Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It Feels So Good

To finish something - it's been a while! I've had this little quilt loaded on Tillie for at least two months and I finally got it quilted and bound. All it needs now is a label and it's ready to go to the recipient. I'm going to call it "It's A Small World" as the dolls remind me of the ones on the ride at Disneyworld.

I'm not big on resolutions - I've been resolving to be thin for at least 30 years and it hasn't happened yet. However, I am going to try and resolve to start NOW and make gifts for everyone on my gift list for the coming year. I've seen so much inspiration over the last month on blogs and websites that I'm really inspired to get busy instead of leaving it until the last minute.

This song by the Goo Goo Dolls came up on my iPod this afternoon and I thought the lyrics appropriate for New Year's Eve. Happy New Year to you all and may 2009 bring you health, happiness and a little fairy to finish all your UFOs.

"Better Days"
And you ask me what I want this year
And I try to make this kind and clear
Just a chance that maybe we'll find better days
Cause I don't need boxes wrapped in strings
And designer love and empty things
Just a chance that maybe we'll find better days
So take these words
And sing out loud
Cause everyone is forgiven now
Cause tonight's the night the world begins again
I need someplace simple where we could live
And something only you can give
And thats faith and trust and peace while we're alive
And the one poor child who saved this world
And there's 10 million more who probably could
If we all just stopped and said a prayer for them
So take these words
And sing out loud
Cause everyone is forgiven now
Cause tonight's the night the world begins again
I wish everyone was loved tonight
And somehow stop this endless fight
Just a chance that maybe we'll find better days
So take these words
And sing out loud
Cause everyone is forgiven now
Cause tonight's the night the world begins again
Cause tonight's the night the world begins again

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Handmade Note Card Tutorial

I needed to come up with a gift for our Stitch N Chat group Christmas exchange. Since there are 11 of us in the group, that meant 10 presents. I made these little note cards and gave everyone six. They seemed to be a big hit, as many have asked me how to make them, so I promised I would do a little tutorial. They are very easy, but time consuming and I'll warn you, they are addictive.

Here's what you'll need to get started:

8 1/2" x 11" card stock in colours light enough to write on and be legible

2 1/2" fabric squares

Wonder Under or Steam A Seam or fusible web of your choice

Double Sided Tape

Rayon Embroidery Thread (optional)

Crystals, Beads or Buttons for embellishment


Cut your 8 1/2" x 11" card stock in half, then half again to get a piece 5 1/2" x 4" (trimmed) and iron on your fusible web to this card.

Then take your 2 1/2" squares and lay them on point on your card - don't worry if they hang over the edge, just try and line them up. I started doing this with scraps of 2 1/2" fabric, but soon discovered it would be much easier to use a 5" charm pack and cut it in 4 - 2 1/2" pieces.

When you have finished laying your pieces on, it should look something like this. When you are happy with your arrangement, fuse the pieces onto the card stock.

This is what it looks like from the back. Then, from the back, take your rotary cutter and ruler and cut off the excess fabric. I also trim this slightly smaller than the original so it looks like it has a small matt around it once it is mounted. Keep all the cut off pieces as they come in handy to fill in holes on other cards.

Your card should now look like this from the front.

You are then going to stitch along each raw edge seam. I used a sewn out zig zag which I think gives it a nice look and used a rayon embroidery thread as it added a little sheen.

Here is what it should look like after you have finished the zig zag stitching.

Then I took one of my decorative stitches and stitched around the edge of the card. I tried using a satin stitch, but I wasn't happy with the results so I used a double edge stitch and it worked out well. This would be a great place to use some of the decorative stitches that never seem to get used - well, on my machine they don't get used.

Now it looks like this with all the stitching done.

Your next step is to take double sided tape and attach it to the perimeter of the back of the card.

Then take another 8 1/2" x 11" piece of card stock, cut it in half along the 8 1/2" side, then fold that piece in half to give you a folded piece that is 5 1/2" x 4".

Then stick the fabric card with the double sided tape to the front of the folded card.

I used hot glue crystals to embellish mine, but you could use buttons, beads, whatever is fairly flat and would easily fit in an envelope.

This is the finished card after the crystals were applied.

Add an envelope and you're all set!

I also added a little label on the back of the card just to give it a more professional look.

Now you know what to do with all those charm squares you've been buying that are still lying around.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Warning - Quilting Content!

Our cable has been out since early this morning so we haven't had any TV or Internet all day. I couldn't care less about the TV, but Leo wasn't too happy that he missed his football games. Having no Internet, however, caused me to suffer withdrawal symptoms all day.

I got busy and took some pictures for you. These are more tree napkins that I made for Sandra with penguins on them.

