Thursday, August 30, 2012

Free Classes on the Web

Today is our anniversary.  We had a laugh while opening our gifts to each other; we both went to the same store and bought similar things.  I guess it is true that couple get more alike the longer they are married.  We will complete our celebration by going into the village for supper.
Yesterday, I was watching a video on attaching binding to your quilt.  This is something I've haven't given a great deal of thought-cut, sew on, done.  However, Susan Schamber's method certainly produces a more professional finish.  If I ever want to win top prizes for my quilt, I had better increase my skill so will be giving this a try.  You can check it out   It is called Binding the Angel.  Angel being the name of the quilt as opposed to the being.
There are a number of other videos that are shown on the right side of the page that I would also like to try.
Another program you might find interesting if you own a business or are looking for work is:
This is a free webinar and I have signed up for it

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Neglected Machine

I promise today I won't talk about fall fairs or my quilt studio that is being added to the house.
We are having another lovely post fall day and my husband is out on a motorcycle ride.  I have just finished some baking and plan on quilting for the rest of the day.
I have a small quilt on my long arm frame that has been just sitting there for a couple of weeks.  I am sure the machine will toss a thread snarl at me just to show how it feels about being neglected for so long.  So, after I finish writing this, I am going to open the studio window to let in some of the lovely cool air and get myself to the machine.  I would like to get it at least half done today.
I am also planning on doing some more work on the wedding quilt that I am making.  On the other hand, I may put together the blocks I have appliqued for my very first Baltimore album quilt.  The workmanship isn't very good but as I want to hand quilt it, it will be a good practice piece for that.  I haven't done any serious hand quilting and would like to finish my applique quilts that way.  There is a lady that lives in the area who would give me some lessons so I think I might contact her.
Like many people in North America, I am watching the news about hurricane Isaac and praying for the safety of the people who live in the affected areas.  I cannot imagine what it must be like to constantly have to face such devastation.  I much prefer our snow storms.
I am hoping to have a free pattern for you later in September when all the extra things are finished.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Quilts and Feathers

I hope you had a good weekend.  Our hot weather returned and I found it uncomfortable but I am sure many others enjoyed it.
We went to the Emsdale fall fair on Saturday.  This is a small community about 15 minutes south of us and I am sure everyone from that village as well as a good percentage of ours was there.  It is good to see that these events are still popular.  My two quilts each won third prize.  There was stiff competition with very accomplished quilters entering so I was pleased to get any ribbon. 
We like looking at the entries from the children and the imagination and talent shown by this age group is wonderful to see.  Outside, we watched the horse pull, log sawing and the little ones on the pony rides. 
My husband was particularly interested in the chicken entries so we spent some time wandering around the cages listening to the roosters showing off.    It is amazing how many varieties of chickens there are.  Some look like wonderful hats-actually most of them do, others have feathers around their feet that remind you of mukluks.
I've said this before (and probably will again before the season is over) but if you do have a chance to take in a country fair, do so.  Take time to look at the livestock and agriculture entries to see your
 food in its original form.  If you have children, it is even more important to do this. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Fall Fair Frenzy.

Fall Fair Entry
I am in full fall fair prep mode now.  I spent most of yesterday making the outfit for this doll.  Her dress has machine embroidery, lace and ribbon and, I think, she looks precious.  She will be entered in the Burk's Falls fair. 
This morning I took my three entries over to the another community.  This is the first time I have put anything in this one .  Tomorrow afternoon, my husband and I will go to that fair to see how I did and take in the events.
I have a week to finish the preparations for our local fair and have most things ready.  I have baking to do and a last check of the quilts to make sure that all the threads have been removed (they never are) and I didn't miss a sewing a section of the binding.
My husband has to get his entries ready yet but there is lots of time for that as nothing has to be done to them.
Have a great weekend.  If you have a rural fair in your area, give yourself a treat and go. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

