Thursday, November 30, 2017

A gift

I was given a very exciting gift yesterday. A gift so large and so amazing that the gift is priceless.

Now you're excited and want to know what the gift is - right?

It's the gift of time. Yes  - I was able to add 50 + hours of time to my week - EVERY WEEK.

Think about it - yep - I basially don't have a day job any more.

GASP?  Seriously?  What happened?  I know you have questions, here are a few answers.

Why? Budget cuts and a new focus that didn't fit with my role

When? I found out early yesterday morning and I was gone as quickly as I could pack my office uup. Which was really funny because after I found out, I went back to my office and I closed the door and I sat there and looked around me. There was a lot of stuff to pack! Quilts, paper, stuff - lots of stuff. I managed to squeeze it into my car and I was a free person!

Did I see it coming? Nope - I was like a deer caught in the headlights.

Did it surprise me? Yes, but when I got to thinking about different things that have happened while I worked there, I realized that the writing was on the wall and I would say that this is a mutually agreeable situation.

How am I? After the initial shock which perhaps still hasn't sunk in, I just became my practical little self. Packed the car, had errands to do, etc.

What's next?  Well this is where the news gets super exciting.  I mean EXCITING!  As I was zipping around yesterday doing my errands, I was weighing the pros and cons. Not that I had a choice to go back, but to help me justify what happened. Here they are:

No stupid commute to work - twice a day - five days a week. It never seemed to matter the time of the morning that I left, the traffic was bad. The drive took anywhere between 1 1/2 hours - 2 hours every day. And that was incorporating the toll highway into the mix. Think about it - I'm saving a couple of hours every day and I'm saving hundreds of dollars every month on the tolls and gas. The round trip was close to 100 KM.  Am I happy about that? JUMPING FOR JOY on this one.

Get to spend more time with the girls. Yep - pretty happy about that one too. Not only can they spend all day everyday outside (well almost), but they get to go to the park everyday. And we all get to make new friends or renew dog park friends. Am I happy about that?  You bet!

No deadlines! I don't even need to go into details on that one! I alone will be the one to control my deadlines. Am I happy about that?  Silly - of course I am.

I get to focus on what is important to me. This is super exciting as I now have 50 extra hours every week to focus on what I want. Maybe it'll be lazing in the backyard, listening to the pond (in the summer of course), reading a book, maybe it'll be chasing the dogs, maybe it'll be designing quilts, maybe it'll be writing patterns, maybe it'll be sewing my own projects or developing classes. Am I thrilled about that?  You bet!  It's going to take a while before I figure out what exactly this means.

I get to take a nap in the afternoon if I want!  Nuff said!

I get to sew with my Monday group again! I felt that I was losing contact with lots of them as many came after I left early in the morning so it'll be good to get back to sewing with the girls. Can't wait for Monday!

I get to renew relationships with a whole lot of people - the librarians at my local library and the staff at the various local shops that I frequented, although my local quilt shop is closing - but based on the fact that I'm earning less money, that's probably a good thing.

I'm back in business for long arm quilting. A few clients have stuck with me during the last couple of years. Now I can focus on getting more done and I bought a computer for my machine so I will have a new toy to play with in a couple of months when that arrives.

I can actually go to my spin classes in the morning. Yeah! I haven't been in a long long time and I miss it. I'll be able to get back into shape and I'm super excited about that.

I have time to ride my bike or take a walk to Tim's with the girls.

I have time to focus on writing which I love. Maybe I can even help Lexi more with her blog.and I want to expand  my own blog and what I offer on it.

And I could go on and on.


Hmm - a salary. What little was left after taxes, gas and the toll highway. I can live without that money.

Oh - that's it?

Well - I think you get the picture. While I'm a little bummed that I got laid off! That's never happened to me before, but you know what - I'm OK with it and when I think back - this probably should have happened a while back. You know - hind sight, quality of life, happiness with what you do, respect and a whole lot of other things.  So am I upset?  HELL NO!!!!!

I'm dancing amongst all the boxes that are now sitting in my hall. I do have a bit of work to tidy up all that and deal with it all, but I have time!  Lots of it.

I was in Home Depot yesterday as I had to buy something for an upcoming class. I had to laugh as I walked the aisles looking for the items. I now have the luxury of doing errands during the week when everyone else is at work!  I love it!!!!

BUT - this is actually a very important lesson for me. I could take that gift - those 50 extra hours and squander them away. So I must be very careful that I treat that gift with respect. I need to evaluate what needs to be done, what I want done and  make sure that I do it. So I'm going to go to work everyday! But at my house - commute - 20 seconds if that! This office needs to be cleaned up, sorted and whatever. My computers need to be consolidated and pictures cleaned up. My mom wants me to do some work on the Family Tree.  I envision a typical week like this - Sewing on Monday, Long arm on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will be "working" in the morning and sewing on my personal stuff in the afternoon. Weekends free to do whatever. Now how can you beat that?

On that note, I'm out of here!

Have a super day!!!!


So if you need to get in touch with me, the only e-mail is  That's also at the top of my blog in Contact Me sections. I have a ton of people to send notes to so that will keep me busy for the next couple of days as I sort out files and contacts and all that good stuff.  But one e-mail - that's also a PRO!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Exciting class opportunities for 2018

The projects are finalized and the dates are picked. It's time to sign up for the on-going class for 2018.

I'll be posting pictures of the on-going classes for 2017 later this week - I've just had a couple of other tasks that needed to be completed. I almost have all the deadline stuff done so that is good - I could use a wee bit of breathing room for a day or two!

I'll be cutting down my teaching schedule (at shops) for 2018 as I hope to teach a bit more at guilds (if they'll have me) and I want days for me to just laze in the backyard!

I'll only be teaching at The Hobby Horse in Georgetown. It's convenient for me and maybe next year (2019), I'll look at one or two more options.

The dates for classes and suggestions for classes have been submitted (for the entire year) and I'm waiting to hear back. Once I know that information, I'll provide the information to you. There will also be an on-line class - I'm going to give it a try and see how it works. So watch for that.

