Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Quilty License Plates

I hope you all enjoyed the Christmas holidays with your family and friends, and that Santa was good to you!  We had a great time.  Thank goodness no one was ill like last year!!  The weather was unseasonably warm, which unfortunately meant we didn't have a white Christmas, but that also meant that no one was driving in ice and snow either!

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Every now and then, I spot a car sporting a quilty personalized license plate.  Truth is, I (sort of) have one too.  If you have a quilty license plate (or know someone who does), I thought it would be fun to ask you to send me a photo of your quilty license plate, and I would feature them in an upcoming post.  Sound like fun?  If you are a quilter, pattern designer, long-arm quilter, or have a quilting related job, I'd love a photo of your quilty license plate, or one the has the name of your quilt company. 

Email your photo, and the state or country where you live, to pam@heartspunquilts.com.  I'll post them at the end of January for all to enjoy.  Please help me and spread the word to your friends! 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry, Merry Christmas!




Wishing you all a wondrous Christmas holiday! 


The Prayse of the Needle
To all dispersed sorts of arts and trades.
I write the needles prayse (that never fades).
So long as children shall be got or borne,
So long as garments shall me made or worne,
So long as hemp or flax, or sheep shall bear
Their linen woolen fleeces yeare by yeare,
So long as silk wormes, with exhausted spoile,
Of their own entrails for man's gaine shall toyle,
Yea till the world be quite dissolv'd and past,
So long at least, the needles' use shall last.

John Taylor  1620

Pam

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Little Something Merry for Me!

Do you have a place in your home where you put things so you know you can find them later?  A place that holds all kinds of treasures that you can't find?!!!  That special place is holding many of my favorite things hostage, or playing a wicked game on me, because I can't find things I've deposited in that special place!  Namely, a favorite Christmas tablerunner, that, for the life of me, I cannot find this season!!  I sure wish I knew where it was!  I've been looking for weeks.  It's not packed with all of the other Christmas stuff because I remember having the wise idea that (because I love it so much) I'd like to get it out first thing next year...meaning this year, and so I put it in the "special" place so I could get to it easily.  Hmmmm.  That will teach me.  I'll probably find in in July.

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I bought myself a little something for Christmas and thought I'd share it with you.


1862 Battle Hymn

The wonderful fabrics you see in the photo are from Barbara Brackman's newest fabric collection (for Moda) 1862 Battle Hymn.  I'm just loving the prints, the colors....well everything.  The photos show some of my favorites, and I'm itching to cut them up and work with them.  I bought a few charm packs so I can cut them into hexies and tumblers right away.  I thought that you might like to see them, too.  To see the entire line, which is due in quilt shops in January,  click here

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On another note, if you're like me, then you like to read about what life was like in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, both fiction and non-fiction.  I'm reading (actually listening) to a wonderful book of historic fiction called The Kitchen House, written by Kathleen Grissom.  It tells the tale of a little immigrant girl who became indentured while making the voyage to the United States, and was brought to a plantation to work in the kitchen house in 1790.  She is raised by the women who work at the plantation.  I won't give any more details away so as not to spoil it for you, but know that the book is full of rich detail about what life was like back then.  Word on the web is that this book will be made into a movie!

If you like historic fiction, then you may enjoy The Widow of the South, a fictional book about the true life Civil War battle that took place in Franklin, TN. 

I've been told that the Wagon's West series by Dana Fuller Ross, is also wonderful historic fiction, although I haven't yet had a chance to begin reading those.



Do you have any recommendations for historic fictional books?  I'd love to hear from you!




Saturday, December 17, 2011

Almost Ready

The decorating is finally done, and we've been enjoying the house with twinkling lights, in all its red and green glory.  Our son, Ryan, has totally taken over decorating the outside of the house.  Did I mention his idol is Clark Griswald (of Christmas Vacation fame)?  If we let him have his way, our house would illuminate the entire neighborhood!

Our daughter, Nicki, has taken over the cookie making, and the house smells delicious every day.  She's becoming quite the baker.  I love to bake, and the problem is, I also love to eat it all.  It gives me great joy to see our kids enjoying the season, and taking over some of the jobs my husband and I no longer wish to do.  Passing the torch, if you will.  

I promised some pictures of the house all decked for the holidays....


These little red stacking tables are in our family room and I enjoy changing them with the seasons.  You may remember seeing them filled with wool strawberries over the summer.  The framed cross stitch piece, called Blessings be Thine, is one of my all-time favorites from Blackbird Designs.  I made the two snowmen on the floor, what seems like eons ago, when my kids were still little, and I was vending at craft shows.  You may not know this, but I made thousands of dolls like these over the ten years I did craft shows, and had a different pattern business featuring my original doll designs.  Seems like ancient history now.


I love collecting old dough bowls (this one's a reproduction) and filling them with all kinds of goodies.  I have three or four of them around the house.  There's just something warm and wonderful about filling these bowls!  Am I weird, or what? 


I love collecting the Jim Shore Christmas Santas.  This was a new acquisition in the after-Christmas sales last year. 


