Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Taking a short break from ..........

getting the house ready to have most of the windows replaced tomorrow :) And which room needs the most clearing out ....... yep the sewing room cum guest room !!!! Tomorrow is going to be a busy day with the girls leaving which means a run to the airport, keeping Lucy occupied if we don't find somewhere for her to stay for the day, moving furniture away from windows as needed, a New Years eve party and putting everything back in place. Plus the van needs fixed :( Oh and our darling son is hosting a Wii party here tonight.

So with all the Christmas festivities, traveling, and other stuff I've done almost zero sewing for a while. What I have done is read a couple of books since Christmas, Circle of Quilters by Jennifer Chiaverini being one of them. Loved the plot - interviewing prospective employees for two upcoming vacancies and the stories surrounding how the interviewees became involved with quilting. Won't tell what two of the Elm Creek ladies got up too since it would spoil the surprise for those that have never read the series. I'm about to re-read The Sugar Camp Quilt and then maybe read A Quilter's Holiday.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Greetings and adieu

From our house to yours may you each enjoy this time of celebration. Christ is our Savior. May we each learn to walk beside Him and honor the love that Heavenly Father has for each one of us. While it may seem like there may never be peace in the world may we each cultivate peace in our hearts.
John and I were released as Nursery Leaders at church last week and I substituted yesterday. Our little group of 3 year olds led the way when they visited Sharing Time and answered questions about Jesus and his birth. Their parents are teaching them well.
As we prepare for our new assignment I wanted to leave you with these words from the Primary songbook.
"He Sent His Son."
How could the Father tell the world of love and tenderness?
He sent his Son, a new born babe, with peace and holiness.
How could the Father show the world the pathway we should go?
He sent his Son to walk with men on earth, that we may know.
How could the Father tell the world of sacrifice of death?
He sent his Son to die for us and rise with living breath.
What does the Father ask of us?
What do the scriptures say?
Have faith, have hope, live like his Son, help others on their way.
What does he ask?
Live like his son.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Project update - grocery bags

No photographs to show of my projects because I've been doing some of my siggie blocks, a tiny bit of my fall wall hanging and you've already seen a picture of them. Rest of the time I've been preparing for Christmas and some other family things.

Having said that I've been contemplating fabric grocery bags. I've seen a lot of them in the stores but not seen many being carried around (which given all the "save the landfills" hype is somewhat surprising). I've also been looking on-line for a pattern to make some but did not like most of them (for my requirements). However here's one, with great tutorial, that with a little tweeking (sew the bottom reinforced edge into the inside)would work great. I'm going to make some next year. (Sounds so far away time wise but it's only a couple of weeks or so. Aaaaargh!!!!)
Our girls got home safely last night. They took a straight through flight and have lots of laundry to do today :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Local Life - Bonnie Scotland

Now what has Bonnie Scotland got to do with the Nashville area?
If you are a fan of thoroughbred racing you will recognize the name. Originally from England he was 19 years old when he eventually settled at Belle Meade Plantation (founded 1807) which is about 10 minutes from my house. Some of his descendants include Seabiscuit, Seattle Slew, Affirmed and Secretariat. All the winners of the Kentucky Derby between 1972 and 1996 are descended from him.
Another great horse from Belle Meade was Iriqois who was the first American Horse to win the English Derby.
There's another Bonnie Scotland as well. I'm not sure if I should encourage this part since I am Mormon and don't drink. However Belle Meade has opened a winery and one of the wines is called "Bonnie Scotland". I hear it's quite good :)

Scots Corner - A Scottish Icon

Can a person become an Icon? I think so.
When I was at college one of our field trips was to the Hill House in Helensburgh. Designed by the remarkable architect/artist Charles Rennie MacIntosh and his wife Margaret McDonald it proved to be a very thought provoking visit. Quite a stark looking building with a delightful interior. I would advise visiting on a sunny day so that you can appreciate the beauty of the view.
Like many other talented Scotsmen, Charles was not hugely appreciated in his homeland until well after his death. His economy of style and delicate designs put him well ahead of the mainstream and in some ways still does. is a fabulous site totally dedicated to his genius. The Cranston Tea room video is delightful and the presenters obviously appreciate the building and design ethic. His most famous building in Glasgow is the school of art which is well worth a visit.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sewing 101 - Christmas ornaments

My youngest daughter is learning to sew. Here's her first attempt at making some fun padded christmas ornaments. She has some trees and flowers cut out just waiting to be put together.

