Tuesday, April 30, 2019

A quilt for Maddie

I had a great day at the Monday sewing group. It's such a wonderful group of ladies. We had a new guest yesterday and we got to chatting about groups in general. Oh yes - there can be bad apples in every group. I stated (as a joke, but I'm dead serious) that we will NOT allow a bad apple to come forward in our group. Should that happen, the rest of the group will take charge and expel the bad apple from the group! Sounds harsh, but we had issues in the past and it just got really ugly.

I love our very loose structure. There isn't anyone officially in charge. Several people have a small role to play to keep the group going (I'm not one of them!) and well - I hear from all the members that they just can't wait for Monday. That's what a sewing/quilting group should be all about. It's great therapy and you get stuff done at the same time! ZERO pressure.

I'll share with you tomorrow what I got done yesterday.

While I was teaching one of my private classes last week, I needed something to keep me occupied. Hey - there was a binding being sewn on. While she was working, I did a couple of things.

I hand stitched this Hawaiian block years ago. The stitches are so tiny - it's crazy. I stitched the blue shape in the corner of a larger piece of orange. Now what to do with it? It's been hanging around with a huge piece of that blue batik. Time to do something with it.

Because of its placement in the corner, I was limited in the size I could make the background. Using my large square ruler, I cut and trimmed the block down to 12 ½".

Trimming the Hawaiin block down to size
The question then became, should it have a border or not? The border would be the dragonfly batik that matches the fabric used for the applique.

Does it need a border?

I decided to keep within the theme of Hawaiin quilts. Many of which do NOT have a border unless it's crazy applique which didn't suit this piece. So I nixed the border and made the binding out of the blue batik. I need to find something to use for the backing. I might just use the blue batik - I have loads of it. Then this small piece will be ready for quilting.

Just needs backing fabric and then ready for quilting

I have another quilt that I really need to get quilted. I have several that I'm constantly digging out of the "to be quilted" tubs for my trunk shows. This is one of them. I think it should go on the priority list.

Scrap improv quilt
 That top was inspired by Liberated Quilt Making by Gwen Marston who recently passed away. The backing and the binding fabric were with the quilt. The backing is that bright yellow in the photo below. I don't normally use solid backings, but what the heck. The red fabric for the binding was also included. So now the binding is made, the backing is ready. This is going on my priority list.

Backing, binding and quilt top - ready to be quilted

I have about 6 customer quilts to quilt - hopefully, this week?? That would be fabulous if I can pull that off. Then I'm totally up to date! I would love that.

Then I can start to plow through my own quilts. What a concept that would be! Although I do have a couple of deadline quilts for this month so those will take priority over everything.

Are you like me? You buy or get candles and then you never use them? Well, thanks to Ronda, I'm now a candle burner. Yes - burning them in the studio is probably NOT a good idea, but I use the ironing board so there is nothing around, the pad is heat resistant and the candle is out in the open so I won't forget it.

Here's my candle burning supply container.

Candles waiting to be burned

I now have tools for candle burning. A nice set with a candle snuffer, wick trimmer and something else - for poking???  I've no idea. I guess maybe to make the wick stand up if it's trapped in the bottom of the candle.

Candle burning accessories

Why does one need those tools? Well - look at this poor candle. The wick is at the bottom of the candle and needed to be trimmed. Unfortunately, this candle is done! But you get the idea!!

One more candle - done!

And how did the private class work out? I have to share this with you. The student is totally new to quilting and pretty new to sewing. She does have a bit of a spatial or control issue. The quilt is for her daughter and she wanted the daughter's name on the back of the quilt. So she learned how to paper piece and did the letters on the back of the quilt. Well - that saved the day.

Let's just say that there were a LOT of learning moments on this quilt. This is what happens when students don't remember the steps and don't call!  The front of the quilt had to be modified to fit the quilting - OK - it had to be trimmed - a lot. So we made a decision to make the back of the quilt the front. As I said - thankfully she put the lettering on the back. It now is a very modern quilt!

She got the binding on during her lesson. What I love is that her daughter's name is Madeline - same as M. Both are only children. Both were named after Madeline the character from the books. We never called our Madeline - Maddie although that was one of the reasons why I chose the name. They call their daughter Maddie all the time. And the best part? Maddie's quilt was finished in Maddie's room. Not the same Maddie though!!!

A student's quilt - DONE

Isn't that a hoot? Well - one more quilt is done and hopefully, Maddie loved her quilt which was to be gifted this past weekend.

On that note, I'm out of here. I've got loads of paperwork to deal with this morning. UGG. But if I get it out of the way, then I can move on.

Have a super day!!!!!


Monday, April 29, 2019

On doing nothing................

