Saturday, October 31, 2009

Jack and friends

Last night, before the rain got here, I walked around the block with the dog on leash in one hand and my camera in the other.

The guys at the end of the block have added a big spiderweb at the end of their porch complete with one huge spider.

Their flower beds are covered in orange and purple lights and have all sorts of jack-o-lanterns strewn about.

I think this pair just discovered the skeleton couple
on the settee behind them.

Next door to the guys is neighbor Peggy. I like her worried pumpkin.

This house is in the next block over. Last year I snapped a shot of their car with the tag that reads "Ghastly." The white lanterns to the right are actually plastic skulls. You should click on the picture to get a better look. I love the chandelier.

After walking the block, I headed up the hill behind me to this address. Every year this place is decked to the hilt at Christmas and Halloween. All of the remaining photos are from this one location.

This old wooden trailer sits right next to the railroad track.
I imagine engineers get a kick out of these.

I love the use of plastic trick-or-treat pumpkins and white lights for this string. It has such an old-fashioned feel about it.

This is a view down the sidewalk in front of the house. Can you imagine being a kid on Halloween (or anyone else for that matter) and walking through this magical scene?

I got spooked a little taking this shot. Had the tripod set pointing up the steps and saw a big shadow pass right over me. Turned to see a big ghoul hanging from a tree swaying in the breeze.

But my favorite thing is this sweet fellow. There are always several vintage light-up figures scattered about the property and this little bear all dressed up as a ghost tucked in amongst the bushes is the most adorable.

No ghouls here after all.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Boo Friends

About a month ago when Gwen and I had a sew day, she was putting together a fun seasonal quilt around a Halloween panel she had received in the mail. Here are a few of my favorite embroidered blocks.

Didn't she do a great job?!

Friday, October 23, 2009

And so it begins - Star of Bethlehem

This is not meant to be unkind toward the great ladies at Land’s End who put their time and effort into creating this project, but after sewing for many years and quilting for quite a few, I have to say the instructions for this pattern are a challenge to follow. Some templates are not exactly the correct sizes and that makes me a bit nervous. Therefore I have decided to start with the trickiest blocks to be sure they come out to the prescribed 15.5” unfinished measurement.

This means I have begun with the block they call Star of Bethlehem. And according to Judy Rehmel’s “The Quilt I.D. Book,” they are correct.

Now for fabric choices. I plan to make this quilt a bit scrappy. A pallette of eight fabrics is just not gonna cut it in 2009. Some will come from my stash, some from Aunt Donna scraps, and larger pieces, such as borders and setting squares will have to be purchased. In fact, I’ve already found two of the three borders and most of the setting square fabrics.

Back in the late 80’s the choice of Christmas fabrics was extremely limited. Most of them were small prints and I believe, at one time, I had just about all of them for use in my crafting ventures. Of all the fabrics used in the original cover quilt, the green plaid is the only one I had. And, yes, I still have a piece in my stash.

So as an homage to the original, I have used the printed green plaid in this first block. It is only proper to place it just as they did back in 1987.

After encountering 32 Y seams in this one block alone, maybe I have discovered why I never made this quilt.

One down, eleven to go.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The 1987 Land's End Christmas Catalog Quilt Project

Many years ago, the good women of the Land’s End company designed and made a Christmas sampler quilt. They used eight fabrics in five colors. And then they offered the pattern for sale in their catalog.

I was not quilting at the time, but I fell in love with it and just knew one day I would quilt and I would make this wonderful thing.

My mother gave me the pattern for Christmas and I spent lots of time planning and drawing quarter inch seams around copies of all the templates. I calculated costs and even bought backing. The most expensive fabric under consideration at the time was $2.75 per yard.

But time went by and I decided I was not really interested in sampler quilts. Yet the pattern remained on the shelf as inspiration. And every once in awhile I would think about it, but not enough to pull it out a make it.

Several years ago at a college homecoming weekend I happened to mention to my friend Keith that I was quilting. At this point he mentioned that he had always wanted to have a particular quilt made.

“The 1987 Land’s End Christmas Quilt,” I said.

“How did you know?” he asked.

“I just did,” I replied. Well, what other quilt would it be? Still, it was a pretty good guess. And he had the pattern, too.

Yes, but did he still have the cover from the original catalog with the accompanying article?

I didn’t think so.

If you click on the picture I believe you can actually read most of it. They were so proud of their work.

Around mid-August I got a message from Keith saying that he was still interested in having that quilt made and that he could have some ladies in Austin make it for him. But he knew it was something I wanted to do once upon a time and wondered if I might be interested in taking it on.

I was at the critical point of putting together the last of the APQ stars and said I would have to study the pattern and get back to him. Those last three stars were extra hard because I wanted to drop everything and read through the Land’s End packet.

And so I have decided to take on this project – finally. I will be chronicling the progress on the blog so Keith and anyone else who is interested can follow along. All I ask is that you let me finish the quilt before making any big movie offers.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Final Bee Block

These are the last of the bee block challenge. Somehow I got behind a month, but I wasn't the only one. Next month, I get all mine back so I can stash them in a corner to wait till I'm finished with my newest projects.

These little blocks belong to Norma Gene and they are rather smallish. The two at the top are the size made by the pattern and the two on the bottom are made with the leftovers from the two on top. She is going to have fun putting them all together.

I took advantage of overcast skies yesterday to photograph my guild's donation quilt for our website. We have our meeting tomorrow and I've had it for a month and need to return it.

But it's been raining constantly for a month, so I snapped some photos in between showers yesterday.

It really is a beautiful thing-all done up in Kaffe Fassett fabrics.

Jan and Barbara did an excellent job, don't you think.
I wouldn't mind winning this lovely.

The guild named it Razzmatazz.

Even Maisy had to stop her patrol to admire the handiwork.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Yard Sale Day

Well, the big day has come and gone. I'm a wee bit richer and a whole lot lighter after delivering seven boxes to the thrift store.

We had 21 houses running yard sales yesterday in a coordinated effort. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and we had tons of traffic through the neighborhood. I think everyone considered it a good success. It's raining today.

Gwen joined in my sale and had some nifty things, but even she had to take some boxes off to the thrift store.

Over half of my stuff had already been through at least three yard sales - at my mom's, my sister's, last year in another local yard sale.

Even displayed on this cute electrified cart of Gwen's,
this canister set still wouldn't sell.

Just couldn't give the stuff away.

Late in the sale during a lull, I did walk around the block to check on the three sales one street over. They were done or packing up. But I did manage to find this little friend.

This is Maisy Mouse. I got her for free. She is dressed in her little farm outfit. Even though my sweet puppy is named for her, I didn't have a little stuffed Maisy.

Now she resides in my Maisy's bucket of toys.