Friday, July 29, 2016

Christmas in July

I just finished this wall quilt.  It was made with Island Batik ( fabrics and was our July challenge.  The pattern was adapted from Celebrate Christmas which was in this month's issue of The Quilt Pattern Magazine.  I cannot remember the name of the designer and can't find the pattern at the moment.  As soon as I locate it, I will give her the credit.
(Thanks to the folk at TQPM for refreshing my memory the designer is Rochelle Martin)
We spent quite a bit of time today picking the wild blueberries, raspberry, pin and choke cherries that grow on our property.  Actually, quite a few of them, came from my sister's place.  We do very well with the raspberries and blackberries (which aren't ripe yet) but not as well with the others.
I think that will do it for Christmas for now.  I need to start thinking about getting things ready for the fall fair which will  be happening in a month.
Just a huge round of excitement here in the back woods.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Getting Together

Tomorrow is the day I get together with a couple of friends to quilt.  We all look forward to it so much that we have already picked out our next project.  Although, each of us have a regular weekly group quilt day, there is something special about this one.  Perhaps it is because there is just the three of us so it is a bit more relaxed.  Perhaps it is because we are all working on the same project.  Perhaps because it is in a home rather than a public building. Whatever the reason, it is my sanity day and I value it.
While getting ready for tomorrow, I started thinking about other creative activities and how so few of them can be done as part of a group.  Photographer's, baker's, furniture makers, potters, sculptor's generally work at their craft alone or perhaps with an assistant.  They don't get together with others who are doing the same thing.
There are a few other artists that might; knitter's will often meet in a house or church basement, painter's likewise especially those that belong to our local art centre.  They meet every Wed.  Interestingly enough those that do the other crafts don't get together.  The exception is my friend and I who quilt and we belong to the local quilt group.
Getting together with those who share the same interest multiplies the fun because you are with people who understand your passion, your special language (fat quarter's, the frog stitch) and your frustrations.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Coming of Age

This lovely quilt was made by Marilynn Crow from, I am proud to say, one of my patterns.  It was made for Marilynn's grandson and the fabric used contains prints of many of his interests: horses, 4-H sheep club, country music, trumpet.  Those prints are on the top triangles.  I think she has done an amazing job of laying out the fabrics, colours and pattern.  I believe that Coming of Age will be treasured quilt for many, many years. This quilt is going to be hand quilted. 

I have been working on my own, much humbler, quilt today.  It is a wall hanging made with the gorgeous Island Batik fabrics.  It should be ready to post by tomorrow.

Friday, July 22, 2016

More Purchases.

Another blistering hot day.  I am glad we spend a good bit of it in an air conditioned vehicle. We went to visit my brother and his wife after going to a recycle store where I found a small two cup electric kettle and a wooden shelving unit.  The first will be great for travelling.  I always have a hard time getting a decent cup of tea when I am away.  If it is just for a day or , even better, a few hours I can put up with it.  However, if I am staying at a hotel, I want my tea.  Now I can boil my own water and have my cuppa.  Most restaurants don't seem to get the concept that hot water isn't the same as boiled. Then, to top it off, the bag is put beside the pot so by the time you get it all, you have a pot of lukewarm water that is supposed to be able to diffuse.  Of course, you need boiling water to do that.  I do not consider a cup of lukewarm water with a scum floating on top to be a cup of tea (this happens when the water isn't boiling).  Call me picky but I would rather have a glass of milk.  I don't mind if it is cold!
The shelves will be great in my potting shed.  I don't have that yet but expect to by next year.  In the meantime, I have the shelves on which to place supplies.  One thing at a time.  It might be in the wrong order but a step is still a step.
My purchasing something before there is a place for it does create a problem though.  Where AM I going to put it.  Our place is not very big.  I think I will move some things in the sun room, put the shelves in front of a window and then I can put plants on it.  There isn't a back so it won't block the light or only marginally.  Problem solved.  I hope.
Have a great weekend.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

A Dog's Life

We had a storm thunder through just around the supper hour but it was short lived.  The garden got a good watering and when it passed by it took my headache with it.
I had a fabric order arrive today.  It was quite a large one as a couple of friends included things they wanted.  As it was from an American company, I was concerned that I would get charged duty but I didn't.  Connecting Threads ( have their own broker so the only charge is for the shipping and any taxes.  If you order enough, you don't even have to pay shipping.

I am passing this information along because quilter's in this country, especially those of us in rural areas, have to shop on line and much of that shopping is done in the States.  By the time we pay postage and exchange, the cost is to high.  I always try to buy local and then Canadian but that isn't always possible.  And I am sure you have the same problem. Therefore, it is nice to find a company smart enough to take all those factors into consideration when dealing with international customers.  I would also add that their customer service is great.

