Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What a Job

We were supposed to be going out today and changed out minds.  So, I decided to tear my quilt room apart.  The cupboard was, eventually, going to my husbands new work shed.  That was removed which also took away some of my storage.  I got a lot more room to work on my quilt frame so it is a good trade.  Now, however, I have to decide where to put the things that were in the cupboard.  Two containers of magazines are being thrown out.  Quilts are going into a tote.  The stereo is on one of the shelving units but, as we also removed my old treadle machine, I still have to find a place for all the thread and sewing tools that were in the drawers. I guess a trip to the store to buy one of those rolling storage units is on the books.
I have decided not to finish the wall hanging I was doing for the fair as I still don't like the quilting.  I  found a few others that were stored away and will enter one of them instead.  My very dear mother-in-law is unpicking the quilting on another quilt.  It was done during my practice day on the frame.  I told my husband that I thought we should manage to have car failure so she can't go home!
Back to work.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Endings and Beginnings

Today was the last day for our Farmer's Market for this season.  I always wish it could go on longer as there is so many nice things to buy but, as many of the vendor's are seasonal people, I understand why it can't.
On the other hand, the monthly luncheon that is served at the senior's center starts again and, of course, the schools are geared up for another year.
I think, perhaps, you notice the small things about season changes more in a rural community.  In an urban area, many things such as markets continue throughout the year in heated factilities.
A beginning of a different sort has occured for me.  I have my first quilt pattern writing job and I am also being considered as a columnist for an on line quilt magazine.  All these bits and pieces of income are turned back into my quilting.  I doubt if I will ever make a profit, but every bit foward is less of a step back.
We have been having a nice visit with mom-in-law.  This afternoon she and my husband are off to visit family giving me some time to get at my fall fair entries.  I was really debating whether to do anything this year but, in the end,  I have decided on more articles than the year before.   Our maple syrup will be  making its public debut along with my sewn entries.
I had best get on to my work.  Tomorrow and Thursday we are out so I don't have a lot of time.  Wish me luck.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Fair Entry

Table Runner
 This table runner is one my entries for our fall fair.  The center block dark colour is actually a deep green so this is nice for Christmas.
The pattern is on the site.
It is slightly different so I will be redoing it for my web.
Sisters Expo has put some of my patterns in kit form for those of you who prefer to purchase everything in one package.
I am also hoping to have some applique patterns ready for sale in a couple of weeks.  I am just learning how to do the printing process for them.
We have my mom in law here for the weekend and a few days next week.  She is a quilter so am looking forward to talking fabric with her and, as she is a dear lady, it will be nice to just visit.
If you happen to be in the area where Hurricane Irene is expected to hit, I hope you have taken all precautions and will remain safe.  I enjoy the extremes of nature but, of course, don't like to see people or buildings adversely affected.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Yea, Hydro's Back

We had a nasty thunder storm last night which, I believe covered most of this part of Ontario. Our hydro was out for a few hours and just came back on at 9.30 this morning.  It wasn't a  trial as we have learnt to adjust to this-which you had better learn to do if you live in the country.  However, once it is back on, it is like you discovered electricity for the first time.  Radio and lights work.  My computer is on as is the internet.  And, possibly the most important of all, my sewing machines work.  Oh, and the toilets flush.  What has the last to do with hydro?  This is one of those little things you don't think about but when the power is off, the water pump doesn't work, therefore, no water to the toilet.  A quick trip to the rain barrel can solve the problem.  Just fill up the tank.  However, if you don't have a rain barrel (we do) then you can hope for winter and lots of snow that can be melted.
I had started using my non hydro time to clear off my cutting table for my next project but I think I will leave that now and work on my entries for the fair.  At the rate I am going, I will be lucky to have anything done.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Applique Efforts

Folk Art Flower Applique
Here is my next attempt at applique.  I thought this one was a lot better but then I took the photo and noticed that neither my leaves nor flowers were a consistent shape.  I've since corrected the leaves and yesterday bought a magnifying mirror that hangs around the neck (rather awkward) and, as I was correcting the flowers, noticed even more mistakes.  One will have to be replaced but then I am leaving it as it. 
The border patterns is delectable mountains and I used the directions and ruler from Elinor Burns book by the same name.  They were easy to do and, I think, effective.
The border fabric doesn't show to well in the photo but it is a very rich paisley.  I've used the same print in the flowers.  I will probably add an outside border of the paisley-although I may change my mind about the fabric.  When I get it all done, I will post another photo.
While I am working on this, I am also quilting the strip quilt that I posted.  Gives my eyes a rest and I can do the one standing up.
This is my baking day so I have bread and granola started.  Have promised my husband a baked dessert so I will be doing an apple crisp for supper. 
I am such a wonderful wife!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Smoke Detectors and Other Bits of Life