My New Quilt Room

Future Quilt Studio
I have mentioned previously that my husband is building an addition which will be my new quilt studio.  Just to give you an idea of the size, our home is 76 feet long.  My studio will be approximately 30 feet by 15 feet.  Am I looking forward to moving day?  You betcha!  In the meantime, I am keeping busy at my pattern designing and quilt making plus all the other things that need to be done to run a home. 
You can see a bit of colour (if you look closely) in our trees.  The change has slowed down so they are pretty much at the normal stage for this time of year.  I thought the season would arrive too quickly but I think the recent rains have helped.
I am working on one of the fair items today-a dressed doll.  I am making a christening outfit and putting some embroidery on it.  I am using one of the decorative stitches on my Babylok machine and it is slow going.  I just have to sit and make sure the fabric stays straight and keep an even pressure on the pedal.  I'm not sure it wouldn't have been easier to do the stitching by hand.  At least then, I could watch television.  I am just about done the last bit and then I can add the lace and other bits of trim and sew the pieces together.  I will post a picture when I get it done.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Maple Leaves and Zucchini

I am busily working away on my fall fair entries.  I have almost finished a Christmas apron, babies bib and a set of coasters.  This may sound silly but I sew all the parts that need white thread and then change colours and do the next steps.  I've often thought that I need a large table with at least three machines set up.  One would have white thread, another a dark and the remaining would be for other colours. 
A rather silly habit but there you have it.  I've never claimed to be average.
I am working on a quilt with maple leaf blocks and have come up with a way to make the stem of the block that ensures that everything is centered.
I will put a tutorial on my web later but here are the written instructions.
Cut the fabric for the stem and the square of fabric that will be sewn on either side.  Before cutting the square in half diagonally, place a ruler or other straight edge so it reaches from one corner to the opposing one.  Lightly mark the center point with a pencil or other marker.  Cut block in half on the opposite corners.  Darken the marked line if necessary but keep it less than a 1/4" so the line will be hidden in the seam.  Fold stem fabric in half, right sides together and finger press.  Mark a short line on either end of the fold. Place stem fabric on the half square matching lines and sew.  Repeat with other side.  Trim and add the section to the maple leaf as per your instructions.
I will include diagrams with the tutorial and let you know when it is posted.
Remember that if you would like a copy of my zucchini would recipe, to contact me at:

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Free Tutorials

As regular followers know, I don't usually post on Saturday but just in case you are browsing the various blogs and come across this one, I want to pass on some news.  If you like Maple Leaf blocks, I have a easy and accurate method of doing the stem section.  I will be giving you a link to my tutorial on Tuesday.
I am busy today baking and doing laundry.  It is a lovely fall like day which is unusual for this time of year but I love it.
For those of you doing the Carol Doak bowls, I didn't not get the pattern and by the time I discovered it in my SPAM folder, I was too busy to start.  I have deleted the pattern so I am not contravening copyright laws.
Have a wonderful weekend,

Friday, August 17, 2012

How Does Wednesday Feel?

It feels like a Saturday today.  Why is it that one day can feel like another?  How can Wednesday feel like a Thursday or the other way around?  What is distinctive about each of those days that they have their own 'feel'?
I went into the village this morning to pick up the paper and do a few errands.  Normally this is a Saturday morning job so that is probably why I am, mentally, a day ahead.  While driving in, a truck tossed up a pebble which hit and chipped my windshield.  This is the first mark I have had on my car since we bought it four years ago.  I know that for those of you that live in a large urban area this is something akin to a miracle but, here in the backwoods, a car can remain dent and chip free for many years-unless, of course, you are a particularly inept driver.
I noticed that the truck didn't have mudflaps over the rear wheels which is contrary to the law.  If the body of the vehicle doesn't cover part of the wheel (I forget the percentage) you are supposed to have mudflaps.  After this incidence, I noticed that none of the trucks I saw had flaps.  Combine this with the lack of rear bumper and you are going to get flying rocks.
I will have to get the chip seen to when I take the vehicle in for the fall maintenance.  In the meantime, some clear fingernail polish should keep it from spreading.  Crazy glue works better but I don't have any of that.
It is nice and sunny at the moment with a good breeze so I wish I had clothes on the line.  However, it does look as though it might rain so I will leave the laundry until Saturday which is my usual day. 
And now I am going to sew stems on some maple leaf blocks.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Quilts and Soup.

