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Yes, I intentionally misspelled the word in the title. It seems like the entire month of December and the first week of January are spent in a daze of “gotta get this done” of one kind or another, doesn’t it? So I’ll give you a brief run-down of what I’ve been doing in that time.

Other than helping my husband with his projects, I basically dropped all my regular activities in the second half of December to bake. Vanilla pretzels, Sinfully Delicious Bars (I’ll have to post this recipe another day!), chocolate gingerbread cookies, cream cheese pecan drops, butterscotch toffee blondies, spiced white chocolate bars, salty oatmeal jumbles, mocha crinkles, jello spritz cookies… yeah, I went through a lot of baking ingredients. (Lost track of how many bottles of vanilla extract I went through.) I don’t give holiday presents, I give baked goods, because no one has ever said “oh, I already have one of those” when you hand them a tin of homemade cookies.  🙂  And it’s a major gift of time, baking everything from scratch, and I attempt to match tastes/personalities with what I give everyone. There’s one more box I have to send out, and that may require one more cookie (I’m thinking candied ginger butter sticks) before it can go.

One problem with all this baking is first, I have less time to sew; second, I have to do WAY too much sampling to make sure the results taste good (especially when I can’t get to the gym to work off all those samples); and third, the space I use to cut and pin my fabric projects is the same space I use for my oversized wire cooling racks. So I can’t work on a project and bake at the same time. These are the trades you have to make sometimes.

But when I could clear off my dining room table of cooling racks and put out my cutting mat, I tried to finish up a special project. Earlier I think I posted a photo of a kid’s quilt I made, using baseball themed fabrics with a grass background. Here it is again if you missed it before:


There was a second quilt, about the same size, that I also needed to finish. Finally got it done this past weekend (ended up hand stitching the binding to the back, rather than doing the binding totally by machine). So, here it is:


And this quilt kind of goes against what I usually seem to do: brights aren’t usually my thing! Most of these fabrics were left from a quilting program I gave at my library for kids in the summer reading program (the summer’s theme was about creating things or creativity, I think). I had a lot of 3 inch squares I’d cut from all kinds of kid-friendly fabrics I’d purchased, and the altered “Trip Around the World” pattern in the middle used up a lot of those I hadn’t been able to use in other projects. Even the blue with yellow dots (inner border) came from that project. So this was a great project to get fabric out of my stash, into a usable form, and to give me another chance to practice my machine quilting. Still consider myself a total newbie at that — and after I thought I was done with it, I had to unsew all four corners because there were massive pleats on the back. Bleah.

I bought so much of the backing fabric that I had enough left to make a matching pillowcase:


(It’s folded in this picture; despite what you see, this is a standard-sized pillowcase, made with directions from the pillow challenge at AllPeopleQuilt.) The accent leaf fabric actually matches the yellow and orange in the stars on the darker fabric; that fabric was something I’d picked up who-knows-when for who-knows-what reason. But, it was in my stash, I didn’t have it marked for a specific project, so it’s perfect for this project.

I’d do the same for the baseball quilt, but I don’t have any one piece left over that’s big enough to make one side of a pillowcase, and putting your face on seams just doesn’t sound too comfy to me.

And now all three are in the washing machine. I know some quilters refuse to wash their quilts, preferring to give people pristine, crisp quilts. I have at least two reasons I wash all quilts before giving them away. It shows the recipient that the quilt CAN be washed. It helps me make sure the quilt can withstand being washed (I carefully check them for any seams coming loose or threads that work their way free; never find any, but I always check anyway). It makes the quilt so soft and snuggly. And, in the case of quilts meant for kids who have spent way too much time in a hospital, it helps to remove any chemicals from the fabric that might cause problems for the intended young’un.

Once they are dry and inspected (and pass inspection), they’ll be packed up and shipped off. And I’ll have to move on to my next WIP (work in progress), a custom prototype stuffed creature made of flannel. My client and I made some decisions in December about how this thing would look, and I made a little bit of progress, but then my time got claimed by other things. Now it’s back to this creature, and my sewing skills will be pushed beyond what I’ve done before. What a great way to start a new year!  🙂