Success. Place mats for my parents. I spent a quiet, wonderful, peaceful Christmas afternoon finishing the hand sewing on the binding while Dad cooked dinner and we all relaxed.. So I left 8 finished mats in the hands of my parents.
Pieced with scraps. Carefully quilted. I have a new understanding and love of my walking foot.
The blues are surrounded by Kona Cotton- something gray.Then I bound them in two different blues. Four in the dark and four in the light.

This project made me feel like a real sewer. A real quilter. Rulers and rotary blades. Changing feet on the machine. Staying calm and enjoying the process as it came together. Even learning something- mostly about tension on my machine. (I clamped the tension down for some of my quilting without meaning to. REAL noticeable different in the quilting and the strain it put on the fabric on those few mats. But I refrained from pointing this all out as they were being given as gifts. I'm sure I will be the only one to ever notice it.)
Of course, we need some close ups. 

8 matching place mats for my parents. Next to making my table pretty with these... I can think of no place I would rather see them than on my parent's table. Merry Christmas.
Made with some inspiration from the tutorial here.


A new tradition

Sufganiyot are widely consumed in Israel in the weeks leading up to and including the Hanukkah holiday. At Hanukkah, Jews observe the custom of eating fried foods in commemoration of the miracle associated with the Temple oil.

My first soofganiyot (or sufganiyot, if you prefer).

Oh fried goodness. Oh delicious little sugared things.  Some with jelly, some without. These have officially become a holiday tradition in the Chandler house. Husband and I are having fun figuring out what the holiday season will mean to us and to the family we hope to have some day.
I used the recipe in 1,000 Jewish Recipes by Faye Levy.
 Hot and fresh- I've perfected the oil temperature.

A team effort in the house- frying and sugaring. A pleasant day in the busy month of December. Happy Hanukkah.


For the table

A child should always say what's true
And speak when he is spoken to,
And behave mannerly at the table;
At least as far as he is able.

A Child's Garden of Verses
Robert Louis Stevenson

 A funky, fun, and pretty napkin will always make sitting at the dinner table a whole lot nicer. This evening I literally whipped up four cloth napkins from the tutorial on purlbee.

Some Alexander Henry fabric went into this. Having built up a bit a a fabric stash I managed to make this without buying anything new.

Two styles- pretty fancy. And amazing. The silverware seems so happy to be a part of this party.

The napkins are lined with the contrasting fabric and then the bigger piece folds over to make the edges. So much fun.  And so easy. A nice combo.

A gathering of people

A Sunday afternoon of friends and crafting. Everything from knits hats and elephants to yarn wreaths to patched pants. Good soup and good times. I would do it again in a heart beat.
Felt ornaments ruled the day for me-
 It all started with a tree, nothing fancy, just getting a feel for the felt!

Then came a mitten (probably lost by some kittens!)

But the best of them all: (A real hoot)

 Oh yeah. That's my kind of holiday cheer. Thanks to a pattern at diversionmary.blogspot.com

 All the ornaments in all their holiday splendor:

So awesome. Another crafting afternoon can't be too far away. This one was too much fun.


From paper to quilt

 Here sits the start of a quilt:

And here sits the inspiration for this quilt:

 Yes. A wedding present long over due.

Here sits the inspiration in the middle of all the fabric that will turn inspiration into quilt:

 And here sit the first blocks:

... wonky 1/4" seams... but we'll get there.


A quilt.

"There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning."
Louis L'Amour

This quilt must give a thank you to crazy mom quilts, who led the quilt-a-long that kept me motivated to the finish line. 

My quilt. Finished. My mind desperately races to begin the next project. Wait! Stop! I need to admire this beauty for a moment.
The front: Billions of squares going round and round and round and round....

The new machine my husband purchased for our one year anniversary worked like a dream. I threw the walking foot on and went for it when quilting time came. 

The Back: FLOATING SQUARES!! All 8 colors I used in the front. Booyah. I take full credit for this part of the design.  