I also got some pictures of my 'deals' from yesterday. For someone who doesn't like Christmas, I bought an awful lot of Christmas stuff. This snowman is similar to the Santa I showed you a couple of weeks ago - he's a tea cosy but would look great just sitting on a table.

I just couldn't resist this tube Santa - the sample was adorable and he wouldn't take up much room.
This little kit came complete with all the embellishments and the hanger. The only thing missing is someone to sew it!

This is a very bad picture of the fabric I bought.

I'm a sucker for a panel - just can't resist them.

Looks like Ben can resist this one either!

I bought this to try a One Block Wonder.

Finally, I got this kit which included the book and fabric to make a table runner. This was my deal of the day at $15 for the book and fabric.

I also promised I'd show you pictures of the cards I was making before I got sick. I took some pictures today to do a little tutorial, but since this post is so long already, I'll save it for another day. Here is an example of what they look like.

Since I did my part to boost the Canadian economy yesterday, I'm off to do my part for the U.S. economy tomorrow as Sandra & I are headed to Buffalo.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

I've Been Bad...

But it felt so good! My good friend Lee & I hit two quilt stores today that were having year end inventory sales and we did our part to give them less to count. If the battery in my camera was charged, I'd show you what I bought, but I've got it charging right now so I'll show you tomorrow.

I spent some time this afternoon trying to clean out some of my bookmarks and I came upon this embroidery design:

It's from a site called BFC Creations and I'm not sure how I came upon them. They have some beautiful designs but I'm wondering if anyone has ever tried anything from them? I have my concerns that something this dense might not lie as flat as it should when it was finished. Check out some of their other designs when you're there - they have some beautiful stuff.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Well, It's Over

And I'm not sorry. Christmas around here isn't always a happy time - we don't have the storybook Christmas. I tend to look back on past Christmases that were full of fun and laughter and excitement when the kids were younger and looked forward to Santa's arrival. At one time there were 13 around our Christmas table - this year there were 5. It's hard not to think of all those that are gone and also wonder if this may be the last Christmas for some that are left. My Mum will be 87 this year and my Aunt, who is like a second Mother to me, will be 82. Neither one are in the best of health.

This year also marked the first in 29 years that Sandra didn't spend Christmas with us and she was sorely missed. We did go over to Darren & Sandra's yesterday morning to open our gifts and it was so much fun watching the kittens. They were into everything and had themselves a ball. There was sadness too, though, as this is our first Christmas without little Elliot and he too, left a big hole in our hearts.

If you're still with me, I apologize for being so maudlin, but as Rian would say, I'm just keeping it real. Sometimes you just have to tell it like it is.

On a happier note, Santa did come through and brought me one of these:

Guess that means that now I have to cook!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Today I've Been Making.....A Mess

I've come to the conclusion that I can't make anything in my sewing room without making a mess. My sewing table was clean as a whistle on the weekend and after making some tree napkins yesterday and a few quilted cards today (which I'll share with you later) it is an absolute mess again. I try to keep things organized but somehow it doesn't stay that way. Do you have this problem?

My desk at work is totally organized - I can't work unless everything is in a neat pile and I prioritize the pile and work through it. Why can't I stay organized in my sewing room?

I hate posting without a picture, so here is a Christmas tablerunner I made a couple of years ago. I've always wanted to make another one. I bought quite a few rolls of the gold bias on Ebay but I haven't got around to making another one......someday....

I'm off to bowling. Remember that new ball I bought that was going to improve my average? Well, let me tell you, it didn't work :-)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Customer Service

I am starting to feel better, so yesterday I decided I would give Tillie a run and finish a small quilt I've had loaded on her for ages. Since she hasn't been running for a while, I gave her a good oiling and while I was doing so, managed to get a wad of batting that I was using as a rag completely wound around my bobbin casing and the machine just stopped. All the lights were working but I couldn't get it to stitch.

I posted on the APQS Forum (which is wonderful, by the way) and Nadia, a fellow Canadian from Vancouver Island knew right away what my problem was. The machines that are sold in Canada are all CSA approved and have two extra fuses and she suspected one of these fuses had blown. She contacted APQS and this morning THEY CALLED ME to walk me through finding which fuse was blown and told me how to replace it. In today's day and age this type of customer service is unheard of and I just wanted to give kudos to both Nadia and APQS. They really are a wonderful company and I have nothing but good things to say about them, their customer service and their machines!

So, since I couldn't quilt yesterday, I thought I'd give these tree napkins that Deb has been making a try. If I'd known how easy they were, I'd have tried them a long time ago!

When I had the camera out, Ben was complaining that I hadn't taken his picture for a while, so here he is, my little snow dog.

