Saturday, December 29, 2007

Thank goodness it's over!

Phew Christmas is done done DONE for another year! It went very smoothly but I think I was mentally wound up more than I thought and for the 2 days after I pretty much stayed in my PJ's and relaxed. It was nice to think about and do nothing after all the Christmas hustle and bustle!

So here are a couple of pics of our Christmas. When you see the presents under the tree in the photo above, keep in mind that my hubby was working until 12 noon Christmas Day and how hard it was for the kids to keep their hands off the pressies until he got home! I pushed as many as I could way under the table. They were very good, and unlike last year we didn't have any snuck into the bathroom and opened. Yes that did happen last year and I have the video to prove it!

My daughter was in bed on Christmas Eve and had to jump out because she wanted to put a stocking she had made in school in the basement next to the woodstove - that we never use - because she knew that Santa would enter the house via the fireplace and as she said, "sometimes Santa puts presents in stockings". I think she wanted to make sure all bases were covered. I don't think many were going to fit in the paper stocking she made (on top of the stove) but Santa was able to get some goodies in their real stockings. This kept them busy until Daddy got home at noon.
Opening the stockings....
My daughter with her haul (thanks Aunty Rachel!!). The only thing that 'Mum' got her instead of Santa was a sewing kit - she was really hoping for one and was so excited that it came from Mum! It's the big rounded box right in front of her with the flowers and handle. I filled it with all sorts of goodies from Joann's. She has already raided my quilting stash and has been making pockets for everyone she knows. Yes pockets. A strip of fabric folded in half and sewn on 3 sides. Any ideas on what I should do with my pockets?!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

It is 9.40pm Christmas Eve and I finally got the kids into bed. To say they are excited is an understatement! They completely believe in Santa and there have been a couple of phonecalls to Santa this weekend about their behaviour. Nothing like the threat of being put on the naughty list to make children try their best to behave!

Tonight we made cookies for Santa and wrote letters for him. We have written letters with the kids every year and basically they talk and I dictate. I write exactly what they say, no editing, no nothing! We save them and they are just hilarious. Tonight I took photos of their letters and Santa's cookies and juice (they decided he'd have had too much milk and would like a change!) to share.

Here we are making the cookies (peanut butter cookies with chocolate kisses - yummy!)Please note the two huge ones on the left - they are Santas.

And here the kids are with their letters and cookies and juice.

It was my daughter's first year of writing her own letter with no help from me at all. She did this while I was helping the boys. In case you can't read her writing, it says, "Dear Santa, I want a locket for Christmas! P.S. You are nice. Ho ho ho ho. Nothing extraordinary about what she wrote, but the way she wrote it is hilarious - I guess that's how words sound when you have just turned 7!

Now is my middle sons - he is 4 and working on writing his name so I still do all the rest!

And my youngest boy who just turned 3 - he hardly talks at all so this was a lot for him...

And these are the fronts of the letters - almost as funny as the insides!

And I just had to take a photo of my youngest sneaking a sip of Santa's juice! The others were laughing over what they had written.

And lastly, the picture right at the top of this entry is of some treats I made for my friends at church - and the UPS man who delivered 8 packages to us today - yes it was a GREAT mail day!! He certainly deserved a treat after hauling them up to my door! If you look at Marie's blog you can see the Butterscotch Mallow Bars recipe I made - it was so easy and so yummy too!

Here's hoping you all get spoilt rotten for Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas ornament tutorial

I promised back in November that I would do a tutorial for the Christmas ornaments I made but then my camera went on the blink and I had to send it away to get fixed - for some reason the memory card refused to upload photos when I put it in my hubby's camera, but now that I have my own camera back, I have been able to upload the tutorial photos!

I know it's a little close to Christmas now, but maybe someone would still like to make some!

1) The first thing you do is to cut 5 squares of fabric all the same size. I think mine were around 4 inches square, but any size is fine. (You can even make them really big, say 12 inches square, and turn the ornaments into hotpads!) Also cut a piece of batting the same size, and a piece of ribbon or cord for the hanger. Iron 4 of the squares in half. You can iron them into triangles or rectangles - whichever you like. I made half of my ornaments with triangles, and half with rectangles.

2) Place the one remaining square of fabric on top of the square of batting, right side up, and sew the ribbon/cord onto a corner. It's best to use tiny stitches for this, especially if you use cord. Ask me how I know :)

3) Now comes the hardest part but it's not really hard at all! You are going to place the 4 folded squares on top of the background/batting piece. Make sure the folded edge faces the middle. You do this one at a time, and overlap them. It's very hard to explain, but each one needs to be "under" another. If you don't have this done right, you will know when you turn it through and will have to unpick and redo it.

This is with the first 2 pieces placed on top...

The third piece....

And the fourth - you will need to lift up the corner of the first one you laid down and tuck the fourth one under it. If it just doesn't look or feel right, keep trying until you see four half triangles (or squares if you used rectangles). Once you get it, it will be easy!

4) Sew around the whole thing, making sure you keep that ribbon/cord tucked away safe from the stitches!

