Monday, October 29, 2007

The Sandwich Generation

That's me...the poster child for "the sandwich generation". That is the life stage where you have children at home to take care of and elderly parents to take care of. And in between all the caretaking you try to hold down a job, and try to find time for things such as quilting!
My mother-in-law had a stroke on the weekend, and since we are the only family in town, guess who is now in charge of her care? Me! Thankfully they are keeping her in hospital, so we only have to help her with eating meals and personal care. When she comes home, I don't even want to think about what that will involve.
And guess who has not finished sewing a Halloween costume for her son for Wednesday?? Me! My son and two friends want to be the 3 Musketeers, so that is what the moms are sewing. Here are the pieces I am getting ready to cut out. I am hating this pattern by McCall''s just the worst written pattern I've ever used and it is impossible to sew according to their directions. I thought it was all my problem since I have been sewing into the wee hours of the morning trying to get this thing done, but the other mother had the same problems. I have to finish it today in order to pass the pattern and equipment to the third musketeers' mother, so she can suffer with making her son the same thing!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Quilted Vase

I took a class in May with Christine Ford on how to make a quilted vase (click here to read about the class). It was a great class as I wrote in my previous blog entry. I finished all the quilted panels and enjoyed that process very much. I ended up making 6 panels instead of 5 because I decided that my first one wasn't good enough to be part of the finished vase! I wasn't used to quilting on the Fast-2-Fuse and it took me and my machine a bit of practise to get the quilting working well. Here you can see a couple of the panels.
So then I was ready to sew them together, but was unable to find the 3/4" fusible bias tape for the top and base. I finally found some and have finished the vase. I was very happy with how it turned out and wanted to take a photo of it to post on my blog.I searched high and low for the thing...I couldn't find it anywhere! I was starting to fear that I had left it at guild meeting. Then I noticed it sitting on my daughter's dresser yesterday...I was so happy to "find" it. It was in my house all along, but not anywhere I was looking...I didn't realize that my daughter liked it so much that she claimed it for her room!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Visiting Orillia

I have made it to the end of a very busy week! Too much fun, lots of excitement and not enough sleep! In the last week I taught three quilting classes locally and then drove to Orillia, gave a lecture to the quilt guild, and the next day taught two more classes. I almost forgot to take a class photo, but remembered at the last minute after a couple of people had already left. So here are some of the students with their projects: A big thank you to Joanne for inviting me and making all the arrangements, including taking me out for supper. Thank you also to Alie for generously hosting me overnight at your wonderful Bed & Breakfast (which you can see by clicking here). I had my very own apartment at Alie's, decorated with her beautiful quilts. Alie also treated me to a wonderful breakfast and lunch, which included her amazing, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread cookies. If you are ever in the Orillia area, you must stay at Alie's, if she's not too busy quilting to have more visitors!
I have to say that this is one impressive quilt guild! This guild of approx. 120 members annually donates more than 140 quilts to charitable needs in their community, in addition to many other ongoing projects such as placemats for Meals on Wheels, making doggie beds for the Humane Society from leftover scraps, and donating large heirloom quilts for fundraising raffles. It was very inspiring to be at their meeting and hear about their generous support of the community.
Of course, the drive to Orillia was beautiful and there are still many beautiful autumn scenes to enjoy in Ontario. Here is one photo that I took out the car window.
I haven't had much time to quilt, but can you guess what I have been doing from this photo?? One of the most dreaded jobs...removing the paper from the back of a paper pieced miniature. And look at all the seam trimmings that I will be saving...they are too pretty to throw in the garbage!! I do throw the paper bits in the composter....see I don't keep everything!?!?!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Too busy living a great life!

I have been too busy living to have time to blog about it :)
We had my husband's family for the Thanksgiving weekend, and this past weekend we had my entire family together for 2 days for a belated Thanksgiving celebration. We took my family on the Grand River Rafting trip and had another fantastic adventure. The photo on the left shows one of our husband is the guy at the back of the boat trying to steer.
My 10 year old nephew said to me "today is a day that I wish would never end"! This photo below shows all the children ready to get going...yes, there are 10 of them between the ages of 5 and 15! And there were 8 adults (plus our guide Garth) rowing the rafts. What a great family memory we created!
And we are in the middle of planning my daughter's 16th birthday party celebrations. Here is the invitation production:
She thinks that each birthday should be a series of celebrations including 1) a big party, preferably a sleep-over (which I call a "stay awake" since there is rarely any sleeping going on!) 2) a party with immediate family members, and followed by parties 3) and 4) with each side of the extended family! I really cannot believe my great blessing in having such a creative, loving, talented and wonderful daughter! We waited a long time for her, and she was well worth the wait!
Besides planning family celebrations, I have also been very busy teaching quilting classes. Here is a photo of the project that the Friday class made last month. Today I taught a project using half square triangles made using the Angler 2, which is a great tool for speedy production, but not completely accurate (I'll show the finished quilts after next month's class).
I am heading out of town to lecture and teach for the Orillia Quilt Guild for the next few days and am looking forward to meeting some new quilters. See you when I get back!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Journey of a Quilter

