Saturday, June 30, 2018


That would be china as in the dishes, not in the country! Although Grammarly wants me to capitalize the word china! Good grief.

So let's chat about the china that you own or your mother owns or your aunt owns and you have no idea what to do with it.

The bottom line is that china is NOT a desired item by your children or grandchildren. The world is NOT as formal as it used to be. In fact, one of the downfalls about china is that you can't use it in the microwave due to the gold trim on many patterns, and you can't put it in the dishwasher because said gold pattern will wear off. (Is there another reason?) Well, what do you think would happen if you put the china in the dishwasher so eventually the gold wore off and then you could put it in the microwave? Then you would have at least used the darn stuff and what would be the harm in that?

Before I get into my discussion on china, there's one little detail that needs to be addressed. That is GUILT. I know - how do guilt and china fit together? Because they do. For some reason, anything that has sentimental or even perceived monetary value, we feel guilty that we MUST find a good home for it. We MUST make money on that item, provided we are ready to part with it. God forbid that our parents would come back to haunt us that we didn't dispose of their stuff in a responsible manner.

If you take NOTHING away from this post, take this away. That china brought joy (hopefully) to the recipient when they received the china from wedding guests or throughout the years of their collecting and hopefully using the china to host family and friends. That is the JOY, that is the VALUE in the china. Monetary value? Sentimental value? It's just not there for the next generation. They've found their own niches and items that they place value on and in most cases, today's population is not so sentimental about things. People need LOTS of things, but they're not sentimental about any of them - it's called a throwaway society.

 I have a friend in the china business. She and her husband have dealt with china (buying and selling) for many years. They used to pack up their wares and go to antique sales. They don't do that anymore. They have found that the prices they get for their china are significantly less than it was 10 years ago. As demand has fallen off, so have the prices.

If you have china or china that you will "inherit" someday, here are some suggestions as to what to do with it. Take a picture of the china (front and back) and then find a home for it. I'm going to give you several suggestions today.

First things first. you will not likely be able to sell anything that is chipped, cracked or broken. Toss it or find an artist who wants to use it. (more on that in a minute).

Do people want full sets?? Not likely, but people are looking to replace their chipped, cracked and broken dishes.

There is a website called Replacements that will buy and sell china. If you're looking to get rid of something or even to find out if what you have is worth anything, you can check the website. Just type in the name and pattern of your china and you'll see what they have for sale. Not what they will buy it from you for, but what they are selling the same pattern for. Of course, don't forget that whatever they would buy from you, there is likely shipping involved so you would have to figure out if it's worth it for you to follow through.

You can try to sell the china on Craigslist or Kijiji, and you might find a buyer, but you likely won't make a lot of money but if you can find someone local to take it, that saves shipping. That's OK - your goal is to get rid of it, not make money at it. That's one thing we were very specific with my Mom. What was her goal in getting rid of stuff? Did she think she was going to get rich? Or did she just want to get rid of it? Turns out, she just wanted it to go to a good home. GREAT NEWS!!!!   That was the BEST NEWS we had heard in all my years.  So if we didn't even make any money, but literally gave it away - we were happy and so was she.

What else can you do with your china?  Some retirement and nursing homes, and hospices will take cups and saucers. As people age, they can no longer handle a heavy mug for their tea and coffee, but they can handle the lighter weight china. If you have cups and saucers, check out the nearest senior facility to see if they would like the donation. NOT sell - just donate.

There are plenty of artists who would like to get ahold of your china. Some will make pretty cake stands from plates and saucers, some will smash up the pieces and make mosaics from it and I'm sure there are a ton of other ways that creative people will use the china, thus giving it a new life.

To see some of the ideas, I checked out Pinterest and searched for teacup crafts, china mosaics, china cabinet makeover, and china plate crafts.

That should give you an idea of some of the things that people are doing with china. Appalled?  Don't be - this is a good way to use up something that no one wants. And better that someone uses it to create an art piece than go to the landfill.

Before I close off the china story, I want to reemphasize this point. Put your GUILT away. I don't care if this was your Mother's most prized possession. NO ONE WANTS IT NOW and you should not be saddled with guilt as you try to find a new home for it. Take a picture. We used our good dishes so infrequently that I didn't even know what color the pattern was. Here's a picture.

Riverdale pattern by Royal Swan

Nameplate on the back of the china

For curiosity sake, I just did a search on Replacements with this pattern/company.  Check it out.   I think that odd pieces like serving dishes, teapots, creamers, etc. would bring in more money than plates and cup and saucers.

So there is money to be made, but I've no idea how the shipping works and look at the gold on my Mom's plate - it's pretty worn - maybe we used it more than I thought we did. Or maybe the dishwasher (me) wasn't that careful???? It likely wouldn't garner top dollar.

Anyway, GET OVER the guilt. I'm sure your children wouldn't feel guilty about getting rid of anything of yours. If your mother was like mine, she kind of had a grip on us. Even after we left home, there was a psychological grip that has taken years and years to let go and we've live thousands of miles apart for over many decades. At one point years ago, I had an item in my house - a large item (OK - it was a piano). See even now, if she knew that the piano was gone, I know she would be angry. My grandfather (who played the piano very well) bought me the piano and my parents paid for years of lessons. Years ago, I finally decided to sell the piano. Again, you do not get a lot of money for upright pianos, but I got a couple of hundred dollars. It took a long time to get over the guilt of selling that, but you know what? I did the RIGHT thing. I don't feel guilty about it, I don't even think about the piano anymore. Did I get struck by lightning? Did I feel the wrath of my parents? They don't know and that's OK. There are many things that are better left unsaid.  Now if my Dad reads my blog - well too bad. What's done is done. I did blog about the piano when it left the house. I don't think I tagged that post so the post is lost in cyberspace!!!

Take anything in your house. ANYTHING. Ask yourself a couple of questions.

