Friday, September 30, 2016

Sewing retreat - Day Six

Gosh - was it really day six?  I can't remember.

I forgot to tell you how I got out of my jam yesterday.  In my rush before I left, I was certain that I had loaded some pictures onto the internet.  Absolutely certain.  However, when I went to retrieve the photos, they were NOT there.

NO!!!!!    I NEED those pictures.  After a moment of silent panic, I thought that I could get DH to send them to me via e-mail. AHA - what a brilliant plan. So he sent me the pictures and it was easy as pie.  Why?  Because my photos are organized to the nth degree in subfolders. All I had to do was walk him through the subfolders which I knew off the top of my head and next thing I knew, those pictures were on my laptop!  Saved!!!!  

Anyway, I got up early every day at the retreat, partially out of habit although I could have slept a bit more since I was going to bed a bit later, but I had some writing to do that couldn't wait.

Usually, when I came down in the morning, it was to find a new project on the design wall. When I came down yesterday, all I saw was everyone's machines and other stuff all packed up!  By 8:00 AM, they were gone!

One other lady and I stayed until about 10:00 AM and then we packed up and we were gone. Well, not before ONE last stop at Burkholder's.  I needed to get something. Don't worry, I'll be showing you all the pictures over the next couple of days. No time to take pictures and edit them yet.

My GPS is wacko!!!   I set the GPS for home and it told me that I would arrive around 7 PM which was 8 hours from when I started out. Yes, that's a long way to go for a retreat, but so what?  It was fun to finally drive through the Pennsylvania countryside and actually see something.  All the previous times, it's been dark.

But my GPS is programmed to take the shortest route? the fastest route?  I had better double check it. According to Google Maps, it was a simple matter of taking Route 501 to 81.  Nope, my GPS took me through all the back country roads until we finally got to Route 501.   Weird - I have no idea why it does that. And then when I got to the border, it didn't want me to stay on the main road.   I have to check that out.

It rained for a bit and there was a lot of fog and TONS of construction. But despite that and the fact that I was tired when I started out so I needed to stop twice for a break and one teeny snooze, I was good for the duration of the trip. At one point, I had finished my audio book.  I didn't start the other one as it's part of a series so I decided to listen to the radio.

Well, it`s either country, gospel or talk shows.  Hardly any pop music.  Although I did hear about a recall for the trigger on a Remington gun!!!!  No worries, it gave me loads of time to contemplate life.

Getting across the border was easy.  I came across at the Rainbow Bridge thanks to my GPS.  Two cars ahead of me. NO NEXUS line.  A bit of rain on my way home and guess what happened once I crossed the border.  ACCIDENTS everywhere.  I never saw ONE accident in the US and once I crossed the border, I think I saw three in one hour. And a horrific one this morning where the car took out the huge METAL light pole that was bolted to a huge piece of concrete. 

But I got a "welcome home" from the border crossing person which was way more exciting than getting a green light from the NEXUS machine.

Here's the other thing I like about the US.  The toll highways.  I went TWO HUNDRED KM on I90.  I paid $6.85 for those 200 KM.  In Canada on the 407, I pay twice that amount to go 40 KM.  Hey 407, - what's the problem here???

On that note, time to get something done today.

Have a super day!


Thursday, September 29, 2016

Sewing retreat - Day Four

Oh, my goodness - it's the last day of the sewing retreat.  It's 9:02 AM and there are only THREE of twelve of us left. The rest of them got up early, packed up the cars and they were gone!!!!   How could you leave this beautiful place?  The other two have their sewing machines packed away, one is packing the car, the other is doing hand work.  But me - I'm still sewing!!!!   I'm getting to the point where I'm going to have to cut something and I think that is going to be when I call it quits.

It's been loads of fun, can't wait to come back - YES - I got invited back!!!!  Yahoo!!!!   Hey, retreat ladies - I'll be back!

It's been a hoot and I now have about five different names.  I now answer to Eileen, Ellen, the big E and well, I'm sure there was one or two more in there.

Yesterday was a bit of a slow day for me. I did manage to get one quilt top done, the backing and the binding. But it was slow. Mind you there were three borders on the quilt and a couple of us took a little drive.

Yes - we went to another quilt store in the area called Weavers.   Holy cow. These quilt stores are  deceiving. You think you're seeing the entire store when you walk in, only to find that there is another section around the corner.   Yikes - OK - I'll need to quilt a few quilts when I get home to pay for my purchases.  I couldn't help  myself!!!!

Some of the girls went to a lecture/book signing by Kaffe Fassett that was sponsored by another local shop.  I didn't have a ticket and I was OK with that. I think five of them went. The funny thing was that I posted on Facebook where I was and a friend of mine said, "oh - I'll see you, I'm coming down."  I had no idea what she was coming for but turns out it was for the Kaffe event. I didn't get to meet up with her, but I posted a picture of the girls from here that were going and they managed to hook up at the event. Now how crazy is that!!!!!!  

You gotta love social media because it's a way to keep in touch, find out what everyone is doing and where they are.  

Writing the blog has been a bit of a challenge. I get up early every day, but I had to finish prepping something else that required a bit of concentration so that got priority over my blog!  But I can leave today with a clear conscience. I got a lot done, my immediate deadlines are somewhat under control, although it's going to be a focused weekend.  I'm going to pretend that I'm on a retreat, but I'll be at my house!!!!

On that note, I had better get back to sewing. I've got about one hour left before we head out.  Because I only brought in what I was working and took the completed stuff to the car, there is very little that needs to be taken out to the car.

Have a super great day!  And safe driving home to the retreat ladies!!!!  Miss you already!


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Sewing Retreat - Day Three

I realise that I have to get the blog post done EARLY in the morning, otherwise, there is just too much activity and it's hard to write when there are too many people in the room.  Especially if they're talking guns and knives!  Oh my - we've had such laughs about it.  Yes - we Canadian are way too polite and naive!!!!

I've just come to the realisation that there is something on my computer at home that I need TODAY or I'm in big trouble.  NO - I don't want to leave just yet, but I may have to get up very very early tomorrow morning and get my butt on the road or I travel tonight in order to get that information where it needs to be first thing in the morning.  I cannot believe that I did that!!!!!   I guess when I travel in the future - take ALL laptops and other electronic devices!!!!

