27 December, 2019

Post-Christmas Report

All of the super-secret stitching that went on around here before Christmas can finally be revealed. The family in the Capital City (3 out of 4 of them) wanted weighted blankets this year. In fact, Mason has been asking for one for MONTHS! He was very specific about what he wanted: snow camo (I didn't even know that this was a thing until I looked it up!), and he wanted his to be twin-sized (12 lbs.!!!😲). I suggested that this might be too big and heavy for him, but "no"; it's what he had his heart set on. In the meantime, Lucy Ann told me that she wanted a throw size (the term "throw" here is laughable, these are substantial items(!), even this smaller size weighs 6 lbs.)  "with hedgehogs". Our daughter seemed interested in receiving one too, I decided to make hers in the smaller size as well. I set to work from there researching weighted inserts. I found these, from Poly Fil.
Suffice it to say, they were a BIG hit! These inserts came with complete instructions for yardage requirements and easy-to-follow directions for making the covers. I backed them with coordinating solid-color fleece.

The above photos reflect their happy reactions to their gifts. We spent Christmas Eve day there and returned home for Christmas morning at our son and daughter-in-law's home. What fun and excitement there was there!
Gregory was quite enthused about a Cribbage board that Santa put in his Christmas stocking.
And Lynnleigh was thrilled with a violin set for her American Girl doll!
At the eleventh hour I decided that we needed something special for the cash gifts. Stockings were created; they doubled as ornaments for the tree after they were opened. Everyone seemed to enjoy them. If anyone is interested in this easy-peasy lined stocking/ornament let me know and I will send you the instructions and the diagram that I came up with; please make sure that your commenting profile is attached to an email address so that I can get it to you! The little stocking measures approx. 4.75" H X 4" across. 
I made a few "Gadget Cushions" to send to my friends for Christmas. Here's my prototype, above. These are handy for parking devices, they're filled with crushed walnut shells, giving them some heft and stability. They can also double as a pincushion if it's parked as a phone holder by the machine while sewing. (Ask me how I know!) They have a couple of loops attached to hold a stylus, pencil, seam ripper, or scissors. I believe I will be making up a few more for other rooms in the house. The patterns for these (link in text, above) are printed right onto the fusible interfacing that lines each cushion. That extra reinforcement helps to ensure that the crushed walnut shells won't migrate. Win-win! 

Santa brought a special surprise for Hannes. He absolutely loves curling up in his new bed! 
Here he is, enjoying it fully, settled in for a long winter's nap!
And, just like that, another Christmas has come and gone; it's a wrap!

Life is Good!

Up next: Looking Ahead

24 December, 2019

Christmas Stitching

Don't ask me where the time has disappeared to since my last post, I honestly don't know; it seems like just yesterday I was putting away the dishes after Thanksgiving and here we are clear through Advent and today is Christmas eve! I've been busy adding stitches to many things, all in preparation. As you can see from this photo on the left, I stuck to the challenge and finished the table topper on time to get it on our kitchen table in time for Christmas, never has a project brought more immense frustration; which makes the reward all the greater! I was bound and determined to see this one through and I did it!
I backed it with the vintage Santa print, it had been shelved in the stash closet for decades, it's just perfect! There's been lots of Christmas stitching going on this week, I cannot share it today as it has been for Christmas gifts that haven't been given yet; but stay tuned! Yes, just like that-- it's here!
Wishing you all the peace, love and blessings that this day can hold.
Life is Good!

Up next: Christmas!

17 December, 2019

Removing Stitches and Other Events

We're really good at it-- removing stitches. We're well acquainted with frogging and we all have armed ourselves with the proper tools. We've been doing it for years. We have different terms for this action, too: rather than "ripping out" we may refer to this as un-sewing, reverse-stitching or removing stitches. I'm skilled at this craft! In fact, I'm so adept at stitch removal that when I parked myself in the dental chair this morning, to have my stitches removed from the dental procedure (extraction, bone graft and membrane placement) performed 4.5 weeks ago, the dental assistant couldn't find any remaining sutures to be found! There was a stray "knot", attached to nothing, and I was deemed free and clear to go. Another month of healing, a reassessment, and we'll see where we go from there. Yep, I'm that good! Years of practice pays off.
Lynnleigh was front and center yesterday afternoon, showing off her violin skills with her fellow "Little Mozarts" at her school auditorium. One of the pieces they performed was "Grandma Rides A Motorcycle". Ah, NO!, not this "Grandma"; I might be good at a lot of things-- like telepathically removing stitches, but riding a motorcycle isn't, nor ever will be, my super power! 

How cute is she?
Life is Good!

Up next: Adding Stitches

16 December, 2019

Behind the Scenes

Hi, I'm Gene the Gingerbread Man, I wanted to give you a quick glimpse into where Mrs. Goodneedle has been and what she's been doing for the past week. She and Mr. Goodneedle stay busy! With a porch ceiling to work on and shopping and baking to be done, all in preparation for an Open House on Saturday evening.

With all of that baking going on the kitchen looked like a bomb had gone off!

