Sunday, December 29, 2019

Butterfly Apron For Granddaughter

About a month ago my daughter texted me a photo of my granddaughter in the apron I made for her in 2017, with this message, "Grandma I've almost outgrown my apron!". I was happy to make her a new one to give to her for Christmas.

You can see the difference! She has grown taller and has a slim build.

Judging by the reactions of my older (18 and 16) granddaughters when Delaney opened the gift bag with her apron, I probably need to make one for each of them too! I mostly followed a pattern, which also had an option for adult sizes. I tried adding a PDF for sharing to Google Docs, but I was unsuccessful, so just go to Google and insert the following text into the search box: "child's pdf apron pattern by joanna armour michael miller fabrics", and "Classic Reversible Apron" should appear first in the results. If that doesn't work, then just email me and I'll send you the pattern!

Here she is modeling for Grandma. The straps and ties are long so it is adjustable as she grows.

My daughter texted me last night with this message: "Making necklaces and needed her apron. She tried to put on the old one and got excited when I reminded her of the new one" (That's little Everett you see in the background!)

This apron is fully reversible, with pockets on both sides. She likes butterflies, and I had fun choosing and coordinating fabrics from my stash. On the "front" side, I love the way the butterfly and text fabric coordinates with the text on the main fabric. On the "reverse" side are ballerinas and pink gingham, for when she feels more girlie. To make it reversible, I simply made both sides, put them together with right sides facing, stitched around the perimeter leaving about a 7-inch gap, then turned it right side out, sewed the gap closed, poked the corners out, pressed it, and top-stitched around the edges.

Apron Details:
Pattern: Classic Reversible Apron by Joanna Armour for Michael Miller

Newspaper Butterflies and Bird Dot Collage, both by Carrie Bloomston for Windham Fabrics
Ballerinas by Lynda S Milligan for Avlyn
Key West Pink Gingham Check by Di Ford-Hall for Andover Fabrics

Superior Thread:
#50 So Fine in 503 Genoa Gray

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Merry Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve has always been my favorite holiday. I associate it with my childhood in northeastern Oklahoma where we attended church service on Christmas Eve at our little white-steepled Methodist church. After singing Christmas carols, all the kids received a red net stocking filled with an apple, an orange, and ribbon candy, passed out by "Santa", the father of one of my friends. After church we would go home and get warm with hot cocoa that Mom made in a pot on the stove with cocoa and milk and sugar. I was always so excited and happy when I went to bed, anticipating the gifts that would be under the tree when I got up. After I got married and had a family, watching Holiday Inn and making and decorating my Granny's sugar cookies became some of the traditions my kids enjoyed, but I still feel the anticipation and warmth of those childhood Christmas Eves.

Here is Granny's sugar cookie recipe that my adult kids and husband expect me to make every year. According to my Mom, Granny made these all her life, so the recipe is at least 125 years old. Be forewarned, it is a tender dough that is not easy to cut and roll out, but the cookies are so, so good!

Granny Mitchell’s Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies

1 cup shortening
1 stick salted butter
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
4 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon soda
5 to 5-1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons nutmeg

Cream shortening and butter; add sugar and mix. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Mix soda into buttermilk (in a container that will hold the overflow when it bubbles!) Whisk together 5 cups flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg; add alternately with buttermilk. Add more flour as needed to make a dough that holds together. Chill dough at least two hours or overnight. Roll out on floured surface and cut into shapes; sprinkle with sugar. Bake 375 about 10 minutes. Dough freezes well. These are excellent with a powdered sugar icing.

May your Christmas be filled with magical memories!

Friday, December 20, 2019

Christmas Eve Quilt

This quilt was begun as a sew-along with Mama Spark. In January she issued an invitation on Instagram to join her in making a few blocks per month from Moda Bakeshop's 2018 Countdown to Christmas. I decided to do two per month so that by November or December I should have plenty of blocks for a nice Christmas quilt. I made blocks through May then focused on other projects. The photos did not have good lighting, but hopefully you can get a good idea of the colors of red, green, pink, teal, and black.

My improv block

Block pattern from My Carolina Home

I really enjoyed choosing from the variety of blocks on Moda's website. Because each was from a different maker, some instructions were clear and some were sparse but all were fun to make. The two blocks above were not part of Moda's choices. One of the blocks I improvised to use up some leftover squares and another was a free pattern for Nine-Patch Star from Carole at From My Carolina Home. I liked her pattern so much I may make a full quilt of those simple blocks. At the bottom of this post I have photo of my quilt with numbers on each block. You can match each block to the list that includes links to each website.

