Sunday, February 28, 2016

Circles, circles and more circles!

What a lovely Sunday morning. The sun is shining and it feels quite mild already. 

I started my day, as usual, with a bit of applique. I seem to have been stitching small circles on my FlowerGarden forever, and now that I've hung it on the design wall to take a picture I can see I have a long way to go! I don't know whether to persevere to get this border done, or pick up another project for a couple of weeks.
I also embroidered the stems on Block #4 of the Splendid Sampler this morning. I wanted to get it done so I'll be ready for the release of the next block today.

This is a pretty sweet project so far, and still not too late to join in!

We made good progress on the fireplace on Saturday. I think I just have a bit of tweaking to do with the caulking gun and a dab of paint here and there. I have a sneaky suspicion that this is going to develop into a full-on paint job of the living room. I can tell it must be getting close to Spring.....I love to paint a room and this year it will be the Dining Room and upper hallway. Nevermind watching out for robins as a sign of  Spring...just look for me at the hardware store in the paint department!!!

Of course, being Sunday, I'll be linking up with Kathy's Quilts to see what others are working on today. 

Kathy's post today makes me a little envious as she is showing progress on her Life is Beautiful quilt. This is also a quilt I've been working on, but I really am not ready to get to the step that she is....I'll probably wait 'til at least this Fall. I do think I'll prep a block so I can take it to Guild this week for some take-along stitching.

Have a beautiful Sunday!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Something splendid!

I'm enjoying the Splendid Sampler. The fourth block was released yesterday and I had to get right at it this morning with my morning coffee. Here are my first four blocks so far...
The fourth one isn't quite done, but almost. They are all so cute!

I'm finally catching up on my Quilty365/Day in My Life since being ill last week. All the hearts are at least prepared if not sewn down...
The heart with the little Japanese girls was as close as I could get to represent going to the Mandarin on Sunday for lunch. I know, wrong country, but I love that fabric and wanted to get it in there!

I find I'm venturing into backgrounds that aren't always neutral. Hmm, that's ok!

Another splendid....our progress on our new fireplace. I have snuck in some painting here and there this's coming along!
Could there be yet another "splendid"?, you ask. Why, yes, yes there is!

I received an email yesterday congratulating me for my quilt being accepted into the National Juried Show this year at Quilt Canada! What a feeling, to be recognised at what one is passionate about. How exciting!

The quilt is my Circle quilt, which you can see in the banner of this blogpost, as well as here... 

The sun is shining after a couple of rainy, grey days....makes me feel like just getting out and soaking up some Vitamin D.

Have a great day!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Something new.....for me anyway!

It's still early on a Sunday and I'm happy because I've learned something new already!

I hadn't set out to learn this stitch, it came about quite by accident while looking at today's post on Kathy's Quilts. Today is her link-up day so we can see what others are slow stitching on. 

I came across a blog called The Crafty Creek which you can see HERE. She is working on The Splendid Sampler, also, and uses an embroidery stitch I have never seen or heard of before called the bullion stitch.

She has used it for the body of her butterflies. 

Through the magic of YouTube, I found how to go about this stitch and after three tries finally got one that worked! It may not be the prettiest but I was thrilled to learn this stitch. The one stitch makes up the entire butterfly body. (I must see if my friend, Donna, knows this stitch...she's doing a lot of embroidery this year!)

So, instead of my slow stitching on a Sunday being working on my Flower Garden as intended, I did some embroidery to complete the Wings block for The Splendid Sampler!

Have a visit with Kathy over at Kathy's Quilts to see what others are working on today!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Happy Scrappy Saturday

What a very long week it's been. 

We've both been knocked flat by some sort of illness this week, but today I'm starting to feel like I may survive after-all! 

Yesterday I was feeling good at the longarm again....even better working on such a jolly quilt. It really made me feel good just looking at it...nice one, PT!.......
I've received a free package of Wonder Clips by Clover this week. 
I know that people use them for binding their quilts, I also know that I won't use them for that. Any other ideas of what people like to use them for? They are cute and surprisingly strong....hope I can find a good use for them!