Without further ado - here are the TWO options for the on-going classes.

Option One - Farm Girl Vintage by Lori Holt

Farm Girl Vintage
 This class will be based on the book - Farm Girl Vintage by Lori Holt. There are 45 blocks in the book, along with a whole range of ideas of what to do with the blocks. Instructions for the blocks come in two sizes - 6" and 12". This is a DESIGN class. I will review all 45 blocks over the course of the year. You get to design your very own quilt using these blocks. If you only want to make five of the blocks, then you only make 5 of the blocks and you make your own quilt.

It's really a fun process and NOT scary at all as I walk you through the process. If you happen to have EQ7 or EQ8, it's a great way to put the blocks in and play with the designs. I've already done that and I'm working on my quilt.

You'll get a ton of tips for making various components, how to modify the patterns if the construction method doesn't suit your style, color/value, busy backgrounds, design and a whole lot more. It's going to be a super exciting class.

Option Two - Creating a Free-Motion Design Book

The Big Book of Table Toppers

This class is super exciting in that each month, we'll review ONE of the table topper patterns included in this book. There are 56 to choose from - we'll be making nine. I've picked a number of ones that offer different styles and techniques of piecing so you can learn some great tips from that part of the process.

The second part of this class will be how to choose patterns to quilt each one. I'll give you a variety of suggestions for quilting designs, hopefully, we'll all be creating a design book as we go along. We'll be talking about how to set up the sewing machine for free motion, thread colors and weights, and other tools/techniques to make the free motion quilting process a snap. It's not all that scary because the pieces are small.

Note that you are NOT obliged to do the homework, but those that did in a previous class I ran made leaps and bounds in their skill set. Not only that, but this is an opportunity to get feedback on what's happening in your work, unlike a one-time class. It's a great learning experience!

How do these classes work?

We meet for ONE hour on a Saturday morning once a month from January to June and then from September to November. In November, we reveal the final project - in the case of the free motion class, we'll see final projects all year long.

Do I bring my sewing machine?

No the classes are lecture style and there is a lot of show and tell, so no time for a sewing machine.

What does the class cost?

$25 for the yearly fee plus the book

Is there homework?

Yes - there is homework but there is no penalty if you don't get it done.

How do I sign-up?

You call The Hobby Horse to sign up.  Their phone number is 905-877-9292.

On that note, I'm out of here.

Have a great day!


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

This is progress......

In an ideal world, this is how my studio would look every night before I shut the lights out. I'm happy to say that it's how my studio has looked before I close up shop for the last two nights!

Look at that super clean cutting area.  The scrap bin is empty, the rotary cutters have new blades, the rulers are organized, the mat is newish. That is so inviting to actually cut something without squeezing fabric amongst piles of other stuff.

The cutting area
 Now it really isn't difficult to make this happen. You cut something, you put the scraps away. The key is to NOT throw stuff on there that doesn't belong. Simple! I prefer the height of my original cutting area so I may switch them out.

Then we go to the sewing area. That's nice and tidy as well. Oh gosh - I even started to use that tool holder thing that the sewing machine sits on as I was forever trying to find my seam ripper/awl or cutting amongst the stuff on the table.

Sewing area - clear!
 There are a few small containers to the right where I have a couple of different color of threads, the walking foot which I'm using a lot these days and some pins and my enders/leaders. I think I can live with that little bit of clutter.

Next up is the ironing surface. Yep - that area is clean as well. This is so super exciting and the best part - I did NOT bring everything out once everyone left last week.  Yeah!  Notice the floor is also clear of clutter!  The clutter is contained in those IKEA bags. Hurrah for IKEA!

Ironing surface - clear!

Now there is one area - the old cutting table that still has stuff on it. I need to sort through the few items on there or put them away. Some of this is projects that I want to work on once the urgent stuff is out of the way. So that's why it's sitting here - waiting to be cut. The key will be to NOT overcrowd this area and to only keep stuff that's waiting to be cut (a reasonable amount). I'm not good with reasonable amounts! But I want to try. I was listening to an ad on the radio this morning about trying to quit smoking. I believe the product was some kind of nicotine patch. It said the patch was to be used for a smoking-cessation program that included WILL POWER!  I'm so motivated to make and keep these areas clear - I'm MOTIVATED! I've got WILL POWER!

Area to tidy up!
I took a picture of the big group of work tables, but there was something on them that I wasn't ready to show you yet so can't post that picture. There is a bit of stuff on it, but not much. The idea is to keep that area clear so if I need to do paperwork or have people over to sew - it's easy to do the work and then tidy up!  Oh yes - I'm so motivated. I just need a wee bit more energy back to really get motivated and then I'll be a danger to myself!!!

Do you chain piece? If you don't, you should! Often, I mention the subject in class and I sometimes get blank stares! I wrote this tutorial (and other tips for speed and accuracy) on QUILTsocial. Check it out! Got questions? Let me know! 

And I'm out of here!

Have a super day!


Monday, November 27, 2017

Guilt planning

Yes - that says GUILT with a G, not a Q.

So I have my studio pretty clean. I'm laughing as I look around because the FIRST thing I used to do when people left after a sewing day was to put everything back on the tables. Not this time. Not going to happen.

There are a few things out at the moment - I did manage to get an entire quilt pieced, quilted and bound between yesterday and this morning. Phew - why does this have to happen? I've no idea - getting sick did me no favors in getting things done on time. I still have a few things to complete by Saturday and after Saturday, the coast is clear for ONE MONTH!  No classes, no rush jobs (well still three quilts to make) but if I play my cards right - I won't be doing them at the ninth hour!

But one thing happened yesterday as I was tidying up and working on the quilt. I finished off a roll of batting and had to open a new one. That meant there was a large piece of plastic that came off the new roll of batting. I came downstairs (from where the batting is stored) and placed the large piece of plastic on Lexi's kennel in the front hall. My hands were full of batting and scissors. DH pipes up and says "that's why we end up with clutter in the house because you don't deal with things right away!".

