Sunday, September 30, 2012

What do I want to do when I grow up???

I taught a class on thread painting yesterday. It was a great class, the students were very clever and very creative. Now that they have the knowledge and the tools - they need to go home and practice.

Practice - to a quilter (or my daughter) that seems to be a four letter word. Have you ever noticed - we acquire the basic knowledge, then we expect ourselves to be able to sit down and create masterpieces with that technique. I think my daughter is finally getting it because she is practicing drawing (well I think she is getting it - there are still lots of areas - like sewing. She knows the basics so she is now an expert!)

But really - why do we do this to ourselves?  There are so many different ways to do the same thing - how do we know that the methods taught by one teacher or written in one book is what will work for us? Should we not experiment with the technique and find what works best for us or maybe you will find that you HATE that technique?

Marian is always telling me that I need to mark X days in my calendar. Days when I make no commitments and have it just for me. Well I would take that even further - those days need to become PLAY dates with my stuff. I mean - I have so many intentions and so many ideas and so many dreams about what I would like to do and here I am working on stuff that I "have" to do that I feel my creative side is suffering. I am still creative, in that I am making something, but not something from my heart. I am just the technician when I sew someone else's pattern, I want to be the CREATOR. Do you understand the difference???

I have the resources - oh boy - do I have the resources!!!

Oh yes - one other thing that came out of the class yesterday - one of the students commented that if they only had the time to do this and all the other stuff they have to do. In order to become good at it - is what she meant. Again - why are we doing this to ourselves????   The masters of thread painting, or fabric painting or machine quilting or applique? I would bet that if you look at their life and what they do - they ONLY do applique or fabric painting or quilting. They do not have time (or the inclination) to spend their time doing other techniques.

I thought about this all the way home - the problem is that those masters are SO GOOD at enticing me, that I want to be a MASTER at it all. And I see my friends making stuff and I love it all and I think I can make what they are making. Well - let's get real - I can't do the work of 10 people!!!!   I know - reality bites!!!!

And I am not getting any younger (OK - so I am not old). So the question is - what to do? Should I "retire" from doing work for others (mostly quilting), should I retire from teaching? should I refrain from joining guilds and other groups? I need to do a time study to find out what is consuming my time. And I have to STOP organizing things.

I happen to want to do other things than just quilting (like most people) and I want to make sure that I have time for reading, working at the gym, cycling and need way more time for the garden. Hmmmm - got some BIG decisions to make.

There are only three months left in the year (OK - so that is still ONE QUARTER of the year). As I look at my accomplishment book - I think I have done not so bad this year. But as I look at the 2012 shelf - yikes - feels like I did NOT make a dent. OK - I think a few things had not got put on the shelf at the beginning of the year and they got added as room was made. Oh yes - the saddest column in my accomplishment book is number of projects completed. Hardly any. But lots in the other categories.

I am already thinking ahead to 2013. What is going to go on that shelf?????   I want to pick completely new projects even though I didn't finish these. They will go into the archives (the closet) and "new`ones will come out. I have two thoughts  - work on all the $10 quilt projects I have started (and there are LOADS) or work on Halloween stuff (I know - how did all that accumulate??????  and do you really have enough Halloween to spend an entire year working on?????)

OK - not only is this blog therapeutic for the brain (helps all my thoughts escape), but I actually get work done while doing it. I was thinking about my BBB (border, binding, backing) projects and I had this SUDDEN urge to organize the stuff that is waiting to be quilted. OK - I bought an extra bucket at Wal-Mart yesterday. But I feel better (OK - actually I feel sick when I look at this)...............

These are quilt tops of MINE (the backing is made as is the binding). They are WAITING to be quilted. Did you count them????   yep - there are NINE here. 

These tubs are FULL of tops, backings and bindings of MY stuff that is waiting to be quilted.  I should label the boxes so I know what is in each one, but I would bet that there are at least TEN in each box. So that makes SIXTY and with the other NINE - we are talking close to SEVENTY projects that are ready to be quilted. That is SO SAD!!!!!

Oh and let's not forget this rack. While I went through the quilts - I picked out  (PRIORITIZED) the ones  (OF MY OWN) that I want quilted ASAP

These piles are those quilt tops that are VERY CLOSE to being done. They basically need a border and then make the backing and the binding. Probably another TWENTY at least in these stacks. My goal is to get these done before the end of the year. This stack was huge at the beginning of the year so I have made good headway. 

