Merry Christmas

December 29, 2011

Merry Christmas everyone!!  So, I'm a little behind.  :-)  We celebrate until January 1st.  I took a little break from longarm quilting and the computer to enjoy Christmas and family.  It went by so fast!!  Wow!  We visited family and family visited us.    I thought I'd share just a few pics of some of my decorations before it's time to take it all down.
These are my mini Rudys.  I used my big ones as models here.  I added two more this year.  The one with cute wool and bells and the one made out of burlap.
I always place them on the window in our downstairs.  The famous window that we brought my longarm in through!!  I even put a few Santas in our bathroom downstairs.
Looks like Santa left his cane.  I have to give a lot of credit to Scott.  He did all the beautiful tile work in our home!!
On top of the pie safe this year.  I scaled the decorating back a little this year.  Just a bit.
Little prim Christmas tree.  Too bad I haven't finished that Buggy Barn tree skirt yet.  It would look perfect under this tree.  Of course lots of Santas.  A few new ones this year too. :-)
See my little prim twig tree?  I love them!  I bought two in November while on our girls' excursion in Wisconsin.  I purchased them from JJ Stitches.  They were the steal of the century at only $12!!!  I decorated mine with some little candy canes.
 Yes, that's a photo of the girls with a sheep when they were not quite 2 1/2 years old.  I know it's not very Christmasy, but I never take it down.  I love that picture.  It's textured like a painting.  I thought the sheep was going to be a baby, but it was nearly as big as the girls!!  Took forever to get the picture because it kept running away!!  LOL!!!
Not all my decorations are prim.  I like a little red sparkle too.  Usually, I put a little Christmas village on this desk.  We have collected some antique pieces over the years, but this gorgeous desk I inherited from my grandma.  I used to play "office or school" on it all the time as a child.
These are our Santa Bears.  I collected a few, but decided I didn't really enjoy finding a place to store them all.  I always have them sit on this antique bench.  It's another piece from my grandma.  It's 12 feet long and one solid piece of knotty wood.  It's a prim lovers dream.  I was fortunate enough to be the only one in the family that had the space for it.  As a matter of fact, we finished our downstairs with a wall specifically so it could go there.
Last, but not least, the photo on this year's Christmas card.
I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!!  And thank you so much for all the more than kind comments left on the Anniversary Quilt post!!!! I can't tell you how much they mean to me! You guys are the best!!

An Anniversary Quilt

December 21, 2011

Here is another one of Deb's gorgeous quilts.  It's an anniversary present for a friend of hers.  What an amazing gift!  It's a biggie!!!  AND it had the biggest borders to date that I've quilted.  Nearly 10 inches!!!!  Of course I chose to feather those right up!! shortage of pictures here.
Oh, I love these feathers.  Lush and gorgeous!!  I did a simple crosshatch in the narrow white border.  An allover feather type design in the body of the quilt.  It's a feather with a little swirl.  Love it!!
The batting is wool.  My favorite.  It's so light and pliable, plus it really shows off the the texture of the quilting.  If you are hesitant about the durability of wool, don't be.  I recently washed my tumbler quilt with wool batting and dried it till it was crispy.  I know a few of you are cringing at that thought, but I needed to see what would happen.  Nothing.  It's so cuddly.  Even better after I've washed and dried it.  Now the back.  It's a reversible quilt!

All the quilting is freehand.  I used a very light creamy white So Fine thread on top and bobbin, so the back would have that whole cloth look.  Gorgeous.  I knew feathers would look amazing in the border of this quilt.  It's a good thing I love quilting feathers because it was almost impossible to see what I was doing.  This is exactly what it looked like when I was quilting the borders.  No joke.  No trick photography here.
Yes, when I say my blood, sweat and tears go into each of these quilts, I'm not speaking figuratively.  I may need a stronger pair of glasses now.  I felt like I looked like Marty Feldman by the time I was done. LOL!  Scott kept coming in and saying "I don't know how you are doing it."   We did try shutting off the lights and using a sidelight, but it was still difficult.  I could see what I had JUST quilted, but not what I was quilting or where I was going very well.
 I would just switch back and forth from lights on and off.  It ended up being a little more time consuming than I thought it would.  I love how those borders turned out, so it was worth every second!!  I would do it again! Here's a pic before it was quilted.  I almost forgot to take one.
Another beauty that was hard to part with.

So I'm still quilting like a mad woman here.  I've been staying up until 2:00 - 4:00 in the morning quilting lately.  It's starting to wear on me a bit now.  Thankfully I have the best clients in the world!! Everyone has been super patient and understanding.  I admittedly get a big fat E for scheduling quilts.  I failed miserably at that.  I feel terrible about not getting quilts done as quickly as I thought I would.    On the bright side, I learned much about the process.  I'm scheduling myself much more time in between quilts for the future. 

Is everyone ready for Christmas?  I'm as ready as I'm going to be.  Hopefully, I can post some pics of decorations before Christmas.  Oh, figured out the problem with my machine.  Easy fix, just took a lot of time.  I lost a day of precious quilt time.  AND yes, I ordered extra O rings from A-1 just in case I have another melt down again.  :-)

I'm Losing It and It's Kristin's Birthday!

