Sunday, June 28, 2015

Auntie Green's Garden!

I am so happy that I found a spare hour or so to prep some pieces for applique for my Auntie Green's Garden this week. This project is what I consider my main applique piece, but it always seems to be put aside for "easier" pieces.

It's not that this is a difficult project, the prep-work is just a chore to me! I have to be so careful picking out the fabrics because some rebels seem to want to make their way in.

Here is a reminder of where I'm at now....

....and on Saturday morning I started with the next are to be stitched...

So this morning I will continue with this....and love it! I'm determined not to rest on this one again! lol, famous last words!

I do want to prepare a couple of my Flower Garden blocks, as well, just so I have a good three weeks worth of pieces ready for me. We are on to the last week before our wedding...which also means three weeks of house-guests starting in the wee hours of the morning on Tuesday, so I don't want to worry about running out of my morning applique!!! I'll need it more than ever to keep me grounded :)

I had two lovely days of classes with Judi Madsen of Green Fairy Quilts. If you look HERE you will see her version of Kim McLean's "Flower Pots". As well as everything we learned, Judi's quilting of this quilt was one of the main techniques I wanted to learn about. The quilt is very similar to my Kim McLean's "Flower Garden" in so many be able to incorporate some of what I learned this week would be awesome! It is such slow, meticulous work....but spectacular!

Here is a small sample that I won at the end of the class. I'm so glad, since this is exactly the work I would like to try.....Imagine this is a plain block with a the flower being an applique.....

So, one more week and I'll once again be a married woman! We should have a wonderful day, having fun with our friends and family. I'm overwhelmed at some of the help I've received preparing for the day. Such amazing people!

Almost as exciting are some of the activities and restaurants we'll be doing over the next few weeks with our visitors from Alberta and Scotland. Niagara-on-the-Lake (I hope), Twisted Lemon, The Mandarin.....woohoo!

I know that our Albertans like to get to the wineries, but I'm thinking maybe we should head the other way and take them to the Norfolk wineries. The only trouble is there are fewer of them with lots of driving in-between. We'll see!

Lastly, a sneak peek at Cooper's new sleep-spot while I'm doing my morning applique and coffee...every morning for the last week or so he gets out of bed and hops up on the foot-stool at my feet to finish his sleep. What a sweetie!

 Have a look at Kathy's blog, HERE , to see what other people are stitching on today.

 Have a great, albeit dreary, day!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Eye Candy!

Yesterday I had my first day of classes with Judi Madsen of Green Fairy Quilts. Such beautiful and meticulous work. Judi has a sweet sense of humour. She also broke down her process of quilting to make it all seem so achievable to us.

At the end of the day, she chopped up the sample she had been working on thru' the day and I was lucky enough to win a piece of it!

Here are a few close-ups of the two quilts she brought along with her to Canada....

So awesome!!!

Something fun that caught everyone's eye in the quilt shop where the classes were had, The Quilting Bee in Fonthill, was some jewelry that they had just brought back from Quilt Market. There were many necklaces to choose from, a bracelet and key fobs. Then you pick from the many, many little quilt-y magnets to put on the necklace, etc. You can buy a few and wear which one you feel like that day. Everyone was scooping them up, so I'm sure we'll be seeing them hanging around our friends necks soon....

Well, I'd better get moving and ready for Day 2 of classes!!! This morning it's all about "fillers"!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

...and even more binding.....

Well, the wedding has pretty well arrived....we're into the last two weeks and everything is falling into place!

Today is my last scheduled work day and, I'm happy to say, I'm right on track! I may try to escape for an hour or two..because in a weird cosmic way all of my children may be available at the same time! I figure I should take advantage of that and have a nice lunch together, if possible.

This morning was another marathon of binding....that's two large quilts in a row, but the end is near!

I did manage to find some time yesterday to prep some applique for my Auntie's Green Garden....

Here is a picture of how it's been for the last little while....

I'm looking forward to having this corner completed so I can go on to the next step! I still love this project...I just hate that it takes me so long to prepare the pieces for each next segment. Maybe I should have a to have it ready for the Norfolk County Fair in 2016? Could be....I'll just have to keep at it as I would love to hand-quilt this baby!

It's funny, I hung this back on the design wall yesterday and something stuck out at me like a sore thumb! I remember last working on it and feeling compelled to sneak in a little Kaffe Fassett fabric. Well, one of the fabrics is screaming at me that it just doesn't belong....and I'm going to listen and replace it, lol. I don't often do "do-overs" but sometimes you just have to listen to the quilt!!