  1. Does this bring you joy?
  2. Are you using the item?
  3. What would happen if you no longer had that item? In 5 minutes, 5 months and 5 years?

If you answer any or all of the questions in the negative (NO or nothing), then perhaps it's time to let it go. Take a picture to remind yourself of the item (which you will likely NOT go and ever look at again), but at least you could if you wanted to. I hadn't seen those dishes of my Mom's in years. Zip attachment to them. DO NOT feel guilty.

And if you absolutely can't find a home for the china, host a party. A PLATE SMASHING party. Doesn't that sound like fun??  OK - who has dishes that we can sacrifice?  It's a kind of mourning party and I'm sure it's good for the soul. To release many untold issues between child and parent. I'll host the part if we can find dishes. It's like a divorce party!!!

Anyway, I hope that helps all of you who've asked about what to do with china. Sorry, there is no miracle option.

I do have sewing stuff for you, but that will have to wait until tomorrow. Today and tomorrow - NOTHING official on the agenda, but I've got quilts to quilt and stuff to sew. I'll be in the basement where it's nice and cool.

(This was added after the original post)
A COUPLE OF EXTRA NOTES: I forgot to post this yesterday - it's an article from a millennial's point of view about her Oma's china.  Interesting read. 

Thanks, Helen - some churches might also accept your cups and saucers. What they can't use, they may donate. 

On that note, have a great day!!!!


OH SOOT - I should mention - today is the LAST day to register a quilt for Quilts at the Creek.  Check out the link to get all the details and paperwork required. Guess what I'm doing today as well?  (OH - I see the deadline is extended to July 7th). Still doing it today.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Sit n sew day

Seriously - sit n sew days are the best!! Filled with good friends and much laughter and you get something done as well. There were nine of us sewing our hearts out yesterday.

I did snap a few pictures of what some of the others were working on, but only a couple.

This is one of Elizabeth Hartman's newest pattern - the penguins. It's so cute. Tish had been working on it on Monday and she brought the finished top to show us. I'm just realizing as I look at the picture that there are big penguins and there are baby penguins. So cute. I also bought the pattern and I'll get to it!

Penguin Party quilt top

Linda was working on a Canadian themed quilt top. Just in time for Canada day. I believe the top is now finished in this picture and then she moved onto something else that a friend of hers and her are working on. They're each doing their own top.  I heard Linda exclaim at one point how excited she was at the progress that she had made. I think that means that she's ahead of her friend!!!

Canada themed quilt top

Tish was also working on this project - the red feather project. The pattern is a free download from Anna Marie Horner.   It's not for the faint at heart - getting those angles right apparently can be a challenge. There is a woman in Calgary that is making a call for these blocks to honor the Indigenous women that are missing or murdered. I received that information via an e-mail. If anyone is interested in making blocks, let me know and I can get you in touch with the organizer.

Feather block

After everyone left - well before they left, Pauline reminded me of something that someone had given me and I had forgotten about it. I dug out my tuffet supply box to try and locate the darn thing. Nope - it wasn't there. But I did clean out the box so that was good. It didn't take long to make a mess on the tables, but it was a very controlled mess.

A wee bit of a mess after the group left
I need to keep that space clear because it makes me want to sew. If it's too messy, it's not fun. I kept sewing after the group left yesterday. I made good progress on my Vintage Farm Girl blocks (the ones that I was behind on for the class last week). Until I put this one together. Do you see something wrong with it? It's supposed to be square. That's not square. I had miscut all six of the little jars. So I had to rip the bottom apart on all six jars, cut a 1/2" off and then restitch back together. I'll share all the blocks with you when I'm done - on the weekend when I can share the show n tell from the class as well.

AH - this is supposed to be a square

Before anyone arrived, I managed to get TWO of the border pieces on Easy Street (my Bonnie Hunter mystery). Two on and two were cut and ready to go. I got them trimmed to the correct length after the group left, but I had run out of steam by this point so I left it there to finish this morning.
Except that Miss Murphy had other plans and after she went crazy barking in the night - at which point, I couldn't go back to sleep, I missed my hour of sewing this morning as I slept in to make up that time. GRRR!!!   Not happy Miss Murphy!!!

Getting ready to pin the third border piece in place

I had just enough fabric to make that border and only scraps of the other blues. I found this blue in my stash (Canvas by Northcott). A bit lighter than I would have liked, but I think it will work just fine.  I'll try to get the backing and binding done this weekend. I have a busy day of prepping and teaching so no time for that today.

The binding fabric 

I took the time yesterday to rotate all the seams on those little pinwheels that were going in the wrong direction. I've almost finished sewing the pinwheels together. There's just a few that still need to be pressed but I was too tired last night to do that.

Pinwheels are ready to go

As we were chatting, we talked about George. Not sure if anyone remembers George. He's a little-stuffed monkey that went traveling the world and his adventures were blogged on George's Great Adventure.  Oh, shoot - I can't find his pages.  I used to block on LIVEJOURNAL years ago until I moved to Blogger in 2011. Anyway, George is on his way to Europe on a riverboat cruise no less. He's on the move!!!  Watch for pictures of George.

George is on the move

Shoot - I started writing about the china dish sets and there's too much to include today. I doubt I'll have a chance to finish that post off today, but the post is half written so TOMORROW you'll see it. Quite interesting. 

On that note, I'm out of here. 

Have a super day!!!!


Thursday, June 28, 2018

I'm a liar

I've been promising you all kinds of information and I've been lax in posting it. I don't have time to post it again today as it's our sit n sew day and rather than gathering photos for you, I've been cleaning up the studio.

I have to say that it looks pretty spiffy at the moment. If only it could be that way ALL the time. But I know that isn't going to happen.