I've wondered lately why I am being taken up by so many new projects this last few months. It's becoming a bit overwhelming to say the least!

 I've finally come up with a theory. It's this...since I've taken to writing this blog I come across so many other great bloggers out there that I'd never heard of before, and they all take part in wonderful projects, sew alongs, etc. 

Even while ill this week I've stumbled across yet another fun project! 

It's called The Splendid Sampler and is hosted by Pat Sloan and 
 Jane can check out the website HERE.

Many designers are involved in this one and will provide a 6" block twice a week for the next year. It's just started this past week, so a perfect time to join in!

Here are my first two blocks...

The second block is supposed to be 5 little butterflies flitting about...they will look better once they have their antennae!

I am probably a week behind in my Quilty365/Day in My Life hearts. My weekend goal will be to get them prepared and ready to be caught up.

I did manage some easy sewing once I was feeling a bit better. This was February's goal for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge Sampler. The colour for February is brown with an accent of pink. I really like how this turned I just have to complete more of the blue January blocks!
Have a visit with SoScrappy to see what others are creating for their Rainbow Scrap Challenge!

Something I learned this week....when you are so chilled that your teeth are actually chattering and it doesn't seem to help that you are covered in two quilts, two pups and near a fireplace and you've tried tea, soup, etc., a shot of Southern Comfort does the trick!

Hope you're all well and can enjoy this sunny, mild day!


Monday, February 15, 2016

A cautionary tale.....or two!

Well, here it is Family Day!....but I find myself alone. 

Husband was asked to work and plans with the grandkids have fallen through.

That's all okay....I'm under the weather so would have cancelled plans myself anyway. I figure why not make it a sew day!! 

Cautionary tale #1

Anyone working on the 365 Quilt Challenge....don't let yourself get too far behind! I know that it's unavoidable sometimes, but in my case I just let it go for a couple of days, or so I thought.

I "thought" I was behind by maybe three days. (just typing that, I can hear my mother's voice saying, "you know what thought did!")

Well, it's taken me all morning, but here is what I've got sewn...
Awesome, right? Well, I still have two more to do to be caught I was definitely behind by more than a couple of days!

So for anyone out there taking part in this, try your best to keep up. Otherwise it takes a bit of time to catch up and it kinda takes the fun out of it, I think.

For myself, I may try to allot a certain time to do the day's right after breakfast.

Cautionary tale #2

Don't work on fiddly blocks when you're not feeling well!

Exhibit 1...

So cute!....but as soon I saw it through the camera lens it was clear I'd sewn it together wrong!

Luckily, an easy fix...
Exhibit 2...
This one went together beautifully. I was so looking forward to that dot fabric in this block. How discouraging that it really doesn't show well, I can hardly see the star!

Now, for this project I've told myself to just leave any "just ok" blocks. Really, in the grand scheme of things, in a quilt with over 360 blocks, will it matter if a couple of blocks don't shine????

This one I had to correct, I just couldn't leave it.

So much better...

Now its time for a bit of lunch. What do I feel like in my misery?....the comfort food of childhood illness....
Luckily I found a can way back in the pantry. So maybe a bowl of soup and a hot cup of tea and some couch time. 

I look forward to this evening. My husband makes a wicked hot toddy!!!


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Ooh, baby, it's cold outside!

What a cold snap we're having!

 I can't complain since we've had such a mild winter so far.

Recently I bought a gift for my husband, a heated mattress pad. I made sure to get one that has dual controls since I really wasn't all that interested. I'm at a certain age that seems to come with it's own heat source! I have to say, the last few nights I've been mighty happy with the nice, cozy bed! 

Even though we've had the bitter cold, it's come with glorious sunshine...and that's so nice this time of year!

It's been a busy few days. On Saturday I had a fun time at Quilt Junction at my monthly mystery quilt class, then off to Binbrook Little Theatre for their production of Cinderella the Panto.

