Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Good Tidings

In typical Regina fashion, and despite an early and organized start to my holiday crafting, I am spending much of this post-Christmas week off from work finishing up some gifties that did not make it in Santa's first sleigh run.

First I will show you the BIG project -my MIL's Gingerboys quilt - which has the names of all the family members on it. (and yes, I did finish this the day before it was to be given)

Giving this was so fun - she has a quilt on the wall that my SIL made, and I pinned this one over top of it while she was in the other room eating dinner (it was a buffet so she did not notice I was not at the table - she ate last). About 45 minutes later she finally made her way back into the living room - she was checking on things and looking down, until she got to the middle of the room (I was peering in from the doorway behind her).

She froze, looked at the wall, and said quietly "where did this come from" - I hid behind the door jamb quickly as she looked around for the "culprit" but she saw me - plus I think she knew as soon as she saw it.

Everyone had fun finding their names and recongizing some shared fabrics, and the table runners to match that I gave each family were a big hit as well (forgot to take photos of those - oops).

Another giftie that DID make the first round delivery were these three journal covers.

The two blue ones are felt, and the initials are sewn on a pocket of matching felt using a technique I learned from Pollyanna.

The burgundy one is made from some kimono silk gifted to me by Mama Matsumoto - one of my host moms in Kanazawa. I added the ribbons for a bit of extra pizzaz, and just put some beads at the bottom.

The inside of these is just your basic marble covered composition book.

The next two little gifties have yet to be delivered -and since both recipients read this blog - well - SURPRISE!!!
Both baskets have criss cross coasters in them, as well as a few other goodies. The Scottie Basket has a Doggy Loggy Bag in it, and since the scotties live next door to me, it's totally selfish!!!

And now off to sew for ME - working on a fleece jacket for myself and trying to reset my brain from a 1/4" seam allowance to a 5/8" seam allowance. Not as easy as it sounds.

Santa is a bit snowbound right now - so these things will linger here for a few days longer before they brighten someone's January. There are a few other little projects done - poncho for Mom, another gift basket, pj pants for the Munchkin, and a whole pile of "Christmas" Cards to be written and sent.

But those can all wait until NEXT YEAR!!!

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy holiday season!

Just keep putting one foot in front of the other!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Crunch Time

So we are getting down to the wire - 14 days and one weekend left before the big day.

I have a bunch of stuff that needs to be finished and shipped out by next Saturday.

I have a few things that need to be finished by Christmas Eve.

I started VERY early this year (March-ish) but think I bit off more than I should have.

And I spent all day yesterday at a craft show that was a total bust.

Oh well - I now know what all my co-workers are getting for Christmas! :-)

Off to the attic now - will check in later.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Turtle of the Day - DIY earrings

Sometimes you get the finished earrings, and sometimes your benefactors (in this case my sisters) want you to make them yourself.

Great turtle fun either way.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Turtle of the Day - Traveling Turtles

My Hubby's family often gives what they call "Happy Day" gifts - thoughtful little things on those "just because" days.

I like giving Happy Day gifts - it's kind of one of those things that is as happy for the giver as it is for the recipient.

A few months ago I was on the receiving end of a Happy Day gift from a fellow quilter and blogger - who thought of me while on her vacation in Florida. I've just been remiss in getting the photos taken and getting this posted.

The fabric is a great sea turtle print, and she found a nice box of sea turtle notecards, too.

Thanks, Jill for making my day!!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Turtle of the Day - Mister Sparkles

Mister Sparkles only comes out at Christmas, although if I could find a good way to display him all year round I might keep him out.

I think I found him at Lowes or Home Depot or some other big box store that sells Christmas ornaments this time of year.

On a non-turtle related note, the ornament in the back is one my Sister Cindy made - it is terra cotta and on the heavy side.

Due to various tree challenges the past few years, this and about 5 other terra cotta ornaments, as well as a bunch of other ornaments, did not make it on to the tree.

