Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hide your Shirts

My sister's first blocks
 I think we have another committed quilter in the family.
These bound blocks are my sister's first quilting efforts and I think she has done a lovely job.  Shortly after she finished them, she ran out of fabric and was telling me that she was starting to look at her husband's shirts as a source of material.
I had to laugh.
I then explained that the reason quilter's have a hefty stash of fabric and multiples of projects on the go is so you never run out. I think one of her first stops when the stores open will be to the fabric store and I bet she doesn't run out of material again.
My new laser pointer just arrived in the mail yesterday and I am anxious to get it on the machine frame and start practising.  I have had a quilt waiting to be quilted for a couple of weeks.  This is one with my own patterns so I want to get it done and on my web page.
It seems as though we are going to have hot weather this week.  I am already complaining about the heat.  I feel that I am free to do this because I don't complain about the cold.  No matter how low the thermometer goes in the winter, you can still work indoors.  However, in the summer, once the temperature gets in the upper twenties, all you can do is lay around and sweat.
I am seriously thinking of getting a small air conditioner this year.  Our home does stay relatively cool but on the worst days, it does heat up in the afternoon.
Have some annuals to get in the ground before it gets too warm so I am off to do that.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Wall Hanging Idea

Velcro on fabric and one sewin in place

I recently had an order for a small wall hanging that was to be a gift for a lady.  As I wasn't able to talk to her to know her preferences, I didn't know if she would have a lot of wall space in her new home (she was downsizing).  I decided to put removeable hangers on the quilt so she could use it as a table topper if desired.
This is how I made them.
I would suggest that they be added to the backing before it is quilted.  I came up with the idea after everything was finished which will work but the hangers won't be as secure.
Decide on the size of your loops: mine were 4" finished which is big enough for the majority of rods.
I cut my loop fabric 2 1/2" x 8", seamed the long side and across one short end. Turn the loop right side out and fold in half. 

Side view of loop and loop with velcro tab.

Cut velcro into sections approximately 1" long.
Sew hook (rough) side to the bottom of the loop.  I sewed mine to the side with the raw edge after moving that edge slightly higher than the finished end. (This hides the raw edge)
Repeat for remaining loops.

Sew other half of velcro to one side of the backing making sure to leave 1/4-1/2" of space from edge of fabric for the binding.  Space velcro evenly acroos back edge. Quilt and add binding as usual.
If you prefer to add velcro after completing your project:  Cut pieces of fabric 1/2" longer and wider than the velcro.  Sew velcro to fabric.  Place on backing, turn fabric under and hand stitch in place.
If the hanging is for yourself, you could just pin the loops in place.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Everything is Ready

The house is tidied and everything is ready for our company so I am having a cup of tea while I write this.  The weather has stayed nice so it will be a good drive for them as they come from the airport.
As I was setting the table, I thought a table cloth would  add a touch of colour.  Unfortunately, I didn't have any I liked.  Fortunately, I sew and happen to have a good bit of fabric.  I found a couple of coordinating lengths of mini check that just needed to be hemmed.  I couldn't remember how to thread my serger!  It took me a bit of fiddling before I finally got everything right.
The table looks festive and I've had a sewing refresher. I was surprised at how much I had forgotton.  I used to use the serger constantly for hemming, dressmaking and doing things for the house.  Lately, of course, I have been focusing on quilting.  I think I will buy some table cloth fabric the next time I shop and make a couple more while I still remember how to.
I bought some annuals when I went shopping earlier so I think I better get them in the garden while the bugs are held at bay by the breeze.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Storms and Organization

We had quite a noisy storm early Monday morning.  Thunder was crashing away, lightening flashing  and rain hurling itself to the ground.  One of the loudest bangs sent our wee dog barking into the living room and then dashing back to hide under the covers.  I thought we would lose our hydro but, except for a blink, it stayed on.
The next morning, Roger got on the ATV to tour the property for fallen trees.  He took Heidi with him and I was hoping to have a picture of her  in the milk crate on the front of the machine.  She was standing with her front paws  on the edge of the crate as she helped navigate through the bush.  She looked really cute.  Unfortunately, I had forgotten to change the batteries in my camera so didn't get a photo.
The moderator of one of the quilt groups to which I belong mentioned that she had listed all her quilt books in Excel.  I thought that was a good idea so last night I did the same.  Now I have both the title and authors handy so I can check to see what I have before buying something else.  While doing this, I found a book I forgot I had on making star quilts.  I read it last night in bed and mentally marked a quilt I want to do.
I think I am going to do the same thing with all the patterns I have purchased.  I keep finding ones that, like the books, I didn't know I owned.  Another benefit of listing everything is being able to note the name of the person you lend something to.  I have my name on everything but that doesn't always ensure it will be returned.  I am assuming that other people have a quilt room like mine and things can get mislaid.
Tomorrow, friends of ours in Edmonton are coming for a visit.  I have bread rising and a stew in the slow cooker so all I have to do is a general tidying up and change the linen.
It will be nice to see them as they are close friends and we stayed with them when we were in Edmonton last year.
I hope everyone had a safe long weekend.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tips for Frame Quilters

