Thursday, December 24, 2009

A BLESSED CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL

As it turns out, my mother was not the only one who taught me the love of needle work.

One of my most cherished Christmas decorations is this latch hook piece that my father made in his retirement.
Brings back blessed memories. Oh, how Daddy loved Christmas! He even played Santa at least one year in the town square. He also put a longed for doll on a less fortunate neighbor girl's porch one Christmas morning.


One of my favorite stories of my mother's Christmas spirit is that one year my sister saw scraps of fabric by the sewing machine. She thought sure she was going to get a new dress for Christmas. Quite a surprise when there was no new dress on Christmas morning. Later that winter, she saw young girls at school (from a poorer family) wearing dresses made of the fabric.

Thanks, Daddy and Mother for quietly living--and teaching us--the spirit of the Santa part of Christmas, but most of all for allowing us to grow in knowledge of the true meaning of Christmas.

I miss you!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

STASH BUSTING FOR CHRISTMAS

Finally, I'm getting back to some more stash busting. I just can't justify buying for fabric until I do, and I wanna take advantage of the next sale, so . . .

a couple receiving blankets (two flannels sewn back to back), and a charm baby blanket backed with gingham,

some Dick and Jane fabric I've had for a while and some left over "fish" blocks paired with some plaids
made for a few good projects this holiday season.
Oh, in case you're wondering about that off center stitching on the fishy one, it was stitched from the pieced backing. I thought the front was a little boring, and I think the bright stitching helped a bit.

And as for the rest of the jammies, oops, I forgot to take photos of them before I got them all wrapped.


Now just to get a couple pair of socks knitted.

Friday, December 11, 2009

WARM FUZZIES

Ah, nothing much cozier on a cold winter night that some nice, fuzzy, flannel jammies. And this "Nani" has been making just that for the grandchildren for several years now. As the number of grandchildren began to grow pretty quickly (Those are just 1/2 of the stockings!), one of my daughters suggested just making pants and getting knit shirts to go with them. So that's mostly what I do for the older children. One of the girls prefers gowns, so that's hers on the right. These jammies are all packed in a box and ready to head to the post office and on to New York in a couple days.


As for the stockings, I almost forgot that I needed to add one this year. Yep, Baby Roman makes 12.


And speaking of stockings, a favorite Christmas tradition at my house is getting out these stockings that my sister made for my children about 35 years ago.

Oh, and not nearly as colorful, but certainly another warm fuzzy: these socks that I finished for myself this week. Just in time for the cold weather--ah so cozy.


It was so much fun knitting the socks, I just might have to start on some more. Stay tuned!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

THE LAST ROSE OF SUMMER . . .

The last rose of summer . . .

. . . to the first snow of winter.
Unbelievable that I still had those roses on Friday, before our first snow of the season yesterday. I cut them purposely, knowing what our weather prediction was.
And the tiny little evergreen in the urn at the edge of my porch -- I just planted Friday also, surrounded by pansies I was still able to find at this late point in the season. And yes, for those of you in the North, here in TN pansies do great in the winter (but too hot for them in the summer).

And inside the house, the Christmas tree awaits its assembly. (I'm allergic to trees--especially pine--and mold, so I had to give up on the live trees several years ago.) As today is the day that the Christian world commemorates the memory of the REAL St. Nicolas, the tree will go up after church today.

And in the meantime on the needles--
A book bag for one of my granddaughters:

And a pair of socks for ME.


There are also 6 pairs of jammies for grandchildren completed--more on that later.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

NEEDLEWORK AROUND THE WORLD

Well, even though I was working with wool while knitting and cuddling under a quilt with a wool blend batting, none of the wool was for these sheep. (I do have some wonderful hand loomed blankets that my mother-in-law made decades ago from their own wool.) I would have to admit that one of my favorite things about Greece is hearing the bells on the sheep as the shepherd takes his flock by our house. I'm certainly not a professional photographer, but I do like the framing of this scene off our side patio.


On evenings when it was cool and I wasn't beside the fireplace,

it was wonderful to have the warmth of the wool batting in my quilt. That's it--folded like a pillow--awaiting my evening stretch out on the couch. Oh, and yes, that's my knitting in the bowl on the coffee table.

I was able to get this knitting done while I was there. So 3 Christmas gifts were completed when I returned home.


Now, just to finish the socs that I started on my plane trip home. (By the way, the arm rests on a plane seat are perfect for stabilizing a hank of yarn while winding it in to a ball.)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

HAPPY THANKSGIVING !!

I will be back in a few days to catch up on my quilting, knitting, and travel escapades.

In the meantime on this Thanksgiving Day, let's most of all be thankful for the One to Whom we give thanks.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

ONE LAST THING

I had just a couple last things I wanted to get done before I leave for Greece tomorrow.
I wanted to send in the 6x9 rectangles that our church ladies had knit.

And I wanted to drop off this quilt at the Project Linus pick up location (a Local yarn shop). I made it from blacks that were NOT the required 6x9. I think someone will enjoy it. If it's too big for Project Linus, the yarn shop is also involved with Warm Up America, so it should keep someone warm this winter.



