Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas Meal Planning 2015

My husband and I are really (I think) having fun planning the food for the holiday.

Amazing that it's just a few days away...

We have been having coffee and breakfast together sitting in the sun in the living by the Christmas tree. It's been very nice to start the day that way!

Today I stopped him from going to work so we could plan the meal together.

So far we are having five guests and we have decided on:
  • Crackers, Cheese, Grapes/Apple Slices
  • Carrots, celery
  • Wine
  • Appetizer up to 325 calories
One of the guests will be coming over on Christmas Eve and we will chop together, set the table, chat, and maybe make some rolls so on Christmas Day itself my husband and I will just need to compile and bake! 

This adds up to a huge number of calories, but amazingly we discarded several other dishes that would have tripled the count.  

Now that I finished the pajama bag I can move over to the house and the food!

Received More: RedLetterQuilts Giveaway: PiNS pincushion pattern, by Sugar Free Quilts!

Even more!

As part of Heidi's Red Letter Quilts giveaway, I was contacted today by Karen Chase @ Sugar Free Quilted Design.

She sent me the downloadable PiNS pincushion pattern, by Sugar Free Quilts!

The directions look really clear, so I'm sure I'll be able to make these up shortly!

And Karen is also sending me a bag of the crushed walnuts so I can fill the bag I make with the magic that will weigh the cushion down and sharpen the pins and needles I put in the cushion.  Received the crushed walnuts - thank you!

Thank you to both Karen and Heidi!

Winner and Received: Amazingly Simple Triangle Stars by Barbara H Cline

I received a really nice book today in the mail:
Amazingly Simple Triangle Stars by Barbara H Cline.

8 dynamic quilts from 1 easy-to-sew block

Turn a single block into eight distinctive quilts—the magic is in the fabric! Best-selling author and well-known teacher Barbara H. Cline takes an easy-to-sew triangle block and then shows countless intricate designs for you to experiment with color and value. Stunning triangle-star quilts are perfect for the adventurous beginner looking to try something new or the intermediate quilter who wants to put her skills to use in a creative way. Design your own quilt top using a provided line drawing that you can color in and then bring to life with creative fabric selection!
  • 1 easy-to-sew block makes 8 stunning projects
  • Change the fabric placement for unique designs
  • Color in a provided line drawing to design your own triangle-star quilts 
The book was featured this week in the C&T Publishing Weekly Blog Roundup! 

Thank you!

A finish - at least for now. Pajama Bag

Of course it's not just a quilting project.  It's not just 
that this is a pajama bag, it's the whole thing of 
adding a new person to the family and continuing
 the few traditions we have had, and adding new 
ones.  New excuses to spend time with each other 
and get caught up and to learn by listening to 
others. Getting a fresh new start on everything.

This is mainly just in my head as there is rarely 
time to discuss with others, but hopefully things 
will calm down and there will more quality time 
in the future.
This first version of the pajama bag is finished! The project took a lot of thinking and reading. And then there were twists and turns too.

I had thought I'd free hand or paper piece a Christmas tree for the front, and that it would be a quilted and lined bag.

But then I remembered I had a bunch of felt and since the other pajama bags were made of felt thought it would be better to use that.

I had thought I'd use a zipper to close the top, but when I tried to sew it seemed that the felt would pull apart so that attempt was cut off.

In the end, I found some lovely red and green tumblers I had cut a while back, I put them together and quilted the blocks on the felt following tips from Candace at Saltwater Quilts. I followed her suggestions to get the modern quilting on my little bag - click here to see her detail photo of the design. This was a good practice for the larger quilt I have basted already.

I FMQed 'Maria' three times to help it stand out and added a little tree with garland so it was more centered.

Then I added the sweet little charm Heidy at Red Letter Quilts just sent me.

I thought I had snaps as my backup closure, but when I looked closer saw the snaps I had from my mom were corroded so unusable. That is why it's just finished for now. I will either find snaps I can use, or figure out something to close the top a little better. But for now the bag part can be tucked under the top and it works!

Candance and I were emailing about my other tumbler and she said in one of the emails I am sure whatever you decide to do will look great, and that some how freed me to go ahead and get a pajama bag done.

Thank you for your encouragement!

