Monday, December 31, 2012

Finishes 2012.....

I wanted to review my finishes for 2012. I was a little disappointed with myself on my UFO Challenge list. I stayed at 12 finishes from that list. Now I did keep adding projects as I dug them out but I ran out of steam with them. They are all going back on a new UFO Challenge list for 2013.

One of the things that stands out is how many afghans I crocheted this year which is one of the reasons I think I got less UFOs done. *grins* There are my last two finishes for 2012 at the bottom of this list so I will talk to you more when you get to the bottom.....

I did not forget May. I had no finishes as in April and May I was having major problems with my hand. The pain got so bad that I had to simply rest. Thankfully, the medication I am using is keeping the problem under control.

On December 26th, my friend Sonja and her husband came over for dinner. She brought her yarn and crochet hook and wanted to make some Christmas trees. I also made some stars and created a garland from them.....

I also finished my snowflake afghan yesterday. Yeah! It was quite a job as I wanted to make it larger than the pattern. I ended up adding 3 extra rows. I cannot wait to snuggle under it during the winter season...

Wishing you and your family a happy and safe New Year's eve! May 2013 be a year of creative inspiration!


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Looking back - part one

In the coming days, I am going to reflect back over 2012 and what I accomplished or not as the case may be. I am working on setting goals for next year and working on. I have a number of fun projects planned.

 Each year, one of the projects I start working on in December is samples for our quilt group theme project. The project for 2013 is going to be such fun and has a connection back to the US and a blogging friend. But that will be revealed in January. In the meantime, here are some photos from our annual Christmas party...

This year, I asked the ladies to split up in little teams and plan out a three course sit down dinner. One team came early the day of the dinner and helped me to tranform my living room into a huge dining area. We lit candles everywhere and it created a really magical atmosphere.

Don't forget you can click on the collages to enlarge them.

Our gift exchange theme of Make Do and Mend really brought out the ladies creative sides. There was a great deal of ooohhhing and aaahhhing that evening.

A number of the ladies brought their advent quilts along for us to see them all together. Now each December, this year will be remembered as each of us uses our own advent quilt.

See you again on December 31st with a review of my projects from this year...


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas! May you enjoy an old-fashioned and handmade holiday!

For us, this Christmas is extra special as our cat Dagi turned 15 years old on December 23rd. It has been a touch and go year for him. He has aged to a cute little old man when his breed normally never reaches this age. We are really feeling blessed this Christmas!

Here is the applique block I made of him back in 2010. If you want to see more of this, read this old blog entry.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Smoking crochet hook!

Phew! I am done. It has been a busy week crocheting like mad to get a scarf ready for Jos for Christmas. I did it...yeah! That even after having to take it all out and start over when I tried to work on it while having a major attack in my eyes early this week. I thought I could do the crochet by feeling and I could but was making it far too wide. I took it all out and started over again. Here I am modeling Jos' scarf...

I made it just a little longer than I am tall and hope it will be okay for him. I don't think Jos will like having a scarf that is way long after being looped around his neck. I also have to be careful as I am afraid it might stretch a little. I used double strands of grey wool blend yarn. It is a double crochet simply switching from stitching in the back loops for a row and front loops for the next. I used a larger hook (6,5mm) which might cause stretch.

This morning while checking my emails, I was reading the Lion Brand newsletter and this is the Lola cartoon for this time. I had to really laugh. Up to now, I often sneak onto my mother's blog and put them on there as they make me think of her but I think today....Miss Pickles is Lola. *wink*


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Will the real elf stand up?

Miss Pickles is so busy with real elf duty instead of playing around on the advent calender. *grins* She has made a few more gifts. This is a yarn holder for Mieke. Miss Pickles crocheted a cover for this tin to hold the yarn and keep it from rolling away on the floor.

Miss Pickles also stitched up two snowflakes. Did you know that elves make snowflakes? This is a hanger that she found while in Germany last month. It is supposed to be hung outside with a suet feeding ball for a bird. But Miss Pickles sees things other than what they are and decided two snowflakes would be very pretty hanging there instead.

There is so much fun in looking at things in a different way. She hopes Silvia will enjoy her gift...

Are you helping the elves to be creative this week? Miss Pickles is still very busy with a surprise...


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Christmas Potpourri

This post is a true Christmas potpourri of things to share. I have been and still am sick so not posting much but I have lots to add as the last weeks of the year wind down.

Remember my large dough bowl? I played around with my stuffed Santas I had made of the years and decided this year to use a couple of them in my small dough bowl.

And part two of my advent quilt calender.....

I love being able to use my collection of ribbons, laces and trims on the number side. For my other side, there is a mixture of images.....

And what is Miss Pickles the Elf up to? She is wrapping your gifts and placing them under the Christmas tree.....

Our annual Christmas party has come and gone. This year, I gave the group a Make Do and Mend theme for their gifts. They were to either rummage in their houses for something old or buy it at a charity shop or flea market. The idea was to take something unloved and give it a new second, homemade life.

I bought an old footstool. Sorry to say that I forgot to take a photo of the before but I did include the ugly heavy fabric that had been on it in the first photo of the collage. Jos sanded the dark brown wood and painted it a matt black for me. I sewed a crazy quilt top using my black fabrics and various lace trims. It went from being out of date to being trendy.....