Postcard Pizzazz exchanges

 both from Allison for geometric and double split complement

from Diana

from Mary

from Sue

from Claire

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Local Life - our state Capitol building

I like our state Capitol building. I've gone on a couple of school field trips as a chaperone and had a fun time. The tour guides show and tell the kids all kinds of fun stuff that probably would not be readily apparent on a self guided tour.
It is quite rightly on the National Historic Landmark list and is one of the best Greek Revival buildings in the USA.
There's bodies buried in the walls !!! Specifically the architect William Strickland who died before the building was completed (It took 14 years to build.) and Samuel Morgan who oversaw the construction of the building. Stories abound that these two gentlemen haunt the building and have been heard to fight each other !!!!!
The tomb of President James K. Polk is on the grounds.
The building turned 150 years old in October and sits atop the highest hill in Nashville.
Free tours are Monday through Friday 9a.m. to 3 p.m. and well worth the visit. Farmers Market is just down the hill and would be a great place to go for lunch and pick up fresh supplies for dinner :) It's a bit of a hike down the steps but there's lots to see when you get down there.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Fall Quilt Swap

I've been sewing away on my wall hanging and got some of the hand stitching done yesterday. Here's a peek. I love to hand stitch and since I am "wimping" my way through life at the moment with a heavy head cold (courtesy of my hubbie) I decided to change my design from applique to straight hand stitching - 1 strand DMC #355. Between the fuzzy brain, stab stitches and pins I have a few body scratches to deal with :)

'Tis a gift - Very Quick Christmas Fabric, Button & Trim 2009 Swap

I recently took part in the "Very Quick Christmas Fabric, Button & Trim 2009 Swap" sponsored by Vicki at Tozz's Corner and Jenny of Elephantz. I sent the two top fabrics and Cheryl sent me the two bottom fabrics.
Go here to see what else we swapped :) Her photographs are a whole lot better than mine and I forgot to take a picture of my package before I mailed it.
I'm looking forward to making a Christmas project with this lovely Figgy Pudding fabric.

Remember the funky santa/penguin/flamingo Christmas fabric I won recently? It's all now cut up and ready to make into a fun project.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Scots Corner - Beatrix Potter and Dunkeld

I love Beatrix Potter books. I've read most of them and used to read them to my children when they were young. We visited the Lake District a few years ago and skirted the edge of it this year.
Beatrix was born in England but every summer between 1871 and 1881 the family rented Dalguise House, near Dunkeld, in Perthshire. "The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Mr McGregor's Garden" was written while she was in Scotland and there is a Beatrix Potter Exhibition and Garden at The Birnam Institute.

Maggie at recently spent a weekend at Yew Tree Farm (Lake District) and shared some photographs which are gorgeous.
Back to Dunkeld. Located about 15 miles north of Perth it is a gorgeous wee town on the River Tay surrounded by beautiful scenery, one of the tallest trees in Britain and great walks. Kenneth McAlpin the first king of Scotland (843 to 858) made Dunkeld the first ecclesiastical capital of Scotland. The "Little Houses" of Dunkeld built during the early 1799's are now in the care off The National Trust For Scotland. Dunkeld is considered to be one of the most complete 18th century towns in Scotland. Most of the original town was destroyed during the Battle of Dunkeld in 1689. The Cathedral was started in 1260 and is still in use.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Blog of the Week - Nikki Wheeler

Nikki is one of the Twelve by Twelve group that has been on the go for about a year. I love to visit her blog and find out what little art pieces she has produced in addition to the themed project. I find her work to be very inspiring in it's simplicity. She juggles that with her young mother duties though it can be hard at times to do so.
Congratulations to the group as a whole for the upcoming book release.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Project update - Fall Quilt Swap and Friendship signature blocks

Life is not all about Christmas projects. I'm working away on two swaps that are due in January.

