Friday, November 28, 2008

Yahoo!!!! Time to get ready for Christmas!! We've put up our Christmas tree in the studio & decorated the front porch with tons of twinkle lights. A couple of weekends ago I found TONS (really... they were everywhere!) of vintage ornaments in a couple antique shops in Yakima. We put the small, gently worn, pink balls on the tree & all of the other pink & aqua balls & bells are piled among the village houses. I also found a hand embroidered tablecloth that looks like it's NEVER been used! Such a lucky find!!

Last weekend I got to visit with a lovely group of ladies at Pendleton Quiltworks in Pendleton, OR. They're all so nice & fun, & down to earth! What a nice way to get to end my teaching year! Thank you to everybody who takes my classes. Girls who stitch are just SO much fun! It seems to just go with the territory!! Everyone looks like they're working so hard in the pictures. I didn't get everybody in the shots.... was somebody out in the shop BUYING FABRIC?????

This sweet, little girl's top was embellished by Cindy King for her new grandaughter. She does such lovely work! I love that she used this pattern like this!!! The snowman bodies are appliqued and the words are stitched in a sparkly floss. This is so soft & cute!! Thank you for bringing it to class Cindy!

This photo was sent in by Sherrie Hockett. Her Indian Summer pillow is just beautiful!! Hmmmmm........... there's a Morning Glory pillow in the background that looks awfully familiar! You've been a busy girl!!

This weekend I made candy canes (No, not real ones!) I'll show you how to make them if you'd like a handful of your own! I'm going to make 30 of them. Enough for myself & a handful for each of the "Girls" Christmas gift bags......Shhhhhh!.... don't tell them!

You start with wood dowels - we used 5/8" ones. We (Phil that is.... I didn't actually touch them until they were cut & sanded.........I know! He's a pretty good guy!) cut them into 12" lengths & sanded the cut edges.

Paint with ivory acrylic paint - I like to use a sponge brush & paint one half of the candy cane with a thin coat of paint (so it dries quickly & I can hold on to the clean, unpainted side while I paint. Later, the painted end will be dry enough to hold while painting the other end without getting.... well..........paint-y!)

Now paint the other end & let it dry. I give all of them a second coat of paint so that the color is even.

NOW! Choose a pretty red acrylic paint (or whatever color you'd like - I made black & orange ones for halloween this year. They turned out SO CUTE !) Use a 1/2" or so, flat paintbrush to add the stripes. Just start at an angle at one end & slowly twirl the dowel as you paint the stripe.

If you're working in a warm room & you don't glop on the paint, it should dry enough to lay flat to dry as soon as you're through painting. I like to use parchment paper or waxed paper for this as it won't stick to the painted surfaces.

Once the paint is completely dry you can add a tiny stripe with a paint pen , liner brush or even a sharpie! Look closely & you'll notice that the lines are imperfect & kind of wobbly. Once the glitter is added you won't even notice the imperfections.

Use a clean sponge brush to coat the candy canes with Mod Podge & roll in clear glitter or mica flakes to give it a sugary sparkle. You can do this very quickly because they seem to look better if they're not evenly coated.
Sparkly, wintry, Christmassy......... inexpensive & easy! Perfect!!!! I hope you make some of these! Have Fun!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

We have more member's show & tell & another sneak peek at the "Vintage Trick or Treat" pattern............... (at least, that's it's name this week!) I love the stitched blocks in this pattern SO MUCH! I'm waiting for just the right fabrics & then I'll put it together!
One of the great things about being in this business is that you get fabric samples & info about up-coming fabric lines from the major fabric companies. Really..... it's the greatest thing!!! It's like Christmas morning! A box will arrive & when you open it up, it's filled with jelly rolls, sample rolls or even 1/2 yd cuts of new fabrics. I'm in HEAVEN! Even if they're something I think we'd never use they still get opened up & "caressed"!! LOL!! Yesterday we got a box from Lecien..........OH MY GOSH!!!!! Such gorgeous, soft florals & dots! Makes my heart palpitate..........may even be un-healthy to get that excited!! We'll definitely have to keep them in mind for some of the new designs! We got a box from MODA a week or so ago too.......... all of the samples are sitting here & there......................... calling to me!!! I've been asked by a few companies to do fabric lines. I've put it off & put it off. I finally realized that I love the surprise of finding beautiful fabrics. When you design a line, you feel that you HAVE to use it for everything you do that time around. I'd much rather feel that rush of inspiration from someone else's fabric!!! Sound silly?? Probably. I may still do another line but right now I'd just like to pick & choose from all of the beautiful stuff that's out there!

We have some show & tell to share. First is "Heirloom Romance" made by Cheri Testa from Maple Falls, WA. I met Cheri at a class I taught at Cotton Pickin's in Stanwood, WA. She's done a beautiful job hasn't she? I love the colors she's chosen.... really a rich look! Looks like she's got some redwork down there to the left.............. what's that Cheri???
This "Heart of the Home" was made by Susan Ache from Florida. She's going to frame it but says that she'd thought about making it into a baby quilt too. Great idea! but I think I wouldn't use the wool on it........... did you use wool or applique fabric scallops??? Let us know!............ she will let us know............... she's kind of a Crabapple Hill stalker.....................YIKES!!!! Just kidding, Susan's alot of fun & we get a huge kick out of her emails!!