Sugar cookie dough is rolled out on an antique pastry cloth that Mrs. Goodneedle inherited. 
These are her MIL's wafer-thin sugar cookies (the pastry cloth is imperative). The recipe is an old one, instead of a numeric oven temperature listed it calls for a "moderate" oven and uses powdered sugar in the dough in place of granulated sugar. These cookies have stood the test (and taste) of time for generations.
Chocolate Crinkles
Almond Cookies, Mrs. Goodneedle's specialty cookie.
This place has been hopping; lucky for me, I've been able to avoid greedy hands and hungry mouths just in the nick of time. (Sadly, that's not the case for some of my friends!) Slowly, but surely, the tree was decorated and the flour, butter, eggs, spices and sugar were put away and the kitchen resembled that of one in a home and not a commercial bakery once again. We all longed for calm to settle back in. Here we all are, below, after being given our final touches of buttons and bows, making us all the more delectable!
Of course, there were grandchildren to visit and performances to attend at their respective schools.

And a new (to her) grocery-mecca to check out in the Capital City for Mrs. Goodneedle. She wasn't disappointed in what she found there. Even the shopping was conducted at an escalated pace! 
She saw this at WalMart and thought that she and her stitchy friends might like to wear them, but it was vetoed when she contacted them (they're no fun, it even lights up!) There was not much sewing happening behind the scenes, there simply wasn't  time. (Except for some super-secret Christmas gift-giving stitching I saw her doing! Shhhhh!!) Ho! Ho!! Ho!!!
All too soon the week had whizzed by and it was time for the Open House!
Hungry hoardes arrived and devoured the food. They all seemed to enjoy themselves.
Sigh. There's my friends, there's very few of us remaining today. 😢 RIP
Today she's recovering from her busy week by the fireplace while she sips a cup of tea. If I know what's good for me I'll exit at this point before she looks for something to nibble on during her "break". I'm outta here~

Wishing you a peaceful and calm week before Christmas!
Life is Good!

Up next: Removing Stitches


07 December, 2019

As Time Flies By...

It seems like I just indulged in this all-too-wonderful annual treat; the limited- time-only peppermint chocolate chip milkshake! Speaking of limits, that's exactly what I put on myself when it comes to this splurge-- ONE A YEAR. Well, it might seem like I just indulged in one but it's been a year already. Oh, my! And as if I needed further proof that time is flying and leaving me in its dust, take a look at my Chick-Fil-A dining companion this week.
Spaces are rapidly filling that smile where teeth used to be, the tooth fairy's been busy at her house and there's another very wiggly one ready to join the others on the outside! She's growing up at warp speed!
In an effort to get this beauty on the table by Christmas and stay true to the Triple-C (Carpenter's as in "wheel" Christmas Challenge) that I dared to accept, this has been loaded on Snowbird and quilting has begun.  
This is the backing on "Triple C", and old, old Michael Miller print that's been shelved for "something special"! As quickly as it's flying I decided that its time has come; if not now-- when?!!
The Chrismon tree is up and in the foyer. Once again-- didn't I just do this, like, a week ago? 🤣
And yet, with all the hubub; when I went up upstairs into our converted attic space, where I keep my huge roll of batting and set to work, on my hands and knees cutting a piece, I looked up to see this in front of me. 💗 He turned fifteen in August, our precious buddy and constant companion. He's still healthy albeit hard of hearing and with some vision loss from a cataract; his lifespan is measured by an altogether different scale. I took a deep breath. Yes, I'm aware that time is flying, but that's my time; God's time and timing is always perfect. I can relax. Sure, there's a ton to do during this season of preparation, that's obvious; however, I'm grateful that I can reflect on what's right here around me and count my blessings one at a time! After all, what are we rushing around and preparing for this time of year for anyway?  Let's slow down and make room for Him. 

Time does seemingly fly by, but only once, 
don't miss it, not even a second!

Life is Good!
up next: "Behind the Scenes"

04 December, 2019

Retreat Stitching Success

After my fabulous weekend away at the Quiltville Inn Retreat*, even with all the distraction of the beautiful and incredibly accommodating setting, there's more; believe it or not I actually finished quilt tops and have show and tell of my own! This little beauty (quilt measures 45" square) is the 2012 Summer Sampler Sew-along from the Temecula Quilt Company blog. I had half of the 4" blocks done before we left for the weekend, in preparation I had the remaining blocks precut and ready to go. I used scraps that my mother gave me, leftovers from a quilt she had done and decided to set mine with Essex linen. The colors are true in this photo (left), it's a bit washed out in the one below. I believe I will quilt this all over with a small scale Baptist Fan pantograph. But, for now, this one has been relegated to the to-be-quilted queue. There's something new on the rails of the longarm right now.

* (Click here if you missed my previous post)

On day # 2 of the Quiltville Retreat I got this much of the Texas Tears top together. All of the blocks are done, from here it's just a matter of sitting down and finishing up the assembly of rows. I'm not sure about the quilting yet on this one. I went back and looked at the photo I had taken of the antique quilt that was the inspiration for this one and found the hand quilting on that one to be minimal. Well, this won't be hand quilted (!) and I believe I can do better than a minimal job and find a design that will work. My inspiration quilt did not have an outer border but I plan to add one. 
So, with all that piecing going on... guess what else happened? This! If one is retreating for the weekend at Quiltville one MUST be leader-endering at the same time, right? Of course! This tumbler charm will be quilted sometime in the new year and added to the donation pile; I can imagine the recipient finding little surprises here and there hidden in the novelty prints. I do believe this is my fifth tumbler charm quilt, I've lost count, they're made oh-so-easy with the 4" Accuquilt die cutter. All in all it was a very successful time away for those up-until-now UFOs that have been hiding under my cutting table! I'm already leader-endering more tumbler rows for the next quilt top while I continue to set Texas Tears. 

Sew on and sew forth!
Life is Good!

Up next: Triple C