Friday, August 17, 2018

The BiQUE Ride - Day Five - Part Two

We had lunch at a very cool little spot in downtown Brockville - Tait’s. I actually ate lunch. Just half a sandwich, a small bowl of soup and lemon merangue pie. Oh and chocolate milk. It was a lot to take in at one time and I did feel it a bit later in the afternoon, but I was totally fine.

Mary suggested that we visit the Train Tunnel in Brockville. Hm - what is this? It’s the coolest thing - there’s a MILE of train tunnel that runs from the river up to the main railroad track. It was used to transport goods from the port (Brockville was once a thriving river port) to the railroad. Now it’s a tourist attraction - it’s been beautifully restored and there’s a light show and music as you walk the length. It was a great place to stop. Thanks to Mary for suggesting it.

It was great to see Mary as she moved away from the GTA almost three years ago. So we were able to catch up on family, quilting and a whole lot more. We actually did a little brain storming on quilt shows. Hm.........   I wonder how many more friends will move away from the GTA as they retire - I guess I’ll just keep having to bike this route to see them once a year. I’m just not ready for that kind of a move. Will I ever be ready??

Then we parted ways and I was off for the last 18 K before we hit the hotel for the night. It was an easy 18K even though there wasn’t much shoulder (actually NONE) on the road so had to ride on the road with the cars. But everyone behaved themselves nicely and so it wasn’t a big deal at all.

Showered and sat outside - our hotel is right on the river.  I’m reading a book and if I’m not careful, I’ll be finished before we hit our final destination. We have today and one more day of riding so you can probably guess where that final destination is. I do have my “new” book that I bought the other day that I can read and a couple of magazines so I think I have enough reading material to last me. And I have an audiobook on my phone that I can “read”. I did bring some embroidery, but I haven’t been in the mood to do that. I should have yesterday, but I have to admit that I was having a nice nap in the chair after my ride.

That’s the beauty of riding. You can nap and not feel guilty for it. Not that I feel guilty at home, but at least here, we have a good reason to nap.

We ordered in Chinese food last night from Prescott which is nearby. They ordered so much and I thought we would have tons of leftovers. Actually we all did pretty good and they wasn’t much left over and it was all given to the hotel so the day crew will have a wonderful lunch.

Then off to bed. I’m an early to bed person anyway and after a day of cycling - well, it’s nice to hit the hay.

Breakfast is later today (7:30) so I now have an entire hour to kill and I’m hungry NOW.  But I’ll slowly pack my suitcase - very slowly and perhaps I’ll read a bit. Maybe I’ll check some e-mail.

Yesterday, I got an e-mail from the magazine. They received my quilt (not made from cotton) and LOVE IT. Loved the quilting. I do too - I’m very happy with that quilt. I can’t wait to see what they do with it.

Have a super day!!!!


The BiQUE Ride - Day Five - Part One

After all that rain from the day before, the sky didn’t look so promising in the morning, but there was no rain and it turned out to be a glorious day.

Very quickly we were out of the city of Kingston and on our way again. I must have been really psyched because I was cursing along at a fairly past pace. Not sure why - it just happened. And I always leave early. I try to be at breakfast at 7 AM and out of there by 7:30 AM. Which isn’t hard to do considering that I’m very much a morning person and usually up around 5. When you don’t really have anything to do in the morning it’s not hard to be ready. I mean - really how long does it take to pack the suitcase?

The weather was beautiful - a little bit of cloud cover and the temperature was coolish. I almost wanted to put my wind vest on in the morning, but decided I didn’t need it.

I completely missed the truck in the morning for the snack. Oops - well it happens from time to time. And while I had food with me - that was my afternoon snack. So I stopped in Rockport. I don’t remember stopping in this place on previous strips. I’m thinking it was just was rinky-dink little town. Gosh - it’s quite the place with the main attraction being a dock for tours of the islands. Very touristy. I used the washroom and bought a chocolate bar and I was on my way.

My system is going into sugar overload on this trip! Not really - I always do this on a bike trip - chocolate bars and especially Snickers (because of the nuts and sugar) are excellent sources of fuel on a bike trip. I enjoyed it, but won’t crave it when I’m back.

By this time, I had gotten in touch with Mary (the wonder of cell phones) and we were going to meet in Brockville for lunch. I wasn’t sure what time I was going to arrive until I got on the road. But it appeared that I would be able to do the 80K by lunch. That’s insane. BUT - for a good part of the day we were on the bike path beside the 1000 Islands Parkway. That’s a treasure. It’s the best bike path around. You’re completely on your own little highway and you can literally fly along. There are a few inclines but not much. And there are equal downhills. We did 442 meters of climbing and 446 meters of descents. So it pretty much equals out at the end of the day.

I passed the place where Susan and I went zip lining a couple of weeks ago. That was neat - it was even nicer when we went zip lining and I saw the bike path and knew that I would be back that way in a very short time and not in a car.

Let me finish this in part two.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The BiQUE Ride Rest Day - Part Two

I think my FitBit was at 27,000 steps last night and none of its as from riding the bike!

I finally got back to the hotel around 3:30 PM and thought I would have a wee nap as I was hot and tired. I read for a bit and then woke up around 4 PM to lightening and thunder. It was POURING rain.  The storm went on for several hours and it was fun to watch people scurrying around in the rain.

Around 6:30 PM,  after I read and napped and read and napped, the rain had stopped enough to venture out. I thought I’ll just hit the Lone Star next to the hotel for dinner. It was packed and a long wait. So I wandered off to another restaurant that someone had been to the night before. Again - they were packed, but there was room at the bar for one.

I had a wonderful meal. And got to watch the young bartender. She was very busy but super nice and friendly. Amazing how many drinks she made or bottles of wine she got ready. I had wanted to walk down to the ice cream place in the afternoon but the rain put a damper on that plan. So I had ice cream (tartufo) at the restaurant. That was very yummy.

Back to the room and I hadn’t been here that long before it was storming like mad once again. The rain was pouring down with lightening and thunder. The winds weren’t as bad as in the afternoon, but still it was a crazy storm. In the afternoon, the lightening would strike and I wish I could have taken pictures and the thunder was immediately after - it’s was right on top of us. Thankfully I was in the hotel and had done all I wanted to do for the day.

I haven’t checked the weather for today, but at least the rain has stopped, although the sky is cloudy.

DH mentioned that in Kansas City, they have a “take your dog to the ball park day”.  Can you imagine us taking our looney toons to the ball park? Every time the ball was thrown, Murphy would be wanting to chase it!

I guess I had better pack up my stuff in the suitcase and get ready for the day!

Have a great day!!!


The BiQUE Ride - Rest Day - Part One

It’s a rest day! That means we’re supposed to rest up, but seriously what’s the fun in that?

I had a good sleep once I fell asleep and then in the morning realized that it was not the same people beside me as the previous night. Not sure what their problem was - anyway, last night I had the fan (A/C) in the room on and that masked any noises from the next room. GASP - I know - the A/C - well it was mostly to get rid of the humidity and to mask the noises. It’s off now.

A couple of weeks ago, I had visited Kingston (where we’re staying) and I had hit the quilt stores so no need to hit them again. This time, I was out for the used book stores with my list in hand.

I know you’re all going to think that I’m crazy but that’s OK. One of the stores was downtown and the other wasn’t. Well I could just walk to the other one. OH Google maps says that it’s 9 KM away. Well how long can that take? TWO hours. So I walked. I had nothing else to do all day  - I’m really not a good tourist. I walked there - it was a glorious day - a bit hot, but not bad. I arrived and found a nice orderly bookstore. I searched through all the books and was getting worried - I hadn’t found one book on my list. I found one that I could buy if nothing else surfaced. Then eureka - I found one book. Thankfully it was only one book because I now had to carry that book with me.

I could have taken my bike which would have been pretty fast, I could have taken the bus, but I was OK with walking and then I decided to walk all the way back. Again - what else was I going to do.

