Sunday, December 26, 2010

And then at last it was Christmas

Louie, Fuzzy, Sylvie, Gingy, and i wish everyone the best of the season...the crispness of winter air, the fluffiness of fresh snow, the scents of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and spicy woodsmoke, peace, plenty, good health, and the comfort of friends and family.

Getting ready to make merry

Our Combined Federal Campaign at work scheduled an arts and crafts silent auction on December 15, so i made two little zippered quilted bags and two embellished grapevine wreaths. Here are the bodies of the bags...they're tiny crazy quilts that i made with fabrics from my stash and some of the cool fancy stitches on my sewing machine.
And here are the two finished little bags. There was a "bidding war" over one of them which was very gratifying! (and sort of amusing, because there was only one bid on the other bag, and they look so similar, you'd think the bids would have been spread between the two bags)

Here's one of the wreaths...purchased grapevine wreath, with paper punched snowflakes, satin ribbon, chipboard letters, and a few rhinestone brads. I loved how they came out...yet neither of them was bid on. Oh well, will just have to give them to friends!

Here's the second annual card i made for the Red Truck Bakery, our local purveryor of everything delicious, from hearty Harvest Bread to sinfully delicious Double Chocolate Moonshine cakes. They have such delicious baked goods (all baked from scratch on the premises) and they are really nice folks...a great addition to Main Street.
My quilt group's annual holiday party was this past Tuesday. I've been working very full days at work, plus taking work home on evenings and weekends, so have fallen even farther behind than usual in holiday preparations. So i took annual leave on Monday and Tuesday and quilted like crazy. I made a miniature table runner for my Secret Santa, which i was so pleased to actually finish, i forgot to take a picture of it!

Each year we have a challenge block for the party, with the design chosen by the previous year's winner. (Each person who wants to, makes a block and then at the party we put our names into a basket, with one chance to win for each block that we've made. The winner gets all of the blocks!) This year the theme was "Christmas tree ornament" and the club provided an 8" square of fabric to use as the background, so all of the blocks that everyone makes will have that in common. I knew i wanted to make a ball-shaped ornament, and of course it had to have a cat on it. I found the perfect pattern in Quilting Arts Gifts magazine for actual ornaments made out of fabric. They didn't show them made up with cat fabrics, but the "cathedral window" construction was perfect to make a kitty peek out of. I made two and appliqued each one to a background block. I was so thrilled with how they came out, i made two just to be actual ornaments.

Chanukah was early this year!

Chanukah began during the first week of December this year...Thanksgiving was barely over and suddenly it was upon us! Our congregation's party was held on Sunday, December 5. Sometimes our services are poorly attended...but this year, more than 70 people came to the party, including several new families with young children. It was thrilling having such a big group of people together. Each family brought its own menorah and we lit them all together, so the room was ablaze with light and full of the sound of music and laughter.

I missed getting a picture of Louie sitting on the living room floor, looking up in apparent wonder at the menorah's flickering candles, but here he's sitting on the couch and you can sort of see the candlelight flickering in his eyes.
And here's an unfortunately dark photo of this year's Chanukah card, which i barely got made on time, and many of which i didn't mail on time (but at least i mailed a few them this year...last year i made a whole batch and never got a chance to address and mail them!)

"Chairs: A Conversation"... Quilts and Paintings in October

I heard about this fascinating quilt show from my friend Sue, who has a family tie to the family that owns the  RH Ballard Gallery in Washington, VA...paintings of chairs by Robert Ballard, which inspired his quiltmaker daughter Alethea Ballard to begin her own series of quilts of chairs. Her approach to quilting is unconventional, painterly, exuberant, and fun. C&T Publishing have actually just come out with a book of her chair quilt patterns (i'm waiting for my copy to arrive). Here's the postcard that the gallery sent out to invite people to the show, plus a special handmade, chair-shaped sugar cookie that was one of the goodies served at the show's opening.
I wasn't able to attend the opening but went the next day and spent a couple of delightful hours talking to Alethea, getting a great running narration about each of her quilts. I'm looking forward to getting my book next week!