Monday, July 31, 2023

Evergreen on the Design Wall

In July, the Fat Quarter Shop has been hosting a free Christmas stitchalong called Evergreen, sharing both a cross stitch pattern AND quilt pattern. I'm still SLOW stitching my spring cross stitch, so I thought I'd dive into the quilt  mystery and not start a new cross stitch.

I really enjoyed their Christmastime mystery from last year so was eager to start their new one. Because the Fat Quarter Shop gives so much to me/all of us for free, I wanted to support their shop by buying the kit for this project. I just  love these pretty fabrics that are Christmasy looking but don't scream "Christmas"! 

started cutting as soon as I received the kit in the mail. Of course I use the Alphabitties to keep all the pieces organized when I cut complex blocks.  I enjoyed cutting the fabrics while I watched the tutorial, then paused the lesson while I sewed my sections together.

**Such cute little presents and very easy to construct.

This mystery is a row project, which means instead of sewing blocks or sections, we are sewing rows. 

Here is my design wall today. The Evergreen mystery row #1 is in the middle. The house block was made from a kit from one of the few stores I had time to visit for the July Shop Hop this year. The store (Heart 'n Home) had precut the block for us, so I couldn't resist sewing it!

And on the bottom right corner is a block for my local guild mystery. So many fun things going on, and not enough time to make much progress on anything. But the long weekend in August will bring lots of relaxation and stitching time for me.

Linking up to Design Wall Monday

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to Slow Sunday Stitching! Today is also World Embroidery Day, so there is a lot to enjoy today! If you haven't heard of this celebration, it was started in 2011 by Swedish stitchers and every year on July 30th, they encourage people to get outside and stitch in public. The goal is "to acknowledge and promote the craft of decorating fabric using a needle to apply thread or yarn".

Because it is World Embroidery Day I will feature some of my embroidery projects and some links to enjoy.

1) Last year Sarah Homfray posted a wonderful "Stitching around the world" video last year showing lovely embroideries from all corners of the globe.  It's about 37 minutes and I promise you it is worth your time to watch! And she just posted the 2023 video and I catch wait to watch it here. Maybe you'll spot me on next year's video?!?😁

2) Nicola at StitchDoodles created a free design last year to celebrate hand embroidery which you can get access to here when you subscribe to her email list. This has been on my to-start list, and maybe today will be the day?!?

3) I have just started the Days Filled With Joy "Tis the Season" stitchalong. And by just started, I mean the first strand of floss has stitched the word "Tis". I have completely finished the Winter stitchalong, and have finished the stitching on the Spring stitchalong but it's not completely finished yet.  

4) One of my favourite embroideries is the word meditation piece (pattern also from Days Filled with Joy). I finished the hand quilting in May 2022. As you can tell, I like to finish my embroideries in a mini quilt format.

5) My other favourite embroidery is The Serenity Prayer. This was a stamped embroidery from JD Needle Art
The embroidery was finished in September 2022 but it isn't a finished project yet because I can't decide how to quilt it. Do you have any ideas for me?

What are you hand stitching today? Are you working on any embroidery projects? Link up your instagram or blog post below and share your progress with us. (The linky party had a delayed opening coding error, but the doors are wide open now - come join us!

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Tuesday, July 25, 2023


Most of my quilting time recently has been focused on sewing blocks for a guild summer mystery called 'Teamwork". Our amazing Community Outreach team coordinates fabric kits for those willing to make a comfort quilt to donate. This is the gorgeous kit they gave me to make into a quilt. 

One of the mystery steps had us making these "Mary's blocks" which I know as "shaded 4 patch blocks". We were given the link to an inspiration video by Karen Brown to learn how to sew 8 blocks at the same time. Yes - 8! One of the steps was drawing angle lines and this was fun for me to play with my Olfa angle "Advantage" ruler. This is one of my most frequently used rulers.

This photo shows the lines sewn and the block ready to magically cut into 8 perfect blocks. But you have to read and follow the instructions to get the steps in the correct order. If you do, everything is perfect! If you don't, you will have problems!

Here are my blocks organized in piles of 10.  Using this technique every single block is exactly the right size. No trimming required... that blew my mind.

And here are some blocks on the design wall. I was having fun laying out some arrangements, while I enjoyed how the fabrics look in these blocks.
This week we will be sewing some 9 patch blocks.

