Sunday, March 26, 2017

In the forest with friends......

I like the weather where I live. Things like tornadoes are few and far between, we don't get tons of snow yet all around us people are getting dumped on, we get a fair amount of sunshine and many other good things. But I'm getting a bit tired of the cold and damp. It was raining yesterday and today it's cold, and damp. Tomorrow the temperature is going up to 15 degrees.  What's that all about?  I'll take it, but this is the time of year when you must carry all kinds of weather gear with you cause when you leave the house in the morning, the temperature could be totally differently when you come home!

Yesterday was a busy day and we had a load of fun in all the classes. Surprise!  I have pictures from one of the classes. I'll try to get the rest edited this week as there is some really good show n tell.

Today it's about the Fancy Forest. The pattern is by Elizabeth Hartman.

Fancy Forest by Elizabeth Hartman

This is a super cute pattern with six different animals - well five animals and the thistle.

There is so much you can do with this pattern for coloration (of the animals and the background).  There are a lot of fabrics to pick especially if you go with the large size and that results in a lot of cutting. But the end result?  Well - it's so fun that I think I'm going to make another one and I'll tell you why in a second.

One set of homework - do you see what I see with those bunnies?

More homework with a very light background

The original fabrics (by Elizabeth Hartman)

LOVE LOVE this green background

Bunny ears are outlined with a running stitch to stand out against the background
 Janice has changed to a darker background as she didn't want the ears to disappear.  The new background is going to be much better.

Check out the hot pink version!!

And since Sacha almost never gets any homework done but we love her to death - I just had to post her next set of blocks because she had them done.

The fox, the hedgehog and the owl

We madly sewed on the next block which was the fox. You have to make 16 of the fox (for the big quilt) and thankfully, the fox goes together quickly.

Fancy foxes

So why do I want to make a second one?  Because I absolutely LOVE the green background that Trixie used in her blocks.  It's gorgeous, it sets off the blocks beautifully and goes to show that just because the quilt is a "modern" quilt, it's fun to toss those boring grey backgrounds aside and go for the gusto!!!!  So I love that background, but I'm too commited to mine to make any chages.  I also love the effect of the polka dot face on the green fox. It's absolutely adorable.  I know I've got polka dots iin my stash so now I have to do some digging to find fabric for the second quilt which won't be the big one!

And as easy as that - I've got a new project on the go!!!!

I came home from class (after making a couple of stops and let's say that SERIOUSLY???   VOGUE patterns are $35 Canadian.)   I'm not kidding - $35.  I knew they were more money than the regular patterns but $35?????   Who the heck buys them?  People like me who are looking for something specific and VOGUE is the only one that has a pattern for the thing I wanted. Thankfully it was 40% off, but still. And yes - that stop adds yet another project to my list of things to do!  And can someone tell me why we can't buy Simplicity patterns in Canada any more????  As I looked through the pattern books, I was thinking that some of my patterns that I had contemplated getting rid of - well I might keep them since they seem to be a dying thing!)

Once I finally arrived home, I was able to continue cutting on my Fancy Forest animals. It would be great to have the rest of the quilt cut (and bonus if the new smaller one is cut) so I can take it to the retreat with me. Having all those small bags of already cut pieces will take up a lot less room in my "laundry basket".

Cutting owls

My bags of fabric that need to be cut

I noticed in my two already packed bags that there are empty corners in the bags.  You bet, I'm going to be shoving projects in those corners. I may even take everything out of the bags and repack according to priority. I've never been this organized before which is probably why I'll be able to fit everything into the two bags - I mean three!

Back to Fancy Forest - if you want to make Fancy Forest, I'll be teaching it again at The Hobby Horse.  The class dates are Sunday, May 28th and June 11th  from 12:30 - 3:30.  It will fill up fast so if you want to take the class, I wouldn't wait to reserve a spot. I'll provide some great tips for accuracy, pressing, cutting that will help to make this project easy as pie.

