Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 - summing up

This last year has been so busy that I have had little time for crafting, or so it has seemed. But looking through my photos I have a few things to show for the hoursIve spent by the sewing machine or in front of the TV after all. Not my best year, if quantity is anything to go by, but quite a few fiddly bits and pieces, and at least six large quilts, so I think I'll pat myself on the back and say "well done" after all. Mind you, they aren't all finished, but I have a plan... One must have something to strive for in the new year after all ;-) And I will have more spare time (I think...) and lots of ideas, so once I get my sewing space sorted out (again) I'll start on a new project or two... But not until next year!
Thank you all so much for keeping me company in 2008, and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


My little village created a flurry of interest the other day. I have had these sweet little houses for more than a decade, and they were given to me by a friend over a period of several years, so I wouldn't know where to get them today. I thought I might try to find out though, and after a bit of Googling, I realized that I might have mislead you... - they are possibly not Latvian after all, but Lithuanian. At least the only ones I came across were. Mind you, the ones that I found were much more elaborate than my rustic little ones, so who knows? Anyway, if you can't live without them ;-) try a search for "Lithuanian candle houses" and you should get several hits.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Quilting through Christmas

A couple of lovely days with family and feasts are over, and still more to come, but there are some quiet mornings for the rest of the week left, and with all the hustle and bustle of Christmas preparations over, it's time to settle down to some serious quilting! I've started working on my Sunflower Quilt again after struggling for quite a while with different quilting options. One is as good as the other Isuppose, so this morning I just threw myself into the job with abandon. The only problem seems to be that with the amount of stipple quilting I started out with, I'll need a trip to the quilt shop on Monday. Well, that's an excuse I can use, anyway...Not that shopping sprees are needed. Just look at these goodies that arrived just before Christmas (a gift to me from me!). I just couldn't resist the lure of the new Beatles fabrics that eQuilter had to draw my attention too, and judging from some of my other purchases (of, course I had to get more (!) I had a bit of a psychedelic vibe going on there. Now what will this become? I'll have to think about that for a while, but a bag wouldn't be such a bad idea, would it?
Did I mention my new open toe quilting foot, by the way? I have made do with the darning foot that came with the machine until now, having seen the two described as interchangeable. But I was given a gift certificate at the quilt shop for my birthday, and used it to buy the quilting foot, and I must say I could kick myself for not realizing earlier that I needed one - it just makes the job so much easier when you actually see where you are going...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Decorations of red...

Decorations are popping up everywhere. My little Latvian village suddenly has inhabitants...

... and little gnomes have started to peep out among my blue and white china.
Snowmen have taken up recidence...
... and the angels have flown in too.
In short there is a lot of work going on - enough to make anyone tired...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A week to go

No panic about that unfinished stocking - that's going to be my holiday project - something to work on in the days after the presents have been distributed and the big dinner has been consumed. I have a whole fortnight off from work this year, and I'm looking forward to some serious relaxation. Time to light a fire and some candles and curl up under a quilt with my embroidery and a good movie or five... I think I might have convinced my family that DVDs are a good idea for presents for me this year. If the hints haven't been picked up on, I still have a whole box of Sex and the City and several films that I wont mind seeing again, so there should be plenty of quality stitching time.
The presents are ready, and it's time to settle down from all the pre-holiday stress to enjoy some baking sessions and invite friends around for tea and cookies. Previous Christmases have been so full of stress that I have felt completely frazzled by Christmas Eve, so the last couple of years I have made an effort to slow down and enjoy the preparations.

So what if everything isn't perfect - the most important thing should be to spend time with your loved ones and take a step back and enjoy, don't you agree?
The gingerbread cookies are delicious and I have several boxes full, so I'm ready. Let's put the kettle on, shall we?

Monday, December 15, 2008

No stocking to hang...

