Friday, December 9, 2011

Tree Skirts a Plenty

There is nothing that can put me more into the holiday quilting spirit than quilting multiple Christmas tree skirts... which is exactly what I did. Back in early October, I joined a quilting class being held after work on Thursday evenings. The task at hand, Forever Green Christmas Tree Skirts! I will start by saying that almost everyone in the class, excluding myself and the "teacher", was a beginner quilter. Some had never touched a sewing machine, thread a bobbin, ironed a seam or heard of a scant quarter inch... that didn't stop the fun!
This was quite an advanced project for such quilting newbies, but aside from the under-the-breath muttering, deep sighs, seam ripping, redoing, and numerous expletives, they really did tackle it like champs! I will start by noting that this is the most difficult thing I've ever made by a long shot, which may lead you to two conclusions: A. this was difficult and B. I'm apparently not one to step out of my comfort zone!
This tree skirt had multiple triangles (not my strength), A LOT of tedious paper-piecing (a first for me), some complex assembly (lots of little corners to match up), prairie points (quite difficult on the inside corners) and some pretty intense hand stitching along the back in order to bind the quilt. Despite the many hurdles and late nights, most of the skirts are mostly complete with the exception of a few (but honestly, as time-consuming as this project was, who could blame them?)
After the majority of the quilt was completed I began to help everyone with the second half of quilting, the most laborious part. I assisted in the assembly, cut, ironed and sewed on many a prairie point, basted to my back's discontent, and quilted every last one of them! There were 9 ladies participating in this quilting event and in the last week or two I have quilted 7 tree skirts, talk about an all time high for my poor Kenmore (also note the lack of finished projects in the last two weeks, this would be the culprit!)
So although I do not have pictures of all of them, and of the pictures I do have most of them are in a slightly uncompleted stage, I still wanted to share these beauties with you! At the end of the day, I am very proud of every single one of these ladies and their momentous accomplishment. They each deserve a pat on the back; this was not an easy task.




Sara's (note this quilt was quilted with a red, green and gold variegated thread):

Joan's (my mother):

and Mine:

Each Tree Skirt turned out very unique and diverse despite the uniform pattern that was used. Fabric selection gave each quilt a slightly different edge and a beautiful, distinctive finished creation!

Note to Readers: None of these tree skirts are being used as tree skirts! At the end of the day, no one could face cutting through them and creating a slice down the center and a large hole in the middle of their magnificent work of art! But don't worry, I think they make perfectly lovely Table Toppers!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Celebration of Life

Today we lost someone very special at work. Someone funny, and cheery, and wise. Someone who was very special to a lot of very special people. Death is never easy, sometimes overwhelming, always inevitable and often unexpected. Shirley was one of the rocks that held our foundation together.
She came in every morning at the same time, said her hello's, set to work and if you were lucky gave you some tidbits on her adorable cat Callie (and boy did she love that cat)!
She told me stories of her youth (she apparently had a knack for undermining her mother), and always joked with me about my curly hair (which like her, I despise). She said in her old age her tight curls had all but disappeared as she joked, "And I don't miss them one bit!"

So as I sit here on lunch, mulling over the empty office beside me, I am again reminded of just how special every moment is, how incredibly sacred my seconds with those I love should be, and how truly blessed I am.
Always take the time to tell those you love, that you love them, reach out every chance you get and be thankful... I know I am!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Big Boy Chair

Matthew graduated from the highchair long ago, but as is tradition in our family, he has been sitting in an elevated chair ever since with a computer chair mat underneath his seat to collect the bits and pieces that don't make it into his mouth. This happens to be Pepe's (my cat) favorite spot to lick up a light snack after mealtime.

Since Matthew is now in Kindergarten and is getting a little too big for his special chair, it only seemed right that he move on to bigger and better things. The problem however, is that he still doesn't have the best aim when it comes to food, and like many five year-olds still uses whatever is handy as his napkin.

So per request, (I cannot stress enough how much I love these) I was asked to make a special cover for Matthew's new chair, to perhaps mask some of the mess that is likely to accompany him in his big chair journey.
Using a towel that we purchased at Walmart, I crafted a cover that matched the decor of the room. I used a total of 4 seams so that it just slips over the top and bottom of the chair and provides the perfect drop cloth during those times when life gets a little messy.
The more we looked at the cover, the more we debated covering all of the chairs, beige really is a hard color to keep clean and this was such an easy project!
This also happens to be Pepe's new favorite chair to lay in during the day, must be something about the dark color and her white fur; she wants to make sure you can tell where she's been!