Happy Monday & Sew Along & Scrappy Mystery & This and That

Hello Friends, Happy Monday and Happy Week to you!  I hope you are all well!  I will try to cover a few items today. :)

#1.  This is of utmost importance — I want to know who amongst you still has her Christmas tree up! :)  I found out over the weekend on Instagram there are quite a few still who are keeping their Christmas trees up to enjoy them longer.  With that, I will no longer feel self-conscious about keeping ours up for two weeks at least after Christmas!!! Truth be known, Miss Baby is still blasting Christmas carols and music at home.  And I sewed up these charm squares over the weekend.  So, Christmas is here to stay, I think!

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#2. Spring on Bleecker Street Sew-Along!  If you have expressed an interest in following with the sew-along, you will have received an email from me with a bit of logistics on how we will be doing things – all in an informal way!  Please know that you are able to join in the fun anytime!  It will be great if you just shoot me an email expressing your intention to join in the fun! :0)

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You may download the pattern instructions and templates here.

I will be using the Bleecker Street fabrics from Quilting Treasures for this project!  I am totally in love with these fabrics!!!!  You may use fabrics of your choice for the project.  However, if you want to replicate the original quilt,  I know of places listed below that are selling the kits/fabrics.  For the embroidery, I will be using colors from my Aurifil’s Marmalade Meadows collection.  Click here to read about the collection if you haven’t known about it.  I would imagine any Aurifil dealer will be able to order the floss for you.  Please know that I will be showcasing more ways to use up the floss in a couple of months.

* The quilt and floss kits are available from http://thimblemouseandspouse.com.  I think Lynn is still waiting for the fabrics and floss to arrive.

* Quilt kits from http://www.northerncomfortquilts.com/sales-and-specials

* Fabrics from Quiltropolis.

* Quilt kits from Hancocks of Paducah.

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Tentatively, I will be posting my first section on Feb 15th.  And then you will have a month between Feb 15th and March 15th to complete your section. :)

#3.  SCRAPPY MYSTERY Quilt-Along!  I asked, and you responded.  So, scrappy it is!  This will start in June or July 2017.  I am still working out the details, and will have more to share when I have more solid information.

#4.  Miss Baby’s Stitching Progress.  Some of you have written to ask about Miss Baby’s stitching progress.  Here is the last progress picture I took of her work.  Pattern is by Jardin Prive.  You may purchase the chart here. The latest completed house is the one right next to the letter “m”.  She actually messed up on counting her squares. Instead of correcting her mistake, she “improvise” to make her house work!  I am not quite sure how I feel about that yet… on one hand, I want her to follow the rules because I am pretty much a “dot my i’s, and cross my t’s kind of person.  But on the other hand, I thought she did a great job improvising!  Hahaha.  The original house has 3 windows, and Miss Baby’s version has 2 windows.  And of course, Miss Baby has totally ignored all the “suggested colors”, and picked out all her colors.

I have to say Miss Baby has made great strides in the last 6 months in that she has learned to thread her own needles, and finish her stitches etc.  She is now a totally independent stitcher.  For a while there, I had to cut the threads, thread the needle, show here where to stitch, and then help her bury her thread tails etc.  Now, she asks if I could get her a gold needle!  Well, I didn’t… I told her she would have to earn her own money to buy that as regular needles do just fine. :-)

I say all that to encourage mothers and grandmothers out there who are teaching their young ones in the art of needle and thread that it is possible to start them really young!  I started Miss Baby when she was about 5.  And it’s been really gratifying to see her progress and develop in her skills.

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That’s all for now, Dear Friends!  It’s past 10pm, and I still have a quilt to bind that needs to be shipped in the morning. :)  There goes my life whirling around again!  Hugs to you all, and I do hope you have a lovely week.

Another chance to win Marmalade Meadows Floss Box

Happy Monday, Friends! I hope you are all well and warm!  Right about now, I am an icicle contemplating a one-way ticket to Florida! :)

Last fall, Aurifil introduced my Marmalade Meadows Floss Collectionat Fall Market.  A few days before Christmas last year, Aurifil featured my new Embroidery Floss collection, Marmalade Meadows, on their blog Auribuzz. Click here to read more if you hadn’t had a chance to do so.

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The purchase of the floss collection comes with my pattern instructions (including embroidery) for Marmalade’s Merriment.  If you remember, the embroidery design is based on Miss Baby’s artwork that I had adapted for embroidery.  I do have a funny story associated with that.  I had texted from Fall Market last year a picture of the floss box to Miss Baby at home.  When I checked in with home that night…

Miss Baby:  Urm, Mom, didn’t you tell them I drew the original picture?

