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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Motivational Monday - A very important lesson!

Yes, I was missing in action yesterday. I literally got up, went to work and was tied to the sewing machine until very late last night, but I got loads done!  Before I get into those details and the very important lesson, I have to tell you about my surfing escapade. 

There is freezing rain in the area this morning. So sidewalks and streets and driveways are slippery. I very carefully walked the dogs and while there was a bit of ice, I didn't slip once. Like I said - I was very careful. Before leaving, I decided to wheel the garbage/recycling carts to the curb. I grabbed the first one and went down a different part of the driveway from when I went out with the dogs. Next thing I knew, I was on sheer ice!  And there was nothing to grab and the driveway has a slight slope - away from the house! What to do???  Without thinking, I assumed the surfboard crouch, held onto the cart which I was pushing with one hand, but it was now pulling me and I surfed to the end of the driveway!!  I'm sure my other hand was gracefully held out in the opposite direction for balance. All quite humorous and thankfully it's not on camera anywhere!!!!

Here's is my Motivational Monday lesson and something that I MUST do.  While the task master has been keeping me focused and working, I did lose sight of some of my deadlines and OH OH - with a show looming in the very near future, there were a couple of things that got forgotten. What does that mean???   I have literally been sewing for three days straight and while the end is in sight, there is one more huge day ahead of me to get my commitments done. 


What should we all be doing???  Perhaps adding another page to our task master with deadlines. Perhaps it is a challenge that you want to enter, perhaps it is a quilt show, a date that a quilt has to be made for - a birthday or a wedding? or whatever your deadline is - commitments and deadlines MUST be written down.  I have a LOT of commitments, patterns to be written, quilts to be made and without that list - well, I'm going to have more days like this past weekend and while I like working to pressure, but NOT this kind of pressure!

So what did I get accomplished????   I got this quilt quilted yesterday. 



Waves at the Shore by Quilt Poetry - quilted!
And it's also bound and the hanging sleeve is made. Just needs to be sewn on.

Bound and hanging sleeve made!

Over the weekend, I realized that I had completely forgotten a commitment that I made to someone and guess when the deadline was???  Yep - this week.  No idea what to make - had to be original and scrappy and from Northcott fabric. I came up with an idea for a pattern, recycling an older one that I made - perfect.  Now which fabrics to use???  I was going to use the scraps from one collection that I had in my boxes, but then I realized that I couldn't use that one.  What to do? what to do???  Then I remembered that I had scraps from another collection that just released this month!  I had some preview yardage which is why I had scraps.  I grabbed that bag and last night (after quilting Waves at the Shore), I was hacking and slashing and modifying the pattern as I went.

Cut and toss on the floor
It's not a big project - 34" square. But it's DONE!!!!   I got the top done, threw it on the long arm, quilted it and got it bound this morning. I'm not showing you the front - it's going to be published and you'll see it then.

Another project - DONE!
With the exception of this second project, the other one was in my Task Master!  Two finishes in ONE day. I don't know if I can contain my excitement.  I won't be truly excited until this next quilt is done. I've got 24 hours!

Now you know why I was AWOL yesterday. And I had better get myself busy as there is much to do today in addition to finishing that quilt.

Have a super day!!!!

Ciao!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Quilt in a day?

Yes, I have my Task Master and yes I'm crossing things off the list. But this is the second weekend in a row with a massive project to get done.  Not that it's boring, but there are deadlines and so I MUST be focused. Yesterday, I spent almost the entire day between the cutting table, the ironing board and the sewing machine. It truly was a pleasure as I didn't have to move anything in order to work at any of the stations. I didn't have to step over or around anything to get to any of the stations. The design wall was clear and well - it was a good day.

In order to avoid this time crunch situation, that means keeping things up to date and NOT agreeing to things if there is no time.  Some of these projects got delayed because of meeting another deadline and since I'm not flitting from project to project, a couple of things are DUE in the next couple of days. I want to get to the position where there is a smidgen more room between finishing and the due date or not have so many things due on the same day!

