Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Hanging by a thread

For once, that (title of the blog) does NOT refer to me and some crazy deadline. I'm so relaxed that - well, it's gazebo time!

Even in the heat, I was in the gazebo (with a sweatshirt on) and happy as a clam. It was glorious with the trees and the breeze until the sun came around the roofline and shone into the gazebo. 

I was supposed to be reading, but I had a nap instead. The scent of the lilacs and the tingle of the windchimes put me to sleep. 

Lilacs are in bloom

Of course, the girls were there to entertain, but I think it was too hot for Murphy to even think about playing ball. 

Murphy in the distance

Lexi came out of the house to check things out

Let's just say that the gazebo is my happy place, and I'm so lucky that it was here when we bought the house because I don't know if I would have thought about getting one. It needs to be repainted this year, so I must arrange that. I'm certainly not doing it --- I have too much other stuff to do. 

Great fun with the Monday sewing ladies, and what I love is that it was very relaxing, and I could work on whatever I wanted. So I worked on this! My chunk of the month, and I got one more section done. Yeah!!!

Section 4 of the Block of the Month

That's a total of 5 sections, only four more to go. This is on my UFO list for 2019 -- a little bit behind, and I'd really like to get it done since I'm this close. 

Five sections done

Where did the pattern come from? It's mine! I ran this as a block of the month with two of my local guilds back in 2013/2014. OH -- and if you want to see the show and tell from one of the guilds, check out this post. MANY people finished the quilt. Looking at what people did with their background choices -- I want to make the quilt again! The idea is that the background is supposed to be shaded from light in the top left corner to dark in the bottom right. However, that's a challenge with bright orange, but I believe it goes a bit darker in the bottom corner. 

Should you want a copy of it, let me know, and we can arrange something. It is NOT a very pretty pattern, and there are two tutorials on my blog for tips. I would write it differently if I had to rewrite the pattern. It's a bit of a challenge to twirl the seams in this one, and I was learning, so it's not too pretty. Now I know better! 

I'm not sure I'll have time to work on it today, but I hope to lay out the next section. 

The long arm is finally free and ready for the next quilt. The next quilt is already loaded and ready to go this morning. 

But this is what I had to deal with. That little sliver of white is where the fabric didn't get caught in the seam allowance in the middle. As the long arm went over it -- it pulled, and well, we had a bit of an issue. 

Ooops -- a very open seam

And that goodness, I know how to use that software for the long arm. I'm not sure how I even learned all this. But let's say that those blue dots (reference points) are CRITICAL to the success of any quilt. 

Reference point

I had ripped out the part that got messed up without removing the quilt from the long arm. Then it got rolled back up and ready to continue with the quilting. I had saved the pattern and hit the REPAIR button, and I chose the spot on the quilt corresponding to the location on the software. 

The point of repair

It was slightly out (the needle should be falling on the stitching line) that got moved, and away I went. 

Not quite lined up after the initial setting

The quilt was almost finished, so it didn't take long once the repair was done. And here it is -- the customer quilt, which I'll trim later today. 

Customer quilt - DONE

This doesn't happen often, and while the open seam caused the issue, I should have checked the pattern placement more closely. So the ripping out required was MY fault. Grr -- lesson learned!!!!

Look at this tree which got damaged in the storm. It's literally hanging by a thread. You would think that the leaves would be wilted by now, but enough nutrients/moisture are going through that crazy join to keep the tree going? How is that possible? 

Hanging by a thread

We'll be in a total mess soon, and it will be like that for a couple of months. The front of the house is being totally dismantled. Ooops -- the front yard, not the house. I offered my neighbor that she could take any plants or mulch. Good grief -- she's taking my dirt!! Well, it's not a large flower bed, and it's all going, so I guess she might as well have it before it ends up in a dumpster! I can hardly wait -- the ENTIRE front yard will be gone and replaced with new. I'll take some before and then after and lots of during pictures for your (and mine) entertainment. 

