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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Sewing Retreat - Day Two

Oh - the fun never ends. The more I get to know the ladies, the more laughs.  They are quite the group of ladies and well - we've covered a lot of topics.

Since I'm from Canada, I have questions about all things US.  Things like guns.  Oh my goodness - I've been educated on guns - all kinds of guns, handguns, rifles, state laws, holsters including a bra holster.  Oh boy - what an eye opener!   I won't be buying a gun but guns are important to EVERYONE!  Guns and knives - oh my!

I'm totally blown away by this topic of weapons. These ladies have guns and tasers by their beds!!!  Now not here at the retreat (thankfully), but at home.  And let's not forget that men usually have more stuff than women so I can't imagine how armed the men are.   WOW!!!   OK  - one of the tasers is PINK!!!!

On the other hand, I need to buy some alcohol and the consensus is that I won't be able to find alcohol at the grocery store because we are in Pennsylvania.  Maybe on the way home, I can find something.

Oh boy!!!!!   What a fun place!!!

I don't have a weapon in my car! OH MY - now they're all reading my blog. ACK - I had better not mention them by name - right Lily - my new friend!!!!!

But back to the sewing - we are having loads of fun. I think I managed to get TWO projects done yesterday.  These are mind-blowing projects that are boring as heck. But I managed to get these things done and they had been sitting around for a long long time.  YEAH!!!!!   I did need to borrow two strips of red fabric from Ginnie so I could finish the one project.  I was thrilled.

Just before leaving, I bought a layer cake of Halloween fabric from Patrick Lose.  When I arrived here, some of the ladies were going to make a scrappy quilt from a layer cake.  I piped up that I had just purchased one.  Well - I need to make this quilt they said.  And next thing you knew, I had the quilt cut before I went to bed last night.

I'm in the process of sewing up the quilt this morning.  Yeah!!!!   Now off to the quilt store in a few minutes to try and find a border.

OK - can't write any more - there are too many conversations in the room and I can't keep track.  I many write something I don't want to write!!!!

Love all my new friends - they are the best!

Have a great day!

Ciao!!!!   (did any of the above make sense?)

Monday, September 26, 2016

Sewing retreat - Day One!!

I'm in the quilting zone!  I was up early and ready to sew.  A couple of us took a small walk around the property to get warmed up!

I do believe that the three of us were alone in this massive room until late in the afternoon when the rest of the group straggled in!  Their loss - I'm very happy that I drove down the day before.

I'm on a roll.  Rather than unpacking the entire car, I brought in my sewing machine, and a couple of bags of projects/supplies. What to do first?

I decided to take some blocks for a quilt and sew them together. There is a massive table - I feel like I'm in Texas (everything around here is BIG), not Pennsylvania.  Anyway, I got to lay out the entire quilt, move a few blocks around and then start sewing.  Very methodical.  I'm in the zone!!!!

Got that top completed and then onto the next one.  That one only required only two seams, but there was a nice 60 - degree cut that needed to be done across a HUGE piece of fabric.  I laid it out on the table, took my cutting mat and ruler and sliced the fabric and sewed it on.  It went together like a charm!!!   I'm very happy with the results. I thought I would have to add something to the top and bottom, but NO - the quilt is the perfect size.  That was amazing as I did NOT plan this one - it just happened.

Then onto the next project.  Some string piecing that I had laying around and was one of the last minute projects I threw in the car.  While I have stuff that I NEED to work on, it's supposed to be fun as well and my plan is to get a few non-urgent things done.   I should be finished that string project this morning and then I better do a "must do" project.

I've now met all the ladies and they are a fun group.

Now in the area where we are, stores are for the most part closed on Sunday.  So that means that NO quilt store shopping yesterday!!!!   Everyone got up and is currently at the store. I'll go later when there's no crowd.  I hate crowds!!!

Yes - we're eating like queens.

On that note, I've got to get back to the sewing machine.

Have a super day!


Don't forget that this is my week on QUILTsocial.  Check out the fun challenge that I gave myself.  Follow along!!!!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Retreat sewing!!!!!

Oh my god - I'm in love with the retreat house!!!!  

We had a super class in the morning and loads of show n tell on my camera.  I even edited some pictures before I left and supposedly saved them to the blog, but alas - no photos this morning.  I really really need to get a photo editor on this laptop!

So after the class was finished, I had TWO stops to make and I got myself organised to leave.  No - the car was not overflowing with fabric, but it was full!

Then on the road.  Yes, I had to cross the border to get to my destination.  The usual questions - food or alcohol?  Nope - just candy for the trip!  Where am I going?  Denver!  No - not Colorado, but Pennsylvania!    Any gifts??  Am I leaving anything behind????  Only threads and scraps!!!  Then I was on my way.  I did notice that they had signs at the border - Save Time - Get a NEXUS card.  Well, I have a NEXUS card so I asked the Border guy - (gosh - what are they called???)  anyway - he said that this particular crossing did NOT have a NEXUS line.  Oh well!!!   On the way back into Canada, there is a NEXUS line.

Now you're going to die laughing at this next story.  Remember how proud I was yesterday when I was able to download that audio book to my iPod????   Well technically, I don't think I downloaded it.  When I started to listen to the book, I realised that I had already listened to that one.  I had forgotten to write it in my "read books" list.  So I'm thinking that the book was already on the iPod!!!!!   How is that for silliness.   I laughed and laughed, but I decided to listen to the book anyway and while the story is all coming back to me as I relisten - it did make the miles pass by rather quickly!

Still - it is a long, long drive to get here, but this morning - well it's so worth it.

One of these trips, I really need to drive in Pennsylvania in the daylight so I can see the surroundings.  There are mountains (or at least big hills) - went through one tunnel - I just love that instead of going over or around the mountains, they chose to go through the mountains!!!!  As I was getting closer and closer to my destination, at least according to the GPS, I was wondering if I would in fact get to my destination.  I had visions of calling and saying that I was lost and would have to spend the night in the car.  

The front seat of my car was littered with money when I arrived!  No - it wasn't raining money, but there were a plethora of tolls that I went through and I didn't have enough change and well - my US money was strewn all over the seat as I tried to satisfy the next toll!!!

But I arrived late last night and this house is AMAZING!!!!!!   I'll be sure to take loads of pictures - we are all (twelve of us) sewing/eating in  one HUGE room.  With windows on three sides, in the country on a farm with cows and a swan and probably much more that I didn't get a chance to see yet.

Let's see, I'm writing this in the gazebo outside as I had to get away from the other two people who are here so far as I can't focus on writing with conversations in the room.  But the best news - there is an awesome quilt store within walking distance.  I mean - it's very, very close!!   That could be dangerous - thankfully it is closed on Sunday - we are in Amish country after all.

On that note, I'm out of here - I'm already cutting and sewing and having a grand old time.  BTW - I did manage to figure out the microwave here and cooked the oatmeal at 60% and no spills!!!!   Yeah me!!  Now to try and figure out how to really download a new book to the iPod.  That will have to wait until I get home as the laptop I have with me, doesn't have iTunes on it and you need iTunes to do the download.   Damn Apple and its proprietary programs!!!!

Have a great day!!!!


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Panic Packing - again!

After some crazy, crazy days, I get to have a few days off. Well, it's not really days off because I have a TON of sewing to do.

Yep - I'm going on a sewing retreat!  First thing yesterday morning, I got some bad news about the retreat. The dates of the retreat had to change slightly and so instead of teaching a class this morning and having a leisurely afternoon where I could cut and prep everything the way I want to.  Nope - I'm leaving TODAY right after my class.

As a result - panic packing!  I think I have everything packed - took lots of those Everyday Market Tote bags of mine and threw everything but the kitchen sink in!!!

This is what is yet to be packed in the car!  Now some of this is for my class this morning, so don't panic!!!

To be packed in the car
 And let's not forget these bags!

More stuff to be packed in the car

Normally I don't take a cutting mat and rulers, but because so much is just yardage at this point, I have no choice but to cut there.  I know there are LOTS of projects that I could just wing in the bag and I did throw in a few extras, but there is a lot of projects that have deadlines and well - those are taking priority.  No worries, I do have a couple of "just for me" projects.

However, I do seem to be having a moment.  When Lexi and I went to go to the park this morning, NO CAR KEYS.  I know I had them last night when I went to the car to look for the camera. Hmmm - I have a feeling they got winged into one of those bags.  No worries - that's why we have spare car keys.

Then I went to prepare for my class this morning and NO PATTERN for one of the quilts.  Not with the project box, not ANYWHERE in the piles of paper on my desk (and oh boy - STOP the piles - take a few minutes, sort the stuff and file it!!!!)   That's on the priority list when I get back!!!    It's simple homework this month, I do have the work outlined in my little blue book which I have, but I would like to find the pattern. And it's NOT in the studio - I looked in all the possible places - well obviously I'm missing one!   No clue even where to look.  I'll just have to borrow a pattern today and we'll wing it!

And there is ONE more missing thing. Perhaps all three items are together? I doubt that.  My little priority book.  I took it to show n tell a couple of weeks ago and do you think I know where I put it???  OH - I must look under the seat of the car - it's possible it fell out of a bag and under the seat.  HEY - I was looking under there a while back and found a mailbox key that had been missing FOREVER.  We since had to get new keys made for the mailbox so this one is useless, but I'm still carrying it around in the car!!

OH MY GOD - in a heartbeat - less than FIVE minutes, I managed to search my brain cells and REMEMBER and actually accomplish downloading a book to my iPod so I have something to listen to in the car.  TWO books actually.    Well the other one I downloaded to my tablet - it's an e-book. Yahoo!!!!!!

On that note, I've got to start packing all this stuff in the car and then OH YES - I better pack a few clothes!

We're supposed to have WiFi where I'm going, so I'll be able to tell you all about my adventure.

Have a good day!!!!


Friday, September 23, 2016

An AHA moment!

For those that know me, I'm not much of a cook.  Don't get me wrong, I can be a good cook IF I choose.  I don't have the time, I don't have the interest. Food isn't important to me except that I need it to live. I know this is shocking to the foodies of the world.   I like to eat, but I would be very happy to eat pretty much the same thing all the time.  Plain and simple is what I'm all about. It helps to keep you from gaining weight as well!

As you know, I've been having an issue with cooking my oatmeal. It bubbles over in the microwave.  I saw Kathy's comment on my blog this morning and well - that was an AHA moment.  She says to cook the oatmeal at 60 % power.  Now why the heck didn't I think of that?  

This morning, I cooked it at 60%.  I had to check out the microwave and I don't think I quite perfected the technique, but the bottom line - cooked oatmeal - NO mess.  Mission accomplished!
A HUGE thank you to Kathy for that tip!!!!   And now I love, absolutely love my soup mug for oatmeal.  While the mug is hot, the handle is not.  PERFECT!!!!   Life just doesn't get any better!

From time to time, you see me post about little gifts that I've received from my students or friends. I still have a couple pictures to post, but no time. It's just total chaos these days. 

However, I don't want you to think that all those kind gestures are one-sided.   Case in point - this quilt below. 

Quilt made from Fireside fleece

A while back, a long, long while back, Ronda bought a kit for a quilt made with Fireside fleece. I think it was one of those "I NEED this kit" moments.  When she got to thinking about it, making a quilt from Fireside fleece is messy!  It's hard to sew because it's stretchy and well, all around, not good news.

After it had sat at her house for a while, she gave it to me - I think the original intention was for me to try and sell the kit to someone.  Well, that won't do.  After all, she bought the kit because she liked it.   I decided that I would make it for her.

It sat at my house for a long, long while and some time ago, I cut the top and serged all the squares together. It went together quite quickly and then it got quilted.  I have no idea when it was sewn or when it was quilted but I want to say that it was this year!   I even made something with ALL the scraps, but that's not finished yet.

I was going to give the quilt to her without the binding. I thought that at least she could do the binding.  Then I thought, NOPE, it's got to be complete or it will sit for a long, long while at her house before anything happens.  The next question was what binding to use for this quilt.  No to cotton and I really didn't want to use fleece, although I've since found instructions for putting on a fleece binding.

I opted for black flannel.  Washed the flannel, since the fleece isn't going to shrink at all, but that flannel will.  Made the binding slightly wider than normal because of all the thickness - yes there is batting in that quilt. I managed to get that binding on by machine - both sides!    I did hand stitch the corners of the binding down and now it is at Ronda's house. Just in time for the cooler weather!!!

And that's one more quilt out the door.  Now why did I do that for Ronda?  Because she has saved me numerous times, with a run to Tim's, picking up little things here and there.  Making this quilt - I probably still owe her for all the small favours she has done for me.

Thanks, Ronda!!!!  It's great to have friends like you.  Enjoy the quilt and NO - it isn't for Mark!!!!

ON that note, the day is already off to a wicked start.  I'm standing in the locker room at the gym (after my shower) and my locker won't open.  Thankfully I wasn't alone in the locker room so someone notified the front desk on their way out and the attendant came to rescue me.  We discovered the lock was broken. Thank god - but now that I'm thinking about it - I might be the one who broke it!  You see, I go to two different locations of this gym.  One you turn the lock to the right to lock it and the other is to the left.  Ooops - I think I turned to the wrong direction.  Sigh........  

Time to get moving!!!

Have a super day!!!


Thursday, September 22, 2016

My cup runneth over!

Let's get the bad news out of the way.  That darn soup cup that I bought the other day for my oatmeal?  Well, it isn't deep enough!  I thought I could trick the system.  I set the microwave for one minute.  Checked - yep, everything is OK.  Set the microwave for another minute.  Checked - everything is still OK.  Set the microwave for the last 30 seconds and about 15 seconds in, the oatmeal rose to the top and seeped over the edge of the cup making a huge mess!!!!   Grrrr - now where is that 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup that Cathie uses?  Really?  How big do I have to go to avoid the oatmeal from spilling over?    I did like the handle and there is a lid - should I attempt to put the lid on for the last 30 seconds?  It does have a vent in the top.  Can you imagine a soup cup of oatmeal exploding in the microwave?  I cringe at the mess!  But I might give it a try because I really really like my soup cup!

We talked about using your eyes to see. Of course, we all know how to do that.  But do we really see things?   I don't think so.  I decided to get out that book I mentioned and I knew exactly where the book was located!  It's called "How to use your eyes"  by James Elkins.  

How to use your eyes by James Elkins
BUT - there was a surprise for me when I opened the book.  It was signed by the author and not just a random signature - nope - my NAME was in the book.

My copy is signed by the author!!!

Now, who knew that was in there????    Did you notice the date?  01/01.  My guess is that this person came to Sheridan College when I was a student there and I probably purchased the book at that time.  I must say that I have no recollection of that.  But we got to meet so many cool people when I was a student there that I don't remember them all!

However, I've decided to read the book (I know - if only we would read what we buy) - imagine how knowledgeable we would all be!!!

I'll keep you in the loop as I read through the articles.

There is something that I notice every single day and I would LOVE to take a picture of it every day because every day it is different. However I'm in the car on the highway and well - it wouldn't be safe to take a picture.  I wonder can a dash cam take a still photo???   The thing I see is the skyline of Mississauga.  It changes with the time of day, the weather, the construction and I think it would be cool to document that.  Hmmmmm - now to shop for a dash cam, but only if they take stills.

Speaking of authors, there is an author whom I love and I have been reading her books for a while, although I'm not up to date with her books.  I like knowing that I still have books to read and not waiting with bated breath for the next one to come out.  It's Louise Penny.  She writes a beautiful monthly newsletter and you can access them on her website.

Louise's husband, Micheal was diagnosed with dementia some time back and the way she wrote about their life (and their love) as he declined - well it's an amazing story.  Micheal passed away earlier this week. To watch a loved one die a slow death from dementia (or a similar debilitating disease) has to be one of the hardest tests that we humans would face.  Louise and Micheal did it with so much grace.   You can read the details here.

I know why I was playing that stupid game on my tablet.  I didn't have a book to read!  Normally I have one or two going or at least something in hard copy, something on the iPod and perhaps on the tablet. But I had NOTHING.  Most of the books on my shelf are part of a series and it takes time to research the next book and find it on the shelf or download it or order it from the library - I REFUSE to buy novels.  So many authors, so many series, so many characters to keep track of!  I think I'm set - I know what to download to the iPod (need that for an upcoming adventure), got a book on hold for the tablet and I have a physical book in my hands (oh crud - I started a new series!) and one physical book on hold which the library can't find!

And you need to check out this link to my artist friend, Cynthia Frenette.   I mean seriously - do you know how much there is to do????   I mean - seriously?

On that note, there is a ton of things waiting for me and I'd better get started.

Have a super awesome day!


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Sashing? What if?

Interesting things happen in the quilting world.  Remember we chatted about the "what if" the other day.  Let's play what if? this morning.  

I'll step back to Saturday when we had show n tell at the class.  Shaun brought in this gorgeous and I mean GORGEOUS (and not just because it was orange) quilt that he had made.  And it was HAND QUILTED by Shaun.  Then it had been washed so it was fluffy and well - I could have put that quilt in my bag and been a happy camper!!

Shaun's quilt

The block had come from a magazine and was originally made into a table runner.

Shaun felt that the blocks got lost in the quilt and he was asking if he would have been better to add sashing.  So we are going to test that out this morning.  

Through the magic of EQ7, I recreated the block. Have a look -- it's not what you think it is.

Original block

Now, let's see what that looks like in the table runner configuration.

Table runner

Now let's see what happens when we put those blocks together to get the quilt that Shaun made.

Orange quilt

Do you see what is happening with this particular block???  It's almost like the block itself creates a sashing when they are put together.   It's an interesting design.

Now let's see what happens when we do actually add a sashing.

A sashing with corners stones and a border are now added

Isn't that interesting, how the sashing changed the quilt.  I don't know which one I prefer.  They are both gorgeous.

And just for the heck of it and to show you that YES, I do work with other colors, here's the quilt in blue.

Blue quilt

But here's my thoughts - if you do not use EQ7 - you are missing out on a whole lot of fun.  It's a well thought out quilt design software.  It's extremely versatile and I use it ALL THE TIME.   Those pictures above took very little time to create.

Anyway, that's my thoughts for What if? today.  Don't be afraid to mess around with your blocks, your designs and everything else to see what would happen WHAT IF?

And if anyone has another design question - feel free to let me know and I'd be happy to play what if with your dilemma.

Have a great day!!!