Saturday, December 31, 2011

Another Year Bites the Dust

It's hard to believe that another year has come and gone, and harder still to believe that a week ago we were all waiting for Christmas.


We got a new computer, out of necessity, a couple of weeks ago and I’m still trying to get used to it.  Everything I go to do is different, including my blog post.  I use Windows Live Writer for my blog and it is all different.  I don’t like change which I guess is a sure sign I’m getting old!

I have to share the most amazing gift I received from Sandra.  She always puts so much thought and effort into her gift giving and I can only imagine the hours she must have spent putting this together.  She copied pictures from my blog and Facebook and made this mosaic picture of my baby.  I hope you can click on it and make it bigger and you’ll see that each square is made up of one of, or parts of, my quilts.  Best Christmas gift ever!!!!

Ben Mosaic


I finished up a baby quilt yesterday for Darren & Sandra to give to one of their friends who just had a baby.  I had the top finished ages ago, but it still needed to be quilted, bound and a label made and sewn on.  It will be given to the recipient tonight.

Angel Puppy Quilt 5


Angel Puppy Quilt 3




Angel Puppy Quilt 2


I completed a couple of knitting projects over the holidays, but I haven’t got around to blocking them yet, so I don’t have pictures. 

You might recall I was waiting for my orchid to bloom and it didn’t disappoint.  There are 4 gorgeous blooms on it and I hope they last a long time as 4 years was a long time to wait for the blooms!
Orchid 9

Saturday, December 3, 2011

An Apology

In my attempt to ‘keep it real’, I may have been a bit harsh in my last post.  I received a very nice e-mail from the designer of the bag pattern I was bitching about from A Quilter’s Dream.  She was sincerely interested to learn how she could make the pattern better and also offered to send me a pattern of one of her gusseted bags to see if I liked it.  Now that’s customer service and I appreciate the time she took to contact me and try and make things right! 

I’ve had another busy week, but at least I have some things to show for it.  I finished these socks:

Socks 004

The lighter ones are Knitpicks Stroll hand painted sock yarn, and the darker ones are Madelinetosh Tosh Sock.   I love working with the Madelinetosh yarn and I’m anxious to see how it wears.  I find the Knitpicks is very soft, but pills quickly. 

I made this little Santa bag – it’s wired around the top and can be used to hold cards, candy canes, chocolates, you name it.

Santa Holder 004

Since I was starting to get into the Christmas spirit, I made this little doorhanger kit that had been lying around here for about 5 years!

Doorhanger 002

My Aunt asked if I’d make her a couple of these to give to her neighbours.

Appliqued Snowmen Towels 004

With all this Christmas going on, we Leo put up the tree today.  This is the first time in 3 years it’s seen the light of day – poor little Molly’s never seen it.  I had a light bulb moment when I went to inspect his work.  Every one of the ornaments holds a special memory and a lot of those memories include people no longer with us.  Maybe that’s why I haven’t been so enthusiastic about Christmas lately.

Finally, I am thrilled to show you this next picture.

Orchid November 2011 001

My orchid is going to bloom!!!!!  I’ve had this for 4 years – I know it’s been 4 years as my sister-in-law gave it to me when we hosted Sandra & Darren’s engagement party over 4 years ago.  I made the mistake of cutting off the dead blooms and you can see the dried up stalk towards the back.  I was just about ready to give it the old heave-ho, when I noticed a new stalk growing and then the buds appeared!  I can hardly wait until it blooms as I can’t remember what colour it was.