I tackled some paperwork yesterday morning. I had a bunch of e-mails that needed to be sent to my group classes. After running around the house to collect photos of stuff and the patterns, I managed to get everything up to date!  OH - I still have some homework photos to post. And I'm happy to report that so far this year, I've been able to keep up with all my projects.

  • Lilla - 3 different blocks each month (4 of each for a total of 12 blocks each month)  - up to date. I cut the new blocks for May this morning. 
  • North Stars - two blocks made. One of the two blocks for the coming class is partially made. Once that is finished, will start on the second one. 
  • Ultimate Quilt Block Book - all homework is done! Just need to prep for the next class. 
  • Hello Sunshine - I'm just a wee bit behind in that one, but not much. Then I need to get the homework prepped for this coming month. 
  • Jingle all the Way - way ahead in that one. It needs to be quilted before the next class. 
  • Stitcher's Garden - this is my UFO project. All the batting is cut for the remainder of the blocks. And I cut the background fabric for my two commitment blocks this morning. All the fusible applique is traced. 

Oh yes - I'm on a roll to keep everything up to date! I need to be working on some samples as well. It feels nice to be up to date! It's all about focusing!!

However, I'm happy to say that yesterday after I got those e-mails out - I did NOTHING. The weather was amazing. I suppose I could have gone for a bike ride, but I was content to sit in the backyard. I dug out my lounge chair and sat on the "upper" deck. It was kind of HOT and I was in the direct sun, so I moved to the gazebo.

I ate lunch out there, I listened to my audiobook, read some magazines, napped. Between the girls and the fish pond, I was totally entertained. Just a slight breeze to get a tinkle from the wind chimes every once in a while. Seriously - it was a glorious day.

I chatted with my Dad as it was his birthday on Saturday but when I called, he was napping. We had a grand conversation. I heard my brother is retiring this year. Yikes - that got me to thinking. Well, I'm not ready yet, but I need to plan for that day. I think I'll retire from my four freelance jobs one by one. Not all at once - that would be crazy. However, if there isn't a buyer for those magazines, I might be out of that job very soon.

I'm still making quilts for them and no idea that I'll get paid. Unless someone coughs up major cash, I won't get paid.

OH - I should ask - how many of you checked out the settings on your SmartPhone???  Normally I wouldn't care, but now I'm happy that everything is as it should be. Next technology to tackle is the audio system in my car.

I'm trying to finish another project and I needed some circles. Lots and lots of circles. What's the best way to get lots of circles? Why the GO! cutter of course. I put fusible on the back of that burgundy fabric.

Running the fabric through the GO! cutter
To make the process even faster, I folded the fabric in three and layered it under the cutting mat.  Ran the whole thing through the cutter and LOOK - lots of perfect fusible circles.

Lots of fusible circles

Now one of the reasons, I wouldn't consider getting a GO! cutter in the past was the waste. Don't yell at me - it's the pioneer spirit in me!!!  I couldn't bear to throw out those bits. Sometimes, I don't think it so much about throwing out, it's about seeing what you can do with what others would throw out. I've got a great story for later this week about scraps.

So I cut apart that initial scrap and laid the bits on the smaller circles on the circle die.

Using the scraps to get even smaller circles

I ran that through the cutter to get smaller circles. I have a tin with circles and other shapes that I've cut from my scraps. I have a plan - it's just not time to deal with it yet.

Lots of small circles cut from the scraps

Have you ever noticed that we tend to put up with lots of small things that could be fixed with minimal effort? Take my backpack. Two of the zipper pulls had fallen off a while back. I used safety pins to open the zippers, but safety pins are not good zipper pulls. They pull the zipper offside and it's difficult to open.

Safety pins as a zipper pull - not a good idea
When I was at Lens Mills, I found zipper pulls. So I bought one on the first day I was there. It worked perfectly so I bought another one when I went back the next day. I'm not sure where that darn second zipper pull is. Let's just say that I can't wait to use my backpack again! It's my portable office whenever I travel.

Zipper pull instead of the safety pin

If you're a dog lover, you'll cringe at this next story, but there's an important message here. I was walking Murphy yesterday morning. She is ALWAYS on her leash. Both of my girls are always on their 6 foot NON-retracting leash so I have control over them (well as much as I can with Murphy). As we approached the soccer field in the local park (across the street from where we were walking), I saw two people with two dogs. They looked like bulldogs or something like that. They got near the center of the soccer field and took their dogs off leash. They continued to walk away from the street while the dogs played behind them.

