Saturday, August 31, 2019

Live each day to the max

A couple of months ago, I met up with a friend whom I hadn't seen in a long time. Our kids used to hang out together and we spent many hours sitting and chatting at dance class or gymnastics or birthday parties while the kids did their thing. I heard from her daughter that Teresa wasn't well. I had coffee with her in May and she told me that she has advanced lung cancer. I was stunned. This woman and no one in her family smoked. She would have had limited access to second-hand smoke. She was told the likely cause was environmental which leaves a wide-open interpretation. She looked amazing. Always well dressed and made up. After we left in our respective cars that day, I later bumped into her at Chapters.

I got word from her daughter yesterday that she passed. She was WAY TOO YOUNG. She was younger than I am. I'm so glad I connected with her and sorry that our lives took us in different directions and that we didn't stay connected. Life must go on.

Life isn't fair and we often say that we can't do anything about it. That's true - we're all going to die at some point. But here's the thing - you can do something about it! You can live EACH and EVERY day with as much in it as you want. If you want to do something or try something - DO IT NOW. There should be no regrets on your death bed. You only have yourself to blame if you do.

As a result, instead of working yesterday afternoon after I heard the news, I sat in the gazebo and enjoyed the beautiful weather. The colder weather is coming and there'll be plenty of time to do stuff in the house!!!

There is one thing that I do want to do and that's to get my stuff cleaned up. I'm a long way from making that happen and I really need to get off my butt and make it so. The last thing I want is to leave my family saddled with my mess. I've got to figure out some way to make that happen and SOONER rather than LATER is the operative word. Then I can stop talking about it!!! How will I do that? I need to book some dates in my calendar - dates that do not get changed. I've done it before, I can do it again. OK -- Just booked FIVE dates between now and the end of the year. The fall is extremely busy and there aren't a lot of free days.

We have so much going on in our lives that we get busy and we abandon things. That's my biggest problem. Or we get so bogged down in the details that we forget our motivations. Sometimes, we just need some encouragement. I LOVE words and there are so many small sayings that are motivating and encouraging. I have FOUR big word posters in Studio U. A couple of weeks ago, I was prepping for an event and I was having a lot of trouble with a particular task. It was new to me and I was struggling. I was frustrated and I was ready to throw in the towel. I sat back in my chair and looked up. Guess what I saw???

Wall hanging in Studio U

What do you think popped out???  YEP - it was the NEVER GIVE UP. I laughed. How absolutely perfect! I laughed again. Took a wee break and went back to finish up the task. There are so many neat sayings on this poster - I should pick one each day and make that the motto of the day.

While some people do not have complete control over their feelings and emotions, I still believe that we are the owners of our own HAPPINESS. If we want to be happy, then we need to figure out how to make that happen. Life is too short and before you know it - your life will be over.

RIP Teresa!!!! I know you're no longer in pain but that doesn't make it any easier to accept.

I take time in the morning to walk the girls and in the last couple of weeks, I've added on a few minutes reflection by the pond when I feed the fish twice a day. They are quite the clowns and eager to show off. It's a beautiful few minutes in the day.

Enough philosophical thoughts for the day. I was out walking the other day and took pictures of this building. I'm totally fascinated by the darn thing but I'm always in the car so no chance to take pictures. No one was in danger as I snapped the photos.

I don't know the name of the building, but it's supposed to resemble a cruise ship which I guess it does. It's still under construction but is getting close to completion at least on the outside. There's retail/commercial in the bottom five floors. AHA -- a wee bit of research (you got to love Google). The building is called the Arc. 

From one side

From the front

From the other side

I'm not sure that I can see myself living in a place like that, but you never know. It'll be a long while because I love our backyard and I'm not willing to give that up!

I did get that paperwork completed yesterday so it wasn't a complete wash. Here's a couple of quilt pictures that I've taken over the past week.

This was from Monday sewing. This is a One Block Wonder by Helen Anne. Can you see that she had to insert two blocks of the original fabric to make the quilt a decent size??  I learned that day about a website that you can visit where you plunk in a picture of your yardage and you get a visual of what the quilt will look like when it's sewn into a One Block Wonder? A great tool, but what happened to the element of surprise which was always the fun thing about these quilts?

Here's a link to the web site. Thanks to Susan who also mentioned it to me this past week. How weird is that? Two people in the same week.

One block wonder by Helen Anne

We all know that pressing matters. We finished up a two-part class last night at Oh Look Fabric on Triangles. Two of the students were eager to move ahead and so they came to class last night with a couple of blocks sewn together. They did not press any of the seams as they sewed. Can you tell which of the two blocks was not pressed?? It's pretty obvious and they went home much happier once they realized they had to press as they went along. They are new sewists and had no idea.

The block on the left is not pressed while the block on the right is pressed

I haven't totally been ignoring the studios. I've been puttering but not seriously and I need to change that. I haven't even touched the long arm. I came across this small project in a box. The center part was complete, but it needs two borders.

