Thursday, July 31, 2014

To save time - one must plan................

While I am not the most organized person in the world - I think I am not bad. And I would consider myself somewhat of a planner. Although I do tend to wing a lot of stuff, but we won't go there.

So I am working on the blog posts for the next two months of QUILTsocial.  I know my subject matter - I even have the topics for each day.  That was planned weeks ago. BUT I did not do a detailed plan of each topic.  I mean - how can you when you don't really know what the possibilities are. And even if you do - things change.

I spent the ENTIRE day yesterday working on the blog. Had a lot of fun and gosh - I am learning so much. Not just about the sewing machine, but about the actual process.  This is what I am up against:

  1. I want to show everything about the machine that I am reviewing and that is just not possible, but I am trying!
  2.  Everything takes way longer than you think it will.
  3. Not only am I learning about how the sewing machine functions, but I am learning the blogging software. 
  4. It is NOT easy to take pictures - just when I think I have everything the way I want - oooops - that stitch length in the picture isn't the one that it is supposed to be.  You know in movies - they have someone just for continuity - well I need someone like that. 
  5. The more you stitch or discover - the more your brain goes into over load coming up with new things to do with the machine. 

Last night before I went to bed - I laid out a "detailed" plan for the last two days of the first week. What stitches I would review. In an ideal world - I would take the screen shots, do the stitch-outs, take the shots  - edit everything (at the same time), enter the pictures - write the text and I would be done. That is in an ideal world!

Despite the fact that I was chained to the computer and the sewing machine - I still managed to eek out almost 9,000 steps yesterday (most likely from walking between the sewing machine and the computer!). However I am starting to feel like a slug. I haven't been to the gym for weeks and haven't really done any physical activity and well - I just feel like  a slug.

I was in Michael's the other day and OH BOY - what is this?????

Halloween decorations

I posted that picture on Facebook last night and I got comments back that Christmas/winter stuff is available in Costco. Seriously????   OK - who is buying this stuff NOW??????   Really?   Does your child need a snowsuit now?   I know it isn't that hot right now - but come on!   It is still summer.   I can appreciate if Michael's had craft stuff for Halloween because you have to make those decorations, but ready made ones?  Let me get that list out and start shopping!

I have had a number of people ask about the pattern for the knitted log cabin block.  Remember???

Knitted log cabin blocks

Here is the link:  Knittned log cabin 

As I think about this knitted project, I have realized something.  On my own - I would be perfect. I would never start a new project without finishing the old one. I would not over spend. But it is the INFLUENCE of my so-called friends that gets me into trouble!!!!!    Like this log cabin block.  I saw Tish working on it and I thought - how neat. So I got the link from her and bought all the yarn (although - the skeins I purchased were all from the same colourway - Tish's were each from a different colourway).  She has gotten me into trouble on several other occasions as well. Oh yes - her afghan is DONE!!!!!    I will post a picture if she sends it to me.

Don't worry - I love you all!!!!!    And I am returning the favour. Check out the link (you have to scroll down to get the pattern).   The yarn I used is Noro - Kureyon, but I think other yarn would also work.

Noro - Kureyon
 I am thinking the block would look neat with this yarn as well.

Red Heart Boutique Treasure

Red Heart Boutique Treasure

(Yes - I know there are major differences between those yarns - one is 100% wool - the other is not!)

Hmmmm - I have been debating if I should take something with me on my trip.  Funny how no one looks at you weird or thinks you are old fashioned if you are reading a book (well that may change with everyone getting e-readers), but imagine someone knitting or sewing on a bike trip????   Hmmmm - I may take a couple balls of this Red Heart and do some practice blocks or maybe I knit dish cloths.  I am afraid to take anything good for fear it gets lost, dirty, wet or whatever.   Or I may just settle for a good old fashioned paper book!!!!!

On that note - I am out of here. Got a list of photos to take, stitch outs to stitch and then hopefully I can sit down and do everything at once?  Wish me luck!

Have a great day!!!!!


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Fall is in the air......................