For such a small town, Binbrook always puts on a good show. This is the third time for my grandson to attend, and the first for my newly-found granddaughter. There was a small fear that she may be too young to enjoy, but it turned out great. She was quite taken with the production. 

Saturday evening I was treated to a delicious pre-Valentine meal. We had Beef Bourguignon with a side-dish of Celeriac. Neither of us had tried celeriac before and we both really enjoyed it. We'll definitely make this recipe again!

Again, I never think to take a picture 'til halfway through the meal, sorry!
I know, it's not great showing a picture of a half-eaten meal but I wanted to show what the celeriac looked like....the recipe called for a somewhat rough mash and I do think it was nicer this way. We found the recipe on Pinterest and you can see it HERE. 

Also, the beef bourguignon was to die for!

A cold day like today begs for some slow stitching under a quilt. My stitching today will be the binding on our wedding quilt. I did a label inspired by Bonnie Hunter's blog and I'm using a lovely striped fabric which I think is nice on a binding. I'm also loving the backing which is FreeFall by Tula Pink.

I was very disappointed with my attempts to try a new quilting thread on this quilt. After many failed attempts I switched up to something else. I'll try the other thread again another day since it was so beautiful. 

I'm linking up with Kathy's Quilts so we can see what others are working on on this frigid winter day!

Friday, February 12, 2016

There comes a time.....

There comes a time when you look around the sewing room and realise that there are some quilts you may never get around to finishing.

It's very freeing to come to a decision on some of them to set them free and call them done!

I've rescued one such quilt in my stash this week. This was a project started at one of my guilds a couple of years ago. One of my friends headed up a "row of the month" that she designed. I had great visions of how this would look in the end but it's been waiting patiently for a long time. 

It's so pretty! I love the jolly look of 30's prints, especially paired up with this beautiful white background. It's only 48" square.....but a perfect size for a little grandson or granddaughter to cozy up with on the couch when visiting Grandma! So this quilt top is officially complete!

It will also be a perfect practice piece for later this Spring after I take some new longarm classes!

It really does feel good to let myself "off the hook" on this one. I'm going to be on the lookout for maybe a couple more to donate to the free table at my guilds. 

Today I'll be quilting on my wedding signature quilt...
I'm excited to work on it since I'll be trying out a new thread line. I've never had great luck using variegated threads on my machine, who knows what I'm doing wrong!! Early on, I invested a small fortune in threads and just can't use them on my client's quilts.

I've recently started to deal with WonderFil threads out of Alberta (love that there's a Canadian company to order from!).  They have recently launched a new variegated line of threads, so I thought that this quilt would be a great opportunity to try it out. Wish me luck! I know so many people would love these types of threads used on their quilts.

Here is the thread I'll be using...
What a pretty sheen it has!

It's a good day to hunker down and play with fabrics today as we are in the start of what has to be the first real cold snap of this winter. Not bad, really, for this far into the season!

Before I go play, I'll just share a picture of a beautiful tablecloth I quilted last week. It was a lot of fun doing some freehand motifs that picked up the floral design in the border...
Have a great day.....and stay warm!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Slow start

It's one of those days where it would be nice to just curl up with a book and relax.

You recognise this type of day almost immediately. I slept in, which is highly unusual. It's a snowy day, which hasn't happened too much around here this winter! For some reason I was appliqu-ing in slow-motion with my morning coffee. 

Hmm, coffee!? Maybe another one is in order?

I was hoping to get caught up on my Quilt365/Day in My Life hearts this morning....I did manage to get two sweet little blocks done...
Yesterday I sewed on another row to the main quilt....
When I hung this on the design wall, I realised a "happy accident". I had decided early on to have 15 hearts in a row, which means that every two rows constitutes a month of hearts (somewhat). I didn't plan it that way!  Not a big deal, but in a little way it pleases my sensibilities. So, at a glance, I can see that with these five rows of hearts I have been at it for approximately 2-1/2 months!

