Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas projects begun




Hey everyone!  I hope y'all had a great holiday (in the US) weekend and are all now in the Christmas spirit.  We haven't decorated the house yet because we're waiting on a slowpoke 7-yr-old to finish her Thankful Giving first.  Every year after Thanksgiving, I ask my children to pick up each thing they own and decide if they want to keep it, give it away, or throw it away.  We talk about how blessed we are and how others aren't and that there are children around the country and world whose biggest d ream would be to have a clean and warm home with fresh food and quality clothing much less toys.  I think it helps them to really remember why we are thankful and that Christmas should be about giving and sharing instead of all of the "gimme gimme gimme" thrusted at them during commercials on TV right now.  Then we pile up all of the toys, books and clothing and donate them to places and people who can use them or pass them on to others.

But as soon as she's done, our house will be merry and bright and we'll be getting our Christmas Trees (yes, trees) later this week.  I love the Christmas Season and am looking forward to all that goes into it.  I'll share pics as we get things done.

So...I started a Christmas gift this weekend.  I promised my sister a handmade present this year and that is all I will say about it on here until after I've given it to her.  BUT...I will show you the fabrics she chose for me to work with.  The focus fabric is Chelsea by Windham and I'm adding in a solid color.

Chelsea Fat Quarter Bundle View 1
source

But I just remembered last night that I have a baby shower to go to next weekend for a dear friend from high school, so I'm going to have to choose a quilt pattern and fabrics and get busy on that one this week too.  Good thing I thrive under pressure, huh?  I can feel the bustle of the holiday season getting geared up and I'm ready to take it on!  :)

What do you have planned to make and get done this holiday season?

P.S.  I saw this weekend that Sew Mama Sew has set their Winter Giveaway Day as December 12 this year.  There are different categories and link-up rules this year, and I can't wait!   If you've never done it before, it's a week filled with blogs all over the country and the world gathering in one place to share with each other.  There'll be long lists of blogs that are giving things away for you to visit.  I'll be participating as a giver this year, but I'll be visiting as many of the blogs as I can to try to win some great goodies too.  Make sure you find time next week to head over and check out all the fun!



Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

  To all of my American friends today, I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!  And to all of my friends, I wish you a joy-filled life where you recognize the blessings that surround you daily and find the time to be thankful for them.

I am truly blessed by the friends I have made through this blog and the quilting community online.  I am thankful for you today and everyday!





May everyone's day be filled with family, friends, food and fun.  I'm off to finish cooking!  :)

~kel

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sharing our Thanksgiving Table

My sweet friend Debbie who blogs over at A Quilter's Table has a new link-up party every Tuesday called Tuesday at the Table.  Somehow in my busy schedule, I missed that she'd started this up.  I mean, eating and sewing are my two favorite hobbies, so Debbie is my kind of girl.  :)

This week she is hosting a giveaway with her link-up party.  Everyone who links is entered to win a great fabric bundle and a $20 gift card to Pink Chalk Fabrics!!  And all you have to do is
     "Write a post about a favorite dish you're making for Thanksgiving, your holiday table, a table runner or placemats or napkins you've made, an autumn wall quilt hanging in your dining space, a new ingredient you try, or just a story from around your table. It really can be anything that relates to the table. Then just link up! If you want to join in, but don't have a blog, just share in the comments section and email Debbie a picture and she'll link you up."


We're already thinking about it, so why not write about it, link it up and possible win great fabrics!!


Source: google.com via Kristin on Pinterest


So, here's my entry:


  Chris and I were married in the summer of 2002 and everyone agreed that we would host Thanksgiving Dinner that fall.  That way both families could come and we wouldn't miss seeing anyone.  It was a daunting task for a newlywed couple, so we agreed when both of our families asked if they could bring things to help us.  Potluck style made it a little more comfortable for everyone.


  And that initial sharing of our favorite foods and our love for each other has become tradition.  As our family has grown to include in-laws, aunts and uncles, and anyone we know who needs somewhere to come and eat on Thanksgiving, we've added more dishes.  We have a casual Thanksgiving meal, filled with everyone's favorite traditional foods from their table.  And that's what makes it so special.  I always say I don't care if there are 3 different sweet potato casseroles on the table because I'd rather everyone be happy than dictate who gets to bring what.


