Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My First Christmas Stocking

This is my childhood Christmas stocking. My Mama made it from a material that was called Lantuck. The Lantuck plant was just a few miles from my house. It is what is used for interfacing. I still want to call the stuff Lantuck. My hometown, Valley, Alabama, where I still live, was a mill town. Everything was run by "The Company." This referred to West Point Pepperell. We made towels, sheets, blankets, comforters, everything textile. Thanks to a couple of corporate raiders who, as far as I'm concerned, are damned to the deepest pits of Hell, the company went out of business. Bill Farley came in, bought everything, sold off the assetts, and ran away with the money. The company tried to make a go of it after that but was further raped by another raider, Carl Icahn. All the jobs are gone, although the company still limps along with mills in other countries. This is the kind of thing that has led to the financial crisis we suffer from today. It is sickening to see Carl Icahn in the society pages or magazines where they go on and on, gushing about his extravagant lifestyle. Oh yes, he owns houses all over the world. Goodie for him. Meanwhile, people here struggle to pay their bills and can't afford health insurance. Bill and Carl - two of the devil's henchmen. I think Mick Jagger sang about them in Sympathy for the Devil. Well, I didn't mean to get off on that tangent! LOL. Maybe I am a little bitter.
Anyway, I love this pitiful little stocking. I plan to duplicate it in wool. I just need to buy a good bit of red wool. The lantuck one will still be cared for and loved, because my Mama made it.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Some Quilty Gifts for Family

I made a couple of couch caddy pincushion/pockets from Helen Stubbing's Stitchers Angel Swap free pattern for my mom and my sister-in-law. It seems that they are pleased with them!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas Everyone, and Gifts!

Our family has had the most wonderful Christmas this year. We spent so much time with family. I stayed at my mom's house until 1 A.M. Christmas Eve with my brother and s-i-l, sister, niece, daughter, and mom. We put a puzzle together, which has become an annual tradition for us. I went home, put together a breakfast casserole for Christmas morning, and went to bed. Of course, Joy and John Owen were up at 6:30 A.M. to see what Santa brought. They received everything they asked for and were very happy. I received some nice punchneedle supplies!! I have started my very first punchneedle project, because I don't have enough quilting projects going on, I have to bring in something else.

The best part of gift opening for me was that I FINALLY got to open my gifts from my Secret Santa Christmas Swap partner, Jodie!! Jodie you have outdone yourself. I could not believe how many Caramel Koalas I got either. Each item was individually wrapped and contained a Caramel Koala from Cadbury's. Of course, they were immediately devoured and are simply delish!!! You can see that there is a beautiful tea towel, a bag with matching eyeglasses case (although it could be used for a rotary cutter), an Aussie pen to wear, and a Gold Coast calendar. I just love everything - I lucked up and got a really wonderful swap partner. Thank you so much Jodie!!
The next "I can't wait to open it" gift came from Karol-Ann in England. Karol-Ann sent me several different Liberty of London fabrics. I never thought I would own any of this fabric, which costs around $40 a yard here in the States. Karol-Ann has sent me several pieces and it is unbelievably beautiful and has such a soft hand to it. Thank you, thank you, thank you Karol-Ann. My sister was here when I opened it and was coveting the fabric - ha ha. Too bad!
The last, but certainly not least, "I can't wait to open it" gift was from Razzie in Tassie (Roseanne in Tasmania.) Roseanne is such a sweetheart. She sent me a photo album - and I think she made it herself - so cute! She also sent a Tasmanian Devil pen, an Australia magnet, and a tea towel with an appliqued angel. It is so pretty - I now have a beautiful tea towel collection. I have never seen a souvinir tea towel here in the States. If I ever do I will have to send it to my Australian friends for their collections.
I am going to add my photos now. I have been having trouble lately doing that and have yet to get up the nerve to try using Flickr for this. I hope Blogger cooperates, but if the photos are in no particular order and in funny locations, it is Blogger's fault and I hope you will excuse it!
Merry Christmas to everyone and here's to a brand new year of blogging. Oh wait! I just realized, today is my first anniversary - or Blogaversary!!! I started this one year ago on Christmas Day! I should have thought of having a giveaway but didn't. I am going to have one for my 100th post so if you have made it this far to the bottom of this lengthy (for me) post, this is your heads up!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Let the Holidays Begin!

We are finally out of school for Christmas holidays. I feel like it is REALLY Christmas now. Here is a photo of our tree. We put it up right after Thanksgiving (at my children's insistence) and have been enjoying it since then.
Here is Cabalito, the trusted assistant. He makes sure we do everything right. He is such a good boy! Oh, I forgot, he was a bad boy last night. He found a giant Hershey's kiss (the really huge novelty size), that my daughter didn't know was in her room, last night. He ate some of it and was running around with it in his mouth. It was almost as big as his head. Since chocolate is poisonous to dogs we were a little concerned and had to catch him to take it away. But he is fine.
I made this small quilt several years ago. I could not resist because it says "Joy" and my daughter's name is Joy. I love that the letters are made from Christmas objects.
Isn't my Christmas cactus beautiful? I bought it this year and it has bloomed constantlIy for about two weeks now. I have four different colors now. Red, fuchsia, lavendar, and white.
I found out last night that my SSCS benefactor is Jodie B. from Australia. I cannot wait to open my gift but I am holding out until Christmas Day. Jodie, if you are reading this, I cannot tell you how excited I am!! I will post photos of the gift as soon as I open it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Stockings Were Hung by the, well, ummm, Wall with Care

