Sunday, December 31, 2017

December Fun!

Buddy the Christmas Elf!  Buddy is actually our daughter, Genevieve's dog, but he has become a permanent resident at HQ (what our daughers call our house) due to her boyfriend's dog allergy.  Buddy is a lot of fun to have around!

Our yearly St. Lucia breakfast at Tre Kronor in Chicago.  This charming Swedish bistro serves a delicious St. Lucia Day breakfast, and the servers double as singers, singing traditional Christmas carols.  Note the crown of lit candles!
We see the same people at this breakfast every year.  It's part of our Christmas tradition, and many others as well.

Another Christmas tradition - my piano students' Christmas "recital" and party.  The kids each play a Christmas song for each other (no parents are invited!), then we make a small craft and enjoy some cookies and juice.  They look forward to this every day, as so I.  Such nice kids!  I have a great job. 

Scott's Christmas gift was tickets to "Not So Silent Night", a jazz version of the Nutcracker, and other Christmas selections, performed by the Chicago Jazz Orchestra.  They really cooked!

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Christmas quilts, the best gift - baby Liliana!

Christmas quilt tour! This is a favorite, made with a bee group I used to belong to, round-robin style.  I made the angel center with its pieced border, then 4 friends added the next borders, and I finished with another pieced border. Love the touches of gold lame for some holiday sparkle.

On the left is my Swedish Christmas tree.  I found a book on the technique years ago, made the tree and we have enjoyed it every year since.  The wall quilt was made by a friend after we co-chaired our guild's quilt show together.  

Another oldie but a goodie.  The center block was made at a bee meeting, we drew names and I won it! 

Here you see our dining room and family room, all decked out for the holidays.  I made the Believe quilt as part of the Labor of Love quilt competition in 1991.  My quilt hung in the show in Houston, and was featured in Quilter's Newsletter Magazine.  Not a winner, but I love it and had fun making it.
I added the hanging banners this year, to mimic those I see in our favorite little Swedish bistro in Chicago.  I love how they turned out!  I cut triangles with a ruler, two layers at a time, with wrong sides facing.  I topstitched two of the sides together (raw edges exposed), then enclosed the third side in some dark red bias tape.  Easy peasy, it makes the space so festive!

Not a Christmas quilt, but we have this quilt up every day.  I made this quilt out of pure gratitude after my husband totaled our car driving home from work six years ago.  He walked away from it, no injuries to him or anyone else.  A good reminder to be grateful every day for life's blessings!

The best gift!  Born Christmas morning, our first grandchild:  Liliana Noelle, 5 #, 12 oz, a tiny nugget of love!  Baby and mother are doing great, we love her so much!!!

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Hannah and Danny's Engagement Party!

We hosted a small engagement party for Hannah and Danny last night, and it was just so much fun! They are a perfect match, they have so much fun together, and their love just shines through, doesn't it?
Just before we cut the amazing cake, which I had made especially for Danny and his love of golf. Cake created at Kirsten's Danish Bakery in Burr Ridge, IL. 

It was delicious, too!  Yellow cake with chocolate mousse filling, and buttercream icing. Yummy!

Our special guests were my brother and sister-in-law, Chuck and Jean, from Burke, VA, who just happened to be travelling through town the same weekend as the party!

Scott and I with Hannah.  Love her new dress! 
Group shot (and my finger, too, I guess - oops!), featuring Hannah's friend, Katie, our daughter, Genevieve, her bf Dave, Emily's husband, Matt, and our daughter, Emily. It seems that Dave and Matt became best friends last night after sitting together!

Nice smiles from Emily and Matt!  You can see  everyone having a good time, which I love.  We decorated with sunflowers, Hannah's favorite.

My wonderful husband, Scott - the party happened to be on our 39th wedding anniversary!

The guests of honor! Their wedding in May of 2018 will be here before you know it!

Couple more finishes for 2017

"Oh My Stars" for a special baby-to-be! My daughter's sister-in-law, Erica, expecting their first, a little boy, has planned an adorable aviation themed nursery, with navy, gray, white, and gold scheme.  I had lots of fun with this!  Did NOT turn out as planned, but better!

After searching locally, I found this cute border fabric on etsy, and the quilt was planned around it.  Simple blue stars (mimicking propellers?), set off by smaller stars, centered with compass points. 

