Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Little of This and That

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas filled with the people and things you love most.

Sandra did a lot of shopping on Etsy this year and I wanted to share a couple of the quilty gifts she gave me.

I love this bookmark and it’s very appropriate, don’t you think?

Christmas Presents 002

She also combined my love of bears with my love of quilting with this little guy:

Christmas Presents 004

Ian had me in tears with his gift.  He snuck Ben out for a professional photo shoot and presented me with this picture:

Christmas Presents 006

I haven’t got as much accomplished as I hoped during the holidays as I have my asthma/cough/crud back – AGAIN.  This really is getting tedious and I am totally fed up being sick every other month.

I did get my Strawberry Fields top finished though.

Strawberry Fields 003

Since I hadn’t touched Tillie for several months, I started with this little snowman strippy quilt.

Snowman Strippy Quilt

If this looks familiar, it’s because I did one exactly the same earlier in the year.

After Tillie was all warmed up, I quilted this Quilt of Valour.  I didn’t do the piecing, only the quilting.

Quilt of Valour 002

I used a panto called Maple Syrup but I don’t think the maple leaves show up as much as I would like.

Quilt of Valour 003

Monday, December 14, 2009

Wonderful Surprise

Today wasn’t a good day.  I don’t talk about it on my blog, but my Mother has vascular dementia and I deal with the fallout of that condition pretty much daily.  I only had 2 hours sleep last night and was feeling pretty sorry for myself today.

Then, the mailman arrived with a parcel from my friend Joan who lives in Alberta.  Whenever I think I’m cold, I think of her – it was minus 42° there this morning.  It really doesn’t matter if that’s Fahrenheit or Celsius – it’s FREEZING!

I ‘met’ Joan a few years ago on a Canadian Quilting Forum and through Facebook we have become good friends and regular correspondents.  She regularly beats the pants off me at Scrabble.

When I opened the box, the tears started.

Wonderful Surprise 009

I knew she had been making these ornaments and I admired them.  I sympathized with her sore fingers sticking all the pins in but told her it would be worth it in the end.  I had no idea I was going to be one of the lucky recipients.  It is absolutely gorgeous and I feel so lucky.

When I dug a little deeper in the box, I discovered this:

Wonderful Surprise 001

At first I thought it was yardage that had been folded in a very nifty manner.  I absolutely love the colours – pink, purple, green – does she know me or what!  It’s what I would refer to as happy fabric – just looking at it makes you smile.

It’s not yardage as I originally thought, but a wonderful fold up bag.

Wonderful Surprise 004

It’s completely lined and folds into the front pocket.  I just love it!

Joan, you made my day and I treasure not only the gifts but our friendship.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

More Strawberry Fields

I think I might have to keep this quilt.  I love it, although it still isn’t finished as there is one more border to go on.

Strawberry Fields 003

This all came from one Bali Pop and the black background fabric.

Tomorrow I go for my annual mammogram and bone density test.  I can hardly wait!

Tuesday my Stitch N Chat Group are meeting for our annual Christmas lunch (Chinese food).  I have their gifts all ready, but they still need to be wrapped.  I think next year we are going to draw names as coming up with ten identical quilty gifts isn’t an easy task.

Two weeks from today Christmas will be all over and I won’t be sorry.  Those that know me, know Christmas isn’t my favourite holiday.  I wish I could get back the excitement of it all, but it just isn’t happening. 

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Strawberry Fields Forever

I really like how this is turning out.

Strawberry Fields 002

There are still sashing strips and cornerstones to go on – and the corners, of course, but I like where this one is going.

Sandra & Darren are having a Christmas Open House today so I spent yesterday baking to help them out a little.  They just came and picked everything up and that’s the way I like it – it’s all out of the house and the temptation is gone.

I have to work full time this week (moan, moan) so there probably won’t be a lot of progress made on the sewing front.  I still have Christmas shopping to do, haven’t wrapped a thing and so far the jury is still out on whether or not a tree is going up.

I laughed at Sandra’s Facebook status the other day:

3 cats + 2 trees = WORST IDEA EVER

Sounds like my little grandkitties haven’t been behaving themselves.  In fact, when I talked to her on Friday, she asked me if I wanted to adopt three cats – one that yawns on command.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Wonderful Weekend

I’m back from a Quilting Retreat and I had a great time. Not only did I get a lot accomplished, but I got to spend some quality time with old friends and new friends.

Before I left, I stitched out two more mylar embroidery designs for Sandra:

Mylar Hippo 004

Mylar Penguin 003

At retreat on Friday, I got 6 of these done:

Retreat November 2009 002

Saturday, I spent the whole day on this bag.

Retreat November 2009 003

I still have a button to sew on the front pocket, then it’s done!

Yesterday I got this Bali Pop cut out:

Retreat November 2009 007

and ready to make this:

Retreat November 2009 009

Both of the snowmen applique patterns and the Quilter’s Harvest pattern came from my favourite local quilt store, Gone to Pieces.