In other words, they were NOT watching their dogs even though the dogs were off leash. Guess what? One of the dogs saw Murphy and made a beeline to her at the same moment that a car came down the street. I stood there paralyzed - what could anyone do? The dog got hit. I don't know how badly. The driver of the car did not stop. I know it was a white car. That's all.

The dog ran back to its owner so it was still alive. I'm not sure how bad it was hurt. I was so mad that I yelled at the people that they need to keep their dog on a leash and that the soccer field was NOT a leash free zone. I hope their dog required LOTS of medical care for them to realize that a public soccer field is NOT a leash-free zone for dogs. At the minimum, if you're going to take your dog off the leash, you better watch that dog like a hawk!!!!  Stupid people. Poor dog.

I think it's good to say that there are no bad dogs, just bad dog owners. Oh dear - where does that leave me with Murphy??? 

On that note - it's Monday!!  I don't have to leave early today. Yeah! I'm so excited and with all the stretching and shoulder posturing and the acupuncture, my neck is starting to feel much better. Yeah!!!! It's supposed to rain almost all week. Good - I need to stay inside and get some work done!

Have a super day!!!!


Sunday, April 28, 2019

Don't believe everything you hear or read

How many others are like me? When you were younger and not as smart, you believed everything you read. Right? If someone took the time to write it, it must be true. NOT!!! I learned that somewhere along the line. I wish I knew that when I was about 10 but that is one of life's lessons that you have to learn on your own. No one can tell you that.

That goes for patterns in the quilting industry as well. I'm teaching a class from a pattern (to be nice, I won't reveal the pattern maker's name) but she's Canadian.

We are doing several blocks a month and there is one block that just wouldn't work. I had no idea the instructions were wrong, although when I got to the first diagram, I thought things looked a bit wonky. You start with a square, add a few bits and it should be a rectangle according to the diagram, but the instructions say that's it a square and the resulting piece is a square. Hmm - that should have been my first clue.

Anyway, I proceeded to make the rest of the block and it was crazy all the way through. I had pre-cut all my pieces so I forged ahead. This is what I got.

Funky blocks

The two on the left were done according to the instructions - well sort of. Like I said, it was weird as the diagrams did NOT match the writing. Nope - I don't like those blocks. So I tried again, this time making a diamond from the square. That worked better in the top right, but look at those points - they all got cut off. That's not right either. Then there were not enough green strips cut to insert into the last block so that was a total wonky thing.

I e-mailed the designer telling her that I thought there was a mistake in the pattern. A day later she replied - "Nope, there's no mistake in the pattern."  Really??????  There are in fact TWO mistakes in the pattern. All of them in the cutting instructions and ONE word in the written instructions. Why can't people own up to a mistake??? Now the written instruction did word it so that it might not be considered a mistake, but that leaves the cutting totally up to the student with no guideline.

So I redid the block using my own calculations. Start with a rectangle and then trim as per the pattern diagram. Add the triangles that fit much better. Imagine putting bi-rangles (triangles created by cutting a rectangle on the diagonal) on a square? It didn't look pretty. I thought I had a picture of my first attempts, but I can't find it.

The background triangles fit nicely on the diamond

Then as I continued with the instructions, the block was PERFECT with all the points intact.

The block came out perfect

Now the quilt is modern and some blocks are improv so it doesn't really matter. What matters is that the designer said it was OK when in fact it wasn't. The instructions for that block did not match the diagram and there were two mistakes in the cutting. Once I made the changes, the block went together like a charm.

I must apologize to my class for not figuring that one out sooner. Sorry!!!!!

I'm always talking about learning experiences. Learning new things is often the topic of my blog posts. Well, I have something to share with you that I learned yesterday.

So, last week, I got a warning on my cell phone that my data was used up for this month. WHOA! How the heck did that happen? Was it because I was traveling so much? I dug into the online bill for the daily usage for the past month. Hmm - it appeared that the two biggest days were Sundays when I was at home. Now, how the heck did that happen??

I know how. There are times when I'm out and my phone is trying to connect to the WiFi but for whatever reason, I don't or can't connect. I must pay attention to when this happens. So I turn the WiFi off which then forces the phone to use data. Then when I get home, I forget to turn the WiFi back on. I know that I've lamented that there isn't an option for the phone to automatically turn the WiFi back on.

OK - so I've had my data off on the phone for the last couple of days. It was time yesterday to get that fixed and understand what is happening. I had tried the day before but that was total frustration. I couldn't find a phone number on the Bell website so I tried using the LiveChat. That was great until they asked me for very specific information like password and account number in order for them to help me. I wasn't logged in at the time. Anyway - that was a disaster.

Yesterday, I got smart about the process. I logged into my account so I would readily have my information at my fingertips and it allowed me to browse through the bill and the usage at the same time as I chatted with the agent. I'm not a huge fan of LiveChat (it's just typing in a window on the screen) because it does take a long time - longer than if you do it via the telephone.

