Thursday, December 27, 2012

It's Still Christmas in My House

Hope everyone is enjoying Christmas. I know I am, and people who know me well know that I try to make it last as long as I can. So in our house, the tree will stay up for awhile longer, the Christmas decorations and quilts will continue to make the house festive and cosy, and I will continue to sit in my quilting chair in the early mornings with the lights of the Christmas tree shining over my shoulder.

Speaking of quilts, I finished quilting "Five Santas" a few days ago. Woodworker Hubby hung it up for me and I greet my five Santas every morning!

I really enjoyed hand quilting it while listening to Christmas music or watching Christmas movies.  My favorite Christmas movie of all time is "The Family Stone". I own it and watch it several times a year, and yes, I know most of the words by now! But I digress. Here are some closeups of my Santas...

I used several sources for my redwork Santas.  You can read more about the origin of my Five Santas quilt right HERE

I'm a firm believer that a person can never have too many Santas. Especially quilted Santas! My good friend, Mary, also believes this (Mary, aka "Shopper Mom" , aka Chip of our Chip and Dale sewing days). Mary gifted me with a gorgeous litttle Santa quilt that she purchased from Quilter Barb, another quilting friend of mine. How wonderful to have a new Santa quilt that reminds me of two special friends! Have a peek at my Wonky Santa quilt that is now hanging in my livingroom in good company with my other Santas. 

Barb used wool to applique the words and Santa's hat trim and beard. 

The quilt is 31 inches square with each block being about 7 inches square. So these Santas are tiny and their belt buckles are so cute!

I received a few little treasures in the mail from some of my blog friends over Christmas.  These little coasters arrived all the way from the UK, thanks to Quilt Sue of Quilt Times.

And Sheila of Sheila's Quilt World sent this lovely postcard that arrived in pristine condition!

I was very fortunate in a few giveaways before Christmas.  One such giveaway was sponsored by Nicole at 1 Choice 4 Quilting and has already arrived in my mail box.  I was the winner of a black and white Mystique layer cake by Lila Tueller plus three yards of fabric of my choice from Nicole's online shop.

The package arrived in no time at all, thanks to the excellent personal and prompt service provided by Nicole. I added a few more fabrics from my wish list so the package included all the makings for a new quilt that I'll start in the new year. I put Nicole's button on my sidebar that will link you to 1Choice4Quilting. She has some wonderful fabrics in her shop and so much more. I do a fair bit of online fabric shopping so from time to time I may add a button or two so you'll see where I've been! 

I made a few gifts for friends that I couldn't show you before Christmas because they read my blog on a regular basis. Their gifts have all been opened so I can now show them to you.

I made a flannel quilt that is just the perfect sized Cuddle Quilt! The  pattern is called Lucky Star by Atkinson Designs, especially made for using Fat Quarters.

I used perle cotton and large stitches to hand quilt it. 

At the last minute, I decided this quilt needed a bag. Quilts sometimes just have to be put away for awhile, so I thought this quilt should have its own bag so it would be easy to find in a closet or under a bed! I ran to the local department store, purchased a cotton zippered pillow protector, hand-appliqued the letters very primitively(!) using scraps from the quilt, and put the quilt inside it.

I wrapped it up and it was ready to gift...guess you know who received this quilt!

I also had a lot of fun making some stitchery mini-quilts for my friends, including this little bike quilt.  I thought this was just perfect for my friend who loves to Trek along!

I purchased the pattern as a PDF from Clover and Violet and added a few of my personal touches with some stitching, fabric frame and both machine and hand quilting.  

Another friend loves snowmen, so I found a snowman stitchery pattern created by Sue Allemande that was available free online and the rest is history.

Do you notice the snowman patterned border fabric?  I made this myself by stamping snowmen on white fabric...where else was I going to find snowmen fabric in a little town without a fabric shop? A girl has to do what a girl has to do.

I did manage to get to my sewing corner in the last few days in between festivities and have a few projects on the go. Today I also spent a lot of time tidying and reorganizing my sewing corner. Woodworker Hubby is hanging a new light above my sewing desk as we speak and gifted me with lots of new quilting tools for Christmas. I know they are sure to make my quilting life easier and my seams straighter!  

Thanks for coming by and hope you continue to enjoy this festive season. It's a great day for quilting!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Merry Christmas

It's official in our's Christmas!

Many years ago, when the children were still small, I worked on this cross stitch picture. The project took a couple of seasons to finish, but I'm glad I didn't give up because it's a nice little reminder of when the kids were small.

The house is decorated, the outdoor lights are up, the Christmas tree is in the stand, always a pine tree,  and tonight Woodworker Hubby and I will decorate it and be ready for visits from family and friends. Most of the ornaments are Santas that have been given to me over the years, so it's always a special treat to unpack the boxes and hang each one.  

I had a lot of fun in my sewing corner over the last few days and managed to finish my little Christmas quilt that I told you about HERE and HERE.  Because several of you mentioned that the quilt looked like a window, I added some snowflakes and I call the quilt, "Christmas Window" or maybe it could be "Window on Christmas"?

