Monday, January 31, 2011

A Bit Of A Break

Just want to let everyone know, I'm going to be taking a small break from commenting on blogs - still going to do our post tomorrow to kick off February, and do the give-away - but I've hurt my right shoulder somehow, too much mousing and typing maybe, and need a bit of a break.  I've got my heat pack on my shoulder, and am doing my therapy exercises.  Right now I can hardly use my arm - can't reach or lift it above my waist.  Which means my hair is a mess. *G*  Be glad for no picture!  Back soon as possible.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

More Christmas Finishes

A couple of our ladies don't want to show their gifts on their blogs, so we're going to see them here.  First up is Carmen.....

Carmen's Apron

She made the sweetest apron!  Too, too darling Carmen, what a great gift!  And next is Dolores, she made a gorgeous bread cloth with the yummiest embroidery on it;

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Lovely work ladies, and you have gifts ready for next Christmas already - yay you!  Now folks, don't go over to Dolores' blog to talk about her gift, do check out her blog but don't mention her embroidery so you don't blow her cover, ok?  We must keep it secret...aren't secrets fun!  Remember, if you ever don't want to post a pic of your gift, just email it to me.

For those of you on flickr, I've started a new group where you can post pics of your finished gifts.  That's where I'm uploading the pics you send me as well - it's much easier for me to post them from flickr rather than off my computer.  Did you know that Blogger limits the number of pics you can post to your blog, before you have to pay? 

Tomorrow is the last day of January, and the last day to post your projects to be in the give-away.  Don't forget to link up HERE, add your post to the list!  If you're in Australia, you'll have a bit of extra time, it closes midnight MY time!

And in the spirit of giving all year, I'd like to remind you about an important project over at the Among the Gum Trees blog.  They are collecting sewing kits for crafters and quilters who lost everything in the devastating floods there.  Folks, they need a lot, and it's not too late to help.  Please consider joining in this worthy effort - you can read all about it on the blog.

I'll be back on Tuesday to do the give-away, and kick off February with some tutorials and ideas for you.  We are expecting a huge snowstorm on Tuesday evening, so I'll try to get my post up early.  Supposedly we're getting either a foot of snow or tons of freezing rain.  Ice tends to bring down power lines and kill trees, so I'm hoping for snow!

Be good, be safe  - it seems like a lot of us are facing some serious weather this week.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Word Up Sewing Party Update

This will be my only update tonight....I'll be sewing until I go to bed!  I finished quilting all the circles on my Sis Boom quilt, and just now started on my Give Thanks BOM.  I'm taking breaks to visit all the wonderful blogs involved, then getting right back to work.  If you can call it work!  It's really too enjoyable!  Thank you Kelly and Kris for the wonderful evening - and good job, everybody!

I'll see you all tomorrow when I post some pics from our Christmas Through the Year club, remember there's still time to link up - you have until Monday at midnight, my time!

Word Up Sewing Party

I'm a wee bit late, but I'm joining in!


Kelly at Charming Chatter and Kris from Dandelion Quilts are hosting a sewing party!  Kelly had us choose a word a while back, a word for the year that we wanted more of in our lives, something that would remind us of our goals.  My word was JOY.  I want to remember this year that the JOY of the Lord is my strength, and remember to find JOY in everything I do.

And today is the sewing party, where we work on something that reminds us of our word.  So today I'm mostly going to work on hand quilting this;

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my Sis Boom quilt,  and possibly some of this.

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Jenny's Give Thanks BOM.  These two projects bring me SO much JOY!  For snacks, I have cookies, potato chips and Peanut M&M's.  Don't tell the family.    No movies to watch, but I'm going to listen to Agatha Christie on audiobook.  I'll probably only have one update, as it's hard to show progress on hand quilting.

In case the Mr. Linky post falls off the page, I'm going to change my Christmas Through The Year button on my sidebar to go directly to that post.  And put the link here.  I'm really loving all your projects, ladies!  Tomorrow I'll post a couple of finishes from other members, you'll love them!

