Friday, March 28, 2008

There's No Way...

While I'm not a huge fan of country music, this song by Alabama has always been one of my favourites and is especially appropriate right now.

Leo was rushed to hospital by ambulance on Wednesday night. He has a cyst on his pancreas that is partially blocking blood flow to the spleen. They are trying to control the pain and infection in the hopes that the cyst will get smaller and surgery won't be necessary.

Get well soon Leo - I can't make it without you.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Closest Thing to Crazy

Well, that could describe me, but it's actually a song by Katie Melua the flavour of the day on my iPod. I always have a hard time coming up with a title for my ramblings, so until I (or you) get bored with it, I'll introduce you to some of my favourite musical artists.

I enjoyed another fun sew day yesterday and managed to get the bindings sewn on the remaining circus quilts. This is the one I used the Lava thread on:

I used Robison Anton cotton on this one. I've never had a problem with this thread, but I do prefer quilting with the poly as it's less linty.

Now for something spectacular. Louise has a son who is going to Montreal for the Olympic tryouts next week for swimming. She made this quilt to honour the occasion and we were all just in awe of it. The block on the top left represents Canada and the top right is China - going from Canada to China and vise versa at the bottom. She incorporated the Olympic rings, swimming emblems and finally fussy cut all those maple leaves from leaf fabric.

When she brought the quilt yesterday, the leaves weren't attached and someone suggested we each take some and just scatter them on the quilt - no placing was allowed - they had to fall, just like they were falling off the tree. She then freemotion quilted the spines on all the leaves so eventually the edges will curl, just like real leaves. Totally inspired and an amazing remembrance of the event for her son.

One of the highlights of the day for me was Doreen brought her little dog Jake. He is a 5 pound ball of fluff and jumps like he's on springs. I don't know where my head was as I didn't get a picture of him! Just picture cute, adorable, fluffy and full of energy and you'll get a good idea what Jake looks like. We'll have to set up a play date for Jake & Ben, but my baby doesn't always play well with others - he's very shy around other dogs - might be because he doesn't realize he's really a dog and not just a little person with fur.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Goodbye Alice in Wonderland

There is a difference between dreaming and pretending.....

This has nothing to do with anything, it's just a Jewel song I can't get out of my head today - probably because I've played it over and over and over. I do that a lot - if I like a song I play it all the time - drives Sandra nuts as I do it in the car too!

I got one of the strippie quilts finished.

I quilted it with Bubbles and think it gives it the whimsical look I was going for. Actually, I quilted all three with this panto and have the binding machine sewn on the other two, but it isn't hand stitched down yet.

I managed to slice the top of my finger yesterday while I was cleaning my machine - did something totally stupid and now I'm paying for it, so the hand stitching will have to wait for a couple of days until my finger recovers.

I've had this fabric for ages too - bought a bolt of it on eBay - isn't it cute! It would be even cuter if I had taken the time to iron it before taking the picture, but there is only so far I'll go for my readers.

I've been waiting for someone to have a little girl so I could do something with this - I had envisioned it as a border on a girly quilt. After making these strippie quilts, I have a whole new vision in mind - this would make a great strippie and I can pull out some of the colours in their dresses for the strips. Who would have thought something so simple could be so much fun!

Edited to add: Sandy asked what thread I used - on this one I used Bottom Line and So Fine. On one of the others, I used Superior's new Lava thread and I loved it (used Bottom Line in the bobbin). I got a sample with my new machine and I'm going to order some - it's cheaper than King Tut and comes in some luscious colours. Stay tuned for pictures.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Blast From the Past

My High School is celebrating it's 100th Anniversary this May. This school produced some graduates who went on to fame including Doug Henning, the magician; lady golfer Sandra Post; Zenon Andrusyshyn, the CFL and NFL football player; and Harry Barrett who was Mayor of Oakville from 1973 to 1985 (I was his secretary for some of those years). I'm sure there were lots of other famous graduates, but those are the ones that come immediately to mind and I figure finding even 3 on Wikipedia isn't bad!

Anyway, the reunion website has a list of attendees with their e-mail addresses and I almost fell off my computer chair the other morning when I got an e-mail from a friend that I hadn't heard from for over 30 years. She was a bridesmaid at our wedding but shortly after moved out of the area, and as so often happens, we lost touch. She's alive and well (and retired) and living about 3 hours east of us. Her in-laws are still in our area, so we plan to get together the next time she visits. How do you summarize the last 30 years of your life in an e-mail?