No worries. I was in a good mood and wanted to solve the problem. Turns out that I already have 3 GB of data. I thought I only had two. My tablet has 1 GB of data. The tablet can pull from my phone data if needed, but the reverse won't work. OK - so the phone has 3 GB of data. That was news to me. Now to figure out how to configure everything and can I save money?

Even though there's a special on the website for $110 a month (I know - that's an obscene amount to pay for a cell phone), I don't qualify because that price is for new signups. I'm paying $5 more a month. I let it go because I was tired at this point. Our LiveChat session lasted ONE HOUR!!!

What else did I learn??  Well - lots. Did you know that you are supposed to set the BILLING CYCLE on your phone? Yes - I never did that - I guess I assumed that it was automatically set. I knew the option was there. So now the billing cycle in the phone is set to match the real billing date. There's a warning when the data level reaches a certain level. I knew that and mine was already set. It was set to 2 GB and I've left it there. Once I reach the 2GB, I know that I have 1 GB left.

I found another setting in the phone that once the phone reaches 3 GB (I set that level), the phone will automatically shut the data down so I won't go over my limit and rack up huge charges. That is great!!!!

But I also found another setting (in the advanced settings) that will turn the WiFi back on for those locations where you frequent the most - like HOME!!!!  That's exactly what I wanted, but didn't know that the feature actually existed!!!!  WOW - that was cool.

Here's the thing - because the billing cycle in the phone and the real billing cycle were NOT in sync, I wasn't really over my data!!!  That's hilarious!  However, I'm glad that it happened because I was able to figure this out and now I'm a very happy camper. That's why I didn't drive the guy crazy by trying to get that $5 off my phone bill.

So, if you haven't done that, you should set it up. You have the features in your SmartPhone - you might as well use them. I know that there are many more features in the phone that I haven't touched yet - but all in good time. Oh yes - there is one more feature I found. If you want to shut off some apps from using data, you can do that as well. I know there are loads of apps on my phone - most of which I never use. I really should delete them, but I can at least turn the data off so if they by chance are sucking up my data, I can shut them off and they will only work with WiFi. That's called the Data Saver feature.

I have a Samsung Android phone. All this stuff was found in Settings, Connections, WiFi, Advanced (which is in the top right with those three little dots). The other place is Settings, Connections, Data Usage. That's your lesson for today - now get your SmartPhone and make those changes.

I had another private class yesterday. And I learned something else. Did you know that there are embroidery machines out there that ONLY do machine embroidery?? They do NOT sew. I had no idea.

It's not my brand obviously or I would have known that. Anyway, I got her fixed up on two different things and now she has a LOT of homework to do! 

Embroidery Machine 

I'm still trying to tidy up Studio U. It's actually not in bad shape, but I've been moving this mess of wool around for months. Time to deal with it. It was given to me in a box of wool years ago. I had pulled it out several months ago to make something. It looked like a decent piece of wool. Only when I opened it up, it was mostly a bunch of scraps. Hmm - and there it sat like that. I had no idea what was in the bundle. Time to get this cleaned up!

Bundle of wool scraps

There were two sizeable pieces in the bundle. I kept those and the rest went into the pet mat bag. Seriously???  Why would someone have kept this? The bundle above I mean. I should have looked more closely at it months ago.

Two nice sized pieces of wool

I'm doing more organizing but I need to find my index cards so I can label everything. I had the darn cards just mere days ago. I put them somewhere safe and now I can't find that safe place. Once I get that done, I'll show you. I'm quite happy with the way things are in Studio U. This week, I NEED to get the work started on Studio B. I've put it off long enough.

Call me obsessive, but I keep finding fabrics that were stained from the water leak. I started to work on a magazine quilt that isn't due until June. I know - what planning on my part! These are white strips that are badly stained in some parts with blue.

White strips of fabric stained with blue

Back to the sink with the hot water and Dawn. OK - I couldn't help myself by putting the handle of the Easter Basket back in the mix to get rid of that last little stain. And there was a stain on one of our Santa Sacks that I missed last time.

Soaking in hot water and Dawn 

I'm happy to report that all the stains came out. Well, almost all, I think there were parts of a couple of the white strips that were under the Santa Sack and not completely submerged. Anyway - doesn't matter - the strips are much better than they were.

Because they were dripping wet, they went on the drying rack and outside.

White strips - now clean and drying
They are now ready to use for the magazine quilt. 

The strips are dry and ready to use
 Fortunately, the fabric is Northcott Toscana which is relatively thick and with the paint that sits on top, it has definitely prevented any fraying. Those strips have been washed twice and minimal fraying.

