Friday, February 28, 2014

Snow Squalls

If you were on the highway in southern Ontario yesterday, I hope you got home safely.  There was another big pile up, this time with just under a hundred cars on highway 400.  This is the big, six lane road that connects highway 11 to 40l which runs into Toronto.  There was also a lot of road closures.  All this because of blowing snow.  I don't think a week has gone by all winter without roads being shut down somewhere in the central part of the Province.  It is usually the north that deals with the worst of winter but not this year.
As we head into another weekend, the predictions seem to be that this will be the last of the extreme weather.   I am looking forward to being able to walk through the bush again.  I am usually able to do this year round but not this winter.  Too much snow.
I have been able to walk to the rear of the property this week thanks to our excellent snow plow guy.  Heidi and I walk back as far as we could and were able to see the frozen pond.  It would have been nice to look at the various tracks wandering across it but I was glad to be able to at least see the area.
I put some bird seed on the ground near the back of the house yesterday because I can no longer get to the feeder.  There was a frenzy of tiny feet all around the area today.  Birds and little four footed creatures all took advantage of the bounty.
I put out some more seeds today but, this time, they were on an old plastic tray.  I also hung more suet for the jays. Doing what we can to help the critters get through the winter.

I did get some quilting done.  I am cutting out all the pieces for the angel quilts.  Once that is done, I will assemble them on the backgrounds and iron in place.  Then I will be able to do the stitching.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Shopping and Searching

Busy day shopping.  Had to get groceries, clothing, potting soil and a bunch of other things.  Came back with a car load.  Glad my husband was there to haul and lift.
We are starting our indoor seeds this month in the belief that we will get spring.  We have our own heritage tomato seeds and, last year, they produced more fruit that the plants we bought.
It is still cold and windy here so it wasn't fun going from place to place but at least we have a warm car and home.  And it was nice to get back to the latter and have a nice cup of tea after putting everything away.
I bought the fabric I will need for the two commissioned quilts.  It is always hard to find a specific fabric but I think I have done alright.  Looking forward to getting at the little quilts.
Stay warm.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Free Batting Contest.

These lovely blue jays were at the feeder just outside my studio this morning.  There were about half a dozen all vying for their share of the seeds.  There is still a couple flying back and forth to get the last morsels.  I will fill it up again when I take Heidi for a walk this afternoon.
I have been busy working on my commissions.  I almost have half the blocks done on the queen sized one.  I need to get fabric to finish this and for the mini quilts tomorrow when we go to Huntsville.
I have a wonderful new contest for you.  Everyone who buys one of my patterns from Craftsy will get their name entered in a draw for a king size  Hobbs Heirloom batting.  Just click on the link at the right side of the page, make your purchase and, when I get the notification, you will be entered automatically.  You have until the end of March to enter.  You can, of course, enter as many times as you wish.  You just have to make the purchase.  This contest isn't limited to the followers of this blog so tell your friends.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


What happened to Friday?  I just noticed that I didn't post anything.  I guess the day just spend by and was over before I realized it had begun.  No idea what I did so it couldn't have been anything exciting.

Today, I am working on my least favourite type of quilting.  I was asked to make 25 mini quilts as gifts for a family celebration and they will need to be appliqued by machine.  I don't like machine applique.  If I have to applique, I prefer doing it by hand.  However, time constrains mean that I have to cut out all those little templates and then trace and cut the little pieces.  The pattern itself is fun to assemble so it isn't as dreary as it might have been.
I think that is what I was probably doing on Friday: designing the pattern for the mini quilt.  I had to go through all my books and magazines to find something similar that I could use as a base.  Then I sketched out my design and put in the fabric details.  Today, I made a sample and I think it is going to be really cute.  Sorry, that I can't share a photo just yet as I am not sure if the quilts are to be a surprise.  I have really enjoyed working with the customer to include all the little details that will make it special and unique.  She has some great ideas.
I am also working on another quilt, also a commission, that entails machine applique as well as piecing.  This is a simple heart on one block and nine patch on the other.  Again, a deadline means doing the fastest methods.
The mini quilts will need to be done by the end of March and the bigger one a month latter so I have to keep hustling.  My dear husband made lunch for me today so I could get the sample finished.
Always nice to have the support of your mate.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Quilter's Gold Winning Tip

Wow!  What a hockey game.  The Canadian and American women's team both gave a gold medal worthy performance.  The men's team will be hard pressed to put on a better show.  The Canadian curling team also did very well.  Won all their games and got our first gold of the day.

I also managed to complete two of my tulip blocks today, go into town for some groceries and mail as well as start my next column for the Quilt Pattern Magazine. Nice to feel you have accomplished something in the day.