I am taking a few minutes for a mental break.  I haven't done any quilting with my machine and frame for a bit and I am having to adjust again.  I forgot my 'before starting' checklist: needle threaded correctly, foot down, quilt secure, and ended up with a nasty snarl of thread.  It took a while to get it cleared out and, as the bobbin area was already disassembled, I cleaned and oiled.  I am now ready to go-I think.
If you are a frame quilter (sometimes referred to as long arm quilting), I have a couple of hints for you.  There are a lot of add-ons to make quilting easier and more versatile but often are pricey.  Even if they aren't, there are times when spending  extra dollars on something can mean a missed bill payment or going short on an item of food.  And, even if none of those situations exist, it is always nice to save money.
There are a lot of ways to attach your quilt to the frame rods that are effective.  I have found one that is effective and cheap.  I would suggest if you try this that you do it only on smaller quilts.
You will need a shower curtain rod cover which is available at most department stores.  They are plastic, come in a variety of colours and are under $5.00.  They are made for covering a less than attractive rod.  I don't know who goes around looking at shower curtain rods but I am not exactly Molly Maid.
Leave the backing of your quilt longer at the top and the bottom.  Remove the leaders and whatever else you may have on the frame rods. (This is important as you don't want anything to extra to get sewn to your quilt.  Ask me how I know) Drape the backing over the take up rod.  You might want to secure it in a couple of places with tape to make the next step easier.  Open the rod cover and click it over the frame rod.  Gently turn the frame rod at least one rotation and secure in the usual manner. You might find it easier to start at one end and work to the other.  Repeat the process at the bottom end of the quilt.  Finish by attaching the batting and top as you would normally.  If desired, you can attach leader fabric to the top of the quilt top and install it and the backing at the same time on the take up rod.  Install bottom of backing, drape batting between the layers and continue. 
Tip number two:  I have just started doing ruler work on my quilt.  I have the foot attachment (a simple one that is easily removable and cost $12.00) but not a ruler.  I discovered for small sections that a CD case works perfectly.  Use the case that you get when you buy a simple blank disc.  Great for shadow quilting, stitch in the ditch or cross hatching.  If you want a longer ruler or one with curves, cut one from plastic corrugated cardboard (available in dollar stores).  It is the right thickness and easy to cut.
I hope some of these ideas will add to you quilting fun.
One final tip:  I bought interlocking foam tiles (also at dollar stores) to put anywhere I stand for an extended period of time-cutting table, machine frame.
Now back to the frame.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tops and Trilliums

I just finished making this top last night.  It is an order for a lady who is moving and likes flowers and pastel colours.  The colour reproductions isn't good-my camera batteries need replacing, but you can see the pattern.
I am going to shadow stitch the applique pieces, stipple around them and do a daisy chain in the borders.  The binding will be the same burgandy colours as the corners and applique center.
And, in the same theme of burgandy, these trilliums are all through the bush.  I like this group that are clustered around a boulder.  We went for a walk after supper and I took some photos of the various wildflowers and this is one of them
Today, I am going to quilt this top so I can give it to the owner this weekend.
I have also finished the top of another quilt.  This was my own pattern and hope to have it finished soon so I can get it on my web page.
If you are in need of any quilt books, Sister's Quilting Expo is having a sale on them this week (http://www.sistersquiltingexpo.com/)
We are supposed to have a rainy week although, so far, it has only been dreary.  No matter, I am inside warm and dry.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Aliens for Sure

Isn't that the strangest thing?  Couldn't find Thursdays post and then, there it was.  Don't you sometimes think there are little gremlins diligently working away in your computer and then suddenly deciding to do something silly.  I have been convinced for some time that they do something to my keyboard because no matter how carefully I type, the words often all come out silly.
For the past week or so, my husband and I have been watching the news for any updates regarding the flood situation in Manitoba.  Now, we are also concerned about the fire in Slave Lake.  We know that area very well and have friends that live there.  What a dreadful thing to see most of a community gone up in flames.  Everything in you wants to reach out and help but, other than sending money, there really is nothing a person can do when they don't live in the area.
As Spring was approaching this year, I made up my mind that I wasn't going to complain about the black flies as they were a small inconvenience in comparison to what many people were enduring.  As we get further into the year, I am even more convinced that I have nothing about which to complain.
I pray that the areas that need rain get it quickly and the places that need sunshine are blessed with that. If you are safe and dry, like me, we are fortunate.

