Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Prepping for the Bakeoff

Believe it or not, the calendar has rolled around to Christmas baking season again and we're all set for our 26th annual Christmas Cookie Bakeoff at Betty's this weekend. We've got a light snow coming down today so with any luck at all, the ground will be white. My apron is ironed and at the ready...

rounds of wax paper are cut for the tins...

and I finally found the second bag of my cookie cutters that had gone AWOL (they weren't actually AWOL, I just have vision problems 😉).

We've already set out our list of what we'll be baking so today I will begin mixing up batches of dough that can be refrigerated for a couple of days to help move the process along. Despite having our list nailed down I couldn't resist the holiday cookies issue of Bake From Scratch - love this mag. I always make a few more cookies after the bakeoff so maybe there will be one or two new recipes to try this year....M

Sunday, November 24, 2019

What's Under the Tree?

Its still a little early to be checking for prezzies under the Christmas tree but Jane is busy working on a birthday gift for one of her nieces - a beautiful tree skirt. Her birthday is in early December so the timing works out perfectly to be able to use it right away.

#QuiltBee: quilted Christmas tree skirt
I helped her cut it out a few weeks ago and she's been busy getting all of the panels together.

There are two series of strip sets nine strips wide, burgundy/green and cream creating chevrons that will frame the base of the tree.

The fabrics are rich and will make a lovely heirloom for her niece to pull out each year; I particularly like these two.

#QuiltBee: quilted Christmas tree skirt
It will be quilted very simply with straight lines along the seams that radiate out from the centre and the points will be finished off with tassels. Lovely.

Its got me thinking that this would be a nice item to make for next year's Holly Bazaar, maybe for the Silent Auction. This pile of fabrics that I had pulled for other projects is making me wonder if a skirt in all greens would work. Or maybe all reds? There's time to figure that out but I'm almost tempted to decide now and at least sew the strip sets so that I've got a jump on next year. Obviously there's more thinking to do....M

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Christmas Geese

Inevitably each year there seem to be a few projects that get started for the Holly Bazaar but not finished and this year was no exception (its the quilting equivalent of my eyes are bigger than my stomach!).

#QuiltBee: Christmas flying geese
One of those projects was a set of four Christmas placemats. I thought that I'd had my fill of Flying Geese after finishing two Rhubarb Crisp runners (can you say a bazillion Flying Geese???) but obviously not. I had bought a few small pieces of fabric from Jane when she was clearing out her stash and landed on geese as the perfect way to combine them.

#QuiltBee: Christmas flying geese
There will be four in total, two green and two red and, given all those tumbling snowmen, I'm thinking that they would appeal to a young family. What the heck - the more I work on them the more they appeal to me!

They are ready to be quilted now and I think I'll go with vertical lines of quilting, maybe randomly placed, maybe evenly placed. We'll see what happens when they get to the machine....M

Sunday, November 17, 2019


The nice thing about a design wall is that, regardless of how many other tangents that you can head off in, what you have up on the wall waits patiently for you to return when you are ready. My sewing is gradually getting back to more of my projects now after the bazaar and a few squirrel projects (a.k.a. pumpkins) and that means my attention has returned to the walls.

I decided that it would be easier to start with the small one, Country Cousin. It has seemed to be a slow project to get going and I think part of the issue was that I was building blocks specifically as I was laying out the pieces. The other issue is that I felt it was just a little on the dark side.

So I pulled out a few more light prints and a couple of additional blues to help mix things up a bit.

It is a scrappy quilt so I finally landed on the fact that I could just sit down and sew and do the block placement later. That was game changer. I now have an additional 45 blocks together with just a few hours of work and it feels as though I might have some traction on this one.

#QuiltBee: gingerbread houses
There could have been more sewing done but I was still putting the finishing touches on my gingerbread houses. Here are three of the four to give you a sense of scale - the large one was the last to the finish line.

I like how it ended up, and even included a little cinnamon stick woodpile 😄. Actually, I really like them all - the simplicity of the white and brown appeals to me and feels very Scandinavian - and can see making this a holiday tradition, especially the little ones.....M

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Snow-Covered Rooftops

#QuiltBee: #gingerbread houseFor the past few years Jane and I have been trying to get together to try our hands at making gingerbread houses and this year things worked out, although we may have been channeling snow-covered rooftops just a little too much because the day she was to arrive we woke to a blanket of white outside. Ah well, it was a nice way to get into the holiday spirit.

#QuiltBee: #gingerbread house
We had pinned just about every design imaginable so there was nothing left to do but start. Jane has done this before with her nieces and nephews but it was a first for me.

Uncertain if the icing would droop if it was applied to vertical surfaces, we opted to decorate the components first and then assemble. Next time I think that I might build the house first and decorate after that because the icing proved to be very easy to work with.

We also cut some larger snowflakes to use as the foundation to display the small houses on.

And we got a little silly at times, using cutouts for coasters (that's as quilty as this post gets).

Jane was prolific - the icing, dragees and frosted snow was flying - and will have four tiny houses and a forest of trees when all is said and done. We had a good chuckle at one point when she realized that she had mistakenly eaten two of the sides that she needed for one of her tiny houses!

#QuiltBee: #gingerbread house
I made three little houses and one large one. This one stands about 4" tall.

