Tuesday, December 26, 2006

On December 26th....

in 1825, The Erie Canal opened.
in 1944, The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams premiered.
in 1991, The Soviet Union was officially dissolved.

in 1893 Mao Zedong was born.
in 1956 David Sedaris was born.

in 1909 Frederic Remington died.
in 1972 Harry S. Truman died.

in many countries, it's Boxing Day.
many Christians celebrate St. Stephen's Day.
many families observe the First Day of Kwanzaa.

I found this idea on Nancy's blog a few weeks ago and thought I'd save it for my actual birthday! Hope you're having a great December 26th!

If you'd like to play, now or on your birthday, here are 'the rules':
1) Go to wikipedia
2) In the search box, type your birth month and day but not the year.
3) List three events that happened on your birthday
4) List two important birthdays and one death
5) One holiday or observance (if any)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Gift Revealed

Last week I said I was working on a little Irish Chain gift and here it is! A little table runner for a friend's Christmas birthday (yesterday). The center stars were inspired by joulutortut; (recipe here), a Finnish Christmas treat. The squares are 1.25". I quilted on the diagonals, in the ditch between the two green borders, and around each of the 13 little stars. This was definitely a fun project and I think it's found a good home!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Cookie Madness

Olivia's other birth mother (Olivia is soon to be adopted by a little one in southern Finland) and I made a million cookies tonight. Maybe a million and one. Good times. Can you figure out what these shapes are?

I couldn't get her to take any of them home with her, but luckily we are both invited to two parties tomorrow where we can hopefully pawn them off on our friends and colleagues. Hope they're hungry!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Red and White and Snow!

It's snowing lightly here this evening, the perfect backdrop for the Christmas activities at hand - card writing, gift wrapping, etc. I'm also putting the binding on my little Irish Chain gift - still can't post a photo of that one, nor of the criss-cross coasters I made this afternoon. I did use some of the scraps from these little projects to make some more blocks for Clare's Quilts for Leukemia project. She just put out a request for some more blocks - maybe your Christmas projects have also produced some red and white scraps? Or maybe you'll have a little time to try out a new quilty toy after Christmas?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Christmas Questions

I don't usually do these memes, but I do have fun reading them. In the spirit of Christmas (and since I can't post a picture of the gift I'm working on right now), I thought I'd give it a try. (I found it on QuiltingFitzy's blog.)

1. Hot chocolate or apple cider?
hot chocolate (with peppermint schnapps or mini marshmallows)
2. Turkey or ham?
3. Do you get a fake or real-you-cut-it-yourself Christmas tree?
4. Decorations on the outside of your house?
a wreath
5. Snowball fights or sledding?
6. Do you enjoy going downtown shopping?
if there is a real downtown where I am, yes
7. Favorite Christmas song?
Good King Wenceslas (I was born on the Feast of Stephen)
8. How do you feel about Christmas movies?
it's not Christmas without It's a Wonderful Life
9. When is it too early to start listening to Christmas music?
anything before Thanksgiving is too early
10. Stockings before or after presents?
stockings before breakfast, presents afterwards
11. Carolers, do you or do you not watch and listen to them?
I'd rather be one of the carolers
12. Go to someone else's house or they come to you?
love going to my mom's!
13. Do you read the Christmas Story? If so when?
sometimes on Christmas Eve
14. What do you do after presents and dinner?
hope there's snow to play in
15. What is your favorite holiday smell?
16. Ice skating or walking around the mall?
ice skating
17. Do you open a present or presents on Christmas Eve, or wait until Christmas Day?

Christmas morning, although I lobbied unsuccessfully for one on Christmas Eve as a kid - now I'd never want to!
18. Favorite Christmas memory?
too hard to choose (I'll try one per decade) - Christmas in France 2005, my first sewing machine as a gift 1996, my first Christmas with a baby brother 1987, having my own small live tree in my bedroom 1979
19. Favorite part about winter?
20. Ever been kissed under mistletoe?
yes, but not often enough!