This is more exciting than an Advent Calendar – I check the progress every day to see if the bloom is opening.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Ahhhhhhhhhh

This is the first weekend in a month that I’ve slept in my own bed and it feels great.  I don’t have any plans for the weekend and I intend to keep it that way.
Last weekend at Retreat I made this bag.
Quilted Bag 003
While the finished product isn’t bad, the pattern was awful.  Here’s a link which I provide only so you WON’T buy it.  I’ve made quite a few bags, but the instructions for this one have so much waste and the way they get you to put it together is not easy and could be done so much better.
I also got all these strips cut out to make a miniature log cabin wallhanging.
Mini Log Cabin 002
I read in one of Judy Martin’s books that an organizer like this one is a good idea to keep all your strips of the same size together.  Now that this is all cut, I think I’ll just put it away and I’ll have my next Retreat project all ready to go!
I’ve made one of these before, so I' know what I’m in for.  The blocks finish at 4”.
Star Log Cabin 002
Our Guild does a secret Santa exchange and each year we pick a letter and the gift must start with that letter.  This year it was D, so I stitched out these little fingertip towels yesterday:
Embroidered Reindeer 002
The meeting isn’t until December 14th, so I’m actually ahead of the game for once!  Now if I could only get my act together and get some Christmas shopping done…

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Merry Go Round Still Hasn’t Stopped

I had a great time in Houston and showed amazing restraint with my purchases. To be honest, I really didn’t see anything I ‘had’ to have.   My friends, however, did more than their part to boost the Houston economy.  The quilts were amazing and I got to meet Debra who lives just north of Houston.  We had a lot of fun critiquing the quilts and were on the same wave length about most of the techniques.

One thing we just didn’t understand was the abundance of thread painting.  You take a coloured photograph, then thread paint over it.  I can appreciate the time it takes, but the hardest part, as one of the artists explained, was finding the right colour of thread.  What’s the point?  Yes the finished product looks nice, but so did the picture and I just don’t understand the need to do it.

We also visited the fourth largest mall in the U.S. – The Galleria.  It is a beautiful mall with 3 levels and I managed to do some damage there. 

I didn’t take any pictures when I was away.  I didn’t want to lug my heavy camera around and there were a lot of areas where pictures weren’t allowed anyway, so I don’t regret my decision.

My baby had a benign tumor on his back paw and had to have surgery.  He wore this lampshade for almost 2 weeks, but he got his stitches out yesterday and the vet is really pleased with the surgery.

Ben's Lampshade 001

Doesn’t he look pathetic.  It really didn’t seem to bother him other than he couldn’t scratch his ears, so we obliged.

Sandra & I went to Buffalo last weekend for our annual Christmas shopping trip.  She got almost all her Christmas shopping done – I didn’t!

Tomorrow morning I leave for Retreat.  I don’t have a clue what I’m going to take to work on, so I took a vacation day today to try and figure it out.  If you don’t go prepared you aren’t productive. 

I swear I am not making any more plans to go anywhere for a while.  I’m all ‘showed’ out and I’m totally exhausted.  Today is the first day in over a month that I don’t have some kind of commitment – it feels great!

Ian must have been playing around with my camera while I was gone and here is a picture he took of Molly – can’t show one baby without the other!

Molly November 2011 004

Saturday, October 29, 2011

It’s Been a While

Life has been like a merry go round here lately and I’m ready for it to stop and let me off and rest for a while.  That isn’t looking too promising though, as I’m leaving on Wednesday for Houston.  I committed to this trip a long time ago and I’m now wishing the timing were different.  Oh, well, c’est la vie!

My dear son-in-law Darren’s Dad has been battling another round of chemo so I wanted to make him a comfort quilt.  I had a panel with cottage scenes which was really appropriate as Jack loves going to his cottage.  I think it took me longer to find the panel than it did to make the quilt.  I spent days looking for it and almost had myself convinced I didn’t buy it after all, when I finally found it.

Jack's Quilt 002

Jack's Quilt 006

Jack's Quilt 007

I also got my woven look scarf finished.  Boy, there was a lot of knitting in that thing.  I took me almost half an hour to do a row!

Woven Look Scarf 003

I’m really happy with it.  I used 3 balls of Koigu, a light purple, dark purple and the burgundy. 