Friday, January 28, 2011

How To Reach Me

This post is for Kay in NJ - I'm sorry, I have no way to email you, you'll need to email me at alliehomeschool [at] yahoo [dot] com.  [Remove the spaces and use the symbols.]  Also, on my 'about me' page, you can click the 'email me' link.

Remember, you do not have to have a blog to join our Christmas Club, you just have to email me your pictures.  So far I've received pictures from Carmen.  If you don't have a blog and have emailed me and I'm not mentioning you, please email me again!    My memory is not good and I don't want to leave anyone out!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Time To Strut Your Stuff

Welcome to the first Christmas Through The Year link-up post!  This is where you get to shine.

There are two ways to do this.  If you have a blog, and your gift recipient doesn't read it, you will do a blog post with a picture of the gift you made.  Then you'll come back here, and add that blog post link to Mr. Linky.  That will automatically put you in the running for the give-away.

If you do not have a blog, or don't wish to post a pic of your gift, you'll email me with a picture of your gift.  I will post a pic here on my blog, and you will be entered in the give-away.  You MUST email me by January 31st to be in the give-away. 

The cut-off for this is midnight, January 31st. 

Please do visit the links, I've seen some absolutely wonderful gifts already, I promise you'll be inspired!  And don't forget to leave a comment for your fellow bloggers....encourage each other on being so organized! 

Let the fun begin!



My Christmas Finish

There will be two posts today, I'm sorry - this post, I'm going to show my Christmas finish for January.  I want the next post to have Mr. Linky and be the official one for linking up.
I did the bookmarks from the tutorial that Shelley at 7Layer Studio made, I just love them.  Thank you Shelley for the great tute!  I used some gorgeous Jennifer Paganelli fabric, and some leftover oriental fabric from the table runner.

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I'm quite pleased with them.  I used a tip from Dolores, she left a comment on my post about my having trouble with my beginning and ending stitches -  her mum would start the seam, turn the work and go back over it, then turn it again.  Dolores, it worked a treat, thank you!

My batteries came for my camera, and I was testing them out.  They don't seem to hold a charge well, so I was snapping away seeing how many pics I could get.  I took this shot through my window - I thought robins were supposed to fly SOUTH for the winter!  Isn't he a plump little guy?

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I can't believe all the robins around my yard and in my trees.

My very next post will have the Mr. Linky widget on it, I'm working out how to do it.  Be patient with me, the ol' grey mare ain't what she used to be. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Quilty Love

The mailman has been good to me these past couple of days.  Yesterday, a package arrived from Kris - I had won a give-away on her blog, Dandelion Quilts.  Two gorgeous charm packs of Aster Manor - oh how I love this fabric.

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Thank you Kris!  This is destined for something yummy!!  I don't know what yet, but with this fabric it's bound to be yummy!

And today, the mailman brought me a box from my friend Angie.  I've known Angie for many years from our homeschool board, although we've never met in person.  I wish we could, cuz I'd hug her real big and dance her around the room.

A quilt top and blocks that her great-grandmother made.  [Terrible pic of the quilt top - I need to take it outside to do it justice.]

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Stitched by hand, of course.  And then the quilt blocks, there are several of each.

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These below are made of silk, I believe, fragile and absolutely stunning in person.

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Angie, thank you SO much, I promise to take very good care of them and hopefully do them justice - I am truly honored that you trust me to them!

Other than the cardiac-inducing mail that's come, it's been pretty quiet in Allie-land.  I did finish my bookmarks, so that's a quick gift crossed off my list.  I'll show pics tomorrow.  And speaking of tomorrow, I'll be doing the official link-up post to show off your Christmas gifts!  I'll explain all the details on how to link up on that post.  You'll have until midnight of the 31st to do that.  At midnight on the 31st, I'll officially close the month out, and next week we'll pick a winner for the table runner/wall hanging.  So get your stitch on, I'll see you tomorrow!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Zero

That's what it's going down to tonight.  Z. e. r. o.  At least I'm not in International Falls, MN - where it is -46F.  I can't even imagine that, can you?  Here in my house with zero degrees outside, I can feel the cold a foot away from the wall.  I wonder what kind of insulation you'd need in Minnesota - the mind reels.  I think I would make myself quilted undies.  I wonder if I'd even get a hot flash in that kind of cold??