A quilter's tip:  Sometimes when I am working on a block, I like to put the pieces in order before sewing.  T his is particularly true of a block like the tulip one where getting everything in order can be a bit tricky.  My solution:  I made a small (approx. 15 X 15) display mat.  I took a piece of cardboard, covered it with some extra batting and taped that in place on the back.  It is the perfect size to lean against the wall near my machine. Don't have a nearby wall; get a free standing photo frame or one of those stands used to hold steno pads etc. upright when typing and use it as a support.  If you wanted to go all out, you could pad and cover the reverse side for a small ironing surface.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Guest Blogger

What a gorgeous day.  It was plus 8 earlier this afternoon with sunshine.  The snow is melting, the birds are singing and the dog is staying outside longer.  I took these pictures last night just after 5 as the sun was starting to set.

If you would like to see my guest post, here is the link:

Now I am going to enjoy a bit more of the sunshine before getting supper.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Scraps, Scraps, Scraps.

Are you watching the Olympic Games?  If so, what are you doing while you watch?  Chances are, if you are a quilter, knitter, do cross stitch or any of the other arts you are not merely sitting and watching.  I am working on my hand applique.  I am on the seventh of twelve blocks from the Vintage Tiles  pattern.  I work on the more intricate parts when listening is all that is necessary and the easier bits when I want to keep an eye on the action such as during the skating events or women's hockey.
If I don't feel like sewing, I have bags full of fabric bits I can spread on the kitchen table and sort while watching.  This area of our home is wall free so it is easy to do this multi task.  There never seems to be any end to the task of sorting something to do with quilting.  If we ever get summer this year, I plan on taking all my pre cuts outside, spreading on a table or chaise and sorting into keep and throw out.  The keeps will then get put into labeled bags.  To tell you the truth, sometimes I feel like stuffing everything into a large bag and taking to our local quilt group.  One of the ladies cannot bear to see any bit of fabric thrown away so I know it would have a good home.
I am a guest blogger this Friday.  I will give you the link on Thursday so you can check it out.
I am also thinking about a new contest.  Stay tuned.  Perhaps you will have a chance to receive a garbage bag full of scraps!  Seriously, I am thinking about a contest but the prize will be a pattern or perhaps a roll of batting.

Friday, February 14, 2014

War and Peace

Happy Valentine's Day.  My husband and I don't make much of a fuss over the day.  We exchange cards (if we remember to get them) and a small gift and that's that. We feel that every day is special because we are together.
Our snow is starting to melt a bit.  Some of the solar lights that had been hidden are shining through the snow tonight.

I had three things on my to do list today and got them all done.  One was the quilt that was on the frame.  It is done and trimmed and ready for the binding.  As you can see in the photo, my quilt design is double hearts to go with my War and Peace title.  The fabric was all charms, most Civil War reproductions and the blocks were made using the disappearing nine patch pattern.  The blue block you can see on the bottom left was repeated in each corner.  I will post another photo when it is completed.

War and Peace

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Express Lane Blues.

It is a bee-you-ti-ful day.  Plus two degrees.  Our Heidi didn't want to come inside.
Did some shopping today and bought fabric for the background of a quilt I have been asked to make.  I couldn't decide on the rest of the fabrics but I can get started with what I have.
I only have a few more rows to go on the quilt that is in the frame.  I am anxious to see how it looks when it is done because I really like the top.
I had an embarrassing moment when checking out with my purchases today.  The clerk asked if everything on the conveyer was mine and I said that some belonged to the lady behind me.  Then she told me I was in the express lane-12 items or less.  I hadn't noticed the sign.  I apologized and was going to put everything back in my cart but she said she would check me through anyway as it wasn't busy.  Another customer leaned over and said that the checkout police would probably get me!
I am such a stickler for making sure I am not one item over the limit and really get irritated with those that think 6 loaves of bread count as one item. I apologized again to the clerk and the lady following me before slinking out the store.
Apparently, the store switched locations of the express lanes and I hadn't noticed.  Won't forget now.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Beware the Exploding Egg

Have you ever had an egg explode in your hand?  I haven't but my husband experiences it every time the temperature drops down to frigid.  The reason?  Frozen eggs.  I guess when they touch his warm hand it causes some sort of reaction and they explode.  Fortunately, the contents are solid so no mess.
I had an egg explode for an entirely opposite reason.
It happened a number of years ago when I was fairly new to the function and reaction of a microwave oven.  I had boiled an egg but it wasn't cooked quite enough so I broke it into a small melmac (those unbreakable dishes), pierced the yolk a couple of times and put it into the microwave; setting the time for a minute.  When I removed the dish, I heard a sound and I said to my husband " listen, it's still cooking'.  I barely finished speaking when there was a loud bang.  I screamed and jumped.  The plate and egg exploded sending both all around the room.  There was egg on the ceiling, on my glasses (which, thankfully, I was wearing) and on the floor.  I guess a minute was way too long.