I had started the day by going on a ranger led tour of Mission Trails.  It was a little one mile walk, so interesting to learn about the history and to have plants pointed out to me.

I remembered a bit and shared with my husband when I returned, but I didn't take photos of those things.

There is type packrat that builds these houses made of tree branches and other things.  She collects future food and shiny things and keeps bring these things back, then when the area is full, she builds
another room so she can add more!  She urinates on the stuff and that preserves things.  She lives alone except when she has babies. Two at a time.  They live with her for just a short while then she puts them out so they are on their own and she has the place to herself again..  The males also build these houses but they do not collect things so theirs are smaller.  Some scientists took one of these nests apart and were able to date the rooms and items inside.  They found that some where over a hundred years old!  The rat itself will only live around three years.  After she is dead then one of her children will move in and take over the house.  I'll have to listen again to be sure of the details.

The ranger also pointed out two types of Oak trees.  One had the typical leaves that are shiny of top, sort of cup in and underneath are fuzzy.  The other kind of tree she said was endangered - my ears perked up as I wondered if that was type we have in our backyard. Ours is more bushy since I had it trimmed, definitely isn't as grand looking as the one she pointed to.  I'm going to bring some leaves to double check and see if I can get the tree identified.

It was a lovely way to start the Sunday.

Then I had a special lunch and time with a friend from out of town.  She dropped me off at the Little Italy trolley station and then went to the airport to return her car and leave for home.

After a bit my husband came, then our son and DIL.

We all met downtown to see the San Diego Parade of lights last night.

It was silly to see the boats with their light displays, dancing Santa's and elves shouting out - when I say Merry you say Christmas, or San and Diego.  Silly fun.

Afterwards we walked through Little Italy and picked a restaurant to share a meal together.  We walked to the trolley again and took that to our different stops to get back in our cars.

So the day was a success.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Received: RedLetterQuilts Selection of Items and Fabric

What fun!  I received these items from Heidi at RedLetter Quilts today!

It was just on Monday that she let me know my name was selected and here it is Thursday and already here!

See the template, charm and peppermint roca that she stuffed in the scissor case?  Yum and great.  I will put the "Made with Love" charm on the pajama bag for my new DIL!

Thank you so much Heidi!

Her blog is at:
Click to follow so you see her inspiring updates!

Heidi asked me to add option to follow by email, so I added that to my side bar.  I hope I have enough interesting sewing posts to make it worthwhile to get updates by email!

And while I was at it I found a gadget to indicate how many folks had visited my blog.  Fun to see that too!

Heidi made the scissor holder, using the tutorial from S.O.T.A.K. Handmade.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Home Depot Branches

We had to get our tree this year at the Home Depot.  Usually there is a non-profit community organization that we get it from.  We bring back the stand from the previous year and they would give us a new tree with a stand already installed.  DH and I thought we had a Rubbermaid tree stand, the kind you turn the points to straighten the tree.  But once we got home realized we only had the stand from the non-profit (that we could find).  Anyway, the next day I called Home Depot and told them and they said it wasn't busy so I could bring the tree back and they would drill to install the stand.

To protect the tree from losing more greenery, I wrapped the tree in a sheet and a tarp and put it in the car.  It took a while.  On the other end it took a while too.  The first two workers at the lot didn't think they could do the drilling but then Daniel came and remembered talking to me so he was up for the challenge.  He started drilling and then had to change bits to a larger one.

After he did the drilling we stood the tree up, unwrapped it and pressed down on the stand to straighten it, but the truck split then.  So they said I should pick out another tree with a bigger trunk.  I asked Daniel to just pick one out.  So he did and then drilled another hole.  Fit great on the stand.  He even helped me put the tree on the top of the car.  Such service!

The tree is filled with lights at home now.  I think there are 19 strands of lights!

We thought my son and his wife would come by to help decorate and drink egg nog, but that didn't happen over the weekend.  So this morning my husband and I put ornaments on - it looks quite festive!  I put a bowl of ornaments and hooks in the living room,  just in case anyone comes by so they could put a few ornaments on the tree too.  The little remote on the table is a great little deal I got at Costco last year.  You plug something into then can use the remote to turn the lights on and off.  It's made it really easy to turn on not only the Christmas lights but other lamps situated in weird places...

Lights off
Lights on! Even in the daytime you can see the difference!