On the way back, there were a few places that I wanted to stop so I did pop in for a quick peek at them on the way back to the hotel.

Finally hit all the places (or so I thought) and sat in a small restaurant for a late lunch. I looked across the street and there was the second book store. I guess my brain was so fried, I had forgotten to get to the second book shop. After lunch I popped in. OH BOY - if you’re ever looking for a book - a historical or war themed book - this is the place. It was packed to the rafters with books. Books on the staircase, books on the floor. Books everywhere.

The fiction section wasn’t very big and mostly hardcovers. Very hard to find things so I didn’t luck out there. I did find a book on Textiles (the history of) that I was tempted to buy, but ended up putting it back on the shelf. I finally found the quilting section and it had some older books. Pretty sure that I had most of them, but I did find one that intrigued me. If you bought two, you got a third one free. I was tempted to get the Textile book, but then I would have had to find a third book and well - I was done for the moment.

On my way back to the hotel, I passed a store offered fresh juices. Hmm - that sounds great. I should have known when there was NO PRICE on the board how expensive it was going to be. I paid $8.50 for a watermelon juice in a glass bottle that wasn’t very big. Yeesh.  Let’s just say that I enjoyed every last drop - but that was a bit expensive.

Let me finish this in a part two.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The BiQUE Ride - Day Three - Part Two

I made it to Picton and that was a bit of a challenge to get through the busy town (lots of parked cars on the streets and the street traffic was busy) and then I was on my way to the ferry. I’m not big on stopping at a restaurant to eat. I just can’t stomach that much food and then get back on the bike. I’m a snacker even at home. I mention that because Picton was our best option to stop for lunch. Too early anyway.

I made it to the ferry just as the gate was closing. The lady asked if I wanted on - YES and I was away. No need to wait although the ferry runs back and forth without stopping - well except to let the cars off.

For the most part, the roads/bike paths have been great. But we ran into a lot of construction yesterday. A LOT and so we were on the road with the traffic. For the most part, people have been pretty courteous so no complaints there. But there are times when you can see how accidents can happen. Remember - this can happen even when passing a car. So you move over to pass me - some people get really carried away and will go completely into the other lane. There’s no need for that - three feet is the law. But some are going so fast that when they swing back into the lane at their speed, that they are swerving and swaying. Especially a larger vehicle or one with a trailer. People need to see this in action so they can appreciate it. All that needs to happen to pass is that they slow slightly or not over correct to get back into their lane. It’s an accident waiting to happen for some and who would get blamed? The cyclists because the vehicle was swerving around to pass.

The sky was getting darker and darker and I’m now 10 KM from the downtown Kingston. I think I’m going to make it without getting wet although I’ve gotten wet instantly in a downpour on previous trips. I’m three K from the hotel when it starts to rain. Not hard and I didn’t get soaked, but I got dampish. So close!!!

Checked in and had a shower. There was a LOT of dirt and grit and sweat and sunscreen on my legs. Now that feels better. I found a convenience store down the street and bought a chocolate milk - on top of the chocolate milk and chocolate bar I had had earlier. Like I said - I like snacks.

We had a small reception when everyone arrived and was cleaned up (5:30). More snacks - veggies - yum. Then someone mentioned they wanted pasta - that sounded like a great idea so I went out for pasta. That was a mistake. It was so heavy - I’m still digesting it. I don’t feel awful, but I had eaten way too much at the end of the day. Won’t be making that same mistake - I probably won’t need to eat today (just kidding) with everything I ate last night.

We’re right downtown Kingston which is fun. I was out walking around last night and came across a great book store. Not a used one (that’s for today), but new books. Interesting finds in the craft section and a brand new local author who has written a psychological thriller with a sequel. I’m going back today. Got to remember books are heavy! Thankfully, not taking a plane home.

Well - I think I have the same roommates beside me.  GRRR. While I couldn’t hear them talking (well - their specific words), I could hear their DAMN TV and I could hear them yawning. Shut the friggin thing off and go to bed!!!!  They shut it down at 11.  I was tired, but couldn’t sleep. Should have brought ear plugs.

The day looks gorgeous so far and well - it’s time to get going. I’ve a lot to do today (It’s a est day) and no time like the present to have breakfast. I know - not really hungry, but I need to eat.

Oh yes - m FitBit is going crazy. 33,000 steps yesterday. I’ve no idea why it’s registering my bike ride - unless, I’m waving my hand????

Have a super day


The BiQUE Ride - Day Three - Part One

Had a wee bit of a panic attack this morning as I wasn’t able to get the keyboard to work. Yet - it worked when I typed in the Passcode for the internet. OH - I think it wanted me to send a few e-mails out first.

Another GLORIOUS day on the bike. What can I say - but these trips are so much fun. I know, most of you are rolling your eyes and saying - do it! But a visit to the cottage or the beach is more your style. That’s OK. We’re all different.

I see that some of the others caught onto my trick - get out of camp (or the hotel) early in the morning. It’s better to do that than hang around and then arrive late in the day.

I must confess that I took a left turn right out of the driveway that wasn’t supposed to be a turn - I knew that was going to happen. 1 KM down and I realized this wasn’t right so I went back. So I had an extra 2 KM on the day from the others.

The temperature was a bit iffy and all day there were clouds threatening. Big black rain clouds. Actually we started the day off with a few very small showers that were really sprinkles. Not enough to get you wet.

We backtracked over part of that detour from the day before. And then we were on new ground. I swear there was a head wind for a greater part of the day, but my legs are feeling strong. I had a peek at the data collected by my computer. Everyday, we climb betweeen 400 and 600 M and we descend between 400 and 600 M. Now why do we not remember the downs, but only the ups? Actually I noticed that I seem to be better on the ups. Why is that? I’ve at least 20 pounds LESS to carry on the bike than I did last year. Think about it - if you carried a twenty pound bag of flour with you - imagine how much better and faster you would be if you could put the bag down. OH yes - I’m hooked on my new weight and will do whatever I can to maintain it.

At about KM 28, there was a nasty hill. Fortunately it wasn’t very long but it was 13% grade which is pretty steep if you didn’t know that. I did gear down and worked my way up and I was fine. The truck was at the top so we fueled up - those darn butter tarts. Then I was on my way again. There were five of us at the truck at the same time.

It was a pretty uneventful day except for watching those clouds. We had been told to stop at a winery that has a sculpture garden and a gallery. Hmm - I wasn’t going to, but then thought - I have loads of time so why not. It was beautiful. I think the winery was Huff. I saw the first bits of sculpture by the side of the gallery. Many very unique pieces. Then I followed the path to the back - OH MY - there was a three acre sculpture garden back there. Some absolutely gorgeous pieces that would look lovely in my garden but I’d have to mortgage the house first. I took lots of pictures for inspiration. The pieces in the gallery were amazing as well - the one I liked best???  A mere $10,000.

Let me finish this in the second part.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Back to School - Part 2

I'm not going to do this post justice, but I want to get some of the information out to you. I'm also teaching some classes at Oh Look Fabric in Milton.  Check out their webpage for workshops so you can see what we have in store for you. Here's a few pictures of some of the classes.

I'll be teaching some visible mending techniques. This is perfect for the teens or the funky side of you.

Rope bowls are back. This is a great class and you're going to learn a whole pile of techniques on making these bowls.

And we're learning how to hand embroider. 

There's also a Learn to Quilt from scratch multi-part class, pillowcases, lecture on binding, making banners, the jelly roll rug and a whole lot more.

I'll provide all the dates when I'm back and have more time. 

NOTE - the rope bowl class is August 22!!!!

Check it out at OH LOOK FABRIC.

Have a great day!


The BiQUE Ride - Day Two - Part Two

I stopped at Wicklow Beach park so I could eat a snack. I didn’t stop at a restaurant for lunch. I really have no desire to eat anything huge and then get back on the bike. I had some munchies with me and I sat and enjoyed the view of the lake and had a frog keep a watchful eye on me as I ate. I wonder if he was looking for a handout. I don’t think frogs eat nuts and berries.