My little Cooper has learned that if he tries hard enough, he can finally get up onto the furniture. He even managed to get to this lofty height....I was thinking this pink chair that is a birthday present was in a safe place.....

Maybe I'll have to buy another chair for his nibs???

Have a great day!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Summer stitching!

The first day of Summer is here after a nice it!

I don't have anything exciting to post on some nice Summer Sunday stitching....except I finished binding a customer quilt this morning and will start right in on another. I know a lot of people enjoy binding....for me, I just want to have it done so I can work on the projects that are calling me!

Happy Fathers' Day to all the dads out there. Here is a favourite picture of my dad that makes me smile.

Well, only a couple of weeks before my wedding. We'll spend the day getting some odd jobs done. I hope to make time this week to prepare a bunch of applique to have ready for the mornings afterward when we'll have lots of houseguests  for a couple of weeks!

I hope my eye clears up by then. I have an infection that has my eyelid all swollen and red....quite grotesque! At least it's not a couple of days til the wedding. Hopefully the antibiotics do their job!

I'm excited for the week ahead. By the end of Tuesday I should be finished the last quilt before taking time off for the wedding. Then two days of longarm classes with Judi Madsen of Green Fairy Quilts. Should be an awesome experience and hope to learn lots of new techniques!

Have a look at Kathy's post today and see what others are doing for some Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy's Quilts .

Have a great first day of Summer!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Bathroom reno (may contain explicit pics)

Well, I can finally say that the bathroom renovation is complete!...well, almost.

It's been a whirlwind renovation, it seems. I knew that "one day" I would get around to it, but a few months ago the idea came that now was the time....what with the wedding approaching and three weeks of houseguests!

The difficult part is that we only have one bathroom, so it all had to be done in such a way as to cause the least disruption to the household.

Finally, a goodbye and good riddance to the old avocado green tub, which could never quite look clean no matter what I used on it and how hard I scrubbed....


Here is the old countertop...I'm sure original....

Note the chair-rail in the above picture. We did a little face-lift of the bathroom a couple of years ago and added that. I really liked the effect, but it had to come off. This presented a problem in that I had caulked just along the top edge against the wall. It looked great but turns out that caulking is not easy to remove. I'm sure there must be a way that I don't know about.

So, I made a cut above and below the caulking and peeled it off the wall. I have painted that bathroom many times in the 28 years I have lived here and didn't all that paint peel up from the wall as one where I had just peeled off the caulking. I don't know if you get my drift, but I'll just say I was horrified.

I hate to admit what I did next but it seemed the easiest fix. We peeled the paint right of the was actually much easier than taking wallpaper off a wall! But what a mess....every flaw or nail-hole that was on the walls since the house was built was now's a picture of the top half exposed....

Thankfully, it all covered up quite well, just a bit more work than I had anticipated....but work I was capable of. I will say again....I am officially retired from mudding!!!!!!!

On a side note, I was sorry to take down the mirror but it just didn't go with the new look. This was a mirror we got in the discount section of Leon's ( we actually have another in the downstairs landing). It's a very large mirror. I scuffed down the finish and painted it white. I know it cost me less than $30 to buy plus the cost of paint....not bad! Leon's often has this type of mirror in the discount corner. Luckily, the mirror found a new home in the front entrance-way.

So, here are a couple of pictures of how it all looks today! We put in a walk-in shower which I've been dreaming of for a couple of years....and it's wonderful!

I've never understood, when watching reno shows on tv, the fascination with natural stone countertops....but now that I had a visit to the granite place in Jarvis and have it installed, I totally get it! It's so beautiful and has such depth.

I'm not quite sure yet about the light fixture, I thought it would be perfect since it echoes the look of the shampoo "niche" in the shower, but I'll have a think on it....

A couple of finishing being the trim that Iain has fashioned in the Craftsman style....sorry, hard to get a nice picture with the sun shining, should have taken one in the evening...

....and some accents from A.K.A. Designs in Simcoe ( such a great place with so many options and great advice, to boot!).....

The shower wasn't complete for ten minutes, literally, when I went in to see this....

....and I thought I'd be the one to try it out first!!!!!

So, Sunday was the day I was determined to be done. As I was packing up supplies, I couldn't believe what caught my eye. Just the way the light was shining on the bathroom closet, I could see that I had missed a whole patch of it when I painted it. Oh, well....almost done!

As a quilter, I'd like to think that I know a little about colour. For the bathroom I thought I'd let my daughter pick the paint colour. Well, as soon as I started cutting in on the edges, I knew the colour was wrong. It was almost feeling oppressive to me, hard to explain.

