Monday, December 31, 2012

AYOS - The End

It's the last day of the year and this is my last entry in Another Year of Schnibbles 2012!  And, I didn't miss a one.  Whew!

December's Schnibble was, again, another Little Bite.  This one is called Morsel - and designer Carrie Nelson has provided patterns for a few different pincushions in the pattern - all very cute.

I chose to make mine in my Little Black Dress scraps and it a very elegant pincushion indeed!  In fact, I put my very elegant white pearl head pins in it and it looks lovely.

I filled it with crushed walnut shells.  I now only have enough crushed walnut shells left to make 999 more pincushions!
Thank you to Sinta & Sherri - and Carrie - for another great round of Schnibbles.  It has been fun!  You can check out the parade of Morsels starting tomorrow on Sinta & Sherri blogs.

Thank you all for reading along with me in 2012 - I hope you'll stay with me in 2013 (and I will do my best to be a better blogger and post more often!)


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas Recap

Every Christmas, at the end of the day after all of the gifts are opened, the dinner eaten, and the family leaves, my husband says "Well, it's all over for another year."  My grandfather used to say the same thing.  The cycle continues.  It makes me feel a connection to the people who aren't with us any more and reminds me how similar we all are.  Kind of like quilting.  o:)

We had a very, very nice Christmas.  

The quilts were a hit...
 Son Bill and Daughter-in-Law Raqhel

Nothing says Christmas like a skull sweater (she's 23, when do they grow out of that????)
Daughter, Ariel and "Gramma" (my mom)
I think we've had enough...
 Bill photo-bombing

My treats were  a hit again this year.  I didn't get to make everything I had planned but the staples are my pickles and shortbread.  These are "Easy Refrigerator Pickles", they're a little sweet and a little hot with some garlic and onions. Yum!  I found this recipe in a Cooking Light magazine years ago and have been making them ever since.  You can find the recipe here.

Some years, I would love to skip the shortbread, but I think there'd be a revolt.
The recipe:
    1 cup butter
    2 cups flour
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/4 tsp salt (if using salted butter. I use 1/2 tsp if I'm using unsalted)
    1/2 tsp vanilla

I cut up the butter in pieces and put all of the ingredients in a food processor.  Pulse until crumbly, then process until the dough comes together - about 40-50 seconds.  I used an 8 wedge pan and one recipe makes one pan.  I usually double up so I get two pans.  Bake at 325 degrees for about 40 minutes.  I let cool a bit before taking the shortbread out of the pan - then let cool completely on a wire rack.

I forgot to take a photo of my cracker toffee, but that's another super easy recipe that we've been making for years.  A lot of recipes call for brown sugar, but we always use white.  I also add chopped hazelnuts after the chocolate is spread before it cools.  I either put the pan in the frige or outside on the ledge if it's cold enough until the toffee cools completely.  Then break into pieces and enjoy!

I can't believe it's all over for another year!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Shop Hop Win and Modern Siggy Blocks

Sure didn't mean to blog-fade again, but 'tis the season!  Both work and Christmas prep have had me crazy, but work is over until next Thursday and I've got all of the gifts bought and wrapped.  I still have a bit (a lot) more sewing to do...but I think things are under control.

I did take some time this morning to go shopping with a friend.  I've been racing from one thing to the next the past couple of weeks and didn't think I had time as I have so much more to do before the big day.  But then I thought about what's more important and decided I'd be much happier taking the time to have a girl's day out.  Cathy and I went here and there - she helped me shop for a last minute gift for my daughter and we went to the LQS and out to lunch today.  I'm so glad I did - it definitely gave me a lift, not to mention we were very productive!

I've been meaning to post about a couple of things.  I was super lucky during the recent shop hop in October and won the basket at my very last stop - Granny's Sewing Den (which is conveniently about 3 minutes from my office).  I stopped there the very last day of the hop during lunch and got a phone call at 5pm saying I'd won!  Well, that was certainly worth the trip!  The basket - which was actually a really cool tote bag - which was great because the last thing I need is another basket - was filled with great loot.  It included some "green" batting, a bunch of patterns, three spools of thread in beautiful colors, a book on color, some fabric and a little wall hanging kit.  Thanks, Granny's!