We didn't get to sleep as early as planned last night because one of the smoke detectors kept beeping.  My husband finally had to turn off the trip switch to make it stop.  I probably would have been able to ignore it with the help of ear plugs but every time it beeped, Heidi barked.  Every so often it seems that any sound, even familiar ones set her off.
It wasn't a good day for her yesterday anyway.  She got into a burdock and her face was a mass of tangles.  She had been trying to pull them out before we noticed and was gagging and hiccuping.
Fortunately, we only had to cut a bit of her hair as I was able to disentangle the rest and then brush out the bits.  She usually doesn't like to get her hair combed no matter how gentle I am but when I was working on her yesterday, she just leaned against me and let me work.
When I was finished, she wanted out again.  She went right over to the grass and started chewing away on it just as if she were a cow.  Odd thing to watch.
We have been feeling quite sad over the death of Jack Layton.  No matter what your political leanings are you have to admire someone who, on his last days, writes a letter of encouragement to others. 
I finished making the top with the applique block so will probably post a photo tomorrow before I put it into the quilt frame.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Storage Shed

I've been helping my husband as he works on getting his storage shed finished.  The roof work is done so that means my part is also finished.  My job has been to do the ground work-pass up nails, fallen hammer, wood, tar paper etc. Neither of us like heights so the less times he has to climb up and down the ladder, the easier it is.
I am beginning to think I may not get my projects finished in time to enter them in the fair.  I only have a couple more weeks and I haven't the top of the biggest one finished yet.  I am putting the binding on the table runner so it should be done but I won't be doing any of the smaller projects I had planned. 
As of 3.38 last night, I now have another distraction.  Our pastor and his wife just gave birth to their first child; a wee baby boy.  I am so pleased for them and will, of course, be making all sorts of quilty things to start the little one out right.  I am going to be making a couple of bibs to start.  A little batting between the layers will help absorb the spills.
Yesterday, I was hauling out fabric trying to find something big enough to use as backing for the strip quilt I told you about.  It is a bit of an odd size-60 X 50 so nothing was big enough.  I ended up piecing together a couple of smaller bits.  This led me to the thought that I should make a few scrappy backings.  It is another way of using up fabric but without doing a lot of cutting. 
My only concern is that as I use a machine and frame for my quilting, will all those seams be a problem.  Will have to think about it.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Scrappy

Stripy Scrappy
Before I get into today's post, I would like to apologize to those who were concerned about yesterday's story.  I wrote it quite some time ago, and in response to a question, I have no idea what was going through my mind.  I do have a dark sense of humour some times but I am also very sensitive to the pain of animals.  We crated our chickens to be sent to the butchers on Tuesday and I cried through the whole thing and was still upset the next day.  So, put it down to summer madness.  It will be deleted, so if you didn't have a chance to read it, you won't know what I am talking about.
This photo, which I forgot to crop, is of a scrappy strip quilt.  I mentioned the process a couple of days ago.  It is quite simple.  Sew 2 1/2" wide (or whatever you want) strips end to end.  My ultimate length was 1600 inches.  Place the two ends, right sides facing, together and sew along one long, long side.  Cut the fold.  Bring the two new ends together, sew and repeat until you have the desired width.  I used pieces of varying lengths and tried not to repeat but did get a few the same (hard to remember them all).  Because of the process, the strips will repeat in anyway.
I am going to back as is without adding borders.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

More Patterns
Rachel from Sisters quilting Expo and I have been working on some more patterns and kits that she will have on her web site.  Another version of this one will also be on my site later as well as a freebie.
When the cooler weather arrives, I start to feel more energetic and things that have been laying around for a while get done.  I finished a quilt top at group yesterday and then, after supper, almost finished the quilting on a table runner. I have been, (as I've mentioned before) working on a centerpiece block that is hand appliqued and it is almost completed as well.
On Saturday evening, my husband and I went to a concert in the village.  One of the entertainers is someone who is a local politician and on a committee I chair.  It is odd when you know someone in one guise to see them burst out into one that is completely different.  I guess if the music had been country or folk it wouldn't have been as startling.  To hear loud, raucous punk rock scream from this man almost popped my eyes from my head.  I was also amazed at his vocal range.  The talent in this area is astonishing.  Everything from singers (at least one internationally famous), painters, writers and quilters in a population of approximately 2000 if you include the surrounding townships.
I am off to hang out laundry before picking the blackberries for jam.  Then I can settle down in my studio.  If you have a few moments, check out the new patterns.  Many of them are for childrens quilts.  Christmas isn't that far way you know.