When I was tired of sewing, I worked on this scarf which is almost finished:

Retreat November 2009 006

To top it all off, when I got home yesterday I unpacked everything and put it all away, unlike what I usually do which is dump it all on my sewing table and close the door!

Now I need to concentrate on some Christmas shopping. As much as I’ve whined and complained, as far as I know, Christmas still hasn’t been cancelled this year.

Leo’s gone to Montreal for a couple of days so I can cross off making dinner from my list!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Manic Monday

I got this little guy stitched out yesterday:

Mylar Snowman 005

and this one this morning.

Mylar Snowman 007

You put mylar underneath the thread you want to sparkle and it gives the effect of metallic thread without all the headaches that metallic thread can cause and it’s also a whole lot cheaper.

Bridge went well today – I had very patient partners.  I had my cheat sheets with me so they helped a lot when it came to bidding.  I think bridge is one of those games that you never really master, you are always learning.

I just got a call a few minutes ago to fill in at a Quilting Retreat this weekend.  Now I need to get busy and get some things cut to work on.  Not sure when exactly I’m going to do that as it’s Stitch N Chat tomorrow, bowling tomorrow night then I work Wednesday and Thursday. 

I swear for months I do nothing, then everything happens at once!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Another Week Bites the Dust

I haven’t been very productive this week as I haven’t been home much at all. 

I did get my new supply of crystals and added some embellishment to the Christmas wallhanging.  New camera or not, it was still very difficult to get a good picture of this.

Christmas Wallhanging 001

Christmas Wallhanging 002

I could have added a lot more crystals, but since I don’t like it much to begin with, I wasn’t going to waste the time or money.

I told you that I bought a book in Houston entitled “Cotton Theory”.  I wanted to try something simple so decided to try the placemats.  There is a lot of cutting involved as you cut your top, your batting and your backing as this technique is reversible. 

I think I must have been smoking something when I picked out the colours in this, but it gives you an idea of how this works. One side is the front, the other the back.

Placemats 004

What appealed to me when I saw this demonstrated is you can use some of the decorative stitches on your machine – you know, the ones you have a hundred of and only ever use 2!

Placemats 005

Placemats 006

I’m going to donate these to our Guild’s Christmas Pot Luck.  My Stitch Group seemed to like them a whole lot more than I do and convinced me someone would like them.  I hope they weren’t just being nice! 

Tomorrow I’m going to play bridge.  I was trying to figure out how long it’s been since I played, and I think it must be about 25 years.  I warned my friend that set up the game that I will probably need to learn all over again, but she assured me that she has invited very patient people to play. 

I’m almost afraid to put this in writing in case I jinx myself, but my bowling average has improved dramatically this year.  It certainly makes it a lot more fun when you don’t have to throw two balls every frame. 

I bought some Embroidery Designs in Houston and I’m hoping to get some done this afternoon.


Isn’t this little guy cute!  In case you are interested, I bought them here

Sunday, November 15, 2009

It’s Done…And So Am I

Clean Sewing Room 001Every piece of fabric is folded and scraps are all in the bins with the blue lids.

Clean Sewing Room 003

Fat Quarters have all been pressed and folded and are in their own containers.

Clean Sewing Room 004

The drawers in my rolling storage units have all been cleaned out and sorted.  We have jelly rolls, Bali Pops and Charm Squares

Clean Sewing Room 005

Then we have another drawer with kits:

Clean Sewing Room 006

There isn’t a scrap of fabric left on my table:

Clean Sewing Room 008 Everything has been cleaned and sorted:

Clean Sewing Room 002

These bins contain all my scraps.  Novelty fabrics and panels have their own bins, along with Christmas fabrics and flannel.  All my Batik Fat Quarters are also in their own bin.Clean Sewing Room 007

These bins contain fabric that was purchased for a specific project – actually there is a lot of that on the shelves too, but I’ve had it so long I forgot what project I was going to use it on.

Clean Sewing Room 009

It occurred to me that after looking at the mess I had in this room, you might wonder what the rest of my house looks like.  Oddly enough, it’s fairly clean and tidy.  You could eat off my floors – Ben does it all the time :-)

I haven’t been very productive lately and I really believe the mess in this room was part of the problem.  I had piles everywhere and nowhere to put anything.  All the stuff I bought in Houston was just piled on my table and it was really getting me down.  Now I have no excuse.

The one thing I haven’t tackled yet is the magazines.  I’m going to have to give in and put them on my bookcase downstairs in my longarm room as there just isn’t anywhere in this tiny room left to store them. 

I am NEVER going to do this again.  I am determined to keep it tidy and put things away when I’m finished with them…..honest.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I’m Getting There

Contrary to what Leo says, I can see a difference.

Smaller Mess 002

I can actually see my sewing machine now.

Smaller Mess 003

And the pile in front of my containers is gone.

Smaller Mess 004

I’m hoping that by tomorrow at this time it will be finished.  I may have to make a trip to Canadian Tire to pick up another container to hold all my Fat Quarters – right now, they are sitting on the window seat in our bedroom – along with all the magazines.  Just wait till Leo sees that!