There are a LOT of train tracks to cross. In a lot of cases there are three tracks. I was crossing one set when I wondered what it would be like to be in the middle of crossing when the lights start flashing and the bars go down. I looked down the track to see the lights of a train and YEP - those lights started flashing and the bars went down. I was across the tracks when the bars went down. But trust me - you do NOT mess with those VIA trains. Those trains fly by in a flash. They toot their horn multiple times and you had better be out of the way. They are short and whiz by in a blink of an eye.

For the most part, I have ridden all this route before - several times actually and parts of it, I rode in the opposite direction. Some stuff I recognize, some I don’t.

As the day was coming to a close, we knew there was an issue. There’s a bridge out over the Murray Canal. On a bike, that isn’t always a bad thing as you can sometimes “work” your way through the construction. As we did earlier on a section of road that was under construction. Actually, they were building a bike path beside the road and it was closed for that. But the road itself was rideable so no issues.

But the bridge? That was a different story. It looked like a very serious construction project and there was no way to cross the bridge. That meant a TWENTY K detour. Now we did have the option of taking a shuttle around the bridge, but where’s the fun in that? Nope - I rode up to the bridge - saw the mess and then turned around and went on the detour. My back was getting tired but still had legs to get to the hotel.

Now when you got to the other side of the detour - there’s the flipping bridge. What took us 20 K could have been done in 200 M. That’s bad!!!  The worse part - that bridge has been out for almost ONE Year and the locals are NOT happy. A short trip to Brighton requires them to drive 30 K instead of 10K. No idea when the bridge will reopen. Come on construction people - get your act together. The bridge was to have been completed in May.

Since my lunch break, I was looking forward to some chocolate milk. That would have been the perfect thing to hit the spot. But our hotel is isolated and no stores around. Sad face. But I thought I would ask the kitchen if they had chocolate milk. Nope - then the lady said - you know what. Someone left a jug of chocolate milk and I could have it. Now it was open - I didn’t care. That’s how much I wanted it. So I sat outside on the front porch and enjoyed my chocolate milk. As I was enjoying that, two other riders came up. They had also ridden around the detour. I arrived at 3 PM. Bud, our fearless leader also rode the detour, but the rest of the group took the shuttle.

After my shower where I had to scrub the crude off my legs and arms - dirty and sunscreen and sweat, I took a walk down to the small beach. These’s a small trailer park right here as well and a number of them stay all year long. Hmm - getting out of the city is looking better and better, and while most of the people had dogs, I don’t think my dogs are ready to leave their backyard. Apparently they were running around like mad yesterday and Lexi ended up in the pool and Murphy in the pond. Those two crazies.

While our rooms are nice here, they are NOISY. I have two guys beside me and I can hear EVERY WORD they say. And it was quiet, but now they’re up. The person above me is a lead foot. And how many times can you walk back and forth across your floor. I was ready to yell out at everyone last night, but I’m so patient!!!

OH - total mileage for the day? 123 K

I think that covers it.

Have a super day!


The BiQUE Ride - Day Two - Part One

Have you figured out my destination yet?

We had another amazing day of cycling. I was up bright and early, got the bike ready - not that there is much to do although I do need a wee bit of lub for the chain and I keep forgetting to get it off the truck. I’m out of practice on the bike part, but then our set up is quite different because of the hotel situation and our truck isn’t always here when I arrive. Tomorrow is a rest day so hopefully I can get that done tonight or tomorrow.

I think my FitBit was on steroids yesterday. At the end of the day it was at 27,800. It’s not supposed to log bike miles, but obviously it did. Unfortunately it’s not syncing to the app. It needs to be reset at the computer and I didn’t have time to do that before I left. No worries - it’s just a number.

I haven’t been tracking my food in my app for a while. I will one day and then not the next. I’m pretty good at judging what I can and cannot eat and my weight is maintaining at about 4 pounds below my goal. All is good. I think my calorie intake on a normal day with no exercise is just less than 2000 calories. These days???  I’m close to 6000. That’s a LOT of calories to have to consume. There is NO WAY that I can eat that much in one day. I’m never that hungry when I’m on the bike.

The day started off nice and sunny but storm clouds did arrive in the afternoon. I think I felt a total of 3 drops and that was it. The others got caught in rain and I know some of them even took shelter somewhere. Ah - the benefits of getting in early. It didn’t rain at our final destination for the day and all was good.

I’m the odd person out on the trip. There are three couples on the trip and two pairs of friends. I’m the odd man out but I’m OK with that. So I ride alone and I’m really OK with that. I did stop and take a number of pictures yesterday - some of the views of the lake are amazing.

I stopped in Port Hope to visit Susan and Bob. It’s funny that they moved away from the city two years ago and I’ve been trying to get to their cottage and/or house for two years and then I hit the cottage AND their new house within two weeks of each other. They have a beautiful home and it literally was two quick turns off our route. A very quiet neighbourhood - I could see myself living there. But not yet.

Then I was back on the road. Our truck was 2 KM away from their house so I had another quick pit stop as I munched a cookie and a few other snacks. I’m definitely NOT eating like I would at home. I would have a lot more fruit. While fruit is available it does NOT travel well on a bike. So if you can’t eat it at the source - don’t carry it. It will be mush. Bananas are not bad and I gently put one on the top of my bike basket. After 40 K, I found it at the bottom of the basket and partially mushed. It was still good.

That’s it for Part One.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Back to School

Not trying to scare anyone with young children, but you know what's coming.

Well - back to school isn't just for children - it's for adults too! For many, September is more important as a "new year" than January. I love September. New classes, learning new techniques, meeting new people, setting the schedule - it's an exciting time.

I thought I'd share with you the classes that I have booked at The Hobby Horse in Georgetown. And you had better sign up because there are some really fun and exciting things happening. Please contact the shop directly to sign up for any class. Make sure you get a requirements list so you can come to class prepared.

Applique - with Swan Amity patterns

September 15, October 6 and December 1   (all 10 AM-Noon)

What you’ll learn –
1st class – how to identify which applique technique to use for certain pieces/shapes/styles, prepping for hand and/or machine applique
2nd class – perfecting the applique stitch whether by hand or by machine.
3rd class – follow up on the stitching techniques and a discussion of how to quilt your finished project.

There’s ample time between classes to keep up to date with the project. If you’re new to applique or want to brush up on your skills, the multi-class format will ensure feedback on your applique technique.

One of three patterns to choose from 

No Measure Bargello

September 15 and October 6 - 1:00 PM - 3:30 PM

1st Class – assistance in choosing the colors for a successful bargello (if necessary) and sewing the strip sets together.
2nd class – cutting the strips sets (strata) apart and assembly of the quilt top.

The multi-part class ensures that all components of the bargello will be covered so you’ll end up with a finished quilt top. 

Easy Attic Window

September 16 - 12:30 PM - 3:30 PM

We’ll be working with a polar bear panel and coordinates to create an attic window quilt. The class techniques will work for any panel, so you can go home and start cutting up those extra panels you’ve acquired. We’re going to touch on the perspective of your window sashings, as well as how important value is in this process. The size (scale) of the window sashings will also be explored.

Machine Quilting 101 (Basic)

FRIDAY - September 21  - 1 PM - 4 PM

There’s a lot of variables involved in machine quilting than just your sewing machine. This class will look at all the variables involved and show you how to control each one so when you sit down to quilt, you’ll know what to do when something goes wrong. We’ll be looking at needles and threads, your workspace and many other things that will affect how successful you are with your machine quilting. How to develop your own quilting patterns and how to stitch a large quilt will all be covered in this basic machine quilting class. 

NOTE:  I know this class is on a Friday, but this is a very informative class. If you've never taken a machine quilting class before, this is the ONE to take. We don't just sit down and quilt - OH NO - check out the description above. Loads of stuff is covered and I've never had a single person leave this class disappointed.

