Le Petite - Prairie Point Christmas and Happy New Year!

December 31, 2010

It's done!  My last project for 2010 is my December Le Petite - "Prairie Point Christmas" by Cara Wilson.
I don't know why, but I had troubles trying to decide what I wanted to do for the borders.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to go exactly how the pattern had the borders.  I decided to do something a little different than the pattern.  After MUCH auditioning last night, this is what I decided on.  I love it.  I'm very happy with how this project looks!  I have temporarily added a little prim star button on the top to see how I like it.  What do you think?  I'm going to see if it grows on me and if it does, I'll attach it after I quilt it.  Yippee, I have another project waiting to be quilted on my A-1!!  I'm so excited.  I'm counting down the days until next Wednesday when Jamie Wallen is coming over to set everything up!!

Scott will be installing some cabinetry in my new quilt studio.  He went and picked them up yesterday.
Unfortunately for Scott this meant more heavy things to carry, but at least he could go down the stairs this time and not through the window!  My studio only has one small window, so I didn't want to go with dark cabinetry.  I chose a solid, natural maple with a Shaker panel door.  The cabinets are Amish made in Indiana.  The were sooooo affordable.  I didn't want anything fancy, but after we priced stock cabinets at Lowe's, these were actually a better deal and better made!
I love them!  Looks like Sarge and Scooter do too!  Scooter couldn't believe his good fortune yesterday.  There were big boxes and long pieces of tape for him to play with.  A kitty playground!

It will be a quiet holiday for us this year.  My dad is coming over tonight and we just plan on staying in, playing some games and eating yummy food.  I wanted thank all of you for making the last part of 2010 such a special one for me!  I feel so fortunate to have "met" such wonderful new friends.  Reading blogs has changed my morning routine for the better.  I can't imagine my morning coffee without all of you!  I would like to wish everyone
A Happy New Year!

One More Project To Finish For 2010

December 30, 2010

I finally got back in my sewing room last night.  It felt good to be sewing again!  I debated on whether or not to even try to start the December Le Petite project.  I didn't want to have another UFO before the end of the year, but the project was soooo cute.  It is called "Prairie Point Christmas" by Cara Wilson of Caraquilts blog.  Cara has an awesome blog!  "Prairie Point Christmas" was featured as a Moda Bakeshop Recipe.  I had not yet tried a project from the Moda Bakeshop, so I really wanted to make this.  Last night I decided, I just couldn't pass it up.
I still need to get my borders on today, but I just love it like I knew I would!  I started with some charm packs, Remembrance by Brannock and Patek.  After I looked through the charms, I realized I wanted some more green options for my tree, so I added some.  I went with a more beige background than the recipe called.  The recipe called for Snow from Moda.  I used a fabric from Hope - Collection for a Cause by Howard Marcus.   This is a HEAVY quilt top with all those prairie points!  You have to sew over quite a few layers of fabric in some areas.  I put my built-in walking foot on my Janome 6600 to some good use!  Once I got my fabric all prepped, it went together so nicely.  I cut my background strips at the quilt shop.  Quilts at the Marshall House just got a new Sizzix fabric cutter.  It was so easy and fun to cut my strips!!  Customers are welcome to use it too!  I laid my prairie points on the floor and played with them a little to figure a placement to my liking first.
 Not sure why the color is so bad in that photo??  Then I just started sewing my top together.

I wasn't the only one who was glad I was sewing again...

Scooter was just the happiest kitty.  He stayed with me the entire time I was sewing.

After I got the top all pieced, Scooter had to make sure it passed his kitty test too!!  This kitty just loves to quilt!

Hopefully, tomorrow I'll be able to show pictures with the borders on!

