Wednesday, January 30, 2008

What A Difference A Day Makes...

Especially if it's spent sewing. I had a wonderful day yesterday with the group of local quilters. We did some sewing, some chatting, lots of eating and saw some wonderful quilts in the making. Too bad I forgot my camera! Thanks Lee for including me!

I worked on this flannel lap quilt and actually managed to get the top completed except for one final border.

This picture doesn't do the fabric justice - it's a pretty cream and rose floral flannel and I don't think I'll have any trouble trying to decide how to quilt this - it's just calling out for more flowers on it.

You'll notice I get my ironing board in almost every picture of anything on my design wall. That's because I have so much crap stuff crammed into the smallest room in the house that I can't move it anywhere else to get it out of the picture.

Ben seems to be feeling better but he's still not 100%. It was so cold and windy here today I was afraid he was going to blow away like Toto. He certainly didn't stay outside for long.
Now I'm off to try and get warm.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Just Another Manic Monday

Are you sick of looking at this yet? I got the ric rack sewn on yesterday so now it's ready to be quilted. I'm going to try Mary's freemotion hearts on the string blocks and probably just echo quilt the appliqued blocks. That isn't going to happen anytime soon though, as the rest of the week is going to be a busy one.

Today hasn't been a good start to the week. Poor Ben still isn't feeling well and the medication seems to have given him a terrible case of the runs - all over our 'almost' new carpet downstairs. I don't think there is any way we can save it - it is going to have to be ripped up and replaced. Poor little guy - I hope he is feeling better soon.

On the heels of that discovery came a call from Ian. Let's just say that anytime Ian calls of his own free will, it isn't good news. The last call we received was two weeks ago on a bitterly cold Friday night. He had run out of gas out in the middle of nowhere (his gas gauge was broken - ya think?) and he had to walk almost 4 miles to get to a phone to call for help. He has 143 friends on Facebook, but he calls us - collect, of course! I was afraid Leo might kill him if he went alone, so I drove and tried to calm him down.

So I'm feeling very sorry for myself and very much looking forward to tomorrow. The lady who bought my Nolting table has kindly invited me to a sew day with some local quilters. I don't know anyone locally who quilts, and I am really excited about meeting some fellow quilters and spending the day sewing and gabbing. We're having a pot luck lunch and I also made some chocolate goodies - after all, I'm afraid if they don't like what I bring, they won't invite me back, so I figured chocolate was a safe bet!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Wheels Turn Slowly

But they do turn. I had hoped to be a bit further along with this by now, but life, and that little thing called 'work', often get in the way of my quilting.

The next step is sewing all the ric rack on and piecing the backing - which you know is my least favourite job.

We continued the search for 'the dress' yesterday and went stateside. I was amazed at the difference in prices - our prices here are almost 50% more and with our dollar on par, it makes buying in Buffalo much more appealing if, of course, we could find 'the one'.

Remember last weekend I told you my baby was being very clingy? Well, he had another reoccurrance of his disc problem in his back this week and I had to take him for another cortisone shot on Thursday. He was in so much pain it broke my heart to see him but the shot and the pills seem to have an immediate effect and he is feeling much better. Is is supposed to be on 'restricted activity' for at least two weeks - just try slowing down the energizer dog! It isn't easy, but we are trying.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Babies are Coming

I have three baby quilts to make in the next couple of months and this is the first one crossed off my list. I bought this flannel kit about 2 years ago and it worked up really quickly and it quilted like a dream on my new best friend. Since it doesn't look like I'm going to be a Grandma anytime soon, if ever, I take every chance I get to make baby quilts for friends.

This arrived in my In Box the other day and some of them made me chuckle:

Only a Quilter would spend more hours sewing several hundreds of buttons on a quilt to embellish it, but wouldn't take five minutes to replace a button on a pair of pants.

Only a Quilter would give the gift of a wedding quilt two months after the birth of the couple's second child.

Only a Quilter would let three later-arriving patients go ahead of her at the doctor's office because she is on the verge of completing a block.

Only a Quilter would rush to finish a gift quilt. Not so it's done in time for the recipient's birthday, but so it's done in time for Show and Tell.

Only a Quilter would make a special quilt to give to her son, who would then have to attend quilt shows just to see it.

Only a Quilter would use freezer paper in the production of something to keep someone warm.

Only a Quilter has a "Welcome" mat at the door to her home and an "Enter at Your Own Risk" sign on the door of her sewing room.

Only a Quilter invites everyone to see her sewing room, then says, "Don't look at the mess."

Only a Quilter says, "I really don't need another project," then offers to make a quilt for a friend.