I couldn't make up my mind which way the window should be hung...

so I added two sleeves on the back so I could hang it either way, depending on the location.  Of course I chose a busy fabric for the back so it would be harder to find the thread nests that might be hiding on the back! 

The snowflakes are fused in place and tacked in the centres.  I thought it might add a little character if they flop a bit over time. (Besides which I couldn't imagine tackling all those edges with my blanket stitch today!)

All in all, I`m pretty happy with the project, and even though it is a window, it could end up being used as a table runner. 

Don`t you love it when there are so many choices?

I'm keeping this post very short today because it's such a busy time for many of us. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and hope that you will enjoy special times with families, friends, and maybe some fabrics over this festive season.  

It's a great day for quilting!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Winner Chosen and a Christmas 4-Patch Ready to Quilt

Thank you to all who visited me during the Quilting Gallery's Blog Hop Party.  What a time we had! Thanks to host Michele and all her fabulous sponsors, we had the opportunity to hop all around blog land, meeting new friends and entering draws for some enticing giveaways. There were about 170 participants and I think many of these folks visited me, with several becoming new followers.  Welcome and many hugs!

I was kept pretty busy this week replying by email to the  171 comments. If you didn't receive a note from me, you may be a no-reply blogger and I'm sorry we couldn't connect.  Now on to what you are waiting for.  I used Random.Org to choose a random number. The winner of my giveaway, a "Spoolin' Around" pattern and kit by Kansas Troubles Quilters is Karen, comment 130, who wrote: "Thanks so much for the giveaway opportunity. And, thanks for no hoops".  I have emailed Karen and am waiting for her address.  Again thanks to you all for participating.  

Michele has a fantastic Christmas Quilt Show going on right now.  Several friends of mine have entered their festive creations so please pop over for some inspiration and to vote for your favorite quilt right HERE.   

Thought I'd start off this post with a picture of a Santa, just because you know I love Santas!  This Santa was cross stitched by my mother-in-law many years ago and gifted to us one Christmas.  

Woodworker Hubby framed it and we hang it every year in the living room.  

My MIL has been an avid cross-stitcher and quilter over the years and has been quite a source of inspiration to me.  She has made stunning quilts for all her grandchildren, using her excellent applique and stitching skills to create many treasured gifts.

For the last couple of days, I decided to play with my  little red and green 4-patches that I blogged about last time at Christmas Scrapping. I'm a bit of a perfectionist ( who, me?) so I ended up unsewing the Christmasy blocks that had white and gold backgrounds and chose instead to use fabrics with just red and green as the base.  I thought this would work better with the bright white I was planning to use for the sashing.  I'm just sewing on the borders here.

The final stitch, ready to cut the thread.

I laid it out in the ironing board for a better look and to get the creases out of it.

When I was ready to sandwich the quilt, I didn't want to cut into a large piece of batting for such a small project, so looked around and found a couple of pieces of batting and sewed them together.  Anything to save money at Christmas! I often use batting tape to press pieces of batting together but had run out recently, so sewing the batting worked really well for me today.

I found a great backing fabric for my project...a bright Christmas red and white plaid and sandwiched the quilt using 505 quilt spray baste.  In fact, I ran out of that "to buy" list is growing.

I am all ready to quilt Christmas 4-patch. I plan to straight line machine quilt it is as Lori did in her Dolly Quilt Tutorial at Bee in My Bonnet  where I got the inspiration to make this little quilt.  I didn't follow the directions exactly, so my quilt is a little larger...about 20 x 28, and I have no idea what to do with it. I guess it may be a runner, or sit on  a corner of the couch, or be a floor mat...who knows? I just love working with Christmas colours!

But the quilting  is for another day.

I know we have all been so impacted by the events that unfolded on Friday in Connecticut.  As parents of two, and coming from a family of educators, including myself, hubby, our children, sisters, in laws, nieces, nephews and more, I just can't imagine.  Prayers and many hugs...

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas Scrapping

I don't want to start my post with negativity, but gee, do you think my annual Christmas cold could just go away?  Soon?  After a weekend of enjoying time and festivities with my fellow quilters, the head cold that I kept ignoring just would not be ignored any more.  

I've used a honey and lemon drink (recipe with many thanks to Madame Samm and Carol...a yummy drink and very soothing), I've gobbled lozenges for the sore throat, and Woodworker Hubby even brought me tissues with aloe. 

Most of this week I've spent on the couch. My Christmas shopping will definitely be last minute and some of my hand-crafted gifts might have to be postponed 'till next year. My sewing machine has only whirred for about an hour all week, but I did manage to get into my quilting chair for just a little bit of time this morning.

I was going to quilt my Five Santas with cross hatching, but I didn't have the energy or the tools at my elbow so I just started quilting around the shapes. I'm sure it will be fine. On the back of the chair is the Schnibbles quilt, Bennington, that I finished right before Christmas last year. 

Like I said, my energy level is at a minimum and the brain isn't working as well as it should so one afternoon I decided to do an easy job...reorganize my Christmas scraps.  

I decided to de-stash first. I sorted and put together one batch and mailed it off to a new home.  As we all know in a quilter's life, one persons' scraps is another person's treasures. 

