Sunday, December 31, 2023

One Last Gift

I used to be notorious for making last minute gifts but I've (thankfully) gotten out of the habit. Don't need the added stress around the holidays. But for some reason, when I saw the pillow tutorial by Lella Boutique using her Reindeer Xing pattern I just had to try and get it ready for little Lena in time for Christmas.

Unfortunately, it coincided with the weeks that I was dealing with my cold so I operated in a bit of a fog, but I just did a bit at a time and then went back to it. After getting everything cut I couldn't turn off the light without at least making the ears.

The pattern is well written and easy to follow. The only issue that I had was self made. When cutting the pieces for the antlers I inadvertently used a pure white scrap for the long vertical pieces rather than Kona Snow, which I had used for the smaller bits. At first I thought that it didn't really show that much but it bugged me so I ripped it out and remade those pieces.

The biggest challenge was resizing the pattern from an 18" pillow to one that is 20". Oy. My brain was almost moving in reverse at times I'm certain, but I got there.

I followed her idea of using a diagonal stitch to quilt it. It looks like an oversized zig zag and results in a very nice finish, looking almost knit.

The backing was a simple envelope closure, which I appreciated (no zippers!) and it gave me a chance to use mom's tailoring gauge. It's always on my sewing table and it was nice to be able to use it for this project as I just know that she would have adored little Lena.

I had picked up the fabrics on a whim so didn't really know how much to buy. Unfortunately, I didn't have quite enough to do the backing in the same grey and white pin dot so I used a larger dot and it worked well.

I also liked her idea of using clips instead of pins when sewing the back to the front.

Stuffing the pillow had its own challenges because for whatever reason, the pillow for manufacturer didn't feel that it was necessary to fill in the corners of the form. I say again - oy! In the end I made it work, but not without a little gymnastics.

And, seeing Lena open it on Christmas Day was proof that sometimes its worth acting on those last minute gift ideas. A pretty good way to finish of my year.

So now it's New Year's Eve. I hope that as you look to the coming year you do so with optimism and that it brings you much joy. Happy New Year!....M

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Christmas Greetings

The dust is beginning to settle on our Christmas hustle and bustle. I hope that you have enjoyed the holidays thus far and that you are able to connect with family and friends to share some time together. We have had a terrific Christmas, including gifting a few last minute projects.

My sister Betty has a thing for doing laundry; she calls it her meditation. As I was looking at finishing up this sampler of Good Day Syre Christemas - a view of Santa's rustic home in the woods with his laundry hung out on the line to dry - it occurred to me that it would make a perfect gift for her.

Three large snowflakes were the last of the elements to be worked on. Placement was the biggest challenge because of the linen that I was using, but I managed to get them into the correct spot. It occurred to me after the fact that I could have run a basting stitch to help position them and avoid counting and recounting to make sure that they were where I wanted them to be. I'll do that for the next one.

The very last details were the deer tracks that run through the woods. They are faint in colour but add a special little touch.

It's a really sweet piece and I love the humour of it. All pressed and ready to be framed, it will be interesting to see what Betty chooses for that.

I ordered two pieces of linen when I ordered the pattern so maybe I will start a second one for me now.

Merry Christmas everyone!....M

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Need a Last Minute Stocking Stuffer?

After the larger items are finished for the Holly Bazaar I always like to try and make a few potholders and these are the batch I made for this year's bazaar. They are a fun way to use orphan blocks or to try your hand at a new block and play with different fabrics. A speedy little project, they sell well; I think that many people buy them for stocking stuffers.

First up was a pair made from some of the leaf blocks that I had played with a month earlier. 

When I found this green in my stash I did a little happy dance - it goes so nicely with the oranges and yellows and the fabric was a dream to work with.

They aren't identical, but then, which two leaves in nature are?

This basket block showed up in my Pinterest feed and has been one that I've been looking to try, so why not?

Making eight HSTs at a time gave me enough for a pair.

There wasn't much trimming to do, but I do like to have all the pieces trimmed to size as it makes for such a nice finish.

Really love the fabrics in this one.

