Tuesday, December 31, 2013

6 years of Chookyblue's SSCS....

I only missed the very first one in 2007.  It's been consistently the best swap I've ever done.  With so many international  participants, I've been lucky to send to and receive from a swap partner in Australia every year.

I really think the Australians have cornered the market on bright, new, fun embroidery projects.  Here in the states it's hard to find a cute, fresh design to embroider.  There are some great designers, though, like Bird Brain Designs, and Crabapple Hill, but when I wanted to start to embroider again, almost all I could find were the old-style designs for pillowcases or Aunt Martha iron-on blocks.  Thank goodness for the internet and bloggers!  I've been able to get patterns from such cool designers as Gail Pan, Bronwyn Hayes of Red BrollyNatalie Lymer at Cinderberry Stitches, and Leanne Beasley at Leanne's House, to name just a few.

Many of the lovely gifts I've received over the years in the SSCS have been stitched by my Australian swap partners using patterns from their country's designers.  Remember this wallhanging I received from Gai in 2009?

And this gorgeous bag to carry my stitching in from Dale in 2010?

And here's the gorgeous stocking that Bec made me in 2011.  I hang this on my front door now and it looks fabulous!  (And that was not even my real gift, lol.)  That was the ornament gift, but she went a little bit overboard, lol, but I am so glad she did.. I love all the stitching and applique on it.

These are just a few of the examples of why I love this swap with the Australian girls. They  have such a different lot of ideas and patterns to choose from.  Everything I've been blessed to receive is so unique from what is available in my area.

Remember the runner that Bec made as my "real" gift?  I started using it as a bed runner, but quickly changed it to a chair runner and I love it in my living room.  I enjoy it every day.

And these bags I received last year from Vicki to carry as a purse or for my stitching projects.  Love them!

Besides the wonderful handmade items, I've also received a varied assortment of Australian fabrics, patterns, quilt labels, note cards, and buttons.  So many different little gifts to enjoy.

And this year was no different.  My swap-from partner was Fiona of  Dragonfly Crafts.  Fiona decided to do an Advent-style gift grouping for me.  She had all the little gifties wrapped and labeled with a number.  I had to open the little giftie on that number day.  The first day I opened my Christmas ornament and it was a darling little star that I hung in my kitchen window.

Another day, I opened a package of tissues printed like Australian dollar bills.  Then there was a tape measure shaped like a pig, a note pad with a cute puppy on it, a Koala key chain, and on the final day, a 2014 calendar of beautiful Australian land and seascapes and places of interest. 

It was so much fun opening those thoughtful, unique gifts.  I'm so glad Fiona decided to do that for me.  Sometimes it's very hard waiting from the day you open your ornament until Christmas Day when you can open your big present, lol.  At least for me it is, 'cause I love prezzies!

My big present from Fiona is a beautiful runner in lots of pretty, cheerful colors.  I love it!  My picture didn't come out too good with all the little gifts, so I put it over a chair in my living room to take another picture.  It looks so great there that I think I'll leave it there.  At least until we get past this dreary, dark, snowy, rainy weather this winter.  It brightens up my living room immensely.  Isn't it great?

So thank you, Fiona, for all the lovely gifts you sent me.  I am enjoying all of them and am so thankful for having you as my swap-from partner this year.

And thanks, as always, to Donna for continuing this great swap tradition in 2013 and to Trish for helping Donna so she would continue it.  Hope you gals were on the receiving end of some wonderful goodies, just like I was.

And to all of you, from Sharon and the kitties, Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash....

 See you in 2014.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

My stocking stuffer goodies....

are all unwrapped and Patsy and Johnny and I have oohed and aahed over them all.  The kitties helped (?) unwrap everything and decided they liked the pretty ribbons best.  Typical!  But I love all the goodies my S&H girlfriends picked out for me.

Last year (the first year of the swap) we all got a new stocking from our swapper.  Rebecca had me and made a gorgeous embroidered snowman stocking for January.
This year, we had to make a small bag to put the stocking overflow in.  Denise had me this January and made the cutest reindeer bag, that Johnny Cash had to check out.

