Monday, June 30, 2008

Be Still My Heart

I'm in trouble - big trouble. I swore I'd never do another McKenna Ryan quilt. I did her Storybook Farm quilt which is hanging in our family room

and that little sucker cost me about $800 by the time I was finished. I paid to have it quilted (I didn't have Tillie then) but even if I did, I don't know if I'd want to quilt one of these. They are a royal PITA as you have to stitch down every raw edge - and there are lots!

But, I digress....I just got the newsletter from my local quilt shop and I saw this:

McKenna's newest series. What can I say - I'm in love. I think someone is going to have to sit on me or take away my credit card - no, that won't work - I have the number memorized, or somehow talk me out of doing this. I love the way it's done like tiles and I'm assuming it could be stretched over bars, similar to the method Tommy uses for all her art quilts.

I worked some more on my blue quilt today and here is a picture of where I'm going with it:

I did get all 200 of the 'star points' sewn but just had to lay one block out to see how it's going to look.

Sandra and Darren are house hunting. She is finally going to leave the big city - which she is NOT looking forward to, but I am counting the days. Every day on the news there is another drive by shooting or a pedestrian killed by a hit and run driver. I know there's no guarantee that it might not happen here, but the chances are much slimmer.

Darren currently lives in the suburbs so they are looking for a house in Oakville. I met Darren after work tonight to look at a house that was just listed. Since it isn't easy for Sandra to come out here after work, between the two of us we have a pretty good idea of what she wants so we checked it out. It's really sad what your money buys you these days. I don't think they are in for an easy time especially since 'The Princess' as her Dad calls her, is very picky. If they still get married at the end of this house search, then they truly do have a match made in heaven.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Blue, Blue, My World Is Blue

No, not my mood, my design wall. Since I did make a very small dent in my green stash, I decided blue was next on the list. This is what I've accomplished so far:

These double four patches are supposed to be random - not light and dark. Here's the rest of the quilt:

I still don't have everything cut, but I don't always do all my cutting first anyway - I'm much too impatient to get started sewing. It would probably make things easier if I was a bit more methodical and organized, but I doubt that will ever happen.

I bought Judy Martin's Log Cabin book on Friday and I was reading it last night.

I must admit I don't often 'read' quilt books, I tend to look at the pictures and read the patterns. I love Judy's quilts and she makes some excellent suggestions in this book. One of them is to buy a cutlery organizer or desk organizer to keep your strips organized when doing log cabins. What a great idea and I'm sure the concept would work for other quilts too!

One of the quilts at the top of my 'to do' list is Judy's Shakespeare in the Park.

If you want to see some great quilts (and kill even more time), check out this link to pictures of all the quilts inspired by Judy's various books. There are some beautiful quilts in this gallery.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Moving Right Along

Another one bites the dust - I just finished hand stitching the binding on this one this morning.

We had another thunder and lightening storm last night with more torrential rain. While all this rain might be good for the grass, it isn't doing too much for the flowers - they are all waterlogged. I snapped this picture of one of Leo's roses a few minutes ago:

I'm not sure I like the colours on this rose - probably would have been much nicer if it was pink! The fuzzy bees were all over the spirea as I was trying to get this picture.

My praise of APQS may have been a bit premature. They sent me the European connector instead of the Canadian one for my stitch length regulator and it had an extra wire. Leo came to the rescue and was able to get the right connector at Home Depot this morning and Tillie is back in business.

Next on my agenda is tidying up my sewing room to try and make room for those 5 bolts that should be here soon.......

Thursday, June 26, 2008


I guess there is a little bit of Dorothy in me after all - I refused to let this beat me. While I don't subscribe to her theory that there's nothing I can't do, I was determined not to let this header beat me. Hope you like the peonies - enjoy them because as soon as I can find a good picture of my baby that will look good up there, they will be disappearing!

I've been promising myself all week that I'd get the hand stitching done on my green stash quilt - maybe tonight I'll actually do it.

I can hear thunder rumbling in the distance so it sounds like we're in for another storm. I think we have had thunder and lightening almost every day for weeks.

I got the replacement part for Tillie today - I couldn't believe how quickly it came. Thank you APQS. Now all I have to do is figure out how to install it. Ohhhhh Leo...........

