Return of the Snowballs


I have not worked on the Flowering Snowballs in a while, because the last time I worked on it I used up the last of my non-red/pink corner pieces. That meant I needed to cut more blues, greens, purples and yellows. I finally did it! Now I can get busy and finish up some of the blocks that I started oh those many months ago. Stay tuned!

I also spent a few minutes of sewing time sewing the binding onto Serendipity Puzzle.

Pressing Matters

Houseguests are gone, I have a few more days off, so I am back in the blog saddle. I have lots to show and talk about, but I will try and break it up into manageable bites.
At the beginning of November, I promised a report on my new iron. It is has been weighing on my mind and I have been tripping over the box (not recycled to remind me to write this), so here it is finally!

TFQ is my iron monitor, mostly because she presses a boatload of fabric for me each time she comes to visit. Once again, it was time for a new iron, so we went out and bought one when she was visiting for PIQF. I defer to her knowledge since she is usually in the midst of pressing that boatload when my latest iron gives up the ghost. I am partial to irons I can replace relatively inexpensively at my local Target. I know some of you love your Rowentas and other high end pressing tools, but I haven’t heard enough consistently good things about them to spend the money. Change my mind!

This time I bought at Black & Decker Home Digital Advantage iron. So far, these are the things I like about it:

  • It lets me know when it is ready
  • It lets me know when it is going into auto-shutoff mode
  • Auto-shutoff is not so short a time that I get annoyed
  • When I turn the steam off it is really off
  • When the steam is on, I get a lot of steam
  • Filling the water reservoir does not require bodily contortions best performed by a Cirque du Soleil acrobat
  • The heat is hot; if you touch the soleplate, you burn the offending body part
  • The parts do not feel flimsy – the button for setting the temperature is solid, the dial for adjusting the steam doesn’t wiggle

All in all, I like it. I am still wondering if the iron switch is the culprit for my Pineapple woes. Unfortunately, I didn’t number the Pineapple blocks as I made them so I don’t know if the larger border blocks were made first or after I got the new iron. I really haven’t figured out a way to test the iron on this problem and friends think not, so the iron stays.

As an aside, take a look at Tacky Christmas Yards for a bit of Christmas cheer?!? And if you need any apron patterns (great for embellishing!), take a look at these over at TipNut.com. Marie D pointed them out to me and some are kind of fun.

Thanks for reading.

The Trees

Some time ago, I talked about organizing my quilt photos on Flickr. For a number of photos, where I saw themes emerging, I used sets. This means that a variety of quilts from different shows might end up in the same set because they have a similar theme. I meant to talk about each set and highlight them for you and haven’t yet gotten to it.

Since I haven’t been sewing much (though I do have a few things to show you and talk about), I thought I would show you the trees. Trees have been on my mind lately, because they, IRL, are all nearly naked, though there are a few that still have some straggling red leaves on them.

When I was organizing the photos, I didn’t set out to have a set of trees. As I was looking through the photos, I saw a number of trees and thought there were enough to create a set. Mostly there are quilts, but there is one inspiration for a quilt photo as well. I thought it was really interesting to see the different interpretations of trees. Some of you are probably remembering that I pointed you to these photos already. You are correct. I am really not being lame. I just have trees on the mind. If you have a quilt photo depicting a tree that you would like to include, let me know.

Pressing Tips

Especially lately, since I have been wondering about the Pineapple, I am interested in people’s views on pressing. I have just started to read a blog called Pink Chalk Studio (makes me think of lemonade for some reason?!?). I was breezing through the recent posts (yes, I know how to use a blog reader, but do I ever…No…not really) and she had a post on her blog about her views on pressing. Interesting to hear that she always uses steam. I’ll have to look back and see what types of quilts she makes.

In the meantime, I need to consult with a Pineapple Queen. Anybody know one?

Pink Chalk Pencils Rolls

I followed a link to Pink Chalk Studio’s blog and found these lovely pencil rolls. I would love to say I will run up and make one right away, but it probably isn’t going to happen. I love the way the stripes of color interact and will really have to think about that for inspiration. That lady is NOT me. See my profile for a pic of me.

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See more on this project at Pink Chalk Studio.

Winter Houses

Since I can’t seem to think of anything of my own to write, I have been surfing looking at things for inspiration and to show you. PamDora’s Box is always great, but I saw these houses and immediately thought of winter. I am not sure why as there is no snow, but the dots in the sky remind me of snow flurries and the pale lavender might be snow in a sunrise. Enjoy!

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High Fiber Content in Her Pajamaz

There is some kind of pajama meme going around. Read my previous entry and you’ll know why I am out of the loop. I did forget to mention there that I did a massive work project last weekend on short notice. I worked like a dog, even staying up all night, but I charged the client a boatload of money. Hopefully, they will pay soon.

Still, I was pleased to read Julie’s post and find out that I would get polka dot pajamas with pockets. YAY! Just what I wanted, especially if they were in flannel!

Hello? Anybody Home?

Christmas is here! My Christmas decorations and gift bags are still in storage. The cabinets for storing all the stuff are still sitting in the middle of the laundry room floor, though some progress has been made. As a result, I need gift bags. A few weekends ago, I sat down and made about 8.
I think I bought this funky red and green fabric last year and it is what I used for this bag making foray. I love how cheerful it is! I have some more fabric in the same line that has a white background. We’ll see what I get made with it! Of course, you’ll hear it here first. 😉 In the background are bags I made last year, which you can read about in this post.Last night we went to a party where there was a gift exchange – the kind where people can steal from each other. I saw the bag above and didn’t care much for what was in it, but really liked the bag and wanted to get my hands on it, so I could see how it was made and decorated. I am thrilled that I got to keep it, because it can really add to my repertoire of bag tricks. It is felt! DUH! Why didn’t I think of that??? Also, the hem is folded over about 1.5″ and then holes have been made in the hem and the string has been run through them. I love this idea, because it gives more substance to the closure. Also, it is so easy to decorate with felt – just glue the decorations on. I think this would be a great project to work on with kids. Sadly, I gave away all of my extra felt recently, so if I want to make some of these, I’ll have to buy more. Happily, felt is cheap.