Tomorrow hubby and I are taking a break from our back woods retreat and going to visit my brother.  The weather is expected to be stifling so we will be leaving Heidi at home and a  neighbour will be dropping in to see to her.  I don't want to take the chance of her having to be in the car for even a few minutes if we have to go into a store that doesn't allow dogs.

I sometimes wish that the larger stores/malls had a place where you could leave your dog but I also know that Heidi would bark non-stop which wouldn't be good for her or anyone that has to listen to her.  So, she can sleep on the bed of her choice while staying inside where it is cool and then be petted and fussed when the neighbour comes in.  Whoever coined the phrase 'a dog's life' to mean something negative didn't know our little one.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Sampler Quilting

I finished the binding on this lap quilt today and it will be going to an organization gathering quilts for the Fort McMurray fire victims.  Not fancy but it will help keep someone warm and, hopefully, remind them that Canadian's across the country are thinking of them.
I also started quilting the quilt on the frame today.  I couldn't decide on a pattern and am still getting used to the machine so I decided to do something different.  The top is just two blocks-one set vertically, the other horizontal, with sashing between.  I am doing each block in a different pattern with a pantograph row in between.  The widest outside border is also done in a different pattern.  Hopefully, by the time I have completed this I will be more comfortable with the machine.  It is quite easy to use but there is always a learning curve with anything new.
I thought we were getting a heat wave today but we didn't.  I am not disappointed.  It is still predicted though.  I will get out early in the morning for my walk tomorrow and then get the house work done so I can stay as cool as possible for the rest of the day.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Other Side of the Hill

We humans are odd creatures.  A couple of months ago, I was too busy to quilt.  My days were filled with bringing in fire wood, tending chickens and trying to keep up with my regular household chores.
I treasured the few minutes that I was able to grab in the evening to do a little cutting or piecing.  Then, as my husband started to recover from the operation, my responsibilities lessened and my free time grew but, I just didn't have the desire to quilt.  I did little bits and pieces but I didn't crave time in the studio.  It has taken a few weeks but I am, once again, feeling that draw to create with fabric and, of course, I am up to my ears with appointments.  I am not as busy as before though so I am getting things done.  I just have a few more inches to sew to complete the binding on a lap quilt.  I have single size bed quilt loaded onto the frame and am plugging away at those dratted blocks of the day again.
I wonder why we are like that-always wanting the opposite of what we have.  Or, am I the only one with that problem.  I don't think so .  I believe that draw to the other side of the hill is pretty strong in most humans.  It is probably what helped us discover fire, other countries and invent things like the phone.
I do also enjoy the contentment of doing what I love and having time to do it as long as I want.  And that is how my life unfolds most days.  As I have said many times before, I am blessed.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

If a Tree Falls

It has cooled here quite a bit.  No, not because it is snowing.  I just thought you would like a reminder of what I am looking forward to.  The reason it has cooled down is that we have had a good breeze all day and then a nice rainfall.  Both combined to send the hot, muggy air somewhere else.
We had a bit of a close call earlier on.  Hubby was our seeing to the chickens, heard a noise and watched a tree fall  just missing the work shed.  He just came in from outside as I write this and tells me that some birds were checking out the tree including a hummingbird.  I bet the little one was telling the others that it was responsible for the crash!
I just finished this quilt.  It was one of the challenges the Island Batik Ambassadors had.  June's project was modern quilt.  I am not sure you can see the top stitching but I used a variegated black and white thread from Superior.  The lighter sections adds movement to the top and gives the illusion of wind or rain.
This wall quilt is for sale and is available at 30% off until it goes to the store.  Contact me if interested and I will give you the particulars as well as a close up of the back which has a hanging sleeve.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Too Hot.

It is too hot to stay in the studio very long this time of day so this is going to be short.

I spent the afternoon at the art studio and intended to sew the hanging sleeve on my wall quilt but read a book instead.  It is generally quiet this time of year so I thought this would be a good way to fill in the time.  There were a few drop ins who looked around.  They are always welcome as they might come back later and make a purchase or tell someone else about the place.
I hope to get that wall hanging done tomorrow and then will take a photo to show you.  If I do it in the morning it will still be cool enough to sit in here.  And now I am going outside with my book.
Stay cool,