The only problem is that I broke the leg off my laundry rack when I brought it in the house!!!  I guess I'm due for a new one. I've had this one for years.

Oops - the leg broke off the drying rack

Now get that SmartPhone out and make those changes!!!  But look at your bill first so you know the amount of data that you have and the billing cycle. You'll never go over your data!

Have a super day!!!!!


Saturday, April 27, 2019

Where to buy older prints

I spent most of the day in the car! But the patient is home and happy to sleep in her own bed! I took her on the scenic route home yesterday - yep - got chatting and then realized that I missed the turn and well, it took longer to get home. I'm sure she was saying in her head - "for god's sake - just get me home so I can go to sleep!". But no - a trip with me - well you never know what can happen.

Then it was back home where I had a private session with a student of mine. I'll share that with you tomorrow.

I did manage to get a few things done but today - I'm going to share the rest of the pictures that I took earlier this week.

I've always said that if you're looking for some older fabrics, you need to go to Lens Mill. It probably doesn't matter which location you go to. They often buy the remainder of bolts that are languishing in the fabric warehouses. They get them at a good price and depending on what they are - it can be a good deal or not. Perhaps these two fabrics I'm about to show you weren't such a great deal. And yes - for the record, I went back again yesterday. Three days in a row!!!!

So you see that pale yellow fabric with the parasols on it? I bought that fabric - probably from Lens years ago. I'm talking over 10 years at least! They still have a pretty full bolt of the darn stuff!!! Just saying.............

The pale yellow fabric was printed eons ago

Now it's probably not the same bolt. If they bought the stuff on clearance, they could have bought 20 bolts of the darn stuff. It wasn't likely a hot seller.

Same thing for this fabric below. See the pale blue with the water tower on it? I know - first off -who designed that????  And why????  Well, I bought some for my novelty print stash. I still have the piece I bought and they have it with a blue background and also yellow I think.

Water tower fabric anyone???

Here's the rest of the stuff that I bought. I did splurge and buy 1 whole meter of this print. My vision for this? Put fusible on the back and cut out those letters individually. It's perfect  - the letters do not overlap, there won't be that much waste and I can get some cool things made with it. Oh yes - I have a vision! I won't share more than that for the moment.

Alphabet fabric that I bought

OK -- so I couldn't help myself when I saw this. I had to buy some. I only got a ½ meter. But it's a brilliant acid green stretch fabric. When the lady was cutting it and I said that I didn't need a huge piece, she asked me "why - don't you want a body suit out of this?" We got a good chuckle out of that. Nope - I have another use for stretchy fabric these days. Heck - I might even fire up the embroidery machine today and see what happens in the "gecko birthing room!".  It's super brilliant.

Green stretchy fabric

I also bought some screening. I've been looking for this. Now I have some. And now I need to get myself busy and come up with something cool with this.


It's very soft and pliable. Hmmm - could be used for numerous things.

When I was sitting in the OR waiting room earlier this week, I glanced up and saw this. Hmm- that's a weird place to find this. I think I mentioned this quilt on my blog a while back. Well - that took a few minutes but I found the link.

A Canadian Quilt

They also had a framed copy of the story of the quilt beside the poster. Here's the story - not sure if you can read it. I must have a copy around the house somewhere.

The Story of the Canadian Quilt

I wonder where the quilt is now? At CBC downtown????  Anyone know?  Hmm - is it still hanging downtown? If so, I think a road trip is in order to get a picture!!!

I have one private quilt class today at my house and then I'm free the entire day. And nothing quilt related tomorrow either!!! I love it!!! The weather is too cold to be out in the garden, so I guess it's a guilt-free quilt day!!!

Oh - so I haven't really put Alexa to the test, but yesterday I did ask her what's my next appointment and she told me! How cool is that!!!!

I only accomplished two of the three things that I set out to do yesterday, but I did other stuff instead - that was all about timing and availability yesterday. I need to add one more thing on today's list of three and then get them done! I have too many things to do to not get three things done in a day!

Have a super day!!!!!


Friday, April 26, 2019

The tip of the iceberg

As promised, I'm going to show you what came in that small box. See that small box on top? It came from Amazon. Not ordered by myself.

What's in the small box?

I opened it and I had a great laugh. Thanks so much - I'm not sure I say who sent it to me. Oh, what the heck! I'll name the culprit - it was Ronda!!!

