Thursday, November 27, 2014

happy thanksgiving

I would like to wish a happy turkey day to all of you that celebrate this American holiday. I still celebrate it although I live in Germany; today is a regular day - no Thanksgiving day, it is an American holiday remember.

I usually make a big "traditional" Thanksgiving on the weekend following the fourth Tuesday in November. We invite our closest friends to compensate for the lack of family that all live in the United States. Last year and this year, I am unable to carry out this tradition. I have a weekend retreat planned instead. So, a little Thanksgiving dinner will be whipped up for this evening including chicken breasts, yummy stuffing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin cheesecake for desert. And of course, everything is homemade just like my "Plätzchen" or Christmas cookies!!


And for all of you shoppers on "Black Friday" - the biggest US shopping day of the year that follows Thanksgiving Thursday, I have a new pattern up and loaded for you on Craftsy to make as a Christmas gift for all of your sewing and patchwork friends - the perfect wrist pin catcher. I promise you, you will not be disappointed with this pattern. There are step-by-step photographs of the entire process, so you won't get lost.

  

You will have so much fun making one, you won't be able to stop making them go into production for your friends. Just raid your scrap bin and have fun!!


The wrist pin catcher can be tailored to fit your wrist exactly with a simple formula or use the quick reference guide. I have a 6.5 inch wrist, and this one fits perfectly; it doesn't turn or twist and keeps it shape. It is soft and non-itchy. They are especially nice when you make them from linen! Change up and where them according to your mood or project!


Enjoy the day and show the ones you love the most just how much they mean to you!
I love you, Mom, Kittie and Co. as well as the rest of you, Family! You know who you are! ;-)

Karen

Saturday, November 22, 2014

getting ready for the holidays

This year I have decided to start a little earlier with the holiday preparations. Normally I am way late and stress myself out at the last minute.

I already started to make my mix of Christmas cookies too - ginger snaps, Russian tea cakes (so ähnlich wie Vanillekipferl), and traditional sugar cookies decorated by the kids. I still would like to make coconut macaroons, hazelnut macaroons, Baseler-Leckerli, mini peanut butter cookies and pecan sandies (Heidesand).

The house will get decorated this weekend and the Christmas tree will go up two weeks before the big day - December 25. We celebrate an American Christmas with Santa Claus and X-Mas morning gifts with stockings filled with goodies.

Our kids enjoy the German tradition of Advent Calenders that count down the days in December until the 24th. This is when the Christ Child (Kristkind) comes with presents. I made new calender for each of my children last year, but don't think we put them out.  (They always had one; they just got a new and improved rendition.) My kids have been nagging me for a store-bought calender, but I really like to fill them up with "healthy" goodies and not just a bunch of chocolate. My, what the kids of a patchworker have to endure in life! :-)

Today I am showing off my miniature quilt I made for my doll swap partner for the  month of November. We agreed to make something for Christmas, and Patty wanted a real doll quilt with the dimensions 18 x 24 inches. I didn't get the dimensions exactly right, but got them close enough. I also used a pattern from a doll quilt book, so I could book this one too...


I started with the book Prairie Children and Their Quilts. I wanted the quilt to be uniform (that didn't happen!) and use three colors - white, red, gray. I decided to use up my scraps from the prettiest winter collection in my stash from Jan Shade Beach for Henry Glass called Holiday Frost. This collection is no longer available but a newer version can be bought with the name Holiday Magic. All of the centers are fussy cut and the blocks finish at 4.5 inches. I thought I would make things a little easier and fuse all of the blocks to a thin fleece and then sew all seams at once. To do this, your layout has to be set in stone, because you can't flip the blocks around later. It definitely took longer to set it all up, but I am pleased with the result. I think only two points didn't match up. I don't mind the brightness, but the larger prints distract a bit from the total design. Was it the right choice with the red binding? Is the gray distracting? What about those three red centers I threw in to make it a little scrappier? Personally, for my own taste, I am not sure I like it. But, then again, if I put it away for a while, and took it out later, it might have become one of my favorites.

Enjoy your weekend!
Karen

Monday, November 17, 2014

get your felt on

I have surprised myself with a new interest. When I was at the European Patchwork Convention in Marie St. Aux Mines in September, I started to fall in love with a lot of crafts made with felt. Since then, I have started a few projects, because you can never have too many projects in the works. I even finished one!


 

This is a cupcake needle/embroidery case for my daughter. I picked up this pattern from a lovely lady from Budapest. Unfortunately, the seller does not have a website. ;-(

A few months back, I was on the hunt for a while for the perfect needle case that would accommodate the scissors without falling out as well as different sized needles. I thought this was a perfect fit as soon as I saw it - and it is sooo cute! We both really enjoyed decorating it. You can see my daughters lovely seed stitching on the scissor compartment.

