Friday, December 30, 2016

Tis the Season-Still

I have got the last of my pre New Year's work finished.  This my last Island Batik project for this year.  As you can see, the topic is giving.  We were asked to make something that could be donated to a charity.  I chose the Salvation Army.  This organization, as you probably know, operates year round giving assistance to those in need. One of the reasons I support the Army besides what I just mentioned, is that all the monies given goes to their work not to pay for advertising, wages etc. etc.
Although Christmas, the traditional time for giving for many people, is past, you can still donate to the Salvation Army whether it is food for the food banks, money to help support shelters etc. or your time. 

This little wall hanging is called Fun at the Seashore.

Happy New Year to all my readers.  Thank you for your encouragement and the time you take to read my thoughts.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

All Caught Up

The freezing rain we had on Boxing Day covered the windows on the south side of the house in a sheet of ice.  This picture is looking through the window in the living room and, as you can tell, you are not able to see outside at all (can't see the dog's nose prints either, thankfully).  This same coating was everywhere including the driveway.  It made for very treacherous driving when we left on the Tues.  Not sure when it melted but it was gone when we came home late afternoon.  Of course, then we had the soft snow which bogged us down half way up the hill.

I finished the lighthouse quilt and got the label on tonight while watching the news.  Tomorrow it goes to my customer. This is for a lady who loves lighthouses and PEI hence the red dirt. The fabric is actually more rust coloured than it shows in the photo.
 I just have to add the binding onto my Island Batik project and it is finished as well.  I hope to have that posted Friday.  And that means I am all caught up with my quilting.  Nice to have it done before the New Year.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Post Christmas

 I hope you had a peaceful and safe Christmas.  We spent the day at home after going to church in the morning.  Hubby sang a solo, "Mary Did You Know" by Mark Lowry and did a wonderful job.  He was accompanied by our church musicians who had also coached him so he was able to do his best.
These two photos are of my smaller trees.  The first one is in our sun room and the last sits on a dresser in the master bedroom.

Hubby bought our Heidi a stuffed squirrel for Christmas.  She hates the creatures and he thought it might be a nice present to give her one that she could catch.  As you can see, she quickly showed what she would do with a live one were she to get her tiny paws on it.  We had stuffng all over the hall carpet and one limp squirrel carcass being tossed around the room.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Joining Wide Strips-A Tutorial

I have been able to get a lot accomplished today and I think I might actually be ready for Christmas before it gets here.  I have a little bit of baking to do, my magazine article to send and some gifts to wrap and that is it.
Today, I finished the centre block of my lighthouse quilt.  I had to join some wide strips and, because these can be difficult, I have put together a mini tutorial.
Sewing on the diagonal such as when joining two fabric strips can be challenging because this is the stretchiest part of the fabric.  Here is one way to do it successfully.  My strips were 10 1/2 inches wide but this will work with any width.
Ensure that the ends of the strips that are to be joined are square.  Place your ruler on the fabric to find the 45 degree angle and draw a line along the ruler being careful not to stretch the fabric.  Fold fabric back along the line (wrong sides together) and press once again being careful not to stretch the fabric.
Place a strip of fusible such as the kind used to hem pants (I use Trans Web tape) on the RIGHT side of the fabric 1/2" to the right of the pressed line and iron in place.  Remove backing from tape.  Place the other fabric strip on top of the first as you normally do when joining.  Press along the fusible.
Sew along the drawn line and trim as usual.  The tape will be on the side that is discarded.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Hot Dog