Woven Look Scarf 005 Now I can get busy and knit myself some socks.  I’m anxious to try the new yarn by Lorna’s Laces called Solemate.  It’s supposed to have built in climate control so your feet don’t get too hot or too cold.  If it works, I need to knit something for my whole body in that stuff!!!!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Lancaster

I’ve been trying to recover from our trip to Lancaster all week.  It was a lot of driving and since I get motion sickness, I had to do all of it.  We did 18, yes 18 stores in 2 days – no wonder I’m tired!

I had the pleasure of meeting Suzan, from The Reluctant Quilter and she is every bit as nice and bubbly in person as she comes across on her blog.  I called her on Saturday morning and she told us The Hayloft were closing and had 25% off everything, so it was a no brainer where we would meet!  She also brought the antique quilt she has been working on to let me see it.  Kudos to her for fixing it all and getting it into a finished quilt.  I wouldn’t have had the patience.

Here we are, surrounded by the things we love :-)

Suzan & Irene

My friend Joan (the smartass one) wanted to see a picture of what I didn’t buy.  I think I showed amazing restraint.

Lancaster Purchases 004

I bought yardage of the 3 on the left for backings and the rest were just small pieces of things I liked. 

While I was busy patting myself on the back for my restraint in the fabric stores, we happened on a wool shop.  I didn’t show quite as much restraint there, but I love what I bought!

Lancaster Purchases 002

I need to get busy and knit myself some more socks.  My friend Ursula asked me if I would knit a pair for her and her Mum.  I took 3 new pairs to bowling to let her take home and try on for size.  She came back the next week, minus the socks and wanted to buy them all.  I told her they weren’t for sale and she said, too bad, here’s some money, I love them and I want them all!!!  Now I have no socks left :-(

I’m trying to get this scarf finished before I start my socks.  I was working on this when we were away and since my roommates are used to much later nights than I am, I was up way past my bedtime and managed to drop a stitch.  We all tried to fix it, but the pattern isn’t an easy one to pick up a dropped stitch, so I ended up ripping it all out and starting over. 

I’m not sure which I’m better at – ripping out knitting or frogging!  I seem to do a lot of both.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Go Ahead….Make My Day!

When I went to visit my Mum today, her nurse asked me if I was her younger sister!!!!!  My Mum wasn’t even in the room, so it wasn’t said for her benefit.  There are days when I feel 89, but that comment bothered me more than I’d like to admit!  I’m going in tomorrow to ask for her resignation :-)

I forgot to show you a knitted beaded necklace I made.  I saw the pattern on Ravelry and thought I’d give it a go.  I’d never knit with beads before, so it was a learning experience.  It takes very little yarn and I thought it would be great for using up all the little bits of fingering weight sock yarn I always have left over.

Knitted Beaded Necklace 003

There are two sizes of beads in this one, but when I make another, I’ll just use one size (the bigger ones) to give it a bit more weight.

Every year I attend the Quilt Seminar at the Amherst Quilt Guild in Amherst, NY.  This year Sharon Schamber and Karla Alexander were the national teachers.  I took two of Sharon’s classes and I am happy to say I can now draw feathers!!!!!  I think I have bought every book on the market on feathers and I’ve taken more than a few classes.  We spent all day drawing on freezer paper and I now have the confidence to try them on Tillie.

Sharon Schamber's Class 003

Sharon Schamber's Class 005

Of course, drawing them on paper and stitching them out are two different things, so stay tuned!

As some of you may know, Sharon sees auras.  She read my aura and was right on the money.  I never really believed much in that stuff even though Leo is somewhat psychic – or is that pshycho – but I can’t deny everything she told me is true.

We also had the opportunity to see two of her Best of Show Quilts from Houston – Mystique and Spirit of Mother Earth.  She also shared with us that she just got a call on Tuesday night telling her that she has won another major award at Houston this year, but she won’t find out which one until the Show.

