The holidays are wonderful, but like all great vacations, I'm always glad to get back "home".
Quilty stuff first! This weekend, I took David Taylor's machine applique class. First, David was hilarious and the class was a lot of fun. But, more importantly, it was a great way to get back into the guild. I haven't been to a meeting since Linda got sick and I've missed it. The only time I've been with my quilter friends was working at the show in September. And, I've missed them. But, tonight I'll be at the meeting to hear David speak and to see his trunk show.
Anyway, the project we made was this little apple tree quilt.
He gave options for the apples; leave them off and make it a different kind of tree, use apple shaped buttons that he had for sale, or make applique apples. Most of the class made the applique apples. I used the buttons. Sydney doesn't like them. Oh, well. I offered to teach her to applique. The buttons were okay after that.
David's method is much like Harriet Hargrave's method. But, he's made some modern refinements and he uses liquid starch instead of spray starch. I always had trouble with the spray starch because I got it everywhere and left a sticky mess, so the liquid starch works better for me.
I also bought the kit for his Hand applique class. I wasn't able to get into that class, but at least I can make the project.
I have all the pieces prepped and the background is ready and positioning template is made. But, he also gave a practice piece that I figured I might as well do first, just to get a handle on the process.
I've started the stitching on this. There's an over/under thing in the center where it switches from the white on top to the black on top. He used this shape to illustrate how to do that. It's harder than I thought it would be and I'm glad I'm doing the practice project.
So, that's what I'll be doing in my "free time" for a while. And, if this method continues to work for me, then I have a bunch of applique projects backed up that I'd like to do. Of course, machine applique is faster, so some of my projects will be done that way, but I'm always looking for a hand project and applique makes a good one.
Speaking of hand projects, am I the only one that picks a wicked hard something to work on during the holidays as a distraction from all the stress? And, yes, even for us the holidays are stressful, with end of year at work and trying to pick the perfect gifts and cook the perfect meals and all the decorations. So, I picked this piece of needlepoint. It's charted needlepoint, so there's nothing printed on the canvas. It's like counted cross stitch.
I picked it to use up yarn I already had but had to buy a few skeins to fill in for colors I didn't already have, like dark purple and white. One more corner and filling in the sky and that will be done. I started just before Thanksgiving, so it's gone pretty quickly. And, I've spent a lot of time on it. I accidentally added two columns on the right hand side when I was putting those roses in. I had put too much in before I realized the mistake to take it out and have had to fill those two all the way up in ways that were not noticeable. Oops!
Christmas was wonderful. Santa gave me just what I wanted...not much! We have so much and this house is filled to the gills, so my request was for not much. A few things for the kitchen. New pink flamingoes for the garden and of course, Rob bought me a few toys for my desk. Several years ago, Linda got us started on a collection of Lenox Holiday dishes. So, Sydney bought me one of every Lenox Christmas item that came into the store. She wrapped them each individually and kept them in her room till all the gifts were unwrapped, then brought them out in bunches for me to unwrap. It was quite the surprise. Lots of ornaments and a few serving pieces.
I'll close with our Christmas table.
Like Thanksgiving, I tried all new recipes, including my own pineapple ham glaze. It didn't go quite as well as Thanksgiving did, but it was still delicious and I made the family eat all the leftovers. A meal worked for that hard must not be wasted. I froze some ham and used it to make Potato Soup, which is our traditional New Year's meal with black eye peas.
Everybody have a wonderful week! It's the first full work week of the year. Needless to say, I am not looking forward to it. I signed off on my end of year evaluation on Friday. I think I'll need to read that frequently to remind me of the good I do at work. I got to ask five people for input on my performance. Their comments were very flattering. In fact, they brought a tear to my eye. So, whenever I'm feeling low at work, I hope to pull that thing out and give it a read for inspiration.
Have a great Monday!