I made the first stocking for Cabalito. Even chihuahuas need stockings!! The Nancy Halverson stockings I made last year for us. I thought the panel was so cute, and, again, I am a sucker for a panel. There were two more - and elf and an angel. I made those up for Joy and John Owen's cousins.
We have no fireplace so the wall just has to do. I hope you are enjoying the holidays. I am counting down the days. Only three more school days until Christmas holidays!! Woo hoo. This weekend I hope to get you up to date on my mystery quilt progress. - Julie

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Advent Calendar

This quilt is an advent calendar from a Nancy Halverson panel. (I am a sucker for a cute panel.) It had cut out ornaments that you fused to black felt with a cord hanger to put on each button as the days go by. My two kids take turns picking out ornaments to put on the calendar. I just love this one and had so much fun machine quilting it.
We went to see a local production of A Christmas Carol tonight. It was such a good performance. One of my students was in it, as well as two friends. They did not disappoint and we are still smiling from the good mood and Christmas cheer that was contagious at that event. Hooray for the New Horizon Theater players!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

And I thought Hawaii was part of the USA!!

Didn't you think Hawaii was the 50th state? I know that it used to be. What happened to it? Was there a revolution and Hawaii won its Independence? The reason I ask is because of a message left on my cell phone today. I tried to order some candy to send to a friend that lives in Hawaii. I went online last night to Heaton Pecan Farms (Clanton, Alabama) and placed an online order. Today they called. Their message said, "Hello, Mrs. Stewart, this is Heaton Pecan Farm. We only ship to the United States so we won't be shipping your package to 'Hiwarya'. Please call 1-800 etc.. if you have any questions." Of course, I would love to call them back and tell them that "Hiwarya" is in the United States but they are on Central Time and I can only make calls during my planning period which is between 7 AM and 8 AM Central Time. I had an appointment immediately after work today and didn't get home until after they closed. I am amazed at the ignorance of some people. Today I contacted another company and they have no problem shipping to Hawaii. Good!!
At the top is a Santa Quilt I made in a class at Quilts and Fixins in Jonesboro, Georgia. It is one of those fusible grid quilts where you place all the squares of fabric on the grid, iron it down, then sew across all the grids. It was fun to do but not fun enough to do again!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas Present and Nativity Scene

I came home from work one day to find my old bed replaced with this new one. There is also a nightstand and dresser. I have been wanting this sleigh bed for several years and was so surprised to find it here! Cabalito seems to approve. He insists on being in all photos if at all possible.
The quilt on the bed is from a class I took when I first started quilting. It is called Thrifty Stars and I think it makes a nice Christmas quilt. It was machine quilted by my friend Cindy Wall.
I don't know what blogger is doing. All the above text was blue and underlined. I got rid of the blue, but can't make it not underlined. Weird. I also cannot drag the photos around like I normally do. Why? I guess I will never know.
Anyway, my mom pulled this old nativity scene out a couple of years ago and gave it to me. It is one that she and I made in ceramics back in 1979. It is in pretty good shape except that an ear is broken off the donkey and a sheep. I have them cleverly turned so that you can't see the missing ears. I love it because it reminds me of Christmas past. In 1979 I was 14 years old. Now my kids love it and they enjoy setting it out for me. I am glad that it is becoming a tradition for them too.

I plan to show some more photos of Christmas items that I have made soon. Don't touch that dial!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Ten More School Days Until Christmas Break!

Yes, I am counting them down! Our last school day is December 18th and then we are off until January 5th. I am so looking forward to the time at home. I hope to get my sewing room organized. Wish me luck there - I have been meaning to do it for several years now. My problem is that when I get down there I don't want to spend that precious time organizing, I want to sew!!
I just returned from my guild Christmas party at Flavin Glover's house. As usual it was a lot of fun. I didn't bring my camera and so have no pictures. Everything was beautiful and there was plenty of good sweet and salty snacks. Perfect. I took some roasted pecans and I have some leftover which I will share with my coworkers tomorrow.
Well, have a good Friday. I am so glad tomorrow is Friday. Hooray!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Mystery Quilt Advent Calendar

Hi. I am doing a mystery Advent quilt with Marion at Villa Kunterbunt. I thought you might like to check it out and join in. I LOVE mysteries and this one looks as if it will be quick and fun. The finished product wil be only about 27" by 27". You will need red, green, and white fabrics. Visit Marion's blog and read about it and let me know if you decide to join in.


December is Here!

Here is the December block from my Sunbonnet Sue Throughout the year quilt. Isn't she cute? We put our tree up today after school and it is decorated!! I bought a few gifts already. I just love Christmas! And, only 13 more school days until Christmas Break!!!