Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Good deeds

I meant to mention this yesterday as it was Giving Tuesday.  I didn't donate any money and I didn't give anything away yesterday. However, I did give away something last week. 

Remember the rag quilt that I finished two weeks ago. I did post the story of this quilt and why Lexi is sleeping on it on QUILTsocial.  If you didn't catch the story on QUILTsocial, scroll to the end of the post. If you want to see how the quilt went together, check out this post

Essentially, a customer of mine gave me the quilt partially completed. She no longer wanted it and gave me the pieces.  I decided that it was a good example to work on for QUILTsocial. And after months of clipping, it was done!

Lexi's temporary sleeping spot
All that preamble to get to the actual story about the quilt!  The other day, I ran into someone whom I've known for years. I asked her how she was doing and she said it was going to be an excellent Christmas this year. I asked why?  Her answer warmed my heart, but it also made me furious!  Her daughter was in an extremely abusive relationship and has now been out of the situation for several months. This is the FIRST Christmas that they can celebrate as a family in about 20 years. What is so frustrating about this situation is that while the mother knew about the situation, doctors knew about the situation, other people knew about this situation and yet until the woman involved made the move to leave, NOTHING could be done!  This man needs to be locked up - he is pure evil. 

The woman left her home with a few necessities.  I immediately thought of this quilt and while it isn't anything special, I sure hope it will keep her warm and know that people have been thinking about her for a long, long time and I'm just so happy that she is finally free.  

I'm so glad that I had this quilt on hand to give out. I do have a LOT of other quilt tops that were made to be donated and that's on my list for 2017.  Don't worry - that darn Task Master book of mine is keeping me on the straight and narrow.  Holy cow - there is NO time for resting.  I'm having a blast and I'll be sharing my system with you. 

I hope that you're figuring out which 12 projects to choose for next year.  Don't forget that on Monday, I'll have tips on which projects to choose and how to prioritize. 

Let me chat about something completely non-quilt related - slippers.  Normally, people don't see my slippers, but when I was at the retreat earlier this month, I wore my slippers. Hmmm - there seems to be a problem or two with them. 

Ooops - a few holes
I've no time to shop for slippers.  Now it appears that these slippers are a tad too small and that is why they are bursting at the seams.  I had purchased them at Christmas last year.  Why?  Well, I already had a perfectly good pair of slippers.

Good slippers - but.....
The problem with the pink slippers is that they are slightly too big. So unless I wear socks in them, they slip around on my feet.  I don't like that feeling and it sounds like a herd of elephants is walking through the house.

Then I was looking for a hat or something in the hall closet and guess what I found???  Yep - a BRAND new pair of slippers.

Brand new slippers

However, I'm thinking that these might have been purchased for DH last Christmas.  I looked at them and they are even larger than the pink ones.  They certainly will NOT fit me.

Here's the problem with slippers - they come in Small, Medium, and Large.   The Small is too small, the Medium is too big. I guess I'll have to make a pair.  I do have a slipper pattern, but I like that fuzzy stuff inside.  I see a pattern modification coming up!

Well, it's time to get the day started!

Have a super day!!!


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Lost and found

Thanks so much for all the comments.  Contrary to popular belief - I'm NOT heading for a breakdown.  Matter of fact, I've never felt better. Yes - a tad overwhelmed at times, but I've no one to blame but myself. I did say that I was going to have a crazy time until December 1 and that's this week!  So far, things are on track to get everything accomplished and then I'll share with you. I've been given a couple of days reprieve on two of the projects, so they are both slated for delivery on Sunday. 

I've even managed to sneak in time to read a book. I know - I'm truly my own worst enemy. And let's not forget the hours I spend at the dog park or walking Miss Lexi!

Guess what happened?  Nope - I didn't find the notebook with all the lists in it, but I'm not worrying anymore. I can recreate those lists and as I recreate them, I'll be sharing the process with you. 

As I said would happen, I found the new book that I had bought to replace the old one. 
The new notebook which I now don't need
Yes - there is was sitting right on my desk beside the computer.  I honestly thought I had left it downstairs. I'm a piler and there was a pile of other stuff on it.   That's going to be a very hard habit for me to break, but I have an idea. 

I'm thrilled to report that already, the orange notebook is working wonders.  It's become a task master and you know how we are our own worse critics, this book glares at me when I'm home. Wondering why I'm not working smarter and so - things are getting done at a very rapid rate to avoid the evil eye of The Task Master!

The Task Master

I'll be explaining more about The Task Master - OK - so it's just a notebook. But I've been doing some research and I have a lot of information to share with you.  That will be on an upcoming Monday.  

Not that I need another project, but I did start a new one.  I forgot to mention - there is ONE important rule in all this.  We are NOT allowed to be judgemental each other.  If I want to start a new project, that's my business!  I started the new project for several reasons - I like red and white quilts, I like scrap quilts, I want to be part of the Sesquicentennial celebrations for 2017 and well - I just wanted to do it!

It's the 150 Canadian Women Quilt A Long.   I didn't see a finished picture of the quilt on the Facebook page, but there are 150 - 6-inch blocks.  That's going to be one huge quilt and I'm not sure I want a quilt that large so for the moment, I'm just making blocks and might make two quilts from the blocks. 

Here is a photo of my first three blocks


I've got the next three blocks cut out.  They make super enders and leaders while I'm working on other projects.  Not too complicated.  