Instead of my normal quilting from end to end,
I outlined the designs and added extra detail in each block.

The back was pieced with a panel and two of my favorite fabrics - a red/black checked and a print from Mary Engelbreit.

Quilt Details:
Pattern: variety from Moda's Bakeshop
Finished size: 58 x 58 inches

Blocks: A variety of Christmas prints from my stash, featuring Tinsel Glasses from a 2015 Cotton + Steel collection and Llama Navidad by Michael Miller, and creamy white background
Sashing: Mary Engelbreit Cranston Village
Cornerstones and border: Pearl Essence by Maywood Studios
Binding: Anne of Green Gables Swiss Dot Red by Penny Rose for Riley Blake
Backing: Panel - Frosty Fun by Sue Pipkin for Clothworks pieced with Red Buffalo Plaid from Robert Kaufman's Caroline Gingham Collection and Mary Engelbreit Cranston Village

Superior Threads:
Piecing: #50 So Fine in 503 Genoa Gray
Binding: #30 So Fine in 1105 Stop!

Top Row L-R: Regent Street Star, Night Divine, Grammy's Staircase, Prairie Christmas Star
2nd Row L-R: Let It Snow, Festival, Candy Cane Christmas, Hard Candy Christmas
3rd Row L-R: Special Gift, Reindeer Games, Grandmother, My improv block
Bottom Row L-R: Wrapped Up, Country Winter, Nine-Patch Star, Rocky Mountain Christmas

Friday, December 13, 2019

Snow Sampler, Joy Sampler, and Red Robin Candle Mat

My hand stitching for Christmas has resulted in three completed projects, Joy Sampler cross stitch by Lizzie Kate, Snow Sampler embroidery by Kathy Schmitz, and Gail Pan's embroidered Red Robin candle mat.

Although it may have been on Instagram, I really don't remember where I first saw Snow Sampler. If it was one of your IG accounts or your blog, I apologize for not thanking you!

Decades ago I taught myself embroidery (it was called "stamped crewel" on the packages I purchased) and was familiar with the basic stitches. My love for embroidery continued into the early 2000s, but only until the last few years have I again picked up an embroidery needle This pattern is mostly stem stitch, and for some reason I had trouble "getting it". Once I did, things went fairly smoothly. There are mistakes for sure, but overall Buddy likes the result because it matches his collar!

I auditioned a few fabrics for a pillow and decided on a Grunge-y denim fabric, which harmonized with all the variegated shades of blue in the thread. Overall a fun project (although I am not fond of the stem stitch), and I'm thankful to be back in the embroidery squad.

Joy Sampler was a fun stitch for me. I'm finding that I like cross stitch more than embroidery these days, maybe because my fingers aren't as nimble as they used to be. The pattern suggested 28 count cloth stitched over two, but I substituted 14 count stitched over one. This is a pattern I purchased several years ago, and I'm glad to count it in my "Done" list.

There were three little charms included in the kit for added embellishment.

It seemed that an oval frame best suited the size and shape,
and I found one for half price at Hobby Lobby.

The little candle mat by Gail Pan was a quick finish. This week I realized Gail has a even cuter version of this in her book Christmas Patchwork Loves Embroidery. Diann at Little Penguin Quilts has beautifully made some really cute projects from that book, and so now I've put the book on my Christmas wishlist!

I decided on a greenish grunge for the background, and my husband
chose the black Mary Engelbreit for the backing and binding.

Cross Stitch Details:
Joy Sampler kit by Lizzie Kate
Finished size: stitched area 3-1/2 x 7-1/2 inches
14 count Zweigart cloth in Vintage Country Mocha
DMC threads in 898, 930, 815, 500, 367, 321, 434, 931, 783, 712, 3853, 310

Embroidery Details:
Snow Sampler by Kathy Schmitz
Finished size: stitched area 9-1/2 x 11 inches on a 12 x 16 inch pillow form
Background: muslin-like fabric from stash backed with lightweight fusible interfacing
Backing: Hobby Lobby's version of denim grunge
Thread: DMC variegated in 93 Cornflower blue and 121 Delft blue

Red Robin Candle Mat by Gail Pan
Finished size: 8 inch octagon
Background: Grunge Mint by Basic Grey for Moda
Backing and binding: Mary Engelbreit Cranston Village
Thread: DMC 115 (variegated red), 728 (gold), 367 (green)