So, I thought how the bathroom was costing so much already, there's no way I was going to have a colour that didn't quite work. Jen and I then chose what seemed to be a much softer green. Hmph...painted on the first coat and didn't it look like fluorescent yellow hi-lighter!!!!! Oh my goodness! (which not an exact quote of what I said!).

So off to the paint store for a very neutral tone and thought to just add colour with the accessories. What the heck was wrong with me???? Three cans of paint!!!!!

Here's a picture of the quilt I worked on last week....

I can't wait til September when I can upgrade my phone and take better quality pictures!

I'll end this long post with a picture of Cooper getting an impromptu bath. He got into something greasy under the bbq and his whole head was covered in grease. Luckily, he seems to enjoy a bubble bath...

Have a great day!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Stitching on a Sunday

What's a girl to do when her day starts way earlier than normal? Hmmm, start a new block from Life is Beautiful!

I haven't looked through all the blocks, so when I reach for the next one in the box it's always a nice surprise because every block so far has been so cute.

I finished my Flower Garden block this week and I hope I can sneak in a moment or two to prepare the next block. This has been such an enjoyable project. It's a little intimidating to think that after all the blocks are done it seems like the applique will not even be half done, as the border is loaded!

People may like this type of quilt....or not....but one thing is for certain, it will definitely be a quilt with a huge "wow" factor!

A few of my friends are working away at the same quilt and they will all look so unique. One is using Kaffe Fassett fabrics as well but is much more experienced in using these fabrics than I am. Another is with batiks, then there's the William Morris and the other is using her stash. So much fun!

I'm not sure about the fabric choice in this block but I think some quilting will make the difference in the end.....I hope.

I definitely feel like taking a day to just play in the garden and sewing room but our wedding day is racing toward us. Today I am determined that the bathroom reno will be finally done! Some finishing touches and we can be proud of what we have done! This week I should include a post with some before and after shots.

One "little" job done this week was making pillowcases. These are pretty slick to make and come out pretty nice. We will have three houseguests from Scotland for two weeks over the wedding and I thought it would be a nice touch to have these Canada-themed pillowcases for them to use and then take home as souvenirs. Nice, huh? Only trouble was that even though these pillowcases are quick and easy, for some reason my brain has a hard time with them...everytime! This time it was the French seams. Not hard to do and I won't even admit the trouble I had, but a nice finishing touch for sure. I'm not one to curse but I have to admit a few choice words were uttered! In then end, I'm happy with the result...

Have a look at other people's stitches over on Kathy's blog at Kathy's Quilts.

We had weird weather this past week, with severe weather warnings, including tornado watches. I battened down the hatches outside and, in the end, I had nothing here except for some strong winds. Poor little Cooper must have sensed something in the air, though, because as I was sitting ripping out stitches on the previously-mentioned pillowcases (!!!!!), he hopped right onto my lap and snuggled right in. He's not usually allowed on this chair because I'm usually stitching, but I couldn't help but let it go this time. And, really, who could resist!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Vintage Squares

My little pup, Cooper, has looked pretty rough lately.....what with wrestling with visiting canine friends and bouncing through the long grass and dandelions. He's short enough that when he goes out to play in the morning dew, he comes in all wet up to his shoulders. I can't even keep him looking nice with daily brushings, here's a picture of the little scruff....

So, off he went yesterday for a spa day and came back soft and looking dapper....

I've been working away on a quilt for a new client. She tells me she started the embroidered blocks 25 years ago and then the project was put on hold....I'm sure many of us have experienced this, she is not alone in this!

After all these years of doing quilts for people I have yet to work on one of these. I have worked on cross-stitched quilts but not this type that has the quilting lines marked on it with blue dots that (hopefully) disappear later with water. I know that any of us that lived through the 60's and 70's remember these types of blocks. This quilt has 18 of them and they're quite pretty. The blocks are 16" and I was a bit stumped on what to do in the big, open blocks that haven't got the embroidery.

A bit of "piano keys" in the border, which is always nice and adds an elegant touch. Then a chance to use my new rulers to play with some curved cross-hatching. I've been looking for years for the best way to be able to do this and finally it's happening.

Another picture.....

....and a picture of the first of the eighteen cross-stitched blocks....

Well, I'd better get to it. It's another busy day around here topped off with a trip to Costco this evening for a "last time before the wedding" shopping trip!

Have a great day!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Sunday stitches...