Let's not panic.  No no need for panicking YET!!!!   I really really want to travel in the daylight through Pennsylvania.  Hmmm - what could be Plan A, what could be Plan B????

But I'm having a blast here.  The group is great and there is lots of show n tell. There are a few early to bed, then there's me around 10 PM and a bunch of them do the midnight shift. I'm up early as I have some writing to do and it's so peaceful at 5 AM.  I know, only a crazy person goes on a retreat and gets up at 5 AM.  It's always fun to come into the studio in the morning and see what projects the midnight crew finished after I went to bed.

I got another project completed yesterday - yeah!!!   We've all been working on the same project and I managed to get mine completed by noon.

Oh god - I went back to Burkholders - the amazing quilt store to try and find borders, but alas, none were to be found. No worries, I'll get the border fabric where I purchased the layer cake back home. That went out to the car!  Oh no - I think we're doing a photo op later today. I see the last one was completed last night.

I started another project once we were back from the quilt store. I shouldn't have gone but I did manage to find a couple of very cute things.  I couldn't help myself!

This new project was one that I had to cut!  It wasn't all that bad and I managed to get all the rows together before I called it quits last night.  Given my situation, I may just assemble this quilt top and hustle my butt out of here.   DAMN DAMN DAMN!!!!!

My teacher instinct kicked in yesterday.  Brenda had a quilt top that had been pieced by her 90-year-old mother. Now we're not talking about a simple quilt. Nope - this one is tumbling blocks.  A major feat for anyone.  It was a bit wonky with stretched edges.  After a little bit of guidance and a MAJOR session with steam, that quilt looks great!!!!!   I was glad to help - that was my act of kindness for yesterday. Brenda did all the work - I just guided her through the steps.

On that note, it's 7:04 AM and Holly (Ooops - that would be Lily!   OH - that would be Lillie)  just walked in the door.  I guess it's time to turn on the iron and the sewing machine and get to work.

Have a great day!!!


Don't forget that it's my week to blog on QUILTsocial. Check out all the links to get some great sewing tips.

QUILTsocial - Day One
QUILTsocial - Day Two
QUILTsocial - Day Three 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Sewing Retreat - Day Two

Oh - the fun never ends. The more I get to know the ladies, the more laughs.  They are quite the group of ladies and well - we've covered a lot of topics.

Since I'm from Canada, I have questions about all things US.  Things like guns.  Oh my goodness - I've been educated on guns - all kinds of guns, handguns, rifles, state laws, holsters including a bra holster.  Oh boy - what an eye opener!   I won't be buying a gun but guns are important to EVERYONE!  Guns and knives - oh my!

I'm totally blown away by this topic of weapons. These ladies have guns and tasers by their beds!!!  Now not here at the retreat (thankfully), but at home.  And let's not forget that men usually have more stuff than women so I can't imagine how armed the men are.   WOW!!!   OK  - one of the tasers is PINK!!!!

On the other hand, I need to buy some alcohol and the consensus is that I won't be able to find alcohol at the grocery store because we are in Pennsylvania.  Maybe on the way home, I can find something.

Oh boy!!!!!   What a fun place!!!

I don't have a weapon in my car! OH MY - now they're all reading my blog. ACK - I had better not mention them by name - right Lily - my new friend!!!!!

But back to the sewing - we are having loads of fun. I think I managed to get TWO projects done yesterday.  These are mind-blowing projects that are boring as heck. But I managed to get these things done and they had been sitting around for a long long time.  YEAH!!!!!   I did need to borrow two strips of red fabric from Ginnie so I could finish the one project.  I was thrilled.

Just before leaving, I bought a layer cake of Halloween fabric from Patrick Lose.  When I arrived here, some of the ladies were going to make a scrappy quilt from a layer cake.  I piped up that I had just purchased one.  Well - I need to make this quilt they said.  And next thing you knew, I had the quilt cut before I went to bed last night.

I'm in the process of sewing up the quilt this morning.  Yeah!!!!   Now off to the quilt store in a few minutes to try and find a border.

OK - can't write any more - there are too many conversations in the room and I can't keep track.  I many write something I don't want to write!!!!

Love all my new friends - they are the best!

Have a great day!

Ciao!!!!   (did any of the above make sense?)

Monday, September 26, 2016

Sewing retreat - Day One!!

I'm in the quilting zone!  I was up early and ready to sew.  A couple of us took a small walk around the property to get warmed up!

I do believe that the three of us were alone in this massive room until late in the afternoon when the rest of the group straggled in!  Their loss - I'm very happy that I drove down the day before.

I'm on a roll.  Rather than unpacking the entire car, I brought in my sewing machine, and a couple of bags of projects/supplies. What to do first?

I decided to take some blocks for a quilt and sew them together. There is a massive table - I feel like I'm in Texas (everything around here is BIG), not Pennsylvania.  Anyway, I got to lay out the entire quilt, move a few blocks around and then start sewing.  Very methodical.  I'm in the zone!!!!

Got that top completed and then onto the next one.  That one only required only two seams, but there was a nice 60 - degree cut that needed to be done across a HUGE piece of fabric.  I laid it out on the table, took my cutting mat and ruler and sliced the fabric and sewed it on.  It went together like a charm!!!   I'm very happy with the results. I thought I would have to add something to the top and bottom, but NO - the quilt is the perfect size.  That was amazing as I did NOT plan this one - it just happened.

Then onto the next project.  Some string piecing that I had laying around and was one of the last minute projects I threw in the car.  While I have stuff that I NEED to work on, it's supposed to be fun as well and my plan is to get a few non-urgent things done.   I should be finished that string project this morning and then I better do a "must do" project.

I've now met all the ladies and they are a fun group.

Now in the area where we are, stores are for the most part closed on Sunday.  So that means that NO quilt store shopping yesterday!!!!   Everyone got up and is currently at the store. I'll go later when there's no crowd.  I hate crowds!!!

Yes - we're eating like queens.

On that note, I've got to get back to the sewing machine.

Have a super day!


Don't forget that this is my week on QUILTsocial.  Check out the fun challenge that I gave myself.  Follow along!!!!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Retreat sewing!!!!!

Oh my god - I'm in love with the retreat house!!!!  

