Category Archives: Holidays

Pieceful Monday

Well, the holidays are over and a new year has begun. I had a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s with my family. This holiday season was quieter in some ways than others, but lovely nonetheless.

I made a goal to do as much of my Christmas shopping locally as I could. It made the whole season so much less stressful; no mall crowds to contend with. Perhaps that’s why I think it was a quieter season this year. It was certainly more relaxed!

I also made a few things, but not so many that I felt rushed at the last minute. As a matter of fact, I spent the last week or so before Christmas just playing in my quilt cave. More about that in another post.

I met some of my girlfriends for an annual coffee date. While we were chatting, one of them talked about a pillow she had seen. She had mentioned she had seen a larger pillow like this at a store, so when I got home that evening, I made her a little mini pillow, about 6-7 inches. All the buttons are from my button box, some of them my grandmother’s, my mother’s and mine. It’s only fitting that some of my family should be part of hers. She is a very dear friend of mine, and our lives have woven in and out together for many years. The linen fabric is from my stash, a left over piece of fabric from a dress I made years ago. The dress is long gone, but I’ve made good use of the scraps!

This is the pillow top; I apparently didn’t remember to take a picture of the finished pillow!

Another gift I gave was to my daughter. She has always liked pillows she’s seen similar to this, so I thought it would be fun to make her one. I found a {free} outline of the deer and blew it up. Then I traced it onto hand-dyed brown wool and stitched it to the pillow. The pillow fabric is left over from the fabric I used to make curtains for her apartment. She loved it! It was probably my favorite project that I gave as a gift.

Not a great picture. The pillow fabric is a deeper green than shown.

Gifts came to me in return. I loved all of them, here’s a couple of highlights.

When visiting my daughter this summer, we were shopping in an antique store. I saw a cute little toy sewing machine. We talked about it and that was that. When I opened my gift from her this Christmas, there was the little sewing machine!  I am so delighted to give this little cutie a home.

It is a Kayanee Sew Master made in Germany post WWII in the 40s. Apparently those with decals are a bit more rare, but I’m no expert so I don’t know if this is true. It works too, the only thing it’s missing is the needle.

My son asked me for some suggestions. He gave me one thing I have wanted for quite some time. (I had forgotten I had even told him about them.) Blackwing pencils. I could hardly wait to use them!

When you order from JBWelly, your order comes wrapped in gorgeous paper like this. Fun, huh?

If you’ve never heard of them, here’s a fun but lengthy link that gives some background.  They are truly remarkable. Even BigJ was surprised when he picked one up. They are so light! I spent the entire day using one the other day, and my hand didn’t get all cramped and sore like it often does when I’m working on designs.

Well, let’s talk quilting and what I’ve been doing. As I said earlier I have one project I worked on that I’ll share about another time, but I do have a couple of blocks to show you.

Pat Sloan started her 182 Day Solstice Challenge  recently, and I decided to join in. Each Wednesday she sends out a new block. She’s designing as she goes, pulling from her stash and encouraging us to do the same. So far the blocks are simple and fun. Come join the fun!

Here’s the first block. I’m not overly excited about the fabrics I used for this one. They kinda make me want to nap — Zzzzzz. I may redo this one.

Here’s the second block, called Day into Night. This one was really fun to make. I’m happier with this block.

For my birthday earlier this month, my daughter gave me this canvas that she painted. The saying is hers too. I love it, and will leave you with this thought today.

Happy Stitching!

Wendy

 

 

One More Peek

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.

Merry Christmas!

Wendy

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

Snowmen and Stockings

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.

This picture was taken awhile ago, before we had snow!

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!

The top stocking is the oldest of the four, made for BigJ when he was just a little guy. The three made by Grandma K are felt with much detail. That’s my snowman stocking, a Thimbleberries pattern.
During her lifetime, Grandma K made stockings for all of her grandkids and great grandkids. They are a treasure.

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!

I’ve made several of these, they are about 11″ from heel to the cuff.

One more post before the Christmas festivities begin. I hope you are getting those holiday projects done!

Wendy

 

Pieceful Monday

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.

Even with the lights turned all the way up I couldn’t get a decent bright photo of these, but you can get an idea of how I have hung them.

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.

Wendy

 

What’s Up Wednesday

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.

I’m linking up with Quilt Fabrication and Sew Fresh Quilts today.

Happy stitching!

Wendy

Pieceful Monday

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.

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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.

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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.

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The two on the left are from Woolen Willow; the one on the right is a mystery BOM from River’s Edge Antiques and Quilt Loft.

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!

Happy Monday, everyone!

Wendy

 

 

Autumn Runner Finish

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted, but I do finally have a finish to show you.

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The process of getting my autumn table runner completed has been a good learning experience for me. I had ideas of doing some cool free motion quilting on the center of the table runner, but quickly came to realize I need to learn and practice more free motion rather than wreck a quilt. So I pouted for a few days.

I kept the quilting simple, stitching a cross hatch design in the center and stitching in the ditch on the border. I’m happy with the outcome. It’s done and I can use it for this season (yay!). The wool leaves, even though they are small, add a nice weightiness to the top. I anticipate that I will use this for years.