Keeping me warm today is a couple of gorgeous boxes that arrived from my friend Cyndi

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After I picked myself up off the floor, stopped hyperventilating, popped my eyes back into my skull and put down the defibrillator, I started allocating certain fabrics for special projects.   Cyndi, thank you so much for blessing me!  I love it all - you are a sweetie!  And she even sent some sewing and crafty notions for our monthly give-aways.  Your generosity just humbles me, girl.


Last night, as I do on every Thursday evening, I went to visit my friend Shirley.  Years ago, when my boys were very small, I made painted quilts.  Shirley taught me how.  I had no fabric other than bleached muslin.  But I did have a large paint stash!  I would trace the design onto fabric with a black marker, quilt the outlines with black thread, then paint.  This is one of my original designs:

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It didn't turn out at all how I wanted it to, and I never finished it.  Although I wanted to throw it away, Shirley insisted I give it to her.  Last night, she pulled it out, and I saw it with new eyes.  I had watched The Quilt Show, an episode with  Susan Carlson called Painting With Fabric the other night.  She uses small pieces of fabric [I mean REALLY small] in a collage technique to make stunning quilts.  I took pics of my old quilt, and I'm going to re-make it with all fabric pieces, changing the design some.  I'm kind of excited to see how I can change it and make it all new.  I think this will be a really fun project!

Today, I played with these, matching them to the fabrics for my bookmarks.

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Got some bookmarks put together, but something is wrong with my machine's fix stitch - the stitch that locks at the beginning and end of your seam.  It nests on the underneath side.  Since you can see both sides of these, it looks bad, so I'm going to try something else.  Hm....seems to be a theme here, lol.   I did try locking the stitches using the reverse button, but I'm truly awful at getting it to reverse exactly where I want it to.  I think I can get no-sew fusible, and fuse them together, and not have to stitch them.  Of course, that will involve going outside to get the fusible.....hm.....


The next two pics are for Midge.  Well, the tree is for Midge, the pic of Abby is for Amie, her gorgeously adorable little pupster.  The tree is outside my sewing room window.

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Midge and I are waiting anxiously for spring.  And Abby just wanted to say "hey Amie!" and send kisses.

How are your Christmas gift projects going?  It would appear that I'll be finishing mine on the 31st.  At least it will be January 31st, and not December 31st. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

See You In July

Just kidding! .....maybe.  Yesterday, I received an email that blew me out of the water.  Debbie, from Jerusalem Notes, had a give-away for a 6-month subscription to The Quilt Show, with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims.  And she was emailing me to let me know.....I WON.

Edyta Sitar, Patsy Thompson, Jo Morton, Cheryl Lynch, and a bunch of people who I don't know but will know soon.  Classes - projects - forums - I'm in heaven.  You know, I've never taken a class in my life, and we don't get quilting shows on tv here.  My computer probably won't be off til summer.  I've watched one show, haven't even scratched the surface of what's at this site.  Debbie, I am so very grateful, thank you!  I know I'm going to learn a lot!

I do have a couple of tutorials for you today, as well.  Stephanie from Loft Creations has the most adorable No Bake Cupcakes ever:

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aren't they sweet, and no calories!  Thank you Stephanie for sharing these!



And next is Renee, from Goosie Girl; a precious Embroidered Pin Case:

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Too cute or what!  I think I need three  - thank you Renee!  She has also put up a darling free quilt pattern, The Ice Cream Quilt, it's making me long for summer!


More tutorials to come - including mine - if there is ever enough light to take pics!  If the sun is shining at your house, say hello to it for me, will you?  I miss it and want it back.  *G* 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Give-Away Gift For January.....

......is FINISHED!

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This is a quilted table runner or wall hanging, your choice.  I'd love to keep it, it's one of my favorite Fat Cat patterns.... and a freebie on her site if you'd like to make one!  I used almost all of my favorite Japanese prints for this.  Finished size is approximately 37"x12 1/2".

How to win?  Make a Christmas gift for your 2011 gift stash!  You can read the full list of rules [ahem, RULE] hereIf you make a gift and either link to my end-of-the-month post or email me a picture, you will be entered in the give-away.

