Monday, March 31, 2014

Quilt retreat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At last - it is RETREAT time.   We were there a bit earlier in the year than we usually are, but WHO CARES - we have FOUR days of sewing and no worries.   You just can't beat that.

Mary and I were on our way shortly after 6 AM.   Yes - 6 AM - there is NO TIME to waste when it is retreat day!!!!

Now we used to zip right up to the house north of Bracebridge, HOWEVER, we did make a pit stop. And where did we stop????

This is Thimbles and Things in Orillia

I have to say that from the outside you just think it is another quilt store, but THINK AGAIN.  Inside this shop is a vibrant owner, Sue who would run circles around any of us. Her stock, her ideas, her enthusiasm - well it can't be beat. She is an amazing lady and we love her (especially when she lets us visit a wee bit before her normal opening hours!)    Thanks Sue - we LOVE YOU!!!!!!

Then after we safely stowed our purchases in the car - we were off to Quilter's Misbeehaven just north of Bracebridge. This is the veiw we got as we turned into the driveway!!!!!!!!!

Look at all that snow!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is the most snow we have ever seen there, but it is also the earliest in the year we have ever been there.

As usual, the house was prepared for us and we were excited!!!!!!!!!!!   Here are just a couple of pictures of the inside of the house.

The BIG bedroom upstairs

One of the double bedrooms
One of the quilts on the wall
Another quilt on the wall

I believe ALL the quilts were made by the owner (Judy) and quilted by her as well. They are all beautiful!!!!!!

And a nice, tidy cutlery drawer!!!!!   (I think we all commented on it - what does that tell you about our OWN cutlery drawers??)

The others trickled in all day - however at  11 AM - this is what the situation looked like

It's ELEVEN AM and where are all the quilters?????

The main sewing area -   so there is NO ONE here?????

Ah - there is Mary and Linda (and my set up on the left). Some of us sew in the kitchen to get more room and we LOVE it.

 This was our EIGHTEENTH time going to the house - hard to believe!!!!!!!!   The first time we went - we made a little block which was then turned into a wall hanging.

Wall hanging assembled with squares made by the guests during the first year

Do you know which block is MINE????   NO - not the orange one!

This is my block - I still have the quilt that I was making that weekend- still NOT quilted but at least the top is done!!!!!

OK - I am back home - almost unpacked and now I am ready to sew.  Better get my act together as I have so much to do!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'll provide more updates on the retreat in the next couple of days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bottom line - we had a blast - it was fun, not nearly long enough.

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


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Everything is easy IF you have the right tools!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I love taking pictures.  However I have been very negligent in looking after those pictures. As a result, I have TENS of THOUSANDS of pictures and NO WAY to find them.   It takes forever and a GOOD memory which isn't always reliable.

I started checking out this book

Thousands of Images, Now What???

The author (Mike Hagen) chatted about storing photos, editing photos and orgaizing photos (and much more). That is the part that I need the most help with at this time.  One of the software packages that he talked about was Lightroom by Adobe. Now you can also use browser based software packages, but I liked the sound of Lightroom.

Now you know that I had a problem when I tried to load Lightroom on my antique of a laptop with its Windows Vista. Hey the computer is NOT that old - a couple of years.

After realizing the problem and a bit of research - OK - so a few minutes of research, I was off to Future Shop.  We asked for the model of laptop that I found online. As we were waiting for the salesperson to get the box - M and I were crusing around looking at everything else.  Now I have to say that I am HP brand loyal, so that eliminates a lot of other stuff and makes the shopping easy!!!!

Well - after a bit of discussion - we changed our minds and THIS is what we got.

It is the ENVY by HP - Twenty three inch screen. Ooops - the THREE things on the left are MINE - my hard disk, my phone and a thumb drive. 

This computer is AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!! There is a screen, a wireless keyboard and a wireless mouse. The ONLY wire to hook up was the power cord for the screen. In about 30 seconds from taking the computer out of the box - it was WORKING.  Oh yeah!!!!!    This is an AMAZING computer.  Not only is that screen HUGE, but it is a TOUCH SCREEN.   I am IN LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is the computer from the side - see - NO CPU. It is all built into the screen and the stand. (Granted there is NO CD drive, but you can buy one for external use, but let's face it - how many times do you use one?????)

Not only is that screen awesome, but LOOK...............