The planter is being emptied

I don't know what was happening with Murphy, but she stood like this for a long time yesterday. She would lay in the sun, then come downstairs to cool off. Then back out to the deck. Silly girl. 

MOM -- I've been bad!

I walked to my local grocery store yesterday, which has gone through a total renovation, all while the store was open. Ceiling painted, new coolers, signs, cash registers, all the food moved into new places, the Star Bucks opened, and there are the cup holders! They are red -- not pink. I haven't used a grocery cart in years -- I only buy a few things at a time, so I use the baskets. 

Cup holders at the grocery store

Speaking of buying, there seems to be a shortage of freezer paper. Not sure why that is, but I don't think I need to worry. I have a lifetime supply of the darn stuff. 

A lifetime supply of freezer paper

We did hear yesterday that you could buy it at Treasure Hunt (thanks, Mary) -- a store that I've never heard of. Although other stores have carried it -- there seems to be a shortage, so it's possible that while Treasure Hunt sold it, they may not have any in stock. And someone sent me this link to a store called Cabela's (also Bass Pro). I'd be careful in case that's the brown butcher paper. Just checked -- yes, that's the brown stuff, so it's harder to trace through. Thanks, Barb!

And you can also buy freezer paper in sheets. Here's a link to Thimbles and Things, where they are waiting on the boxes, so all they have is sheets at the moment. 

Anyway, I'm not going to ever have to worry, and NO -- I won't sell any boxes. Just in case you were going to ask. 

I spent some time last night with my new MacBook. I'm starting at the front of that book and working through it. To be honest, I have ZERO ideas why everyone is so ga-ga about the MacBook. There is absolutely NOTHING in there that my laptop can't do. The buttons are the same (they might be called something different), file folders, all that stuff -- It's the SAME - just a proprietary laptop! I guess I have to dig deeper to see the big hoopla. Better security? I couldn't care less about that. Less crashes? I've had ZERO issues with any Windows products other than the computer wearing out! 

Learning the MacBook

I have a list of things to get done today, and one of them is to trim these hourglass blocks, which have been sitting on the cutting table for a while. I cut them and pressed them this morning, so all is ready to go later today. 

Hourglass units waiting to be trimmed

It's all about slow and steady! 

OK -- so my FitBit had another moment of insanity yesterday. Look at the number of steps I supposedly walked. That's about 70,000 MORE than I actually walked, but look at the KM -- only 12, which is typical for me, equating to about 16,000 steps. In my spin class, the Fitbit counted every revolution of the pedals as a step, and that's NEVER happened before. 

I'll be keeping an eye on it and see what happens in the future. Since I only clock KM, I don't really care about the steps. But very weird!!

I have masses of computer work to do today- well, it won't all get done today, but I'm working on it. 

Have a super day!!!!


Monday, May 30, 2022

 Oh my --- what great fun we had at the virtual retreat! We had a great visit with Jenny from Australia, where it's winter! But not like our winter. And there was the usual gang of misfits! OK - maybe I was the only misfit? No, I don't think so. I love that we all get along and have some wonderful conversations, and we learn so much from each other. 

The conversations are entertaining, and you can just listen, especially when you have an ugly job to do. Before I went to retreat last week, I had an issue with a customer quilt. There was an open seam, and the long arm did NOT like that. I didn't realize the pattern had been bumped out of position as a result, so about four feet of quilting had to be ripped out. I've been putting that job off -- well, I was away, so I couldn't fix it. I decided that I needed to get that fixed to get the quilt off the machine and work on others. 

I did not unload the quilt but loosened it considerably and got an extra light so I could see and a chair. It is back-breaking work to rip out something, and it takes hours. Let's just say that the tension on those stitches was perfect, and the thread was an exact match to the back, so it was hard to rip out. Yes -- it was a customer issue, but it was also my fault for not checking and resetting the pattern after the problem happened. 

Ripping out some stitches

I love Zoom because I transported the laptop to the longarm, and I could still listen and participate in the conversation! 