Family Is Everything

December 28, 2010

I want to thank everyone for the very kind comments and emails I received regarding Elaina and our family.  We cherished every one of them and read each one of them together as a family.  I am so fortunate to have such a wonderful blogging "family".   Family really IS everything.  That sign hangs in my home above the door to our downstairs.  I pass under it at least a hundred times a day!  It's my friendly little reminder as I'm running downstairs to do the laundry!  Wink. Wink. 
No really, I feel so fortunate to have been able to spend Christmas with my family.  We went to my in-laws' on Thursday night.  We celebrated with them and came home Friday night.  My dad and my sister (of course Scooter) spent Christmas with us.  AND my SIL, her husband and my baby niece stayed the night with us Christmas night!!  We had a full house that night!  Heather, Troy and Mayella (my SIL, BIL and niece) live is Southern California, so it was an extra special Christmas to have them with us too!!  Mayella, isn't that the prettiest name?  She's the most beautiful little baby too.  She is named after Scott and Heather's grandma.  Mayella is 10 months old and is already walking!  She was so much fun.  She sure kept us busy.  I have forgotten how NOT childproof my home was!  Elaina and Alyssa were the best big cousins EVER!  They had a ball with their new little cousin!

Unfortunately, I got sick over Christmas.  I think it was all the craziness before Christmas just finally caught up with me.  I spent Sunday sleeping ALL day!  I apologize for my little absence from blogging, but I just couldn't pull myself together until Monday night.  I still have a horrid sore throat and body aches, but no fever now.  I'm trying to catch up with every one's blogs!  Wow, a few days away and I feel so lost!

Not a lot of sewing around here still.  I did work a bit on my "Hop To It" BOM.  Sitting and stitching was about the only sewing I was up for.  I think my sewing machine thinks I've abandoned ship.  Here is block 6...
Something about stitching wool is so soothing and therapeutic.  I started on my next block too.  I need to get moving on this project.  I want to have all my blocks done by the time I go on my quilt retreat the first weekend in February.  Today, I'm planning on starting my Le Petite project.  It's so cute!  Not really sure if I'll make this deadline, but hopefully!!!

In The Sprit of Christmas

December 23, 2010

I mentioned on Monday's post that Elaina was sick last Friday and missed her last elementary school class party.  Elaina was not your "typical sick" like with a cold or the flu.  Elaina suffers from a chronic illness.  She was diagnosed several years ago with Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome or CVS.  Her first episode or spell with CVS was when she was only 12 months old.  What happens when she is sick, you ask??  During a spell, Elaina will be sick for 4 days.  Elaina will vomit bile intermittently for the first 2 days.  Sometimes she vomits 4-6 times in an hour.  Poor thing will wretch and wretch.  She spends the third day almost comatose.  She only sleeps.  When she does get up, we have to carry her.  She is too weak and lethargic to do anything on her own.  She may by the end of the third day sit up on the couch.  By the fourth day, she is almost functioning normal, but she still has trouble walking or focusing on things.  Her spells have grown further apart over the years.  She used to suffer about every 7-8 weeks.  Now she has a spell every 11 1/2 weeks to the day.  The time in-between spells she is perfectly healthy.  Some spells are more severe than others.  Many who suffer from CVS claim to have a trigger.  Maybe a food or excitement.  Elaina is very difficult for doctors to understand because her spells come like clockwork.  Only time is a trigger.  We know EXACTLY when she will be sick.  I mark the calendar and then pray in-between spells that maybe it will just never come.  We have taken her to dozens of specialists.  We've had countless trips to the ER over the years.  We currently travel to the Cleveland Clinic to see a team of specialists there.  Medications never work.  They might just mask some of the symptoms or control the vomiting.  We have tried everything from special diets to non-conventional therapies.  Nothing works.  No one knows the cause.  Alyssa is her identical twin, but is not sick.  Yes, it's been heart wrenching for us and frustrating as well.  I always schedule events or vacations around when she supposed to be sick.  I can literally look at the calendar 11 1/2 weeks from now and know when she'll be sick.  I feel our only hope is that she might outgrow it some day.

Now based on when Elaina was sick last summer, I knew at the beginning of the school year she would be sick either for her Christmas program or her party.  Everyone at school was aware too and really pulling for Elaina that she would beat it this time and not get sick.  So when she was sick on Friday everyone was devastated.  I'm going to get emotinal as I write this, Mrs. Winchell (the girls' teacher) arranged and got permission to do something very special for Elaina.  We got a call from the school explaining her plans.  After a while, the doorbell rang and it was Alyssa accompanied by Mrs. Winchell and the whole class in our front yard!  Scott told Elaina (who was in her pj's) shw needed to get her boots and coat on because she had a visitor, which just baffled her.  When she opened the door, Elaina's face just brightened up and her smile went from ear to ear!  Her class sang "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer" to her!  They presented her with cards, including one from the principal.  AND Mrs. Winchell gave Elaina a special little poinsettia!  Elaina said it was one of the best days of her life!

