Sunday, December 26, 2010

Dear Christa

Happy New Year,
I hope you'll enjoy your knitting bag as much as I enjoyed making it for you.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas to My Two Favorite Nieces

Maggie I hope you like your new purse,
and Mary your Quillow...
Danny send me those hockey T-Shirts if you'd like a T-Shirt Quilt next year.

Merry Christmas and a very Hammy New Year

Thursday, December 23, 2010

To the Magic Makers....

One never knows what that unexpected magic will be each Christmas making all the fuss worthwhile. Good gift givers fall in several categories. Some people are just so rushed, but luckily have enough money to throw a ton of it last minute and come up with a great gift. Some just love the thrill of the hunt and will spend hours “dinking” as my husband calls it, in store after store picking through I don’t know what or at the time why until they pull out a spectacular find. Then there are those of us who have to give homemade. I wish I wasn’t like that, life would be so much simpler, but let’s face it, if you are reading this blog it’s because you do it too. So this blog entry has two intentions, first to wish us handmade gifts givers luck that our gifts will be appreciated proportionate to the thought, time and talent we’ve so lovingly put into them, but also to note that I may have had my magic moment even before one gift was opened.

A few days ago I agonized over cutting up a friend’s heirloom table cloth. Sue found it while cleaning out a closet, remembered it to have been made by her great Aunt Jenny on her mother’s side. The other two things she remembered, Jenny was in a wheel chair, and later in life had hands ravaged by arthritis. Wow, Wow and Wow. All of us know what kind of time it takes to complete a labor intensive task like a quilt or crocheted table cloth. I shudder to think Jenny’s hours might have been tossed away because the cotton she used was disintegrating faster than it could be repaired. I love my tree, and it now seems magical each time I pass it. I used over 100 of her flower clusters and stitched them to squares of thirty year old red Santa fabric, backed in remnants from two communion dresses I made years ago. What could be better? Life is good. Merry Christmas Everyone.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

You Can't Really Tell From This Picture..

17 little loaves of Maple Syrup Malted Waffle Bread with 17 Silk Kleenex purse pouches and a card that states..”Tis the Season for Something Sweet….. on the inside ”and Stylish Sniffling From the Kitchen and Sewing Room of MJ”

Okay maybe not the best segue but I inherited some very pretty small silk remnants which worked up nicely into Kleenex pouches and the bread recipe was novel enough to give it a try.

My work mailbox gifts for Christmas 2010 are officially signed sealed and delivered and I can’t help think that if all turns out as planned, only two more years until retirement …….To Be Continued

Monday, December 20, 2010

I Hated To Do It, But I Had No Choice

A friend’s downsizing, and asked if I could use a slightly torn antique table cloth that had been in her family for years. My normal mantra is “everything’s fixable.” So I said sure.

First I tried hand sewing to reconnect each chain, but the more I handled each torn filet, the more new tears appeared.

Maybe I could use it as a valance and support its fragility with a backing but the dilemma was then do I really want to stitch every cluster?…..Naaaah….

Several days later I came up with the idea of cutting out each “flower” and zigzaging them to squares I had made years ago for what I thought would be themed Christmas Ornaments but never used.

It felt so sacrilegious…..but I’ve been watching French decorating shows on the French channel and they do it all the time, all in the vain of recycling... I cut into the crochet. Now, the question is can I get them all finished this week?….

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

No Rest For The Wicked As My Mom Use to Say..

That’s how my eyes felt after completing this little nuisance…. It started out as a challenge to incorporate batiks into my quilts, but the pattern was just too busy and angular for my taste so I picked out all the appliqué on the center block. I may still add something later. For now I’m just glad not to be looking at it anymore, so off it hangs in a back bedroom…..

It’s Pearl Harbor Day… I miss you dad. I was sad to read that the organization you were so proud to be a member of “Pearl Harbor Survivors” is thinking of disbanding. There are just so few of you left. Hats off to all of you!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Stuffing’s Stuffing… Right? Well, Not Exactly.

I’ve always used polyester fill, but within my inheritance stash were two bags of Quilter’s Dream Cotton Stuffing.

Hmmm ...okay, I tried it in my pin cushions along with those little plastic pellets. (You need a certain amount of weight so when you pull the pin out of the cushion you aren't lifting the entire tomato.)

Okay, I ran out of stuffing….

“What do you mean I say to the Joanne Fabric saleswomen, you don’t carry cotton batting? But I’m ready to buy, I need some tout suite and I have coupons”.. "Sorry" she says, "only polyester"….. Okay Michaels…. No luck there…. Okay the pet store. I’ve heard ground walnut shells are great fillers….nope, they had ground coconut husks once, but they were out of them.

Okay Time to punt. Hey, I have a big plastic bag of cotton batting snivels….Why did I keep them? Who knows, maybe because I heard my mom talk about neighbors killing sparrows for Sunday dinner during the depression…. So I got out my scissors, shredded up the batting and voila….along with the plastic pellets it was a match made in heaven.

Okay I must confess I had practiced facial expressions of "innocence" for when my husband asked how his new paper shredder jammed. Yes, I was considering using it to cut up the batting, but decided I need all my ammo for convincing him that I need another old sewing machine as a “conversation piece” so I shredded it myself my hand.

So four more gift tomatoes completed.

The other thing I discovered about myself this week..."Dang... I can't make a lemon meringue pie to save my soul. "

About the antique machine.... I put it on the back burner because a Thanksgiving conversation gave me a bright idea for an ideal gift and it's going to involve burning a ton of midnight oil. Who has the energy to argue about another machine?.... not me...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Bucket List 7 and 8/100

I should have posted this one closer to Halloween. Yes my research showed that Little Red Riding Hood was the costume preferred by little girls of Samantha's time. I told you I use to be anal about American Girl Dress making.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Even I Can't Believe How Many Purses I've Made

I've never been one to keep up with new trends, but years ago I started hearing the name Jinny Beyer from my friend Ann. When I inherited 1/3 of her stash I just had to make her a purse with some of the JB fabric she gave me. (and since Henry Ford has always been my hero... I always mass produce and made my self one too)

Friday, November 12, 2010

It's Our Pre Thanksgiving Weekend....

So I'll be making the rounds bearing gifts from my sewing garden.... Hope everyone likes their new tomato.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Janey You Only have Me Until Dec 1st

Dearest Jane,

I can only be obsessed with you until Dec 1st then I really do have to get back to Christmas sewing. Hmmm I didn't realize that you've had me for 7 blocks already.... Sneaky of you to creep back into my life like that.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

It May be a While Before this One is Quilted.

The most exciting part of the quilting process for me is two fold; first the washing of it after completion so that the dryer does its magic, and scrunches it up to a beautiful evenness, and then the displaying. This one I hope to display on the stair wall. That’s going to mean finding a pulley system, and then hiring someone to come in with a scaffolding to hang it. I’m definitely too old for that kind of shenanigans. So I know there’s no rush for instant gratification because I need to do some research. Has anyone purchased a pulley system and had them installed? This quilt will be about 50” X 50” when completed.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Not Bad if I Do Say So My Self

Not bad for 12 days after a Bi-Lat. I’m actually hindered more by the new Bernina repair guy who just adjusted my machine, then from the surgery. Joe from Elgin Illinois where the heck are you? No one could adjust my 1976 Bernina like you could. Please come back somewhere.