On this day before all the festivities of Christmas begin (or continue, if you’ve started early), I wanted to share with you one last peek at my house and the Christmas decorations. I’ve saved the best for last, of course.
When we remodeled our living room, BigJ purposely designed a bookshelf with a space for hanging quilts. It is the focal point of our living room, and I enjoy changing the quilts out every now and then. At Christmas, a star quilt goes in that space. It is one of my favorite quilts, because it was made for me by my sister-in-law. What quilter doesn’t like to receive a quilt?
Nestled beneath the quilt is the nativity scene. The figurines were also given to me by my brother and sister-in-law, so they are special to me. BigJ and the kids, when they were younger, constructed the manger. It is a teensy, fragile little thing that I love. The linen runner beneath came from my grandmother to my mom, to me. I’m quite sure my grandmother did the crochet.
Not only is this scene the focal point of my home during this season, it’s meaning is the focal point of my heart. For Christ came, for me and for you.
Enjoy this time with family and friends, love generously, laugh joyously, hug much, and remember why we celebrate at all.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have have eternal life. –John 3:16
By the time I post this, I’ll have my shopping done, I hope! I have done much less shopping this year, most of it either local or online, so this week is quiet and relaxed. I have not set foot in a mall for any Christmas shopping! So I’m enjoying some time just playing in my quilt cave, but more about that in another post.
Since I’ve been giving a mini tour of my Christmas decorating, I thought I’d show you where this little snowman runner ended up. It’s a small runner, maybe 6 x 20-ish, so I had to think a bit about where to put it.
I realized that I had the perfect spot for it above my kitchen sink. BigJ hung it up for me; we just tacked it to the wall with straight pins. It makes me smile when I look up from my chair and see it in my kitchen. I collect snowmen, so this little runner belongs in my home. It was a kit given to me by my sister-in-law. She knows me well.
Today is the winter solstice. That combined with my dark little house has made it a challenge to get decent photos. (Better photography should probably be on my list of goals for 2017.) That being said, I hope you’ll still enjoy the peek at my home.
And then there are the family stockings, which we hang on the railing of our staircase so they are visible from our front door. Three of them were made by BigJ’s grandmother — his and our two kids. I made the fourth, for me. I did have a stocking as a child, and I still have that stocking somewhere, but it was just the saddest thing ever — not handmade. I’m not sure what the story was behind it; I never thought to ask. In a family of sewists, you’d think I would’ve had a handmade stocking! So, anyway, I made my own, with a snowman, of course!
Lastly, I thought I’d sneak in this little stocking that is a favorite of mine. They are a paper-pieced pattern that I picked up at a local quilt shop that is no longer in business, unfortunately. It is a great pattern for using scraps!
One more post before the Christmas festivities begin. I hope you are getting those holiday projects done!
It was quiet around here last week. My birthday started the week off, and I decided to enjoy the week working on some quilt projects. We celebrated my birthday by going to see White Christmas at The Ordway, a fun way to really kick off the holiday season!
I spent most of my week doing the finishing stitches on some Christmas gifts and finally getting some Christmas decorations up. Here’s a peek at some of my decorating.
These little stockings and mittens were so much fun to make. They hang nicely over my patio window each Christmas. The reindeer you see above them are from my childhood. I have the full set, with Santa in his sleigh and, of course, Rudolph in the lead. Try as I might, I couldn’t get a full photo of them for you.
This is the top of my piano, which has my small collection of mercury glass along with my nod to my Scandinavian heritage. The St. Lucia was my mother’s. The Nutcracker Ballet has always been a favorite of mine; this handsome fellow was given to me by my parents when I was a teen. In the frame is a poem my son wrote when he was young that is a favorite of mine.
And of course, the tree was decorated. We rarely put the tree up before my birthday. That was a tradition when I was growing up, and continues now in my home.
Christmas blessings . . . to you and yours! I’ll post my most favorite decorations later this week.
My Friday Finish for the week isn’t a quilt, but a project that will improve my quilt room.
A few years ago, my daughter purchased an art canvas that measured 36 x 48 x 1 inches. She had planned to do a painting on it, but life got busy, the painting never happened, and the canvas shifted from place to place around the house, waiting for a spot to land. There had to be another use for it.
