Tonight was very Christmasy. We watched The Santa Clause, I made a stocking, and we made yummy treats.
I used the free pattern found HERE (scroll down to the bottom) and an hour later, this is what I had. I think it's rather cute myself.
Second up: Pretzel Thingies. We make these every year and I have no clue what they are called. But we do know they're yummy and addictive and you should make a batch too!
Just spread out some waffle pretzels on a cookie sheet. Or small knots if you can't find waffles. Unwrap a few bags of Hershey's Kisses and place a kiss on each pretzel. Put in a 275° oven for three minutes. Set the timer so you don't forget, cause Hershey's Kisses really stink if they're burnt.
Then while they're warm and partially melted, press a red or green M&M into the center. Set the whole sheet in the fridge for about ten minutes to set. We're going to fill up little red and green Chinese-Takeout candy boxes and pass them out.
If they last that long.
Well, I think my snowball quilt and I have come to a middle ground. After about a dozen Oxi-clean soaks and washes, this is where we're at. And I think it's where we're going to be staying. The reds are actually taking the brunt of it and starting to look faded and worn. My snowball quilt is looking more vintage than I had planned for it, considering it isn't even a year old. But it's certainly soft and cuddly, and I'm happy with how it looks. It makes for a good story down the road.
Way, WAY down the road.
Thank you to everyone who offered comments and suggestions. Many of you asked if I pre-washed my reds. Yes, I did. However, I have a sneaky feeling the red flannel on the back, although it was prewashed, was the culprit. I should have washed it a dozen times over before using it. It's such a deep, dark red. It makes sense that it would bleed all over the place.
I have done nothing for the last two days. Just lounged on the couch, drifting in and out of a pleasant Nyquil-induced fog. My big effort for today was checking my email, which offered up a fun surprise. Way back in August of 2009, for Favorite Fabric Friday, I spilled my guts on my love affair with Jennifer Sampou's Essential Scrolls.
Ok, you women have just frosted my cupcake!! I am here in Mexico (over a year later since your post) living with my family in the artistic community of San Miguel de Allende and have started designing again! Heading for Robert Kaufman this Winter of 2011 with some new designs under my arm...That scroll was my baby who I truly loved and hope to have a few more!! Keep a look out, OK?
Isn't that fun? It just made my day. Especially the part about having a few more in the future. I'll definately be keeping a look out.
This weekend was very eventful indeed.
Friday, we went to Whitehorse in Canada. It's a beautiful 110-mile drive through British Columbia and the Yukon Territory. We make this trek about once a month or so. It's nice to get out of town, and even nicer to go to Walmart. As always, the scenery is stellar. However, not so usual, was the 24 below zero temperature. Ooooh weee! That is COLD. It freezes the wet on your eyeballs and in your nose. Instantly. It hurts to breathe. And heaven forbid you turn the poor car off. Did I mention it's beautiful up there? Needless to say, we stocked up on all our usual Canadian essentials - cat food, Claritin (American Claritin has nothing on Canadian Claritin), whole wheat tortillas (we're tortilla snobs and we love the ones from the Superstore) and cat litter. We stocked up enough, that we're hoping we don't have to bundle up and flee the country again until April.
To commemorate being back in the US again, I woke up Saturday morning with a terrible chest cold. The kind where it sounds like flags flapping in the wind when you breathe. You know those Puffs Plus commercials with the little bobblehead kids playing outside throwing snowballs? "A nose in need deserves Puffs indeed." And there's always the one poor little sap who has the bright red glowing nose? That's me. Positively glowing. Positively miserable.
I spent the rest of the weekend wallowing in a sea of crumpled Kleenex on the couch watching Titanic, bundled up in my red and white snowball quilt and fuzzy socks with little moose on them. That is, until I got the great idea to wash my red and white snowball quilt to make it all crinkly and even cozier. I even threw in two Shout Color Catcher sheets just to be safe.
Well, the color catchers came out nice and red. So did the white snowballs on my quilt. I was sick just looking at it. So I put it back in the wash with two more sheets to see if I could pull some more of the pink out. And then a third time. And hit the internet for advice on how to fix this mess. The most common suggestion I found was to wash it with Synthropol, which I can't get here in Skagway. But you can bet your Christmas Tree that I'm calling Joann's in Juneau tomorrow and having some flown in. I also found a lot of suggestions for soaking the quilt in Oxi-Clean for a few hours and rewashing. So I did just that. Two scoops of Oxi-Clean for two hours. It made a remarkable difference, which was encouraging. It took the majority of the pink out, leaving a very select group of fabrics that held on to their pink. It's interesting, actually, that one fabric would suck it up and hold onto it more stubbornly than others. There's about six particular prints that wherever they are in the quilt, they remain pink. It gives it a shabby chic sort of feel, which would be fine if that were what I was aiming for. The picture above is after three washes.
This is the Shout Color Catcher trail.....the top two on the left are from the first initial wash. Lots of red caught there. Good job Shout! The top two on the right are from the second wash. Then I did two rinses and the middle almost white one is the result of that. No more red dye in the water, but lots on the quilt still. Then I did the first Oxi-Clean soak and wash, and the sheet on the very bottom is what it caught after that. Not bad, huh? It's having another Oxi-Clean soak now and hopefully another wash will make a world of difference. I read on one of the stain removal forums that if I keep running it through Oxi-Clean soaks, it should eventually get it all out. So long as I don't ever put the quilt in the dryer. I'm open to any advice and/or suggestions at this particular juncture. If you have any ideas that might do the trick, please feel free to comment. It makes me just heartsick looking at this pink thing.