A tradition of mine is to add a gift on the outside of my gift for the quilt group. This time, I also bought a huge paperclip at the charity shop which was a very ugly baby blue. Jos again sanded and painted it for me. I stitched a small design and them glued it onto the front of the clip. Now it can be used as a pretty card or photo holder or to hold a pattern as you stitch.....

The point of these gifts was not to spend much money on the item but to invest time and creativity to make something really beautiful. I am working on the pictures for the next blog post to share more of these Make Do and Mend gifts.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Primitive Christmas tree.....

For the past few years, I have been looking for a feather tree. They are just so expensive and now postage costs have gone sky high too. I was inspired by Pamela at Our Pioneer Homestead back in November to create my own feather tree. I am thrilled with how it turned out and now I have a sweet little tree for my kitchen.

The tree started out life like this (see photo below). It was an inexpensive one that I bought at Wibra. The base had a prim look so it was perfect. I thinned out, trimmed and cut away at the branches. My mother was watching on Skype and thought I should not tape the inside. She liked it being green.

I added some rusty jingle bells tied on with raffia bows. Then I created a gingham star top with some scrap fabric. I simply sewed four layers of batting between two pieces of fabric leaving the edges rough. I added buttons to the front and back of the star. I am so pleased with my little tree!

Pamela has just posted some primitive Christmas ornaments. If you remember my primitive ornament SAL I did back in 2009, you can still find them on my old blogs here and here. There were 13 ornaments total. Pamela's ornaments would work really well with mine so I might have to stitch some of these up to add to my tree. I keep that tree up year round in my quilt studio.

Be creative this Christmas!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Counting snowflakes.....

This weekend has been spent counting snowflakes both inside and out.....

Technically, I have only 4 more snowflakes to add to my afghan to complete the pattern as it is written. I decided it is more a throw than an afghan as is. It needs some more length to be usable for us. I have made enough snowflakes to add two more rows to the afghan so far. I will then see if I want to stop and do the edging or continue to add more snowflakes.

On Friday, we had a wonderful day of heavy snowfall so the perfect weekend weather to stay indoors and do my handwork. We even opened the curtains last night and put on the terrace lights to see the snow before it disappeared. And disappear it did. I work up in the middle of the night hearing something at our front door. We keep the window open behind the iron grill there and it sounded like someone was at the door. I got out of bed to look and it was the chunks of heavy snow melting in the warm rain that had started. You would not even know we had a beautiful winter wonderland over the last two days if you look out today.

And speaking of winter wonderland...

I not only love to create myself but love to support others who create beautiful things. I have just received my second messenger bag that I bought from Corry and Heleen over at DutchSisters.

They do fabulous work with great attention to details and the bags are a delight to use. They are not heavy and can be carried over the shoulder. That is something I have to have due to my illness. It is a fun thing to have one now for the winter season.

Wishing you a creative Sunday evening!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

December dough bowl fillers

Ah...December! It is a busy time here decorating for Christmas. Each month, I fill my dough bowls with seasonal items which are handmade. For December, I placed my large dough bowl on my dining table with a quilt I made back in 2002. It is fun to use handmade items to decorate. So much so that I seem to not want to use many of my bought decorations anymore. All my gifts are handmade this year too.

Happily, I can show you a little new finish. I stitched this freebie from The Primitive Hare over the weekend. I needed to put aside my large projects and do something fun and simple for myself. Yesterday, while also working on other projects ( secret for my quilt group), I cut out little one inch squares from various stash fabrics to create a scrap patchwork pillow from this piece.

Christmas pillows and pinkeeps adorn my December dough bowl.....

Wishing you a handmade and happy December!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Who needs to shop.....

...when you can make things yourself? Today is Black Friday in the US but hopefully some of my friends there are home being creative instead of battling the crowds.

I tried my first crochet purse and love how it turned out. It helped that I found the neatest chunky yarn to use. I just love the browns and greys in the yarn! I used this blog tutorial but must admit that I had to to start it three times to get it right. It was coming out the size of a shopping bag so I played with the starting stitches until I have the size just right for me. I also did not add a ribbon and did add a crochet flap with a button to close the purse.

I had a touch of yarn left and with yarn this have to use it up. So I used the cowl tutorial from Annaboo's House and created this...

Again it had to be altered slightly and is not as big as it should be as I had only so much yarn. But I love how it fits around my neck to keep me warm! I might make another of these with some more leftover yarn just because I loved making it.

Last but not least, while being snowed under with snowflakes for my afghan, I needed a little diversion. I decided to try out one block for a project for next year. I have to rip out the mocca color yarn though as I should have used another color for those two rows. My mocca yarn will be the last row to connect the blocks and my edging. I love this block since it reminds me of my Bull's Eye quilt I made about 7 years ago.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tuesday Tallies...slowly but surely...

I am a tortoise this week I think as I only have 30 now sewn together on my snowflake afghan. I had 22 last week with some ready to sew on but I did not get as much done this past week. I decided to start the hand quilting on another quilt and it cut into my time for crocheting. I have 6 ready to sew on so I should get more done this week...

One evening, I decided to throw all my projects aside and make the two pink coasters that were the gift from MollieMakes this month. They were done in no time so fun to do in between other things...

If you want to see more One a Day projects, stop over at Carole's blog for the latest links.