What an amazing teacher!  Not only what Mrs. Winchell did for Elaina and our family, but also what she did for the rest of the class.  She really taught them so much about the spirit of Christmas.  I heard the kids were so excited when they got back to school!  They were telling everyone about how much it meant for them to do that for Elaina.  The story has spread through our small town as well.  My family will never forget what Mrs. Winchell did for ALL of us.  I know I heard a little bell ring that day because Mrs. Winchell earned her wings.
 I would like to wish everyone and their families a very
Merry Christmas!

Something to Crow About

December 22, 2010

I had my first company Christmas party with the quilt shop Monday night.  Well, there's only 9 of us actually!  What a fun night!  One of the ladies, Ellen hosted.  She made the most delicious gumbo and the rest of us brought rolls, salads and cookies.  I'm the newbie, so I really had a lovely time getting to know my co-workers better.  I can already tell, we are like a little family!  I'm so lucky to have a wonderful boss and co-workers! We also did a secret Santa exchange.  Ellen was my Santa.  She doesn't know me well yet, but I mentioned to her a couple of weeks ago that I liked to cook and bake, especially pies.  I received the cutest and most functional little gifts.
It's a little Pie Bird.  I did not have one and have always wanted to try one.  Apparently, you put it in the middle of the pie shell before filling.  After filling around the Pie Bird, you drape the crust over the top of the beak, pushing down slightly.  The Pie Bird actually releases the steam during baking and is supposed to prevent a bubbling over mess.  Has anyone ever tried one of these cute little birdies?   Sounds like a good idea!  I will be putting him to good use tonight when I get home from work!

I received one more little "guy" in my gift bag.
LOL!  Now I got a good chuckle from him because I had no clue for what he was for!!  Does anyone know what he is?  ........An egg separator!  That's great!!  I will use him a ton!  I could have really used him Sunday night when we were baking cookies with the girls.  I might even look for recipes that separate eggs, simply so I can use him.  Totally puts a smile on my face every time I look at him!  Yes, I am easily amused. Thanks for all my great gifts, Ellen!

Speaking of pies, I will making a couple of apple pies for Christmas this year.  I know there are a million apple pie recipes out there, but the following one is for "Caramel Apple Pie."  It's my favorite!  I swear I could eat a whole pie myself!

Caramel Apple Pie

2 pie crusts.  Homemade or store.  I always make my own.

2 1/2 pounds apples.  Peeled, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/4 C granulated white sugar
1/4 C light brown sugar
1 T lemon juice
1 t cinnamon
1/8 t nutmeg
1/4 t salt
2 T unsalted butter
1 T plus 1 t cornstarch

In a large bowl combine the sliced apples, sugars, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  Let the apple mixture set at room temp. for about 2 hours.  Then, place the apples and their juices in a strainer that is placed over a large bowl to capture juices.  Let the apples drain for about 15-30 minutes or until you have a least a cup of juice.  Spray a 4 cup heatproof measuring cup with a nonstick vegetable spray and then pour in the collected juices and 2 T of butter.  Place in the microwave and boil the liquid, on high 6 to 7 minutes or until the liquid has reduced to about 1/3 C and is syrupy and lightly caramelized.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Meanwhile, roll bottom crust onto pie plate.  Transfer the drained apples to a large bowl and mix them with the cornstarch.  Then pour the reduced syrup over the apples and toss to combine.  Pour the apples into the chilled pie crust.  Moisten the edges of the pie shell with a little water and then place the top pie crust over the apples.  Tuck and crimp the the top crust around the pie.  Cut slits into top to allow steam to escape.  Or use a Pie Bird.

Place on the lowest rack of the oven on a baking sheet or stone.  Place a piece of aluminum foil on the pan or stone to catch any apple juices.