We had a super class in the morning and loads of show n tell on my camera.  I even edited some pictures before I left and supposedly saved them to the blog, but alas - no photos this morning.  I really really need to get a photo editor on this laptop!

So after the class was finished, I had TWO stops to make and I got myself organised to leave.  No - the car was not overflowing with fabric, but it was full!

Then on the road.  Yes, I had to cross the border to get to my destination.  The usual questions - food or alcohol?  Nope - just candy for the trip!  Where am I going?  Denver!  No - not Colorado, but Pennsylvania!    Any gifts??  Am I leaving anything behind????  Only threads and scraps!!!  Then I was on my way.  I did notice that they had signs at the border - Save Time - Get a NEXUS card.  Well, I have a NEXUS card so I asked the Border guy - (gosh - what are they called???)  anyway - he said that this particular crossing did NOT have a NEXUS line.  Oh well!!!   On the way back into Canada, there is a NEXUS line.

Now you're going to die laughing at this next story.  Remember how proud I was yesterday when I was able to download that audio book to my iPod????   Well technically, I don't think I downloaded it.  When I started to listen to the book, I realised that I had already listened to that one.  I had forgotten to write it in my "read books" list.  So I'm thinking that the book was already on the iPod!!!!!   How is that for silliness.   I laughed and laughed, but I decided to listen to the book anyway and while the story is all coming back to me as I relisten - it did make the miles pass by rather quickly!

Still - it is a long, long drive to get here, but this morning - well it's so worth it.

One of these trips, I really need to drive in Pennsylvania in the daylight so I can see the surroundings.  There are mountains (or at least big hills) - went through one tunnel - I just love that instead of going over or around the mountains, they chose to go through the mountains!!!!  As I was getting closer and closer to my destination, at least according to the GPS, I was wondering if I would in fact get to my destination.  I had visions of calling and saying that I was lost and would have to spend the night in the car.  

The front seat of my car was littered with money when I arrived!  No - it wasn't raining money, but there were a plethora of tolls that I went through and I didn't have enough change and well - my US money was strewn all over the seat as I tried to satisfy the next toll!!!

But I arrived late last night and this house is AMAZING!!!!!!   I'll be sure to take loads of pictures - we are all (twelve of us) sewing/eating in  one HUGE room.  With windows on three sides, in the country on a farm with cows and a swan and probably much more that I didn't get a chance to see yet.

Let's see, I'm writing this in the gazebo outside as I had to get away from the other two people who are here so far as I can't focus on writing with conversations in the room.  But the best news - there is an awesome quilt store within walking distance.  I mean - it's very, very close!!   That could be dangerous - thankfully it is closed on Sunday - we are in Amish country after all.

On that note, I'm out of here - I'm already cutting and sewing and having a grand old time.  BTW - I did manage to figure out the microwave here and cooked the oatmeal at 60% and no spills!!!!   Yeah me!!  Now to try and figure out how to really download a new book to the iPod.  That will have to wait until I get home as the laptop I have with me, doesn't have iTunes on it and you need iTunes to do the download.   Damn Apple and its proprietary programs!!!!

Have a great day!!!!


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Panic Packing - again!

After some crazy, crazy days, I get to have a few days off. Well, it's not really days off because I have a TON of sewing to do.

Yep - I'm going on a sewing retreat!  First thing yesterday morning, I got some bad news about the retreat. The dates of the retreat had to change slightly and so instead of teaching a class this morning and having a leisurely afternoon where I could cut and prep everything the way I want to.  Nope - I'm leaving TODAY right after my class.

As a result - panic packing!  I think I have everything packed - took lots of those Everyday Market Tote bags of mine and threw everything but the kitchen sink in!!!

This is what is yet to be packed in the car!  Now some of this is for my class this morning, so don't panic!!!

To be packed in the car
 And let's not forget these bags!

More stuff to be packed in the car

Normally I don't take a cutting mat and rulers, but because so much is just yardage at this point, I have no choice but to cut there.  I know there are LOTS of projects that I could just wing in the bag and I did throw in a few extras, but there is a lot of projects that have deadlines and well - those are taking priority.  No worries, I do have a couple of "just for me" projects.

However, I do seem to be having a moment.  When Lexi and I went to go to the park this morning, NO CAR KEYS.  I know I had them last night when I went to the car to look for the camera. Hmmm - I have a feeling they got winged into one of those bags.  No worries - that's why we have spare car keys.

Then I went to prepare for my class this morning and NO PATTERN for one of the quilts.  Not with the project box, not ANYWHERE in the piles of paper on my desk (and oh boy - STOP the piles - take a few minutes, sort the stuff and file it!!!!)   That's on the priority list when I get back!!!    It's simple homework this month, I do have the work outlined in my little blue book which I have, but I would like to find the pattern. And it's NOT in the studio - I looked in all the possible places - well obviously I'm missing one!   No clue even where to look.  I'll just have to borrow a pattern today and we'll wing it!

And there is ONE more missing thing. Perhaps all three items are together? I doubt that.  My little priority book.  I took it to show n tell a couple of weeks ago and do you think I know where I put it???  OH - I must look under the seat of the car - it's possible it fell out of a bag and under the seat.  HEY - I was looking under there a while back and found a mailbox key that had been missing FOREVER.  We since had to get new keys made for the mailbox so this one is useless, but I'm still carrying it around in the car!!

OH MY GOD - in a heartbeat - less than FIVE minutes, I managed to search my brain cells and REMEMBER and actually accomplish downloading a book to my iPod so I have something to listen to in the car.  TWO books actually.    Well the other one I downloaded to my tablet - it's an e-book. Yahoo!!!!!!

On that note, I've got to start packing all this stuff in the car and then OH YES - I better pack a few clothes!

We're supposed to have WiFi where I'm going, so I'll be able to tell you all about my adventure.

Have a good day!!!!


Friday, September 23, 2016

An AHA moment!

For those that know me, I'm not much of a cook.  Don't get me wrong, I can be a good cook IF I choose.  I don't have the time, I don't have the interest. Food isn't important to me except that I need it to live. I know this is shocking to the foodies of the world.   I like to eat, but I would be very happy to eat pretty much the same thing all the time.  Plain and simple is what I'm all about. It helps to keep you from gaining weight as well!