But here's where I ran into a problem.  In order to keep everything neat and tidy, I found a binder to put the patterns in. Step One - check! Find a three-hole punch to make the holes. Oh shoot - I have two of them and guess what - I can't find the right one.  In another attempt, years ago, to get organized, I had an agenda which used a different setting for the three holes.  See - my three-hole punch for the agenda is even labeled!

Three-hole punch for a long forgotten agenda
I know, you're thinking - just change the position of the holes.  Well - not so easy as it requires a screwdriver which is downstairs. And well - you see why I keep a screwdriver in my box of sewing machine feet!   I'd be forever running around finding tools.

Three-hole punch needs a screwdriver to change the position of the screws

Another good thing happened yesterday. Remember that binding that I found and no idea where it belonged?

Binding for what???
As I was tidying up and making lists, I found the quilt that it belonged to!  I see that something has to be done about labeling those bindings!  Something to think about while I quilt the next quilt!

The quilt and the binding - now together!!!

On that note, I'm off to meet the day. Although by now, the day is almost half over. I've been up for hours, walked Miss Lexi and spent 1 1/2 hours in the studio and got loads done (thanks to The Task Master).

Have a super date!!!


Monday, November 28, 2016

Motivational Mondays

Good morning!

Today is the first day of the rest of your life.  In my case, my life seems to revolve around quilting and so today is the first day of an improved quilting life. I'm ready to stand up and shout to the world - "My name is Elaine. I'm addicted to quilting and I have an obsession that needs to be contained."

I'll start with a bit of background. If you've been following my blog, you know that I have so MANY UFOs that need to be completed. I won't embarrass myself by posting pictures, yet! There is a constant stream of stuff being packed and unpacked. There is constant chaos. The worse part is that new stuff gets started, new supplies get purchased, but the number of finished projects doesn't increase at the same rate.

I've made numerous changes over the years and I'm way better than I used to be, but a very sobering fact is if I don't come home tonight, what would my family do with that huge mess I created? How many of those projects would get ditched because no one could understand the mess that I've left? How many people would be fighting over my stuff? I decided that this situation won't do and as a responsible quilter, it's up to me to take control and do something about this.

I'm going to start by having you ask yourself a couple of questions. While this project is quilt related, you could use it to improve any part of your life.

  • Are you frustrated because you don't seem to get much done?
  • Do you spend top much time trying to find things in your studio?
  • Are your shelves overflowing with quilt related items?
  • Is the amoung of UFOs crushing your spirit?
  • Do you know how many new projects you start in a year?
  • Do you know how many projects you finish in a year?
  • Have you gone to the quilt store to buy a tool/pattern/book that you know you already have, but can't find?
  • Have you gone to the quilt store to buy fabric rather than search at home?

1.       If you answered YES to any of the above questions, then you might want to consider participating in my project. I failed miserably and answered an emphatic YES to all the questions. 

The object of this project is to help us get control of our quilting lives.

I've been quilting for close to 20 years. I’ve been a quilt teacher for a great part of those years and have started numerous samples. I’m also an enthusiastic quilter, but I’m not a great finisher. Making class samples and getting caught up in the latest trend has resulted in a huge pile of UFOs. There are so many UFOs that I don’t want to count them – even I would be shocked at the number. Even the number of quilt tops that need to be quilted would blow your mind. 

Not only are there a lot of UFOs, but there are magazines, books, tools, notions, patterns and fabric that fills the entire basement of my house.  I don’t even want to imagine the amount of money that was spent. Nor can I even begin to imagine what it would be like to move it all. Thankfully, there are no plans to move, but I will have to one day!

I’m tired of looking at the same old projects over and over again. I would love to get some of these things finished, so they can be donated, gifted or simply used for my trunk shows. I’m tired of digging through boxes of quilt tops to find examples for trunk shows, only to have to put everything back again. I’ve tried numerous times to fix the problem, but I get sidetracked or forget. Not the old age forgetfulness.  Nope, this is the kind that relates to – "I’m onto the next project already and no time to cope with the old|. Out of sight, out of mind also comes to mind on this one.

I’ve found over the years of blogging, that I've become more accountable to myself to get things done, but I need to take it one step further and by making this a regular plan and making it public, not only could I help myself, but hopefully I can motivate one or more of you to get control of the situation.

I’m calling my plan, Motivational Mondays and each Monday of 2017, I’ll post some inspirations, some tips, some photos on how we can get this situation under control.  It'll take some time, it'll take some motivation, it'll take some control and hopefully it'll change some of our behavior so once we dig ourselves out, we won’t get buried again.

Here's what I’m planning to do:
Each Monday, there be a new post  on the blog related to the situation. One week, it may be on magazines and how to get them under control. It may be tips on putting labels on quilts, culling projects or UFOs or just checking in with you. In order to make it easy for everyone to participate, I’m going to create a Facebook group where we’ll be able to post pictures of our mess – the before and after, we can post our finished items and we can motivate each other. 

This isn’t going to be easy. There will be times when we’re going to struggle, but I strongly believe that unless we start to clean up our acts, nothing will happen until the day we don't come home.  

I don’t think I even need to list the benefits of this program, but here are a couple in case you’re not convinced. 

  • A more inviting sewing space, perhaps even enough room to share with a friend or two from time to time. 
  • The ability to find ALL your tools when you want them, so no more purchasing duplicate tools.
  • No more clutter
  • Gifts that you can give ON TIME because you now have more time to sew, less time searching for things. 

Stay tuned!  You can sign up for the Facebook group next week. (If you don't do Facebook, then send me pictures that I can post on the blog or you can send me comments via e-mail).  I'll post the link to the weekly blog posts on the Facebook page. Share this post with your friends who you think need help. 

