Wednesday, December 30, 2009

It has been a busy Festive Season

Poinsettias are my wedding flowers (our wedding anniversary is December 26th) so we usually have poinsettias in our house over the Christmas season. This one was enormous and was a gift that I received at work in a gift exchange. It is such a glorious color. We had a difficult time figuring out where to put it in our house as we have limited space so I cleaned out yet another corner to find space for it. Unfortunately I think the corner was too cool for it, and so it has lost some of its beautiful foliage it still is pretty gorgeous.
Today's post brought me a package from Keepsake Quilting, which included these two poinsettia patterns. I got this idea that I might like to make a new poinsettia quilt, and these patterns both struck my fancy. I figured if I collect some new ones, that I might actually create a new quilt to adorn our house. I made this poinsettia couch quilt a number of years ago, to celebrate our anniversary. The center is a paper pieced pattern by Eileen Sullivan-She has many other lovely flower(for example iris, daffodil and cactus) patterns that you can make using a Sew and Flip technique- I believe her patterns are Designer Workshop patterns but you can find her site just by googling her name.
Behind the table center piece, you can see some of the other fabrics that came in my package from Keepsake Quilting. They had a nice sale before Christmas so I bought a few lovely pieces to add to my stash- a few florals and some sock monkey fat quarters.
Isn't this Iris fleece panel glorious- I love purple flowers, and one that makes me think of my beloved grandmother. She so loved flowers and Irises were among her favorite flowers.
Christmas brought some lovely pressies from my spouse- Bruce found me some great new pens for quilt labels, a book about Pieced borders that has been on my list for a long time, a couple of quilting magazines, a new ruler and a box for my growing collection of fat quarters. My friend L. gave me a wonderful casserole cover she made, as well as Jinny Beyer's new book. It has 4.050 quilt pattern blocks in it! There are also some grids to help a person figure out how the block is designed. I hope that you found some quilty things that you have been wishing for under your Christmas tree.

This lovely collection was a giveaway prize that I won from Cara of Cara's quilts. It has such beautiful handmade pin toppers,a wonderful handmade log cabin pincushion and a glorious set of a dozen floral fat quarters. Thank you so much, Cara, for such a special giveaway. Do go and visit Cara's blog- she made some wonderful stockings for Christmas- the one she made her daughter L'il Bit is a gorgeous princess one.

There are some wonderful giveaways around the blogs just now. Some will soon be over so do check them out before they are gone.

Sue at Alderwood quilts is offering a fun giveaway of a Jennifer Chiaverini book and some fat quarters. She also sells templates for Louisa Smith's curved quilt designs. The templates are not easily found, and she has them on sale until the New Year. I ordered two sets- one of the basic and the second set as well. She has them on sale for 25 percent off and was most helpful when I spoke with her on the phone. I first saw them on Exuberant Color's ( Wanda's) blog - I love circle quilts and you can create the most fascinating designs using the templates.

Heidi is a new to me quilt blog who is having a really nice giveaway of bag with Amy Butler fabric pieces or a baby panel with fabrics. It is her 100th post and she is celebrating it in a grand way. Congratulations Heidi!

Oz girls are having a giveaway of some very pretty Robin Pandolph fabrics - it is hard to choose between the pink or the mint fabrics.

Just as I began to write this post, I received notification that I had won a giveaway from Margaret of a bit of Kaos. I won an Australian quilt magazine and diary. I love the Aussie magazines and they are not too plentiful here in Western Canada. I used to get a subscription to Australian Patchwork and Quilting and enjoyed the magazine very much. Thank you so much Margaret. I will look forward to reading the magazine and using the diary when it arrives.

January is beckoning- I have enjoyed the time off- it has given me some time to reflect and pause after a very busy fall. We enjoyed some great family times with my family in Red Deer on Christmas day and the weekend that followed. It was nice to see our nieces and some little ones at my parents.

It was great to spend time with my parents, who have always been a steady loving force in my life. I value the times that we have together- My mother always does special things for each of her family members, whether it be gathering card making stamps for my niece to borrow, or making lasagna for Kevin our son. I know that my son enjoys his time with his Poppa. This time, Kevin helped my dad. build an extension to his new snowblower and change the headlights in my dad's Van. From the time Kevin was a little boy, he has loved to help my dad build and fix things. Each and every time, he wants to bring home some of grandma's dill pickles. The traditions continues..

While I was at my folks, I played in the beads and made new bracelets for all the grown up girls in my family. (I made about a dozen bracelets by the time I put the beads away for the last time). We enjoyed lots of delicious food, including two turkey dinners that my sister D.,brought to my parent's home. We appreciated her delicious cooking and all her hard work to make it special- Thank you so much Sis!
There were 17 of us for Christmas dinner and 11 of us the following evening. My parents have lived in their small home since 1963. No matter how many people are there, there is always room for one more at the table.