This picture of Abby arrived in my In-Box this morning with the caption "Spot the Impostor".

It sure feels good to finally have some energy back! Now if we could just postpone Christmas for a month, I could actually make everything I had planned to.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I'm Dreaming....

Click to enlarge:

I'm not a big drinker (got that out of my system in my youth) and wine gives me migraines, but I just HAD to post this today - Cheers!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Whole Lot of Nothing Goin' On

I don't have much anything to blog about but thought I better let you know I'm still alive....barely. My asthma seems to think now would be a really good time to rear it's ugly head and I've been struggling with that.

As Sandra pointed out to me, it's my own fault as I said Christmas wasn't happening in my life this year, so I've missed all the festivities and parties. She was only kidding, but it is rather ironic. Every day I struggle to get enough energy to do something - anything, but it's an uphill battle.

I'm meeting with my 'adopted' granddaughters tomorrow and I had planned to go out today to get them something. Well, we had the storm of the century here today and my car is currently stuck in the mall parking lot. Let's just say it doesn't like snow any more than I do and leave it at that. Unfortunately, I got stuck before I had a chance to shop so my pathetic gift to the girls is going to be a money bag. I made 2 of these little bags and I'm going to fill them with Loonies and Toonies ($1 and $2 coins).

It's the first time I've been near my sewing machine in what seems like forever.

Have you seen one of these?

It's an Aerogarden and is used primarily to grow herbs and lettuce year round in the house. I want one. It's all Judy's fault as I'd never even heard of them until she mentioned them on her blog. She ended up getting a competitive make, but from the research I've done, the Aerogarden gets better reviews. When I mentioned it to Leo, his response was - what do you want that for - you never cook! I just know if I had one of these I would cook more - honest! Fresh pesto, fresh lettuce for sandwiches....mmmmmmm

One festivity I didn't miss was our Stitch N Chat Christmas lunch on Tuesday.

We met at a great local Chinese buffet (which explains the palm trees???) and exchanged gifts. A great time was had by all and we got some imaginative and creative gifts.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Enough Already!

I'm still feeling like death warmed over and am so disgusted that absolutely nothing has been accomplished in the last three weeks. It seems to be all I can do to work up the energy to transfer a load of laundry from the washer to the dryer - and lots of times even that doesn't happen and I end up having to wash it over.

I don't usually watch any daytime TV but I have resorted to The Food Network and HGTV to pass away the hours. I never watch Oprah - she bothers me on so many different levels, but I did catch part of her show on Monday when Mary Tyler Moore was on. I have Googled to try and find a picture of the coat/jacket Mary was wearing as I thought it was absolutely stunning - but can't find a full length picture anywhere.

I would love to see the details on it.

Thank you for all your suggestions for names for the kitties - they have officially been named Miles & Abby.

Aren't they adorable!

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Sandra and Darren picked out this adorable duo today at our local Animal Shelter. Darren is holding the little boy, and Sandra the little girl. They aren't littermates, but they are the same age and get along beautifully together.

There were tears and laughter but we all hope these little guys will help heal their broken hearts.

Now for their names - we're asking for suggestions. They prefer 'people' names - not cutesy names like I would pick :-) Emma is being considered for the little girl and Elton or Oscar for the little boy. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Just Shoot Me.....Please

The dreaded crud has returned and last night I just wanted someone to put me out of my misery. I saw the Dr. again this morning and I am on more puffers, more antibiotics and ANOTHER round of prednisone. For those of you who have never been on this drug, thank your lucky stars. Here are just a few of the side effects of this dreaded steroid:

weight gain in the trunk (buffalo hump) - you literally could eat the house

facial swelling (moon face) - lovely, just lovely

depression, mania, or other psychiatric symptoms - I'm not a shiny, happy person to begin with

unusual fatigue or weakness - at least I have an excuse not to cook

mental confusion /indecisiveness - I already suffered from this without any help from pills

blurred vision - does this explain all the stitches I've been dropping?

abdominal pain - haven't noticed that - probably because I've been too busy eating

peptic ulcer - no, don't have that one either

insomnia - this one should be in capital letters - there is nothing worse than feeling sick and not being able to sleep

mouth sores or dry mouth - I have dry mouth alright and nothing seems to help

increased appetite - no shit - what do they think "buffalo hump" is?

hyperactivity - would that explain why I can't sit still?

frequent urination - as if I didn't suffer from that already too

I have a lousy sense of timing. I missed bowling last night, missed our staff Christmas luncheon today and it looks like I'll be missing our Guild's Christmas dinner tomorrow night - no, actually it's tonight as it's past midnight.

I'm holding a pity party instead - wanna come?