5) Trim around the corners - there's a lot of bulk in there and you want it to turn easily and look nice!

5) Turn it out using the middle of where the 4 pieces intersect.

6) There you have it - aren't you clever??!!

Here is what it looks like if you ironed your squares into rectangles instead of triangles...

I suggest enlisting the help of any children you have milling 7 year old daughter loved ironing the squares in half, and choosing which fabrics would go together.
Have fun!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Birthday Quilt

I was going through photos today and realised I completely forgot to blog about the fabulous birthday quilt we have! My hubby's mother is a quilter too, and last year she made us this birthday quilt. She also sent us a gift card with instructions to use it for each birthday and to buy things the whole family can share eg treats, games, DVD's etc, then to put them in the quilt pockets, and take a photo for her! So we have been doing just that. We have 2 November birthdays so this was taken on our little boy's birthday on Nov 30th. The Birthday Quilt is fast becoming a family tradition!

Don't I have the best Mother-in-law ever?!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Snow and the letter M

Yippee I got my camera back! 2 words - 'extended warranty' - worth every penny, especially when they gave it to me for free when I bought my camera!

We have had a lot of snow the last couple of days with more to come tonight and tomorrow. So what does one do when there's too much snow to make going anywhere fun? Stay home and quilt of course!
I made another initial framed quilt, this time the initial is 'M' and I used bright colors instead of soft. The Kaffe print was just begging to be a background and I quilted the heck out of those circles! The recipient's favorite color is blue, and doing the letter in blue was a perfect match for the background.

We are Christmas Sponsors for a high school girl in the local children's home. I met her when I was in bus driving training - she was one of the students on the bus and she was just wonderful with my little kids - playing with them, singing with them, drawing for them etc. So I asked the home if we could do something for her, and they suggested being her Christmas Sponsors. The 'M' is for her, so here's hoping she likes it! They gave us her wish list and I was shocked - there was nothing extravagent on it like a typical teenager would want. She wanted hair ties and stickers. Talk about humbling! I have had so much fun finding things for her, and we were able to involve our kids and get them excited about it too. If any of you are looking for a charitable thing to do this season, I highly recommend looking at your local Chilren's Home/orphange.

Onto the snow - yesterday morning I opened our door and we were completely snowed in. My hubby was in Rhode Island with his work so the task of shovelling was up to me. I had half an hour to get everyone fed, dressed, and out the door to take my daughter to school. No they didn't have a snow day or even a delay. Crazy! Anyway, I start shovelling and it became clear I was never going to get clear in time for school. So I asked my neighbor if she could take my daughter to school with her kids - their driveway was clear! So I go inside and get everyone ready and hear this loud noise outside. I look out and my neighbor's hubby is in our driveway with his snowblower clearing it out. He was late for work but still took the time to do that for me. I went out to thank him and started to cry! What a goober I am! He is just the nicest neighbor:) Then I went inside, went online and found a local store with snowblowers in stock, and went and got one then and there! So we are now the owners of a snowblower. If you have stuck with the story this long, 10 points for you!! And 10 points to our mailman who still delivered our mail with the mailbox looking like this....And some more pics for my family and friends in NZ where it is Summer...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sue Spargo's quilts

I am waiting for my camera to get back to me from the repair shop so since I don't have photos for you today, I thought I'd show you a quilt that I love - not done by me, but by the well-known quilter Sue Spargo (click on her name to go to her website!) I am completely in love with this quilt - the colors, the designs, just beautiful! Oh I can just see this hanging on my wall in my living room.

If you go here, you can see some her books/BOM's etc. Have a good look around her website - it's full of eye candy! No I'm not being paid by her - she doesn't even know I exist! I just love her stuff. Thanks must go to my friend Anna for reminding me about Sue Spargo and about how wonderful her designs are!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Pat Sloan contest

OK people, you have got to get yourself over to Pat Sloan's blog and leave a comment - she is trying to get 1000 comments in one day (WOW!) and when she hits 1000, she will do a drawing for a bunch of fat quarters from her new line of fabric which hasn't even been released yet! So quit reading this and go go GO!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Baby quilt


And after...
I know I promised last week to get a picture of a baby quilt top I was making put up....then 2 birthdays happened and I got dazed and confused - that's my excuse at least:)

But today's the day! My friend had her baby shower today and I finally got the quilt done. It included finishing the quilting at 2am this morning and finishing the binding at 10am as I was leaving for the shower, but it's done done, including the basting removed and tails cut off!

Don't you love baby showers?! Especially when like my friend, you already have 3 boys and this one was a girl! (the baby was born a month ago - I know, it took us a while to get our acts together!)

I can't take credit for the 9 patches - I got them in an internet swap on Pat Sloan's yahoo group about 3 years ago. One of the 9 patches in this quilt is even made by Pat herself!

