I do hope everybody had a wonderful Christmas full of love and laughter.
With four days off, I had plenty to do, but wasn't going to get away without spending just a little time in the fun room. This is what's on my design wall at the moment.
Not the best pix - sorry
Again, most of the darks are scraps from my Cathedral Window quilt, which if you are keeping track, I now have 306 of the 396 blocks ironed into shape.
I did supplement it with a few others for a little more of a scrappy look. Then I had fun picking out the creams. I was surprised at how difficult it was to find a true cream color and not a greyish off-white. One thing I discovered is that it is a bit difficult to figure out just what size the finished quilt will be upon finishing it. I usually do my math before I begin cutting.
I did attempt and came up with a figure - we'll see how close I came:)
I just started cutting the little trapezoids. The finished 'trap' is 3 inches top to bottom. I cut about 540 of them and figured I can cut more if needed. Also, I will be putting a brown boarder around it so it will be a little larger due to that.
I began sewing my lights to darks and of course, had to set a few up on the wall to see. I think it will be one of those comfy looking quilts that makes me want to curl up with a cup of tea and take a nap by the fire. I am so anxious to keep going on it and see just how it turns out.
Have a beautiful three day work week and keep stitchin'.
There are certain pieces of literature that everyone should know - or at least know of. I have worked in the schools for over ten years, and I say things from literature occasionally. Such as the title of this post. So, just in case you have never read it, I will post it.
I am 8 years old,
Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
Papa says "If you see it in The Sun it's so."
Please tell me the truth: is there a Santa Claus?
Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is not Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see.
No Santa Claus! Thank God, he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
Francis P Church
The New York Sun,
September 21, 1897
I hope you have enjoyed the little read, and whether you believe or not, you can say that you have read it.
Each year for the past several, December means something very special to me, that is in addition to the regular specials. The beginning of December, I quietly go to my room and slowly open the lid to my hope chest at the foot of my bed. I peer in and my eyes sparkle and my heart does a little leap in my chest. I set aside one then another, then I see it-
My Christmas quilt, folded so neatly (a little differently each year so it doesn't get stress folds.) I take it out of the trunk an set it on the bed while I replace the others I removed. Only very special quilts go in this chest. I gently unfold the quilt and position it on the bed accordingly.
There is a church in the middle of the quilt with an embroidered garland.
To each side of the church is a forest scene with snowmen and women and beneath a row of houses. A little toy drum, rocking horse, airplane and other toys are just above the train hauling even more toys.
At the foot and on the sides are vines of poinsettias and pine cones.
Each corner has a wreath.
Above the church, are red-headed angels. I love them. You don't often see angels with red hair.
And a row of bells above the angels.
You're going to love this...
Across the pillows are Santa in his sleigh and his nine reindeer - even has Rudolph leading the team.
There are some pieced sections, but it is primarily needle-turned applique. There are bells on the harnesses of the reindeer, buttons for holly berries, all the toys are appliqued as well as the poinsettias and pine cones. There are embroidered embellishments throughout as well. I do not take credit for this lovely work of art. I actually won it at the Baker City Quilt Show several years ago. It was the end of July & I was asked, "You couldn't win an air conditioner?" I was thrilled to say the least. This is such a wonderful example of the talent that sweet group of gals possess. I admire them and am eternally grateful. The beginning of January, I will gently refold it, place it back in the chest, and look forward to next December.
Each year about this time, I hear the conflict of Christians vs. Santa Clause. One thing that you probably don't know about me is that I get on little research kicks. I find a topic that interests me and run with it from 'living simply' to 'chocolate' and from 'Colonial Habits' to yes, 'Santa Clause.' When my children were very young, they came home from the sitters a little upset one evening. They were told there was no such thing as Santa Clause. They knew that the ones in the department stores were not THE REAL Santa, I had told them that from the get go. I will attempt to relay a bit of the story that I learned in my meager research and that I shared with my children.
There was a Turkish Priest named Nicholas. So he lived in Turkey not at the north pole. He rode a horse - no flying reindeer.
From what I read, that came from Zues in Greek mythology. Also, he wore a long white robe as was custom at the time. He was kind to children during a time when children ate last - so often had little to eat. They also bathed last; the men washed first, then the women, then on down by age. (That's where the expression 'don't throw the baby out with the wash water,' came from.) Needless to say children were just children. They had to work as well, doing what they could to help the family. Their jobs included anything from street peddling to gathering fuel for the fire in addition to things like washing and milking. On Christmas Eve, in honor of a very special child being born, Nicholas liked to give to the children such things as a bread roll or potato. Nuts were a special treat. He did this over the course of years, and the children looked forward to it. Nicholas was well liked and respected.
After his passing, parents would secretly give a small treat or token of affection to the children in Nicholas's name - a very honorable act that is to give in someone else's name if you ask me. He began being referred to as Saint Nicholas.
Over the course of I can't remember how many years, he has been morphed into a sales gimmick. It was gradual; however, until Coca-Cola in the 1920's (don't quote me on dates please) offered the red & white suited and plumper version in their mass advertising, he wasn't a "huge" icon and appeared in various forms. The marketers thought being plump made him friendlier looking. And Coca-Cola choosing to go with the red & white suit - hmmm. It did work however, and it worked well. Today, children know no other Santa and ask for and expect huge gifts. And, they are often rewarded for their greed. (Yes, I know there are those who aren't.)