I have been working on my hand embroidery blocks for the "Journey of a Quilter" (by Leanne Beasley) block of the month quilt. I really enjoy having something to work on when the children are watching TV and want me to watch with them. Without some kind of hand work, I find most TV watching boring and mind-numbing. They like to watch 'Dancing with the Stars', 'The Amazing Race', 'Survivorman', 'Deadliest Catch', and 'Little People, Big World'.
I find that I usually have 2 blocks in the I am cutting and piecing, and one I am hand stitching. On the right is my finished block #3. I made a few stitching changes to suit my taste and I am happy with how it worked out. I have just started to stitch block #4.
On the left is the beginning of block #5. I have finished the piecing of the block and tracing the stitch pattern. When I am finished this block, I will be halfway finished with the quilt top. This is a very labour intensive project, but I am enjoying it!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

It is Thanksgiving Day here in Ontario, Canada and of course we have a big turkey cooking in the oven. It is a celebration of the harvest - and all the good things with which we are blessed. I am thankful for so many things, and will spend time writing about them in my journal today. I am especially thankful for the gathering of my husband's entire family this weekend. We arranged for a rafting trip down the grand river (through this most wonderful company called Grand River Rafting Company) on Friday afternoon and we had record breaking weather for our trip....sunny and hot, and unbelievable for October! Here is the view we enjoyed rowing down the river.
We also attended some of the Oktoberfest celebrations, and the Saturday morning market. We saw the most spectacular arrangements of colourful vegetables. Look at the peppers on the right, the huge radishes on the left, and have you ever

seen purple or yellow cauliflower before?!?!

I am also thankful for many special quilting related happenings.
1) I was able to get to the fabric sale that Debbie told me about and got a great deal on some fabric for quilt backings. I also found some 3/4" fusible bias tape that I have been looking for.
2) I received my fabric strips this week, which Juliann organized for the 365 challenge members...thanks Juliann! I hope to update my 365 entries tomorrow.
3) My big quilty news is that I have decided to attend Quilt Canada June 2-7, 2008! This annual quilting conference is held in a different Canadian province each year and I have never been able to attend due to either family obligations (taking care of children or elders) or lack of finances. All of the money I make with quilting related activities, teaching and lecturing, from now until then will go into my Quilt Canada 2008 account. I have already written a cheque for over $1,000 which only covers the registration, classes, and food! I still have to pay for my accommodations and air flight to Newfoundland! But this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so I am very thankful that I am able to make this dream come true! I have poured over the list of 79 classes and had the difficult task of narrowing it down to 4 choices. I would be thrilled to attend most of them, except applique classes which I don't love. How would you decide?!? I narrowed down the choices by first eliminating the topics I am not interested in, which still left me with 70 classes. Then I eliminated the teachers that I could take a class with at other venues closer to home, but that still didn't help much since the teachers are from all over the world. I will be thankful just to be there and don't really care which classes they put me into!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Accidental new project

I really didn't need a new idea! I have so many projects that need attention and that I want to finish. But sometimes when you are looking for something in your stash and you see other goodies, then you get distracted and start something new by mistake. Or maybe this just happens to me?!?! I was checking my stash for backing fabrics to see what I need, because my quilting friend Debbie (Hi Debbie!) called to tell me about a fabric sale where I could get some great backing fabrics at reasonable prices...oh, and she also called to complain about the frequency of my blogging entries :)
So here's a new one Debbie!!
Anyway, I thought I would take a quick inventory of what I might need to buy at the sale (as if I "need" anything!), and I found a big bag of batik scraps from another of my quilting friends (Hi Judy!). And the next thing I know, I was making a new scrappy paper pieced mini quilt! Look at the beautiful pile of scraps...who could resist?!?
But I was tired and shouldn't have started something new and fiddley. So I covered all my usual paper piecing mistakes at least once. When I was using my favorite Magic Tape to patch up the pattern I cut by mistake for the third time, I thought I better pack it up for tonight.
Hope I have time to get to the fabric what was it that I needed?!?!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Beadmaking with Judith Eckhardt

I really should not be on the computer today, but I have been wanting to blog about so many things and haven't had time. So I'm just going to take a few minutes to do this and then I'll get back to all the jobs I'm supposed to be doing (I am having the UFO group over today so I should be cleaning up and preparing a little snack).
On Saturday I took a Beadmaking class with Judith Eckhardt. It was a wonderful class with all my favorite things - an enthusiastic and organized teacher, gazillions of samples showing a variety of ways to use the skills being taught and to inspire the students, and fun, new ideas to try. This was something I hadn't ever tried before and Judy has enough ideas for a week of classes on beadmaking!
These are some of my early attempts at making some of the beads...they are WIP's, and need more work, but first I need some time to get back to my machine! I hope to show you the finished beads soon - maybe I'll have time this coming weekend (it's Thanksgiving here in Canada, so the kids have a 4 day weekend to look forward to).