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A Friendly Group

We are going through another hot spell but I did get some things done this morning while it was cooler.  I took Heidi for a nice long walk and picked some lupin seeds to plant in the fall.  Then I tidied up my cutting and ironing tables so I can actually see the surface again.  The rest of the day was spent quilting a wall hanging and doing some more unpicking of the quilt that I mucked up when the machine wasn't working properly.
It is nice to be able to do my top stitching again.  I finished one quilt on the weekend and will be loading another soon.  I want to do a little bit of work on getting the table a bit more level.  The machine rolls in one direction when not in use so it is obvious the base isn't level.
A lady on the hearts to hands quilt group asked us for suggestion for different items she could use as planters.  She wants to do a fairy garden.  Some of the ideas she was given were: old boots, tricycle with missing wheel with flowers in a basket or in a wagon being pulled behind, pots, tea kettle, old TV or PC monitor, baby pool or wire baskets.  She is a wonderful gardener so I am interested in seeing what she decides.  Yes, I know this might seem to be an odd subject for a quilt group but we tend to be more like a bunch of quilters meeting in a house and chatting about whatever happens to be on a persons mind.  All quilting topics are dealt with but so are many other subjects.  Some may find that off putting but I find it very friendly.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Missed Threading Point.

Like many of you, I woke to the news of the horrific shooting of the police officers in Dallas.  It is hard not to feel overwhelmed by the constant onslaught of one shooting after another, weather disasters, pandemics and more.  I have to remind myself that there is still good in the world, there are many days of peace and joy, and while we are blessed to live in a country that has few of those problems, we have done nothing to deserve that blessing.  We have we what we have by the Grace of God.  I don't pretend to understand why the citizens of this country are so fortunate while others aren't.  I can only be thankful and try to help the others as I can.
Part of my blessings are good friends and we are getting together with a couple of them this evening to watch a movie.  These young neighbours come over a couple of times a month and we put on a lighthearted film, eat popcorn and relax.  Tonight the feature is Monster Inc.   I don't know how many times I have already seen it but it is still one of my favourite.
We are getting thunder right now so we may lose our hydro.
I have been either quilting or unquilting most of the day.  The unquilting is on the project I had on the frame when the machine was malfunctioning.  I have to unpick everything so I can start over.  When I think that all the problems I had was because I missed one of the holes that had to be threaded, I could throw a tantrum.  It is located just above the needle in an area where I've never seen a threading point before.
Thinking on the positive side again, the problem is solved and everything is working well so I should be zipping through those quilts again right smartly.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

A Good Report

Hubby's medical report is good.  The surgeon said he can, while using common sense, return to all his former activities.  Repetitive 90 degree  bending isn't encouraged although it is okay to  do it as a daily activity-putting on shoes, letting dog out etc.  He has to go back again in 3 months for another check up but we are certainly making progress.  The big thing now is to get off the weight that was gained during the inactivity.

I am finally starting to feeling drawn back to the studio .  The restricted free time I had while helping hubby with his recovery got me out of the habit so glad it is coming back.I am just starting my next Island Batik project.  This month the challenge is Christmas in July.  Given the heat, that might be a real challenge but I have already chosen my pattern.  It, along with another quilt I have started are from the July issue of the Quilt Pattern Magazine.
  I am also working on the quilt for my granddaughter and finishing up another top.  I am not doing anything with the blocks of the day other than saving them.  I need a break from them. A quilting friend and I were joking that we would finish them up when we are in a senior's residence.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Mail Strike

Here in Canada, we are waiting to see if we are going to have a mail strike.  I know that there is less and less use of Postal Service (partly because you can't rely on it) but it is still important to many people.  If I sell a quilt, I ship it via the Post Office.  And, of course, a lot of the items I order, is shipped to me the same way.  It is vital for those that have a small mail order business as well as for those who use the Post Office as a means of reaching buyers with their advertisements.  Magazines, newspapers and other periodicals are sent the same way.
If there is a disruption, we will survive but it will also encourage businesses to find other ways to transport their items.
As mentioned, tomorrow we go for my hubby's last appointment with the surgeon.  We hope to hear that she can return to all his normal activities.  About the only restriction now has been bending more than 90 o, twisting the torso and keeping his knees height less than his body.
It has been a long 4 months but worth it to have him free of all the pain.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

A Great Find

We went yard saleing again on the weekend and, amongst a few other things, we got this beautiful old wooden door.  I am not sure what I am going to do with it yet but probably something involving quilting.  Right now it is a backdrop for one of my planters .  I love the design, the faded paint and even the letter slot which looks like a mouth. 
It was a hot weekend here so we didn't do much else other than going to 3 yard sales in the neighbourhood and housework.
Today, we were off to Huntsville where hubby had an eye appointment and Thursday we are going in the other direction for his last (I hope) surgeon's appointment.  It seems that between the two of us we have been going somewhere to see someone about something related to health every week. And, we are in good health.  I hate to think what it is going to be like in a few years.  I think we might move next door to a clinic!