Simply Homemade.

I for one love homemade gifts.  Perhaps because I know of the time, thought and love that goes into each gift.  I love making the gifts almost as much as giving them.  This year with the little, um 'bug' I caught I got a little behind in my gift giving preparation.  The Saint Nicholas Day gifts went out about a week late, but HEY they're out.  I have a feeling that some of the Christmas gifts will be a little late this year too.

One of the things my kid LOVE to do during the holiday is Countdown to Christmas.  We have had a Lego Advent Calendar for the last 3 years.  There is usually so much fighting over who's day it is to open the door that we have to make a schedule.  This year I picked up the Lego-Friends Calendar.  (You know the one for GIRLS!) There is not as much interest in this calendar as there was in the Star Wars calendar.  Go figure. Well, let's just say there is only one of my Children who is eager to open up the calendar each day.  And she Loves the fact that the boys don't want to participate.  More for Her!

Thinking about the Calendar led me to another project in the Modern Holiday book by Amanda Murphy.  The Christmas Countdown.  This calendar boasts 25 adorable little packages to decorate.  One for each day.  (yeah, yeah I realize that Advent is technically 24 days but work with me here.) In Amanda's Pattern she uses a layer cake to make the Christmas presents.  A fabulous idea I might add if you happen to have one laying around.  Sadly, I did not.  No worries.  I cut out 25 bright and cheery 5 inch squares and began sewing.  I was disappointed to find out after I had made it about half way through the pattern that there ended up being so much fabric waste!  I ended up trimming about 1-1.5 inch off of each package.  If I would have known ahead of time I surly would have started with something smaller than 5 in squares.

Don't you just love that Embroidery?  Thanks M.

Other than that picky little problem I really enjoyed sewing this up.  So much sew (couldn't resist.) That I went ahead and hand quilted the quilt (gasp!)  It was a great project for our car trip to Tennessee but trying to find the time to sit and finish it almost killed me!

The finishing touch was the cute little "yo-yo" bow for the package.  I couldn't bring myself to make 25 yo-yos so I cheated. (shh. don't tell Santa.)  I found a package of glittery pom-poms and used those as my package toppers. I did have to break down and make one gold yo-yo for the last package.  Don't worry.  I survived.  I shipped off the quilt along with a box of candy numbered for the days of Advent.  What's Christmas without chocolate?

Chocolate and a Christmas Countdown...  A delightful combination.


Just keep sewing. Just keep sewing.

Lots of Quilting going on over here now that my Machine is BACK.
So the story on the  is this...I had a service repair man come out to correct the timing and tune her up.  She is almost 5 you know.  While he was here he mentioned  that the needle position, when stopped varied.  It is supposed to stop in either the full up or down position.  Mine. Well it sort of ....didn't.  It like to randomly stop anywhere between up and down.  He took the machine apart and couldn't find anything visibly wrong, so he suggested I contact Handiquilter and ask for help in the diagnosis.  I talked with the technician out at Handiquilter headquarters. Dave informed me that it was probably the wire that had been crimped between the housing during assembly.  I ordered a new wire.  When it arrived a week later, we installed it and nothing.  It didn't make a difference.  I talked with Dave, my dear husband talked with Dave and we decided to ship the lady out to Utah and have Dave work on her.  We boxed her up and off she went.   That was almost 2 months ago now.  WoW.

Through various conversations with Dave, we learned that  he thought the problem was a bad transformer.  Dave had talked with "the men back" in the work room and they were going to make up a new transformer for her.  This just all happened right before the Houston Quilt Show.  Bad timing.  Unfortunately my machine got pushed out of the way and forgotten. :(

2 weeks later when I talked to Dave he was very apologetic and said he would have it shipped out the next day.  When I call Dave the next week after not hearing from him he was at a loss.  He said this was the most frustrating machine he has ever worked on.  He had replaced every single working part in the machine and get this..... It was STILL having the same problem! What? How is that possible?  If every piece in the machine is new, HOW can this happen?  Dave again, was very apologetic and shipped her back to me essentially rebuilt, free of charge, but still having the same problem.  Dave assured me she is all tuned up  and sewing great.  She just has the annoying habit of choosing her own needle position.  Bummer.

Well, as you can imagine I accumulated quite a nice stack of quilts while she was away.  I have now quilted 3 of them, and my verdict?  Still out.  She does sew nicely.  I haven't had any needle breaks, thread brakes, or stitch regulation problems since her return.  In fact there is only one problem.  The needle position.  Uh. Imagine.  The needle still is choosing it's own position at random.  This only seems to effect my initial startup.  When I start sewing.  I drop the needle and grab the bobbin thread and pull it up to the top of the quilt.  This way I can hold the bobbin and top thread taught as I lock the threads into position.  Unfortunately now the top thread is getting stuck and won't pull of the bobbin thread. Well, it does after 4 or 5 trys. Annoying.  Now what?

Do I call Dave back and say see if you can fix it?  This means paying another exorbitant shipping cost to send my 60lb. machine to Utah.  Do I deal with it and see if it improves?  Worsens?  Do I contact Handiquilter customer service and see if they can help?  (I am sure my warranty is long expired).  Or do I just keep sewing.  Just keep sewing.  just keep sewing...


A bad case of the BAH-HUM-BUG!

Those of you who know me, know that most of the time I am an up-beat, energetic person.  I thrive on creativity.  I am a boundless bundle of creative ideas.  A bevy of crafty projects happen here on a daily basis.  Now, I am no Martha Stewart, although if you ask some of my sisters they will disagree, but I hold my own.

I am not sure what happened but somehow I caught a Bug.  The Bah-Hum-Bug.  We took a wonderful vacation with friends up into the Smokey Mountains over Thanksgiving.  There was lots of food, fun, and most importantly crafting.  We sat by the fire many evenings while the kids entertained themselves.  We would talk and  knit or crochet or quilt all evening.  It was bliss.  However, I returned with a serious case of Blah.

I didn't feel like doing anything.  I didn't want to decorate for Christmas (something I normally love to do).  BAH! I didn't want shop for Christmas or get ready for Christmas in any way.  HUM! And most alarming, I didn't want to sew, or knit or anything. BUG!
She's Back!

It wasn't until my Long-arm returned last Tuesday that I started to surface out from under my Scrooge like demeanor.  I started quilting on Thursday and my mood started to lift.  I am feeling better now.  Although I am still not quite my chipper self.  A few more quilts might just be the medicine I need!  Here is a peak of the quilt I just finished up for a client.

A few swirls.  A couple of Loops. And Bye-gosh. Bye Golly, how could anyone say Bah-hum-bug.