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I Give Up

I've just spent way too much time trying to get a picture in my header. When I crop it to 750 x 220 as Mary suggested, it is a tiny little image in the top left hand corner. If I leave it alone, it takes up half the page. I cropped it in Photobucket then copied the HTML code and got nothing. Then I saved the cropped picture to my computer and tried to upload it that way. This is when I got the tiny picture. So, I give up - at least for tonight or until someone can give me more suggestions as to what I'm doing wrong.

So, in lieu of a picture in my header, I'll stick one in here as I can't have two posts in a row without a picture.

Anyone know what this is? We didn't when we saw field after field of it in Prince Edward Island. We stopped and asked and it's canola. From a distance we thought there was some kind of plastic covering over the fields as it is so vibrant. Maybe I'll have to name my next yellow quilt "Canola".

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Leo had an ERCP today which showed he has a stone in his pancreatic duct. There is only one surgeon in Ontario that has had any success removing these endoscopically so he's been referred to him in Toronto.

Needless to say, we had hoped for better news, but I'm trying very hard to take this one day at a time.

Can anyone tell me how to put a picture in my heading without it taking up half the page? I've looked at Blogger's help section but anything I found relating to this was way over my head in computer language. I need easy, idiot proof instructions please.

To quote one of my favourite movie lines "tomorrow is another day".

Monday, June 23, 2008

Slow Dancing in a Burning Room

That's the title of a song by John Mayer and it perfectly describes how I felt today.

It's been one of those days where everything that could go wrong did go wrong - on the quilting front anyway. I loaded my green stash quilt on Tillie this morning and did a couple of passes and everything was fine. Then I changed bobbins and my tension went wonky. I have been so spoiled by Tillie that I'm not nearly as diligent about checking my tension between bobbin changes as I used to be. Well, that came back to haunt me today and I spent just as much time frogging as I did stitching. I just took the quilt off a few minutes ago and got it trimmed.

I found some backing in my stash, so now all I have to do is find some binding that is suitable and this will truly be a stash quilt. I used a panto called Fancy This which is one of the few pantos I own that doesn't have either feathers or flowers on it. Thanks again Mary for providing the instructions and inspiration for this quilt.

They say that confession is good for the soul, so I guess I better fess up. Since I used ALL this fabric from my stash, I felt compelled to order more yesterday. I had an offer of free shipping from a company that sells only bolts, so how could I resist? Well, I didn't and 5 bolts are making their way to me now.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

More Squares

After finishing my girlfriend's quilt, I decided I should finish mine too - I think four years is enough aging on the rack. I did mine in a fabric line called Sentimental Journey by SSI - it's pink, it's floral - it's so me - I really hate that I'm so predictable!

I used a panto called Fantasia on this one and I'm really pleased with how it turned out. You can see the panto better on the back:

Boy, have I learned a lot in the last four years. I can't believe how I pieced the back on this - right down the middle. While I would never do that now, I didn't dislike it enough to rip it all out and start over. Sometimes finished is just so much better than perfect.

Ben and I watched "No Reservations" last night. If I'm ever reincarnated, I want to come back looking exactly like Catherine Zeta Jones. I loved her in Chicago and I would do just about anything (except go on a diet and exercise) to have a body like hers.

Tonight we have Season One of Ugly Betty all ready to go. I didn't start watching this until about half way through the first season, so I'm looking forward to seeing the beginning. Ben is so agreeable - he'll watch just about anything.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Simply Squares

I offered to quilt a top for my girlfriend - she works full time and puts in horrendous hours - so it was the least I could do to help her. We both took a class, probably about 4 or more years ago when we both started quilting, called 'Simply Squares' . You sew squares together in a row, then make a couple of cuts across the quilt top, resew them and you have your squares on point.

Here's how it turned out:

It looks Christmasy in this picture, but it really isn't in person. I hope she likes it as it makes me very nervous doing something for someone else. I used the Frisky Feathers panto and Superior's Sew Fine in both the top and bobbin. My top from the same class is on my "to be quilted" rack downstairs - one of these days...

I had a bit of a problem with Tillie today but I can't say enough good things about the people at APQS. My stitch length gauge wasn't working from the back of the machine so they are going to overnight a replacement to me under warranty. Of course, overnight to Canada usually takes a week. I can still set it at the front though, so it isn't a huge deal waiting. Truth be told, I have a feeling it might have been my own fault as we have had so many storms here lately with power outages and I don't always remember to unplug Tillie when I'm not using her - but don't tell anyone!