Me: Yes?

Miss Baby: Why isn’t my name on the box?

Me:  Well, you see…

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Over the next year, I will be releasing more Marmalade the pot belly bunny embroidery designs, as well as different projects you can make using the free download Marmalade’s Merriment embroidery design!  It will be fun.  So, get your floss ready to stitch… You can ask your local quilt shop owners to order the floss collection for you!

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Aurifil is hosting another giveaway of Marmalade Meadows on their Instagram feed!  Be sure to check out the details there — just search for “aurifilthread”.

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That’s all for now, Friends!  Happy Monday and Happy Week!  I will be back this Wed to catch up with you!  Hugs!!!

Aurifil’s Embroidery Floss Collection: Marmalade Meadows

Friends, you know I have a passion for handwork. Over the years I have done embroidery, smocking and cross-stitching. I love stitching with my hands, and feeling the needle and threads as the stitches are formed.  I am very excited to share more about Marmalade Meadows, an embroidery floss collection I curated for Aurifil.

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Firstly, these Aurifloss colors were selected to be companion threads for Quilting Treasures’ new group Bleecker Street!  I will share more about Bleecker Street fabrics tomorrow.  Spring on Bleecker Street is a collage quilt I designed using the Bleecker Street fabrics that involve a bit of piecing, applique as well as hand embroidery.  The hand embroidery part uses threads from Marmalade Meadows.

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The following picture was taken at this past Quilt Market of Spring on Bleecker Street.  Kits and patterns are available via your local quilt shops sometime in November!  Check and ask about the project with your local quilt shops that carry Quilting Treasures fabrics.

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And you here how the Marmalade Meadows embroidery floss is at play in the following pictures:

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I also designed and stitched a little wallhanging using the Marmalade Meadows embroidery floss, featuring Marmalade, the pot-belly bunny!  This is going to be a free pattern when the thread collection ships in December.

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I quilted the wallhanging with Aurifil’s Mako 50 wt cotton.  When quilting around embroidered motif, I like to quilt densely so that the embroidery will pop!

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I like that the Aurifil’s embroidery floss is wound on a charming wooden spool.  Some have asked if I feel a difference between Aurifloss and skeined floss.  One major thing I notice is that, with the other threads produced by Aurifil, the Aurifloss is very low on lint.  That allows me to have very crisp stitches.  [As to why Aurifil’s threads are low lint, you will have to attend Alex Veronelli’s thread lectures to find out — really worth your while if there is one offered in your area.  It is free to attend.]

So, here are the spools you will get in my Marmalade Meadows collection.  Even though they scream vibes of spring, I am actually working on a Christmas scene featuring Marmalade the pot-belly bunny!  Stay tuned for details. :)

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Again, the collection ships this December to shops.  You may place an order for the collection with any shops that carries Aurifil products.  I know http://www.followthatthread.com will have it.  If it’s not listed on the website, just shoot them an email, and they will take care of you!

Thanks so much for stopping by.  Till next time!

Happy Monday!

Marmalade, the pot belly bunny, wishes you a lovely Monday and week!  Details about Marmalade’s merry adventures are forthcoming.  I can hardly keep the secret, but keep the secret I must… for now!

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You might be interested to know that it was our very own Miss Baby who initially came up with the design concept. She drew it on paper, and I adapted it for stitchery — I am loving our collaborative effort.  Now, I just need Miss Baby to grow up a bit to cook and clean and piece all my quilts, so that I can quilt to my heart’s content.  No, just kidding (seriously!)… I am a firm believe of children needing to carve out their own paths apart from their parents’ bent. :)

I am curious though — how many of you do hand-embroidery in addition to piecing, applique and quilting?

Thank you for stopping by.  Have a great week.  Hugs to you all.

ABC des Maisons: Part 1

Before I proceed with today’s post, I have been asked about this quilt I posted in yesterday’s post.  The quilt is called Gwendolyn Dream Garden.  It is a pattern found in my book Creative New Quilts & Projects using Precuts or Stash.  You can view all the projects in the book here.  Gwendolyn’s Dream Garden is named for Miss Baby.  She fell in love with the quilt when she saw it, and told me it reminded her of a flower garden.