Friday, August 12, 2011


It was nice of Heidi to take over for me yesterday as I was feeling a bit under the weather-lack of sleep.  I was prepared for a busy day but, as it turned out, it wasn't.  My son and daughter-in-law weren't able to make it as they had a couple of appointements to look at houses.  So, I helped my husband where needed with his building project and together we will work our way through the baking while enjoying a clean house-well the latter only lasted a couple of hours.
I didn't feel much like working on any of my projects yesterday so started a new one.  This quilt pattern is one of the ones that I call slash and sew.  To make this block, the fabric is stacked, right side up,  cut it at various angles, move the fabric around a bit, sew pieces together and end up with folk art stars.  If you would like to check out the pattern, I got it from the American Patchwork and Quilting magazine, April 2009 issue. 
This isn't a pattern for the perfectionist as you have to be rather flexible with your seams but it does go quick, uses up fat quarter sized fabric and results in usable blocks. I'll post a photo when I get the top put together.
My 'take to group' project is also great for using up fabric bits.  With this pattern, you sew the strips from a jelly roll end to end.  I subsituted all my 2 1/2" strips and scraps of the same width.   When I have suffieienc length-something like 1600", I will put the two ends together, fabric right sides facing, and sew all along the edge, cut the fold, bring ends together repeat.  I should end up with a scrappy strip quilt.  This was from a link that was sent around and, as I did my own version, I didn't keep it.
If you are interested in the original, you might be able to get it by putting 'jelly roll patterns' in your search engine.
I really am going to try and discipline myself to get another quilt into the frame and get it finished or sew the binding on one of the many projects waiting for that step.  Perhaps, I should have a 'get it finished day' or week.  Maybe these should be my group projects.  Decisions.  Decisions. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Heidi's Blog

Mom said I could talk to you today.  I have been watching her write all my life so I am sure that I know how to press those black things to make the words appear.
I have been very busy lately because someone has bought the property across the road from us and I have to let everyone know when they are coming and going, when the machinery arrives and if anyone is walking past our road. 
You would think that would be enough responsibility for one tiny dog but that is only the beginning of my work.  Dad needs someone to walk with him when he goes to feed those weird clucky things, I have to sit with Mom when she hangs out the clothes and, of course, there is all the greeting, jumping, wagging, begging; the list is endless.
Even with all that work, however, I know I am one lucky dog.  I get fed every day, have lots of treats and tummy rubs.  I get taken on walks although sometimes I have to wear some really weird things.  Mom and Dad went out on Tues and came back with a hat that she put on my head and tried to get a fuzzy yellow and black stripe thing on my body.  Lucky for me, it didn't fit.  Thank you bacon treats.
You would think that someone that loves me wouldn't want to put me through all that humiliation but no, they both kept laughing and calling me a buzzy bee!
Well, I think I am going to have a bit of a nap now.  We are having company soon and I will have to get ready to make them feel welcome.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Lesson One

A Bad Example of Applique
This rather dreadful block is my first attempt to learn to applique properly.  In this situation, there wasn't any case of beginners luck.  In fact, some of my results when I didn't know what I was doing turned out better.
Still, I am using this is a starting point.  When I look back on my early-and many not so early-pieced blocks, I can see lots of mistakes.
I am going to do this block again and try to do better.
I am baking again today.  It is cooler and my son and daughter- in- law are coming over tomorrow for a couple of days so want to get a few home baked goodies ready for them.  Rick is coming to give my husband (his step dad) a hand with a number of two person chores that need to be done.  It is also a nice opportunity for us to have some time together.  I have a stew started in the slow cooker, bread rising in a bowl and now am going to make some scones and then a casserole.  That should keep us going for a couple of days.  Just call me Susy Home Maker!   Which reminds me; sheets to change, dust to hide and vacuuming to do.  Better get busy.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

New Stuff

I have some additions to my web page-a tutorial and a new page that you may want to check out.  I have been working on an applique pattern-a freebie, to be added sometime soon.
We are having a rainy day and it is cooler than it has been; a welcome change.  I am going to be doing some baking tomorrow so am expecially glad that the temperature has dropped.  My son is oging to be here for a couple of days and, of course, I have to do serve him some 'Mom cooked' food.
I finished cleaning out my quilt room on the weekend.  I tossed out 2 garbage bags of trash and set aside 2 more full of patterns and fabric to be given away.   My stash is organized neatly on shelves as are my books and magazines.  I have a couple of shoe box size containers full of thread that need to be put into or onto something. Rulers and stencils are hung on hooks.  In short, everything is ready for the Christmas sewing frenzy after which I will once again have to clean.
My appliqued center block is almost finished so I will have to find another project to do while watching television.  I have an appliqued wall hanging that I want to do but I need a lot more skill than I have right now as well as a magnifier and light combo.  I am putting in a request for that as an anniversary gift.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A bit of Humour

I don't usually write anything on the weekend but I came across this as I was sorting through my piles of paper and thought I would share it.

