Sunday, December 30, 2012

Last finish for 2012

Life was very busy for me this month .... from looking after a family member following surgery, painting and getting ready for Xmas, I felt that I was being pulled in all directions.  Things have calmed down now and it is my time to play again.

A bit of quilting got done, but not much.  My Love Is did get finished.  Now that is such a good feeling of accomplishment.  :o)

Finished size:  38-1/2” x 53”
Hand quilted and hand embroidered.
Pattern source:  Pacific Patchwork

What will 2013 bring for me?  As usual, I will concentrate on my UFO's again and again and again!  :o)  They are always there for me.  Like comfort food, one can never have enough!

DH and I will be starting renovations in our home.  That will mean not as much time spent in my studio.  Oh well, I can't have my cake and eat it to.  At least not for now.

Miss Hank is doing well.  We are so grateful about that! 

Wishing you all a Joyful 2013! 

Have a great year!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Blog break and Miss Hank

I'll be taking a break from blogging and will return in the New Year.  There is just too much going on in my life right now and not much sewing.

Before, I go ... here is just a sneak of my progress with my Angles and Squares top. There is a navy blue border still to be sewn on, but this is it for now.  I'm very pleased with the way this has turned out. 

Here is a tip for those of you wanting to have your stripes going the same way (excuse my blurry shot)  for each HST block ....
When marking your blocks for HST, just have your lines drawn as shown below (on the cream squares). 

For those of you wondering about the status of Miss Hank .... well, I think this photo speaks for itself!  Miss Hank is back to being the dominant kittie and has put Miss Ashes back in her place with just a stare.
We still need to keep an eye on Miss Hank for any relapses and she will be going back to the vet's for tests in the new year.  Her fur is starting to have a beautiful shine once again.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Miss Hank

We nearly lost Miss Hank to acute kidney failure.  She has responded to treatment and her levels are almost back to normal (they were off the chart before).  She is on a special diet for the next 6 weeks to make sure her kidneys are functioning OK.  The cause ..... she probably ate some lily plants that were growing outdoors and lily plants are very toxic to cats.

In this photo (taken last year), her fur is beautiful .... not right now it isn't.  She still has a way to go before recovering.  When we brought her to the cat hospital, the vet didn't have much faith for her to pull through.  Well, Miss Hank surprised everyone there.  Let's hope that she does well with this new diet and return to being the adorable, playful cat that she is.
To all my American friends, have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Coming along well ....

My Angles and Squares top is really starting to take shape.  I just need to make a few more star blocks and finish sewing everything together.  I'm still tweaking the block placements as I go along.  Since taking this photo, blocks got moved around and they will move again. 

For the stars, I tried using just one colour, but they just didn't sing .... so the red and blue stars will stay.  The borders will pick up those same colours to help calm the middle section and give the eye a place to rest.  Oh yes, I am very happy with this layout.

This project was started Oct. 17 .... can I get it to the top stage within a month of starting?  This is not normal for me to be this quick, so we will see .....

Have a great day!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Got Dots

All my Got Dots blocks are done and the time has come to put them up on my design wall and start the sewing together process to bring this to a partial flimsy.

There are two ideas going through my head for the borders and I have to decide which one it will be.  I'll talk more about that later.

As you can tell, more than one project gets worked on over the course of a week.  Unfortunately, I just get too bored to stay focused on just one project or UFO for any length of time; hence the reason for lots of UFO's.  Oh well, that is life and the main thing is .... I'm having fun! :o)

At least, I'm working on my UFO's and that is a good thing!  :o)

Have a great day! 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Angles and Squares

Last month, I joined the Near North Quilting Guild here in North Bay and signed up for two classes with Heather Stewart (who was the guest teacher).  Angles and Squares was one of the classes and we learned a short-cut for making this block.  You can go here to read Heather's post about her time at our guild.  Heather is a fantastic teacher and I truly learned so much from her and have incorporated many of her tips ..... except for pinning.  What can I say, I'm the queen of pinning and quilting is just not comfortable without my straight pins.  :o)

Heather did ask us to be creative with our layout and that is what I am aiming for.  This layout is OK but it needed something more.