And then you have those UFOs which we won't even go into at this point.

You see - there is a LOT of thinking that has to be done. How to manage these so they get done. I enjoy the process, I still like all the projects, so NO - don't ask or tell me to donate/give them away. Just got to figure out how to work smarter.

There are FIFTEEN quilts (that are NOT in the pictures) that are ready to be quilted. They belong to customers or guilds.

One of my BIGGEST problems is that when I have to work on a project that I don't want to do - it STOPS me cold. I don't get anything done while I fuss with that project. Case in point - I have a custom quilt to do - customer wants feathers. While I can do them just fine, MY BRAIN thinks I can't and so I delay doing it because I don't think I am good enough. Then I get NOTHING done. I mean - it is pathetic. So I must work on that as the end of the year approaches. I would really really like to get some of this stuff on the go. I am fast when I set my mind to do something  (well for the most part).

So the quilt with feathers is on the machine and it is looking good. I must try to get a bit more done this morning before I am off to teach in the afternoon.

And that quilt I put on the design wall last week - well it has to be off by Tuesday AM so I am trying to get that pieced as well. That won't take long.

On that note - I better get out of here and hit the long arm and the sewing machine. I have LOTS to do.

But as you go shopping - take stock of what you already have - do you really really need to start that new project, buy that kit. Seeing what I have makes me sick that I went that crazy. A lot of them are the result of teaching a class, but still...........................

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Big or small?

Have you ever wondered which is better???   Something that is bigger or something that is smaller?  There was a time when we all said "Bigger is better", but then we also said "great things come in small packages". And when you were growing up - who didn't need to have HUGE speakers. Big cars, big stereos, BIG BIG BIG was in. Well have a look at these photos - then you can answer the question - which is better????

A bit of history before we get to the first one. My parents still live on the farm in Saskatchewan where I grew up. While their farm is not huge (by western standards) - it is rather large (by Ontario standards). (That would be 960 acres in total or SIX quarter sections)  (I pulled this off the internet for your information - In farming communities a square plot of land which is 1 mile by 1 mile is referred to as a "section" of land. It contains 640 acres. A section is usually divided into four equal parts which are called "quarter sections", and this is the size plot that farmland is typically sold in. Each quarter section consists of 160 acres. In western Canadian farm communities, the grid roads are spaced at 1 mile and 2 mile intervals thus providing some of the dividing lines between sections, and access to every quarter section."

We had cows and other animals as well as planted wheat, oaks and barley. My dad "retired" from farming a number of years ago and now rents the land out. This year, he has rented to someone new. The other night (- yes 10 PM AT NIGHT), the combines (YES WITH AN S) rolled in to start harvesting (YES START AT 10 PM)

Have a look..............

Yes not ONE, not TWO, not THREE, BUT FOUR combines rolled in to harvest his modest fields!!!   

When my dad did his own harvesting, he has ONE combine with the head (the width of the "thing" at the front that cuts the crop) was FOURTEEN feet wide. EACH one of these combines has a head of FORTY feet.  I laughed as I told him, they probably had to make one round around the field each and they would be done!!!!    Well - the farm isn't that small, but they arrived two nights ago - I bet they have already moved on.

The fuel truck also stopped by - and I bet that wasn't just a couple of jerry cans in the back of a half ton pickup, but rather a full fledged FUEL truck!!!!!   My how times have changed. 

Now when the combine grain hoppers are full - they need to emptied. We used to have the "red" truck which by today's standards is pretty small. A lot of the farmers now use SEMI TRUCKS to carry the grain. In the case of muddy fields, the semi's do not work because they will get stuck, so they use GRAIN CARTS.
A TANDEM WHEEL four wheeled drive tractor and a MASSIVE grain cart. Hard to see in the picture, but the auger on the cart is MASSIVE and they can empty that cart into the semi (sitting on dry ground) in no time flat. The auger is folded at the front of the cart, but diameter is about 16 inches!!!

And in case you are wondering how much BIG costs - my dad estimated that this was about 2.5 MILLION worth of farm equipment - just these units. YIKES - farming ain't what it used to be!!!!!!!!!!

Pretty hard to get a perspective here, but I would bet that those tires on the tractor are at least 5-6 feet high!!!!   Apparently they plug in the GPS on the combines (and tractors for seeding) and basically let the equipment do the driving on their own. PERFECTLY STRAIGHT!!!!!   No waste. Oh my!!!!!!!!!!!!!  These babies are equipped with computers, stereos, - if you have it in your car - they have it in the farm equipment!!!!!