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly hand stitching party! We encourage you to pick up your favourite project and put some slow stitches in today!

I will be hand stitching a binding today. I didn't sew or do the swirly machine quilting on this project - I am just the binder. I was delayed in finishing up this quilt because I couldn't find my needle threader, and at this stage of my life, my vision requires help threading a needle.

This week I bought a pretty purple Clover needle threader so I'll probably find the old pink one any day now! These are my required tools for binding. I love these Clover black gold needles which are so thin and sharp that I don't even need to use a thimble when using these for hand stitching.

I have a little treat for my slow stitchers today - a story about generosity and quilty kindness. One of my blog readers - Annie from Washington State - reached out to me after reading the post I wrote about the Home for Good project that my local quilt guild is participating in. Annie was moved by hearing about this project, and not only did she donate to the cause, she also sent a quilt to donate! Annie called this a "gentle bit of shared border-crossing kindness"! 

And send a quilt she did! But not just any quilt!

She sent this amazing double sized quilt, made from the 
Bonnie Hunter's mystery pattern called Chilhowie (now available as a pattern booklet to purchase). This special goodwill quilt travelled over 4,000 miles from Annie's house in Washington State, to my sister's house in Michigan, to my house in Southern Ontario! 

Annie wrote: "Bonnie’s mystery quilts have a long-standing tradition with me as an integral part of the holidays and so they, unlike other quilt projects, tend to get finished in short order. Part of that tradition is that the quilt is always given away to someone I don’t know.  It pleases me to think the person who ultimately sleeps under this quilt will feel a sense of connection stitched into it."  

I hope so too Annie! In addition to comforting someone without housing/resources, you also restored this burned out social worker's faith in humanity, and for that I cannot thank you enough! You have reminded me that a) we never know the impact we have in this world, and b) there are generous and kind people everywhere! 💖 

And so my dear blog readers, that is my treat for you today! You would probably also like to see the perfectly hand stitched binding and the label I just sewed onto this treasure.

I am embarrassed to say that the last time my version of Chilhowie was seen, we had a falling out and it went into the UFO closet. It's time to get the blocks out, put on my big girl panties, fix my mistakes and try to be more like Annie - finish quilts and spread kindness!

What are you hand stitching today? Are you finishing projects, and/or starting new ones? We love to see what your hands are creating!

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Saturday, July 22, 2023

Red Happenings

The Rainbow Scrap Challenge colour for July is red. The only red thing I sewed this week was a selvage potholder.

It was fun to dig through the selvage bag (and one box) to find some red pieces to use. Most of these selvages I recognize from previous projects, so it's like a trip down memory lane. Since this was made to replace a very used gift from 2019, I was happy to find a piece that says 'England' on it, since the recipient's family is from England. And also a bit ironic to have a piece that says 'Handmaid' on a kitchen project.

My friend asked if she could exchange the old potholder for a new one. She gave me the old one which has burnt edges and feels/smells like it has been dipped in Crisco! I was delighted that my gift was so well used, and it definitely needed to be replaced.

And in other red happenings this week, I bought this pretty kit of fabrics to make the 4th of July project from Modern Holiday table runner by Cluck Cluck Sew. This kit has more teal fabrics than blue which gives it a more Christmasy vibe.

Linking up to the Rainbow Scrap Challenge

Monday, July 17, 2023


I have been a fan of Bonnie Hunter's leader-ender concept since I first read about it on her blog. Every July she posts a new free pattern to use up scraps. Many years I have made a full size quilt, one year I made a miniature version, and sometimes I have watched from the sidelines. 

Here is the list of the annual leader-ender pattern with either the instruction link or the link to my version if I made one:

2022 Triple Treat

2021 Fish School - block collection

2020 Easy Breezy - quilt top

2019 Shoo Fly, Shoo  - finished quilt
2018 Jewel Box Stars
2017 Rail Fence
2016 Hourglass - quilt top
2015 Tumblers - my "tiny tumble" version
2014 Lozenges 
2013 Split 9 Patch
2012 Spools - my quilt top
2011 Cheddar BowTies 

12 years of challenges and according to my blog, I have participated in half of them. The decision to participate usually depends on whether I have the required size of scraps, and if I am inspired by the design.