I do recommend a book - it's small and not too expensive. But you need to have something to rely on when I'm not there for you!  Buy it and READ IT!

The recommended book for the class

Hello Sunshine - Kimberbell

September 22, October 27 and November 24  - 1:00 PM - 3:30: PM

This pattern comes in two different formats – regular fusible applique or machine embroidery applique. You can choose either method depending on your sewing machine capabilities. The same quilt will be worked on by both groups. The focus of this class is fusible applique and the various decorative stitches that can be used for applique. You’ll learn some great embellishment tips and other techniques. 

Hello Sunshine by Kimberbell

This quilt is SUPER cute. LOADS of techniques will be covered in this class and if you're fairly new to machine embroidery, you'll get some great tips. And if you're going to do it the traditional way, it's still going to be easy. None of the blocks are complicated which means it'll go together fast.

Mandarin Vest

October 14 and 21 - 12:30 PM - 3PM

Sewing clothing is back in vogue! This gorgeous vest comes in two lengths and two different styles of pockets, depending on the length you’ve chosen. It’s a loose fit, so no need for angst over a precision fit. You’ll be able to take your quilting skills into the world of garment sewing with few problems. The multi-class format will ensure that any issues are covered and that you’ll end up with a beautifully finished garment. 

Mandarin Vest

Machine Quilting 201 (Free motion)

Friday - October 26  1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Now that you’ve mastered the basics in the Machine quilting class, it’s time to step up your game. This class is totally focused on free motion. Any problems from the Machine quilting class will be discussed. We’ll also cover all the ins and outs of free motion. How to transfer designs to fabric, how to learn new patterns, what free motion foot is best, how to break down a large quilt to make it manageable on the domestic sewing machine. All this and more will be covered. Your confidence level is going to soar when you leave the class. 

The recommended book for Free motion class
Again - you will NOT be disappointed in this class. Loads to learn.

Orange Peel

November 18 and December 2 - 12:30 PM - 3:00 PM

This is a fun applique class that can be done in a very short time. It’s also a very versatile pattern. Make it big, make it small. We’ll be using the fusible applique technique for this quilt.

1st Class – discussion of the various machine applique techniques and the preparation of the appliques, as well as various stitches/thread that you can use.

2nd class – assembly of the project, ideas for machine quilting and finishing the project. 

Orange Peel 

Machine Quilting 301 (with the Handiquilter ruler)

November 23 - 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Looking for something new? We’re going to use rulers to jazz up our machine quilting. Whether you’re doing free motion stitch in the ditch or some background fills, rulers will help take the “wiggle” out of your stitches. And we’ll explore exactly what designs can be made with the rulers and how the rulers can be your friend. 

The recommended book for the ruler class

Please NOTE - this is NOT a Westalee ruler class. We will only be using ONE ruler - the Versatool from Handiquilter. But you will need a RULER foot for your sewing machine - the same that works with the Westalee Rulers.


Now isn't that super exciting????   Pick one of the classes, learn something new or just come for the social time. We've tried to split the classes up over multiple dates so you can be sure to get the feedback necessary for a successful project and learning experience.

If you have any feedback on the classes (dates/times/topics) please send me an e-mail. And if you have a class that you'd like to see for the winter session - let me know. I'm already trying to search out new stuff for January.

Keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming January (year-long classes). I'll be showing you those next week.

The BiQUE Ride - Day One - Part Two

I couldn’t do it. I stopped for lunch even though I wasn’t all that hungry. There were tons of people at the waterfront parks all along the way. I looked at the menu on one of the food trucks and you know what? - I couldn’t eat any of that. But since I wasn’t really hungry - that was a HUGE butter tart, I decided that I would find something later on.

Most of the Waterfront trail at this point is on dedicated paths. But there were times when we had to ride on the road. Most motorists were pretty courteous. At one point, there was a dedicated path beside the road, but it was under construction. I rode through the construction zone only to get half way down that road when I realized that there was a protected bike lane on the road. What was worse was as I was approaching the end, I thought - OH NO - there is a huge fence so I may have to ride back and take the dedicated bike lane. Thankfully, part of the fence was open at this point. Just as I arrived at the end of the construction zone, the bike group caught up with me - they rode on the dedicated bike path and probably thought I was an idiot as I rode through the construction zone. The ground was hard packed so it wasn’t an issue.

I had to consult with Google Maps at one point because I didn’t understand the bike route. Found the road I was to be on and kept going.

At one point we went through Darlington Park, but got into it from the back. Are you kidding me? The trail goes UP on a gravel path. Which wasn’t so bad, except because of the rains, the gravel was quite loose. It wasn’t as bad as I initially thought and I was off and soon back on the road.

Then close to the hotel, we were to take the South Service Road, except there wasn’t a South Service Road along the 401 as it was completely under construction. There was NO road to ride on. Another consult to Google maps and found a parallel (new) road and I was off again. Three roundabouts later and I was over the 401 and heading to the hotel.

I passed a Dairy Queen and thought about ice cream. I said - it’s only 1.5 KM from the hotel - I could walk back. I never did. Got to the hotel about 3:15 PM. The room wasn’t ready so I popped over to Harvey’s across the parking lot and got a cold drink. The hotel staff switched my room to one that was ready and had a welcome shower. Then I sat out in the back courtyard of the hotel and read until others arrived. Most didn’t arrive until 5 ish.

At 6, some of us walked down to a restaurant at the water where I had a sandwich and a beer. We’re in Bowmanville for those of you who know the area.

We’re a good group of people - one couple is on a tandem!!!  And I had forgotten to bring the charger for my FitBit. I noticed one of the guys had the same one so I was able to borrow his charger last night and I’m good to go today.

I think I was in bed by 9, but up early. Now I have time to kill before breakfast. We had a short day at 92 KM yesterday. I’m feeling pretty good this morning and excited to get started again. You know - here’s the thing - so I was on my bike for about 6 hours yesterday. What did I think about? NOTHING. I just love how my brain completely empties when I’m on the bike.

On that note - I’m out of here.

Have a great day!


The BiQUE Ride - Day One - Part One

Good morning and what a glorious day it’s going to be. I’m on another cycling trip - a short one, but better a short one than none at all. The final destination? There’s a clue in the title of today’s blog.

I was up early doing last minute stuff yesterday - namely writing blog posts. There will be TWO posts today so watch for both of them and there will be two tomorrow as well. We packed up the car and we were off. The start point of the ride was right downtown Toronto at Old City Hall so DH was able to drive me there.

While I do miss the camping part of these bike trips - no camping on the short trips - it’s nice to only have a small suitcase and a small backpack. I had just madly thrown stuff into my suitcase when I was packing - not really counting stuff. I brought way too many pairs of socks. Oh well - at least they are small.

Got a chance to meet the others - we are 12 in total including the driver of our truck which is carrying all our stuff. The owner of the company and his wife are with us as well which is very nice. I’ve known them for a number of years and Bud has ridden a few days here and there on the various trips, but never Margot.

Then we did something that I don’t think I’ve ever done in the entire time I’ve been doing these trips - we rode together as a group. Which was fine. We had a good pace and all is good. Right down Bay Street and onto the cycling path (Waterfront Trail) along the lake.

I’ve never cycled along there before and it’s quite awesome to say the least.

We arrived at a public washroom at Ashbridges Bay and had a quick stop. Then a HUGE group of cyclists arrived. Wow - it would be hard to ride on that multi-purpose path as part of your hard core cycling route. And these cyclists looked hard core. Back on track after a quick pee break.

We did stop at a couple of places. Rosetta McLain Park and The Guild. Both are beautiful places but I’m not into that kind of visiting when I’m on the bike. I know - bad me.

But something interesting happened at The Guild. There was another group of cyclists who arrived. AHA - they are part of the group that we ran into at Ashbridges Bay. I got to chatting with one of the cyclists.  Oh - they are a cycling group from Oakville. The owner/leader of the group is doing a cross Canada trip (supported) and with one or two others I think. Since they were in the neighbourhood of the rest of the cycling group, they tagged along for a one day ride. Some were going further. Now how cool is that. Their destination was Oshawa and they were taking the GO train home.

