Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Picky, Picky, Picky

Remember how happy I was last week to be making progress on my quilt for Kyle?  Well, what a difference a week makes.  The more I quilted, the more I hated the design I had decided on.  That's what I get for trying something new on an important project without auditioning it on a practice piece first.  The worst part is, I had gotten about 2/3 of the way through before I decided it just wasn't working.
My husband assured me that, as a guy, Kyle will not really care about the quilting but that really isn't the point.  I just can not, in all good conscience, give a gift that I don't think is top quality.
So anyway, I have been spending my evening picking out all my stitching.  TORTURE! Ugh!
To keep myself from going completely insane, I took a break and sewed the current block for my bee.  It was fast and very therapeutic.  I loved the fabrics Debbie picked out.  I have some of this fabric in my stash.  I am definitely going to get it out and start using it.
And by way of correction, last week it showed a photo of what I said was our next Christmas gingerbread project.  Well, after I posted it I realized I made a mistake.  Kade and I were deciding between the tugboat and something else and I forgot we had actually decided to go with the other project.

Here is what we actually decided on.  Believe it or not, we chose it because it was more complicated and would take more time than the tugboat.  We wanted it to take the whole day.  After looking at it again, I'm starting to think we will be lucky to finish in one day.  Wish us luck!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Say hello to my little friend

(Cue heavenly choir singing Hallelujah chorus)

After 20 years with my old Babylock (the last five of which were a miserable struggle), my wonderful husband gifted me with this. 
To say I was surprised is the understatement of the year.  Oh, in my heart of heart, I hoped one day to be able to get a new serger.  My Babylock ran so rough that while using it I was forced to completely clear the sewing table or whatever was there would bounce off.  Plus, toward the end it only ran for about a minute before it died. Then I would have to stop, let it cool off, sew again for a minute until it died again, etc., etc.  This process made for very tedious and frustrating sewing.
I'm sure I casually mentioned these facts once or twice in passing (she said sheepishly) but, we never buy expensive gifts for our birthdays and there are about a million other more important ways to use our money, so I had resigned myself to the idea that it wouldn't be coming anytime soon.
On Monday, for her maiden voyage, I whipped out a Christmas apron. She runs like a dream, smooth as butter.  I am in heaven. Thank you, thoughtful husband, for once again reminding me why you're my lobster.
Speaking of Christmas aprons.  I am making them so that everyone in the family (even the guys...theirs are called "maprons") will have one for our annual Christmas Eve gingerbread fest.
The tradition of putting together a gingerbread house came about when the boys were young and needed something to occupy them during the endless hours preceding Christmas morning.  Over the years, as we got more skilled at it, our houses became more elaborate. Here are some photos from last years creation, "Santa's Barn".


Kade and I were discussing what we should make this year and here is what we decided on:

First a tricked out sleigh with it's own barn and now a tugboat, I guess Santa is a typical man who has to have his toys.  Stay tuned to see how it turns out.
I can't believe it's already time to be thinking about Christmas, but here we are.  I have already started on the Christmas sewing.

This is the quilt I am finishing for Kyle, aka The Best Trainer Ever.  His uniform at the gym is black and red.  I incorporated in some gray and pink because those are the colors of my gym outfits.  I hope he likes it.

Here are my three new favorite quilting books.  Material Obsessions 2 is amazing but since the quilts in there look like they would take a lifetime to finish, I think it will serve more as inspiration for color, texture, pattern, etc.
The other two are filled with modern, simple block quilts that better fit with the time constraints of my life.  I have already picked out a pattern from The Practical Guide To Patchwork for my next quilt.  I promised Kade I would make him a quilt from Circa 60 when it comes out in December.
Hang in there, Kade!  It's coming.  It's coming.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

So, let me 'splain. No there's too much. Let me sum up...

It's been a whirlwind around here, lots to talk about. 
Believe it or not, even with all the decorating, Halloween managed to sneak up on me.  I don't know.  There is just something out of whack when Halloween falls on a Sunday.  It seems a bit of an oxymoron. Never the less, we managed to have fun with it. 
The Friday before,  I hosted a yummy "Groan-up's" Halloween dinner party complete with pasta bar for the main course and cream puffs with pumpkin pie ice cream for dessert.  I bought the most delicious butternut squash ravioli from Costco and topped it with a browned butter/sage sauce...2D4!!
After dinner we played Werewolves of Millers Hollow, a fun party game similar to Mafia but more appropriately themed for a Halloween gathering.  I even threw on a CD with Halloween sound effects, such as screaming women and chomping zombies, to make the atmosphere down right creepy at times.
Halloween night I broke out the pumpkin carving kit and proceeded to give a lobotomous makeover to my unsuspecting pumpkins.
No Halloween would be complete without a bit of The Joe, so a pumpkin with his face on it was definitely in order.  However, I don't think anyone got my Emoticon pumpkin.  Matt thought it might have helped if I had carved it horizontally instead of vertically.  I'll have to remember that for next year.
 This warty fellow caused quite a stir. 
But the favorite, hands down, was The Pumpkin King, Jack. 
Here they are, my quartet of wacko Jacko-s ready to haunt the night. 
In between all the revelry I've been getting my quilt on as well.
I bought Camille Roskelly's new quilt book, Simplify.  What a great book!  Wonderful, modern quilts that go together in a snap from pre-cuts.
I had some Halloween fabric from several years ago in my stash and I decided her "Little Man" quilt would be a perfect fit for it.
The top went together very quickly and turned out great.  Now all I have to do is quilt it.
And, speaking of quilting...
Remember this little baby?  Well, I made two of them at the same time.  I finished the one for my Mom and will give it to her when I see her at Thanksgiving.  This is the extra one.
My friend Kathy, showed me a cool, over-all quilting technique I have been dying to try so I thought I would give it a go on this quilt. 
It turned out great.  I love it! 
So now it is on to Thanksgiving and then Christmas.  Yay!  It most definitely is the most wonderful time of the year.