Now that all the home-made presents were done, I felt it was time to start pulling out my Christmas UFOs - the ones I'm making for myself. When I was growing up we didn't have the tradition of hanging up stockings for Santa to fill on the night before Christmas, so I might have felt a bit deprived... I made sure that all my nieces and nephews got their own quilted stockings for their first Christmases, so they have all grown up with the tradition. But when I came across this pattern in Stitcher's World some years back, I decided that it was time that I too got my own Christmas stocking. It is going to be just gorgeous, made with half cross stitch in wool, cotton, perle and rayon threads and some wonderful fluffy yarn called Whisper for the polar bears.
As it is with these things, I spent some time gathering supplies, and got into the actual stitching a few Christmases ago. But once the holidays were over, it got put away until the next Christmas when I stitched some more. I remembered it yesterday and brought it out of hiding, suddenly feeling inspired.Funny, I thought I had done so much more, but there you are, that's it so far. Oh well, no stocking for me this Christmas I suppose...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Cupcake anyone?

I made it! All the cupcake pincushions are done, and three of them are wrapped and given away already. Some late night hand stitching yesterday, and I was officially ready with all the handmade gifts for Christmas. These are as I mentioned earlier from a Sandi Henderson/Portabellopixie-pattern, the low calorie version - about 4 " across. There is also a high calorie version, 6 " across.

I have used felt for the chocolate cake part sticking outh beneath the ruffle and they are firmly filled with sand in the bottom and wool in the top, making them quite heavy and stable, so they should rest well on the table when in use. And yes, I have only wrapped three of them! Being such a crafty person (crafty in this case meaning cunning, sly...) that I made four so I get to keep one for myself! Mine is the one with the turquise ruffle (of course), and it is now resting happily next to my sewing machine.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Xmas pressies, check!

I'm getting there... After last week's setback, I have made some progress this week - a couple of hours at the bookshop and most of the pressies are taken care of. I'm the sensible auntie who prefers to buy books for the young ones rather than plastic toys and gadgets that fall apart as soon as you start fiddling with them. My gifts are maybe not the most exciting gifts to open on the actual day, but hopefully they'll give hours of pleasure through the rest of the holidays. I'm trying to find interesting books for each and everyone, hoping to instill some of the pleasure reading has always given me in their young minds. And books are quite easy to wrap up as well ;-) I'm settling down with some rolls of paper, tape and ribbons and a good film now.
Tonight I'm adding the final stitches in the last homemade gifts: some pincushions from this pattern. I really love Sandi's patterns - they are so pretty, and full of colour photos to explain each step beautifully. Have a look at the tutorials on her blog and you will see what I mean!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Thank heaven for blogger girls

Since I started reading blogs and writing my own I feel I have been given so much in terms of inspiration. Little did I know a few years ago that there were so many people out there with the same "weird" crafting urges that I have and nobody else around me seem to understand.
And there is so much generosity out there! People sharing freely of their ideas and inspiration, spurring the rest of us on to start new projects and bring so much joy.
And I had no idea that this blogging thing would lead to so many new books on my shelves. In fact, quite a few of the novels I have bought over the last couple of years have been bought on a blogger's recommendation. And now, some of the bloggers I have followed since the beginning have released books of their own, chock-full of inspiration!
I have mentioned Jane Brocket's (of Yarnstorm fame) and Kristin Nicholas' books earlier, and look what the latest shipment from Amazon contained: Anna Maria Horner, Alicia Paulson and Vicki Haninger have all entered my home! Three wonderful books full of inspiration and beautiful pictures; Well done all of you! - I certainly know what I will be savouring once I settle in for the holidays this Christmas!

But there is still so much to do before the holidays! I have finished the journal covers, but that's all. I have been ill this last week - and you don't really feel like decorating or buying presents when you spend most of your time heaving over a bucket ... I'm much better now though, so tomorrow it's time to start the preparations - I have cookies to bake, presents to buy, wrap and send, christmas cards to write and Santas to bring down from the attic... I had better get some rest first!