Christmas Lollypop Tree Wallhanging

Christmas Lollypop Tree Wallhanging

I finally was able to stitch down the petals, dots and branches of my Christmas Lollypop Tree Wallhanging, figure out the borders (I referred to the antique Lollypop Quilt for ideas) and get it all stitched together.  Lacking: quilting, and a border, so it looks a bit incomplete, but like I always say, it’s nice to be at this point!  I think I’ve cornered the market on red and white and kelly-green and white fabrics.  Funny how our stashes will tilt one way while we’re working on a quilt, then veer into another direction when the next project comes along.  This is one thing I’ve been working on for this Works In Progress Wednesday Post, hosted by Lee of Freshly Pieced.  Thanks, Lee!

WIP new button

Earbud Zipper Pouch top

Another thing that has been in the works, but couldn’t show before is the little earbud holder.  I used Dog Under My Desk‘s pattern, and it went together pretty quickly.  I gave it to a friend, for she and I have what we call “sushi therapy,” where we get together and vent about our students (she’s a professor, too). I think between the sushi and the venting, we maintain our sanity (but this semester is really trying our patience!).

Earbud Zipper Pouch

I fussy cut out a bit of fabric that has a piece of sushi saying “You’re really really rice” and appliqued it on to the inside bottom of the pouch.  My friend laughed.

Tote Bag

And I made her a bag from my favorite pattern by Grand Revival: “Practical Bag,” with some book fabric that she gave me (I’m such a nice girl, that I’m sharing!).  I’ve made this pattern a ton of times.  I made it in New York fabric for my sister who lived in New York for 18 months on a church mission, so she could carry her groceries back home after shopping.  I made it for a friend who came to visit from Iowa and whose husband is a pastor (BTW, they just got a call to move to Brisbane, so she’ll be joining all my Australian friends very soon).  I’ve made a couple for me, and a bunch for I don’t know who else.  I originally purchased it for my daughter to make and traced off the pattern for me in case she had questions.  But soon, I bought my own and an extra.  What will I do with this?

Grand Revival Practical Bag

(They are much better at styling their photo, I think.)  So. . . I think I’ll drop it into the mail to one of my readers!  As usual, readers get one chance and followers get two chances, but leave a comment if you’d like me to mail you my extra pattern. But to qualify, tell me what you’ll make your bag to hold. . . or to who you’ll give it away to if your idea is to make it for a gift.

I can make this bag up in under an hour, and it holds quite a lot of groceries, or sewing for a doctor’s office trip, or snacks for the kids, or things to return for your errands.  I’ll use the tried and true husband-pick-a-number method of selecting someone (although if you’re very clever in what you say, I might have to override him).  Giveaway will end Friday morning when I drag myself out of bed, so make sure to leave your email so I can contact you.

And if you want to know what I’ll be doing while you write interesting things?  I’ll be quilting my Christmas Lollypop Tree and grading Drama tests (grading is NEVER done).  Thanks for reading, and Good luck!

Cranking out those Lollies!

Cranking is probably the wrong word.  It takes me the better part of a day to get one of these pinned, just because I have to leave time for pulling out all of the Kaffe fabrics I own, distributing them around on every flat surface in my sewing room (I have been known to pull out the portable tray tables for another surface) and then finding NOTHING I want, make a run to the fabric store for more. (Oh, and by the way, there’s news about my tiny giveaway at the end.)

Lollypop Tree Wallhanging ESE_1

So maybe cranky is a better word.  That’s always I how I feel in the middle of one of these blocks.  And also when I look up at the one that’s All Done and I realize the mauvey pink leaves are all wrong all wrong.

Lollypop False StartAnd so were these attempts to fix the problem.  I was able to find these because in the middle of all this angst, when my entire color-themed cupboard was exploded, I decided to tidy up.

Cleaned Closet

Pretty, right?  Notice I didn’t show you the other closet.

But I persisted, cranky or not.

Class Sample Lollypop Tree Block

By switching out some of the larger circles it finally came together, so cross that one off my list.  I’m also trying to pay attention to how I begin and work through these knots just in case my class carries and I will actually teach it.  I’m going to bring chocolate for when they hit the cranky part–that ought to help.