I have got back to work on my frame quilt this morning and am back at where I was before I had to unstitch.  Took me a while getting there as my thread kept breaking.  I have learnt to stop and do some thorough checking rather than just rethread every few inches.  I put in a new needle.  Cleaned everything including the bobbin case and runners.  Everything is now running ticketyboo.
Speaking of which, have you tried Tri Flow Lubricant for cleaning your machine.  this product was made for cleaning the sprockets on a bicycle and it works marvellously for a sewing machine.  It cleans without oiling which is good for those with new non oil machines.  Just a small drop on a Q Tip removes all the dust and dirt from around the bobbin and other areas.  Your machine will thank you.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Olympic Fever

Are you watching the Olympics?  I am glad they only come every four years as they interfere with my quilting.  I don't watch as much as my husband does but I am glued to the TV more than usual.  I am preparing a block for applique so I can do that and feel justified in sitting.  As you can see, our Heidi is also in the Olympic mood. 

I finally got the quilt that is on my frame unpicked.  I only needed to do two partial rows but it still takes time to unpick without snagging the fabric.  I misted the area where the problem fold occurred and wound the whole thing around the take up roller.  This should remove the crease and any wrinkles cause by the unpicking.  Tomorrow, I will start sewing again.

If you know of anyone who is a pet lover or is looking for a quilt for a special child, this one is for sale and includes free shipping.  Just click on the Quilts for Sale link on the right side of the page.

Friday, February 7, 2014


I am cutting out squares for my tulip blocks today.  I am doing each section i.e. the pot and putting the pieces in a small baggie.  Once I get everything cut out, I can start sewing.  Having them in the little marked bags will make it easier to take and work on at quilt group.  Also, if I have to do something else for a bit, it will be a lot simpler to restart.  I originally started this quilt top at least a month ago but had to put it away.  When I got it out and looked at all the squares I had precut, I didn't know what most of them where for.  I had to measure them to know if they were to be used as is or were part of a half square triangle.
I probably should also get something ready to applique as I am sure we will be watching the Olympics which means more TV time.
The photo below was this morning's breakfast.  Believe it or not, it was made from one egg; a massive one as you can see in the other photo.  I think we have a chicken that thinks it is a goose.  Or a goose masquerading as a chicken.


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Tulip Block

I did a post yesterday but it didn't get published to the site so, today, you have two.

We are getting another heavy snowfall.  It was only supposed to be a centimeter but they were wrong on that.  No matter.  I am inside, there is a kettle of turkey soup simmering on the wood stove and we are nice and warm.
I started work on my tulip blocks yesterday.  I think I will do the background the same on all of them but the tulips and pots will be scrappy.  The pattern isn't difficult but I do have to really pay attention because it is easy to make a mistake. I still have to decide on the fabric for the alternate log cabin blocks.
I am having to unsew a couple of rows of the stitching I did on the quilt that is in the frame.  I noticed yesterday that the backing pleated.  This isn't something that usually happens on a frame so I must have pulled it wrong when I rolled to do the next row.  I'm glad I caught it as soon as I did.

My New Handbag

These photos aren't very good but they will give you an idea of what my new handbag looks like.  You can see the pockets under the flap in the second photo.  This is where the tablet will go.  I think I will use a small cosmetic bag for all my small bits and pieces otherwise everything is going to get lost in the bottom.  There is an inside pocket but it isn't very big and, right now it is so stuffed it is distorting the shape of the bag.  One of the good sides of changing bags is the interesting things you find in the old one.  A few coins always find their way from the purse along with other flotsam.
I have added another photo for those who are tired of winter.  Nice to have a reminder of nature's colours.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Mini quilts and Handbags.

I got my hand bag done today and will transfer the stuff from the other to this one later.  It has turned out alright.  That was my sewing project for the day.
I took the completed mini to my friend at quilt group yesterday and she was pleased with it so that was nice.  I am running over some other ideas for another one.  I am thinking that a whole cloth might be fun as it wouldn't take long.  The pattern might be the problem for that to make it authentic.
Our local quilt group are making charity quilts on the first Monday of the month.  Some of us started lap quilts for those who are in wheel chairs and others were putting together donated blocks for a full size quilt.
This is a good way to get rid of orphan blocks, unneeded pre cuts and fabric that has lot its appeal.  I was pleased to be able to donate quite a pile of blocks.  I also discovered a few that I forgot I had so put them in my 'finish' drawer.  If you belong to a group, this might be something they would be interested in doing.  There are so many groups that can use quilts of all sizes.
We still have quit a leak in the addition.  This one is in our sun room part.  We don't seem to be able to solve the problem like we did with the first one.  We are probably going to have to remove the interior planks in the spring to make sure everything dries out.  I would imagine we aren't the only one with problems from all the snow this year.