As you know, I've been having an issue with cooking my oatmeal. It bubbles over in the microwave.  I saw Kathy's comment on my blog this morning and well - that was an AHA moment.  She says to cook the oatmeal at 60 % power.  Now why the heck didn't I think of that?  

This morning, I cooked it at 60%.  I had to check out the microwave and I don't think I quite perfected the technique, but the bottom line - cooked oatmeal - NO mess.  Mission accomplished!
A HUGE thank you to Kathy for that tip!!!!   And now I love, absolutely love my soup mug for oatmeal.  While the mug is hot, the handle is not.  PERFECT!!!!   Life just doesn't get any better!

From time to time, you see me post about little gifts that I've received from my students or friends. I still have a couple pictures to post, but no time. It's just total chaos these days. 

However, I don't want you to think that all those kind gestures are one-sided.   Case in point - this quilt below. 

Quilt made from Fireside fleece

A while back, a long, long while back, Ronda bought a kit for a quilt made with Fireside fleece. I think it was one of those "I NEED this kit" moments.  When she got to thinking about it, making a quilt from Fireside fleece is messy!  It's hard to sew because it's stretchy and well, all around, not good news.

After it had sat at her house for a while, she gave it to me - I think the original intention was for me to try and sell the kit to someone.  Well, that won't do.  After all, she bought the kit because she liked it.   I decided that I would make it for her.

It sat at my house for a long, long while and some time ago, I cut the top and serged all the squares together. It went together quite quickly and then it got quilted.  I have no idea when it was sewn or when it was quilted but I want to say that it was this year!   I even made something with ALL the scraps, but that's not finished yet.

I was going to give the quilt to her without the binding. I thought that at least she could do the binding.  Then I thought, NOPE, it's got to be complete or it will sit for a long, long while at her house before anything happens.  The next question was what binding to use for this quilt.  No to cotton and I really didn't want to use fleece, although I've since found instructions for putting on a fleece binding.

I opted for black flannel.  Washed the flannel, since the fleece isn't going to shrink at all, but that flannel will.  Made the binding slightly wider than normal because of all the thickness - yes there is batting in that quilt. I managed to get that binding on by machine - both sides!    I did hand stitch the corners of the binding down and now it is at Ronda's house. Just in time for the cooler weather!!!

And that's one more quilt out the door.  Now why did I do that for Ronda?  Because she has saved me numerous times, with a run to Tim's, picking up little things here and there.  Making this quilt - I probably still owe her for all the small favours she has done for me.

Thanks, Ronda!!!!  It's great to have friends like you.  Enjoy the quilt and NO - it isn't for Mark!!!!

ON that note, the day is already off to a wicked start.  I'm standing in the locker room at the gym (after my shower) and my locker won't open.  Thankfully I wasn't alone in the locker room so someone notified the front desk on their way out and the attendant came to rescue me.  We discovered the lock was broken. Thank god - but now that I'm thinking about it - I might be the one who broke it!  You see, I go to two different locations of this gym.  One you turn the lock to the right to lock it and the other is to the left.  Ooops - I think I turned to the wrong direction.  Sigh........  

Time to get moving!!!

Have a super day!!!


Thursday, September 22, 2016

My cup runneth over!

Let's get the bad news out of the way.  That darn soup cup that I bought the other day for my oatmeal?  Well, it isn't deep enough!  I thought I could trick the system.  I set the microwave for one minute.  Checked - yep, everything is OK.  Set the microwave for another minute.  Checked - everything is still OK.  Set the microwave for the last 30 seconds and about 15 seconds in, the oatmeal rose to the top and seeped over the edge of the cup making a huge mess!!!!   Grrrr - now where is that 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup that Cathie uses?  Really?  How big do I have to go to avoid the oatmeal from spilling over?    I did like the handle and there is a lid - should I attempt to put the lid on for the last 30 seconds?  It does have a vent in the top.  Can you imagine a soup cup of oatmeal exploding in the microwave?  I cringe at the mess!  But I might give it a try because I really really like my soup cup!

We talked about using your eyes to see. Of course, we all know how to do that.  But do we really see things?   I don't think so.  I decided to get out that book I mentioned and I knew exactly where the book was located!  It's called "How to use your eyes"  by James Elkins.  

How to use your eyes by James Elkins
BUT - there was a surprise for me when I opened the book.  It was signed by the author and not just a random signature - nope - my NAME was in the book.

My copy is signed by the author!!!

Now, who knew that was in there????    Did you notice the date?  01/01.  My guess is that this person came to Sheridan College when I was a student there and I probably purchased the book at that time.  I must say that I have no recollection of that.  But we got to meet so many cool people when I was a student there that I don't remember them all!

However, I've decided to read the book (I know - if only we would read what we buy) - imagine how knowledgeable we would all be!!!

I'll keep you in the loop as I read through the articles.

There is something that I notice every single day and I would LOVE to take a picture of it every day because every day it is different. However I'm in the car on the highway and well - it wouldn't be safe to take a picture.  I wonder can a dash cam take a still photo???   The thing I see is the skyline of Mississauga.  It changes with the time of day, the weather, the construction and I think it would be cool to document that.  Hmmmmm - now to shop for a dash cam, but only if they take stills.

Speaking of authors, there is an author whom I love and I have been reading her books for a while, although I'm not up to date with her books.  I like knowing that I still have books to read and not waiting with bated breath for the next one to come out.  It's Louise Penny.  She writes a beautiful monthly newsletter and you can access them on her website.

Louise's husband, Micheal was diagnosed with dementia some time back and the way she wrote about their life (and their love) as he declined - well it's an amazing story.  Micheal passed away earlier this week. To watch a loved one die a slow death from dementia (or a similar debilitating disease) has to be one of the hardest tests that we humans would face.  Louise and Micheal did it with so much grace.   You can read the details here.

I know why I was playing that stupid game on my tablet.  I didn't have a book to read!  Normally I have one or two going or at least something in hard copy, something on the iPod and perhaps on the tablet. But I had NOTHING.  Most of the books on my shelf are part of a series and it takes time to research the next book and find it on the shelf or download it or order it from the library - I REFUSE to buy novels.  So many authors, so many series, so many characters to keep track of!  I think I'm set - I know what to download to the iPod (need that for an upcoming adventure), got a book on hold for the tablet and I have a physical book in my hands (oh crud - I started a new series!) and one physical book on hold which the library can't find!