Christmas Start

I wanted to try to make a RED-background Lollypop Tree for the holidays.  I pulled out my Piece O Cake books and patterns as Becky Goldsmith does such wonderful things with red backgrounds, but whatever I worked with didn’t look holiday-ish enough to suit me.

Lolly Christmas Start


Lolly Christmas Start1

Christmas Lollypop Tree

So I made it to here, and am going to let it rest.

Giveaway Spring 1

When I was a local quilt show, I picked up a few fun buttons to giveaway on my blog that have sewing-related themes.

Giveaway Spring 2

And because I cleaned out my sewing cupboard, I’m throwing in a bit of fabric to go with them.

Giveaway Spring 2 back

The second group, with the “power tool” button is a few larger squares of boy-oriented fabric for those quilts for sons or grandsons, or an I-spy quilt you may want to make.

Giveaway Spring 1 back

The first batch of fabrics (“Hot Stuff”) has couple of fat quarter solids and a trio of fun novelties.

Name Game Button

Cindy, of Live a Colorful Life, is hosting me on her Name Game on her blog on April 8th, Monday.  To win one of those buttons, and the bits of fabric that go with them, check back on MONDAY, the same day her feature will post.  Don’t leave comments below for the giveaway, as I’ll only draw from Monday’s comments.  As usual, you get one chance for your comment, and one more chance if you are a follower of this blog (and leave a comment).  I’m hoping you’ll head over to Cindy’s blog and see what she has written (thanks! Cindy), and you can also leave a comment on Cindy’s blog for her buttons (she has two different ones).

Okay, now I have to go and clean up my sewing room.

Really? It’s Wednesday?

I’m not yet “jammified” (in my p.j.’s) but I could be, for how energetic I (don’t) feel.  Bob Hope noted that “You never get tired unless you stop and take time for it.”  So I’ve taken some time for it this week, after my Ta DA! post of earlier.  I also heard Joyce Carol Oates once talk about how, after a novel was newly finished, she took her time to coming back from working–she read poetry until she felt sufficiently ready to start work again.

I was asked to teach a class on the Lollypop Tree quilt, as I’ve noted before, I made up my own pattern, and thought I should get going on the class sample.  It was intended to be a Kaffe-fabricked Christmasy design on Kona red.  What it ended up becoming was a whimsical Kaffe-fabricked design on aqua polkadots.  The red one is still in my future. . . perhaps tomorrow, after I grade some of the late essays and finish up prep for class.

Leaf Progression LollypopI became stuck on this one leaf.  You can see the progression, of trying desperately to become unstuck, and I just noticed I put two of the same in the photo.  Ignore that.

Lollypop Tree Wallhanging ESE

I finally got to this point, and although I’m still not happy with parts of it, most of it is coming together.

Eric Maisel said that “If, because of anxiety and self-doubt, you procrastinate and only think about working, you’ll feel more exhausted than if you’d created for hours.” I certainly had a lot of that going on today, but I think it was also because I was listening to the end of a Graham Greene novel, which was driving me a bit batty.  Then I switched to This American Life and listened to the two-part episode about Harper High School, which starts *here* and ends *here,* which I’m still thinking about, and which should be required listening for every American, no matter where you stand on the gun-control debate.  It was sad, frustrating, illuminating and it got me working through my puny problems of how different pinks should go where.  Perspective is always a valuable thing.

Then I went downstairs to the kitchen and made two dinners: tonight’s and tomorrow’s, as I don’t get home from class until later and my husband and I just aren’t up for cooking, or for going out.

Leon Golden Egg

After dishes, I finished off a good book–the latest Guido Brunetti mystery–and then traced off and cut out another Lollypop Tree, ESE-style, to begin again tomorrow with a red background, for my  shop sample for the class.

I was talking to a biologist friend once, describing how sometimes I felt as there was nothing creative coming forward (this was when I was an undergrad in Creative Writing) and yet the deadlines didn’t seem to go away.  “Ah,” she said.  “You’re in lag phase.”  I didn’t know exactly what it meant, but the gist of it was that while I felt like I was doing nothing, my ideas were percolating, growing, or “metabolically active” as a biologist would say, before I entered a time of real growth (log phase, if you must know).  I’ve experienced this more than once.  During that time, I feel unfocused, blasé, wiped out, or just plain stupid, if you must know the truth.  I ingest vast amounts of silly internet videos, or lollygag through quilt images online, or read blogs without commenting.  Then slowly, something shifts, I become truly bored with being bored and I get back to work.