Ready for 10 people to sew today
 But not before it took me ONE HOUR to move everything. And the stuff is crammed in nooks and crannies. OH - I lie - it's right in the middle of the space by the long arm.

Stuff piled everywhere

But what is the worst? There is stuff on those tables that I keep moving every time we have sit n sew which is once a month. I need to get off my butt and get that border on that quilt or make that backing so I won't have to move it again. The same way that I book sit n sew days or days for the computer, I MUST book a day or two a month just for MY sewing. This is totally insane and silly to keep moving things around.

I even did my gymnastics to get that box of Kansas Trouble fabric back into the corner. I read somewhere that high stepping and stepping over things is good for your flexibility or your ability to keep moving. I should have no problem even when I'm 100. I'm very good at stepping over things in that stash room.

The bad thing about yesterday? I was getting ready to go to that retirement seminar only to realize that it was on TUESDAY, not WEDNESDAY. How stupid of me. For some reason, I've had the dates behind one day all week and well - that's why we put things on our calendar. I've e-mailed the bank to find out when the next one is scheduled. I feel like an idiot. Ronda had a good laugh at me! But then something good happened. We went out for ice cream. I had to pick up a box of fabric - enough fabric to make two quilts. One has to be in the US by July 16 (and I need one week for shipping). Yes - rather tight, but that's what happens when the fabric is late arriving. The other one isn't due until August.

But even better - I managed to get all the quilts done for the submission deadline. PHEW That was intense and I cannot let that happen again, but when they send out SEVEN at the same time and you have ONE week, it puts a bit of pressure on. I'm going to suggest they don't do that again. Of course, I didn't have to respond to all seven, but I liked the topics or I had an idea. The next one (due July 1) is only one idea. Thank goodness. I've got the fabrics downloaded and will work on it tomorrow.

And the pattern got sent for proofing. There were a couple of tricky parts with angles, but I think I got everything as it should be.

I get a package from my kid. Do not open until my birthday which is two months away. Seriously???  You know what is going to happen. I'm going to put that in a safe place and I won't remember where it is. Then years later, I'll unearth it! Just like the charger for my iPad. I tried to find it last night, but couldn't find it in all the usual spots. Then as I was cleaning up this morning, I found it on one of the work tables. Goes to show that you should always return things to their proper location!!!  Now, where am I going to put this box so I don't forget it?

Early birthday present

I finished the book called Toss, Sell, Keep by Leah Ingram. And I need to STOP reading these kinds of books. I know it all now. I just need the time to make it happen. While she did have a lot of good ideas in the book (and I'll get to the china story tomorrow), some of them were a bit weird. She talks about swapping, selling, donating or tossing stuff, but doesn't mention that you need to figure out why you have so much stuff in the first place and STOP that. OH - she does mention that in relation to magazines - my one weakness which I'm ignoring for the moment.

Here's the thing - she mentions having a yard sale or selling online. Do all this work and you get a couple of hundred dollars??  I hate to sound flippant, but I think my time is way more valuable than getting a couple of hundred dollars for hours and hours of work. And how much time would one spend taking pictures and doing all the admin to sell something online? Seriously????   My time is way more valuable than that. So - I'm going to keep giving things away. No time to start on the next round, but I'll get at it soon.

Here's a funny story about decluttering. I recently ran into someone who was in the process of selling a bunch of stuff. In the past, I've known this person to give away stuff. But they've been going through the entire house and setting aside stuff to sell. The living room was stocked with stuff to sell. And they had just sold a set of golf clubs for $100. I just gave away TWO sets of golf clubs!!!!  Anyway, the irony of this? As I was talking with this person, the UPS truck arrived with the latest purchase from online shopping!!!!!  Yes - you need to STOP the inflow or you'll never get the mess tidied up!!! I guess if you're retired or don't have a job that this is one way to make money, but I couldn't handle the admin.

So look at what comes into your house? Magazines (Yes - we're allowed ONE weakness), fabric, clothes, dishes, food - whatever. If you do NOT have a home for that thing, then it should NOT come into your house. STOP the inflow - at least until you can get stuff organized. I went to three different stores yesterday looking for the May/June issue of Quilty. I couldn't find the issue, and I did NOT buy a single thing. Then I went to the library to pick up a book on hold and that's the ONLY book I came home with.

I hope my brain will be more relaxed tomorrow. It's still going a hundred miles a minute and I have other paperwork to get done today, but I'm in good shape. (for the moment)

On that note, I have to run and walk the girls before the sewists arrive. I think Lexi has something to say about Murphy this morning.

Have a super day!!!!!


Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Making progress

I reviewed that list of things to do yesterday to see if I could cross a couple of things off. Not really. I'm jumping from one to another to try and make everyone happy which is NOT a good thing. But I'm good and I should be crossing a number of things off in the next couple of days.

I spent part of the day writing and editing a pattern. All is good. I just have a couple more measurements to figure out this morning and proof it once again and then it goes off for them to proofing and feedback. It's very interesting as there are little things that I would do differently if the pattern were mine, but that's OK. There are many ways to do the same thing.

A couple more things to finish off for the magazines and that will be out of the way. A LOT of e-mails to write, but those will have to wait a bit.

As a result of being attached to the computer all day, I didn't get anything sewn or quilted. I'm behind and there's no way I'm going to get all done that I was hoping to this week. I really need to get back on the schedule of paperwork in the morning and sewing in the afternoon. Can't do that this week and can't do it next week, so when I'm back from the retreat, it has to be a focus to getting back into that routine. It works really well for me as long as I keep up. No procrastinating on ANYTHING because I get into trouble when I do.

My big excitement yesterday? Well, two things and if you want to hear about it from Lexi's point of view, you can check out her blog. But this happened late in the afternoon. Yes - the crate ARRIVED.