Yesterday was a day for focusing. So much so that as I was working, I was listening to the radio. It's 2:00 PM.  Oh really???  And next thing I knew, it was time for the 3:00 PM news update. Then 4 and 5.  I mean that is real focus and has NEVER really happened to me.

Here goes with a few things that are happening in the studio.

I made this quilt last Saturday. It's a modern quilt with loads of negative space. The design wall was busy so I couldn't hand it up for a photo.

Modern quilt - almost made in one day!
 This is one of three quilts that will be raffled off at one of my guilds. Oh yes, I had every intention of quilting it and well - when someone called and offered to take it off my hands???   I thought about it for 1 second, then said YES. I pieced the top, made the binding and the backing and then delivered it.

The backing and the binding are also made!!!!

This was one of those scenarios where I needed to check with my schedule and reality and well, there just wasn't time to do justice to this quilt.

Originally I wasn't involved in the raffle quilts at all.  I've done many of them over the years. However at one of our retreats, I was asked to help with these blocks that had been made by the guild members. Hexagons with Dresden plate style piecing.


Hexagon quilt
This one was pieced a while ago although I don't think I shared a picture with you. Because various guild members had made the hexagons, they were NOT all the same size and needed to be trimmed.  YES - how do you trim a hexagon???   I found a ruler and it worked perfectly. I think I had to make three extra blocks  - NO - Ronda and I made extra blocks. I don't remember how many.  Anyway - this is what the quilt looks like.  I was also supposed to quilt this one - again lots of negative space.

Same person offered to take this quilt. DONE!!!!   I really didn't have time to get it quilted in the time frame it was needed.  But I did manage to get the binding and the backing done.

Binding and backing - DONE
 I didn't want to hand off these two quilts in various stages of completion. But I was OK with giving the top, the backing and the binding!!  Maybe I shouldn't put this on the blog because I know you'll hold it to me, but the one with the hexagons will be a pattern - hopefully SOON!  And I must say that my pattern writing skills are getting put to the test lately.  I seem to be cranking them out fast and furious.  Watch for it - when they are available, I'll let you know where. I think there are three or four going to be out this coming week. But if you want to check out what I have so far, please check the resource page at Northcott.

This is another quilt that I'm putting in the finished book. Although technically, it's been done for a while. But it's for M and she happens to be visiting at the moment so I can finally give it to her.   Yes - it has a label, no sleeve as it's a snuggly quilt. It's got minky on the back.

V is for vegan!
 The quilt is made up of vegetable fabrics.  I must remember to take a picture of the quilting on the back. And yes I stitched in the ditch around each of those little squares. What was I thinking????

Detail of veggie quilt


And what am I working on this weekend???   I've got blog posts for Quilt Social that MUST be done by tomorrow. I'm working on my 150 Canadian Women blocks. I think I'm on number 22? of 27 so that's not bad and parts of the remaining blocks are cut out - the red bits.

Block used as an ender and leader
 But I have another quilt that I need to get pieced. This is what it looked like last night. It took me ALL day to get those blocks with the little squares done. They are in a very specific order and well, I wasn't as logical as I could have been about the process. I learned though when I did the smaller blocks and it went much faster.

Blocks for the next quilt
 I have two more blocks to make (12 of each).  The first part of one of the sets is complete.

Next batch of twelve blocks
 And two of the blocks are already made, leaving 10 more star blocks to make. And that last set of 12 blocks.

Two more star blocks

I hope the final assembly isn't going to be too challenging. Because of the colors, everything needs to be in a specific location. I think assembly is going to happen tomorrow.  I also have two quilts to quilt today.  Ah - going to be a tad busy, but I'm happy with the progress.  I will be happy for a weekend with NO deadlines though!!!    This quilt is NOT my pattern, but I'll tell you the pattern source, when I'm done.

On that note, I'm out of here!

Have a super day!!!!

Ciao!!!!

And on that note, I think Lexi (and Murphy) have something to say this moring.


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Books to read............

