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2012 – Coming to a Close

Overall, I would say that 2012 was a good year.  No one was injured or suffered any major illness.  We had enough to eat, was able to pay our rent and even enjoyed a few excursions here in Texas.

One of those excursions was last Sunday.  My Dad turned 70 on Christmas Day, so as a gift from the kids – we got tickets to the Texans game at Reliant park.  He had never been to this park or seen the Texans play in person.  Mom pitched in money to get herself a ticket as well.  So, the four of us (Stewart stayed home to watch the kids) went to the game, hoping to see the Texans play.  They never showed up (we lost something like WTF – 6).  We had a great time anyway.

Texans Game Family

Brother, Mother, Father

Texans Game Field

The kids enjoyed Christmas immensely and told these huge tales of seeing Santa Claus and describing what he was wearing and doing, etc…  They cut us a break at least and didn’t wake up until around 7:30 am.  I think I generally got up around 5:00 on Christmas morning, but then again, my birthday is in March and I had to wait a loooooong time before I expected some influx of big, new toys.  Both of my kids just recently had their birthdays, but they were still so excited.  Santa did good this year.

I hope all of you had a wonderful time with family, friends, or even if it was spent with your cherished dog (like my MIL).  Have a great end to 2012 and a blessed start to 2013!

Jennifer

God bless our families

A Prayer

God, please embrace those children coming to you today.  Please comfort their fears and tears and their cries for Mommy and Daddy.  Please hold them close as they return to your care.

God, please help us understand and have the wisdom to make decisions that will keep this from happening again.  I pray that you can enter the hearts of those who are so troubled that they cannot see a better path than to destroy innocent lives and forever alter the lives of those left behind. 

In the name of your son, Jesus, I pray.

Amen.

Quilted shawl and first wrapped gift of the season!

Probably the worst sleep of my life last night.  Very restless and finally gave up around 3:15 am and decided to sit in my sewing room and think about a gift for my grandmother.  I have settled on making her a quilted shawl, inspired by a pattern for one in McCall’s Quilting magazine from March/April 2011.  The exception is that I am going to use three Swoon blocks instead of the patchwork blocks that were laid out in the pattern from the magazine. 

Swoon Pattern

So, really, all I’m taking from the mag is the idea of a quilted shawl.  I have a bundle of Marmalade flannel that I’m going to use, but I’ve never sewn or quilted with flannel before.  And, I will need to combine it with regular cotton fabric in the overall project.  I hope there are no surprises, as I need this project to go really quick.

Marmalade Flannel FQs

Now, just trying to decide on the fabric combinations for each Swoon block…

My grandmother is still in the hospital.  She had her second procedure done this morning to put in another stent.  If all looks good overnight, she may get to go home tomorrow.  The side benefit of this is that I get the company of my aunt and mother tonight again.  The kids love company!  Pajama party!

So, my first wrapped gift is for my aunt.  She will probably be heading back to Dallas later this week, and I may not get to see her again before Christmas.  I have a special connection to her for many reasons, one of which is a shared loved of quilting.  Other than my grandmother, she is the only one who does this in my family.  Another is that she reminds me so much of my mother, but a very mellow version of her.  I had decided upon her gift awhile back when I was browsing the Etsy site for Pinks and Needles.  I don’t want to say much more, just in case she decides to look up my blog.  I’m recycling some Moda twill tape from the newly opened Marmalade FQ bundle to tie around her package.  I may even try to do a hand-made tag as inspired by nanaCompany and Pretty by Hand bloggers, Amy and Kristyne.  They are making some adorable tags for gifts!  Look them up!

First Wrapped Gift 2012

Hope your week is going well!  Thanks for stopping by!

Jennifer

Just going along for now…

Not much happening on the sewing front.  We have been busy with the preparation and celebration of my son’s birthday.  He turned 6 this week!  He shares a birthday with my grandmother, so it is even extra special.

Also, my grandmother (same one), suffered a heart attack a couple of weeks ago – and due to her age (she turned 88 this week), they were able to treat with medication and send her home after a few days in the ICU.  She seems back to her old self, but we know now that she has two large arterial blockages in the heart which will not do her any favors if another small blot clot comes floating along.

We got a second opinion from a cardiologist yesterday and we are moving forward with implanting stents into these arteries next week.  We are all hoping for a smooth procedure and recovery.  It’s just not her time yet!!  It does make me feel compelled to move up her quilt project soon.  I have received at least three quilts from her in my life and I want to make one to give back.  I’m still deciding which one to do…

Thanks for visiting and being patient during my absence.  I have the top and bottom borders to put on Nora’s quilt (FQS 2011 Designer Mystery quilt & finishing kit).  I’ll share pictures of that this weekend.  Going to try and FMQ it before  Christmas and give it to her as a gift.  Haven’t worked on much else lately.

All the best!

Jennifer

A different shopping experience

You would think, living in Houston like I do, that I would have a wealth of quilt shops to choose from.  I haven’t found that to be the case.  There are several up North of Houston, but that is a heck of a drive (about 45 min – 1 hour) through unfamiliar roads.  And I think there is one or two in Galveston (again a good drive to an area I do not frequent).  The one quilt shop I have relied upon is located in Humble, Texas.  It is only a 25 minute drive from home.  Once just a suburb of Houston, it is now a sprawling metro area of it’s own.  Or at least it seems that way.  Nestled in a strip mall, I had discovered “It’s a Stitch” fabric and sewing center.  They did fabric and sold Bernina machines.  If I had the urge to fondle fabric and just look at everything on a laisy Saturday, I had a place to go.  They had notions.  They had patterns/books.  Thread.  All the stuff. 

