Monday, December 21, 2009

Homemade ornament exchange (second post)...

Here is Mr. Weasley...watching us decorate the tree.  I used to be so proud of him because he left the tree alone.  This year he sees the decorated tree as some sort of fancy display of new cat toys...when he thinks no one is looking, he likes to remove low hanging items and try to carry them off...bad kitty!  We had to get the squirt botle out again...sigh.  I think he understands now (or is patiently waiting for us to leave town in a couple of days).  Either way, ho-ho-ho!

This is a little Santa made by Ellen.  He has a hollow egg for a head, and sports angora yarn trim. 
This is one of the cinnamon ornaments Barb F. made for me...they smell so good every year when I hang them on the tree.
While talking about cinnamon, here is a cinnamon stick reindeer I made a few years ago.
A few years ago, I made several of these patchwork Christmas balls.
Here is one of my whimsical candy cane "William Tell" bears (he has a tiny apple on his head).
Here is a different kind of patchwork ball I made a few years ago.
This is a little hard to photograph, but it is what I like to call an "Alabama reindeer" - he is made by glueing two raw peanuts together, then embellishing.  One of my grandfathers used to grow peanuts.
Deb made this lace on her fancy machine and covered a ball with it, plus some crystals.
A Grandmother's flower garden ornament...
This little reindeer is made entirely of sticks...
I wrapped tiny little styrofoam structures to make little packages from Santa.
Here is a little lamb, right from the manger scene in Bethlehem.
Merry Christmas and a Happy 2010 to everyone!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Homemade ornament exchange (first post)...



One of my favorite things about Christmas is my Christmas tree...there are so many lovely homemade ornaments adorning it.  This one was made by my best friend, Ola.  I've shared her larger dolls with you before. 

This is a patched heart made by Cheryl.

This cute little mock Christmas ball was made by my friend, Jo.

My friend Margit made this cute little log cabin ornament and the beautiful Christmas star below.
Barb N. made these cute little guys...they are both only about two inches high!
This is a Christmas cardinal made by Marilyn.
Judy E. made this labor-intensive cute little stocking...she's off to Florida for four months...I will miss her!
This is a very special origami ball made for me by the wife and children of someone I used to work with in a research lab, Chen.  Here's another one below...they are very special to me.  I wish I had watched them do all that paper folding!
Mary Liz made this cool folded ribbon/fabric ball.
Sandi made this tiny little paper-pieced pineapple ornament...it is only about two inches wide.
Here are a couple of snowmen made by my best buddy, Ola. 
Here are some I made...first, a unicorn for my daughter.
I made this Santa ornament from recycled Christmas cards...thanks to Martha Stewart for the fun idea.
This wreath is made from yo-yo's...
I will stop for now on this post and post more later!  I just love the yearly ornament exchange!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Friday inspiration...

As the Beatles say, I definitely "get by with a little help from my friends!"  December is a zoo-y month for me with my music job responsibilities, so I get my sewing thrills vicariously through my talented quiting friends.

Last Friday at "Sit & Stitch" at The Quilting Season quilt shop, we had some exciting show & tells.  I love this black/white/bright quilt top by Kathy (holding on the right side).  When I first saw this quilt pattern, the picture on the cover did not speak to me.  But then, Kathy uses her excellent eye and color sense and knocks my socks off!  The picture does not do it justice.
Judy (in the center) was binding this beautiful treasure that will go on the wall above her bed.

Barb was putting the finishing touches on three little purses for granddaughters for Christmas.
Ellen was showing off one of her "liberated ladies" - she and Kathy are challenging our group to a swap of these stylish little ladies after Christmas (more on this exciting project in a later post).

Good luck in getting all your Christmas projects finished before Santa takes flight!!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)


Friday, December 4, 2009

The PERFECT quickie gift for sewing friends...

This is my favorite tool and they are quick, easy and inexpensive to make!  I use simple bamboo skewers, various beads, and craft glue to make these stilettos.  I use this tool for EVERYTHING!! 

I push stuff under the sewing machine pressure foot when I'm piecing or sewing...I use it when preparing my applique pieces by the glue stick method...I use it to poke out corners when stuffing things (I blunt the pointy end a little first!).
I find the skewers at the grocery store, etc.  I have found 2 thicknesses...regular large beads work well with the thinner style, and I have found that pony beads or beads for children (like the one with the yellow star, above) work well with the thicker style.  Just find your skewers first, then buy beads to fit.

Using utility scissors, I cut the blunt end off the skewer to get the length I want, then I glue the beads on one at a time, using tacky craft glue.  You can make them as plain or fancy as you want.  I like using the alphabet beads to spell names or simple phrases...and the squareness of the beads keeps the stiletto from rolling off the table!

Enjoy!

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Ostriches!

That's a weird title for a quilt blog post!  The boys are done, and I'm moving on to a couple of floral CWBQ blocks from here. 

After looking at actual ostrich coloring on the internet, I decided to make two colorful males instead of one beautiful male and one drab female.  Let's face it ladies, we're drab.  No, that can't be true!!  I was shocked to find coral coloring on these birds, but ever so glad to be able to make them colorful on the quilt.  The two reproduction black fabrics that I used for the bodies didn't show up very well in this photo, but they are gorgeous...my favorite fabrics in the block.  I changed their little diva feet, as well.