I'm late this morning.  I had to do something VERY important. Even though I have tons of work to do today, I HAD to finish reading my book.  No Time for Good-bye by Linwood Barclay.  OH MY GOD!!!!   A thriller to the end.  It's an excellent book if you love thrillers.  It's not that often that I can't put a book down - some of the series are a bit predictable, but this one - it was a page turner!  There is a sequel!  ACK!   I found that out on Fictfact!

I've read several of his other books and all of them have been true thrillers.  

Remember how I said I wish there was something to keep track of the book/character series that I'm reading?  And then I was introduced to Fictfact.com.   I LOVE LOVE LOVE this web site.  It's so perfect.  I've gone through the list of books that I've read since 2007 and I ended up with  - do you want to guess how many book/character series I'm reading???  Remember - I'm an obsessive person!   

Well, there are 53 - yes FIFTY-THREE series on the list.  You see why it was critical to find an easy way to manage them.  It was a very simple matter of connecting the series to my profile.  Now I do have to spend a bit of time updating the status of the books that I have read in each series. 

The best part, you get a printout of the NEXT book in each series so if you're wondering what to read - there is a choice!!!   Thank you to Susan  for that link.  

I'm madly sewing, blog writing and taking pictures today.  I don't have anything too new to share with you, but here is the Waves at the Shore quilt that I finished up earlier this week. 




Waves at the Shore by Quilt Poetry


It's made with the Naturescapes collection by Northcott.   I absolutely love this quilt - the key is to get it quilted this weekend and put the binding on.

The backing and the binding are ready to go.


Binding and backing - done!!!!


It's going to be busy and now that I can rest, knowing what happened in the book, it's time to get back to work.


Have a super day!!!!


Ciao!!!!

Friday, January 13, 2017

What is art?

I would like to think that I'm one of the luckiest people in the world. Did I win the lottery?  Nope and although it would be fun to win the lottery, I continue to work if I did win.  Money can't buy everything!!!  Yep - the word is out.  I'm in love with my job. Oh, there are days and tasks that I would readily forget, but overall - loads of excitement. It's "sad" when you're excited to go to work every day.  

I have to tell you my good deed of the day story before I delve into what is art. The other night when the weather was crappy. While it wasn't cold, it was raining and slushy and not super pleasant to be out. Unless you have two very happy dogs. I'm merrily walking my girls which requires a lot of concentration. All of a sudden, I realized that there was someone sitting in a wheelchair in a driveway of a house. No one else was around. I stopped and asked if he was OK.  No answer. I asked again. He moved but didn't speak.  Then I saw a woman come out of the garage door which was open.  See - I was so focused on the situation at hand, that I didn't notice that.  I asked if she needed help and she said yes, but I had the dogs.  No problem - I tied the dogs to a STURDY street light that happened to be there, expecting them to go ballistic when I walked a few feet away.  Nope the two of them sat there good as gold, no barking, no straining at the leash.  

I then helped this lady wheel her husband? (who had gone to the day program for stroke patients) up the wheelchair ramp which was quite the feat.  The ramp, while not steep, was slick with ice. So imagine, the man going up backward in his chair. I'm pulling him up and I could only use one hand to pull because I had to grip the railing with my other hand. Likewise, she was pushing with one hand as she had to grip the railing with her other hand. There is NO way she could have done that on her own.  By some miracle, we made it up the first time. 

I retrieved the dogs who were patiently waiting.  I love my girls!!!!   They come through when I needed them to be good!

Last night, I attended a focus group on culture/arts/heritage in my city. I had no idea what to expect. There were a lot of people there, although there were a number of people from the city in attendance.  We sat in groups at tables and after listening to a presentation, the idea was to write down ideas - brainstorm on what is missing from the city programs. 

Let's just say that some people DO NOT know how to brainstorm. We had a particularly vocal group.  Brainstorming does NOT mean talk about why things can't be done. Or how to do them.  It was a bit annoying. 

But it was exciting to be there amongst all those art focused people. One of the things that came up was to make art more accessible to the public and on the way home, I was reminded of these pictures that I took recently and never posted. 

