire me.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Oh, This Appliqué Thing is Dangerous!

I haven't even officially finished a block, yet (I have 3 practice blocks under my belt). However, I'm looking at quilts a whole new way! Was browsing and stumbled across a Dear Jane quilt - thought to myself, "hmmm.... I can do that now!"

What do they put in that Thread Heaven that makes this so addictive!?!  And, yet, as I appliqué, I still mumble to myself, "They call this ¥%#+! realaxing!"

This cracked me up this week:
Happy Stitching!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Internet Back Up

Hopefully I have something fabulously interesting or insiteful to share tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Internet Down

Just dropping a quick line to let you know my modem died this week and my provider is shipping another.  Until then, I'm busy stitching my Some Kind of Wonderful.  If you get a chance, Anni Downs has a free Christmas pattern on her site as part of the Henry Glass blog hop.

Will catch up when I have full Internet again.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Spent last Saturday at the Belle Isle Aquarium. It was the longest continually-run freshwater aquarium until it was closed 6 years ago. Now, it's only open several times a year including the "moving of the koi". Twice a year, 50+ year old koi are moved from the aquarium's basement to the outdoor pond and then back.

Saturday my sister and I joined dozens of others in this fabulous event. As another volunteer said, the only way to save Detroit is one volunteer at a time.


Monday, November 7, 2011

New "Scrap" Project

Started a new scrap project tonight and I'm [gasp] cutting into the pre-cuts!

Ever heard of Bonnie Hunter's "leaders and enders"? I'm doing that with jelly rolls and Thangles. I have a roll of Kate Spain's Terrain, a roll of Moda's Bella White and lots & lots of Thangles (from a cancelled quilt shop class).

I'm going to make a giant Trip Around the World scrap quilt over the next year. You know my feelings about 15-minutes-a-day!

Because... you know.... I have so much free time on my hands!

Happy Stitchin'

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Birdie Stitches BOM - August

Finished another one!  Still need to complete July and now November.

Happy Stitchin!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday - Waymarking Edition

Marshall M. Fredericks, sculptor and philanthropist, is a native of nearby Birmingham, MI.  
"One of the most prolific sculptors of the twentieth century, Marshall M. Fredericks is known in America and abroad for his monumental figurative sculpture, public memorials and fountains, portraits, and animal figures.  His sculptures can be found in more than 150 public and corporate locations in Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington, DC, Wisconsin, Denmark, England, Freeport Grand Bahama Island, Finland, Japan, Norway and Sweden.  Fredericks' works are located in parks and gardens, government embassies and royal palaces, museums and zoos, universities, hospitals, and libraries.
 Imagine my surprise in tripping over 3 of his Leaping Gazelle statues on my home turf during my recent adventures:

Detroit Zoological Gardens - Royal Oak, MI

Whitcomb Conservatory - Belle Isle, MI

Graves of Marshall and Rosalind Fredericks
Down the street from the Fredericks' former studio
Greenwood Cemetery - Birmingham, MI
Pretty cool, eh?