Children’s Corner Laura in Windham’s Flora

Hello Friends, how fast this week has flown by, truly twinkling of an eye speed!   This is an overdue post.  I will be spending the rest of the year catching up on overdue posts… including my review on my Bernina machine.  Yes, I am still doing that.  Tentatively, it is scheduled for a day next week.  PLEASE, pretty please, do not give up on me just yet.

Earlier in the fall this year, I had a play outfit made for Miss Baby using Windham’s Flora fabrics!  We absolutely LOVE Flora.  The prints in the light colorway lend themselves to a fun and updated look for a little girl’s dress, but still maintain the traditional feel of the outfit. Click here to view the Flora fabrics, and find out what stores are stocking these fabrics.

IMG_2454

I did not construct the outfit.  I can’t quite sew garments to save my life.  So, I had it professionally made by Jackie in Alabama (THANKS, Jackie!!).  We used the Laura pattern from Children’s Corner, which makes classy patterns for little girls.  Here, you can see the slightly gathered neckline.  LOVE that effect!

IMG_2463

IMG_2465

Miss Baby was really thrilled with the outfit! I like that we can easily pair it with a turtleneck or a long-sleeve T-shirt to extend the use of the outfit.

IMG_1538

Jackie did a lovely job on Laura.  She even piped the sleeve with the contrasting fabric.  I thought that was just so clever, not to mention it adds to the overall look.

IMG_2456

It’s always fun to dress my little on with what I like — Miss Baby is actually really easy on that front.  She is not quite concerned (yet!) with her looks.  So I have yet to experience the wardrobe battle… and some of you will tell me to just wait… :)

IMG_2455

I am actually smocking (trying to!) a dress front.  I will post pictures when I have made significant progress — probably next year after I get all the important posts out before the year ends. :)

I am totally changing subject here…

You would probably be interested to know that our Christmas tree decorating saga this year continues.  Click here if you aren’t aware of the tug of war happening at my house.  I think the tug of war has ceased for the season.  Miss Baby has found other more interesting Christmasy things to keep her occupied. :)  Since I have no pride, I have decided to show you a couple of pictures I snapped of our tree a few days ago, after the single file ball ornaments were “distributed” more evenly. :)  But notice those gaping holes where there are NO ornaments, haha.

IMG_2417

I guess we don’t have enough ornaments to go around… due to the “traffic jams” that are found in various spots of the tree where Miss Baby felt compelled to just cram in 4-5 ornaments on one tree sprig!  Actually, I spot 7 ornaments covering a minuscule area in the following picture.

IMG_2420

Really, at my 5’2 1/2″ eye level, there are a few nice looking spots, like this one.

IMG_2428

And this one…

IMG_2449

So — our tree decided to fan out significantly more 2 weeks after we brought it home.  We normally let the tree rest for at least 36 hours for it to relax before doing anything to it. Apparently, 36 hours isn’t quite doing the job this year. So, now we have very noticeable gaping holes with nothing to cover the holes up.  SO… tonight, LATE tonight, I think I will attempt to re-do everything. My husband muses whether the revamp will go unnoticed.  If you are up late tonight, think of me while I am re-decorating my tree, and we can share a chuckle together. :)  Or what’s even better, you can come over and tell me where to place my ornaments, hahaha!

IMG_2441

Thank you for stopping by.  I hope you have a lovely weekend!

Miscellaneous Musings on a December Day…

Happy Tuesday, Friends!  I hope you are well.  I am still getting things ready for Christmas over here… and working as well.  I actually just shipped off my 9th or 10th magazine feature project for 2016.  It’s crazy to think 2016 is upon us, isn’t it?

IMG_2408

I came across some fresh chestnut from Italy while browsing at the grocery store… and thought it would really add to my Christmas experience roasting some chestnuts, especially in light of that song “Chestnuts Roasting on an open fire…”  I have never heard of that song until I came to the States.  So, I thought it would nice to roast those chestnuts!

IMG_2401

I quickly found out that cutting a cross on the flat portions of those chestnuts was NOT a fun experience — I think it’s bordering on dangerous!  And then peeling part after the roasting… I love the taste of the roasted nuts, but am not crazy about pre- and post- roasting parts of the process.  My husband mused to me that there has to be a tool or something that I could use to make things a bit easier. Do you know of one?  If you do, please let me know?