      This program is for those that are serious about making this life-changing event. If you’re not sure, then this may not be the program for you, but follow along, you many change your mind when you see how much we're getting done.  The same way, you can't convince other addicts to stop their behavior, I can’t get you started. Only you can do that. But together, we’re going to remember that we’re in this together and imagine what our lives will be like this time next year!!

The Topic for Next Week:
How to choose your top 12 priority projects for 2017

Have a super awesome day!


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Classes for 2017

As this year winds down, I'm gearing up for 2017!

In trying to keep things under control and to some circumstances beyond my control, my teaching schedule will be somewhat limited in 2017.  I'm OK with that - it will hopefully give me time to get caught up on a few things and to actually keep up with my homework!

Without further ado, here are the on-going monthly classes for 2017.   These first two classes will be held at The Hobby Horse Quilt Shoppe in Georgetown.  Please contact the shop (905-877-9292) to sign up, pay for your class, order books and fabrics.

The first one is a recent book by Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket quilts. The quilt is called Quilter's Patch and it's gorgeous. I saw it at Quilt Market.

Quilter's Patch by Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts

The quilt is 75" by 78 1/2" and loads of techniques to learn each month.   I can't wait to get started growing my garden!

The second quilt is called Kaleidoscope by Stephanie Soebbing from Quilt Addicts Anonymous.  This is a large quilt (108 square), but it's gorgeous with all those bright colors. This one is super easy and great for all levels.  If you want to challenge yourself, why not change up the color scheme and learn about value and color contrast.  I think I might make TWO of them.  One in the original colors and a second colorway that I'm thinking about!

Kaleidoscope by Stephanie Soebbing

Both of these classes are lecture style. The lecture starts with show n tell from the previous month's work, you get a walk through of the new techniques for the next assignment, a small demo on new tools or techniques and if there's time, regular show n tell.
The classes run on Saturday morning (dates available when you sign up) for 6 months (January to June), no classes in July and August (but you will have homework!), back to class for September and October and the final show n tell is in November.

Please contact The Hobby Horse (905-877-9292) to sign up.  I showed these quilts yesterday and without any advertising, there are already many sign-ups.  Do not be disappointed!

I'll also be teaching my usual technique classes - machine quilting, free motion quilting and machine applique - which by the way are ALL worth taking.  There isn't one person who doesn't leave the machine quilting class and not say "thank you - I learned way more than I thought I would!"  Trust me, a machine quilting class is NOT all about stitching on the machine. Loads more to think about than just the sewing machine.  The dates aren't set yet, but why not get your name on the list so when the class date is set, which will be soon, you'll be the first to get in the class!

Another class that I'll be teaching at The Hobby Horse Quilt Shoppe is Fancy Forest by Elizabeth Hartman. This adorable quilt comes in two sizes and this is an actual sewing class.  You'll bring your sewing machine, we'll cut blocks and you'll learn the various techniques. It will likely be a two-part or three-part class so we can cover all the details. Those classes will be on a Saturday afternoon, AFTER the two lecture classes mentioned above.

Fancy Forest by Elizabeth Hartman

There is LIMITED space in this class as people seemed to know about this one before I even showed the pattern.  I would NOT wait to sign up!  If there is enough demand, I'll run it again!  This quilt comes in TWO sizes - a small baby quilt and a large lap.

I will also be teaching a couple of classes on MODERN QUILTING at Ruti's Needlebed. Those will also be on a Saturday, likely in February and March.  I will continue the series, if the demand is there.  If you're interested, please contact Ruti's Needlebed (905-821-9370).  Who knows - we may just get ourselves the start of a local Modern Quilt Guild!  The specific dates are being decided tomorrow.    The Modern Quilting class will be a lecture style - we'll chat about modern quilts and then you'll get an assignment.  It's going to be loads of fun and with modern quilting - anything goes!

I'm super excited about these classes.  I wish I had time for more as I absolutely love to teach. And as anyone knows who has taken a class from me, I'm pretty darn flexible so the more changes you make to a pattern - the more you learn and the more I learn from you!

So please sign up, order your books, the supply lists will be available real soon (like I'm working on them later today) and I'll see you in 2017!!!!

Have a super day!!!


Saturday, November 26, 2016

And so the story begins....

Oh my, I got up this morning with loads of energy and with a determination to get something  organized.  I decided to start with all my projects from work.  ACK - what was I thinking?

I even dug out a new notebook to write things in. I lost the one with the lists in, so a few weeks ago,  I bought a second one which I can't find. I did manage to find one when I was searching for something else and I'm using that one.  Yep - I know that I'm going to find both of those other notebookes within the week. But that's OK - this one is bigger, it's brighter, it's orange!!!!
My NEW notebook

I'm hoping that this one is big enough and bright enough that it won't go missing.  I'm also going to take very good care of it and keep it in the SAME place all the time.

So I went through the tubs of projects that I started since I went to work.  These are projects that were made/started/designed with work in mind. The end goal is to finish them to add to my Northcott trunk show.  I started that list and went through the bags and boxes and well - let's just say the list is HUGE. That's one reason why we make lists in the first place - to shame us into not buying/starting anything else.  I mean - this is a serious, very serious situation.

Granted a few of the projects just need a label, some just need a binding and a label, but the list is long. Way too long.

And I'm not done yet. No - I figured while I'm at it, I'm going to assemble all the fabrics, all the projects from work into ONE spot. Make sure each is listed in the book and then I can PRIORITIZE and FOCUS.