Only a Quilter will buy more than she'll ever need of one fabric for her stash, but slightly less than is needed of another fabric to complete a project.

Only a Quilter would give a quilt book to the guild auction then bid on it to get it back.

Only a Quilter would drive 40 miles in a hurricane to attend a quilt show, but call out to have her dinner delivered because it is drizzling.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Hello Gorgeous!

Even Ms. Streisand would have to agree that this is, indeed, gorgeous!

It certainly is a spark of colour on this freezing cold January day - and what better colour than pink!

We started the search for 'the dress' on Friday for Sandra & Darren's wedding in November. She doesn't want a strapless dress and therein lies the problem. Even the largest bridal salons in Toronto only carry about half a dozen dresses that aren't strapless. I was told it is because ANYONE can wear a strapless dress and they are flattering. I disagree, especially when you see so many brides spending the evening hiking up their bodices.

I know her dress is out there, we just have to be patient until we find it.

Mr. Benjamin has been very clingy lately and would like to spend most of the day either on my lap or chasing his ball. It adds a whole new challenge trying to type with a dog on your lap and sewing is even more challenging.

I just plunked him on the chair to get this post finished - but how can I resist that face? We're off to cuddle some more.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

First Finishes of 2008

They were both UFOs too, so that makes me feel even better! I bought a jellyroll of batiks when I attended a quilting retreat in Arizona 3 years ago and put this simple top together at least a year ago. This is the one I used the King Tut variegated on and it quilted like a dream on Tillie.

Sometimes I just feel like mindless sewing and these two quilts filled the bill. No points to worry about, just relaxing sewing. I do enjoy a challenge, but not all the time, and when I really want to see some quick results, these are the types of quilts I turn to.

I am also extremely proud and happy with this:

Look at all the blooms on that azalea! When Leo was ill last year, this is one of the plants he received. I should probably preface this by telling you I do NOT have a green thumb - Leo's the gardener in this family. I have never had any luck getting an azalea to bloom again, in fact, I told Leo he should just take the azalea out of the arrangement as it would probably just drop all it's leaves and look pitiful after it had been in my care for a while. I stuck it on the window seat in our bedroom and about once a month I put it in the bathtub and gave it a good shower with the hand nozzle. I was in shock two weeks ago when I saw all the blooms appear. I figure another couple of days and it should be in full bloom. Stay tuned for more pictures!

Monday, January 14, 2008


The mailman brought a CD today that I'd ordered off Ebay. Both Leo and I enjoyed the music of Jane Olivor back in the 70s and on a recent hunt through You Tube for something else, I came across one of her songs, which in turn led me to order this CD. She was never really mainstream, but she had, and still has, a terrific voice. Leo just came home and saw the CD lying on the table and asked me why I bought this when we already had most of the songs on a CD already. I told him, no, we don't have her CD, what we have is her RECORD - time sure does fly when you're getting old.

One of the songs on this CD is "How are Things in Glocca Morra" from Finian's Rainbow - now that really brought back memories! When I was very young growing up in Scotland, my favourite game was dressing up and pretending I was Petula Clark. This was long before her "Downtown" success.

To say I am easily distracted or a tad compulsive may be the understatement of the year, but hearing that Petula Clark song brought me back to the computer to do a search on Finian's Rainbow. There were some really good songs in that movie! You see where this is going - don't you! Yep, back to EBay to see if I could find a CD of Finian's Rainbow. It's on order :-)

Back on the quilting front, I really put Tillie to the test yesterday. I quilted a batik top and used a variegated King Tut on both the top and bobbin. The stitches were perfect. I think it is going to be a long and loving relationship between Tillie and I.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

First One off Tillie

I loaded a string quilt on Tillie (thanks Sandy) this morning and I am THRILLED with my new machine. I just did a simple panto, Chantilly Lace and I didn't have any tension issues - absolutely none - there isn't a railroad track, long stitch or loop anywhere - front or back! The picture above isn't a very good one - as soon as I get the binding on, I'll try and get a better picture of the stitch quality.

One question I do have that I hope someone can help me with - how do you get your stitches to 'sink' into the fabric? Is it thread choice, batting, tension or loading the top and/or backing more loosely?

You'll be happy to know that at least this quilt has a home. It's going to my Mum's church for one of their craft sales.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

She's Here!!!!!!!

Yes, she's definitely a she - sleek, pretty and went together so easily - has to be a female! Leo left work early yesterday to help FedEx Freight unload my new system - all 500 lbs. of her! By the time I got home, he already had the table assembled.

Since he seemed to be really into it, who was I to suggest he stop, so I helped in any way I could. The assembly manual was excellent with detailed verbiage and pictures. Before long, we had the head on the table.