  Here's a list of some of the special dishes and the special people that surround our table each year:


**My Mother-in-law makes the turkey and dressing.  It is an act of love for her to do this for us and we appreciate it so much.  Plus, it helps that both are always delicious!!  
**My Mom makes the noodles.  She makes them from scratch the night before and cuts them into strips.  Then, she just cooks them up in chicken stock just like my Great-Grandmother did.  She also brings a veggie tray and either a pecan pie or a pumpkin cake.
**Chris makes the mashed potatoes because he might possibly make THE BEST mashed potatoes on this planet.  Just saying...
**My sister makes the pumpkin pie because she always has.  As a young 4-Her, she did a demonstration on Impossibly Easy Pumpkin Pie and it is now required of her to make it every year.  She doesn't even like it, but she makes it for the rest of us!
**My brother makes a Chocolate Chip Pie (basically a Kentucky Derby Pie) that is absolutely delicious!!
**Chris' Aunt and Uncle bring a big mess of Greens and often coleslaw.  Fred's coleslaw is some of the best I've ever eaten, so he brings it for me.  :)
**My brother-in-law brings his famous sweet potato casserole.  His has a crusty brown-sugar and pecan topping that is delicious.
**My brother-in-law's Mom just joined us last year as she recently moved nearby and she is bringing a green bean casserole this year.  You just have to have green bean casserole in order to call it Thanksgiving.  ;)
**And I make homemade rolls, sweet potato casserole with a marshmallow topping, and Spinach and Artichoke Dip for everyone to snack on before and after the big meal.


So, yeah, we have a lot of food and a lot of laughs on the big day.  Everyone is in and out of my kitchen, baking, measuring, mixing, snacking and talking.  Even my Dad steps in once or twice to fill up his drink during a commercial of the parade or a football game.  ;)


What makes Thanksgiving special to me is everyone sharing.  We all share our love, our favorite foods, our time, and how much we all really have to be Thankful for.  I can't think of a better reason to gather around a table than that.


Head over to Debbie's to get great recipes, inspiring stories, and to leave your own link to share with others.    And may your day tomorrow be filled with love, family, food and fun!  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

do. Good Stitches-November Blocks

I've mentioned before that I recently joined the Empower Group of do. Good Stitches.  I am so far behind the rest of my group this month.  I think everyone else is done and I just started yesterday!  I've had my fabrics picked out for weeks, but had to find the time to sit down and cut them out.  I had a little time yesterday evening, so I cut out enough for 4 blocks.  These blocks go together so easily I had 2 done this morning before it was time to get the kids up from school!
Here's the inspiration block:

source

And here are mine:





It was Shannon's turn to be the quilter this month and she picked out this wonderful block for us.  I think it's great and would make a great gift quilt because it sews up so quickly and its so visually pleasing.  It's modern and fun while still being symmetrical and traditional for those whose OCD kicks in when things aren't balanced.  ;)


The sun really did a number on the colors here...pretend the dark gray is gray and not black and the blue is a true aqua, not a very light version of it.  :)

Two months down and two great blocks under my belt!  Next month I'm in charge.  I've got a plan, but you'll have to wait a week or so to find out what it is.

Hope everyone is having a great Monday and preparing for a weekend full of Turkey time, family, and lots of good eats!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Bee Blocks done...check!


I spent a few days last week contemplating my NuBees block.  You know, I said I was going with a string block and asked for opinions.  But then the other girls started showing off their creations and there was a lot of angles and points.  Don't get me wrong, they're all lovely and I can't wait to get my hands on mine, but I wondered if I wanted to do something similar to the others.  Then, I dreamed about a block with a lot of negative space and a center with the mosaic pattern from Elizabeth.  So, after some trial and error (and a break to account for tired eyes and a tired mind one night) I came up with the block I wanted.  And here are all 5 of the blocks in each girl's specified color palette.  I'm going to make one more for me, so I'll have one to match my blocks coming in too.


NubeesBlock for SewDivertimento
This block was to be in oranges and blues like the University of Illinois

Nubees Block for mommaof4yoopers
This one was reds, grays & whites with a black background.


Nubees Block for MegMorel
This block was a rainbow theme asking for bright colors.

Nubees Block for KnitsandSews
This one was red fabrics for a Christmas-themed quilt.

Nubees Block for HappyVanillaBean
Another rainbow-themed block


NuBees blocks group
And here they are all together.  I still want to make one for me in red, blue and yellow.