Home Depot had a big box of branches that we could take home for free so I grabbed a few to make a decoration for our elderly neighbor's door.  It would have been nice to make something for her inside, the smell of the tree is so nice.  But I am not sure if that would have been healthy for her.  So I used ribbon to connect the branches, to decorate it and to add a few ornaments.  Then I found some gardening wire and made a loop. When I went to her place so that it was better to loop the wire thru the door armor and to wrap it to secure there so I was glad I had cut the wire long.  It looks pretty nice - not professional but home-y (hopefully not homely!).  I put on her door and emailed to let her know.  Never know how she is feeling so I always email to set up a visit or to let her know I have left some food, etc.

If we had a hook or nail on our door I would make one for us, but that will have to be another year. DH told me the friend I know from his college made wreaths for friends and family - maybe I can get him to show me the next time we visit!  Would be a fun project to do with others.

Winner: RedLetterQuilts Selection of Items and Fabric

Boy I feel lucky today!

Heidi wrote to say I'd been picked to receive her bundle of goodies:

What fun I will have with what she will be sending me!

Heidi shares photos and tips for many projects, I know I'll be returning to her RedLetterQuilts site and hope you will be joining me!

Copied from her blog post on the giveaway:

I love this opportunity to share some favorite things, and to meet new blogger's! 
The giveaway bundle I have put together includes:
One Vintage Market 5" Stacker, by Tasha Noel
Three Fat Quarters of the three prints shown, also by Tasha Noel, from her line "Country Girls".
One Handmade Scissor Cozy, plus whatever happens to jump inside it... and.. 
One downloadable PiNS pincushion pattern, by Sugar Free Quilts!

I really enjoyed making this over-sized cushion last month. It is large, and fully-lined, making it very durable - mine is getting a lot of use!

Winner! Little Girls Hat from ProjectsGirl Michelly

Is this just the cutest little hat?  Made by the enterprising young lady in the photo too!

Read about Michelly and see her Etsy shop too!

I picked the yellow version of the hat, and asked her to mail to the daughter of my friend who has a rather new baby girl.  What fun!

Link to the giveaway:

Thanks Michelly!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Sew Mama Sew: Happy Giveaway Day!

Happy Giveaway Day(s)! 

Two screens of generous giveaways:

  1. Sewing + Craft Supplies (Fabric, Patterns, etc.)
  2. Handmade Goods giveaways

The giveaways are to remain open until Sunday, December 13 at 5 p.m. PST.

The time I could have been sewing, I spent making entries for the giveaways!

Monday, December 7, 2015

A Charity Finish: Freeform Scrappy Thread Orange Peel and Curved Corner Finish

I have a finish!  The new things I practiced were curved corners different thread orange peel, applying the binding to the front.

Curved Corners and Binding

I hadn't planned on curved corners, but I goofed when doing the miter corner so it the only way I could think to repair was to trim the corners so I could work around the corner.  (I still only have the darning foot and the stitches were too small to remove.)  The corner makes a nice finish.  When I was reading up on how to do the curved corner the blogs I found said I would need to use a bias binding, but since mine was already cut and partly applied and stuck with what I had.  Other than the one corner where I had originally messed up though I did not find that I had trouble applying this straight of grain binding so I will try that again.

I did cut the binding strips at 2.5 inches, next time I'm going to try 2.25 inch strips as the line of stitching could have been closer with this kind of batting.

I did sew the binding to the front and then wrapped it to the back to sew the final stitching.  This I will do again.

Freeform and Scrappy Thread FMQing

I did an free form orange peel design and used up some of the thread I had that is in different colors. I like the way it looks - reminded me of leaves when I sewing, but then a firework when the different colors met at the intersections.  Since it's a scrap quilt, it made sense to me to also be scrappy with the thread.  Pink, red, blue, black, grey.  I will do this again.

Edges of Quilting

I didn't remember to be consistent at the edges with the orange peel design until the very end...  So many of the points are lost under the binding.  In fact I had intending on wrapping the back to the front to make the binding.  However, because I was inconsistent had to cover up those endings.  So I trimmed the quilt up and cut the binding from the backing fabric.  Next time I hope to remember to be consistent so the points aren't lost!  I could simply stay stitch all four sides of the project and use that to guide my FMQing.