I just can't have a post without a picture and who better for you to look at than my baby!

Friday, March 21, 2008

This Was Fun

I spent the day making more strippie quilts with the circus border fabric. I did this one:

Then this one:

The good news is I got all 3 quilt tops out of approximately 41 inches of circus fabric. The bad news is I have about 14 yards left. I think lots of charities are going to be getting one of these quilts!

Question - do you think these are appropriate for a baby gift? My friend Sandy is always telling me that babies like bright colours, but I've always associated baby gifts/quilts with pastels. Am I just old fashioned? Please tell me if you think these would be too old to give to a baby. I think they would be great for a two year old, but I'm just not sure about giving them as a baby gift.

Leo's been sick in bed all day which is probably why I got so much done. I gave him two of my magic pills this morning and just gave him two more. That's as far as my nursing goes - I'm not good with sickies.

If I can summon up some energy I might get one of those tops loaded tonight, but I'm not sure it will happen. Ben is complaining that he has been neglected all day, so maybe I'll just snuggle on the couch with him and watch some TV.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Think Spring

It might be the first day of spring, but the temperature here is hovering right around the freezing mark and the wind would cut right through you. There have been snow flurries in the air all day and the gradual melting of snow that we experienced all week has come to an abrupt end with the cold weather.

This is what I've been working on this afternoon:

It is such a simple pattern but I think it's perfect for this fabric. Mary says this is her favourite charity quilt as it works up so quickly and I thank her for sharing her directions. I purchased a bolt of this fabric off Ebay at least a year ago as it just made me smile when I looked at it. I hope it will do the same for some child.

It sure feels like Friday around here as everything will be closed tomorrow for Good Friday so this is the last day of the work week. I deal with a lot of U.S. companies in my job and some of the people have a hard time figuring out our Canadian holidays. I'll always remember a lady asking me if we had Easter in Canada and I said, yes, we believe in God in Canada too!

Here's a little Easter funny for you:

A lady opened her fridge and saw a rabbit sitting on one of the shelves. "What are you doing in there?" she asked.

The rabbit replied "this is a Westinghouse isn't it?" to which the lady replied "yes".

"Well" the rabbit said, "I'm westing".

Happy Easter everyone.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Another Finish!

It's always a nice feeling to get another UFO crossed off the list. You may remember I posted pictures of some of these blocks just before Christmas when I was stitching them out. I did some freemotion background filler on them and was fairly pleased with the results - I also found out black is very forgiving so the mistakes aren't as obvious as they would be on a lighter fabric. I also learned I need to buy some black batting which I think would make working on black fronts & backs a lot easier.

I kind of wimped out on the border and just did a stipple - if I could do beautiful flowing feathers like Deb I would have - but I can't, so I didn't!

For those of you interested in the designs, I purchased them from San Francisco Stitch Company. Their designs are very reasonable and while they do have a LOT of jump stitches, they look very nice when they are finished.

Monday, March 17, 2008

"She's So, So Happy"

I think I'd be pretty happy too if I just got $48.6 million after living with Paul McCartney for a few years. Not only that, but the court also ruled that the couple’s 4-year-old daughter Beatrice should receive a “periodical payments order” of $70,000 per annum. On top of that, Paul will pay for the child’s nanny and school fees.

That should go a long way to easing Heather's heartbreak - can you tell I don't like her?

Nadine at Quilt Epiphany left a comment on my blog quite a few months ago and I have been reading her blog ever since. Check out her "inchies". I haven't seen these on this side of the Atlantic, but perhaps I just haven't been looking in the right places. I'm sure those of you who are hooked on postcards could also get hooked on these pretty easily. Nadine also offers some great tips on her blog.

Ben has been in 7th heaven this morning. City crews have been in our backyard all morning trimming tree branches away from all the hydro, cable and telephone wires (there are woods behind us)and he has been doing his best to let them know they are on HIS property. It's offered him hours of entertainment thus giving me some time off from throwing the ball and getting some longarm practise in.

Here he is wishing you all a Happy St. Paddy's Day.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Happy Retirement Dave

For almost 18 years we have been friends with one of Leo's suppliers and his wife. We have enjoyed vacations together and regularly meet for dinner. Dave retired in January, so Friday night Leo & I took Dave & his wife Helen out for dinner to celebrate his retirement.