Having had luck with the first set I tried a second combo. I think that my HSTs could have been a little stronger, but it's sweet none the less.

Simple quilting gets them ready for binding in short order.

All of these potholders were 7" square but another time I think I might go a bit larger. I know some feel that's moving into trivet territory, but I like good coverage when I use a potholder. There's still about a week to go before Santa arrives. Maybe you need to whip up a few to tuck into stockings that you are filling?....M

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Slowing It Down a Bit

A week today it's Christmas Eve, so it's going to be a busy week of prep in anticipation of the big day. Actually, I had great plans for this past week too - chores set out by day, all very organized - and then a cold laid me low for several days.

Unfortunately, it has found a home in my sinuses that it really likes, so I'm not bouncing back into action as quickly as I had hoped, so today's plan is to lie low and give it another day to get me on track, because those floors aren't gonna scrub themselves!

I'm picking up a little seasonal cross stitch that I started a while back called Good Day Syre Christemas in the hopes that it contains some medicinal powers....M

Thursday, December 07, 2023

Wait, There's More!

Being able to use up those surplus trees for my runner was a big bonus, but I found myself longing to actually make more trees. So I did. How about a set of placemats?

I use the Tri-Recs triangle in a square ruler to make the trees and they come together so quickly. The placemats are very similar in layout to the runner, but I eliminated the spacers between the trees. Love the look!

Framed in that red and cream, they really are quite festive.

They are backed with the same snowflake cream that I used on the front. And, similar to the runners, they are quilted with a snowflake panto rather that something more Christmassy so that they can be used all winter long. LUV. đź’–

Once the bazaar gets under way things get quite busy and I'm usually serving tables, so I don't get to see what's moving on the craft table. So I was delighted when, at the end of the day we were counting up our earnings in the back room and a gal popped her head in to let me know how excited she was that she bought not only the table runner but the placemats too She was so happy! Apparently she has been buying something of mine every year for the past several. How fun is that?....M

Monday, December 04, 2023

My Rustic Runner

Getting this table runner to the finish line happened remarkably quickly because I was able to dig into the wee stack of remnant Vintage Tree Farm trees. Love that!

In addition to finding a great use for that border print I was tickled that, despite all of the trees appearing to be identical, I was able to get a little bit scrappy with the tree trunks. Simple pleasures.

Here's a good look at the snowflake panto that Roberta used. The runner is trimmed but not yet bound, but you can see those lovely flakes tumbling across the surface - Christmassy if you want it to be but easy to keep on the table all winter long.

Roberta once encouraged me to enjoy sewing down my bindings as it's the last little bit of time that you will have to enjoy working on your quilt, and she is so right. She totally changed my outlook on that step in the process and now I love nothing better than reaching for my clips and settling in for some relaxing hand stitching.

You know me and my weakness for a good bias check for a binding, so I was hap-hap-happy when this one worked so well with the border print. Such a fun project....M

Friday, December 01, 2023

Rustic Trees

I woke this morning to the fragrance of our Christmas tree wafting through the house (nothing like it, is there?). It went up yesterday, but that's all - the plan is to start the decorating this weekend, a job that can sometimes take me 2 - 3 days. But it reminded me that there is another Holly Bazaar project (actually, two) that I have yet to share with you.

A small bundle of trees were left over from the Vintage Tree Farm throw that I made for my niece and her husband a couple of years ago which I had mused about putting together with two red and cream prints. They steeped sat on the corner of the cutting table all year until finally becoming the foundation for another runner for this year's bazaar. 

I envisioned a very simple, yet rustic design that could be used both as a holiday runner but also easily fit into a farmhouse decor year round, so adding a few spacers between each of three trees for each end of the runner was really all that I had to do. The border fabrics and check binding would really get a chance to shine.

I had a few scraps from the quilt to play with so I toyed with floating the trees with about an inch of the same background before they touched the border, but the runner was getting pretty wide so I opted not to do that. If I hadn't put the spacers in I it would have been a good option.

In the end it worked out well, a very simplified approach that reflected the style of the trees.

Don't you love it when your selvages talk to you?...M