But what was really fun is that we kept tag teaming each other all day. More on that in a bit.

Then at about the 38 K mark, our driver (Seamus) had a little picnic set up for us. Well - a snack break. Butter tarts, fruit and water. I’ll take a butter tart please.

Emily and I decided to slowly get started again and let the others catch up. We had gotten about 2 KM away and she decided to wait for the others as we weren’t 100% sure of the route. I forged on and was soon on track. I never saw the rest of the group until they arrived at the hotel.

Much as I like riding with others, I much prefer to ride alone. I can stop to take pictures whenever I want and as often as I want. Like - the little orange bird house that was completely by itself in the middle of a forested area. Really?

OH - I lied - there are going to be THREE posts today and THREE posts tomorrow. I forgot about the ruddy iPad with its buffer limit.

Catch up the rest in Part Two.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Busy as a bee

So I have less than an hour before I leave and what am I doing? I've been on the computer all morning trying to get stuff done FOR YOUR entertainment. See how thoughtful I am???

While I didn't turn on the long arm or maybe because of that, I had a super productive day yesterday. Sorry - no pictures again today because what I made was for a magazine and you can't see it. One of the items is not a quilt. A group of them are made and the instructions are written. The items are in the mail and the instructions have been e-mailed. One more item - OFF The list. The items are super cute and well - you just have to wait to see it.

The quilt top for the magazine is DONE. Not quilted, but I've sent a note to the editor alerting them about the tardiness of this quilt. I'll deal with it when I get back. What can I do?

Then I spent a good part of the day on the computer - writing, checking and all kinds of other stuff. I managed to take TWO of the urgent sticky notes off of my computer. There are still a few there - not urgent, but they need to be done. When I'm back, I'll be tackling them one at a time. Just boring paperwork like preparing invoices and such! I'm such a bad person for getting that done.

I was writing up all the requirements for upcoming classes. You'll see more of those posts this week so watch for that and make sure that you sign up!!!  It's a great way to learn and there are lots of fun stuff coming up this fall. If you don't see something that you like - well send me an e-mail. Tell me what you would like to learn - whether it's working through a pattern or learning a new technique. I'm open to everything and anything.

Gosh - I don't even have a link to send you to today. That's how busy I was at the computer yesterday.

Teresa (a friend who lives in Jamaica) came by and went shopping in my stash yesterday. I had lots of stuff that I just won't use any more. It was very specific stuff but worked for her. Now I wonder how she'll fit it in her luggage. She's going to send me pictures of what she makes so I can't wait for that.

I even packed my suitcase and my bike stuff yesterday. Imagine that. I'm not running around and doing that this morning. I must be off or something. I do have a few small things to do this morning, but otherwise, I'm good to go. Just need to pack up the car and well - I've got 45 minutes left.

Yes - this is my cycle trip of the year. Only a week long. Nothing else fit into the schedule - well that's not true. The trip that I wanted to take canceled and this is my second choice just because it fit in the same time frame. You'll have to wait to see where I'm going. I will be blogging, but doubtful there will be pictures and I'm on that silly iPad. Hey - I did try to get in touch with Apple about it, but their support web page wasn't working. Now isn't that ironic.

On that note, I'm out of here.

Have a great day - let's hope for lots of sunny days with rain late in the afternoon after I've arrived at my destination.


I see Miss Lexi has been blogging this morning as well. You'd better check it out.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

The romance was short lived

Yep - the romance was short lived but I'm NOT going to let it get me down.

The sleeve got sewn onto the magazine quilt and it's winging its merry way to the US. Here's an interesting thought. I need to get a UPS account set up. Then I can do the paperwork online (and save time in the store) and I can save 10% on everything I send. I mentioned this to the owner of this store and he said, "how many packages a month do you send?" I said "one or two". "Oh no - you don't need to do that, it's not worth it"  Seriously??? I know I wouldn't be saving tons over the course of the year, but every little bit helps. I learned about the discount at another store. I wonder why he is so reluctant to have me sign up for that account? Now I'm going to do it to spite him!!!! OH dear - I need to relax!

Can you believe how complacent our world has become? When I arrived at the UPS store, I noticed smoke coming from beside the pizza restaurant which is right beside the UPS store. Turns out it was a small fire in a planter right beside the restaurant. Why on earth did they not take a bucket of water out and douse the fire?? Seriously????  I remember several years ago where I hauled buckets of water into the forest to douse a smoldering log. When I left the store, the fire had been doused by someone. Let's hope it was the restaurant, but I think the police and fire trucks had been called. Oh boy!

So yes, I was all fired up to get that quilt on the long arm done. But it was a NO GO right from the get-go. I'll spare you all the gory details (no quilt was damaged in the mess but I had to do a bit of ripping - my OWN fault on that one). I thought I had located the loose connection and it worked the first time, but the second time? Nope - nothing. I just shut it off, sent a message (keeping the service people in the loop) and went outside to sit in the gazebo. Life is way too damn short to worry about a stupid machine. It was glorious and I felt so much better.

But here's the thing - I was reading a sewing magazine - notice SEWING, not quilting. I'm broadening my horizons. It was all about how sewing is healthy for us. Well for our mental health (provided that everything is working just fine!)  Not only is sewing healthy for depression - apparently, it takes our minds off the bad stuff (no wonder I'm so positive all the time). Sewing can release dopamine which makes us happy!  Not only that, but the social aspect of sewing is HUGE.

So when we laugh at our significant others or friends and say "quilting/sewing is my therapy". We're not kidding. Just imagine what we would do all day if we didn't quilt or sew? Seriously. I get up at 5 AM and I'm in the studio for an hour. EVERYDAY. Well, most days. What would I do for that hour if I didn't sew? And then once my chores are done - what would I do? Seriously? I can't imagine what I would do if I couldn't sew. I could read - but not all day. I could clean - but my house would be so spic n span that it would stifle any creativity. NOPE - I'm happy as a clam and now I just need to get that silly machine working. But I'm away next week so the first thing I do when I'm back is to tackle that thing. Where the heck is the loose connection?

Here's the link to the article I read. But if you search "mental health benefits of sewing", you'll find lots of information.

Speaking of the social aspect of quilting, something that has become extremely popular is Quilt Alongs or Sew Alongs. Essentially an organizer (usually a designer) will make a project and then invite their followers to sew along. Blocks/pictures are posted usually in a Facebook group or Instagram. Why are these so insanely popular? Have a read.

So I got to thinking.  I book small retreats which are wildly popular and as many as I book, they get filled up with waiting lists. There is one HUGE sewing retreat in the US called SEWTOPIA.  Could we do something like this in Canada?  I don't see why not. Although I'm wondering about the US event. They used to have ONE a year and it sold out before it even went online (well almost). Now I see there are three coming up and there is space in all three. It's not as exclusive now so less demand. Eighty people at one retreat is a LOT of people. Maybe I'll just keep my retreat small with 8 people per. I could book MORE of them.

I still think the best and cheapest way to share time with my sewing friends is Monday sewing. I would love if it could be two days a week or better yet - a sewing spot where people could drop in for help and just for sewing. Wouldn't that be fun?? There are several places in the area where you can do that. Not sure what the cost is, but if anyone needs some time out - let me know - we have a few spaces in our Monday sewing (and it's only $6 for the day!). Remember - it's BETTER than therapy and you'll have something to show for it. E-mail me (gosh - I think someone e-mailed me and I didn't answer them - if that was you - e-mail me again!).

Now that the long arm isn't working, I've put those quilts off my plate until I return. I've a wee bit of paperwork to do and a bit of sewing to get completed today. And then I should pack. I'm really good with paperwork when I apply myself. But I do need to do a bit of filing. When I'm back.

I'm happy to report that I got word back on my pattern that I had written and they made ONE slight change to the math (those darn angles) and added one sentence about sewing with a ¼" seam (which must have gotten removed from the pattern when I was editing). I'm pretty proud of that. If only ALL patterns could be written with that precision - life would be so much better.