Unloading the crate from the truck
 Now that the garage had a bit of free room, they put the crate in the garage. Good thing - it was pouring rain this morning. Sorry - you're going to have to wait a day or two for me to unpack the crate as I don't have time today. There are four things in the crate. Maybe if I can find the appropriate screwdriver, I'll pop the top and share one of them with you tomorrow.

The create is in the driveway

I finally had a good night sleep and a long one. Even though it was on the couch. Too tired to move upstairs so I'm back on track and that feels good. I've been to the gym and cranked out my 30K. That Joseph is a killer. Today we were pretending that we're cycling the Alpe d'Huez. It was a long grind, but well worth it. I'm not sure I could do the real thing - OK - I could, it would just take me a long time. There are 21 hairpin curves on that slope.

21 hairpin curves

For curiosity sake I checked - it's a 1,000 M climb (not feet - that's METERS). The average grade is 8% over 13 KM. So that's not a bad climb, but steady for 13 K - that's not fun. The worse climb I've ever done was 25 KM, but the grade wasn't 8% all the way, but it probably averaged not far off the 8%.  Anyway - I'm not riding the Alpe d'Huez but it would be fun to say that I've done it.

Since I don't have any work to share with you today, I thought I would share a couple of things I found on the internet.

One of them is from QUILTsocial and it's all about UFOs and how we get them. It's a very interesting read. Something to contemplate the next time you want to start a new project. I would read the other posts this week as well. Very interesting.

The second link is a project called Toronto Love. It's to celebrate the lives of those that were killed in the van attack a couple of months ago. There's an installation that I think is worth checking out. It's on until September 8 so if you're in the North York area, try and find a few minutes to stop in.

This link is from the project coordinator - it's too late to make a banner, but you get an idea of what went into the project.

I'm not sure if I posted this one or not, but it's about the quilts for #Humboldtstrong.

And one last one on buttons!!!!

The links are all short so it won't take you long to go through them.

Tomorrow, I'll share the next round of classes that are coming up. There's a lot of exciting things but it means a bit of work for me as some of them are new and I've got samples to make.

On that note, I'd better get at those patterns and quilt designs.

Have a super day!!!!


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Motivational Monday - EUREKA!

Have you ever had one of those days when everything seems to go right? That was yesterday although I didn't appreciate it until much later in the day.

I got a call during the day to remind me of a seminar at my bank branch that I wanted to go to. I had chatted with the teller about it when I was there last week, but I don't even know who called me from the branch, but I'm glad they did. It's all about retirement planning and government pension (which I know is a joke), but if I'm entitled to something, I want it!!!

Then I got another phone call and that big crate? Well, it's coming TODAY!!! Can't wait to open the box.

I got several e-mails that alleviated a wee bit of deadline pressure for a couple of projects. I'm all on track timing wise and they confirmed that. That was awesome news.

I needed some fabric strips for an upcoming project. The strip packs are not available, but an offer was put out that they would provide the yardage and I could cut the strips. Perfect!!!!

A big thanks to all those people for making my day a super day!!!

But the best part was Monday sewing. I was productive and I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. Here's what happened.

I was busy working on the next 6 blocks for the Farmer's Wife project.

I came across two blocks that were missing fabric bits. GRRR!!  Where is that darn box of leftover fabric?

When I got home and had a wee nap in the gazebo (the last couple of nights have been a bit tough in the sleeping area), I woke with determination. I was going to find that missing box even if it meant emptying out that stash room (GULP). And I was going to unpack my Monday sewing bag and get it ready for next week. That's a very important step. If you're going on a retreat or a sewing day, make sure that everything is in the sewing bag. What tools do you need? Is all the fabric there? Is everything cut so you don't have to stop to cut?

So I entered the stash room. Behind the door, I have a rolling shelf where I store all the ongoing projects from previous years that are not complete. Needless to say, the shelf is chock-a-block full to teetering on the top shelf. I'll give you the tally on the projects another day. By ongoing, I mean our $10 or $25 projects mostly taught at the Hobby Horse, but a few at Brampton Sew n Serge, Cockadoodle (closed), Ruti's (closed), and Sew Sisters (no longer doing classes).

This picture below is the top right corner of the shelf.

Ongoing (unfinished) projects
Let's start right at the top. See that CLEAR plastic box right on the top right? Guess what I found in it??  Yep - the "missing" project box. Are you kidding me?  I have to hang my head in shame on that one. I can't believe I missed the box the first time around. It was right there.  I had rifled through the white basket on the top left, but why not the one on the top right?

Yep - I did a happy dance around the studio!! I'm back in business. I can actually get this thing done!

What was in the box? Not a whole lot, but enough for me to get working again. There was a package of dots which I was using to mark the blocks in the book that were made. When we did the project as a class, we hopped all over the place (as I usually do) so the dots helped to identify which ones were actually sewn. The box of pins used to attach the number to each block. A large chunk of fabric for the sashing?? And the small bag of leftovers. I remember there wasn't a lot left after cutting the blocks. But I've found it!!!!!   EUREKA!!!!

The contents of the missing box
 I managed to get five blocks done yesterday. I'm behind by one block, but I should be able to catch up no problem going forward. And there are a few blocks that need to be cut. We used the cutting charts from Marti Michell and used her templates to cut the blocks. I think there were 10 or 11 blocks that couldn't be cut using the templates and I think those ones still need to be cut. I'll find out as I work through the blocks.

Five blocks for the Farmer's Wife project
I decided it was time to start at the beginning (Block one and work in order) to finish the blocks. So I have the next 7 (I'm behind on one) in my bag for Monday sewing. I put the remaining blocks in the project box, the finished blocks are in there as well. I need to make templates to cut one of the blocks this week. It's a bit weird shaped, but I'm going to recreate it in EQ8 and let the program do the math for me. What would I do without that software??

The project box is packed and waiting for next week

I'm getting a ton of plastic bags as I finish up these blocks. They are all stored in the cupboard, but I need to go through that cupboard and tidy it up.