I wasn't sure I was going to like doing the frond-like leaves or how they would look in the end, but I'm quite happy with it so I'll leave it. I had thought that if  I couldn't get the tips of the fronds sewn down nice enough I would applique a little circle on the end of each one instead. Hmm, now that I've typed that it still sounding like a good idea. Any opinions on that?

Today is a good day to check on Kathy's Quilts to see what everyone else is stitching on.

Have a great day!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

A wee break?

What a busy month it is here at the Croley household....and an especially busy week! For a couple of hours this morning I am going to just take it easy.

I had a wonderful time speaking to the ladies in Dunnville, D.O.T.S., at their June meeting. I think it's been such a hectic time lately that I didn't have a single minute to get nervous! It didn't hurt that it was their year-end potluck and I was invited. Who doesn't love a potluck!!!! We are having a potluck for our wedding next month and people seem very keen on the idea!

So today is about relaxing and poking around in the studio. I have four large bags to unpack from last night and get the quilts back in to their proper places. I will also piece a small block on my newest UFO(!), Farm Girl Fridays. Here is a look at the first two blocks. They are 6" and sooo cute...

I really like the dotted fabric for the background. At my trunk show, I had a few comments afterward from some of the ladies on how it adds interest to use a background that may be out of one's comfort zone. This was especially noted on my "tomato soup" quilt. It's still a favourite of mine and really gets a reaction when people see it.

Here is a picture of Tomato Soup, actually Aunt Millie's Garden by Piece o' Cake Designs. Not a great picture but all I have at the moment....

( I am so glad that I'm due to get a new phone in a few months. One with a better camera is definitely in order! )

On a side note, I have to say that after a few months of posting this blog I was having doubts about continuing. I have had such nice comments and encouragement lately that I figure I'll keep at it for a bit to see if I can continue to think of things to say! I think the preparations for our fast-approaching wedding and the illness/death of my father lately have thrown me for a loop. Thanks so much for having patience with me.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Chasing perfection

I had a couple of interesting conversations lately.

One was with a good friend of many years. She is a Master Appliquer and very particular in her work...and will admit to being anal about her work. I have learned a lot from this friend over many years. One difference is that I do try my best and try to utilize new techniques to improve my hobby but I rarely beat myself up over it. After-all, this is my hobby and supposed to be fun, lol !!

As I get a little older, I can see that on some days my work may not be as nice as the day before...for who knows what reason...fatigue, stress, a bit of arthritis that particular day, etc. I contemplate tearing out the stitches, but stop myself. This is who I am that day and that is what I am capable of that day.

I have heard hand-sewers say that they may give it up when their work is not of the quality that it once was. I personally am saddened by this. On the other hand, in my longarm business, I am cheered when "mature" quilters still make their way to my door. They are ones to just enjoy the process of creating quilts still...I love their outlook!

Despite all this, I come to the Flower Garden block I am working on today...

I am kind of new to working with Fassett fabrics, but am enjoying the bright colours and wild prints. I do have to admit, though, that it can be somewhat of a challenge to decide which colour thread to use for the applique! Usually I just pick the dominant colour of the piece of fabric and try my best. On the flower piece of this block I have used three different colours of thread.. red, pink and orange. This is so not like me! I must be influenced by my conversation with my friend yesterday.

On Monday evening at one of my guild meetings we had two very interesting speakers. They are woman who judge quilts at the Fall fairs. They really gave us insight to what they look at when judging quilts.

 It was a bit tough at times since they used some of our own quilts to demonstrate. When they commented on the binding on one of my quilts it bummed me out a little, but then I figured that I would try to incorporate some of what they were saying in my next quilt. I like to think I'm open to trying new techniques to improve my work.

This brings me to the second conversation of interest this week. Another woman who heard the same speakers told me that after hearing all that is looked at when judging for the fair, she would never dare to enter a quilt! So sad,  I think. In my opinion, we should enter our quilts to share our craft and do it just to enjoy the process...not because of the competition aspect of it. I have had quilts do well, and I have had quilts that I have been so proud of not get a ribbon at all.

If everyone was afraid of how their quilts will perform at the fair we would probably not have so many beautiful quilts to look at when we visit the much enjoyment in that!

I guess my point in this post today is to just enjoy your craft, listen to critique and new ideas, and the work will improve....or not!....but probably. The real deal is that we want to quilt because it makes us happy.

Wow, this is getting a bit sorry!

Wish me luck...I have my bags packed and ready to go do a trunk show this evening! I have to say that life has been so hectic, I haven't had a moment to get a case of nerves!!!

Have a great day!