Hmm - he does have a point, but my hands were full. So I took the batting downstairs and then came up and disposed of the large piece of plastic in the recycling bin. How is this guilt planning? All it would take to keep things neat and tidy is to take a few minutes at the end of the day or as the day progresses to deal with stuff. Put it away, throw it away or whatever needs to be done with it.

My thought is to look at my studio and pretend that I'm going to take a picture to post each day of the sewing area, the ironing board, the cutting mat, and my TWO work spots. I did take pictures, but I don't have time to post. I'll do it tomorrow.

My plan is to keep all those areas clear of everything except the CURRENT project. Really?  Can I actually sew two projects at once? Well sort of, but then nothing gets complete.  I've got a system. Trust me - I'll be sharing it with you.

And I crossed THREE things off The Task Master list already this week and it's only Monday. How exciting is that!

Now for those of you who are still having trouble with your 1/4" seam, I wrote this article on QUILTsocial which was published today. Please check it out. There should be no reason why anyone cannot achieve an accurate 1/4" seam on their sewing machine.

That's it for today!

Have a great day!!!


Sunday, November 26, 2017

Event Planning

I came home from a great day of show n tell. Lots of photos if my camera people did their job properly and I'll be posting those pictures this coming week.

I'm going to get the super important event announcement out of the way first. Then you can hear about my yesterday which was incredible! And thanks so much to everyone for all the comments - I love to get comments. It gives me ideas for future posts and I love to hear what's going on with you all!


DO NOT forget that the Cherrywood Quilt Show is happening THIS WEEKEND. 

Postcard for the CherryWood show
Of course, I didn't take a picture of the back of the card with all the important information on it!  But check out this link to get all the details. Scroll down that Facebook page to September 26 where all the information is posted.  The name of the shop that is hosting this show is Cotton Harvest Quilt Shop. The location of the show is the Seaforth Legion, 123 Main St. S in Seaforth, Ontario. That's about 1 hour west of Waterloo.  If you need more information, contact the shop at OR call them at 519-600-1646.  The cost to get into the show is $8.00 - well worth the price. Remember that Seaforth is a very small town so don't expect Tim's and Starbuck's. There will be food, but I'd pack a snack and water!

Please, please do all you can to attend this show and support this venture. To have this show in Canada is HUGE.  Seriously HUGE!!!   This is the same show that was in Houston just a few weeks ago. It's stunning, it'll blow your socks off to see how each person interpreted the theme! And the top winning quilts are at this show!

Remember you'll be able to buy books and kits for the next challenge. The theme for the next year is Prince - the color is purple. Did I even need to say that?

For some reason, this challenge has taken off like crazy and I would even say that it's the MOST popular quilt challenge EVER! Because the color palette is so restricted, it's stunning.

 Here are the books from the two previous challenges. Wicked was in 2014 and The Lion King was 2016. The caliber of the pieces (each one is only 20 inches squares) is amazing and so many different techniques. These books are like coffee table books - eye candy and lots of it. Well worth it to have your own copy.

Books from previous challenges

A peek inside one of the books
 And in case you missed it last time I blogged about this challenge, here is my entry into the Van Gogh/Cherrywood challenge.  It didn't get picked for either show. But you know what? I'm OK with that. I love my piece. I loved the experience of making it and it helped me to grow as an artist. I also learned a LOT!

My Van Gogh/Cherrywood challenge piece

Detail of my challenge piece
So imagine the quality and caliber of the rest of the show if my piece didn't get accepted. Some of them are like paintings! The detail. Wow! 

I won't be going to this show as I've already seen it but I'm getting a kit (they were sold out in Houston in no time, so hopefully my personal shopper Shelly, will have an in and get one for me). Then when I've figured out what I'm going to do and what additional fabrics I need, I'll be making a trip to this shop because they are one of the few shops in Canada that sell Cherrywood!  Cherrywood is a beautiful line of HAND DYED fabrics. They've been around forever, but even more beautiful than before!

And now - here's the story of my day!

I got home and DH wanted to go out for dinner. I told him I needed a nap. I'd wanted/needed a nap all day. Not sure why I'm still so tired - well just sometimes. And I fell asleep for a good hour or more. I think he canceled the reservation he had made! Oops!

But then a miracle happened. I went downstairs to my studio and had the best night ever (after we ordered pizza)! There were a few things that needed to be put away so I puttered and did that. Set my laptop on the WORK tables and dug out my calendar.

All set up to work productively
I should mention that I have my work travel schedule for 2018 already organized so it was super easy to work the rest of these items into my schedule.

I checked out potential personal vacations for 2018 and they are temporarily booked in.

I checked dates for our next year-long quilting project at The Hobby Horse. I'll be providing information on those projects this week - with dates.  I'm teaching ONE extra day per month besides the year-long project. Those dates (for the entire year) have been forwarded to the shop involved and it's up to them to take the dates or not. If not, then I might just have a sewing day at my house or a class? Oh, I could have a class. That would be fun.  Anyone have a particular class they would like to take?  I'm open to offers - otherwise, I might cut up my stash and offer you a kit to sew. OH - I have tons of fabric to make into charity quilts - I can schedule the dates that the store doesn't take as charity quilting days. Any takers?  It's all beautiful fabric that I have to sew with! All you need to do is sew the top.

Retreats for 2018 are scheduled and booked - those were the FIRST thing to get scheduled - months ago!

I've been asked by a number of people about the Sit n Sew days we used to do. Haven't had them in a long time. I scheduled FIVE of them last night. I'll be letting you know about those dates. I'm going to start a brand new list for those - if you're interested in getting in on those (Sundays  - one a month from December to April), e-mail me so I can provide you with more information and cost.

Bottom line, I was happy as a clam and pretty much got all the classes and special dates booked for the YEAR!  For the year!  This is UNHEARD of at my house. Now there is one thing left to do and that is to schedule the fun things for me to do! Like bike rides, personal sewing days, etc. I'm going to do the first couple of months of the year - might be hard to schedule a bike ride! But I could schedule a weekend spin class at the gym.