Elizabeth has so many other cute patterns that I think one or two of them have made it into my "must do" project bag.  Wait for that! And OH GOD help me but I picked fabric out last night for yet another one of her quilts.  See how easy I get into trouble.  That Task Master is screaming at me!!!!  I haven't started the quilt yet, but I might!

I do believe that Miss Lexi was on her blog earlier this morning. That dog -she's always up to no good!

And on that note, I have loads of stuff to work on today. Two quilts to be quilted BEFORE I get to do more prep work for the retreat and finish some stuff off for work.  ACK!!!  I'm on a strict reward system - do something that has to be done, then I get a "reward" of having free time. Sucks - but The Task Master is tough!  We have a love/hate relationship!

Have a super day!!!!


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Having a routine is a good thing

Ever notice how "routine" our lives get? I don't consider my life routine, but boy, I sure have my routines. I like to get up at the same time even if I have the day off or it's the weekend. I've done that for years when I worked outside the house and even when I worked from home. 

The route I take to get somewhere. I try one way, then I try another to try and find the best route, but once I find that route, I generally stick to it. I even heard on the radio the other day that you should eat the same thing for breakfast everyday - I could do that. The rationale? You wake up each day with the same amount of will power. So if you have to make decisions about what to eat for breakfast, you have less will power as the day progresses which is why we snack in the evening?  I can't say that I do that either. Again I have my routine - a cup of tea, a couple of cookies (and did you know that TWO Girl guide cookies have more calories than FOUR of my Simple Pleasures!)

I would have to say that routine plays a very big part in my sewing. As I was sewing this morning, I noticed that I didn't read a single word in the pattern - I followed the pictures, saw what they were trying to achieve and went with my routine way of sewing whatever component I was working on. I did try to read one of the sentences in the pattern and - well it didn't make sense.  I'm going to ask the group today if they understood what it meant. 

I have three classes today - all of them short, but even the short classes require prep work. I'm not even going to say that I'll keep up with all three classes (two of them go all year) but let's just say that these are things that will be going in my retreat bag.  Some of them are partially finished blocks. They are partially finished because I needed to show the students a critical step. There will be four partial blocks from one class to take to retreat. But I got all the prep done for that one class. I also got the prep done for the second class and half the prep for the third class.  I'll just have to walk them through it. Thank goodness that I've been prepping for the last week or so as there is a lot of cutting in these projects. 

In addition to prepping for the retreat - hey I have allowed myself three bags (that are the equivalent of one laundry basket - no sense straining my back carrying a huge heavy laundry basket!). Two bags are prepped and ready to go. The third bag sits empty. I've a huge pile of stuff on my work table that needs to be prepped - OK - it's not that huge, but there are things I want to take with me - they won't take long to do (so says I), but would be nice to have all the prep work done before I leave so all I have to do is sew! A couple of those have deadlines so they will be a priority. 

When I was posting the pictures last week for Reminisce, I felt homesick for my version of the quilt. I dug it out and well - it's now in one of the bags prepped for the retreat.  Only the next border is prepped and if that's all I get sewn on - I'm OK with that. And it's all contained in a plastic shoe box that takes room. That's why I need so many bags!  But I dare not take more than three after all the fuss I've made about it. 

Reminisce project box ready for the retreat

The other day, I received the next two patterns in The Canadian Sampler by Sew Sisters.  I need to get my butt in gear and start this project. I didn't want to make the quilt from red solid and I have NO monochromatic reds. NONE - isn't that wild?  
The Canadian Sampler - next two blocks

I had pulled all that I had to use on the Canadian Women quilt. I have to get a few more of those blocks prepped for the retreat. I think there are about 5 that are completely cut, about 5 that have the white cut and a few that have nothing cut.  I had to buy some FQs for the project and so now I can cut again. 

The other day I was at a quilt shop and I bought three reds that I could use in the Canadian Sampler.  I got them home, took a picture and well - they are monochromatic reds, but yikes - they are sure different - two read as red/orange and the other borders on red/pink/fuchia  I guess in the color world - it would be a red with hints of blue. This is just proof that the MORE reds you use, the more they blend together. I may mix up the two batches of reds and well - I'm at a quilt store today - who knows what will come home with me, but those monochromatic reds - they are HARD to find. 