How are you making out in getting things ready for the big day?  I got a lot accomplished today despite a soar muscle in my back.  This elderly grandmother shouldn't have been swinging a young seven year old boy in  the pool but, sore back or no, it was worth it.
I have the top of the lighthouse quilt almost done, did a first draft on my The Quilt Pattern Magazine article and a few other odds and ends today.  Tomorrow I will finish the article and, hopefully, get the top finished on my Island Batik project finished.
Just before three, I stopped to take the dog for her walk.  It was warm today so the snow was packy and slippery.  I didn't want to walk down our steep driveway and take a chance on falling so I drove down and then we walked.  Almost got stuck on the way back but we made it. Hubby and I really should have gone snow shoeing and packed the trail down more but he had been doing a lot of outside work and was tired.  Perhaps Friday as it will still be warm.
Heidi likes to spend her day in front of the fire when she isn't on hubby's lap.  She doesn't usually have a blanket to lay on-too much of a fire hazard but it looked good for a photo. We all really enjoy our wood stove.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Best in the World

We had our best Christmas present early this year when we got to spend the weekend with our grandchildren.  We hadn't seen them for 6 years due to a number of circumstances and, in that time, the youngest had changed from a baby to a very bright 7 year old.  The oldest child remembered us a bit and we had been Skyping with both of them every week so there wasn't any adjustment on their part. 
Those of you who are grandparents know  the special bond with these children of our children isn't something that can be explained.  It is just there.  Just watching them be themselves is as amazing as seeing space flight or an unfolding flower.
They and their parents  continued on their trip to the Bahamas on Monday and we returned home.    We shall talk to them again on Christmas Day via Skype and I expect there  will be an extra joy to the link up.  We really miss not being with them but are oh so thankful to have had the time we did.
I have been doing a few little bits and pieces sewing.  I have also finally got around to drawing the design for the lighthouse quilt I am doing for a customer.  The top should be completed tomorrow.
I will post a picture when it is done. In the meantime, here are a couple of photos of the best grandchildren in the world.

Friday, December 16, 2016

A New Nativity Set

If you have been following this blog for a while, you will know that I collect nativity scenes.  This is my newest.  It is a Jim Shore design and I love the quilts-naturally.  I am still looking for one in glass as well as a teddy bear or moose.  I prefer getting them at garage sales or thrift shops as I feel as though I am giving them a loving and appreciative home.
We are ready for our trip to Toronto.  Everything is ready for our house sitter.  Heidi has had her bath and the house is-somewhat-clean.  Weather doesn't sound as though it will be the best but, if it gets really bad, we will just stop somewhere.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Sky is Blue

What a difference in weather.  Yesterday, the snow squalls were so bad we couldn't see down the driveway, stores closed early, school buses were cancelled.  Today, it is very cold but it isn't snowing and, yes, that is blue sky you see in the photos.  I went out before breakfast to take some pictures of the sun shining through the trees at the back of the property.  It was a little cold to be out without gloves and socks but I thought it worthwhile.
The sun has continued to shine throughout the day.  Hubby has only had to use the snow blower once and the bird feeder has stayed clean.  I think we are back to snowsqualls again tomorrow but I -and everyone else in the area I am sure, have enjoyed the break.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A Doozy of a Day.

It has been a doozy of a weather day.  I cleaned off the bird feeders in the morning and there was another 6 inches of snow on them by early afternoon.  We were going to go into the village to do some shopping but we just hunkered down. 
I was hoping it would clear up for the weekend but, right now, it doesn't sound like it is going to get much better.  We are going to Toronto on Sat. to see the grandchildren  who are flying in from Alberta and stopping, with their parents, on their way to the Bahamas.  We have to get to the hotel and it is a 3 hour drive normally so it might be a really challenging day.  If it is really bad, we will take the go train once we get to Barrie.
Everything is arranged for our little holiday.  We have a house sitter coming in to look after Heidi and the chickens.  All I have to do is wrap a couple of gifts and pack: and then hope we can get out the driveway.
I did get quite a bit of quilting done today so there is always a good side to everything.  If you were on the road in this area (or anywhere for that matter) I hope you got home without mishap.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Fabric Ornaments-Pattern

We are getting a ton of snow.  It wasn't very cold today so hubby and I went snowshoeing through the bush.  Actually, he snowshoed and I trudged behind.  I am still having trouble with my back and wasn't sure if the unusual activity would aggravate it.
How are your Christmas preparations coming?  I finished setting up my nativity sets today and am working on some little decorations.  These make great last minute stocking stuffer gifts or would look nice on a gift package.