Got The Task Master out and we discussed the schedule for the week. It's going to be a tight one, but it's going to work out just fine. I've made decent progress already this morning.

I browsed through a magazine last night (from 2010!). The magazine is now in the recycling bin, but I clipped a couple of articles that I'll share with you. You're going to get a laugh at one of them.

I'm loving having all this "free" space and time! The trick is going to not let the situation get out of control so I lose this flexibility.  FOCUS  FOCUS  FOCUS.  I'm going to need a HUGE sign that reminds me so I don't get off track!

On that note, I'm out of here to make The Task Master happy.  Watch the blog for dates of classes/charity sewing/sit n sew days or just e-mail me and I'll put you on the list of people to contact once it happens. We'll figure something out.

Have a wonderful day!


Saturday, November 25, 2017

A very tight squeeze

I almost didn't know what to do with myself last night. DH has just as stupid schedule as I do sometimes and originally I was looking forward to going out to dinner and catch up on the news of the week. But then he reminded me (I'm constantly forgetting when he's here and when he's not!) that he was going out with his buddies for dinner.

Yahoo!!!!  I think I danced around the house a wee bit too exuberantly when he mentioned that. You see, there was NOTHING critical to get done for this morning, it would be just the girls and me. And well, you can't ask for more than that! I whipped off to the grocery store to pick up something from the deli for dinner (got lunch for today as well). DH complained when I got home because I didn't buy him a dessert. Good grief - he's not home for dinner - why would I buy him dessert?

Then he was gone and I was having a very enjoyable dinner with my cool beverage and peace and quiet. I was having a super time!  Hey Ronda - I even lit my candle!

I did have one thing that I was hoping to get done for today - a nice to have for the show n tell and so I went to work on that. It was amazing to work in that space and NOT be crowded, cluttered, etc. I'm leaving it this way - I LOVE it. But it means that I have to be even better with my lists so nothing gets forgotten.

In preparation for a class on tuffets that I'm teaching next weekend, I had to pick up another roll of that upholstery batting. You remember that huge roll???

I arrive at the warehouse to pick up the roll and remember the struggle it was to get the darn thing in the car. Finally one of the staff came out to help me! That was last time - this time - NOPE - I'm on my own. I finally figured out that if you push from the bottom, rather than the top - it would get into the car and within 5 minutes, I was good!

A tight squeeze in there
 Thank goodness this thing doesn't weigh very much - 20 pounds I believe and that it compresses nicely. Otherwise, I would have needed a big truck to pick the darn thing up! Made it home safely although it's a bit weird when you can't see out the back window.

And of course, since I had removed my regular tires from the car, my air pressure sensor light is flashing. While I love that feature, I hate the fact that it flashes like crazy when those sensors are not on the car. I wasn't paying to have those sensors installed on my winter rims. It just means that from time to time, I must check the tire pressure.

How did that huge thing get in there?
 Oh, I should mention that after I got that roll stuffed into the car, I realized that there were two trucks parked in the back by the loading docks and I'm sure they were killing themselves laughing at me stuffing that into the back of the car!

Last time, I left the huge roll in the living room. This time, I decided to take it downstairs. Of course, DH asked - "how will you get it downstairs?" Poor guy has no sense of spatial relationship at all!

Getting it downstairs was easy! I didn't have to remove the pictures from the wall.

Going down!

My god - this thing looks like a giant roll of toilet paper! And it's huge!  But look how nicely it fits on top of those WORK tables!

Waiting to be cut
Just so you know, I did clean up that table. Put the sewing machine away, and cleared whatever else was on it. I PUT it away, I didn't just move the stuff.

Then it was easy to roll out the batting and measure it and cut off the piece that someone was coming to get.

Toilet paper anyone?

Now I need to make some "hoods" for the tuffet class this coming weekend. Whoever signed up for that class is in for a treat. If you thought the previous class was easy - this one will be a breeze. I'm thinking about one hour for the final assembly. Of course, I have a few things to do in prep for the class to make it easy for the students but that's OK. There are only 10 in the class.

So - if you're thinking of making a tuffet, let me know. I can get you all the kit supplies you could possibly want. I think the total cost including legs (small bed legs) is about $100 - somewhere in that range. A great deal, a great method for assembly (thanks to Paul who perfected the technique).

On that note, I'm out of here. I have so little to do - I don't know what to do with myself.  Just kidding - I have two more blog posts to finish this weekend and a quilt to sew, quilt and bind so it can be shipped out on Monday. Then one more quilt to make by Thursday so I'm not out of the woods, but a whole lot more relaxed doing ONE thing at a time, not a hundred!

Have a super day!!!


Friday, November 24, 2017


What a totally crazy day!  All I can say is THANK GOODNESS for IKEA bags. While I did not end up using them all, I used most of them in order to make that stuff disappear. It didn't really disappear - it got repositioned.

The tables were mostly clear and I managed to stuff all the goodies into the bags and carefully "hide" them under the tables.

Under the table storage

Under the table storage - side view
 OK - so a few boxes and bags did get moved out of the room entirely but only because I had run out of under the table storage space.  This is going to be a lesson to me. NO MORE BUYING. NONE. No trading. No swapping.

And there was one bag that ended up upstairs as it was moved because the space the bag was occupying was needed to position a light.

Bag that went upstairs and then came back down

Now I know that you want to know what this was all about. Well, technically I can't give you the details. Nope - none!

However, I will say this. As Audrey pointed out yesterday, the only thing that would make her clean up like this would be a photo shoot. And technically she's right. EXCEPT - it wasn't really a photo shoot. It was more of a TV shoot!  YES - how exciting is that. Lights! Camera! Action! The number of people in the house and the amount of equipment - well I have no idea. Let's just say there were a lot of people - double digits for sure!