Monochromatic reds

Hmmm - do I take the girls to the park?  It's raining - they don't care, but they going to come home a huge mess.  Oh what the heck - might as well make them happy. Then perhaps Lexi will have something to blog about tomorrow. And the event list will be updated.

Have a super day!!


Friday, March 24, 2017

What's new!

Yep - late again!  So here's a question. Why is it that when we wake up at 3:30 AM, we're wide awake?  Should you get up and do something or just wait and hope you go back to sleep. Then you go back to sleep and wake up and feel exhausted.  Why is that?

Last night's lecture was so much fun! It was great to share what I've been doing with everyone at the lecture and it was great to see so many people that I haven't seen in a while.  Thanks for coming out!

Today is the last day of my week with QUILTsocial. So check that out and get to work on your zippered pouch!!!   So much fun and I already have a ton of ideas for the next project. Can't wait to get started on that!

I've been getting a bit of cutting done as I prep for my three classes this weekend. Yikes - I have almost everything cut (I was contemplating at 3:30 to get up and cut the one last thing, but I didn't).  Now tonight is going to be a flurry of sewing some samples.  At least I didn't leave everything until the last minute!

No - I haven't had time to update my events list.  This weekend will be calmer and I can do it then.  But in the meantime, check out the Brampton Guild website. They have a list of events that you can peruse and make sure you get those quilt shows in your calendar. There are some other great things like their raffle quilts and a whole lot more.  I really need to spend more time responding to things within my own guild!

Have a super weekend.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Nature Guide quilt using Northcott Naturescapes

Today I'll share the SKUs that I used in my NatureGuide quilt. This is the quilt that was published in Spring 2017 issue of Quilts and more.

Nature Guide quilt

All the fabrics are from Northcott's Naturescapes collection.  This is a Product Finder in the top right hand corner of the link I provided. Type in your state/province and a list of shops that carry these fabrics will appear. If you have trouble, let me know and I try to help you find the fabrics.

21386-12  - used for the sashing and binding












If I were smarter, I would have put those all in a pretty square shape for you, but well - I didn't have time to figure that out.  

Don't forget that there is another post on QUILTsocial today.  All about zippers and the start of the project for the week. 

I've got a list of things lined up to to today. Some quilt designing, some writing and some sewing. It's going to be a fabulous day!

Have a super day as well!


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

I'm in big trouble

There's no two ways to say this - I'm in big trouble.  NO - not because of  my flashing eye problem. That seems to have settled down.  No it's because my hobby is my passion and now it's also my job!

I love my job. I love everything (well almost everything) about my job. I love seeing new designs, I love being part of that process, I love designing things with fabrics and I love making them. My problem is that my life is now one big sewing bee!  Work blends into play time and play time into work!

I can't even complain because I love every minute!  And it's just silly to be so excited to go to work everyday. I mean how many people get to say that!

I've been meaning to design a quilt with one of our new collections (well it's been out for a bit) and today was the day.  I'm so excited about the design. However I can't share it with you - not yet. But I hope to start work very soon and when it's done (hopefully by June - all will be revealed). Can't even sew it at the retreat - too many prying eyes!

Don't forget that if you want to hear all about Northcott's latest collections and a sneak peek behind the scenes - I'll be speaking at the Brampton Quilter's Guild.  The talk is tomorrow evening (Thursday) at 7:30 PM.  My suitcase is packed and I had to sit on it to close it and I need to find another one.  Some very exciting stuff happening.

If you can't come, but would like me to entertain your guild with the Northcott story, you can e-mail me and we can chat.

I haven't forgotten about the list of events that needs to be updated.  Just a tad too  many things happening at this moment.

But here are a couple of posts from QUILTsocial that you can read through.

QUILTsocial - Monday

QUILTsocial - Tuesday

QUILTsocial - Wednesday

And on that note, I'm off to read a bit before it's time for bed.

Have a super day!