I chose to tell my children the real story. Or at least the real story as I know and understand it. I prefer to call him Saint Nicholas. And, I think it is a wonderful Christmas story about being a giving Christian and not only giving, but giving in the name of others. How many children today would do that?
God Bless & Merry Christmas
A little disclaimer - this is just what I recall and some of the particulars might be a little askew. The point of the story remains sound. I mean to offend nobody and am not offended if you choose not to agree.
Yes, you read that correctly. I have a tree in the bathroom. It is just a small tree, but I look forward to decorating it each year (for the past couple years.) My bathroom is kinda an aged peacock color with black accents, white porcelain, claw-foot tub, a bachelor's mirror over the sink, and an antique dresser. That said, the tree has white accents rather than the standard red and green.
There are also some crocheted snowflakes a family friend made. Her husband said if she was making old fashioned snowflake ornaments, that she had to starch them with sugar like in the olden days. Some are regular flat pretty little snowflakes, and some are ice cycles and some are three-dimensional.
I don't O/D on the ornaments for this tree; however, I think a few white feathers tucked in here and there would be beautiful. Hmmm, might have to do a little more shopping.(Ah shucks) I love the look of it when the lights are off.
I have had fabric to make a little tree skirt for quite some time, but alas it's still in the form of fabric and not in the form of a tree skirt. Maybe next year;)
Okay, I know this is mean. You can sing the title of the post to the tune of Clementine. See, now it's going to be stuck in your head all day.
I have been busy working on goodies for the one and only show I am doing this year. A little hometown bazaar in Athena, Oregon, December 8th.
I have been making several types of garland. The raggedy one looks so comforting on the tree or in greenery.
The pine cones add a bit of a rustic or natural look.
And then there is the rose hip garland. I just love it. I have considered keeping it (so selfish I know.) I probably won't, but it is my favorite. Rose hips dry up so neat that next year, even though they will have a little different look, they will still be beautiful.
I am taking the week between Thanksgiving and December first as a week of peace. I mean in the house. I have all the autumn decor back in the totes and put away, and I'm not bringing out the Christmas decor until next weekend. I have moved furniture and cleaned in preparation for a tree and all the fixins, but I am just enjoying the clean.
Don't worry, I will have three trees in the house by Christmas. I will show you those in due time.
More to come,
Until next time
Nimble Fingers and Even Stitches
PS. In case you were wondering, I have 256 of the 396 Cathedral Window blocks ironed and secured with a little bead which will embellish the corners where each of those 396 blocks meet.
As I have been preparing for the upcoming show, I have also been trying to edit my stash. I think that's just the fancy word for cleaning, but it doesn't sound so laborious. I came across a stack of blocks that I cut in 1989. I can't believe I am admitting that online.
That was in the olden days - before rotary cutters, rulers and mats. I just have to say, "I love my rotary cutter!"
I was able to piece it surprisingly well for as odd as the blocks seemed to be. They were closer than I thought they would be. Most of my corners even match.
I did all of this before I even really knew anything about fabric. Some of the pieces still had the selvage. It was 'sew' weird. I am getting ready to sandwich it and quilt it, but so far it has turned out kinda pretty.
This little nostalgic trip back in quilting time has made me realize just how far quilting has come and how far I have come as a quilter. Whew. See, reading all those books and magazines, visiting all those shops and shows, and "practicing" really pays off. I think I just came up with my new excuse reason to stitch rather than do housework. I am practicing my quilting so I can get really good at it. Oh no, I am not very good yet. Need to keep practicing. I just can't get it quite right. Let me try for another hour or so. I think then I'll 'get it.' I might need to practice some more tomorrow. Okay, I'll stop. Quilting really has come a long way though, and I am glad to be in the company of like minded stitchers.
I really do love stitching. However, unstitching? Not so much. Yesterday, I was as much of an unstitcher as I was a stitcher. My poor abused seam-ripper probably had sore muscles this morning.
I have been trying to get a few things made for a holiday show I will be attending. I did everything from sewing the brim of the bonnet backwards to sewing the trim on the inside of the skirt rather than the outside. After all was said and done, I got them done, and I think they are pretty cute. I still need to add the bonnet ribbons to finish them off.
I just love their profile. I think I will make her a little book to hold.
I also got a boarder on a child's quilt and the back pieced and ready to go. Even something this simple I can flub up on. I was sewing the boarder strips together and sewed one going across the wrong diagonal.
I just have to say, "I am now one very talented unstitcher." Do you ever have those days - Naaa, (don't admit it, and I won't tell:)
Until next time,
Nimble Fingers and Even Stitches (and no seam-ripping)
Our somewhat abbreviated autumn is coming to a close. Today, we are supposed to have a high of 75 degrees - Yes, I am fully aware it is November. Mother Nature must have woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Have no fear however, Old Man Winter is chasing her. By Friday, we are supposed to have a chance of snow. I didn't get on here to talk about the weather, but wanted to share with you a feeling.