One thing I absolutely have to have (having grown up in a former British colony) is fruit cake or any kind (British super sweet fruit cake, Panettone, or Stollen etc) for Christmas!   Miss Baby and I have been stuffing our faces with Stollen and Panettone.  Someone please help me — I certainly do not need the added calories!!! :)  And then, there are those peppermint cookies I made last night.  ARGH!  So, I am curious — are you a fruit-cakey kind of person, and do you (and how do you) exercise portion control during the holiday season?

IMG_2390

Lastly, I learned really quickly this year that having two “interior designers” in the house for Christmas is a game of tug of war, especially where the Christmas tree is concerned. :) Everyone morning so far when Miss Baby wakes up, she re-arranges the ornaments to be at her eye level, and I would re-distribute the ornaments after she goes to sleep. And the next day, the cycle repeats itself.  So, for now, I don’t have a good Christmas tree picture to show you… unless you want to see ball ornaments all lined up single file at about midway of the tree. :o)

Thank you for stopping by.  I hope you have a lovely rest of your day.

FREE PATTERN: Christmas Morning & THIS or THAT #9

Hello Friends, here is a fun (a bit lame!) fact for you…  Christmas will be here before we know it! :) I am happy to share with you Christmas Morning, another free to use design I did for Benartex using their Santa’s Here line.  I can see many of you having LOTS of fun with this design!  For added personalization – wouldn’t it be fun to add embroidered (hand or machine) names on some of the gifts?

High Res_Design 1e_64 x 70

Click here to view the entire fabric collection.

Click here to download pattern instructions.

And here is our latest installment of THIS or THAT on Christmas Morning:  Home Made Gifts or Store Bought Gifts?  Curious mind is really curious to know!

Thank you for stopping by.  I haven’t forgotten about posting about the new machine etc.  I have been working a lot, like A LOT…. and that is making me a rather dull girl.  But with God’s sufficient grace, I will eventually dig myself out of the pile/rubble!  :)

Have a lovely rest of your evening!

***

Click here for Quilty THIS or THAT #1. Click here for Vicki’s follow up post.

Click here for Quilty THIS or THAT #2.

Click here for Quilty THIS or THAT #3.

Click here for Quilty THIS or THAT #5.

Click here for Quilty THIS or THAT #6.

Click here for Quilty THIS OR THAT #7.

Click here for THIS or THAT #8.

***

[My free to use designs from previous years are listed under “FREE PATTERNS” on the side bar.]

January: A Red Letter Day using Seeing Red (Benartex)

January: Star Struck using Caryl’s Feathers (Benartex)

February: Happy Home House Quilt (Quilting Treasures)

February: Happy Home Runner (Quilting Treasures)

February: Happy Home Throw Quilt (Quilting Treasures)

February: Farmville using Green Farms (Benartex)

February: Zoey’s Flowerbed using Zoey (Benartex)

March: Camp Cozy Quilt (Quilting Treasures)

March: Pretty Little Houses using Tango (Benartex)

March: Ariel (Quilting Treasures)

March: Flutter B’s using Butterfly Effect (Benartex)

April:  Baby Bunny using Bunny Hop (Benartex)

April: Yuki (Hoffman Fabrics)

April: Shimmering Constellations using Gold Standard (Benartex)

April: Bonjour (Quilting Treasures)

April: Baby Boutique (Quilting Treasures)

May: High Speed Racer using Vroom (Benartex)

May: Flower-Scapes using Blue Paradise / Sundrenched (Benartex)

May: Rusty’s Sleeping Hollow using Rusty & Friends (Benartex)

May: Christine’s Rose Garden using Christine (Benartex)

June: Treeline Drive (Hoffman Fabrics)

June: Frosty the Snowman (Quilting Treasures)

June: Jolly Old St. Nick (Quilting Treasures)

July: Memento (Hoffman Fabrics)

July: Monkey Business (Quilting Treausres)

July: Dream Blossom (Hoffman Fabrics)

August:  Birdhouse Neighborhood using Tweet As Can Be (Benartex)

August: For the Birds using Tweet As Can Be (Benartex)

August: Christmas Morning using Santa’s Here (Benartex)

Joy of Needle and Thread: Part 8

Miss Baby:  Mom, do you know what I would do if I were retired?

