Monday, December 31, 2012

Last Design Wall of 2012!

It's my last design wall posting for 2012 and I have my Scrappy Rainbow Challenge blocks on the board today.
What a fun project this has been over the past year!
For anyone interested in the statistics, there are 672 little 1.5" squares in this quilt (56 per block) so far! 
Now I am working on layout ideas but don't have a clue yet what I'm going to do, and am open to any and all suggestions! To see other design walls, hop over to Patchwork Times.

I plan to spend all of New Year's Eve day sewing a new mystery quilt from Fabricaholics Anonymous. All the fabric is cut (I am using up old batik pieces) and ready to sew...can't wait! 

Happy New Year to all my quilting friends! 
May 2013 be filled with the joy of quiltmaking!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Slow Sunday Stitching

This is the last hand work link up of 2012. I hope you were able to enjoy many moments of peace and renewing solitude while working on your hand work projects over this past year.
Here are some interesting tidbits about "Slow Sunday Stitching" linky party:
1) It was inspired by a turtle!
2) I have written 30 hand stitching posts, and showed 9 different projects I was working on (not including binding), of which only 3 were actually finished! "Finishing" is not the turtle's goal, so that's not a problem! LOL! 
Today I will be enjoying some hand quilting on my "Journey of A Quilter".
3) There were 29 different bloggers that entered Slow Sunday Stitching links in the last 2 months of 2012!
4) The winner of the draw for this cute project called a Snap Pack is the blogger who posted the most hand stitching links and that is....Kim of CajunQuilter's Quilts! Thanks for sharing your projects with us Kim! Email your address to me and I'll pop this in the mail to you.
I hope you all will be able join us next year for more Sunday Linky parties and share your hand stitching projects with us.  Thank you for your inspiration and encouragement in 2012!
What are you working on today - the last Sunday of the year? If you finish it today or tomorrow, you can write 2012 on the label!! LOL

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Last 2012 Scrappy Saturday

I worked on many different scrappy projects over the past year, but these were my primary projects for the 2012 Rainbow Scrap Challenge:
*My favorite rainbow scrap project was making Knot blocks (pattern details herein the colour of the month.
Here is my 12th (and last block) for the Knot quilt...
in lime green scraps. Thanks to my friend Barb for the green scrap infusion which rescued my block! I think it looks nicer in real life than on the computer screen :)
I will find the project box and post the Knots for my last Design Wall Monday posting of 2012. This project will move to my UFO list for 2013.

*I sewed 5 paper pieced Palm Branch blocks this year (pattern is here). It's a fun block to sew but requires longer narrow scraps, so this year I will try to put those scraps aside into the project box as I come across them. This project will continue into 2013.

*Crumb blocks - I added a few crumb blocks to my pile this year. I love this method of using up scraps. There is no cutting required, and it is very relaxing sewing.  The crumb blocks will also continue into 2013 until I have enough for a quilt.
I have a few ideas for new scrap projects to start in the coming year, but haven't made a final decision yet. There are still two more days left to make that decision before we start a new year!
Hop over to SoScrappy to see the other scrappy postings today.

Favorite Christmas Gifts - Long Post!

Surprisingly my favorite gifts this year were not quilt related! These were my 3 most cherished gifts this year:
1) My baby sister (can I still say that when she's over 40?!?) surprised me with tickets to see Jersey Boys while I was visiting her in Michigan.  The driving was treacherous due to a boxing day storm, but she drove, and we survived, so it's all good!

The show was in a fabulous theatre in Detroit called the Fisher Theatre. It was built in the late 1920's and there was so much artistic detail to admire from the marble work, the frescoes, the sculptures, the was overwhelmingly gorgeous!
And just look at this floor many great quilt patterns!

Can you spot at least 4 different designs?!?  I was totally smitten by this amazing building! 
The Jersey Boys show was great (read a review here), lots of music from the 60's, and an interesting story line with talented actors. I did not enjoy the profanity throughout the play and was disappointed that such an artistic musical production was littered with unnecessary language. As I tell my kids, there are so many descriptive words in the english language, why would you need to repeatedly use these offensive (to me) swear words?  But we really enjoyed the talent of the 4 main actors in this dynamic production.

2) Another favorite gift was this beautiful Vera Bradley bag from my daughter. I just love it, it matched the sweater I wore the day I opened it, AND I can even sneak a little cutie dog in there with all my quilting supplies! I have never owned such a beautiful bag and feel a little ostentatious carrying it around, but it sure is beautiful!