This year - even after some LED light angst - we have tree success and I have nearly 100% of my ornament stash on the tree.

There is great joy!!!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Turtle of the Day - was 'I've been "Elfed"'

Exhibit One: The Evidence

This mysterious package was in my mailbox this evening.

What we do know is that it contained a beautiful pair of turtle earrings, possibly from Trimingham's in Bermuda (if we go by the box) - but then again that might have just been for protection during mailing.

What we don't know is who it is from, or even from where it was mailed.

There was no card, no return address, and even the stamp cancellations were blurred and incomplete.

Belive me -I checked.

And I don't recognize the handwriting.

So I've been "elfed" -a mysterious benefactor sent me an early Christmas gift.

Thanks - whoever you are!!!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Little Boy Grows a Bit More

Anyone who really knows Hubby or I well knows that we are both long time LEGO-fanatics. My "addiction" started back in high school, when I started collecting the castle sets. About 10 years later I stopped actively buying, but am just a few sets short of complete for that time period. Hubby has more of the space themed sets - and we each have them stored in our own style - mine sorted into tackle boxes by shape and size (about 4 boxes worth -plus a big tub for the baseplates and other large parts) with the instructions in binders - and Hubby's dumped into various sized tubs and all jumbled together.

Pre-Munchkin we would from time to time pull them all out and build something HUGE.

When the Munchkin came along we put them all up for a while, and have enjoyed a few years of DUPLO, knowing all the while that this "inheritance" awaits the little guy when he is big enough.

Today we took the first step - as the Munchkin asked me to get down the LEGO starter set I had stored in his closet. This set was HIS - gifted to us as a hand-me-down somewhere along the line and put away until he was ready.

Today he was ready.

We made a deal to sort out some of his neglected toys and give them away to others -and in turn we would make room for the "big boy LEGO."

He did great on the sorting and donating -which he has been resisting every time I have mentioned it.

Today he was ready.
Today my little boy got a little bit bigger.

And started following in Mommy and Daddy's footsteps.

It was a happy day all around!

It made me doubly glad I decided to purchase a small "big boy LEGO" set for his Christmas stocking (and one for Daddy's, too) - because I had decided that "I" was ready.

He just beat me to it!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Waiting for Christmas

Wayy back in March, or possibly even in February, I started a quilt project with a target of Christmas. It was a scrappy quilt, and the call went out to friends and family near and far for bits and pieces. I even hit up the quilt's recipient for some pieces, although she still has no idea what I am making, or even that I am making something for her. (And if she is reading this it is due to a miracle of dial up - so I think I am safe)

I was hoping for a Thanksgiving gifting, so she could use and display the quilt over the holiday season (it will probably be hung on the wall), but I came up a bit short on time (translation - I bit off more projects than I should have and ended up getting behind schedule) so this one will probably wait until Christmas for final gifting.

The top is done -I just need to measure and piece the back, sandwich the whole thing, and figure out how I want to quilt it. Since it will be hung I want to do something a bit closer together than the ties the pattern calls for, but I am not all that confident yet with my machine quilting, and know there is no way I could hand quilt this AND finish up a pile of other projects in the month we have left (Yup - it's in print - ONE MORE MONTH!!!) - I had better decide pretty quickly, though.

Anyway - here it is...
(the flash washed things out a bit I think - it is a bit darker overall than this)

Each one of the appliqued hearts will have a family member's name written in it.
And yes, those border squares are 1" each!!!

Thanks to everyone who contributed to the scrap stash on this one - especially Hubby, who donated three of his favorite shirts to the cause - bottom row far right, 2nd row from bottom far right, and third row from the top 2nd from left.

I couldn't have done it without ya!!!

Oh - and there are more blocks waiting in the wings for 4 other gifts and one quilt for ME ME ME!!! (but that one will wait until AFTER Christmas!)