Bags are being emptied - that's a good thing

Once the blocks were sewn, it was time to get back to the squirrel quilt. I made great progress on that quilt and the first four rows are done and all together. It looks very cute. This is by Sew Fresh Quilts.

Four rows of the squirrel quilt - done

I have one more row to add. There's one more squirrel in that row which is already pieced. I just have to make the little bird that goes in that last row and sew it on. One border around the entire quilt and the top will be finished. I dug out some fabric for the backing and it's in the Monday bag. Next week,  I hope to get that project ready to go into the "to be quilted" pile.

The squirrel project is prepped for next Monday

On my ender/leader project, I was going to run out of red squares and last week I had found some more fabric to use. I'm making great progress on that project so time to cut a few more squares for next week.

More squares for the ender/leader project - CUT
See how productive I was? It was great to find that project box. And I find that by spending a bit of time before I head out the door on Monday that it's great to sew all day and not have to stop for silly reasons.

I decided that I should pull another project to start working on next week. I found this scrap quilt - it's on the UFO list.
Scrap quilt
This one was started YEARS ago and I think my intention was to make one huge quilt. Well, I don't do huge anymore. There's ONE quilt top in the box - it's just missing some sashing around the outside and then a final border which I will need to find fabric for.

I counted the blocks in the project box. YIKES - there are enough to make TWO more tops the same size (lap). Good grief. And all the blocks are completed except for four which need one more seam. This is a serious problem for sure. How many more tops (blocks) am I going to find in all these project boxes? Well, we can't worry about that. We're going to tackle one box at a time.

I don't usually sew quilt tops together on Monday, but I'm going to have to start. I don't often get a chance to sew at home (on my own projects) so I will just have to start working on the blocks on Monday so I know they will get done.

And now my Monday sewing bag is ready to go for next Monday. I love being prepped in advance. No last minute rushing on Monday morning or Sunday evening.

Sewing bag for Monday is prepped and ready to go

Now that I've found that project box, I need to put that basket of Kansas Troubles back on the shelf. That's going to be a challenge. If you don't see a blog post from me tomorrow, I'd call 911. I could be crushed under the fabric in that back corner!!!

This stuff is on my cutting table and needs to be properly put away. We have a full house for the sit n sew this Thursday and I can't afford to just shove things in boxes and put it aside. I need to address some of the stuff. I'm going to start with this pile.

Stuff to be put away

When I was doing some sewing at home, I managed to get all those little HST sewn together in pairs to make the pinwheel blocks. This last batch just needs to be pressed.

To be pressed
 I hadn't pressed them because I wanted to make sure that they would be going in the right direction (as per spinning the center).  Well, when I went to check the others to see which way to spin, I noticed that about half of the little blocks were spun one way and YEP - the other half was spun the opposite way. GRRRR - I'll switch them around because of the way that I want this piece to go together and they are so small, I need those seams spun to reduce the bulk. How silly of me - I should have kept one out as a sample.

OH shoot - half are going left and half are going right

I've got a busy day today - well come on - what day isn't busy? I got one more design off to the magazine and the remaining two will be done tonight. I have a pattern that I'm writing that has to be done TODAY.  Once I can get that off my plate, I'll be in good shape. But there's no time to slack off - the amount of work to do is still stupid.

I live with killer dogs. Seriously! And I'm not sure who to blame for this one. But Murphy was quite busy in the corner of the yard and I was on my way to check out what was happening. Only to find a dead possum on the way. ACK! That's disgusting. I'm not sure who caught it or where they caught it - I know there were quite interested in the gazebo and the low bushes around the gazebo when I got home. So I got my handy animal removal tools (a shovel and a rake) and the poor possum was over the fence in no time. Thankfully we have a forest behind our fence. I think the coyotes came by in the night and took it away. A great dead animal disposal system. I think that's about four or five animals now, squirrels, rabbits and now a possum.

On that note, I've got to get myself going this morning. A few e-mails that need to be answered and writing to do.

Have a great day!!!!


Monday, June 25, 2018

At the end of the rope!

Despite the fact that I'm running behind - I'm not sure how I managed to get so behind so quickly. I think it's called ignore the deadlines and then suffer the consequences. Anyway - I'm NOT at the end of my rope ---- yet!  But if I was, I'd just tie a knot at the end of the rope and hang on! (tight)

However, I'm happy to report that yesterday was a fairly productive day considering it was a sit n sew. I managed to get one project done that needs to be out of the house NOW. It was an experiment and I'm quite happy with it. I need to make more! Will share with you when I can.

After that was done, I puttered with a couple of table runners and some of the homework blocks for the Farm Girl Vintage. I hope to share those this week if I can get a few minutes to edit the photos. There's another sit n sew on Thursday and I have to do a major cleanup for that one. Yeah!

It rained all day so it wasn't a huge deal to be in the house and having company was even better. We were a small group but that didn't stop us from having a lot of laughs. It was a hoot.

But after they left, I had work to do. It was submission deadline day for one of the magazines. Which now that they and I have a system in how these submissions work, it goes fairly smooth. It still takes time to assemble all the details. Wait - before I assemble the details, I have to do a few things.

  1. Check the submission blurb for the theme. 
  2. Check the available fabric collections - keeping in mind delivery dates. 
  3. Download the fabric collection to EQ8. (Super easy process thanks to Northcott's way of doing it)
  4. Mess around with the files in EQ8 to see what designs I come up with. I usually try to do more than one design to broaden the possibilities that a design will get chosen. 
  5. Once the design(s) are created, I need to create a bunch of files - pictures of the entire quilt with and without fabric, as well as pictures of the block (s) also with and without fabric. 
  6. Compile the pictures into a document, providing all the measurements. 
  7. Fill out the submission form, providing inspiration and other information. 
  8. Create a .pdf of their document and my document 
  9. Send

NO guarantee that any of the designs will get chosen. I look at it as a learning and creativity exercise for those projects that don't get chosen. Three of my quilts are in current magazines. I'll try to post those this week as well. There's this massive time crunch right now. 