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

If only................

You know how we go on and on about things that we've lost and can't find. And then like yesterday - we find the items!  I think I should keep a new list of all those things that I'm looking for. Hopefully, as I get things in order that list become smaller and smaller, but it requires a great deal of diligence to keep things where they belong.

I'm now missing one more thing that I would dearly love to find.  It's one of my quilts.  It's a small one - about 30 inches square that I use for my curved piecing class.  For the life of me, I can't find it. I don't remember when it was last used for a class/trunk show and I need it. It's probably buried somewhere and I need to get my act together to search it out.

Like my lost book of lists, it's probably in that studio somewhere. Something got placed on top of it?

I'm directing you to the QUILTsocial blog this morning.

Here is the post for today.  It's about raw-edge applique using a new stitch on the Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 965Q.  The link for yesterday seems to have an issue so I'll post that later.

I've had several people ask about this quilt that I designed. It was shown in the Spring Issue 2017 of Quilts and More.

I don't have the quilt with me today so I'll provide the information on the fabrics I used tomorrow.

Oh boy - I had to make a quick and unexpected trip to the optometrist yesterday.  I haven't been in a long time, but after I saw flashing in my eye and floaters on the weekend, I thought a visit would be in order. Part of the reason I hadn't been in a while was I didn't want to go back to my old optometrist. I googled and found one much closer to my house (in the mall no less) and turns out there is a bit of detachment thing happening in my eyeball. Nothing too serious, but will require a further check up in a couple of weeks to make sure it isn't getting worse. And if I see constant flashing - then I must rush back to him.  I remember Mary talking about this a couple of months ago. She required surgery for her situation. I'm hoping it doesn't come to that.

Have a super day!!!!


Monday, March 20, 2017

Motivational Monday - what was lost is now found!

It's MONDAY!!!!!   Only very weird people get excited about Monday, especially those that go to the gym at 6 AM.  One quick second as I digress from quilting but I decided to get myself back to spin class at 6 AM on Monday. I think I was so excited that I had trouble sleeping!  Go figure- but there is nothing like a 25 KM ride on an indoor bike to get your blood pumping and a good start to the day!

So on with the progress report for this week.  I was prepping for a guild talk last week. It was about organizing your studio and I'm going through my mental list of what needs to be added to the pile of stuff for show n tell. 

Magazines, books, tools, oh yes - let's not forget the patterns. Which pattern box should I take for an example√Č  Oh - let's take this one since it's not super full. 

Box is full of patterns with the theme of Sunflowers or Dogs or Bikes 

Have I ever mentioned that I'm obsessed??  Well - I am and that's all there is to it. I happen to LIKE sunflowers and dogs and bikes. This is the only box that has major themes like this. 

Anyway, I pulled the box off the shelf and OH MY GOD!!!!   What's this in the box???   NO WAY!!!!!
What is this?????
The moment I touched the box, a weird feeling came over me and I thought this couldn't be true.  But YES - there was my book of lists that has been missing since September of last year.  The last time I did the talk on organizing, I took this pattern box with me.  I guess in the mad rush of cleaning up, the book of lists got shoved in the front of this box. 

I almost died laughing when I found it!!!!

The missing book of lists!!!
And see how pretty that book is????   Very pretty!!!

Love the quote I put in the front of the book
Here is the sad note about the book and all the more reason to have our Facebook group for Motivational Mondays - I was doing a task list last year, although not in the same way - I kept recopying uncompleted tasks which was a huge waste of time.  Anyway - I stopped at the end of February!!!!   Now that is sad!!!  This year - there is NO STOPPING as we're all holding hands together to make our lists disappear (virtually) for 2017!!!!

What did I do last week?

I had to "repair" my Kaleidoscope quilt.  Here is the old version .................

Old version
And here is the new version

New version
Only the very observant will notice the difference.  Don't worry about it too much - I'll tell you after I show my group this coming weekend.