Bake for 45-55 minutes or until the juices start to bubble thought the slits and the apples feel tender, not mushy when a sharp knife is inserted though a slit.  My oven takes 55 minutes.  Make sure to cover the edges of the pie with a foil ring to prevent over browning after about 30 minutes.

Remove the pie from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 3-4 hours before cutting.  AND ta-da...

So yummy with a slightly caramel taste.  Enjoy!

Gingerbread Houses and More

December 21, 2010

I am on a working marathon right now, so it's really been hard to get some sewing in.  I STILL have to finish my "Three Bluebirds" wool rug before Christmas.  It's very close to being done. My last day working for the year is tomorrow.  Yipee!  My sister, Kristin and Scooter are home for Christmas break.  Kristin is a huge help to me with taking care of the girls while I am working!  While I was at work yesterday, the three of them made a beautiful gingerbread house.  It's tradition that Kristin is always the foreman on the job overseeing the construction!  In years past, I've made it ALL from scratch.  It was super time consuming.  Not to mention, what a mess!!  Then I wised up and realized I was no Martha Stewart and bought a pre-made kit.  Genius!!  Some of the best money I've ever spent!  It's so much easier for the girls too.
I think they did a wonderful job on the 2010 Gingerbread House!  I woke up this morning to notice that a few of the candies were mysteriously missing already!

I came home from work yesterday to also find another little surprise.  I know I've mentioned before how blogging friends are the best, well yesterday was no different.  I received a little package from my friend Lynn in California...
Lynn sent me her own pattern that SHE designed, "Heartfire" and a lovely Christmas card.  Lynn is an amazingly talented designer, teacher and quilter!  Her blog is Sew'n Wild Oaks Quilting Blog.  It's such an AWESOME blog.  Lynn is always posting beautiful quilting pics, tutorials and the most delicious recipes!  I just told her I've probably gained 5 pounds since I started reading her blog!  If you've never been to her blog, stop by and say "hi" and check out all her wonderful posts.   I mentioned to Lynn a while ago that I just loved her "Heartfire" pattern and wanted to purchase it, so look what landed on my doorstep!  I think I already have the fabric picked out to make it!  This project will be moved high on my priority list in the new year.  I can't wait to get the fabric to start it!

Also I received a little package containing a calendar I won in a giveaway from Tara Lynn Darr at Sew Unique Creations blog.  The calendar is Barn Quilt 2011 donated by Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail.  It has the most beautiful photos of barns across North America.   Tara threw in a few surprises from her as well... 3 of her patterns for miniature quilts!  How generous!  Oh and they are just the most darling quilt patterns.  I can't wait to make those too!
Looks like I'm going to be pretty busy in the New Year!  I can't wait.

As I mentioned earlier, Scooter is home too.  Look who jumped in at the last minute and decided he needed a photo taken too. 

The Eagle, I Mean A-1 Has Landed!

December 20, 2010

Yes, my A-1 arrived on Friday as scheduled!!!!  Yippee!!  Can you all just see my leaping, jumping for joy!  I still cannot believe it!  It's not put together yet, but it's home safe.  Jamie Wallen is coming the beginning of January to spend a couple of days with me setting up and training.  I can't wait!! 

Last week had been a long and crazy week, including Friday.  Work has been super busy because we are on the tail end of the Christmas shopping season.  Elaina was home sick Friday.  Poor thing missed her class Christmas party.  It was her last one ever because next year it's off to middle school.  I'll share more about that later this week.  Then all the craziness with the A-1's delivery.  I was so relieved to finally get the call that the delivery truck was going to be arriving at any minute.  It was like a dream when I saw the truck in front of my house!  Then I snapped back to reality when the poor truck driver got stuck on some patchy ice in the road while trying to back down my driveway!
Scott had to throw tons of salt on the road to get him off the ice.  Took a little time, but he made it!
Scott jumped right in the back to help the driver unload my machine.
This long crate housed the 12 Ft. long table to the machine.  That's what makes the A-1 a little different and so smooth.  The table is one solid piece! Amazing for quilting, pain in the you know where for moving!!  Later that night, Scott said if we sell the house and move, the machine stays.  LOL!  It weighed a ton, well like 300 pounds with all the lumber housing it!!  I was sure to snap this photo because if you'll look closely on the end in the truck still, there's a huge hole in the side of the crate!  The truck driver said it was damaged when they were loading the machine.  As soon as it was in the garage, Scott opened the crate to make sure there was no damage.  Almost!  They barely missed the motor to the hydraulic lift of the table!  Trust me I let out a huge sigh of relief!!  Actually, we all did, including the truck driver!

