Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

Wow! I haven't posted in weeks!
Here's what we've been up to...

I finally got the top done for Pat Sloan's charm quilt along. Since I used a Christmas charm pack that Jackie gave me, I thought it would be nice to hang it for Christmas! I just folded over the top and pinned it into a "sleeve". I'll quilt it next week!

Julia and Pete are in a new jazz combo and their first gig was a Christmas benefit concert. Julia shocked a lot of people when she put down her trumpet to sing! They were great and we can't wait to hear more!

I wanted some new decorations, so I made two yarn wreaths with felt flowers for my kitchen cabinets.

Julia has inherited the crafty gene! She made a bunch of gifts for friends, including this cool patchwork and fleece scarf.

Love it rolled up!

We used a whole package of Nutter Butter cookies to make these reindeer. Aren't they the cutest? (I should have taken the photo before we packaged them.)

I worked on some gifts, too. This is the pillow that I needed to repair for my nephew. I'm trying to figure out how long ago it was made. Maybe 17 or 18 years!

A couple of candle mats with matching candles.

And lots of baking!
Someday, I will get the tri-colors right. They taste delicious, but they are lumpy. But since the lumps are almond paste, who cares?

I hope you all have a Sweet, Merry and Bright Christmas!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dots and Jazz

I haven't had much time for blogging as my mother recuperates from a fall two weeks ago. She is doing really well, but I've been juggling more than usual. That made receiving this package even more special, because it is just for me! I recently won a polka dot giveaway at Loft Creations. Isn't it fun?! Ribbon, tape, tissues, candy, buttons, stationery, cup cake papers, a little frame and a fat quarter! Thank you so much, Stephanie! I really needed that!

Last night, we attended the high school holiday jazz concert. Julia sings alto in the jazz chorus and plays trumpet in the jazz band. (She is in the middle row, all the way to the left.) She played her first improvised solo last night and we're so proud of her! Pete totally rocks (swings?) on drums and had a couple killer solo fills in the Count Basie medley.

We recently celebrated Pete's 15th birthday. Can I say again what an amazing drummer he is? He just missed out on All State this year on timpani. He is now 3rd in the state for 10th-12th graders (he is in 10th grade) and they use the top 2 in orchestra and concert band. Maybe next year!

There is a jazz combo rehearsing at our house once a week which has been so much fun! Their first gig is a benefit concert next week to raise funds to buy Christmas gift cards for teens. Several high school bands will be playing, which makes me tear up a little. I'm so grateful my kids have such awesome friends!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Why did it have to be glitter?

I'm hosting a women's breakfast at church this Saturday because when the pastor asks you to do him a favor, you cannot refuse! I want it to be festive, with centerpieces on the tables, but with no budget, I turned to something recycled. I made one of these folded magazine trees last year, but couldn't remember how to do the fold. (I would look at the first one if I could find it!)

Enter Martha! The video is worth watching. I'm sure her folding method is slightly different than what I did last year, and I like it much better. I found that catalogs or magazines that are stapled in the fold (no spine) and have at least 100 pages yield the best results.

I didn't have much luck with spray adhesive and glitter, so I brushed on a watered-down white glue. Have I ever told you how much I dislike glitter? In my 12 years as a Girl Scout leader, my poor girls were never allowed to use glitter! Why? Because now my entire kitchen is covered in glitter! I try to contain it, but it's everywhere! So why do I even OWN glitter? Because it's shiny and comes in pretty colors, of course. And everything is glittered this Christmas. I'm doomed.

We can't bring ourselves to light an Advent candle yet because a little friend has taken up residence in our wreath. He's so tiny and has managed to string his web between all four candles. Dinner discussion last night centered around how spiders spin webs. "Like how Spiderman shoots web out of his wrist!"

Sunday, November 28, 2010


I'm thankful for a lovely Thanksgiving dinner at home with my favorite people.

Even though my mother was in the emergency room the next morning after a fall, I'm thankful that nothing is broken. She has an ugly bruise and a back sprain. She will be OK.

I'm thankful that my sister was able to come down and stay with Mom these last two nights. A visiting nurse will be assessing her situation today.

Her friends have already offered her their spare walkers to help her get around! I'm thankful she has friends watching out for her when we aren't there.

