Tuesday, December 28, 2021

A Surprise Ending

There is one Holly Bazaar project that didn't quite cross the finish line in time, but it's close to being finished so I thought I'd let you have a peek at it while Christmas is still in the air. It's a sweet little Christmas tree runner.

I've had the pattern pinned forever - it's O 'Lil Christmas Tree from Moda's Bake Shop by Sharla Krenzel of Thistle Thicket Studio - and in my sewing craze decided that I needed to make it up too. In truth, I thought it was going to be a set of potholders, but when I took a closer look at the pattern I realized that there were instructions for both a 6" and a 12" block. Bonus!

So I made two 12" blocks and added a white spacer in the middle, knowing that Roberta's magical snowflake panto would be used again. I was able to cut and sew the entire thing in a morning, if memory serves me correctly, so nice and quick to sew up.

There was more of the green holly fabric left so it became the tree. Add a little red twinkling star or two and it's a wrap.

It's quilted and ready to be bound and that's where it has come to rest. I've never made a flange binding before but I found a perfect little piece of red to use as the accent so I'm going to give that a try whenever the spirit moves me. Right now I'm enjoying the post Christmas lull in the action; might be time for a nap by the tree....M

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Vintage Tree Farm

So here's the finished Vintage Tree Farm throw, just in time to be enjoyed over the holidays. I didn't quite get all of it into the frame, but you get the idea.

I made the trees from a scrappy collection of six or seven greens and had enough of the green with the red berries in it for the border. It's backed with a wonderful red and green plaid flannel, guaranteed for coziness.

And my favourite snowflake quilting pattern runs across the landscape, making for a very wintery feel.

It's not overly fussy, but there are just enough details, like this wreath, to keep your attention. I opted not to include the headlights on the truck because regardless of what I did they just weren't looking like headlights; I think it still works.

I can't say that some of the cornering is the best - those stars were the last bits that I did and they really gave me a run for my money - but as Roberta likes to say, "Ah, those straight stretches!" By the time it was quilted and crinkled everything seemed to work.

It's bound with the same red as is in the truck. I'd toyed with using the brighter red on the left, but my original choice was better - it really works nicely with both the border and the backing.

Feeling a little empowered with my newly acquired machine applique skills, I've got my eye on trying this APQ Snowflakes runner (actually, it's a wall hanging but I'd make it a runner) - there doesn't appear to be a curve in sight! I thought that I might have it started by now, but Christmas happened. Ah well, something to add to the list for the new year....M

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Old Dog, New Tricks

After months of skulking around in the shadows and dropping the odd hint about a secret sewing project, I can now share what I've been up to. It's a Vintage Tree Farm throw for my favourite niece Julia and it's been a good excuse to use a ruler that I'd forgotten that I even owned and learn a couple of new techniques at the same time.

It's a pattern from Buttermilk Basin that Roberta put me wise to, made initially by another of her clients (she herself cut three, has made two of these quilts and gave the trees for the third to a friend to work on). I saw it while picking up a quilt pre-pandemic, so it's been in the back of my mind for a while. I was enthralled, thinking that it would be perfect for Julia and Ryan. They have a tradition of going out to his uncle's beautiful Christmas tree farm to cut their tree. 

And the truck was just too perfect given that Ryan had refurbished this beauty for their wedding day a few years ago.

With fabrics like Winterlude...

Pieceful Pines and
Snowfall how could it not be a winter quilt?

I had purchased much of the fabric from Roberta a few years ago and then seemed to immediately forget about it until I literally tripped over the bag of goodies one day this past summer (yes, that speaks to the order, or lack thereof, in my sewing room!). After pulling everything out I remembered while this had been consigned to the 'some day' list - the machine applique. I hadn't done any before and was fretting that I'd just make a mess of things.
Enter Roberta. What a lifesaver! She coached and encouraged me, not only guiding me in technique but also providing the threads and Heat 'n Bond fusible. Truth be known, I lived in fear of this stuff. In the few times that I tried it I had less than stellar results. Initially I though that I was in for repeating all of my mistakes but then I realized that my iron just wasn't hot enough. Problem solved.