Starting the first border

And now that first border is completely sewn on.

Border one is completed

The next one is appliqued on and I'll try to get that done in the next day or so or it'll be a good project for a sit n sew day.

We rarely use our A/C. We haven't turned it on once this year and the windows in our house are usually wide open. However, the temperature has changed a wee bit and I had left the door open this morning for the girls to come and go as they want. Ah - it's a tad chilly outside! I'm now sitting here with a blanket on my bare legs to keep me warm!!! At least, it does warm up during the day and I'm perfectly fine with that.

Two days until the road trip! Lots of planning (not on my part) went into the road trip and now Dorian may have something to say about our final destination!

Remember, our time on earth is precious. Hug your loved ones today or call them and tell them you love them. Have coffee with a friend. Whatever you do - make sure that you make each day count - even if that means sitting in the gazebo and reading a book. If it's important to you - then DO IT.

On that note, I'm out of here. It's going to be a busy day and NO time in the gazebo!!!!

Have a super day!!!!


Friday, August 30, 2019

Laundry basket frenzy

I read somewhere that every time you set aside time for something that you should double the amount of time you think it's going to take. Hmm - I seem to completely forget that every time!

I'm in the process of writing up some instructions for a small project that I have to teach in October. Technically, the instructions should have been written a while back and of course, now, they must get completed.

I scheduled some time to finish them, but holy - when you're trying to write every single step (involving the actual buttons to push on the sewing machine), it takes a wee bit more time than I had planned.

Since I don't have access to that particular machine here, I had to go to my local dealer to walk through the instructions to make sure they made sense. Then I decided that I needed to remake the small project. I'm not making it on the same machine, but close enough. I needed to make sure the steps were logical, but mostly I needed photos of some of the steps! A couple of small changes to make on the handout, edit and insert the photos this morning and I should be able to get those instructions out of the house by 10 AM.

The first time doing something new (this is the first time I write instructions for this company) and they have quite a protocol to follow. The next time should be a breeze. I procrastinate for the silliest of reasons.

That's one more thing off my list. There are a few things left for this month and they'll most likely get rolled over to next month when I add a few more projects. I'm doing well but no time for slacking off. Most have loose deadlines and I like that although I'm not as motivated.

So how many laundry baskets does one quilter need? It would appear the more the merrier! I do NOT recommend using laundry baskets to put stuff in. Why? While they are great because of their size, they are not stackable so not very efficient for storage.

Look at what's accumulated over the years.

Right now, they are handy because of the constant moving stuff around, but my goal when all this is done? I might keep one or two of the baskets, but the rest should go.

And there is one (in the foreground) that is totally crapped out and needs to go in the garbage once I hang up that metal message board that's resting on it. They aren't even the same color or style so of course, they don't nest into each other either!!!  That's four.

Four laundry baskets filled with stuff

There's two more - one is filled with "junk" and one is filled with a tote bag project and supplies. Why aren't the supplies in the appropriate place??? I believe the one on the left is the same one as the empty one above. That makes five baskets.

Two more laundry baskets

Believe it or not, there are four laundry baskets in this picture!  Can you find them all??  The blue one is a duplicate of the blue one in the first photo so we can't count that one. That's a count of EIGHT baskets.

Four laundry baskets - can you spot them all?

Oh, shoot - here's two more. Again - filled with stuff. Now some of this stuff has been dealt with and I'm using the baskets to put stuff in to make it easier to move rather than move a bunch of smaller stuff. That makes ten.

Two more laundry baskets

Hidden deep in the stash room what do I find? Two more laundry baskets. That's makes 12. These ones are filled with a project that I want to do and I should just get myself organized and get it done.

Two more baskets

If memory serves me correctly, I believe there are two more baskets upstairs. NO - they don't have clothes in them. They have quilting stuff in them. As if we would use a laundry basket for clothes!!! Wait - I just ran upstairs - there are FOUR - well one is round so technically that counts as a half!

That makes a total of 16 laundry baskets, one of which is toast. That's totally insane, given the fact that you can't really stack these things. No wonder there is so much clutter around. It was much easier to just throw stuff in a basket and leave it lying around. So instead of dealing with a pile of stuff, I went to the store and bought a new laundry basket. Totally irresponsible of me! I just laugh at my old habits - how could I be so thoughtless. Did I think the problem would go away if I hide everything?

I'm not looking back. What's done is done. Let's move forward and figure out how to get those baskets empty and everything in them needs to find a home! The tidying has been put on hold as I get these instructions done! I have three more instructions to write, but they are for myself and so don't need to be as detailed as this one particular set. They won't take long, but they'll have to wait until next month.

Here's one other thing that I found when I was tidying up last week. This was sitting on a shelf in the stash room and I would see it regularly. What's in it??? It's a sewing box filled with stuff. Looks like applique stuff.

