Saturday, December 31, 2011

Starting Fresh

Happy New Year.  Or perhaps I should really say "Good-bye 2011."  Either way, the end of the year is upon us and it is time for a fresh start.  I am thoroughly tired of this year and ready for something new.  Looking ahead on this New Year's Eve, I'm envisioning the coming days as though it was a bolt of fresh, new fabric, just waiting to be cut and sewn into something beautiful.  Will you join me?

So, here is some of what I accomplished in 2011:

And here is what I hope to accomplish today, the last day of 2011:

  •  Finish my 2011 Finished Quilts and Projects Page - I have really enjoyed this page as a record of what I have accomplished in the quilt and craft department this year.  It is fun to go back and look at the various projects.  Ah, the memories.
  • Plan what I hope to accomplish in 2012.  We have a new baby coming in our family, so I know there will need to be baby stuff in the mix.  I have a couple of quilt tops just waiting for backing, sandwiching, and binding, plus lots more on the "drawing board" - uh, make that "fabric stash".  Plus, I have blocks from SEVERAL swaps that need to be put together.  I have citrus swap blocks, charm squares and my Christmas quilt blocks to put together, just for starters.  And I have this CrAzY idea that I'd like to do every quilt in Camille Roskelly's Simplify book - except maybe Sugar Rush - I've already made 3 of those...  And I really, REALLY, need to get my Single Girl quilt under way...
  • Bee Blocks - I'm participating in 3 fun bees so far.  I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with.  I had so much fun this year with the First Time Bee.  Everyone's blocks were so different, and I felt like they really challenged me.
  • Maybe a swap or two (but I am determined NOT to do 4 or 5 at once, like I did in 2011)...  I have really enjoyed the swaps I've done this year, and I'm really looking forward to doing some more in 2012.
  • I'd really like to do - and keep up with - a quilt along this year.
  • And I may even have a surprise or two in store - very soon actually.    {HINT #1:  this is my 198th post...} {HINT #2 involves my 1-hour FQ Tote}

So, there's a lot to do in this exciting new year, and I'd love to share with you if you've a mind to drop by from time to time. 

Friday, December 30, 2011

A Gift for a Gift - Quilted Ipad Cover

A couple of days before Christmas, Santa showed up with a gift for HS for Christmas AND his birthday.  The excitement generated by the gift should be understood, since never before has HS agreed to a dual-occasion gift.  Santa brought HS an I-pad. In our discussion of this event, HS happened to mention that he thought it would be cool to have a quilted cover for his new toy.  Moreover, he had some very definite thoughts on the subject, particularly about things he would like to see in said cover.

Never one to let good scraps  go to waste, the morning of his birthday, I sat down to make a cover similar to the one he described.  I did OK, except I chose invisible zippers, which, he said, felt entirely too fragile.  Consequently, I spent the day after Christmas tearing it apart and replacing the zippers with heavy duty purse zippers that open from both sides.  As much as I hate ripping seams, I have to admit that the purse zippers were a much better choice.

HS seems very happy with his new toy AND its original design quilted cover.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Swapping Santas Part II... or It is Better to Give Than to Receive

They say it is better to give than to receive, and I had tons of fun making little goodies to put in the Santa bag I sent to Pauline in the UK, who was my Santa Sack partner in Cheryl's Santa Sack Swap.  I wasn't nearly as creative as Pauline was, though (see yesterday's post here) since all of the items I sent were Christmas themed.  After I opened Pauline's packages, I wondered what I was thinking, but I guess I really didn't think about it, and just went with Christmas-y items.

So, here are some of the things that were in Pauline's packages:

This was the first installment of packages for June, July and August.  I knew with the wedding coming that there was no way I would manage to send anything in August or September.
A smocked Christmas Tree ornament

Some note cards and some ink and stamps - I really liked the polka dots - reminded me of fabric!

And a 12 Days of Christmas pinny and some fancy pins

A decorated dish towel - useful, at least, I hope...

And a pot holder - the quilting was a bit of an experiment, as I remember, but fun!

And a 12 Days of Christmas "scrap vomit" pillow.  It actually has another name, but that one seems to stick with me - wonder why?
Oooh, here's one that isn't Christmas themed.  This is one of my 1-hour totes.  You can find the tutorial on the sidebar if you want to make one.  And - I have a little secret about this tote...  I'll be able to tell you more soon.

I think there were a few of these crocheted snowflake ornaments in there...
And a Flurry Christmas Tree Skirt

And a pair of Flurry Christmas stockings

And a Flurry Apron

And honestly, I don't remember what else.  I certainly wasn't as creative as Pauline.  She has a photo or two on her blog

Pauline, thanks for being a great partner.  I absolutely loved what you sent to me.  I hope you weren't disappointed that your sack was so Christmas oriented.  I guess I just wasn't thinking anything but Christmas.

I hope you had a Merry Christmas and I wish you all the best in the New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Swapping Santas

LOVE the redwork on this great Christmas sack.  Santa himself doesn't have a nicer sack, I'm sure!