Nireko Ohira from Kensington, CA. made fruit from our "Home Grown" pincushion pattern using Lecien fabrics. Nireko works for Lecien & made them for their Quilt Market booth's display. They look beautiful!! Nireko is such a sweetheart, she sent us Karisma fabric pencils to try for tracing patterns. I'm going to try them out tonight (I'm tracing off a pattern we're sending to Better Homes & Gardens) They have 4 colors of leads & an eraser so that you can remove the lines if you need to. I'm really hoping that this will turn out be the best thing since sliced bread!!! Keep your fingers crossed! Has anyone used them?? Are they great? Or OK?
It's so much fun to hear from everyone... to see what you're working on & all the different ways you're finishing things! Write us a note, send us a photo! We want to meet you!!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Well, today I put away my Halloween decorations & re-arranged the "Autumn" deco that was left. That should see us through another couple of weeks until I absolutely HAVE to decorate for Christmas. I have to admit that I'm kind of a holiday decorating nut! Any excuse to decorate & hopefully put up lights!! LOL!! I think we need to come up with another holiday for that "dry" period between the 4th of July & Halloween. Something in early September............. it should have a color scheme, certain foods & possibly a song or two..................... by the way, Halloween desperately needs a couple of songs, don't you think? The only one I know of is "10 Little Pumpkins Sitting on a Fence" & it's really hard to hum..............................I've tried!
Anyway, time to move on toward Christmas. I'm MORE than ready to put up a tree or two! I've convinced Phil that we're going to NEED to get two or three potted pine trees this month, put lights on them & arrange them on the front porch of the shop. (I call it "the shop" but it's not a "Shop" shop. It's the building that was originally intended to be Phil's dream shop complete with an air compressor, big tool boxes etc... & another street rod to tear apart & rebuild.... but I kind of took it over, stole it from him, girly-ed it up, added on, frou-frou'd it & now it's Crabapple Hill................. I feel SO bad about doing that............NOT!!!!LOL!!) Anyway, back to the trees... my excuse was that we needed them so that we could plant them when we're through building our new house (OH, by the way, we're building a new house, I'm a little bit excited, I may SHRIEK occasionally, they should break ground this month, WOOHOO!!!) There, I got it out of my system. I'm all better now. Well! Back to the trees............ We need them desperately, you understand don't you? They need to be smothered in sparkly white twinkle lights & we may NEED them by next weekend. Sorry, I'm a little giddy!
We've been stitching away on new designs. I finished the stitched blocks for the quilt that I gave you a sneak peek at in the last post. Sheila has a 2nd copy of it stitched (the blackwork part) and is starting on the color fill stitches. Cyndy has stitched two copies of another one of the new patterns called "Midnight's Crow". They'll need some wool touches added & I'll be ready to sew them up. I think I'm going to frame them. After all, how many pillows does one person need??
The closer we get to the holidays, the more quiet it gets around here (just the opposite of your local quilt shop I'm sure!) I think it's because everyone has already purchased all the patterns & supplies to make gifts & as the weather gets more "if-y" everyone wants to cuddle up at home & stitch, sew & just appreciate their families. It gives the Girls & I time to relax a little bit, take a deep breath & most importantly.... stitch (& for me, DRAW!) We've had Christmas music playing in the studio for a week or so know, to get in the mood! So that I can design Christmas stuff! NOW you see why I desparately NEED those trees!!!! I'll let you in on another little secret..... when we get into drawing & stitching mode......... we watch/listen to alot of TV here! I have a large collection of old movies & British comedies (have you seen "The Vicar of Dibley"??? It's SO funny!) We also have Tivo so we can pause whatever's on when someone calls or things get busy. We record things to watch when we're all together.... you know, the shows that need a serious group discussion..... like.... The Bachelor, Ghost Hunters, Wife Swap & our favorite..... that Redneck Wedding show on CMT. Our favorite episode by far is the one where the bride can't find her teeth on the morning of the wedding & her mom offers to lend her daughter hers!......... Brings a tear to my eye every time! LOL!!!:)
We got a lot of emails about wanting more recipes so.......... the recipe below is for a favorite bar cookie. I find when I start to copy my recipes, they're missing vital information. They say things like.... beat till it looks right..... bake till done .... or they're just a list of ingredients with no measurements or instructions.... YIKES!! When I made these bars this morning I had to hover over the oven because it didn't say how long to bake them. I usually go by..... Can I smell them? Do they smell done? & the old stand-by, Do they look done? It was really wierd taking a photo of them too! Normally they'd go directly into a rubbermaid container or ziplock bag. There's no way they'd ever actually touch a pretty plate or anything. They had to get "gussied up" for the photo though!

Thanks to all of you who've commented & emailed notes & photos. We'll get the photos of your projects up to share with everyone ASAP!! It's still astounding & really humbling to see how many of you stitch up my "doodles". It may sound dopey, but sometimes it's truly shocking to me that anyone wants my patterns. Thank you... I really appreciate it!!