Sewing box with stuff
 I removed all the stuff and it's now in the appropriate places. I am amazed at how much stuff has been squirreled away into boxes, bags and whatever other vessels I could find over the years. I know that once I get things in order, it's going to be great. And don't get me started on Studio U. I haven't unpacked from my trip - well I sort of unpacked and it looks like a crazy house. That clean up will have to wait for a day or so. But ask me how many books I've read!!!! Sometimes my priorities are not clear! However when the sky is blue, the temperature is warm and there's a beautiful breeze - who can resist the gazebo?? I wasn't there yesterday, but I was the day before when I should have been writing those instructions!

Stuff that was in the sewing box

The sewing box is now up for grabs. I seem to have a thing. I find a sewing box and I get excited so I put stuff in it. I did like this one because it had room for the project under that clear tray. I bet I used this for that gingerbread quilt!!! Well, then something else comes along and I switch boxes but never go back to the original one. And obviously, never empty it.

Sewing box up for grabs

Oh well - it is what it is. I've got enough boxes and bags for all my project needs so I won't be buying anything new.

I'm doing very well at looking and not buying. I just think about where I'm going to put it when I get home and then quite easily put it back on the shelf.

Speaking of buying, here are a couple more reasons that we buy things.

  • The retirement stash. Yep - knowing that you'll be on a fixed income in the future, you bought and you bought LOTS. 
  • The guilt purchase. I know I did this a lot. I'd be in the store, didn't really see anything that grabbed my fancy, but I bought something just because I felt that I should buy something. And sometimes, what I bought cost a lot of money. Didn't need it, didn't want it but felt compelled to buy it. STOP THAT.  You should NEVER feel that you HAVE to buy something just because you walk in a store. Just STOP. And if the staff or the owner make you feel guilty? Don't shop there ever again. 
  • Shop discount. Most stores allow their staff (and teachers) to buy fabric at a discount. Every little bit helps, but that discount has added stuff to my stash that I didn't need. There were many days when I worked or taught and technically, I owed the store more money than I had made that day!!!

I've added the three above reasons to the blog post from the other day. Maybe we need to print this out and put it in our wallets next to our credit card!! Or give it to a friend who is pushy and makes you buy too much.

That's the food for thought today!! And now I'm off to tweak my handout!

Have a super day!!!


Thursday, August 29, 2019

Behind my back!

I had the best birthday ever! All the wishes via Facebook, e-mails, phone calls and in person! I know people who poo-poo Social Media but seriously - how else would we stay in touch with each other. It's easy for those of us that live close to each other, but so many of us live miles apart and it's hard to stay in touch. A small snippet of what others are doing from time to time helps to stay in tune with their lives and helps to keep the relationship/friendship connected. I know my world would be much smaller without it!

Needless to say, it was nice to hear from everyone on my birthday whom I wouldn't have heard from without Social Media. Imagine how something like Facebook is changing the lives of someone who lives in a remote location or who no longer drives? Thanks to everyone!!!!

I was off to visit a friend at Yorkdale Mall for the morning. Holy - that place is HUGE. I haven't been there for years and it was like entering a totally different world for me. Mind you - I'm not a big shopper in the malls at the best of times. Anyway, we had an amazing conversation and I'm trying to work on some stuff that I'll be sharing when the time comes. It's all about expanding one's connections!

I did have to make a quick stop at Service Ontario to get my driver's license renewed. I know that they sent me the letter to get it done months ago, but what's the fun in that. I waited until the day the license expired, then I went! I'm so driven by a deadline that if I don't have one, I tend to slack off. I waited for about 25 minutes - I had a magazine so wasn't annoyed. The entire process took maybe 2 minutes once I got to the counter. I have to say that those ladies were extremely efficient. The line went quickly and the process was seamless.

And when I got home, there was a gift bag waiting on the table. Hmmm  - what's in here? Ah - two cards - one from DH and one from the girls. They always pick lovely cards and write a very sweet note. But what's in the bag? Something quilted - but what? and from whom? I opened it up and had a great chuckle. I quickly turned it over and NO LABEL. There was a slight SNAFU with the label which is coming.

My surprise wall hanging
 Turned it back over to try and figure out the culprits. Then I started to notice the work on the wall hanging. Hmmm - some machine embroidery. A couple of culprits came to mind who could have done that.

Machine embroidery 
But it was when I realized that the wording along the two sides was done by hand (I first thought they were done by machine), I knew one of the culprits. There is only ONE person I know who does a stem stitch by hand that perfect. That would be Shelly and if Shelly did the hand, then I was pretty certain that Angie did the machine embroidery. And if Shelly was involved, then Ronda had a hand in it as well!!!

PERFECT stem stitch by hand
 And there were pictures of me that were pulled from my blog. I have to say the quality of those pictures is pretty darn impressive. And the culprits picked my favorite fabrics - oranges and blues and fabrics with words on it.