3) And Santa brought me a Bosch coffee maker which I LOVE!  I've never had one before, and who knew it was so complicated to figure out how to use a coffee machine?!?  This was my first cup of coffee after reading pages and pages of instructions.
And this was my favorite cup of coffee ever... 
Tim Horton's brew, with a touch of cream, and a little larger touch of Peppermint Mocha Kahlua...
OMG I am in heaven!
I am going to enjoy some freshly made coffee and visit blogland to see what my quilting friends are up to today!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Report

All the Christmas preparations, the shopping, the baking, the wrapping, and the cooking, followed by the Christmas enjoyment, the eating, the special events, the traveling, and the visiting, has resulted in amazing moments of pure happiness, great memories, and feelings of thankfulness.
This year I sewed luggage tags for my 15 nieces and nephews and tucked a little bit of travel cash in behind each tag. I got the inspiration on this "I Have A Notion" blogpost. I just used a regular stabilizer since I used up all my fusible interfacing making my nephew's Tshirt quilt, and don't have any Timtex. These luggage tags are probably a little less weighty than Kelly's, but I liked how they turned out and hope they hold up to the wear.
I baked a couple different kinds of shortbread cookies this year to see which one I liked best and didn't take a photo of a single one! 
I also made a ton of these pretzel and chocolate treats (recipe here) which teenagers eat by the dozen!
And now that Christmas is over, I am completely exhausted. A kind of a "post baby delivery" kind of exhaustion if you know what I mean! Exhilaration and excitement with a light sprinkling of relief that "it's over" and thoughts of "I can't believe I did all that", followed by total fatigue! I feel like I could sleep for a week/month. 
So today I plan to follow Miss Molly's example (see her new pink sweater that Santa brought?!), find a sunny, warm spot, and have a long nap!
And then I hope to do some relaxing sewing. 
Tomorrow I will share my three favorite gifts from this Christmas .

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Christmas is here once again!
This is one of my favorite Christmas photos, but at the time, it was very stressful for everyone, including Santa... just look at his face! 
My children never liked Santa, and I don't have a single photo of them with Santa that does not involve tears. I gave up on that yearly expedition early in their young lives!

But this year, I made my fur baby go to see Santa, and there were no tears!

Well, Miss Molly was desperately trying to escape, but Santa and I really enjoyed the visit.

This year in the midst of all the season's hustle and bustle, I have tried to keep at the forefront of my mind that you never know how many Christmases you have to celebrate, and I wanted to cherish each frantic moment of the preparation. 
As my parents age and encounter various health challenges, I am reminded that you never know how long your loved ones will be with you at those celebrations. I have never taken it for granted, but this year I wanted to try to enjoy all the time spent planning, shopping (which I really dislike!), making gifts (which I really enjoy!), wrapping, and baking. And then to enjoy every moment spent celebrating with loved ones.
I wish each of you a very Merry Christmas and hope you are treasuring each moment, even the hectic, stressful, tired and loud ones!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Design Wall Monday #49 - Christmas Decoration (aka another UFO!)

If a project has a Christmas theme, and even if it hasn't been completed, does it "count" as a Christmas decoration??
If so, I've put it up as a Christmas decoration on the design wall!
Last year I bordered all the blocks from the Dr. Seuss panel in either green or red, and now I am auditioning the light fabric for a sashing.
It's too busy, right?
Maybe I just need to sew the blocks together without sashing?
What about these fabrics? 
I'm too tired to make these decisions right now! I think I'll just keep the blocks up as "decoration" and work on them another time, which hopefully won't be NEXT Christmas!!
Did you finish all the Christmas gifts you are making? I haven't...hopefully I won't get paged to work today and have the whole day to finish sewing, baking, and wrapping.
What's on your design wall today? Hop over to Patchwork Times and see what quilters are working on this Christmas Eve.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Slow Sunday Stitching - Handmade gifts

Aren't handmade gifts just the best?!?
This is a delicious homemade orange cranberry loaf I received as an early gift from my 14 year old niece Ellen. She really "gets" the lessons I have been trying to teach and to live. 

Every year I make gifts for my nieces and nephews. I make things they don't need or want, but things that make me happy, and as a reminder to myself and to them, that the most important things in life cannot be bought. I want to remind them that life is all about the relationships you create, not the stuff you accumulate.  
This is a Christmas gift for a family member that I am still working away on. I finally got the letters hand stitched while riding on the bus to work this week (the students are gone home for the holidays, and I had lots of seats to chose from!)
This is the Country Quilts pattern I am trying to make, called "Always Home". It is NOT at all a "great beginner project" as the package states! 
It is a very complex project with lots of little 1" pieces, but I am really enjoying it. I have the scrappy sashing pieced, and have started to build trees and houses. I am wondering tonight if this might become a gift for next Christmas since I seem to be running out of time! LOL!