And you need to check out this link to my artist friend, Cynthia Frenette.   I mean seriously - do you know how much there is to do????   I mean - seriously?

On that note, there is a ton of things waiting for me and I'd better get started.

Have a super awesome day!


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Sashing? What if?

Interesting things happen in the quilting world.  Remember we chatted about the "what if" the other day.  Let's play what if? this morning.  

I'll step back to Saturday when we had show n tell at the class.  Shaun brought in this gorgeous and I mean GORGEOUS (and not just because it was orange) quilt that he had made.  And it was HAND QUILTED by Shaun.  Then it had been washed so it was fluffy and well - I could have put that quilt in my bag and been a happy camper!!

Shaun's quilt

The block had come from a magazine and was originally made into a table runner.

Shaun felt that the blocks got lost in the quilt and he was asking if he would have been better to add sashing.  So we are going to test that out this morning.  

Through the magic of EQ7, I recreated the block. Have a look -- it's not what you think it is.

Original block

Now, let's see what that looks like in the table runner configuration.

Table runner

Now let's see what happens when we put those blocks together to get the quilt that Shaun made.

Orange quilt

Do you see what is happening with this particular block???  It's almost like the block itself creates a sashing when they are put together.   It's an interesting design.

Now let's see what happens when we do actually add a sashing.

A sashing with corners stones and a border are now added

Isn't that interesting, how the sashing changed the quilt.  I don't know which one I prefer.  They are both gorgeous.

And just for the heck of it and to show you that YES, I do work with other colors, here's the quilt in blue.

Blue quilt

But here's my thoughts - if you do not use EQ7 - you are missing out on a whole lot of fun.  It's a well thought out quilt design software.  It's extremely versatile and I use it ALL THE TIME.   Those pictures above took very little time to create.

Anyway, that's my thoughts for What if? today.  Don't be afraid to mess around with your blocks, your designs and everything else to see what would happen WHAT IF?

And if anyone has another design question - feel free to let me know and I'd be happy to play what if with your dilemma.

Have a great day!!!


Tuesday, September 20, 2016


I have to laugh whenever I see tools on the internet whose purpose is to generate ideas for blogs. Wow, inspiration to write? I think if you need to be "told" through an idea generator then perhaps blogging isn't your strong point.

Now typically, I use my pictures as my inspiration. I try to take pictures of what is happening around me, what I did, what my students did or whatever.  Now that I'm working full-time, sometimes, that isn't always possible and lately, it appears that I'm working on projects that I can't share with you YET.

Now I have pictures to edit, lots of pictures!  So I made an attempt this morning to edit some pictures and my computer was so darn slow!  Once I did manage to edit ONE picture, I attempted to load it to the internet and that didn't work!  ACK - what is happening?  And I certainly didn't have a lot of time because currently, I'm sitting at the car dealership getting my car serviced.  I'll be here for three hours and rather than go back home and then come back, I decided it was more time efficient if I just brought my computer and work with me.  My appointment was for 7 AM and I think I bet the entire staff to the building!

However, since I wasn't able to get that ONE picture uploaded to the internet, what was I going to blog about?  After shutting my computer down in frustration, I took Miss Lexi for her morning walk. On that walk, I came up with about 6 topics and all of them were inspired by my walk!

Should I tell you about how our daily walks have changed due to several circumstances in the neighbourhood?
Should I tell you about the crazy drivers at 6 AM?
What about listening skills that don't exist anymore?
What about stripes?

Whoa!   Where did the stripes come from???  Well, it's garbage day in my neighbourhood.  I'm always amazed at how many sofas get brought to the curb on garbage day.  Not just in my neighbourhood of course, but wherever you go.  Don't you just wonde - WOW - that is such an ugly sofa - I wonder what the rest of their decor looks like?

Striped sofa
So this is the striped sofa that Lexi and I discovered on our walk this morning. It's not all stripes, but wow - that one is a winner!  I guess it's pretty, but look at that light colored seat - that's an accident just waiting to happen.

I'm working on a huge project that has to do with stripes, but alas at this moment it's totally shrouded in secrecy. God - don't you just hate that? But I've made my list, checked it twice, got my tools ready and where's my cutter????

Speaking of inspiration for quilts. I used to be a heavy pattern purchaser.  And I still do buy patterns. Sometimes it's for the inspiration, sometimes, it's because I want to make that exact item. But the more that I quilt, the more I want to experiment. WHAT IF is playing a big part in my life these days.  What if I used this kind of fabric for that technique?  What if I changed this color or that color?  What effect can I get with this ruler or that ruler??  The ideas are spilling out of my head faster than I can write them down!

I find inspiration EVERYWHERE!  Like I said, on a beautiful morning before the sun was up, Lexi and I were so totally inspired by our walk. All I can say is that you need to walk with YOUR EYES OPEN and you'd be amazed at what you can see.  I have a book at home that's called - how to see with your eyes open    or   something like that.  I can't remember the title.  But LOOK, don't just glance at things.  Ask yourself questions about what you see, take pictures.  Oh yes - inspiration is everywhere!

Just got the bad news - there is a LOT of stuff that needs to be done on my car.  I might be a smidgen later than planned to get out of here. No worries - I brought a ton of stuff that needs to be written, designed, proofed.  I could be here for hours and not run out of work!

On that note - I'd better get back to proofing.

Have an awesome day!!!


Monday, September 19, 2016

I GOT answers!

Well, I got the answer to ONE of my questions yesterday.

I have to say the days are super crazy!  I barely get ahead on one project and the next pile of fabric is screaming - "cut me!  cut me! I want to be a quilt too!"  Especially those fabrics that are being made into a quilt for someone.  And you should see me cut!  I'm very efficient and I love it (which is part of my problem of having too many projects).

At some point when I was new to quilting, I would pick a fabric from my stash and there wasn't much of it. Perhaps I only purchased 1/4 meter.   I wouldn't/couldn't cut into it.  Oh no! - what if I need it some day?of
That is NOT happening these days.  I need a 7 1/2" strip of every fabric in this particular collection and regardless of how much is there, if there's enough to get a 7 1/2" strip - off it comes!  Wait until you see the fabric, you'll see what I mean!  I should be finished by Friday or I might just break down and take pictures in the next day or so, but it will have more impact when it's all cut.  I'm excited about it though and can't wait to get started - it is super, super easy!