We have three Christmas trees in our house.  This is the largest (its not really that large, but the others are pencil trees, so ergo its the largest.)  I let my kids decorate this tree.  They forgot to dress the tree with garland this time.  Oh well....next year!

Question....am I the only one who buys wrapping paper that matches your home?  I think because the presents sit under the tree for weeks, that the paper should compliment your home decor.  I found really wonderful folk art style paper at Target this year.  They always have stuff I like.  Hhmmmm....I've got to move that bright blue gift bag to a different location....its messing with my color theme.  I know.....I'm anal about these things and  I'm totally OK with it!  Teehee!


Of course, Christmas quilts have a big presence in the house.  The gingerbread girl is another doll from my dollmaking days and is one of my favorites.  She is sitting on top of my quilt design called Small World.  The two quilts in the crocks are also my designs; Winter Retreat is on top, and No Place Like Home is in the foreground - both made with wonderful Kansas Troubles winter fabric collections.

I want to thank all of you whom offered advice on what to do with my quilt label.  I decided to add a footnote to the label that says pieced in 2008, and quilted in 2011.  That's its story, after all!  I know how busy everyone is this time of year, so I thank you for visiting! 

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Join Lynne Hagmeier and me as we cruise to Alaska on The Great Girlfriend Get-Away!  Click here to find all of the details!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Odds and Ends and UFO's

I've been enjoying a kind of catch-up, purge, and clean phase amidst the Christmas decorating (which is still not complete) and shopping.  With the completion of Journey Three, I can allow myself a few weeks to do some things I have put on the back burner for a very long time.   Yes, very exciting things indeed, like tackle the piles of fabric that I pulled for possible inclusion in a future project, do battle with the enormous dust bunnies growing under my sewing machine table, and wrangle the various papers I have in a holding pattern waiting for file folders.....yes, exciting.  I just don't know why I waited so long to do this?!  It does feel pretty good to get things in order.  I'm an organizer at heart, and the rest of the house is maintained daily, but my studio....well....enough said.

Jingle All The Way by Renee Plains for Liberty Star patterns

This quilt went with me to the Mill Creek Settlement Retreat a few weeks ago as a UFO, and came home a UFO as well.  Sigh.  Initially, I cut fabric for four of these quilts, and made three right away, giving them to friends and family as Chistmas gifts......in 2008!  My blocks were sewn, but never put together.  That's what I did at Mill Creek.  I intended to finish the quilt there, but failed to notice that I didn't have my border fabric in the box, so back home it came, still a UFO.  The borders went on this week and it's finally finished.  Exhale!  While the quilt is red (smile), green, and black, you might be thinking Christmas quilt....but no....it doesn't have a Christmas print in there.  These are the colors of my family room, so it will be a fine addition to the cuddle quilts available to the family for the coming snowy Chicago winter. 

There is an interesting dilemma with this story....of good intentions...and real life.  When I made the three other quilts (in 2008), I made the backings for all four quilts (that's the good intentions part, thinking I would piece mine right away), and promptly put labels on all of them.  That means that the backing for my quilt has been ready long before the quilt top was completed (that's the real life gets in the way part).  Here's the dilemma....do I use the backing with the label, dated 2008?  Or, should I remove the label, replacing it with a 2011 date?  Or should I be creative and alter the 2008 label?  I thought perhaps I could add a c. - circa symbol?  Or should I add another label, and addendum, if you will, telling the world my woe begotten story?  Hhmmmm.  What do you think?  Who knew quilting could be so complicated??


Thimbleberries
 Another UFO that's even older is this Thimbleberries quilt.  I think I made this top in 2003....had it quilted in 2009, and its been waiting for binding since then.  Shameful!!  It now has its binding!  Yay!
Gee, that feels good.  Has this happened to you, too?  Oh, I hope so....I don't want to be the only one with quilts waiting for their binding for years!!




I addition to sewing a few UFO's, I've worked on several new quilts for special projects that are coming up in the spring.  In the evening, I've also been working on cutting more Tumblers for my on going work-in-progress (not UFO!) Tumbler quilt........and.......



Lots and lots more of these cuties!  Yes...I'm already working on Journey Four!  My Prairie Women's Sewing Circle class has been trading hexagons, thus increasing the scrappiness of our quilts.  For me, sharing our hexagons, and fabrics, like the Prairie Women did centuries ago, makes the quilt very special and meaningful! 


In the meantime, between cleaning and sewing, sorting and purging, I'll be celebrating the reason for the season.  Once I get everything all done and cleaned up, I'll share a few photos with you.  I'm not sure its all that great to look at, but I know how much I love seeing other people's homes decorated for the holidays, and am happy to share an idea or two. 

Thanks again for taking a few moments to visit with me, and don't forget to leave me a comment about my quilt label dilemma, if you're so inclined! 

Pam

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Join Lynne Hagmeier and me as we cruise to Alaska on The Great Girlfriend Get-Away!  Click here to find all of the details!