Since I had a bit of downtime last night, I was messing around with the computer. I discovered that I can stream TV on my computer. Now - before we get into a panic here, I was watching the Amazing Race Canada. I always liked that show and I had watched the first episode a while back. I discovered that once I log into my Bell account, I can stream shows on the computer. Ronda just shook her head at my discovery. But here's the problem - I ended up watching two episodes and then was so wired, I couldn't sleep. So TV is bad for me. I'll watch smaller doses in the future.

The other thing I did was some exploring about the capabilities of Photoshop Elements. I need to learn the program. Oh - I know how it works, but I don't know the tricks. I had to print some photos on fabric yesterday and I managed that just fine. It would be fun to do some collages or something. I checked out some online tutorials. Oh boy - that looks like fun.

Speaking of which - there are NO photos today. Nothing that I can share with you.

Have a great day!!!


OH - I think Miss Lexi has something to say this morning.

Friday, August 10, 2018

You know it's a good day when.......

I'm back in LOVE with my long arm. I still don't trust it, but I love it.

I started the morning off with a phone call to Bell. All of our services are with the one company so we can save some money. I have to admit that I don't usually check the bill on a regular basis, but I thought I had better and I was feeling like I actually had a few spare minutes to do some paperwork.
Hmm - do we really need all this stuff on the bill???  The MovieNetwork - why are we paying for that? We never watch it - well, I certainly don't and a quick check with DH and NOPE - he doesn't watch it either. GONE. My MIL's phone bill is consolidated onto our bill and we were paying for a service for her that she no longer uses. GONE. We had two landlines for our house. One of those - GONE.

Total savings?  $43.98 (plus tax) per month. That was TEN PERCENT of our monthly bill (remember ALL our services are on the same bill!)  I know - it's a crazy amount to pay for cable/internet and phone and that's not counting our cell phones. Granted it's for two households (at least the telephone part). Yes - I know lots of people are getting rid of their landline and we should at some point. Old habits die hard and while I don't answer that phone, I still get calls (voicemails) from time to time. So it's time to start weaning myself off that phone and use my cell.

Phew - that felt good to get that done. I need to call about my cell phone and see if I can nick off a few bucks from that one as well. And after that - we need a budget. I'm looking at what we spend per month on stuff and seriously????  We need a budget.

Then it was off to the long arm. I still wasn't convinced as to how to finish off that quilt. I just fired the long arm up and did one more trial run using the Sharpie and clear cellophane on the quilt top and then I was off. Two hours later, I was done and the more I quilted that quilt, the more I LOVED what I was doing. The quilting is awesome. Sorry - I can't share it with you but you'll see it soon enough in a magazine. And ZERO issues with the long arm. GRRR!

I did get the binding on it later in the day and just have to hand stitch a sleeve to the top. I will give you one clue about this quilt - there is ZERO quilting cotton in it. Anyway - it'll be nice to get that off to the courier this morning.

In case you think that only new quilters or those new to machine quilting need to spend time figuring out the quilting pattern, the answer is an emphatic NO! I do a lot of work on paper before I start to quilt whether it's on the long arm or the domestic (unless I'm doing a pantograph - but I still spend time choosing and setting up the pantograph. This is just one of my VERY rough sketches for the quilting. It doesn't need to be pretty - it just needs to make sense. So the next time, you're not sure how to quilt a quilt - get out some scrap paper and a pen (or pencil) and start fiddling around. It's really not that hard. OH - and I had a peek at some of my quilting books to get some inspiration.

Quick sketches of quilting designs
 I know from watching my online class that my new software is going to be awesome for doing designing. I'm a LONG way from doing that at the moment. That software is very complex and can do much stuff that I'm no way able to even scratch the surface at the moment. But I know what it can do and when I'm ready, I'll dive into the videos and other tools to check it out.

The computer software is hooked back up (I did a couple of custom quilts so no software needed) and the next quilt is almost loaded. I'll be watching it like a hawk to make sure that the machine doesn't go crazy on me.

While I was watching the video, I did a bit of embroidery and LOOK - I finished one more block on the Winter Wonderland quilt. There are only THREE blocks left.

Embroidery block - DONE

The quilt on the design wall is over half sewn together and looks awesome. That one was made with a precut which is VERY hard to design around. I'm very picky how I work with precuts so it was an interesting experiment and the end result is very impressive if I do say so myself.

I took a walk to Loblaws so I could pick up some more liquid calcium. While I was there, I browsed the Joe Fresh clothing section. Hm - a couple of interesting things. Tried on five things (I HATE shopping for clothes) and bought two items. Pair of pants for $10 - you can't go wrong there. I tried on a dress and well - I just don't look good in dresses. It's all in my head - I get that!!!! Maybe a skirt would be a good way to start?

While I was there, I was looking for the Zoomer magazine in the magazine section. Obviously, I'm not good at taking photos because I took a photo and when I went to get it this morning off my phone - NO photo. I couldn't find the Zoomer magazine. Why?? Because it wasn't on the racks. NOPE - it was in one of those FEATURE holders so it was right out front. Now how could I have missed that? Anyway - I got my picture of Laura. I'm a wee bit disappointed in that these features appear to be only a one-page ad for the organization - in this case, The Canadian Quilter's Association. That's great, but it would have been nice to see more than one picture of our amazing Laura. I bought the magazine because it's for my "age category" and well - why not check it out. I've never looked at it before.

But as I walked into Loblaw's, I saw this. No wonder no one will buy a quilt. Not when you can buy a King Size comforter set for this price. And let's not forget that we live in a throw away society. You don't want to throw away a quilt that you paid big dollars for. But you can use this bed cover for a season and then get a new one. Don't make or give quilts to people (espcially as wedding gifts unless you know for CERTAIN that they will appreciate them and have some idea of how much time it took to make).  You can barely buy the backing for a king quilt for this price.

King size comforter sets!!!

So while I was having lunch, I was perusing a couple of magazines that I got from the library. I know why? when I have so many magazines at home that need to be read.

The magazine is called Country Living and it was their Creativity Issue so links to lots of MAKERS.  Oh boy - can you believe some of this stuff? Have a look at this. Does anyone remember string art? Who knew it was making a comeback? I used to do that when I was a teenager. There's a bike one - I'm tempted, but NO - I don't have time to make it nor the place to hang it. But they are neat!!!!

Another thing that's huge that we used to do when I was a kid. Paint by number!!!!  Who knew? And macrame is also making a huge comeback.

Or how about this one. It's a tiny little camper. It's pretty cute.

Some of the web sites are pretty cool - obviously, I didn't check them all out. But this one looks interesting and I would LOVE to buy an old brick building and make it into a studio. Oh - I'd have someone else make it into a studio. Although in the magazine, they showed a picture where the DIYer had made a honeycomb on a bedroom wall using small pieces of wood. Hm - I see dust catchers!!!!  I'm just way too damn practical or maybe I'm just too lazy.

There were many others - lots of paper crafters and an event planner who hosted sewing days with friends, but the set up was a tad too frou frou for me. Let's get sewing!!!! They mostly do weddings.

I wonder how much these people make for a living when they sell their crafts?? And who the heck buys some of this crafty stuff?  And what do they do with it?

Enough messing around. I've got to get the day started. I'm feeling so in control that I might just go to yoga class today.

Have a super day!!!!


Thursday, August 9, 2018

Are you famous?

There's a saying that we all get 15 minutes of fame. But what is fame? And why do we need to be famous?

I walked to the library the other day to pick up two books that I had on hold. One was a quilting book. While I did check the other books on the "new" shelf, I didn't pick up any other books. FOCUS and RESTRAINT.  I admired the bookshelf quilt on the wall (remember that story?) and I proceeded to self-checkout. I had a small fine to pay so I went to one of the library staff to make that happen.