Also had a class yesterday on the Gravity quilt and the class is well on their way to making that happen.

Gravity by Jaybird quilts

It's a gorgeous quilt and it's going to be loads of fun to make.  I'm still collecting a few fabrics, but how that the class has started, I must get myself together on that one!  Did more cutting last night. I'm in good shape!

On my way home from the class, I stopped at Loblaws.  All the way to class, I thought about the best location to look for a bowl for my oatmeal. Would I find something at Wal-Mart, Loblaws, Homesense?  I decided that Loblaws would be my best bet.  I scoured the shelves and look what I found!

Old bowl, new bowl
 I believe it is called a soup mug.   I was concerned that it wasn't much deeper than my existing bowl, but there is about an extra inch.  And it has a handle!  I think (I hope), I'm good to go for the oatmeal. Can't wait to try it!  Mary uses a large Starbucks mug and Cathie uses a 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup!  Thanks for the suggestions.

And there is a little top that goes on with a vent - not sure if you can actually microwave oatmeal with that lid on. But I arrived at the cash only to find my lid had gotten lost on the way to the cash. Had to backtrack through the store to find it!

Now to get that darn picture issue done or my Mom will be on my case again!  And I want something from her at the moment, so I better not be tardy with these pictures. She rarely asks for something!

As if that wasn't enough excitement yesterday, no after dinner, I still had more work to do.  This was emergency applique!  I needed eight circles, some black, some yellow.  Two of them are stitched in place, 5 of them are made and glued, ready to be sewn and one - well, it's waiting for the block to be finished before the applique can be done!

Black circles

Yellow circles

I promised that the quilt top would be done by Thursday evening. YES - it'll be done!  I've already started to sew it together.

Now you can see my problem. If I worked on one project at a time - everything would be fine, but I work to deadlines and since there are many, I work in bits!  I love it!!!!   But not much gets completed unless it absolutely has to!

Happy to report that my knee is almost back to normal.  That was very weird, from hobbling like I'm dying to almost good as new.  My knee still gets very tired especially when I walk Miss Lexi as we go fast, but not too fast. I can definitely feel it when we get back so I'm still taking it easy and she goes to the dog park as much as possible where I don't have to walk much.  If I don't have to walk much, I'm good - a long walk isn't fun yet.

On that note - I'm out of here.

Have a super, super day!!!


Sunday, September 18, 2016

I need answers!

Don't you just love the weekend? I never really used to care about the weekend so much, but once you do the 9-5 thing, you appreciate the weekend a bit more. Even if the weekend is packed with pretty much the same stuff you do at work. OK - that's not entirely true, but at least the field is the same!

We had a super class yesterday for the Saturday Sampler and I'll be posting pictures this coming week.

Today, I have questions. Now I could (and will) find the answers, but if anyone can shed some light on these things, I'd be happy to know.

My first question is food related. I've been doing a pretty good job in the food department. Not eating a lot of junk food, some days it seems not eating a lot of food period!  There's no time for shopping and no time for eating!  Don't worry, I do get my three squares in a day. However I'm always on the search for better breakfast options. And for some reason, I've been craving oatmeal. Must be the cooler mornings.

As I don't have a lot of time in the morning, I bought a package of steel-cut oats for the microwave. Yes, I know when you cook oatmeal you need a DEEP bowl. It even says so on the package. But seriously - how deep does that bowl have to be?

My oatmeal overflowed the deepest bowl I have

My first question is - does anyone have a great bowl for microwaving oatmeal?  I might zip out to the store (what store???) to find a bowl.  Seriously - this is why I hate shopping. If I could go to ONE store and find a deep oatmeal bowl, I'd be happy. I can't stand driving around, walking around trying to find something that might not even exist!!!

The oatmeal was very yummy and with a midmorning snack of strawberries and Greek yogurt, I might have the morning covered.  I'm not one to change things up and I could basically eat the same breakfast every day. Well almost every day!

My second question concerns printing photos.  You see my Mom is on my case and well - you have to always listen to you Mom!  When I was at the family reunion, I took a few photos and I keep forgetting to print them for her.  Yesterday was the day to make this happen, but it didn't.  I went through the photos and identified which ones I would print.  Then to Wal-Mart website where I proceeded to upload the photos, but once I got to the cart, I realized that I was on US site and they would NOT ship to PO box in Canada.  GRRRRR!!!!   Back to Canadian site where they don't seem to have the option of shipping or printing in the nearest store.  So the question is - can we do this in Canada????  Do I have to go to the store?

I know what you're thinking.  I could go to Wal-Mart in person, get the order processed for the photos and look for a deep bowl for the oatmeal.  Yes - I could do that and I might end up doing that this afternoon!!!

In the meantime, I have a HUGE mess in my studio that is more important than oatmeal or photos (oops - those are photos for my MOM - they should be a priority!).

Anyway, I'm not in the habit of making quilts for people.  You know, someone is sick - I should make a quilt. Well, I'm having a big change of heart in that department. I think it's a great way to get rid of some of this fabric that has accummulated and seriously - how many samples for trunk shows and for myself do I need?

Off to the stash and pulled a LOT of fabric - I'll share the project with you in a day or two. It got dumped on the floor and I'm in the process of cutting it. (The cutting table is overflowing with quilts that need to be trimmed - more on that later this week.) At least the first cut.  You'll see when I show you all the strips.  It's obscene, the amount of fabric that is there.

Major cutting session going on!
 As I'm cutting, I have other ideas percolating in my brain so stay tuned!

Now I would like to make TWO more quilts - one for a wheelchair bound person so I need to find the dimensions for that and then one more for a young person who has recently moved.   It just never ends, but I'm going to feel awesome to give these quilts away.  The big question is "how quickly can I make these happen".  I always have good intentions.  NONE of them are fancy - nope - just squares, with machine binding.  Quick and dirty, but the thought is there and I'll personalize with fabrics and colors. I'm excited - now to squeeze in the time.

From time to time, I get donations!  Look what I received yesterday!  BRAND NEW election signs.  They were legitimately acquired and thanks to Mary for her eagle eye on these.  I have another batch coming in a month.  I see, a bag making session is going to be in order to use up this stuff!  But look at the money I'm saving!