Karla gave a lecture and trunk show on Wednesday night and she was highly entertaining.  She told the story of her friend who had been burglarized.  When she came home from a night out with Karla, the police were going through her house with her husband listing all the damage but wouldn’t let her in.  All she could think of was her expensive sewing machine she had recently purchased and hoped it hadn’t been stolen.  When the police finally let her in, they told her everything that was missing but said, ‘wait until you see the mess they left in your sewing room’.  When she walked into her studio, she exclaimed with relief ‘oh, it’s exactly how I left it!!!!’. 

Finally, these pictures are for Rian, because she loves to see pictures of my baby, and I’m only too happy to oblige.

Scrap Quilt 004

Ben in Action

Here he is getting all ready for Halloween.

Mickey Ben

Sunday, September 11, 2011

It’s September Already?

I remember being told the older you get, the quicker time flies by and I must be ancient as I just don’t know where the time has gone.

I’ve been really busy, but I’m not sure what I’ve been busy doing.  I do have some things to show (finally).  I’ve been working on these socks all summer, and now that summer is almost over, they are finally finished.

Summer Socks 002

They have a bit of stretch to them – the yarn is called Lanna Grossa and it’s a cotton/wool/polyamide/elite blend.  I’m not sure if the stretch comes from the polyamide or the elite as I don’t have a clue what either one are.

After I finished these, I cast on this baby blanket.  I’m not sure who this is going to yet, but it’s nice to have a knitted blanket on hand for a gift or for donation.

Knitted Blanket 002

There is really only one row to the pattern but if you drop a stitch, it’s impossible to pick up and I wouldn’t like to admit to how many times I’ve had to take it back a couple of rows – all 208 stitches!!!

I got my Jelly Braid quilted and used my favourite stand-by, my Circle Lord Swirls.  If you click on the picture you might be able to see the quilting better.

Jelly Braid 001

I love the backing on this quilt.

Jelly Braid 003

I bought a bolt of this fabric ages ago and it’s almost all gone :-(

Finally, I made this little table runner and table topper.  I bought this fabric in Paducah and you get both out of one yard of fabric.

Tablerunner

It’s just stuck on my design wall as it still needs to be backed and quilted.

Next on the agenda is quilting my Mystery Quilt.  There is a reveal party in October and the way the last few weeks have flown by, October will be here before I know it.

I can’t believe I’m doing this, but a couple of friends and I are going to Lancaster at the end of the month.  I don’t need any more fabric, but I love the area and I’m mainly going for the fun of it, not to buy tons and tons of fabric.  (Remind me I said that when I come back.)

I’ve already been in touch with Suzan, The Reluctant Quilter who is lucky enough to live in the area and she has given me a list of not to be missed stores.  We’re hoping to meet up at one of these stores too.  I also found out there is a shop hop going on the weekend we’re there, so that should be fun.

I will not buy more fabric, I will not buy more fabric, I will not buy more fabric…………….

Sunday, August 14, 2011

It’s Been a While

I know it’s been a while since I posted but there hasn’t been much exciting around here to blog about and there’s been even less excitement going on in my sewing room. 

I finished this top ages ago.  It was a kit, and after I put it together I had one of those what was I thinking moments as it was so simple and I didn’t really like it.  Then, I got it quilted and now I love it! 

I borrowed Lee’s Circle Lord Sakura template and it just brought this quilt to life! 

Baby Blues 001

Baby Blues 003

I love the texture this pattern gives such a simple quilt.  You can bet I’ll be asking to borrow this one again! 

I’ve been really tired lately and I had to make a couple of trips to the ER for other complications.  They can tell me what it isn’t, but can’t seem to find what’s wrong.  I do feel much better today, so hopefully whatever it was has decided to move along.

Here’s somebody else who looks very sleepy – and very comfortable on the chaise in the bedroom.  You’d think those pillows were there just for Molly.

