Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Baking

It's so nice to have a baker in the family, especially during this season of celebration! Willow always makes us treats for the holidays. Last weekend she made three kinds of croissants... bacon and tomato, onion and apple. I can't remember the last time I've baked because I'd rather be quilting. But when the kids were little baking was a favorite activity.

I just happened to have a new apron design made with the Garden Divas fabric. My tomato red kitchen opens onto a saffron and yellow dining area, so the Exotic colorway is perfect for my kitchen color scheme. The apron is reversible and both sides have side pockets.

This pattern was designed to cover both your front and back because I don't like having my backside sticking out, like it does with most aprons. Willie is so slim, though, that she doesn't have that dilemma!
It was fun picking out the fabric combinations and I am quite pleased with the contrasting trim on the pockets and ties. The blue willow fabric really adds some zip.

Here you can see the apron during construction and pinned to my work wall. Basically, I made 4 apron halves, two with pockets and two without. Each fabric was cut to take advantage it's symmetry. The scale of the little dragonfly check also adds some interest. I just love these colors!

Happy and Healthy Christmas to you all!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

New Bouquets

Last weekends storm socked us in for a few days. But that was fine! The kids where up and took over the studio to stitch some Christmas gifts from the Sassaman stash. The timing was right because I had about a billion threads to bury while the sewing machine was occupied. I have been making a few new class samples for the 2012 teaching year and still working on the big salamander quilt. It is rare for me to work on several quilts at a time, but the balance seems to be working.

Above is the latest little broderie perse project for the Bountiful Bouquets workshop. The Jack-in-the-Pulpit are fussy cut from last years Sunshine & Shadow line, as is the central background. The border and the butterflies are from the new Garden Divas. I think the combination worked well.

The Jack fabric had a black background, so when I cut out the characters, I kept about a sixteenth to an eighth inch of a black outline because I knew it would blend in with the black Sprigs fabric. All quilters know how hard it is to work with black on black because the details disappear, but in this case, it is just what I wanted to happen. The extra edge also allowed me to keep the whole shape intact and not eat into the design. The black finishing satin stitch also dissolves into the background nicely, too.

Even the borders are appliqued, so the construction was pretty straight forward. I have chosen to simply follow the existing outlines for the quilting because the fabric is so graphic and pictorial.  As usual, I am using heavy 12 weight thread for quilting. It adds just a little frill to the edges, too. Perhaps it will get finished this weekend.

I hope you are all taking advantage of the season of good cheer! It is so easy to be overwhelmed with good intentions during the holidays. So remember that fondling fabric lowers stress and promotes positive thinking!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Celebrate the Simple Things

It seems like the weather changed gears overnight. Autumn was mild and lasted longer than usual.
But on Friday we began preparing for the first snow storm of the season, which started around midnight.
We went to bed anticipating the new world morning would bring and looking forward to being stranded
 for the weekend. We weren't disappointed.

This kind of weather heightens the nostalgia of the season, especially since we are "empty nesters" now. There are just a few decorations which have become necessities, among them are the Christmas stockings, even though we have never had a mantle to hang them on.

The stockings, no doubt, were inspired by this little tree that I made at our Brownies meeting in third grade. I can remember sitting around the big table at Cindy's house and stitching it together. It was a gift for my mom and she kept it in her jewelry box for 50 years. I just loved this little tree made of pinked green felt, sequins and seed beads. I don't really know why it still tickles me so much, but it does.

Also, my mother-in-law had made felt stockings for each of her seven children and my husband was very fond of his. So when my kids came along I got out the felt, beads and sequins to keep the tradition going. The things a mother will do for her kids!!

I will admit I had a great time sewing these goofy stockings. And the kids do take notice of them every year, probably hoping they will be filled with golden chocolate coins again. I wish we'd had access to all the great wool felt and beads that we have today. Perhaps I'll have to make one for myself.

So the seasonal basics have come out of the closet and I plan to just enjoy these few weeks that slip by more quickly every year. We will celebrate the simple things this year.

Season's greetings to all of you who check into this blog! Your friendship and support keep this quiet quilter in stitches all year long!