Now I can take all my pumpkin stuff down and concentrate on Christmas. Yes I still have pumpkin quilts up. And it's December. Hope you have now had your laugh of the day!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I have been running around like a headless chook getting things ready for my daughter's birthday party tomorrow so just a short non-quilting post today! I was excited to get a phonecall today that an old friend of my sister's from New Zealand was in town so what does a Kiwi girl do? She makes a pavlova and takes it over to share with the fellow Kiwi! It was a great day to meet up with someone who talks like me! And the Pavlova was a yummy end to a busy but great day:)

And while I'm talking about food, here's a photo of our belated Thanksgiving I did on Sunday night...we weren't going to do the whole turkey thing but our kids were so sad that we didn't have turkey that I gave in and did it! I'm so glad I did - it was delicious!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Christmas Ornaments

Here is one of my latest projects...Christmas ornaments! The look like 4 patches in the photos but they are actually folded pieces of fabric and and really fun to make. I made 40 of them. Yes that's right - 40! They actually aren't for me. The ladies at church are having a progressive dinner in a couple of weeks and the ornaments are to be the favors.

My almost 7 year old (4 days to go!) helped me a lot - I got her to iron the pieces, pick the combinations, and place the pieces ready for me to sew. She loved it and we had a ton of fun.
So that was yesterday and today I made a quilt top. It is for a dear friend who just had a baby girl. I will take pics for tomorrow, but basically it is all pinks and browns using 9 patches I got in an online swap about 3 years ago. It's very busy but so pretty!
Stay tuned...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving our way...

Well today is a big non-event for us. My hubby is working, and well, nothing much is open, so the kids and I are huddled up in our warm little house watching movies! Home Alone 3 is done, now onto Edward Scissorhands. (My 4 son by the way, has decided on something he wants to collect....scissors. Oh yes, this will be fun.)

But don't feel too sorry for us - we did our Thanksgiving yesterday! We went out to lunch at a restaurant then went to the store and bought yummy things to make for dinner. For the first time since I've been in the States we didn't have a traditional turkey dinner. I don't really like turkey that much anyway, and hubby would rather have a good steak so we did it 'our' way! We ended up having the most delicious meal of rib eye steak, shrimp scampi, veges, and pretzel sticks just like Aunty Anne's - you know, the place in every mall?!! I have watched them make them, asked questions, and experimented, and have come up with something exactly like theirs! But maybe even better! I did take photos of the whole dinner but my camera decided to not work for a while and my hubby's camera won't show the photos on my memory stick. So no photos of our dinner! But trust me, it was great and we were very thankful for it in the spirit of the season and all :)

So today I have some photos of some things from the last week that I am thankful for...

A sweet, obedient and kind daughter...

The three handsome and loving men in my life...
A front yard full of leaves and kids to jump and play in them...
And a backyard with snow just begging to be made into a snowman!

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Real applique at last!

Yes you read the title right - real applique, meaning, I finally have some real applique done! My daughter went to a birthday party today and I did the birthday girl's initial using needleturn. It was held at this wonderful new place called Miss Libby's where Miss Libby herself puts on little tea parties for girls. So much fun! This is my daughter when we were about to leave...(what I should have taken a photo of was the to-die-for red velvet couch with feather trimmed cushions!)

The theme of the birthday was 'Paris Tea Party' so I pulled out my Paris Flea Market fabrics and set to work. I used the map of Paris streets for the background, just to emphasize the theme even more! And though you can't see it in the photo of the 'K', I also quilted the rest of the birthday girl's name next to the K, along with lots of hearts and swirls. And just because there's nothing like getting a present wrapped in pink with a pink puffy bow....
And then, since I was all in the needleturn mood, I made a Christmas applique for the girl's mother. She was the one who gave me all that jewellery I blogged about a few weeks ago. So I owe her big time and I had to start somewhere! And once again, I used the Paris Flea Market fabrics. My Mother in law bought me the whole line when they first came out and it's been so hard to cut into them. I'm sure you all understand!
It feels good to be getting back in the applique groove :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Pretty in Pink

My poor daughter - she has been sleeping on a mattress on the floor since we bought this place 5 months ago. And before she had the mattress, she was in a great big box! Totally her choice - she thought it was fun! But we finally got her a real bed. It's her first big girl's bed - she was in bunks with the boys before we moved.

So to celebrate her having a new bed I thought it was only fitting to paint her room. I thought it was an off-white before, but when I started painting it looked more like a yucky tanish dishwater color! Plus to make it really ugly before, the old owners had painted all the trim in her room brown. Just lovely. Now it is bubblegum pink with pure white trim! I think I am living out my secret dreams in her room - I would actually love a pretty pink frilly bedroom but I'm not so sure hubby would love it as much as I would!

'Before'... how the previous owners had it...(please take note of the lovely brown trim with the wall paint running onto it!)
A work in progress - don't you love the 'before' color?

And the quilty part of this post? Have a look at her bed - there is a quilt on it! My daughter and her Grandma in UT made it together in the weeks before we moved to NH. So it is a very special quilt to her. Please ignore the bed frame - I still have to get a pretty valance to cover it...oooh I love shopping for girly things!

....And 'after'!