Merry Christmas (and a free pattern!)

Merry Christmas (or Happy Holiday wishes for whatever holiday you celebrate this year!) from me; thanks for continuing to read along and inspire me to keep creating!

I originally designed this table runner in 2008; Today you can download a FREE PDF PATTERN for this Holly Leaf version (and a bonus Snowflake design) over at the Row House Creations website!

Jolly Holly Free Christmas Table Runner Quilt Pattern

A super quick pattern to whip up for a last minute Hostess gift or to spruce up your home for the Winter!  Enjoy,

Happy Quilting,

Doris

In from the Cold

It was ONE degree Fahrenheit when I left the house for work this morning. That is COLD. Des Moines, Iowa got 8.5 inches of snow yesterday–welcome to living in a house with a sloped driveway and a single car garage (that currently doesn’t fit a vehicle!). Not that I am complaining–we love our home and we are extremely grateful to be out of the condo! But the snow does present and extra challenge or two! ūüėČ

I’ve been so busy this Autumn; apparently too busy to blog — though I had plenty of material I could’ve blogged about! I took a class at the University where I work, in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications; called Social Media Strategies.  I learned so much, but I am so glad to have given my final presentation last week and to be done with the class.

The Thursday before Thanksgiving the Des Moines MQG met for our holiday social. We had freezing rain (icy conditions) that evening, so many didn’t make it.  However, we had a decent sized crowd, good food and great company.  We do a holiday swap (everyone is asked to bring a grab bag item for any holiday our season of our choosing).  I made this mug rug/mini quilt from Kate Spain’s In From the Cold pattern (I downsized it to make the block smaller):

Kate Spain In from  the cold Teacup Mini by Doris

Those little sawtooth squares (half-square triangles) are like 1/2″ finished on my version!

Teacup Mini by Doris 2

On the back, I used up some orphan Flying Geese that I made while testing methods and sizes for our Fox in a Box pattern.

Teacup Mini Back

Teacup Mini back 2

The item I brought home from the swap was this wonderful organizer that Jill made using one of my favorite Christmas fabric collections from recent years:

Organizer by Jill

Organizer by Jill Inside

There were some other great handmade items, check out our post to see more of them!

Row House Creations is keeping me busy as well; working on Building Foundations Sampler blocks each week, our weekly business workday, quilts for magazine submissions, and a new pattern that we hope to introduce before too long.

I’ll be back soon with a catch-up post or two!

a Blessed Advent Season,

Doris

Christmas has Come.

Today we celebrated our first Christmas; with sweetie’s two daughter’s and his oldest’s boyfriend. We spent most of last evening and this morning chopping, preheating, cutting, washing dishes, icing, glazing, baking, mixing, washing dishes, stirring… (the dishwasher is running yet again as I type; not to mention all the dishes we washed by hand). ¬†My sweetie does not cook, but he takes direction well, and he’s good at sticking with it until the job is done.¬†Together, we made this lovely brunch, and the Christmas cookies and candy:

Brunch

A fruit compote (pineapple, bananas, strawberries, and apples)

Chocolate Dipped Fruit kebabs

Pecan Swirl Cinnamon Rolls

Sausage and Apple Quiche

Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Saltine Toffee

Christmas Wreaths (Holly Crackles)

I ate entirely too much — but it was all so good. ¬†Incidentally, should you decide to make that Dark Chocolate Cookie recipe, I recommend using your own common sense when it comes to cutting them out and baking them. ¬†Martha Stewart must be on crack if she thinks anyone in the real world (read: anyone without a sizeable staff) has that kind of time to devote to one damn batch of cookies. ¬†Read the recipe, you’ll understand what I mean. ¬†I didn’t spend any of that time freezing rolled out dough, I don’t possess parchment paper, and my cookies turned out great.

Sweetie’s youngest loves to bake (and is GREAT at it); she brought a large tray of cookies to add to mine. ¬†I don’t even want to admit how few of those cookies are left on the plates this evening. His eldest brought a gift basket of flavored popcorn, chocolate dipped pretzels, cookies she baked, and some wonderful smelling William-Sonoma hot cocoa. I’m going to need to fast for a few days after the festivities are over…

We gave each of the kids a stocking full of goodies, exchanged a few goodies and lots of conversation; the afternoon was gone before we knew it.

