Sunday, November 30, 2008

Girls Weekend Away

Not a lot of quilting getting done here! I have been working on some little gifts, but my big Christmas projects are starting to worry me a little! But I just couldn't think about it this weekend. It was our annual "girls weekend", when my sisters, my Mom and I get together for family bonding and adventure. Last year we went to St. Jacobs (click here) and in 2006 we went to Frankenmuth (click here).
This year we went nowhere! We decided to hang out at Mom and Dad's and go to see "Mamma Mia". The show was lots of fun but expensive! I thought the movie was just as much fun for much less money, and we got popcorn!!
Also, for this year's get together we decided to emphasize the Christmas Card tradition. We all love to get cards in the mail and each of us had complained about rushing before Christmas to get our cards finished, or were thinking of giving up this wonderful tradition due to time pressures. So this year Mom had the great idea to write our cards during our girls weekend.
We set up our card writing station at the dining room table. We drank Chai Tea Latte, listened to Christmas music, ate cookies, and wrote our cards. I just have to finish the overseas cards and the cards to my old Aunties, who expect and look forward to an informative, hand written letter from me. It was so lovely and relaxing! And best of all, we all have our Christmas cards ready to put in the post on December first time ever!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tesselated (Connected) Leaves

I had such a fun time making this little quilt! You can read about the inspiration for this project here. I surely wasn't looking for a new project, having hundreds, maybe thousands of projects in various stages of unfinishedness! However, sometimes an idea just won't leave me alone, so I whipped up this little fall quilt using the Connecting Corners technique. (You can see some of my other Connected quilts here.) I just love using this technique and if I see a quilt pattern where it could be used, I will try it out! I fiddled around with block sizes, making the first few out of proportion, until I figured out the correct measurements for constructing a 1 1/2" block.
I pieced the top and added a border of fall fabric that my husband brought back from Vermont when he briefly visited this year. I wanted him to know how much I love it when he brings me fabric and so I used it in the first quilt I could!
Then I started the stitch-in-the-ditch quilting and had about 1/4 of the quilting finished when I noticed a mistake! See how the piece that the seam ripper is pointing to is the wrong should be green!
What's a quilter to do? Would you leave it there? Would you hope that no one noticed? I berated myself for a bit, wondering how on earth I didn't see that before I started the quilting!!! But I just knew that would always bug me, and I would see it every time I looked at the quilt, so I had to fix it.
I picked out part of the quilting, folded the quilt top back, and frog stitched that offending piece. On the right is the quilt top with the new hole applied! Then I sewed on a green corner, resewed the seams, and continued on with the quilting!
And then I decided that there wasn't enough definition between the leaves section and the border, so I stitched on some bias seam binding strips I found in my cupboard and liked it much better.
Happy Thanksgiving to my American blog readers! One of my dearest friends is a transplanted American and she is inviting a bunch of her friends over to celebrate her holiday traditions tomorrow. We had our turkey day in October, so I am looking forward another one with her! I found this interesting recipe (from reading Judy's blog) and I'm going to make some to take tomorrow...nothing like trying a new recipe out on your friends!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Wacky Pac Wannabee

Woohoo! I did it! I'm an official "Wacky Pac Wannabee"!! Thanks to Rhonda and Molly for your help on getting the button posted...see, I knew I could figure it out! And if you click on it, it even links to the blog site...woohoo! This is a technological triumph for me with this old computer equipment and this old brain. I have admired these Texas gals for a long time, reading all their blogs and seeing what they are up to. I must admit to being jealous of their wonderful retreats and how much fun they have together. Wacky quilter Kathy gave me an award on her blog this week....the butterfly award for having a cool blog. Click here to read about it and see the other blogs she has listed!
Hey, look at that, I got the butterfly photo to pop onto my blog too...I am amazing myself today!
Anyway, I am now an honourary Wacky in the virtual world and I really shouldn't be jealous of all their fun, when I have so much fun with my own guild here, right?!?! Here is a group photo from Sylvia's class yesterday. We did have a
great day together and we are all going to bring our finished houses to the next guild meeting...right gals?!?!?!
And I am going on retreat with some of my guild peeps in February, so that's not long to wait. I promise not to take too many unflattering photos this year!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