The new 2023 leader-ender project is called Oopsie Daisie which uses 1.5" strips and squares. But I was recently given a neutral jelly roll that I'd like to use up, so I'm excited to give the pattern a try with 2.5" pieces. When these thoughts come to me, I just go with the inspiration!

The first test block is on the design wall today. It was fun to sew and will use up lots of strips and scraps and I'm excited to make more of these.

Do you use the leader-ender (LE) system? I really love being organized enough to have a LE project on the go, and I think I'll enjoy this version.

Linking up to Design Wall Monday at Judy's

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to Slow Sunday Stitching! We are stitching enthusiasts who value the slow process of creating unique projects with our own hands. We want to "smell the roses" and enjoy each day, and each project we spend time with. 

I was inspired this week by reading Cheryl Richardson's blog post called "Put the brakes on". She wrote: "There are some days when I still feel like an Arabian horse charging into the day, moving so quickly (and unconsciously) that I miss my life."

Me too! This was the norm when I was a Mom of young children with elderly in-laws to take care of, a household to maintain, and was working 2 part time jobs. It has ebbed and flowed over the years depending on caretaking commitments, finances, and work pressures. 

But mostly, I am just not able to be an Arabian horse anymore even if I wanted to! I'm more of a cranky old donkey!

But not on Sundays! 

I am breathing deeply, looking at my pretty hand stitching projects and deciding which one to give some love and time to today.

I am on a roll with Melisa's cross stitch Spring Stamps and finished stamp #2 this week.  I made a mistake as I was stitching the seed bag, so I put the word on the bottom and the flower on the top of the bag. I love mistakes that are easy to "fix"!

I've already started stamp #9 while waiting with loved ones at medical appointments this week. I just love how this is looking - 3 bluebirds, 3 bees and 4 butterflies!

I also hope to trace "Tis the Season" embroidery stitchalong from Days Filled With Joy. Step #2 has been posted and I want to catch up.

What are you planning to enjoy stitching today? Link up your blog or instagram post below and share you hand stitching with us!

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Monday, July 10, 2023

UFO's and Design Wall Monday

In last Saturday's guild zoom sew day, one of the things we discussed was closets, drawers, and collections of unfinished projects. I have been thinking about it this week and here are some random thoughts:

*Most of the time my UFO's don't bother me, and in fact sometimes it feels like a very special collection that someone will inherit someday. Photos of my UFO closet are magical - so much beauty and so many memories created over time. I can look at each quilt project, some with borders or backing on the hangers, and I can remember so many things about the fabrics, pattern designer, life circumstances, etc.

*But once in a while UFO's feel a bit overwhelming. Mostly this happens when I want to put more in the closet and there isn't any room!
One of the zoom attendees recommended the youtube video called "When to quit" by Karen Brown. I enjoyed watching Karen's decision making process as she sorted which UFO's were going to become finished projects, and which ones were getting the old "heave ho"! I hope to do more of that in my quilting room on a regular basis.

here to read one of my favourite UFO stories about turning an old UFO duckling into a gorgeous swan. In the right hands, at the right time, with enough creativity and care... anything (projects, friendships, homes, lives, etc) can become beautiful. I just love how the daisies turned this simple QST top into a pretty quilt. I love that the daisies are translucent and you can see a bit of the block design behind them.

*Being inspired, I went through the UFO closet and pulled out 3 projects to finish. The first one is on the design wall today. This was the New Year's Day mystery from Scrapdash and was made totally from stash. I sewed the last seams together during the zoom sew, and today I will stay stitch around the edge of the quilt - just in case it will be in the UFO closet for a little while longer! LOL

I have picked out some fabric for a backing and just have to do some pressing. For that to happen, the weather needs to be cooler. It's hard to put the iron on when it's so hot! But progress is being made!

What's your UFO situation these days? 

Sunday, July 09, 2023

Slow Sunday Stitching

It's finally Sunday - a day of rest, reflection, renewal, and slow stitching! Why not join us as we get out our hand stitching projects and put in a few relaxing stitches?

I finished up the hand embroidery on Joy's Spring stitchalong.  These sweet little blocks are lovely celebrations of spring. I didn't follow the thread colours as recommended. I just picked whatever made my eyes happy from my unorganized box of floss (which you can see in this post).