I also received my Modern Siggy Swap blocks last month.  I got about 60 blocks from all over the world!  It was so fun looking at each block to see where they came from.  So glad I participated in this swap - my first!
I also wanted to mention my "Black Friday" Shopping (yes, this post is ridiculously overdue - bad blogger!).  I don't really do the whole "Black Friday" thing anymore, but the Joann's coupons were too good to pass up because I really needed to stock up on batting...and rotary blades.  At 75%, I couldn't resist!  I splurged on an entire 40-yard bolt of Warm&Natural.  I'm putting a date on it so I know how long it lasts me - I think I'll be good for a while o:)  I also treated myself to a new 6"x12" Omnigrid ruler (the lines are wearing off at the edges of mine after 18 years of hard use!) and the June Tailor Shape Cut Pro ruler I saw at our guild meeting last month (thanks, Pat!)  Can't wait to try that one out!

I'll be back before Christmas to show off all of the goodies I've made!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Santa's Workshop

Christmas gift-making is in full swing here...both in the sewing room and in the kitchen!

Every year I make a number of different goodies - usually sweet & sour hot pickles, hot tarragon mustard, quick toffee, shortbread, caramel corn and a few other goodies.  I'll share those recipes and photos in another post.  Today, I made the pickles and got started on the mustard.  Then, it was back into the sewing room ... because I don't have elves to help me out.

I am obsessed with making these very cute - and super easy - tissue covers (tutorial by KimQuiltz).  They are like potato chips - you can't stop at just one (which takes about 15 minutes start to finish, by the way!)  Everyone's getting these.  So far, I've made seven...

Purse construction is also in full swing...I'm making 5 of these striped purses from Jessica Levitt's Modern Mix...

I've also started the quilting on the Helix quilt  (from Emily Herrick's Geared for Guys) for son Bill.  This quilt was almost an epic fail.  You need to be careful and label all of the strips and carefully follow the instructions to sew them together. I did that and things were going well.  Until the cutting of the corners at 60 degree angles.  Angles and I do not get along.  Particularly ones that aren't 90 degrees - those I can usually handle (geometry was NOT a strong suit in school).  I thought I was doing fine until I started sewing on the corners to square the quilt back up.  This would be the wrong way to do it:

It hit me at 4:30am that I was sewing the corners back onto the corners I just cut.  Duh!  You needed to sew them on to where you didn't cut to square it up (this probably makes no sense, but trust me)  I will say that the only reason this quilt didn't wind up wadded up in the trash is due to the help of friends.  Becky and Lindsay both came to my rescue at different points in the making of this quilt - talked me off the ledge and provided two more hands and more brain cells and we figured it out and it's now on the frame.  Whew!  Thanks, friends!

I'm going "modern" in the quilting of this very modern quilt.  Straight lines in the green area and boxy meandering in the brown.  This is gonna take a while.  I've already gone through one bobbin and I only got one pass done.  How many more days until Christmas???

Friday, November 30, 2012

Another Year of Schnibbles November - Drop!

The penultimate Schnibble in "Another Year of Schnibbles" is again ... not a Schibble but a Little Bite.

And mine is an even littler bite than the's more Mug Rug sized.  Last month I went bigger, this month I went smaller!

But, it's cute and I used a little bit (bite?) of a mini-charm pack of Lilac Hill that I received as a thank you from Moda for donating a block to their Just One Star quilt block drive in 2011.  I pulled a purple print from stash for the border and there you have it!

One more to go! Can't wait to see what December's Schnibble will be.  Please check out the parade of Drops on Sinta and Sherri's blogs tomorrow on December 1st (really, is it December 1st already???  I don't even want to think about how few days left until Christmas!)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Weekend

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  We had a great Turkey Day and a fun long weekend! Lots got accomplished.

Friday we celebrated son Bill's birthday with a surprise Murder Mystery Dinner at the Cock 'n Bull restaurant at Peddler's Village.  My daughter-in-law got a group of 12 of us together  for the show and he was really surprised and had a great time.  The show was a take-off on Cheers.  The premise was that Norm died in the bar and you had to guess which of the Cheers characters did it.  It's a little hokey, but was fun and the actors really did a great job.  Also, I was pleasantly surprised that the food was really good!  Bill always tries to be the center of attention (gets that from his Dad!) and was picked to play a part - Norm's least he did have to wear a dress - LOL!