Election signs
 And Mary gave me two pet mats for the feral cat program in the warehouse.  I love Mary because she always gives me FINISHED pet mats. It's the ONLY way I will take donations in this department. I have scads of stuff to make more - it's just the time to make it happen.  I'm dealing with my scraps as I go, it's the huge pile under the long arm that is the problem!!!   Thanks Mary!!!

Two pet mats!

And on that note, I'm out of here.  Oh - I see paw prints all over the computer. I guess that means that Lexi has been blogging again!

Have an awesome day!


Saturday, September 17, 2016

Life's a mystery!

As I was sewing this morning, I was working on two projects. Yep - that's why I can never finish ONE project because I seem to be quite happy to advance TWO projects, but never finish ONE.

Well one of the projects was just a block that was to be completed by the beginning of this month. It was not and technically I have until the end of next week, however I'm choosing to get it done today!  The block is done. But here's the thing - it's a mystery so I can't show you what it is and I can't even tell you about it. Suffice it to say that I'm very excited about it for a number of reasons and I can't even share the reasons with you!

In between working on that block, I was sewing the missing block to that other project. It's not like the block was missing, but one of the blocks was just a touch too small to fit in with the rest. I cut not one, but TWO blocks yesterday (that was an accident!) and now I have part of at least one of the blocks together. The rest I can finish later today. Again - can't show you that one!  However after Thursday this coming week, I can show you not only the block, but the quilt. Well if not the quilt - at least the quilt top!

And then there's another mystery. But this time - it's a mystery even to me.  One of my guilds is hosting a mystery.  The size is right - 58" by 72".  Close enough to my optimum size (60" by 72") so I can live with that. You need a jelly roll or forty 2 1/2" strips.  While I like jelly rolls and have purchased my fair share of them, I hate the fact that the colors vary so much from light to dark and there is NO PATTERN that I'm really happy with that truly showcases a jelly roll.  So I opted out of using a jelly roll.  I remembered that I had a BOX of batik strips - 2 1/2" and this would be a perfect opportunity to use them.

Batik 2 1/2" strips

These are from an exchange that one of my groups did years ago.  Yep - years ago and I've no idea how many strips are there. Let's just say there are LOTS.

When I opened the box, I found FOUR patterns that I had intentions of making with those strips.  Of the four patterns, two I really like, two I'm so-so on.  I've decided that I'll start with the mystery and just use whatever combination comes to mind when we need to start cutting.  As I cut for the mystery, I'll also cut for the other two quilts that I like and those ones are going to need a ton of cutting. I know - it's going to be very hard for me to keep up and I likely won't, but I'm going to try - I'm really going to try!

However if I continue to have days like yesterday - it's going to be even harder.  It was a physically exhausting day at work and I was tired when I got home. So Miss Lexi and I went off to the park and when I got home, I was too tired to do anything. I think I was even in bed (lights out) by 9 PM.  But I had an amazing sleep and I'm pumped up ready to go today! Thank goodness because there is so much to do, I don't even know where to start.

Well - I guess I do - I have two classes this morning and those are my priority!

On that note - I'm out of here.

Have a great day!


Friday, September 16, 2016

Canadian pride!

Did I already post this?  If not, here's a fun way to participate in a massive sewing bee and do something good at the same time.

The Canadian Quilter's Association is having a BIG QUILT BEE and the end result will be quilts that will be donated to Ronald McDonald House buildings.  Oh yes - I'm sure I've told you about this. Well, I'm telling you again!

Here is the link to the information on CQA website.

While it's a little bit confusing as to what fabrics are allowed, check out their website to see the specific collections.  Check out this link to see the entire Northcott  Stonehenge Oh Canada collection. I bet most of you have some scraps from this collection in your stashes.  What a super way to use up those scraps.

And if you want to wait until the Northcott Canadian Sesquicentennial fabric hits shops in order to make your blocks, that collection will be available in November.  There are some fun fabrics in this collection.

There is another new collection to be released in May 2017 called Northcott Stonehenge OH Canada - Our Home and Native Land.

Yes, there are other Canadian fabric collections you can use, but I'm a bit biased!

Wouldn't this be a super opportunity to get together with your friends? You could pool your Canadian-themed fabrics and coordinates and have an amazing sewing day. Now I must find time to do this - I think it's going to be loads of fun.

Send me pictures if you make a block. I'd love to see what you're doing!  And if I can wangle a day, I'd love to have a sewing party to make these quilts. Anyone up for that? It means I'll have to do a "bit" of tidying!

Have a great day!


Thursday, September 15, 2016

A picture is worth a thousand words!

I was going through some e-mail the other day and came across this picture of a sweet young kid (and her bratty younger brother) at Gramma's house!!!  I have no idea how old I was, I'm sure my Mom would know - six???? But wasn't I cute?  And look at that blond hair!  I love how my brother has his hands shoved in his pockets! 
Me and my baby brother!
This is one of our "famous" family photos.  My grandfather took tons of pictures, mostly of his garden, their travels and of course the grandkids.  While he took a lot of photos, he didn't take as many as we do today.  Recently I read that there is rarely a day goes by that we don't take a picture of SOMETHING.  Did you take pictures of your food when you had to pay to have those pictures developed???  I think not!

I even remember the address of Grandma's house - 932, 104th Street.  The house is no longer there. It was torn down to build the new detachment of the RCMP. Not that they lived in a rough neighbourhood!  Just progress.  Too bad, because I have many fond memories of that little house and if it were still around  - heck, I could have bought it and moved in!  Although the commute would be bad!

I took stock of my studio this morning and OH BOY - I'm in serious trouble. There are about 6 URGENT and I mean URGENT things on the go and of course, it's all over the floor because the next urgent things are on the tables.  That's what happens!  If only I could work on ONE project at a time. However, my day and night jobs don't allow that to happen!

But let's get to those hexagons and the importance of pictures. When I was at the sewing retreat a couple of months back, I took on a job to help out with a quilt.