As I said, the table is one long, solid piece, so getting it in my new studio, which is in our finished basement was quite a challenge.  Thank goodness a friend of ours came over to help.  I'm pretty sure Scott and I couldn't have done it by ourselves.  The plan from the beginning was to go through a large basement window, but for some reason my Santa thought he could make it down the stairs with it.  I insisted the window was the way to go.  Guess who found out the hard way that I was right??  So eventually it came through the window.  It wasn't easy mini nightmarish, but they did it!

It's now laying on the floor of my family room.  All the parts seem to be here.  Don't worry, I will take LOTS of pics when it is all set up!  Scott was so exhausted Friday night!  Thanks Santa!

I can't wait until it's all set up.  I know it will be before I know it.  Then all the practicing will begin!!

Scrappy Tumbler

December 17, 2010

Our annual quilt guild quilt show is every September.  It's a really good show.  The quilts are always amazing and so is the shopping!  There is always a very large selection of vendors or quilt shops.  I always find something new and different to buy there.  I know, big surprise!  LOL!  This last September I found a shop that was selling a large baggie full of tumbler blocks.  The directions in the baggie just said to sew all the blocks together .  Make rows and sew them together.  It said the quilt would make around a 64 X 72" quilt top.  The best part it was only $40!!  I thought that was such an amazing deal.  To buy a kit for only $40 is a steal!  I, of course couldn't pass that up.  I bought it, stitched it up the following Sunday in a few hours and look what I made!
I love it.  It's super scrappy.  The fabric is a combination of reproductions and some homespuns.  It is one of the fastest and prettiest quilt tops I've ever put together.
You just sew one tumbler onto the next and make rows.  Each of the tumblers had notched corners for the 1/4" seam!  I swear it couldn't have been any easier.  I had to lay my blocks out first before I would sew them.  Even my scrappy quilts are thought out first!!  Ridiculous, I know.  I'm going to try hard to adapt Edyta Sitar's method and just start sewing and not think about it!
Here my rows are all laid out right before I started sewing those together.  I did straighten all the edges up.  I kind of wished I would have left them, but I wasn't sure how much I would have enjoyed attaching the binding with it left the way it was.  I'm sure you noticed that I've layered it already.  I did that in September while the weather was still nice and I wasn't 100% sure then I was getting my longarm.  I prefer to spray baste.  I used to pin, but hated every second of it and switched to spray basting and was much happier with that.  I usually make quilt tops during the winter and then save them to spray baste outdoors when the weather is nice.  That way I don't have to deal with the mess and preparation in the house!  I'm not sure what I will do now that I have a longarm on the way??  Should I just leave it and dsm quilt it?  Or should I take it apart and put it on the longarm?  What would you do?

Speaking of longarm...I have some wonderful news!  My A-1 IS going to be delivered today!!!  It's arrival is scheduled anywhere from 10 to 4 today!  Trust me is wasn't easy!  Scott is my hero.  He took care of all the phone calls last night to make sure it was going to happen.  THANKS, Santa, aka Scott!  I'm the luckiest girl in the world! 

Thanks everyone for all your supportive comments and emails.  Meant the world to me and kept me smiling all day!  I know all of you that crossed all your finger and toes made the difference!!  I think that was the secret play that changed the game yesterday!  LOL!  Thank you!  Kristin had a wonderful birthday yesterday too!  She loved all the birthday wishes!  AND one last thing, Elaina and Alyssa were the best and prettiest Elves EVER!

