Dec 15, 2012

Christmas Decorating-Our Bedroom

On the coffee table in our bedroom is a plaster of Paris Nativity I purchased 30 years ago. It was a kit that came with the paints and you finished it yourself. My husband has a much steadier hand than I do and so he painted it for us. There was also a stable to assemble included with the kit. Through the years our children all played with it and now our grandchildren do. The paint has chipped in a few places over the years, but the kids have always played with it tenderly and it has survived intact. It is the sweetest Nativity I have ever seen. 

I love a live Christmas tree. Nothing beats that sweet smell of Christmas. We wanted a really tall live tree to go in our great room and two years in a row that live tall tree we bought decided to take a tumble after it was decorated! At that point, I gave in and said, if it's gotta be tall, it's gotta be artificial. So, my husband and I agreed that our bedroom was the perfect place for the live tree we both wanted in our home. 

Merry Christmas.

Dec 13, 2012

Christmas Decorating-The Entry

I guess this is really the room I should have started with, since it is the first impression you get of the house when you enter. I bought two small trees for either side of the furniture here and this is the first year that I have decorated them-sticking with my red and gold theme. (I have to confess at this point-I don't think you could find a red or gold ornament within a 50 mile radius of my house now! I have been stalking the shelves.)

In 1983 my in-laws were into painting ceramics. They made us a Nativity, which, to this day, is one of my favorite Christmas decorations. Their attention to detail was perfection.

Merry Christmas.

Dec 11, 2012

Christmas Decorating-The Dining Room

The dining room is always so fun to decorate. I love setting a pretty table. About 31 years ago my mother gave me some Pfalzgraff Christmas dishes. They are white with a Christmas tree on them and I think they are called Christmas Heritage. Over the years I collected more and more. I have lots of serving pieces, including casserole dishes, a coffee server, and a two-tiered cookie plate. Several years before they quit making it I found it at an outlet store and bought LOTS of dinner plates. I have over two dozen now, which is just about right--we will have 20 here for Christmas dinner this year.

I love my plaid tablecloth-it keeps the room from feeling too formal to me. This year I added the charger plates to the table. I think I am liking them. I love to have the table set during the holidays-it looks like a dinner party is happening soon. 

Again, I got an idea off of Pinterest. I loved a chandelier that I saw, so I used it for inspiration. I folded a garland in half, twisted it together and then wound it around my light fixture. I hung various size red ornaments at different lengths from red ribbons. I also added a wider ribbon and more ornaments in the garland. 

This table is long and requires a large (or long) centerpiece. I have learned through the years that a couple of candlesticks just don't cut it here. I bought these gold candles at Michael's 60% off last week. I was tickled to death! Again, greenery wound on the table, interspersed with candles of varying heights, and gold ornaments mingling throughout. Nothing real original, but I thought it looked pretty. 

Last year I found a Christmas tree that fit perfectly into the corner of the dining room. We enjoyed having it there while we were eating and it is the only tree that can be seen from the front of our house. This year's decorations are red and gold (of course) with a simple ribbon garland. 

It will be fun to have Christmas dinner at this table. But, with 20 people here, there will be two more tables to set. I will work to make them just as festive. 

Happy Holidays.

Dec 10, 2012

Christmas Decorating-The Great Room

Every year I say I am not going to leave anything until the last minute. That I am going to be ready early for Christmas. That I am going to have time to just sit back, relax and enjoy the season. HA! It never happens-and I am not sure that it ever will. 

I know I go overboard at Christmas, but with six granddaughters, it is so fun to decorate. The girls just love it. And I have to admit that my husband and I enjoy it too. 

I put up 8 Christmas trees in my house this year. It took me 12 days to get it all done! But, when all of the Christmas lights are on in our house, it feels like a Christmas wonderland and the little kid in me comes out. 

I decided to go with a gold and red "theme" this year. The first place that I decorated was the fireplace and mantel in our great room. The mantel has greenery with white lights, wired ribbon, gold pillar candles and gold glass ornaments. 

This is a close up of the mantel. 

In the fireplace I put more greenery, ribbon, and red ornaments along with the candles. I got these candles at Michael's (they were 50% off). They hold tea light candles that burn for 5 1/2-6 hours. I love them because they flicker and glow so beautifully when lit. This was not an original idea-I saw something similar on Pinterest and thought it would be fun since we never build a fire in this fireplace. I got these live poinsettias at Home Depot on Black Friday-they were only $1.00 each---score!