This is what was in the box. It's an echo dot!!  You may know her by her name - Alexa!!!

echo dot

I know - this is just the tip of the iceberg. I'll explain in a minute. First - why did she send me this? Well, when we were on our road trip to Nashville back in February, I drove the others crazy by constantly saying "Alexa, what does XYV mean?" and various other questions. Of course, Ronda does not have Alexa in the car. My intent was for someone in the car to look up the information, but no one did!

So, now I have my own Alexa to pester. Now in a way, I could say that I won the lottery and now I have a personal assistant. Because she will do things for you - set timers, reminders, call people, etc.

I set Alexa up in Studio U. Looks like a small unobtrusive little thing.


But when you say "Alexa" - she gets excited and lights up - waiting for my silly questions.

Alexa waiting for my question

It wasn't that difficult to set up after I installed the app on my phone. It appears there is an app for pretty much anything. We need to take very good care of our phones. There are so many apps attached to our Smartphones. Actually, I don't have many, but the phone has become an appendage.

But here's the thing about Alexa. Essentially it's a listening device in my house. Who is listening? What's crazy is that for several years, Canadians were not allowed to appear on Jeopardy. Why? Because of Canadian privacy laws! I don't know the whole story or why that would be an issue. But how can Amazon get away with listening in my house 24/7? Isn't that an invasion of privacy?

Does that mean if I make a major sewing mistake and get ticked off and start yelling, that Alexa will calm me down with soothing music? That would be totally creepy. I know she isn't supposed to do anything until I say "Alexa", but that doesn't mean she isn't listening ALWAYS.

The other part of Alexa is that when you see all that Alexa can do, you want to buy doorbells, TVs, and other devices that are Smart so you can control everything with Alexa. I asked Alexa to turn on my audiobook and she told me that I didn't have anything in Audible which is what Amazon uses for audiobooks. Yep, and Audible is being advertised on the radio - no mention that it belongs to Amazon or affiliated with Amazon. Audible reminds me of Double Day book publishing - remember that? Well, Audible sounds the same, just digital, not an actual book.

Let's just say that the folks at Amazon are pretty clever. They have found a way to completely dictate and control our lives! And I just opened the door a crack! Well - Ronda did!

I have ZERO plans to buy a smart radio or I suppose I could have Alexa play the radio for me. No plans to make any changes in the house because of her. I only want her to answer my questions. After I got her set up, DH had to run up to test it out! He could use one as well.

But hasn't life changed? Everything seems to be connected. Oh - I connected my calendar to Alexa via the app on my Smartphone. Hey - if she can check my calendar or keep me on track - why not? My calendar is already on the internet and therefore not private. I've had that set up for years. 

All this leads me to another story - the technology in my car. That'll have to wait for a couple of weeks. It's a nightmare. OK - so perhaps I'm exaggerating, but I'm not happy. For the moment, I ran out of data on my phone for the remainder of the month and have to wait until the end of the month before I can do anything about the car. It's a long story.

I have a priority list of three things to do today. One is already done. Yeah! One will be to call about my phone and see if I can get some more data to end the month. Not that it's a huge deal, but when you don't have it? You miss it big time!!!

I went back to Lens Mill yesterday to pick up a couple of things that I didn't have time for the previous day. Between the two days, I spent less than $100!!!  That's awesome.

Here are the Northcott labels from the Colorworks Concept collection. I know some of my UFO group was looking for them. I have three panels available if anyone wants them. I run these labels through the inkjet printer to get a nice label to put on a quilt. Here's a link to the tutorial for that. If anyone wants panels, please let me know. Cost of $11 for one panel with about 24 labels. There were a few more panels left on the bolt. Anyone want them????

Labels for quilts
I also got a ¼ meter of these two fabrics. I have a plan for these which I hope to get to work on this weekend. But only ¼ meter of each. That's restraint! Honestly, I didn't feel like buying more. What would I do with it??? A ¼ meter is actually loads! Way too much in fact, but that's OK. 

Two 1/4 meter pieces of fabric

I did get a few more things, but I'll share those with you another day.

Back to physio yesterday. After the stretching and some manipulation of my shoulder/neck muscles, the physiotherapist tried acupuncture again. Yikes - this time they hit the knotted muscle and made it twitch! That was a weird sensation, but you know what? I think it helped a lot. I feel the knot is almost gone, but my neck is still stiff as heck in one direction. Apparently, muscles need to contract and relax. It appears that one (or several) of my shoulder muscles was stuck and could not relax. Hopefully, it's getting looser and will at some point be able to relax.

I thought I did quite well on the posture thing yesterday and thanks to the people who provided me with suggestions. My upper back was super tired at the end of the day, but that was from holding my posture. Those upper back muscles have been slacking off for years - time to get them fired up and work for a change!

