Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Let's talk tree skirts

I know, you are thinking, why now? Christmas is over. Yes it is and hope you all had a happy one. The big day certainly flies by doesn't it?

As I decorate, and un-decorate, I am always thinking about things I want to improve or change for next year. Remember last year when I made all the extra fabric chain? Come to think of it I still need to make more. My tree is really tall so there is still plenty of room for more chain.

Another major thing I have been thinking about changing is my tree skirt. Here is my current one. You can probably tell by the fabrics that I made it years and years ago. In the '70's when cotton fabrics were really tough to find. It is quite large. I used a king sized bed sheet for the backing. And it is tied at the corners. It's really pretty round, too. I remember using the pencil and string method of making a circle. Amazing how well that can work! To prove that this is something that has been on my mind for a while, here's my tree skirt pattern collection. Not that I have been fixated, or anything. Just happens that I like to collect tree skirt patterns. So, is my plan to make one of these? 'Fraid not. My plan is to take out the ties and put buttons at all the corners. At first I was thinking red and white, but maybe just white. I have a button sewing on foot for my machine and I think I will learn how to use it.

Oh, and these patterns? I don't see why they couldn't be table toppers. That way you don't have to make that giant cut...
I realized that I hadn't shared my office Christmas decorations. You may know that I work in the building materials industry. So it only seems appropriate that my hard hat participates in the decor! I have had that candy garland since my daughter was little. It has a lot less fake plastic sugar on it now than it used to!
I made this for my mother and when she passed I saved it. She was not at all crafty -- her love was playing bridge. But at one point in her life she made lots of those ornaments that had beads and sequins pinned into styrofoam balls in fancy patterns. I don't know what happened to all of those, but I made her this tree because it had lots of beads and sequins and, well, just went well with those ornaments. It is so retro now that I guess it is "in" again because I certainly get lots of compliments on it (!)
Here is another item that returned to me from my mother. I think it is really cute. Kind of a woodland Santa. Also pretty vintage at this point. The Snidely Whiplash woodcut was made by my uncle, an official artist. I am sorry the weather did not cooperate so that you could see the snow covered mountains outside my window. Oh, well, maybe another day.
The leadership sign was a gift from my admin long ago when I managed a lumber yard for a now extinct company. (The one in the big picture that my flash pretty much obliterated.) Periodically I find yellow stickies with snarky remarks stuck to it!
So, it's almost 2010. I remember when I was a kid thinking about how old I would be at the turn of the century and here it is a decade into the new one. I am not much for making resolutions but I do need to slim down my stash so a semi resolution will be to try to only buy fabric to complete a project -- I need to use what I have first. (You did notice that all important "try" there, didn't you. Always leave yourself a loophole, right?)
My blogiversary is coming up. My first post was January 5th of last year. I had really only discovered blogs earlier in the fall and was totally captivated. All these people sharing what was going on with their quilting, their decorating, their cooking. I wanted to play, too. It's been fun to meet other bloggers via the comments. So be on the lookout, there will be a giveaway. I have been working on putting some things together. Stay tuned!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Just dropping in for a minute

to wish everyone a Merry Christmas

Here is a link to a fun interactive card. http://ecard.ashland.edu/index.php?ecardYear=2004adm

You will need a flash player.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sometimes its almost as if

all the ideas you have for quilts you want to make just totally disappear from your head and nothing seems to be the right project to start on. I have been in that kind of quilty funk for a few weeks now. Maybe the creative energies that go into doing up Christmas use up every other creative molecule you have?

Anyway, after a couple of weeks of dithering and just puttering around the quilting room, I found something I wanted to do. Remember that link I shared to the Whimsicals page with the perky or murky quilt? I decided I wanted to do a red and green sampler quilt similar to that one. Kind of an un-Christmas Christmas quilt.