I found bags of scraps in the bins and came up with some ideas on how to use them up which I'll be sharing with you as time goes on. I'm pretty excited about this new beginning, but here's another reason we need to get ourselves organized.  I found this binding. Now can you tell me what it's for???  It's black, made with a Stonehenge, looks like from the Oh Canada line. But still doesn't give me a clue as to why it was made.

Binding for????
 Well, I'm sure as I continue through the last of the projects for work that I'll figure it out, but seriously - what a huge mess.  I do feel much better knowing that most (and hopefully by the end of the day - all) of it will be organized and listed on the list. Lists are so much better - WHEN  you use them wisely!!!

On that note, I'm off to teach for the day.

Have a super day!!!


And BTW - my house smells of WET DOG.  Why????   Have a read at Lexi's blog to find out why.

Friday, November 25, 2016

What was lost is found!

I'm a list keeping though I'm not good at it. It seems that I start many lists on pieces of paper and then months later, I discover the lists. Most of the stuff on the lists has been done or it isn't important anymore. But here's what is wrong with the lists - I never follow them. I like making them, but I don't respect them and half the time I forget that I've made a list. 

So I've been thinking about the lists as part of my clean up for 2017.  This is serious business and I've been quietly working behind the scenes to try and clean up some stuff. 

In case you're wondering, I did NOT find that little book of mine, but I'm hopeful. Why? Well because I found not ONE, but TWO things that have been misplaced and I found both within the last 24 hours. Perhaps I need a list of the things I have lost!

I would like to say that this first item was exactly where it was supposed to be. I just didn't look close enough.  GRRRR!  

A while back, Northcott introduced a collection called Connector Playmats. It's a super idea for the kids in your life. I designed a free download pattern and some of our designers have other great patterns that are available for purchase. 

Connector Playmats
I wanted to make my pattern so it could be added to my Northcott trunk show. But where were those playmats?  This morning, while taking inventory of some stuff, there were the playmats in the bottom of a bag in a plastic container - exactly where they were supposed to be.  I'd checked the container before but didn't dig to the bottom of the bag they were in.  DUH!!!!   I'm my own worst enemy!

Now I have everything so I can proceed to make this quilt.

The second thing I discovered was my Reminisce pattern. It's been missing since June. How do I know that? Well, I found the pattern in a book on quilt borders.  Why was it there?  Because some of the students used coping strips to make their quilt larger.

Reminisce pattern that was lost!
It makes logical sense - my intention was to write an article on coping strips. That pattern was a good example, and I had taken everything to the June class for show n tell. When I got home after that class, I never sorted things out. Never checked in that book to write the article and well you see how it happens. I don't want this happening again!!!  Matter of fact, there are a number of other quilting tips in the Resource section of Northcott's web page. And some more free patterns.

So how will I prevent this mess from happening again?  I'm going to have to be extra diligent about putting things away.  If an article needs to be written, write it NOW, put the books and papers back and on to the next thing.

It all boils down to prioritizing things, then FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS.  That is going to my mantra for 2017 even if I have to have the darn word tattooed on my forehead. Hopefully, it won't come to that, but I could have it tattooed on my arm?????

Oh well -

This morning when I went to walk the dog, I got all bundled up and before I even went outside, I was sweating. I had to strip down, unzip as I walked - it was a balmy 5 degrees this morning. I was dressed for minus 20.  I guess I thought I was going to the dog park!

On that note, I got a lot accomplished yesterday from a pattern writing perspective. Today is all about checking numbers and measurements.  Yeah!!!!

Have a super day!


BTW - if you want to learn how to sew fast and accurate, check out QUILTsocial today.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

There really is a light at the end of the tunnel

As you probably guessed if you follow the blog, that the last month - let's say the last 6 weeks have been a bit crazy. My office at home, my office at work and my studio all look like tornados hit them.

I had loads of stuff to catch up at work and there was no time to tidy up. There were quilts everywhere in my space, there was paper, there was stuff! I had time yesterday to tidy it up and it actually looks not bad. OK - I'm not being truthful, but it looks better.

The studio and the home office are workable spaces, but total disasters and I'm hoping once the last of my urgents projects gets completed, that I'll have some time to work on them.  The best part is that I'm motivated BIG TIME to make this happen.  If I'm not motivated, nothing will happen!

This time of year is actually my favourite.  Why?  Not because of Christmas - that is the least thing on my mind.  No, it's my favourite because Christmas is on the minds of everyone else and that means things are quiet!  Guilds are winding down, classes are almost finished, no extra meetings, no crazy stuff - I do have one party to go to and that's one too many for me!   That means there is about ONE month of peace and quiet and I hope to enjoy every minute of it! And use it as the starting point of getting my act together.

Yesterday, I had to leave work early to deliver something and on my way home, I decided to stop at Chapter's. My goal was to peruse the magazines to see if anything new and exciting was there.  You don't know the situation here (you will soon) and let's just say that I do not need another magazine.

We get a lot of magazines at work, so that has definitely helped the situation, but I thought I would take a peek anyway. You'll be happy to note that I looked and I even contemplated buying one, but it was $19 so I left it and all the others at the store. No adding to a bad situation for me!

Now here's a funny story about reading. I refuse to buy a novel and am quite happy to borrow it from the library. Someone got me started on the Dalziel and Pascoe series by Reginal Hill.  I had read the first three and had no problems getting the books from the library. However No. 4 - The April Shroud was a problem.

The book was listed in the library catalogue, but it was aparently missing as I couldn't find it and the librarian couldn't find it. We decided to leave it ON HOLD in the event that it showed up.  None of you admitted to having the book. Anyway, while I was in Houston, guess what - the darn book showed up and I sent DH to the library to get it for me.