Pictures were pulled from my blog

Turns out that M had a hand in it as well as she was in charge of pulling the pictures together. But who orchestrated it all? That would be DH. You could have knocked me over with a feather! This all happened with very short notice (while I was on vacation) and everyone pulled through (I heard there was even a sleepover involved in the process) and they all did a super job. They even sewed in a small piping style border. I'm very touched and THANK YOU to everyone who participated!!!!

The culprits - Ronda and Shelly

There was a rod and clips included to hang it up, but for the moment, it's hanging in the family room on the rod used for hanging quilts. I must find a special place for it. It gives me a smile every time I look at it.

Of course, when I asked DH about it, he wouldn't cough up any information and so I had to figure it out! Shelly, Ronda, DH and I went out for a birthday dinner although he wouldn't tell me who was coming, but I figured someone was. I got all the details then. Then he asked the question - what could he have done differently to make me believe he had made it. Ah - where do I start????  It was pretty funny and we all had a good laugh.

I thought I would share this picture with you about that quilt I recently quilted. It's very hard to see in the photo, but the center of this quilt has a few ruffles! The maker knew that. It wasn't her quilt. She was trying to finish it at the husband's request as his wife had passed away leaving a "few" unfinished projects. Of course, that scenario is NEVER going to happen for us? Right?

Anyway, this is a VERY CHALLENGING quilt. It's essentially a panel that's cut on the bias and a strip set is inserted. Then you slice the panel in another direction and insert more strips and so on until all those inserts are done. It's totally on the bias and it's a challenge to be sure. Hence, there were a few ruffles in the quilt. If you have this kit/pattern - be careful and PIN PIN PIN.

A few ruffles in the quilt

Here's the trick. I chose a fairly open pattern that would allow me to work the ruffles in without making any pleats or tucks. Because of the computer which will stitch out the pattern without human guidance, I was able to manipulate the excess fabric to prevent the tucks. Thank goodness for computerized long arms.

The end result which you saw the other day turned out great and surprise, surprise - when I trimmed it, the quilt was almost perfectly rectangular. In other words, it wasn't as wonky as it first appeared when I looked at it.

 I've been teaching quilting for just over 20 years! That's hard to believe. I don't usually teach kids, but I'm up for anything. If you remember - a while back, I had two young girls with the funky fabric for the pillowcases and the toy sewing machine. Here's a partial note from one of the Moms to the shop owner. I changed the names in case you try to connect the dots.

"I am Jane, the mom of Sue, the happiest girl in the world after her sewing lesson yesterday.

Sue is beyond thrilled with her (let's call it unique!?!?) fleece horse pillowcase and super-soft scrunchie. Thank you so much for your time, patience and fun demeanor with the girls.  Sue is also very happy that you provided a pattern to take home, as she is anxious to get a sewing machine and make more."

Isn't that just the sweetest thing?  And we need to be much more liberal in our thank yous to everyone. I keep saying that I want to write more personal notes to people to thank them for things they do for me. Anyway, I was very impressed with the note and the other girl in the class? The one with the toy sewing machine? Her parents bought her a real sewing machine!!! I see more classes in their future and that's what it's all about. Not the classes, but them learning to sew. I'm extremely excited for them!

On that note, I'm out of here! Got loads to do this week and I'm off to a running start today. 

Have a super day!!!!

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Ultimate Show n Tell

What a crazy day yesterday was! I'll share that tomorrow because I've been promising to share these show n tell photos for two days and I need to follow through on that.

We had a couple of make-up classes this summer due to a couple of classes being canceled early in the year because of iffy weather. That was a first for us to have these make-up classes, but that's OK.

Here's what happened.

Keep in mind that the class has the choice of making the block/technique that we work on. It's not a requirement. While a good part of the class was in attendance, not everyone had show n tell. I would say that's because it was summer more than they didn't want to work on the block. But that's OK!!!

I'm going to attempt names this time! The first piece was done by Sandra. I should mention that the unit we were working on was the quarter square triangle also known at the hourglass block. We were so engaged by the teacups that Sandra put on her piece that we barely noticed the hourglass blocks! That can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on what you want people to see (or not see) on your piece. The hourglass parts were very well done. And so were the teacup coasters!

Sandra's interpretation of the hourglass block

If I remember all the names right, this belonged to Judi. This is how the block appears in the book. She'll be putting several blocks together and making a quilt at the end of the year. I love those colors and those centers were nicely matched.

Judi's hourglass block

Mary made a small wallhanging with her hourglass blocks. It's very soft and pretty, but what I love more is that she said: "I wonder what would happen if I changed up the coloring?" That's the most important thing about quilting. Make one version and then ask yourself that question. You don't need to remake it, but this is where the design software (EQ8) comes in handy because you could just substitute the fabrics and then you would know. Hmm - I don't have time to do that this morning, but I'll make some examples tomorrow for you to look at. If you don't have the design software, you can simply cut up a couple of fabric squares and lay it out on your piece and see what happens.