I Love Santa

December 16, 2010

Scott and the girls gave me this Santa last night.  He is the 2010 Eldreth Pottery Redware Santa.  I just love him!  Scott and the girls give me a Santa every year before Christmas, so we have time to enjoy him.  They chose to give him to me last night as a way to try and cheer me up.  So now I lovingly refer to him as "The Cheer Me Up Santa."  I'll get into why I needed cheering up last night in just a moment.  First I need to wish my baby sister Kristin a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!  Today is Kristin's 23rd birthday!!  Kristin came home from the hospital right before Christmas when I was in the Seventh Grade.  That Christmas was my most cherished memory from my childhood.  I remember my parents sitting around the Christmas tree, fireplace burning and me holding Kristin in my arms.  I couldn't have asked for a better present!
This is a well traveled (worn) photo of the two of us, but one of my favorites.  You can clearly see my naturally curly hair in this photo!!  Yikes!

So looks like I may have jinxed myself after all.  I said in yesterday's post that Wooly Wednesday would be abbreviated.  If I would've known then what was in store for me last night, I would've said "NO Wooly Wednesday for me because I'll be too busy on the phone."  I received a call while driving the girls to dance from... after much confusion, a freight company.  The person on the line was doing a terrible job relaying info to me, so much so that I thought she had the wrong number.  Silly me thought she was talking about a package I have been expecting from Primitive Gatherings.  Not LOL, but it is kinda funny looking back.  She kept saying they were making some delivery next Wednesday.  Finally, I realized she was talking about my A-1, which is supposed be delivered Friday, like tomorrow.  I totally didn't understand what was going on???  I told her it shipped Tuesday, why on Earth would it not arrive until NEXT Wednesday??  She had a million excuses, none of which made sense or should have been my problem.  Now for a little background info...I arranged this delivery date with A-1 some time ago.  (Right after A-1 received my check for the machine, paid in FULL, I might add)  It was a compromise between us.  I wanted the machine after Christmas and that didn't work for them.  I cannot have it delivered the week of Christmas because our schedules won't allow it.  It's just WAY too busy next week.  I cannot take time off next week.  So A-1 and I settled on this Friday.  It's still not ideal for Scott and I, but we had to make it happen.  We totally rearranged our lives to accommodate this delivery.  So now fast forward to my horrid conversation with Ms. Unhelpful freight company person yesterday...I ask her "What are my options because next Wednesday absolutely will not work?"  Her condescending answer to me was "I could refuse shipment."  Really?  Are you kidding me?  If there was one time in my life that I could reach my small arm through the phone and wring the person's neck I was speaking with... THIS was that time!

Realizing this person was no help to me, I hung up with her and called A-1 directly.  I always feel that "sugar" gets me a whole lot further, meaning I always try to be really nice even when I'm upset.  Well, initially A-1 wasn't getting it either.  Honestly, I think they were just as confused as I was.   I told them "Could someone please figure out this mess and call me back?"  may have not used those exact words.  A-1 seemed pretty positive that I would get my machine Friday.  I know A-1 is working hard to resolve the issue.  They said there is no reason the machine should not be delivered on the agreed upon date.  They are supposed call me today to confirm.  We will see.

A next week delivery is impossible for me, but I know I wouldn't have gotten so upset if the person I had spoken with initially hadn't been soooo unhelpful.  I became so frustrated! Trust me this was shortened abbreviated version of the story.  I apologize for my rant. I'm chuckling a little about it now.  I'm not going to let it ruin my day like it did yesterday.  Today, Alyssa and Elaina are in their school Christmas program!  It's their last elementary Christmas program because next year they are off to middle school.  Today is a special, sentimental and beautiful day!  And it's Kristin's birthday!!