I'm happy to report that the quilt is back in the proper position, and I should be able to finish that off later this afternoon and get the next one loaded. Next time -- DO NOT be in such a hurry that you forget about things like checking the pattern after an interruption. GRRR!!

The quilt is ready to be finished

OK -- so let's revisit the second flannel quilt that I have to work on. My original plan was to make FOUR panels -- the same panel in the center of the snowman quilt, and I laid out what I had already done and realized that that would make the quilt HUGE. 

Sections of a flannel quilt

Then I decided to do the math. 14 squares across the top by 2½" finished gives me a width of 35 inches. If I double that -- it's 70 inches. That's too wide for a lap quilt, so I can't make four panels and be done with it. It's a good thing I laid it out and paid attention to what I was doing. So instead, I'll make a second panel (I still have to fix that star) which will go on the bottom. I'll add one extra row of squares to that panel to give me a length of 72½". Then, I'll add 10 squares from top to bottom on the right-hand side, making a quilt of 60 by 72½" or less. I thought the squares were 2" finished, not 2½". DUH!!!! 

I went back to my inventory of flannel squares and decided that I only needed to cut about 80 squares, not hundreds, to make that happen. Yeah!!!

I put all that flannel away, except for the blue, which I need to cut. And this is the cutting table this morning. 

The cutting table

Since I spent so much time ripping out that quilting, I didn't get a lot done - not at least what I can show you now. Oh shoot -- I'll show you what I did yesterday. Anyway -- I'll keep plugging away at the things on the cutting table, and I will get it all done! Slow and steady. 

I have a TON of e-mails to go through, and I'm not sure if the contact page works on my blog, but should you ever need to get in touch with me, my e-mail is elainetheriault@gmail.com  -- super simple. 

So what else did I get done yesterday? One more section of the chunk of the month is DONE! This was the one that I started at the retreat and then couldn't proceed because I didn't know the direction in which to press the seams, and I ran out of cut triangles. 

Section 4 of the Chunk of the Month

All is good, and all the seams are twirled on the back. 

The back with twirled seams

There are four of the nine sections that need to be sewn. Yes -- that will be a very orange quilt. 

The chunk of the month quilt so far

I've prepped section 5, and I might just continue to sew it, especially on Monday Sewing. Otherwise, I have embroidery and quilting to do when I'm on my own, and I'll see how it goes. There's also a lot of trimming on that cutting table, and I should get it done. 

I went out through that new exit in the mall the other day. It's a massive wide hallway on the side of the mall with absolutely nothing in it but a set of washrooms. There was supposed to be a movie theatre, but then the pandemic hit, and I've no idea what they are going to do in the renovated section. 

The new exit at the mall

This is what it looks like from the outside. That extended area just under the ball is that long, empty hallway. All that dirt area used to be part of the mall, and they demolished it. 

Potential green space at the mall?

The other day, I was at a different grocery store than my usual one, and I had a look at the carts. Yep -- they have cup holders as well. I was discreetly trying to take a picture, but the cart person was eyeing me suspiciously. I think he was trying to round up the carts, and I was taking pictures!

Cup holder in the grocery cart

Here's something else which drives me crazy at the grocery store. They have some quilting magazines, not many, as there aren't that many anymore. But they are on the BOTTOM shelf and often tucked up, so you literally have to get on your hands and knees to see them. Not something you want to do in a grocery store, especially since the magazine rack is near the entrance, where there is a lot of foot traffic. 

Quilt magazines are on the bottom shelf

I guess there are not many quilters who hit the grocery store. I get it that something has to go on the bottom shelf, but make it kids' stuff, as they are perfectly able to get up and down easily!

I have a TON of e-mail to respond to and a bit of homework to send out, and I'll be doing that this afternoon. But nothing on the calendar until June 12!!! I dare not fritter one second of that away as there are some seriously overdue things that need to be addressed. 

Well, it's ridiculous o'clock for most of you, but I'm now off to spin class at the gym. I'll edit this when I get back so it can get posted on time! 

Have a super day!!!