I've spoken to this staff member on numerous occasions but I don't know her name and she doesn't know my name. I guess she could have looked at my name when she was in my account, but that wasn't her priority - only how much I owed. When she saw the quilt book she said, "Oh you're a quilter."  "Yes", I said. I'm certain that we've chatted about quilting or sewing in the past. Turns out we have a mutual friend. Once she knew  my name, she said "oh you're famous - you're a famous quilter!" I laughed - I'm not sure I'm THAT famous of a quilter, but my name does get around."

My name most certainly gets around and here's a couple of recent sightings.

The most recent issue (Number 47)  of A Needle Pulling Thread. The photos are NOT doing justice to the colors in this quilt. It was made with Northcott Shimmer  (multiple colorways to choose from) and it's gorgeous. Lots of Dresden plates in this quilt, but what fun!!!  The pattern is in the magazine. You can use the template in the magazine or get out that Dresden Plate ruler that you bought but never used.

That's my quilt on the cover!!!

So yep - there's another cover quilt. Super exciting. This issue should be in stores very soon - I did receive an advance copy. There have been quite a few other quilt sightings in the last couple of months. I'll try to get all the links up.

And I'm sure you all remember this quilt that I made with the license plates from Row by Row. I made the quilt in 2016 from plates collected during 2015. Some plates I bought and some were given to me from the US and Canada. I used ALL the plates I had accumulated that year and made this quilt.

It's seen in a calendar that was put together by Thimbles and Things in Orillia. I wonder if Sue knew that August is my birthday month? Or was that just a fluke?

My quilt making an appearance in a calendar

Am I famous? I don't know, but I'm happy the way things are.

But if you want to see a famous (and sexy) quilter, check out this video. I must take a walk to Chapter's today to see if I can find the current issue of Zoomer. Way to go Laura!!!!  As excited as I am to see Laura in the spotlight, I'm even more excited to see QUILTING in the spotlight. Let's hope that those Zoomer readers will say - OH - I want to be a quilter too. The association involved is The Canadian Quilter's Association. If you're not a member, you should be. There are always changes happening and things are looking up. Remember the CQA is for ALL quilters, not just the ones that have been quilting for a long time. Lots of exciting stuff and great people at the helm.

I'm now the local rep for

So if your store, your quilt guild or YOU want to know more information and live in those regions, please get in touch. I'd like to provide (and will in a future blog post) information about the CQA. I'm just a tad tied up at the moment.

Speaking of tied up, here's how easy it is to learn to sew. I taught a class last night - how to make a pillowcase. It's interesting to see the different clientele of different quilt shops. Oh Look Fabric in Milton has a lot of NEW or WANT TO BE sewers. That's OK - I'm up to teach anyone.  One of these two ladies have never sewn before and the other had limited sewing skills. One knew how to cut, but the other lady had never touched a rotary cutter. She just wanted to learn how to sew.

By the end of the evening (2 hours), they had each completed their pillowcase. YEAH!!!!!

Two pillowcases - DONE!!!

I think both ladies went home feeling pretty good about their newly acquired skills. I'm proud of them and they both seemed to pick it up fairly quickly.

This is the quote on my calendar this month. And after the last couple of days, it made me think.

Amazing quote

So yes - I do whine from time to time and I get frustrated (sometimes), but the bottom line - I am a strong person and I do hope that from time to time that I am inspiring someone. If nothing else, I need to be my own inspiration because when the going gets tough, I'm usually alone. (Not that I don't have friends in the background to fall back on).

A quick update on the quilting situtation. I hit SEND on that pattern about noon yesterday and the feeling immediately afterwards was AMAZING. I like writing those patterns, but NOT under stress and the stress was caused totally by me. Do you know how hard it is to proof a pattern? It's crazy intense and the calculator is glued to my finger tips. It is being reviewed and hopefully only minor adjustments to be made.

I turned on the long arm and the darn thing worked like a charm for the ENTIRE afternoon. That dratted thing - it was testing me - I know it!!!  I got half of the urgent quilt done. Now I need to decide what to put in the other half and I'm stumped. I've been practising on paper and my clear cellophane right over the quilt. I have two ideas but not convinced of either one yet!

And I got a few more rows together on the other one on the design wall. All in all - it was a great day!!  I have an online class this afternoon, but then NO commitments until Sunday morning. Yeah!!!  I like that. I do have loads to do, but it's all good.

Here's a thought I'll leave you with today. Fame lasts 15 minutes, but the acknowledgment of your accomplishments (or even your existence) can last forever. Why not give someone a feel-good moment TODAY. Let's say you're in the grocery store and you see someone wearing an amazing outfit. I know it sounds strange, but go up to them and say - "love your outfit". I did that once and we had a great conversation. I'm sure she felt great, but you know what? So did I.

Think about the times that a total stranger gave you a compliment. Matter of fact, I was in a restaurant the other night and a man (who was sitting with his significant other) passed by our table and said "I like the flowers in your hair!".  What???  I was totally shocked, but you know - it felt really nice that he noticed. If you don't have enough courage to do that, then simply say HI to the people you pass on the street. Have you ever noticed that when we pass each other that we tend to look DOWN. Why is that? Smile and say HI. What's the worse that can happen? If the rest of the world is unhappy, that doesn't mean that we have to be.

On that note, I'm out of here.

Have a super day!!!


Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Never give up!!!!

So yesterday was a better day. NO - it wasn't exactly, but today is a super day and that's all that counts. Let's move forward and forget the bad things in the past.

I didn't even get to the long arm yesterday so if it's not working, I don't know about it. No - I had a few things to do yesterday and those got done and then it was back to this pattern that I'm writing. I didn't design it, and it wasn't done in EQ8. So there were a few challenges at the corners of one border. I swear I was almost ready to throw in the towel when I decided to brainstorm with the designer. He says - well just sew it "like this". AH NO - you can't just sew it "like this". It's one thing to design something and sew it yourself, but to write instructions so the general quilting population can understand it - that's an entirely different thing.

He doesn't like to break up quilt pieces. But I could see no option and I swear I had tried everything and nothing was working. After I chatted with him, I got a diagram of how to break it up. Of course, I had NOT tried the way he came back with. But all is good now. Let's just say that I'm becoming pretty decent in Photoshop (to illustrate the patterns). OK - that's a lie. I can get by but what a program - it can do lots. The pattern has been given the go-ahead and so I need to finish up the instructions for that silly corner this morning and then it's gone. Phew - that will be a huge weight off my shoulders. Never give up!! There's always a way and if you don't know how - ASK FOR HELP. It's OK.

I'm making good progress on the next quilt that has to be pieced. It's mostly cut and laid out on the design wall. Just a bit of measuring and sewing and it shouldn't take long to get together. You see - here's the issue - I'm away next week. YES - so that means that this urgent stuff has to be done before I leave. GRRRR!!!  No one to blame but myself so I'm not complaining.

And after cranking out an amazing 30 K on the bike this morning, NOTHING can faze me.

We need to make sure that we enjoy the good things and not just complain about the bad. So I'm playing a game of Scrabble with Neil. We've been playing for years and he's very good. Although I did win the last game. Our current game has been a bit of a one-sided affair and he was getting further and further ahead. I could have given up and played just to take a turn, but NO, I tried to maximize my points (strategically) throughout the first part of the game. Then BAM - I was able to get a BINGO (use all 7 letters) and use it on a triple word score. I'm one point behind. See - NEVER GIVE UP!!

Then there's this candle. I'm sure you're all like me. You have tons of candles, but never burn them? Well, Ronda has tons of candles (I won't tell you how many because it's a lot) but she actually burns them. Hm - what an interesting concept to actually use something that you have. So I started to burn one of my candles. It's now history and so onto the next one. BTW - I do burn them in the studio - the candle sits right by the ironing board and ONLY when I'm there. I'm EXTREMELY careful.

So this was what happened with this next candle. This is the saddest little flame I've ever seen. The darn thing was always going out and it was just sad. I didn't want to throw the candle away - it was brand new. That pioneer spirit in me.