Mitered Corner Error

My mistake on the corner.
I think I will make up some mug rugs to practice binding....

For the Future

I'm interested in different ways I can FMQ using consistently sized blocks to guide my stitching.


Looks like I started these charity quilts the end of January 2015...
Blogged here:

December Nights 2015

The first weekend of December, the folks at Balboa Park arrange December Nights.  The museums are all open, there are lots of vendors selling mainly food, and the UN little houses make different food and put on entertainment to celebrate and honor their previous countries.  Recently they have added a 'fun' zone and an area to drink and taste different wines and beers.

We have been going to this event pretty often for the past 30-years.  I don't have many photos and none of my husband unfortunately fro this year's event.

This year was especially nice as my husband and I left early so it was easy to park.  We went to a Goodwill that was new to us and each got a few items that we either wore or packed in the car before going to the park.  We had some lunch there and walked around.  Then when I thought son and DIL had parked I walked to meet them but it turned out they weren't walking they were still in car trying to park.  It was good when we finally met up with them.  The best part of the evening was at the Swedish center where we stood around a table, had glogg and chatted.

I recorded a new record number of steps: 22,162!

Quilt Group Holiday Party

My monthly quilting group will not be sewing this month, instead we met at someone's home, brought food for potluck, and put gifts on a table - these were picked out later.

I forgot to take a photo of my gift.  It was to be between $15 and $20 and quilt or chocolate related.
I went with a friend who had invited me to the group to Tuesday Morning to get gift.  Now I would know what to get, but this first time was nice to go with her to get things.  I ended up with 8 fat quarters, a jelly roll, and 4 one-yard packets - all the same set of bright colors and fabric line.  I am not familiar with the fabric so hope it will wash up and sew nicely.

Wrapped gift

Roasted Cauliflower

Customized Carrot Cake
 I made two dishes to share. Roasted cauliflower was a hit.  I added some tomatoes and parsley to make it look a little more festive.  The Carrot cake started with a boxed mix, but instead of following the directions I added sour cream, crushed canned pineapple and juice, diced apple, crushed toasted almonds, vanilla.  (So no eggs or oil)  It bakes up nicely.  I added sour cream to a can of frosting and put that on top.  The cinnamon sugar didn't make it look very festive but it was all I could think of!  Only a third of this was eaten, but there were many other desserts that were so delicious, I don't think people didn't like this, but it wasn't as pretty as the other offerings.

Living Room
BackYard BBQ and Frig
Sideyard Fireplace

Food before it was unveiled
Food at the end
The final WIP of the year.  (someone else's work)
The food was arranged in an L on the kitchen counter.  It was a really nice display.

The cutest easy dish looked like a wreath.  She had put a little dish of dressing in the center then arranged sugar snap peas around that.  She added a few tiny tomatoes to complete the visual effect.

The new to me dishes were two rolls with combinations of ham, cheese, and one had I think egg at the bottom.  They were baked together not sandwiches.  I hadn't seen or heard of these before.

Someone made or bought different cookies, and arranged them on a plate with dipping sauces.  One was made with cool whip and pumpkin.  The other was cream cheese, pineapple and dates.  I've seen these on Pinterest, but hadn't had before.  Quite fun to have a dip for cookies!
I've noticed that at lunch at the sewing group people bring projects to share, but didn't realize that each time someone does that they get a ticket.  So next year I will finish things so I, too can be eligible for this drawing.  The prizes were a $75 gift card at a local quilt shop, then bali strips, and bali fat quarters.  This last WIP that was shared was pieced by one person and quilted by another who is starting up a long arm business.  Her quilting has really improved in the last year that I have been seeing her work.  The rule on the deal is that it has to be a project that was started the year before or before that. Most everything I have started is from at least a year ago or older so if I concentrate on finishing things (first thing on my list of possible 2016 projects) I will get several tickets for next year's drawing!

The gifts are put on a table, then this year the order to pick was by each person's middle name.  My Ann was the second to draw.  My first package was a Christmas ornament with a quilt theme and two zippered bags with one clear side.  The other people knew the ornament company.  I guess they collect them.  When it's your turn you can either pick a new package or steal from some one who had already opened the package.  After three times a gift is frozen and it's safely yours.  I was glad that someone who really wanted the ornament stole mine, and I was able to get these nice mainly blue fat quarters instead!