Sunday, May 29, 2022

A NEW retreat house

I'm not even sure where to start. Yesterday was a whirlwind day - yet again! How the heck does that happen? 

The two classes went perfectly as they should as I was prepared; however, I realized that not only did I not like the fabric that I had put on one block -- one of the components was turned around. No wonder I didn't like it! Once I make the new block - I'll share it with you. 

My presentation on HSTs went very well, and I squeezed a bit of picture taking between the classes and when I had to start the demo. I finished at 12:29 -- the Zoom link opened at 12:30! 

The demo was over at 2:01, and I was in the car at 2:03. Good grief --- how is that for a crazy day? But I was off to the open house at Spring House Retreat. This is a new retreat house that is opening soon new New Hamburg. I stopped to pick up Diane along the way. She lives about a 10-minute drive away!

I saw pictures of the house online and had already booked dates for 2022 and 2023. Was there really a need for me to go there? Not really, but what the heck. OMG --- As we drove up the long driveway from the road, I was already in love with the house. And when we stepped inside, my jaw dropped. 

The house is HUGE and GORGEOUS. It's beautifully decorated, totally modernized, and looks better than my own house! We spent a great deal of time chatting with the owners, and well, I didn't want to leave. Everything we could ask for is in this house. AND MORE!

There's a barn block on the front porch. YES - a fantastic wrap-around porch on the front, with a couple of comfy chairs. Let's not forget the fire pit in the front yard surrounded by red lawn chairs. OK -- I was in love before I walked in. 

The barn block

A well-stocked pantry with appliances for cooking -- should we dare to stop sewing long enough to cook. 

Well-stocked appliances

I didn't take pictures of the entire house -- you can view them online. But here I am in the sewing room. OMG   --- I swear the first house we went to in Bracebridge (Quilter's MisBeehaven) could fit into this sewing room! There are TWELVE 6-foot tables in the room -- one for each of the quilters (the house sleeps a maximum of 12), FOUR ironing boards, and two large cutting tables. There are many windows, and the whole room could be closed off by two barn doors (you can see them on the left of the photo). Beautiful comfy chairs. Yep --- I want to move in, and I could cook or be the scullery maid -- anything! The place is STUNNING. 

The sewing room at Spring House Retreat

And here I am as I RELUCTANTLY left the house. Diane needed to get to church! I can't say enough about the size and quality of the house, and the owners were so friendly. Hello to Kathy and Nancy. And their husbands -- or at least we met one husband. 

The front door of Spring House Retreat

Seriously --- if you haven't been to a retreat before, this house will spoil you for all others. I have booked a weekend in August (do NOT tell DH). I'm already in the doghouse for the number of days I'm away. Lexi and Murphy would LOVE to be here (no pets allowed) -- there is a small stream on the property and walking trails, and -- well, is it August yet? 

Then I was back home and off to the Virtual Retreat! When I signed off at 9:30 PM, I was off to bed. So I didn't get much done -- from having things to show, but what a day of excitement. WOW!!!!

I was so excited that I was awake at ridiculous o'clock this morning, and after a bit, I just got up! I tackled stuff in Studio B. First off was to pack up this fabric. Some of it for Comfy Cases -- I have several bands for pillowcases but no pillowcase bodies. I don't have time to work on them, and Cathy does. So I'm going to drop the bag of supplies at her house. 

Fabric packed up and ready to go

The other five bags go to Diane (a different Diane), and I'll be ferrying them to her house this week. One or two bags at a time as I get in my walk. I'll pick up some quilt tops each time, and life is good!!! 

Then I decided to tackle the bag with the flannel quilts in it. Here's the one with the applique. It needs two borders, and I cut one border this morning, and I have to go shopping for the second. I have fabric, but I don't have enough for the outer border and binding, or the color is a bit too bright. So I'll add that to my shopping list. 

One of my flannel quilts

It's a good thing I pulled the other quilt out with just the squares. More on that tomorrow. Shoot -- I thought I took a picture of the cutting table. It's much better than yesterday, and it really didn't take long to get it that way. That's the beauty of everything having a home. I'm so excited I could burst! 

