Thursday, June 30, 2016


Hmm - I was so excited this morning and was very proud of how much work I got done. Then I took pictures and shoot - there is only really one picture, but it has a lot of work!

The secret to success is to get a good night's sleep! And get ENOUGH sleep.  If I don't have a good sleep, I'm a mess the next day. But a good uninterrupted sleep and I'm good for hours!  I had a good sleep last night!

This little block is about one month overdue, but it's done now!  Juts have to figure out how to get it to its' destination!

Floating star block - DONE

Then back to work on Tonga Rhapsody. Rather than keep searching for that block that I  may not have made, I just made a new one. And it's now sewn into the quilt.  I got the entire left hand column completely trimmed and sewn together. Remember what it looked like??

Tonga Rhapsody last week

Tonga Rhapsody this morning
 And I've made good progress on the last block!  Should be able to finish that off this evening.

Last block for Tonga Rhapsody
 All that's left is to sew the five columns together and then there are FIVE borders.  A couple have some piecing in them, but nothing too difficult or time consuming.  OK - who am I kidding! This is a big quilt - an UNPIECED border takes about one hour to cut and sew on. There is still about 10 hours of sewing left on this project. And then to make the binding and the backing!  Well - it will be a work in progress for another week or so as I eek out 10 hours to finish it.  But when you think of a project in terms of hours to completion - it is a bit sobering!

The good news is that there is nothing with an urgent deadline.  I was going to do another challenge with a deadline of tomorrow, but earlier in the week, I said NO!  My new rule (as if I will follow it) is to work on challenges WAY BEFORE they are due!  The quality of the design and the work will be inferior, but it will be done!

Went out to lunch with a friend the other day. Although are people who feed my license plate frenzy really friends?   Anyway these were gifted and are from 2015.  Thank goodness I haven't counted those plates yet or started to do anything with them.  I'm thinking, I could write a triology now with the number of plates I have!

Two more plates for 2015

As the long weekend looms, I must confess that I have no desire to go license plate shopping!  I must be ill. Nope, I'd rather be out on my bike - long overdue but the knee is much better. I'm tentative of what distance to start out with.  I know - start small - but I don't work that way!   However, I'll aim for 10 K first time, then 20K and so on. Plus, I'd much rather be sewing than shopping for plates. I'm just doomed - a life chained to the sewing machine and I LOVE IT!!!!   So part of me hopes it rains for at least one day this weekend, so I can stay in the house totally guilt free and sew!

Happy to report that I'm going to take a class on Binding by Machine.  It's three hours long and hopefully I'll finally get that figured out!  If I played with it, I'm sure I could get better at it and try a different stitch as well.

On that note, here's to hoping the traffic will be light this morning and I can fly to work.  Got lots to do!

Have a great day!!!!


PS - someone wanted to know the name of the pattern for that small quilt I did with the birds?   It is called Shadow Blocks. A pattern from Ruti's Needlebed. Here is a video tutorial  (didn't check the video)

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Binding by machine - ICK!

For those of you who want a solution to the off balance temperatures in your house caused by inefficient heating and ventilation systems - the solution is to throw money at it! I recently visited a house (granted it was a large house), but it had FOUR furnaces.  Two in the basement and two in the attic. I think that means there were 4 air conditioning units as well. WOW!  Seventeen separate temperature zones!  Can you imagine?  The house is probably extremely comfortable, but I can't imagine the cost and now you have FOUR filters to clean, not just one.  Oh yes - I forgot with money like that, there is probably a live-in handy-man to monitor the house!

I'm finally getting in the groove of getting some sewing/quilting done in the evening. It doesn't always happen, but I try and I actually look forward to it. Last night was getting most stuff prepped for the retreat. This is an item that has been sitting around for two years and I really really want it done. 

Last night, I layered it and quilted it.  My first time working with the foam batting.  It feels weird, but quilted up just fine. 

Foam batting

Item is quilted!
I'll share this item when it is complete. It is the urgent basket for the retreat.