What I ended up bringing home!
So that was my first Quilt Group party.

I sort of wish we'd had our name tags on, as it would have made it easier to remember people's names.  During the monthly meeting we really don't have a lot of time to chat and get to know each other, so it was very nice to get to know the ladies a little more at the party.

There were about 20 - 25 people there.  And I asked for the number of charity quilts completed.  The lady said she didn't know the exact number but it was around 50.  I turned in one quilt and spent one day just cutting kits for the quilts so I guess I made a good contribution to the group.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Giving Credit

A Quarter Inch from the Edge
Welcome to Throwback Thursday
@ A Quarter Inch from the Edge!
On the first Thursday of each month,
we have a visit from
the Ghosts of Quilt Projects Past! 
Yesterday I read a lot of blogs and updated my own as a result.  The links to at least several of the people I had sort of been following seemed out of date, and things just needed a good freshening up.

Shasta wrote to a group we belong to asking what projects we were going to work on in the coming year.  There are even more choices to pick and choose from than the year before, but I made a little list.  It's so difficult to make a list when there are just so many wonderful online and offline projects to consider! and one wants to be flexible and change when life changes too.  Already I can tell, I put too many things on the list.

Shasta posted today about a pretty Christmas tree quilt she had made earlier in the year. I remember seeing it before on her blog.  A fun quilt with patriotic colored trees. Hope your click to see it!

Anyway, in her post she links back to Throwback Thursday and I clicked to see that posting too. Jenn has reminded me to take time to have fun over the holidays, so I thank her for that!

I have decided to take this time to first share somethings from my Mom.  She passed away last year.  So naturally, I've been thinking about her a lot.  She gave this wall hanging to me. I usually hang it on a tree branch and then tack it to the wall during December.  Some years I have kept it up all the year, but it's really special for Christmas time.  She made me many expertly made outfits to wear, but this is the only quilt she gave me.  I believe she only made two quilts.
Please click to see the detail!
Really signed an dated!
 She also gave us lots of these Christmas dishes.

I pulled them out after reading Jenn's post to start using for the month.  It's not as easy as it once was to find replacement pieces now, but I think better to use them, than to keep them boxed away.

There is a special plate for Santa's cookies and different designs on some of the mugs.

I remember when Mom saw these reindeer at Robinson's the year we moved into our current home.  She was so excited, and had me take the elevator up so I could take the escalator down and slowly see the grand Christmas display.

She said she wanted to give them to us to have something to remember her by each Christmas.

Like I would forget her and need reminding.

I was so afraid when she gave them to me though. I imagined our baby would fall and poke his eye out!  I have a photo of the-just-beyond-toddler him somewhere, sitting on the one with horns like it was a pony. We would place the deer by the tree and put a little finger dish full of glitter reindeer food for the one looking toward the ground.

Mom used to put these smaller ones on an end table at Christmas time.

She liked reindeer.

Ever since I can remember, an anticipated present each year from my Mom & Dad was a fresh pair of pajamas tucked away in these bags.

I thought until recently that Mom had made these. But now on closer inspection, I can tell they were purchased.

I carry on the tradition now and almost always get my son and husband a pair of pajamas for Christmas.   (I don't know where the bag with my name is now.)

But now I need to get or make one now for our daughter-in-law! I wonder what she will think of my getting her pajamas for Christmas!

Well, this isn't exactly what Jenn intended I'm sure for Throwback Thursday, but it got me thinking and I thought I would share.  Please go to her site to see her wonderful Christmas tree quilt with fabulous border that reminds me of Christmas lights!

For the record though, here is my first finished quilt!  It's the farthest back I can throw!

It's not my first quilt top completed, but the first one I finished! I'm sure I had dreams of giving to to my son for Christmas...

Project Started 1992 - finished November 2009
For the rest of the story:

Thanks for sharing this throw back Thursday set of Christmas memories with me.