Mary's hourglass blocks

OH - I couldn't help myself. Here are three versions of this quilt.

This is the same coloring as Mary's original quilt

Changed up the colors a bit

Only used two colors

Anyway - that gives you an idea of how you can play with the colors and each design in EQ8. And it's fast. That little exercise took about five minutes if that and that included saving the pictures and uploading them to the blog.

This is Donna's block. Love that green/blue combination.

Donna's block

Donna was also working on a Bonnie Hunter quilt and this is a variation of the hourglass block. See what it looks like on the left, but if you rotate each block, you now have a ribbon effect. I love the one on the right!!!

Two different border treatments

This is Barb's block. I love the bold colors and those points match up very nicely in the center!!!!

Barb's block

Heather wanted to try using three different colors in her hourglass blocks and ended up with pinwheels. Nicely done!!!

Heather's hourglass block

We only had one non-class show n tell piece. Sandra (who bought this at the previous class) made this bed runner. It's done! Sandra's a finisher! I think we'd have a hard time working together, but I could learn from her. Although I'm so much better than what I used to be.

Sandra's bed runner

The book we're working from is called the Ultimate Quilt Block Collection. One thing I've noticed is that back in the '80s and '90's and probably even earlier, making a quilt sampler was THE quilt that everyone made. It was like a rite of passage. If you didn't make a sampler quilt, you weren't a quilter. Well, have you noticed that that trend is back? BIG TIME. The blocks may be different, they may be different sizes, but they are samplers!!!!  Only the fabrics have changed - thank goodness for that.

Ultimate Quilt Block Collection by Lynne Goldsworthy

We looked at more units in the book and there'll be more show n tell at the end of September.

That covers it off for today. After doing basically nothing yesterday (and enjoyed every minute of it), it's back to work today. I MUST get some computer work done and I've got a date with the sewing machine for some projects as well.

Have a super day!!!!


Tuesday, August 27, 2019

It's my birthday!!!

Birthdays come and go and some are important and some are not. People tend to shy away from them, ignore them or be in denial about them. I say - what the heck - it's part of life. It's my birthday today! No - you don't need to know how old I am. I don't act my age, I don't feel my age and that's very important to me. Hence the need to "celebrate" today!

As I was digging through stuff in the basement, I found this which gave me a chuckle.

A note from M
I'm not sure how old she was but I think she about 15 or 16. I do have a card and a gift from her for this year and I'll open that later today. For some reason, this makes me think she was sucking up for some reason!!! Sorry M!!

I know I promised you homework pictures this morning, but well - it's my birthday and I can do whatever I want! Tomorrow - I promise. They are edited and waiting to be uploaded.

I've received some additional reasons why we buy fabric and I thought of one more. I'll be adding those to the list and letting you know when that gets posted.

There's a saying out there - "doesn't matter how slow you walk/cycle/run, you'll still circling those that are sitting on the couch".  That's my paraphrasing of the saying, but you get the idea. That's how I feel with my handwork projects. While I could be way more productive if I took my sewing machine to Monday sewing, I wouldn't be touching these HUGE handwork projects that have been languishing for years.

I finished one more embroidered block yesterday. This is from Winter Wonderland by Crabapple Hill. 

One more block is done!

I started another block. One day a while back, I got myself in gear and traced all the remaining blocks. That was a great thing to do. There is this one and one more - both are relatively small. To say that I'm excited is an understatement. I hope that is right! I'd better dig out the rest of the project and evaluate what's left.

The second to last block is started
 The old me would have done a few stitches, then got distracted by something else. It happened all the time. I can't (don't want) to do that anymore. I have those darn lists I made and I'm respecting them. On my Dirty Dozen list for 2017 (there were 13 items on the list), there are 4 projects left. All of them are sewing projects (one does have some fusible applique).

On the 2018 list, 7 items are remaining. One is laid out on the tables in Studio B to add the 5 borders and then it'll be done. One is the Gingerbread quilt which just needs to be sewn together. One is Winter Wonderland - the redwork quilt. One is my monthly UFO project. That leaves three quilts on that list which require a bit of handwork and they'll get added to the Monday sewing days when I've completed the second redwork block.

On the list for 2019, 11 items are remaining. All of them are strictly piecing or embroidery machine work. Those will start to get worked on now that my schedule is calming down.

I feel very happy with my accomplishments and I'll be adding 10 more projects to a list for 2020. I've also completed a lot of stuff that wasn't on those lists. Bottom line, I'm happy - I've got a system that's working and I'm good with that.

We have a road trip coming up soon and last night, we were discussing what to bring along to work on in the car. I have a couple of rugs that need a bit more crochet on them and they are finished. Then I dug out this bag from the corner of Studio B. I knew it had a knitted afghan project in it. Oh my - look what I found in there.