Anyway, it was into the wee hours of the morning, but I managed to get most of what I wanted to be submitted to them. 

That's not even writing the pattern!!!  I've thought of writing patterns for you to enjoy (and buy). I might try one or two, but pattern writing is a whole other ball game. Checking and rechecking to make sure there are no mistakes. It's quite the exercise and unless you sell a lot of patterns, I'm not sure it's worth my time.

One more quilt was accepted a week ago so there are two that need to be made in the next while. I'm waiting on fabric for both of them so I can't even start. I may be working on that at the upcoming retreat. I can't wait for the retreat!

What did the others work on at the sit n sew day? Sharon was still working on her Border Creek Mystery. She only works on it at the sit n sew days which is a good way to do a big project like that. You don't have to unpack and repack, you just grab that same bag and go. I think she's almost at the halfway point. We see progress each month and it's exciting to see that. I think she has a lot of cutting to do now. But soon she'll be getting to the stage where the blocks will actually start coming together.

France is the queen of rope bowl making. She brought more rope to make another bowl. She also brought the very first one that she had made.

First rope bowl
It's amazing how the type and size of rope can affect the shape of the bowl. And it's very interesting to see how you hold the bowl in the making process and how you pull the cord will affect the shape of the bowl. Then there are the embellishments and thread choices. All in all - I love rope bowls.

Sharon and I had a good laugh as France had to slip out for an errand and left her bowl like this at the sewing machine.

Rope bowl in progress

And this is the bowl that she made. Look at how smooth that one is shaped. I don't think you could get smoother sides than that. She's become quite proficient at these bowls.

Version one of the rope bow for yesterday
 And this is the second bowl that she made yesterday.

Completely differently shape for the second rope bowl

Don't forget that I do a class on the rope bowls at Oh Look Fabric if you're interested in learning more about them. There'll be one scheduled for July and August. Just need to provide a date for those classes.

Here's my second purchase for the Row by Row this year. I bought a kit from the Hobby Horse. It's pretty cute and I love the fabrics that they used.

Row by Row kit

There are TWO quilts that I have inspiration for from the rows. This fits in with one of the quilts. I'll be sharing the others as time goes on. I'm being selective in what I buy just because I have to.

On that note, I'm out of here. It's Monday sewing and I can't be late this morning.

And hopefully, that crate will arrive this week so everyone's curiosity can be satisfied.

Have a great day!!!!


Sunday, June 24, 2018

Throw away versus fix

I'm sure we're all aware of how much our society has become a throwaway society. Clothes and other items are so cheap these day (quality and price) that often a couple of uses and the item is literally falling apart. Apparently, the clothing industry is one of the worst for this and it drives me crazy every time I hear an ad on the radio - T-shirts - only $4, shorts $6. People just don't appreciate value anymore.

It's the same with service - consumers would rather go where they can buy things cheap (like books) but don't get the service or the atmosphere of buying those books in a physical location. People don't care about service as much as they used to, yet the quilting industry (especially the quilt shops) rely on providing customer service in order to survive. Think about it - if everyone bought online - guess what would happen? There would be NO quilt shops. No place to browse for fabrics, no place to pop in for advice, no place to chat with fellow customers and staff and certainly NO PLACE to physically take a lesson. I get it that stuff is online - I really do, but I hear over and over again how people are watching and watching hours of those online tutorials, but they don't get the spark to actually do something. That's hopefully what I give my students. That's like having a shelf of books and expect to learn just because you own them. I hate to say that you got to read them or practice!!!!  Our society is becoming so passive that we're happy to sit and watch someone do a great job on a project, but afraid to step out and do that for ourselves.

Well - that was sort of two topics combined there! But hopefully, you get my drift. We have to STOP being so dependent on throwing away and living such a passive life. We only have one life and if we don't get ourselves together, we're going to be on our death bed and have owned nothing of great value and have done nothing productive with our life!

All that to say that I repaired something the other day. DH has a sleep pillow for the plane. He had given it to me a while back and asked if I could fix the snap as it had broken. Of course, I can fix that. That's the part of me that I inherited from my Dad. However, I needed some tools to fix the snap and it took me a while to get myself in gear to actually buy the tools. But I did.

A couple of days ago when I went to fix the snap, I couldn't figure out how the tool worked and I left it sitting there. Then I watched a YouTube video, just like my Dad who is addicted to YouTube. He comes home from tinkering at the museum workshop where he builds parts for antique tractors and watches YouTube to learn little bits and pieces that he wasn't able to figure out on his own. I mean - can you do the math when you have to make a gear where the teeth measure something like .0075647849 or whatever the silly things are. I don't understand it. Then he goes back to the museum the next day to experiment with his new knowledge. That's what happened to me with my snap.

I watched part of one video and then realized that while I had the tool, I did NOT have the little fittings that were needed to press the snaps back into place. On one of my errands this past week, I managed to get the missing bits.

Then I had a good look at the broken snap. OH - I can't just add a new snap on the one side, I have to remove the other side as well as the new one wasn't the same size as the old one. But I managed to get rid of the old bits.

The old bits are removed
 How did I make that happen?? A handy dandy screwdriver and those bits were gone, but not before the screwdriver slipped and scrapped the length of my thumb. Ah well - it happens. No major damage was done. Thumb feels fine today.

Snap removing tool

So to replace that snap, I had to buy the tool, the little cap things, and the snaps. I probably could have purchased a new pillow for the price, but I had the satisfaction of fixing this. That satisfaction is a dying art!

