Monday, October 27, 2014

Trick or Treat

I was actually ahead of the game this year and got some Halloween sewing done early.  I made this wallhanging for my adopted grandsons, and also a treat bag for each of them.007

It’s difficult to see, but I actually got out of my box and quilted a spider web on it!

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I think they liked them.

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I also made a tablerunner for Sandra – she loves Halloween and always decorates their house.

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Then I decided I needed a fall wreath for the front door.  I used batiks this time – all from my scraps.  I really enjoyed making the first one, but for some reason this one seemed to take forever and I never thought I’d get it finished.  I was going to make one for Christmas, but I think I’ll wait until next year when I’ve forgotten what a PITA it was to make.

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A friend I used to work with who is now retired has always wanted to take a beading class.  She practically begged me to take it with her and I told her I already had enough hobbies without getting addicted to another one.  You guessed it – I gave in and took a class.  I was hoping I’d hate it, but unfortunately, I really enjoyed it and can now add beading to my list of hobbies.  At least beads don’t take up much room and are easy to get in the house unnoticed!  This is the bracelet I made at the class.

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I’ve also been doing some knitting – furry cowls to be specific.  I made one for Sandra and she loved it, so I had a couple of requests to knit more.  They are unbelievably soft and the best part – they don’t shed – not one little bit!

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I made two more, but you get the idea.

 

I’m working on my Blueridge Beauty, but it’s going to be a while before that one is finished.  I’d love to be able to work on more than one quilting project at once, but when you have everything pulled out for something, it doesn’t make sense to put it all away and start working on something else.

 

I promised I’d share some pictures from our Guild’s Quilt Show.  I’ll post a couple now, and more next time.

 

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We have some very talented quilters in our Guild. 

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.