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Speaking of the girl, this summer has been a stitching summer for Miss Baby!  The last time you saw her completed stitched project was a few months ago… I shared about her stitched ornament.  You can read more about it here.

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From the stitched ornament to this…. a full-sized sampler! And she is quite a determined stitcher too – because she is having a contest with my sister (who is stitching the same thing) to see who finishes first.  They are stitching ABC des Maisons by Prive Jardin.  You can purchase the chart here.  That’s how it’s supposed to look when it’s finished.

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AND…. this is Miss Baby’s latest progres.  And she is intent on changing the colors to suit her taste. *rolling my eyes here*  Let’s just say sometimes I wish my little one would just stay inside the box, and not try to think too much outside of the box, hahaha!

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Have I ever told you I have always wanted a daughter?  And I am thankful to God He gave me one.  I have enjoyed my little girl.  I missed those baby/toddler days for sure, but I have also enjoyed the more grown up version these days.  I did a double-take the two days ago when she said to me out of the blue, “Mom, I think you are the best Mom I have ever sampled.  I think I am going to keep you.”  What?!  Sampled?!

Thanks for stopping by.  I have more work to do still… Hugs to you all till next time.

We have a kid-sized win!

Hello Friends, you might remember seeing this right after we had that huge blizzard earlier this year…

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We brought home the ornament with a ribbon from the 53rd Woodlawn Needlework Exhibition yesterday.  The ornament was judged in the Junior Category.

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I couldn’t be more proud of my 7-year old-Miss Baby!  Thanks for stopping by – I’ve got to run for now as I am still catching up on things from when I was gone.  Hugs to you all.

Stitching with Kids… a few thoughts!

Happy Tuesday, Dear Friends.  We are in post-blizzard stage over at my end.  We are doing well besides being snowed in.  My life is already a moving target with working from home and being a Mom and wife.  With school being out, the moving target moved even more for me.  It’s crazy how during snow days, I have to cook and clean more… :)  That left limited time for anything else. :)

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BUT… experiencing the blizzard made me realize there were so many out there that had to work and leave the comforts of their homes to keep things running and still somewhat normal for the rest of us.  A huge shout out to all the emergency and utility company personnels…. Seriously, my having to cook more was a trifle compared to what goes out beyond my little bubble.

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Cooking and cleaning aside, we did pack in fun things like… popcorn, board games, snow-fun, reading, and… stitching.

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I did manage to finish Miss Baby’s Angels ornament by Country Cottage Needleworks into a proper pillow ornament, in time to enter it in the Woodlawn Needlework Show this year!

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Following are a few thoughts about stitching with kids:

  1. Kids at a young age have the advantage of time.  So, as soon as Miss Baby was ready, and before she was distracted by other more modern hobbies, I jumped totally in with getting her started her on needlework.
  2. The work continues for the parent after the initiation process.  At this time, Miss Baby still needs me to thread her needle, and cut off her thread tails when she stitches.  So, it is a labor of love, as well as patience!  I resign to the fact that when we stitch together, my stitches are far and few in between because of interruptions from Miss Baby accidentally stitching the tail in with her other stitches, having to un-stitch mistakes etc.  But all that is worth it… because it is also through sitting together and stitching, Miss Baby and I get to “chat”, and I get to find out her deepest thoughts!
  3. With everything else, hobbies have a certain built-in element of discipline.  With Miss Baby, I have had to “make her” put in a few stitches in her project to help her reach the finishing line.  When she finishes a piece, the work to get to the finishing line seems a very distant memory, and she is filled with the joy of accomplishing something from sticking to the project.  A valuable life lesson is learned.   [So far, she hasn’t gotten the idea of doing multiple projects at one time.  She doesn’t know the concept of UFO’s, and I intend to keep it that way as long as I can… hahaha… I just wonder how long that will be the case because her mother is the queen of UFO’s when it comes to stitching!  I certainly can’t lead by example in that regard. :)
  4. At this age, Miss Baby hasn’t really met another girl her age who also stitches.  So, I have actively shown her pictures of stitching projects that others do to keep her in the stitching community, albeit one that is not in her current and immediate realm of influence.

While supervising Miss Baby’s daily music practice, I managed to finish stitching a Little House Needleworks ornament, but I haven’t had time to totally finish it yet.

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Before I sign off today, I am happy to announce the winner of my giveaway of Katherine Ann FQ bundle is: Sharon (#19).  I have emailed you, Sharon — please reply with your shipping address so that I can get RJR to send out the FQ bundle to you!  Congrats!!!