One day it occurred to me that I could use it as a small design wall. For awhile now, I’ve just been draping a batting over it and using it that way. This worked but obviously not as ideally as it could. When I cleared the quilt room to put in the new floor, it was time to get this design wall project done.
Here’s what I used for the project:
Art Canvas (this would work with any size)
Batting (I used Warm & Natural Crib Size)
Staples (long enough to secure batting well)
Because I had used the batting already, I wanted to get the threads cleaned off of it. I suppose you wouldn’t necessarily have to do this, but it felt better to work with it clean. This is where the lint roller came in. Helpful tip:Pull a longer strip from the roller and tear it off. Place it sticky side down on the batting and rub it (similar to waxing your legs – haha!). Pull it up and voila! It seems to pick up threads much better this way.
Lay your batting on a clean, flat surface. Center your canvas on the batting, making sure there is enough batting to wrap around each side of the canvas with some to spare. One end of my batting was longer; you’ll see that I cut that off later. You could also measure and cut the batting to size before you begin.
I started on one of the short ends, pulling the batting around the frame of the canvas, then securing it with a staple. Using a staple gun from this angle can be a little tricky. I found it easiest to lay it flush with the canvas and use the frame to hold onto as you squeeze the trigger (I used both hands). This helps get the staple flush with the frame and through the batting. My staples were a little short, so we’ll see how they hold. Use staples that are long enough to staple securely.
With one short end done, I flipped it over to see my progress and to make sure I was tucking it snugly as I got ready to staple the other short end. You don’t want to pull so snug that the batting tears, but you don’t want it loose either. Once I felt like I had the right tautness, I flipped it over and got to work.
The next step are the long sides. The first thing I did was tuck the corner. Because my staples were shorter, I decided to do a two-step wrap, hoping to secure the batting well enough. Once the first wrap was done, then I made a second, similar wrap.
Then I worked my way down the long end, stopping just before I got to the other corner.I made sure to firmly tuck the batting around the frame as I worked along. At that point, I trimmed the extra batting so that I could tuck the corner without extra bulk.
Now that I had three sides done, I flipped it over to be sure it was still laying flat. Satisfied that it was looking good, I flipped it back over and worked on the other long end. This is the last wrap, so I made sure I was keeping it gently taut.
Done! It looks so much better stapled to the canvas rather than draping over it.
When I moved back in to my quilt room, I moved this antique dresser in. This is a family piece; the story is that it was made by an uncle of mine out of wood from an old organ. BigJ did a little work on the drawers, making them slide in and out better. It now holds my fat quarters, small projects, and batting. The design wall will hang over the dresser. I should be able to access it well enough for my little projects, more efficiently using my space. I’ll still be able to take it off the wall and carry it to another room to use if need be.
So here it is, at home on the wall, with a few little projects on it. I even have my dresser top reasonably clean (for now). One more quilt room project, done!
I do have one little quilt project finish for the week. I finished this little mini runner. I’m enjoying the Pantone color of the year for 2017 early!
Our weekend is looking to be cold, snowy and chilly. Tuck in, stay home, stitch much!!
I have one little quilt to show you today. Just one. Because all of the other projects I’m working on are for Christmas gifts.
Remember those cute little trees that finished at a whopping 2 inches? I made them into a little mini runner. It’s not perfect by any means, so it will just find a little spot somewhere in the midst of my Christmas decorating (if I ever get my decorating done!).
My initial plan was to put some red into this little project. However, I just couldn’t find the right fit; the red seemed to overwhelm those cute little trees! So I opted to keep it simple and stick with the green, and I’m happy with how it turned out. I can use this throughout the winter season and not feel like it’s a holiday quilt.
I did simple quilting with my walking foot. It shifted a bit more during the quilting process than I wanted, so ignore the puckers.
I can always add some red to it. My winter bird is a little too big, though! The finished size of the quilt is 8″ x 15-1/2″.
This quilt is made from my stash, so the backing is just a piece of polka dot green that was close enough. I used the scraps of the green fabric used on the top for the binding.
And that’s some of what I’ve been working on this week. I have been continuing to clean up my quilting space, and I’m surprised at how much I’m getting accomplished.