I'm off to get changed as I'm meeting my girlfriend for dinner when she finishes work and I can take her quilt with me.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Green Light

Thanks for all your comments on my dilemma. I'm going with the green leaves and I have just enough to get 4 1/2" borders out of that piece of fabric. Here's another question - when you piece your larger borders, do you cut them on the diagonal or do you join them end to end. I always join them diagonally, but since I'm really tight on this fabric, I may have to join them end to end as it wouldn't waste as much fabric. Enquiring minds want to know - what do you do?

I was supposed to have dinner with my sister in law and Sandra in Toronto tonight, but Sandra has caught some bug and went home from work sick, so we've postponed it. I was really looking forward to it too :-(

I'm planning a quilt-a-thon this weekend. Leo is going on one of his annual fishing trips which the guys were kind enough to postpone until he was feeling up to going. I'm a bit nervous about him doing his own injections and dressings, but I have made him promise he'll call me every day just so I know he's O.K.

Ben and I have some good movies lined up and I'm hoping to give Tillie a good work out.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Amazing What You Can Find

If you look hard enough. I just knew that piano keys wouldn't look right and Mary suggested using a pieced border like this one. I like that idea a lot better than piano keys, but determined not to be beaten on this, I went digging in my stash again and found this:

Then pinned it to the top:

Looks great from a distance, but, my question to you is this - are the leaves too feminine? Are they just another version of florals or could they be used for a masculine quilt? I don't usually struggle this much with fabric choices but for some reason, I'm having a really hard time with this one. Tell me what you honestly think - I can take it!

If This Doesn't Make You Feel Old.....

Then nothing will. I just read that Neil Patrick Harris of Doogie Howser fame just turned 35.

He really doesn't look that much different. On the other hand - any idea who this is?????

Give up? It's Kathleen Turner but I'd never have guessed it. I'm not sure what her story is but time hasn't been kind to her - and what happened to her nose? Maybe Michael Douglas came back for a final revenge.

I'm still playing with my double nine patch trying to figure out a border. I've been contemplating a piano key border using the greens and creams from the blocks. I tried laying it out on EQ5 this afternoon, but I'm just not sure it will look right.

Monday, June 16, 2008

It's All About the Food

Tomorrow is my turn for Stitch N Chat so I spent the morning baking - something I don't do very often as I have a bad habit of eating it. First off was blueberry bran muffins:

Then some banana bread:

And finally some blondies:

I made some yummy spinach dip to serve with fruit, veggies and pumpernickel. Cheese and crackers will round out the menu. After that, we'll go out for lunch - and I wonder why I can't lose any weight!!!!!!

I've been auditioning fabrics for my green double four patch and it has brought to light just how many of my fabrics are florals. Even my tone on tones have leaves or flowers on them. So, do I use what I have and make this a feminine quilt or do I buy more fabric for the borders? Don't forget too that I have the matchy matchy gene so I might just have to buy some green tone on tone for the back too. This stashbusting isn't easy!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Watching The World Go By

Ben loves to sit on the chair by the front door and watch the world go by. He'll sit there for hours and although he normally chases squirrels, when he's on his 'throne' he completely ignores them.

He got lots of opportunity to sit there this weekend as Leo and I worked outside trying to rid the flower beds of maple keys. Those things are a royal PITA and usually it's Leo's job to clean them up. Since he doesn't have the strength or stamina to work for long, I've been helping and there must be an easier way.

The landscaping company that cuts our lawn did a spring clean up and suggested to me (when Leo was in hospital) that they put a couple of loads of mulch on our front flower beds as there are so many tree roots that hoeing it is virtually impossible. Sounded like a great idea at the time, but I forgot (and so did he) about these blasted maple keys. So, there we are out on our hands and knees picking up handfuls of keys and trying to separate them from the mulch. If the mulch wasn't there, we could simply use the vacuum and suck them up.

I did use the vacuum on the back patio - why do they make those things so darned heavy? I'm sure I have muscles that I didn't have before after lugging that thing around for hours. I have a whole new appreciation for the job Leo used to do on the garden.

Tomorrow I get to tackle the pool - anyone know a cute pool boy?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

I Survived

Working 4 days in a row - can you believe it! What on earth am I going to do at the end of August when I have to work 2 full weeks in a row. I better start complaining now...