With all the cutting and trimming, my little bowl on the cutting mat was getting a bit full.  Time to dig out the pet mat bag and stuff it.

Scrap bowl is over flowing!
Gosh with all this prep work, I don't need any of those scraps under the long arm to make pet mats. However, I decided to dig out two bags of scraps and get them used up.  I notice this person cut the scraps into teeny tiny pieces, so I wouldn't be tempted to "steal" any of it for my string quilts.

And one more pet mat is done!

Pet mat

Next up was to put the binding on by machine on a green quilt. I'm calling it a green quilt because the quilt is like the green screens used in television. Here's a simple description of what that is. We will use the green quilt (or in our case - grey) to map fabrics on it.

Through the magic of video effects and technology, you can superimpose your subjects onto virtual backgrounds, place them over animated digital backdrops or transport them to a desert oasis. You can shrink down a full-grown man so he can stand on a tabletop, use visual effects to make him fly through the sky like a superhero or simply simulate your own TV weather report. 

Well you know my love/hate relationship with putting the binding on by machine. I hate it!   And here's an ugly corner to justify my feeling. 
Ugly corner - which I fixed

Nice corner
But I still hate the look on the back!   I must learn how to do this better.

Ugly back of the binding
I think what I dislike is the inconsistency.  Sometimes, the binding looks great and other times, it looks awful!

I see there is a class offered at QuiltCon - now to get in!

Anyway - this project is done. One more off the list and tonight, well, I've got a few more projects lined up.

Have a great day!!!!


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

And the frog goes RIBBIT......

This organizing thing isn't such a bad thing. However, I must learn to TRUST myself. Someone had borrowed a ruler from me a while back. Anyway, when the ruler came back, it sat in my office for months.  I remember looking at it every time I walked in and I thought,  "I MUST put that ruler away".  Well a couple of weeks ago, I was tidying up and the ruler disappeared.

I'm gathering things for a cutting session, and needed that rule which was nowhere to be found. I searched through everything in the office, I searched through the piles to be sorted in the studio - NO RULER.  Drat - I'm not going out to buy another one of these rulers - it's a specialty ruler.

Then I thought to myself, perhaps I should check where the rulers are stored in the event that I put it away and BINGO!  There was the ruler.   There are several morals to this story:

  • Don't lend your tools
  • Put things away the moment you are done with them
  • Before you look like mad through everything, check the "home" for the tools in the event that they are there!

I'm in the process of gathering the fabrics for this project which I will share with you.  It's going to be a class and I'm pretty excited about it. It might even be a Block of the Month which will be even more exciting.  and for those in the BOM classes, I just found the motherlode!  I'll be checking pattern availability and we can go from there. 

Oh my - so many of you say that you get tired reading my blog!  Sorry - it's just that there are heaps and bounds of energy stored up in my body and I have to let it out somehow or I'll explode!  I mentioned that my upper back was tired the other day.  I hadn't really thought why, but now I know!  I started to lift weights at the gym and was getting into some heavier (for me) weights on Friday!  There is usually a two day delay on the tiredness and that must have been it.  

Well, I had to do something in the basement last night.  We try not to turn on the A/C.  I can't stand how inefficient the system is.  Despite closing the vents and all that, the basement is like a refridgerator when we turn the A/C on.  Last evening, the temperature was just right!  And it cooled off during the night.  I guess I just tolerate the heat well. 

I quilted ANOTHER wall hanging.  I know, this looks like I'm cheating by counting the same one twice, but there are in fact TWO of them. 

Customer quilt - DONE

When I was in the US a couple of months ago, I saw this fabric and HAD to buy it.  I have a very specific project in mind for this of which I found another piece of the puzzle yesterday.  It's almost time to start sewing that one.

Cute farm fabric
 Then the opportunity came along yesterday to get a coordinating panel for the book.  Never knew that existed and so I made the book last night as well.

Farm Animal book

The frog goes RIPPIT
 Then onto the sorting and prep work.  I have to get better at what I do as I cart a whole pile of bags to work, then I cart them all home again and never do anything with the stuff.  Last night, I really sorted them - the stuff I'm taking today HAS to be done or left at work.