You can change the angle of the screen to suit you!!!!!!!!!
And it goes even lower to the table!!!!!!!!!!!
Or an angle - Oh yes - this is awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!

So I took my external hard disk (that is for my pictures) - I believe it is a 1 TB hard disk and it is about half full of pictures and hooked it up to the computer.

External hard disk

 So the first night, after downloading the Lightroom software, I figured out how to "import" the pictures to the software.  Those pictures will NEVER be downloaded to the new computer, but will remain on the hard disk (which will be backed up to TWO more hard disks) soon.

This software is AWESOME.   It is easy to zip around the directories, it is FAST and I figured out how to do what I wanted with about 5 minutes of fumbling.   Oh I am in LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!

And how many pictures do you think we are talking about??????

Look - very clear - it shows there are 47,138 pictures. See - I was NOT exaggerating. I have deleted some - you know - the blurry ones!!!   And once they are tagged, I will be able to delete more. There are duplicates or very simlilar. 

Last night I spent some time tagging pictures.  I love it - I can add as many tags to a picture that I want. Then I can do slideshows, I can slice and dice my pictures ANY WAY I want.   Oh this is BEAUTIFUL.   This is something that I have wanted to do for a LONG TIME and it is SO EASY  (OK - so I needed new software and a computer, but still!!!)

You know how you take tons of pictures at quilt shows because they were really important and then you never look at them again????   Well - that is NOT going to happen here!!!!!   Oh yeah - I can tag them by the quilt show name, the pattern, the colour, the quilt design and then when I want something specific - I just scroll down the list of tags and CLICK - there are all the pictures (in that category) REGARDLESS of where they are stored on that hard disk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!     Do you see why I am in LOVE???????

Now the new computer has Windows 8.1. And many people told me to be afraid - be very afraid of that software.  However with the touch screen - it is a breeze. OK - so I am just using one software - well, I have the weather set up and news and a whole bunch of stuff and since it is all TOUCH - it is easy, easy, easy.

The best part - when in doubt - just hit the WINDOWS button on the keyboard and it goes back to the main screen.

Windows button!!!!!!!!!!!

And here is it's new home.   I just so love that the screen is on a different level than the keyboard. For a home computer, this is so much more egonomic. 

The screen is the equilvalent of TWO pages.   How awesome is that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well I tagged photos into the night and I am tired today.  

I did get some stuff done - quilting stuff.   Tagging the pictures is also QUILT related because I now have access to all those quilt pictures. But I have embroidery club in a few minutes - so will share what I did another time.

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


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

TODAY is THE DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes - I had ONE appointment this morning ( a metabolic test at the gym).  That measures how efficient your body is at burning fat and how fit you are.   Well after all the measuring and testing and also looking at weight and body fat and all that good stuff - turns out I am PRETTY DARN FIT!!!!!!!!!!!!     Much fitter than when I took the test last year (before my bike ride).  

It is going to be harder to improve on the fitness level, but there is room for a bit of weight loss, a BIT of firming and just maintaining the cardio.

I am pretty excited. It is a TON of hard work, but I feel so amazing that how could I NOT continue.  I ran into Alwin who is convincing me that I need to get back into some weight training as well which he is going to help with. Oh yeah - I see six-pack abs in my future!!!   (NOT!!    hmmm - could be a goal?????)

Anyway - while I have a TON of things to do today - I don't have anything that NEEDS to be done TODAY.  Does that make sense????   Well I am FIRED UP!!!!!  

Here is a quick peak at what I have been doing and what I am going to do..........

And I tell you between the girls at Monday Motivators and the Pampered Sit n Sew days - they are messing up my plans on what to take to the retreat.  I want to make everything they are making!!!

Thanks to Mary and Marlene - I got NINE of the blocks done for the Amish with a Twist quilt.  I "borrowed" some of the fabrics from them in order to get this far (the two blocks on the right are for the borders).  I have cut and sewn as much of the rest of the quilt as I can.  I ordered the remaining fabric that I am missing the other day so hopefully it comes quick. 

DID not have any solid black left so made a pit stop to Ruti's Needlebed on my way home from Monday Motivators. And CUT CUT CUT when I got home.

The setting corners for the blocks - cut (as much as I could) and ready to go to the retreat

The sashings cut (as much as I could) and ready to go to the retreat

I am going to have to have a trunk show of UNFINISHED Bonnie Hunter mystery quilts.  I have THREE of them on the go.  The units for Easy Street are DONE - they just need to be sewn into blocks. That was going to come to the retreat, but got bounced for something else. There there is Orca Bay - that was the mystery from a couple of years ago - the units for that one are NOT done and it was in the retreat bag. It got approval to STAY in the retreat bag.