It is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the doing. It is not how much we give, but how much love we put in the giving.            
Mother Teresa

Link up your hand stitching blogpost below and share what you are making for loved ones this year? 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Scrappy Saturday and FNSI Report

Last night was the final Friday Night Sew-In for 2012 and a lot was accomplished. I finished all of Step #4 for the Easy Street Mystery.  
Here are my 145  3.5" green squares, and  64 double flying geese blocks. Step #5 will have to wait now until after the holidays. 
**To see the mystery link up over at Quiltville, click here.
I also cut 56 1.5" bright green squares for my last Knot block. I enjoyed working with happy green scraps for most of the evening! 
A little holiday toasting went on!
Barb found some new glasses at great deals and added them to the "FNSI party equipment box". We tried them all out and they worked just perfectly!
But then we started to have a few issues. When "someone" was cutting fabric for the mystery, she started accidentally slicing through some of the little squares that she needed for the Knot block...yikes! 
Luckily the problem was discovered before all those meticulously cut squares were rendered useless!
To see what other scrappy quilters are up to today, hop over to SoScrappy.
"Keep Calm" all you last minute quilters!

Friday, December 21, 2012


It's 21/12/2012 and there is a lot of speculation about what might happen in the world today - click here to read about it. But if you're reading this blog post, it probably means the world didn't end - woohoo! And that means it's a great day for four reasons:
1) It's the shortest day of the year and now the days will get longer! We have survived the darkest part of the year! When my kids were younger we would build an ice tower from coloured ice cubes and put a candle in the middle to celebrate the end of the longest night and to welcome the return of the light. 
2) It's Friday Night Sew-In! 
There didn't seem to be an official sign up this month, but that is not stopping me!
I'll be working on some last minute Christmas gifts.
3) Part #5 of Easy Street mystery will be posted!
4) It's just another ordinary miracle day! If these are not enough reasons to be happy, start your day by watching this video... and feel gratitude.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Treadling on Thursday - 1/4" seam allowance

One of the hardest things for me with treadling is getting a 1/4" seam allowance. I'm really just "eyeballing it" and sometimes it doesn't work well. 

Do you see at the point of the scissors that there is NO seam allowance in this piece?!? That has happened several times. I think it's just because there are so many things to concentrate on when treadling, that I forget to watch the seam allowance.
I decided to try piecing scraps on phone book pages like Bonnie does, but I have to say that I really don't like it! It's a strange reason to give, but quilting is a very tactile experience for me. I don't like the "feel" of using any fabrics except cotton (and can't even handle wool!) and I discovered that I don't like the feel of the crinkly phone book pages. It works well as a foundation and comes off the back very easily, but it doesn't "feel" right! 
Weird, I know! But quilting (and life in general!) is a process of learning what works for you, and discovering what brings you the most enjoyment...and stitching on phone book pages isn't one of those things for me!! LOL
But operating a treadle IS one of those things! I have had such a great time learning how to operate this my SINGER 127! To read more about my machine, click on the "1901 Singer Treadle" Page under the blog header photo.
And if you are interested in purchasing a vintage machine, there is a great article to read at Dragon Poodle Studio.
Happy Treadling!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Design Wall Monday #48

This is what is on my design wall today...step #4 parts for the Easy Street mystery.
It is very relaxing sewing and the geese are coming out fairly well. I have a few geese without a beak/point but that's OK with me. I am enjoying the variety of purples I have in my project, from the deep dark purples to the lighter violet. I can't wait to see what block we are making with these pieces and I hope they all work together well.
Step #4 isn't done yet...I'm a few blocks short still (have 35 sewn and need 64). I have all the flying geese pieces cut out and ready to stitch, just haven't had the energy and/or time to finish it up yet. And I haven't even cut a single lime green square! I may have to abandon the mystery until after Christmas since this is such a busy week coming up.
I found my other Easy Angle ruler this weekend! I knew I had a smaller one but hadn't been able to find it (it was in a very safe place!) It's much easier to cut this size of triangle with the smaller one.
I realized when cutting these pieces that my cute little pink Fiskars "self healing" mat is not self healing anymore, and I seem to be cutting chunks out with my rotary cutter - WAAA :(
Back to using my faithful old green Omnigrid standby!
Hop over to Patchwork Times to see more design wall postings, and then over to Quiltville to see the progress of the mystery quilt stitchers.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Slow Stitching on Sunday

All in a tangle, with some of the bulbs burned out...that's me this weekend!
Time for me to "practice what I preach" in terms of self care. So I plan to have a pyjama day and do nothing productive. Part of me is very anxious about that decision since it's so close to Christmas, but it is what it is. 