Alrightie, Dear Friends.  It’s another snow day here — I need to get going with my day so that I can keep the little person in my house happy!  I shall catch up with you later.  You have a most blessed day!!

Monday Miscellaneous

Happy Monday, FRIENDS!  Here’s to a great week for all of us!!  I have a few things to cover here…

First off, I just finished proofing the upcoming online/video quilting classes.  Annie’s is adding a few more domestic machine quilting classes in the near future, in addition to the two I did for them: Learn to Machine Quilt, and Machine Quilting Level 2.  I have to say having to watch and listen to myself is the most painful and un-enjoyable part for me in the entire process of getting an online class to happen!  Alas, in viewing these “almost final” cuts, I am having to face the fact that I speak with a Southern Twang, haha… when I really would like to speak crisp English like Queen Elizabeth II!

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Behind the scenes – these online class projects start with a phone call/email, and then, writing a proposal, making the sample(s), scripting the video shoot, revisions, prepping to leave town, the actual shoot, sitting in the plane and sighing sighs of relief on the way back, and a few weeks later, proofing the almost final cut of the video class.  You may click here and here to read more about my current two classes.

Speaking of my online machine quilting classes, I am happy to announce the winner of my Machine Quilting Level 2 class from last week’s giveaway: Donna W!  Congrats!  An email have been sent to you, Donna… and someone from Annie’s will get you set up!

Do stay tuned for more giveaways…. there will be another one this week.  “Fabrics” is the word for our next giveaway here. :)

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I had mentioned to you the exciting news of being included in the Aurifil Designer Team for 2016.

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I am even more thrilled to share with you the news that Heather Valentine of The Sewing Loft has shared her block for the month of January! I hope you (or even your quilt group) are joining in making this mystery quilt?  Click here to get to know Heather, admire and download her block pattern for free, AND make the block for yourself.  It is a fun block. I am sewing along — and hope to share my block with you later this week… because I am waiting for fabrics! :) Imagine that… haha!

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Meanwhile, due to popular demand for Miss Baby’s artwork (seriously, what am I… chopped liver? haha!), I thought I would share one she drew recently of Miss Clara Clavel and the girls from the beloved Madeline series.

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Miss Baby also had a stitching finish!!!  She finished her Angels ornament by Country Cottage Needleworks. The following is the designer’s original version.

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Image source: Country Cottage Needleworks

Miss Baby wanted a more “diversified” representation — thus the different hair colors.

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Now that she has finished this ornament, she has a VERY ambitious project coming up.  I am not that certain about it because it is going to be HUGE . But who am I to dissuade her?  I am a firm believer of gaining confidence in doing things out of one’s comfort stitching zone.  So, I think we should just go along, and see where it takes Miss Baby… shall we?  I will have updates once I get the threads, fabrics and chart ready for her for the big reveal.

Meanwhile, I am preparing these fabrics from Windham FabricsBasic Lines for a fun and exciting project using my Aurifil Subtle Strings thread box. More details to follow…. and hopefully you will want to be a part of the excitement. :)

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That’s it for now, Friends!  The pattern instructions aren’t going to write themselves… so, I have to get back to work, as much as I would love to just sit and chat with you.  Have a lovely day, and Happy Week to all of you!

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

Friends, I cannot be more excited my project of stitching these 12 Days of Christmas ornaments is finally #done, #finished, #completed, #nomorehangingovermyhead – after three long years!!! I am not fishing for accolades as I am a little sheepish in admitting to you it took me three years to get these ornaments stitched. After all, as you can see, the stitching does not really require any advanced skills.  But to have these done is an immense relief because now I can go on to finishing some of my other stitching related UFO’s when time allows.

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Incidentally, there is a story associated with the song.  Here goes (thanks to Creative Hare who sent it to me!!)

From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.
-The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.
-Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.
-Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.-
-The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.
-The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.
-The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.
-Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit–Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.
-The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.
-Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit–Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.
-The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.
-The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.
-The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed.

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Would you join me in “singing” the carol one more time before we pack our Christmas stuff away?  Oh, good… here goes.