If you're not familiar with the author - he's British and the vocabulary is very country British.  Half the time, I've no idea what they're talking about!  OK - I can guess, but seriously, the vocabulary is quite colorful and I've had quite a few laughs reading the book.

Here's a note about the style of writing "The icon above says you're holding a book in the Felony & Mayhem "British" category. These books are set in or around the UK, and feature the highly literate, often witty prose that fans of British mystery demand."   The book was published in 1975.

It has taken me a while to read this book and I got a notice that it was due back at the library.  Oh shoot - well I went to renew it and WHAT?  it has HOLDS???   Thank goodness they found it for me so now someone else can also read it.  I did manage to finish it off last night and returning it today - one day overdue, but if I hurry to the library, maybe I can sneak it in before they start checking books in from the book return!

Check out the QUILTsocial blog today.  Some great tips on when and how to secure the ends of your seams.

And a Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers!  Don't over do the turkey!

Have a great day!


WAIT - I think Miss Lexi has something to say as well.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

I'm a liar!

It's not so much that I'm a liar as I'm not a good planner which is part of the issue of cleaning up my act for next year. You see this week, I'm blogging on QUILTsocial and that is taking all the spare resources that I have. Technically, it was supposed to be done last week, but I was playing catch up from Market.  

My lesson in all this - do not commit to something unless you know that you have the time to do it. 

In that case, I'll be real honest and say that my post to launch this program will happen on November 28 (Monday).  I need to give myself a pep talk between now and then! But I promise the post is almost complete. 

In addition to other things, I'm trying to get my classes prepped for 2017. And I'm happy to report that everything is under control. The decisions have been made and I'll be posting that later this week. 

All kinds of cool stuff has been happening - just no time to tell you all, but I'm almost done with QUILTsocial, so I can move on!

Here is one of the issues that I plan to fix for next year. I was looking for a pattern for a class for 2017. I knew where it was, all the items were in the same spot, but not in a box.  Look what happened to the cutting table!  


However, I'm happy to report that the pattern was where it was supposed to be. The patterns are now in a box and the cutting table (at least half of it) is clear!

Speaking of QUILTsocial - pop on over there so you can see what I've been working on.  I hear a certain canine friend of mine made a guest appearance so you must check that out.

On that note, hang in there - (that was more for me than you!). There is a light at the end of the tunnel.  From the sounds of it, people are giving the 12 projects some thought - I'll have more details and well, choosing those 12 made my heart sick!

By the way, remember when I mentioned that Carol (my friend Carol) had purchased that 1988 Piecemakers calendar and would she be interested in selling it to me?  I got an emphatic NO from her on that.  Oh well - if anyone ever finds the 1988 calendar - I want one!

Have a super day!!!


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

String piecing revisited

While I'm getting my act together with the post that was supposed to be done yesterday, here is more entertainment.

Another article and instructions on how to create string pieced blocks.

Life is very good - just hectic.  Bear with me - I'm working on the post. Besides, once it gets posted, YOU are going to have to do a lot of thinking and well, I'm just giving you more time to contemplate what's coming.

And if that isn't enough for you, here's another awesome website with some great EASY patterns.  Not that I want you to start something new, but if you're looking for a quick and easy way to use up some fat quarters - this is it!!!!   Great ideas for quick gifts - just in time for Christmas.

Have a super day!!!!


Monday, November 21, 2016

String pieced quilts

YES - I know you want to know more about my plan for 2017.  I'm running a teeny bit behind today.  So to keep you entertained, please have a look at QUILTsocial where I'm chatting about string pieced quilts today.

The other information will come - just not at this moment!

Have a super day!


Sunday, November 20, 2016

On your mark, get set...........................

What happened to the weather? It's a tad chilly out there and I'm grateful that I don't have children who want to see the Santa Claus parade today. Miss Lexi and I were at the dog park for 45 minutes and let's just say there's a bit of wind chill in the air this morning. She couldn't have cared less. Me? I was cold!

I'm dead serious about this completing 12 projects for next year.  I'm going to do what I can to make that happen - even if they are the only things I work on. However as I took a survey around the studio yesterday, it was evident that those 12 projects will do absolutely nothing to cleaning up the situation. So I've been doing a lot of thinking.  I have a vision and I'm going to share my experience with you so you can follow along. I'm getting everything in place and will explain soon what it all entails.  It will be painless - well for some, for others, there might be some angst. Hopefully, we'll all learn some new skills, we'll all be happier and we'll get more accomplished.

In order for this to happen, here are two things for you to contemplate.
1. Get that list of twelve projects on a piece of paper. I'll be providing you with some tips tomorrow on how to choose those projects and also a sneak peak into what's going to happen for 2017.  It's all about prioritizing.
2. In addition, we have many things in our studios besides UFOs that are a disaster - well at least in my studio. Like any addict (yes - we are addicts!), nothing will happen unless you WANT it to. So if you're serious about making a change in your life, you have to make the commitment. Not to me, not to anyone else, but you have to make a commitment to YOURSELF that you're going to follow along. I know that sounds serious, but  here's a story for you to contemplate.

I heard the story of a woman who was a quilter. Unfortunately, she got ill and passed away.  It took her family TWO years to sort through her quilting stuff. TWO YEARS!!!!!  Then it was all hauled to a community center where the family held a sale and made thousands of dollars. This is NOT an isolated story - I'm sure many of us would be in the same boat if we didn't come home one day.