Thanks for all the ideas shared last week on how to hand quilt the center block on my Journey quilt from last week's post. I would love to try each of these ideas, and hope to use them in various blocks in this quilt.
Right now, I have 4 needles going at once around the center block so that I don't have to keep moving my hoop so often. Then I hope to quilt that center block this afternoon while I watch one of my favorite Christmas movies "It's a Wonderful Life".
This is my reminder for my goal today (from Phoenix Tree Productions). Thank you to Mary Lou Weidman  for posting this on her blog today.
What are you slow stitching this Sunday? 
Share a blog link to your hand stitching post below...can't wait to see what you're working on!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Scrappy Saturday

It has been another crazy busy week, where I'm taking my vitals all the time to try to ascertain whether I am just exhausted or sick? I guess it doesn't really matter which is the cause, since perhaps I am worn out from too much partying and not enough sleeping, and the end result is the same = no energy! I had planned to be out every evening this past week, but just could not manage it. Getting old I guess!
Today I am hoping to cut and sew these yummy green scraps I received from my friend Barbara. Aren't they fabulous?!? Why don't I buy more lime green since I just love it!?! 
These scraps will be sewn into my last Knot block for 2012 and I hope to finish it this week.
Hop over to SoScrappy and see what the other scrappers are working on to finish their 2012 scrap projects, and to see the inspiring links posted today.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Organized Leader/Ender project

Working at the college, I have re-discovered how the key to success in life really is self discipline. You can have dreams and goals, but if you don't have the discipline to do the things you need to do, and take the necessary steps, you just can't get where you want to go, or be who you want to be.
How many quilts do you think are in these scrap bags? 
without some quilter's discipline!
Lots of quilters dream of being efficient, using up scraps, and finishing quilts, but we all don't do it. We have inspiring books and blog ideas to help us, but we have to actually DO the work, and we have to NOT DO what sabotages our efforts.
This year I started corralling my scraps in a very sophisticated and organized system called a scrap bucket! 
I put it under my cutting table and when it was filled up, I put the bits and pieces where they need to go - into specific coloured scrap bins (or into a big unorganized bag that I can dig through for just the "right scrap" - yes, that is part of my "storage system" because I like it, even though I know it's not very efficient). 
These are some of my crumb containers organized by colour or other features (like my "Dots collection" etc). I just read a tip this week about using painters tape instead of masking tape, so that the tape doesn't leave a sticky residue when it's removed to relabel the container. I plan to get some of that tape and relabel all my containers.
Some scraps go directly to a specific project box. For example, all scrap batik strips that are big enough are cut into 1.25" strips go into this leader/ender project box. When I get a chance, I cut the strips into the right size pieces and clip the 17 block pieces together, all ready to sew. The finished blocks are also put back in the box and nothing is lost (in theory!).
Here are the 2.25" Alamo Star leader/ender blocks that were stitched while working on Easy Street.
BTW...I just stumbled across a free pattern download for this block, but in a humungous 12.5" size! Click here to go to the Old Red Barn tutorial.
How many blocks will I make? I will just keep making them until I get tired of them, so all I know now is... that hasn't happened yet, so it will be bigger than these 9 plus the 20 blocks I posted last month
Be the quilter you want to be! Get your scraps and projects in order so you can be efficient and productive in 2013!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Treadling on Tuesday - Bobbin Refill

Well, it was not exactly on Tuesday. I was actually treadling on Sunday afternoon while Bonnie was on QuiltCam.
It looks like a big mess of scraps here, but it was organized chaos. I decided to do some crumb piecing while I learn how to treadle. The hardest part for me right now is starting each seam, and getting the wheel to turn in the right direction. If it goes backwards, the thread snaps and it scares the living daylights out of me!
When the wheel goes in the right direction, treadling is SO fun! I just love it! 
I was whipping right along and making great progress with the scraps until guess what? I ran out of bobbin thread and didn't realize it! Ended up with a  pile of unsewn scraps on the floor!
Oh does this shuttle bobbin thing work again? 
Out comes the manual. It blows my mind that this little booklet is over 100 years old! I easily figured out how to get the shuttle bobbin out, and then tried to get the bobbin winder thingy to work. 
Love the pictures in the manual and got that working okay until the thread got all knotted up. 
Maybe I went too fast?
Aren't these bobbins just the cutest little things?!? Every time I refill it, I spend some time admiring how cute it is! 
I am hoping to find some extra bobbins so that I can wind a few of them at the same time and I won't have to get the manual out and relearn the procedure quite as often! I'm not sure if this is a "full" bobbin or not, but this is how much thread was on when it started acting up.
Back to treadling...I have a bobbin ready with some thread, so off I go!