She enjoyed it so much, we decided to start another project - this time for Christmas.


I found this lovely free pattern from Jessica Levitt! You can use them as ornaments or as decoration on your presents. My DD and I picked out the colors one at a time for each individual owl. She told me there were baby owls and Mama owls too. There is a very special one in her colors that we keep! Can you figure it out? This is such a great project for kids!! If you like felt, check it out!

What I really like about working with felt is the travelability. (Is that a word?) You don't have to turn on your sewing machine to do these. That can really come in handy - just take a long.

What are you working on for Christmas? Have you been staying in touch with Ho, ho, ho and on We Sew? If you haven't there are still some projects you can get done before the Christmas rush.

Happy felting!
Karen

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

pillow swap four seasons - come join us!


Do you like to decorate your home according to the seasons? Do you like seasonal pillows for your sofa or love seat? Do you love to sew for others and and be surprised yourself? Then we have an exciting new program for you - an international pillow case swap according to the seasons!

My friend Sandra, aka hohenbrunnerquilterin, and I are teaming up to bring you an exciting and challenging pillow swap. We are committed to hostessing and cheering you on as you design and show off your entire creative process of patchwork design.

How does the swap work? You have the chance to sew a pillow case for a secret partner using basically any "sewing" method around. To help you understand your partner, he/she will make an inspirational mosaic of things that they like according to the season and upload to flickr. You in turn, will also create a mosaic for the person who is creating a pillow case for you. These do not have to be pillows, but things to help you see your swap partner's style and taste. Remember, your swap partner will not be sewing for you in return, but someone else. Everyone has a different to and from parnter..sort of like a secret Santa exchange. You are not allowed under any circumstances to reveal your partner nor contact them until the "Secret List" is revealed!We want to keep it interesting.

The pillow swap takes place four times a year, spring, summer, fall and winter, so you will have the chance to get a new partner and be surprised every season. A new season, a new partner. It is your task to make a pillow case related to the season by use of color, design, motifs, holidays, etc. If you are a fall-type of person, then just sign up for the fall swap. Don't like the springtime? Then join for winter! Just keep the sign up dates marked on your calendar.

How did all of this start? I have been a member of the Doll Quilt Monthly swap for over a year now. It is very exciting designing mini quilts for others, and I wanted to extend the fun with seasonal yet functional patchwork designs. I have known about the pillow swaps on the Net, but they seem to be always full or per "invitation only." Our group is open to everyone of all skill levels. Everyone has a chance to participate!!

Are you ready to play? Registration begins the first of December for the spring swap 2015. After you have signed up, you will have three months to design your pillow case for your secret partner using the information he/she provides the pillow swap four seasons group via flickr. This is entirely organized and presented through flickr, so you must have a flickr account to play. Are you game? Then read more about it here on flickr. Keep in mind, you will have to agree to the rules before you are allowed to play. Don't forget, registration opens the first of December. I am so excited...I hope to see everyone there!!

If you don't want to play but would like to support our group, you can always grab our button and post on your blog or website. We are really going to wow your socks off!



The easiest was I find to add a blinkie to your blog is to right click on the icon and copy the address. Link the image to the URL. That simple! Add the flickr address for redirection, of course. If that's too complicated, you can always go to Sandra's site. She does it with a html tag.

Thanks for dropping by and I look forward to seeing on you on the Pillow Swap Four Seasons!
Karen

Friday, November 7, 2014

more sneak peeks

When I was in France last month at the European Quilt Convention, I found something that sparked my interest terribly - FELT! I have made things from felt before like a mobile phone case, but I sewed it together with the sewing machine not by hand. (If there is an easier way to make it, I am all for it.) I found this really cute sewing and needle kit made in felt. I couldn't resist, because I have been scouting around for that perfect needle case for a while now. So I bought it!! I loved it so much, I returned the next day to the same stand to buy a different felt kit and a gorgeous variegated floss. I pulled out this book, because it is one of two that I bought a few years ago to learn how to embroider. It is not as hard as I thought!!

I hope you stay tuned for the outcome. It might be a little "primitive," but a girl has to start somewhere!

And another sneak peek - I worked on the perfect wrist needle pin cushion. It is simple to make and doesn't need added stabilizing in the bottom for the pins. I went into production and made them for all of the participants of the Patchwork in the Peaks in Morzine, France last month as well.


They turned out very nice and are quite easy to make. They are great as stocking stuffers at Christmas or a quick birthday gift for a sewing friend. I hope to have a pattern for it soon in my Craftsy shop.

Thanks for dropping by!
Karen
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