I'm tired of the mess, I'm tired of managing so many things - it's time to make a change! I'm ready to stand up and shout to the world - "My name is Elaine. I'm a quilt addict and I need help!"

No need to sign up or anything at this point - just something for you to mull over today.  I'll get into more details tomorrow.

Based on what I just said, I'm almost embarassed to post these pictures!

The first one however is a fabric that I happened to find in Houston when the booths were being dismantled. Someone left a pile of stuff and I found this fabric in it. And you wonder why I have a problem?  Anyway - it's Quilts of Valor fabric with a US theme.  Is there anyone out there with a connection to QoV  US and would like this to make into a quilt?  There are two yards of it.

Quilts of Valor fabric
 Please do not offer to take it for your stash.  I want this to go to someone who will use it to make a quilt NOW.

As part of my ongoing craziness, the last of the license plates for 2016 Row by Row are coming in.  I got a few more yesterday.   I'm spacing these out so you don't think I'm a total lunaticc. Well you think that anyway!

License plates for Row by Row

I was at two different quilt shops yesterday and saw a different bicycle fabric in each so I bought ½ meter of each.  No, I don't need it, but darn it - I'm a collector.

Bicycle fabric

After I got home from teaching yesterday, I got to work. I can't show you anything at this point - but you'll start to see some of the work soon - well once we get our program for 2017 started.  I'm very serious about this - I want to have fun, but I also want to deal with the situation which isn't pretty and I think it's taking years off my life - having so much stuff to manage!

I had a quilt to quilt (it's a gift) and I should have done it last week, but no I didn't get it done. I had to make the backing, but hadn't done that. So I had this conversation with myself last night.

My conscience: "Just make the backing, it won't take long."  "Oh alright," I said and I made the backing.
My conscience: "Come on, just load the backing onto the long arm, it won't take long."  "Oh alright," I said and I loaded the quilt.
My conscience: "Hey, if you load the top, it'll almost be ready to quilt in the morning."  "Oh alright," I said and I loaded the quilt top.
My conscience: "Now if you piece the batting and load that tonight, look at how much time you'll save in the morning. Besides, you were just going to sit down, read a book and drink Baileys."  "Oh alright," I said and I pieced the batting and loaded that on the long arm.
My conscience: "Why not quilt a couple of rows tonight and save even more time in the morning?"   "Oh alright," I said and I quilted a couple of rows.
My conscience: "You're so close to finishing the quilt, why not finish it tonight?"  "Oh alright," I said and I finished quilting the quilt.

My conscience is a pain in the butt, but you know what?  That quilt is ready to be trimmed and bound later today.   While I may hate my conscience, it really does know best and I still had time to read my book, but I had hot chocolate instead of the Baileys!

On that note, I'm out of here.  The next quilt is almost loaded on the machine, but I have a date at a laundromat this morning and I should get going.  While I wait for the laundry, I'll be getting tomorrow's exciting blog post ready!

Have a super day!!!


Saturday, November 19, 2016

Just let it go!

The Pony Express realy does exist and it works!  Shelley will be bringing me my purple magazine holder today or the next time I see her, but alas, there is NO book in the holder.  I've no idea where I could've put that darn book, although I did wake up several times last night with several places it could be. I must remember to check under the seats of my car. I have found a few things there from time to time including the missing mail box key!

I've come to the realisation that it is time to let that book go.  I need the book and so I must move on. I dug out a new notebook this morning and it's Saturday so later today, I'll start repopulating the book with my lists. I know, the old one will likely be sitting on my cutting mat tomorrow morning!  No worries - it's time to get smarter with what went in the book and there is certainly less in this book than in the old one.  That's OK - it means stuff got done!  And in future?  That book NEVER leaves the house!

I'll be sharing the book and how I'm going to use it to help me accomplish my tasks for 2017. When I was selecting the projects that I want to accomplish in 2017, it was obscene to see how many UFOs there were.  If I never started a new project and finished 12 in a year, I might live long enough to finish them all. Time to PRIORITZE FOCUS WIN!!!!   And as I was sitting at my desk yesterday, I had a super great idea for a couple of new projects. STOP!

It's funny how I've searched and searched for that darn book, gave a lot of thought to the missing book, and then this morning, I found something that I didn't even know was missing. 
Do you see what I see??
This morning, I did something that I haven't done in a long time. I woke up, looked at the clock and thought "I don't really need to get out of bed right now". So I snuggled under the covers and thought about a lot of stuff like where is the darn missing book and what projects to work on!  I finally got up and took Miss Lexi to the dog park. 

She has a favourite side to the park and we took a walk there. No one else had arrived yet. We were enjoying the beautiful morning. I happened to glance down and WHOA!  There's my FITBIT on the ground.  Did I just lose it?  How did that happen?  When I picked it up, it was cold meaning it had been there overnight and there were ZERO steps registered.  It was where we were standing last night chatting while the dogs played. It must have caught on my pocket when I put my hands in my pocket and come off.  I didn't need to look at it this morning because I hadn't gotten out of bed!!!   Very weird - first time that has happened and thankfully I found it before I knew it was lost or I may have never found it.

On the same vein of letting things go, I decided it's time to get rid of a couple of magazines.  I know - if only there were a couple!  I will admit that I read magazines at work and as a result, I don't buy nearly as many as I used to.  Hey - I read those magazines for my job!  I'm not slacking off. Granted, I probably spend a bit more time than everyone else when I read them, but that's OK. So less coming in, but there are stacks and stacks of magazines in the studio that need to be addressed. 