Tomorrow, we will have lunch with some of Bruce's family- his sister, brother in law, and daughters and their spouses. It will be great to catch up with them as well. After that, we will have one more Christmas event with our dearest friends here. And so the celebrations continue..

In the meantime, I hope to get a few quilty things done before I return to the classroom- perhaps a couple of new pillowcases for our bed and start a new quilt. There are some other quilt projects that I would like to finish- I better make a list and a plan. What about you?

Do you have some project plans for 2010 ?

Kim has a great post today about ways that she finds time to quilt daily- She puts aside a half an hour a day to devote to creating her quilts. It is something worth contemplating ...
One thing that I intend to do is to blog a little more regularly in 2010- this fall has been pretty hit and miss-
I hope one and all has enjoyed some great times with loved ones. May 2010 bring you and yours good health and prosperity.

With best wishes and my warmest regards,

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

In the beginning...

In the beginning there were some very dear friends of ours, A.&V, who I wanted to make something special to mark their birthdays.... and so I chose this version of magic tiles. If you have not tried this pattern, you may want to check it out. The magic tile pattern is a fun pattern to make- You start with a set of fabrics that are cut into 15 or 16 inch squares. On paper,you create a wonky 9 patch grid for the squares and cut it with the fabric all facing good side up. In each set, it involves shuffling a section of the block in the pile. By doing so,you give each section a different piece of fabric. Buggy Barn quilt patterns work on this same premise as do the "Stack the Deck" books by Karla Alexander.
After a while, it is nice to have a change for every quilt. I believe that I made this Magic Tiles quilt in the summer of 2002.
Here it is - the Wonky Rail's on our dear friends bed. If you are looking for the pattern, you can find it here. Mary has a list of free patterns on her site. Just click on Wonky RWB Rail for the instructions. For those of you that have been reading for awhile, you have seen this quilt as it has come together over the past 6 months- I have had it finished for about six weeks except for the label. Somehow, I just hadn't managed to get the last bit done on the Wonky Rail Tiles Quilt. I called the quilt " Celebrating Earth and Sky" because of all the blues and greens. Remember when I was unsure how large to make a King Size quilt? This quilt measures 115 X 124 inches. It is plenty large enough for our friend's bed.
For fun,we decided to wrap the three of us in the quilt - I am the goofy looking one, who is in serious need of a haircut in the middle. ( I am going this Saturday afternoon for that haircut) This quilt was made to celebrate A&V.'s 20th wedding anniversary. We have enjoyed many wonderful hours together over those 20 years. Happy Anniversary, dear friends, may you continue to enjoy many more happy years together.
Yesterday would have been my in laws 66th wedding anniversary-this photo quilt was made to honor my in-laws 60th wedding anniversary. The pattern was based on a pattern in one of Evelyn Sloppy's pattern books.It currently hangs in my mother in law's room. Many times after we gave them this quilt, my father in law phoned me, just to tell me how much pleasure their quilt gave him. When your gifted quilt is loved like this photo quilt was, what can be better than that?
Do you love beads? These beads are some beauties that were given to me by my friends in the photo. They are cloisonne, and were bought in China, when A& V were there this past summer. Don't you love the fish and the butterfly? I love cloisonne and mille fliore beads, oh and glass ones... and ceramic and polished stones too...
One of my fellow blogging friends Paulette - has a very fine stash of beads as well as fabric.
She wrote a recent posthere Click on here to read about her passion for beads and her dilemma - to bead or not to bead ??

Ryan is having a giveaway of a Barn Quilts calendar that is from a very interesting place called Neversink. Ryan tells the story behind finding this calendar. Do check it out...

Winter has arrived in spades here in Alberta. We got about a foot of snow last Friday. By Saturday, I was wishing that I was a bear and could hibernate for a little while. This week the thermometer spiralled downward so, at school, we have had many indoor recesses. Today we all got a bit of a respite - at least enough to have the children go out to play at lunch time. The long term forecast is more cold weather so the week before Christmas break could be filled with more days of excited children who are suffering cabin fever... The days before Christmas are filled with anticipation... just waiting to play ....waiting for Santa ....waiting is hard work for little ones...and for us grown ups too....

My list gets longer of jobs to do - things to cook, and presents to buy and wrap, and a house to decorate- it is a similar list to many others. I am trying to find the balance between getting things ticked off of my list and pausing to enjoy the moments of the season. How do you find ways to balance out the busy days of the festive season?

One final note, Thank you for all your birthday wishes- It is our son's birthday next week, followed by Christmas and then on Boxing Day ( December 26),it is our wedding anniversary- the celebrations are many, for our family in the month of December. We are looking forward to spending time with my family at Christmas, and to having time together with family and friends over the Christmas break.

Wishing you all the season's best.

Warmest regards,