Love this little touch of yellow, and the two different gray/white prints in the background. Quilted flawlessly by Sue Pawlowski.

Soft and snuggly for the little boy! 

Fun at Erica's baby shower!  L-R, daughter Genevieve (due in December), daughter Emily (due in February), Erica, me, and daughter Hannah (getting married in May. Needless to say, I have lots of quilts to make!!!
"Eleanor's 4-Patch" for a dear friend of the family's second born, little Eleanor.  I was unsure of her color scheme, so I used some soft baby quilt fabrics from my stash, with splashes of lime green, my favorite, and a wide white border. Simple quilting finished this quilt in a hurry!

Gratuitous puppy shot! Our dog, Buddy, loves to pose. 

Quilt on my antique baby rocker, which held me, my mom, and my grandma!

Cute baby Eleanor, with her equally cute mom, Cara.  Irrestible!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Farm Quilt - inspiration to finished!

"The Farm" - finished!
I had so much fun with this project, from inspiration, to design, to completion.  Much love was sewn into the quilt!  Made as a gift for my cousin, Julie, to honor the memory of my aunt, Marilyn, and to my grandparents' farm in Wisconsin.  After my grandparents were gone, my aunt and uncle moved to the farm after their retirement.  

Starting the design process.  For the most part, I made this quilt with my scraps ONLY.  I feel it pushes my design skills to use what I have, and I feel connected to my grandmothers, who were both quilters, and did not usually purchase fabrics for their quilts.
I started designing the sky in horizontal strips of hand-dyeds and batiks, but not loving the look.  The rust batiks would become the windmill. 

It is so quiet at the can see so many stars...and the sky is so blue!  The air is so fresh!
I spied these quilts by Terry Kramzar on the internet (you can find her website here) and was just drawn to them!  I love the pieced background technique, which I adopted for my sky.

Sky completed (much better!), starting to add the borders.  The log cabin scrappy blocks below are leftovers from my grandma's quilt!  

I kept my inspiration pieces close by while designing.  The farm's actual windmill is at the top - no vanes remaining!

Getting there!  The dark blue print edge triangles were in my stash - leftovers from a previous project, which I had cut the wrong size! Twice! So I had lots of them. :)
I like to insert all of the pins before closing them.  I feel it keeps the quilt-batting-backing layers nice and flat, and the finished quilt, if a wall quilt, is flat, square, and smooth. 

Basting the quilt prior to machine quilting.

I added an applique border on left and top, because of Marilyn's flowers growing at the farm, so graceful and wild and free.  I also added a thin orange/red print piping, a favorite design technique of mine.

We visited Wisconsin to deliver the quilt to Julie.  While there, we drove down the road to Anderson's Maple Syrup business, owned by descendants of my godparents, who started the business.
I don't think I had ever met Christine and Jan (her mother) before, but they were so warm and welcoming, and we felt and instant connection.  Christine has since visited us in Illinois.
Julie, me, Christine, Jan

"The Farm" photographed at the farm, where it belongs.  

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Balance, New Quilter, 4th of July

No, this is not trick photography - it is real! Our daughter, Genevieve and her bf Dave are pregnant! We are so excited to welcome our first grandchild - a girl! - in December!

Dave was a competitive gymnast, and Genevieve is a dancer.  

Genevieve and her little dog, Buddy.  

My niece, Natasha, recently contacted me about teaching her to quilt! Woo hoo, always great to welcome a new quilter into the fold!  Now I live near Chicago, and Natasha is in Austin, Texas - but we communicated via email, and this is the result.  I think she did great!

Natasha designed her baby quilt (for a friend's baby on the way) with a simple pattern of squares.  She found the skull fabric on spoonflower.

So proud of her first attempt!  Natasha has made a splash with her adorable quilt, and already has an order for another!
It's a very ancient saying 
But a true and honest thought 
That if you become a teacher 
By your pupils you'll be taught

(from "Getting to Know You")

Congrats, Natasha!

My handsome husband grilling up our 4th of July dinner.  It was a perfect day for a bbq!

Happy 4th of July! 

Hannah and Danny's wedding shower, Walk for our Lives

   We had a pretty day in early March for Hannah and Danny's wedding shower, held at our local park district's golf course clu...