I went through TWO last night. Hey - it's a start and maybe that becomes one of my priority items for 2017.  Keep track of how many magazines get thrown out. That would be fun!  And I've learned to be quick about reading the magazines because of reading them at work.  I still go through them cover to cover, but I finish it at one sitting - I don't have time to keep going back and they need to be moved on to the next person. 

This is one from last night - from 2005!!!!   I know - it's sad.  But wait - there are much older ones than that!

Magazine - now history!
 I had to laugh when I looked at some of the projects.  Very simple - it wasn't so much that the quilt designs were simple, but the fabrics were much more muted!  Or perhaps that was the ink in the magazine that had faded???

Muted fabrics

I shall endeavour to dig out those that I know I can whip through quickly. Aim for two a day and that will give me practice to plow through the other more in-depth magazines. And how many times have I said this???  Too many, but seriously - if we ever had to move, I've no idea how to deal with the basement. I must get it under control.  I would have zero problem getting rid of anything else in my house, but the basement - well that's a different story. 

And I have to say that I do have the best friends in the world.  Look what Shirley found for me. 

Collapsible laundry basket
Now isn't that just the best?  I sure hope that when fully opened that it's bigger than a regular laundry basket because that is what I'm going to take to the retreat!   I know - let that go too!!!  Everything in life doesn't have to be a contest or a challenge, but it sure makes things interesting!

On that note, I'm off to teach a couple of classes this morning and then back to the long arm this afternoon. And I had better dig out those two magazines for today as otherwise I'll forget by the end of the day!!!

Have a super day!!!


Friday, November 18, 2016

Speaking of calendars......

It's going to be the most amazing day today!  Why?  Just got a feeling. Had a great sleep, knees are in pretty good shape (despite the fact that I haven't been taking the Sierrasil - who can remember?), had an awesome workout at the gym, Tim's has a new cup design for the holidays and well everyone I've spoken to so far this morning has been CHEERY and HAPPY and that's cause enough to have a great day!!!!

But speaking of calendars, I can't wait to get my new one up. I know, don't rush the days, but I'm super excited to post things on my calendar - like a picture of Tish's laundry basket!   I'm not going to let that one slip by.  Oh no - I'm up for a challenge and it's all her fault! 

I'm not sure if you're aware of this next calendar, but this is the PIECEMAKERS Times and Seasons calendar.  The first one was produced in 1988 and this is their THIRTIETH calendar.  

2017 PIECEMAKERS Calendar
Not only is this a calendar, but that picture on the front? That's a quilt pattern that's included in the calendar. The first ones were squares that were sewn together with alternate blocks to make a quilt. They got very creative as time went on and somewhere around 1997, the patterns became a large scenic quilt. They're all beautiful and LOADS of work.  Lots of room for embellishment as well.

Please stop by their web page to see the calendar covers from 1993 to 2017.

If you know me well enough, I'm like a dog with a bone when it comes to collecting things. I like collecting things, I like series of things and YES, I have ALL of the PIECEMAKERS calendars with the exception of ONE!

My PIECEMAKERS calendar collection
And yes, there are many that still have the shrink wrap on them. I'm OK with that. They belong to me after all and I'm allowed to do with them what I want.

But here's the thing, I would love to get my hands on that 1988 PIECEMAKERS calendar. I know someone who has one, but I know she doesn't want to sell to me!  Right Carol? It was easy to find the early ones on eBay, but only once did that 1988 one come up and Carol bought it in a group of others. I never saw it and good thing or we would have had a bidding war! I don't do bidding wars anymore. While I'd like to have it, I'm not as silly as I used to be. But if you see one or you have one and don't want it - well......   just sayin!

The 2017 calendar is very interesting as they have chosen bits and pieces from the other calendars so it's fun to see what came from where. The train was from 2000, the lighthouses were from 1999 and so on.   What an interesting way to pull all those components together.

On that note, I'm out of here.  Got a lot of things to get accomplished and better get started!

Have a super day!


Thursday, November 17, 2016

How to cope!

Here's an update from Tish about her laundry basket filled with projects.  She has agreed that we can all carry our supplies in a separate container, however I was told that ALL her main supplies were also in the laundry basket.  These included the following:

A zip up tool kit
Mini iron
Pressing mat
Turning cutting mat
Several rulers
Binding clips
5 spools of Aurifil thread
A bag of zippers
A roll of duct tape
A metal tape measure (carpenter's type)

And in addition to those three project boxes I mentioned, she also had this:   three bags of fabric for 2 different quilt tops, and a bag of scraps to make zippered bag.   

I understand all the supplies, but I wonder what the duct tape was for?  She even called herself - "The Queen of Organization."     HMPFFFF!   

I see a gauntlet being thrown to the ground!  How can I get everything into ONE PROJECT box? I'm going to paste a picture of her laundry basket on the calendar beside the next retreat date.  I WILL take only one laundry basket even if it kills me.  There was NO mention that we couldn't come home with more than fit in the basket, so if everything gets vacuum sealed, who will know????  Stay tuned - I think the next retreat is going to be interesting. 

Speaking of pasting that picture to the calendar, did you have a look at the reasons why you should post a physical calendar in your studio?  Now I have one more reason!  You think I'm crazy right?  I  have already printed a copy of that picture and I've got a calendar - oh I'm very serious! I suppose in the tech world, I could link a copy of the picture to my electronic calendar.  Hmmm - I wonder how to make that happen???

I'm slowly unpacking, but there isn't a ton of time as I have other deadlines looming this week - well until the end of the month and I had best keep plugging away at those. However I did unearth these two items. 