Molly August 2011 005

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

6 Months Later

My loyal followers will recall that I redid my sewing room just after Christmas.  One of my smart ass friends (I have many) commented that it looked great, but she’d like to see it in six months to see if it was still tidy.  Well Joan, here it is:

Six Months Later 001

Six Months Later 003

My biggest downfall is ‘piles’.  I tend to put everything I don’t know what to do with in a pile but I have tried to be really diligent and look, Ma, no piles!

When I trimmed my Jelly Braid quilt, I couldn’t bring myself to throw out all the triangles that were cut off, so I made this:

Mini Pinwheels 001

My daughter, Sandra, celebrated her birthday on Saturday.  She is a real girly girl and shoes are her biggest passion.  I’d be embarrassed to tell you how many pairs she owns but she does have a room devoted to them!

Sandra's Shoe Room

Anyway, another friend made these cookies for her birthday – aren’t they adorable and so appropriate!

Sandra's Birthday 2011 001

Sandra's Birthday 2011 003

Ben thought they looked pretty good, too!

Sandra's Birthday 2011 012

Friday, July 22, 2011

Is It Hot Enough For You?

I know most of the country is suffering through a massive heat wave but for someone with asthma, this has been brutal.  Snow is looking pretty good right about now!

It’s been too hot to sew as the air conditioning just can’t keep up – yesterday with the humidity factored in, it was 116F or 48C here.  Before this hit, however, I did get a few things accomplished.

I can now share the tea towels I appliqu├ęd for my friend Joan’s birthday.  I forgot to take a picture before I mailed them, so she kindly sent me one.

Appliqued Towels

If we have to do dishes, we should at least have something cute to do them with.

I also got my Jelly Braid top finished and it’s going in the ‘to be quilted’ pile.  That pile is getting a bit overwhelming, so I need to spend some time on Tillie soon.  At least she’s in the basement, so it’s nice and cool down there.  In fact, it’s downright cold!

Jelly Braid 003

You can’t really tell from the picture, but the flowers in the border fabric are a dark purple which picks up the purple in the braids. 

I just received the class lists for Houston.  I’m lucky enough to be going back this year and I thought it might be nice to take a class this time.  The list is overwhelming – this is going to need some serious thought.  Anyone have any suggestions on not to be missed classes?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Queen’s Quay

I met my friend Shirley at Union Station in Toronto on Tuesday and we spent the day on the waterfront at Queen’s Quay.  It was very hot and very humid, but there was a breeze from time to time, so we survived.

5

We took a boat tour of the Toronto islands and the view of the Toronto skyline was quite impressive!

4

The dome shaped building is the Rogers Centre where the Blue Jays play and to the right of it is the CN Tower which used to be the world’s tallest freestanding structure. Almost all of the other high-rises are bank buildings – that’s where all the money is!

We had a lovely lunch on the waterfront and watched the ducks and swans swim by.  The above pictures were taken with my phone as I didn’t want to lug my camera with me, but they turned out not too badly.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Blogging

Like most of you, I have a number of blogs that I follow every day – probably way too many!  One of these bloggers, who shall remain nameless, has started to have audio advertising on her blog, as well as print ads all over the place.

This really gets my goat, to put it politely.  Is it all about money?  I know in the past she has said in order to provide free patterns, she needs to have advertisers on her blog.  Why?  Lots of other quilters offer free patterns and don’t find the need to have ads all over their blogs.  It was the audio ads that did me in, though. 

I sent her a very polite comment, telling her I had been a loyal follower of her blog for many years, understood that it was her blog and she could do what she wanted with it,  but felt she had gone too far with the audio ads.  She didn’t bother to respond to my comment and she deleted it from her blog – I guess she only wants nice comments that agree with everything she says and does.

Is it just me?  Is there something I’m just not getting?  I understand why sites like Quilter’s Cache need advertisers but it is almost like a bible to quilters with thousands of block patterns.  It isn’t a blog – it’s a website.

Maybe I’m just in a bitchy mood, but I had to get this off my chest and what better place than my blog.

Ian took this picture of my baby yesterday – look at those eyes!

My Baby