Sunday, December 29, 2019

Making Merry With Moda

#QuiltBee: Christmas present pot holdersI could hardly be accused of being on the leading edge of quilting trends - I tend to find projects  a few years after they are a hit, but that's okay; I see quilting as a timeless art so it really doesn't matter when you put your hand to a pattern does it? So, that secret squirrel sewing that I hinted at just before Christmas was a present block from 2017 that I'm making up into pot holders.

It's a Moda Bake Shop freebie if you'd like to give them a try. I'd highly suggest it as they are quick, easy and fun.

#QuiltBee: Christmas present pot holderThey were to be stuffed into stockings on Christmas Day but somehow I didn't take into account all of the other things that had to happen before Christmas Day arrived. Imagine! I decided not to fret about it and didn't get back to them until yesterday. We had another holiday get together last night and they were a perfect little unexpected treat, because you really can't have too many pot holders, can you?

#QuiltBee: Christmas present pot holdersI'm always in a quandary as to the right size for a potholder. I like a fair bit of real estate in mine but was advised in no uncertain terms when I donated some to the Holly Bazaar craft table a few years ago that they were too large to be pot holders - they were trivets. Downsizing was required!!!

There's one more to bind so that will be today's hand work. I've developed a wicked head cold so hopefully this will be the medicine I need to help move it along.

This block finishes at 6" which is just a tad on the small side, but they work. I made a few more with a wider border but they almost look to big beside these. Regardless, I will finish them up and make a few more. And just like that I'll have a start on next year's Holly Bazaar sewing!....M

Thursday, December 26, 2019

A Very Merry Christmas To You!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Its been a flurry of activity this week. First there was Christmas Eve celebrations with fondue and cream puffs...

and then Christmas Day, which quickly knocked the stuffing out of one or two...

And a nap with your favourite duck just had to be snuck in amid all of the excitement.

Or maybe two.

Santa was his usual generous self and delivered fabulous quilty treats which I will share in a bit, but today is a PJ day, made for lounging and snacking on leftovers. The most wonderful time of the year!....M

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Wrapping It Up

I am notorious for leaving my gift wrapping to the last minute, which is complicated by the fact that, as much as possible, I prefer to wrap gifts rather than use gift bags. It is a decidedly slower process but I love the anticipation as the gifts are opened - it just takes longer than diving into a bag. Well, this year I surprised myself and, as of today, I believe that I am all wrapped up. No one is more surprised than me!

The whole process was made a little more fun because I was able to use gift tags that I had made myself. Linda and Jane are the queens of stamping and about a month ago we got together for a day of stamping/card making. Suffice it to say that they left me in their dust, but I did dip my toes in and came home with a nice little bundle of tags.

I also came home with one of Jane's paper punches so I played around a bit and made up several packets of tags to sell at the Holly Bazaar - they were a great hit. (Yes, each of those little red berries is glued on individually. What can I say? I'm anal.)

I got a lot of use from that single punch, sometimes using the positive...

and sometimes the negative.

Use a different paper and you get a completely different look.

It was nice to be able to add those little personal touches to my gifts this year. Thanks for the tutorial gals!....M

p.s. No stitching is getting done this week given the holiday TO DO list so I'm not certain that my last minute Christmas sewing will amount to anything, but we'll see.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Santa Claus Has Come to Town

#QuiltBee: Believe Santa cross stitch

There was lots of excitement for me earlier this week when I picked up my 'Believe' cross stitch from the framer. After 30-some odd years not only is it finished, it is framed and out for all to enjoy! I tried hanging it in a few places but it just didn't seem to fit so I've set it up in the living room where we can enjoy Santa when we are sitting around the tree.

It is a Mary Engelbright pattern and I started it before I was married. I am so happy - still totally love it after all these years.

#QuiltBee: Believe Santa cross stitchHe's really adding to the Christmas spirit around here today, him and the weather.

Yesterday it rained for most of the day and was downright depressing - not a smidgen of snow in sight - but as things moved toward the evening the rain changed to snow and today things look like this.

The Official Cookie Tester was up bright and early before church this morning chipping out holes so that the chickadees and nuthatches were able to get breakfast.

We lost power for several hours last night which totally cut into my sewing time (yes, just a week before Christmas I felt that I needed to start a new Christmas project). Anyway, I did get some work done on it earlier in the day and am anxious to get back at it today because I like where its going.

There may even be a little more cutting to be done today. I'd show you more but I'm not sure who is reading my blog so I'll hold off for week or so with the details - a little Christmas suspense for you 😉. If you are working on last minute gifts I hope that you are having fun with them too....M

Friday, December 13, 2019

The Pity Party's Over

#QuiltBee: Country Cousin quilt
You'll be happy to know that my pity party is well and truly over. All of the moaning and dripping about how I wasn't enjoying working on Country Cousin has been put to bed - it is now a flimsy.

#QuiltBee: Country Cousin quilt
I took Kyle's advice and sat down with ripper in hand and some seasonal tunes and worked my way through the missteps that I had created. In no time all of the rows came together.

#QuiltBee: Country Cousin quilt
I knew that I wanted to put borders on it because I like my charity quilts to be a decent size so rather than throw it onto a pile to work on later I pulled out a few border fabrics and sat down with my calculator.

#QuiltBee: Country Cousin quiltIn hindsight, the pink could have been a little narrower or the first blue border could have been a little wider, but its not the end of the world. The blue floral border is wider across the top and the bottom to help make it more rectangular than square. I was trying to get the most from that floral but still wanted it all gone so I cut my binding before I cut the two side panels. The finished size will be 69" x 88".

