Category Archives: Christmas 2011

Peace to All of You

     Take some time to slow down and enjoy the day. Look closely at the beauty the season offers us. And enjoy the wonder of the child Jesus born many years ago on that first Christmas Day.

     I’ll be taking a few days off with my family. I  look forward to some slower hand stitching over the next week.  It will feel great after all the busyness of the past few weeks.

    Merry Christmas to you and your families! Hugs to all!

New Friends

     I have some new friends. They haven’t lived in America for long-only 15months they reminded me today. I have been helping them for a year now get settled here after their move from Bhutan. Prior to moving here, they lived in a refugee camp for 17 years. Yes, 17 years in a bamboo hut and cooking over an open fire but they went to school and proudly could speak some English when they arrived. They weren’t allowed back to their native land of Nepal nor did Bhutan want the refugees so they were stranded in this camp along with thousands of others.

    I have had the privilege of taking them to their first grocery store trip, figuring out why there are three sizes of shoes on one box, helping them fill out paperwork, taking them to doctors appointments and just plain visiting with them and talking to them. I have tried their foods and they have disliked my foods. And  they are friends enough to tell me why. 🙂 I have been at the airport when more of their family members have arrived and celebrated with them. I have celebrated when Sita called me in Vermont and told me she could drive now and had a job. Both are now employed at a bakery.

    When I asked them where they wanted to visit this month, they asked to go to the Meijer Botanical Gardens Festival of Trees.  Today was the day we went to visit. The chatter amongst the two of them on the drive was amazing as they tried to figure out why we cut a tree down, put it inside and throw it away. The conclusion at the end of the drive was, if they “do the American custom” they will buy one in a pot and keep it. Good for them.

   As we looked at the trees, each tree was decorated to represent a specific country and many questions again were asked about where the countries are and why they celebrate certain ways. They just want to know it all and their excitement over anything new just really makes me melt. I just love their enthusiasm.

    But the absolute best moment of the day was when we entered the actual conservatory which was hot and humid and filled with bamboo at the entryway. Sita looked at me and said, “This is what my homeland was like and this is how I built my house with bamboo. ” She sat on a bench and said, “Thank you very much for bringing me today. ” I have never seen her smile brighter.

   That was an absolutely perfect Christmas gift for me. I really need nothing more.

    Be content and blessed by where we live, my friends.

And So It Goes

I have to laugh-really laugh. My family is great although just doesn’t know what to do with me at times.

I asked them what they thought of my latest handmade gift.

Child #1: Yes, I think that anyone would be glad to get something handmade. Good job, Mom.

Child #2: What is it?  (This is the same child if I ask about how my outfit looks she will respond-it depends -are you staying home or going out? Brutal honesty…from this child.)

Husband (wise and previously been through the” make a Christmas gift season”) : Who is this for? Any     cookies this year?  Have you thought about Christmas cards?

My response-

Child #1-Thanks
Child #2-It is a felted yarn basket. For you. Your only gift. What you have always wanted. To store your yarn. What every 16 year old wants.

Husband: No cookies this year. No Christmas card  either. Make your own or start addressing cards.

Oh boy. Maybe there is a reason I stopped making gifts the month of Christmas.

Maybe I should of thought of it in July.


Happy Sewing, my fiends. No friends, that is.  Way too late to be blogging…

For Your Wish List Day #2: More Book Reviews

     I am just moving along on making those Christmas gifts one at a time. I wisely knew my sister’s quilt would take me the longest so that is what I have focused on the past few days. There is a little bit of unsewing needing to be done on a few crooked lines. Tonight I will knit though on my first gift due on Thursday.

    More book reviews on some really good picks:

     1. Ilze Aviks Workbooks #1 and #2 . Beautiful workbooks which she describes in the introduction as “not a how-to stitch book—it is an investigation into the stitched mark ” and that describes this book completely. I love them and look forward to bringing them with me to Vermont on vacation soon. A slower project will be going with me. ( Yes, you will see this too but just not ready to share yet.)

     2.  Rayna Gillman’s new book: Create Your own Freeform Quilt. This book  on improvisational quilting is a delight and really gives you the freedom to explore what you can do with all kinds of fabrics and makes good use of scraps and the undesirables you may have. It is another read from the front to back kind book. You will read it again and again! 

3. PUSH Stitchery:30 Artists Explore The Boundaries of Stitched Art  Believe it or not, I found this little book at a local outlet store for a few dollars. It looked like it had been used but for a few bucks, it was a steal. Very , very cool book of 30 textile artists who have absolutely pushed the outside limits of the textile arts. It was a current find and it sits proudly on my coffee table as I enjoy it -artist by artist. 

Any books you would like to add?

Have fun working on Christmas things this weekend, my friends.

For Your Wish List Day #1 : Book Reviews


     In case you are looking for quilty things or books to put on your wish list for Christmas, I will spend the next few days reviewing some books and notions I have put to good use over the past few months. If I spend money on anything or am a sucker for anything, it’s the books.  My book wish list is always long and I  do read the instructional books, sometimes from cover to cover.