OK - if you live in southern Ontario - you can't tell me that it doesn't feel like fall. The air is cool, the nights are fabulous and I'm LOVING IT!!!!!    I know people are complaining because there is no heat, but I could take this weather all year round!!!!

Whatever the weather - fall is literally around the corner and you know what that means?   YES - time to get registered for any upcoming classes. To me fall is like a new beginning - just like when you were a kid and you got to start a new grade.  That feeling still sticks with me.

Over the past couple of weeks (OK - way back in June), I was madly planning out my teaching schedule for this fall and there is a HUGE line-up. BUT I like to take classes myself despite the fact that I am NOT a good student, but we won't go there.

Yesterday, I poring over the brochure for the CreativFestival.  Since I do NOT have to work this fall, I actually get to take some classes.  I am calling today to get registered.  My friend Pauline registered yesterday. And better to do it NOW before the classes fill up. The dates are October 24, 25, 26. The information is NOT on their web site yet - they sent the brochure in a .pdf to those on their e-mail list.


Go to the link above, sign up for their e-mail and hopefully you will get the brochure quickly.  I am very excited about the classes I have chosen - well they are seminars - not classes.  I can cope with seminars - classes is another matter!!!!   I'll be taking the GO to avoid paying for parking!

This fall, I will be teaching classes at

The Hobby Horse,    (they are currently putting the class list together) - there are some exciting things!!!

Ruti's Needlebed   (I am teaching ONE monthly class starting in September. We will be developing new ideas and inspirations for machine quilting designs).  There are at least FIVE time slots booked and I think most are full or almost.  I would NOT delay if you want to get signed up this one - if there is enough demand, they may open up a new time slot.

Sew Sisters.    Check out this link to get the class info and also to check out ONE of the on-going classes that we are going to work on in 2015.   We have a second one that we finally got the OK from the designer and should be up shortly.

I've got two classes that I will be teaching at my home studio - I will provide more info later, but October 30 will be a bag making day. The second thing I am trying to get off the ground is an INTENSE applique class. I will try to get the details up shortly. Let's not forget the Sit n Sew days.  Oh yes - it is going to be a crazy fall and I can't wait to get started!!!!!!!!!

Yesterday was an interesting day - taking pictures, editing pictures and writing.   I LOVE IT!!!!!   I hope so because today is more of the same. Except today - I actually get to do some sewing.

My "studio"

Thanks to Mark for lending me his lights.  Now I have to figure out how to get the optimum lighting. While I am getting much better lighting, the colour is a bit off.  Unfortunately - I don't have a lot of time to figure it all out. What I really need is a day when I can just play. One day!!!!!  Oh well - the pictures are better with less shadow so that is all that counts.   I did a lot of photography when I was at Sheridan College.  They have a massive studio. Anyway - I always love it - you get the perfect lighting and then there is NO ROOM to actually take the shot.  Photographers have to be pretty crafty to get a good shot. Which is why I am still learning!!!!    And CRAP - I have TWO dead battery packs.  I guess I will be sewing stitch outs while I wait for them to charge!!!!

On that note - I am out of here - got more pictures to take and then another post to get ready. The blog posts should be up starting next Monday at    But if you are into hand embroidery - you need to check out the blog this week. There is some amazing embroidery ideas and Christine is NOT using floss.  Looks yummy.

Have a great day!


Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Being home is awesome!!!   Trying to get things tidied up from the last two trips and getting ready for the next one and in between - trying to get some work done!  Oh yes - life is a circus!  and I LOVE IT!!!!!

I thought I would share some updates with you as I am making progress on stuff - hard to believe - but it does happen sometimes.

Let's start with my latest craze - the HEXAGONS....................

Here are some of my prepped hexagons. Got to get myself organized with the type of thread to use and well - I might just take some of those along with me????  I don't know about that - but this project  is small and that is a good thing.  I am trying to pack as light as possible. 

My mom got into the craze as well and made this card from PAPER.  See how close she copied my design

I think she did a pretty good job except her card wasn't big enough to add the black around the outside edge

And then she made this with the leftover bits - SEE - the apple does not fall far from the tree in my family!!!!!