Let's see, what else do I need to do? Bills paid, check; paper stopped, check; mail held, check; key to the house sitter, check; e-mail boarding passes printed, check. So what does that leave. Oh, yea, PACK. I'd better get scootin'. See you around Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

GETTIN' IT TOGETHER

Oops, I almost forgot to take photos of the two baby quilts that are going to Greece with me for DH's great nephews. So here they are:


They both have chenille backing so I popped them in the dryer on fluff this afternoon to get any remaining fuzz off them.

I was hoping to assemble all the blocks form my block of the month quilt with the sashing before I leave, but that's just not going to happen. This is a photo, though, that a friend took last week at our quilt retreat of the blocks laid out, just so we could see how it will look. Yes, it's intended to have subtle color differences (except, of course, that Kaffe print at the top of the photo that will be one of the fabrics for the sashing.. Our bedroom is mostly in neutrals and this will be for our bed, so I didn't want there to be a lot of obvious pattern in the finished quilt.

One thing I was able to complete today, though, that will go in the mail tomorrow, are these PJs for a special little girl in Ohio. She will be spending lots of hospital time in the weeks to come, so I figured out how to leave the shoulder seams opened and put snap tape on the tops of the sleeves (extending from the opened shoulder seams) for IV access. A bit of a challenge, but worth it in the end, I hope!


I still have a charity afghan that I want to take by the local yarn shop tomorrow, but it's not quite completed, so I best get crackin' , I guess.

Friday, October 16, 2009

SURPRISE !

Yes, I've been away for a few days.  But that doesn't mean no quilting or knitting.  It means a LOT of quilting and a little knitting for me.  16 of my quilting friend from around the USA (think CA to MA and FL) met at a wonderful little retreat center at the foothills of the Smoky Mountains.  Our cabins were in this wonderful little setting.

Over the past few years, this group has become very close--you guessed it:  through the internet.  In our caring for one another we have made many quilts (one block made by several different members, sewn together by another, quilted and bound by  another two, and then a label made by yet another).  We have given the quilts to ladies who have lost family members, those dealing with difficult health issues, and to those who have gone "above and beyond" in doing special things for our little group.
Last year when I was one of those with some health issues, the ladies took turns sending me little "pick me up" gifts that I received weekly for several months.  So I was certainly not expecting a quilt as well.
But SURPRISE, on our first evening at our little retreat when we all gathered back in our sewing room after dinner, they presented me with this package.

Inside the package was this wonderful tote that one of the ladies had made.

And inside that was this wonderful "Greek Cross" quilt (seen here on the bed of my cabin).  Yes I did sleep under it while I was there, and again last night after I got home.

It is the loving work of the ladies mentioned on the quilt label.


Tearful thanks to all of you.

And if anyone thinks that the internet cannot begin  friendships, they just don't know the Weight Watcher's  Message Board Quilters' "Lizzie" group!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

HERE IT IS !

Back from babysitting for Anna Maria while she is at Quilt Market.  (The other grandmother took over today.)
Here are Anna Maria's  shelves that I was able to glean for fabric for grandchildren's Christmas PJs.  (top right and 3rd from the bottom left are flannels.  And such soft flannel it is--not to mention it's 42 inches instead of the usual 36 " flannel.  

But I know that many of you are here to see the voile.  So here it is, ready for the backing to make 28" floor pillows--in all three colors ways:







Now wasn't that worth waiting for?

Friday, October 2, 2009

WHAT WAS I THINKING ?

What was I thinking?  I purchased all this fabric on Tuesday.  Not that I don't have a huge stash already, or for that matter, lots of projects in the works as it is.  There are a couple of gift baby quilts to finish, my block of the month that's been forgotten for at least two months.  And, oh yes, the pajamas for my 12 grandchildren for Christmas.  And I have nothing in mind for any of this fabric.  But of course it was on sale.  End of month/end of bolt sale.  If there is 5 yards or less on a bolt and you buy it all, you get it at a 40% discount.  Just can't refuse.  And I do really love all the fabrics.  They will be lovely for something.


And speaking of loving fabric:  I can't wait to get my hands on daughter, Anna Maria's flannels for those Christmas PJs.  I've been busy playing with some wonderful voile that's in her collection that will be debuting (along with the flannel and other new designs) at the Houston quilt market next week.  She asked me to make patchwork from the  3 color ways of her voile so that she can make it in to a pillow to showcase the fabric.  Now you may be thinking that voile is not appropriate for that home-dec use.  Ah, but it is--if you put lightweight fusible fabric on the back.  Anna Maria told me a really easy way to do it for this particular project.  I cut the different fabrics in to 5" squares, then laid them on the sticky side of the Pelon, "butting" them closely against one another and ironed them in place.  Then with right sides together, I folded the fabric on the line where the fabrics meet, and made a 1/2" seam.  Then I cut the seams to press them open.

I then did the same thing with all the perpendicular "meetings".  So easy as the perpendicular seams automatically are where they need to be--no pinning.  Hooray.

