Friday, January 29, 2016

Is This Old Age?

I think I really must be at that time of life referred to as 'old age'!  I looked at the last post, saw that it was dated for Thurs. and wondered why I hadn't written anything for Friday.  Duh moment when I realized today was Friday.
I can probably cut myself a bit of slack as it has been a momentous day. I received notice today that I have been chosen to be an ambassador for Island Batik.  Batiks, for those of you who aren't quilters, is a fabric that is created by a different process than the usual method of dying. The result is a high grade fabric with beautiful rich colours.  I use them in my hand quilting because they don't fray like other fabrics. 
I have been purchasing them when they are on sale as I would love to use them for a pieced quilt.  Now, I will be able to do that without worrying about the cost.  To say I am excited is an understatement.  I really had to make myself calm down so I could get my other work done.
It has been quite cool today but sunny.  Heidi and I went for our afternoon walk after I refilled the bird feeders.  I didn't want to talk her out to long as I have misplaced her little pink bootees and didn't want her feet to get cold.
We have a new bakery with small restaurant open up in the village so tomorrow hubby and I are going to go in for lunch.  They do gluten free which will be so nice for those who have a restricted diet.  I am hoping they will also have wheat free as well.  It is hard to go find something acceptable at any commercial eatery other than bacon and eggs or salad.
Enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Brooding a Breed.

Today was the Thursday when I get together with a couple of friends for quilting.  It is always such a peaceful day that by the time I get home, I feel as though I have had a weeks holiday.
Hubby got supper so I was able to continue to relax, do a few odds and bits and enjoy my day.
We had a bit of freezing drizzle this morning so the snow has got a bit of a crisp crust on it but it also looks as though someone liberally sprinkled the surface with a million diamonds.  Even the birds seem to be sparkling as they flittered between the feeders and perching on the clothes line.
It wasn't very nice for driving but the beauty made up for it.
Hubby moved our rooster from the largest flock of hens to the other coop yesterday.  The big flock are our laying hens and they produce the eggs we sell.  The other brood are a cross between laying and meat and we would like to see if we could start some of these from chicks.  Most hens don't brood anymore because it has been bred out of them but we thought we would try with these.  If they don't cooperate, we will get a couple of banty's to do the nanny work.  They still remember one of their main skills.
I have had a quilt pattern buzzing around in my head for a few days now.  I must sit down and see how it looks on paper.  It is a fairly simple pattern similar to bargello and the result is dependant on the fabric used.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Addictive Blocks

I went into the village yesterday as I had to take this quilt into the store for sale.  As soon as I turned from the driveway to the road, I realized I should go back.  However, I didn't.  The road was deep slush interspersed with icy sections just to keep it interesting.  I made it to the store and back albeit, slowly. I made it up the drive way to the hill curve and that was it.  I had to reverse back to the entrance and there the car stayed until today.

I have been working on my 365 block challenge and have one more to do.  I seem to get 3 blocks behind all the time which, as they go together quickly, isn't a problem.  The block for Jan. 26th was a real challenge and I found that it was necessary to press the seams open rather than to one side.  It is finished and the correct size so another one is in the bin.
I find that these little blocks are addictive.  I used to enjoy making mini quilts but got away from them in recent years.  Now I remember why I liked them.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Quilting Tips

Did you know that you should give your cutting mat a spa treatment once in a while?  Run a few inches of lukewarm water in the bathtub and add a cup of white vinegar and a small squirt of dish soap.  Mix by hand and place your mat, face up, in the tub.  Leave to sit 20 minutes or longer if really dirty.  Rinse in cool water.

Most blades do not get dull from cutting fabric. They are ruined by hitting something hard, like a pin. If you take a little more care, and clean and oil your blade occasionally it will also last considerably longer - whether it is an Olfa or a Generic.

Your new rotary cutter will come packaged with a small amount of oil on the blade. Do not wipe it off. Leave it on, it will not harm your fabric and your cutter will cut smoother.

When cutting very linty fabrics, be sure to clean your cutter often. To clean the cutter, remove the screw on the back of the area where the blade is attached. Remove the nut; remove the curved washer, and the screw. Lay everything on the table in the order that you removed it -- pay attention to the direction of the washer and nut. Also remove the blade protector. Clean the blade and the black plastic shield with a clean cloth moistened with a few drops of sewing machine oil. Place a small drop of oil on both sides of the blade and replace everything in the order you removed it. Most rotary cutter packages have a diagram of how to reassemble the cutter. Next time you purchase a new cutter, save a package to refer to when assembling your cutter after cleaning.