Here is a close up of the fireplace. You can see the candle glow-it amazes me how much light they give off. 

Next I moved to the banister. I put the same greenery on it every year, but I decorate it differently. I have put pinecones, cinnamon sticks and berries in it. I have done it with red and white stripe ribbon and red and white ornaments-a candy cane effect. I have also learned over the years to mark my greenery where I swag it. I use Command strip hooks  on the spindles and hook the greenery from them.

This year I used the same ribbon that I used on the mantel and red and gold ornaments.

Then it was time for the tree to go up. This is a 12 foot tree and comes in five sections, weighs over 125 pounds and requires an 8 foot ladder! It is no easy task to assemble and decorate. But this year we got it done in just 5 1/2 hours. This tree has all of our family ornaments on it-all the ones we have collected over the years-the ones the kids made in school and we bought on vacations. It's an extremely eclectic mix of decorations. I love decorating this tree-it's a walk down memory lane every year.

Tomorrow is a peek at my dining room. If I can't be quilting, I have to show you what I've been up to. Besides, I love this time of year!!

Happy decorating!

Nov 29, 2012

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

This was sent to me by a friend and made me laugh out loud when I read it-I wonder how many other quilters think Santa would say the same thing to them. 

'Twas the Night Before Christmas
I'm glued to the tree.
I'm wondering what Santa brought just for me.
Could it be fat quarters or a pattern or lace?
Or a quilt kit, I said, with a smile on my face.
And that's when I heard him. "Hi, Santa," I said.
"You know good little girls should be in bed."
"I know I should Santa and now I've been caught,
But I was just so excited to see what you brought."
"Well, let's take a look in this room where you work."
He shook his head quickly and left with a jerk.
I heard him explain as he put it in gear,
"You've got enough stuff, I'll see you next year."

Author Unknown

Happy Quilting.

Nov 26, 2012

Love Letters Block #4

I am still busy with my applique. But, I have not been in my quilt room to sit at my sewing machine at all because of it! That's changing. Now that I have finished block #4 it's time to put this project aside while I sew some gifts for Christmas. I am going to be making something for each of my 6 granddaughters. None of my projects are quilts-they are all sewing/craft ideas-but I will be blogging about them anyway. 

But, I digress. This post is about my Love Letters quilt. Each of these blocks is getting a little more challenging. There are more pieces to applique and the shapes are more difficult. But, I am enjoying them so much. 

I am now finished with The Coxcomb. It took me six weeks to complete this block, but with Fall holiday activities and Christmas around the corner, that's not too bad. I have four blocks down and five to go. 

I love all the flowers with two parts to them. They are twice the work, but they are also twice as nice. 

Here are my four blocks together. This is not their positions on the finished quilt, I just have them this way for the photo. 

Here are a few detail shots from previous blocks. My work is getting better as I progress, so don't be too harsh in your judgement of my applique!

My next block is The Rose Hip. It has 45 pieces (plus stems). I have already copied all of the applique pieces onto freezer paper. I need to get them all cut out and get started. Maybe I will work on that in the evenings as I watch those great Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel. I am a sucker for a sappy, holiday flick.

Happy quilting and happy holidays. 

Nov 20, 2012

Annie's Mice

My friend, Anne, has so much talent! She is an awesome quilter and her needleturn applique is so fine that it will bring tears to your eyes. Her quilts are as beautiful as any I have ever seen at a quilt show. 

And now she has decided to try her hand at needle-felting. She is having a blast and making the cutest mice. She told me that they just take on their personality as she is making each each one. And they tell her what their name is too. :) I have shown you pics of them in the past, but I am going to show them again in case you missed them.

In September she made her first mouse for Tisha for her birthday. This little mouse's name is "Stitch" and now he lives across the Atlantic in England. He sits on an old red tomato pin cushion which is inside of an old tin canning jar lid. Stitch is holding the cutest little bitty basket filled with a quilter's necessities. 

In October Pam got a mouse for her birthday. Her name is "Sewjourner" and she also has a basket with a pin cushion and other sewing supplies. Sewjourner is a darker grey with a light grey belly. 

Here is "Jingle". He is white-a Christmas mouse-and he is MINE! Isn't he so cute? I got him from Anne last week when we went to visit Pam. I think he is going to sit on a branch of my Christmas tree while it is up, but he will not be packed away with the other decorations after the holidays. He will be with me in my quilt room. 