What about the addition of some stars.  I couldn't decide on red or blue stars and may just go with the two colours. 
Can you see what I'm doing with the striped fabric?  This will make it more interesting instead of having the stripes going all the same way.
We'll see if it stays like this or those stars get taken out.  That is all part of the creative process.  Playing around with the 'what if ' ideas.
I will be posting about the other class that I took from Heather.  Log Cabin Chevrons and I tell you, log cabin blocks and I do not get along well.  But that is another story for another day.
Have a great day!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Aussie visit

We had such a lovely visit with our Australian friends, Jennifer and Kevin.  They stayed with us for seven days of fun, laughter, talking, eating, drinking, etc.  It was our goal to have them experience our lifestyle here in the near north part of Ontario and to do things that they have never done before.

Be forewarned .... this post has a lot of photos!  We spaced out our activities during their visit with some down time so that we weren't tired out.  When looking at the photos, no, we didn't do all of this in one day.  :o)

Our kitchen table was the gathering place for many meals and hours spent with the four of us having heaps of fun.   Here, Jennifer and Kevin are raising their glass of cheer.

Jennifer and I exchanged gifts and this is what she gave to me.  See that bit of ribbon at the top .... that was Miss Ashes and Miss Hank's gift and what fun they had playing with it.  Thank you, Jennifer, for my lovely gifts!
After our first supper, we all bravely climbed the hill in our backyard to take in the city view and the sunset.  That was the last day of sun (during their visit) that we had before Hurricane Sandy came ashore.  We were OK as North Bay was far inland; but we did get rain and some wind.
A city tour brought us to the shores of Lake Nipissing where Jennifer had to dip her hands into the cool water.  That is me in the middle.
We went to a local church bazaar where we bought some local crafts and pastries and tried our luck at a penny sale (with no luck).
We drove to Sturgeon Falls one afternoon and pulled into a look-out to have a better view of Lake Nipissing.
 We did a corn maze at Leisure Farms in Sturgeon Falls.  It was amazing to do!  :o)
Anyone for some TV Bingo?  Our local TV station has two nights where we can play bingo and it was just luck that Jennifer and Kevin were here for one of those nights.  Was anyone lucky?
Yes!  Jennifer won $75.00.  Later that night, a member of Lion's Club dropped off her cheque and graciously posed for photos.
Since North Bay is so close to the province of Quebec .... well, we just had to go there for a drive.  Jennifer got to practise her French that she learned in school when she was a wee tot.  We bought some French liqueur that has maple syrup in it and stayed for coffee and cake at a local restaurant in Temiskaming, Quebec.
It was raining, but we took a little walk along the Ottawa River which separates the province of Ontario and Quebec.
Lunch one day at Average Joe's restaurant on Trout Lake in North Bay was lovely.  It was their treat to hubby and I.
Since Jennifer and Kevin have never done Halloween before, we purchased some pumpkins when we were at Leisure Farms.  Here, we are all taking turns carving the pumpkin.
It rained Halloween night and we didn't have many kiddies come to the door.  We all took turns at shelling out.
My sister and niece dropped by later in the evening to bring us dessert and stay for a visit.
Every day, Kevin would sit at our kitchen table and look out our patio door to see if he would be lucky to spot a bear or a deer.  On their last day here, we were just finishing eating dessert when Kevin spotted a deer.  We were so thrilled to see the deer (three in total).   If they had left earlier in the day, they would have missed this sighting.
And, if they had just stayed just one more day ... they would have woken up to snow on the ground, this morning!
Jennifer and Kevin ... you are more than welcome to come back and visit us any time!

A few of you are probably wondering how we first met?  It was back in 2009 when there was a bad bush fire in Australia and I had made some quilts blocks and a quilt top for donation to the victims of that fire.  Emails went back and forth and we met up in Toronto (we were living there at the time) in 2009 when Jennifer and Kevin were visiting their son and the rest is history.

Have a great day!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Where I'm at .... and Aussie guests!

Gosh, but I sure have been busy lately.  Between joining the Near North Quilting Guild, taking two quilting classes, shopping and buying a new vehicle and getting our home ready for two special guests, not much has been getting done in the quilting department ...... oh, and I had to really, really clean and sort my studio again after pulling fabrics for my two classes.  Whew, nice and tidy again.

The only thing that I have felt like doing at night is a bit of hand quilting and this is my progress so far.  Over half done in the center and I do know what I will be doing in the borders.  So it is coming along ... chug ... chug ....

Now, for our two special guests ..... Jennifer and her husband Kevin will be arriving today.  All the way from Australia with stops in Toronto and southern Ontario!  They last visited us in October 2009 and you can read about their visit here.  We have a lot of things lined up for us to do and hopefully the weather will be kind to us during their visit.

The weather is turning cool again and a nice pot of soup will be nice to have after a day spent outdoors.

