Monday, October 6, 2014

Road Trips

We won’t even talk about how long it’s been since I’ve updated my blog.
I am a huge fan of Deb Tucker of Studio 180 Design.  I first met her in New Hampshire at MQX about 6 or 7 years ago and have followed her progress ever since.  I find her fascinating to listen to and watch and her rulers are absolute genius!  My latest purchase was her LeMoyne Star ruler.  She has excellent instructional videos on line, but more for the road trip than the lesson, Lee, Nikki and I went to Buffalo one day to take a class on using this new tool.  It is SO easy and makes a perfect block every single time!

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Sandra and I spent a wonderful weekend in Rochester, NY.  She planned the whole thing and we visited the Jell-O Museum (the very fact that there is such a thing warranted a visit), a beautiful mall, a spa day, a visit to the George Eastman house which was amazing and finally a trip to the zoo before heading home.  We both had a ball and were particularly impressed with the George Eastman (of Eastman Kodak fame) house.  It is 35,000 square feet and has been restored to it’s original condition.  The guide told us that one New Year’s Eve over 900 guests were in the house.  Here are some shots from our weekend.

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The Eastman House and gardens.
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This wasn’t my favourite picture – he shot this elephant while on safari and while the tusks are the original, the original elephant’s head rotted and a replica had to be made.
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The crown moldings and decorative trim were unbelievable.
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Lee and I had our class with Bonnie Hunter.  I’m probably the only quilter in North America who feels this way, but I was very disappointed in her class (actually, there are 2 of us, as Lee felt the same way).  I knew the quilt we were making was an easy one – Blueridge Beauty – but I thought she would share all kinds of tips and tricks for scraps – like what sizes to cut them, how to sort them, etc.  Maybe we needed to go to the lecture to get that, but in her class we spent the morning making 4 patches and the afternoon sewing half square triangles.  I think I already knew how to do that!  In my opinion, and this is only my opinion, I think she is spreading herself too thin.  She had arrived in Buffalo from Alaska and was at the end of a 12 day trip.  I don’t care who you are, you can’t keep up that kind of schedule and be as enthusiastic at the end of the trip as you were at the beginning.  I would love to hear from anyone else who has taken one of her classes.  Maybe we just caught her on an off day, but I was extremely disappointed.  I was even disappointed in the picture – this is NOT a good picture of either Lee or myself but since I’m such a good sport, I’ll post it anyway.
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Last weekend, Nikki, Diane, Valerie and I went to Quilting Around Chautauqua in New York state.  It was a gorgeous weekend weather wise and the trees had started to turn down there, which is surprising as they are further south than we are and our trees haven’t started turning yet.  The show is held on the grounds of the Chautauqua Institute and it was like stepping back in time when the rich would go to their summer mansions on the lake for the season.  The community was so quaint and the show and vendors were spread out in different buildings throughout the community.  Several shuttle busses ran continuously all day taking you from one venue to the next.  This is the Athenaeum Hotel where a lot of the vendors were located.
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The hotel is right on the lake and that beautiful porch was filled with rocking chairs and you look onto the lake from them.  We tried them out at the end of the day when we were weary from carrying our purchases.  Did I mention we did our duty and boosted the economy of the area?

While the quilts for the most part were disappointing (honestly, they were), there was one building that housed quilts done by a group called The Stitchin’ Sisters and their quilts were outstanding.  Here is a sampling of what was on display in their building.

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Here’s a peek of the lake.
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You can see what a perfect day it was without a cloud in the sky.
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This one was taken from the porch of the Athenaeum Hotel.  I hope you appreciate the effort I made to get out of my rocking chair to take this!
Here are my buddies – Nikki, Valerie and Diane.
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They made me hide all their shopping bags behind them Smile
Here I am with Nikki and Diane.
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Our Guild’s Quilt Show was last weekend but I haven’t even downloaded the pictures yet, so those will have to wait until next time.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

When it Rains, it Pours

This has been the strangest summer weather wise.  It was so cold on the weekend I seriously considered turning the furnace on and while it has warmed up slightly, I’ve been wearing a sweater or hoodie all week when I go outside.  I’m not complaining though, as I’ll take this over heat and humidity any day and it’s much easier on my breathing.  Our city also made the national news this month as we had terrible flooding – they estimate we had two months of rain in one afternoon.  Every other house you drive by has a dumpster in the driveway as so many people had flooded basements and ruined possessions.  We were lucky – when we renovated our basement quite a few years ago, we spent a small fortune having a trough dug around the interior of the basement and a sump pump installed.  Since then, we haven’t had any problems.  This poor guy wasn’t so lucky.

 

 

I did manage to accomplish a couple of things on the sewing front.  This simple four-patch was an attempt to use up some of my green scraps – it didn’t even make a dent!  I’ve made this pattern several times and you can find the pattern on Mary’s blog.