And then there is Celtic Solstice. I am still working on those chevrons. We need 100 of them.  I did some trimming last night and I have 64 done. Only 36 more to go.   I use those components as my enders and leaders and they also got approval to stay in the retreat bag.

64 chevrons - DONE

There is ONE more unit that needs to be made for this quilt. It is not cut and I don't think I will have time before I leave to make that happen. I must remember to print off the last part of the instructions before they disappear from her web site.

Pam gave me a couple bags of scraps. The premise was to use them for charity quilts. So I sorted through them.  A bag of scraps is USELESS unless it is sorted.  There was a quilt top (that came from Nancy) and that is in the pile that needs backings (when I get back to that stage of the game). There were a couple of pieces that were made from blocks, but a mishmash of pieces so I ripped them all apart. Pressed them and there is enough (with extra stuff from my stash) to make TWO Christmas themed tops. Big lap sized ones!!!!

Here are some of the squares for the FLANNEL Christmas one.  I have cut 160 squares, but I need 224 so another 64 to go.  I do have a bag of scraps that I am going to use up to make the extra squares and if I still need more once I process that bag - then I have a piece of Christmas yardage that I can use. But I think I will have enough. 

The rest of the pieces that Pam gave me went into the box of flannel scraps. I then sorted the whole thing by coloiur. I have a red pile, a yellow pile, a blue pile, etc. And then there is a "quiet" pile. These are the more homey colours. I am NOT dealing with them at this point - just the brights and kids prints.

I did find some squares already made up. All those scraps got put away and I had forgotten at what point I was in the scrap flannel cleanup.

Squares already made up in the bottom of the basket
I took the pink pile to Monday Motivators and had a couple of fun hours sewing and cutting, sewing and cutting and.................

VOILA - I ended up with a total of 37 - SIX inch pink blocks

I threw the bag of yellow scraps into the retreat bag and I hope to deal with the Christmas flannel today.

 I know it sounds bizarre, but I just LOVE LOVE LOVE getting a bag of scraps and seeing what I can make from it.  NOW - that is NOT an invitation to give me bags of scraps.  I do have plenty at the moment and I have my own that I have to deal with.  But what was I going to do with my flannel scraps????   So I mixed up Pam's and mine and now we can get a LOT of nice quilt tops from them that can be donated.

A win win win - for everyone. And I love doing it.  You want to know why?????   Oh yes - it is NOT the sewing. It is the ORGANIZING!!!!   Yep - what can I do/make to use up/clean out.  I just can't help it!!!!

And it didn't help that Barb brought in stuff from her stash for sale yesterday at Monday Motivators. I bought a small kit and a bunch of strips.  I have already done the first cut on the kit - hope to make the second cuts later today and it has approval for the retreat bag. The strips (Christmas theme) also has a purpose and it requires that I cut another TEN Christmas strips from my stash. Which I plan to do today as well and it also has approval for the retreat bag.

Do you see a theme here?????   Now to be fair - I did go through the basket of projects for the retreat and did put about half of them in the newly packed retreat bag!!!   There will be about 10 projects in all. All cut - all marked - all ready to SEW!!!!!!!!!!!!! Better wind a few bobbins and be prepared.

I have LOTS of stuff that is hanging around that I say "oh yes - I will get to that - it won't take long".  Well there are TOO MANY of those kinds of things hanging around or I keep taking them to Monday and then never do them.  Well today and tomorrow are the days to GET EM DONE!!!!!!!!!!!

I had a NUMBER of embroidery blocks that needed the lightweight fusible interfacing cut and fused to the wrong side of the blocks that were traced. So here I am cutting the interfacing
And now everything is repacked into the box and YES - it has approval for the retreat, but it will go in the box AFTER we have embroidery club tomorrow morning. 
My biggest issue is PAPER - I just can't read fast enough, process paper fast enough and deal with all this fast enough.  I am a PILER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!       I am going to have to book a week and just deal with it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And so this is what the studio looks like this morning.  

I am hoping that by this evening, it will look a bit better.

And on that note - I am out of here.   I am PUMPED to get some cutting done, some sewing done and some tidying!!!!!!!!!

YAHOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   It is going to an AWESOME DAY!!!!!!!!!!!

Have a super duper day!!!!!!!!!!!1


Monday, March 24, 2014

My HAPPY place

I have decided that I CANNOT fight it.  While I like everything in my studio to have a HOME, I also like to see things spread out before me.   I do NOT know why.  For me to just have one project out and work only on that - my brain just abouts shuts down!   But should I need to get it ready for people - it doesn't take long to tidy up because things have a home.

So - after the girls left yesterday from the Sit n Sew, the doors opened and the projects BEGGED me to be put on the tables.   The scraps were SCREAMING - let me out - let me out!!!!!!!!

And I COMPLIED!!!!!!!!

The studio a few mere hours after everyone left!

Now I was good in that I put TWO tables away so that would help control the mess. In light of the bags of scraps that my friend gave me on Saturday, I decided that something needed to be done.

I dug out ALL my flannel scraps and that is what I am dealing with on the back tables.  The box on the tables on the right - well that was my BAD thing I did on Saturday.

It is Monday Motivators where I will continue to work on those scraps and then I will have a LOT to share with you later on.

As I have said in the past - I LOVE working on a brand new project, but I am EQUALLY happy or maybe more happy when I find a way to use up scraps.  It just makes me HAPPY!!!!!

On that note - have an AWESOME day.   (almost done my 10,000 steps for the day - OK - so most of them were done on a bike, but still!!!)


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Retreat anxiety!!!!

OK - so NOT exactly.  BUT I am having second thoughts about what I have packed for the retreat.   I have had my laundry basket filled with projects for - well since the beginning of the year.  These are projects that have been around for a while - COMPLETELY CUT and ready to sew.

Retreat basket - complete with a bottle of wine and the magnectic Scrabble board

BUT what about the current projects that are in the Monday basket or the $10 quilts or the ones that are currently in the que in the studio or what about something completely NEW??????

This happens before every retreat. I have stuff cut and ready to go and then well - I just add more!  What the heck - as long as it fits in the back of the car and Mary's stuff fits in the back seat - then I am OK!!!!   That little car can hold a LOT of stuff.  So who knows what will get flung into the car at the last minute!

I have a lot of show n tell to do from my monthly classes, but no time for that today. I have another Sit n Sew and I need to MAKE lunch.

I just have to laugh though. I come home from a day of teaching FOUR different quilts. All of them require lots of bibs and bobs. Then I come home and spread out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Spread out - BUT everything has a home and so very quickly it got put away. 

Then a customer came and picked up some quilts that I had quilted (Oh yes - I am way behind in showing you those pictures) and she dropped off a bag of stuff that she didn't want and MORE quilts to be quilted.

Sorted throught the scraps and added to that box of stuff that we are making the community project quilts from.  Once sorted, everthing on this table also had a home and it was put away. 

Tidying up is so easy when everything has a HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I think I was pretty much done in a half hour!!!!

The ironing board is also a temporary dumping ground

That was mostly because I dug out ONE of the several boxes with 9-patches in it so I could get that picture for you yesterday. 
Inside the box - LOTS and LOTS of nine patches

I have participated in SEVERAL of those swaps and have done NOTHING with the blocks. Yet............

BUT - I have lots of ideas!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have to say that I participated in a LOT of swaps when I was first starting out and even as recently as two years ago. So many of them did NOT get completed.  And I want to complete them - just a question of priority.

Oh yes - speaking of priority - remember that saying - Prioritze - Focus - Win.   And I was going to post a picture, but could not find where I had placed the little plaque????

Well have a look - have a close look at this..............

DUH - it was right in front of my face - this is just above my cutting table!!!!!!!!!!!

And let's not forget the cutting table - everything is a dumping ground!!!!!!!!!!!

 However this is how it all looks this morning. Nice and tidy and ready for the ladies to bring on their projects!!!!!!!   And some day - I MUST get that bare wall covered back up with quilts!!!!!!

Ready - set - sew!!!!!!!!!!

I did a BAD thing last night - well I blame it on M.  If you follow me on Facebook - you may have seen it. I will tell you more tomorrow (if I can figure it out).   I am pretty excited and there will be NO EXCUSES in the future!

On that note - I am off to make Shepherd's Pie for lunch.  

Have a GREAT day!!!!!!!!!!!!