I am now preparing leaves for block #6, instead of other things I should be working on...like Christmas gifts, an ornament for exchange, and baby quilts.  I need more hours in the day!!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Monday, November 30, 2009

A Cozy Quilter's Christmas...


This is a stitched and scrapped wall hanging made for a sample at the store last Christmas that I now am able to bring home and hang up.  (We had a few more patterns this fall to sell, so I took the sample back to the store until the patterns sold.)  But now it's hanging on a door and I'm very pleased to have it up!

The pattern is from Crapapple Hill and was originally for a pillow, but I didn't want to do all that hand stitchin' and hand quiltin' and have someone sittin' on it!  LOL  I did it as a wall hanging for a 12-inch hanger.

This was my first time using crayons to color in motifs in a stitchery, but it won't be the last!.  It was very easy to do!  I recommend Crayola Crayons.  After coloring what I wanted, I layered the colored area with 2 paper towels and pressed with a hot iron until no more color came off.  I did this before stitching.  I know some people do it after stitching.  Of course, don't do this if you transfer you embroidery design with the blue water-removerable, disappearing pen (the heat of the iron will make it impossible to remove the disappearing pen completely and ruin your day!).  I like to transfer with a brown Pigma pen, so it worked fine.
The scrappy stars and top border were all red and neutral in the pattern, but I like the sparkle of adding green as well.  Striped binding is my favorite! 
It was my first experience with Weeks embroidery floss (a lovely varigated one for the writing - everything else was DMC), and I nearly died when I was gently spritzing away my blue quilting lines and the words just started to run a bit on my background...YIKES!!  Fast action on my part (and a little bit of white Crayola crayon) "stopped the bleeding" and my blood pressure returned to normal.  I had no idea that the Weeks floss was so prone to running.

For those of you experienced in using Weeks floss, does soaking the skein in vinegar or Retayne help to make it colorfast??  My heart won't take another experience like this one!!

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Oh, you beautiful doll...

My very best friend, Ola, is a wonderful quilter and doll-maker.  With her permission, I just have to share some of her beautiful babies with you.  As her mother before her, Ola takes great care in crafting her dolls with careful attention to every detail.
Ola made some samples for The Quilting Season quilt shop (Saline, Michigan) using some Australian patterns, but now drafts her own patterns and adds lovely little personal touches (I LOVE their hair!!).

She recently made several to sell at a local craft show, but the Michigan economy is so bad at the moment that craft vendors are not doing as well as they should.



Their feet and shoes are awesome! 

I hope everyone is enjoying a cozy Thanksgiving holiday...I know I am!

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Off the carpet and stitched to a background...

Well, Mr. BOP if off my dirty basement carpet and properly stitched onto a piece of background fabric.  He is block #9 from the Civil War Bride Quilt, and the seventh block (of 20) that I've finished.  He is blind, as I am giving the whole subject of faces some thought before embroidering any more.  I'm not that happy with the eye I gave the peacock.  The Bird of Paradise is a fantasy bird, and apparently lives in an oak tree with crabapples (I guess I should have made acorns instead!).  LOL

There are people who think patterns should be strictly followed, and then there are people like me who go a little "rogue" from time to time.  I followed Lurline's wonderful example of changing the body shape of this bird.  I ended up adding the berries to cover up some imperfections in my applique.  Hiding mistakes is a GREAT excuse to deviate from the pattern!!...(little giggle).

Thanksgiving is this week and Steve's parents will be here for a lovely, long visit.  I may or may not get any stitching done on my ostrich block, which is ready to stitch.  Then, I'm going to take a break from birds and get back to urns, flowers, and leaves, leaves, leaves...sigh.

Thanksgiving will just be the start to the whole insane holiday season for me.  My church music job gets REALLY busy until Christmas.  I also have a whole lot of Christmas sewing to do (finishing gifts, ornament exchange, etc.).  I hope to post some of these items as I finish.

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Monday, November 16, 2009

More birds on the brain...

While working on my peacock, I couldn't wait to pull fabrics and start on the tail feathers of the Bird of Paradise (BOP).  I am so loving this Civil War Bride Quilt!  I figured Mr. BOP needed to be bold and regal as compared to the peacock, who looks like he's been sipping umbrella drinks on some beach in the Caribbean.  I can't wait to get  Mr. BOP off my basement carpet and perched on his tree on the background fabric.  I love the bold purple, red, gold and black fabrics.  I think these colors will definitely pull the focus away from the peacock and back to the quilt's name sake!

Thanks to Lurline (visit her blog here), I decided to streamline Mr. BOP's body as well, after her beautiful example.  I didn't feel like the original body matched the stunning, regal shape of the tail feathers. 

Some lesser birds (don't tell THEM that...) have also been occupying my mind in the past couple of weeks.  These ostriches are glue-basted as well and ready to go (I changed their feet), along with some lovely pale pink blossoms.
Once Mr. BOP and his ostrich backup singers are stitched down, I'm going to work on the two remaining urn blocks, as well as an additional original one (I'm hoping to put the urn blocks on the four corners).

If there were just 3-4 more hours in a day, all devoted to sewing...sigh.

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)