Monthly Archives: December 2009

My best Christmas present

My most memorable gift is a gift I (almost) DIDN’T receive.  It was days of the week underwear and I wanted it BADLY.  I was about 7 years old.  I checked under the tree on Christmas morning, and ‘lo and behold there it was!  I was so excited, I checked and checked again and re-checked that it was for me – it was!

Except it wasn’t.

The package didn’t say “Linda” (my name), it said “Laura” (my sister).  Only there had to be a mistake – Laura didn’t even WANT days of the week underwear.  I did.  Oh how could Santa have made a mistake?

He could have, right?

Oh sure he could have.

So it was up to me to right his wrong.  It was absolutely my responsibility to fix that mess.  So I crossed out the wrongful owner’s name and wrote the right one.  Done!

Only not.

My parents were certain that Santa could not have possibly made a mistake and it was Laura who was the rightful recipient.  Oh crushing blow.  Oh dubious wrong.  It smarted so.  To be fair, Laura did share with me when I begged enough.

Just when I thought he had forgotten, when I was about 35 years old, Santa did right by me.  I got my days of the week underwear with all of my favorite days of the week – book group day, Sex and the City watching day, sleeping in late day, etc.

Thank you Santa Laura.

Laura (left), Mary (center), me (circa 1975)

Flash forward to 2009:  all my Christmas wishes came true.  As always, we opened presents at home.  Then we went to my parents’ home and spent the next few days with my parents, the brothers who could make it, and my sister Laura and her family.  Unfortunately, Mary’s husband had to work so we didn’t see her or family this Christmas.

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Curse you infernal snap tape!

My sewing machine does NOT like snap tape.  For the life of me I could not get it sewn in by machine.  I used my zipper foot as recommended, but the foot just kept pushing the snap tape to the side, so the stitching is all zig-zaggy and really doesn’t look nice.  I ended up spending an hour sewing it in by hand (and I’m still not done).  I’m not sure I like the results.

On the plus side, the fact that I’m ready to sew in the snap tape means that I’m almost done – yea!!  It even fits the duvet.  I’m so excited!

I managed to get the quilted coasters wrapped and given to the teachers today.  Another gift finished and given!

Tonight I’ll finish up Primo’s duvet cover and piece Segundo’s backing.  If I’m really ambitious I might get it sewn on too.  Tomorrow night I’ll have to sew in the closure – I’m using individual snaps this time.  I’m sure snap tape serves a useful purpose, but it sure is hard to sew.

Since my mom does lovely needlepoint, I ordered two patterns from Sublime Stitching as part of a Christmas gift to her.  They just came today and I can’t wait to get them all wrapped up for her.  I’m going to try to whip together a pincushion for her too.  That’s possibly the kind of thing I can finish while we’re driving to my parents’ house on Christmas.  Am I crazy?

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Quilted coasters

I’ve had to knock out some gifts for the boys’ teachers in a hurry.  It’s not that I didn’t realize that the kids were out of school for Christmas/winter break; I did what I always do and shop last minute.  In this case they’re also getting a homemade gift.  So the teachers are getting these cute quilted coasters as well as a gift card from a local bakery/coffee shop.  I hope they like it.

I used a pattern from Joelle Hoverson’s book Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts for my first set of quilted coasters (image on left below).  I used Insul-Brite insulated batting.  It squishes down when it’s so thoroughly quilted.  They’re quite simple and the results are fun.  For the second set, I modified the pattern which made it easier to add the batting.  I used some scrap fleece for batting and the end height was the same as the first set but it was a lot softer than the batting.  It wasn’t quilted across the entire coaster so I was able to complete the second set faster.

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Christmas countdown -3

I have 3 nights to complete the duvet covers.  I’m really feeling the pressure.  Last night I finished the front of Segundo’s duvet cover and I cut out the pieces for the backing for Primo’s.  Tonight I’m going to try to whip up either coasters or coffee cozys for the boys’ teachers.  I think I can get the latter done, but I usually underestimate how much time these projects take.

I didn’t use a pattern for the duvet covers and I’m really feeling it when trying to figure out how much fabric I need for the back.  Do I cut the piece as long as the back is?  Or do I piece it using the width?  I’ve decided to piece using the width as a guide.  So the back has two red pieces that are 45″ wide and two black pieces that are 12″ wide for a total of 57″ wide, including seam allowances.  Since they’re 40″ long, I’ll also need to piece the bottom as the length has to be 86″.  As you can see in the pictures, I’ve gone with a UW-Madison theme, the biggest university in Wisconsin.  Primo’s is red and black and Segundo’s is red and white.  Oh!  Almost forgot…I’m also making them pillow cases.  Add that one to the to do list {sigh}.

I can do it!

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Making progress

I’m nearing completion on Segundo’s blanket full of love.  Or rather, duvet cover full of love.  I don’t have time to make them quilts.  Not yet anyway – these are Christmas presents and I got a late start.  

Segundo’s duvet cover needs the top and bottom part, the backing, and a closure.  Primo’s duvet cover needs the backing and a closure.  I’m going to experiment with snap tape.  

Both duvet covers are made with flannel and I was finding it difficult to work with the flannel because the top layer was always stretching beyond the bottom layer, almost an inch sometimes.  Then I figured out that my walking foot might help the problem and voila!  Problem solved. 

I figure I have about 4 hours left on Segundo’s and 3 hours left on Primo’s duvet cover.  I have a meeting tonight and tomorrow night, so I think I will be up late both nights sewing.

Oh yeah.  I also finished my tea towel.  That’s the one from Tallgrass Prairie Studio.  It’s really cute, but easy?  Not really.  It was quite time-consuming and it’s still not ready to give as a gift because the matching hot pad is not yet bound.  Ugh.  Another UFO.

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Blog-Hopping

I haven’t done any sewing since I practically pulled an all-nighter on Primo’s duvet cover Wednesday night.

I have, however, been surfing the web for inspiration.  This is what I found:

I cannot wait for the after-Christmas sales to start the tree skirt.  I’m going to use friendship stars on that but probably won’t include the tree just to get it done faster.

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Another giveaway

When I was little, my aunt made a blanket that my sister and I called the “cottage cheese” blanket.  It was lumpy all over and I think it had a “Mary had a little lamb” theme.  I recently asked my mom about it.  She said it was likely hand quilted and cross-stitched but has been gone for a long time.  It was passed down between my 5 siblings and myself.

I really loved the texture of that blanket.  I also loved its whiteness and that white quilty-ness is the image I associate with quilting.  I can’t wait to make a white quilted blanket of my own.

Earlier this spring I came across twiddletails’ website and immediately was drawn to her version of the cottage cheese blanket.  I even wrote to her and asked her how it was done – it was quilted.  Surprise surprise.  I told you I’m a beginner!  That’s pretty much when I decided I was going to learn to quilt.  Here is Anina’s version of the cottage cheese blanket.  I hope she doesn’t mind that I’m linking to her Spring Fling Quilt Pattern.

Also, Anina from twiddletails is having a giveaway!  I love the giveaways.  She is holding a drawing for a selection of Wild Thyme fabrics.  The drawing ends at midnight on 12/17.  I hope I win!

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