Helen is one of the most artistic people I know - she is so talented and through the years has done some beautiful flower arrangements, stained glass, and she has lately gone back to her first love - painting. She gave me this picture on Friday night and I just love it. It is a local scene of the Grand River with the Caledonia bridge in the background and a beautiful winter sunset. I found the perfect spot in our family room for it!

You might remember this picture from last week:

I just took this picture of the same spot:

I don't know what is going on, but these blue bags full of fabric seem to be reproducing.

On a completely different subject, looks like the arrogance in thinking they won't get caught runs in the Black family.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Quilts Gone to New Homes

I wasn't sure whether to blog about this or not, as to be honest, I feel rather embarrassed by it. The ladies Leo works with had been bugging him to bring in some of my quilts so they could see them. Since I had a pile just sitting on the bed in the spare bedroom, he took them in on Wednesday morning. Just after he got to work, he called me and asked me how much I wanted for them. They want to buy them????? I was shocked and delighted.

I basically just got back my costs for the fabric and batting but I'm so happy they have gone to good homes where they will be used and loved and aren't just collecting dust in the spare bedroom. So, being the anal person I am, I then had to make embroidered labels for them all. I know, I could have just put written ones on there, but ALL my quilts go with an embroidered label and these were no exception, so yesterday I spent all day stitching out labels and sewing them on.

Here are a few that have gone to new homes:

Of course, what Leo doesn't know, is now I feel totally justified buying more fabric to make more!

Monday, March 10, 2008

We Interrupt this Regularly Scheduled Blog....

For the following commercial. Rarely have I ever found a product that I like as much as this one and I just have to spread the word. First of all, a bit of background. I never get 'just' a cold. About 12 years ago I had a collapsed lung and since then I have suffered from asthma and whenever I get 'just' a cold, it immediately settles itself into my chest and I usually end up so sick I'm hospitalized. Rarely did I make it through a winter without getting really sick.

Enter this new wonder drug:

I can't rave enough about these pills. Not only do they work, but they come in a combination pack with day-time and night-time in the same box so you don't have to buy two packages. For me, anyway, they have worked better than all the prescription medications I've been given, including prednisone (which I DETEST being on). Next time you have a cold, try them - you'll like them :-)

I won't bore you with more talk of the snow, I'll just share this picture of our little snow dog.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Snowy Saturday

It's really hard not to talk about the weather when just about everyone you talk to mentions how sick they are of winter and the bitterly cold temperatures and huge snowfalls we have had this year.

I lifted this image off the local paper's website - it's been snowing all day and it doesn't look like it is going to stop any time soon.

I spent the day sewing and managed to finally get the background on my cube from the class I took with Karen Combs last year. I just need to quilt and bind it and it's done.

Of course, as usual, I have no idea what I'm going to do with it. Our family room is blue and yellow so maybe I can find a place for it there.

I also made up some quick preemie quilts for the NICU at McMaster Hospital. There is no batting or binding on them as this would make them too heavy - they just have flannel on the back. These are for Easter and the fabric was supplied - isn't it adorable.

I also got my iPod all charged up today and transferred all the music that was on my computer. Who'd of thought I had over 1,000 songs stored on there - maybe that explains why it is so slow. I spent ages going through and deleting a lot as Ian had downloaded a fair number and while I do enjoy a lot of different music, Metallica and Tool are not in my Top 10.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Adding to My Stash.....Again

While I read so many blogs about stash reduction, I haven't quite got the concept yet. Yesterday Lee (my new best friend - wink) and I travelled back down to Buffalo to the little quilt store with the $3/yard fabric. The devil made me do it - I just couldn't stay away and what better opportunity to pick up quality fabric at bargain prices. We certainly did our best to help reduce her inventory - after all, the owner is elderly and retiring and we wouldn't want her to have too much fabric to move when she closes.

We had a fun day and visited all the quilt stores in the area as well as Joann's, then attended the Quilt Guild meeting last night. I found out that our guild is the third largest quilt guild in Ontario - I'm not sure which ones are first and second, but I would guess Waterloo is one of them.

My screensaver plays a slideshow of all the pictures stored on my computer, and this one caught my eye today:

This picture was taken in April of 2006 after I had just tidied up my stash. This is what that same area looks like almost two years later:

It is full to overflowing and there is no way I can make it any tidier as there just isn't enough room.

See those plastic drawers - I have 4 more of them all full. The blue bag in the picture on the right is the fabric I bought yesterday. The round hatboxes are full of scraps and charm squares.

