Sunday, December 18, 2011

Good Friends...presents, ornaments, merry - merry!

As promised, this post has updates, pics of gifts now delivered and some new grab your bootstraps - this is picture heavy and probably a bit word heavy too. Anyone who knows me personally would tell you that's not unusual at all - the word heavy part. :-)

So there is this group of phenomenal women I hang with. We all stitch, most quilt...some quilt more than stitch. Some of us belong to a sampler guild and see each other at that monthly meeting; a couple times a month one of the group hosts whomever can come for the day to stitch and eat lunch; and we end up getting together for retreats (sponsored by an shop, organization, etc.) once or twice a year. They are the best friends ever, we support each other with not only our obsession with fabric and fibers, but with our families - illnesses, joys and troubles, jobs and all of what life has to give us.

Last Sunday we gathered at one member's house to stitch and eat - and boy did we eat like queens!! I fixed up this plate of shortbread - plain with milk chocolate and orange-zested with dark chocolate. It was a wonderful afternoon - so relaxing and just what I needed to start the week - oh, was it a busy one.

Monday night there is a group, kind of within that group, that exchange Christmas gifts. Wow - the gift gods were with me last year when Robin drew my name...Here is what I received:
All stitchers and quilters, alike, know you can never, ever have enough tote bags. Robin made this! Now, I can sew a block...but a bag....challenged a bit there - not Robin. She is one talented seamstress! This "folder" was inside. It's a project folder with several bags inside - with the snappy closures. This is a shot of all that was stuffed into my new bag! Don't you just love the blues and greens!

These were nested together - like those Russian nesting dolls (I think they are called Matryoshka dolls) cute - and so clever!!

This shot shows just how many pockets are ready for my gadgets, bottle of water and other necessities. There is even a cool "Robin" personalization. It will hold lots and lap stand, my light, and at least a project or two. And Robin made it all!!

I drew Heather's name last year. I stitched up a couple things for her box of goodies. This pin cushion is by Pineberry Lane Treasured Blossoms which has a cool scissor pocket in the back. I did up a scissor fob for the scissors. It's an Olde Colonial Design (kit) and I changed the colors to match Blossoms.
The front of this pin cushion has the letters f-r-i-e-n-d-s above each flower.
I also stitched and finished this pin cushion May Flowers by Cottage Island Needlearts. This one was hard to finish - circles are harder than a square or rectangle - go figure!

Boxed it all up with lots of other little goodies:

Shut the lid and headed off to dinner that evening. What awesome gifts were exchanged - along with what I have shown you here: a couple holiday quilts/wall hangings, stitched boxes - even one in the shape of a beehive (Pam and her husband, Bill strike again) - I received a chest from her two years ago - in my archives December 2009. (Well - I thought it was there...I will take a pic and post - wasn't blogging December 2009). Isn't the box for Heather festive and beautiful!

Peg made each of us an "ort port". Mine matches my pin cushions from my Christmas present last year (December 2010 post in archives). It now graces the table by the aforementioned cabinet with it's pin cushion friends!!
Now to think of something way cool for 2012 - who do I have? Can't say here at all...won't show any projects either as some of that group are some of my followers!!

Here is progress on the piece I posted about earlier this week. I did get my laundry done (that night anyway, as more waits for me now). It's La-D-Da's ABCD pattern that Jennifer started a "traveling pattern" is my turn and it's a fun, quick stitch. I did that the other night and finished the 'd' during lunch Friday. I am putting the border on last as I may do the herringbone stitch (one of my favorites) or some other fancy stitch. Don't worry Edgar, I will get this done as quickly as I can and forwarded on to you!

This is my progress on La-D-Da's Margaret Cottam. Part one is almost done. I have part two waiting in the wings - love the colors. I am doing it on the called for linen and with the called for fibers. It's been cloudy and gloomy for two days so the picture does not do it justice whatsoever.

Remember just before I went back to work I took a paper-piecing quilting class? Here it is, finished in all Santa's (all three of them) glory. I still need some practice in binding the corners. I love this piece and look forward to having the witchy/candy corn pattern the teacher sent after the class.

For those nights I only have a small bit of time or don't have the energy, I am relearning to knit. I haven't knitted for about 40 years. I learned to crochet about then and didn't knit anymore. I inherited all my grandma's needles, yarn, etc. several years back and simply put them away...thought about it once in awhile. Then a friend of mine, Mary, was cleaning out her yarn-stash and I couldn't help myself...took some off her hands. What's another project or two, right? This is my start - since taking the photo, I took it out and made it a bit more narrow and much more even. I am making a scarf. Probably be winter of 2012 before it's done but I am happy with my progress. My teacher, Pam (yes, both gals are part of our "group") says I am doing okay.

It now looks like Christmas around our house, as much as it's going to! This ornament I think I showed earlier this year when it was finished - just wanted to show it while on the tree. Merry Be by Shepherd's bush. I love the ways these finish up with the ribbon hiding any errors. That is one of my mom's hand painted ornaments in the background. John and I have dozens (some are from before I met him) and Jordan's has one for every Christmas.

I bought this one - not handmade as most of the ornaments on my tree each year...but it is SO cute. I bought a couple to give away this year - love the tiny knitted sweater with sparkly, beaded hanger.

With that, I leave you with a picture of our Christmas tree this year. I have it in the family room instead of the smaller, pre-lit tree in the living room - didn't do both again. I love having it where I stitch and catch a t.v. show or two most nights. Plus we will have the fireplace going on Christmas day...

Merry Christmas to all my blog-buddies. I probably won't "see" you until after the first of 2012! Stitch lots, do some things that make you happy and enjoy the season! Oh yea, and pray Michigan has a white Christmas - my nephew and son are plotting using pam cooking spray on their sled bottoms to make it possible to sled on dead grass (or using the slip-n-slide) if we have no snow Christmas Eve - that could be so hilarious or disastrous - not sure which as Mom's hill is quite steep!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

It's Here - It's Here

The traveling pattern made it to me...I am thrilled and can't wait to start! I follow Nataly. This has been organized by Jennifer - check here to read all about it. Pictures soon...dare I say I will start tonight - it's already 8 p.m. and that's perfect stitching time but I am also doing laundry so gonna try. I've had my fabric and fiber picked out and in a drawer by my next for a couple months gotta run - needle is calling me!