Laume, over at Beach Treasure, writes “There are a lot of gorgeous blogs out there this time of year, filled with images of smiling children, beautifully handcrafted gifts, and gorgeously decorated homes. I ooh and ahhh at the pretty snow scenes and sigh at the glittery soft edged vignettes of holiday trees. These posts inspire me. They make me want to jump up and make my own home look just as beautiful. I want to have the perfect holiday too!”

This is soooo not me this year. While I have been preparing for Christmas pretty consistently and have most of the cards and gift buying complete, I don’t feel the joy of the season in my heart. I don’t have snow or smiling children wearing plaid vests and skirts in front of a perfectly outfitted Christmas tree. I look forward to Christmas, but I can never seem to enjoy the preparations that much and this year is harder than the past. More time is what I need.

More time, also, for sewing. I have made none. Note that I don’t say “I have had none,” because I have had some, but have chosen to ignore the messy sewing table, the incorrectly sized Pineapples and everything related to needle and thread. The reality is that the momentum for the Pineapples is gone. I am dejected about them and don’t want to continue to work on them anymore. This makes me feel even worse, because I really, REALLY wanted to work on one project from beginning to end. I just don’t feel that I need to work on a project that isn’t bringing me some kind of joy. There is so much in my life that does not bring me joy right now that I don’t need anything else.

The worse part is that when I haven’t been sewing, I don’t write to you. I can’t promise that I will turn over a new leaf on that front, but I am going to try do some sewing, at least some more Christmas bags.

So, I am going to put up the Pineapple and do something else. I am thinking the chocolate box, but we will see.

and, BTW, Laume is a very smart woman with a good head on her shoulders. As well, she can tell you what you need to know without harping or lecturing. Go read her entire post!

Visual Bibliography

Jane Sassaman sent out a newsletter today, which is why I am over looking at her site. I came across her Visual Bibliography and think this is a great idea. Pam RuBert wrote about a new book she is using for inspiration and now JS has posted about it, too. Hhhmmm…a trend? Time will tell. What do you read/look at for inspiration?

Jane Sassaman’s Visual Bibliography

A Visual Resoucre

The following books are primarily intended as a resource of images of flowers and plants for Jane’s workshop students, although anyone interested in daydreaming over picture books will also finds these useful.

Many of these titles will, of course, be available at your library. If, like us, you are book junkies who need to have them on your shelf, you can find many titles from the big book chains while others are out of print. You might try finding the out of print books at used book stores in the real world or online…happy hunting!

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Back to Visual Journalling

PamDora jolted me out of my visual journaling non-progress with her recent post and pointer to a book. I checked out my local library to see if they had it and, sadly, they don’t. I’ll have to see what my other options are for getting it without buying it and actually having to store it. Good idea, though. Perhaps PamDora will loan it!

clipped from pamdora.com

Drawing from Life

November 19, 2007

drawing-from-life.jpgThis is a terrific book that I picked up in Seattle and since have been slowly relishing each page. Unlike many survey books that devote little more than a superficial paragraph and single photo for each subject, there are many photos from each journal featured, along with Jennifer New’s in-depth profile of each journal-keeper’s motivation, inspiration, and how keeping art journals over many years has impacted their work and life.

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Gifts to Give Using Fab Fabric

One of my favorite blogs is Be*mused blog (link on clip). She puts fabrics together beautifully and shows wonderful pictures. This link to one of her old posts from a current post discussing Christmas gifts dovetails nicely with another fabric avalanche, this one involving DH. He was not bemused or amused. He was rooting around in my fabric closet (first mistake), which doubles as a place to store filing cabinets and Christmas gifts, when the pile of dots, conveniently, but precariously, piled right at the front of a bunch of fabric piles fell on his feet. He claims it covered his knees as well. Totally untrue, but I can see how he might think that. He told me to stop buying fabric. HA!

Anyway, Be*mused makes an excellent point. Pillow cases are GREAT for gifts as well as using up conversationals. I have some great conversations that I doubt will ever make it into quilts. They are currently in the “back of the quilt” stack. Pillowcases for the nieces and nephews might be another good way to avoid the Pineapple. Not this year as Christmas is already only 24 days away, but I could think about it for next year assuming I ever get any additional free time.

clipped from bemused.typepad.com

Now that I’ve decided to hand deliver my Christmas gifts to family members at Thanksgiving, I’m awash in lists and plans.  And, ironically, still cranky over the too-early commercial bombardment of Christmas music and decor.  Scrambling to find gift ideas for those always-difficult people, I’ve had to concede that what hasn’t been decided yet will be purchased, not handmade.

Are you looking for some gift ideas that you can sew?   One of my old standbys has been the lowly and much overlooked pillowcase, which I’ve made mostly for kids, preschool to college age.  I’ve made them to coordinate with gift quilts and occasionally they’ve been an extra something-to-open when I’m sending a gift card or cash.  With all of the great fabrics available today, the theme possibilities are endless and there isn’t a simpler item to sew.  Here are a few of the combinations I’ve used.

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http://bemused.typepad.com/.shared/image.html?/photos/uncategorized/000_2316b2.jpg
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http://bemused.typepad.com/.shared/image.html?/photos/uncategorized/000_2319b.jpg
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