    So, in no particular order or preference, here we go.

    1. Instinctive Quilt Art by Bethan Ash. This is a newly published book recommended on Lisa Call‘s blog a month or so ago. It is a beautiful cloth covered book that really is nice to touch. Other than the touch factor:), the contents regarding improvisational quilting really are superb. It is divided into exercises and examples from many influential art quilters: Bethan Ash, Lisa Call, Terri Jarrod-Dimond, Elizabeth Brimelow and the list goes on. It is definitely an instructional book with many , many pictures to inspire as well. Techniques are mainly fused but could easily be adapted to pieced quilts. Worth the money!

     2. Finding Your Own Visual Language by Jane Dunnewold, Claire Benn and Leslie Morgan. I purchased this book when I went to their workshop last spring and had put it away until fall. I have enjoyed some of the visual exercises (am still at the beginning of the exercises) and this is another must have for purposes of making your own mark on fabric or with fabric. It is not just a surface design technique book, but a means of digging deep and expressing yourself with your medium.  Another must have and again, worth the money.

     3. Dyes and Paints by Elin Noble. This is a book I have borrowed from a friend and one I am reading a chapter at a time. It is a thorough explanation of applying color to fabric and it is filling in the gaps of the other technique books I have on dyeing. Every “famous” fabric dyer had their own methodology even though the process is basically the same. Elin, from what I have read so far, has freely shared both the science behind why it works and how it works. I love this book and wish I would have purchased it three years ago when I first started dyeing fabric. It’s on my wish list  for Christmas.

     That’s a start for you to puruse and I ‘ll have more tomorrow. Do you have any good reads you would like to pass on?

Be creative, my friends!

Don’t Stop Now

     It has been almost a week since I last wrote. Where did the week go? Everything has ramped up in speed and just keeps going. I have been busy, too, both with making gifts and enjoying some of my  Christmas events.

    Marc and I went to the UICA’s Holiday Artisan Market on Friday night. I was really surprised at the amount of people that were there and it was difficult to move around and see everyone’s booths.  I hope that they find a new solution next year for these artists because it was not conducive to shopping.  I did buy a beautiful pair of earrings to gift but felt sorry for artists whose booths were blocked by odd table placement.  I look forward to that event and it was rather disappointing because of the venue- not the art. I, also, went to the Lowell Artisans Market on Saturday. It was definitely a better venue and the crowds didn’t overwhelm the merchandise. (Yes, I am looking for a place to sell things next year. )

     I am currently working on my sister’s gift. I have the top and back pieced and need to sandwich it for the machine quilting. When I measured it last night, I had a slight bit of panic as this little couch throw is 52×56 inches. It will take some time to quilt it so I better get going this week. A good goal would be to finish it by the end of the week…or earlier.

    Also started and on the design wall is a table runner for my friend. Easy to work on while I was stuck on the other project.

    And lining up these strips yesterday was just pure procrastination. Just plain and simple procrastination. No more of that this month. The list is written and in process.

      Now off to look for my insurance agent’s phone number to report my crash through a closed garage door this weekend. Of course, it had to be the 6 month old car. Oh how stupid I felt when I did that. Humbling but at least no one was hurt but the garage and the car.

   Be creative, my friends.


Small Finishes

     I have finished a few small projects that have been hanging around way too long. The first one is a Christmas present for my daughter. It is the softest alpaca and she has been impatiently waiting for it once she snuck a peek at it. She has to wait a little longer though. I just needed to rinse it out and it will be ready for the stocking.

    I also finished and delivered to our guild a little doll quilt and remembered at the last minute to take a picture of it. ( not a great picture) It turned out large enough for the doll and the girl to snuggle under-about 24×36.


    At lastly, I finished this small piece last night. I had wanted to practice some “extreme” stitching before I started another piece and this worked out really well for that. I also had wanted to try to mount something to a canvas and last week I found this little pre-painted canvas from Michael’s (yes, always use the coupon) which would work for it. Again, I had an awful time trying to photograph this morning as it is dark and rainy.

The Path
2011, Colleen Kole

     I enjoyed how it turned out and have a few more canvases to try this again.  I’d like to have four to mount together on a wall. And re-take the photos will be added to the to-do list.

     Felt good to finish something as it has been awhile. I have my sister’s quilt assembled on the design wall so next up this week will be sewing the top together.

    Happy sewing. It really is peaceful to sew.

Beginning of Holiday Projects

     I started a small doll quilt for our guild donation. They collect dolls and doll quilts for the Santa Claus Girls , an organization in Kent County which provides gifts for needy kids at Christmas. It is an organization founded in 1908 and has continued for over one hundred years. That is a long term commitment to kids.

     My goal for most of these projects is to just use what I  have on hand. No crazy buying or getting things I won’t use but just use my supplies on hand. I know I will run out of batting but with my Joann’s coupon,  I should not spend a significant amount of money.

     You know me well enough that this will look different the next time you see it. It needs to be done by next Tuesday night so I need to get going on the finishing part of it. No time to procrastinate.

    Are you making things for the holidays?

     Happy Sewing , my friends!