Unfinished knitting projects

It's mostly the afghan, but I found some yarn to make dishcloths, half-finished hand warmers and a couple of other small projects. Hmm - that afghan will be a good project to take along and I really need to finish it. I might take everything - it's a LONG road trip.

It's just crazy to find all these half-finished projects. It would be amazing to walk downstairs and say "what shall I create today" instead of saying "what shall I finish today". But I'm not begrudging finishing these projects. I think it builds personality, it shows me that we can change and well - all around, I think it's a good thing. I'd rather have finished projects for someone to take away when I'm gone than to leave a bunch of half-finished projects. I'm working on it!!!

What do you think of this for the binding? It's rather dark - it will work, but I might put a slightly lighter green on my shopping list for the road trip - just so I have something to buy!

A potential candidate for the binding

I was back at the long arm last night and completed this quilt for a customer. It's trimmed and ready for pickup later today.

Customer quilt - DONE

I didn't get another one loaded - I was tired by the time I finished this one. I'll load one today and then quilt it tomorrow. I hope to be back to my schedule of one a day starting tomorrow. Now that the magazine quilt is gone, I have other stuff to work on - I actually have computer work that needs to be done. That's going to be the focus of the rest of the week. Yeah!

On that note, I'm off on an adventure today - well this morning. OK - it's not that huge - just meeting someone for coffee!

And a HUGE Happy Birthday to my aunt who also celebrates her birthday today. And to anyone else who has a birthday today. Celebrate each one with relish. Having a birthday means you're still alive and in my books - that's a great thing. I hope to celebrate a whole lot more of them.

Have a great day!!!!


Monday, August 26, 2019

It's all about the backyard

I know I promised the homework pictures today - not happening. I forgot it was Monday and I need to get ready for Monday sewing. I've been away for two weeks and I've loads of handwork to get done.

I haven't taken my sewing machine once this entire year and I'm not running out of stuff to do by hand - not even close. Not taking my machine has forced me to work on the embroidery or applique projects that have sat (for years) and would have continued to sit. I'm thrilled with the arrangement. It also saves having to carry the machine and packing and unpacking it and all the necessary tools.

This morning, I'll be sewing the sleeve on the magazine quilt. Yes - I persevered yesterday and got it finished and put the binding on last night. The sleeve is pinned on and will be stitched this morning and off to UPS this afternoon. It should have been out of here last Thursday, but a few days late? Couldn't be helped.

Just a quick note about shipping - did you know that it's MORE expensive to ship a quilt from my house to Newmarket (which is an hour away) than it is to ship it to Colorado which is far away. Now, why is that??? Next time - I'm driving to Newmarket - other than the time - it'll be way cheaper - I just didn't have the time the day that quilt needed to leave. Better planning to save money!

OK - so today we're talking about cool stuff for our backyard. Here's a much better picture of the lily flower in the pond.

Lily in the pond

I've been fascinated by barn quilts since I first stumbled across them a number of years ago. I probably read about them in a magazine or online or somewhere. Since then, I've seen a few in person in the US, but mostly in Southern Ontario. There are 14 different barn trails in Southern Ontario. Did you know that? Here's a link to their web site.

I saw quite a few of them when I was out riding my bike in that area a couple of years ago.

And I would be remiss if I didn't mention my friend Susan from Saskatchewan. It was because of a barn quilt she had made and put on one of their outbuildings that we met and have been friends ever since!!! That was in 2012!!!!!  Check out that link above for the story. In chatting to various people, EVERYONE (OK - just quilters) are familiar with Susan's quilts (well - anyone who drives Highway 4). They may not know who Susan is, but they've seen her barn quilts. Even my family saw them when they were out visiting while we were all home last week. Here's another story about Susan and her quilts. 

There are quite a few trails in the US and there are books about the barn quilts. I don't have time to go into more detail this morning, but check it out!

So I want a barn quilt. Imagine - where the heck would I put an 8' square barn quilt in my backyard? Not going to happen and I don't think the neighborhood would appreciate if I had barn quilts on my garage doors, although it would be the talk of the neighborhood! And it would be easy to spot my house!

That's where Brenda comes in. Brenda is the owner of Quilt Designs in the Yard. She lives in Saskatoon and we met up with her when we were out there last week.

Brenda has SMALL (12" square or 24" square) designs that are printed on metal that works for our severe outside temperature changes.

Here's a picture of me with one of the 12" square ones. Isn't that gorgeous and who wouldn't want one of these for their backyard????

Small backyard barn quilt
Here's a shot of the 24" square ones. I love them and want them all. NO - I'm not getting them all. I'm going to be placing my order this week because I think it would make an amazing addition to my backyard. 

The larger (24" square) designs

Here is one more design. The picture was taken through the screen which dulled the colors, but they are VIBRANT.