Me:  Tell me.

Miss Baby: I would just stitch and read my Laura books (i.e.  Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series) all day!

***

The above conversation took place a couple of days ago.  While I am busy working on things that aren’t share-worthy yet, what I can share with you is a sneak peek of Miss Baby’s current stitching project.  The pattern is Angels from Country Cottage Needleworks.  You can click on the link to see what the finished ornament looks like.

IMG_0781

Earlier today while stitching at a coffee shop with me, Miss Baby also toyed with the idea of stitching up ornaments for sale… that way she can save the proceeds for retirement.  I am not quite sure why retirement is at the forefront of a 6 year old’s mind… I guess I am still getting a hang of this parenting thing!

Thanks for stopping by – I have GOT to run and meet some non-negotiable deadlines, but I am hoping I will get to share with you a magazine quilt by this weekend.

***

If you are new on Ivory Spring, you may click herehereherehere, here, here, and here to catch up on my daughter’s needle and thread adventures.

FREE PATTERN: Jolly Old St. Nick

Hello Friends, my days go by so fast these days when I have a little constant companion for the summer!  I love the chattering, the occasionally clinging, and even the drama!  But all that doesn’t help me get things done.  So I have had to come up with some creative ways to still squeeze in work, and still meet the looming deadlines.

It seems like many fabric companies are releasing their Christmas collections this time a year — to give us quilters enough time to get our Christmas projects completed in time for Christmas!  I have another free pattern to share with you today that is meant to be a quick to finish panel project — Jolly Old St. Nick by Quilting Treasures.

High Res_Design 1d_53.5 x 61

Click here to view the entire fabric collection.

Click here to download free pattern instructions.

Thanks for stopping by.  I’ve got to run as we are under a severe weather watch (again!).  I was going to finish up piecing a quilt top… but I don’t use my machine during stormy weather.  How about you?  Do you chicken out like me, or do you brave it?  I am going to do some hand-sewing instead….

***

[My free to use designs from previous years are listed under “FREE PATTERNS” on the side bar.]

January: A Red Letter Day using Seeing Red (Benartex)

January: Star Struck using Caryl’s Feathers (Benartex)

February: Happy Home House Quilt (Quilting Treasures)

February: Happy Home Runner (Quilting Treasures)

February: Happy Home Throw Quilt (Quilting Treasures)

February: Farmville using Green Farms (Benartex)

February: Zoey’s Flowerbed using Zoey (Benartex)

March: Camp Cozy Quilt (Quilting Treasures)

March: Pretty Little Houses using Tango (Benartex)

March: Ariel (Quilting Treasures)

March: Flutter B’s using Butterfly Effect (Benartex)

April:  Baby Bunny using Bunny Hop (Benartex)

April: Yuki (Hoffman Fabrics)

April: Shimmering Constellations using Gold Standard (Benartex)

April: Bonjour (Quilting Treasures)

April: Baby Boutique (Quilting Treasures)

May: High Speed Racer using Vroom (Benartex)

May: Flower-Scapes using Blue Paradise / Sundrenched (Benartex)

May: Rusty’s Sleeping Hollow using Rusty & Friends (Benartex)

May: Christine’s Rose Garden using Christine (Benartex)

June: Treeline Drive (Hoffman Fabrics)

June: Frosty the Snowman (Quilting Treasures)

June: Jolly Old St. Nick (Quilting Treasures)

Happy Christmas 2014!

IMG_8643

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Till ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound the carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn, the households born
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

by Henry Longfellow, 1864

***

A very blessed, happy and merry Christmas to you all, Dear Friends.  

Joy to the World, the Lord is come!!