But I was prepping a bit more for the retreat as well.  Gosh - this is so NOT like me.  Now I have FIVE bags of projects prepped and ready for the retreat.  Five day retreat - five bags worth of stuff to do!  Who am I kidding!  I'll be lucky if I get through ONE bag of projects.

Almost ready for the retreat

If you counted, there are in fact EIGHT bags here.  One is strictly hand work in the event that I want to sit outside and enjoy the day. Two are tools - I know that seems excessive, but there is an iron, my applique box and a few other things.  And notice that the bag, second from the right is practically empty.  That is the URGENT bag and I have a couple more projects to prep and it will be full and then I can relax until the retreat!  As if!  Friday is a holiday and I can't wait! Actually, I have a three day weekend with ZERO commitments. I think I've died and gone to quilting heaven!!

And I get excited about going to work everyday. Either that or I just like having an excuse to stop at Tim's for a tea!  

On that note, I had better get going. 

Have an awesome day!


Monday, June 27, 2016

That was easy!

Like I said yesterday, prioritzing the packing for the retreat is boring!  OK, it's not that bad!  But it means that I have to do some things that I don't want to do - like fussy cutting the striped fabric to make 16  eight-pointed stars.

It's been several years that that fabric has sat there and I've avoided it.  Now I'm teaching this class once again and I vowed that this time, I would get it done.  If Ronda can sew her 16 blocks at the retreat - then I can sew them also. But I had to cut them first.  I was also afraid of how much waste there would be.

I laid out the fabric this morning and then an idea hit me. I tried it and it worked, with minimum waste and was super easy.

Since that diamond is symmetrical, I could crease the striped fabric and then cut the 8 diamonds along the fold.  Then I would only have TWO cuts per diamond, not four.

Efficient cutting of striped fabric for diamonds

Place the template on the fold

Oh my goodness - it was super easy and there was only a little bit of waste between the diamonds. How clever of me!  And why didn't I think of that sooner???

One fussy cut diamond from striped fabric!

I had 16 of them to cut.  That is why I was avoiding it as well - that's a lot of cutting. But I managed to get all the blocks cut, including the background and it's in the retreat box.

Little waste!

The "yardage" when I was done cutting the diamonds

I also managed to get a small wall hanging quilted for a customer.  The second one is loaded.  I just felt a bit tired - well my back felt tired today, so I didn't quite get as much done as I had planned. But what I got done?  That was just awesome!!!!

Customer quilt - DONE

On that note - I'm out of here

Have a great day!!!!!


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Prioritized packing is boring!

I've been having fun prepping stuff for the retreat. I'm trying to avoid that panic packing that always happens when I'm getting ready to leave. I thought I was doing great despite the fact that there is NO excitement in prepping that far in advance.  I'm practically boring!

However, common sense (which has always eluded me in the past) is creeping more and more into my thought processes.  Not sure why or for how long it will remain.  So I was evaluating what I have packed. Yep - all the tools, all the fabric is cut and prepped. Hm - but how many of those projects are needed NOW.  Of course, NONE of it is. It's all the fun stuff I want to work on.  AHA - now I see where the panic packing has come in.  I seem to do the same thing every time and then realize at the last minute that I don't have a single thing that I'm supposed to be working on and the panic begins.

I spent last evening actually prepping stuff that would make more sense. Then when I get this done at the retreat (as if!), I can work on the other stuff!  Yep - I'm officially boring!  I will have to wing in a project last minute just to add some spice to the mix!

First one is my Reminisce quilt that we're doing at The Hobby Horse.  I am slightly behind, but yesterday, I got some fabric that I was missing and I'm ready.  Border number 2 is all cut and ready to go.  This would make a great ender and leader project.  We're actually working on Border 3 and 4 (which is the last one), so I'll be working hard over the summer to make this happen.

Ready to go!

Everything is packed in the project box
 Next project - one of my own designs.  It's almost ready.  I have to draw a line on those blue squares and will do that on Monday.  Then it's ready to go as well.