Tools to fix the pillow
 Then I watched one more YouTube video to actually see the process at work. A few minutes in and I was good. I was downstairs and had that new snap in place in seconds. It was super easy.

Repaired snap

DH left yesterday morning and I thought he might like his pillow, but it wasn't a long enough flight for him to take the pillow and besides, he already had a ton of luggage that he wouldn't normally take including the crystal and the sewing machine for M. But the pillow is done and I can cross that off my list.

I'm going to be teaching a class on mending later on in the year. Just trying to set dates.

Speaking of classes, we had a couple of great classes yesterday. One on free motion quilting. I love teaching the quilting classes as I see the light bulbs going off for people and I see what they have (and CAN) accomplish in a very short period of time. Now the trick to that is to go home and practice. And I was chatting with another person the other day and I said that we should all have some ME time. She couldn't because there were 6 people in her house during the week and 8 on the weekends and she was busy with them. I would NEVER stand for that in my house. I'm selfish and I NEED some personal time - EVERY DAY!

On Friday evening, I taught the rope bowl class for the second time. We had a blast and I just love how everyone's bowl turns out so different. With practice, you could predict the shape of the bowl, but it's hard to explain that. So it's always fun to see how different all the bowls turn out.

Happy students with their rope bowls

If you're interested, get in touch with Oh Look Fabric as I think we have another class scheduled or your name can go on a wait list if you want. It's loads of fun and the bowl can be customized for anything.

When I got home last night, I madly wrote up that list of things to do as I didn't have time during the day. It was a crazy busy day. I slept much better and I see I wasn't the only one who had a sewing nightmare this week. Going to retreat without anything to sew - well that would be a nightmare for sure!!!

I'm collecting information on decluttering and hopefully this coming week, I'm going to share with you some tips on what to do with your china. It's HUGE. I see loads of people are starting to declutter or getting back to it. I'm so proud of us all for tackling this issue while we can and not leave it for someone else to deal with. We should all give ourselves a pat on the back.

On that note, I'm out of here. We have sit n sew today. A small group, but that's OK because I have something that has to be done and I'm going to work on it today. No choice.

Have a great day and stay tuned - there'll be loads more stuff on decluttering and quilting as I get my life in order. If you could see my kitchen table, you'd think, I'm slacking off in the decluttering issue, but I literally haven't had time to put a few things away. And there's a new submission call for magazine quilts that I've sat on for a week and today is the deadline. I was madly designing quilts last night and this morning and now to pretty up the submissions and get them in!!!!


Saturday, June 23, 2018


I'm a wee bit pressed for time today. For whatever reason, I didn't sleep well last night. I think it's because I have a lot on my mind. Not bad stuff, just a list of things to do and not all the things are written on a list. I know - it's like clutter - it creeps up on me and then BAM - I have a sleepless night.

I've haven't got my homework sewn for today's class, but at least it's cut so I know where we're going with the homework. When I couldn't sleep, I even got up to sew one of the blocks together.

Then I went back to sleep only to wake up a few hours later after having a NIGHTMARE. I never remember my dreams and I haven't had a nightmare in a long time. Since it's sewing related, I'll share it with you.

In my dream, it was today. I was early for class and someone was telling us about a new applique technique. For some reason, a couple of us decided to go to this person's house so we could see this new technique. I went in my own car and I ended up in Port Credit, NOT Georgetown. For those of you not in the area, Port Credit is 1 ½ hours away from Georgetown. Why??? No idea. Once I realized, I sent them a text. I ended up chatting with a lot of people about quilts, but they weren't quilters. Then it was time to pack up my stuff because I had taken it all out of the bags to show these non-quilters. The nightmare was that I couldn't find my car. I couldn't remember where I parked it. Not on that side of the building so I checked the other. Found the car, but proceeded to put my stuff in a blue pickup like the one my dad used to have.  Then I found my car about 4 cars over. I woke up then.  It was disturbing, not so much for having so much on the brain, but for the memory loss. That's scary!!!  I hope it's not a preview of what's to come!!!

I have loads to tell you, but no time this morning because as I was cooking breakfast, DH asks if I can take him to the airport. Sure - and it's raining this morning so no dog park and a couple of girls are NOT happy at all.

I still have to throw the last of my stuff in a bag for today's three classes and it'll all be good.

I'm making headway on getting stuff out of the house. Yesterday it was that bag of batting, today it was the extra sewing machine (and DH - just kidding, but he's gone for a couple of days). Tomorrow?  Who knows.  But I'm collecting information on the decluttering thing and together we're going to tackle this problem.

I have a story from one or my readers about clearing clutter. She moved to a new house and decluttered completely before she moved. I never thought to ask how much clutter she removed from her sewing room. I must ask next time I see her. She used to have a job as such that she may have to travel at the last minute and kept a stash of cash of various currencies in her house. It was several months into the new house when she realized that her secret stash went in the giveaway boxes to charity. Someone must have been very happy when they found that!!  It's in the past - it's now a precious memory. So be careful with those stashes - if you're decluttering, don't forget to open things, check pockets, etc. You may find a treasure. I found $12. 63 when I was checking out a purse at the farm. We enjoyed a couple of runs to Tim's on my Mom!!!!

I had several errands to do yesterday and with the Friday traffic in the city, it was a disaster getting to any of them. Needless to say, the entire day was shot. No worries - it just puts me way behind. I've got my notebook with me so today when I have a few minutes between classes, I'm going to get that list together.

I had to visit a quilt shop to pick up something that had arrived for me.  Row by Row has started!!!!  I picked up the pattern for the shop's row and I picked up the license plate from last year. It appears that in Ontario, no one has gotten new plates this year. I guess they have run their course and how many license plates does one need anyway?