Holiday Blog Blitz: Merry Christmas and Recipe

Dear Friends!  I hope you have been well.  I am happy to be part of SewCalGal‘s Holiday Blog Blitz.

holiday blog blitz badge

Click on the participants’ blogs to read the bloggers share about Christmas and a recipe:

SewCalGal – www.sewcalgal.blogspot.com
Stitch This (Martingale) – http://blog.shopmartingale.com/
Leah Day – The Free Motion Quilting Project – http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/
Wendy Sheppard (Ivory Spring) – https://ivoryspring.wordpress.com/
Marjorie Busby (Blue Feather Quilt Studio) – http://b-quilts.com/blog/
Jeannette Jones (Inchworm Fabrics) – http://inchwormfabrics.blogspot.com/
Barb Gaddy (Bejeweled Quilts) – http://www.bejeweledquilts.blogspot.com/
The Electric Quilt Company (Behind The Mouse – The Electric Quilt Blog) – http://doyoueq.com/blog/

*****

Christmas 2013

There is a lot of excitement at my end, as it is only 3 days away from Christmas.  We have had a very fun month celebrating Christmas at the Ivory Spring household.  From getting ready for performing on stage to share the Good News,

IMG_8223

…the music of Christmas,

christmas

… the decorations,

IMG_8386

IMG_7533

IMG_4804

IMG_8337

IMG_8322

ornaments1

IMG_8149

…the baking,

IMG_8138

… the crafts,

IMG_8479

IMG_8418

IMG_8169

Gingerbread House1

… to the anticipation (each day),

IMG_4466

… all for my little family to ponder, appreciate and believe once again the reason for the season!

christmas2

IMG_4801

behold the lamb

O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for Thee.

excerpted from There is Room in my Heart for Thee, by Emily Elliot (1864)

***

Recipe: Double Chocolate Chip Cookies (from Christmas with Southern Living 1997)

chocolate-chip-cookies1

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup butter

2 tablespoons instant coffee granules

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 egg yolk

1 (11.5 oz) package semisweet chocolate mega-morsels (I used dark chocolate chips)

1 cup walnut halves, toasted (I used chopped pecans)

chocolate-chip-cookies2

1. Combine first 3 ingredients; stir well.

2. Combine butter and coffee granules in a small saucepan or skillet. Cook over medium-low heat until butter melts and coffee granules dissolve, stir occasionally. Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature.

3. Combine butter mixture, sugars, egg, and egg yolk in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed of an electric mixer until blended. Gradually add flour mixture, beating at low speed just until blended. Stir in mega morsels and walnuts.

4. Drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls 2″ apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 325 F for 12-14 minutes. Let cool slightly on cookie sheets. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

***

So, do you have a favorite Christmas cookie?  If so, what is it?

Thank you for stopping by.  I hope you have a most blessed week.  Hugs to you all.

12 Days of Christmas Ornaments: #8 and #9

Friends, if you have been following my blog, you will know that I have been stitching my 12 Days of Christmas Ornaments for a looong time.  From the very first one back in December 2012…

… till I had a set of 6…

IMG_5443

… and then the 7th…

number 7

I won’t have the entire set finished by Christmas this year, but I did finished #8 and #9.

IMG_8297

IMG_8304

And elsewhere on our tree this year….

IMG_8322

IMG_8325

IMG_8329

IMG_8340

IMG_8341

IMG_8344

IMG_8345

And tucked sweetly in a very special spot… is this very special sled ornament, stitched for me by Mary.  Mary does fabulous work, both quilting and stitching, and is always making special things to bless her family and others. THANK YOU, Mary!

IMG_8337

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you have a blessed pre-Christmas week.

Flower Basket Sneak Peeks & Christmas Snippets

Hello Friends, I hope you are well!  Thank you for stopping by again.  I thought I will share with you my Flower Basket quilt that had “refused to be finished”, but is now finally completed and shipped off.  I am exploring the use of basic solid and batik fabrics together in a quilt.

IMG_8265

Meanwhile, here are few Christmas snippets from my British country hutch.  Those snowmen ornaments were featured in Quilter’s World’s Autumn 2013 issue.  Click here for more information.

ornaments1

IMG_8160

Both ornaments were on our Christmas Tree last year, but I decided to place them among my dishes this year. :)

IMG_4653

What do you think?  Do you think I made a good move with these snowmen ornaments this year?

Gotta run for now — I am exhausted, but I still have a few things to get done before I can go to bed tonight. Later, my Dear Friends!