"Picture a House" class

Since I was able to reorganized my schedule for this week (thanks to all the mini quilters for changing their class time), I could attend a class with Sylvia Naylor today. It's hard when there are so many fun things to do and such few hours in a day! You can see some of Sylvia's nature pieces here and one of her quilts has the February page of the 2009 Quilting Arts calendar. Here she is holding my calendar (which she signed for me) and you can also see two of her other house quilts.
Today's class was called "Picture a House". In the morning we made a paper collage, tearing random pages from magazines and creating a house structure from the paper bits.
In the afternoon we made a quilted collage by following the same process using fabric. We cut out bits of fabric, and using our paper collage as our inspiration, we built a house. It was quite intuitive, with very little time to think or be critical...just play, have fun and put something together.
Since the fabrics I am sewing at the moment are plaids, I just brought that fabric pile to the workshop and hence...the plaid house. It's kind of a cute little tartan palace! We were to fasten all the pieces down with a bit of fusible and quilting, and then quilt vertical lines to give the background some texture. Now I plan to do some hand stitching and probably more quilting. Maybe add some embellishments...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Quilt Bee Day

Last Saturday I snuck away from my domestic drudgery to spend a few hours at guild "Quilt Bee Day". What a fun time we had sewing blocks for comfort quilts to be donated to the hospital. The Bee was wonderfully organized by Donna (shown here on the right working on a quilt layout). Donna had precut all the fabric for the blocks and put the pieces for each row into a baggie.
Here is Judy on the left working on another quilt layout.
The fabrics were happy, and brightly coloured, and are perfect for kids quilts. Here is Donna showing the guild members 2 of the tops made at Quilt Bee Day. Now for the quilting part...I hope one of them does not start whispering to me (read this post to see why!).

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Don't know whether I'm coming or going!

Did you ever have one of those days where you think your brain must be completely gone, emptied out, and short-circuited?? I just discovered that I have double booked myself - to teach a class and to take a class at the same time, on the same day!
But not only did I do this once, but twice! My schedule, with 2 social work jobs and 2 busy kids and teaching quilting classes in 3 places, does require a lot of organization but I can't ever remember doing things like this before!
So I'm thinking it must be menopause (or "mental-pause" as I have heard it called)! Oh my!
Anyway, I do know that this Saturday I am teaching a class called "Mini Strippers" at Triangle Sewing. For sure. No double booking for this Saturday!!
These are some of my samples for this class that are hanging at the store. This method is a combination of quick strip piecing (which I learned many years ago using Eleanor Burns' methods) mixed with components of accurate paper piecing .
I taught the quilt hanging on the bottom of the string of quilts last fall and these are the amazing quilts made by the quilters in that class. I looked at my blog entries from last fall and couldn't see this photo posted. Don't know why? Was the mental-pause starting way back last year?!?!?
Anyway, there is still room in the class and time to sign up, so come join us if you want to lift your dull, dreary, November spirits with a fun quilting class! Hopefully my brain will back in gear by then and I'll remember where I am supposed to be!!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Teaching and talking...

Another busy quilting day!This afternoon was the last quilt class at the senior's centre. Here are some of the students with their quilt tops. For about half of the class it was the first quilt they have ever made and they did a great job! I love how each quilt is so different using the same pattern.
At night I drove to the Norfolk Twilight Quilters Guild to give a lecture. This guild was amazing! They had an oil spill in their town this morning that shut down their usual meeting venue. But they quickly scouted out another location to meet, called all the members, and squished together so they could still have their guild meeting! No one wants to miss out on guild night! There were some real quiltaholics in this wonderful group of ladies!
Here is a view of part of the quilt guild members from the speaker's point of view.
And here is Barb Meyer who gave me this beautiful quilted thank-you note! Thanks Barb! And a big thank you to Janice for inviting me and making all the arrangements. It was a fun evening!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Shop Hop Fall 2008