Near the city center, there is a boulevard that has these very tall, very thin trees.  In winter, the trees are wrapped in burlap to protect them from the elements.  This year (I had read about it in the local newspaper) an artist wrapped some of the trees in colorful wraps. If you check out this link, you can see what the trees look like in daylight with the wraps. And I found this picture on the internet. 

Colorful tree wraps


The other night I was in the neighbourhood, and there was a HUGE HUGE wind and the trees, with the lights and the snow looked amazing!!!!!




Funky tree wraps

Funky tree wraps

Funky tree wraps


It was fascinating to watch the wind whip those fringes around.  The trees looked like they were dancing. Amazing actually.  When I passed by on my way home, the wind had stopped and the trees took on a completely different look.   This was very entertaining art!!!!!   Not everyone could or would appreciate the beauty of the wrapped trees, but I think it's one way that art can be introduced to the public. I`ll going to forward my pictures to the committee.

There was one other thing that had been niggling at the back of my head for a while. I never did anything about it, but last night seemed to be the place to air my beef.  At my local public library (owned by the City), there was a HUGE quilt on the wall. The quilt had been made when the library was built (no idea by whom - the quilt that is, not the building!).  The quilt looked like a library shelf with books on it.  It added a nice touch.

I don`t get to the library often anymore, but when I was in a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that the quilt was gone. And this is what it looks like.  This HUGE empty wall.


Empty wall in the library


I was shocked!  What happened to the quilt?????   I asked one of the librarians and was told that it had been taken down when the walls were repainted. OH - must be the exact same color!   Why wasn't the quilt rehung????   Fire hazard and health reasons (dust collector).   SERIOUSLY?????   A wall quilt is a fire hazard in a library that is filled with PLASTIC furniture, carpeting and books.  I am plabergasted at that.  As for health reasons???   Again - if we look at ANYTHING - it's all dust collectors. Window ledges, lights, staircases - everything collects dust.

I aired my beef last night.  I now have a contact to air my beef to which I will!

I envision art of any kind on ANY space.  

Have a super great day!!!!!

Ciao!!!!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

It's scary at our house!

Yes - lots of scary stuff happening at our house.  First up though, an update on the stairs. If you read Lexi's blog the other day, there was a picture of the staircase with stuff on the steps.  YES, I know this is dangerous. YES, I know that stuff shouldn't be sitting there - it is a hazard and people have slipped and fallen.  So, I'd like to acknowledge that the stair case is FREE of stuff. Thanks to Barbara for that nag!


Staircase is empty!

The other thing I want to thank Susan for alerting me to a site that I think is perfect for managing my book series.   It is called Fictfact.com.  There are TONS of authors on this web site. The books are in order by author/series and you can mark each book as read, reading, to be read (or something to that effect).  I believe you can then have a report which will tell you the next book in your various series.  This is EXACTLY what I've been looking for.

While there are many sites that will tell you the NEXT book coming out, (author alerts), this doesn't help me since I'm not up to date on many of the series.  Now the issue will be to highlight the authors that I want to keep track of.  I figure that I'll do them one at a time when I choose a new author.  But there are THOUSANDS of authors.  I DO NOT, I DO NOT need to find a new author!!!!

I'm currently reading a book by Linwood Barclay.  If you haven't read his books - you need to. However I will warn you that they are NOT easy to read. Not because the language is difficult, but the subject matter is.  I'm reading "No time to say good-bye".  The premise is that a 14-year old girl wakes up one morning and her entire family has vanished. Why????  Well that's the story. They are thrillers, but for some reason, the subject matter is a bit tough in this one.  Were they murdered?  Did they abandon her????   I'm half way through the book and well - I can't wait to find out what happened.


The other scary thing that is happening at our house is the studio. I've never seen it so tidy and neat - well at least the working areas.

However when I went to pull out the next urgent project, I did have a bit of a panic attack.  Found the two bags of partially cut background fabric, but where was all the bits that had been cut for the blocks.  ACK!!!!!   This was on top of not being able to find some labels that had been printed, or the pattern that was almost completely written.

