Sunday, January 31, 2016

It's Christmas in Killarney...

...and all of the girls were here!!!  :)  My two dear friends came up from Iowa this weekend and we yakked our faces and sewed our fingers off.
My family always jokes that if there are two or more laptops on a single table, that is the command center or the control room.  I think the same can be said about sewing machines.  We got a lot done.
Brenda started and finished a flannel chenille blanket and Melissa and I both made this strange looking item.
It is in fact an insulated casserole carrier made with quilted ironing board cover fabric and McCall's pattern #M6338.
It was a really simple project with only two pieces to cut out.  The "petals" of the carrier fold over your dish and velcro closed.
I'd ordered this yard of Swedish kitchen print online years ago and saved it never knowing what to do with it.  I love that it was made into something I'll use and see and much of the fabric and design is intact.
We worked on some small crafting projects with Melissa's daughter Serenity and she was very interested in the sewing.  I think that is awesome that her creative mom is always making things with her.  It is so important for kids to be hands on making and doing things to get their creative minds working.
Brenda cooked us our traditional boiled New England supper for our Christmas meal.  We opened Christmas crackers before we ate and wore our hats throughout the meal.  I think Serenity got a real kick out of the crackers and prizes.  We exchanged gifts after supper and here is Serenity graciously modeling the hat I knit for her.  I love this pattern and have knit several of these this season for gifts.

We never have enough time when we girls get together.  Apart from our trip to IKEA, we didn't leave the house and were busy busy busy.  We're already making plans for a crafting and sewing vacation at Brenda's camp getaway.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

I couldn't wait!!!

My two dear friends from Iowa are coming up in two weekends and I can't wait to see them.  We're going to sew like the wind!  We will have three independent sewing machines stitching away on our table.  One of the items I suggested we work on was a chenille blanket as inspired by Aesthetic Nest
I sent the link to Brenda and she was all for it.  The project requires 45" of a cotton calico print and three 45" cuts of flannel.  Luckily Joann's was having flannels on sale last week so Brenda and I both cleaned up in our respective Joann's.  The flannels are chosen for the color and not the print because only edges of the flannels are seen once the project is finished.  I already know my mother would disapprove my choice of colors but I just love pukey greens!
Like I said, I couldn't wait to start this project.  I wanted to test run it too so I'd know what to expect if we tackled it as a group.  I am SO going to make many more of these.  You find the diagonal/hypotenuse of the fabric using a strand of yarn.  Then you stitch your layers of fabric together on this line along with thousands of other parallel lines stitched 1/2" away from this central line.  I always think everything is going to take just 10 minutes but I labored an entire afternoon stitching all those channels.
Here is the blanket all stitched and I think those simple lines look quite stunning!
Now for the cutting!  Dave quite pleasantly surprised me by going out and finding this tool and buying it for me for Christmas.  I'd hunted in Joann's, Michaels and Hobby Lobby and they didn't have it.  He ultimately found it in Hancock Fabrics.  I was impressed with his initiative.
This is the most ingenious little tool.  It is basically a rotary cutter combined with letter opener technology.  There are 4 different sized "feet" that you slide into your stitched channels depending on their width.  You could cut every single channel with a pair of scissors (I cut the smallest edge channels this way) but you have to be really careful not to cut through the cotton print.  This tool makes it effortless and mindless and ensures the cut is centered in the channel.
I used the 1/2" foot for my channels and it was slick.

Here it is all cut and waiting to be bound.  This is how I left it when I stopped to get ready for work yesterday.  I'd been thinking about it non stop until tonight when I got home to finish it.  I just love the look and feel of those cut channels.  It is quite sturdy too.  For some reason I thought the blanket would be quite flimsy once cut.  I did spend the money for a sturdy and supple cotton print which clearly made a difference.  You wouldn't want to use a gauze-y or cheap fabric for the base.
I originally bought 2 packages of satin blanket binding and was just going to do a mitered corner full on blankie binding.  I was thinking about this all day at work and instead decided to try for a narrower binding like the tutorial.  Plus I really liked the idea of curved corners.  I was too nervous to pin and stitch a folded binding to such a thick and textured blanket.  It is tricky enough trying to control one binding edge let alone two.  I thought I'd practice on some leftover binding in the stash and decided I liked that color better than what I'd purchased.  And since you cut it in half, I had more than enough to finish my project.

I pressed under 1/4" and then stitched the un-ironed edge right side down to the flannel side of the blanket edge.  Please excuse my skanky ironing board.
Then I folded the binding over to the other edge of the blankie, pinned it to death and then top stitched the pressed edge to finish the blankie.
Ta-DA!!!  Here it is fresh from the dryer.  The flannel strips have frayed and turned into chenille just like it's supposed to.  My favorite thing!  Melissa and Brenda and I always call this moment "the reveal" because it has done it's own magic.  The colors look absolutely terrible in this light but it is 0032 at the moment.  Most of my best sewing/knitting/crafting happens in the wee hours of the night.  I texted a picture to Brenda too.  She still works nights and some of our best conversations took place in the wee hours of the night when we were at work together or on the phone on a night off!