We even had quilting "extras" who were called in with 24-hour notice and good sports they all were. But since one of the extras (Nancy) was willing to drive all the way to PEI several years ago to spend a week at the beach quilting with me, I thought she would be crazy enough for this opportunity. Ronda, who I've done a few road trips with - like all the way to MSQC and one day in the state of New York so we could visit eight quilt shops in one day. And let's not forget Audrey and Marilyn who are willing to drive anywhere. Matter of fact, the last time I saw them was in Houston where Marilyn picked up a ribbon for a prize on one of her quilts. All four of these girls are pretty crazy and they mercilessly harassed the crew (in a nice way of course!).  So if the crew thought that quilters were calm and quiet before, I bet they went home with a whole different perspective of quilting.

So what did the rest of my house look like? Never one to lose an opportunity, I opened the cupboards, unfolded the piles of quilts and this is what I got. Sorry - the pictures are dark as I had to take them early this morning.

But one of the reasons we bought the house was so that we could display quilts on this gorgeous railing.

The red/white section

The general section

The hallway upstairs
 And WHY or WHY - didn't I find another quilt to put on that quilt rack instead of the reverse side of that pink quilt?????  I know they did an interview upstairs, but I've no idea what happened or what was said or even what angle they shot. And how much of any of this gets into the show  - well that's anyone's guess.  This isn't about me per se - I'm the quick little consult with an industry (quilting) expert.

This is the quilt display downstairs.

Quilt display area in the basement

All in all, I think we impressed everyone. I impressed myself that I could turn that space around so quickly and I even managed to sneak in a manicure yesterday. Although here's what the manicurist said to me - "When did you know about this shoot? And why did you wait until the last minute to clean?"  DAMN HER!  She was very nice and not accusing - just making conversation!

Sorry - can't give more details than that at the moment. The episode airs in May and I'll provide more details and pictures at that time unless I slip and drop a hint or two in the next couple of weeks. Of course, I would never come right out and say what the show was so you may have to play detective.

Have a super day!!!!


And now back to boring reality. Although when I was photocopying some stuff for one of the crew, we were chatting and it becomes very routine for them!

PS   - the draw and the winners.  I did the draw yesterday and the three winners were e-mailed. I'm still waiting to hear back from two before I publish the names. So if you didn't get an e-mail from me last night, I'm sorry. But stick around - there's always something good for a laugh on the blog!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Things are calmer today - sort of

We've all had those days - when NOTHING goes right. And we complain about it to everyone. 

What about the days when things go RIGHT? You never seem to hear much about those days. Yesterday was one of those days. I desperately wanted to get some IKEA bags but I had to leave work early to get my winter tires on the car (don't hassle me - they're on!) and so I wasn't going to have extra time to stop by IKEA. But I overheard my colleague mention that she was going to IKEA at lunch. Perfect. So I asked her to pick me up some of those big blue bags.  

Moments later I noticed a comment on my blog and Heidi suggested the IKEA bags with the zippers. A quick text to my colleague and she was picking up both kinds of bags. You know how it is - when you don't know the full depth of the problem - buy lots! I got 6 bags with the zippers and 10 without. OK - so I panicked a bit?

I had to leave before she came back to the office, but another of my colleagues lives not too far from me so I was able to pick them up from her last night. Now that was good timing all around. 

After I got home last night from the tire thing where I sat in the showroom and worked for a couple of hours - love that they have access to the internet for the customers. Anyway, when I got home, it was time to tackle the studio.  

It was almost overwhelming as there is/was stuff everywhere. Not only has it been the remnants of the entire year, but some stuff from before and a few things that didn't get put away in the last couple of mad weeks. 

I decided to start with the long arm. You remember the mess from yesterday's photo?

What is all this???  It's the scraps that people gave me that were to be used for dog beds. How the heck so much accumulated, I've no idea. But there is a LOT. I decided that this junky mess didn't need to be here anymore.  I used some of those IKEA bags and TEMPORARILY placed the stuff in the cold room under the front step. Yes - I felt guilty the entire time because when will I get back to it?  Part of the planning that I talk about at the end involves this. Use my calendar - use my phone - use whatever to schedule the time to make some of this stuff happen. 

Here is what it looks like morning. 

A much cleaner and more professional looking space (and a tad cleaner as well).  In addition to scraps, people donated sheets and pillowcases to use to make the beds. Not happening. I separated several large bags of that kind of stuff. I did two huge loads of laundry and I'm busy folding sheets and pillowcases. They will be given to the animal shelter as it. My dogs love to lie about on anything - even thin sheets so these will do if folded several times for the bottom of a kennel. 

I may or may not get time to do finish the laundry today, but PHEW - several large bags are ready to go!

Oh by the way - I took today off work and I'm LOVING that!! Maybe I should think of a four day week or a no-day week! 

Then I turned to some of the other areas and this is actually good timing because it's getting to the end of the year and I need to set some goals for next year. 

I started by filling a bag with quilts that I've made because of work, but that I don't really need. Some were for a demo, some were just because I designed the pattern and wanted to have the satisfaction of making the quilt. I hope I get over that real soon! Ended up filling TWO IKEA bags of that kind of project. Some don't have labels, but I'll go back and put in that tiny label of mine or since I designed these ones I might put a small label on the back. I see a sale coming on! No time to get them ready for a craft sale, although the timing is good. I think I'll see about loading them on the internet and selling that way. 

The middle bag is filled with quilts that just need the binding sewn on. The one on the right is full of completely finished quilts except for maybe a sleeve (if necessary) and a label. The one on the right is full of almost completed quilts as well and the blue bag on the extreme left - also finished quilts. This doesn't count my own personal collection which is all over the house.

Here would be an excellent goal for 2018. DEAL WITH THESE FOUR BAGS OF QUILTS. Finish the bindings - how hard is that? I'm doing them by machine. Label the other bag and load them into an online store. Quilt the other bag - most of them are small - would take an hour or so each. Seriously?   I need to get myself together here!

