Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ahhhh, My Friend

It is still 2013 here in Phoenix as I write this post.  The New Year has come already to the East Coast.                                  Happy New Year Family and Friends!!

Every year, my friend Kim and I swap Birthday gifts.  I think opening her gift to me is the highlight of my Birthday each year!! (My birthday is December 27th)
Well, this year she sent me 3 lovely charm packs (Fig Tree & Co.), some white yardage, and a pack of English paper piecing papers (The 6-Pointed Diamond).  You know, all I need is another addiction!
Being the thoughtful person she is, Kim told me it was for me to have hand work to keep me busy on the plane when I travel and for those lonely nights in my hotel room.  (I have a job that requires quite a bit of travel.)  Well, I had to take it out, touch it, feel it, research it . . .

                                                Oh My!!!! This is turning out to be quite fun!

So Dearest Kim, Thank you very much!  I will be sure to post photos of the finished project (at this point I have no idea what it will be!)

Don't forget to return during the Kona Blog Hop!

Happy Sewing. . .

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Best Christmas Ever . . .

I am sure I am not alone when I say the last couple of weeks have been a bit crazy!  Those projects for Christmas gifts that need to be done "just right", the extra things that come up - like wonderful out of town guests you want to cook for, shopping for the perfect gift for loved ones, making sure those who live out of town get their boxes on time . . .
Here at the Rayes house, we had a little extra excitement.  My youngest son, Joel, was coming home from Afghanistan!!!!  We knew he would be stateside by Christmas and thought we would surprise him with a trip to El Paso (Ft. Bliss) to spend Christmas Day with him. Then, I received notice from the Family Readiness Group there would be a homecoming ceremony in Phoenix the day before Christmas!!  That meant the soldiers would all be here! 

Joel - Child #8, son #5 -

This photo is a couple of years old.  Lots of pictures were taken at the homecoming but gosh darn - I can't seem to find any!  Will post some later if my kids share with me  :)

Just having Joel back made for the perfect Christmas!  He has had to put up with hugs and kisses at random times.  I think he is OK with that though!  I haven't heard him complain!  Joel's wish for Christmas was to be able to see and spend time with his family.  I think this was his best so far too!

Thursday, December 19, 2013


This post is to let you all know of a great product I recently came across.
Here's the scoop:

The Compliance Team I work with had a team meeting the first week of December.  One of our fun activities was to have a "White Elephant" gift exchange.  There were 23 of us and I drew number 22.  How fun to get to see all the gifts opened and then have the opportunity to choose what I wanted!!!

Being the coffee snob (Starbucks Fan) that I am, everyone thought for sure I was going to go for the gift that was all coffee related.

 Ahhh, not so! 

When one of my teammates opened a gift that was homemade, I quickly decided THAT was going to be my choice!  Each gift could only be stolen three times so I was crossing my fingers behind my back, just hoping it would not be stolen to prevent ME from being the ultimate thief!

Alas, my turn came and the gift was available.   So, WHAT was the gift?   Homemade Sugar Scrubs!
My friend Beth and her daughter made these yummy sugar scrubs that are TOTALLY edible (but that is not what they are made for), and smell like heaven!! I guess you could say they were heaven scent.

I ordered some and here is a sample of what I got:

The scents available (so far) are:  Ginger Lemongrass, Lavender, Vanilla Brown Sugar, Spiced Coffee, Peppermint Sugar, and Mechanics (a sandalwood scent). 
She made me a special one - Spiced Coffee (YUM).  I will let you know what I think  *wink*
These are available in plastic or glass containers.  Beth was very clever to use the plastic! She was thinking ahead to hazards of oil, bathtubs, glass . . .

You can order from her too!  Here is her information: 

                                             Beth Ringwald, Scrubsations, 720-252-2514

Let's help Beth and her daughter with their new endeavor AND benefit from their talents!!!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Getting things Done!