I decided to do 8" blocks so went through my books and the internets for blocks. Then I pulled the red and green (and gold and cream) scraps from my big scrap bin. See, here is the pile. Yeah, it's a mess, but I like churning through it with the patterns one at a time. I spent a few evenings churning and cutting. And then yesterday and today I completed the first batch of blocks. Here they are. I am up to 21. This has really been fun. I have found some block patterns I really like and will use again. And some that, well, not so much. I still have a few more cut out and then will probably make a few of my favourites in other colours. I'm not sure why I chose 8" blocks. The math is harder than 6" or 12". Oh, well, that's what they make calculators for! I'm not sure how many blocks I want but I figure I will know when there are enough.
Oh, and I also made a little ballerina bag for a friend's little girl. I had made her new sister a quilt out of left over ballerina fabric from a quilt for my granddaughter. Her mom told me last week how much her older daughter liked the ballerina quilt as she is taking ballet now. So while I was digging in the scrap bin I came across just enough ballerina fabric to make a little bag. In my experience little girls love little bags. I sure have gotten a lot of mileage out of this fabric. And there is still a little bit left! This was a fun little bag pattern. It went together quickly and with a minumum of unsewing. That is not my usual experince with bags. I might even make this one again.
I think I am ready for Christmas now. Hard to believe how quickly the month of December goes by! It sure has been fun to look at everyone in blogland's Christmas decorations. That probably helps make the time go fast. It is amazing, isn't it, how much time can go by visiting everyone!
Oh, and I've tried for the first time to link to a holiday home tour. It may have worked. Whether or not, visit Hooked on Houses for some great holiday decorations -- just in case you have time to fill -- heh, heh.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A little break in the Christmas related posts

for some finishes. They are small since so much time lately has been devoted to Christmas preparations, but a finish is a finish, right?

The little snowman is a tree ornament. Because, I need more of them, right. The other two are finished as little pillows/bowl fillers, and obviously are one to two holidays behind! My other major news is my new toy. Yes, it a present and I already have it. I had been thinking about a serger for quite some time but was not willing to fork over a very large sum of money since I don't know how much I will use it. We found this one at a great price but I wanted to be sure about it before the return period ended so it had to be opened and used early.
And here is my first serged item. In case you can't tell, it is a wine bottle bag. Not exactly traditional wine bottle bag fabric but it won't hold a wine bottle at my house and I thought it was a fun use of this border print. I love these kinds of prints and buy them often but then have a hard time deciding what to do with them. If you cut them up too much the whole cuteness thing vanishes.
We have had several days of really cold weather and lots of snow for us. It really contributes to the Christmas mood and I have been spending way too much time looking at how everyone in blogland is decorating for Christmas. Time that shoulda or coulda been spent working on projects. Oh well, inspiration needs to come from somewhere and what better a place than other folks who like to do what I like to do!
Stay warm everyone!

Monday, December 7, 2009

It's tree time!

In this house the perfect place for the tree really is the perfect place because you can see (and decorate) all sides of it. We also have tall ceilings so we can have a tall tree. That means there is always space for more 0rnaments. That is what that means, isn't it?