Project two - all set to go

This next one isn't going to the retreat, but those last two blocks that needed to be sewn - this is the one that's on the design wall - well the two blocks are cut and ready to sew.

Two missing blocks - ready to sew

The quilt with the two missing blocks
Since it's all laid out on the design wall, it's too complicated to pack up to take to the retreat, but this can be my current sewing project.  There is another one on the wall as well - I need to get both of them off and something else up! And yes, there are a number of quilts where the blocks are made, they just need to be sewn together.   No lack of stuff to sew!

I have THREE more projects that need to be cut before I leave, but I have lots of time!  I hope to get the worst one done today, but I have a couple of things to do for customers and would like to get them off my plate.  OH - and yesterday, I found another pattern that I'm supposed to be making a sample of and I might start cutting that one as well!  Some of these don't need to be quilted so that is good!

Here is my working space.  This is where I'm supposed to do any hand stitching, figuring out fabric or whatever.  My goal is to clear this space today so on top of the customer stuff and a guild meeting, it's going to be a busy day!!!!

Stuff to tidy up today!
 And I've acquired ONE more license plate!!!

Number 17
Still haven't counted those from 2015.   Nope - can't go there!

Anyway - on that note - I'm out of here.

Have a super awesome day and hopefully you get outside.  Last evening, I had dinner outside, read a bit and even had a nap in my secret garden space and it was gorgeous.


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Sense and sensibility

Let's see, it's Day Five since Row by Row started for 2016.  I've got 16 plates. Three from the US and the rest from Ontario. All of those were purchased by myself except two - one was a gift, and one (against my wishes, but I'm OK with it) was a trade!   I just have to remember to get her something in return. See - my brain is already befuddled with extra details!

Hmmmm - can you tell which one was the trade?

I've even got a printout of the Ontario plates in the hopes? of getting them all.  Oh please - that would require ridiculous hours of driving and I would rather be quilting!

List of Ontario plates

Now the question is how to remain calm and sensible about this whole thing.  Remember - I do have a plan!  I almost caved yesterday and was about to ask a friend to pick up a plate for me. I even started to write a text to her. Then my common sense kicked in and I deleted the text.  I will be able to pick up this particular plate - it just means a bit of a drive. How badly do I want that plate?  It's a keeper so I might take the time and get it. How many days does this thing last?  I can only be good for so long!

I also got asked the other day about why I never post pictures of the homework from my classes - well.......  There is always so much to post or I don't have time to edit the photos. Between the Spring Market in May and now, I've taken close to 1,000 pictures!  OK - I really need to upload them every night and deal with them.  NOTE to self - get this office tidied up so I can do something!   It also works best if I have an editing session and then pictures are ready to go for the week.  I see that might be on the agenda for later today.

Today, I'm visiting one of the exhibits that was on display at Quilt Canada. The installation is called Cascade of Colours by the Beaconsfield Quilters Guild.

I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE the rainbow of colors. It's stunning and I would love to have that in my house somewhere. OK - so I don't have that big of a house. Doesn't matter - it's gorgeous. And I should have taken a picture on set-up day because every time I went back to get a photo, there were people there!
Oh yes - I missed a good opportunity - my pictures are not the greatest!

Cascade of Colours display
The first part of the display

Cascade of Colours

I did take some close ups of particular pieces which are just stunning.  I think it is more beautiful by the fact that the makers were supposed to have the piece read as a certain colour from a distance (10 feet), but up close, the pieces are filled with all kinds of extra colours.

Detail of Cascade of Colours

Another section of Cascade of Colours

One more section of Cascade of Colours

 I didn't get the names of the makers for the individual pieces, but what a great show and the creativity and imagination that went into each - well I think they all had a lot of fun with it.

While I was out browsing the hardware store yesterday for supplies for a project, I HAD to stop by the paint chip section.  What do you think????

Paint chips

Hmm - I belong to FOUR guilds. I'm sure I can talk one of them into doing some kind of a projct with the paint chips.  I just have to come up with an idea as I don't want to copy the other one - well not exactly.