This is a mishmash of stuff under this table. I'm not ALLOWED to make everything disappear. It's supposed to look like a quilter actually works here. The tub on the right is filled with quilts that need to have the backing made or the border added or perhaps the binding made. Again - one or two days and that would be done!  There are two more tubs to the left of the picture - same scenario! The blue bag on the floor - well that's stuff with Northcott fabric that I want to make into quilts!  Dreamer!!!  Nothing but a dreamer!  But none of them are complicated and would be fun to make.  Leave me alone! 

The blue bag on the table is the stuff that I can find that I need/want to finish by the end of the year. I guess having it in a blue bag with The Task Master at my side - I won't forget and there's no need to have them all laid out on the tables.  That was getting crazy as I had no room to lay out a border. 

Next up - those damn books and magazines. There are piles on the floor. They are much neater now, but seriously, unless I do a major downsize, I need a new bookcase. And we're not going to go piecemeal here. I want another nice one like the original one I have. Cost - about $1500.  Just lay out the cash and STOP buying fabric!

Overflow books and magazines
 And then there is the table area. You can see that I've made inroads into getting that cleaned off. You can actually see the table top.  Now isn't that exciting???

Yes - there are tables under all that mess.
My plan is to carefully sort those projects and blue bag them - I still have about 8 bags left - hey - I'm a long way from being done!  Those blue bags are going to go UNDERNEATH the project tables. 

But here's the problem. How the heck will I ever deal with all this mess? I can't give it away because I refuse to compound someone else's situation. I do have one or two new sewers who will take some stuff, but I don't want to overload them. And because I paid good money for all this, I'm being very selective in what happens to it all. 

One thing has come out of all this. I need to STOP STOP STOP over-scheduling myself. I need to schedule days for ME. Days where I can actually tidy up the house, get rid of stuff that we don't need, pay bills or do paperwork. And then I need to schedule days to do the magazine work, days to do the blog posts and days to just have FUN!  And all while I'm trying to work the day shift!  

I'm not used to having that kind of a schedule, but I think I need it. I can be flexible, but over scheduling has caused me loads of grief in the past. I will build flexibility into it - I have to.  But there will have to be Sunday morning bike rides, there has to be time at the park for the girls and a whole lot more!  

The next couple of weeks are going to be very interesting as I try to implement all this because if I don't, I'm going to die with a whole lot of nothing done!  Or a whole lot of STUFF left over!

I need to stop shopping as well.  Thankfully Ruti's is closing at the end of the year. No more temptation!  I will have to plan very carefully any trips to quilt stores and perhaps I'll only go on my bike so I can't buy much! That's a 70 KM round trip so it won't happen every day!

And now - I MUST MUST MUST finish off that draw.  I have to do it manually in EXCEL with a random number generator and I have to tweak the lines of data before I do that.  I WILL MAKE IT HAPPEN TODAY and I apologize to those that left comments for my tardiness in making this happen. 

Have a super day!!!!!


And don't forget to come back tomorrow when all is revealed!

I'm so serious about this mess, I didn't even go to Tim's this morning. I made tea at home. What has happened?

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Houston - we have a problem.................

Despite the fact that I'm behind on two items, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I'm feeling much better - almost like my old self for which I'm extremely thankful. There is nothing worse than being sick. NOTHING!

I have a timeline to get those two projects done - they will be late, but they will get done. Of course, things are a wee bit complicated by tomorrow. 

I'm going to keep you in suspense and hopefully will be able to reveal what happened. I think it's going to be good for a few laughs. A small monkey wrench got thrown into the mix this morning and I have a bit of work to do because it's not just going to be me involved in this project.

Have a look at this and I think you'll see what the problem is................

SERIOUSLY????   We're supposed to sew in that mess?   So guess what I'm doing when I get home today. Can you still buy those blue IKEA bags? I need LOTS and I need them NOW.  And where the heck is that POD.  I need space - I need lots of space! And I need it NOW!

OH yes - just one more crazy moment tossed into the mix and I LOVE it. THere are times when I think moving to the country and to stop doing all the things that I do would be great. I think I would also die!

Have a super day!!!


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

What do I do with that?

I was lucky enough to teach a class at the Etobicoke Quilter's Guild on the weekend.  The class was Modern Improv or something like that! We had a great time - well, I had a great time and it never fails to amaze me at how I learn from the students. I'm also amazed at how trusting students can be. They just dive in!  As a student - I tend to be a whiner!

Here's the thing about modern quilting. I used to think that modern quilting was all about the younger generation - the young moms at home who wanted to learn to quilt. Well, I've learned that that is NOT the case.  Most of the class, NO - the entire class were much more experienced ladies. Same with the modern guilds - we're older and wiser! And many of us want to use up our existing fabric to make modern quilts!  There was a wild variety of fabrics in the room - some bordered on modern, most did not!  It was great.  I didn't take pictures - I should have, but I didn't.

Last night, I was the guest speaker at the Etobicoke Quilter's Guild and a number of students brought in what they had worked on. Some had made progress since the Saturday class.  Again - I didn't take pictures - I should have, but I didn't. I must get back into picture taking mode. Some of the show n tell was from a previous class that I taught at this guild. It's always such fun to see finished projects!

However, there was one thing that came from this. One lady held up her very creative piece - totally made with NON-modern fabric. The finished size was about 12 - 14" square.  She had shown it to her family and they had said, "what do you do with that?" 

I've always made quilts of different sizes. From day one, I've love mini quilts. Gosh - I bought all the Miniature Quilts magazines from years gone by and I was just online checking and mini-quilts are making a comeback.  HEY  - I think I see a workshop coming on!

So what do you do with all those small quilts?  You hang them of course!  I've been meaning to create a mini gallery in my office for a while and while I've hung quilts in the past, I tended to poke holes in the drywall and well, it wasn't looking too pretty.  What to do to prevent that?  I purchased three strips of cork measuring 1" by 48".  I'm not sure that I should admit this, but they are now stuck to the wall in my office using the 3M sticky tissue tape that came with the cork strips.  It works for me. 

And look how great the quilts look. 