Way back in May or June, I signed up for Cheryl's Santa Sack Swap.  Each participant was to send 2 gifts per month and 1 special gift.  Well, the monthly thing didn't work for me, but my partner, Pauline in the UK, was very understanding and let me send just two or three mailings, although I did manage a total of 13 or so gifts.  I'll post my gifts to Pauline later.

Opening day was December 15, and I was so busy, I forgot until I got Pauline's thank you note.  About midnight, I opened my treasures and promised that I would take pictures on the weekend.  Well...  two weekends have passed in a fury, and now I am embarrassed, but feeling a real need to show off Pauline's lovely gifts.  There is nothing better than for a quilter/crafter to get gifts from a kindred spirit.  All I can say is "WOW!"  I had so much fun opening these wonderful gifts, I took the whole sack to work and opened them all again with my co-worker, who is (by her own definition) a "stitcher".

I have no idea of the order in which the items were sent, so we'll just start with the order I took them out of the bag to take pictures...
Oven mitts are something I can really use, and this one is just adorable!  The pink cupcake is so durn cute!

Such a cute needlebook with thread and needles.  Isn't the embroidery gorgeous?

Check out this fun knitting book for mug huggers!  I haven't knitted in aeons, but these might be small enough for me to try them.

Gorgeous ornament for my tree.  So pretty!

A cute little pouch and a fun fabric flower brooch.  Check out the fabric flower on the pouch, too!

Some really yummy pink fabric here!  I don't have a ton of pink in my stash, so this is welcome.  Do I see some Amy Butler in this lot?

Here's a fun little notebook to record quilt ideas and such!

Another fun notebook, this one with a quilted and stitched cover, and some fat quarters - this time in purple.  I don't have a lot of purple, either, so I'm sure these will come in handy.  The Christmas fabric underneath was the gift wrap for this package.

This is so interesting...  I have never seen this before, but it looks way fun.  I'm thinking you use it like we used to do potato stamping for gift wrap when I was in Camp Fire Girls?  If I'm on the wrong track, someone tell me now!

This is a fun little pouch with a cute felt flower with a button center.  Too cute!
I love the recipes, but this is awesome it just because of the wonderful drawings inside!

Another little blank book with a lovely crazy quilted cover, and a little plastic pouch.

This gorgeous little package of fabric reminded me of charm squares, but they're rectangular instead of square.  Such gorgeous prints.  I'll have to use these very carefully, but they are calling me...

And chocolate...   It always calls me!

  I really am going to like this little tissue holder, because I never have tissues when I need them, or the ones I do have are all nasty from being in the bottom of my purse. 

I really am not sure how Pauline did this, but isn't this the most gorgeous fabric pansy you ever saw?  It's a little brooch, and will look lovely on my red suit I think.

I had a really hard time getting a photo of this little gem.  It's a china thimble in the cutest 3-sided container you ever saw.  So fun!

And Pauline even did hand-made cards.  The one on the left is embroidered...  The one on the right is paper, but can you see the beads?

Such a cute little pieced purse with little buttons and bows inside (kinda reminds me of a song, now that I think about it!

And here's all the loot spread out all over.  Am I not the luckiest girl ever?
Thank you, Pauline, for a wonderful swap!  And thanks, Cheryl, for being our swap mama!  This was way fun.  If you do it again next year, I'm in!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Happy Birthday, HS!

HS has the misfortune of having chosen Christmas Eve as his birthday, and it has been a torment to him.  We do our best to make Christmas and birthday separate and special, but in the craziness of Christmas, it is difficult.  This year was perhaps better than most in that he was an "only child" this Christmas, with his sisters celebrating the holiday with their in-laws.  

Last Christmas, both of his sisters made a Sugar Rush Quilt, and he casually mentioned that he would like one too.  

At age 1, Abby thought that all quilts were her particular property and must be sat on - or danced on - to be appropriately appreciated.  Her mommy made this Dolce Sugar Rush quilt for her Auntie Kimber.

Ari's Fandango Sugar Rush quilt.
Never one to let a good hint go by, I decided to make him a Sugar Rush quilt of his own for his birthday this year.  HS's fave colors are blue and brown (because they remind him of the beach, he says), so I made him a Sugar Rush quilt (without the flowers) for his birthday this year from Bunny Hill Designs' Lily and Will by Moda.  I've been planning for awhile - I bought the jelly roll in February and found the yardage at Porter's in Rexburg when I went for a visit last May.  (Note that that was just before all the wedding craziness began!)  I actually started the quilt in early November, but was still in the process after he arrived for Christmas, and finished it only a couple of days before his big day.