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Borrowers Brought it Back

As long as I can remember - whenever something has gone missing, my mother will say "The Borrowers took it." Now as avid reader as I was as a child, and still am, I don't remember ever reading The Borrowers - although I am sure my older sisters probably did, and I am thinking that is why this expression became common in our household.

Yesterday I responded to someone's comment about my seam ripper by saying "The Borrowers took it." I guess I really am my mother's child.

At any rate -the Borrowers brought it back - or at least I finally figured out the last thing I had been working on where I had that particular tin of tools handy, checked the right box and PRESTO -there it was.

So the bags are all turned and the holes stitched back up again. Now for the pressing and top stitching and PRESTO -they will be done!!!

(and judging from this photo - the Borrowers really liked sewing notions! That explains A LOT!)

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Anyone seen my seam ripper(s)???

They're in an Altoids tin - along with my hand sewing needles.

No - not that Altoids tin - that has my straight pins in it.

No - not that Mary Engelbright tin - that has my quilting safety pins in it.

Ugh - I knew I should not have put my two seam rippers in the same tin -I should have kept one in the compartment on Zoe like I always did on Melody.

Why do I need them??? Because in my eagerness to production line all those lunch bags on Monday I forgot to leave a gap in the bottom of the lining for turning, and due to the curves on the top of the bag it really does not work well to turn it through the top and then topstitch.

Of course it would help if I gave my workspace a good cleaning - then it would probably turn up.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

All Pinned Out

In preparation for a December 13th Craft Show- I have been sewing lunch bags - lots and lots of lunch bags. I did really well over the summer clearing out scrap bins, repurposing other fabrics (mens shirts and cut-off's from clothing alterations), and splurging on a few bargain bin fabrics -and had lots of them cut out and ready to go...

...but cut out and ready to go does not cut it - they needed to be assembled - and that I kept putting off...

Crunch time now - so I kicked in to high gear on Monday and production lined 20 of them - getting the inside pockets made and attached, the linings and outer coverings stitched and box bottomed and nested, and then I ran out of steam.

Last night it was COLD in our house - so rather than sit at the sewing machine (with my back to a French door - brrr brrr...) I opted to sit in the recliner with a quilt on my lap, a lap desk on top of that, and a box of pins so that I could get the linings and coverings all straight and pinned for the final assembly.

18 covers, 2 dropped pins and one episode of Dirty Jobs later - I officially was OUT of pins! Yup - used every single one in the box!

So now I HAVE to get these sewn up - or procrastinate some more and only work on projects that don't require pins...

Nah- I am in the home stretch -

Now if only I could figure out a way to machine sew from the recliner?!?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What's Wrong with This Picture???

Can you tell?
Good -then I'm not tellin'!!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

She's At It Again

I just have too much fun with these little videos. Luckily - as Hubby says - I had a lot of "stock footage" from the last one and was able to just rearrange the storyboard and come up with a variation.

Heck, if it gets me 50 more chances at one of those three quilts at Old Red Barn Co., it is worth a little computer time!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Because everyone needs more quilts!

The incredible Dana at Old Red Barn Co. is doing another quilt giveaway - this time with THREE quilts and THREE winners.

Look for a movie sequel coming out soon!

Maybe the Munchkin will be good with one of these three blankets -because we have not started his new one yet.

yeah - I know - bad Mommy - but he wants to help, so it is like quilting with a limp, y'know?!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Things that Warm the Heart

Today, as I do every day, I popped on over to to see what the free craft pattern of the day was. I have found a few good projects on this site, and include it in my daily browse. Some days I like the project of the day, and some days I don't. I don't knit or crochet or do needlepoint, although I have been known to do counted cross stitch, so most of those projects I brush right past.

Today's project was this doll - which did not much interest me - so I was just about to click off to another website when up popped the Munchkin.

"What's that, Mommy?" he asked.

"This tells me how to make this doll, sweetie. Do you think Mommy should make this?" - I held my breath even as I said it, knowing I might regret asking that question.