One more design

They come with holes in each corner so they could easily be attached with screws, nails or zip ties.

Aren't they gorgeous????  I'm so glad that we got to meet Brenda and see the designs in person. My pictures do NOT do justice to the designs. The price is right as well and they are going to look fabulous in my backyard. The hard part? I don't know which ones to order!!!!!  I think there is a sale on RIGHT NOW.

On that note, I"m out of here!

Have a super day!!!


Sunday, August 25, 2019

Why do we buy so much fabric?

No great insights when I woke up this morning. Darn! But then I wasn't really missing anything nor did I have any immediate issues, other than I need the motivation to get that darn quilt quilted. I did get more completed yesterday but not enough. I HAVE to finish it today!

We had a makeup class yesterday at The Hobby Horse for a class that we missed in February. I'll be posting pictures tomorrow for that class. We were supposed to have a sewing day in the afternoon, but with only one person there for the sewing, it wasn't worth staying. Oh well.

Today was also supposed to be a Sit n Sew day, but with a mixup of e-mails, there was only one person signed up and hey - I NEED to know that you're coming!  No big deal, this will give me a chance to get that quilt finished and put the binding on. Things should go smoothly now that Studio B is back in order and we can have regularly scheduled dates. It's also the end of summer so I'm happy with the day "off".

What happened to the HOT weather. I have shorts on again this morning and well - it's nippy! And have you noticed how dark it is in the morning? Fall is definitely around the corner which is not necessarily a bad thing. I love the change of seasons.

So what did I do with myself when I should have been at the long arm? The girls and I did have a wee nap in the gazebo and I read for a bit. Because the gazebo is in the shade, I even had a blanket. It was glorious.

And when I finally got myself into the house and after doing some quilting, I thought I should tackle a few more of the boxes that need to be unpacked. Yikes! I've gone through all the remaining boxes and put those that have to do with quilting and fabric in the main area of Studio B. Am I going to be able to make this all fit in the limited space?? That's going to be the question of the day. But not today.

You can judge me all you want on what I'm about to show you, but before you do  - you should have a look at your own stash!

As I mentioned the other day, I decided to group all the pre-cuts together. They were scattered in several places and time to know just what I had. Now here's the funny thing - I don't really like or use pre-cuts. They are too damn restrictive and I'm not sure how many I've actually used in the past.

So here we go - there's a tub full of pre-cuts.

One tub of pre-cuts

Oh my - there's a second tub of pre-cuts.

And yet another tub
Let's not forget the FQ bundles which are technically a pre-cut. Yep - a whole tub (it's full now)

A tub of fat quarter bundles

And then I found this bag filled with pre-cuts.

And even more pre-cuts

Seriously???  I don't really use these silly things and I have enough to fill four flat tubs???  What was I thinking when I bought them?? Now some of them I did buy on sale, but seriously - this is absolutely the most wasteful thing I've seen in a long time. A huge investment in something that I don't really like.

WAIT - do not judge me if you have even one pre-cut that you've bought and not used!

Yes - they look pretty and are easily an impulse item, but if we never use them - what's the point of buying them?

I opened a bag in the process of sorting the pre-cuts to find this.

A bundle of pre-cuts

Included here are TWELVE of the mini-charm packs, two charm packs (5" squares), one jelly roll and some yardage. WHAT?????

This is the name of the collection which obviously I really liked.

Snap pop by Sandy Gervais

Wait - there's a receipt in the bag. Good grief - I bought it on April 8, 2013. Yep - over six years ago and NEVER even removed the purchase from the original shopping bag. I hang my head in shame! I'm over the shame, but it just boggles my mind. What was I going to do with all these pre-cuts of the same collection? I bought them at a quilt store on the way to our retreat in Bracebridge (which has since closed). I know that from the date and time on the receipt. More than likely, I saw a quilt in the shop that I really liked but didn't buy the pattern because I could make it without the pattern. I e-mailed the shop in the extremely remote chance that she would remember what she had on display. Nope - a dead end.

All those pre-cuts went into the tubs. I shall be doing some investigation into some patterns to use up those pre-cuts. They are NOT up for grabs and will likely get moved to the charity quilt projects at some point.

Receipt for some pre-cuts

I see people trying to see this kind of stuff on e-Bay. What the heck is the point of buying pre-cuts and then selling (in most cases at a great loss) on e-Bay??? Doesn't make sense to me.

Then I found this box. The label says "Machine Applique Samples". I remember this box and I know that it's been floating for YEARS. What's in the box?

A project box

There were two spools of thread and three pieces of fabric. The spools of thread are in the thread bin and two of the three fabrics are shelved. That is the wrong side of the green, but I think that just might work for the missing binding on that orange/green quilt from yesterday. I haven't checked it yet. At one point, there was also a book in here which got removed and put on the bookshelf. Now the box is empty to receive an unfinished project.