Leo's tools of the trade:

By 8 P.M. he had her fully assembled and ready to go:

I can honestly say I've heard him swear more putting a bookshelf together from Ikea than he did assembling this - I didn't hear one bad word and there was no frustration. I was shocked that he actually assembled it yesterday - I didn't expect him to touch it until the weekend. Last night when we were lying in bed I thanked him for doing it for me and told him I hadn't expected it done until the weekend - his reply - NFL playoffs are on this weekend!

We did power her up and she purred like a kitten. I guess today will be spent reading the manual so I know what I'm doing.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


I got my string blocks finished yesterday, so now just have to get the appliqued ones done. That will have to wait until Thursday as I never feel like sewing when I get home from work. I sit at work and think about everything I'm going to do when I get home, but somehow it just doesn't happen.

I received this forward in my e-mail yesterday and it is one of the nicest ones I've seen for a while so thought I would share it with you.

Life is too short to wake up with regrets.
So love the people who treat you right.
Forget about the ones who don't.
Believe everything happens for a reason.
If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands.
If it changes your life, let it.
Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.
Friends are like balloons; once you let them go, you can't get them back.
So I'm gonna tie you to my heart so I never lose you.

Bowling starts again tonight after our Christmas break. I used to bowl about 30 years ago (5 pin) and when a friend asked me to join her 10 pin league this year I thought - why not! I am so glad I did. We have so much fun and share a lot of laughter.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Brothers & Sisters

No, not mine, I'm an only child - the TV series. Ian gave me Season 1 for Christmas and I am totally hooked. I didn't watch it when it premiered last year, but watched a couple of episodes this fall and just had to see it from the beginning.

I'll be sorry when I've seen them all and hope the writers strike ends soon so I can find out what is going on with the Walker clan. I'm also anxious to find out what Ugly Betty is up to and if Grey's Anatomy is ever going to get good again. Speaking of getting good again - what is going on with House? It is in serious danger of being crossed off my DVR list of must sees.

I've had a fairly productive weekend - I did get the Y seam sewn on my cube, but although I auditioned lots of backgrounds from my stash, I didn't find one that I really liked so I'm going to 'have' to go to the quilt store and see what they have.

I've had this book in my library for quite some time.

Strips & Strings - 16 Sparkling Quilts by Evelyn Sloppy. There is one quilt in particular that I've had on my to do list so decided there was no time like the present to start. It's a very simple string quilt, with the addition of 6 appliqued blocks. You can't really see it in the picture, but they have also outlined each block with ric rack. I thought it looked very Valentine's Dayish.

I haven't decided if I'll applique the hearts or maybe embroider some hearts or I could do some embroidered applique. I'm sure I have hundreds of heart designs but as any of you with embroidery software know - having them and finding them are two completely different things. I've been saying for years I'm going to organize all my designs but it just doesn't happen - it's too daunting a task.

Here's what I've accomplished so far:

16 blocks done and 8 more to go - hopefully I'll get those finished tomorrow. I discovered that I have less red than any other colour in my stash which surprises me a bit. Now, if I only knew someone who was Irish, I could use up some of my green fabric...

Friday, January 4, 2008

Back to Normal

The tree is down, the decorations put away and things have returned to normal around here - whatever normal is these days. It was back to work on Wednesday and nothing but computer problems trying to implement a new tax rate here in Canada. Our government very kindly reduced the GST (Goods & Services Tax). It used to be 7%, then was reduced to 6% and now has been further reduced to 5%. Before you get all excited and think how lucky we are, we also pay an additional 8% Provincial Sales Tax on almost everything we purchase.

Since I was home today, I did get my Embroidered Medallions finished - well, the top is finished - it still needs to be quilted.

This picture really doesn't do it justice - it's much more striking up close and personal. I showed you a close-up of some of the blocks in a previous post and here are a few more:

Now my dilemma is - what do I do with it? I seem to have this problem with most things I make which is why I donate most of them to various organizations.

Also on my design wall at the moment is this:

The Y seams aren't sewn yet - but they will be soon - honest! Every September for the last three years I have attended a seminar sponsored by the Amherst Quilt Guild in Amherst, NY. They bring in national teachers and I have had the pleasure of taking classes from Carol Taylor, Sue Nickels and this year, Karen Combs. The star block above was the result of her 3D class. I need to pick a background fabric and GET IT FINISHED!!

When I ordered my new longarm, they told me it would ship around the middle or end of January, but I got a call on Wednesday telling me they had a machine ready to go and it shipped yesterday. It's certainly going to get a workout when it arrives.