I'm thankful for my church family who was so supportive at the church bazaar yesterday. Sales were not great for me, but Pete sold out of his PVC marshmallow shooters again! I'm hoping to do an Etsy shop update later today, in time for Cyber Monday, but that will depend on how Mom is doing.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Just a quick post to show you my sewing failure from yesterday.

I was ready to sew the borders on these blocks and noticed that I had a bunch of white bits left over. Oops. And I thought I was in the zone!

Can you see where one of the yellow "geese" is missing a background triangle? He was actually missing both triangles, but I was able to add the one in the corner without tearing the block apart.

I really like the colors, so I'll need to try again. But not right now. I need to unearth my dining room table from a mountain of craft supplies so we can eat dinner there tomorrow!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A New Crochet Project

Just what I needed to do days before a craft show: try something new!
There aren't many tutorials out there for these crochet ball covers, so I started with one and changed it up when I got lost! I've been using at least 3 different kinds of thread which work up differently, so I adjust as I go along. I should probably write down my favorite stitch combos.
Thank you, Jim, for getting me started!

I've had this box of satin ornaments for YEARS! I think I bought them for my Girl Scouts to experiment with, but it didn't go well. I'm happy to finally have a use for them.

Each one takes me almost and hour to crochet. Now I'm struggling with how much to charge for them. $3 or $5? I think they need a bow around the top loop.

Julia has been stringing my rolled paper beads into bracelets. The bright colors add to the look I'm going for on my awesome new white tree!

The tiny wooden spools of thread were an antique show purchase a few years ago. Until now, they have been displayed in baskets and in a glass pedestal trifle dish. Strung with crochet thread and a few buttons, I think they are super cute!

And, of course, I needed a tiny tree skirt to complete the look.
Almost ready for a show or two!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Crafty Finds

I went on a crafty errand for my church on Thursday. We needed to purchase supplies for our Advent Wreath-making workshop from Fall River Floral Supply. It is strictly a wholesale operation, so you basically shop the warehouse. It was so much fun! I brought my own tax paperwork so I picked up a couple of things. And I can't wait to go back again. This is one of three aisles of ribbon!

As we were driving through rural Rhode Island today, we stumbled upon an alpaca event at a yarn store. Aren't they cute?

I had to buy a skein to try. I'm allergic to some animals, so I'm hoping I'm not allergic to alpacas! I want to be able to wear the scarf I make from this luscious yarn! Sabrina contributed the fiber for this skein. I hope to bring my Girl Scouts on a field trip to the farm as part of their Textile Arts badge.

What crafty goodness did you find this week?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Repair Project

How am I going to fix this?

I made this pillow for my nephew David some time in the early 90's when he was 9 or 10 years old. He has used it, loved it and carted it around with him all these years. It was even in his tent on the river this summer. He asked his mom to fix it for him, and she passed it back to me. I think I will remove the fish and put them on a fresh backing. There is a tear on the red fish, just above his eye at the seam line that I'm not sure how to deal with. The back of the pillow is faded and thin, but intact.

What would you do? Fusible web? Machine applique? Tulle overlay?

Isn't it nice to discover that something you made has been so loved and appreciated?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ready to Sew

On the list today:

Some tiny, paper-pieced, slightly modern Christmas trees to be made into lapel pins. These piles will produce 12 blocks, assembly-line style.

Yes. I need reading glasses to sew these tiny pieces. I'm old like that!
Don't you love the Kate Spain paper plate?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Baby Shower Crafts

I've spent the last two days making fun stuff for my niece's baby shower. I'm almost positive she doesn't read my bog. (I have another niece who drops by from time to time. Hi, Katie!)

Julia made 24 chocolate-covered Oreos for favors. My mother, the happy Great-Grandmother, helped tie on the little pacifiers and bows.

There are people in my family who don't understand this crafty obsession and will think this corsage is ridiculous. But come on, how cute is this? (If she won't wear it, at least it looks good on the basket.)

I had seen some baby wreaths online, but I can't remember where, so I had to make it up as I went along. (I thought Jodi made one, but I can't find it.) I wrapped and scrunched washcloths around a styrofoam ring, pinned into the back. Cute baby socks are rolled into roses. I added a brush, a binkie and a bow. Cute now, useful later!

Then I had to make a pennant banner because everyone is doing it! A few sheets of scrapbook paper, some awesome ric-rac, some cutting, gluing, and stitching. Easy peasy!