I also sorted through a box where I keep general quilting information. I had to dig through it to prep for my presentation on HSTs. I found patterns for TWO quilts made with Thangles, and I will never make them, so the paper is now sitting in my recycling box for the printer. There is more paper in that box that I could have recycled, but baby steps! The box's lid now closes -- something it has not done for years! 

Two patterns in the recycling

Well, I see it's time to go. I have so much paperwork to catch up on, and the week ahead is pretty wide open. In the sense that I do not have many appointments or commitments, but the amount of work? That will keep me busy. WOW -- I just checked, and there is NOTHING on the calendar until June 12. I have Monday sewing, but NO classes, NO demos, NOTHING. But I have plans, so that time MUST be used wisely. 

Don't forget that TODAY is a Virtual Retreat  --- all day. We start at 10 AM and go until whenever. Join to say hi or stay awhile - when you need to escape the heat from outside. 

Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81693717518?pwd=STNoVVQzbDd4ZnROQndNNlpvcC90QT09 Meeting ID: 816 9371 7518 Passcode: 579285

On that note, I'm out of here. 

Have a super day!!!


Saturday, May 28, 2022

How many photos are too many?

 I sewed for a good part of the day, but I was in slow motion mode, and that's OK. I managed to get all the homework done for the class last night and the two classes this morning. OK -- that's a lie. While I did get the homework done for last night and the presentation went together, I still need to make 7 more blocks for The Butterfly quilt. I was thinking I'm doing great - I've got everything cut. Then I realized that we needed to make EIGHT blocks, not four, so back to the cutting table!

I'll try to cut them today, so I can sew them at the Virtual Retreat tonight. Then I could say that I'm up to date with The Butterfly Quilt. Here's my one block -- only 7 more to go. I'll be teaching that quilt starting in October through Thimbles and Things, so if you're not in the class now, watch for their newsletter (in August???), so get signed up! It's an EASY quilt to sew, and now tons of homework each month. Very manageable! 

A block for The Tula Pink Butterfly Quilt

I completed the homework for the two classes this morning, but I want to remake one of the blocks. One of the fabrics I used -- well, it's a bit sketchy. The pattern on the fabric is all wrong, and it needs to be redone. 

Then I have a class on half-square triangles today. Well, it's a demo. Now -- I know you're thinking -- why would you do an hour demo on half-square triangles? There are many methods to making half-square triangles, and I'll cover that, but it's WHAT you can do with them that will be the fun part of this demo. I have TONS of ideas to share. And best of all -- it's free!! You need to be on The Hobby Horse newsletter to get the Zoom link for that one! It's probably too late, as the link was sent on Thursday. 

So if you are NOT on their newsletter, you should because I'll be continuing with the free demos in the fall. This is the last one before summer. Anway-- that presentation is almost finished. The pictures are in, and I need to organize them and maybe sneak in a couple of other pictures of my quilts. I have to go diving into the "to be quilted" pile to find those, but it shouldn't take long since everything is labeled. 

If I were smart, I would take pictures of ALL of my quilts and label them and tag them and store them electronically. Then I would NEVER have to dive into those bins again for a picture, and I could start with my finished quilts. Sigh --- perhaps a job for June when the classes are pretty much done. 

I need to figure out how to use Lightroom with all its organizing features. I'm thinking of Helen Anne and her motivation with all those digital tools, and I NEED to follow suit. Not for the designing, but at least for the organizing. 

Why? Well, this happened yesterday. So, about two weeks ago, my phone started acting up. People can't hear me talk. It doesn't happen all the time, but from time to time. I can hear them perfectly. I have found that if I move outside, it's better. Now that's just silly because who can go out whenever they need to make a call. Ronda thinks I have covered my house in aluminum foil, which is a possibility since there is a ton of it on the shelves these days. 

Lots of parchment paper and aluminum foil on the shelves

Lots of foil!