On that note, I'm out of here. Loads to do, but I'm taking things at a very slow pace and I'm good with that. I'm trying to tidy up a wee bit and it takes longer than you think. But all is good - a very quiet weekend and I can't wait!

Have a super day!!!!


Thursday, April 25, 2019

Christmas in July!

I'm on a new mission. It's a very personal one, but I hope some of you can help me with it. I've been attending physio and massage appointments for the past couple of months to deal with the whiplash from that stupid fender bender. While I'm still dealing with the pain on the left side of my neck, the masseuse is digging deeper.

My posture sucks!!!!  The masseuse threatened to make me wear a posture belt if I didn't get my act together. So, I'm to be standing in perfect posture at all times. Hinge from the waist, not the neck. Try that at a sewing machine!

However, he's perfectly right in nagging me. If I don't fix my posture now, I'm going to be in bigger trouble as I get older. The acupuncture seemed to help a whole lot with the pain and the muscle knots and now I feel like I have a very stiff neck. Still, a long way to go and I know that some of it can be relieved with the posture issue taken care of.

If you see me slouching in any way shape or form, you are to simply say - Posture! I'll get the message. It's trying to remember to stand up straight - the more I do it, the more I'll remember and at some point, it'll become totally natural. ACK!!

UPS has been very busy at our house lately. This arrived on Monday.

Three boxes arrived on Monday
Nothing to get too excited about. It's just quilts being returned to me. Yep- there were TWO quilts in each box.

Then all this arrived yesterday. The bottom three boxes contained quilts - two per box. I know - what the heck am I going to do with them all???

More quilts arrived home
Some of them had been at the magazine office for quite a while. But still - that's a lot of quilts. I think there might be one more box coming and then except for the recent stuff I've sent (3 - I think), all my quilts have been returned.

But what's in that little box on top?? I hadn't ordered anything from Amazon. I opened it and got a huge chuckle. I'll share it with you tomorrow since I want to figure it out first. It's a thank you for helping someone yesterday.

I drove a friend to her day surgery appointment. Nothing earth-shattering, but it required a couple of days stay and she can't drive. So she sent that little box as a thank you. I think we're going to have a lot of fun with it.

While I had some down time waiting, I decided to hit Lens Mill since there was one not far from the hospital.

What a glorious time I had. It's been a LONG, LONG time since I had the luxury of wandering around with no real deadline while in there. I saw loads of interesting stuff and loads that I would have purchased but not anymore. I did get a shopping cart to make my life easier and I wandered up and down the aisles. Standing straight as I wheeled the cart around!

I did make a few purchases. I'll share a couple with you this morning and the rest will have to wait until tomorrow. I'm behind this morning and I need to get myself moving.

This is a ¼  meter of fabric to put with my Lilla project. I think this will be enough to finish off the blocks. I know - a measly ¼ meter!!!  Don't need more, don't want more. What would I do with the leftovers???

Additional ¼ meter for the Lilla quilt

In all of the shelves at Lens, I saw only ONE bicycle fabric. I don't really need this, but I got a ¼ meter to add to the stash. Yep - just ¼ meter!!!  See how good I'm behaving???

Bicycle fabric

I did get a couple of other things but those will have to wait until tomorrow when I have a wee bit more time.

Yesterday morning before I had to leave the house, I spent some time cleaning up Studio U. There were threads everywhere, bits of stabilizer, fabrics, tools - you name it - it was strewn everywhere. It's now more or less contained where those items belong. I have a box of stuff to bring downstairs to sort into the proper home in Studio B. It felt great to get that done - I was tired of stepping over stuff to get to the iron or the sewing machine or whatever.

Hopefully, the next couple of weeks will move at a wee bit more leisurely pace. Lots to do - especially paperwork which is NOT my favorite thing. If ever I won the lottery, the first thing I would do is hire a secretary or personal assistant. Yep - that would be a priceless asset to me!

And if I had a personal assistant, he or she could take pictures of all my quilts and put them on a web site. Wouldn't that be awesome?? I need to do that. I'm going to have to start somewhere. Might as well be at the beginning.

On that note, I'm out of here.

Have a super day!!!!


Wednesday, April 24, 2019

North Stars Show n Tell

Today -it's all about Reggie. Reggie is the name of the reindeer in the North Stars pattern.

This is one of our year-long projects at The Hobby Horse. The pattern is by Elizabeth Hartman. It's super cute. There are 9 blocks and we're going to have the final show n tell at the end of November.

North Stars pattern by Elizabeth Hartman
Elizabeth has designed a line of fabric for the quilt and a few of the class participants had purchased kits. But many did not and it's super fun to see what fabrics they picked for their blocks.

Let's start with my block. I'm using a blue background that looks like cracked ice or snow. The colors were randomly chosen from my stash of brown fabrics.