What a wee flame

I even asked Ronda, the candle expert and she had no advice. Well - she's no expert. So I Googled what to do when the candle doesn't burn. I know - who knew that you could Google that.

I found out that some people will scoop out the wax and put it in a candle burning pot. God - that's way too much work. Someone else suggested that you ensure the melted wax is going all the way to the edge of the jar. You can see in the photo above that the wax is peeling away from the edge of the glass container. Hey - I'd rather do that than scoop out the wax so I tried it, not thinking it would work.

But LOOK!!!!!
The candle is burning bright now
I'm not sure if that was what made the difference or if the darn candle just decided to cooperate with me at last. But the candle is burning brightly and smells wonderful.

I don't know about where you live, but the heat and humidity are stupid here. Today is actually a very nice day and I have the window wide open. We still haven't turned on the A/C which I HATE. It's very comfortable in the basement studio. I think I emptied the dehumidifier at least FOUR times yesterday. Isn't that crazy????

So things are almost under control and I had an AMAZING ride on the bike this morning. Life is good. I just need to learn to get that frustration level under control and I'll be a happy camper.

Nothing quilt related that I can show you - it's all magazine work right now. There are four items that have deadlines before the end of the month. But I'm in good shape so I'll just keep plugging away. I have the entire day (well a class to teach tonight) to get these things done.

On that note, I'm out of here to get to the computer and finish off that pattern. Then the long arm.

Have a super day!!!!


Remember - NEVER GIVE UP!!!!!  Take a break, ask for help, but NEVER GIVE UP!!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The Monday that wasn't Monday

For the first time EVER in 16 years (I think), I didn't go to Monday even though it was a Monday sewing day. Now I've missed days in the past when I was working or on vacation, but yesterday was the first time I stayed home.

I just didn't have the time. OH MY GOD - I never thought I would say that but the issues with the long arm and the level of frustration that had ensued - well I needed to stay home and focus.

Here's the definition of frustration.

Yep - that was me to a T and when I'm frustrated over a long period of time, I - well, I'm not productive. I was so far behind so I needed the day to catch up. And I did. I felt much better when I went to bed last night. I think I'm going to have to take classes on FRUSTRATION MANAGEMENT. OH - just checked the internet - can you believe - they have therapy for that? It's lumped in with Anger management so that's not good. The other thing I need to focus on is better scheduling of my commitments. While I'm not bad, I have a tendency to tell myself that it can wait for a day and then too many things need to be done on the same day. I'm not over-committing, I'm just plain lazy!

Ah -- frustration is good for us. We just need to learn to control it or NOT let it control us.

But enough of all that negative stuff.

Oh, shoot - I goofed yesterday. The TorontoLove project was to honor those victims who were killed by a van that intentionally went onto the sidewalk. I said it was a bus crash. Where was my head????  I've changed yesterday's post.

So let's have a look at what I bought the other day on my way home.

Here's the book I purchased at the Agnes Queen's Art Gallery. It's some of the quilts in their quilt collection. I love seeing and reading the stories of these old quilts.

Heritage Quilt Collection from Agnes Queen's Art Gallery

Here's my Row by Row purchases. I got the pattern from Stitch by Stitch - it's a cute little frog pattern and I got the kit from Wilton Creek Fabrics. It's very cute and will go with a couple of other kits that I managed to snag this year. A whole lot less snagging than in the past. That's because I'm trying to be a responsible adult.

Row by Row stuff
 I see they had a cute hanger for the Music Theme. I wonder where Marilyn purchased hers???

I was trying to decide what fabric to buy at one of the shops. But what? Beautiful Christmas fabrics and a Halloween border print to die for. But I don't need any of these. I have so much. I do not need a specific color either. Then I spotted this ball of yarn to make handmade socks. AHA - now I have to get my sock knitter going so I can make the socks. It's a beautiful soft yarn and would feel yummy on the feet.

Ball of sock yarn

At the other shop, I caved on the Halloween fabric, but I only bought 1/2 meter of one and then an orange coordinate to go with it. What will I make? No idea. Halloween???  I'm not even a big fan, but the fabrics are to die for. There were a few others I could have gotten, but why?

And then a couple of prints with words on them. Like I need more of that either.

Fabrics with words on them
My Dad is a tinkerer. He's been fixing things all his life - mostly out of necessity, especially on the farm, but he also does it to keep his mind busy. He's been helping me with the long arm. I was determined that yesterday I was going to solve this problem or bust.

We were both pretty much convinced that the motor was fine. So I changed the fuse. Nothing. Turned the fuse around - the needle now went up and down. So I got a wee bit more done on the apple quilt. Then everything STOPPED. I left it as I  was frustrated and that's not good. Back to the machine - I fiddled with the buttons on the front - the needle went THUNK and then it worked again. Hmmm - this is very strange.

I got a wee bit more done and then it stopped. So back to the back of the machine. I gently touched one of the covers that are NOT screwed in and the needle went wild. Up and down sewing like mad. Thankfully it was NOT parked on my quilt.

Back to the front of the quilt and I quilted for hours!!!!  As you can appreciate - I was very apprehensive and I'm sewing manually, not using the computer at this point.

The big news of the day? The apple quilt is off the long arm.

My quilt - DONE!!!!!

I was never so happy to get a quilt off the long arm as I was for this one.

It has to be a loose connection. I'm NOT touching anything - I have too much to get done. So this is what the machine looks like right now.

I replaced only ONE screw because I needed to put the thread holder back in place. There are strings to hold various bits in place. Don't worry - it's all good.

String to hold a box out of the way of the table

More string to hold a cable out of the way

The three covers are just sitting there
It must be all the vibrations from the machine that finally loosened the connection????  Has to be - but what a total pain in the butt. It was only by fiddling with the machine ON that I was able to solve this problem. Did I care? Not at that point. I'm sure the health and safety people would have their noses out of joint on this and never mind that my entire screwdriver collection is ON THE STAIRS! I don't care about that either. It's only me who goes downstairs and I'm super careful. I ALWAYS hold the handrail. I'll move them later.

The tool collection
 I will need them to put everything back and I have a couple of things to do to the machine as well that I've been meaning to do for a while. I can't do that right now - too many other priorities, but once my urgent quilts are done - I'll take half a day and get everything back in order.

I spent all day Sunday madly cutting, sewing and pressing and voila - the next magazine quilt top
is done and it's now loaded on the long arm. That HAS to be off today and the next one is already on the design wall. You see? If I wasn't so frustrated and wasted so much time with that silly machine, I wouldn't be rushing now.

Oh well. Let's just say that the next time something like this happens, I'll be doing my triage on the long arm completely different from what happened this time.

When I was working like a crazy person on Sunday to get that top together, I was listening to an audiobook. And I finished it in ONE day. Yes - I'm ripping through audiobooks like a maniac. I also put together my list of 17 books that I'm looking for. The library doesn't have them and that used bookstore in Orillia didn't have them.

I was at Value Village the other day and trying to remember which ones I didn't have. Their books are NOT in alphabetical order so it's a pain.

Here are two in particular that I'm looking for -

Black Dog by Stephen Booth
Exit Lines by Reginald Hill

If you have either - I'll buy, beg, borrow or steal them.

Oh yes - so there I was tempting fate yesterday. We had a MASSIVE storm in the afternoon. The rain was coming down so hard and the wind - it almost looked like a winter storm. Lightning and thunder. And I was on the long arm. HEY - I have a new motor if this one gets hit!!! Just can't get the old one off though! That screw is still stuck.

Then last night when I finally threw in the towel for the urgent stuff, I spent a bit of time going through the batting scrap bag and cutting 2 1/2" strips. The green bag is holding anything that is NOT 2 1/2" and will go for cat bed stuffing.

Bag of batting scraps to cut

So hopefully today - I'm back in business. Otherwise, I might be at yoga class learning to breathe it out!

This entire week is going to be silly but I'll get through it.

Have a super day!!!!