"No Mommy, you don't need to make that. You need to make a blanket."

And when my son says "blanket" - he really means "quilt".

Yes!!! He is a smart child! But I could not leave well enough alone.

"I was thinking of making a new blanket for your big boy bed (we just moved him into a twin bed Friday night) - would you like to help me?"

"Yes, Mommy. But where is the new blanket???" - he looked around, expecting it to appear in my pile of projects in the dining room.

um - we haven't started it yet - haven't picked a pattern - don't have the fabric - and probably won't have time to work on it until a batch of Christmas quilts get finished...

But those little details do not matter -the boy wants a blanket - a blanket made by Mommy.

Sleep is overrated- I will get started on it now!!!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Fifteen Minutes

In just a few short weeks I am changing jobs. Same location, same convenience of car-pooling with Hubby, and pretty much the same hours.

Pretty much.

With our current routine, I start work at 8:15.
In a few short weeks I will need to start at 8:00.

Fifteen minutes.

It doesn't sound like much, but when we're trying to get Hubby, Munchkin and I all ready and out of the house - fifteen minutes is HUGE!!!

It will mean backing up our wake up time a bit. The rest of the routine will be the same - but that earlier time will be critical. I never like getting out of bed in the winter - from cozy flannel and down to chilly hardwood and bathroom tile... ugh!

Plus we are coming up on the snowy season here... scraping cars, shoveling driveways - all that adds time in the morning.

But we've got a good team in the morning - and I know my boys will help make this work!!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A Child's Perspective

Tonight my son wanted to know why I had a sticker on my shirt.

"Did you go potty, Mommy?" asked the 3 year old whose world is currently focused on stickers and potties and big boy pants with Thomas on them.

"No sweetie, I got this sticker because I voted today."


Um - because we are electing the President of the United States? Now to break that down into terms a 3 year old will understand.

"You know how Scoop is Team Leader for Bob the Builder's machine's, buddy?"
"We are choosing a new Team Leader for our country - between Mr. Barack and Mr. John."

And I showed him the pictures, and I told him which one Mommy chose.

"He can't be Team Leader, Mommy. He's not a machine. He needs to be a People Leader."

Oh I know he can be, buddy. I know he can.

(interestingly not minutes after CNN and the other online news sources called the election, the Munchkin stirred in his sleep. The romantic in me wants to say he felt the world changing - history being made? Or maybe it was just that late evening snack???)

Have you Voted Yet Today???

No Tutorial Tuesday, no Phoenix Mystery Quilt. No cute pictures of the Munchkin.
Just this simple reminder...

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Halloween Scarves

For weeks leading up to Halloween, the Munchkin told me emphatically he wanted to be "just a boy." Not content to leave it just at that -creative Mommy was determined to have "something" going on costume wise. So when I spotted this great Halloween fleece, I bought a bunch and quickly whipped up a handful of scarves - for the Munchkin, Mommy, Daddy, godparents, Gramma and Aunt Jeanne. Given the NORMAL near-freezing temperatures of a western NY Halloween, I thought it was just the thing. Snow earlier this week led me to believe I was on the right track.

Then the Munchkin finally decides to be a kitty cat, and the weather turns 60+ degree balmy!
Go figure!

We all wore our scarves anyway - there was a bit of bite to the wind after the sun went down. And who knows what the weather will be next year!

Friday, October 31, 2008


Happy Halloween

The Munchkin FINALLY decided that Halloween was not such a bad idea after all - he let us carve his pumpkin (his is the one on the left), and decided he was going to be a "kitty". (Easy choice -thanks kid!!! His Aunt wonderfully has a costume stash that included extra kitty ears and a tail... YAY!)

And now he WANTS to go trick-or-treating. Peer pressure - a wonderful thing (!?)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Taming The Beast

As much as I love to snuggle under a quilt, a staple item on our bed during the cold season is our great big fluffy down comforter. Mmmm...fluffy snuggly goodness.