Row by Row plate from BC - thanks Daphne!

Row by Row plate from NWT  (I bought this one)

Did I promise one of those to someone???  God I don't remember - probably written down somewhere. I really need to write all notes in ONE book, not on scraps of paper.  NO - do not send me notebooks, I have tons of them, but seem unable to actually write in them.  What is the matter with me?????

I have been promising this next item for months.  I'm happy to report that the document on COPING strips is now complete.  You can download your very own copy at this link.  And if there are other tips that you would find useful, please let me know. I do have a list, but I'm always open to new topics.

I've been giving my UFO challenge a lot of thought and in the next day or so, I'll have it outlined and ready for you to get moving!  It's going to be fun, we're going to urge each other on and we WILL get our goals accomplished!  I can't wait to get started!!!!

On that note, have a super awesome day!


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The laundry basket challenge

Something very unusual happened last night. I had a great day at work, lots of catching up to do and next thing I know it's time to go home. 

On the way home, I realized I was tired. And when I got home, I lay on the couch - too exhausted to do anything.  I woke up at 7:30 to have something to eat and then I went to bed! Not to read, but to sleep!  I think I got up at 4:30!  I'm not sick, I'm not tired.  Every once in a while, I crash like that and there is nothing that will wake me!  

Today is another day and time to get moving!

I'm reviewing some of the pictures from the retreat and looking at the end of the year and well, several things have come to mind. 

One is this link about why you need to post a wall calendar in your creative space. I usually have a calendar in my space, but I've never looked at the calendar in this way.  Hmmm - maybe I need to buy one of those big calendars???  The only problem with all this challenge stuff is that you start off excited and it's hard to keep that excitement up for the remainder of the year. 

However, if you have people like ME reminding you, well maybe it will work.  I'm thinking about it. I'll let you know what I come up with!

The other thing I did the other night and I could NOT help myself. I made a list of TWELVE projects that I would love to get done during 2017. It wasn't hard to find projects - it was hard to choose just 12. If I ever want to get this mess cleaned up, I should be choosing 365 projects - one a day!!!  But since that is NOT realistic, I choose 12. 

Now I've done this in the past and not succeeded in completing them. Why?  I forget about them!  So I'm going to enlist the help of my handy lists and reminders on my computer calendar to make that happen. I mean - it HAS to happen.  There is so much, it's a tad overwhelming and I'd really like to move on. 

I'm NOT going to do this on my own. I think we all need to become responsible quilters. Some of you are and you never leave a project unfinished. Not one to criticize, but that just seems so boring and how can you participant in this fun challenge? Here is the challenge to ALL of you.  Go through your projects - could be ones that are currently on the go, could be ones that are shelved.  What do you want to get done?  Pick TWELVE of them and WRITE them down on a list. A paper list is fine for now. 

I know you're wondering what the laundry basket challenge is all about, right?  When we were at the retreat and also the previous retreat, Tish brings all her projects in ONE laundry basket. She does cheat a bit and brought some extra supplies like batting in a separate bag.  Seriously? One laundry basket?  We all teased her (although I'm sure we were all jealous as we schlepped in bag after bag of projects - well I know I was).  I didn't even bother with photos this year - it's that embarrassing!).  We said, she must have taken all her projects out of their boxes and vacuum sealed them in plastic so they took up less space. There is NO WAY she was bringing her projects in those plastic boxes that quilters tend to use. 

Wait a minute!  As we packed up, I snapped a photo of her laundry basket. DARN!  She has THREE of those plastic project containers in her laundry basket. 

Tish's laundry basket of projects for a FIVE day retreat!

Not one to be petty, but I should clarify that due to Tish's consideration of us and a cold, she did remain at home for the first day to protect the rest of us!  AHA - so this is only four days worth of projects!

Could I do the same thing??  I've issued a challenge to the rest of the attendees.  Next time, we'll all be packing light!  ONE laundry basket of projects. Tools and supplies can be packed separately.  ACK - I can feel the anguish even now!!!!

I got home and surveyed the studio. I don't even have an empty laundry basket. Gots loads of laundry baskets, but they're all occupied.

I choose one of them and the four projects in the basket, which are almost complete, are the first item on my list of 12 projects for 2017.  Yes - I'm abitious and counted four as one, but that's OK. It's my list and I can do what I want with it.  Bottom line, there four quilts (all from the same fabric), just need two borders each and to be quilted. In total, I estimate FIVE Hours each (with machine stitching the binding, and the quilting) and these quilts could be done!!!!   See what I mean??   How many other projects are in the same state???

My laundry basket! - Well one of them!
Oh yes - once you have choosen those 12 projects, I've got more work for you!!!   But get that list of 12 projects together.  That is important. Prioritize!!!!

Then I looked around the studio, thinking about the laundry basket challenge.  This is one of the bags that I took to the retreat. It's filled with lots of small projects that need to be completed.  Each one would take an hour or two or possibly three.  That would fill at least two or three retreat days!!!!   Gosh - I'm already packed for the next retreat!

Bag of projects!

It's all about working smarter, not searching for things and well,  getting prepped.  I will try to do better for 2017!!!!   And I'm going to carry you all with me, so hang on - it's going to be a fun ride!!!

Have a super day!!!


(and don't forget to get that list of 12 projects done!).  I'll share my list with you to help make me accountable to you and you want me to do the same for you - send me pictures.  I'll show you what I have in mind for each one shortly. First - get that list together. It's going to be a blast and we're going to get things done!!!!   Plus we need to think of a snappy name for this project.