I sure couldn't pack that cute face away! Look at those eyes and that little pink nose. Jingle makes me smile when I look at him.

Anne included a card with Jingle. He is definitely one of a kind. 

Jingle bells, Jingle bells, Jingle all the way........Welcome to my home, Jingle. It's so fun to have you here :)

Happy Quilting!!

Nov 17, 2012

Pam's Quilt Room

Last week Anne and I went to Virginia to visit Pam. She and her husband recently bought a house there and are still in the process of getting settled in. Anne and I were anxious to  see where Pam is now living-so off we went for a quick visit. We told Pam to leave a little unpacking for us to help her with. But, instead of unpacking boxes, the three of us spent time in Pam's quilt room-hanging things on the wall, organizing the closet, and arranging her antique sewing treasures. Pam has quite a collection of sewing goodies and she is great at creating vignettes that are so pleasing to the eye. I took a few pictures, because I thought you might enjoy seeing her room. I took all of these with my phone (because I never remember to take my camera anywhere with me) so the quality is not good-I apologize for that.

Welcome to Pam's quilt room. It's the bonus room and it's HUGE! She has a walk-in closet, 2 dormers, a full bathroom and walk out access to the attic (which has flooring in it for extra storage!) She said she is going to add a dorm fridge and an electric teapot-I think she is planning on moving in and never leaving this space! And who wouldn't want to stay here forever?

On the left is the cabinet where Pam has her Kansas Troubles fabrics and her wool stored. The black desk has her sewing machine on it and is work central in this room. She currently has a piece of flannel hanging like curtains on her back wall as a temporary design wall-she is going to make it a more permanent fixture in the future. 

Here is the cozy spot that Pam created to sit and do hand stitching. She swapped blocks with Anne and the two of them each made a Dear Jane quilt (hanging over the rack on the left side of the picture). The sewing basket in the foreground is an old German one. A lot of us picked them up various places when we were with our husbands stationed in Germany. 

A treadle sewing machine cabinet makes a perfect spot to display old photos, a dish of buttons and a jar with old spools of thread. The backdrop is a antique drying rack draped with a pair of quilts. 

Near her sewing machine hangs a shelf where Pam has some really cute antique sewing items. Under it is a small bookcase where she has her thread and other sewing supplies close at hand. 

Here is a close up of the shelf on the wall. Pam loves vintage sewing items and finds them at flea markets, garage sales and antique shops. She has a great collection of old buttons, needle packages, wooden darners and wooden spools of thread. 

These shelves are next to Pam's sewing machine and hold all the supplies she needs when she sits to sew.

On top of another cabinet is a collection of old canning jars filled with thread, buttons and scissors. 

This is the sewing machine that goes in the treadle cabinet. It has been passed down in Pam's family and is not one that she purchased somewhere. She intends on getting it in good working order and using it to make a quilt. 

Anne made this mouse for Pam! (she also made one for Tisha for her birthday and I blogged about it here.) She named her Sewjourner and she holds a tiny basket and is wearing a acorn hat. She is SO adorable! 

These Amish figures sit among a collection of tiny oil lamps on a shelf over the treadle sewing machine.

The lamp, basket of buttons, and the P. Buckley Moss print are over the fireplace. We all love to go to Lancaster, PA and spend time in the Amish quilt shops. 

A printer's tray and a rack with a cute quilt hanging over it create something lovely to look at as Pam presses her quilt blocks. I know that the next time I visit there will be lots of tiny treasures in each of those spaces. 

I love this grouping hanging over this quilt. The frame on the lower left has three old pages from the Kansas City Star newspaper with quilt patterns. Everywhere you turn there is something fun and interesting to look at! It would take all day to really LOOK at everything in Pam's room! And she remembers where she got each item and can tell you a story about it. 

A ruler rack on top of the shelves holds Pam's rulers and an adorable wallhanging holds her rotary cutters, tape measure, seam ripper, etc, at her cutting station. The suitcases and boxes below hold more fabric. 

I forgot to take pictures of the bookcases behind the sofa-they hold quilt books, patterns, more cute vintage items. I also didn't take pictures inside Pam's closet. It was so neat and tidy with stacks and stacks (and stacks) of fabric and projects. 

I hope you enjoyed this look at Pam's quilt room. It sure was a fun place to spend time and I look forward to going back again soon. 

Happy quilting.