In February, Barb chose these goodies for me.
  March, Trina gifted me with these neat stuffers.
In April, Nola made me this cute pincushion that she had wrapped in fabric.
May brought a shower of great tools from Denise
And June brought a R/W/B  FQ bundle from Dorene and a special pin in memory of my sweet Katie, the original marmalade cat, who went over the Rainbow Bridge in January.  Dorene knew that painful anniversary was near and wanted me to have something to comfort me.  Her note and thoughtfulness made me cry, but I'll cherish this pin forever.

July brought this darling cat and mouse pincushion made for me by Denise.
In August, Barb sent me this great seam ripper with the eraser end and a gorgeous FQ.
 September had Rebecca making me these darling embroidery machine Christmas tree earrings and adding a bunch of other goodies, too.
In October, Nola made me a sewing kit that I put right under my sewing machine to keep my tools handy and also included needles and a marker.
And to finish the year, we're supposed to make or buy a Christmas ornament for our gift.  But Rebecca knew that I was not putting up my Snowbaby tree this year because Johnny Cash has been so bad getting into stuff (he is still a baby you know, and into everything!).  So instead she made me this beautiful dressmaker's dolly pincushion.  Isn't it gorgeous?
Patsy had to check this beauty out for herself, lol.  And then all the other goodies received.

All in all, this swap was so much fun - even though we had to wait all year long to finally see what was in all  those little packages arriving monthly that we couldn't peek, pinch, or shake.  The end result more than made up for the frustration we felt each month, lol.  The girls were so generous and made good use of all the year-long sales for notions and fabrics.  In fact, they had so much fun they insisted I run this swap one more year.  So check back in 2014 and see what turns up then.

Until tomorrow (and the Chookyblue SSCS swap results)...
Happy quilting from Sharon, Patsy Cline, and Johnny Cash

Friday, December 27, 2013

After Christmas....

there is usually a big let down.  You've been so busy and now--nothing to do.

BUT..not this year!  
This year, I have presents still to open and enjoy.  I saved some goodies to enjoy in a quiet, relaxed atmosphere.  I'm getting smarter in my old age, lol.

I ran a Stocking Stuffer Swap for my ScrappyandHappy Yahoo group again this year, and because things were so crazy here, I haven't had time to open all the presents from my "girls" in the swap yet.  So tonight - with nothing on TV to watch and sore arms from too much sewing and cooking and wrapping  - I'm going to sit down and enjoy unwrapping all those goodies that my sewing buddies have sent me over the past year.

You see, we have to send a package every month to our swap buddy for that month, BUT it has to go right into the stocking/bag for the swap--WITH NO PEEKING OR SQUEEZING OR PINCHING!!  So all year long, these little goodies are piling up and we're on our honor not to snoop.  Do ya' know how hard that is??  I've heard from some of the girls that they've been busy unwrapping and oohing and aahing over their little gifties, but a few of us still have that pleasure to go.  So tonight it's time.  I can't stand to wait any longer.  I'll try to take pics and post later so you can see all the goodies the girls sent over the past year.

Then tomorrow--I have my swap from Australia to open!  I've participated in Chookyblue's Secret Santa Christmas Swap since 2008 and just love doing it.  Those Australian gals do the most beautiful stitchery and make the neatest handmade gifts you could ever want.  I've posted pics over the years of all the lovely gifts I've received and tomorrow I'll share with you what my swap partner, Fiona, has sent me.

Until then, take a few minutes and check out all the new links I've posted on the sidebar of my blog.  I've listed a ton of new BOM's (Blocks of the Month) for you to get involved in next year.  One has already started and another has posted an extra paper-pieced block of a Christmas Stocking to get you in the mood.

From now on, I may not do an actual post on the blog, but I will be updating the sidebars frequently with all the free patterns and hops and BOM's I can find for you.  So make sure to stop in often and see what's new.  Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash also want me to post more pics of them from time to time, so I'll be doing that, too.  Plus photos from my different sewing groups and their projects.  Soooooo, the format might be a little different, but please stop in, look around, and maybe leave us a comment.  The kitties love it when you write about how cute they are.

Until next time....
Happy quilting from Sharon, Patsy Cline, and Johnny Cash

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Merry Christmas to all our family and friends, wherever you may be. Have a safe and happy holiday however you choose to celebrate. 

Thank you to all our veterans for your service and for making it possible for us to celebrate as we please.  God Bless you and your families.

Merry Christmas

From Sharon, Patsy Cline, and Johnny Cash

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope you get to spend a wonderful Thanksgiving with your friends and family.  Be safe and happy.