You know the feeling when you have been gone for a few days (or even longer,) and you walk in the door and something just flows through you. You're home. No more getting to or from, no more clocks to measure your time, no more anything. You set your bags down - the ones you are carrying on the inside as well.
Go into the kitchen and put the water on, then light the fire while the water is heating - even if it is a candle. It will warm you. You hear the soft beginnings of a whistle beckoning you. Watch the steam as you poor the hot water over your favorite tea in that cup that just makes all tea taste better. Holding it cradled in two hands, you make your way to the couch. Now pull the old quilt over you, the one with thread bare edges and faded patches - that's the one. It somehow knows how to fold around you. It remembers you. It comforts you.
Close your eyes and soak up every bit of that peace and calm and quiet.
This is my wish for each of you as we edge our way into what can be a very busy time of year. There seems to be less time between those busy times any more. As we settle into the winter months, take your peace, your calm, and your quite, just enjoy it and be well. Until next time, Nimble Fingers and Even Stitches
I have some exciting news. My friends and family have been telling me I should do this for a long time. I have made patterns for people in the past, but haven't charged for them. I am taking a leap and have begun posting my patterns. If you look in my blog shoppe, they will be added as I have opportunity to do so. It takes a little time just to get them posted to the shoppe let alone to create them.
As a little perk to you, I am giving you a sweet Thanksgiving design that could actually be used the entire autumn season. I put mine on a table runner, but you can make a pillow, tea towel, pot-holder, wall hanging, or a number of other items with this design. The best news is... it's free!
I would like to ask a couple things: first, I would ask that you become a follower - it's not a requirement. You can still get the pattern if you choose not to follow. I am a believer in the honor system:), and second, would you like more free patterns or designs perhaps each season? Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think. That's where being a follower really kicks in. You would get to see those free patterns, and of course, this is just a fun place to hang out. (I hope you like the idea as I have a another one in mind and am hoping to get started on it.)
I have a couple other patterns in the works that are more along the quilting line. It just takes a little longer to get those samples made.
This free pattern is in my blog shoppe as well. Let me know if for any reason it isn't working. You should be able to just click and print. I am still a newby to blogging so I am learning by doing:) Until next time, Nimble Fingers and Even Stitches PS: Blessings to you folks over on the east coast - be safe.
I have been playing, making things for me and haven't really been creating for the holiday shows yet. I have done a few things, but I need to get crackin'. I will be making a few more of these little needle books - a couple more with this image and a few with a little vintage angel image. It took me longer to decide what embellishments I wanted than to actually put it together. The others might have some slight variations, but will probably be extremely close in design. Just had to share. Have a beautiful weekend.
Yesterday, I had a little time to kill so mosied on into the local thrift store. I found a couple pairs of work pants for Mr. LB as he goes through them pretty regularly. Since I had time, I wandered up and down isles I wouldn't usually venture into. Aaaaand, guess what I came upon.
Wrapped up in a little plastic bag with a sticker that said $2.99 were these two little darlings. I snatched them up. I didn't need to open the bag. I knew what they were. They are not super old, but they are sweet. I refer to this era as 'The Bert & Ernie" era.
Hand stitched & I think I recognize some of those fabrics. Wait, did I say that out loud?
And remember that pre-quilted polyester stuff? Of course not - it hasn't been around in the last 29 years since we were all born:) This one happens to be crazy quilted together so it has an appropriate home.
On our mountain, we have a bit of a little mountain community. We have a few little 'community' get togethers each year. Today we had a harvest party. We didn't have to take anything, but we could if we wanted to. I love making this pumpkin bread/scones recipe. It makes my kitchen smell delicious. Since Mr. LB doesn't care for pumpkin (but likes the seeds:) I took the opportunity to make it.
It isn't a sweet bread, just flavorful with a little melted butter - are you drooling yet?
Oh, but wait. It gets even better.
It actually makes two of these rounds. The recipe says to make one large round, but the wedges are very large so I make two smaller rounds which are still good sized. Tomorrow, we will go cut wood for Loretta up the river - an elderly lady whose husband passed away about 3 years ago. Since then, we get together and split and stack her wood for her. She makes yumiliscious goodies and tea and coffee for us while we work. It's sooo worth it & besides, that's what neighbors are for. We take care of one another. I'm adding the recipe for the pumpkin bread at the end of the post so your kitchen can smell delicious too.
Until next time,
Nimble Fingers and Even Stitches
Pumpkin Wedge Bread
2 cups self-rising flour, 2 tablespoons butter, 1/2 cup raisins, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, 1 cup canned pumpkin, 1 egg, 3 tablespoons milk
Preheat oven to 425*. Place flour in large bowl. Cut in butter with fingers till mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in raisins, sugar, and spice. Make well in center. Add in pumpkin, egg, and 2 tablespoons milk. Stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead gently 10-12 times. Place on a greased baking sheet and pat into a circle ( I made two circles about an inch thick.) Cut completely through dough to make wedges. Brush top with remaining milk (I forgot so you see my flour - oops) Bake 20-23 minutes & serve with butter.