On the first day of Christmas
My true love *gave to me
A partridge in a pear tree

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On the second day of Christmas
My true love game to me
Two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree

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On the third day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree

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On the fourth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree

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On the fifth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree

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On the sixth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Six geese-a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree

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On the seventh day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Seven swans-a-swimming,
Six geese-a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree

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On the eighth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Eight maids-a-milking,
Seven swans-a-swimming,
Six geese-a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree

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On the ninth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids-a-milking,
Seven swans-a-swimming,
Six geese-a-laying,
Ohhh, awww-e-awww,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree

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On the tenth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Ten Lords-a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids-a-milking,
Seven swans-a-swimming,
Six geese-a-laying,
Five Limousines,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree

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On the eleventh day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Eleven Pipers Piping,
Ten Lords-a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids-a-milking,
Seven swans-a-swimming,
Six geese-a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree

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On the twelfth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
TWELVE DRUMMERS DRUMMING!
ELEVEN PIPERS PIPING!
TEN LORDS-A-LEAPING!
NINE LADIES DANCING!
EIGHT MAIDS-A-MILKING!
SEVEN SWANS-A-SWIMMING!
SIX GEESE-A-LAYING!
FIVE GOLDEN RINGS!
FOUR CALLING BIRDS!
THREE FRENCH HENS!
TWO TURTLE DOVES!
AND A PARTRIDGE IN A PEAR TREE!

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You all sounded great – thank you so much for humoring me and “singing along”!  And that concludes our Christmas 2015 at Ivory Spring.  Miss Baby has been dreading the day we put our Christmas things away.  I will be very nice, and do it ever so gradually…. to lessen the pain.
Thanks for stopping by.  Have a most lovely day.  Hugs to you all.
p.s.  *I learned that traditionally, the song was sung with “my true love sent to me” instead of “gave to me”.  The “gave to me” version is more 20th century and American.

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

Joy of Needle and Thread: Part 7

Happy Monday, Dear Friends!  This week marks the first week Miss Baby and I are back to a 24-7 arrangement — because school is out for the summer!  Due to my workload and summer plans, I am not sure how available I will be… but I will try!  Please bear with me if I disappear for a long period of time.

I thought I shall kick off the summer by sharing with you what Miss Baby stitched for her teacher before school ended.  I am so convinced only my six year old has the time to stitch for leisure these days…

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And Mom is dismally lacking in the finishing department…. because it seems like all Mom can make are hanging pillow ornaments.  So, Mom made the latest stitched piece into a hanging ornament… yet another one!

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Me thinks Mom needs help in the creative department in finishing stitched pieces… don’t you?

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That’s all for now, Dear Friends.  Miss Baby has started her next piece – one we hope we can enter in next year’s Woodlawn Needlework Show.  I am a bit doubtful on this next project because there is a marked jump in difficulty level, but I am the last person to dissuade her from a difficult project…. considering with no experience at all or whatsoever, my first quilt was a pieced and applique quilt (story here)!  So, this next stitching project of Miss Baby ought to be interesting…. stay tuned. :)

Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you have a lovely week ahead!

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Click herehereherehere, here and here for past Joy of Needle and Thread posts.

Patch upon patch: Sneak Peek #1

So…. I have been listening to Anne of Green Gables in audio book format while I work, and came across the following quote that brought a smile to my face.

“I do NOT like patchwork,” said Anne dolefully, hunting out her workbasket and sitting down before a little heap of red and white diamonds with a sigh. “I think some kinds of sewing would be nice; but there’s no scope for imagination in patchwork. It’s just one little seam after another and you never seem to be getting anywhere. But of course I’d rather be Anne of Green Gables sewing patchwork than Anne of any other place with nothing to do but play.”                                                                        ~Chapter 13, Anne of Green Gables, by Lucy Maud Montgomery

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I have been working with small pieces the last couple of days… My 9-patch units, shown in image below, finish at 3″ x 3″.  I am using my little trick here to make the units.  Most of you know I don’t always enjoy piecing, so I kind of empathize Anne of Green Gables with her assessment of patchwork.  But I do not agree with Anne about patchwork having no scope of imagination.  I think there is plenty of imagination to be had in sewing up the “seamingly” endless seams. :)  This particular quilt has a non-negotiable deadline because it is going to travel far for an overseas publication.

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Meanwhile, here is a sneak peek of Miss Baby’s latest stitching project.  She thinks she has arrived being able to stitch with variegated thread… ha!

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And on and off while I am supervising Miss Baby’s violin practices, I have been stitching a little… a very little… on Miss Baby’s birth sampler.

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And if you’re curious about the overall look so far…

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That’s all for now, Dear Friends.  Back to patchwork-ing I must go!!!  Thanks for stopping by.  Hugs to you all.