Let's not panic.  Think, think, think!   AHA - I remember - I had cut TWO projects the same day and since it was from the same fabric, is it possible they are together?   Yep - the two bags of bright fabric were together.


Found bag of cut bits
The bits are bagged and tagged - very organised!!!!

Partially cut background
And I'm happy to report that I did find the missing pattern. It was with the fabric that needed to be cut to test the pattern. DUH!!


The missing pattern
I've been looking for those silly labels for a week - no luck. I think it's time to just reprint them.  Yep - the missing ones will pop up - no doubt!!!!

And with NO tidying, here are shots of the cutting table this morning..............

Cutting table - ONLY the current project is there

The ironing board

And the sewing table
Now that is pretty scary!  That has never happened to me before, but I've so much to do - I can't lose focus for a moment!  At least when I'm sewing.  Don't worry - I mess around with those two girls of mine a lot and I get a lot of reading in!

Do you want to see what I'm working on???   It's a quilt that has to be done soon. I won't tell you when exactly.  And I couldn't decide if I liked the light background or the dark background. So I'm doing both.  I need my head examined!!!!!

What do you think?????


Light background versus dark background
The lighting is off a bit as you can see all the colors against the dark background, but I think I know which one I'm going to focus on because I think I'm going to have stop working on both and focus only on one!

And there are a lot of cut off bits which I'm saving in a safe place to make half square triangles.
Cut off bits to make half square triangles

Guess what I got in the mail yesterday????   My first two patterns for The Canadian Sampler by Sew Sisters!!!!!   Another red/white quilt!!!!!!  


Two blocks for The Canadian Sampler

These are fairly simple blocks which will be great to use as enders and leaders.  I'm almost up to date with the 150 Canadian Women quilt as I use them for enders and leaders while I'm sewing those star blocks.

On that note, I'm going crazy today.  I thought everything was under control and every time I open an e-mail or get a phone call, it's more work!!!!   All exciting stuff mind you so I can't really call it work. But it's another deadline!!!

Have a super day!!!

Ciao!!!





Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Progress update

Hmmm  - I was thinking the other day about the amount of projects that I have on the go. All of them seem to have been started or will be started for a very specific reason. It's not like I walk into a shop and say - Oh - I want to make that quilt and I start it. Oh no - I try to make the quilt for some purpose and I seem to find myself constantly prepping for the next class, or the next event. 

It would nice if that stopped for a while!  Things are slowing down a bit - at least in the teaching class department. But quilt show season is fast approaching and of course, I'm madly making quilts for that. Three to sew and four to quilt before Tuesday PM. 

Here is the latest one that I finished. Well, the top is done and it's on the long arm waiting to be quilted. 


Dream Spinner by Tammy Silvers
Tammy designed two quilts - a big one and a small one (33" by 44").  This is the small one.  The fabric collection is Northcott's Dreamscapes which is very pretty.

As mentioned, it's on the long arm, so yes the backing and the binding are done.


Backing and binding are done!
I managed to get a customer quilt done as well.  It needs to be trimmed and delivered.


Customer quilt - DONE
Everywhere you look, there is Sesquicentennial EVERYTHING.  I found these buttons recently and well, I just had to have them.  Not sure what I'll do with them, but they're in the stash.

New buttons - Canadian
I had some scraps leftover from making some Canada quilts and I managed to find a home for them.  YEAH!!!!!   They are going to be part of the Canada's Largest Quilting Bee.

Scraps of Canada fabric - GONE
I guess I truly am like my Mother.  I'm happy to get rid of stuff as long as I know it's going to a good home.

I was sewing something the other day and look - had just enough thread to do the topstitching!!!  I call that cutting it close.

Cutting it close with thread
But one more spool of thread - gone!!!

I had an amazing sewing/pattern writing day yesterday. While it snowed and blowed and eventually rained all day, I was warm and toasty. Happy with the rotary cutter, the computer,  and my sewing machine.  I took pictures and will share them another day.

On that note, it's another incredibly busy day and I better get started!