Yesterday afternoon, I cooked half a dozen chicken backs until the meat was falling from the bones.  I then spent an hour or so separating the meat, saving the broth and discarding bones.  A messy, greasy job but I now have lots of chicken broth for soups and stews, small bits of chicken to be made into noodle soup (my husband's favourite) and larger bits for casseroles.
This morning I made zucchini soup.  It is my own recipe and has ginger and garlic in it plus lots of vegetables.  I may add a bit of curry powder simply because I love the smell.  Our little backwoods home now has a lovely aroma reaching every room.  I am looking forward to cooking this on the wood stove in the big heavy stock pot. 
I have made a lot of progress on my wedding quilt and am now working on the alternate blocks.  Of course, I have changed my mind a couple of times about colour but it is coming along.  I will get at it after lunch.
My husband is outside working on the addition.  It takes a lot of time when you are doing it on your own but he is making progress.  I am trying not to think about how lovely it will be setting up my studio in a nice big room.  I am also looking forward to decorating the spare bedroom for future company.  I am going to put my scrappy heart quilt on the bed.
If you would like a copy of my soup recipe, send me a note at:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bounty for the Freezer

I have just made a list of the items I want to enter in the fall fair.  There aren't too many that I have to make and those are either small items such as a bib or baked.  My husband also went over the Prize List book and choose a few things he will enter.  They are mostly vegetables but is also looking at specialty categories such as largest egg.  Our chickens lay some whoppers.  Of course, we have to hope they give us something good close to fair day as it probably wouldn't be a good idea to enter one that had gone bad!
I have been trying to encourage others in the area to enter their products and crafts even though it will mean they will be competing with me.  I feel it is very important that as many people as possible enter to keep the local fairs interesting.  Most of the smaller communities don't have much of a midway so things like horse pulls and the various livestock, produce and craft competitions is what draws the people.
It is another coolish day so I am feeling quite energized.  I am working on a quilt as well as helping my husband cut up some chickens for the freezer.  I have also been getting the tomatoes in the freezer ready for chutney, chili sauce and spaghetti sauce.
I love this time of year-not the calendar time but the temperature.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Quilt Shows

Here in the backwoods, it is quilt show time.  Other parts of the province have theirs throughout the year but rural Ontario seems to prefer the fall.  I went to a show on Saturday which was held in a historical barn.  The quilt guild did an excellent job of organizing the event and, despite the rain, it was well attended.
Next month, I am off to another show.  This one is held biannually and it will be the first time I have been able to attend.  The show is held in Buckhorn and I, briefly, went to school there so it will be interesting to see how the area has changed.  This show alternates year's with one that is held in another area of Haliburton and I have been to it a couple of times now.
For those of us who live far from large urban centers, quilt shows are our means of finding out what is happening in the ever changing world of quilting.  It also gives us an opportunity to see the newest notions and fabric lines, attend workshops and get together with others who share our passion.
The following three photos I took at the South River show on Saturday. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Quilt Show Weekend

I am getting an early start on my 'work' day. I spent time yesterday getting my studio organized and frame cleared of stuff. It is often used as an extra table when I don't have a quilt in progress.  Today, it will be loaded with either a small wall hanging/table cover or a twin sized quilt.  Haven't decided which to do yet but I do need to get some more tops finished. 
It is going to be cool again today-15 right now-so it will be a good day to really get some things done.  I have a magazine article to do as well as the sewing.
Tomorrow I am going to a quilt show just north of here.  First one for this guild and a couple of the ladies from our local group belong to it so I want to support them.  Also looking forward to the merchant's mall.  I am hoping that I can find some brown print I need for a project and as well as some Invisifil thread for my applique.  I will, of course, take some photos of the quilts and post a few next week.
Have a great weekend and, if you are in the area, I hope to see you at the Quilts in the Country show in South River, Ontario. I will be the tall woman who is looking at brown fabric.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Fall Fairs and Muffins

