Saturday, December 24, 2011

Pre-Holiday Highlights

I hope everyone's taking some time to step away from their epic holiday to do lists and enjoy time with friends and families!

Here are a few holiday wins we've had so far...

A macaroni and cheese bar for dinner with the in-laws. I set up miniature bowls of caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, bacon, and goat cheese, and then I used this macaroni and cheese recipe. As a sidenote, I cooked in the bacon in the oven, and I still can't get over how easy it is, compared to the stovetop.

This is more Mom's win than mine, but she bought this adorable gift wrap from World Market, and I'm pretty much obsessed with it. I'm planning to hit the after-Christmas sales to see if there's any left.

A super-easy tutorial from Fig Tree on embellishing flour sack towels, which can also be found at World Market, by the way.

Ashlee's quick reversible napkins tutorial. I kid you not, these napkins are perfect for pretty much every occasion - hostess gifts, holiday gifts, housewarming gifts, the list goes on. They never fail to disappoint.

A Very Merry Christmas to Everyone!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Making My Lists

I finally sat down yesterday and got a bit organized for the holidays. It's about time, eh?

I now have multiple spreadsheets - one to keep track of the gifts and wrapping supplies I need to buy, wrap, and make; another to keep track of any baking/large-scale cooking that needs to happen in the next 2 weeks; and finally, another one to keep track of what I'm looking for at the after-Christmas sales. I've also started divvying up all the various tasks into my calendar to make sure that everything is ordered and shipped in time for the holidays. We'll see how things go. I already feel better, just having captured everything in a neat and tidy grid.


As far as craftiness goes, I'm still chugging along on the pebble quilting on my HST quilt for about 15-20 minutes each night. I'm well over halfway through, so there's a high likelihood I'll be binding it soon.

To do clutter 

Despite the fact that I have a stack of quilt tops and pieced battings collecting dust in the corner, I'm in a very zen place with this project right now.

ANOTHER spreadsheet I've been curating lately is my bucket list for next year's Jelly Roll Challenge here at Crooked Seams. One jelly roll/strippy quilt per month? I'm not quite sure what I was thinking, but I've publicly committed to it, so I'll muddle through and do my best to keep up!

If you're interested in playing along, here's the deal: There's no formal enrollment process, I have no fancy schmancy sponsors, and I'm not planning to keep tabs on whether folks participate every single month. I'll just slap some kind of linky software to the bottom of my blog post each month, and anyone can link up with a strippy project they've finished over the past month for a chance to win something fun that I scrounge up out of a quilt shop clearance bin somewhere. I'm planning to keep this as unstructured as my ISTJ self will allow.

Here are a few quilts I'm eyeing for inspiration...

                                                               Source: via Megan on Pinterest

                                                                             Source: via Megan on Pinterest

                                                                        Source: via Megan on Pinterest

That should keep me out of trouble for the first few months of the year, don't you think? Is anyone else already contemplating 2012 projects?

Here's what we're planning to eat this week, if you're here for the food...
Check out today's Menu Plan Monday post for other (non-vegetarian menus).

I hope everyone is enjoying the Christmas season!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

No Naked Christmas Trees Here

That's right, folks. I've finished a skirt for our tree, so it won't be quite so bare beneath it this year.


For the blocks, I used my Double Diamond 4-Patch Tutorial and 24 charm squares from a 12 Days of Christmas charm pack I've been hoarding saving for the right project. The background is Kona Snow scraps leftover from various projects. For the basic setting/design, I followed Tracey's tree skirt tutorial on Moda Bake Shop.


I had to keep telling myself that this project definitely did not need to be close to perfect, since it will be overshadowed by a tree in a dark corner of our family room, and then later covered by gifts. It's a good thing, too. The machine binding nearly drove me up the wall. Between the round opening for the tree trunk in the middle and the wide angles, I was pretty far outside my comfort zone. But I soldiered on. And you can't really tell, can you?


If you find yourself cursing stressing over binding odd angles, Heather Peterson has a couple of useful tutorials for binding both inside and outside angles. In particular, I read over the outside angle tutorial a few times to work up courage to before binding the skirt. 

I still have some charms left over from this project, so I'm thinking about making a couple of throw pillows for the couch. They'll even coordinate with the 12 Days of Christmas quilt I made last year. Even though I've never participated, I've been browsing the Pillow Talk Swap group on flickr to get some ideas. Inspiration overload much?


Vital Stats:
Started: November 2011
Finished: November 2011
Machine-pieced, machine-quilted, machine-bound
Fabrics used: Kona Snow, 12 Days of Christmas by Kate Spain for Moda

I'm linking up to the Sew Cal Gal Christmas show for this year. Be sure to stop by and check out other folks' Christmas quilts!