I have been having a great quilty week. But I have 17 people coming over for supper tonight, so I really should have been dedicating myself to cooking and cleaning and not having so much quilty fun!
Yesterday (instead of shopping and cooking and cleaning) I went on a Shop Hop with my friend Judy. First we stopped at a store that wasn't even on the Shop Hop and I picked up a few plaids for a quilt I want to whip up for a Christmas gift. Here are some of the fabrics I bought...they are in the washing machine at the moment.
And we visited at the chocolate store in Stratford called Rheo Thompson, which has not only great chocolate, but gorgeous packaging and displays. I bought some little chocolate stocking stuffers and some chocolate covered strawberries for my sweetie, which he quickly devoured when I got home.
And then we stopped in at Harry Ten Shilling in Shakespeare and had tea and scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream...yum yum!
Don't we know how to have a great day!!?!
And then we continued on the shop hop...collecting bits of fabric as we visited each of the 6 quilt shops in the area. This is what we gathered and we were given instructions at the last store on how to make a quilted picture holder.
Well, I can't even play with that today, because the work I put off yesterday must be done now!!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

"Cut it up" day!

Thursday is "cut it up" day at Stashbusters. Here is what I have been cutting...pieces for a miniature tesselating leaves quilt. You can see the first block I finished (in the top left corner). Actually my first block attempt was too small, but this one worked. I wasn't sure when I cut these pieces how many I would use, but it's much better to have lots to chose from than not enough, right. Maybe I'll go cut a few more just for fun!
Here is the inspiration for my newest project...(music alert - if you are surfing the web late at night, turn down your computer speakers or you'll scare yourself):
Thanks to Nancy for this great idea! I am sewing a little version using connecting corners instead of paper piecing. Here is a website that explains in great detail how to sew these corners:
The biggest of my cut pieces is 1" x 2" - it's really cute!
Tomorrow I am going on a Shop Hop...woohoo! Hope I don't cause more problems for the economy...I better alert the bank about an increase in my credit card use!

Monday, November 03, 2008


The elephant is quilted!
I did some feather quilting on all the blue borders and around the outside
And now onto the binding....yippee! I am using up all my scraps leftover from piecing the top, and thank my Stashbusters group for all the great ideas I have learned about using up scraps.
I love binding a quilt!
Here are the top 3 reasons why I love it...
1. the quilt is almost finished
2. the quilt is almost finished and
3. I am almost finished this quilt!!!
In 1996 on a quilt I made for my Mom, I tacked the binding by machine, but didn't like how it looked. Ever since then I sew it down by machine on the top, and then hand stitch it on the back.
Here are the fabrics I am using up in this binding. Happy binding dance!!!
How about you enjoy the binding part of quiltmaking???

Kitten update
...for those who have emailed me about the baby kittens in this post...they are all doing exceptionally well, even the littlest one! On Monday they moved out of the vets' office and are on their way to the families who applied to adopt them. My daughter is delighted and takes full credit (even though she didn't do a single night feeding!!!).

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Happy Halloween

Guess what we had this week?!?!
That's right...Tuesday was the first morning we awoke to snow on the ground. It melted by noon, but it was a real sign (besides the bazillions of leaves on the ground) that winter is coming!
Halloween was a little bit sad for me this year. My children are no longer "children" and were not interested in trick or treating this year. The older one was working and the younger one went to a house party. This is a photo of my daughter at around 2 years old...those were the days! (I cut myself out of the photo with my huge glasses and "big hair"...noone needs to see that...although it could be considered a Halloween costume I guess!!!) After all my complaining about sewing my son's costume last year (you can read about it here), you would think I'd be happy to not have to make costumes, stand out in the cold taking the kids around the neighbourhood, etc....but NO! I miss the creativity of planning costume ideas and carving pumpkins, and the excitement of dressing them up and seeing the other children's costumes at school. Oh well, I guess I am being dragged (kicking and screaming) into to the next stage of my life.
Anyway, here is a photo of my husband's scrappy star quilt as it now hangs in his office. I found the painted sign in a shop in Picton, Ontario and thought it was perfect for hanging above the quilt. Hubby is delighted with his quilt and how warm it makes his office feel. His colleagues are now asking me about making one for their offices!
This weekend I am finishing up the elephant quilting. Here it is in my machine...almost to the last border!