December 16, 2011

I'm losing my mind.  Literally.  Yesterday was not a good day.  Hopefully, today will be much better.  It all started yesterday with an issue with my bobbin winder.  It normally looks like this.
It looks so primitive, like a science project from school.
Here's a close up.  You see that black rubber O ring.  That's really an important part of the bobbin winder. 
 Now look at this photo.
Notice something missing.  The black rubber O ring.  Yeah, that's not a good thing.  I can't wind bobbins without it.  Bobbin winder won't work.  Here's what happened to it.  Usually, when I wind 2 or 3 bobbins in a row, the little rubber ring will shoot right off the winder.  It gets a little heated from the friction, loosens up and shoots off a 100 miles per hour.  Maybe a slight exaggeration, but it really comes off fast.  It's rubber so, it's like bouncing one of those little gumball machine balls around the house.  I mean that little O ring will bounce off the ceiling and shoot into the other room.  Luckily, I always find it.  It's very annoying.  Well, not yesterday.  I looked everywhere!!!!  I was in full panic mode and went to the hardware store to see if I could find a replacement.  Called A-1 and naturally, they had no idea the exact size I needed or if I could find one.  Really??  They offered to send some out, but I like needed it NOW.  They gave me the approximate size, which the store didn't have.  Again, naturally.  In desperation, I purchased a couple of sizes anyways.  Got home...nope too big and too small at the same time.  Miraculously, I had a total Mcgyver moment and came up with this.
Worked like a charm!!!  I used my hair tie to wrap around first and then put the O ring over it.  It wasn't perfect, but it worked.  I have to say I felt like a genius for a second.  I lost a ton of time though.  BUT later in the day when I went to go wind some more bobbins look at what I saw.  Notice anything??
Yep, that's my missing O ring.  It was right there the whole time.  It some how ended up landing right on my bobbin winder.  I was looking EVERYWHERE for it.  Well, not everywhere.  LOL!  It blended in so well, I just missed it. Yes, I am losing my mind.  LOL!!!  Scott was literally laughing out loud when I sent him the picture.  Look at the size difference between the O rings I bought and what I needed.  Gosh, I wanted those 3 hours back I wasted earlier!!!  Trust me it was panic filled 3 hours!!
Just when I thought my day wasn't so A-1 Annie started making a strange noise.  It's coming from the bobbin area.  I have no idea what it is.  It's stitching fine but sounds bad. :-(  I took the area apart, cleaned and oiled...still making the noise.  It's like a whining sound.  I will be making phone calls this morning.  Hopefully, it's an easy fix.

Last but not least, Happy Birthday to my little sis Kristin!!!  She's catching up to me! :-)
Even though, I'm 13 years older, we still have some competitive sibling rivalry.  Even when we are playing an innocent game of mini golf!  Ha!!
Happy Birthday, Kristin, we love you!

Playing A Little Catch Up

December 8, 2011

Just know, I always have good intentions on writing posts.  I literally have them written in my head, but it seems I just never find the time to get to the computer to write them!!  Also, I want you to know that I read and enjoy every comment I receive.  Thank you.  I appreciate them so much!  I love to respond to each of them, but lately I've had a hard time keeping up.  I apologize. 

Elaina is better, but Alyssa is sick now.  They really are twins.  She has what her sister had.  She also had to pay a visit to the doctor for meds.  I'm hoping she'll be well enough to go back to school by Friday.  It's really hard to get things done when you have a sick little one at home!  Fingers crossed Scott and I don't get it too.

Even with everything going on, we did manage to get our Christmas decorations up.  It really made the girls weekend to decorate.  As soon as they get up in the morning, they turn on the lights on the Christmas tree.  I'll have to post some pics soon.  But before those, I thought I would share one of Mary's quilts that I did quite a while ago.  You'll be able to see the green grass and sun in the photos, so you can tell they were from a while ago!!  This is one of 5 quilts I did for Mary.  Actually, I did 7 for Mary this year!!  I think she was my number one repeat client!!
 This is a gorgeous quilt made with beautiful reproduction fabrics!  Mary did a wonderful job.

 It was fun to try some new quilting techniques on this.  Prepared me a little for Ode To Virginia. :-)
 I just couldn't decide what to do in the red squares in the corner.  I ended up making some homemade  templates in a heart motif to tie into the hearts appliqued on the quilt.  The motif under the heart is actually the heart template "opened up."
You can see all the little pin holes from pinning it to the top.  Here's a pic of me trying to audition the designs of the heart motif and layout.

I always love the back as much as the front, even though sometimes I forget to take pics of the back.  Seems like if I remember to take before quilting pic, I forget to take an after of the back.  Go figure.
I guess I did remember to take a before pic.
I used Hobbs 80/20 and So Fine threads top and bobbin.  I like Hobbs 80/20, but I'm not sure if I love it.  I would like to sample some other battings.  I actually have a big box waiting for me to play with full of batting samples.
 Doesn't that look like fun???  Too bad I don't have the time right now.  After the new year when things aren't so crazy, I'll make time for some research.  Speaking of no time, I need to get back to quilting asap!!!  Right now, I may be looking for a miracle to get all my client Christmas orders done!  :-)