Here are the instructions.

Fabric Ornaments

You can make numerous ornaments all the same colour with strip piecing method or individually as scrappies.  Instructions will be given for both.

Strip Piecing:

Cut 2-1” X 15” strips of dark or medium colour fabric (A)

Cut 1-2” X 15” strip of light fabric. (B)

Sew a   1” X 15”  strip on either side of the 2” strip.  Press toward centre

Cut into 6-3” X 2” pieces.

Cut 2-1” X 15” strips of  bright fabric (C)

Cut 1-2” X 15” strips of (A) fabric

Sew A on either side of C

Cut into 12 3” X 1” pieces and sew onto the top and bottom of the 6 pieces.  Press toward the centre.

Scrappy Method

For each ornament:

Cut 1- 2” square of . (A) light fabric

Cut 4-1” X 2” strips of (B) medium or dark fabric

Sew 2 B strips on opposite sides of A

Cut 1-1” X4” strip bright  © fabric

Sub cut into 4-1” sections and sew onto either end of the 2 remaining B strips.

This next step is the same for both methods

Cut a 3” square of fabric for backing

Cut a 5” length of ribbon for a hanger.

Fold ribbon in half and place in the center (on the right side) of one of the pieced squares with edges even with raw edge of square.  Pin or baste in place.

Place backing square on pieced square, right sides together, sew around leaving and opening at the bottom for turning.  Trim corners, turn right side out  Lightly stuff with batting and sew opening.

Place a decorative/seasonal button in the centre of the ornament and attach by stitching through all the layers.  Hide end of the thread by pushing needle through top layer and trim.

Friday, December 9, 2016

A Fun Community

One of my favourite quilting magazines, Quilter's Connection, came in the mail today.  As usual, I sat down to read it through as soon as I got home.  However, I quickly discovered this issue was a bit different.  It still focused on Canadian quilter's, designers and shops but it also featured some software  with which I was completely unfamiliar.  Spoonflower was one of the programs and it helps you design your own fabric, list it for sale and receive a percentage of the profits if it finds a buyer. Quilt Fusion allows you to play with pre designed applique shapes enabling you to make your own art quilts.
I still haven't made it all the way through the magazine.  I keep running to the computer and looking up a program or web site.  I haven't got to the articles by the woman who is on one of the Facebook sites I frequent or the one about 1/4 inch seams yet. 
If you haven't read this Canadian magazine, I highly recommend it.  On a personal note, they , following the publication of an article by me,  are the ones who named me the Back Woods Quilter, a title I have kept and use to this day.

Hubby and I got our shingles vaccination today, did a bit of shopping and then went to lunch in a café that just opened.  A discussion with the owner revealed she had just moved to the village from South Africa.  Her daughter was one of the developers of the apartment buildings where her business is located.  While my husband continued to chat with her, I went through the adjoining door to the hair salon and got a trim.  Small communities are so much fun!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Snow Squalls and Needles

We got quite a bit of snow today.  Hubby got out the snow blower and did the walk way and back to the chicken coop but it didn't take long for it to need doing again.  I cleaned off the bird feeders a couple of times but it was a losing battle.  The second time I went out I took Heidi for a walk around the previously plowed area where she wouldn't disappear from view into the drifts.  We chased around for a while then I brought her in and put her in the sink to get rid of the snow balls.  I should have put her bootees on but it would have taken longer to dress her than the time spent outside.
I was able to get a top almost completely quilted.  I had the usual adjustment period with the machine.  The thread kept breaking and breaking no matter what I did: rethreaded, changed needle, changed thread.  Then I put a cap over the thread spool and that solved the problem.  Haven't had to do that before but, whatever works is fine by me.
Tomorrow Hubby and I go in for our shingles prevention needle.  I am positive I haven't had chickenpox which means I probably won't get shingles but this is one of those 'better safe than sorry' situations.  I never get the flu shot nor am I big on a lot of pills and drugs.  I am fortunate in having a good immune system but I do think this needle is one that is wise to get.
While we are in the village, we will check out a new  café and have lunch.  I should be able to finish the quilt tomorrow and then get the other customer one loaded.  I want to get them done this week so I can start on the lap quilt another customer has commissioned.  I will need to design the pattern for it so it will take a bit of time.  Fortunately, it isn't needed until after Christmas
If you are in the area to the south of us that is getting the snow squalls tonight, stay safe.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Island Batik Draw.