I have had a great week(end) going into this week!  I went to Texas for work last week and was so jazzed to have completed my work almost completely by the time we left Dallas!  Flying home, we came through some gorgeous water filled clouds and I asked the Lord to let the rain come down on Phoenix.  Well, it was obviously in His plan and we had wonderful rain Thursday night, all day Friday and Saturday with sunshine and clouds with a little bit of sprinkles on Sunday.  For those who live in states other than Arizona, it may be hard to understand how we CRAVE the rain!  Believe it or not, sometimes the sun can be tiring!
Well . . . all the rain, dark clouds, and cooler weather encouraged me to get to work!  I quilted the gorgeous Christmas Tree skirt my sister Diane made in August.  Here are some photos:

Above is a photo of the whole thing hanging on the fence by the pool.  Diane will need to cut into the skirt, cutting up one side and cutting out a circle in the center, then binding it.
I did a cross-hatch in the center area.  I think it looks pretty cool!
The narrow green border was begging for some decorative stitching.  I love my sewing machine!  I used two different built in stitches with my super cool walking foot.
Here's another view
The red border has decorative stitching on each side.
Not knowing Diane's plans for the outside edge, I decided to use another decorative stitch on the white border.  The border is about 1 1/2 inches.  She might choose to cut it off.
It's hard to see, but I did a small meander stitch in the green print area.
I guess one would say this was "custom" quilted.  I am excited to see the finished product!
I finished the Christmas tree skirt on Saturday.  Well, that spurred me on to finish another project I have shown on my blog.  It is downright embarrassing to admit that I did not finish it until - YESTERDAY!!!  But, I am happy to say that today I packaged it up and mailed it off.
Here is the finished baby quilt for my friend Riche's first grandchild!  Myka was born in late May and Riche told me when I saw her in June that she likes PINK!!!
The sun was shining and it was difficult to get a great shot.
I hand outlined the hearts. The outlined each 10 inch block, did an "X" in each small square, and also outlined the inside smaller block around the heart.
I always love looking at the back of quilts!
Here's another view.
I used more decorative stitching in the sashing.  Above is a heart swirl.
Below is a balloon pattern.

I made a label.
Well, it didn't end there!  My newly married son texted me and asked me to send him my Hunger Games Books (because the second movie opened last weekend).  When I put them in the box to mail, there seemed to be more room.  I decided to try out a Patrick Lose pattern I saw in the latest Celebrations magazine.  This is what I made to send to my new daughter in law:

Pretty cute, huh?
Unfortunately, I managed to get a steam burn on three of my fingers from the iron when I was pressing the binding.  But after a couple of hours of whining, I am fine  :)
The long weekend ahead promises to be a busy one with working on Christmas gifts.  What are you all up to? Leave me a comment and let me know! 
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

What is WRONG With Me???

This past week was pretty busy and this next week will be even busier! Can't wait until Thanksgiving week when I will (hopefully) have more time to sew!!

I made a quick trip to Denver for work and was able to meet up with my son Jared, and his new bride Aria, for dinner!  They were married on October 12th and are now living in Colorado Springs during his first assignment to Ft. Carson.  We had a nice dinner and it was lots of fun to spend time with them. I was showing them photos of daughter Hannah's baby shower when they both said "I miss home".   Well, that always makes a Mother's heart swell!  So happy they love the home they grew up in but how exciting they now get to start creating a home of their own!

My middle name should be P-r-o-c-r-a-s-t-i-n-a-t-i-o-n!!!   I promised my sister I would quilt the gorgeous Christmas Tree Skirt she made but I got a little side tracked - on these:

So I am compelled to ask what is wrong with me?  I can't seem to stop with the stockings!  It's hard to tell the size of these from the photos but they are small.  On my trip to Denver, I stopped in a quilt shop in Littleton and bought a pattern by Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree & Co.  I wanted to make them out of NON-CHRISTMAS fabric to see how they would look.  They are CUTE!!

Her pattern is downloadable.  Here's a photo:

Visit her website to download your copy!!

Well, I need to start quilting that Christmas Tree Skirt!!!   I am off to Dallas tomorrow for most of the week. Can't wait until I get back so that I can sew some more!!
Hope you all have a great week.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Yippee! I'm In!

See the new icon on the right?  I have been accepted to join this blog hop that will happen in January.  I have a couple of neat ideas that I look forward to trying out!  Be sure to plan on checking out all the talent that will be on display for those 10 days.
Have a great week - I will write again next weekend.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Sappy Sappy Sappy!!