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Sit n Sew

It was Pampered Sit n Sew day!!!!!!!!!!!!     Although these can be very tiring days - they are so much fun and a super super day for everyone involved.  I use them as fund raisers for my two charities - The Ride to Conquer Cancer and The Healing Cycle for Palliative Care.

The ladies get their pressing done for all their sewing and I do stitch ripping IF THERE IS TIME.  Lately - I have been chained to that ironing board which is fine by me as that means the ladies are working hard and getting lots done.

It is just a win - win - win for me, the charities and the participants!!!!!!    There are only THREE days left for this season and there is just ONE SPOT left on April 18.

Here is some of what they worked on yesterday...............

One set of work tables
The second set - see with my two new tables - everyone gets a nice big work space. 

I only keep two of these four tables up. Then there is LESS to clean up when people come over.   And it really did not take long at all to get things organized for the group.

I have to say that my 2014 shelf is working at last.   Now I didn't shove the stuff back on the shelf, I did throw it in a bag. And boy - I have about 7 quilts that just need backing. I MUST focus on those and get them done and into the TO BE QUILTED pile. So much just needs a BIT of work and it goes to the next stage. Well - must get to work.

Jan was working on this I Spy quilt. She saw it on a blog - no pattern available so she made one up!!!!

All those magnifying glasses are highlighting something!   Very cute!!!!!    
 Then Jan moved to another project with HUNDREDS of half square triangles.   I remember pressing some of them last time she was here. I think we have them all pressed now. Now she has to TRIM them all - good luck Jan!!!!!   (Thank god I don't trim!)

Mary was working on some odd blocks. The red/white one and the one below it are from a $10 quilt - the red one from last year, the thirties from this year. The blue blocks are also I Spy - just a different slant on them. She did get a LOT more blue blocks done - I just didn't take a picture. 

BTW - Mary - I did NOT see it yesterday, but as soon as I put the picture up - well - have a GOOD look at your red block!!!!

Gail was working on this Kaffe Fassett quilt that is just STUNNING.   I so want to make this.  And YES - I found the book at the library and it is winging its' way to me as we speak!!!!   She just has to put borders on - I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!

Daphne was working on this black/white quilt. A touch of yellow just perks it up.   I want to make this one as well!!!!

Yep - there is a BIG problem when the ladies come over - too many ideas in a head that already has way too many ideas!!!!!!!!!!

Gillian was working on a very unique setting for a 9-patch.  I should have taken a picture of what she has done so far.  I do have the pattern - I could dig it out.   OK - I dug it out.

The setting for Gillian's 9-patch quilt.  I do NOT have the pattern - this picture was from August 2001 McCalls Magazine.   I am impressed - it took less than 2 minutes to find that!!!!!!!!

Gillian also had another quilt that she put on the design wall and got the blocks organized but I didn't get a picture of it!!!!  

Susan was working on finishing up this placemat from the booklet Table Please (Book One) from Art to Heart.

She was also working on a Block of the Month from Sew Sisters - A Marti Michelle one which I did not get the name of.

Anyway - they were BUSY BUSY BUSY and got so much done.  And we laughed and we laughed - we really had an awesome day.  

I found a new photography friend  - Gail.  Funny how we identify people by what the connection is - gym friends - photography friends!!!!  

After they left - I thought I had better get this Lightroom installed on my computer so I could start the process of organizing those TENS of THOUSANDS of pictures.   And we have a subscription service to Adobe products - ONE monthly fee lets us have access to all their latest products so I had better make good use of  it.   M was trying to install the software for the last couple of days and we were not having luck. BUT we found the problem last night.

OH DEAR - it is a BIG problem. My laptop - is an ANTIQUE.  Yep - I am TWO Windows O/S behind - I still have Vista and Lightroom requires Windows 7, but recommends 8.  My processor is IntelTWO and Lightroom needs Intel FOUR.  Oh - crude crude crude!!!!!!!!!!!  

Well - I checked out the prices of a new laptop and well - I am WORTH EVERY PENNY - hope to come home today with a new one!!!!!!!!!!!!   Then I can take advantage of all that software.   YEP - SQUIRREL!!!!!!!!!!!!     It does NOT take much for me to go on a tangent - well you all know that.

I was up late last night after everyone left. Had to get my assignment stuff ready for class today.  And I got some paperwork done. Well - I was productive and that was all that counted.

On that note - I have to get to class this morning.

Have a GREAT GREAT GREAT day!!!!!!