On that note, I have a bit of research to do this morning, look for some fabrics and then finish getting ready for my classes today.

Have an awesome day!!!!


Friday, June 24, 2016

Some cool tips

Somewhere along the way, I got into making dog beds or cat mats or whatever you want to call them. I got inundated with scraps to the point where I'm no longer accepting scraps.  I did pick up a box of scraps last night at a store that someone dropped off or someone collected.  Anyway - it's in the car, but for future, I have enough scraps to deal with.

However, I saw this amazing video tip this morning that is perfect for those of you who have scraps and want to make a dog bed.  Have a watch - it's a super idea and I might just do it.

Now you know you're in the right job when you don't even realize it's Friday and especially when you don't anticipate that next weekend (not this one) is a long weekend.  OMG - a long weekend.  What will I do my extra day?

Here's another neat tip. OK - most people would be horrified, but I thought it was a great time saver!  I hate, absolutely hate to go shopping for shoes and clothes.   I hate wandering the stores looking for something and then try it on and it looks like awful!  I've devised a better way. I was at the gym this morning and the receptionist had on a great pair of pants. Now will they look good on me?  I don't know, but they were awesome. I asked her where she got them - now isn't that clever?  She gave me the name of the store and the price. Perfect on both accounts - I think I can manage that. I believe there is a store in our local mall. The receptionist is slim and while I'm in not bad shape, she did give me the once over when I asked her the question - perhaps evaluating whether an "old" lady like me would look good in those pants!  I don't care!   Now, I'm on the hunt for new shoes!  I'll be watching your feet!

Have a great day!!!!


Thursday, June 23, 2016


Let's start with a question for you to contemplate today. I believe I have posed the same question in the past.

Quilters (most of us) tend to be collectors/hoarders who have compulsive behaviors. Does that sound like you?

Now here is the question - were we like that BEFORE we became quilters or did we learn that behavior after we became a quilter.   You know, have our brains somehow been affected by the chemicals in the fabric dyes and we've become brainwashed and obsessive?

Wouldn't that make an excellent thesis for a graduate student?

I'm not sure about myself.  I was always a collector, but didn't get frantic about collecting things - I think the internet has something to do with that. Let's not forget the marketers and our peers to assist us in our obsessions.

When I was at Spring Market in Salt Lake City, I came across something that I HAD to have and I didn't care how much I had to sneak around - I was getting these!

What are they?  Why little badges of course!

Sew on patches from Moda

Moda had a camp theme in their main booth. All of their designers had a small space to display their collection(s) beside the main booth. Each designer had their own badge. Check out this link to read about the badges.

Well - I couldn't help myself - I COVETED those badges and I shamelessly walked around to the booths and either took one from each booth or asked for one, if the designer was in the booth.  YES - I got to meet a lot of cool designers. Quilters have no shame when they want something. I went over a couple of times and I ended up with only ONE duplicate which I have no idea where it is at the moment. I think I got all the badges of the designers who were there, but there are MORE and I want them all!

In addition, there were these buttons as well.  I didn't collect these - they just happened to get in my bag.


Now that brings me to the Row by Row.  As you know, I got a bit obsessed with Row by Row.  Are you ready for it?   Can I have a drum roll please...........................

Here are my license plates for 2015.   I didn't count them.  Perhaps we can have a guessing game.

2015 License plates for Row by Row

On top of the 55 plates for 2014  (all used up!) and 14 so far for 2016.  I guess I could write a book with this many!

I haven't counted the kits I've collected, but lets just say there are a few!

Kits/patterns from 2014

Kits/patterns from 2015

Yardage/quilt for Row by Row

As we move into the Row by Row season, which started on Tuesday and I'm sure there were people all over North America and Europe who are going crazy and driving everywhere, planning vacations, swapping and road trips. I have decided to be rationale and reasonable for 2016 for a couple of reasons.