Then I really went to town and dug deep in my plastic totes to organize everything else that was Christmas related.  I managed to cut a great bunch of 2.5 inch squares...

They looked so pretty that I started to sew them into 4-patch blocks.

I didn't get too far, just far enough to give me an idea of how it will look once I sew it together with some sashing. Lori Holt of Bee In My Bonnet gave an excellent tutorial for a "Dolly" quilt using 4-patch blocks, sashing, and straight line machine quilting.  I am now thinking that I may have a little Christmas dolly quilt in the making.  Check out Lori's tutorial right HERE

Some of the stash fabrics I cut in strips because there is always a Christmas block to be framed...

Some pieces were just so tiny I decided to cut them into little tumblers using a tiny little plastic template that arrived from the Temecula Quilt Company in a kit I purchased last fall. The tumblers are in a sandwich container so I'm sure you get the idea of their size.  

In my hour of sewing today, I did put a few tumblers together to start a mini-quilt.  I think I'm liking this too, though the colour of the photograph leaves much to be desired.

I tidied up my panels and am still thinking of putting together a pillow or two. Sharon of Vrooman's Quilts gifted me with the panel of Santas on the right and I've had a lot of fun playing with them.  You may remember seeing these Santas as part of Madame Samm's Think Christmas blog hop in July. To be re-inspired for Christmas, visit her pinterest page here.

I had great fun sorting my stack of fabrics that I am hoarding saving to use with my Nostalgic Christmas Quilt pattern.  I have four blocks completed, realistically planning on a 2013 finish.  Designer Lynne at Sew'n Wild Oaks suggests we use checks, plaids, stripes, and polka dots.  Do you think I have a good start?

Don't forget that the Quilting Gallery's Blog Hop Party is still on through to December 15. There are over 170 participants with giveaways on their blogs and I am one of them. The full list of participants is posted at the Quilting Gallery. Read about my giveaway on my previous post and leave a comment there if you are interested in my giveaway.

It might not be a great week for me to sew, but it's a great time for me to read. Make sure you check out Madame Samm's blog every day in December for "Books for Women by Women"...a chance to learn about some amazing women authors and their books and qualify to win some amazing prizes! 

Before I go, I want to extend a huge welcome and many hugs to visitors, new followers and "old"!  I love quilting, reading, and writing and The Cuddle Quilter lets me do all three. I appreciate your company so much as I quilt along!

That's it for to the couch...maybe tomorrow will be a better day for quilting!  

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Blog Hop Party and Giveaway

Michelle at Quilting Gallery is having a birthday party and you're all invited!  She is celebrating her 5th birthday by hosting a Quilters Blog Hop Party with Giveaways so I decided to join in on the fun.

From December 9 through to December 15, bloggers from around the globe will be celebrating the Quilting Gallery's birthday by offering giveaways on their blogs.  Update:  Michelle tells us that over 150 bloggers will be participating....that means over 150 opportunities to meet some new blog friends and participate in a lot of giveaways! The Quilting Gallery is known as "the place where quilters have fun" so be sure to check it out! 

Michelle will post the list of participating Blog Hop Party bloggers on December 10 after 9:00 pm EST right HERE. 

This is a perfect time for me to join in the party and offer a giveaway. If you are a new visitor, I have been blogging for just over a year and I can't think of a better opportunity to thank my many visitors and loyal followers who have been with me for my quilting adventures since The Cuddle Quilter began.

Every day is an adventure in my sewing corner and if you visit me often, you'll see that my quilting tastes run in all directions.  Just this week I finished hand quilting my Forget Me Not quilt, designed by Pam Buda at Heartspun Quilts and offered as a free quiltalong awhile back. The instructions are posted on the sidebar of her blog.  If you visit her blog HERE you'll also see a wonderful parade of Forget Me Not quilts made by quilters from across the globe. 

My quilt was made using creams and blues, some from Pam's line of fabrics, Heart of the Prairie, and some from my reproduction stash.

My little quilt measures 25 x 34...

and the finished sampler blocks are pretty small at 4.5 inches.

I also have some more modern Christmas fabrics in my stash, so I combined them with some traditional reds and greens and started a Dresden Plate quilt on Friday.  I finished my first block yesterday.  I couldn't wait to get one done...I think I am going to love this quilt but I probably won't have it ready 'till next Christmas. You can read more about the Dresden Plate process HERE

So now for my giveaway!  I am offering a pattern and kit for "Spoolin'Around", a 17" round table topper designed by Kansas Trouble Quilters.  Aren't these little spools adorable! I picked up the kit in August while attending a quilting class with designer Lynne Hagmeier and knew it would be a perfect giveaway gift, complete with pattern and fabrics chosen by the gang at KTQuilts. 

To win, all you need to do is leave a comment at the end of this post between now and December 15 at 9:00 pm EST. jumping through hoops required! And of course, since it is Christmas, there just may be a little something Christmasy included! I will also accept International entries. Don't worry about the shipping charges as I'll look after them, though I may squish the package a little to save on postal costs! 

Thanks for coming by. It's a great day for quilting!