 Despite the look on his face in this photo, he seems pleased with his gift.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas to All

Christmas, 2011

Dear Friends and Family,

Once again we come to Christmas-time, and once again I am, left wondering, “Where did the time go?”  I am always amazed that we live life one day at a time, yet at the end of the year it seems to have passed on fast-forward.  This year, I am amazed at the realization that it has actually been three years since we have sent Christmas greetings to our friends.  I feel so guilty!  Time really does fly.  And this year, the family Christmas letter achieves a new milestone – photos.  It seems the least I can do after such a long hiatus.  Please know that while we haven’t put pen to paper – uh, fingers to keyboard - we often think of each of you and the experiences we’ve shared.  Each of you is a true blessing in our lives, and we are grateful for you.  We send you our best wishes for a wonderful Christmas, and hope this letter finds you all well and happy, and basking in the Lord’s blessings. 

So, after three years, where do I start?  In May, 2009, HS graduated from BYU with an undergraduate degree in Political Science.  The same month, BD#2 graduated from Washington High School, but sadly, we have no decent pictures of the event.  In August, 2009, HS started his Master’s Program at the University of Central Florida.  It was great to have him close enough to drive home now and again for the first time in several years. 

December, 2009 was a huge month for our family.  BD#2 received her AA degree from Pensacola Junior College.  And then, on December 13th, BD#1 and HSIL blessed our family with a beautiful baby girl, Abigail Jean, who has truly been a joy and a blessing.  I went to visit and take care of mom and baby, and then, after a lovely 9-day visit with them, their family drove 10 hours to visit the other side of the family in Phoenix with their 8-day old baby.   Meanwhile, the rest of us gathered in Florida for Christmas at home.
In January, 2010, Abby's whole family (almost) met in Spanish Fork to bless our new little miracle, and immediately following the service,  BD#2 and I headed up to Rexburg to BYU-Idaho for her to start her university experience. 

We were fortunate to have the whole family home together for a visit in April, 2010 – for the first time in several years.  We were able to get to the beach for a family portrait at sunset, so here’s the whole family except for HSIL, who was the photographer and didn’t make it into the photo. 

In July, most of us traveled to Yellowstone Park and went camping for the holiday weekend.  It was c-o-l-d, especially for July.  Cold nights and 6-month old infants aren’t especially conducive to sleep, so while we had a great time, we were glad to get little Abby back to her own bed so the rest of us could get some shut-eye.

Then in September, we all met at my sister and brother-in-law’s home in Seattle and enjoyed several wonderful late summer days in the Northwest.  They were wonderful hosts, and we had a great time!

Then, in the blink of an eye, it seems, Abby celebrated her 1st birthday and it was Christmas again, and we gathered in Utah and celebrated the holiday together.  Who knew that grand-parenting could be so much fun!

This year, too, has been eventful.  In early May, BD#2 was able to join us in Orlando as HS graduated from UCF with his Master’s in Public Administration.  Then, after a few days at home, I flew to Salt Lake City again for a visit.  BD#1 and HSIL had recently started an online fabric shop, and since Spring Quilt Market was in Salt Lake City, I went up for a visit to watch Abby so her parents could attend.  I was thrilled to be able to spend some one-on-one time with Abby, but it was also nice to be able to attend Quilt Market in person on Friday.  Talk about eye candy!  I’m not sure I have ever seen so much beautiful fabric.  What fun! 

Since I was so close (within 250 miles!), I drove up to Rexburg and spent a couple of days with BD#2.  I got to attend a couple of classes with her, which was very fun.  Then, a couple of weeks later, on Memorial Day weekend, a very special young man came to Pensacola for a visit.  While he was here, he took her for a walk on the beach and she came home with an engagement ring.  The wedding was Labor Day weekend, so you can imagine how we spent our summer.  Our lovely girl and her sweetheart were married September 3rd in the Salt Lake Temple.  Welcome, NSIL, to our family!  We were so very grateful that some of our family and good friends could join us in SLC for the wedding.

Meanwhile, WH realized that retirement wasn’t as much fun as he thought it would be and decided to try law school.  He started school in mid-August at John Marshall School of Law in Atlanta.   Aside from the wedding, and a couple of weekends at home, he’s been away most of the fall.  He seems to be enjoying his studies and finding them challenging and fulfilling.

As for me, I’m still working at the bank and teaching Sunday School and Seminary (and sneaking into Primary to teach music whenever I can get away with it).  This has been a very difficult year - well, three years – in banking and I won’t be sorry to see 2011 come to a close.  Hopefully, 2012 will be an improvement over these last few years.  But I maintain my sanity with what I call “fabric therapy” - sewing and quilting - perhaps to the extreme.  You can observe my obsession by reading this little quilting blog.

So, there you have it – the last three years condensed into three pages – years filled with dramatic change in our lives but heavily spiced with love, family and friends.  Thank you all for your friendship and love.  Wherever would we be without you?

This week, Abby will be two and not long after, we’ll celebrate Christmas again, reflecting on the tiny babe in the manger, who came into this world to redeem us all so that we can return to live as families with our Heavenly Father.  We are grateful for His sacrifice and His love.
 We send you our heartfelt greetings this Christmas, along with prayers that all of our Father’s richest blessings be upon you.  May you have a joyous Christmas and a happy and prosperous 2012.