This hexagon craze is NOT new for me.  I have a pizza box filled with goodies all related to English paper piecing which is the method used to make the  hexagons.  I have several other shapes and I knew that I had other papers.  However I had a HUGE shock when I opened the box and looked inside.  Oh boy - a bit obsessive I would think.

I found not one, not two, not three, not four, but FIVE packs of hexagon papers.  All of them 1/2" - I know - I have a thing for using small stuff and TWO of those packs contain 750 papers each and the other three have 125 in them.  OK - I think I have enough papers????

However - have a look at where I bought those hexagon papers.   Oh yes - this store has been closed for MANY MANY years - even it's successor has been closed for many years.  Oh boy - yep - this craze is NOT new - I just never did anything about it before. 

I guess my discovery of all those papers makes this tool pretty much useless.  I bought the 1/2" punch so I could punch my own papers.  Hmmmm - I am thinking I don't need this and should have bought one of the other sizes instead. Oh well - shouldn't have gotten so excited!!!!!!!   And since I opened up the package - I can't even return the darn thing. I am sure I will find a use for it and those papers do eventually wear out.  Eventually.........

But more importantly - I got my glue refills and a brand new pen.  That should keep me busy for a while. 

So - if I were to prepare a bunch of fabric squares - take along glue pen, needle and thread - I could easily do this project on the road.

Let's move to the knitting.   While I was away - I managed to get THREE blocks done.   Yeah!!!!!!   That is all the wool that I took with me and while I lamented not taking more - I finished the last one on the last day - so not that big of a deal.

Three more blocks done

That makes 11

Here are the left over bits from each block

That leaves six skeins in the "to do" bag and three are in the mobile knitting bag. 

But I managed to get this much done at Monday (couldn't figure out what to take to sew - knitting just seemed so much easier to deal with)

And while I was on the phone last night - I got the block done.   

That means there are EIGHT skeins of wool left.  And the bits of which I am hoping to get another four blocks????? Which would give me 25 blocks and I could make my afghan 5 by 5.  Hmmmm - I could take some of that knitting with me, but it is bulky so I don't think so. But I am bound and determined to NOT start something new (knitting) until this is done. And so far so good.  But I still have to knit the blocks together when I am done making all the blocks.  Well - it really wouldn't take that long - OK - I am going to be just like Ruthi and carry that damn little knitting bag with me everywhere!!!!!!   Could I be done by Christmas?????

I know - everything I seem to latch onto becomes an obsession.  I can't help it - I just get so enthusiastic. My license plate collection is growing.  I now have 13 of them in my collection (out of 28).  If my calculations are correct - I have another ten that we are waiting to arrive by mail - the stores were out when myself or my cohorts were there or I haven't picked it up from my cohorts. Thanks to all of you - it has been fun hearing all the offers from you!!!!!

License plate collection to date

And that leaves 5 left to find a way to get.  I checked the route for my bike trip and while I will be able to stop at a couple of stores, none of them have a license plate.  It is just too far out of the way to make a detour.

Sew Crafty - Rideau Ferry,
Sew Creative - Mount Brydges,
Quilter's Line - Markdale,
Kalidoscope of Quilts - Exeter,
We R Quilts - Prescott (two),
Wilton Creek Fabrics - Harrowsmith,
Threads that Bind - Maxwell,
The Quilting Trunk - Dryden
Fabric Fusion - Dryden
Flair With Fabrics -  Chesterville,
Fun With Stitches - Belleville,
Cobwebs and Caviar - Shelburne
Appleseed Quiltworks  - Lindsay.

I think I did not too bad although I realize that I did not get to all the stores in person.  Well here is a plan for 2015.  My guess is that MORE stores will participate in the Row by Row next year and many stores that did NOT get a license plate this year - will get one next year.  Now what if I took a month and rode to the stores on my bike to get the license plates????   Cost effect if I tent - a great way to see the province and get to some new stores.  Something to thing about.   Anybody up to cycle with me?????? 