Monday, January 04, 2016

Christmas 2015

 We survived Christmas again this year.  On Christmas Day, we had 28 Andersons here instead of the 40 we'd had 2 years before.  Everything went well despite the fact that we didn't have our informal "program" where we all sing "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer".  I got to put up my "big girl" Christmas tree--this is the $300 pre-lit tree that I got on sale and with a coupon at Joann's for $85 dollars late last Christmas season!  The tree skirt was a lovely and classic gift from my sister, despite it being from the Sandra Lee Collection.  I don't like Sandra Lee but I love the tree skirt.
Dave's sister gave us 18 beautiful eggs produced by "her girls".  They are lovely to behold and delicious to eat.  The two light colored ones actually have a greenish tint to them.  I hope the hen had an epidural for that large egg that contained two yolks.  I just love these rustic simple gifts the best!  My sister's neighbor dyed eggs to look like this with onion skins last Easter.  I will have to try that in a few months.
We enjoyed a very warm December and it only froze up after Christmas.  We enjoyed our second annual Tveiten Christmas Skating Party.  Dave is the official equipment manager and he built a regulation size goal out of 2 x 2's and chicken wire.  Here is a picture of the "rink" cleared off for the first time this season.
The Johns were here for New Year's Eve and we enjoyed a bright night on the ice due to the overcast sky.  We even enjoyed a fire before retiring to the warm house for ginger beer on the stove.  We all stayed up and watched the ball drop before heading to bed.
My sister and her family arrived the next day and we had more fun on the ice.  Last year I think we had only 2 pairs of skates between all of us and she bravely tried some on and did quite well.  This year all the Johns and my husband had skates and Lisa talked me into trying on Dave's.  I last ice skated at least 25 years ago on West Twin Lakes with David and Alitza Rueber.  I wore second hand figure skates at the time and all I can remember about the day was I was black and blue because I fell on my knees about every 3 feet or so.  I have to say I didn't do too bad this time around.  David Rueber would be proud of me.  I remember too he laced my skates SO TIGHT I thought my ankles would break.  I did fall down on my right knee once but that was when I was wearing boots and slipped on the ice.  I never fell wearing skates.
You'll notice I'm pushing a metal folding chair around the ice to steady myself.  This is not crazy because our neighbors who are serious hockey people start their kids off on the ice pushing folding chairs around.  Notice my death defying move where I spin around AND the chair is actually lifted off the ice!  I'm wearing my husband's hockey skates which for some reason I found easier to wear than I remember figure skates.  It was amazing how you feel muscles you never knew you had in your feet and ankles.  Boot hockey is fun too but skating is effortless.  I pushed my nieces and nephew around on that chair and it was smooth and easy unlike walking/running would have been.  My brother bought his oldest daughter/my niece a new pair of skates while they were here and they gave me the hand-me-down pair.  Hopefully this will serve as a great and FUN exercise activity vs. crying on the treadmill.  Unfortunately, my brother in law and his kids brought strep throat and my dad brought a cold.  I am attempting to breathe and drain snot through some sort of infection I picked up during the holiday so skating will have to wait for a bit.  So far my tonsils are not involved and I'm drinking juice and praying like nobody's business.
As long as I'm posting videos, here is probably my favorite from the weekend!  Dave skated around our rink wearing the viking helmet/beard!  He looks like a big muppet!  But notice how slick he moves on those skates!  Even my niece Annika, who prior to this weekend was afraid to move away from the boards, was skating around like a pro by Saturday.
Even my 64 year old mother and 66 year old father got in on the action.  Here is mom playing goal in an action shot!
There was plenty of goofing around on the ice too as evidenced in this picture!  Skating and pushing a human on a folding chair takes no effort!
I just loved this shot of hockey fun from my sewing room window!
My big home-made Christmas gift for my nieces and nephew and husband was this knitted helmet hat.  These are the 3 hats that went to my sister's kids and the Gopher hat I produced for my father in law and husband combining 2 hat patterns.  This is an awful picture and I never got a chance to take a picture of the kids IN their hats.  I even sold one of these and a pair of mittens as a commission to a coworker of mine.
If this were Imgur, this would be the dog tax.  My brother brought his beagle Zeke for the festivities.  My sister brought her Jack Russel Terrier.  My parents brought their poodle Sparky and of course we had our dog Lopi and our foster beagle Zak.  We had FIVE dogs here for the occasion and Zeke posed so nicely on the back of the couch.  He just looks like a Christmas card!