The photo shows the start to my wall hanging for the Fall Quilt Swap. It's a variation on a disappearing nine-patch. I am planning on adding some applique.

The other big project is 24 blocks for a friendship swap. Most of that is done but I have to finish embroidering my name and state onto them which will take a wee bit of time.

Saturday - Debi asked for the start off pattern for my variation on the disappearing 9 patch.
Use two different fabrics one multi directional pattern and one plain. Cut 61/2" blocks 5 patterned and 4 plain.
Sew up as for a regular nine patch block.
ADD 21/2" borders with 21/2" cornerstone blocks.
Cut down middle of finished block in both directions.
Rotate the 4 new blocks into a design of your own choosing.
Since posting my start off picture I've done another arrangement that I like better.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Local Life - Christmas Celebrations in Nashville

There's usually plenty for people to see and do in and around Nashville at this time of year. Locals get to act as tourists for a while :)
Take a look at this site for some fun activities
Some things we like to do involve Christmas lights. We drive around different neighborhoods and often head on over to Gaylord Opryland Hotel to see their displays. (Park in the shopping mall car park and walk.)
There are enough plantation homes around to get a taste of old style Christmas's which is interesting. We live about 10 minutes from Belle Meade Plantation and may put that on our list of places to visit this year.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tis a gift - our Christmas tree skirt

We have a fairly decent size artificial tree (I cannot do live ones, gives me the sneezies) and every year I put the same items round the bottom.
The tree skirt was made by a friend of mine from our days in Ohio. Her daughter developed a very rare condition that could only be treated in one state in the US. The family had to sell everything off to afford the move and some of the medical expenses. I bought the tree skirt and a few of her Christmas ornaments.
The cabbage patch dolls were made by a friend, also from Ohio, for each of our girls. She made a baby quilt from the same fabrics for our son.
The book is my collection of Christmas stories. My mother-in-law made the book with a few stories in it and I added the cross stitch. It is about falling apart now but we love it.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Scots Corner - St.Andrews

Well I could go with the place since I was born there or I could go with the person who played a huge roll in the start of Christianity or I could go with St. Andrew's Day which was celebrated yesterday. Mmmmm.

Before I head into what I will highlight let me tell you a dumb story. When I moved across the pond to the US I had a lot to learn about the culture. Learning from books, while a start, really does not prepare you for every day life especially when that move is quick and unexpected.
St. Patrick's Day rolled around and there was lots of celebrations around the country, many were televised. I got excited because I thought that the same would happen on St.Andrew's Day. I was so disappointed when nought happened. Not only that, there was no local celebrations. I confess I sulked for a while but then came to the logical conclusion that it must be because the US celebrates Thanksgiving at about the same time. So what did I do yesterday? Tidied up the front and back living rooms and put up our Christmas trees which will take a few days to decorate.
So I've decided to go with the Saltire - if you are not familiar with the name it belongs to the flag of Scotland and is also the name of the style of cross Andrew was crucified on.
The Saltire is supposed to be one of the oldest continually in use national flags in the world.
Deep in the history of Scotland there was a battle ... there's always battles. About 832 A.D. the Picts and Scots were facing the Angles. Oengus (Angus) II decided to pray for help. On seeing a white saltire against an azure blue sky he decreed that if they won the battle then St. Andrew would become the patron saint of Scotland. They won and the flag was born. There's a number of other stories about how the flag was born but I happen to like this one :)
More info can be found here
Yesterday was also the last day of celebrating Homecoming Scotland 2009. I gather there was lots of celebrations over the weekend and the Saltire was marched in style on Sunday from Athelstanford to Haddington.