Have a super day!!!!

Ciao!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Borrowing things


I'm sure we've all borrowed things from other people. I'm sure we've all lent things to other people. And sometimes, things end up your house that you didn't really ask for - it just happens. Now was that a loan? or were they giving it to me?

I decided that it was time to tidy up the book case that houses all my novels that I want to read. Yes - I would say that. I did at one point years ago, get rid of a ton of books that I would no longer read or had read. And what I have left is this.

Books to read

Technially I didn't have anything to tidy up. The books are in order by author (or pretty darn close).  I counted them - 111. The big question will be how many can I read this year?  Since some of them belong to series or character series, I like to read them in order. So when browsing for a new book to read, I choose the author, then I consult my list of read books, search the internet for the next one in the series. Check the shelf - do I have the next book?  If yes, then I read it and it then goes in the giveaway pile. If I don't have it, then I request it from the library. There will be NO buying of novels in this house. At least by me.

I will leave that to others. I already have an expensive hobby and saving my money for fabric!

I also do NOT want to borrow or lend anything again.  If you have something you are trying to get rid of - find another home!!!!

I feel good about checking out the book situation. I think there are a lot of stand alone books behind the doubled up rows on the middle and bottom shelves. I should switch things around a bit so those books are easier to get at. Those can be read much faster since I don't have to coordinate with the library lending schedule.

As I browsed the books, I came across a book that someone had lent me. I hadn't read it yet, but I was in the purging mode so that book went back to the owner yesterday. Should I decide I want to read it eventually, I'll check it out of the library.

And I also found this book.  Good grief - I had JUST borrowed this one from the library - didn't see it on the top shelf hiding in the back.


Book in the giveaway pile!

What would be nice is to have a list of books in the series that I'm reading with the ones that I've read checked off and in order so I know what the next one is!  BUT since some of these authors are cranking out one book a year, I would have to update it and so it's best to keep everything on the computer.

That was a super easy tidying up job, but I was still in the mood, so I decided to tackle the office.  Yes - all that *&^^%% paper!!!  Moutains and mountains of it. I managed to tidy up the top of the computer desk so yes, I can actually use my "new" computer that is sitting there. And I cleaned off the top of the buffet. No - I cleaned it up, not off. I'll take pictures.  I'm sure you won't really notice a difference, but I do.

What did I do with the stuff???  Well some of it is piled beside my laptop so that I can deal with it. Most of it just needs to be filed. Yes, I did some filing.

I found these beer bottles from when I was in Newfoundland.  While they are pretty, blue beer bottles, I don't really need them. They are in the bottle return container.

Bottles in the bottle returner container
 And guess what else I found???  Well, too many things to list, but I did find a book where I had listed my finishes and some of my accomplishes from 2012 - 2014.  It was never a complete list and well - I like the Task Master better.

Book with some finishes and starts in 2012-2014

Over the holidays, I acquired a cookie tin and YES, I ate all the cookies. I loved the tin because once you peel all the labels off, it's a beautiful red tin. However as I was peeling the last label off, I realized that the bottom of the tin was not sealed in place.

Bottle of the tin is not secure
 It should look like..............

Rounded edge

Oh crud - I'm lucky I didn't cut my finger on that sharp edge.  It's gone to the recycling bin.

The more you toss, the more you want to toss or return or just plain get rid off. And you ask yourself, why didn't I do that before???

Like why didn't I just file the paperwork as it came in???  Oh that would be too easy.  Didn't have folders?  Really????   Got an empty filing cabinet, got file hangers, got file folders and a labeller. There is no excuse!!!!  Well, I'm changing my ways - I'm trying to get it all done.  Once the stuff is filed, then I can go back and grab a folder and decide what I want to keep and what needs to be pitched. If I put myself to the task, it would take a couple of hours (OK - it would take a day!).  Right now, I don't have a day.  I've got a huge work load ahead of me for the next week.

On that note, I'd better get myself to work.

Have a super day!!!

Ciao!!!!


And I think Miss Lexi has something to report this morning.