Meanwhile in the city................    I was driving down the street yesterday and I had to take a second glance as I wondered what the truck in front of me was pulling behind him. Oooops - the truck switched lanes, but the item "being towed" did not change lanes. OH MY GOD. It is a toy - NOPE - it is a REAL CAR.

A SMALL car. This is a FIAT, but an older one. It is smaller than the little one that has become so popular these dates.  That car beside is not a huge car, so you get the picture!!!!

Many times, I wish I had bought a smaller car. I HATE the gas mileage on mine. Well it is relative to what I had before. If I had the money - I would keep the bigger car for the highway and get something small for the short trips. Of course - I could just get my butt on my town bike and then not have to worry at all about gas!!!!!

Almost out of blogging time this morning. I have so MUCH more to say, but I better get myself organized for the day.

Sorry - there isn't anything quilt related here - but tomorrow there will be.

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!


Friday, September 28, 2012

Last call!

The Halton Hills Quilt Guild is celebrating their 20th Anniversary and we are CELEBRATING in a BIG WAY.

We have planned a buffet dinner and two AMAZING speakers. Jeanne Large and Shelley Wicks. Don't know them? Well they are the authors of TWO books............

The first book called 'Tis the Season, Quilts and Other Comforts was released in July 2010. It was a smash hit and has gone into several reprintings................

'Tis the Season, Quilts and Other Comforts

Barely a year later, they had their second book out  - Urban Country Quilts...........
Urban Country Quilts
Published in November, 2011

Their third book will be published sometime next year and from what I hear - it is going to be AMAZING!!!!

They are fabric designers as well...............

Shasta Fabric Line    (note - many of those fabrics are SOLD OUT)

I think their SECOND fabric line is already well along in the production process.

I am anxiously awaiting the new book and the fabric. They both sound AWESOME.

Jeanne and Shelley also own a quilt shop!   The Quilt Patch in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.

They are TWO VERY BUSY LADIES!!!!     And we were lucky enough to snag them as the GUEST SPEAKERS at our anniversary dinner. There are a FEW tickets left. If you are interested in attending the dinner, let me know and I will reserve a ticket(s) for you. But HURRY - the tickets won't last long and you will be sorry you missed this awesome event.

In addition to a wonderful dinner and our speakers, there are some FABULOUS door prizes. And I'm not just talking one or two - there are a LOT of door prizes. And FABULOUS SWAG BAGS for everyone.

This is going to be the quilting event of the year - the one you do NOT want to miss.

The Date: Monday, October 15
The Time: Doors open at 6:00 PM - dinner at 6:30 PM
The Cost: $45
The Location: Fuzion Banquet Hall (Dixie and Britannia area in Mississauga)

How to get a ticket?????    E-mail me or make a comment on this blog and I will get back to you.

Want to spend even more time with these inspiring ladies????   We are hosting a workshop on Tuesday following the dinner. There are a couple of spots left. The project is the quilt on the cover of the "Tis the Season" book. It is called High Strung. A GORGEOUS quilt. The focus of the class will be the applique strip -

Martingale - High Strung Quilt ePattern
High Strung

It is going to be ONE FUN DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!    

The Date: Tuesday, October 16
The Time: 8:30 AM - 3:00 PM
The Cost: $45 (includes lunch)
The Location: Hillcrest United Church (Trafalgar and 5 Side Road)

If you cannot attend either of these events - then you MUST stop by their booth at the CreativFestival. They have some of the most AMAZING kits and their fabric choices are to die for. Honestly there are times when I want to just put the kits on my fireplace mantle and just admire them. They look beautiful without even making the project.

See what I mean?????   Those kits look amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So if you don't want to miss these events - get in touch with me ASAP.   And if you haven't figured it out by now - Jeanne and Shelley are CANADIAN. Go Canadian designers!!!!!!!!!!

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Don't worry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yesterday was one of those days where I seemed to be busy all day, but at the end of the day - I asked myself  "what did you do all day?"

I did have a class in the morning and then a bit of shopping in the afternoon, a dentist appointment, Linda picked up her quilt and well - next thing you know - we were eating dinner at 8 PM and I really got nothing concrete done in the day!!!!!   DRAT - I hate those days, but that is life!