Yesterday was my Mum's 86th birthday - she's always believed Friday the 13th is lucky as her birthday has often fallen on a Friday. This year, there is only one Friday the 13th.

Port Dover is a small, sleepy little town on the shore of Lake Erie and every Friday the 13th, bikers young and old travel there. The tradition started in 1981 and has been growing every year since. This year, they estimated 30,000 motorcycles were there from all over Canada and the U.S.

I'm not into motorcycles and you wouldn't catch me on one for all the money in the world, but they sure get better gas mileage than our cars. You can read all about the event here.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Little Engine That Could

I spent the evening last night sewing my green scrap quilt together and now I have to audition fabrics for a border. I have a LOT of florals I could pick from, but I always feel that adding florals makes the quilt distinctly feminine - not that there is anything wrong with that - but it's nice sometimes to have one that is more gender unspecific - is that even a word??

I agreed to fill a position on our Quilt Guild's Executive and we are meeting tonight to hand over from the outgoing to incoming members. It's a Pot Luck - I swear, all quilters do is eat. Last week the last Guild meeting before the summer was a Pot Luck and I haven't seen that much food in one place in a long time. No wonder my weight loss has stalled. I'll have to try that new diet Rian's talking about - forget the food - just eat the table.

One more day.......I think I can......I think I can.....

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Is It Friday Yet?

I don't suffer fools gladly. I have no patience whatsoever with stupid people and God knows I deal with enough of them at work. As more and more companies outsource their accounting departments, I now have the pleasure of dealing with people in three countries to collect one lousy invoice.

A very small part of my job is collections. I always wait until I'm in a really bad mood before I do it as I know by the time I'm finished I'll be ready to scream anyway. While I've always hated making collection calls, I hate it even more now that I have to deal with someone who has absolutely no idea who I am, what our company does or what invoice I'm calling about. They simply sit in front of their computer and read from a scripted response. We have a number of large customers - mainly in the food and pharmaceutical industry - Kraft, Cadbury, Cargill (they supply the chicken for McDonalds) - you get the picture. I used to actually KNOW the people in their payable departments but now I get to call the person who issued the Purchase Order who then gives me a reference number to call their centralized accounting in Texas who in turn have me call an office in INDIA to find out when we're getting our cheque.

Hello???? No wonder the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing. Everyone I talk to agrees this 'new improved' system isn't working so why don't they revert back to the good old days where each plant looked after paying their own invoices and the person you talked to actually knew what you were talking about. I guess that would just make too much sense.

My favourite all time response came from a young lady from the deep south. When I told her the amount of the cheque wasn't the same as the invoice, she told me, and I quote "Well, I's pregnant and since I's been pregnant I don't sees so good". You learn something every day - I never knew that pregnancy could affect your eyesight!

Only two more days....

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

It's Only Tuesday?????

Have you seen this fabric called Friendship by the Sea by Elizabeth's Studio?

I think this is so cute and I may just have to order some. It would be darling on the back of either a little boy or girls quilt. The big decision is which one do I order and how much. Knowing me I'll probably order both!

Sandra & Darren love to go to garage sales - she has picked up hundreds of CDs for a song (no pun intended) and they seem to find some really good deals. I told them if they ever saw any quilt books going cheap to please pick them up for me. Well, Darren dropped off a goodie bag for me today that was the result of their finds on Saturday.

Those of you that know me, know that I'm crazy about teddy bears. So crazy, that I designed a whole bedroom around my bear collection. Look at these ornaments - brand new in the package!

Finally, they bought these cute little blank cards - also brand new in their box.

It was just like Christmas around here tonight when I opened the bag! Oh, and what do I owe them???? About $2 for everything - don't you just love a bargain!!!!

Monday, June 9, 2008

I Don't Like Mondays

Bob Geldof and I both agree on that statement! I have to work 4 days this week - imagine - 4 whole days - it might be the death of me.

Sandra & Darren got their engagement proofs and I'm having a really hard time deciding which one I like best. Here's a small sampling of some of my favourites.

They both look so happy in all the pictures and just so I don't step on anyone's toes, the pictures are all by HRM Photography.

After being inspired by Mary on Friday, I decided to tackle my stash. I seem to have an over abundance of blues and greens (actually I have an over abundance of every colour, but these are worse than most) so I picked the green and started cutting and sewing. I'm not one of these people that have to make a quilt 'my own' - I'm quite happy to see something I like and copy it exactly - so I went with Mary's Double Four Patch.