Wooly Wednesday

December 15, 2010

Tonight will be an abbreviated Wooly Wednesday.  Unfortunately, due the weather, I fell behind on a few errands this week.  So tonight I need to do some shopping and finish up Christmas cards while the girls are at dance.  I'm still going to get a little stitching in, just not my usual 3 hours.  I have been trying to finish up some Christmas gifts.  I'm really feeling the time crunch now.  It's been difficult to stay on The Christmas Gift Express between working, Christmas parties and the usual preparations before the holidays.  One of the projects I've been trying to finish up  is "Bluebird Row." I have all the stitching done on the center design and it is fused to the background wool.  I should have just enough time to stitch that down tonight. 
I love it!  The little bluebirds are so sweet.  Their little stick legs are my favorite.  The stitching really makes a huge difference in the finished project!
Do you see what I mean?  The project not only doesn't look finished, but the stitching gives everything character and life!  For some reason this kit did not come with a piece of homespun to finish off the back.  The directions called to "block" the penny rug by placing a damp cloth over it and place your iron on it in sections, but not to iron back and forth.  I'm not familiar with this.  I've heard of "blocking" a quilt before, especially before you enter it in a show, but not on a wool penny rug.  Is anyone else familiar with this method of finishing?  I had yeah I did to place another order with Primitive Gatherings for a few things I conveniently forgot to order with my last order, so I had them throw on some of Lisa Bongean's homespun fabric to finish the back.  I just really like the look of that.  As soon as I receive it, I'll finish this project and be on to the next!

I just wanted to thank everyone for all the wonderful, positive, and encouraging comments and emails I received regarding my new A-1.  I know it's hard to believe that I could be any more excited, but I was even more excited by all of your excitement!  I was so wired last night that I had trouble falling asleep.  I had visions of A-1's dancing in my head!! :-)

There Really Is A Santa!

December 14, 2010

There really is a Santa...and his name is Scott.  As in my husband Scott.  Scott has been working hard making room for a new addition at The Quilted Pineapple.  One of Santa's little helpers left Missouri today to make his delivery Friday.  I'll give you a little hint...it's not a four legged gift, well it might have four legs on the table, but I do know it has one longarm on it!!!  YES, I have an A-1 Elite Longarm Quilting Machine en route to my home as we speak!  I'm so excited I can hardly stand it!  My feet have hardly hit the ground since I found out the delivery date! I have been dreaming of owning a longarm ever since I laid my eyes on one!  Actually, I never knew about longarms until a few years ago when my friend Patti showed my one at a quilt show.  I thought everyone either hand quilted or dsm quilted their quilts because that's what I did.  Little did I know!

I have been on a quest trying to find the best longarm for me.  It has been a quite a journey with so much research!  I asked anyone and everyone who owned a longarm about their machines.  Oh and the test driving!  I finally narrowed my search down to three machines...
The A-1 Elite.  This picture was taken at the very talented studio of Jamie Wallen.  His website is worth a visit, if you are not familiar with his work.  It's phenomenal!
The APQS Millenium.  This picture was taken at my very good friend Pat's studio.  She has been a mentor to me.
The Gammill.  This was taken by my friend Patti at the Gammill dealer.  Guess who's test driving the Gammill??  Patti joined me on a one day, 12 hour longarm marathon test drive!  Thanks for all your patience, Patti!
All three of them were amazing machines, but the A-1 was the machine for me. The A-1 was my favorite right off the bat.  I made sure to really test drive the others just to make sure.  Trust me, I tried to look for every reason not to love the A-1, but I kept going back to it.  I just really bonded with the machine and with Jamie.  One thing I repeatedly heard from LA owners was "make sure you have a good dealer, a dealer you like and a dealer you can trust."  Well, I definitely found that with Jamie.   Scott came with me to Jamie's studio to support me with my final decision.  Jamie's studio is super cool!  It's in downtown Kalamazoo MI located in the old Gibson Guitar Factory.  Gibson guitars used to be made in Kalamazoo before they moved the company to Tennessee.  I've lived in Michigan my whole life and never knew that!  Who knew?
When I go back, I'm going to take lots more pictures!  We spent 3 HOURS with Jamie that day!  We had such a good time there.  Scott was very impressed with not only the A-1, but also with Jamie.  It has been so wonderful that Scott has been so supportive.  With Scott 150% on board,  I called Jamie later that day to tell him to put the order in!  Jamie is coming the beginning of January for a 2 day "set-up and train me" on the machine.  It's just too busy right now to try and do all the set-up and training now.  January, February and March are my downtime, which is a welcome change from the November/December season!  That will give me tons of time to practice every day on my new machine! :-)  I've been saving quite a few of my own tops to practice on.  I plan on quilting for others soon!  I've already had several ladies contact me.  I'm so excited!!  Hopefully, soon I'll be posting pictures of my new quilting skills!

Bad Weather...Great Weekend!