So, here is the front -- it faces the front door. I tend to put my favourite ornaments on this side. Here is the opposite side. It faces the hallway from the garage and the kitchen. As you will see, I don't really have a theme -- I put things on my tree that I like. And since I have been collecting things to put on my tree for a long time there is a huge variety of ornaments. Lot's of home made although not necessarily home made by me.
Now for some closeups. You get to listen to boring stories about some of the ornaments. Remember early in the year when I made fabric chain? Here is the original. See that little flight jacket? It's really a key chain -- told you I will hang almost anything on my tree. My father was a carrier pilot so this always makes me think of him.
I have a couple of crocheted drums and other crocheted ornaments that a friend made for me when we lived in Connecticut a while back. She made that little doll with the blue dress in the picture above this caption, too. That poinsettia is cross stitched on perforated paper. I made it a long long time ago. A little Boyd's reindeer or moose. I always have trouble determing which. I have quite a few little Boyd's ornaments. I have had them a while. The more recent Boyd's items just haven't spoken to me like the older ones.
I don't paint things very often but see that red bell? It was bright red and with the instructions in a Michael's store craft magazine I painted it to look older. It involved lots of flinging and rubbing of toothbrush bristles. When I was finished I had made the wall behind me look older, too!
Remember when soft sculpture with panty hose was all the rage. Granny dates from that era. No, I didn't make her -- you know I can't/don't do faces. That little Annie was done by a local Boise artist. I have quite a few items on the tree she has made.
I love that little stocking. From a craft fair a few years ago. I have meant to make some like it but have just never gotten around to it.
See that hobby horse -- another of those crocheted items. That prim snowman is new this year. These really show the variety I think.
I made a bunch of these ornaments a while back. It is cross stitch over a covered buttons with a crocheted border. Mixed media! I have given lots of these away over the years. It does take up a lot of tree real estate, though. Oh, see that angel almost flying out of the pic on the left -- another panty hose soft sculpture.
See that little wooden angel? I have several of these figures. A women who worked for my dad in his civilian career after he retired from the Navy gave them to me when my daughter was a baby. Each of them represented someone in the family. There is a grandmother, a baby, a tin soldier , etc. She labeled all of them, too.
Again with the variety. I have 6 of those little plates -- 2 each of 3 patterns. I got them when visiting my mom in FL shortly before she passed. They came from her very favourite department store. She loved to shop.
I don't glue very often either but I did make that little wreath with the buttons. I made several and they are still all in one piece! That cardboard Teddy is from a souvenier set from the Smithsonian.
Another Teddy, oh, and just at the side you can catch a glimpse of my newest ornament -- bought Saturday from that local artist I was telling you about. She had an open house in her home and in addition to serving brownies and warm cider she had her ornaments, dolls, and stockings everywhere in her house. A little sock monkey and that clown with the yellow suit came home with me.
Here is a better view of the clown.
So enough of the walk down memory lane. Thanks for sticking to the end!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

So it turns out that it is really easy

to unfill up the card in my camera. Told you I was an amateur when it comes to cameras. So I have been able to take a whole bunch more pictures. This post will be more non-tree Christmas decorating. I think I will save the tree for next time since it takes so long to upload.

Let's start with the other side of the front door. I really like that sleigh but it is big. The denim bear fits it pretty well. So many things look just flat lost in it. I finished him just in time! Here is the top of my china cabinet. You should be able to double click on the pictures to make them bigger in case you want to see more detail.
These primitive snowmen sat in the sleigh last year. I thnk I like them better over here.
This is an old drafting table in the corner of my dining room. I always have a good time setting up displays on it. Mr THQ always gives me a hard time about leaving no surface unfilled and that is certainly true about this one.
Another Christmas quilt. I have to move benches around to fit in the Christmas tree so this one ends up against the wall.
This little sled had fabric snowmen glued on it when we found it at DI. I have been reading prim blogs and I suppose I should follow their lead and add some walnut stain to this to make it look older but it looks so much better this colour and without the fabric snowmen that it may just stay like this. I told you I was not a purist!
Now those bells are truly prim! There are 3 of them and they are so big I have a hard time finding the right place to put them. I kind of like them in this box, another thrifted find. I have thought of thumbtacking them to the ceiling but I am afraid they would come down and conk someone in the head. I spent years running building materials centers and one thing I learned was to think about the worst that could happen with a display. Because it surely would.
I really like some of the things Hallmark comes out with but I always have to wait until after Christmas when they go on sale. These bunnies are from a few years back.
One of the things I like about this house is how much space I have over the kitchen cabinets. Many of things up here stay here all year. Sure looks like I like red now, doesn't it?
My gingerbread area is on the left side of this picture. Now if I would just get that gingerbread wall hanging basted and quilted I could show a longer shot.
I'm not sure when I will be able to get a good picture of my baker's rack since it stands in front of a window. This is my "perky" area. Oh, I found the blog that had that "perky" and "murky" line in it -- it is www.whimsicals@typepad.com. Not only was it a great line, I love her patterns and fabrics too.
I also do a little Christmas in the flag room. You can't quite see the runner in this pic but it is a Marimekko from the late '60's. And yes, I have been dragging it around with me for that long. When we first got married I was all yellow shag, black and white houndstooth, chrome and glass modern if you can believe it!
A little closer view of the dresser top.
And the flag room tree. Hmmm, guess I actually have two trees with a theme!
Oh, there's still one pic left. These Annalee figures were my mom's and they came back to me. Mr THQ made the little chest for me years ago. I just noticed that the two green drawers and two blue drawers are in a row. I like them to be all mixed up. Wonder how long I haven't noticed???
Okay, tree next post. Promise.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Remember you were warned