: )

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Possible Projects for 2016

  • Continue going through old projects and finishing them up!
  • Stash Bee - I think I will be part of hive 8!  We'll make one block for each other each month. Supposed to be that we can mostly use stash, and block would be finished within a few hours.  Each person in the group will be leader for a month.  That means they will decide on the block for others to make, and they will receive the blocks at the end of the month.  My month is July!
  • Cultural Fusion Rail Fence QAL - The Cultural Fusion Book has given me a shot in the arm and rekindled my quilting.  
  • Ad Hoc Improv Quilters - a Monthly challenge to report on finishes or ideas.
  • Read blogs by Liberated Quilters, Improv Quilters
  • Attend monthly (third Saturday of month) sewing sessions
  • Attend Quilts for Kids sessions and contribute quilts
  • Attend Days for Girls sessions and contribute sewing
  • Continue updating the QuiltQuest blog
Not Quilting
  • Continue to lose weight and get in shape
  • Continue to go thru garage and closets: See what we have, organize, etc.
  • Have people over for social events
  • Continue walking at least three days a week with friends
  • Read books

Archived December 2, 2015: Inspiration Blogs

Inspiration Blogs

Moved here in the blog rearrangement.  (12-2-15)


Archived December 2, 2015: Odds and Ends

These are being moved here in the blog reorganization.

These are just sayings or links to articles I wanted to share.

From order comes freedom.

"There was only an hour to dress for dinner so they made their way to Elizabeth's room for the comfortable exchange of small items of news on which the happiness of domestic life so largely depended."

Death Comes to Pemberley -
Pg 34

If you're not already convinced that global warming is an issue that you need to care about, click here to learn why.

You ultimately become what you repeatedly do. If your habits aren’t helping you, they’re hurting you.

But on the other hand: I am consistent with being inconsistent!

To me happiness depends on the comfortable, open and consistent exchange of ideas and thoughts between family, soon-to-be-family, and friends! What we don't share...


United States Calendar

Archived December 2, 2015: 2013 Dream Online Projects

Projects for 2013

Moving here as part of the blog rearrangement.  I spent most of this year in a rented home, I did make and finish a Quilts for Kids project and I started a quilt for my husband.  He came in and saw the pieces and immediately had a different vision for the quilt.  It was easy to pack away to revisit later.  Perhaps 2016 the quilt will be completed!

I won this book in an online giveaway, and was very interested in learning how to embroidery.  I spent most of the year on the East Coast and left the book for my crafty friend to explore.  She made an alphabet sampler for her French granddaughter!  I had brought embroidery thread with me, but didn't have the book. Wasn't confident enough to just try to do some.  I'm not sure if I will ever do though now.

Scrap Quilt Series - Santa's Rising Sun Quilt
Free monthly block!
I misunderstood and thought there would be a multiple set of blocks to build one quilt, but it turns out she posts one block a month.  There is a fee to access previous months blocks.

Pile O' Fabric
Pile of Fabrics: 2013 Skill Builder Block of the Month This was their first year, and the blocks were free.  Some year I may go ahead and do one of their new projects, the one for 2015 looks like it would be challenging and I would learn a lot.

While on the east coast my husband and I tried the 5:2 diet - here is a site I thought I'd get lots of ideas from: (She stopped doing the diet after making the cool graphic...  But here is a link to her recipes:  By the way both my DH and I lost 20 pounds during 2013.  Unfortunately, we gained it back after returning to our regular life and home in 2014.  But happily in 2015 we again went on diet and are making better progress with way less stress.

Archived December 2, 2015: 2011 Dream Online Projects


Moved here as part of the blog rearrangement.

During this year I was sewing a bit almost everyday and was making a lot of progress in my development as a quilter.

Friday's Block Party
For a lot of the year I would find an post blocks and others would interpret and make them.  The leader and I would pretty much alternate weeks things were posted.  She usually picked traditional blocks, while I picked blocks where the results would end up looking like an animal.  I tried to just use two colors in each block but that got a little boring so I kept the same background color and started using different colors.  I can't remember why this all stopped.  I think it would be good perhaps to have all the cutting done ahead of time, then it would be easy to do new blocks each week.  I'm still looking for these blocks.  They will make a great baby quilt!

I was active on the Yahoo Liberated Quilters group, and started the first Liberated Round Robin project - it ran during the spring and summer.  Beautiful projects resulted.

I tried posting pictures for this blog but just didn't follow thru....

Says Who?  Fabulous quilt - definitely one I want to make: