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

How did I miss October?!?

Well, I didn’t miss it completely, just blogging during October — but this Autumn just got too crazy, and something had to give. I did sew though, a few costumes… this adorable penguin costume for my niece (you might recall I made her very first Halloween costume in 2011):

103013_Zoe3

The hat was actually purchased, because her Mommy found it under $10. And it’s hard to see, but I made a pillowy fleece & flannel body with black “wing” flaps that attached around her wrist with thin black elastic. She was specific about being a girl penguin (Girl has two big brothers, y’know) so Mom lent her a string of pearls and added a pink flower pin to her hat. Crazy adorable.

Handmade Penguin halloween Costume

And you can almost see it in that photo (she was too excited to stand still!) the Trick-or-Treat bags that I made for her and her brothers:

Trick or Treat Bags Panel

They were a panel I bought a few years ago, and I liked the retro images so much, I almost made myself a table runner out of them instead! ūüėČ We spent a fun evening with the Lioness granddaughter at Living History Farms Family Halloween (Lion costume from Pottery Barn Kids):

Lion Halloween GemmaIf you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know I love Halloween and I love creative costumes. Have to share one last pic that shows the great robot costumes my sister created for her boys (the penguin’s big brothers):

Kids Trick 0r Treating

until next October…

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

December Drumroll…

I have to share my last few finishes of 2012, including a big one… but, it wouldn’t be as fun if I gave it away right up front, right? So a quick December recap first:

Every year, my girlfriend’s an I have a favorites party, you know, like Oprah’s “My Favorites” giveaway episodes? Only on a smaller scale, but same idea. We give the exact same gift to each of the women at the party, something that we consider a “favorite” from the year. None of these five friends are quilters, so no sewing themed gifties. ūüėČ ¬†We started the “My favorites” party tradition last year, and I think it’s going to stick!

This year I gave them each an Aveda gift bag containing Aveda Foot Relief and Hand Relief Lotions:Aveda-Hand-Relief-Gift-Set

My favorite Aveda product, period. ¬†Especially for Winter dry hands, it’s a Godsend. ¬†From my five friends I received:

FavoritesParty

From Michelle: her favorite car freshener and a Jason’s Deli giftcard

From Kelly: her favorite Gold Canyon candle, Vanilla Rum

From Carisa: her favorite Tea and a statement “Hope” bracelet

From Tonya: an Angel ornament, Lindor Truffles, and an Orange Leaf giftcard

and from Carrie: her favorite Bath & Bodyworks Candle, MERRY MISTLETOE and Pretzel m&m’s

I didn’t have much of a chance to create gifts this year, aside from the Baby Cheetah onesie for Carrie’s baby:

Baby Cheetah Applique Onesie and sweaterI made Frank¬†a photo frame that I painted a pale pink and embellished with type stamps to read “Grandpa’s Girl”, since his first grand-baby was due to arrive on Christmas Eve. ¬†She arrived promptly on her due date, so I let him open that present right away — She was framed and on his end-table before she turned 4 hours old:

Gemma Frame Grandpa's Girl

If you’ve been reading this blog for a little while, you know we spent much of 2012 first moving my Mother from her house 100 miles away (selling the home, cleaning out, packing, garage selling extra stuff, etc.), to a very nice retirement cottage community only 19 miles from us, and THEN, helping my MIL clean out her house (of 58 years!) to move into an Independent Living apartment at a new retirement community. ¬†That was a huge task, and it is still ongoing (she is moved into her new home, but the old house is not completely empty, yet – a saga in itself, but I’ll spare you the details).

We have made three, 3-day trips to the St. Paul, MN (about a 4.5 hour drive one-way) since Thanksgiving.  Sweetie even made one day trip in between without me along.  That is A. LOT. OF. DRIVE. TIME. my friends, or riding time for me, as my sweetie does about 65-75% of the driving on these trips.

But, do you know what that means? ¬†You all know what I do when a passenger on a road trip, right…? ¬†Hand-piecing.

HexieSewinginCar

And y’all know what I have been hand-piecing forever, right…? ¬†(or at least since July 4th, 2010)…

Candied Hexagons in Nov 2012

Candied Hexagons! ¬†These are a few I made on the Thanksgiving Weekend trip… and those I made in med-December….

Candied Hexagons Dec 2012

and on Christmas Eve, I sewed the last blocks up while relaxing at home watching Downton Abbey Season 2 on DVD (possibly the only blocks I made outside of a vehicle!).  I finished the final one up just before the ball dropped at Midnight, and now have all 104 full blocks and 12 have blocks pieced!

Ta-Da!!! (insert drumroll, here):

Candied Hexagon blocks

Here they are unceremoniously laid out on my studio floor. ¬†I have them all organized to start sewing into rows… My sweetie came in while I was arranging these on the floor and he said “wow, I wasn’t sure I’d ever see the day when you had these all made.” ¬†I had doubts myself…

I’m considering alternatives for the border, debating whether I want to stick with the original border design or create my own. Decisions, decisions…. ¬†but I think I have a day or two before I have to decide. ūüėČ

Happy sewing,

Doris