Well, about six months ago they decided to change their operations after 15-20 years in business.  They sold off all of their bolt fabric (and everything else for that matter) at fabulous sale prices (my stash doubled I think).  And then they had nothing but the sewing machines and some remaining notions/books.  So I had not gone back for many, many months.  They came out with this new approach to selling fabric again and was advertising through email and mail fliers.  Once I saw that they had a lot of my favorite designers back in stock, I made the trip again last Saturday.  They still do not have bolts, but have opted to sell everything in precut bundles.  All the manufactured pre-cuts and their own cut fat quarters, half yards, yards, and two-yard cuts.  Nothing bigger than that unless you pre-order the fabric before it arrives in the store and they will cut it in the back before doing the rest for the store shelves.  They have some selection of backing fabrics in 4/5? yard increments, but not a whole lot.

Here’s some pictures from the store visit.  I did ask permission to take some pictures and told them I would like to post them on my blog.  They were fine with it…

Above picture shows Chateau Rouge and Mama Said Sew.  See the little hangers?  Those are the two-yard cuts.  The other cuts (other than fat quarters) are wrapped around cardboard sleeves.

Another view down the aisle, showing more collections for sale.

A picture showing the center of the store, not including the area with all the sewing machines and tables.

This isn’t a bad approach and I think it actually looks quite inviting, after you get over the nostalgia of not having the bolts to lift and carry to the cutting table and having the last minute opportunity to tell the clerk to just “… make it 3 yards instead of 2, ok?”.  So I bought a couple of items and some thread (my original shopping goal).  At the checkout counter, I asked her when they would get Tapestry in stock by Fig Tree.  She told me … “Oh, we have it in the back, we just don’t have room for it yet on the floor.”.  REALLY?  REALLY???  Do you not know what that fabric is and that you are losing sales every day it isn’t out there for customers?  Like to me?  Wow…  I asked if it was already cut, or if it was still in the stage where I could ask for large continuous yardage.  It was already sliced and diced, just couldn’t get it on the floor.  I asked if I could buy it anyway, and she said that they couldn’t sell it yet.  I was shocked.  I guess if I had shed some tears, they may have sold it to me.  Oh well, my FQS deliveries usually happen within 48 hours, so I’m not worried about that.  In fact, Hancock of Paducah’s is having a Fall sale where the Tapestry yardage is like 24% off!  Can’t beat that!

So, has anyone else seen a shop set up like this before?

Have a great quilty weekend!

Jennifer

More than Satisfied!

I am so very glad that I went forward with my changes on my Forget Me Not quilt.  I was able to finish it up last night and it turned out just like I had hoped.  I now, truly feel that I have finished it.  Here are the new and improved pictures.  I brought the quilt to work today since it was dark outside last night by the time I finished it and I knew I wouldn’t have a chance to take any before I left home this morning.

Close up of improved borders.  I top stitch appliqued the stems, leaves and center Forget-Me-Not flower.  I hand appliqued the yo-yos as flower buds.  I started off top stitching around the edge of the yo-yos (I did 5 of them), and it was not a good look at all.  Ripped out those threads and I love how these pop up now!  I even have some ‘scrappy’ yo-yos, trying to finish off every last bit of the original fabrics.

Edge flipped over to show the backing fabric.

And I found the absolute PERFECT wooden buttons at JoAnns this weekend.  PERFECT!  Love the fussy cutting of the Forget Me Not flowers from the fabric to be the petals.

Much better – yes?  Just need to make a quick label and stitch it to the back!

No BOM Rehab today, but I feel good that I sacrificed that time to finish up this quilt.  I’ll see you next week Sinta!

Have a great Monday!

Jennifer

Not Satisfied

Well, poo.  I just am NOT happy with how my end borders are on that Forget Me Not quilt.  It needs something.  I worked too long on it not to be happy.  But – I think I have a solution!  In my mind’s eye, I have some applique flowers and leaves/stems that I think will really make it much better.  In fact, I searched online for pictures of a Forget Me Not flower, and the shape is such a good one for an easy applique, that it really seems like a no brainer.

I have precious little left of the backing fabric that will be perfect for the flowers and I can easily accent with a variety of the pinks and greens to make it all come together.  I hope it turns out as well as it looks in my head.

My other surprise find this week was through the blog ‘Pretty by Hand’.  It’s a great blog and I love Kristyne’s writing style.  Anyway, she attended the International Quilt Market festival in Houston a couple of weeks ago and shared her pictures of the different booths on her blog.  Lots of eye candy to see – check it out!  One of the pictures was from a shop in Australia.  They had a quilt called “Robin’s Nest”, designed by Karen Styles.  Shop name is Somerset Patchwork and Quilting.  Lovely, lovely quilts.  Lots of hard work going into those treasures!  Here’s the quilt that I have added to my Bucket List.  The patterns (which come with acrylic templates) and a fabric BOM is available through Homestead Hearth.  Somerset Patchwork also has the patterns and templates, but their fabric BOM is full now.  And they are in Australia.

Isn’t this georgeous?  It is currently my desktop background on my work computer.  It is making it hard to concentrate on work though.

I hope everyone finds time to quilt this weekend!  Have fun! 

Thanks for stopping by,

Jennifer