Swap (and other things) Update

Poor has spent the last couple of days bringing in mail for me, full of packages (fabric, swap items, his Christmas presents) and the occasional Christmas card from family or friends. We finally had some sunlight this weekend (as evidenced in the photos), so I took some pictures of what has arrived lately.

Some more ornaments for the Holiday Ornament Swap:

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A set of 5 little squishy, glittery ornaments, including two trees, two birds, and a star!
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A glittery blue ornament and some cookies, all the way from Germany!
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And, a Santa from crazyhairdesign.

(Here’s crazyhairdesign’s [link removed] Flickr photo posting of the ornaments, where she talks about how she made them.)

Unfortunately, most of my swap partners don’t have their blogs or Flickr accounts linked in their profiles, so I can’t give link love.

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Also, I received my package from Katherine for the Holiday Traditions Swap!

The guidelines were: an ornament, a tradition tutorial, and a recipe. She sent… a rose felt pomander (that I’d seen a tutorial for but didn’t have time to try it for myself), a set of coasters, an embroidered linen sachet, a CD, a letter, and a copy of Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris as the tradition tutorial. The latter is a book that I’ve heard about and haven’t had the opportunity or energy to go find myself a copy, and she did the hard work of going to the used bookstore and getting me one! Aren’t used bookstores great? I haven’t had a chance to throw the CD into my computer yet to listen to it, but the playlist looks amazing. Thanks so much, Katherine! (I don’t think we swapped blogs, so I don’t know if she has one or what the address is, unfortunately.)

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I also finally photographed the second towel I embroidered for Mom, before packaging them both up.
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Both towels

I’m definitely not as happy with the second one (the darker background) as the first, but I think she’ll like them both, and I learned some new stitches (on the second one, I did tons of laisy daisies, french knots, and made up a way to stitch grass, plus the pear on the potted plant is satin stitched with a variagated floss, which looks pretty cool).

Finally, on Friday night I drove over to Hancock Fabrics, hoping they would have a different selection from JoAnn, since I had been having great difficulty finding the fabric requested for her pillows. I hadn’t been to a Hancock Fabrics since I lived near Roseville, so it’s probably been about 5 years. If you’ve been to a JoAnn anytime lately, you know that it’s crazy there around the holidays, always busy and it takes forever to get my shopping done. They’ve had some good sales, but they haven’t had the fabric I needed for this particular project. So, I hopped in the car and drove over to the Hancock in Richfield (or whatever city that is over by 494 and Penn). Much to my surprise, the place was practically vacant, and almost everything was on sale. Still, it took me nearly 2 hours to pick out fabric.

Barring finding the perfect fabric (to match a red wall in her house, to go on the tan/taupe couch, preferably with retro-looking rectangles, which was basically an impossible order to fill), I had decided to use the modern log cabin pillow pattern from Stitch magazine [link removed]. Matching reds proved to be quite difficult, and I had decided that it would be basically impossible to match the pillows to her wall, given that I haven’t been to her house since August, and didn’t pay much attention to the wall color at the time (though, to be fair, I did paint said wall when they moved into their house four years ago). So, I decided that if I used a variety of colors, that probably none of them would match but hopefully the overall idea would (we’ll see, come Saturday).

There’s also another fabric (a taupe with circles on it) for the backing and for use on the fronts.

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Here’s the layout of the first pillow, before stitching

Several more rows had to be added after sewing, since it gets smaller with each seam sewn. Last night around 9:45, I finished the fronts, and then I spent another half hour getting the backs ready. So, next up is quilting them, which shouldn’t take too long. I did run out of red thread (well, nearly out – the spool is visible and my bobbin is almost empty), so they’ll be quilted using white thread, which is probably a lot safer in the end). Putting them together should take almost no time, and the pillow forms have already been bought, so this project will definitely be finished before we get together to celebrate on Saturday (barring major illness, natural disaster, or act of God).

Last week (or maybe the week before?), JCaroline Creative had updated their short cuts and sale sections, which I took advantage of. I bought up a ton of short cuts, some of my favorite fabrics, which are now in Flickr if you’re interested, which you’re probably not. I think several of them will be used in making my next nephew’s quilt, two years from now (there’s nothing wrong with planning ahead, when sale prices and limited stock are in the picture). I also bought a bunch of cotton solids, and perhaps my favorite holiday fabric of 2008.

So, there you have it. I only have Christmas Day off of work, so I will still be around tomorrow, probably posting earlier in the day. We have ‘s family Christmas at 3pm, so I’m taking the afternoon off of work. Tonight’s plans include baking up the 2 batches of cookie dough that I made up last night (to bring to aforementioned family function on Christmas Eve), and maybe working on those pillows some more. Oh, and we have to find a Christmas present for ‘s brother. And I have to do any prep work I can for Christmas Day dinner, to which has been invited, as well as ‘s dad and brother, and if she’s in town (, were you not in Ohio, you would also be invited, but you’ve got your own fun going on right now). So, a busy night, for sure. In case you were wondering how it all gets done, my keys right now are: getting home at 4pm, which means dinner is usually eaten and cleaned up by 6; no homework to do; and, don’t stop moving. Oh, another key to my recent productivity is that we’ve moved my computer into the spare bedroom where my sewing machine is, so that I can watch movies and TV. ‘s dad has been recording Angel for me, and right now I’m part-way through season 2. Great show, I must say. Loved it the first time around (I think I’ve seen probably 90% of the episodes already), and loving it again now.