Joy of Needle and Thread: Part 3

Hello Friends!  I hope you are doing well.  (Christmas) joy of needle and thread is felt by all at the Ivory Spring household.  I got my act together (finally), and finished up Miss Baby’s cross-stitched Christmas tree piece into an ornament. IMG_8149 Miss Baby stitched 2 threads over 1 on 11-count Aida. IMG_5886 And I used the fabrics from Benartex’s Holiday Magic collection.  You may recall I had done a “hen and chick” style pillow ornament ensemble tutorial here, using the same fabrics. IMG_7147 Image11 The Christmas Tree ornament is a handmade Christmas gift exchange between Miss Baby and my sister.  My sister made Miss Baby a doll, and Miss Baby stitched the ornament for my sister in return. IMG_8143 IMG_8145 I added a pocket for keepsakes at the back of the ornament pillow.  Miss Baby’s note to my sister fits in the pocket nicely. IMG_8188 IMG_8183 I hope you liked Miss Baby’s ornament.  She is stitching another Christmas ornament right now – also a Christmas tree – for herself.  But her progress has been a little slower compared to the last one.  I am suspecting it’s because she is stitching on 14-count fabric instead of 11-count.  My local craft store ran out of their nice 11-count fabric.  So I had to settle on the 14-count fabric. Before I say goodbye today, I thought you would like to see Miss Baby’s gumdrop topiary.  It was really fun at first, but then it quickly became a training in perseverance.  I made Miss Baby finish what she started to complete the topiary.  She was very happy she stuck it out when she saw the final result of the topiary, placed beside this snowman teapot I have had for almost twenty years — we were newlyweds, and my husband had to have it when we were out and about after Christmas.  Bringing out that snowman each year reminds me of simpler and much younger days… when all we had to worry about was getting through school.  Time has changed. :) IMG_8169 Thanks for stopping by, Dear Friends!  I shall catch up with you again. *** Click here, and here if you missed Miss Baby’s needlework adventures.  Click here for the summary of my crafting journey with Miss Baby.

Quilty previews

Hello Friends, I have had the pleasure of focusing on the quilting part while working on some exciting projects.  Here are a couple of sneak peeks.  They have the feel of rich hot dark chocolate with a hint of raspberry and marshmallow…

IMG_7960

IMG_7967

How is your Christmas shaping up?  We are slowly seeing more and more Christmas around the house.  And with Miss Baby, it’s almost like we are in all things crafty when it comes to Christmas.   I will have pictures to show you later on.

But I cannot leave today without sharing with you this very quilty Christmas ornament.  Being an aspiring artisan (sort of, and I can at least dream), I am always sourcing home grown artisan Christmas things for my collection.  I am always amazed at just how talented some people are out there.  You can purchase this star ornament here.  [I will have a few more noteworthy American made ornaments to share with you before the season is over.]

Star ornament

Thanks for stopping by, Dear Friends!  Thanks to you all who have shared about your Advent Calendar here.  I enjoyed reading about your Advent Calendars.  Now, curious mind wants to know if you have a favorite ornament, and if so, what it is like.

Christmas tradition: Advent Calendars

Hello Friends!  Thank you for stopping by!  I hope you have had a lovely day.  One of the most exciting Christmas traditions at the Ivory Spring household is the Advent Calendar we bring out every year for Miss Baby.  She is always excited to open the “next” door.

IMG_4466

I was browsing the news and came across this Wedgwood Jasperware Advent Calendar — more aptly known as Advent House!  Each window opens to a different Wedgwood Jasperware ornament.  WOW!!!  Click here to read the article, and to see the ornaments.  I am a dishaholic, but I do not collect Jasperware items.  I am really tempted after seeing these ornaments…

23A1788B00000578-2855776-The_Wedgwood_Advent_House_costs_12_000_Behind_each_of_its_24_win-113_1417450754539

While most of us mere mortals aren’t probably not going to be able to afford a 12,000 pound Advent House (especially due to the fact that only 3 were made!), the idea of Advent Calendar is a nice reflection of the anticipation of the buildup to Christmas, much like the Jews longing and desiring for their Messiah to come. And as we look forward to Christmas each year, we too look forward to salvation in its fullest sense.

So, curious mind is curious if Advent Calendar is part of your family’s Christmas tradition.  If so, what kind of Advent Calendar do you have?