Friday, May 13, 2011


I have no idea what happened to the blog I posted yesterday.  It isn't in drafts or in previous posts.  I will have to see if I can find it and try to re publish. Perhaps aliens stole it.
We had some rain last night and early today and the bush has been transformed.  Yesterday, the trees were showing buds and today we have leaves.  As you can see by the photo, there are dozens of shades of green from the pale leaves to the deep evergreen.
The rain can be such a rejuvenating force but the same drops that bring the seeds to life can also cause devastation.  Like you, I am following the news of the floods in Manitoba.  How dreadful it is for those who are probably going to lose their homes and their livelihood so others can be spared the same fate.
We are going to feel the repercussions of this for some time to come.
Yesterday (just in case I can't locate the blog) I welcomed another member and mentioned about the contest I am running.  I have started getting some blocks but there is still lots of time. (Check out my web page-http://arkangelcreations.org for information)  However, you only have another day to take advantage of this weeks sale at Sister's Quilting Expo.  This week all patterns have been reduced including mine.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Trilliums and Motorcycles

It is quite warm today and the black flies are starting to bite-not much yet but just as a reminder that they are there.  We are starting to get a lot of flowers popping up here in the backwoods.  We went for a walk after supper and I was amazed at how many colours there were.  The trillium's with their deep purple heads were the most noticeable but, if you walked slowly, you could also see the tiny pastel dogwood, some  pink lady slippers and a bright yellow star shaped flower whose name I don't know.  I am going to have to get a book so I can identify all the wild flowers as well as the various trees.
There is a tree on my sister's property that looks as though it might be a crabapple so we will have to keep an eye on it.  I don't recall seeing any fruit on it last year but, as it is quite old and neglected, it might only have a few.
We sat down by the pond after the walk and listened to the tiny frogs peep and watched the water ripple from the slight breeze.  My dear husband has been working to clear away some of the brush and set up benches so we can enjoy the area.
Today, I got some more of the garden planted.  We are supposed to have rain tonight and tomorrow so that will be welcome.
Dear One went for a ride with a couple of friends yesterday and today the bike isn't working.  He tried to jump start it by rolling down our driveway but that didn't work.  Of course, we then had the problem of getting it back up the hill.  I always feel bad that I am not strong enough to be much use but I did have a good idea that enabled us to load the bike on a trailer and truck it back to the house.
After all that, I think I am going to stay in the house and quilt.  I need to get the wall hanging done before the end of the month and I really should be getting more patterns on the web page.
Welcome to our new member.  When you have some time, you might want to look through past posts and see the free blocks.  I also am running a contest on my web page.  The link is: http://arkangelcreations.org.  In addition, there is  a month long sale at Sisters Quilting Expo.  She carries my patterns and they are on sale this week.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Yesterday got away from me.  I was baking, had company, planted a bit of the garden and before I knew it, the day was done.
Before I forget, I would like to remind you of the sale at Sisters Quilting Expo.  The patterns are reduced this week and that includes mine.  Sale ends at the end of the week. This is a good time to try something different.
There was a man on the news this morning who has written a book called Awesome.  It was a result of his blog by the same name which he started while going through a rough period in his life.  He decided that rather than dwelling on the negative, he would become more aware of all the awesome things in life such as when you get that piece of popcorn unstuck from your tooth or a baby's giggle.
We so often overlook those little awesome events.  Yesterday my dog wasn't feeling up to par and today is back to normal-awesome.  We had a hummingbird at the feeder-awesome.  The sun is shining, the daffodils dancing, I had food for breakfast-awesome.  I have a whole day ahead in which I can do pretty much what I want-awesome.  One of my closest friends is coming for a visit on Monday-awesomer.
My sister is just embarking on her quilting journey.  Her new sewing machine was delivered yesterday and I am sure that today she will be off to the quilt store to get the first supplies for her stash.  I am really excited for her and it is going to be wonderful (awesome) having another sister with whom I can share my passion.
Have an awesome day,

Friday, May 6, 2011

Trying Again

This is the third time I have tried to write this.  My computer keeps overheating and shutting down.  I forgot to clean the fluff off the side vents.  It really needs a good internal cleaning but I haven't figured out how to take the cover off this one.  I will have to wait until I see my son again and perhaps he can figure it out.
It has been a bit dreary weather wise today.  Our little family, dog, husband and I, went for a drive earlier and I took some pictures that I wanted to share.  I am going to try and upload one and see if everything stays put.