Recent generations don't remember
 the space shuttle explosion
a world without AIDS
a world without CD's
bottle caps that don't screw off
not having cable, internet, cell phones, blackberries...
a TV that didn't have a remote control
popcorn that wasn't popped in the microwave
swimming and not thinking about Jaws
when Michel Jackson wasn't white
when McDonald's didn't come in styrofoam containers.
They don't know
how to use a typewriter
who shot JR or who JR was
who Mork was or where he was from

These people were born in 1983.  Doesn't that make you feel old?
Cheer up.  We know all those things and much more.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Cleaning Again

How often do you clean your quilt room?  By 'clean', I mean sort out the piles, boxes and bags of fabric, patterns, magazines and totes with unknown contents.
I seem to have to do this every time I get an influx of fabric or add a major purchse.  If I were more organized, I would probably have a place for the additions before there were bought.  I can blame my lack of space for the disorganization but I suspect that were my qult room the size of Buckingham Palace I still would be overflowing into other areas.  Just as work grows to fill the time alloted, quilting paraphanalia expands to fill every area that surrounds it.  I think it is a variation of nature abhoring a vaccuum: fabric abhors a vacant shelf.
I like reading about ways to get organized just like I enjoy reading about exercises that make you slim.  The information is good but, if you just read about it, that is all it is; information. I guess I should just accept that this is the way I am.  No matter how much I read, make lists, self promises or schedules, I am going to continue dropping, shoving and piling until it reaches a critical mass.  Then I will clean and start back on the cycle.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Work in Progress

As you can see, my husband is busy at work building his storage shed/work area.  It is a 'learn as you go' project and an instruction book sits beside the hammer and other tools.
I think he is doing a great job and I am doing my part by bring him tea and fruit as needed.
It is going to have an upper level which will hold such items as Christmas decorations, off season clothing  etc.  It is going to be wonderful having some storage.  Right now everything is stowed wherever there is a bit of space which, of course, is problematic when you want to find something.
I haven't been siting around twiddling my thumbs while he labours a way.  In addition to the usual quilting and housework, I seem to have started another little business.  I have been asked a number of times to help someone write up their quilt patterns.  I have decided that I may as well turn it into another source of income.  I already have my first customer so it seems that I have made the right decision. If I am not careful, I will be working more hours than I did when I was working!  Oh well, at least I am not bored.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Rain, Blessed Rain

It started raining this morning and continued until mid afternoon.  You could almost hear the plants sighing with relief.  Within a few minutes everything became greener and perkier. 
It was hard to see when I was out driving on the highway and our 'under construction' road was muddy and slippy but I didn't care.  We needed the rain.
It is even a bit cooler so I am cooking a hot meal for the first time in a few days.  Tomorrow, it will be back to what has been normal for this summer but we, and the earth, have had a respite.
My husband, another lady and I went over to finish cleaning out the quilt room of our friend that died recently.  I came home with a car full of stuff and my husband had a couple of totes in the truck.  This on top of the other equal sized loads that we did previously.  It has been as sad task but we were glad to do it as a last favour for our friend.  Now it has to be sorted and given a new home.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Everything Blue

Log Cabin Blues
This pattern has been added to my web site.  I call it log cabin blues for obvious reasons.  I made this quilt some time ago for a customer and I like the look so much that I want to do it again for myself.
We have recently had a couple of new birds arrive in the backwoods.  One is a pair of Eastern bluebirds.  It took us a while to identify them as we are used to the Western variety.  They have been sitting in a tree that is outside the dining room window and we watch them come and go while eating supper.
Our other visitor is a Baltimore Oriole.  I had put out an orange section a couple of weeks ago not really believing that it would attract anything other than a squirrel but I was wrong.  A vivid little visitor arrived a few days later.  Now I have to make sure that I keep a section or two of its favourite fruit available.

Do you make foundation pieced quilts?  I have come up with a different and, I believe, effective (and cheap) way of marking the pattern so the stitching lines are more visible.  This will be added to my tutorial page later this week.