I cut and paste this from my blog from Day Two of our most recent retreat:

Then to pick another project.  I guess I had better work on those fussy cut eight pointed star blocks. I dug them out and did some marking of seam allowances.  Then I was side-tracked. Sacha had brought a problem child to the retreat. I told her to get it out and next thing you know, Ronda and I were completely off track. We took the blocks from Sacha's project, threw them on the design wall, messed around with them. Discovered an awesome quilt in those blocks. We had to make six more and Ronda very graciously helped. I cut and she sewed. Now all those blocks have to be squared up and well - that is going to be a bit of a problem because they are hexagons, but not to worry - I just took on another project!  Actually two, but that's OK!  

The trick really was how to trim up those blocks because yes the blocks are hexagons and it's not like I can just whip out a regular ruler to trim them.  I searched the internet to find a ruler that was the right size. Nope. Couldn't find anything. But after a bit more searching, I managed to find this ruler. It's called You Hexie Thing by June Tailor.  If you want this ruler, I could tell where NOT to buy it as it cost a fortune at the F store. But I balked at the price and found it much cheaper elsewhere.  

You Hexie Thing ruler
Because the blocks had been made by a variety of people, they desperately needed to be trimmed. And this ruler did the trick.  It was BRILLIANT and very easy to use!  If you're going to do a lot of hexagons, it's probably not a bad idea to invest in this ruler.

Here's a clue to some of you who may be in the know about this project. My little basket after the blocks were trimmed. And that's all you get to see for the moment.
The trimmings
Seriously, though - you're going to love this project and it's one that ALL OF YOU (well most of you) can play a part in at some point.  You just have to be patient for a few more weeks.

However, trimming the blocks was the easy part.  Yep - Ronda, Sacha and I had thrown those blocks on the design wall and through the process of messing around, a brilliant quilt design came about. And I took a picture so I would remember.  Seriously - I took a picture.

The project has been shelved for a couple of months and now it's urgent.  So when I searched through my camera, NO PICTURE.  WHAT????????   I searched through photos on my phone - NO PICTURE.  Say it isn't so!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Then I tried to recreate the design from memory. Memory? What memory? (I'm thinking Ronda must have deleted them. Isn't that awful that I even think that way?  Well someone has to take the blame and it can't always be me!)

I then did the next best thing. I called a friend!  I called Ronda - actually, I sent her a text message that I desperately needed help.  She had no clue what I was talking about!  We chatted later that evening and nothing was coming to mind. She had not taken pictures either.  I mean, why would she - it wasn't her project.

So we mulled the design over and at last, with her help, I got the basic idea of what I had done with the layout.  However, when I attempted to recreate it, it wasn't happening.  The good news? Last night, I got all the blocks trimmed and messed with them again and I GOT IT!!!!!   The blocks are on the wall in the position that we created at the retreat.   Thank goodness for that - I was getting desperate.

All is good and I can get back to work on this.  I do have to remake one of the blocks as it was a bit too teeny, while others were - well, let's just say that when different people make the same block - the end results are NOT the same.  I've got the missing block cut out and ready to sew.

You see, the problem is that hexagons are a funny beast.  They are - well they have SIX sides to them and well they are NOT the same - I'm just going to leave it at that!

And now for some even better news.  I still couldn't find that charger for my tablet.  Where could the silly thing be? Then as I was sitting at the table last night eating dinner, I thought I would check the sofa one more time.  That's where I had been hiding out when my knee had rendered me virtually helpless - well not really, but I might get more sympathy?

There was a plug sticking out from the back of the couch.  No way - could that be the missing charger???  Yep - it was all tucked down in the cushions!!!!!

The missing charger!!!
And it's very unique - there's no way you can substitute a phone charger for this one.

A weird little end on that charger!
And now it's safely tucked in the drawer where it's supposed to be.
The POWER drawer - chargers and batteries
I think DH hide the charger because he was annoyed that I had found and was playing (while incapacitated) a stupid game on the tablet.  I couldn't even remember what game I was playing and even when I got it charged up last night, I had to search for the stupid game.  As I mentioned yesterday, I'm an addict and it would take NOTHING for me to wile away the hours with a screen in my face.  So NO GAMES! Did you notice how quickly I shifted the blame of the missing charger to someone else?  I'm sure M is quite happy to no longer live in our house - I can't blame her for anything!

And even though row by row Experience is officially over, I'm still collecting.  Thanks to Mary who went to Halifax and got me some goodies.

Goodies from Halifax

That about sums up things in my life these days.  Running around like an idiot, working 24/7 (except when I have that darn tablet in my hands!) and basically LOVING every minute of it!!!

On that note, I'm off to save someone in the quilt world today - most likely myself!!!

Have a super day!


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Oh Canada!

Is it just me or are the days getting shorter?  No, I'm not talking about the fact that when I walk Lexi at 6:30 AM that it's dark outside.  Nope, I think someone has taken a couple of hours out of the day so instead of 24, I feel like I have 22! Wouldn't it be great if we could slow down time?

I guess that means more prioritization and being more efficient!

Today, I'm going to share with you and amazing project that made a spectacular show and tell the other night at the guild. 

In the guild year 2015/2016, the BOM ladies designed a Canada-themed quilt. Yes - I had good intentions when the year started. Heck - I even made the first row - the Northern lights one at the top. And then POOF - that project was put on the back burner for the remainder of the year.  I'm not even sure that I picked up all the patterns!

But the show and tell that we saw as a result of this BOM was amazing and KUDOS to everyone who finished. Some of them were actually QUILTED, BOUND - DONE!!!!!

I didn't catch who did what - so just enjoy the quilts. 

The other thing to note is that many of the makers personalized their quilts so that is why they all have a similar feel, but yet they are NOT the same quilt. 

Love the very Canadian theme to this backing!

Some of the quilts all together

This next quilt done by Peggy was based on the TV show - The X-Files.  I loved this TV show, but alas, no more TV for me.  It's like I'm an addict.  If I were to watch a show or two, I'd be hooked and I don't have time for that!!!

Quilt based on The X-Files
I believe Peggy said that she had joined an on-line group that does images based on popular characters.  I love the block that says "TRUST NO ONE!"

There were TWO mystery quilts also in the show and tell that were mystery quilts that I ran.  I only managed to get a picture of one of them.

Mystery quilt completed

This was a mystery designed by Debbie Caffrey and I ran it some group years ago!!!   I loved all of the mysteries that Debbie designed. They were loads of fun, but no time for that!

On that note - I'm out of here.

Have a super day!