Many quilters tighten the screw so tight that the blade doesn't roll easily. To test this, open the cutter and place the blade on your mat without fabric. Roll the blade across your mat. You will want the blade to turn easily on the mat. If the blade seems tight loosen it, and if it is loose and sloppy, tighten it. When the blade is rolling freely it is much easier to make a cut through your fabric.

If you find you need a new rotary cutter blade and one is not available, take your rotary cutter apart, clean and oil as instructed. When reassembling the cutter, replace the blade in reverse of the way it was before. My brand of blades has little numbers on one side that usually show when the cutter is assembled. If you turn it over so the numbers are toward the safety cover, you might get a few more hours of cutting from the reversed blade.

If you use bed sheets as backing, the cheaper ones are best as the weave is not as dense.

A nylon pot scrubber will remove loose threads from a quilt top.


Thursday, January 21, 2016


The store where I sell my products called this morning to say my crib quilt went to a new home yesterday and one of my other items was almost sold out.  So, I got busy in my studio. I have a crib quilt that was almost finished so I got the other stuff made.  While I was working on this, hubby called me to come and bring the camera.

There was a pair of pileated woodpeckers doing their best to destroy this old tree stump in our front yard.  I was able to get a photo of this one but the other kept ducking around the other side of the tree.  These birds are huge and very prehistoric in appearance with their small heads and large bodies.
We had quite a few birds around the house today.  Redpolls, chickadees and sparrows were all over the feeders and another woodpecker-the redheaded- managed to keep control of the peanut feeder.  The blue jays could be heard in the bush but they only came once to the suet.
Tomorrow, I finish the crib quilt.  Unless there is more interesting things going on outside.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


I really like this photo.  I took it yesterday evening as I was letting the dog out.  Winter is such a beautiful season and the opportunities for good photos seem endless.
Hubby went into the village to get some chicken feed and pick up the mail this morning.  He came back with a lovely package from the grandchildren.  It was a photograph album with pictures of them at various events at school and home including sports, costumes and family activities.  A lovely surprise and I have looked through it twice already.
We are hoping to see them this spring as they are planning a visit to Ottawa.  Depending on the outcome of a hearing I have regarding my insurance case, we might also be doing a trip to Alberta.  It will be wonderful to see them in person again.
I got quite a lot done today as I am feeling much better.  I won't be doing the applique class tomorrow as a couple of the ladies have the flu.  It will give me another day to catch up.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Birthdays and Scenery

It was another lovely winter day again.  We had to drive to Huntsville for my eye test and all the way there and back we were remarking on the beauty of the snow laden trees and the beautiful blue sky contrasting with the starkness of the bare, dead looking maples.  Although I am still not feeling well, a person would have to be almost dead to not enjoy being outside on such a day.
Today was also hubby's birthday.  We didn't do anything special to celebrate but he got a lovely hand made card from the grandchildren as well as a phone call from his son, mother and some friends.  All things that made him feel cared for.
I got quite a bit of fabric when shopping and have to wash it all now.  I have been stocking up on flannel for baby quilts but also bought some felt to do a banner for church.
Still fighting this bug but am gradually getting better.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Winter Paradise

I took these photos from my front step this morning.  It has been one of those beautiful cold and sunny days that I enjoy so much.  I still wasn't feeling completely well so I only went to quilt group for lunch.  The rest of the day was spent in my quilt room looking out at the magnificent scenery and sewing.  Money can't buy a better time.

Husband returning from tending to the chickens  They stayed in their warm coop today.  Tomorrow we are off to Huntsville where I am going for an eye check up and to do some shopping.  The fun never stops.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Craftsy Classes 50 percent Off

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This weekend only, Craftsy is doing something they almost never do — all new online classes are up to 50% off. That's right! That just-released class you've been eyeing from your favorite instructor? It's on sale at prices so rare, you definitely don't want to miss out. These deals will be gone soon, so shop now!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Free Book. Yes, Really.