I'm a couple of days behind in the 365QuiltChallenge, but did manage two more blocks yesterday, and they are adorable!
Our fireplace is installed but still under construction. This morning seemed particularly cozy doing my stitching by the fire....I think maybe because out the window I could see the bit of snow we had overnight? I've noticed that little Minnie loves napping in front of the fire...
This seems to be her "spot" in mornings now!

As I sit typing this with my extra cup of coffee, I'm realising that my body has a few aches and pains this morning....I hope I'm not coming down with something.....although that would explain my very slow start to the day :-(

I thought it might be nice to share a couple of blogs from time to time which I enjoying reading.

The first is Hilda over at Every Stitch

I discovered Hilda's blog just a few months ago when I saw her version of Auntie Green's Garden, which is a quilt I've been working on also (for a couple of years!). I'm still loving my AuntieGreen, but was wowed by Hilda's neutral version!

Hilda and I seem to be working on a number of similar projects, which makes her even more interesting to me!

One that she is quilting at the moment is the Civil War Bride quilt. I love her version which is done in red. I have to admit, I started this same quilt a few years back and only got two blocks done. Mine were in very dreary fabrics and I'm now certain that that is the reason I lost interest. It is a quilt project that I gave my permission to just abandon.

Another recent find for me is Gayle at Mangofeet

Gayle is another quilter that seems to be working on similar projects as me. Other than her obvious talents, Gayle has a great sense of humour and a knack for writing a fun blogpost!

When you have a moment with a nice warm cup of coffee or tea, please have a visit with these women on their blog and discover their unique talents.  

Hope you're having a better start to your day than me! Oh well, sometimes I think our bodies do this as a message to take a wee break, right?

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Mitred borders!

The brain is such a mysterious thing.

I've been working at getting the signature quilt from our wedding last year put together lately...
 I've never been much of one to do mitred borders on quilts but after listening to Laura Coia, a guest speaker at one of my guilds, I was inspired to try to be a convert. Mitred borders add such a nice finish to a quilt. (Laura is from the Niagara area and does YouTube videos under the name Sew Very Easy....check it out!)

I've had a beautiful border fabric picked out but have held off since I was stymied on how to figure out if I had enough fabric to do the mitering. The added problem is the the fabric is directional. 

I consider myself pretty good at math, but for some reason couldn't wrap my poor brain around this! Luckily, a quilty friend had offered to come around next week and help me out. 

Now, back to my opening statement on the brain being a mysterious thing....

Saturday morning I woke up way too early and the first thing to pop in my head was the cutting layout to doing this border with this fabric! I wanted to jump right out of bed to see if the math was correct, lol.

Well, I managed to wait 'til after breakfast to put it to the test and everything worked out great....
 My only qualm is that I think the 8" border may be a bit too big....but it's staying! 

My first mitred corner was off a bit so I resorted to YouTube for direction....what did we do before YouTube?!....I guess we phoned a friend!

It was an easy process after all, and it worked out practically perfect....nice, squared-up corners....
 Laura Coia had talked about leaving the seam allowance very generous so as to add more stability to the seam and to reduce bulk so I's maybe trimmed to about 1 1/2"...I like it....
I've got a fantastic skinny stripe for a binding, it's going to be perfect!

The last couple of days I did squeeze in a bit of time to get caught up on my 365Challenge....and some of these were indeed challenging....but so adorable! They finish as 3" blocks.

The first one looks a bit wonky, but it does look better in real life. I actually had to go back and sew the seams joining the wee HSTs a thread-width narrower to make them fit. The second, I wish I had made better fabric choices, but I've deemed it a keeper...mainly because it went together so well! 

This has been an amazing world-wide group project and it's so much fun to see everyone's blocks. My local quilt shop, Quilt Junction, has decided to hold a monthly "support group" to sit and share conversation about the quilt. I missed yesterday, but after seeing the pictures they posted on Facebook I know that I want to be sure to make it next month!