I did manage to get a quilt quilted over the weekend. Yeah!!!!!   I still have a few customer quilts to get done - but not many and I hope to get them all done by the end of April? Oh yes - I have to as some of them have due dates and I have some of my own that will have due dates very soon and it would be nice to be able to finish a quilt top and whip it over to the long arm and quilt it up right then and there!!!! And not feel guilty because I should be working on someone else's quilt.

Customer quilt - DONE

I've been asked numerous times about how I store my quilts. I don't have a whole lot of finished quilts, but I'm going to find a home for them and will be sharing with you. As I was searching through the quilts this weekend, getting ready for the next guild talk this coming week, I came across one that was done years ago and the sleeve was still pinned to it.  I'm happy to say that the sleeve is now stitched in place!!!

I'm checking labels and sleeves as I put these quilts in storage. Not long term storage - just out of my living room!

I see from the pictures posted on Facebook that everyone is going gangbusters. Finishing their March projects way before March is over and in one case - even before March began!  WOW-- that is what this is all about. Getting things done, organized, tossed out or whatever.  Keep up the good work.

I`m madly packing for an upcoming retreat and I hope that after 10 days of sewing (two 5-day retreats in three weeks) that I`ll be checking a whole lot of stuff off my lists!!!!

Two things to note today.  One - I posted the time for the Modern Guild Meeting as from 8 - 10 AM   - oops that should be 10 - 12.   (I updated the original information)

And if you happen to have downloaded the Maple Leaf Forever pattern from the Northcott website, take note that there was an error in it.  A new REVISED version is on the website.  So sorry for that.

I`ll have to update that list of events tomorrow.  Run out of time again today!!!

Have a super day!!!!


Sunday, March 19, 2017

It's a start

My friends have no faith in me! OK - so I did say that I was only going to take a laundry basket of stuff to the retreat. Now I'm up to three totes (I'd like to suggest the the total volume is not much more than one heaping laundry basket - thanks Lynn!). But my roommate says she doesn't believe me that I'll bring only three totes.  Two of them are packed, leaving one completely empty tote for emergency packing!  I think there are 10 projects in those two totes - way more than I'll get done over the five days, but I'm an optimist!

I haven't done much tidying, but already knowing that I have a plan in place makes my space feel bigger. I know that the more you throw away or tidy up, the better you feel and hopefully the less I'll weigh (more on that in a second).

In my tidying yesterday, I came across this wise tip for spring cleaning. "The one year rule. Pick an area in your home  - your closet, cupboards, bookcase - and apply the one year rule. If you haven't worn it or used it in any way over the last twelve months, donate  or toss it. You make an exception for souvenirs or sentimental items."  WOW - that is blunt. But it's starting to be my motivator. I wish I could spend more time, but at least a bit a day is going to work.

I even started (however small in the sewing room).  I have all my sewing machine needle accessories in one box. But the box wasn't shutting properly.

Box for sewing machine needles and accessories for needles

What to do with partially used needles?  I used to put them in this tomato pincushion. But the problem is that over time, some of the needles got embedded into the pincushion, never to be used again.

Pincushion for holding partially used needles
 A while back, I made this great little needle case.  You can find the tutorial here.

Sewing machine needle case
 And now all my sewing machine needle stuff fits nicely in the tin.

Tin full of sewing machine needles and accessories
 Oh, I forgot to mention - the tomato pincushion?  It's gone.  I replaced it with my needlecase which takes up less space, fits better and well - the pincushion is gone.  No regrets!!!!

I also have this giant bag of batting strips.  Most are in the 4 inch to 8 inch width by various lengths.  They would be great for someone making smaller projects. Bags, quilted squares or even to piece together for practice pieces for machine quilting.   Any takers????

Bag of batting strips - FREE to a good home

Now for that darn paperwork stuff. I looked at the first pile and well, there's no time like the present to start.

Paperwork stuff for yesterday

So I have the BOX for a charger for my GPS.  Why didn't it get thrown out before?  No idea.  It's gone.

Empty packaging - gone

Bull dog clip and membership card to the guild
 Both are filed in their appropriate places.