about my going overboard with the Christmas decorating. Today I can only share some of it as I filled up my camera card and have to make some adjustments before I can take more pictures. And I haven't even gotten to the tree -- just to some of the other areas. As always, you must remember that I am not a great photographer so you will just have to bear with me. First up, the dining room table. I seem to be stuck on the picket fence and the HOME blocks now don't I? They just look so good with everything. There are some of the new candy canes. That green dish? A recent thrifted find. It is actually a divided dish and it is Russell Wright. My mom once upon a time had an entire set of Russell Wright in -- wait for it -- the colour of the season -- chartreuse! I have no clue what ever happened to it. Wish it lived with me. Next up, a quilty corner.
And my Christmas frame collection of two! Both showing off Mary Engelbreit cards. I love her illustrations.
Our house has shelves on both sides of the fire place. This is the side over the hole where the TV goes. I think I need to make some little Christmas quilts to replace these for the season, don't you?
This is the other side, top shelf.
Second shelf. Looks like that snow girl is hiding behind the flag. I made that needlepoint stocking when my daughter was a baby. Obviously I loved bright colours. I still do. I kind of have a split personality between bright and primitive. On someone's blog I saw it referred to as perky and murky. That's me.
Here is the mantel. Mr THQ made the flag for me and my FIL made the birdhouse cabin many many years ago.
I think we started with the snowman top for this box when I first got it. Now we have been through all the seasonal toppers. These fancy pants snow ladies are a little out of character for me but I just loved their animal prints and "mink" trimmed coats.
I made this little quilt to go in a certain place but it was just a bit too big when it was all finished. Don't you just hate it when you measure and measure and STILL get it wrong? Like sewing in a sleeve inside out, taking it out, and then doing it again. Grrr. Oh, well, it looks just fine here.
One of the first things we bought after we got married was an old secretary. It was old then, so now it is REALLY old. It was finished in a dark stain with gold plastic in the door. You remember that stuff from the '70's? UGLYYYYY! Some time ago Mr THQ refinished it and put real glass in the door. All of that was the long way around to saying here is what is on the top shelf inside the door.
Here is a little display next to it. I have had a few Annalee items for just about as many years as we have had the secretary.
Here is the top of the tall side. My daughter made the Christmas tree sign when she was really little. It is one of my favourite things.
Here is the top of the low side. Tired of me saying how long I have had things yet? I must have made that cross stitch welcome sign 30 or so years ago!
Here is a better view.
This house has sidelights by the front door. Here is one side. I ran out of camera card space before I could show you the other side so it will have to wait for the next post.
I love these little stockings from Moda. Now these I have only had a year or two!
This little sign is recently thrifted. I think it is really cute. Mr THQ was giving me a hard time because it is not near my "reindeer section" which is on top of the fridge. It just didn't show up well enough there!
Now on to the other side of the room. I love little Santa dolls and snowmen. You probably already guessed, huh?
I guess I should get the ladder out to get a better pic of this but after 4 days of ladder work getting all the decorations up I just didn't have it in me.
Here is a view of the whole area.
And my little tree with "old fashioned" ornaments next to the cabinet. This tree actually has a theme and I stick to it!
I know I already showed this wreath as my Christmas decoration teaser but I wanted to show my tree collection over the door. When I get the ladder out I will show you a close up of the world's ugliest crafted Christmas tree. It is one of my all time favourites. It's the 3rd one in from the right.
You have seen this flat birdhouse before. Here it is ready for Christmas. I hadn't thought before of how funny it is that the birdhouse is big and the trees are small.
Now you can get just a glimpse of my tree. There is a post near the front entry that is fun to decorate. Here is one side.
And here is the front side. I made this Christmas quilt a year or two ago. I really like it. I usually don't go in for just 2 colours as I am more of a scrappy kind of girl. I am thinking of making it my blog header for the season but by the time I get around to it the season will be gone so this may be your only chance to see it!
Well, that's all for today. I promise more soon. It will be Christmas tree overload time!