My mini gallery

I know - too many white quilts!  But that's all I had for Christmas quilts and I just grabbed the NO WHINING quilt because I was feeling grumpy after being sick!  But this is what you do with your mini-quilts. You hang them to enjoy.  I have enough that I can rotate the display throughout the year and I can hardly wait.  I also have a large quilt that hangs behind my desk. My office space is nice and cozy and I'm loving it!

I didn't take a picture of my quilt display area at home, but I will.  Those quilts are hanging on racks.

Let's just say that there is going to be a mad panic in the next 48 hours in that studio. I'm so excited, I can hardly think! Pitching and packing (mostly packing).  What I really need like RIGHT NOW is a POD. Someplace to stash all that stuff.  Maybe if I donate all my decorations which I don't use anymore, I can use that space to stash all this stuff????  Just a thought.  However, there is NO time for that. I could just haul it all upstairs and hide it in a bedroom. That might be the better solution.  And then once and for all - this MUST MUST MUST be dealt with.  It all comes at the right time of year when I'm thinking of how to get things done and what things to get done for 2018.

Life is never dull at our house. NEVER. 

Have a super day!


Monday, November 20, 2017

Motivational Monday - It's that time of year!

Have you checked your e-mails lately? You know - the ones that are promising all kinds of amazing projects for 2018.  Sew-alongs, blocks of the day/week/month and everything else that you can imagine.

Aren't they enticing?  "Oh - I have that project in my "to do" box. I could join."  Did you just hear yourself say that? 

Here's the thing.  THINK VERY HARD AND VERY DEEP on whether you want to sign up for that project.   What will you gain by signing up for that project?  Will you learn something?  Perhaps make new friends?  What are your goals?  Do I really need/want to start a new project?  Do I like that teacher/designer?   Will you be committed to finishing it or will it end up as a UFO?

I'm sure there are tons of other questions that you could ask yourself.  TONS.  You'll have to be the judge. I was tempted - really, really tempted this morning when I saw a sew along, but common sense kicked in before I went too far.  I don't need a sew along. I need the MOTIVATION to get some of the stuff done that I have to do. And I cannot (simply CANNOT) believe that as I sat in my studio yesterday, I actually thought of downsizing.  OH MY GOD!  The world is coming to an end!!!

Now I don't think I was too serious, but the thought did cross my mind.  I'll call it residue from being sick. I'm much better today BTW - not perfect, but much better.

I'm not certain what goals I'll set for myself for 2018.  I really really like the idea of the 12 projects - one a month.  Even though I haven't quite accomplished all those goals, I did manage to NOT start a whole pile of new ones. I did manage to get a couple on the list completely done and I have made huge leaps and bounds on several of the others.  I just need to get a wee bit more serious about it, but honestly - for me - the Motivational Monday and The Task Master?  They worked. I hope they worked for some of you as well.

So how will we work going forward?  There are only a few weeks left this year.  I keep hearing over and over again how much stuff we all have and ladies (and gentlemen) if we don't start to take better control over the situation, our families are going to have a huge mess to clean up!  My travel schedule for 2018 has been set and it's a lot less than 2017 and I'm thrilled for that!  Getting an extra day off does NOT compensate for being away from home. So right there I see way more time to sew or relax.

As the next couple of weeks progress, I want to set out some very serious goals for myself for 2018. Not because I want to be a better person, but I want to enjoy my hobby/work more than I currently am. There are roadblocks to that happening. What are those roadblocks?  Too much stuff!  Too much clutter! Too many deadlines!   So as the new year approaches, I'm going to try and find even more ways to eliminate those roadblocks so I can have a bit of fun.

Here's something to contemplate. For the most part, I know where my projects and tools are.  You may not think I do, but I do.  However, there are two projects that I have misplaced and no idea what I've done with them. One is a double wedding ring quilt that I want to finish, but NO CLUE where it is. The other thing that I'm missing is my hexies!  I put everything associated with that project into a box and for the life of me, I can't find it. I also have some hexie dies that are with the hexies. Imagine my surprise yesterday when I found one of the hexie dies. I thought I was close!

Alas - NO hexies!

Something big - REAL big is happening in my studio this week. So big that I don't think I can share it even after it happens. Well, eventually I'll be able to. The question of the day is how much of a mess do I leave the studio in?  Last week, I was perfectly happy to leave it as it is.  Last night, I was ready to whip all that loose stuff into bags and hide it. Which is why I'm going to have a miracle recovery and probably get rid of some of the stuff - at least off the tables. 

On that note, I'm out of here to NOT get tempted by reading about all the upcoming cool events for 2018.   Let the others do them.  I will NOT, will NOT get pulled into doing what everyone else is doing. I will NOT.

Have a great day!!!


PS -- doing the draw this afternoon. Sorry - hard to coordinate the timing of that.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Baby Steps

Thanks to everyone for the comments on Friday's posts. I'll be picking the winners and announcing them tomorrow.

I really, really hate to dwell on the fact that I'm still sick, but only how it relates to what today's post is all about. So bear with me - there is quilting stuff here!

Baby steps in that today it took less time to get functional, although my 30 minute nap became one hour. How can that be when I'm not doing anything strenouous, I'm sleeping lots and not waking up in the night, I'm napping when I get home.  Let's just say that I will not be a good candidate to lose physical abilities and still have a sharp mind. BUT  - I did come home from the quilting class I taught yesterday inspired to sew.

Baby steps in that today, I'm not using either of my laptops to blog. Yikes!   It's about time that I make that move.  It's not easy because the keyboard on this computer has a few things in different spots and I can't seem to capitilize words!  And I'm going to load the trial version of the photo editing software on here and when the trial runs out, I'll cough up the money to pay for it. I'm liking the new software as I'm using it on a regular basis on my work laptop.  Then to get an external hard disk to transfer everything over and I'll be done!