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While I’ve been finishing the autumn runner, I’ve been working on a little sampler. Here’s a peek, but I won’t tell you what it is until I can show you the whole thing. It’s really fun and makes me chuckle.

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Are you looking for clever items to make for Christmas gifts? Do you have a coffee lover on that list? My friend Bernie from Needle and Foot posted a tutorial for a french press cozy. Check it out; it’s a simple process and one I’m considering for one piece of my Christmas fabric.

Since it’s the beginning of November, here’s what I plan to work on this month.

  1. Quilt and bind the Quilters Madder top.
  2. Finish the sampler I’m stitching.
  3. List out my Christmas gifts and assess where I’m at with them.
  4. Clean up scrap containers.
  5. Practice free motion quilting.
  6. Finish one of my quilt tops.
  7. Prepare the backing for two quilts to bring to Connie.
  8. Finish November wool projects.

That should keep me busy. We’ll see how I do.

Here’s one last peek at the autumn table runner, all dressed up and ready for fall!

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Linking up today with Sew Fresh Quilts and Quilt Fabrication.

Wendy

Autumn in the Air and My Home

Fall is definitely in the air these days. Northern Minnesota even had some snow last night. Oh how I wish the Autumn season could last longer than it does!

Most of the projects I’ve finished this week have already been posted, so I’ve decided to join the linky part hosted by  Bernie of Needle and Foot and show you some of my autumn quilts and woolies today.

I thought I’d take you on a mini tour of my Autumn quilt decor in my home. It was a challenge to get pictures in my dark, tree-shaded living room, so please bear with me.

The quilt below is one of my very first lap or throw quilts. While we do use it as a throw, most often I use it for decoration during the Autumn season. It is a pattern I made years ago; I believe it was in a quilt magazine. It is one of my favorite quilts. The quilting shelf was made for me by my brother, Steve. You can see some of his other work here.

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This display is at the top of the stairs in my home, so I am standing on the steps to get the full quilt in the picture. That’s the reason for the weird angle.

Fall is one of my favorite times to pull out my woolie projects. If you’ve been following me, you know that I usually have a woolie close by to work on. This next little set of pin cushions is a nod to Autumn and Halloween.

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The little owl pattern was too irresistable when I visited a quilt shop in Minnesota a year or so ago. The pattern is a Half Pints by Buttermilk Basin and went together quickly.

The pin cushion with the scaredy cat was a free download online a few years ago from Shirley Hudson Designs. Another quick project, and so cute!

The little pumpkin was a pin cushion pattern  by a quilt shop I visited while on a trip to Missouri a few years ago. It is the first of the woolie pin cushions I made.

This little hanger is also made by my brother. He and his wife, Nita, of What a Hoot Quilting sell these. They hold little 6-1/2″ blocks and easily tuck into spaces where you just need a little something. (Am I an affiliate of What A Hoot? No, just a big fan who gets paid in hugs. Good enough for me!)

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Harvest Moon, copyright Pieceful Thoughts of My Quilting Life

The little block on the hanger is my own design. I just sketched it up one day and stitched it together. I call it Harvest Moon.

This little quilt was made from a pattern in the Fall 2012 issue of Primitive Quilts and Projects magazine. When we put in the bookshelves, which BigJ designed and built, he added this little nook so that I could hang my mini quilts on display. It’s one of my favorite design features in our house!

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That’s my linky party share! Thanks for hosting this, Bernie!

(I’m not an affiliate of any of these companies; just giving them a little applause for their great patterns.)

Wendy

 

 

 

All In, All Done!

Well, today is mailing day! I have just a few finishing touches to put on this little fella, package everything up, and ship it off to my sister-in-law for her open house.

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Just a few more embellishments, and this pincushion is done!

The wedding quilt is all finished! The happy couple had their wedding last weekend, and the quilt will be given to them when they return from their honeymoon. If you didn’t see the reveal in this post, here’s a picture of the completed quilt.

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So, all of my deadline projects have been completed! What’s up next? Much as I hate to say it, the first order of business is to clean up the quilt cave.

Here is part of my to-do list of projects:

Get the elephant quilt to my longarm friend, Connie.

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While I’m there, bring this one too.

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Work on my Mt. Hood blocks.

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Maybe play some more with the New York Beauty minis.

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That’s just a few things on my list! I’m traveling the rest of this week, so we’ll see you Monday!

I’m linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts and QuiltFabrication today.

Wendy

Pieceful Monday

It will be a quiet week quilt-wise. Most of my week will be spent in the car. I really should organize some sewing to bring along, but most of my handwork projects are completed.

Today I’m finishing up the samples for my sister-in-law’s Christmas in July open house. Here’s a peek at the project I’m finishing today. This is a pattern from Plays with Wool Designs. Cute, huh?

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I’ll finish these fellows up today, then I have a pincushion to do. Once that project is done, I’ll pack it up and get it on its way. Phew!

What’s up for the rest of the week? A road trip, with our daughter, to a concert by Holly Arrowsmith. Should be fun!

Linking up with Em’s Scrap Bag and Love Laugh Quilt.

Wendy