#QuiltBee: Country Cousin quilt
When I messed up the order of the blocks I think I also turned a few in the wrong direction, totally changing my plan not to have the same lights or blues bumping up against each other. Obviously, that didn't always work out the way that I had planned but I'm resigned to the fact that its just how scrappy works. I suspect that I might be the only one who will care.

#QuiltBee: Country Cousin quiltIt feels great to know that I've used up so many pieces that had been languishing in my stash - that was a huge motivator in pulling the fabrics that I did for this project in the first place. There's still a backing to be made but I'm prepared to do that another day.

It feels equally great to have my head space cleared for a little last minute seasonal sewing. I was bound and determined that it was not going to happen before this one was together so now its clear sailing on the Christmas front and I'm looking forward to that.....M

Tuesday, December 10, 2019


There's now three columns of blocks together for Country Cousin. Almost.

As I put each one together I was tucking them up under bundles that sit atop of my fabric cubbies so that I could see its progress and make sure that all of the blocks were in the right order.

You guessed it - on the third column I lost my concentration and messed up the order, so there's been some ripping. There will be more because I don't want two of the same blues meeting the way they currently do, but I've pinned it up just to confirm that I had only one mistake and didn't make others in the same column.

There are three more columns to go and one is ready at the machine. I'll wait til my blood pressure adjusts before putting it together as I'm not keen to do more ripping than I have to. Time to put my hands in the air and move away from the machine....M

Sunday, December 08, 2019

Life Is Short, Lick the Spoon

Yesterday was my day to bake a birthday cake for my favourite (only) niece, Julia, so I put the mixmaster through its paces bright and early. How to you like the 'tattoo' on my mixer? Words to live by 😄. It was a gift from Julia last Christmas and I only recently got up the courage to figure out how to apply it. Isn't it fun?

We have several people that we gift tins of cookies to at Christmas so, despite the haul from last weekend's bakeoff, there were still a few more recipes that I wanted to make up - you know, the ones that you'd miss if you didn't bake them - so, while the cake was in the oven I decided to make up a batch of Thimble Cookies. Love those raspberry centres surrounded by that little ring of crushed pecans.

Then while the cake was cooling I made a batch of Toblerone Shortbread. It is a quick recipe and they always get rave reviews.

After the cake was iced I still had a bit of energy so I moved on to Fudge Brownie Cups.

I love making these little bites because it gives me an excuse to use my tiny little tins that I picked up on a trip to Paris several years ago. Its a lovely walk down memory lane.

And they always look great on a plate of sweets. Oh, did I mention that they are delicious?

I decided that if I put my mind to it I could finish up all of the baking that I needed to do for the holidays, so I quickly mixed up a batch of Fanciful Ribbons. The combination of raspberry and the hint of almond in the glaze just says Christmas to me.

Last on the list were my Pecan Shortbread. This is one of my favourite cookies - a lovely combo of chocolate and nuts and a wee hint of cinnamon. There's also a nice crunch and I love enjoying one (or two) with a cup of tea.

So, it turned out to be an unexpected day of baking, but, with the possible exception of a Gumdrop Cake, I think that my baking is finished and that's a terrific feeling. Today, its birthday party time!...M

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Striving For Progress, Not Perfection

#QuiltBee: Country Cousin quilt blocks
While I have resolved to finish up Country Cousin before I start in on anything that is waiting in the wings I have to say that I am not really enjoying working on it - I think I'm too impatient to get it finished up.

#QuiltBee: Country Cousin quilt blocks
Despite my grumbling I do have all of the 8" blocks made now and once they were laid out they didn't look too bad at all.

And I am taking some small satisfaction in knowing that the small design wall is now cleared off.

#QuiltBee: Country Cousin quilt blocks
There is no way that this will be a full sized quilt - these are all of the blocks that I'm prepared to make - but I think that I'll add a few borders to see if I can stretch it out a bit. There are blues in my stash that have been hanging around for way too long so hopefully I can kill two birds with one stone.

This will be a charity quilt so I'm trying to get my head into a better space as I sew - nothing charitable about sewing through gritted teeth 😄.....M

Sunday, December 01, 2019

Bakers Gonna Bake

Well, all the gals showed up on Saturday for our annual Christmas Cookie Bakeoff with their A game in hand.

They didn't waste any time digging in to the dough...

and took their jobs very, very seriously 😉. Soon the race was on to see who could get pans into the oven first.

In no time at all the tables began filling with a delicious variety of goodies,

and the gals in the decorating department worked their magic.

We even had a little four-legged friend overseeing quality control. The gals saw to it that any 'eaters' were dealt with immediately.

Of course, all had to be decked out for the day with their favourite cookie bakeoff tattoos. My niece Julia created four terrific new designs this year, and they were a big hit.

Our long distance baker, Lori, drives about three hours to join us so she had a little bit of a later start; this diversion in the hills of Wilno (Canada's oldest Polish settlement) might have added to that. It was well worth it though - she picked up some yummy fudge and butter tarts to share over lunch.

So, once again, freezers are stocked with tins of goodies and I have it on very good authority that a bit of sampling might already have been done, with a hot cup of tea, of course.

Did I mention that we set a new record this year? 2,307 cookies were baked in approximately 10 hours using ONE oven!

Despite the long day, everyone was still smiling when it was all said and done.

I feel so blessed that this crew is prepared to go all in on this tradition every year - the baking, the carol singing, the laughter and the great meals, and often one or two new faces. It truly is a special way to launch 'the most wonderful time of the year'!....M