I'm on a mission to find freezer paper. I do NOT need any, as I have a lifetime supply in various widths, including 48"!!); I'm trying to find it for YOU. Anyway, wherever I go, I see TONS of aluminum foil and parchment paper, very little waxed paper, and NO freezer paper; however, you can buy freezer paper in packages (8½" by 11), not the rolls. So if you happen to see it, let me know, and I'll pass that along to you all. 

Anyway-- back to the phone. I went to the mall to talk to the Bell people. The phone turns out to be 9 months old, so it's still under warranty. I have two options -- go back to Samsung or go through Bell repair. I'm investigating which one will be quicker to get a new phone and the cheapest, although it should be FREE since it's still under warranty. 

However, that means I need to remove the photos on the phone because if they transfer my stuff to a new phone, those pictures can take up a long time to transfer. 

This is what I transferred and then deleted from my phone yesterday. There were almost 10,000 photos. 

That's a LOT of photos

Good grief --- that's what I took since I got that phone 9 months ago. I think --- I didn't check when my last download was. OK -- so SOMEONE needs to do some significant culling. So that means I need to get my butt in gear and properly learn how to use Lightroom and start culling and tagging the FEW that need to stay! 

I was sitting here at the computer yesterday morning and didn't realize it was raining. When I got up, I found this throughout the entire house. Sigh.....................

Murphy left her calling card

Murphy and I had an uneventful walk, but this is what we spotted when I took Lexi for a walk. Thankfully, she is calm, so I could snap a couple of pictures.

During drop-off, this happened near the school, so I'm sure some people were freaked out. Can you see the fox? 

How about now? He had his breakfast and happily trotted across the street towards the forest, located a bit past the school. He needs to be doing a better job catching squirrels, and I'd be happy if he took up residence in my backyard! Well, behind it! 

A fox with breakfast

Here's that cutting table. Yep -- I piled it high because this is stuff that I need to cut. I hope to get some of that cut and put away later tonight at the virtual retreat. Or hopefully tomorrow. But I still have a full cutting mat to cut on, so it's not so bad, but I want to get this cleared up and tackle that current project table. 

The current state of the cutting table

And on that note, I'd better get myself going as I still need to sort through those slides for the half-square triangle presentation and dig out three quilts. Wish me luck!

Don't forget the Virtual Retreat is TONIGHT starting at 6 PM. 

Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89254233911?pwd=VGQrTnFybW1HMWpleHA4M2Q2NGVwZz09 Meeting ID: 892 5423 3911 Passcode: 982797

And here's the link for tomorrow starting at 10 AM.

Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81693717518?pwd=STNoVVQzbDd4ZnROQndNNlpvcC90QT09 Meeting ID: 816 9371 7518 Passcode: 579285

What's so nice is that NOTHING is urgent once today is over. There are no deadline quilts to make and no homework that is either behind (for the most part) or urgently needed. I have lots to do, but I can do whatever I want! And that will mostly be sewing sleeves on, trimming half-square triangles, and cutting. Easy peasy!!!

You can just stop by to say Hello! Or you can fire up your sewing machine and join us for an hour, 15 minutes, whatever. It's a great way to stay in touch with people and learn new things! I LOVE IT.

Have a super day!!!


Friday, May 27, 2022

To learn is to grow!

I took a circuitous way home from the Retreat. I had something to drop off, and I wanted to visit the art show where my friend, Helen Anne, had a couple of pieces hanging. Thank goodness for the GPS, or I wouldn't have made it! All those country back roads, some of which were pretty basic with gravel and barely a road as far as I was concerned, but it was the back way to get to The Hobby Horse. There were many trees down in that area, and that road was definitely closed after this storm. Fortunately, everything was moved when I came through. 

I had a great chat with Gail and Mary at the store. I don't get up there as often as I used to. I seemed to have lived at that store! And it's changed -- it's so neat and tidy and lots of new stuff. If you're looking for blenders, I would start there. And the best news? They have tried to keep their prices in the $16 per meter range. 