December 13, 2010

We are having our first bad snow storm of the season here.  Yuck!  Not a big fan of blizzards.  No school for the kids today.  Although, it's been great snow for the girls to play in.  They have made a couple of snowmen and a snow fort in our front yard the past two days.  Sarge plays right along with them in the snow!  Luckily the bad weather didn't roll in until Saturday evening, so the event with Edyta Sitar at the quilt shop was a huge success.  We had guests come from all over to meet Edyta and see her quilts.  Edyta was amazing.  She is very personable, gracious and oh so talented.  Not only did she do a book signing, but she gave a trunk show, mini lecture and gave tips and lessons on all her quilts.  She talked about how she does her designing as well.  She kept the whole quilt shop captivated!  A few of her new designs...
This one was one of my favorites.  Edyta's new book is all about using scraps and scrap fabric swaps with friends.  In this quilt, Edyta used scraps left over from her other scrap quilts.  Scraps from her scraps!  She uses everything from batiks, to reproduction fabrics, to various prints and they are beautiful!
Just beautiful applique.  If you look closely, you'll see quite a variety of fabric from batiks, Civil War Tribute fabric, as well as some Jo Morton.  Amazing combinations!
This is the quilt I plan on starting in January.  Edyta wanted to incorporate some of things the state of Michigan is known for like cherries and apples.  So scrappy, I love it!
One of her newer raw edge applique quilts.  Gorgeous!

I finally met my new blogging friend Stephanie in person on Saturday too!  It was so wonderful to finally meet her.  We've been commenting on each others' blogs and emailing several times a day.  When we met, I felt like we'd been friends for years.  We had such a great time!  She is going to come to our Saturday sewing group and join our guild!  Too fun!  After she left, several of the ladies commented that they couldn't believe we had just met.  They all thought we had known each other for quite some time.  I did get some photos too.  I'm having a bit of a "The Wizard of Oz" moment right now.  I'm coming out from the curtain of my blog to reveal myself.  I guess there is no time like the present to introduce myself "in person" to all of you...

Moi, Edyta and Stephanie.  I'm the brunette.
Lots of pictures being taken!

Last but not least...
Don't we already look like the best of pals???

Blissful Toulouse

December 10, 2010

I have started a new quilt.  This will be for my other twin daughter, Elaina.  Her quilt, like her sister's will be made from the Bliss fabric collection by Bonnie & Camille.  The pattern will be...drum roll please..."Toulouse" by Carrie Nelson of Miss Rosie's Quilt Co.   I have loved this pattern ever since Nicole, Thelma, and Lisa posted each of their versions of "Toulouse" on their blogs!  When Bliss came out, I knew this was THE fabric collection I had been waiting to make "Toulouse" with.
"Toulouse" is one of those love at first sight quilts.  I have been saving this pattern for just the right time when I would be ready.  It IS crawling with my former nemesis, flying geese.  After my therapy session with "Plan C," my fear of flying is cured and I have the perfect fabric, there is no reason for me to not make this beauty.   I spray sized all my fabrics today.  It's about the only step of the quilt process I dread, but it's done!  I will start cutting the fabric this weekend.  I am so excited to make this quilt.  I hope the top will be completed by the New Year.  It will be my last big project of the year, hopefully.  Elaina is very excited as well!  She has been super patient waiting for her turn!

My house is pretty much all decorated now.  We have one small tree to go up in the downstairs still.  It is our green and white Michigan State Spartan tree.  Very cute when it's done.  Well, Scott says if the basketball team doesn't start playing better, we are not putting it up.  R-i-g-h-t!  He's full of hot air.  He lives and breathes MSU, blood runs green.  Wears his green heart on his sleeve for that team!  He would never not put that tree up!  I like to collect Santas.  All sorts...prim, whimsical, old fashioned, etc.  I have them displayed all through the house.  I use the area above my kitchen cabinets to display a large collection of them.  Normally, I have some roosters up there, but I remove them at Christmas time.  Scott usually buys me at least one Santa every year.  Several of the Santas are very sentimental to me because my grandma collected them too and I have several from her collection.

Well, there's a little peek at my Santa collection!  I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!  I know I will!