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As always, if you have any questions, just email me!


I've started cutting my scraps for some scrappy bookmarks, everyone on my list is getting a few.


The gorgeous tutorial for these is here, at Shelley's 7LayerStudio blog  - beautiful place, with great tutorials!  Such a great idea, thanks Shelley!  I can't wait to post a pic of mine too.  How is your gift making going?  I know several of you are done!

One thing that helps me stay on track throughout the month is a wall calendar.  I've been without one - just haven't found one I liked.  Of course I have my gorgeous calendar that Jenny made me, but that's my working calendar - all my notes go in it, and it travels with me - and I need something on the wall with big numbers that I can see first thing in the morning, and at a glance.  For years, I would always have a Mary Englebreit calendar on my wall, I love her art - and I finally found one for this year!

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Isn't that a happy thing?

Did you know that surrounding yourself with lovely things lowers your blood pressure and makes you happier?  Well, I made that up, but I like it.   I do know that scientific studies show sewing lowers your blood pressure.  It must work - my blood pressure is excellent. 

I'll be back soon with more tutes - I surely am collecting them!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Abby Rose

My sweet friend Aleisha at Rambusch Designs needs your help.  She's doing a beautiful thing for a precious little girl, named Abby Rose.  Abby is in the hospital, and will probably be there through February; her medical bills are enormous, and Aleisha wants to help.  She's auctioning a gorgeous rag quilt to help the family. 


I know Aleisha and Abby and her family would appreciate your help!

I'll be back to regular crafty posting soon - I'm half a binding away from finishing our January give-away gift, and I want to take a picture of it to put on the blog.  The batteries for my camera are apparently on THE slowest boat out of China.  I have to tell you, I'm kind of bummed that I can't enter the give-away myself - I really like this one!  How are you doing with your gifts?  As soon as I finish this one, I'll be starting my Christmas gift.

If, like me, you're having trouble thinking so far ahead, how about some generic gifts?  Maybe a pretty trash bag for someone's car, a remote control holder for an armchair, something quick for a sewing friend.  Or an ornament - that way you wouldn't be tempted to give it early.  Pajamas for children are ALWAYS welcome.  Hooded towels for toddlers, or stuffed toys.

I'm looking at tutorials all over the net, and the ones that really catch my eye are the ones that I'm trying to match up with recipients on my gift list.  I would very much like to LOVE what I'm making. 

A few folks have already finished their gifts for our first month!  I am very impressed, and can't wait for you to see them.  I'm going to have an option for you to show them off.  I'll do Mr. Linky, for those that don't mind showing the gifts on their blogs - but if you don't have a blog, or the person you're gifting reads your blog, you can email me your picture and I'll do a show and tell here on my blog.  That way we won't blow your cover. *G*

Back soon.  Please keep our precious friends in Australia in your prayers.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Calling All Bloggers

I'm sure you've probably seen the massive flooding and destruction in Queensland, Australia.  And sitting here, so very far away, I personally feel helpless - wanting to help, not knowing how.  Fortunately, there ARE ways you can help!



The Gum Tree Designers are collecting "New Beginnings" sewing kits for crafters who have lost everything.  You can read about it on their blog.

Jenny from Elefantz is auctioning off two of her gorgeous handmade, original quilts. Joy is auctioning off a beautiful kit for her table topper design.  Fee is auctioning a wonderful fat quarter bundle.  Vikki is auctioning an entire set of the Springtime patterns.  You can get all of the details on the Gum Tree blog, or their individual blogs.

Toni from Make It Perfect is holding a massive online auction, and all proceeds go directly to the Premier's Flood Appeal.

In the US, Ruth from Sewlmate Sister is offering the choice of 1 of 8 Gum Tree Designers patterns for a minimum $5.50 donation to the Flood Appeal.

See?  Not so helpless after all.  Please help if you can - and please keep all those affected in your prayers!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Batteries And A Give Away

I can't believe it, but I'm still waiting on batteries.  Hubby bought a lifetime supply so I don't want to go out and get more.  The new charger works great but with the old batteries, I'm only able to get one pic at a time.  So no tutorial yet, but here are a few gratuitous animal shots.