I didn't buy anything as I wanted to check out what I had at home first -- see, common sense prevails! I dropped off my stuff, and then I went to the art show. 

The theme was Forms and Faces or something like that. The show ends on Sunday, and although it's a small show, there is lots of great artwork. There was a great variety of mediums -- watercolor, photography, collage, acrylic, mosaics, etc. I very much enjoyed viewing the various art forms.

And look what followed me home. Well, I have to go on Sunday and pick it up. Helen sold both her pieces in the show. 

Growth by Helen Anne

So did I buy it just because it was Helen Anne's piece? I did NOT. I bought it for several reasons. I know the story behind the piece; it was created in PhotoShop (which fascinates me, and YES -- I'm jealous!), but the most important reason was the growth (learning curve) that it took for her to create this picture. I find it very inspiring that she decided to learn something and went ahead and did it -- that's a beautiful story, and I like the piece as well! That photo is not the best - the lighting wasn't proper for taking a photograph. I would like to do that, but I realize that it's not within my time bandwidth. I have too many other things that I'm learning, and I have to make choices. 

Great job, Helen Anne!!!!!

Back to the Retreat -- I trimmed some of that bag of small half-square triangles to say I touched that project bag. OK -- as I was trimming them to 1¼", I thought, why am I doing this? But I love small, so I'll continue. 

Trimming the half-square triangles

They are teeny!

My goal is to trim them during the Virtual Retreat and Monday sewing. Then they can go back into the retreat bag, and I'll create something from them during the next Retreat. 

I did some sewing on this bundle of scraps, and it'll definitely be a scrappy thing when I'm finished. But mindless sewing sometimes is a great thing! What I love about sewing scraps together is the puzzle effect. While it is mindless sewing, you still have to think about what piece should be stitched to which piece. It's like working with a puzzle, and I LOVE it. It keeps my brain active, which is a good thing. 

Scraps to sew together

When I got home, I unpacked everything. The stuff that didn't get put away got crammed on the cutting table. Oops! I intend to go through it this weekend and cut what needs to be cut, assemble the missing bits, and get it all ready for the next round of sewing or the next retreat. The amount of preparation will depend on when it needs to be done. 

This is why it's essential to shop at your stash BEFORE going to the quilt store. I needed more flannels to cut for that flannel quilt I worked on. I was tempted to buy some when I was at The Hobby Horse, but I thought to myself that NO -- I need to check my stash first. Imagine my surprise when I got home and discovered these fabrics in the stash. 

Flannels from my stash

Some of that may not be quite the right color, but I pulled it anyway. I'll cull through the colors more closely later today or tomorrow and then decide what to keep and what doesn't make the cut. Then it's a simple matter of determining how many squares of each color I need! No need to buy more! Phew -- good thing I held back! I may buy a green or a blue, but I definitely do NOT need red!

But I do need to go back to purchase a new ruler! Why??

My ruler is pretty much dead

The girls were all appalled that I was using this ruler, which was clearly worn out! I have to laugh, as you can definitely see where I put pressure on the ruler when I cut! OK -- so I guess they are right! I don't use this one often as I have another one at home that is in much better shape! But this one is getting to be super slippery, so it really needs to be thrown out. I'm going to send a picture to the folks at Omnigrid to show them what happens after MUCH use! 

Amazingly, the corners are still very much intact on this ruler. That's the result of careful cutting!

OK -- so I don't have time to show you all the doormats we made, but here's the one we made for The Retreat at the Farm. That was my fifth time at that house, and I love it. It's super quiet, well laid out (for the most part), well-stocked and organized, and close to home. Yep -- I'll be going back for sure!

Susan brought her digital cutter (Cameo Silhouette), some coconut mats, and other supplies to make doormats. We started off by designing a stencil in the software. After the stencil was cut out, we attached the stencil to the doormat, and using spray paint, we painted the motif onto the mat. 

As you saw a couple of days ago, we made one for each of us and decided to make one for the retreat house. This is what we came up with. 