A number of years ago (2011) the town of Ailsa Craig brought in quilts from The Netherlands for their annual quilt show. One of the biggest quilt stores was here - Den Hann and Wagenmakers.  When M and I went to Amsterdam in 2012 - we visited this store.  Both times I loved their kits but felt they were too expensive and like I need another kit. When I heard that Susan was going to be in Amsterdam - I decided enough was enough and so I sent her to the store (she is a quilter - it was already on her list) and she bought me a kit. I met up with Susan when I was out west and I finally got my kit!!!!!

I know - I even had to bring the store bag home!!!!!

Look how pretty that box is!!!!


And here are the fabrics.  I have had the pattern for months as the store sent it to me via e-mail.  

This kit did NOT fit in my suitcase and I had to carry it in my backpack which was so heavy - I thought I was going to fall backwards.   Hmmmm - memories of M and London come to mind.  OK - so I should have learned from her!!!!!

Just when Susan and I thought that we were all straight with getting stuff to each other, another situation arose.  This time - I went to take a picture of Lego Laniac in her driveway.  Later I discovered that she lost her hair in the driveway.  I think it is now winging its way back to me.  Hey Susan - let's hope that we have everything sorted out now!!!!!!!!!!!

I was admiring some of the gorgeous Perle Cottons that Susan had and she managed to wing this ball in my bag before I left.  I just love the colour - very southwestern.   Hmmmmm - got to find something really creative to do with it.   Some bobbin work??????

A couple of months ago - I started writing for a blog called QUILTsocial.  My "job" (if you are doing something you love - I don't call it a job and it certainly isn't work!) is to review sewing machines for Husqvarna Viking.  The first week I had fun with the H|Class 100Q.

Here are the links if you want to have a peek at what this little machine is all about...................

Day One  - Summer Sewing
Day Two - Stitch Outs
Day Three - It's all about the Feet
Day Four - A Quilting we will go
Day Five - Summertime and the sewing is easy

Day Six - Why I love the Husqvarna Viking H|Class 100Q
Day Ten - Top ten reasons why I love the Husqvarna Viking H|Class 100Q

Well I had a good laugh when I went to Monday sewing.   TWO people had purchased the H|Class machine.

Lynn's machine

Joyce's machine
 I see that both of them have a mat under the machine.  Perhaps they can tell us why??   I will ask them.
Joyce with the borders that she put on her scrappy braid quilt

I think they are going to LOVE that little machine.  They seemed to be quite happy - and if you read Day 10 - you will understand why.   The features on this small machine are amazing. Check it out and you will see why this is such a cool little machine.

In case you are wondering what happened on Day 6, 7, and 8 - that was tutorials for making Fabric Journal Covers and if you want to check it out - here are the links. They are so easy to make. These examples are very simple and with no embellishments - you can have one made in less than an hour (provided you have all the supplies).   Have fun and let me know what you make!!!!!!

Day 7 - Fabric Journal cover tutorial
Day 8 - Fabric Journal cover collage
Day 9 - Crazy about Fabric Journal covers

I have the next week to prepare the next two segments.  Oh yes - I am busy taking pictures which is NOT an easy task.  I will show you my "studio" tomorrow.

I did manage to tidy up a bit.

The ironing board is clear

The cutting table - made progress - not quite there yet

Have you ever been invited to a wedding and you want to go just because of the invitation????   We received such an invitation yesterday.  

Very fancy and the weight of the card stock is very HEAVY

Separate invites to the ceremony and the reception

Information and RSVP cards

And even the envelopes were printed with the design - again - that was no ordinary paper for those envelopes!!!!

I won't be going - won't be home.  But I can imagine how fancy the wedding is going to be.   In all honesty - I have no desire for this kind of thing.  I hate SHOWY events - it should be about celebrating the couple and not the pomp and circumstance.  Ah yes - you can take the country girl and put her in the city, but you can't take the country out of the girl!!!!!!