Baby steps in that today, I went down to the studio when I got up because I have a lot of work to get done today.  I managed to cut three squares! Well actually I just had to trim them down. I used my small cutter which was conveniently located on the cutting table.  Then when I needed to cut a couple of strips, I couldn't find my mid-sized rotary cutter. Thinking I had left it at the class yesterday, I used my large cutter. But it needed a new blade. I proceeded to throw some of the bits of the cutter in the garbage, along with the lint from the cutter. Rummaged through the garbage to rescue the bits and the rotary cutter is now operational. However I was a tad afraid to use it.  Here's a brand new blade in a large cutter and my brain seems to be a tad foggy. But I managed to successfully cut several strips and didn't cut myself so that was a good sign. But I needed a nap after those few cuts. Not a good sign!

Baby steps in that today we'll see how far my patience can go.  Why can't I change my e-mail address in Facebook?   It keeps asking me for my old e-mail address which is long gone.  Grant me patience, lots of it.  But that is definitely not someting that I'm going to touch today. This is one of those technical issues because I'm on this other computer.  Nope - not going to happen today on that one!

Baby steps in that yesterday, I actually felt like eating something except there was nothing to eat in the house. I really must take over the grocery shopping. This is getting a wee bit ridiculous.  There is zero comfort food in our house. There is zero emergency meals in the freezer and we were down to one container of soup and that's all I'd eaten all week, I couldn't stomach more soup.  So at 6:30 last night when we knew the prepared hot food would be gone, we headed to the grocery store. Not even going to grumble about that one, but it wasn't my choice!  I managed to snag some shepherd's pie which is what I wanted and I threw it in the microwave and I was a happy camper!

And now while I would love to go for a nap, I can't - not yet.  I must get some work done and then - I'll have that nap.

Have a super day!!!!


Please forgive any spelling or grammar errors - my checker isn't working yet - well it was when I started and then it disappeared and my Facebook account won't let me reload it until the e-mail is changed?  I have no idea and brain doesn't want to deal with those issues today!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

It's time for a road trip...

A virtual road trip that is, especially since I'm still under the weather.

This blog tour will take on a journey to view the blogs of some very inspired designers.  What am I talking about?

This is Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks - edition SIXTEEN.  And I was lucky enough to have a block chosen for the magazine. It's hard to believe that this is edition Sixteen.  I have coveted all the previous volumes as there are some amazing blocks.

While I'm sure that some of the other bloggers had their posts written weeks ago, I'm a bit of a last minute person. I'd invite you into my studio (or at least show you a picture), but it's still in a wee bit of disarray after a major sewing storm as I prepped for Quilt Market and Quilt Festival at the end of October. Come back over the next week as I plan to share all the goodies that I acquired over the two weeks. 

I guess I should show you my block. I'm number 1593 and the name of my block is Any Which Way.

Hopefully, you get the idea - this is a 12" block and definitely hard to see white block background on white computer screen background.  AHA - let's recolor the block to make it easier to see.

Now that has a bit more of a roadside sign feel.  You have to love the capabilities of EQ7 (and now EQ8) to make the life of a quilt designer a whole lot easier.

It's also a challenge sometimes even with computer software providing the cutting guidelines. I got my original block together and put it on the design wall and realized that those arrows were a bit out of whack. Now how did that happen?  I didn't snap a photo - who wants to air dirty laundry? 

So what can you do with this block? Patti from Patti's Patchwork beat me to the punch with blogging about the block.  Check out several versions of quilts that she designed using the block alone and in conjunction with other blocks. I have to say that I'm impressed - some very neat designs. Thanks Patti for playing with my block.

Here are a couple of versions that I came up with. I'm experimenting with a modern aesthetic in my quilts these days and somehow that translates into white backgrounds for me.  Have you ever worked with a white background?  It's hard!  Hard to keep clean and hard to keep the threads from showing through.  Note to self: you can go darker and still have a modern aesthetic!

Version one with negative space
 I used a number of greens from Northcott's Premium solid Collection called ColorWorks. I love the quality of the fabric and love the wide range of colors. In the photo above, the ends of one set of arrows runs into the other set (we'll talk about pressing in a minute) and I didn't worry that the ends and the beginnings were different colors, but you could plan it out so that ends and beginnings created a double pointed arrow in the same color. 

If you're into square quilts, you could place the blocks in this configuration where the pressing of the seams becomes a non-issue.

A square version using Any Which Way block

And the third version provides a bit of an optical illusion. That right-hand border looks like it's leaning, but it should be straight.  Perhaps it's my eyesight that is going.

Blocks on point with no sashing

Now let's chat about pressing. If you are making the first version, the rule that we've been taught is to always press to the dark side!  That sounds so ominous.  Now imagine if we would have done that in this case. I've used both colors just for the fun of it!  But you can see what would happen if you pressed those horizontal seams to the dark.  You would have a lot of bulk where the bodies of the arrow met.

My rule of thumb is to press the seams to eliminate bulk even it means pressing to the white. GASP!  Really?  You bet!  Think about it - there will be quilting on top of the fabric and you can use the quilting to help disguise the seam.   If the seams are pressed well, they will disappear as the surface of the quilt will be flatter, seams will line up more easily and a whole lot of other good things. 

Below is a photo of the back of two of my blocks. The other thing I should mention is that I'm always creating a pressing plan for my blocks. How will block A be positioned relative to Block B?  How will that affect the pressing?  There are times when I've had to reverse press some seams, but I'd rather have a smooth top than a lumpy one.

As you can see in the photo, I pressed all the seams in one direction. 

All seams pressed down
 When every second block gets rotated 180 degrees to be sewn to the next block, the seams are now going in the opposite direction and all the seams butted up nicely which makes for some smooth and matching intersections.
Alternating seams

And that makes me a happy quilter!

Now the best part - giveaways!!   I have three giveaways today and all you have to do is write a comment on the post.  Comments posted before midnight on Saturday, November 18 will be eligible to win.   I have one copy of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks - Volume 16.  And there are two Gradations Chip packs up for grabs from Northcott's latest colorway (Mystic) of Stonehenge Gradations.  That's three chances to win.

It's been great fun to be part of this blog hop and I hope to see you again real soon!

Have a super day!


And if you missed the blog tour earlier this week, you can check out the links at this web site.