 The only real issues I had came from not getting it quite flat when I basted it together. A few wrinkles in the quilting.  I'm still feeling pretty good. I think some of the shrinking and crinkleing during it's first machine wash will hide some of the flaws. (Who am I kidding... in my eyes, it's flawless. I love this quilt)

Close up of the front:  the very center square. Where it all started...

 Special thanks to the man behind the curtain. Also, this one shows my quilting pattern:

 I did a scrappy binding, it has all the quilt colors in it.

Another Helen Handcraft completed. Now... on to the next beginning.


the cat helping me sew...

Cats sleep anywhere
Any table, any chair
Top of piano, window ledge
In the middle, on the edge
Open drawer, empty shoe
Anybody's lap will do
Fitted in a cardboard box
In the cupboard with your frocks
They don't care
Cats sleep anywhere!
Eleanor Farjeon

Today, Tesla helped me baste my quilt. Which lay in the sun. Then Tesla forgot her job as official helper and fell asleep.

 Even so, I got this sucker pinned together.

Up the stairs I went to get it quilted. Tesla came as well. Ready and eager to start her duties as quilting helper.
 ...and she fell asleep on my fabric stash. Well, now I know why it takes costco packs of lint rollers to keep my projects cat fur free.

She expressed only slight annoyance that I had the audacity to disturb her with a picture.


cutting apart and putting together

"People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they're right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together."
Marilyn Monroe

It starts like this:
Fabric, whole and pretty. Then I cut it into a billion pieces and sew it all back together into this:

which makes me feel like a crazy person. Why cut it all apart, just to put it back together? (do things truly fall apart so they can become something better?) A closer look:

All those pretty fabrics, made into square after square.
From the left over fabric I made the back:

this will be, by far, my biggest quilt. About a twin size. My husband stands on his toes to try and hold the whole things up. So exciting.

Next up: basting and quilting. Some trepidation as I think about quilting this large quilt. But with my handy new walking foot, I'm hoping it will be a breeze.



"If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas."
-George Bernard Shaw
Autumn creeps up, the rain falls, the wind blows, and even our apples need a little warmth. 

Yes. This is the most amazing thing you have ever seen.  

The only words for this image are either A) "how adorable." or B) "how rad is that?!"

Tomorrow this apple will go with me to work, warm, safe and unbruised in the bottom of my bag. It will take its place of honor on my desk. Then I will remove the apple from the sweater and eat it. (Pattern found at Unravel Me Designs on etsy)

Thank you to mi Hermana for finding pictures of the apple cozy and sending them my way to thus inspire me to pick up my hook and yarn and try it out myself.


The hexagons have found me....

"Laura was sewing two long breadths of muslin together to make a sheet. She pinned the edges together carefully and fastened them with a pin to her dress at the knee. Carefully holding the edges even she whipped them together with even tiny stitches."
The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Hexagons. Taking the quilting world by storm. And now... me. 

Lake time found me basting fabric to paper hexagons.
The car ride home began the whip stitching (BY HAND!!) together.
Winter evenings will be full of hexagons. I will sew them together until my fingers are calloused and strong. I will have a blanket of hexagons.

In the meantime, it's a lazy Saturday in bed with the cat.

She sleeps on a recently thrift-ed quilt, a true find with hand quilting goodness all over it. We listen to Bobcat football (the cat listening to the Cats) with hubby. A wonderful day with sewing and crafting in the future. And chicken soup. Pictures to follow.


Two fierce cats.

Emily- this post is just for you. No words needed.


So Ducking Cute

Embroidery from my time down with the knee injury. Turns out, there are trillions (or a few) vintage transfers that sweet nice bloggers have posted online and are free for use. As much as I love some of my more "modern" themes in my books... sometimes the classics are just too much fun.
Like these ducks:

I love these little ducks and their little love story. 
But, if these ducks seem a little kitchy, just wait until you see the kitty--

Holy lazy daisy stitch.

These are both on dish towels. Here they are in all their cuteness:

I think I can only have one out on display at a time. Both might be over the top cute-ness.