If you haven't noticed, there hasn't been much quilting going on since the frantic completion of my blue and white Challenge quilt. Honestly, I've enjoyed the break from my sewing machine. That, and Keith has been sewing again. In what I can only assume is turning into an annual tradition, Keith decided to make a quilt for Christmas. He comes from a big family, and rather than buy/make gifts for all family members, they have a family rotation, where one person or family sends gifts to another person or family. This year, Keith has his older brother and SIL and their four kids. I bought them a game, cause games are fun and who doesn't like to gather around the table yelling at your siblings to take their turn and scheming up ways to score higher points? But Keith vetoed the game and decided he/we should make them a quilt instead.
Since it was oh, mid-December already, we went for fast and faster. We decided on this pattern:
from this book:
And if you don't own this book, you really should. Put it on your Christmas List and give daily hints to Santa. Or go to Amazon and stuff your own stocking. It's an AWESOME book. I declare.
One stack of eleven batik fat quarters and an hour later, all the pieces were cut. Doesn't get any easier that that. Keith pieced the blocks over a couple of days while I was at work, and then I quilted and binded it last night. Bam! Today it was wrapped and in the mail by noon! We almost forgot to snap some photos before it went to the Post Office. On it's way to Reno, NV. Cool, dreamy batiks on the top for smoldering, summer sun. Warm, cozy flannel on back for cold desert winters. Win Win.
This weekend was the Santa Train. Santa arrives at the depot just long enough to pass out candy and get all the kids riled up. And then they pile onto the train. Clearly, someone didn't put a lot of thought into this. But in the spirit of Christmas, the grown ups sip our hot cocoa and hum Silent Night in our heads. And the day always ends up being totally magical.
Santa even walks through the train spreading holiday cheer. (I think he had already had a little bit of his own *wink wink*) I had just stepped in from outside to snap a picture of him and my lense fogged up!
This is not a black and white photo. Well, let me rephrase that. It wasn't intended to be. But this is what it looked like this weekend. Black and white. This is the Denver Valley and see that little bridge way down there? Here we are crossing that:
Other weekend activities included organizing my sewing room. I waded in early Sunday morning and was able to walk out standing up by the afternoon. I'm finding all kinds of hidden jewels. Absense makes the heart grow fonder, even in quilting. I've unearthed a mountain of UFO's to work on these next few weeks.
Oh, and in other news: Thursday night we had an earthquake. 4.6! It's center was eleven miles from here, eight miles underneath the ocean. It lasted just under a full minute. It was all rather frightning. I was sitting at the computer when I HEARD this loud rumble. My first thought was a mountain slide. Then the shaking began and I thought a snow plow had hit our house. Then it hit me that it was an earthquake! Keith was asleep on the couch with Tigger asleep on his lap. Both slept through it until I started hollaring. Butters put her little ears back and tried to flatten herself out on the floor. It was such an odd sensation to hear it before we felt it. Our kitchen counter on the North side of the kitchen moved about an inch away from the wall, but aside from that, we're all safe and sound. Just a little jittery.
Have a good week! I'm helping Keith finish up a quilting project for his brother and SIL for Christmas. Will have pictures soon!
Friday night was our Tree Lighting. Santa arrived on the scene in a lit up fire truck. Sleighs are so old-school. We sang. It snowed. Everything was magical and merry.
Saturday was the quilt show. What a beautiful show! Our little quilt group does a bang up job of representin'. We have just a handful of active quilters and every year, it's just amazing to see all the talent displayed at the show. It's not a big show with hundreds of quilts like you see down south. It's only about 50 quilts or so, but it's warm and inviting and personal. We chat and visit. We share stories behind the quilts, who made what, where can I get some of that fabric, and so on. Oh, and we eat cookies and drink hot chocolate.
All the challenge quilts were wonderful! I just loved this line of blue fabric to begin with, and it was fun to see what other ladies did with it. Have a peek at some others...
I finished my Brown Bag Challenge quilt top tonight! I love it when a plan comes together like I see it in my head. The picture is poor lighting, but I wanted to take a picture to share right now because I am so excited! You'll notice I changed the center a bit from the original design of snails trail blocks. Turns out I didn't like the curves that much after all. This quilt is so crisp and clean and I wanted to keep all the sharp angles and straight lines.
Tomorrow I'll quilt and bind it, and Friday, with very little time to spare, it will go in the quilt show.
I learned two very important things from this quilt. 1) Moda Muslin Mates will burn. I love this little scrolly white on white design from the Muslin Mates collection. It seems I am always buying more of it. It's a great background that reads as a solid (cause it mostly is!) and has these kicky little swirls. The blue fabrics are really thick and heavy and I pressed the tar out of these blocks to get clean pressed seams. Then I started noticing the scrolls were browning. Like they were literally being toasted by my iron. Disappointment ensues. I had to replace a few white pieces and ease up on my mad ironing skills. And 2) Don't prick your finger as you're pinning when you have all this white. Free advice. Pass it on.
And of course, Tigger helped himself the second I set this top on the floor. Some things never change.
Earlier this week, we had a small snowstorm, resulting in about eight inches of the white stuff. I took a picture on my way home from work of the piles down Broadway. There were three of them right in the middle of the street, making little round-a-bouts for the cars to drive around. And in case you're wondering, this was about 3:45pm.