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This should be the last block I am making in the Around the World Quilting Bee: Christmas Edition. This is another 3D Christmas Star. Terrie asked us to use these classic Santa faces in her block some how.

The Santas were the perfect size to fussy cut for the squares. I have been hoarding this hand painted green fabric since I picked it up at the Sewing Expo several years ago. It reminded me of vintage mercury glass ornaments. The block is made in classic Christmas colors, but it worked well with the other blocks that had been made for her quilt.

Over all, I had fun in these two swaps. I met a bunch of great quilting ladies all over the planet, and will have two fun quilts from them. It did take a long time to complete them and I think I’ll stick to centralized swaps for awhile. Actually, I was going to hold off on swaps all together, but I was hooked by the Wild Things swap on the Missouri Star Quilting Company forum. If you haven’t checked out that site you should drop by. They have fabulous daily deals and even better, a great group of quilters that are always more than willing to help you out if you get stuck or just need a fresh pair of eyes!

These are the blocks I made for the Just One Star campaign.

They asked quilters to make one of these stars and send it in to help make quilts for injured soldiers. I figured I’d make how ever many I could get out of a half a yard of cream backing material. I was able to get 6 backgrounds. So I dug through my red and blue scraps and found the stars.
This is great for those of us who can’t make a whole quit top for groups like Quilts of Valor. We can all do a little something, and this is perfect. Thanks for offering this program, I hope it is wildly successful!

They are fairly easy, so If you have the time this week to make one and send it on, click here for the directions. They want them all in by May 1, 2011.

I have a few other things to share, but I need the input of the other swappers involved with this, so this post is cutting in.

OK, girls, which of these blocks are your favorite? I know we were supposed to use just the “Skin Print” of the animal, but I found this adorable zebra jumble fabric. I have made a block with the center panel of each.

Now you need to tell me which one you prefer to have in the swap. Have no fear of hurting my feelings on which you pick. The little miss has laid claim to a piece of the zebras we found in the rem bin the next time we went in to the store. So there will be some sort of Zebra quilt in the works for her, so neither fabric will go to waste.
You can reply here or on the forum page.

Saturdays like this give us all hope that spring is really on it’s way.

Today, not so much. It is raining. Again.

Well, we did it. We finally broke down and had to buy some new laundry cleaning devices.

The dryer had been eating things off and on for about 2 years. It had an affinity for buttons, pulls, and zippers. Recently it had also developed a taste for quilting cottons and underwear. The sounds it was making were worse than the clothes that it was eating. The drum rollers were wearing out and it would start shrieking as soon as you put in a load. If you were lucky it would only take 5 or 10 minutes before the load would settle and the drum would stop screaming. If luck wasn’t with you, it would squawk throughout the entire run

Just before leaving on our long weekend the washer was making a noise very similar to a blender full of marbles, or a teenager learning how to drive a stick shift. When I lifted the lid, the water was moving a little, but the agitator wasn’t. If I stood there with my hand pressing down on the top of the agitator it would turn the clothes over, albeit with a lot of grinding. Seeing as how I did not want to spend my time standing over the washer while it cleaned the clothes, it was time for new laundry appliances.

We hit Sears for their Friends and Family sale. I’m not sure we got any better of a deal than any other sale. It was still better than paying full price or going to the laundromat. We went for the High Efficiency top loading model. I couldn’t justify the extra bucks for the front loaders, and unless we either spent MORE money on pedestals or built one ourselves, I was going to be crawling on the floor to get theĀ  laundry out of the machines.

It took a bit of convincing for me to believe that they would get the clothes as clean with half the water, or less. We are hoping that the savings in the water bill, and electricity will help offset the cost of the units. I think the savings on the soap will be a big cut too. I am now using 2 Tblsp of laundry soap instead 1/3 to 1/2 cup per load. The pail we just bought at Costco should last us most of the year. I’ll put the date on the lid when I open it to see how long it lasts. I had my husband pick up a new tub just before we got the new gear, thinking that what I had left wouldn’t last the rest of the week. It’s been nearly two weeks and I still have soap in the old pail. Nice!

Once I figure out what all of the different cycles do, it will be great. Until then, I am keeping a copy of the owner’s manual page that explains the cycles stuck to the cupboard above the washer. They really should have put that chart under the lid! The clothes are coming out as clean or cleaner than the old machine was getting them. Now I just have to get used to the fact that my washer sounds a lot like my bread machine.