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:


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.


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,



Busy, Busy World

Tonight is our Des Moines (Iowa) Modern Quilt Guild holiday social–can’t wait!¬† If you are in the area, stop by at 6:30 for an evening of fun.¬† We are swapping a holiday item–I whipped mine up last night (nothing like waiting till the last minute!).¬† More get-together details here.¬†

Every year, I make my nephews birthday shirts to boast their age at their birthday party.¬† These were last year’s (a Diego themed party) and the year before was a Curious George party (wow! They were such babies two years ago!)¬† This year, the older brother is obsessed with Richard Scarry’s Busytown (remember the Pig Will and Pig Won’t costumes?¬† Same source, and his idea..), and his little brother, fire trucks.¬† Originally the party was to be Busytown themed, but their Momma settled on a generic fire truck theme party. ¬†

It just so happened that Quilting Treasures released their new line, Busytown on the Move by Richard Scarry at the beginning of October 2011, just in the knick-of-time for my nephew’s birthdays!

Seriously cute fabric, a BUSY scene with all sorts of activity going on in town, cars everywhere, including the famous pickle car, the mice driving saxophone and Swiss cheese cars, a worm driving an apple car, a rabbit driving a head of lettuce, a hog on a Harley(!), and a fox on a Vespa–


There is a televesion show out now, called Busytown Mysteries, which is how my nephews know about Richard Scarry.¬† He created Busytown before I was born, and what I love about this new series and the books, they haven’t “modernized” his art or the animation, the characters still look like, and are colored the same way, as I remember them in the 1970s.¬† Isn’t that cool?¬† Given the treatment of some other contemporary remakes from my childhood (don’t even get me started on Fisher Price Little People), I find this refreshing-and a nod to Mr. Scarry’s talent and genius.¬† Illustrations from the book, “What Do People Do All Day” (copyright 1968-still in print today!), check out Stitches the Tailor’s work table:

and Stitches is so wealthy he can hire a new house to be built (check out that bag of money!!!) don’t we all wish sewing was such a profitable profession:

Even the dressmaker works above the bank, presumably so she can deposit her ample earnings at the end of each workday…

Well, okay. Maybe not, but a girl can dream, right?!?

So for the birthday party, I bought them each a Richard Scarry book, and I made them each a shirt (recycled from their Halloween costumes!) with a Busytown fire truck fussy cut into their “number”:

And used the fabric to make them each their own pillowcase, perfect for falling to sleep on and dreaming big 3 and 4 year old dreams on…¬† Maybe I should make myself a birthday shirt next July to boast my new age, what do you think?¬† Yeah, maybe not.

Instead of using wrapping paper, I wrapped each book up in the pillowcase with their shirt as a “nametag” for whose gift was whose.

I’d like to imagine that they will be this easy to please when they are 13 and 14…¬†

Doubtful.¬† But again, a girl can dream, can’t she?

Pillow Talk

I made a t-shirt for last Christmas for my sweetie.¬† It read “I geek banjos”, the phrase was explained in this post, when I was still working on it.¬† Sadly, after one washing, the t-shirt was too small to be comfortable wearing.¬† I spent a long time stenciling that shirt, I wasn’t about to throw it in the donation pile!¬† So this Christmas it is being gifted to him, again, as a throw pillow:

Yes, I believe you can give the same gift twice, if it’s altered in between, right?!?¬† He’s getting a Kindle, too, so he isn’t exactly deprived…¬† The border and backing are this, BeBop by P & B Textiles:¬†

Appropriate fabric, given that he owns and plays quitars, banjos and mandolins.  It was a day for sewing pillows, I guess, made a pillowcase for a Christmas gift as well, out of some sassy cowgirl fabric that was gifted to me a last year:

Not too many handmade gifts this year, but it was a relief not to feel the pressure of getting a bunch of items made by Christmas!¬† Maybe next year, I’ll start early and make something for everyone on the list.¬† Then again…

Creative Clips, Week 3

There were no “creative clips” for Week 2…sadly, I didn’t have time to do anything creative last week. But this week I was able to make this block for the Project Improv Charity Quilts:

I rather like the wonky log cabin style of this block.

I got a chance to work on a few UFQs, getting some Valentine projects started…

Some heart blocks…

Some festive pillowcases….

This calligraphic fabric is called “darling” by Alexander Henry, the pink and red dot is a Jane Sassaman design for Freespirit, and the red one is also an Alexander Henry.

Ain’t it cute?!?

Have a great weekend friends!

p.s. If you asked for the Winter Wonderland table runner pattern, I hope to get it sent out this next week. I didn’t forget about you!

A few check-offs

I’m a little under the weather this week, but I did manage to finish a few items, and check them off my list…some holiday and birthday gifts for nieces and nephews.
Some monogram pillows that I started at my last retreat…and a shot of the reverse side of the pillows…It’s hard to sew for a ten-year old boy, but I think this should work…
A not-too-little-girlish pillow for the twelve-year old niece…That girl with the pink umbrella looks just like her!
And some boy pillowcases….
complete with choppers and racecars…Certainly “manly” enough…

Thank you all for your sweet comments on the passing of my Grandmother. She and my Mom are responsible for my “crafty legacy”. I’m hoping to make a floral garden quilt to honor Grandma, I’ve always wanted to, and now I have extra motivation.