The Quilt Pattern Magazine is offering this book at no cost for a limited time.  All you have to do is go to the link provided.  There is no catch.  Your information will not be sold to a million spammers .  Instructions for the blocks are included as well as information on the fabric used.
The second block from the left, top row, is mine.
If you have trouble accessing the link, contact me and I will send it to you.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

One of My Favourite Designers

I got quite a lot accomplished today despite feeling really tired.  I am not sure if I am fighting a bug or just got run down from Christmas and the extra responsibilities after hubby's operation but I am more fatigued than usual.  I normally have enough energy for a couple of people.
Despite the lack of oomph, I did get a crib quilt half done.  I also did a bit of sorting.  Hadn't intended doing that but I was looking for scraps for the 365 blocks believing I really didn't have any small bits and discovering that I had quite a few.
It was such a lovely day with the sun shining on the snow that fell overnight that I went for a longer walk than usual.  And then I moved the snow from around the car.  This was done in the middle of the afternoon and by then I was feeling back to normal.  Being outside is always rejuvenating as well.
Thank you for the positive feedback on the blocks I posted yesterday.  I neglected to mention that the pattern was in The Quilt Pattern Magazine and the designer was the talented Maria Hraborsky.
She always gives lots of options in colour choice and layout so it  is easier to make a quilt pattern your own.  You can see more of Maria's patterns on Craftsy.  I am pleased to help promote her work. You can also check her out at:  TQPM is an on line publication and is worth checking out at:

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Only One Month Late.

These blocks were a block of the month project I started in January 2015.  I finally finished them this month so I was only one month late which isn't bad.  Of course, I had 3 blocks to do all at once but they are all finished now and I can mark that off my mental list.
I was going to put sashing between the blocks but now I am not sure.  I rather like the way the colours run into each other.  A bit more rearranging of the blocks themselves yet before I will be happy with it.
I started adding a couple of borders to a top today that  I finished some time go.  The original design was a square and I always prefer a rectangle.  When I get it quilted, it will be offered for sale on the Quilts for Sale website.  My next project will be a crib quilt for the same purpose.  I haven't added anything to the site for awhile so need to get at it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Daily Accomplishment

It didn't take me long to get behind on my 365 blocks-or to get caught up again.  Just in case you haven't heard about this block of the day (that is right, every day!) challenge, the idea is just how it sounds.  Every morning for a year, subscribers will receive a block pattern in their In Box (or on Facebook if they prefer).  The challenge is to make those blocks each day. 
I had a number of other projects I wanted to get finished at the beginning of the year so I made the first 4 and then did my other work.  Yesterday, I started putting together those that I had missed.  I thought I was finished today but found I had overlooked one so will do that with tomorrow's block.
From Jan. 1st until March, the blocks are 3.5 inches square, unfinished.  That is a lot of tiny pieces.  Once you get used to working with them, though, it isn't difficult.
A lot of quilter's are finding that making this daily block is helping them get more accomplished.  They discover that after they have spent the few minutes completing the daily block they reach for another project and keep sewing.  As I spend a good part of most days in my studio, I don't need the incentive but it does work as a good excuse to avoid doing something you don't want to do.  "Sorry, I can do the dishes, I have to get at my block of the day."

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Flotsam Overload

I am about to take the plunge and upload Windows 10.  I bought a stick to hold all my photos and will put my documents onto a disc just in case anything happens.  I spent some time today deleting things I don't need.  My goodness but there is a lot of flotsam on my computer.
My stepson is going to do the actual upload.  I can do it but tend to get frustrated with the fiddlyness of this type of thing.
We went to Huntsville today where hubby had an appointment with the surgeon who did his last surgery.  Everything is progressing well so now he has made an appointment with the man who is going to do the hip replacement.  While he was at the doctor's, I got some grocery shopping done.  I was planning on buying some fabric to finish a couple of projects but ran out of energy.
I have to go to town again on the 19th (hubby's birthday) for an eye test so will buy what is needed then.
Our temperature went up to minus 2 today.  Such a change from the 18 below yesterday. Supposed to get cold again on Sunday.  It is, I suspect, going to be that kind of winter.
I was awake for a while last night and thought of another pattern design.  Will try it out on EQ and see if it works.  Lots of things seem great until they are actually put on paper or fabric.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Gratitude is a Verb

Here are the first 3 plus one bonus block from the 365 challenge.  Contrast isn't as important in making these as there are two distinct sections: one dark the other light.  We are working on dark now which consists of 3 inch, finished, blocks. 
I am also working at getting last years blocks of the month completed.  I got behind in Sept. when I started working on commissioned quilts.  I only have two more blocks to complete now and then decide the layout and sashing.

This year, while I have goals, I once again, didn't make resolutions.  What I did was chose a word on which I will focus.  Gratitude is that word and not something I have a problem with.  I have much for which I am thankful.  However, I know I can improve.
Did you make a resolution, set a goal, this year?