On that note - it is time to ride to Tim's and get my tea and then get to WORK - I mean - back to taking pictures and sewing.  YEAH - a fun day!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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


Monday, July 28, 2014

The Quilt Patch

I made it back home late last night. I am an OK flyer.  If things are smooth - then I am OK. I am busy reading my book and everything is just fine.  Then as we get close to Toronto, they announce that the weather is not the best in Toronto and only one runway is open. There is a backlog and we will have to circle so we circled over Orangeville and Collingwood a couple of times. It is quite cloudy out.  As we are circling - there is a bit of turbulence.  Bob (an Air Canada pilot) says that turbulence is just like bumps on the road - doesn't make me feel any better!!!!    And honestly the turbulence wasn't bad.  

Then I see lightening. Oh boy - that can't be good.  Ah finally we are getting back to the airport.   Have to swing way out over the west end and the sky clears.  Then poof - can't see a thing.  There was one flash of lightening that seemed to be very close. ACK - I don't like this at all. At last there are the lights of Mississauga and oh great - it is pouring rain!!!!!

At last we are on the ground!  People don't applaud anymore, but I did in my mind! Like I said - I am an OK flyer - but things have to be perfect!   Then we had to wait on the tarmac because things were backed up at the gates. Finally we got off and I went to wait for my luggage.   I don't know about you, but whenever I get off a plane and you have to walk up that incline to get to the airport - I feel like an idiot.  I guess my legs are tired from sitting and I am trying to walk my normal pace.  I feel very awkward.

Collected my WET luggage and off to get my ride.  The airport was a ZOO.  Flights were cancelled or major delays.  And it is pouring rain outside and people are waiting at the curb to pick up people.   Can they NOT wait in the cell phone parking lot until their party is ready????   It is a major pain in the butt and the security people were nowhere to be seen last night.  They usually hustle people out of there.

But there was a LOT of lightening.   Actually was surprised that they let us land and that we got our luggage.  Nothing got wet inside my suitcase so that was great.  I did unpack all my stuff and now my studio looks like this...........

Yes - there is a cutting mat under there

The ironing board which was clear when I got home

See - it is a disaster!!!!!!!!!!!

Got ONE WEEK to get it in order before I am off again.  And I do have tons of work to do this week.

Well as you know when I was out west - I visited at The Quilt Patch.

They had Christmas in July event and the place was packed with customers, well wishers and staff   (oh and home baked goodies).

 It was loads of fun and while I did help out a bit with customers - (which I LOVED), I felt that I needed something more concrete to do.  So I asked Shelley if there was anything that I could sew.  YES - I was having withdrawal!!!!!!   As a matter of fact - there was this applique that SHELLEY needed to get done and it keep getting put to the bottom of the pile.

Well I could do that.  So Shelley got me organized - set up the sewing machine, got the thread and the blocks and I was off.  Now it is NEVER fun to do applique on a different machine than your own. I had never sewn on a Bernina before and while that wasn't a big deal - I sure did miss the sensor foot on my Husqvarna machine. However once I got the hang of the stitch movement - it was no big deal.

These are blocks from their latest book and YES - there were a LOT of points.  I managed to get all twelve blocks done. And one staff member said - lucky it wasn't snowflakes - YES - that would be way more points!!!!!!

Star points - I think I did a pretty decent job.   In case you are wondering - they use Wonderfil Konfetti for ALL their work - piecing and applique

The Quilt Patch latest book - Here Comes Winter

Wonderfil Konfetti thread

I managed to get a LOT of work done on the first day as few people wandered upstairs into the classroom.  BUT on day two ( I was so close to finishing - I wasn't going to leave the job half done) - there was a class going on and people were coming in to chat.

The students were making this bag made from burlap and canvas.  I love it - and there was another style of burlap as well. I loved the bag, but alas - no room in the suitcase for even a scrap of canvas.  Don't forget - I had all that boucle with me!!!!!