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Feel Good Post

Hopefully, by the time you’ve finished reading/looking at this, you will feel really good. You’ll be so happy that you aren’t me, all your insignificant little problems will simply disappear.

Doesn’t this look nice and neat?

Huge Mess 001

It’s taken me almost two days to get this much done. Here’s what I still have left to sort:

Huge Mess 002

And this:

Huge Mess 003

And this:

Huge Mess 004

I’ve got more piles:

Huge Mess 005

And finally this:

Huge Mess 007

And let’s not forget the magazines:

Huge Mess 008

The picture doesn’t show it, but those magazines are double what you actually see.

I am DETERMINED to get this mess cleaned and sorted this weekend. I was thinking that a lot of bloggers post what is on their design wall every Monday. Maybe what I’ll start doing is posting my CLEAN sewing room every Monday and it might shame me into keeping it tidy.

My friend Ann has a great idea incorporated into her stash. She puts pieces of cardboard between every 5 or 6 pieces, so when you want to pull some out, you don't have to lift out the whole pile. I asked my dear husband if he could bring me home about 100 twelve inch squares of cardboard and they are now sitting on my kitchen table. They don't call him Boxboss for nothing!

One of my biggest problems is what to do with fabric that is bigger than a fat quarter, but not a full yard. I do have scrap bins that I sorted all my scraps into a while ago, but what I put in there really are scraps – not half yards. What do you do with all your ‘bigger than scraps’? Right now, I could use all the help and suggestions I can get.

I did have one little helper that I could have done without. I finally had to shut her out as she has a fascination with my pins and I’m so afraid she is going to swallow one.

Molly October 2009 005

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My Idol

One of my few many complaints over the years has been that Leo never plans anything – vacations, dinners, weekends, etc.  Whenever we do anything, I’m always the one who makes all the plans, then when he doesn’t like the hotel I’ve picked, or the restaurant I’ve chosen, he can blame it all on me.

I recently found out that Bon Jovi were coming to Toronto in July and mentioned that I would love to go and see them.  Well, my dear husband found out they were also playing in Vegas in March and thought it would be a great idea for us to go and see them there.

Jon Bon Jovi

I only found out about this accidentally as he was planning to surprise me, but it turns out the week he was planning to go to Vegas is also the same week I was planning to go back to Texas to visit Ann.

I convinced him that it would be much better to see Bon Jovi in Toronto and then we could go to Vegas whenever we found a good deal and weren’t tied into any set dates.  See, the poor guy can’t win.

I LOVE Jon Bon Jovi.  He brings a smile to my face every time I look at him and I love his music.  Even though he falls into my ‘short man’ profile, I still love him.  What, you ask, is my ‘short man’ profile?  I have this theory that most short men try and make up for their lack of height by being overly aggressive.  Of course, if your husband is short, I’m not talking about him.

This is just a generalization that I’ve found to usually be true – especially in the workplace.

It’s kind of like my ‘life is too short to read sh** theory’.  No matter how bad a book was, I always read the whole thing.  Then one day I came up with my life is too short theory and I’ve been a much happier person ever since.  I give a book 50 pages and if it hasn’t grabbed me by then, it goes back to the library.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Happy Anniversary

Happy Anniversary Sandra & Darren.  It’s hard to believe it was a year ago today.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Back to Boring

Now that I’ve used up all my good blogging material, it’s back to the boring old stuff that I make.

A few years ago everyone was making chenille scarves from flannel.  I tried several, but didn’t have any success, mainly because the cutter I was using (I believe it was a Clover) was the next best thing to useless.  I bought an Olfa chenille cutter in Houston and what a difference a tool makes.


This works like a charm and is so easy to use.  That being said, however, I wasn’t too thrilled with the finished product.  I got the pattern from an old Fonz & Porter magazine but I think the scarf is much too short and it isn’t as soft or flexible as I’d like.

Scarf 004

At least I can finally say I’ve made one – and only about 5 years after everyone else! 

Last week my girlfriend and I visited my favourite quilt shop in this area – Gone to Pieces.  They had a cute little bag pattern that only uses 10 – 1 1/2” strips and a small amount of fusible fleece or batting.

Cosmetic Bag 001

It is fully lined and very easy to make.

Cosmetic Bag 003

Something else I bought in Houston was a Cotton Theory book. 

Cotton Theory

I watched the demo and got completely sucked in – as usual.  The quilts at their booth were gorgeous and the ‘theory’ is they are all reversible.  There is a lot of cutting involved as you have to cut your top, your back and your batting as you are quilting as you go.  I’ve spent pretty much all day on this (other than a few turns of Scrabble on Facebook), and so far have only two placemats done.  I made one first to make sure I knew what I was doing, and just finished the second one.  I still have to bind them and I have 2 more cut so I’ll get some pictures when they are finished.

It was my baby’s birthday on Wednesday – he turned 8.  I can’t believe it’s been 8 years since we brought this tiny little furball home that fit in the palm of my hand.

Mickey Ben

Here he is in his Halloween costume!