It will be fall fair time in less than a month and I have been organizing my entries.  We are allowed to submit the same item 2 years in a row so I will be doing that in some categories as well and preparing a few new things.  I am going to do something for the recycle category as well as a potted plant.  My re entries will be quilted items although I will probably do a bit of touching up.
I have also just made three large bibs for a toddler who likes to feed himself and, like all who are just learning the technique, food seems to get everywhere but in the mouth.  Two of the bibs are made from an old towel and the other is from fabric with a baseball print.  It is fun doing things for little ones.  I entered a bib in the last year's fair, got a prize and gave it as a gift.  I will have to think about making another. 
I did a little mini tour of the village this morning.  I had a hair appointment, bought a couple of groceries and then went to the arts and crafts center.  We have a lot of talented artists in this area and it is nice they have a place to showcase their work.  From there, I went to our Welcome (information) Center and bought one of their fabulous muffins and chatted with the owner about the increase of tourism this year.
It is nice to explore your own community.  My husband and I have been waiting for the weather to cool a bit so we can take a stroll around the Heritage River Walk.  It goes through a covered bridge, past the falls and around the river where the trees are labeled and other points of interest are marked.  We can finish at the Welcome Center for another muffin.  A little extra incentive never hurts.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Stripes and Borders

I have, over the years, accumulated some nice border fabrics.  This has been another of those cases where something is purchased because it looks nice rather than because it is needed. I've looked at them periodically and tried to think of a use without much luck. 
Yesterday, I had a brain wave and put 'patterns for border prints' in my search engine.  Up popped Jinny Beyer's page and an offer of a free booklet.  I've downloaded, printed and read every page.  There are some very good ideas and I plan on trying at least a couple. 
You can find the booklet at:  click on the books and cd's link to reach the correct page.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Are you a Brown or Lime Green?

I have just finished cleaning our little freezer in preparation for fall bounty.  I have started adding cobbed corn, zucchini, and some berries.  The latter will be made into jam when I can rely on the temperatures staying down.  Our tomatoes are starting to ripen quickly now so they get cleaned and put in bags to be made into chili sauce. We have a dozen chickens and some turkeys that are going to the butcher this weekend so they will take up a lot of space as well.
So, you can see that despite the fact that we are barely into August, I am thinking autumn.  It is wishful thinking but with a few days of cooler temperatures, I am hopeful.
A random thought:  Does your clothing colour preference impact your fabric choices for quilting?  If not, which ones reflect who you really are?
My closet is predominately shades of brown and green with some bright yellow and red to add a bit of zing.  My stash does have a lot of those colours as well but also black, bright pink, a lot of purples as well as various shades of white.  With the exception of some whites, I never wear any of those colours. My clothing style tends to be dark brown with tan but my quilts are red and black, lime green and bright pink etc.  Which is the 'real' me?  I do really like bright, flashy colours and I feel they suit my personality.  Why then the browns and tans?  Probably because it is cheaper.  They are always in style, easy to co-ordinate and suit most occasions.  However, I often add a flashy scarf or jacket just to give notice that underneath the mousy exterior lives an peacock.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Busy Hands

Back Basting Class
This photo is of the back basting class I taught on Wednesday.  As you can see, each lady is concentrating on her stitching.  It was a fun time and we did manage to share some stories while learning.  Thank you, Carol, for organizing the event.
Yesterday, we took Mom-in-law back home. 
As we were returning, I noticed that the trees seemed to be changing colour but put it down to dead leaves from the dryness. 
This morning, however, I noticed that our maples are definitely showing signs of a changing season.  This is three to four weeks early so I suspect the lack of rain is sending the trees into early hibernation.
I am working on a quilt top today.  I am doing the cross hatching on the center panel and then another lady in our quilt group will do some fancier stitching around the sides.  The quilt itself, when finished, will be donated as a fundraiser for a local group or association.
The temperature is low today but the humidity high.  I took the dog for a walk before starting my work and came back ready for a shower.  I hope the trees are right in signalling an early arrival of fall.  I am ready for cooler weather.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Go Gaby.

Had a wonderful day yesterday teaching some talented ladies my favourite method of applique.  I will share more about that tomorrow.  When I got home it was to a sick little dog.  She had got into some burrs and ingested them while picking some from her feet.  My husband tried to get them all before she did but it was too late.  She was sick all night and I was up with her.  I was able to get a bit of sleep late morning but am just taking it easy today.
We are taking my husband's mother back home and he will do the driving so I can just sit.
Have been watching the Olympics and wasn't Gabriel Douglas wonderful?  National pride takes a back seat to excellence.