We are expected to get quite a bit of snow through the night and into tomorrow.  I think hubby might be looking forward to it as he hasn't had a chance to use his new-to-him snow blower yet.  So far this winter, the snow melts before you have time to do much more than sweep off the steps.  Just in case this might be the real thing, I filled the bird feeders today so they won't have to go far for their suppers.  The little chickadees are so much fun to watch.  They have no concern about their safety around humans and will fly around my head as I am adding peanuts to the special feeder and the sunflower seeds to another.  You can almost hear them telling me to hurry up.
Hubby added one of the new lights that project swirls of colour to our outdoor decorations this year.  We just went out to see how it looks and it is quite effective and those going by on the road should be able to see it.  He is going to see if they go on sale after Christmas and perhaps add a couple more to shine over the trees.  I like the white lights but as our house is cream coloured the blue do show up better.
I started quilting a customers top today and, after the usual fiddling around to get the tension correct, it is going well.  Should get it finished tomorrow.
Island Batik is offering a draw and the link is on my Facebook page. or you can go to  Good luck.  I would love to have one of you win.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Getting There

How many more days until Christmas??  We got the big tree up and I have it half decorated as is one of the smaller ones.  The other small one is laying on its side on my cedar chest.  I expect they will all be dressed in their finery by tomorrow evening.
I have also been working on a customer's job and another quilt that is a gift.  (Ssshh! Can't say to whom as they might be reading this.)
Hubby is still getting over a nasty cold but is starting to sound better.  I have warned him that if I catch it he will be getting a nasty lump of dog doo (Coal is too expensive) in his stocking.
As the big days moves every closer, I am reminding myself that Christmas will happen whether or not the house is clean or decorated, any baking is done or if there are any packages under the tree.
We go through this every year, don't we?   And every year, we vow to start earlier the next Christmas.  It is rather like a certain mediocre sports team's mantra; 'there is always next year'.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Official Lighting of the Tree

There was snow on the trees when we woke up this morning and it has continued to fall throughout the day.  I had to go into the village in the morning and, as it had been mild, all the trees had a frosting of snow.  There is little to no accumulation on the ground as it has been a very light snowfall but I am hoping that winter is starting to settle in.
Of course, I grabbed my camera and took photos.
Our Driveway

Even the Weeds Look Lovely

After supper, we are going in the village to see the official lighting of the community Christmas tree.  I love watching the children as they get to hang some ornaments before the big count down and flipping of the switch.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Fleece Toques

I don't do much non quilting sewing any more but today I made some fleece toques for our local food bank.  Hubby liked them so much I made him one as well and then a different styled one for me.  I was going to make a flannel nightgown too but ran out of inspiration and decided to quilt instead. 
Hubby isn't feeling well and I have been making him hot lemon drinks.  He usually does supper on Thurs. but I did that like a good and dedicated wife.  Tomorrow night is the tree lighting in the village and we were going to go out for supper beforehand but it doesn't look as though he will be well enough.  I think I will take a neighbour lad and go as I/we really enjoy it.
I am going to spend some time cutting up my smaller bits of fabric tonight.  I keep trying to get them off my shelves as a lot of them aren't big enough to use for a quilt.  If I cut them into 10 and 5 inch squares, divide into darks and lights, they will be ready for scrappies.