When I was a kid, we lived on the Milwaukee River, in Thiensville, right on the end of the park. We could put on our skates, walk thru the snow to the river and skate on the bumpy stuff down to the area where the city shaved a couple acres worth of ice and maintained a warming hut. I purely loved that part of my life, it was so fun to skate at night and see the big fluffy snowflakes drifting down thru the lights they erected so we could see to skate. We would bury bottles of Coke in the snow to stay icy cold, I remember when twist off tops were brand new, that was so convenient for us! Yeah, I just told you my age, didn't I? lol I had the cutest skates, too. They were very white and kind of chunky, which was the style in shoes at that time. Most of the skates you saw were slender and very pointy, but not mine, they were rounded off and looked very different. I loved them. I remember my mom scowling at me when I insisted that I had to have them, she wanted to get me some used skates (there was a big market in used skates) but somehow I managed to convince her that I really had to have those rounded ones and I remember wearing them long after they were waaaaay too tight because I knew I'd never con her out of another cool pair.
See the binding? That it what it looked like when it would snow at night and we were skating. We weren't usually allowed out after dinner on school nights, but when the river was frozen, we were allowed to skate. So we LOVED winter! Now, I would freeze to death and die.
The ice fabric started out a bright blue and silver metallic, but I bleached it out to this dark aqua color, so it would look more like ice. A piece of fabric gave me the perfect selvage for the title of this little mug rug. It says "Tidings of Great Joy" and I thought it was just right on this, plus that big expanse of sky really needed something. Jim kept telling me to leave well enough alone because he knows I can crap something up in a flash. :) I think the selvage title is just right, though.
"Merry Christmas" was modeled after a painting designed by Sandi Strecker, I found it as a free
download at Artist's Club. The holly leaves are the label, as shown in a previous blog post. I got the candy cane binding fabric from uberstitch. Like in the painting pattern, it seems just right on this. I stitched each letter down in matching thread and then I went around each letter with black, to make them stand out a bit more on the piece. You can't really see it in the photo, but it was very effective. Some more straight line quilting and it was done! It needed something in a corner and I needed a label, so the holly leaves were just perfect. The red bells/berries came off of cat collars, I have about 50 of them from back when I used to buy cat collars at Wal-Mart, before I started making our own.
And when I got home, look what I found in my mailbox, waiting for ME! Made by Ruthie, one of the very best quilters I know....
"Reindeer Pausing" (we're sure they are up to no good!) Isn't this the cutest thing? The doors open, there is snow on the roof, candy cane poles by the door, an adorable Santa Elf inside the door, buttons, snowflakes, 2 rascally reindeer, and the coolest tree that ever was! The amount of amazing quilting and all the details really make this a special mug rug/wall quilt. I purely love it!
And lucky, lucky me- she also sent me this one- "NP Elfementary"! Nosey Parker thinks the NP is her initials so she thinks this is for her, but she's wrong, it stands for North Pole. In each window is a little elf hard at work, making gifts and toys for good little girls and boys. It's another work of art, sheer perfection, MAYBE I'll bring myself to use it, but it's awfully precious and fun. I love everything about it, just like the other one.
So another swap is done, over, finished..... it was a huge success as far as I am concerned! I had a wonderful partner and she sent me 2 fabulous mug rugs and I think she liked the ones I sent her, too. Thanks again, Ruthie, for making me 2 little works of art!