A funny thing happened at the dentist office. I see the same hygienist every time. Rose is very nice and gentle, although she keeps telling me that my gums are NOT happy. Good grief - brushing, flossing, massaging the gums - I have to do MORE. Anyway, we got to talking about cycling and she mentioned the area where she lived which is a popular area for cyclists. Then she was telling me about her sister getting a speeding ticket. I guessed EXACTLY where she got the ticket. Is that freaky or what??????    I didn't even know that her sister lived in the same area as Rose, but I was driving this road on Monday (Not my usual route, but took the road to avoid construction) and lo and behold, someone was getting a speeding ticket. I know because the cop had the radar gun in his hand. We had a good chuckle over that!!!!!!!!!!!    But that didn't stop her from lecturing me about my flossing habits!!!!

I did make  stop at the Salvation Army Thrift Store and bought pillow cases.
My pillow case collection

Now before you roll your eyes and wonder if I have gone crazy like the two people I told yesterday what I had bought and where. There is a good reason I bought these and I hope to put them to good use today. I have washed them and they are ready for action! And can you believe - I had to pay double for the orange pillow cases!!!!!!!!!!!    $2 instead of $1. Stay tuned tomorrow to see what I do with them. Oh - it is quilt related.

I was at the library a week ago and I always have a good look around. I LOVE the library. I noticed that they have a book club and it is on a night when I am free. Hmmmmmm - looked at the list of books. Of course - there is NOTHING that I recognize. Nope - they don't put James Patterson and Clive Cussler on the book club lists.

Just so happened that day that the regular librarians were not at the library and staff from another branch were covering for them. One of them is a friend and fellow quilter - another Elaine!!!!   I asked her about the book club and she went looking for the book for me. She gave me a copy that she found in the manager's office. This is the book................

Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende

The book was originally written in Spanish and translated. Not my kind of book - it takes place in the 1770s in the Caribbean.  A totally different style of book than I am used to, but I am enjoying it. But the women - well they are either swooning and sick or they are turning tricks. I guess that is why they were treated as second class citizens!!!!!!!!!!!   And a huge part of the book is about slavery. I hope to get it done by the date in October. Not a fast read, but interesting. It should be fun to discuss it with the others. I did notice in the catalogue that there is a rather lengthy wait list for this book. I am thinking that I got bumped to the top of the list because my friend grabbed a copy that may have been destined for someone else?

Last night, while we had our late dinner, my camera was sitting on the table and look what my kid took pictures of...........................

Little Sammy who is just the CUTEST dog in the world. I can't believe that someone didn't want her!!!   She is so adorable and a super personality!!!!  Cuddly and well just the best little dog ever!!!!

And big Sparky who was just hoping that some food would fall under the table. 

 I have been working on a project that I could not show you. I won these blocks at the June meeting at Halton Hills Guild. Anne challenged me to have something to show in September!!!   I think she meant a quilt and I was hoping, but that didn't happen. However, I did make the three additional blocks needed (I won 27 - made 3 more). Auditioned sashing (many colours) and finally agreed that purple would work best. Got the sashing in and got one of the borders on. I got another one on this morning and still have one more to add. Then make the binding and backing (which are already chosen) and it will be done. Maybe I will make an exception and try and get this one quilted.

Block of the month - blocks I won

This is a note to all parents who worry about their children. What they eat, how they dress, how they act, etc etc. As my kid was growing up - we had issues. She could never get up in the morning, she ate JUNK food all the time, she wouldn't listen, wouldn't eat breakfast and so on. There were days when I wanted to give her away. Heck - I would have paid to have someone take her away!    However things have changed - Now I am getting complaints because we do not have PROTEIN in the house for breakfast. Not that there isn't food - but NOT PROTEIN. And this morning - she was up at 6:30 AM (on her own), and off for her driving training AFTER she ate her breakfast (including the PROTEIN). Then she will get dropped off at school. Now doesn't that warm your heart!!!!!!!!!!!!!!     There is hope!!!!!    She has found a PASSION - her love of fashion. I am very PROUD of her. And just goes to show that you can't push your life on your kid - you have to let them do their thing. I think everyone is happier because she found what she wanted rather than what we wanted!!!!!    This time next year, my baby will be in university!!!!!!!!    ACK!!!!!  

On that note - got stuff (real stuff to do today) so better get started. Got more of that darn paper work to clear up before I hit the long arm.

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ciao!!!!!!!!!!!!! which

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Halloween seems to be the theme around here lately.

