This is my Christmas cactus in full bloom. Isn't it gorgeous? From the top of the plant to the bottom of the longest frond measures about 36 inches. I've had this plant for many years and sometimes I get nice blooms on it, but this year is the absolute best it's ever been. Maybe the fertilizer I gave it last summer had something to do with it???
I finished the Christmas tree skirt that I'd promised daughter Tessa 3 years ago and here it is. I found the pattern for the ornament in another pattern and machine appliqued them against the cream on cream background fabric.
You can see that I simply outlined the appliques and then did a cross hatch for the background. I used gold metallic thread on the gold bow,m gold fastener thingy at the top of the ornament and on the gold back around the middle. Looks nice, I think.
I found a video from All People Quilt.com here: http://www.allpeoplequilt.com/videos/v/55621438/quilting-design-ideas-from-mabeth-oxenreider.htm and that helped a lot. Mabeth talks about outlining the applique and then stitching the straight lines up to the outline and stitching along the outline to move to the next straight line to be quilted. I bury all my threads in the batting as I go along, and not having to stop and cut the thread every time I ended up at the appliques saved me hours of time on this project. On the back, it looks pretty good although I admit there are a few spots where I got off the outline, but only a few.
Speaking of the back, for this tree skirt I used an old cotton sheet for backing. Several bloggers that I follow routinely use sheets for backing and, even though my quilting teacher cautioned against doing so, I tried it for the first time. And it will be the last time, as well! I suppose for people who stitch their bindings by machine it would be okay, but I hand sew my bindings and sewing through that sheet fabric was a b_ _ _ _ h! My fingers were so sore by the time I was finished! I'll stick with muslin for my backings, thank you very much.
Now I'm working on a tree skirt for myself. Tomorrow Don and Lily and I go to the tree farm to cut our tree and put it up, but the skirt won't be finished by then. Again, I'm machine appliqueing this project--holly leaves and berries--and I'll do the background in a meander so that will go fast. We don't have any gifts wrapped to put under the tree yet anyway so it'll be okay.
My Friday is packed full of things I need to do before I rest tonight, so I'll be busy all day. With luck I'll have time to work on my tree skirt after the chores are done. Tessa wants to go to Duluth on Sunday since we weren't able to go there last Sunday and we missed out on The Nutcracker. We had too much snow--over a foot and maybe closer to a foot and a half--and travel was not advised. Unfortunately, Ticketmaster refused to give us a refund or even a credit so I wasted a lot of money on that venture. If we go on Sunday (there's some talk about freezing rain this weekend) we'll go to to lunch, the fresh water aquarium, and the Christmas lights display on Park Point before we come back home. Should be a fun day for Lily--and us as well!