  Overall, I really liked how these came out.  I think they're a good mix of the colors asked for with a big enough background to blend with all of the other blocks they'll receive.  As soon as all of my blocks are in, I'll show them off here.  This bee works monthly, and we'll be taking December off, so in January I'll sign back up and be grouped in a new hive.  I may or may not ask for the same color scheme.  I kinda just randomly chose red, blue and yellow on a whim, so I may ask for something else and just make a very scrappy quilt of whatever comes in after a few rounds.  

Monday, November 14, 2011

Here

I am here and there lately.  I am around, but I am busy.  I'm celebrating new beginnings with close friends getting married.   I'm listening to new readers gain confidence as they sound out words and share books with me.  I'm sewing quilt blocks and folding laundry, pressing seams and ironing pants.  I am listening to giggling 7-year-olds laugh about playground antics and silly 5-year-olds discuss all of their favorite dinosaurs.  I am knitting while a room full of ballerinas learn to be graceful.  I'm running errands and comforting friends making tough choices.  I'm planning Christmas projects for around the tree and under it.  I am preparing for an all-day field trip to Silver Springs and missing my kindergartner's Thanksgiving lunch in the cafeteria.  I am making macaroni and cheese and meat for not one but two Thanksgiving lunches in my kiddo's classrooms. I am smiling, worrying, always moving.  I am loving my family and my life and trying to catch my breath knowing these moments will be the ones I look back on with tears of joy and remembrance of how good we have it.

Life is best lived fully and I am here doing that as best as I can.

I will be back with updates, projects and always more rambling as soon as I can find the time.  But know that I am here.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

WIP on Thursday...

Hey everyone!  Sorry I missed WIP Wednesday yesterday.  Tuesday was my birthday and I spent the morning shopping and the afternoon being Momma.  And then yesterday I woke up with a head cold that wouldn't quit. I'm talking sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, etc.  I told Emma my head felt like it was stuffed with clouds.  I kept working on my swap blocks, but I only got 19 out of the 20 done before I wore out and had to go to bed...it was 8:45!!  Yep, I guess after that birthday I'm officially old.  haha!


So, I finished up #20 today and they're on their way to Kari now to be sorted, swapped and sent on to someone else.  I can't wait to see what I get back and HOPEFULLY get it quilted to enjoy this Christmas!  Here's how mine ended up.  I really thought about keeping some of them, but in the end, I just decided to see what comes back to me.  I've got more fabric, I can make more if I want to.


 This really is such an easy block to throw together and because it's wonky, you don't have to be precise once you're done cutting.  (And honestly, some of my cutting wasn't quite precise...I was going to square it up after the triangles were added anyway!)  I will definitely use this block again.  It's fun, festive and super-easy!!







And for the rest of the afternoon, I'm catching up on my Summer Sampler blocks, my Nubees Swap blocks and got in a run in with my new Nikes I bought for my birthday....  Then tonight, we're having some oysters roasted over our first fire of the fall!  Can't wait!!  Welcome to fall in Florida...it's supposed to be around 40 degrees tonight, the lower 30s tomorrow night, and then next week the highs will again be in the 80s.  And that is why we never put our flip flops away!!  ;)


I love how bright these are!  Who wouldn't be encouraged to run with color like that on your feet?


I hope everyone has a great weekend.  I'll be back soon with some more progress...



Monday, November 7, 2011

Block Party Fun

Hey everyone!  I’m back from a very enjoyable weekend at the beach.  Chris and I went to St. Augustine for the weekend to celebrate our birthdays.  It was incredibly windy and cool, but we hadn’t planned on doing any swimming anyway.  I LOVE the beach and would happily have a house there if we could.  And we ate well.  There are about 100 good restaurants in St. Augustine, so you can eat somewhere new every time and never go away hungry or unhappy.

Today I spent some time making some wonky star blocks for my Scrapbuster Swap.  These are due to mail on Thursday.  I originally signed up for 10 blocks with a scrappy star and white border.  But after looking at the block and seeing what everyone else had signed up for, I realized I really wanted to make some of both.  So, I did.  So far, I’ve made 5 scrappy stars and 5 white stars.  I’ve got most of the fabric cut for 5 more of each, but am out of white.  Tomorrow I’m headed to the big city, so I’ll stop off at JoAnn for some more Kona White.  These sew up really quickly and are a breeze to make.  And that’s nice when you’re making a bunch!  I’m going to try to make enough for a large sofa quilt to use over the holidays.



