Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Our Christmas morning was awesome. Santa must have had us on his 'nice' list this year.

I knit the above socks from some yarn I made on my spindles, before my spinning wheel came into the picture. If you want to get into spinning, a spindle is an easy and fun first step.

Handspun yarn has a certain look to it that makes it more textural. I really prefer it over commercially created yarn.

My biggest surprise gift was a new Baltimore Album quilt pattern collection: Lady of Victory.

There is an apple wreath block in here that I really just must make. It's amazing.

We're expecting guests for dinner, and the turkey is in the oven. Not sure it gets better than this.

Well, ok, we could be expecting my parents and my sister's family for dinner (which we aren't), but that is the only thing that would make it better.

Merry Christmas to all of you out there. May the rest of your holiday season be filled with health and peace.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Visiting Santa

We went and visited Santa last night.

The boys whispered in his ear all the toys they have been dreaming of getting into their clutches.

When he first saw us, he called to each of us by our names!

It was very impressive.

When I looked closely in his eyes, I felt like I knew him from another life somewhere. Like I might have worked with him at some point in my career. It was a comforting feeling, as if he was an old friend.

Anyhow, I'm a believer, so we gave him his cookies and dropped off our letters to him.

I'm still wrapping gifts I the only procrastinator?

To those of you who are still getting're not alone!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Christmas Calm

I can almost (but really not quite yet) feel the calm of Christmas coming.

It will be awesome to spend a few days away from the daily grind and with the family. Kids are so adorable right now, and in love with the idea that Santa is coming.

I am SO looking forward to putting a new-to-me antique quilt top into the quilt hoop. Once I'm actually on vacation I think that is the first item on my to do list.

Well, after all the gifts are wrapped.

Today my 5 year old asked me, "Mommy, what is your favorite thing of all?"

I told him it is our family, of course. And he agreed that family is also his #1 most favorite thing.

He then asked me what my 2nd most favorite thing is.

I answered that it is our friends and he agreed again that his 2nd most favorite thing is our friends.

He keep going though to my amazement and asked me what my 3rd favorite thing was.

I said that it is our planet Earth and he agreed that it is his 3rd favorite thing.

He then asked me, "Mommy, do you want to know my 4th favorite thing?"

I replied that I was very interested, and he answered with one word:

Okok, message received...we'll find a way to get back there again.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Is your stocking hung yet?

Well, our house is finally decorated and stockings are hung.

Ok, truthfully we hung them and the 2 yr old tried to yank them down, so we promptly un-hung them.

That's how it is in our house this year. Breakable ornaments on the top half of the tree only please.

We have most of the shopping done I think with a few final hold outs that we have yet to find the perfect item for, but I would say it's trending in the right direction.

For me, this holiday is going to be about pampering ourselves which translates to not material goodies or toys but...

More Sleep!

Yes, our holiday goal is to get 8 hrs of sleep a night. Who knows if we can pull it off over our break, but I think we would all be so much better off for it.

I have a couple of handmade projects I'm cooking up for the break too. Think anybody would notice if I pretended to cook the turkey and ordered a pre-cooked one instead so I would have more time for quilting?

Shhh don't tell!

What I'm loving lately:

1) Tanis' awesome star ornaments from Tanis Fiber Arts

2) Wool Felt mistletoe from Ohdeedoh, and not to mention her link to the minimalistic Muppet poster - I kinda need one of these...embarassing but true. I should really stop here, but have you also seen the Modern Gingerbread Houses - too much!

3) This lace fence as mentioned on Famille Summerville (I used to hate these kinds of fences, and now I want one - it looks like knitted lace to me!)

4) The sing-a-long iPad app that lets you sing Glee Karaoke songs - wow, do I really sound that bad?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Japanese Taupe Quilts, Baltimore Albums, and Applique ideas

I decided to make a little quilted example piece for my hand quilting class, the above is the progress so far. Not sure if I will finish it before class or in class, but it is looking very pretty far.

I recently had a bit of an 'early Christmas shopping for self' moment on Amazon (sigh, I am addicted to books) but I must share with you what I have learned:

1) Japanese taupe Quilts by Susan Briscoe:

This book is really amazing. If you like Chuck Nohara's work, or have been interested in her small block quilts, this book is very similar and will not disappoint you. It includes 125 block patterns (nice) and they are all really beautiful. My only regret with this book is that it doesn't include a paper fold out pattern in the back with full size templates for all the blocks. Still, a very nice addition to your library and a 'must have' for those of us who work in Japanese taupe fabrics.
ISBN: 978-1-56836-378-3

2) Beloved Baltimore Album Quilts by Elly Sienkiewicz:

From somebody who is trying to get a copy of everything Elly has ever published, you know I had to have this book. Her album blocks are just incredible, not that I have to remind you of that. I did not get to see the Baltimore album quilts when they were in Houston (did you?) but having this book is a treat, and it includes patterns for some of the blocks used in those quilts. If you love applique, you need this book. Block patterns are very small as compared to her usual blocks. If you wanted to have a larger quilt, you could probably enlarge them and complete them pretty quickly.

3) The Ultimate Applique Guidebook by Annie Smith:

If you listen to Annie's podcast, you will know how enthusiastic she is about quilting, and how much she has to share with all of us. This book is really beautiful and instead of giving us block pattern after block pattern she encourages you to design your own blocks. There are tons of shapes in here that help you to go forth and make your own applique blocks. I LOVE this book (and not just because I'm such an Annie fan either). Here talented husband illustrated it for her, that is so sweet.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Getting ready for class

Next Sunday is I'm teaching Hand Quilting as well as Hand Applique at A Verb For Keeping Warm in the East Bay.

Thinking a little about the class and putting some notes in order so I don't forget to pass on any important nuggets or tidbits of info to the students.

It's a cold weekend anyhow, so a good one to catch up and spend time with friends and family.

If you're looking for some beautiful images, you could check out Alex's blog - Moonstitches.

She takes one photo a day during the month of December that features a number. It is a bit of a tour of Japan so if you're into Japanese culture, it might be of interest to you. Her photos are as amazing as ever.

My husband is putting the "Lawn Christmas Tree" up right now.

It's a tradition every year for all the residents in my neighborhood to put a small 'Charlie Brown' tiny tree out on their lawn and decorate it. 100% of the homes do it, and trees go up first Saturday in December. It makes the neighborhood look really joyful.

Do you have any holiday traditions that your corner of the world does?