We always use the long holiday weekend to get a head start on decorating the house for Christmas and that was Saturday's task...some shots from around the house...
 Our Dickens' A Christmas Carol Byers Choice carolers on the TV stand

 More Byers Choice Caroler's on the piano and above

 Christmas Angel

 The dining room hutch all decked out

 My dining room table with my Kona Solids challenge piece from last year

 Kitchen cabinets festooned with bows

 My Christmas card holder awaiting the first card and our Piper Santa

Shelf above my kitchen sink with some Mickey holiday salt & pepper shakers and my favorite Snowman teapot

I actually did get a little quilting in....quilting snowflakes on DILs Winter Quilt...

We rounded out the weekend with Sunday dinner...Bill cooked his famous Chicken with Sage, Proscuitto and Fontina Cheese - it was incredible!
I just love long weekends!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

And a good time was had by all....

I meant to post this Monday after I returned from my guild it's Saturday.  Well, this week sure flew by!

To say I had a fantastic time at the retreat would be an understatement.  It sure seemed like everyone enjoyed themselves thoroughly and LOTS of quilting got done!

The hotel was so comfortable.  Our rooms were clean and spacious, our sewing space was great, a hot breakfast was included every morning, we had a place to go and eat our lunch and dinner away from the sewing machines and the hotel staff couldn't have been more accommodating.  Sure hope we go here again next year!

Before the fun started though, I realized shortly after we arrived I forgot the cord to my sewing machine
 - DO-OH!  I so upset with myself!  I was so worried about packing the foot pedal, I left the cord on the floor of my sewing room.  Of course, my friends immediately came to my aid...the fallback plan was to have hubby take my cord to a Bobbi's house who was going home for the night and lived close and she'd bring it back the next day.  Meanwhile, Anna was going to lend me her cord for the day since she was cutting.  Yeah, my guild friends are awesome.  Someone else suggested I call the Quilter's Corner - located about a mile from the hotel - to see if they sold cords.  They don't but they were more than happy to lend me one for the weekend!  So, Cathy (I felt terrible dragging her out again after we had just gotten there, but she drove - I felt terrible again when I knocked her breakfast all over her the next morning - but I think she still likes me anyway o:) ) and I went on over to the quilt shop to pick up the cord - and it fit!  So - shout out to the Quilter's Corner - they rock!

Some shots of the weekend...

How much stuff do two gals need for a quilt retreat weekend?  This much....

This is a good shot of the whole room - we were very comfortable - plenty of room for everyone!  I felt sorry for the clean-up crew - they may not have known what they were getting into with a bunch of quilters - you could barely see the carpet for the threads by the time we left!
Thanks for the photos, Cathy

The first top finished - Bobbi's jelly roll race charity quilt - I love the black and white squares she put in!
Cathy working away...
Anna worked on about 100 projects this weekend - well, maybe not that many, but it was a lot!  I love everything she makes!
Andrew and Jessica choosing fabric....

Bobbi went home at night to take care of her pooch...but she left this behind...she was lucky it was all still there the next day - LOL!
 One of Anna's many projects...

 My table - working on the Helix quilt...

I was happy with my accomplishments.  I finished piecing the "winter" quilt by Saturday morning and had my 3 green "panels" made for the Helix quilt made by the time we left Sunday afternoon.

We had a couple of crashers on Saturday night....
These gentlemen from New York were looking for the bar...they wandered into our was a hoot!  They wanted to hear all about who we were and why we were there.  They sat down and "pretended" to be sewing...they knew their wives would eventually find them - and they did - we all had a good laugh!

And, yes, a good time was had by all (particularly Saturday night - LOL!)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Retreat Prep

So, I'm off for a weekend retreat with the Philly Modern Quilt Guild.  YAY!!!!!  Yes, I'm beyond excited to spend a weekend with 15 of my guild buddies (and I will sure miss the ones who won't be with us this time).  We're going about an hour away to the Brandywine Valley Suites Hotel in Glen Mills, PA for three days of sewing, eating, and maybe a little tipple of wine.  I'm sure much hilarity will ensue.

Although I will probably chat more than sew, I have very high hopes for a productive weekend.  The two priority quilts are ones I'd like to give as Christmas gifts (yes, THIS year)....

Winter Quilt for daughter-in-law, Raqhel

Quilt for son Bill

And, once I get these two quilts done (yes, I'm laughing too), I can work on this...
Finish up the borders on Short Story

And a little handwork, just in case...
 Daisy Chain Sampler

 2nd Hexie Fall Table Mat

So, I'm all packed and just waiting for Cathy to come and pick me up!

You'd think I was going away for a week - not a weekend!

If I can get my the Blogger App on my iPad to work, I'll post from the retreat!