However - with 2 cats, a king sized bed, and short arms - I soon grew weary of wrestling the comforter into it's cover after the frequent necessary washings (cat hair - ewww...)

Not to mention the frustration of the comforter bunching up inside the cover.

Or all the down migrating to one spot.

One cover we bought came with ties at the corners - that you tied around the corner of the cover.

Those worked pretty well - but the corners would slip out sometimes.
And with the length of the sides, the comforter would still "slouch" and get bunched up.

When I made a duvet cover for the Munchkin's bed (we got a little down throw for free when we bought our king size comforter, and it is a perfect size for him), I got the brilliant idea to sew ties not only on the inside of all four corners, but in the inside center of each side of the cover. I then added fabric loops with grosgrain ribbon scraps to all four corners and the center of each side of the comforter (not planning on ever using it uncovered, so it did not matter cosmetically).

I recently went back and did the same for our king size cover.

It makes putting the cover on so much easier, too.

Simply turn your cover inside out, and lay your comforter on top.
Tie up all the ties to all the loops.
Then reach inside, pull the top corners through the bottom, shake it out and button up the opening.

No twists, no bunches, and if your down shifts it makes it easier to grab and shake without really disrupting the whole insides.

And it turned what was a 2 person job into a one person job.

Now if I could just keep the fur ON the cats...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Invisible Hearts

I can't show a picture of what I am currently working on - because it is part of a gift and I don't want to ruin the surprise. I've been working on this since March - and have managed to keep the secret this long... which is stellar for me. Usually I can't last that long.

Anyway - the project involves appliquéing hearts on quilt blocks - lots and lots of hearts. 42 blocks - 42 hearts. Gold and red hearts blanket stitched with contrasting gold or red embroidery floss. The hearts were easy to cut - which is why I decided against mixing hearts and stars, which was my original plan. Stars were just too fussy to cut out.

4 hours and 2 stuck fingers later - I have 30 of 42 done. Enough to assemble the quilt part of this project (it is a quilt and 4 wall hangings).

Ya Gotta Have Heart, right!?!?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tutorial Tuesday - Phoenix is Grounded This Week

Sorry folks - the Phoenix Mystery Quilt was temporarily grounded this week while other stuff got taken care of (sunny day = clean up the yard for winter) - I hope to be back on track next week with the next step.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Flashback Friday - the Costume Trunk

As I struggle with a 3 1/2 year old who is telling his Halloween loving mother that he wants to be "just a boy, Mommy" and that "we don't need Halloween, Mommy. It's not a good idea" -all while every creative gene in my body is screaming to build him the best Halloween costume ever - I remember back to the Halloween's of my childhood.

We had a big orange trunk in our family room - it did not contain toys (they were in a different toy box) but was filled with all sorts of costumes. Most were dance costumes from my older sisters - there was a gypsy and I think a peacock of some kind - but others were fun Halloween costumes -the sheep (see cute little me over there as the sheep), the brown dog - and I know there were more.

Each year we would delve into the trunk - seeing what fit who, or what could be adapted, embellished, altered or enhanced to create whatever our imaginations came up with that year. No store bought costumes around our house - but we had some great ones! Gypsies, ghosts, and other such elegance.

That and lots of jack-o-lanterns out front, with lots of pumpkin seeds roasting in the oven - YUM!!!

I also remember the years big brother Rick decided to rig up some speakers and a microphone and be the spooky noises at the front door.

We really did not get a ton of trick-or treaters at our house - mostly kids who lived in the few houses around us on our rural road. Costumes were frequently covered up by coats and hats and gloves - and had to handle getting in and out of the car frequently as Mom and Dad drove us around to more houses.

I can live with the Munchkin going trick-or-treating as "just a boy" - his box of costumes and spark of creativity may yet still come.

My only dread is that come Halloween morning that he does not suddenly decide he wants to be something more complicated than "just a boy, Mommy."

That's when I will wish for that big orange trunk...