A new doormat for The Retreat at the Farm

You should have seen us -- we were like kids at a free for all kindergarten session. There were moments of hesitation as we tried something new (yes -- we like and don't like new things), then squeals of delight as each doormat was revealed. After each one, a new idea emerged and that involved two trips into town to find further supplies. By the time we got to the last one, we had considered ourselves professional doormat makers. We know what works and what doesn't!

It was loads of fun, and by the way -- we checked Home Hardware (I even asked) for the freezer paper, and they had NONE. I'm not sure if they were sold out or didn't have it. So if you have some -- use it wisely! Remember, those templates can be used repeatedly when doing applique!!!

Thanks to Susan for that entertaining and freeing activity, and I got a great doormat to boot. I'll be posting the others tomorrow. And thanks to Katheleen and Lynn for a fantastic retreat! 

When I finally got home, I took some time to sit in the gazebo. The lilacs are JUST blooming, so I sat there smelling the beautiful smells, soaking up the warm weather, and reading. 

Lilacs are almost in bloom

But all was NOT quiet as Murphy immediately ran to get her ball and plunked it into the pond. And then barked when I ignored her. What a girl!!!!

Thank God you are home, MOM -- let's play ball!

Aloof Lexi enjoyed getting a good brushing and popped up on the bed to watch the world go by. 

Lexi watching the world go by

We went for a walk last night, and they were both happy to have Mom home. 

I received a disturbing phone call yesterday on the way home. A good friend called to tell me his wife had been diagnosed with liver cancer. She was first diagnosed at Easter, and she was given 3 months to a year. Apparently, her cancer is extremely aggressive, and she went into hospital yesterday with several days to a month left. He was heartbroken. I'm not sure how old she is, but she's around my age. 

The moral of the story is -- DO NOT wait to use those good dishes. DO NOT wait to learn something new today. DO NOT wait for anything --- do it now!!! 

I have a class tonight (homework not done yet), two classes tomorrow (homework almost done), and one demo (that I'm prepping), so getting that all organized is on the list of things to do today. It's all easy and shouldn't take too long to finish up. I got a lot of cutting done this morning, and I have a bit of ripping to do on a quilt that I started last week -- I'll show you later what happened. And let's not forget that it's Virtual Retreat this weekend. So lots of stuff happening. 

And thankfully, I can listen to an audiobook and do what's on the agenda today. That book "Looking for Jane" is a page-turner. It's NOT a thriller by any means -- it's about abortion and women's rights, and it's fiction. But I NEED to know what happens. It's very well written. I have two hours left, and I need to finish it today as it needs to be returned! The book is set in Toronto and spans several decades, but it's so sad that it's based on actual events. It's all very scary given the current situation. 

Here are the links for the Virtual Retreat. I'm hoping to do some clean-up work during the Retreat. I have sleeves to sew on quilts, half-square triangles to trim, and squares to cut. I don't think I'll even turn on the sewing machine. It's a fantastic place to do those boring jobs!!! So be sure to pop in to say hi!

Saturday -- May 28 - Starting at 6 PM.

Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89254233911?pwd=VGQrTnFybW1HMWpleHA4M2Q2NGVwZz09 Meeting ID: 892 5423 3911 Passcode: 982797

Sunday, May 29 -- Starting at 10 AM

Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81693717518?pwd=STNoVVQzbDd4ZnROQndNNlpvcC90QT09 Meeting ID: 816 9371 7518 Passcode: 579285

There is an open house at the brand new retreat house (Spring Houe Retreat) near New Hamburg if anyone is interested. That is also this weekend -- Saturday and Sunday from 10 - 4. I'll be making a quick trip out on Saturday to check it out, although I've seen the house on the internet, and it's gorgeous. 

And there's a quilt show next weekend -- the Hamilton Quilt Show - June 3 and 4. 

And don't forget to check out QUILTsocial. One more day of making blocks for the fidget quilts. 

And here's the final day of QUILTsocial as I quilt one of the fidget quilts. 

I think that sums it up for today!!

Have a super day!!!