“If you work it will lead to something. It’s the people who do all of the work all the time who eventually catch on to things.” –Sister Corita Kent

WIP new button


Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

This and That for a WIP Wednesday

WIP new button

Many thanks to Lee of Freshly Pieced Fabrics for hosting all of us quilters on WIP Wednesday.


Picked up this pattern at the Glendale Quilt Show and slid in one more project before my Spring Break ended.  I love the vinyl see-through fronts, so I can find those scissors. . . or spool of thread.  I’ve already packed up one with a hand-sewing project.


The project is a little bird pincushion made of felted wool fabrics.  Now to find some movie-watching time to work on it.


What else am I working on?  Our next Four-in-Art reveal is about a month away, and we had to move the deadline because some of us were panicking.  I resolve to not panic anymore.  (Which involves getting stuff done early.)

California Christmas Tree

I’m teaching a class for a local quilt shop (if peeps sign up. . .) and while it’s based on the idea of large globular shapes in a roughly floral design, I didn’t want to copy Kim McLean’s fine work.


So I pulled up the original quilt from the 1880’s, and tried to combine elements that had that funky vibe.  I just finished it, and after I order some kind of Kona red (do you know how many reds there are in the Kona fabric rainbow?), I’ll start constructing a vaguely Christmasy-Hollandish wall hanging for my sample in blues and greens on a red background.

Bit of EPP

I’m also working on this one — in my mind.  The quilt top is pinned to its backing and laying over the chair in our living room while my subconscious mind figures out a way to quilt it.

I’m trying to be patient.  Lollypop Trees isn’t even pinned to a backing yet as my subconscious can only handle one quilt at a time.  There are many other ideas working their way forward, but that’s enough for today, I think.  Click *here* to head back over to Freshly Pieced and see other fabulous Works-in-Progress.

Lollypop Tree Top Finished

LollypopTree Top Finished

Rhonda and I started talking about this about three years ago, thinking we’d do it together.  We’d both admired it, yet were daunted by all the work.  Yep, it was a lot of work, but I’m happy to say that I’ve finished the top and ready to start obsessing thinking about the backing and how to quilt this thing.

LollypopTree detail1

LollypopTree detail2

LollypopTree detail3

So I guess you could say my work in progress is ongoing, but I prefer to think of the next phase as different quilt; while in actuality it is the same, I think I’d prefer to swivel around in my chair while I’m grading, gaze at this draped in all its glory on my pinwall, and just enjoy a completed top for a while.

WIP new button

I’m linking up to Lee’s Freshly Pieced Work in Progress Wednesday, guest-hosted by Claire.  She has a wild shot of a quilt by an airport control tower that’s worth seeing.  Great commentary, too.

But — hallelujah! — tomorrow I’ll have a picture of my first March finish. See you then.

WIP and FAL are real motivation!

WIP new button

I’ve been doing Lee’s Work In Progress Wednesdays for a long time now, and I love participating and reading her blog.  Head back there to see more of what others are working on.

FinishALong Button

And Leanne’s Finish-A-Long has certainly focused what I’m working on.  I’ll get back to posting up Road to California pictures next post, but here’s what I’m working on today.

EPP outer pieces

I’ve finally figured out the outer pieces of my EPP quilt.  And the border after this, too.  Now just to sit and watch something interesting on television, so I can finish it up.  What to watch now that Downton Abbey’s all finished, and the Oscar broadcast is over?  I do have some interesting Netflix coming.  By the way, if you like quirky movies, I can recommend Moonrise Kingdom.

Lollypop Tree Border Blocks2

And I finished appliqueing all the pieces on my Lollypop Tree Border Blocks.  Now I have to cut away the backs of those that have freezer paper in them, pull out the paper, then press them.  When that happens, it means that all the components of the Lollypop Tree quilt will be ready to be put together.  I first saw Kim McLean’s pattern on the blog for Material Obsession–a blog you should defininitely have in your Reader.

Lollypop Tree Border Blocks3

A few of my favorites.  Happy Quilting!