My kitty, Hermoine.

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Our "puppy", Abby.

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As you can see, I have a lot to learn.  What I like about these shots is that I was all the way across the room, 22ft, using the Zoom.  Zoom rocks.  I love Zoom.  And it's fun to say....zoom zoom zoom.

I'm working on the give-away prize for our Christmas club.  I ran out of black fabric for the binding, so will get some tomorrow.  I'm not feeling well, I think I have an ear infection - the side of my head [not the ear] is very sore, can't lay on it or hold the phone.  And it's coming around the front into my sinuses, so I'm going to the dr. in the morning.  At 9:30 - I can't remember the last time I was up that early!  But that will give me a wonderful start on my day, and I can get all my errands in before the snow hits.

And speaking of snow, y'all in the South better be staying in - you have more snow than we do!  Be careful out there!

Oh yes, the give-away - no, I didn't forget!  The lovely Debbie from Jerusalem Notes: Fiberwork by Debbie is having a great one - 3 gift certificates to The Quilt Show, with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims!  Go see and leave her a comment!

That's all for now, stay warm or cool depending on your climate and keep on sewing!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

More Tutes, Anyone?

I must apologize for the lack of pictures on my blog lately.  My new camera is working fine, or would be if my batteries and charger had arrived.  I'm still waiting - hubby got a great charger and it's "in the mail".  I can't do the tutorial I had planned for you until it gets here, but I will do it!

In the meantime, how about some more tutorials?  I did remember to ask the blog owners [a couple, anyway] if I could use their photos, and they graciously agreed.

First up, Jenny at Elefantz is having a January challenge, and I think it would make a perfect Christmas gift.  She shows how to recycle a skirt into a darling apron!  Best of all, it can count twice if you make it - link here on my blog to be in the monthly give-away, and then link on Jenny's blog to be in HER give-away!  For Jenny's blog, you'll need to email her pics of the before and after - first the skirt, then the apron you make with it.  She has a great tutorial!

Next is Bejeweled Quilts By Barb.  She has a wonderful tutorial for a gorgeous table topper, and mug rugs.


That would make a lovely gift!

Next is Kerry from VeryKerryBerry.  She has a great tutorial on single binding for your mug rug.  I'm going to have to try this, I really hate binding small things.  I make it like I do for big quilts, and it never lays right.  Kerry solves that!

Terisa at Running With Scissors has a great tutorial for a bumblebee/flower pincushion - very sweet!


Great gift for your sewing friends, isn't that too cute?


Stash Manicure is next, Karen from SewManyWays has done a great post on organizing your stash and also has a tutorial for an endless scarf - yes, made of fabric!  It's really lovely, and the ladies on your list would love it.

And last but not at all least - Carmen emailed me some really fantastic links, I could get lost in these for hours!

Tipnut's Crafty Christmas

Craftbits

Sew4Home

Craftster

I believe you have to log in for Craftster now - perhaps not - but it's free, and there are thousands of tutorials, for a huge variety of crafts, not just sewing.  You may want to set aside an evening there.  Thanks Carmen!

That should be enough to keep you going, right?  *G*  Now - I have started the give-away gift for this month - I think you will like it - I hope you like it!  The minute it's done, I'll post a pic.  Enjoy the links, and thinking about who you're making for this month!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Christmas Through The Year - January

It's time!  Let's kick up our heels and kick this club off right!  First, I want to clarify the rules.  THERE ARE NO RULES.  Well, ok, one rule - you have to finish a gift in order to be in the monthly give-away.  When you start making it is up to you.  Have one almost done?  Polish it off this month and it'll count for January. 

At the end of the month [probably a few days before the last day], I'll add Mr. Linky to my post about the give-away, and you'll add your link as you finish your gift.  I'll check out your blogs and look at your gifts, and your name will go into the hat for the drawing for that month.  Your gift does not have to be sewing-related, but it does have to be hand-crafted.  And it doesn't have to be Christmas-themed.  That's it!  You're not going to sign up, except at the very end of the month.  So you don't have to worry about committing to something, and not being able to fulfill that.  This is for fun!

Now that's out of the way, let's get to our first month!  Our movie suggestion this month, to get us in the holiday spirit, is White Christmas.  Starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen.  This is my all-time favorite Christmas movie.  I love the old ones.  Good songs, happy ending, keep the tissue handy!  I'll be watching this as I stitch today. 

By the way - I have two gifts that I'm finishing up for this past Christmas - this is why I'm having a club, so none of us have to do that this coming year!

And now for some tutorials.  I have to apologize here, it just struck me today that I should have asked the authors of these if I could use their pics - I will do this for the coming months, so you can see it first.

First up, the most darling penny rug ever.  It's called 521 Lake Street, a charming little house surrounded by bluebirds!  I'm going to do one in cottons.  You can find this delight at Bluebird Papercrafts.  Seriously sweet!

Next, the lovely Cheryl at Willowberry Designs has just done the most gorgeous post - showing how to use doilies to embellish a market tote.  She just got back from Europe and you can tell - ooh la la you must see this post!

And now for a BOM from Dawn Hay and Vicki Tucek, called Out of the Box.  It's a joint effort, each of them has a block on their blogs.  Absolutely scrumptious, with bobbles and bits, and dear stitcheries.  They're encouraging you to think out of the box with this one - any block would look wonderful on a bag, pillow, even a little girl's dress.

Sew Mama Sew has a great tutorial for a hostess gift box, made from fabric.  Scroll down the post, there's a downloadable pdf.

Whip Up has a tutorial for a Cozy Cross Couch Throw - lovely and it looks fairly fast!

I think that's enough for the first post - I'll add more in future posts throughout the month.  Now - who are you making for?  I suggest you base your gift list on who you just gifted this past year.  Or even on who you forgot!  My list never varies, so it's easy.  Keep a list handy and as you scroll through tutorials, you can check it and see if they'd be good for a person on your list.  Mine is by my computer.

I need to thank Caroll of Attic Window Quilt Shop and Val of Life's Little Garden for all their help - they listened to me bounce ideas around, gave excellent feedback, and Caroll even proofread my post.  Thank you ladies!!!

I need to mention one other name here - Jilly, you commented on my last post that you'd love to play along.  I'm glad you're here!  But I can't contact you, so if you would be so kind, please email me at alliehomeschool at yahoo dot com.  [Change that to a regular email format, please.]   I'd like to welcome all my new followers, I hope you'll all join in and play along - if you don't have a blog, please email me, you can always send me your pics of your finished gifts to be in the give-away.  I'd be happy to post them here!

Finally [I can hear you clapping], I hope to have my own tutorial up in a few days for a small gift for your sewing friends.  Hubby has ordered batteries and a good charger for my new camera, and he found a memory stick so I can download pics without the camera being on.  Yay!    So, get your stitch on, start making some gifts - I can't wait to see what you create!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Remember To Breathe....

Now that we're in this bright, shiny new year, there is excitement ALL over blogland.  One of the most exciting is Jenny's new BOM, Give Thanks....



not only is it darling, but she's having a give-away too, to celebrate it!  She's giving away her block pattern from Springtime, the quilt she made with the other Gum Tree designers for Fresh Hope, along with her daughter Blossom's block.  My button to her BOM is on my sidebar, so click it and go visit!

And speaking of Springtime.....put down all your liquids, and go see the Gum Tree Designers.  They're having their biggest give-away EVER - the full pattern for Springtime!


I was just looking at this pattern the other night - oh the TALENT - each designer made a block for it last year.  They're just wonderful!

Any of these would make a wonderful Christmas gift, but I didn't want to wait for my official opening post on Wednesday, lol.  You need to know these things now!  I think Jenny's new BOM is going to be a great gift - I'm going to make two at the same time.  Maybe more.  One will be for me.  Seems like I had more to tell you, but I'm finding it hard to stay awake - only got 5 hours sleep last night, and rode the bike at the Y for 30 minutes.  Yay - hope I can sleep tonight!

Still here?  Go enter some give-aways! *G*

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