It has been the perfect takealong project for all the medical appointments I have taken my parents to this spring. It is small and easy to carry in my mesh project bag. Just make sure you don't leave your scissors behind! If you are doing a lot of waiting in your life, you really must have a takealong project bag.  So much can be accomplished in small bits of time, and it is just so relaxing.

What really motivated me to finish up the Spring embroidery is the new 'Tis the Season stitchalong that Joy has posted for Christmas in July. I will get that started for the July project to take to medical appointments.

I have also put a few cross stitches into my spring stamp collection. This week I added a flower pot and a shovel to stamp #2. This block still needs a sun, 2 butterflies, a seed bag, and a bird. Hopefully a few more stitches will be added today.

What are you hand stitching? Please share your instagram or blog post below. Enjoy your Slow Sunday Stitching!

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Saturday, July 08, 2023

Red Scraps

Two more blocks were made for one of my Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects. This is how my work table looked this morning when I was attending a zoom sew day with my guild.

I did not have enough fabric for the project I intended to work on today, so I got out the red scraps and made 2 more blocks for the scrappy 25 patch star quilt.

Here are the 25 finished blocks on the design wall. 

If I make 2 blocks each month, this quilt will take me forever to finish. I seemed to understand that during green month, but since then I seem to have forgotten! Oh well... my RSC projects take as long as they take and I just enjoy using up scraps in the colour of the month.

Linking up to the scrappy party at Angela's

Monday, July 03, 2023

Design Wall Monday

The New Year's Day mystery is on the design wall today. I really like this project and have no explanation for why the rows were taken off the design wall and not sewn together when a finish was so close in the spring. I will blame a squirrel project for taking over the design wall, and then the pieces probably got buried in a pile.

When I put the rows up on the design wall, Mr. Max had to pose for the photo too. He's so cute... he even put his squirrel toy on the featherweight machine to get in the photo. (Yes, Max chewed the corner of the box when he was a puppy!) 

It's way past time to get the rows sewn together and into a quilt top. It needs a lot of pressing, and a little bit of sewing and that's what is on the agenda for today.

Linking up to Design Wall Monday at Judy's

Sunday, July 02, 2023

Slow Sunday Stitching

Happy day after Canada Day, and happy Slow Sunday Stitching! And I wanted to wish our American friends a Happy 4th of July for Tuesday! 

I have lots of photos to share about last weekend's Slow Sunday Stitching event to celebrate my friend Debby's birthday. You can probably tell who the birthday girl is (hint - the one with the tiara!) Debby invited family and friends to come and stitch with her and we had such a fun time.

I want to share with you the fun projects everyone brought. Barbara is continuing her embroidery on vintage squares.

Katie was cross stitching and had the pattern on her phone (a download from Etsy). She is going to teach me how to be a modern stitcher and download patterns to devices!

Dorothy was crocheting a pretty blanket for a new baby. She may, or may not, have had to unstitch a bit because she was having too much fun!

Debby also brought a baby project to stitch. This will be a birth sampler which she says will be ready by the time the baby goes to college! 

Jenne was helping her daughter Olivia to crochet turtle parts. That is a lot of body parts on the table - legs, arms, heads, tails, shells... it's a body shop! LOL

Here is a pile of turtle shells waiting to join other body parts. Olivia is making the turtles to raise money for a high school exchange trip to France. She was filling an order from a school teacher who was giving a turtle to each of her students at the end of the year 💜

Olivia sent us this photo of the turtles escaping to attend the end of year party at the school. So adorable and creative! If you would like to purchase a turtle (or a herd) you can contact her mom Jenne on instagram  @shiftcollective.

We even had a painter attend our Slow Stitching day. We welcome all creatives and enjoy seeing what our friends are making with their hands! 

I hope you were inspired by the hands and projects of my friends. 

Today I'll be adding some cross stitches to my Life In Full Bloom mystery from the Fat Quarter Shop

The mystery is long over, and I'm still slowly stitching to finish parts 1 and 2. I enjoyed the flowers at the top, but have disliked the boring blue colour blocks on the sides. I think I will skip ahead to the bottom of the design so I can stitch more fun flowers!

What are your hands stitching today? Please link up your blog or instagram post below and share your projects with us!

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