Elaine's blocks

Now let's have a look at what the students did. OH MY GOD - this is Kathi's block. I know that she was a wee bit tentative with her fabric choices, but she did an amazing job!!!!!

Kathi's block

Look at the fabric that she chose for the body of the reindeer. It's got little reindeer on it. That's so cute!!!

Reindeer fabric for the reindeer!

I'm trying to remember whose block is whose. I believe this next one belongs to Jo-Marie. Lots of great contrast in the block. I didn't think that some of the fabrics in the kit provided enough contrast to the background. I love the fact that we can take chances and do our own thing!

Jo-Marie's block
Sara threw all caution to the wind (as usual). I love the fabric she used for the reindeer. I think she threw in more fabrics than the pattern called for which is great. No need to follow the pattern exactly. Each block is 24" square and there are 7 fabrics as per the pattern, but as you can see, more can be added without throwing the block into chaos.

Sara's block

Did you see the fabric that she used in the big squares??  Yep - it has deer on it. That's super cute.

Sara added fabric with deer on it to her block

Nancy is using the kit which is very convenient. No need to search for colors. You can see how some of the flying geese near his feet are very low in contrast to the background. A totally different look - but nothing is wrong and that's part of the lesson that we're all learning.

Nancy's block

Valerie is also using the kit and here's her version of the block. For a minute, I thought it was the same block, but look at the position and direction of the fabrics in that arrow looking block - they are different!

Valerie's block

I didn't think I got a picture of Jana's block but then realized that I hadn't forwarded all the pictures from my phone. The fabric for her block is super cute. Many dots! The background has dots on it, the reindeer is also a print with dots. And notice that she did NOT include all those fussy triangles along the bottom, side, and top.

Jana's block
I know - you can't see the top of the block. Here's the picture she sent me when I thought I hadn't taken a picture of her block. Now you can see that she didn't add the extra stuff along the edges.

The second picture of Jana's block

I believe this block is Marg's. The plaid fabric is adorable on the antlers and other parts of the block. And I love that blue background!

Marg's block

This one is Linda's who also used the kit. I thought it was funny to see how people cut the directional print. Some of those mountains (the brown/gray fabric) are pointing inwards and some are pointing up. Linda also changed some of the fabrics in the bottom star. Even with the kit, they have managed to make their blocks unique!!!!

Linda's block

Next up is Sharon. She's got some very rich colors happening in her block. She used a metallic fabric for the reindeer body and if you look close, you can see that she fussy cut that fabric. Notice how light his tummy is compared to the rest of his body. It was a graduated print that she used. Very clever.

Sharon's block

Then we have Rosemary's block. I absolutely love the fabric she used for the reindeer. It's a very mottled print and it's perfect!!!!

Rosemary's block

Diane is also using the kit. Notice that all her mountains are pointing in toward the center. That requires a bit of concentration during the cutting process!

Diane's block
Lynn is using the fabrics from the kit to make the stars and the reindeer - well she's using some of the fabrics and then using the same background that I'm using.

Lynn's block
That was it for blocks that were at the class. However, I do have a few other blocks to show you. The class was on a long weekend and several people couldn't make it.

This one is Sheila's. Now, how neat is that background fabric? And the reindeer fabric is gorgeous. She was working on the block at our Monday sewing and this is as far along as she had gotten before I had to leave.

Sheila's block

This belongs to Colleen. She's using a lot of Northcott Toscana in her block. A totally different look. And look at the color of the reindeer. It's gorgeous!!! 

Colleen's block
And the last block belongs to Lynne. This is gorgeous and looks very Northern and frosty. Love the colors in this one.

Lynne's block
This is one of the reasons why I love this kind of class. You get to see so many different color/fabric combinations that you wouldn't normally see if you were working on the project by yourself. I love them all!!! 

I think there are six blocks missing. Hopefully, we'll see them at the next class. I do know that some of the participants were out of the country.

What's the next block??  That's Lucille the Seal!!  I could have used a slightly darker fabric for the body so I may end up outlining that with a bit darker thread for some contrast. I do not have a lot of this color in my stash and this is the block that I needed to hit the scrap box to find one missing piece. Thank god for organized scrap boxes.

Homework for next month - Lucille the Seal

After the class, I had to pop to another store to teach - Brampton Sew n Serge. And look what I found???  Yep - this was perfect for the backing and even though I shouldn't buy more fabric for quilt backings, I couldn't resist.

The backing for my quilt

It's Polar Hugs by Northcott if you're interested.

I've got to run. I have an adventure today - well at least this morning.

Much more to share with you tomorrow.

Have a great day!!!!