Sunday, November 15, 2009

Weekends are too short

Last night we went to the annual lutefish dinner at a nearby church. For me it signals the start of the holiday season. It's that "thing" that makes it real that Christmas is around the corner.

The folks that serve wear Scandinavian-like costumes. We hear silly Norwegian jokes about Ole, Sven, and Lena. Lefse can be purchased at the bake sale. We sit at long tables as containers of potatoes, Swedish meatballs, corn, coleslaw, and other goodies are passed down, family style. There is plenty of lutefisk. Yeah, I do eat it.

We had finished the main dinner and they were about to start passing the desserts - cold, fruit soup and cookies - when my 16 year old DS mentioned he was still hungry. He wanted more lutefisk. We flagged one of the ladies, who came back with a big dish of it. It made me think of a Norwegian Oliver Twist, "Please sir, may I have more lutefisk?"  Makes me smile.

Next year I'll try to remember to bring my camera.

Do you have something that signals the beginning of your holidays?

I was optimistic that I'd be done with block 5 of CWBQ by the end of the weekend, but I couldn't ignore the whining of the errands, laundry and cleaning that required attention. I suppose clean underwear and groceries are important. ;-)

I'm beginning to think ahead to the next blocks. The fabric choices need time to percolate before they're final. 

This is what I'm thinking for block 20.

I'm leaning towards bluebird-like colors for the bird (the fabrics on the left).

Bluebirds were fairly common about 40 years ago, but then declined drastically. There have been efforts to recover the population by setting up special bluebird nest boxes, which have helped. Someday I hope to see one in the wild.

These are the auditions for block 2.

I heard from some of you that don't mind doing stems. Maybe I was too quick to judge. Since there are more in my future, I'll give them another chance.

Time to go, the laundry is calling. Weekends really are too short.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Progress, sure and steady

I'm plugging away. 

I like watching the picture emerge with every piece. It reminds me of a Poloroid. Remember those? You would snap the picture and at first there was nothing. Slowly the magic would happen and you'd start to see images come into view.  (True, it didn't take 2-3 weeks... don't burst my analogy.)

 Ah stems. Boring stems. Does anyone enjoy stitching stems?  Because I tried. I did make peace with the stems... ... but "enjoy" is too optimistic.

Endless stems. Do you know how many leaves equal one stem?........ I found myself with those thoughts as I was nearing the stem finish line.

Necessary (?) stems. Do you think the rest of the blocks would look okay without stems?  ;-)

As the stems droned on, I must have dozed for awhile because next thing you know I found myself with two stem ends that were supposed to go UNDER another stem that - you guessed it - was already stitched! 


Spent some quality time with that little red tool.  (It's pointing to the scene of the crime.)

I'm glad GLAD to be past the stems.

Most of the action has been on the Civil War Bride block.

Here's a peak at progress on my redword snowmen BOM.  He's September.  With 10 more blocks after this one, it won't be done for this season. I can live with that.

And some final thoughts to share with you. About giveaways. I love giveaways, but I rarely enter them.

I am amazed at the community that we - YOU - have created. Having a blog and being the recipient of that love, I fully understand the desire to give a gift as a way to say thank you. I know I'll do the same.

Feeling lucky? You've got great odds to win with giveaways. So many giveaways have only 15, 30, or 50 entries. Even the "bigger" ones - like Kellie's (5 in 224), Cathi's (1 in 126), even Kim's (1 in 1227) - give you a great shot.  (Calm down, those are all closed.)

For many of us mail has been nearly reduced to junk. Even bills are going electronic. But to go to the mail and find a package? For moi? Definitely a WOO HOO moment. It never gets old. And to receive something from someone that you've felt a a kinship - a friendship... well, ain't that grand?!

The giveaway gifts are just great! But when I enter, it needs to be something I'll use in the near future. Because there are a lot of gals out there who can crank it out faster than me, and would put it to good use.

Eventually I will get faster at stitching, then ya'll better watch out 'cuz I'll be competing for the winnings with you. LOL

Friday, November 6, 2009

Auditions and Rejects

One of my favorite shows is "So You Think You Can Dance".  It's real dancers (okay, if you ignore the few delusional folks in the beginning) with extraordinary talent. Sometimes everything in a dance works together so perfectly it touches my emotions.

Someone said that picking fabrics is auditioning them.   

I was auditioning the "petally" flowers.  "Step right up to the stage..."

You're pretty, but you seem to blend in too much with the background. 

Looked at other hopefuls.  These next ones did make the first cut... enough for me to go to the trouble of cutting them out. But they were told they weren't what we were looking for.  

Go red?  No, got enough red already... the apples and other flower is red.  Medium pink seems to work.  I liked the variety of prints in the first choice, but my stash wasn't cooperating with that thought. Buy more? That'd be fun, but nah... it's good enough.

Next up, stems.  (Didn't realize we were auditioning stems in the pic above, did you?)

Lighter, or darker?  (I'm so glad we live in a digital age.)
Darker it is.

I still wonder about the butterfly.  I am not a butterfly person. I wanted something pretty, but a little subtle. Love the fabric.  Might be too subtle.  I'll stitch more of the block while I mull it over.

I needed thread.  The kind I like is 40 minutes across town.  Took care of that the other day... along with a few more fabrics - small cuts for $1 each and a few fat quarters.

Marked the background. That wasn't an easy decision as I've read others' cautions about this technique. I did test it carefully first. I like the freedom from the vinyl overlay.

I'm stitching the stems, but that looks to boring to show you. I'll share my progress sometime this weekend.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Another applique project? Yes, most definitely, yes!

I like having multiple projects going at the same time.  So far, I've shared three of my projects... the redword snowman BOM, my summer basket applique, and the Nearly Insane blocks.

Here's a picture of the pattern of my latest project.  It's based on an applique quilt made in the mid-1800's.  The name of the pattern is Civil War Bride Quilt by Corliss Searcey (available from Threadbear - in Australia, no less!).

It's an ambitious project for me, but I couldn't resist.  I'll also be making a number of changes to the pattern as I go along... probably no elephant in mine, for instance. 

There's a group of ladies who are making this quilt and they have a group blog, the Civil War Bride Quilt blog blog, which I joined. That was also a big reason for deciding to tackle this project now. It's been neat to see everyone's blocks, get advice, and develop friendships.

I started with block 5... the one that's in the upper right corner.  I drew a different "urn" to something more my style.  The apples are also bigger than the ones from the pattern.  (When you live in a place named Apple Valley, you gotta have good-sized apples!)  You can see others' versions of block 5 here and here.

I finished prepping the pieces this weekend.  Here you see the pieces laying loose on the background fabric.  (It doesn't show all the stems.)  It took me a few tries until I was satisfied with the fabrics for the pieces... and I reserve the right to change it before it's stitched!

Let the stitching begin!  (You know, I'm finding that I like applique!) 

So that's enough projects, right?  Well, uh, yeah... I *might* have placed an order for a little project today.  Maybe once I show you, you'll understand.  ;-)