Ronda came over on Sunday and we sewed the entire day. Very productive!!!!!!!!!!
I was working on one of her Halloween quilts. She wanted minky on the back of her quilts. Oh boy - the minky is barely the same width as the quilt. I thought I would be so smart and load it - I am GOOD - I don't need to put anything extra on it. After I loaded it, I thought "I am NOT THAT GOOD", so I took the back off and added extensions to the quilt.

The quilt is the lime green on top and the blue/green on the bottom is the extension that I added to the backing. The THIN black line in the middle is the EXCESS backing. 

Same deal - other side. There is NOT a lot of extra backing 
 Now why do you need that extra backing?????

Because you need to have something to place the clamps on from the long arm. This helps to stabilize the backing and prevent wrinkles. And if the clamps are too close to the quilt top, the machine will catch on them and STOP and potentially make nasty looking patterns at the edge of the quilt. OK - so it was MUCH easier to quilt after the extensions went on. 

Ronda's Halloween quilt - QUILTED

Here is the back - doesn't that look fun!!!!   This one has plush on the back since the store didn't have enough minky for two. 

See - there was BARELY room for the quilt on that backing. 

The quilt got trimmed and the binding sewn on. She took it home with her!!!!

TWO DONE - seven to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I got ambitious (OK - so I was supposed to be doing other things), but I wanted to get this done.

Linda's Halloween quilt - DONE

Trimmed and bound - waiting to be picked up!!!!

THREE DONE - Six to go...............

And look what colour thread I got to use on the back!!!!!!!!!!!!!    Still using invisible thread on the front. Actually turning out quite nice. The tension is just PERFECT - that is why I wanted to do as many as I could at once. 

Traced this and cut it out at Monday Motivators. A small wall hanging (supposed to be a pillow). Was in the latest Quilts and More magazine. Just needs to be stitched and finished.  Maybe in time for next Halloween

Finished the embroidery on this small wall hanging. Supposed to be framed, but I will make a little wall hanging. 

One more border, bindings and backing project DONE - finished quilt top

The backing and binding also DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And then I had a moment and started to work on Sylvia's Bridal Sampler (Elm Creek). I know - who would have thought??????????   I have 41 blocks to finish. So here is the first.

Block done for Sylvia's Bridal Sampler

I also made good progress on several others and hopefully can sneak 10 in by the end of the week. I KNOW - FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS. There is so much and I am starting to skip from one to another. Need to FOCUS.

Despite the floor being mopped MANY times, it is still icky, although not nearly as icky as it was on Friday night. Here is my kid attempting to mop the floor. And since she works at McDonald's, she KNOWS how to mop floors. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm - a little more elbow grease would have helped it.

M mopping the floor. 

And remember that orange dish????   I found a GREAT use for it!!!!!!!!!!   Just don't tell the dentist!!!!!

M wants to go into a fashion program once she finishes high school. Oh boy - that is going to be a lot of work. They have to submit a portfolio and for someone who doesn't have much drawing experience - this could be a problem. Well she has taken some fashion illustration classes and has been practicing drawing, she is doing pretty well.

Shoot -I can't find the pictures she sent me - well have to post them another day.

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Dear Jane September reveal

Talk about getting blown away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!    There is an amazing group of women who are slowing working their way through the Dear Jane quilt and they BLEW me away on the weekend.

Half the people signed up was in attendance and I believe that almost ALL of them had all THIRTY blocks complete. Some of them had the blocks done in JULY!!!!!!    With Dear Jane, I am providing them with some suggestions for the assembly of the blocks, but many of them took a different tack if they didn't feel comfortable with my suggestions. I am IMPRESSED.

Without further ado - here is their amazing work....................

Dear Jane book by Brenda Papadakis

and the homework.............




Anne SP

Anne SP - a tad ambitious and made a few extra blocks and joined them to make a column




Joy (better to come with one block than NO blocks or not coming at all)






Bernice (the fussy cutter queen) - look at the second row - second from left





Some of the students only brought 12 blocks. If everyone came and they each brought their 30 blocks, it would have taken forever for the show n tell. I suggested that they bring 12 so some had all their blocks and others had 12.

IS THAT NOT the MOST IMPRESSIVE homework you have seen!!!!!!    Well done!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have been crazy busy (OK - that is just my life). I could be on a desert island and I would still be busy!!!!!!!   I will be updating my exploits tomorrow.

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!