One goal for today is to finish and hang a small design wall in my space. I have all the things needed, so I’ll try to show you what I’ve done on Friday.
My other goals for the day are to clean through one more cabinet and get started with Christmas decorations.
After a fairly busy weekend, this is truly a peaceful Monday. I am pondering whether to quilt for the remainder of the day, or get my Christmas decorations up. The tree will be coming soon.
In my family when I was growing up, we didn’t put the tree up until mid-December. I am a December baby, so my mother wanted my birthday to be a separate event from Christmas. Not putting the tree up until after my birthday was one way she felt she honored that. My family has followed that tradition, although I truly would like the tree up earlier. I love having a twinkling tree to look at!
I had three activities this weekend, one on each day (Friday, Saturday and Sunday). Sunday afternoon I fell asleep in my chair for a very long nap.
While I enjoy cooking and putzing in the kitchen when I’m in the mood, sometimes I draw a blank when I need to bring something as simple as an appetizer to a party. However, this weekend I managed to pull it off, sticking with the principle of keeping it simple.
The theme for the weekend could have been “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”. Not even a chance, really, for there certainly were meatballs. Tasty ones, if I do say so myself. Armed with frozen meatballs and my crockpot, I conquered those parties like a boss. However, I did not take pictures like a boss. I didn’t even think about pictures until after the last meatball was eaten! So I’ll provide you with a Pinterest link for one of the recipes I used and you can see photos there.
This is the recipe I used for the meatballs. She gives precise measurements for the sauce; I basically eyeballed it and it turned out fine. Rather than mixing the sauce in my crockpot, I heated it in a pan on the stove and then poured it over the meatballs. I used 3 lbs. of meatballs for the first run, and they were a bit dry. If I use that many again, I would make a recipe and a half of the sauce. I used 2 lbs. the second time and it was just right. You could easily use homemade meatballs as well, but I would brown them before adding them to the crockpot.
The other simple recipe I made is a favorite of our family. I will sometimes make them if we are having a movie night. The recipe is for sliders using King’s Hawaiian dinner rolls. I buy two packages of the rolls. Without separating the rolls, cut them apart from one end to the other with a bread knife. Because the rolls are on a sheet of waxed cardboard, this is simple to do because they stay put. I begin slicing on one short end and work my way to the other, holding on to the cardboard if need be to keep it from sliding. Lay the bun tops aside, and place the bottom halves into a 9 x 13 cake pan. You may have to snug them in a bit, but it will be just fine.
Layer meat and cheese of your choice on the buns. I’ve used ham and cheese, turkey and swiss; you could easily use shredded chicken, etc. Whatever appeals to you. Place the tops on, and brush them with melted butter. Sprinkle your favorite garlicky seasoning on top. I like Penzey’s Sandwich Sprinkle for this. Cover and heat them through in a 350 oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
In the midst of all this, I have been stitching away in my quilt room. Much of what I’m making while likely end up as gifts so I can’t show them to you yet, but I can show you this little soon-to-be pillow that will be tucked into my Christmas decorations. I have had this book for years, and while much of the decor is outdated, I still find myself going back to it time and again for a cute gift idea.
This pillow is based on a project from that book and has been adapted to use wool for the lettering. I also added the heart and holly. I think several of the little projects could easily be updated with a modern flair, so I may try some of that this week.
The pillow is about 6-1/2″ x 15-1/2″. All that’s left is to sew the back and front together, stuff it with polyfil and it will be ready. I have had the background fabric for longer than I care to admit. Do you ever hang on to a particular piece of fabric because you just knew it was meant for something? That’s what happened with this fabric. Even though this pillow is nothing special, the fabric is just what I was looking for!
I also finished the November woolies, along with one of the December blocks. In these cooler months, I am really drawn to wool projects, so this makes me happy.
This week I’m waiting on an order of some supplies so I can complete some of these projects. I am still working on getting my quilt room organized, and I’m happy to say that I’m making good progress. So far I’ve managed to empty about 9-10 bins of various sizes. Pretty excited about that!
Not sure what I’ll be up to today, but I’ll at least try to take some pictures this time!
I’m linking up today with Cooking Up Quilts. Beth’s blog is one of my favorites, so pop on over if you have a few minutes!