And viola, a beautiful patchwork design of your favorite light weight fabrics that will stand up to some healthy home dec uses.


Oh, sorry I can't show you the front of the patches--that will have to come AFTER market.  

In the meantime, enjoy dreaming of all the possible new fabrics that will be available to us soon--just as soon as  our favorite fabric retailers get the fabrics they order next week!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

OOPS, EYES CLOSED

Oops, my eyes are closed, but at least you can see the sweater vest I finally finished.



I'm debating whether I should add buttons or not.  I am going to add loops on the side for the belt (which I guess still needs some blocking to keep it from twisting). 
Not a very good or flattering photo, but at least you can see the vest.

Friday, September 25, 2009

TIME OUT

I took a little time out today from my usual quilting and knitting to make this little book bag and eyeglass case for my DGD's birthday.  Actually it made me do a few hours of free motion quilting getting all those butterflies outlined--not very even or neat stitches, but at least I won't have any 4-H judges (ah, the memories) checking it out.

The baby bunny quilt is finished.  (It's been folded, hence the creases.)

And I did make a decent label, for a change.  


Gotta go wrap the quilt so I can give it this weekend when I see my goddaughter (baby's mama) at my grandson's baptism.

Monday, September 21, 2009

OPA !

No knitting, sewing, or quilting for me over the past weekend.

Our church hosted their 30th annual Greek Fest, with lots of Greek folk dancing  by our young people:

Greek cooking demonstrations:


lots of Greek pastries for sale (I cashiered the pastry line), a variety wonderful Greek food, and all kinds of things from Greece.  

But for me, the best is our being able to share our centuries old Orthodox Christian faith with those who take the church tour.   (Scroll down to the bottom of the church tour page for photos of the beautiful mosaic iconography.)

Oh, and yes, I am back to cutting for another baby quilt now.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

BACK TO WORK

Hooray, I'm back in the quilting and knitting mode.

I finished my grandson's vest the other night.  And for me, I'm really ahead; his birthday isn't until October 30!  Wow, how did that happen?


And as I am typing, the "glue basting" on the  binding for my current baby quilt is drying.  I'll be back in the sewing room to get that sewn on here in a jiffy.

And I must remember to thank my neighbors for wonderful flowers making for the lovely view I have as I sew.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Weddings Are So Wonderful . . .

. . . and even more wonderful when you're involved in the preparations.  Especially if you're the mother of the bride, live 300 miles away, and are still able to be a part of it all.
So I have been honored to get a few things ready before I head to my daughter's tomorrow to help out even a bit more for the wedding on Saturday. 

The crowns that I had started last week took a bit of a turn.  I was not pleased with the way the silk looked on the inside where it was stitched together, so at my husband's suggestion, I simply wrapped them with 5/8 inch ribbon.  Then added a ribbon cross which is centered with a silk yo-yo.  At least I got to use a little bit of that silk!


Perhaps the most fun, though, was putting it all together after I got the sacramental elements:  candles with matching cross bows, the "common cup" and tray.

And then, of course, there are the obligatory (at least by Greek standards) Jordan almond favors for all who attend.  Oh, and yes, there are boxes of powder sugar wedding cookies all ready and waiting to go in the car for my journey tomorrow.


Sorry, I cannot invite you all--family only.  But maybe I'll have some photos next time around--in a couple weeks.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

STILL AT IT

Well, my bunny quilt is going to have to take a back seat to a few other things that need to get done.

For one thing, after we had some drenching rains, I decided it was a good time to do some much needed weeding in the "jungle" that is our hill by the river.  My, oh, my:  I guess I didn't know exactly what I was getting myself in to!  I'm only doing it about 1 - 1  1/2 hours a day--mornings before it gets too hot, so  I probably still have a couple more mornings left before I get it finished.  And of course, I'm not always home first thing in the morning, so this project may be a very long lived one!

More fun, though, is getting ready for my daughter's wedding next weekend.  For those of you not familiar with Orthodox Christian weddings, the couple is "crowned" during the sacrament.  Identical crowns which are joined with a ribbon are used, signifying the couple as king and queen in their new home, joined by Christ.  I am making the crowns.   (Sorry, I'm not showing  you the completed crowns until AFTER the wedding.!)
It was a bit more difficult than I had anticipated, covering the circle with  silk fabric.  I did use a silk yo-yo (I love those things), though, in the center of the ribbon crosses that will be at the back of the crowns where the they are joined by a long ribbon.  

Although the quilting has gone a bit by the wayside, I am still knitting.  Hmmmmm, I'm glad I took this photo to show you, otherwise I might not have realized that it looks as if I turned around in the middle of the row that one time that I laid it down before completing a row.  So THAT's why NOT to stop mid row!  Looks like I've got some frogging to do.

Since  yesterday was the 25th, it was my Christmas project day, so I started this little winter scene dishcloth.  The photo is a little difficult to make out, but it's a house with an evergreen tree.

I should be able to finish this tonight.  
Then another wedding crown tomorrow, and who knows what will follow that?