Row by row pattern and plate from 2017

I do believe that all the picture rows are up on the Facebook page or on the Row by Row page so check it out. I've got a trip planned around Row by Row and I can't wait. My cohorts are messaging back and forth this morning like mad as they plan. How many days?????  Better save up my pennies or should I say nickels.

Now I dare not be late this morning - oh - the applique technique - it was the interfacing technique which is NOT my favorite. What a nightmare - literally!!!!

Have a super day!!!!


Friday, June 22, 2018

Multi tasking - good or bad?

A huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. After I finished posting the blog yesterday, I hit the garage and soon my front step looked like this.

Donation stuff waiting to be picked up

When I removed all the stuff from the garage that was in the "donate" pile, I saw a few other things that have been hanging around. I packed those up and out they went as well. A couple of things from the basement and I was done for this round.

The more I think about my stuff, the more I realize how few things I need on a daily basis. And I'm so much a seasonal person (decorations) any more.  So - there'll be another pickup scheduled for July. Once you start this process, it's easy to let go. What if you realize you gave something away that you need? Well, you could always replace it or borrow it from someone? I know that the stuff I'm giving away is stuff that I haven't touched in years - I doubt that I'm going to want it or need it.

What if you accidentally give away something that was a precious memory? Well - it's just that now. A precious memory. You must ask yourself this question - what are the consequences in five minutes, five months and five years of that item being given away. If nothing serious is going to happen, you probably don't need that item.

What if the item is sentimental, yet you don't know what to do with it, but you don't want it? Take a picture. Put it in a folder on your computer marked MEMORIES and toss the item. Seriously - why are you keeping things that you don't need or want just because Aunt Sue gave it to you? Let it go!!

I'm reading a book right now on decluttering. While I like some of what this person is saying, she really has some whack job ideas. Keep toilet papers rolls because you can use them to keep cords tidy and other ideas. Seriously???  Put those toilet paper rolls in the recycling and use an elastic or one of those velcro cord keepers. I get it that she wants to recycle, but that's ridiculous. The other thing she says is to organize your books by color on the shelf so they look pretty. Yeah - pretty useless to organize by color when I won't read them by color. I want my stuff to be organized the way that I would shop for it (and hence "shop" for the next book when I'm going to read it). I don't want my house set up to be pretty - I want it to be practical. The eclectic look is just fine! I'll finish reading the book, but I could write a much better book (but I'm not going to).

I'm going to have some more tips for you in another post.

Yesterday was a heads-down intense day of working. I didn't go to the gym, and I didn't go for a walk, but I did well over 10,000 steps yesterday. And I didn't leave the studio. Why?  I had two machines going yesterday - The Designer EPIC was embroidering its merry little heart out............. (gosh I love that machine!)

Husqvarna Viking Designer EPIC in embroidery mode
 AND the long arm was fired up and it was working its magic on the other side of the studio.

Long arm working away
 Let's just say that until I got a rhythm going with the two machines, it was a wee bit of a challenge to keep up with both of them. I even toyed with the idea of firing up another machine to do some piecing, but that wasn't going to happen.

Between bobbin changes, babysitting where babysitting was required and fixing stupid human errors, I was super busy. Do not worry - no quilts were harmed in the process of yesterday's work. But when you know the bobbin is going to run out soon and you walk to the other machine and then get wrapped in what it's doing and then you have to wait for the long arm to trace back almost an entire row - well that slows the process down.

And let's not forget that I did not optimize the quilting pattern on the long arm for one row. Hmm - why did that machine stop? Oh, shoot - that will make an ugly join in the row. So I had to fix that. But here's the best part. I know how to fix stupid human mistakes like that. I'm getting pretty handy with the pattern repair function on the long arm.

What got done in all that running around?  Here's the first quilt. This one is mine.

My quilt - DONE
 Now if you've got a good memory, this quilt was in a magazine last year. Obviously, it's not the same quilt. I didn't like the lack of contrast in the borders on this one, so I had to remake the top and that's the one that went into the magazine.

Here's the second quilt. It's in McCall's Quick Quilts - December/January 2018. The fabric collection was from Northcott - Silent Night. You can see the pattern in the border in the second quilt is much more pronounced than in the original one. Either way, the panel/fabric is gorgeous!!!!

Second quilt made for the magazine

Might as well finish up the original one - it's not bad. So that's now in the "to be bound" stack that hasn't gotten any smaller since the last time I talked about it.

And I got a customer quilt done as well.

Customer quilt - DONE

This one has to be trimmed and the binding put on (yes - the binding is in the bag this time!) before Saturday's class. That shouldn't take long, but I've got a lot of stuff going on and I have two errands today that will require some time to get done.

The next quilt is loaded on the long arm and I might get to it today. If not, tomorrow evening. The quilts for next week are already in the "on deck" area and waiting for next week to come.

I wonder how many people were running around yesterday getting their rows/blocks for the 2018 Row by Row Experience?  I didn't have time. But I've seen some beautiful rows and can't wait to pick up a couple.

When I was out west, I picked up two quilts to be quilted (I'll return them when I go back later this year). And LOOK - there was a little gift attached to the quilts.  Thanks to my aunt for that.

A Row by Row license plate from 2017

It's amazing what I can get done if I don't have my nose in a book! I did finish a non-fiction book yesterday and I started another one. But since these non-fiction books are not page turners, they're easy to put down.

That's it for today. Oh - can't share what's on the embroidery machine, but you'll see it as some point. I've been up since very early this morning finishing off the embroidery - even with that fast DEsigner EPIC, it still took a lot of time to get done what I was doing. It's very cute and now to finish the items off. Since the embroidery unit is set up, I think I might try to work on the sashings for that Halloween quilt that's been on my design wall forever. Wouldn't it be nice to have that to hang up for Halloween???

On that note, I'm out of here.

Have a super day -stay WARM. I had to put long pants on yesterday and a big sweatshirt and I'm still freezing.