I’ve also heard from all of my new Bee Buddies, so I’m anxious to get started on a block for them as well.  I had originally considered a Dresden plate because it’s easy to accommodate a large color span or a small one, but one of the girls plans to use the blocks in a quilt for her husband and another one said she’s making one for her brother’s girlfriend who isn’t very flowery.  I know a Dresden plate isn’t exactly a flower, but I thought I’d save it for another month.  I’m thinking of going with a string block.  That way I can incorporate LOTS of color for the girls who wanted that and just a little color for the girls who wanted something more specific.

What do you think of these string blocks?  Remember, my block will be just one in a sampler quilt of sorts.  Each block they get back shares a color scheme, but not necessarily a similar style.

found here

found here

found  here






or this star block that Jennifer just pinned?
                                                               Source: google.com via Jennifer Mathis on Pinterest

Tell me what you think...I've got a few more days to decide...like until Thursday when I get the wonky stars sent off.  These blocks are next on the list to check off.  ;)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

WIP Wednesday

Hey y'all!  I'm back with some sewing progress!  Now that Homecoming and Chris' birthday are over, I've got a little time to sew.  I've got a bunch of new projects in the works this week so that's been fun to finish up a few older things to start on the new.


Completed Projects:
--Last week I finished up my Fall Pops quilt.  That takes one from my UFO list and moves it to completed!  


Works in Progress:
--Summer Sampler Quilt--I'm in the home stretch on this guy.  I've got 1/2 of an Evening Star to finish up (turns out, I'd only made one!) and then two Kansas Dust Storm blocks till I've got all of the blocks done.  So, not exactly home stretch considering I've then got to sash them all, sew them together, make the backing, quilt it and then bind it, but whatever...  ;)  But, nearing up on finishing the blocks feels like a big success!

--Like I mentioned above, I've got some new projects this week.  For my Scrapbuster Swap, we're making wonky stars for Christmas.  



Block and tutorial found here
I signed up for 10 in the scrappy star category, but decided I'd really like to have 10 scrappy stars and 10 solid stars, so I'm working on making both...only problem:  they've got to be mailed by Nov. 10!!  AAAAHHH!! So I'm spending the day cutting and thinking and hope to spend tomorrow sewing and pressing!  This is a great low-commitment swap group, so if you're ever looking to join something new, check it out!

Sorry about this picture quality...it looked fine till it uploaded on blogger and I don't have it in me tonight to redo it.
--I've been thinking a lot lately of joining up in a quilting bee.  I love do. Good Stitches and thought it would be fun to do something similar but where I got to keep the blocks.  This month, I signed up with the Nubees Block Swap Group.  And I'm so excited!!  In this group, you're grouped up with 5 other people and you tell the group what you'd like as far as color goes.  Then each hive member makes 5 of the same block, just swapping the colors used for whatever each person requested.  Does that make sense?  I've got my mosaic of blocks I like done and ready to post.  I don't really have anything specific in mind with this project, so I just randomly chose the first 10 quilt blocks I liked on my flickr and pinterest boards.  I requested bright colors and the 3 I chose were red, yellow and blue, but said I didn't really care if others were added.  I can't wait to see what my hive-members request so I can start planning what I want to make.

NuBees Inspiration Mosaic



--Speaking of do. Good Stitches.  Shannon gave us this block for the month in colors of aqua, turquoise, bright orange and grays.  I've got my fabrics set out and am ready to sew...next week or the week after!  ;)

tutorial found here


 --Mittens--I've taken another knitting break.  I'll never make it the year of the knit if I don't keep working, but I've got project fatigue on the mittens and am ready to do something else.  Isn't that always the way it is with me? ;)



Poor, lonely Unfinished Projects that have been cast aside:
--"Sent with Love" postage stamp quilt.  My swap blocks are back and I'm just finishing up a few things before this one comes back!

--Mosaic Swap quilt.  Actually, I think this one needs one more row sewn on before I can quilt it.  But I haven't touched it in like 4 months, so I'm not sure on that one.  ;)

--My Sewing Room Sampler.  I will finish it, but right now, it's taking a back seat to my other projects.  


  I've got some time tomorrow blocked off to sew before Chris and I spend the weekend at the beach to celebrate our birthdays!!  Hopefully I can get A LOT done, because I've got deadlines starting to hang over my head and that is not how I roll!    

   And as always, go check out Lee and all of the lovely quilters that link up!