 

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We had some stonework done at the front of our house this summer and I was looking for a new wreath for our front door.  Everything I found was either cheap and nasty or $200 – neither of which appealed to me.  During my online search, I came upon a tutorial for a scrap wreath.   Since I love blue and yellow, I grabbed those scrap bins and started cutting a million 1” x 5” strips.  Now my scrap bins aren’t just strips – they are literally any piece of fabric left over that I can’t bear to throw out.  After all, you never know when you might need a 1” square of orange for a penguin’s beak or a snowman’s nose!  Because I was cutting the pieces pretty much individually, it took me ages.  If I were to make another one, I would use batiks as they wouldn’t fray as much and they would be the same colour on both sides.  Here’s my finished project.

 

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I originally had a different bow on this, but while it didn’t look bad close up, from the street it needed more punch, so I made another one.  The one below is the original.

 

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I also made a wallhanging for a birthday gift, but I forgot to take a picture of it before I mailed it.  Hopefully I’ll have one to show you next time. 

 

I’m looking forward to taking a class from Bonnie Hunter in September.  She is teaching at the Amherst, NY seminar that I try to attend every year.  I thought all the spots would have been taken up by guild members, but Lee and I were lucky to get into the class we wanted.  I’m sure she will have all kinds of tricks to teach us so it should be a fun day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Time Flies

I’m not sure where June went and have trouble believing the first week of July is already over.  I don’t have much of interest to share with you or show you – especially on the creative side. 

My nephew got married at the end of May and it was a glorious evening on the rooftop of a Toronto hotel with the skyline before us. 

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My friends on Facebook have already seen this one, but this is Leo, Sandra & I at the wedding.  Unfortunately, Darren wasn’t in the picture as he took it!

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Leo and I also celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary in June.  We’re saving the big trip until I’m a bit stronger, but we did have a lovely day in Niagara on the Lake which is one of the prettiest towns in Canada.  The flowers there are always gorgeous and look like they are on steroids. 

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My friend Joan has a July birthday, so I sent this to her.  She’s opened it, so I’m not ruining the surprise.  It’s made from one piece of striped fabric.

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My dear Aunt has been sick for the past month and has been in hospital for three weeks.  She has had two surgeries, and they are talking about another one tomorrow so I have been spending most of my days and some of my evenings there with her.  You all know how much she means to me and my heart breaks to see her in so much pain.  It’s been hard to concentrate on much of anything, but in some strange way, it has made me stronger as I have had to face my fears of going back into hospitals and ICU in particular.  Trust Auntie to help me, even when she’s so sick.

I did go to Quilt Canada, but to be honest, I was disappointed.  Maybe after seeing Houston and Paducah I’ve been spoiled, but there were very few traditional quilts and a LOT of what I would call art quilts.  I can certainly appreciate the imagination and work that goes into them, but I think a more balanced mix would have been nice.  There was no picture taking allowed so I can’t share any of the quilts with you.  I did try a newer version of my APQS Millennium with Bliss tracking on it and fell in love.  After doing the math, it wasn’t a whole lot more to buy a new machine than to upgrade the one I have, so I’ve been trying to sell mine.  It’s in excellent condition and I’ve never had any problems with it.  I have had a few enquiries, but since I’m not desperate to sell it, I’m not willing to do a whole lot of negotiating on the price.

Hopefully next time I’ll have more quilting or knitting content to share with you.

Monday, May 19, 2014

It’s A Bust!

I dragged Leo to Buffalo on Thursday as he was in need of some new clothes and shoes and there is a much better selection, not to mention much better prices, there.  We also had to make a trip to the box to pick up some parcels that were waiting.  I know you’ll find this hard to believe, but none of them were for me. (Mine hadn’t arrived yet.)

As we were walking through the Mall, I noticed a sign in a shop window advertising mannequins for sale for $10!  In I went and came out with this:

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As you can imagine, Leo was just thrilled to have to walk through the mall carrying this bust but how could I refuse?  The store were getting all new mannequins and selling their old ones for $10 cash, no tax.  No one could understand what I wanted it for, but I bought it for you – my dear blog readers.  It’s just perfect to show knitted items instead of showing them in a heap lying on a bed.  This is Willow Cowl that I finished a couple of weeks ago.

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This is my Colour Affection which has been done for a while, but I’m not crazy about it.  I went back to the store and changed the colours on this and I wish I had gone back again.  I think I would prefer it in more neutral colours that could be worn with more outfits.  Or, maybe it should have been pink – then I would have loved it!

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It also lets me play with different ways to wear it:

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I’ve still been working on my Spring Bouquet – I got the first border on, but there are still 4 appliqued borders to go.  I have one of them done, but I’m giving it a rest for a few weeks as I’m going blind working with the invisible thread.