Packaging for an Easy Walk
And the bill for the Easy Walk
 Oh - there's a story behind this which Lexi will try to share with you later today. But both items are now GONE.

Some items that needed to be returned to the sewing room. Both have been put in the proper place there.

Ruler and fabric sample - filed!
 And here is a pad of "TO DO" lists.  Why I buy these things is beyond me. Yes - they are cute - yes they could be practical - to someone, but for me - they just don't work. Maybe I should use it at work where I have a slightly different style of work.

Pad of TO DO list paper
For the moment, the pad is filed in the storage cabinet along with the rest of the TO DO lists and journals that I've bought.

I didn't quite get through the stack of paperwork, but I made a good effort and I'm quite happy. There were a few things that got added to the pile and I tried as best I could to deal with them as well.  That is the trick - deal with anything new AND work with the old until the old is gone!

But I had a couple of things that are pending. What to do with those?  Then I remembered that I have this cute filing thing that was sitting in the office, NOT being used.  Well, not being used properly. It was full of other paperwork.  I've moved it to my desk now and the pending stuff and the stuff that is current that I am working on - they are nicely filed in this storage thing.   Oh - maybe I should remove everything from my desktop except the stuff I want?  Now I'm getting ahead of myself!  Slow down!

Nice storage unit for current and pending files

Just that little bit of clean up made a huge difference. I actually feel like there could be a light at the end of the tunnel.  I'm going to try and finish the stack from yesterday and all the paperwork that came in that storage unit. Then I can move onto the next stack of paper.   The big question is what am I going to do with all the empty space?  Leave it empty!!!!

On that note, a house in my neighbourhood recently came up for sale. It's had a sign "coming soon" for about 10 days. Then Friday, the sign changed to FOR SALE.  Of course, I checked it out on line. Oh boy - house prices are so out of whack  - it's totally scary.  But I looked at the pictures of the inside.  These people have obviously moved out as there wasn't a SINGLE scrap of anything personal in the house.  I don't care if they had staged it - there wasn't an extra piece of furniture, it was boringly bare.  That's what sells houses???

Anyway, I always said that if an agent knocked on my door and asked if my house was for sale, I was going to say "Yes for XXX price".  Well, I better up my price, because based on the price that this one is listed for (and most are going way over asking), I'd get my price in a heart beat.

OK so here is my food story of the day.  Since the calorie count has been made public for most items, it really makes me think about what I buy and what I eat. Although when I was buying a goodie at the bakery, the woman next to me said they should take the signs away as she didn't want to know. Each to their own!!!!

Here's an example of how we can make BETTER choices.  This is a cookie (oatmeal raisin) from Tim's.  I had to buy one so I could get a picture and yes - I ate it!!!!

If you care to know, there are 210 calories and 8 grams of fat in each cookie.  I think the oatmeal raisin is the one with the least amount of calories.

Oatmeal raisin cookie from Tim's
 BUT if you still want a snack (and who doesn't!), but don't want the calories - why not have FOUR of these cookies instead?

Four cookies
 These four cookies have a total of 130 calories and 4 grams of fat.  You get to eat MORE and have less calories.
I know - sounds boring as all heck, but seriously - I'd rather eat the four cookies. Why do I eat the oatmeal raisin ones?  Convenience!

Nutrtion Facts for the four cookies

Simple Pleasures by Dare

Can you believe, I used to have a medium hot chocolate AND a cookie. (sometimes more than once a day!) A medium hot chocolate has 300 calories. So when I had the hot chocolate and the cookie, that was about 500-600 calories JUST for that!!!  An average adult should have 2000 calories in ONE DAY!!!!

Sorry to spoil your day with those thoughts. Anyway I'm now down to steeped tea (with two sugar - can't help myself!) and my four Simple Pleasures cookies. I'm not denying myself a treat, just changed the treat!

On that note, I made good progress on the quilt yesterday and finished a novel (couldn't help myself!) and I need to get the quilt done today as I have a few more to get done this week.

Have a super day!!!!!


PS - I'll update and add the calendar stuff later - I've run out of time today!