Here's what mine looks like so far:

I'm so easily distracted. I have a lot of other things I 'should' be doing like finishing the baby quilt which, as each day passes, is looking more and more like it might be an embroidered pillow instead of a quilt. Machine embroidery isn't my first love and I get bored very quickly with it.

My mind is all over the place today and I'm feeling a bit melancholy as Leo saw another specialist today who made it very clear that this ride isn't over yet - but I'm not going there right now.

I was listening to John Prine this morning - probably most of you haven't even heard of him - he was a folk singer in the 70s. Anyway, I got thinking about some of the lines in his song called "Hello in There" .

Ya' know that old trees just grow stronger
And old rivers grow wilder every day
But old people just grow lonesome
Waiting for someone to say
"Hello in there, hello"
So if you're walking down the street sometime
And spot some hollow ancient eyes
Please don't just pass 'em by and stare
As if you didn't care
Say "Hello in there, hello".

Sunday, June 8, 2008

We've Only Just Begun

We danced our first dance to this song at our wedding 34 years ago today. Happy Anniversary Leo!

Friday, June 6, 2008

A Fun Visit

I met Mary at her hotel today and we ventured out in the 90 degree heat to have lunch. Sandra had recommended a place - I thought I knew where it was - but it turned out Mary knew the area better than I did and she steered us in the right direction.

Mary is as lovely in person as she is on her blog and we had a nice lunch and a lovely chat. As we both agreed, quilters seem to share a special bond and the conversation flowed as we shared stories about our quilting experiences. I've admired her work for a long time - I think Mary's was one of the first blogs I started reading - so it was a really special treat to meet her in person

Enjoy the rest of your visit Mary, and I hope if you ever come back to this area we can meet up again.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Car Talk

After reading Rian's post about Bud, it reminded me of a similar incident with Leo's car. While he's been sick, his car hasn't been used and a couple of weeks ago he went out to start it but couldn't even get the door locks to open and the key wouldn't work manually. He called roadside assistance and they spent half an hour and eventually got it started. Leo drove it around the block, left it running in the driveway for a while, then turned it off. Tried to start it again and nothing - nada.

Roadside assistance came back, towed it to the dealership on a flatbed, replaced the battery and some computer chips and voila - power. Isn't technology wonderful. We've become so advanced we can't even get into our cars if the battery is dead. Luckily, all this was covered under warranty.

Now for some exciting news - I get to meet Mary on Friday! She's tagging along on a business trip with her DH and we are meeting for lunch. I'm really looking forward to it. I've admired Mary and all the wonderful charity work she does for a long time and it will be so nice to meet her. Maybe some of her talent will rub off on me - I can only hope!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Pocketful of Sunshine

Here's my Sunshine quilt finished - far from perfect, but finished. I used a new panto called Feathered Leaf which is graded an 'advanced' panto. This panto reminded me of the gorgeous feathered leaves Deb does freehand. While it wasn't hard to stitch out, it was very difficult to follow and I got lost many times along the way. It was also hard to frog as I couldn't tell what was right and what was wrong. Then logic took over and I figured if I didn't know what was right and wrong, then neither would anyone else. Since the quilt police won't be anywhere near this, I just left it the way it was.

I'm giving this to Helen, the friend who gave me my Ben picture. Just in case you missed it, here it is again! I never miss an opportunity to show off my baby.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Not Just A Pretty Face

I actually do get something accomplished occasionally. My girlfriend and I went to a local quilt store yesterday and I bought two small panels. The first one has all kinds of doggie sayings on it - these are some of my favourites:

I'm always looking for things to make for the Humane Society that they can use for fundraising. I thought these would be great made into either small pillows or wallhangings. With that in mind, I also bought a panel of these:

Who could resist those little faces?

I got my Sunshine top quilted today. Here's a sneak peak but I'll post better pictures when I get it bound.

Moving right along, I also got some machine embroidery done. I want to make a small embroidered baby quilt for a baby that is due in less than 2 weeks. I've known about this for almost nine months, but there is nothing like leaving it till the last minute to add some extra pressure. Here are a couple of the teddies I did:

Last, but not least, I got the label made for the Dog Cabin quilt and it's ready to go.

Now how's that for quilt content!