But I had some great conversations - showed a few people some tips on applique and made a great contact at one of the Saskatchewan guilds.  She was a wealth of information and I look forward to chatting more with her.   Oh yes - my Dad taught me those skills. Just blab to everyone - you never know what tidbits you will collect!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Shelly and Jeanne and their FOUR books.  

I am so darn proud of these ladies and all their accomplishments.  I just love their store - it just has a feel to it that is warm, welcoming and FUN!!!!!    Look at that awesome CUTE CUTE block of the month - upper right of the photo.  I ordered my kit and will pick up at the Fall CreativFestival. Can't wait - I know - I don't need another kit, but that one was very cute and not expensive.  The quilt is not huge so should be fast to make.

On that note - I am off for a fun day and then I must buckle down and get some work done.

Have a great day!!!!!!!


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Land of the living skies...............................

That is the saying on the Saskatchewan license plates.  And it is so true.  I was driving back from Moose Jaw late yesterday afternoon and the sky was constantly changing.  Here are a couple of pictures (OK - a LOT of pictures) that I took on the way home.  Of course - the weather was stormy and honestly - I could watch those clouds all day long.

This was the view on my left

The view on the right

And the middle

In Qu'applle Valley
Another one in the bottom of Qu'appelle Valley

We rode through this valley last year on our bike trip.  It really is something to see and it goes for a VERY long way.   Of course there is a big hill into the valley and equally big hill on the way out.   There has been so much rain in the area that one side of the road on the north side of the valley is starting to cave in.  ONly one lane is open to traffic in this section.  It looks like it will be a big job to stabilize that road and get it back functioning normally.   I believe the cycle group was NOT able to take the same route that we did last year due to major flooding.

Here is a news paper clipping that shows the flooding in the area that we rode last year.

Flooding in Crooked Lake (in Qu'Appelle Valley)

Hillsides - oh yes Saskatchewan is NOT all flat land

More hillside

Of course while one can watch the sky - it does get boring after while.   I had a book on my iPod so I plugged that into the car stereo and I had a book to listen to all the way down and back.  I will finish the last twenty minutes today on the way to the airport.  But wouldn't you know it - I had already listened to this book - but I couldn't remember who the bad guys were.   I listen or read, but obviously do NOT retain when I read a novel.  My brain is too busy to retain all that unimportant stuff anyway.

But I was impressed at how easy it was to hook up this book.  I just plugged the darn iPod in and the book started immediately.  I do not think it is nearly that easy on my own car radio and it is not that old.   This is a puny little Chev Sonic that I have rented.  

With the small car and cheap gas (compared to back home where we are in the 140.0 range) - doesn't cost much to get around

Stopped for a break at the big snowman in Kenaston.   Again - we rode past this place on our bikes last year.  I  don't have the pictures of that day with me and by this point, I wasn't putting pictures on the blog last year. Drat - have to find those pictures. 

Anyway - it was a good day despite the rain.  Oh yes - with all those clouds - there was rain. I actually didn't have to drive in a lot of rain (and thankful that I was in a car), but once I hit the gravel roads - oh yes - you could tell it had rained.

This was the back of the car - before the rain.  Just the dust from the gravel roads - caked on the back window
And this is the back of the car after the rain. 

At one point - I stopped to take a picture of a deer crossing the road and it was only after I snapped two pictures that I realized someone was BEHIND me.   I had no idea - I was so focused on driving in the mud.

Deer crossing the road

And let's not forget about the bugs.  Oh my god - someone is going to have to scrub the bugs off the car

And yes I was NOT kidding.  My suitcase is CRAMMED full and I still have this to pack.  I guess I will have to cram as much as I can in my backpack and I got another bag yesterday (which I will show you later). I will have to cram my purse in the other bag and fill it with the remaining stuff.

Stuff yet to pack

Granted - I did bring a tiny suitcase and it doesn't help that I got a few things from my mom, two bottles of OLIV olive oil/balsamic vinegar which I can get in Niagara on the Lake, but seemed like a good idea at the time and let's not forget my two meters of boucle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Those items filled my suitcase!!!!!!!

On that note - have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!