I cut my teeth on the small ones and after two days I'm still working on the large one. At times we relied on a little bit of very creative gymnastics to hold the pieces in place while they dry. I hope to finish this one up today - stay tuned!....M

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Slowing Things Down

I'm relishing the fact that I'm off deadline now that the Holly Bazaar is behind me and have picked up my needle in the hoop again.

It does the soul good to just work through that meditative process. A few stitches here and a few stitches there and before you know it, another Candied Hexagon is quilted.

I am resisting the temptation to do a count to see how many more hexies are yet to be stitched....M

Friday, November 08, 2019

The Holly Bazaar Has Come and Gone

Well, another Holly Bazaar is now in the books bringing the recent flurry of quilting and baking to a very festive end.

#QuiltBee: quilted Moda Love table topper
Two more table toppers were wrapped up with the six that I showed you last time, the placemats and the pot holders, along with a big bundle of baking, and it was time for the show. This Moda Love topper had been sewn last year around this time but never quite made it to the finish line, so it was nice to get it quilted and put into use.

The story of my sewing for this year's bazaar seems to be all about 'using it up'. There was just enough of the bottom of these three gold prints to back it with and to squeak out the binding - I had a 10" piece left over, that's it. This is one of two that the gals liked enough to put into the Silent Auction.

The second runner started out with three orphan star blocks that I inherited from Jane (remember that Linda used four of them in the adorable Country Cabins quilt that she made for her grandson?).

I chose to use blacks and red with the stars and quite liked the end result but wondered when it was finished how many people's tastes it would be. Turns out I didn't have to worry too much - it wasn't on the craft table two minutes and one of the volunteers bought it; another gal is considering having me make a second similar one for a gift for one of her daughters-in-law.

I liked working on this one and particularly like the way the quilting on it turned out.

I'm glad that my sewing was wrapped up early this year as lately its been all about getting things ready for the bake table. I always think that I'll try new recipes but chicken out in the end because I don't know how they will turn out, so there were Orange Cranberry Loaves and Plum Loaves...

and four different types of cookies - Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread (a favourite)...

Gingerbread Men (it is a Holly Bazaar after all)...

Toblerone Shortbreads (another fave) and the White Chocolate Cranberry Pecan cookies (also known as Hootycakes) that were shown above.

#QuiltBee: Christmas gift tags
At the last minute I decided to make up packets of gift tags to put on the craft table. I ended up with 10 packs of 6 and I think that they went over well so next year maybe I'll start on those a little earlier.

We hosted a great crowd that enjoyed a delicious ham and scalloped potato luncheon and finding tasty treats and hand crafted treasures to take home with them. And so tonight its time to exhale and put up my feet. There's no deadline on the horizon and the only thing I really need to tend to is the mess on my kitchen table. Tomorrow....M

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Seeing Double

As luck would have it, this year my sewing for the Holly Bazaar has resulted in doubles of the same table topper - not once, not twice, but three times! It is just a function of how many orphan block or bits of fabric that I used but it helped add to the pile of goodies that I will take to the church on Friday for the craft table as I could make two at a time.

#QuiltBee: quilted table topper
This is the first pair that I finished. They aren't Christmassy at all but that's okay - the gals like to have a variety of themes to sell.

They are backed in a soft green print that I had just enough of. This green has been in my stash for a while now so it felt good to finally be able to use it up. I bound them in a blue that is different from the two blues used in the stars and like it.

Next up are a pair of long runners made with prints that I bought from Linda's stash in the spring. Again, I had just enough of the gorgeous main print for the centre panels and I was able to back and bind them with it as well.

I love the strip of fabric bricks that run randomly along each edge; it allowed me to incorporate several prints that coordinated with the main panel and they are just gorgeous.

As an FYI, Jane likes to call the red and white print in the bottom right the marijuana Christmas print 😏. I think she might be on to something.

They are quilted edge to edge which is what the pattern called for and I really like the look. The pattern was designed by Cindy Lammon and is from the The Big Book of Table Toppers (the same book that I got the Jo Morton Rhubarb Crisp pattern from); I'd make this one again.

They finish around 15" x 38". I don't know about you, but I find it very tough to get a good photo of long runners. This doesn't do them justice, but you get the idea.

#QuiltBee: quilted Christmas table topper
And last but not least, there are two of this square design. The floral is another piece that I got from Linda and had just enough to use it for the centres so I decided to make two and use it up as well. The print is gorgeous and initially it doesn't appear to be a Christmas print, but if you take a closer look you'll see holly nestled in between the flowers - I can't tell if they are peonies or roses.

The outer border on this one came from mom's stash and I have had it for a while also, so I was thrilled to be able to work it in. They are both backed and bound with that print as well.

The simplicity of the layout seemed to call for some interesting quilting - more interesting than the straight lines that I do - so Roberta kindly quilted them for me. She used a fabulous panto with jingle bells and ribbons and holly leaves and they are not only beautiful, but perfect. The Official Cookie Tester seems to think so as well - he's thinking that he'll buy one before they leave the house (he seems to do this every year 😊). It will be lovely to have that nice reminder of mom as well. Of course, now that I've seen that panto you just know that I have to make another Christmas quilt! Its a disease....M