I could move some of this stuff downstairs to my longarm room, but I like it all together where it is easily accessible when I'm sewing. I try to keep only my longarm supplies downstairs.

How does the wording go again.....Hello, my name is Irene and I am a quiltaholic.

Guess what arrived today - my iPod. They actually tried to deliver it yesterday, but there was nobody here to sign for it. It amazes me that I can get something from China faster than I can get a letter from Toronto.

Just in case you were wondering - it's snowing again and they are forecasting 50 cm before Sunday. Since my mind still works in inches, Leo tells me that's about 20 inches. I still think in Fahrenheit too - must be an age thing or maybe I just don't like change. Anyway, no matter if it's 50 cm or 20 inches, it's just TOO MUCH SNOW!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

More Snow

Enough already! We had MORE snow again last night and this morning and everyone around here is getting pretty sick of it. We've certainly had more than our share of cold temperatures and snow this winter and I, for one, am ready to see the daffodils and tulips in bloom.

My iPod shipped on Monday and while they promised shipment within 1 - 2 days, they don't promise delivery for 7 - 10 days. Silly me, I was assuming it would ship from Toronto, or Vancouver, or even Montreal, but no - it shipped from Shanghai! I don't know why this surprises me as almost everything we buy these days comes from China but that's a whole other rant that I won't get into here.

I just read on MSN's home page that black dogs face discrimination as they are often the last to be adopted from animal shelters. Who thinks this stuff up? How could anyone who loves animals care what colour of coat a dog has? We've had three dogs during the last 34 years and all three of them have been black. How could anyone discriminate against this little face?

Monday, March 3, 2008

Now For Some Bling!

Remember when I got back from Vegas I was talking about adding some crystals to a denim jacket? Well, I finally got my act together this afternoon and this is the result.

I didn't want to get too carried away, so just did the collar, pockets, cuffs and along the yoke front and back.

I know the darker denim is supposed to be much more flattering, but I have had this jacket for ages and it's hardly ever been worn. Maybe this year it will finally come out of the closet!

Thanks for your suggestions about the engraving of my iPod. I managed to waste the best part of two days looking up song lyrics and just when I thought I knew what I wanted, I discovered Apple's generosity with their free engraving didn't extend to the number of letters I wanted.

Dorothy suggested "It's My Life, It's Now or Never..." which actually I had thought of myself since I am a huge Bon Jovi fan. Then Sandra suggested "I want to rock your gypsy soul, Just like way back in the days of old..." I really liked this one too, but it was too long. Van Morrison's music brings back a lot of good memories. I can never listen to Brown Eyed Girl without thinking about a great summer spent at a girlfriend's cottage on Lake of Bays.

I finally decided on "Let Your Soul & Spirit Fly, Into the Mystic". As Sandra so aptly pointed out, it really won't matter what I have engraved on it as it will probably always be, or should be, in a case anyway. She must be taking lessons from my Mother on how to dampen my mood.

Now that I have solved that earth shattering dilemma, I can move on to bigger and better things.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Cluck, Cluck, Cluck

Yes, that's the sound of me chickening out on the Jewel Box quilt. I tried, I really did, but my freemotion just wasn't good enough for this quilt. I spent two days quilting, then another two ripping it all out, then finally did a panto on it. I came to the realization that a queen size quilt, especially one that I care so much about, was no place to experiment with my freemotion. I have lots of panels that will be a perfect practise ground for that.

All that being said, the quilt is finished and I gave it to my Aunt this morning.

She was thrilled and it brought her to tears, which I guess is a good sign! My Aunt is a very special lady and we have shared a very close relationship all my life. She has always been there for me and I was thrilled to be able to give her something she liked so much.

I usually use the wording on this label for baby quilts, but I thought it was just as appropriate for this particular quilt.

Onward and upward! I want to buy a new iPod and thanks to the heads up from Deb, I found out they will engrave it free. Of course, this opened up a whole new dilemma - what would I have engraved on it? It seemed lame to just get my name on it - I know what my name is, so I called Sandra and asked her what she would suggest. She told me a lot of people have a line from their favourite song - now I would never have thought of that (I've told you, I have no imagination). Then comes the next question - what is my favourite song? Depends on the mood I'm in - it could range from something from Bon Jovi to Melissa Etheridge to Andrea Bocelli and even Kenny Rogers (back when he looked like Kenny Rogers) and a whole spectrum in between.

So, dear blog readers, what would you/do you have engraved on your iPod?