From Sharon and the Marmalade Kitties, Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash

Monday, November 4, 2013

I'm being a copy-cat today....

Usually I write my own post about any new blog hops or projects I find on the net to share with you.  But today I'm going to copy verbatim from the Sew Mama Sew blog about the 7th Annual Handmade Holidays series that started Nov 1st.  All the info is posted there, so it's silly of me to re-post it my own words, when she's already done such a great job of it.  So here you go:

Handmade Holidays is a long-running tradition here at Sew Mama Sew. It’s our favorite time of the year! Every year we love to help you find the best tutorials, recipes and printables. It’s our sincere hope that the series inspires you to create for the people in your life, infusing your gifts with love, care and beauty. The season is a whirl of excitement so we start early, giving you a new round of ideas every day in November. This year we invited guest curators to find the best tutorials. Their fresh perspectives make this our biggest and best Handmade Holidays yet! We also have a tremendous number of fabulous giveaways (it grows every year!). Stop by every day in November for a chance to win a new craft book, fabric, patterns, gift certificates and more. We have more updates coming soon, and we kick off our first day this Friday, November 1!

We have a fabulous set of prizes for you to win throughout Handmade Holidays! Each week you can comment to win craft books, fabric and more. Visit each day to find out what you can win (and what you'll want to add to your holiday wish list).

So head over to Sew Mama Sew now and check out the prizes and great ideas for your holiday season!  See ya' there.

Until next time...
Happy quilting from Sharon, Patsy Cline, and Johnny Cash 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Some new blog hops coming up....

 The Wicked Blog Hop
 just finished and next in line is For the Boys Blog Hop.  Think anything and everything BOYS.  Projects that boys will love... quilts, nap sacks, sleeping bags, pillows...you name it...there's sure to be lots of inspiration for projects for the boys in your life.

After that is Black Tie Boogie, Rooster Blog Hop, where the bloggers will create anything with roosters, turkeys, hens, or chicks.  Anything from kitchen accessories, 3D roosters, whatever, as long as they use roosters, hens, or  chicks in their project..  So if you have a barnyard fetish, lol, be sure to check out these chic(k) projects.

Links for both hops are in my sidebar.

Today over at The Quilting Gallery voting starts for a new Quilters’ Show & Tell. The category is Halloween Fun Quilts.  Any quilt size and technique is acceptable, so I decided to enter the Cat Magic quilt that I pattern tested for Jess over at the Quilt 'N Needle last year.
I showed it to you a couple of days ago after I finally got it bound and on display.  I think it's the perfect Halloween quilt--it has a black cat on it!
So make sure to stop in later and look over all the Halloween quilts that will be on display.  And if you like my "JD" memory quilt, I'd love a vote from you.  Voting is Friday thru Monday morning, Nov 1st-Nov 4th, so vote for your favorite Halloween quilts.

Until next time,
Happy quilting from Sharon, Patsy Cline, and Johnny Cash

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween !!!!

My second favorite holiday of the year!  I love the colors of fall, the kids in all their costumes, giving out candy to all the excited trick or treaters (although where I live, we never have any trick or treaters, bummer!), and all the Halloween decorations.

The 2013 Wicked Blog Hop already started on Oct 22nd, but if you stop over to my friend Joan's, blog, Moosestash Quilting, you can see all her wonderful Halloween projects.  She is so talented and I covet her collection of Halloweenie items.  If she lived closer, she'd be missing a few of them, lol.  Then check this page for the list of bloggers participating.  You'll see some fabulous example of why I love Halloween decos.

Amy's annual Blogger's Quilt Festival has started.  Be sure to stop in every day and see all the wonderful quilts made by bloggers from all over.  You'll find lots of inspiration for your future projects!

My friend Joan is entered in this one - check out her entry called Wish Upon a Star.  Isn't it beautiful?  Go to her blog and view all the other pictures of this quilt, you won't be sorry!
Then mark your calendar and vote for her in the Applique Category from November 1 – 7th.

I found these 2 cute Halloween quilts on the web years ago, but never could get the patterns.  Aren't they cute?
I'll leave you with some cute Halloween cartoons.  Hope you have a safe and happy Halloween.

Happy quilting and Happy Halloween from Sharon and the Marmalade kitties, Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash