Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Facebook rocks!!!!

What a day!  I spent a good part of the day organizing the next round of deadline quilts.  I'm not done yet but let's just say that there will be a few. Thankfully they are spaced out and they are WRITTEN down in my little micro binder so I know exactly what my time line will be.  There are more coming, but still working on the details. The system is amazing (for me) for prioritizing - a simple thing like writing a list, but it's NOT a list. It's a flexible list and that's different!

And yes - I did get the sleeve sewn on and that other quilt is gone.

Sometimes I hear people talk about Facebook.  Oh  - what's the point of it?  Well, let me tell you - I would be lost without Facebook.  It's a super way to stay in touch with people that you don't really need (or want) to talk to.  But it allows you to stay in tune with their lives (at least from a distance). I stay in touch with my distant cousins, aunts and uncles and friends who have moved away. I belong to interest groups and I love seeing what everyone is making.

But here is the BEST.  I desparately needed a fabric - a specific color from a specific manufacturer.  I put out a note on one of my quilting groups.  Got an answer back very quickly that a fairly local store to me carried this product.  As I mulled over the information, I remembered that another person that I met through my blog lived in that area. A message to her and VOILA - my fabric should arrive today!!!  Yeah!!!!!   Thanks to the Canadian Quilters group and thanks to Shelly and thanks to The Cotton Harvest Quilt Shop in Seaforth!!!

I was working on my next deadline project last night and hit a stumbling block. The first set of blocks were done. I thought they looked rather neat. When I started making the secondary blocks - the project fell flat.  Seriously????   I'll take pictures to show you.  Now what?  We don't have a lot of time here.  Back to the drawing board and I came up with something else that I think will work. Is it perfect?  Nope - nothing ever is.  But it works better together.  It's almost all cut out. And I realized that parts of what I had already done would be better if the fabrics were slightly repositioned. That's a job for tonight. AND I had an issue with the iron. For some reason, it leaked and put an ugly brown stain on my WHITE fabric.  So I daringly ran to the sink and immersed my red and white fabrics in cold water. Will those reds run?  Of course NOT!  Everything looks great!

I was browsing through some magazines the other day and came across this interesting tidbit. The magazine is American Patchwork and Quilting (October 2016).  The entire magazine is about vintage quilts - how to make them (or reproduce them) and on the editorial page there is a comment by Darlene Zimmerman.  Essentially she says that if you have (or buy or see) a vintage quilt or vintage quilt blocks -- if they are NOT museum quality - you can do whatever you want with them!  Now how freeing is that!

I have two things for you today - two assignments!  One of them is to read my QUILTsocial blog post for today. It's all about machine embroidery and even if you're not into embroidery - check it out anyway to see what it's all about. Maybe you have a friend who has a machine and you can get them to do something for you.

Day Three - QUILTsocial

OK - so that was cool.  I absolutely love doing those blog posts.  And I've learned a ton from all the research I've had to do.

Speaking of research - I'm off on another tangent with a different style of quilt. I have a ton of books and while I've gone through a few of them, there are many that - well sad to say - the book has never even been opened once I bought it. As I was searching on the internet, I came across three books. One I could get from the library - already put a hold on it, one I don't have (going to order it today) and the third one - I do have. There is a second edition of this book, but seriously - how different can it possibly be?

I got the information that I needed from the book, but here's the thing - there is a lot of cool information in this book - Color Play by Joen Wolfrom.   Seriously?  Why haven't I read this entire book?   So I'm going to make it part of my daily routine.  READ those darn quilting books and then get rid of them if I don't need/want them anymore.   OH GOD - I just read that link I posted about the book - I WANT the new book.  I'm wondering if I didn't already buy that one?

Here's my assignment to you.  Take ONE book from your quilting book shelf - it can be a project book, it can be a color theory book, it can be a technique book or a historical book.  I don't care. But pick ONE.  Then I want you to read it from cover to cover or evaluate it - do I even want to read this book?  Then find a home for it if you don't want it! Or once you've read it - pick a project to make or find a way to incorporate the information into an existing project. If I were ever to read those books I have, I'd be - well I'd be the most read quilter in the world!  And I'd probably know a LOT! (more than I already do anyway!)

Did you see that Kat (Next Step Quilt Designs) mentioned me and my blog on her post yesterday for 150 Canadian Women?  I love Kat's designs, she's a sweetie and well - it's a small world!

I have located TWO new quilters who from time to time will be given the option for a fabric bundle from me. I hope to offer them both something in the near future. I have one bundle ready to go and will be sending one of them a note. I'm super excited about this as I really can't use all I have, but I have to be absolutely certain that I'm done with the collection. In this case, I've already made two quilts - two is enough. Time to move on!  Thanks to the two who have responded!  You know who you are!

I have more to tell, but that will have to wait for tomorrow. Sorry - no pictures today!

Have a super day!!!!


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Can you repeat this???

I'm starting to sound like a broken record.  Here's another quilt with the binding on (did part last night and the rest this morning). Made the sleeve, notice that little label in there. I'm putting that little label on those quilts that belong to me but not on the ones that don't belong to me!   I made the sleeve this morning and it just needs to be hand sewn on!

Quilt is almost done!

What I'm amazed at is how much I'm actually getting done.  When did I ever get this much FINISHED before?  I have so many that are partially completed, but these deadlines are forcing me to get these ones done!  I hope to continue the momentum with some of those that are lacking labels or sleeves and get them done. That would be amazing and it would help to clear out some space.

I have almost forgotten that this week is my week to blog on QUILTsocial. I'm taking a whirl at some machine embroidery.   So check out yesterday's post and today's posts.  The links are below.

Here is the link to Day One of QUILTsocial.

Here is the link to Day Two of QUILTsocial.

If you EQ7 and no idea how it works - check out this new online class.  10 minutes a day for 2 weeks and you'll know the basics.  Check out the details here!  It`s so worth it - you will NOT regret these 10 minutes.

And on that note - I'm out of here!  Got lots to get done and having fun tidying up loose ends of a lot of things.  I LOVE that.

Have a super day!


Monday, July 24, 2017

Motivational Monday - progress report

Good morning everyone!  What a super productive weekend. Although the summer is rapidly passing and I'm not getting out on my bike as much as I would like.  The dog park is making a mess of those plans. And having deadlines - hopefully the month of August will be a little quieter.

Oh my --- I have to say that my "keeping me on track tools" are working!  This is going to appear to be so obvious that you'll be shaking your head at me and saying "Why?".   I've had a big problem with focusing on the right projects.  I'm busy - I'll always be busy. I could be sitting in a chair and I'm busy. But am I getting things done when they need to be done without stressing myself to death?  The big answer was NO.

And why was that?  Because I didn't know what needed to be done. Isn't that the most ridiculous thing in the world?  You know how it is - if it isn't written down - it's easy to ignore!

By writing the deadlines for each new project in my little book, I'm able to review them when I write in The Task Master. See what I mean?  Simple?  Yet I wasn't doing that and I was always in trouble. I may still leave things to the last minute, but at least I know what needs to be done and can schedule it accordingly. And I love that the pages in the micro binder can be shuffled around if I need to insert a new deadline.

And on a happy note at this point in time, each of the next two projects are significantly smaller than what I've been working on so that's a good thing.

I did some checking yesterday and I think I might actually get the next two projects completed. They are for me so if they don't get done - no big deal, but I want them to get done. That's incentive.

Here's the thing - remember yesterday when I said - oh it would be nice to have a computer for the long arm? Well what was I thinking?  That time that I spend quilting is my quiet time to contemplate new designs for the next quilt and yesterday was no exception. I've been mulling over a problem for weeks and the answer came to me yesterday while I was quilting. I guess that rules out the computer!  Look at what I gained!

I don't even remember what I did since last Monday, but I do remember what I got done this weekend.

I had that rather large customer quilt that needed to be done - and now it's done and just needs to be trimmed.

Customer quilt - DONE

And here's the other end

Here's another quilt that needed to be done for a customer (a work customer).
Another quilt - DONE
 This is a quilt from the Northcott Artisan Spirit Shimmer Flight of Fancy collection. Comes in three colorways - this one was the most popular.

I trimmed the quilt last night and got half of the binding on.  Finished the other half this morning and made the sleeve. Will sew that sleeve on when I visit with the Monday group this morning. I'll put a label on it at work and it'll be winging its way in a box by the end of the day.

Sleeve is on and ready for hand stitching
 I quilted one more quilt as well, but since that one is destined for a magazine, you'll have to wait to see it. Technically it needs to be at its destination on Friday so I didn't push to get it done. I'll do that tonight and get it out tomorrow.

But even though I know better, did I do the most critical one first?  Oh no - I did the quilt that has a Friday deliver first. Then a customer quilt that can be picked up anytime and lastly I did the one that HAS to leave today. But by doing that, there was no way I could delay on the other two and now all three are done!

I did pop out for a few errands yesterday and to pick this up from Sonia who picked this Row by Row kit up for me on her vacation.   I love this row and it looks awesome. Thanks Sonia!

Row by Row

Well hopefully you're all figuring out how to best work for you in getting your projects done!  Remember it's summer  - normal people don't quilt much in the summer.  Some day!

Have a super day!!!!


Sunday, July 23, 2017

A sobering thought

Yesterday was a super productive day.  I'm surprising even myself at how focused I can be.

We had a great time at the dog park. I've been told - "Mom - it's OK if you can't do everything, BUT you HAVE to take us to the dog park on the weekends."  It's a good change of pace for sure.

Finished off my book and then got one of my quilts quilted that needed to be done. I wasn't as fast at it as I thought I would be.  No - I thought I would have it done by lunch, but it was later in the day. No big deal - it's done.

I had some errands to run so made a list and got them all done in a very short time. One thing I noticed - I hardly ever do errands and if so I try to get out later in the day. I only had three places to go - all within 1 KM of my house, but couldn't take the bike as some stuff I needed was big.  The drivers in parking lots are maniacs!  It's a free for all and speeding?  No one respects speed bumps or the speed limits. I hate shopping!

Now here's the best part of the errands - you know how you buy something and it takes forever to do something with what you bought?  Not yesterday. I needed a new light for my long arm.  The darn thing went out a couple of quilts ago and just never had time to go buy a new one.  Well - it's installed on the long arm. What a difference - I can actually see what I'm quilting!

Old bulb - gone!

The ten bags of mulch are spread in the garden - need to make room for those girls in the back of the car!

The cap feet will be used later this weekend for a project - well might be more like tomorrow, but that's OK. And the plastic tubing - well that's been used as well. More on that tomorrow. Library books returned, money from the bank - and all my errands got done and items got used. Now I have two more errands today.  Hopefully the parking lots will be quieter?

Remember yesterday when I said that I don't procrastinate nearly as much as I used to? Well, there is one thing that I procrastinate about. Loading LARGE quilts on the long arm. This poor quilt has been in the queue for a while and each time I'm ready to quilt it, I bypass it.  NO LONGER - today is the day. It's huge - 93" by 112". BUT - it's loaded and partially quilted. I was hoping to have had it completed yesterday, but I ran out of time. No worries - it'll happen today and then there is a smaller one to load and get done tonight.

HUGE quilt loaded on the long arm
 I have to admit that yesterday I was thinking that a computer on the long arm would be a good thing. I had some cutting and trimming to do and it would have been nice to load that quilt and hit GO and I could go and do my work. Oh well - better start saving my pennies. I don't do enough customer work any more to justify paying for it.

I finished fussy cutting that other project that I need to work on.  It's mostly fussy cut - just the borders (which also have to be fussy cut).  About 1/3 or maybe just 1/4 of the blocks are done.  If you want to see this quilt - better come to Quilts at the Creek this coming weekend because the quilt will be hanging in that show. It's only 40 inches square or thereabouts, so shouldn't be a problem to get it finished. I know - NO pressure!   I need to check when the quilts need to be delivered - I will have to drop it off there - I think the store drop off date has already passed.  No worries - it'll happen!  I have two quilts in the show - the other one is done, but needs to be picked up as it's currently on display in a quilt shop.

I'm feeling in really good shape these days - quilt-wise that is. I've got my urgent list - well deadline list is more like it. There are tons of other things that need to be done, but the deadline list is a way of prioritising for me. That has always been my biggest issue - I can sew all day, but am I sewing on the right things?  I'm much better now.

So here is my sobering thought for the day. When we were doing our road trip last weekend, I spotted a kit in a shop.  Oh - it's for a travel jewelry case. I'm not a big wearer of jewelry - mostly because  - well - it's not all in one spot. I have boxes here and boxes there and well - it's an issue. But I'm going to change that. One of the other issues is that I have to remember to put the jewelry in my gym bag.  Of course - I could make a pretty little case which would make things a whole lot easier? Right?

This kit is perfect. The price is marked down - hm - is that $15? Which is an excellent price considering the pattern is in the kit, the fabric, the zippers, the foam for the lining.  EVERYTHING - well worth $15.

The jewelry kit
 I took it to the cash and asked the lady if that was $15?  Yes and she said she would mark it down to $10 if I paid cash whereupon I whipped out a $10 bill faster than the speed of lightening. Apparently this kit (it was amongst a bunch of others) was part of an estate sale.  YES - someone passed on and the family or friends are trying to get rid of her stuff.  That is sobering!   Because one day that is going to happen to me!  NO!  I can do it all in my life time!  Can't I???   Oh god - That's all I can say!

Which is another reason why I want to find NEW quilters to pass stuff along to - not the established quilters because they already have a ton of stuff. I need a new quilter to pass on some of my scraps. Who is new out there and local to me that wants the leftovers from my projects?  I'm not talking scraps - I'm talking the rest of a collection when I'm finished with it???   OH - I think I know someone. But if there is anyone out there who knows a young quilter or a new quilter who is local - I don't want to ship this stuff, but I need to start moving some of it and I don't want it sitting in someone else's stash. I want it used or I'm not getting rid of it.

I wasn't sure if I was going to use the fabric in the kit, but it's not bad.  I might get started on this later today as I'm feeling in good shape to get everything done. I'll see as I do have two patterns for work that I'm supposed to be testing and those are priorities!

Fabric in the kit

On that sobering note, I'm off to the dog park and then back to get some more stuff cleaned up and finished. And OH GOD - I started a new book and already 100 pages into it!

Have a great day!


Saturday, July 22, 2017

A tight bind!

Oh doesn't that title sound so dramatic?  Well there are no tight binds at my house, but there is a lot of BINDING happening.

I got home yesterday and sat out in the backyard with the girls. I was on my own for dinner (OK - I never have to cook), but no one was making me dinner so I had to forage for myself.  Such a hardship especially when there were leftovers in the fridge. Well, I think I mentioned at one point that I was struggling to get through one of the earlier Jennifer Chiaverini (Elm Creek Quilts) books.  I'm reading the Cross Country Quilters (her third book) and so engrossed that before I knew it, it was 7 PM.  Yikes - I still have a phone call to make and I've a lot of work to do!  Jennifer has veered away from the Elm Creek series and is taking a different route with her books, focusing on historical settings but still to do with textiles - like Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker.

One thing I will say about Jennifer's Elm Creek series - they hit the nail on the head. How we buy our stash, how we interact with each other, how we learn, how we teach - the real deal.  But this particular one is about a group that meets at quilt camp and there's drama (when is there not drama in a quilter's life?).  It's great, but there I am last night (reading before bed) with 21 pages left to finish the book and I couldn't read another page. I'll finish it off this morning.

But after my phone call, I got to work and between last night and this morning, this is what I got done.

Two bindings - done!
 Granted, the strips were cut and pinned together, but not sewn. Now they are done and they NEED to be on finished quilts and in FED EX boxes on Monday.

I emptied my way over flowing scrap basket and was able to finish off one more pet mat.

Pet mat  -  DONE!

I measured and cut two pieces of yardage for the backing for this quilt. The backing is now sewn together and this quilt is ready to be quilted. There's no rush - it's mine.
Backing done !

I sewed strips and strips and strips of this brown fabric together. The strips were cut and pinned. They are the borders for those constructions quilts.  Hopefully there is enough here for all the borders. I do have more strips cut because that fabric will also be the binding for all four quilts.  This is one of my UFOs (February I think). I haven't forgotten those UFOs and if it kills me - I will get them all done by the end of the year. But I had better start hussling!

Border strips - joined!
 Then I had another quilt top that was sitting there.  I had leftover fabric, none large enough on their own to make the backing for the quilt. BUT, I joined the leftover blocks and the different leftover pieces and got a great backing for this quilt.  It's also ready for quilting. No rush on this one.

Another quilt ready to be quilted
I had a little quilt sitting on the cutting table and it needed a backing. There was a piece of this fabric leftover that was the perfect size - now this little quilt is also ready for quilting.  I hope to show you more of this little quilt tomorrow.

Another small quilt ready to be quilted

Out of this fabric collection (Silent Night) by Northcott, I made two quilts. One went to a magazine, the prototype is the one with the funky pieced backing above. I also made a small table runner and you'll get to see that on QUILTsocial this coming week.  I'll be posting the links - there are some great tips and ideas regardless of whether you're in the market for a sewing machine!  The background ,the binding and now the backing for that small quilt are also from the leftovers.

And this is all that's officially leftover!


There will be more leftovers once the three items remaining to be quilted get quilted, but these leftovers went in the blue scrap box! DONE!

I didn't get the batting made for the quilt that I need to quilt this morning, but I have the four pieces picked out and will be sewing them together shortly. And I have to load the backing and the top.

That was a productive couple of hours!  I've said it before, but I used to procrastinate at so many of these steps - making the binding, sewing the binding on or loading on the long arm. Why?  No idea - it's not like it's hard. But the more that I do, I don't even contemplate that ironing that binding is a pain. Nope - I just do it.

I did notice the other day when I was finishing up another quilt that once it's quilted, it's still a long way from completion.  You have to trim the quilt, sew on the binding (make it if you haven't already). Make and attach the sleeve and sew on a label.  All of that is piddly boreing stuff, but has to be done. I'm getting better at it - most of what I work on these days gets completed (except maybe a business card attached instead of an acutal sewn on label), but there are a lot  of quilts in my studio that just need the sleeve to be finished sewn down or the label (that's already made) to be sewn down.  I'm hoping to get back to that kind of thing at my brief visit with the Monday ladies. It would be nice to get these off the UFO list and into the finished list!

On that note, I've a few errands to do today, finish my book, a TON of quilting to do. But I have NO commitments. I don't have to be anywhere, I don't have appointments - it's a "free" weekend. Yeah!!!!

Have a super day!!!!


Friday, July 21, 2017

Tidying up!

OH SHOOT --- the links to McCall's were not working yesterday.  Thanks Trixie for the alert.  They ARE WORKING today.  So sorry for that.

There are no pictures today.  That just didn't happen.  (and thanks to all who sent me tips about the bobbins - I'll be recapping on the weekend - I hope!)

As I was sewing last night, I noticed that my cutting table was once again piled high with stuff. How does that happen?  I clean it off so I can work and then POOF - it's full again.

It was piled high with the next couple of projects that I have to work on and a few projects that are temporarily on hold.  I put the fabric for each in a plastic bag and placed it on a small stool beside the cutting table.  Now I had space to work again.

Tonight will be a tidy up night.  I got that one quilt in a FedEx box and on it's way to the US. It should have arrived yesterday.  I realised that the next one isn't due until the end of the month, so I was able to ease up on that one a bit. BUT the top was completed last night, the backing is made and the binding is waiting to be sewn together.  I'll get it loaded on the long arm tonight.

I have bindings for three quilts - all cut and pinned together that need to be sewn together and pressed. That's a job for tonight as well. There is also the border strips for those construction quilts - they are cut and pinned together - just need to sewn and pressed.  Hopefully that will happen tonight as well.  I might even get one more top completed?

I counted - there are FIVE deadline quilts left to be done by September 1.  Plus a couple of quilts that need to be quilted.  So I'm in pretty good shape that way.  Remember, the quilts I make are not complicated - no one wants a pattern for a complicated quilt!  It makes such a difference to have stuff written down - either in The Task Master or the Deadline Book.  BOTH have been a huge help. I don't think I've ever been this productive in my life!

There is one group of fabric that I've been struggling over for months trying to find a design to make.  NOTHING came to mind.  Well the deadline is looming fast and I need something. I've been experimenting and haven't come up with anything that makes me super happy.  Last night, I was messing around with EQ7 and came up with something that is OK.  No more time to waste on the design - tonight will be cutting and stitching to try and get that one done by Monday so it can be delivered on time.

Once September hits, it's going to be totally crazy as we start to prep for the fall shows - I need to get all this other stuff out of the way.

I love these summer days. I get home from work at a decent hour because I get to work early.  I take my book and relax in the backyard. As much as one can when there are two very needy dogs demanding attention. And if you won't give them any attention, they start to do cute stuff so you have no choice but to watch them!

Life is good!

On that note, I'm trying to get a lot of stuff cleaned off my desk this morning.  Better get at it!

Have a super day!!!


Thursday, July 20, 2017

I'm officially published (McCall's)

I was so excited to see my quilt in the September/October issue of McCall's.   Here are the official pictures that I can share with you.

McCall's Quilting - September/October 2017

And do you want to see a picture of the quilt?  Here's a flat shot of the quilt that I call UP.


And here's the stylised shot which I love!  I think it's fabulous that the quilt is hanging on a staircase which of course will take you UP and see how the flying geese are pointing to the top right hand of the photo.

Fabulous shot of UP

After doing a couple of photo shoots with quilts myself, I can appreciate how hard it is to get a great shot of any quilt.  Whoever did the photography did an amazing job.

And if you haven't seen the magazine yet, here's the scoop -

Follow this link to check out the current issue of McCall's.

Here's the link if you want to check out my quilt specifically.    You can buy a digital copy of the quilt pattern.

Check out the spread in the actual magazine though because the editors tweaked my design for a couple of alternate looks and they really are fun!

And if you want to get the magazine, here's the information.

Subscription issues began shipping July 11, 2017. By July 25, 2017 the issue will be available on newsstands, as well as in print or digital download format on Quilt and Sew Shop

I'm thrilled to have my quilt appear in McCall's. The editors were fabulous to work with.  Thanks McCall's. 

The fabrics that I used in the collection are from Northcott.  The black background is Toscana 99.  The geese were made using Artisan Spirit Shimmer. There are multiple color ways available and a huge range of values/textures within each color way that it was easy to gradate the geese. 

I can't wait to get the quilt back to hang in my office. 

Have a super day!


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Tag - you're it!

I love my job. I love my hobby. When the two of them revolve around the same theme - well it makes for some long days!

I had a super productive day yesterday. I got loads of stuff written - needs to be proofed, but that's OK.  There was a bit of designing involved as well. If I'm going to make a free pattern, I get to make it how I want!  I hate leftovers so I managed to get this one design just right and no leftover blocks.

And when that part of the day was over, then it was time to load a quilt and get that quilted.  BUT WAIT - not before I sat out in the gazebo with the girls and read for an hour. That was the equivalent of my commute time since I worked from home yesterday!

The quilt on the machine is mine but has a deadline and I decided to join the batting.  I found three pieces that were perfect and pieced them together.  As I got to the end, I realised that I was about 4 inches short.  Great - math sometimes is not my strong point.  So I found another piece in the scrap bag of batting and was able to finish that quilt off. 

I made the binding and trimmed the quilt and left it for this morning. BUT not before I found those little labels to be inserted. 

I was up early this morning and got the binding sewn on both sides. The sleeve is made and I'll hand stitch that on later today. It should be in a box by 3 PM and out the door. 

But I'm super excited.  Look at that label!!  

This is the side that is visible

My name and phone number are on the underside

I'm super happy with those labels. They are perfect for an item when you don't want to put a big label on, but you want it to have some form of ID.  Now I realise that someone could just cut that label off and they might. But that's OK.  I know that Lorna's labels are narrower and longer than mine and I might consider that for the next batch, but I really like the logo!

Lorna from Sew Fresh Quilts would be so proud of me for using the label!  And I used her style of quilting for this quilt.  It was PERFECT and easy. I found myself quilting with one hand, the other in my pocket as I walked back and forth beside the long arm.  Super simple!  I will do this style again!

On that note, I'm out of here.  A super busy day and I still have another quilt top to finish tonight and quilt as it needs to be gone by tomorrow!.

Have a great day!


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Wear Sunscreen

I'm not big on traditions, but there are some things that you just have to stick with. Case in point - our retreats.  From day one, the owner placed a wooden quilt block on one side of the house. Well that's a photo op waiting to happen!

I do believe that she has changed that block every year.  This year being Canada's 150th - what other block would you have, but the maple leaf!

Maple Leaf block

And since we want everyone to be in the picture, I use the timer on my camera and get a group shot usually on the last day. In the past, I've not taken or forgotten to take a tri-pod. Hm - what to do? what to do?  I find that the ironing board is perfect. So yes, I'm outside with the ironing board getting it set to the perfect height and then call the team out and we get our shot. I did use the tri-pod this time!  (And I think we did the same thing with our other retreat house in Bracebridge which is now closed, but the photo was inside)

Group shot

If you check out the Fireside Retreat website, there is another one of our group shots from the very first time we were there.

I laugh when I see this second photo.  I'm the one who is kneeling on one knee.  I'm not sure that I could do that now!  Bloody knees - need to do more leg strengthening to get them back in shape!

Yesterday at spin class, one of the songs they played was the sunscreen song. Here's a link so you can hear the song if you're not familiar with it.     Honestly - I think we should all listen to this song every morning.  It's so inspiring, so uplifting and he says "be kind to your knees, you'll miss them when they're gone!"    OH GOD -- I can so relate although mine are not nearly in as bad as shape as some people I know.   But seriously - listen to that song.  It's such amazing advice!

I'm making good progress on the two quilts that have to be shipped out later this week. One is ready for quilting after work tonight and the other one - well I think it's going to be a day late.  The first border is on.  The second border is 1/4 pieced and lots of bits of the rest are cut and partially assembled. The final border is easy and it's cut.  It's going together quite nicely and I'm really happy with it.

Today is going to be a day of pattern writing and testing a couple of them to see that everything is OK.  I'm OK with the measurements on quilts, although it's always a good idea to test or at least test the blocks, but this one pattern is a bag and while it's not my first bag pattern, I need to make sure that it's OK before it goes live on the internet.

I keep books of my patterns at work.  I have a book for the patterns that are free on the Northcott resouce page (on my second book already). I have a book for the patterns that appear in magazines and another book for the quilting tips and yet another for the articles (Tech Tips) that appeared in A Needle Pulling Thread.  I'm really excited about all this and it'll make a nice memory for me when I'm in the nursing home. I can see M coming to me with my books - "Hey Mom!   Remember when you made all that stuff for the magazines?"   I'll pat her hand and say "That's nice dear!"

On that note, I'm off to work.

Have a super day!!!!


Monday, July 17, 2017

Bobbing along...... (Motivational Monday)

Happy Monday morning!  How motivated are we all in this summer??  I'm getting loads done just not on those UFO projects - well only in bits and pieces.  But my little deadline book is working just great.  Now that I have a list, there is no need to panic - well at least not as much!

I haven't had a chance to unpack all my stuff from the great weekend adventure. But I did unpack a couple of things and one thing led to another and well - today is all about bobbins. You can get a whole lot more done if things are organised.  

By the way, I think my pictures have a fuzzy feel to them.  The graphics team was messing with my camera the other day and they must have changed a setting!  What setting?  Going to have to ask as I don't know.

Here's one items that I bought and this started a domino effect in my studio. These are called Spool Huggers.  I've seen them around, but never bought them.  They happened to be by the cash as I was checking out at one store and I grabbed a package.

Spool Huggers

The reason I bought them is because my spool box with my go to threads can be a mess sometimes. I have invisible threads and several colors of cotton, all on different type of spools. While some spools have little caps that open or notches or a slot to put the thread end in, some do not. I keep saying that I should clean up the box and from time to time I do, but then I never do anything about those loose thread and bingo - I'm back tidying up once again!

Spools with the spool huggers
 Hm - I think I like my way better. Here's how one of my spools in the thread box looks.

A different way to wrap the spools

I think my biggest problem in this thread box is the bobbins. There is no way to catch the threads on the bobbins and they can make a huge mess.  So I tried the Spool Huggers on the bobbins.

Spool Huggers on the bobbins

Everything in the thread box is neat and tidy!

Four long bobbin racks

OK - I'm liking these things a whole lot better on my bobbins, and hopefully it won't be a problem to see which color/type of thread is one each bobbin as the tops of the bobbins are clear plastic.

Oh god - here's where the domino effect happened. I decided that I wasn't happy with the Spool Huggers on my bobbins after all.  Remember, this is personal choice - there is nothing wrong with them. I'm just super picky!

 I wish I could get a short bobbin rack. I have the longer ones - about six inches, but a short one at 3 inches would be perfect to fit in my box. I know there are all kinds of other methods of holding those bobbins.

Let's side track back to my spool of thread.

Here's what I use for my thread wrappers.  I use a very lightweight vinyl tablecloth. You can buy it by the yard at chain fabric stores.  Cut it into strips about 1" by 7".  Then wrap around your spool, keeping a bit of tension on the vinyl so it sticks to itself. Voila - perfect and inexpensive thread wrap.  It's boring, but functional.
Lightweight vinyl table cloth
Since I was trying to clean up the box, that's what I did instead of finishing to unpack.  I cut a few more vinyl strips and wrapped each of the spools of thread that needed to be wrapped.  All of them are wrapped and neat and tidy in the thread box.

Threads are wrapped!

I also put the Spool Hugged bobbins in there. I do have a few other bobbins that need to be tamed, but no more Spool Huggers.

I love when things are neat and tidy. So much easier to grab things when they are not messy and tangled, etc.

I'm sorry, today's post is a bit disjointed as I attempted to write this the day before and I don't have a lot of time today.

Here is a photo of ONE of those bobbin holders which I wish was half this length.

Single bobbin holder
Then I dug out the drawer that holds all my bobbin supplies.

Bobbin supply drawer

I also found this bobbin container, but again it's too big for what I want.

One more bobbin container
I also found these things for keeping the bobbin with the specific spool of thread - which I never do.

Handi Bobs for keeping bobbins with a spool of thread
I decided to get creative and I remembered this little tin that I picked up at Market.

Gutermann tin from market
It was a freebie and came with a spool of thread which is now with the other threads.

Contents of the tin
I loaded up my loose bobbins that I'm using at the sewing machine and they fit perfectly into the tin.

Bobbins fit perfectly into the tin
Now my bobbins are in an enclosed tin. No more loose and tangled threads.  The spools have all been controlled with the vinyl. My thread/bobbin box by the sewing machine is super neat!!!  I'm happy!

Neat thread box!

We need to arrange a review. There are so many tips and tricks to this problem and so many solutions and I suppose each one has it merits and we all have our opinions.  Wouldn't that be cool.   So if you have a tip for taming spools of thread and bobbins, let me know and I'll try to assemble a post after reviewing these items. Cause you now know that there are several that I don't like!

So the Spool Huggers and the Handi Bobs went into my giveaway bag.  I'm of the mindset now that if I've tried something or found a solution that I like, there's no sense in keeping what I don't like!

More time for sewing with two less items to manage!

Have a super day!!!!


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Row by Row Adventure

I was going to be mean and post about something else this morning, but well - I couldn't hold back!  I knew you would all be mad if I didn't share what we did yesterday on our road trip.

And some of you are very smart!  A couple of weeks ago, I posted a picture on Facebook of a Row by Row quilt. I didn't say much about it, except that I thought it was a cool idea.  Yesterday, when I posted on Facebook that we were at the border, TWO people (Pat and Mary) guessed what I was doing and one person even remembered the picture that I had posted earlier!  Mary - you're very smart!

I shared that picture with Ronda and asked if she was interested?  Game on! She shared the information with Laura who immediately mapped everything out and plotted a route. A few e-mails and texts and a date was set and we were off!

Just wait - there are pictures!  

The first store opened at 10 AM, but we had to contend with crossing the border into the US so Ronda (the driver) and Laura (the navigator) arrived at my house at 6 AM.  They were about 2 minutes late, but that's OK.  We stopped at the Tim's for breakfast and holy cow, that set the tone of our cashing out experience for the day!  I think the person must have been new. After repeating our order several times, they finally got it right and we were off.

We arrived at the border, passports in hand.  Oh ladies - see that Nexus line over there?  Well, there is NO Nexus line. I mean there is a Nexus LANE, but no LINE in that lane!  Alas, I was the only one with NEXUS so we waited.  It took about 35 minutes to get through. No issues although I did think that Ronda was a tad too chatty with the border crossing agent!  Oh my - how picky we are! We had a good laugh about it and recounted all our border crossing stories while we waited.

Then we were across and in the state of New York. We arrived at our first shop around 9:30.  We had discussed waiting at a coffee shop or something, but this shop was in the country!  We popped in a few minutes before 10 and it was a glorious shop!!  It was way bigger than it looked on the outside and they had a little bit of everything in that shop.  This was definitely a must return to shop despite the fact that it was one of the farthest away.
Mount Pleasant Quilting Company

They had a quilt block on their garage which is below.

Quilt block on the garage

We had 20 minutes to peruse the shop and check out.  NOT ENOUGH TIME, but alas, if we were going to meet our goal, we needed to keep on schedule. And Laura was an excellent time keeper.   I can imagine if she volunteers for field trips with her kids.  Nothing would go amiss!

Back in the car and off to the second quilt shop which was about a half hour from the first.  It was located in an old community hall and as we entered, there was the stage at the back which had been turned into a sewing area.  Very neat shop.

The Quilter's Daughter

This shop required a slight off-rading experience as we pulled into the wrong parking lot. No problem as Ronda proceeded to drive over the grass between the two parking lots. I saw NOTHING!

Off roading experience

And so it proceeded throughout the day. Laura had done an excellent job of getting us to all the shops as a couple of them were only open until 3 PM.  We got lucky on one as it was scheduled to be open until 4 PM. But it closed at 3 PM.  Guess what time we got there?   About 2:45 PM.  We had no idea that the shop was closing.  Ronda and Laura had already returned to the car and as I was checking out, the staff was going around the store shutting lights off.  Phew - that was close!!!

Oh I must tell you about the van.  Ronda is driving and Laura is navigating with the GPS (all the shops were programmed in!)  I was the back seat driver, although I didn't really have much to say as all was good up front. I was in the back eating snacks!  I sat on the passenger side of the van and unfortunately this door didn't open from the inside. I wonder if that had been rigged?  So Laura had to be my door person as I didn't want to move to the other side. No reason - just lazy!

We arrived at one shop and it looked closed so Laura hopped out to see if the door was open and then she walked right in!  Wait!  You forgot me!  Wait!!!   Thankfully Ronda was still in the car and was able to rescue me. We had a good laugh about that and I wonder if Laura has ever left her children in the car?

We had a total of 8 stores to hit and I'm happy to say that we hit them all with about 15 minutes to spare at the end. Well by the time we left that store, it was 5 PM.  A super successful and fun day!

Oh - you want to see what we were doing?   Well here are some pictures.

This was the card that I had seen posted on the internet.

Front of the post card advertising the Row by Row

Eight shops in Western New York got together and with the help of designer Susan Rooney, created the most amazing row by row quilt ever.  The eight rows (and a small finishing kit) make up one coordinated quilt measuirng 54" square.

Here are the eight participating shops.

Back of the post card advertising the Row by Row

How could you resist this? And it was so close to us that we were able to do all 8 shops in one day.  We didn't say anything to anyone because we didn't want to walk in the shop and buy kits for others. I really feel that Row by Row is something that needs to be experienced in person and the effort that these stores made - well you must go to them all yourself - it's so worth it.

We began to realize that EACH of the rows had a specific meaning to each of the shops. We got to hear the story and chat to the makers of the quilts, the owners of the shops or the staff and they were all very proud (and so they should be) of their Row by Row. We really had a positive experience at all of the shops.

The big question on the way down was whether to buy the kit or just get the pattern.  After all, we all do have loads of fabric. But once I saw the actual quilt and fabrics, I said - GIVE ME THE KIT because it was so well done.  So yep - bought all eight kits and the finishing kit. The patterns are EXTEMELY well designed and in full color. These ladies know how to do it right!

Eight rows and a finishing kit for the quilt

We had a little happy dance at the last store and here's a picture of the three of us with the quilt hanging in Auntie's Attic Quilt Shop.

This quilt was the version that was hanging in the first shop (Mount Pleasant Quilting Company).   Most shops had their version hanging up.

WNY (Western New York) on the Go!

We had to laugh at some of the shops because this one had a description - the little red barn in the back.  OK - so you're expecting a farm?  Nope, this one was in the suburbs.  A cute little shop!

Simple Pleasures and Homespun Treasures shop

Yesterday is what Row by Row is all about. Good times, visiting shops you've never been to before, spending money (we won't go there for the moment), there was ZERO time for eating (I was forced to eat chips and candy as I was locked in the back). We did manage a potty break or two that was smuggled in at the various shops along the way - but god forbid that you went over the 20 minute time!   It was so much fun - I'd love to do it again, but I can't for a variety of reasons. OK - two reasons - time and money!

Here are a few sights that we saw along the way and then I'll tell you what happened on the way home.

I think there are more Tim Horton's in Western New York than there are in Ontario!  At one point, there must have been a Tim's at least every two miles.  I managed to snap half of a Tim's as Ronda went speeding by! They are called Cafe and Bake Shop in the US. In Canada, they are just Tim's.

Half a Tim's (cafe and bake shop)

 We saw huge wind farms.

Wind farms

There were some massive steep hills as we criss crossed the country side.

Once we finished with the last quilt shop, it was time for a proper meal!  We popped into Applebee's which was right across the street.  It was here that we had some bad news to share. We tallied up our receipts. OH!   OH! - I'm OK with that.  Dinner was great and there were two more stops we wanted to make before we headed home.

Joanne's  - which wasn't far away and we managed to snag a few things there. Apparennlty there was a 20% coupon that you could download on your phone. Oh - so those bicycle bookends that are $50 marked down to $25 will cost even less?  YES. OK - so I picked up the book ends.  Add another $50 to the receipt total by the time I got out of there.

I had wanted to hit Barnes and Noble, but the one that was in Niagara Falls is now closed. The closest was Buffalo or Amherst and while we had been in both places earlier, there hadn't been time to hit the Barnes and Noble. No worries - let's move on.

It's time to head home and get through the border.  We had quite the discussion on what to say as we got closer.  I'm telling Ronda that she was too chatty on the way over and she needs to be very short in her answers.   We rehearsed in the car! And this is how it went.............

Border crossing agent: "How long were you away?"
Ronda:   "Left this morning"
Border crossing agent: "Did you buy anything?"
Ronda: "yes"
Border crossing agent: "What did you buy?"
Ronda: : "Fabric"  and he looks in the open back window to see if we're telling the truth
Border crossing agent: "How much did you spend?"
Ronda: "all together?"
Border crossing agent: "yes"
Ronda: "$XXX"   (god - I can't share that number with you - are you kidding me!!!!!
Border crossing agent: "so you each spent about $XXXX/3
Ronda: At this point, Ronda threw Laura and I under the bus as we had spent more than herself. She shakes her hands towards us and says, "well, I spent this much, Laura this much and Elaine this much!"
Elaine (to myself)  - remember to NEVER ask Ronda to have my back!
Border crossing agent: " have a nice day ladies"
Elaine (once the windows were rolled up and we were moving away)  "START THE CAR!!!!!!"

Between the three of us, well, let's just say that we helped the economy of the quilt industry in New York - a LOT.

And really, those border crossing guys are looking for smugglers. We weren't smuggling - we did declare everything we bought. We're three very innocent looking women - we had nothing to hide.  So we didn't have to pay tax at the border.   THANK YOU border crossing agent. That made me feel a smidgen better about the money I spent!

This is for Ronda and Laura -  here is the scary blue bridge that we drove over when I was at Paducah!!!  Open grid on the entire length of the TEN SPAN totally metal, narrow bridge.

On that note, I've a ton of work to be done today.  The dogs have been to the park and they're exhausted.

And if you get a chance to get out to do some Row by Rowing, take advantage of it.  It's so much fun. Yes - I wish it had of been in Canada to support my local quilt shops (but I supported them last weekend when I was at the retreat!)

Anyway - the most important thing - get out and have fun.  Now the next key thing is to actually make that quilt.  It's so cute and now that we know the stories (well most of them), I really want to make it.  A good project for the retreat!

Have a super day!!!!