  1. The logistics of dealing with many people, different currencies became a nightmare and I still owe two people their plates and two people I owe money. I need to get that finished by the end of the weekend. 
  2. It consumes a LOT of time.  Since I started to work full-time, time is much more precious these days and while road trips are fun, I have plenty of fun road trips already planned and I don't need one more. 
  3. The cost.  Let's do some math because I think a lot of these row by rowers haven't done the math or they have NO budget.  On average (in CDN $), those plates cost $6.   That's an average - probably low - I bought one for $10 at Quilt Canada.   So 55 multiplied by 6 = $330.  That's just for the license plates!  Never mind the kits, the gas and whatever else that I purchased in the store. Bottom line - I don't want to spend that kind of money on this project. 

So I have a new plan for 2016.  The plan has to be flexible enough to have fun and yet be reasonable.  Thanks to the offer of a "friend" (thanks Shelly for the inspiration), I came up with a plan last night. Crap - I posted it on Facebook and hopefully no one saw it - well a few did and I've deleted it!   I know exactly what I'm going to do for 2016.  I've recruited a few people because I can't do it without their help and they know who they are and I just have to wait for the collectibles to roll in!   I'm pretty excited about my plan and it will be way easier to walk into a quilt store and say NO because I have a plan.

I love having a plan!   Do you have a plan?????

On that note - I'm out of here!   Wait - I saw this REAL license plate on my way to work yesterday.

Cool license plate
While it was a man driving the vehnicle, I bet his wife (or it could be him) is a quilter!

Have a great day!!!!!


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Found and lost and found...................

Back to the studio last night for a bit more work. I'm really anxious to get something FINISHED. Technically I shouldn't complain because I have finished quite a few things lately, but I want to get a big project done.

Let's start with my latest string quilt project.  I'm going in a completely different direction by doing 60 degree triangles.  At the beginning of the year, I took my green scrap boxes. I basically separated them into two groups. One that read as green and that is being used for the 365 day quilt of which I am up to date as at February 10. I hear she is going to run it again next year - AHA - I can catch up!

The second group was everything that had green in it, but many other colours as well. As I was prepping this post, I also remembered what I wanted to ask you!   So I used the yellow pages as the foundation base for the 60 degree triangles. I have no idea how many I cut - I simply used the entire book or what was left of it.  And I would like more!  So if anyone has old phone books or yellow pages - I'd take them off your hands.  If not, I have scads of newsprint in the basement - I guess I could dig that out and use it!   Because I don't think I'm going to use my entire box of scraps on these blocks and that is my goal! Use them ALL.

First two rows on the 60 degree triangle string blocks

What one completed block looks like

12 are completely sewn and trimmed

The "green" scrappy box of strips

The smaller pieces that will be used as I go to the tip of the triangle

Once I finished that first round, it was time to work on Tonga Rhapsody. I finished the block that was cut out and sewed a few more setting triangles in place.  This is what it looks like now.  I'm really liking it!

Tonga Rhapsody so far
 Then I thought I could start to prep the last two blocks, but where did I put them?????   I looked everywhere. Then I went to the prep area because I thought they might be there. Yep - they were there - right where they were supposed to be!  I also looked through the box for the missing block - no go.  I'll just suck it up and make a new one.

Ah - the prep area got a bit messy!

I truly have the best friends in the entire world!  Someone gave me this gift bag at last Saturday's class.  I wasn't sure who gave it to me although I do know now and I truly thank her for her kind thoughts and good sense of humour.

Gift bag!  Love the ORANGE paper

After my class, I was back to Quilt Canada and before leaving the car, I thought I had better check the contents of the bag since people know I like chocolate and it was a super hot day!  Yep - there was chocolate in there.  I took a picture, obviously with my imagery camera because I can't find the picture tonight.

But there was this beautiful cycling mug, a biscuit for Lexi, two pieces of YUMMY chocolate, and

gorgeous cycling mug!

  I feel a road trip coming on!  Thank you so much for the beautiful card - it is very much appreciated!  The chocolate came in very handy since I didn't leave the Convention Center until 8 PM and those two pieces were very welcome around 6 PM.

Wow - time to get moving!  I love when progress is being made - I don't care how great the progress is - just that it is being made.

Have an awesome day.