Appliqueing the truck section before joining it to the rest of the quilt was a great idea - SO much easier to work with a smaller piece (apparently working on a larger piece brings out the 'nasty language' for Roberta...😉).

She also wisely suggested that a test piece wouldn't be a bad idea, not only to get a feel for things, sort out tension, and get a little practice 'cornering', but to also sort out the size of the stitches.

So, after circling the machine for a little while longer I finally took the plunge, and by and large, things went pretty well. More pics of the finished quilt next time....M

Sunday, December 12, 2021

A Tradition Or A Rut?

There's only one small package of cookies left in the freezer despite all of the baking that was done for the Holly Bazaar so it was time to get out the mixer and start restocking as we have several tins to fill and deliver before Santa comes to town.

The last two days have been full on baking, but as I looked at my recipes I felt like it was a bit of 'same old same old'. The favourites always go to the top of the list because I usually only make them at Christmas time, but there were others that I was missing from days when we were still able to get together for our Christmas Cookie Bakeoff, so I decided to start with a few of them first, just to so I wasn't feeling like I was in a rut. 

Case in point, these Fruitcake Hermits. It's a recipe from my friend Stephanie that I have never made myself so I decided that this was a good time to try. A little surprisingly, supply chain issues have made finding candied cherries next to impossible, so I just added in a little extra candied peel. The rum drizzle puts them over the top and had the Official Cookie Tester swooning. I was off to a good start.

Next up was another of Stephanie's recipes - Peppermint Chocolate Thumbprints. The chewy chocolate cookie is yummy topped with a hit of white chocolate and peppermint.

There was still one more large Toblerone chocolate bar left in the house from my bazaar baking so I made up two batches of Toblerone Shortbread.

I also made these Cinnamon Pecan Shortbreads. These are a favourite of mine; the crunch of the pecan that is hiding under the chocolate drizzle is seemingly custom made to be enjoyed with a good cup of tea.

Earlier in the week I had made up a batch of Gingerbread for my favourite niece Julia to come and enjoy a little decorating and there were still two bundles of dough chilling in the fridge. Having the dough and Royal Icing made up in advance cut down nicely on prep time and gave me a good batch of gingerbread men, Christmas trees and a few circular cookies as well.

These Thimble Cookies are another favourite from our childhood. A very basic cookie but the hit of raspberry jam is just wonderful.

Two batches of a Buttered Rum sandwich cookies are chilling in the fridge, so I'm planning to get those together today along with Whipped Shortbreads (a special request from my favourite nephew) and a couple pans of Social Tea Squares. There's an outside chance that Tiny Fudge Tartlets might get made up too. 

By the end of the day yesterday the only decision left was whether I was putting light or dark rum in my eggnog 😉.

Sunday, December 05, 2021

One Last Look and a Hint

Little Lena's Little Trees is finished! I enjoyed every minute of hand stitching the last of the binding down and now I'm just pinching myself at how cute it is. She is going to love it!

Already I'm wishing that I had a few more meters of both the border and backing so that I could make a throw for me. 

Those snowmen with their little parasols are just too cute for words and were a great find.

And I never tire of scanning the trees for my favourite, changing my mind in an instant. As a reminder, the inspiration came from Ana Jantina's quilt by the same name. You can order acrylic templates to make it but I drafted my own pattern; it's 2" x 4" and I made the stumps narrower than she did. It was a fun hand stitching project. Recently I've also found a free paper pieced version from Country Lane Quilts if you want to give them a try too.

I'm really tickled with the binding - it adds just enough colour without overpowering the softness of either the front or backing.

Whoever designed that snowflake panto - you know, the one that I asked Roberta to use over and over for my projects this fall - deserves a medal because the flakes and the swirls combine to create just a beautiful finish for a decidedly winter quilt.

So much so that it's also been used on that secret sewing project that I hinted at a couple of months ago. More on this one in about a week.

So, it's time to say goodbye to Little Trees. Or is it? Maybe I should start a throw for us for next Christmas....M