This morning I had some nice stitching time catching up on my Day in My Life hearts. I find that I try to prepare the daily heart regularly, but may applique them after I have three or four to do.

Here are this morning's hearts...
I am linking up with Kathy's Quilts to see what others are working on today for Slow Sunday Stitching. Kathy has an interesting question on what we like to listen to/watch/do while stitching. She has a link to a podcast put on by the "Slow Stitching Movement" (who knew?!). I listened to one of the podcasts while stitching at my hearts this morning, and will do so again!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Modern quilting

It's been busy in my studio lately with a few custom quilts in a row, so I am proclaiming today a sew-day, otherwise known as a mental health day!

I do have couple of errands to run, so my workday would have been interrupted anyway. Good excuse, don't you think!?

On Tuesday I went to one of my guild meetings. We listened to a very good speaker from the Niagara area whose specialty is Modern quilting. 

I'm not sure what I've thought of Modern quilting. Actually, that's not quite true. When it first came on the quilting scene a few years ago I just didn't "get" it. Over time I've come to appreciate the clean lines and clear colours involved in this technique.

As a longarmer, I've also come to be excited about all that open space that's usually involved in Modern quilting....lots of space to have fun and "quilt it up".

Our speaker yesterday has been quilting for the same amount of time as I have....since around 1980. 

Here's part of what I can't wrap my head someone who has quilted over thirty years part of the process has been trying new tips and tricks to achieve wonderful points and beautifully matched seams, etc. Modern quilting seems to throw that all out the window! 

I asked this Modern quilter yesterday, since she's been at quilting as long as me, was it hard to turn her back on all she has striven for in quilting and "let go" to the process of Modern quilting.  Her reply??...."not at all", she said!

I was quite inspired by her speaking and trunk show. This year I have a new grandbaby to make a quilt for, another for a toddler ready for her big girl bed and, since I'm at it, one for my grandson's birthday in September. I am going to challenge myself to try my hand at this Modern quilting on these quilts.

I have to admit, when Modern quilters talk about how quick a quilt can be made it gets my back up just a little. I am all about enjoying the process....evident I guess in how a few of my quilts are very long term commitments! But, on the other hand, it would be nice to have a few more "finishes" this year than "starts"!

On that note, I'll have to admit to yet another quilt started today, an online BOM by Sarah Fielke called Happy Days. I'm making a start at it today with this first block...

It's still not too late to join in the fun. I do like Australian designers and I think this quilt is going to be awesome! You can read about the project HERE. 

Blocks are going to be given out on the last day of each month. There's a great Facebook group for this quilt making it fun to see everyone's progress around the world!

Have a great day!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Quilty365/Day in My Life

What a fun project this is turning out to be! Many of my friends are taking part which makes it even more special.

A few times I've fallen a couple of days behind, but really do try to at least have the little blocks prepped and ready to pick up at some point. They will be a nice take-along project for guild meetings and such.

Here are my blocks on the design wall today....

I started my hearts on November 11th. As you can see by the first block, I intended to play with circles, but remembered a long ago UFO, the idea to do a heart quilt. Those two orange hearts at the top are as far as that got!!!...but I guess their purpose was to inspire me years later!

The first four rows are sewn together. My plan is to sew them in chronological order. I'll do this for two reasons....I want the quilt to reflect the year in order, but also it'll be easier than sewing over three hundred blocks together in the end!!

I was hoping to have a fabric that would commemorate my  January birthday, but didn't really hold out hope for that. I don't really think I'm one to have much in the way of novelty fabrics.  The fun thing about having a 55-year old's memory is the surprises that are in store. Here is my birthday block using fabric I'd forgotten about...
I am writing the date on the back of my blocks, but now I think I should be numbering the blocks, as well. 

If you'd like to see other quilters' Quilty365 circles, check over at Quilty Folk, HERE, for lots of eye candy!

Just for the cuteness factor, I'm going to post a picture of last week's 365Challenge blocks....adorable!