The youngest gave us a “Box of Dates”; to be opened one at a time, any time we decide we need a “date night”. ¬†Some are marked for “winter”, “spring”, etc., and others are marked “anytime”. ¬†Clever gift, huh? ¬†It’s kind of fun to think we get to draw Christmas out by having delayed gratification of one of our gifts…

Box of Dates

Winter arrived this week, as well. ¬†With a vengeance, I might add… Wednesday and Thursday, we got hit hard with a true, honest-to-goodness blizzard. ¬†Trees and wires were felled under the weight of the snow and ice, highways were closed for much of Thursday, and travel was almost non-existant. ¬†The result was roughly a foot of snow, and on Friday, some beautiful sights…

White Christmas

Tomorrow is a celebration with my side of the family, more eating, conversation and laughter. ¬†It also happens to be the due date for grandbaby girl (our first grandchild). ¬†She doesn’t seem to be in a big hurry to join us, but you never know… we’re hoping we get to meet her sometime this week!

A Very Merry Christmas to you and yours…

IMG_1178

I stole this post.

True story. ¬†I stole this post from my brother’s blog without asking him for permission. ¬†Sorry, Ted. ¬†(I’m not really that sorry).

Family Night… or day.

(written by my little brother, Ted)

Greetings and salutations! ¬†Going back a little more than 7.5 years now, we decided early on when Robby was a baby, that we would have an open invite to family members, once a month where we would cook up some good (hopefully!) kibble and just enjoy each other’s company.¬† That way, Robby grows up with a good support cast around him and knowing the family from the immediate surrounding area.

As time has gone on, we’ve missed a few months, but for the most part, we’ve been pretty consistent.¬† We’ve also added a few “traditions”, if you will.

That brings us to the subject of this post.¬†It’s December 2012, and we’re decorating gingerbread houses.

This time, the boys picked who they wanted to be partnered up with.  Robby and Aunt Doris (I got picked FIRST for a team!  First time EVER!!!) were a team, as were Samuel and Aunt Molly, Caleb and Aunt Dianne, and last but not least, Jonah with his Aunt Lesley.  Not one boy picked his Mom!

A shot of the troops at work, getting dirty and having fun.
Molly, Sammy, Robby, and Me….

Team Lesley/Jonah modeling their creation; ]onah with a mouthfull of candy.

Team Molly/Samuel.  Sam, unlike his brother, could show teeth in his photo.
Team Dianne/Caleb with their house o’ candy.¬† Caleb hopped up on sugar.
And team Doris/Robby with their crafty craft (note the rainbow doorway!).
After the gingerbread houses were done, we had lunch, then decorated cutout sugar cookies.
3 of the lads at work.
The Four Horsemen pose with their creations.
…and again, just to relieve a little sugar pressure. ¬†And thus wraps up another family night!

I posted about last year’s Gingerbread House day here, which was in November, and before my brother, his wife, and Robby travelled to China in December 2011 to adopt Caleb. ¬†See how well he fits into the family already?!?

Merry Christmas!

Love,

Doris

A Quilting "Hole in One"

I told you in February that I would have a Christmas quilt to snuggle under this Christmas.  Finished up, with little time to spare, my Peppermint Twist quilt:

¬†Quilted with an all over meander stitch….

It has a fun pieced “snowflake” back:

Fussy cut cornerstones…

A favorite Christmas ornament print as a top and bottom border, and green dot binding to finish it up. 

So what is the Quilter’s “Hole in One”?¬† Well, for the first (and possibly last) time, I made binding, sewed it on, and when I got around to the last side of the quilt I thought I was going to be just a hair short on binding.¬† Instead, I continued to sew, and when I stopped to join the two ends of binding, I could scarcely believe my eyes.¬† I had the exact length of binding I needed for this quilt, I didn’t trim so much as an 1/8th of an inch!¬† That has never happened before.¬† And somehow, I don’t see it even happening again….