I must confess - I so dearly enjoy the Sappy Christmas Movies that are played on Hallmark and Lifetime at this time of year!  It started last Saturday and I am SURE if I don't scale back, I will be tired of it all by the time Christmas gets here  :)

I am a talented lady and as I write this post, ( I know how to multi-task)  I am watching "Snow Bride" on the Hallmark Channel.  My kids (they are all adults now) show up occasionally to let me know how sad I am.

I have been busy sewing too!  This is what I did today:

Not a real great photo, I know. But, I was trying my hand at a little Victorian project.
The Victorian projects I have viewed have a LOT of BLING!! I am not a very bling-y type of person so this was a little difficult.
One of the purposes of this project was to use fabric from one of the lines my sister and I purchased in the summer.  I also made this:

A pillow case. I watched the Missouri Star Quilt Company tutorial on Youtube to check out how to sew it "hot dog" style.  I decided to do French seams on the inside.  It looks very nice!

Well, back to "Snow Bride".  It is easy to figure out they will fall in love and then have a difficult time trusting each other once he figures out she is not who she said she was.  Oh but it is still fun!

Off to Denver for a quick trip this week then more sewing when I am home.  Hope everyone has a great week!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Quilt Market Part II

Wow, it's hard to believe at this time last week sister and I were physically exhausted but mentally stoked!!  We spent last Saturday working with a fabric rep and drooling over the beautiful fabrics that will be released next year.  We purchased 2 lines - they will be coming out at different times. We also purchased some fabrics that will be shipped this month (how exciting!!!).

But . . . let's start at the top of the day.  Here is a picture from the Convention Center in Houston:

Sister Diane enjoying the morning before Market opened:

Once the market opened, we just HAD to stop and check out the sit down models of the Gammil sewing machines.  This is Diane making a mug rug  (I had to explain to her what a mug rug is - we used to call them coasters! Diane is older than me and learning new lingo is more difficult for her. She has probably asked me 3 to 4 times what a mug rug is!)  :)  Love you Sis!

Towards the end of the day, I managed to spot Holly Holderman of Lakehouse Fabrics.  Not only is she a talented woman, she is very kind and gracious, too!  This photo was for my friend Kim! She LOVES everything Lakehouse!

 This past week was crazy!  Got home from Market on Sunday, left for Denver Tuesday morning (work related), got home Thursday evening.  Then we had a baby shower for daughter Hannah. She is expecting her first baby - A GIRL!!!

Hannah wants to decorate the baby's room with letters so we bought the alphabet in different sizes and fonts.  We set up a painting and decorating station for the shower guests to show off their creative abilities.  Here are some photos of what the finished product looks like:

Neat idea, huh?
Well, I am off to San Antonio tomorrow for a conference on the software the company I work for is using.  Hopefully I will learn all kinds of things this week!
Until next week!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Houston Quilt Market

What a crazy weekend!  Sister Diane and I are both en route to our homes (different directions) now after having a great weekend together in Houston.  Our creative juices - right along with our silly and zany ones - were running amuck!  We took educational and inspirational classes, visited vendor booths, and met some wonderful people who had all kinds of nuggets of gold to share with us.
BUT FIRST, We decided to prepare ourselves for what dear hubby might say when he learns how much $$$ we spent . . .

I am planning on blaming Diane but she says .. .
This was just tooo funny to pass up! It was right there by the Southwest Ticket Counter at the Houston Airport!

We stayed at a very nice hotel not too terribly far from the Convention Center.  It was the Doubletree by Hilton. About a mile away, we decided to forgo the shuttle and hoof it.  By the end of Friday, this is what my pedometer app told me:
Now, I happen to believe this is an error. But we really walked about 15,000 steps!  By the time we got back to the hotel on Friday night, all we could do was GROAN like a couple of old ladies!!!
By the way, this represents a couple of round trips from hotel to convention center and back.  Diane had one more round trip than me because she forgot to take her medication and had to go back and get it!!!!!
Opening session For School house was done by Andover Fabrics.  They have the license to do a line based on one of my favorite shows,   Downton Abbey.
They flew in the show's costume designer and the show's set designer.  They both had lovely British Accents and It was fascinating to hear all about what they do.
The fabric line is beautiful and here are some photos of what they had made up:

Well, that's all for now!! I will post more later.