The picture above was taken last year in Quimper, France. The one below is the wreath hanging outside my door this year. I bought the frame made of pussy willow branches (I once got a pussy willow stuck up my nose as a kid and now have a special affection for them - strange, I know) and spruced it up with the little bird, branch, and ribbon.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


What a lovely way to start the day: in the darkness of the Finnish winter morning, several dozen people gathered at the Institute for Nordic Languages at the university this morning to sing carols and share coffee and cookies. Some carols were sung simultaneously in four languages! For more about St. Lucia's Day, you can visit here or here.
As a kid (I must have been ten or so - it was before my brother was born), I brought my parents breakfast on December 13th with candles on my head. They fell off as I was climbing the stairs - luckily there was just a little damage to the carpet, but that was my first and last time as Lucia. This morning's Lucia used battery operated candles - so smart.
(The painting is 'Lucia' (1908) by Carl Larsson, one of my favorite artists.)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Christmas Coasters

Can't post that Irish Chain project yet, but here's a little peak at Santa's Vaasa workshop. These coasters were so easy to make! The hardest part was the cutting (six 5" squares for each). I used this great tutorial and whipped them up in exactly an hour. I used thin batting instead of fusable web. If I were to do it again, I might use something thinner - maybe felt? I also might start with 4.5" squares rather than 5". The bottom is a dark green I rejected for the Tea TATW project and the inner (unseen) fabric is just muslin. The top fabrics are a mixture of plaids, ginghams, and homespuns that came together in a stack of fat quarters I bought at the Lowell Quilt Festival in 2004. I'm determined to buy some Christmas supplies when I'm in the US in February - ten months should give me enough time to make some gifts for 2007!

I brought the coasters with some Christmas tea to a Secret Santa swap tonight - it was the Christmas party of the Finnish-speaking quilt group here in Vaasa held here. I received some Christmas tea (glögi flavored) and this cute gingerbread candle. Can't wait to give them both a try!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Chain, Chain, Chain

I'm working on a little red & green gift, but can't post a picture yet. I wasn't sure what to do for this gift and since the time was getting short, I returned to an old favorite - the Irish Chain. Since I can't post a picture of the current project, I'll post an old Double Irish Chain project. This is a little doll quilt (19"x25") I made in 2004 for my cousin's daughter. (Another team effort with my mom - she chose all the fabrics!) Not sure why I like this pattern so much - maybe it's because of the one my great-grandmother made for my mom circa 1950. (Here is another Irish Chain project I made in 2003.) Good luck to everyone out there with holiday deadlines!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

O is for...

Olivia the Owl!! Last weekend at a Christmas Market at Stundars a friend and I saw some very cute little stuffed owls. She was debating whether to buy one for her godchild and I suggested that we try to make one ourselves. So, last night, armed with an old pair of her jeans, a pile of my scraps, and some glühwein, we gave it a try and fell in love with the results. Stay tuned for Olivia's siblings - we both decided we need to have one of our own!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Top-Secret Turtle

Last week I showed off my first attempt at making hexagons and said that I was making something little (and top-secret) with them. The resulting turtle has since arrived at its new home in Germany, so I can share a picture now. I'm not sure I have a future in making small animals, but this was fun to make for a friend. Click was much easier with her straight seams! I don't know if the turtle is a boy or a girl - guess it's up to his/her new roommate to decide/discover!

As for the other hexagons, I have no plan for them. They're a little small for a full-sized quilt - I might move up to 3cm hexagons for something like this cool quilt Jenny blogged about. They're larger than the ones required for Nadine's tote, but maybe I can adapt that pattern for slightly larger hexagons. No hurry to decide, though!

Haven't done any sewing all week - it's that end of the semester craziness, plus all the Christmas events going on! Hope to work a little on the medallion this weekend. (It definitely needs a better name!)