Just Paddling Around
 This goose was enjoying a swim in a quiet spot near a water fall.  It looks so peaceful there but just a few feet away the water was thrashing and swirling around.
Life is often like that, isn't it?  Everything seems to be in turmoil but, if we wait a while, often it all becomes calm.
I know that is easy to say.  I am not the most patient person and often react at the first hint of opposition or trouble.  I have really been trying to take a step back and give myself time to either put myself in the other persons place or remind myself that nothing will get solved if I start acting like Vesuvius.
I hope all of you who are mothers have a great day on Sunday.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

This, That and the Other Thing

I went shopping this morning and took advantage of a sale at the fabric store.  I will scan a couple of pieces and share with you tomorrow.  Also have some more birthday photos to post.
I thought I had this week pretty much planned but, as it turns out, I have had to make a change.  One of the area churches has a clothing exchange and I was going to that tomorrow morning (think I mentioned this yesterday).  I was planning on meeting a friend there or dropping over for a cup of tea later.  She called me this morning to let me know I had the date wrong.  It is next weekend.  This wouldn't be a big deal except I am the person who writes the column for our newspaper that tells of the coming events.  I had wrote about the exchange including the correct dates but apparently I don't read what I write.
So, now that I have tomorrow free, my husband and I are going to go for a drive and enjoy the weather.
I suppose this is all part of the aging process so I had better get used to not knowing what I am doing.  As long as my clothes all get put on in the correct order I guess I can live with it.
There is only a couple of days left to take advantage of the notion sale at Sisters Quilting Expo.  The book sale starts next week.
Speaking of which, my sister has ordered a quilting book.  She is just taking up quilting and I am thrilled.  Our youngest sister does hand quilting but she is not as addicted to the craft as I am.  I am looking forward to getting Helen thoroughly indoctrinated. She already has a good eye for colour and composition as she does photography so I am sure she will be a wonderful quilter. Perhaps one day, we three sisters will be hunched around a quilting frame sharing stories and stitching! Bliss.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Bits and Pieces

Are you a note maker?  I am always jotting phone numbers, e mail address, things I need to buy, appointments etc. on bits of paper.  I also note the name of a book or author I might want to read, CD's to buy and quilt ideas.  These pieces of paper can be found anywhere although usually on the kitchen table, in my purse, a coat pocket or beside the computer.  They are never, however, where they should be.
I have a doctor's appointment in June and it is one of the ones that get booked weeks in advance so, of course, you write it on a calender or day timer.  I have been trying to find where I wrote the date and time for the past week.  One would assume it would be on a calender but I looked all every one of them without success.
I could, however, tell you my brother's previous cell phone number or the address of somewhere that I was going although, as I didn't note the community, I don't know where it might be.
I do keep a small notebook beside the computer and that has been invaluable.  I am able to leaf back through the pages to find web addresses, forgotten passwords and so on.  The appointment isn't in it either.
I phoned the doctor's office this morning and got the information I needed.  It is now written on the calendar beside the computer.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My Favourite Scene

Roger and Heidi enjoying a break
 I promise today to not mention politics, the election or the royal wedding.  There isn't a ban, however, on quilting, fabric, the weather or my little dog.
I have been sorting through my clothes today.  This happens twice a year as I store ones seasons wardrobe and getting out the new.  I use this as an opportunity to get rid of anything that I didn't wear, that is stained or no longer fits.  I also weed out non-age appropriate clothing.  This is just my opinion but I think that as you say good bye to youth, you should also reconsider wearing short shorts, mini skirts and brief bathing suits.  If you are very trim, you may get away with  the youthful look but, and again, in my opinion, a bikini and varicose veins isn't the best fashion statement.  I find that I now feel more comfortable in blouses rather than T shirts when I go out.  Mind you, I still enjoy my T's at home.  I have almost 2 dozen of the things.
The side benefit of getting rid of clothes is that you have more room for new.  We quilters use the same principle with fabric.  I have been trying to make quilts with just the fabric I have on hand.  I've lessened the stash somewhat but my purchases (restrained though they may be) and birthday fabric has filled up a few bare spots.  Fabricland is holding another of their dratted 50% off sales so I have to go and take advantage of that.  I really like their line of M'Liss fabrics so will focus on them this time.
This photo shows one of my favourite scenes.  My husband was just taking a break from chopping wood and having an apple and cup of tea.  Our little Heidi loves sitting with him and looking down the road.  Sometimes, she will pop up on a chair beside him but her usual position is just as you see her in the picture. She loves being with Roger.
I think we are supposed to get rain showers later today so before that happens, I want to get some garlic and potatoes planted.
If you haven't already entered my contest, you still have time.  You may also want to check out the May Madness sale on a number of products at: www.sistersquiltingexpo.com