Three pieces of fabric and two spools of thread

I know there are a "few" more boxes like this one. Good intentions, but it's not going to happen.

Then I unearthed a decorative container that was filled with fabric. What's all this????

Box of fabric

Yikes - here's a collection of half yard cuts - there are 12 of them and they were bought to make a quilt since they are very coordinated. I have an idea what pattern it was, but I'll have to check it out later. But seriously???  Why wasn't this put away with the pattern? Or a note??

A group of half yard cuts

I also found this in the box. There's a bunch of quarter yard cuts of pinks and greens. I also found this pattern. Were the fabrics for that pattern? No idea. I put the fabric in the appropriate color baskets and the pattern went in a pattern box.

Pink and green fabric

Must have been on a pink and green kick around that time because I also found these fabrics. For what purpose?? No idea so those got shelved in the appropriate color basket as well.

More pink and green

While I had no idea when or why I bought those fabrics, I do remember buying this next grouping and I know what I was going to make with them. They are panels. There are six panels in each pile and they were to make One Block Wonder quilts. I remember buying them after seeing a trunk show at the local guild. ACK!!!!!  One of the panels is very ugly on its own so it can only be made into One Block wonder. The middle one - well I don't know yet. They are still sitting on the table as I contemplate what to do with them.


Holy --- this is quite the eye-opener. All I can say is thank god that I've stopped buying. I don't care if I deserve a reward or I'm worth it. I'm not proud of the mess that I've created. Thankfully, I'm going through it now and at least getting it organized so the fabrics can be used up. I can't imagine letting my family or a friend deal with this. It's huge. And I can't imagine what happens to those that hide their fabric in their house so their family can't see how much they have. I've never done that, but I guess putting it into baskets was almost like hiding it from myself. In some respects, it's very equivalent to what we found at my parent's place. Just neater and cleaner.

It's totally insane and I must say that it looks like a tornado went through Studio B. But actually, it's not as bad as you would expect. Yes, there are still boxes to go through, but it's manageable. Barely - I can only cope with the unpacking for so long and then I get to a point where I don't know what to do with something. I know that sounds contradictory, but it's not.

I'm not trying to be a party pooper here, but here are some of the main ways that we acquire this stuff and we should take note of our respective situations and deal with it how we feel is most appropriate.

  1. Secret Sister or swaps. You end up getting stuff that you don't want, don't like, or won't use. What do you do with it?? I stopped swaps years ago. If I want a tote bag, I'll make one that suits my style and workmanship. Thanks, but no thanks!
  2. Work for the product instead of cash. Sometimes I would work a trade show and get the equivalent in products in return for my hours instead of cash. Bad idea. You end up getting things that you don't really need or what. DO NOT work for product. 
  3. Friends. Ever notice how friends encourage you to buy something when you're on the fence? They are not the ones who have to store, make or cough up the cash to make the purchase. Do NOT listen to your friends and do NOT encourage your friends to buy if they're on the fence.
  4. Sales. Need I say more. Oh my - it's on sale - I'll buy lots. Why???  If you don't have a home for it or a use for it - is it really a sale? Is it worth dealing with the aftermath?
  5. You want to do everything. I would see a quilt in a store and want to make the exact same quilt. Why? I may not have time to make the quilt so why am I adding to the pile of things to do?? Focus on what you like and make that!
  6. Shipping costs. Yep - ever get a notification that you can add three more yards to your envelope without increasing the shipping costs so we buy those three extra yards? Why??? To save money?? The same thing happens if you get a notification that if you spend $50 you get free shipping. Are we so gullible that we fall for that and end up with a LOT of stuff that we'll never use?? I used to. 
  7. You're worth it. Seriously?? This is so lame. We're also worth our sanity - if you have so much that you have no idea what to do with it - does that help your sanity????
  8. The retirement stash. Yep - knowing that you'll be on a fixed income in the future, you bought and you bought LOTS. 
  9. The guilt purchase. I know I did this a lot. I'd be in the store, didn't really see anything that grabbed my fancy, but I bought something just because I felt that I should buy something. And sometimes, what I bought cost a lot of money. Didn't need it, didn't want it but felt compelled to buy it. STOP THAT.  You should NEVER feel that you HAVE to buy something just because you walk in a store. Just STOP. And if the staff or the owner make you feel guilty? Don't shop there ever again. 
  10. Shop discount. Most stores allow their staff (and teachers) to buy fabric at a discount. Every little bit helps, but that discount has added stuff to my stash that I didn't need. There were many days when I worked or taught and technically, I owed the store more money than I had made that day!!!

I'm sure there are other reasons to buy, but these are the main ones. BUY what you need and what you can use. Don't get me wrong - I still buy but in a very restricted and responsible fashion. Yes - I have the odd issue, but nothing like I used to have. If only someone had told me those seven rules when I first started to quilt!!!!

On that note, I"m out of here to get something accomplished today.

Have a super day!!!!