Have a great day, eh!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Autumn decor

Would you like to see some photos of my autumn decor?  Yes?  Well read on.

In our foyer, this is just the start of our autumn decor.

I collect pumpkins, and they have to be all different.  How did my pumpkin collection start?  It was the one second from the left.  It was so different, it was unique and that is how I caught the bug.  I never intended to start a collection .... but  .... that is how it is.  The materials of each pumpkin is different.  Some are made out of styrofoam, a few from grape vines, one from leaves, and the tall one on the right is made out of birch bark.  All so different.

You just knew that there was going to be a pumpkin quilt somewhere along the way!  This quilt was finished this spring and it looks delightful on this wall hanging above the dresser that Debra gifted to me before we moved.   Yes, more pumpkins on the dresser, of course!  :o)
My quilt ladder with autumn quilts.
My leaf quilt in our dining room. 
More autumn quilts and more pumpkins in our dining room!
Another view of quilts and pumpkins.
More pumpkins hiding in a wicker duck basket.  Different, eh!
A needlepoint that my Mom made years ago showing autumn colours.
An oil painting that I did over 35 yrs. ago. 
There you have it .... this is what autumn looks like in our home.  I hope you enjoyed it!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


I'm still plugging away at my Grand-daughter's Garden project.  It is such fun to see it grow each week.  My studio is a mess with all kinds of fabrics hanging around for me to choose from for making my blocks.  Perhaps by next month, my studio will get cleaned up once again .... until the next project! :o)

At least I know what the width will be like ... with borders.  A few people (Debra) are trying to convince me to go without borders and just make more blocks.  Nope, not me, I'm a border kind of gal.  The length is still being figured out, but this is it so far.

Below, this block is ready for sewing together.  I like to stick my pieces onto a piece of styrofoam and then stand back to see if I like the look of all the pieces together.  Close-up, they always look good until you see a block at a distance and at this point, it is easier to change out any piece that doesn't look right.
The back of this block shows all the paper that was used to make the individual pieces.  Yes, this is English Paper Piecing, of which I am a great fan of now.  You could say that I am a bit obsessed doing hand work.  I don't sit at my sewing machine much these days.

When do the paper pieces get removed?  A number of you have been asking me.  Do you see the red and the green fabrics?  As soon as all edges of a piece have been surrounded (sewn) by another section (blue fabricsf), then those papers can be removed.

Below, you can see where the papers have been removed and you can still see the outer edges (blue fabrics) that cannot be removed yet.  If I do, there is nothing to hold those turned under edges .

I need to make a lot more blocks, but first these paper pieces need to have a light pressing.  While sewing my blocks together, my paper templates do tend to get a bit wrinkled and folded and limp.  A light pressing makes them flat and stiff again.
Another update in about a weeks' time should show more progress.

Have a great day!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Just how wonky?

DH and I were changing the wall quilts and decided to hang my Log Cabin quilt up for the first time.  In our old house, there wasn't a wall tall enough for the quilt to hang properly, but it would be perfect in our entrance.  So, up it went and after standing back to admire it, we noticed how much it was buckling on the sides.  Good Lord, there is not enough masking tape around that could help to make this quilt look straight.  BTW, I use masking tape to tack down edges to help a quilt look straight and flat against a wall.

Just look at these photos.  Can you see all the waves from the middle down to the bottom?

DH wanted to know how much it was off?  Looking at the way it was hanging, I figured a good 2-3" between the centre and the outside edges.
We just couldn't leave it up and down it came to be replaced with another quilt.  So .... just how crooked is this quilt?  Out came the measuring tape to find out.
The results:

Left side:   100-3/8"
Centre:       104"
Right side: 101-1/4"

Top:            88"
Centre:        89"
Bottom:       86-1/2"

How did this happen, DH wanted to know?  When I made this quilt back in 1998, I didn't know that you had to measure  the length and width in three places and take an average figure when cutting out the borders.  When the borders were put onto this quilt, I just cut a strip of fabric, sewed it on and trimmed off the excess.  Live and learn!

This quilt always looked good on our bed.  Who knew it was that wonky.  :o)

Did I learn anything over the years?  Oh yes, just look at the quilt below.  Flat and straight as a quilt should be! 
I've had my chuckle for the day, how about you?

This weekend is our Thanksgiving holiday here in Canada.  We are so thankful for so many things and especially to Mother Nature for putting on a gorgeous fall show.  To my fellow Canadians, Happy Thanksgiving!

Have a great day!