Modern Quilt for a Sister

 I can finally share the project I’ve been working on most of December. This was a surprise for my sister for Christmas and since she’s been known to lurk around this blog from time to time, I didn’t want to tip my hand in any way.  And it worked. She was totally surprised and, I think, happy.

And well she should be. I only promised to make a quilt for her almost 2 years ago. We picked a bunch of the fabrics on this trip to Carmel in Feb of 2009.  She has been very patient while other projects have been finished, but hers had languished in a pile of scraps under my cutting table. (Although she hasn’t been totally neglected – I did make this sunshine-y quilt for her toddler last winter.)
The pieced back.  I was wishing I had more of that big print (and frankly – I thought we bought more on that trip but it is no where to be found.) So I wanted to frame it on the back.  I used up the rest of the remnants from the City Girl collection as well.

The craziest part of finishing this quilt is that I actually quilted it myself.  In case you haven’t figured this out already, I feel like the quilting part is my weakness when it comes to finishing a quilt. Usually I take my quilts to the lovely ladies where I work and they do a beautiful job for a very lovely price.  But this time I was determined to do it myself.  (I’ve been practicing more lately on the Halloween quilt and the Robot quilt.)

Because I have never attempted anything bigger than a baby quilt on my own machine (and I HEARTILY salute all of you who work magic with you machines on giant quilts!) I took this one to quilt on the long-arm machine. I am scared of free-motion quilting (actually, I’ve done it, but I think my FMQ skills are so stinky) so I went with the straight line look.  I was terrified of ruining the quilt and by the time I was finishing the machine and I were practically in a rumble, but by the time I bound the quilt and washed it, I was pretty dang pleased. In fact – I kind of love how the quilting looks in the solid brown on the back.  I’m tempted to try it again. One day. When I can make peace with that machine again.

I took these pictures on Christmas Day afternoon (sunny, no snow and in my shirt sleeves while my boys were running around in the driveway wearing ninja masks and head lamps that they got for Christmas) minutes after it came out of the dryer and before my extended family was going to show up at our house for a party. Whew! 
The weather today couldn’t be more different: cold, wind, and SNOW. I have finally reached the point in my life where I could officially live with out snow.
Computer update: I am still limping a long a bit.  RIP old computer.  We got something new (yay!), but I don’t have any of my files.  Hopefully today we can restore our old files to our new machine and I will be up and running at full speed again next week. Fingers crossed!

Technical Difficulties

technical difficulties Why Is ESPN2 Experiencing Technical Difficulties With EPL Games?
We are currently experiencing technical difficulties here.
I wish I had some nice elevator music I could play for you.
Good news: I got my first ever ipod for Christmas! Yay!
Bad news: somehow downloading everything + my total technological un-savviness + a somewhat decrepit computer = very strange/non-functional behavior by said computer. (I am borrowing my husband’s laptop tonight.)
But I shall return, hopefully soon.  And share the how-to’s for the pre-Christmas bags and one of my new favorite quilts that I made as a surprise for my sister’s family for Christmas. Yay!
In the mean time, please stay tuned. (And keep enjoying all those Christmas goodies you have stashed in various strategic hiding places. At least that’s what I’m doing.)

May your days be Merry and Bright . . .

 Merry Christmas 2010 to all you people!

It’s been a lovely Christmas here. We’ve visited with Granparents and cousins, built multiple lego creations and stuffed ourselves silly, among many other good things. I hope it’s been equally happy where you are.

And now we enter one of my favorite weeks of the year – the week between Christmas and New Years. The gifts are given, the cards are sent and the lists are checked-off. This is when I thoroughly enjoy the season – with nothing hanging over my head. Monday we’re going to go to Temple Square (pictured last year).  We’re going to enjoy a slower pace, more time to play, and more holiday food.

PS Happy Boxing Day to all you lucky folks who get to celebrate Boxing Day.

Those final Christmas projects

 Finishing up those last Christmas presents. I think I’m going to make it! 
 Some are turning out even better than I thought 
(including some that can not be shared publicly at this time.)
Some are not. (This is not gingerbread.) Just keeping it real.

Nevertheless, our cookie making has been mostly successful. These are the cookies my 4-yr-old decorated for his Sunday School teacher. I’m always tempted to make them myself and have them look “classy” (hah). Then I remember that it would be even better if I actually let the children participate. And it’s okay (if not even more awesome) if they look like they were decorated by a 4-yr-old. My favorite is the angel that looks like a ghost.  I wonder what Martha’s projects would look like if she allowed more 4-yr-olds in the studio . . .

Best wishes with your own final projects!

Last Minute Crafty Gift Ideas

Can you believe it is the week before Christmas?? How did this happen? So here is that list of some last minute Christmas ideas for you! 

Bags can be a quick project and always a useful gift. Both of these bags come together really quickly:

I’m in the middle of making some new bags as gifts for my daughter’s friends using the FQ bag as a base. (When/if I get them done and get pictures in time, I will share how I did that later this week.)

Last year was a little bit tight financially for us – we’d just bought a new house which was an excellent Christmas present for one and all, but since kids seem to like something to unwrap under the tree, I came up with some quick handmade gifts, maximizing one of the resources I had a lot of: fabric.

And aprons.
Another potentially cheap gift (if you’ve also got lots of fabric scraps) would be a fast 
quilt-as-you-go table runner. Tutorial here.
A quick gift for friends who sew (or to hold paper clips, etc for teachers and other friends) would be the magnetic pin dish. Takes just minutes to finish this one.
Last year my favorite quick neighbor gift was the ingredients for this pretty and delicious smelling stove-top-potpourri from Calli at Make It Do. I just put everything in a cellophane bag and tie with a pretty ribbon. I took some as a hostess gift last Saturday and I love having some simmering on my own stove. Calli even has a perfect tag attachment ready to print.
Plenty Of Crafty Gift Ideas In This Month's Crafters Medley
Finally, has a great list of Crafty Gift Ideas 2010
Tipnut's Crafty Christmas
Hope that provides some helpful ideas!

I’m looking forward to this week. My kids are out of school as of today, so I got most of the running around, Santa’s helper stuff done and out of way last week. This week I’m hoping we can just make cookies, finish sewing projects, visit friends, and get the house presentable for Santa and all the family coming here on Christmas Day.  The fact that it’s snowing makes me want want to just hunker down next to the fireplace eat a whole roll of Tollhouse cookie dough and snuggle.

Retro Christmas winner!

First off, thank you so much for the kind quilt and blog love. 
I really wish I had retro fabric to share with everyone.
And now, the winner is #52: Amanda (who makes such pretty things!)

And since I’m feeling in a Christmassy-mood
I’ve marked the pattern down to $4.50 until Christmas.
You can buy it here (click Buy Now) or in my Pattern Shop.

And don’t feel guilty if you don’t get it done for this year. Christmas seems to come so fast these days, you can save it for the next one!