Border Cropped

During my hiatus from Spring Bouquet, I made a gift for my Aunt for Mother’s Day.  Those of you who know me, know just how special she is to me. 

Auntie's Birds Mother's Day May 2014

Auntie's Birds Label

We went to visit my Mum last weekend too but she is a sad soul and there wasn’t a single thing I could have taken her that would brighten her day.  She no longer knows who we are and rarely talks or even acknowledges our presence.  It is absolutely heartbreaking to see her like that.

I’m not sure what it’s like where you live, but around here, you have to pay for any type of bag in grocery stores, drug stores and even department stores.  They charge you 5 cents a bag, so needless to say, everyone carries their own bags with them when they grocery shop.  They do sell these horrible ones that can’t be washed and disintegrate after a couple of months usage.  So, I made my own.  Leo does the grocery shopping so the fabric had to meet with his approval as he told me he was not going into the grocery store with bags covered in flowers!  I had all kinds of upholstery fabric that I’d bought years ago – I have no idea what I bought it for as I’ve never upholstered anything in my life.  He looked through the fabrics and reluctantly agreed that these would be O.K.

So, I made 3 of these:

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And 2 of these:

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Lee and I heard that we got into Bonnie Hunter’s class in Amherst so I’m really looking forward to that in September.  I’m not interested so much in how to make the quilt, I could figure that out on my own, but I think she will have tons of time saving tips and tricks to share. 

I mentioned that something I ordered hadn’t arrived at the box yet….  I loved this quilt the first time I saw it and contacted McKenna Ryan to see how much the kit for the whole thing would be.  Turns out the laser kit is $695 so I decided I didn’t love it $695 worth!  Then, she had a sale with 25% off everything on her site and I e-mailed and asked if the kit was included.  She said yes, it was, but they also had a regular kit where you cut your own pieces and it was a couple of hundred dollars cheaper.  Still, I sat on my hands until the sale was over.  Then, I noticed on Facebook that the sale had been extended one more day and I caved.  I have many friends that enable me and every single one of them told me to go for it – so I did.  Just think how much I saved – 25% off plus I got free shipping Smile

Dog Park

What could be better to combine my two great loves – animals and quilting!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Yes, It’s Been a While

I managed to make it through our awful winter without getting sick, then spring finally comes and I get sinusitis.  Never one to do anything half assed, my knee decided to act up at the same time so I was in agony for a couple of weeks.  Enough said about that!

Now that I’m finally feeling better, I’ve been working on my Spring Bouquet.  I’ve really enjoyed this and while I have all the blocks done, I still have four appliqued borders to do plus a little (1 1/4”) four patch border.

Spring Bouquet Blocks Cropped

I made this table runner for Sandra & Darren quite some time ago, but forgot to post it.  It’s a bit late now for Easter, but here it is anyway.  It’s from the book My Runners by Disa Designs. 

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I’ve also been doing some knitting and Sandra was the recipient of this too.   I’m glad that she likes what I make enough to wear them and use them.  I showed you her bow scarf in my last post, but it wasn’t a very good picture.  Here it is on Sandra.

Bow Scarf

Since I forgot to get pictures of the other two scarves I made, Sandra enlisted the help of one of her models.  The first one is a Churchmouse pattern that I’ve made several times.  This one is done in bamboo which makes it softer than the Koigu which is called for in the pattern. 

SAndra's Ruffle Scarf 1

 

This is one of those easy ruffle scarves that had Sandra’s name all over it.

Sandra's Ruffle Scarf 2

 

I just finished a Colour Affection scarf yesterday, but I need to block it before I get pictures.  I tried a new ‘stretchy cast off’ method and was really pleased with the results.  It gives a wonderful stretchy edge which would be great for toe up socks or any edge that you want some stretch in.  Here’s a link to the video. 

Someone didn’t plan things very well as both The Knitter’s Frolic and the Creative Festival are both being held in Toronto this weekend.  Since the last thing I need is more fabric, (or yarn for that matter) The Knitter’s Frolic won out.   I haven’t been to the Creative Festival for years as for a while there it really got off topic.  There were so many vendors there that, in my opinion, shouldn’t have been – coffee manufacturers, cookies for sale, hand cream – you get the picture.  I think things have changed as I know most of the longarm companies are being represented there, as well as quite a few quilt shops.  Maybe next year….

I’m anxiously awaiting news to find out if we were accepted into Bonnie Hunter’s class at the Amherst Quilt Guild in NY.  I’ve been going for many years and the last few years Lee has been coming with me.  We’re really hoping we get in the class but I’m sure the demand has been overwhelming.  Keep your fingers crossed for us please, especially since Lee has her fabric all picked out already.

Leo retired at the end of March and it’s hard to believe he’s been home now for almost a month.  What is even harder to believe is I haven’t wanted to kill him yet Winking smile  Of course, I haven’t been myself – give it time.