We can't wait to see the Mom- and Dad-to-be and the rest of my family this weekend!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Finish!

The Christmas tree skirt is done with 2 days to spare!
I think it looks really cool on my leverite.
(leverite = slang for a big rock, as in leave-her-right there)

I used a light green thread (Superior So Fine #450) for the machine quilting and bound it in a black Christmas print.

Oooooh. Feathers!
(They are not perfect, so it's a good thing they blend in.)

The back was pieced with leftovers from the front. I was going to piece strips all the way across, but I got bored and threw in some big pieces on the sides. I was planning to cut the slit down that center green stripe, but I forgot and it ended up 45° away.

This is the original made by my mother in the early 90's that I was asked to reproduce. I'm pleased that the pattern is the same with the colors in the same position, but mine has a more modern feel, as it should.

Today is Veterans' Day, which means went to a parade this morning. We crossed a pedestrian bridge over the river to get from the parade route on Main Street to the park where the ceremonies are held. You can see we have just a little bit of Fall color hanging on.

Boy, does it feel good to finish something!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Unsewing and College Tours

OK, girls. When you're right, you're right! Janice, Jackie and Karen all counseled that I should replace that iffy green on the tree skirt setting triangles. I used it, figuring I didn't have time to shop for something better and it would be OK under a Christmas tree. It was not OK.

Last night, when I pulled out the leftover fabric from piecing the top to piece the back, I realized I had some big pieces of dark green! It only took 20 minutes of "unsewing" the yucky green and 30 minutes to sew on the better green.

I should stop calling it yucky. It is a lovely piece of fabric, but it just didn't play nicely with the other greens in the piece. I'm much happier now. Time to quilt!

By the way, does anyone recognize this pattern? My mother made one of these tree skirts in the early 90's, but we can't find the pattern. I'd like to identify the source and give credit to the designer. I'm working off of photos and measurements of the original.


I did not get to sew over the weekend because I was with my awesome Girl Scout troop! Most of them are juniors in high school and they decided they wanted to go on some college tours together. So on Saturday, we went to a Junior Preview Day at Bryant University. It was incredibly informative and we felt welcome and comfortable there. Unfortunately, they don't offer the programs my girls are interested in.

We spent the night at a nearby Girl Scout camp. We arrived early enough to go on a hike. We're getting lazy in our old age. We ordered Chinese food for dinner!

On Sunday morning, we left here...

to go here!
Talk about culture shock!

Salve Regina University is in Newport, RI and occupies a gilded-age mansion and cottages in addition to more modern buildings. The "welcome" from the admissions department took place in the dining room of the mansion (above).

While we enjoyed the tourist aspect of exploring campus, it was not the school for most of my girls. One senior interested in the nursing program will return with her parents to get a better look. Overall, it was a great weekend!

Friday, November 5, 2010


If you visit regularly, you know I can't get anything done without a deadline. There is one looming for this tree skirt, but I'm stuck again. I am really pleased to have the triangles done and I think they look pretty cool. But I'm not happy with the setting triangles.

I have some time to sew this afternoon, so do I just push ahead with this fabric?
Or should I wait until Monday when I have time to shop for something better?

What would you do?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Birthday, Juliette Low!

This post is my entry into the Bloggers Quilt Festival

It honors Juliette Gordon Low's 150th Birthday!

This quilt, Brownie Heartstrings, was a group project organized by my daughter, Julia. She planned several Brownie badge workshops, so more than 50 Brownie Girl Scouts could learn to sew and create a charity quilt at the same time.

With the blocks completed, Julia assembled the top and did the machine quilting. You might be able to see the free-motion butterflies in the blocks.

Juliette (Daisy) Low founded the Girl Scouts in the USA in 1912 in Savannah, Georgia. To celebrate her birthday, 250 local Girl Scouts of all ages gathered at camp last week for a Halloween/Birthday Party.

For the party, Julia wore a vintage uniform from 1940. She presented the quilt to Mary Raymond, our guild charity quilt coordinator, for donation to the Linus Project. I think Daisy would be proud!

I've shown this quilt before when it was on display at the Lowell Quilt Festival, where it won a blue ribbon in the youth category!

Just so you know, a full sheet cake is not big enough for 250 girls, even when the pieces are cut really, really small! (The orange blobs are pumpkins.)

Quilts, camp and cake! It doesn't get any better than that!

Thanks for stopping by!