Thursday, May 31, 2007

What I've been working on!

Did I mention I was dwelling in machine embroidery? Well, I've been experimenting and have just gotten over my fear of stabilizers. You have to understand, when ever the word stabilizer came up, I'd break out into cold seat. But, I'm glad to announce that I have mastered my fears. Hey, I'm even comfortable with the Bernina Designer Plus V5 software.

Here is a prototype of my future cherry block. I just love cherries and am working on an Irish chain that will have every other block center with cherries. I think it still needs some tweaking, but that may just be my perfectionism getting in the way.

There's a tad of puckering going on around the left stem. I've used three (3) sheets of stabilizer. I also tried with four (4), one layer using Hydro-stick (OESD) and I found it was worse. It could just very well be the hydro-stick that made it worse on my four (4) stabilizer experiment. I swear hydro as it in for me! I have never been able to get that stabilizer to work right for me! Pucker city all the way!

I don't know if I want to make dark or red cherries. I saw a picture on Sharon's blog Red Geranium Cottage of a bowl of cherries and just loved the light and dark colours. Perhaps I can have one of the cherries dark and the other a little lighter. I placed an order for more Isacord thread. I guess 130 colours just are not enough! I used the colours beet red and poinsettia on this block. I ordered a cherry red! Maybe that will finally do it!

I want to thank you for visiting my blog. It means a lot to me. I enjoy reading your comments. Thank you!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

My Favortie Things!

I have recently finished the fifth (5) block in a series of six(6) blocks. This pattern is called My Favorite Things by Cabin Fever Designs (Robyn Pandolph). I've sewn the frame on to give you an idea of what the quilt will look like. There's a shashing in between the blocks. The framing fabric is also my border fabric.

I started this twin size quilt in the Spring 2001. This pattern was my first real attempt at getting to love hand applique. This project is part of my "List of Quilts to Complete for 2007" (or LQC 2007 as I like to call it) on the Stashbuster group. I can certainly envision one less fat quarter penalty! lol So far I have two projects crossed of the LQC 2007.

I really don't know why I set the quilt aside. I have such a problem with temptation. You should see how many hand applique projects I have going. I think my problem is I lack focus. This isn't just with quilting but pretty much with school too! Okay, so my whole life lacks focus! LOL I just get so excited with new projects or a new book that I just hop to it right away and forget what I have going on.

In an attempt to help me cope with my lack of focus I bought the audio CD Focus by Stephen R. Covey. Barbara Brandeburg had blogged about it. I figured why not! I'm an audio book listener while I quilt or commute to Montreal.

Now, if I can only stay focused enough to apply this motivational CD to my life!

Have a great day every one!

Monday, May 28, 2007

2,112 pieces to the puzzle!

This is the Corn and Bean block, which is the main block in a quilt I'm making for my favorite brother, as he likes to be referred! I thought I would show you how the block is constructed. The quilt has 2,112 pieces, not counting the borders. You know, you really have to love someone to give such a time consuming quilt away. This will be my second queen size quilt.

How did I get into having to make another one you might ask? I made a quilt using the block for my in-laws. I won't even tell you how long it took me to piece it, never mind machine quilting it! Fortunately for me, this quilt could not have been given to anyone more appreciative than my in-laws.

I used the line of fabric Seasons by Kansas Trouble for Moda. I love Moda fabrics! The background is a Batik. I had one block made, as I wanted to see how it would look. My brother walked into my sewing room and said "I love it, could you make me one?" Well, at the time I had not yet done the math. I was working on it a little bit at a time. Taking my time and enjoying the process. It never occurred to me how time consuming this quilt would become. So, I said sure! I mean, I do love my brother dearly. This took place in the summer of 2005. My in-laws received their quilt Autumn 2006.

Last night I decided to work a bit on it. The only thing different about this quilt is the background. This is what it looks like so far. I have never cut so much fabric for a quilt. I have decided that I'll be sending the quilt out to be machine quilted. I'm thinking of a pantograph design. I'm certainly open to suggestions. I've never sent a quilt to a professional quilter. I'm thinking that I should perhaps contact a machine quilter soon to book a time slot. I need to do some research on this. There's a first time for everything!

The block is from Quilt's from The Quilt Maker's Gift. I just love that book. It's a good reference book and has lots of quilts made with a variety of fabric styles. I will advise you, read all of the directions before starting. Their cutting instructions are not as efficient as they could be. For half square triangles they have you cut your squares in half and sew on the bias. I prefer the uncut method using the The Angler 2 . For my in-law's quilt I used Triangle on a Roll. Thangles would work as well, but like Triangle on a roll you have to take the time to remove the paper.

I've noticed that my name is quickly coming up for UFO Stashbuster queen. Best get busy completing a project!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Quilting Therapy!

Well the therapy did not turn out as I would have liked, but none the less, I still had a couple of therapeutic sessions.

I started my first shop hop at Chelmsford, MA. I took the time to walk up the street to look at the various shops. I found an quaint gift shop and managed to find a little something for a friends birthday. I will not be posting a picture just in case she reads my blog. There was also a Herb and Healing shop. I enjoy perusing those type of shops. They offered a Fairy Tarot card reading, which I thought was interesting but not at $45.00 for 15 minutes. I did buy some Frankincense & Myrrh. I just love that smells.

I then went straight to Candlelite quilt & Candle shop in Chelmsford, MA. I just noticed that candle is part of their name. Hum.... I did see a few candles but nothing I would call a candle shop. However, they do have lots and lots of fabric. I did buy a few things. If you notice, there are some charm squares and they are not for me. I do not have the "charm square gift of quilting" like Darlene and Wendy or Pam for that matter. No, not moi! As a matter of fact, my creativity does not start flowing unless there's half a yard or more.

Afterwards, I treated myself to a nice lunch at the seafood restaurant across the street from the quilt shop called Fishbones. I ordered something my husband doesn't cook, calamari in a light tempura batter. I just love calamari with fresh lemon. Stephen is not a seafood lover. Shrimp and cocktail sauce is the extent of his seafood palette. Moi, I love seafood!

After lunch I headed for the Quilted Crow, keeping the best for last. What a disappointment that turned out to be. When I arrived, I noticed that the parking lot was empty! Hum..... walked towards the door and read the sign "Closed Saturday for Memorial Day Weekend". Talk about a major disappointment. Their operating hours are Wednesday to Saturday. I cannot believe they would close on a Saturday. I was bumming.

I headed back to my in-laws and stopped at Idylwilde Farms. I love that market! They have anything and everything you could possibly want anytime of the year. It's the type of store that would have blueberries in the dead of winter for $7.99 a half a pint! I picked up some fresh corn on the cob and headed back to my in-laws.

After lamenting about my disappointment, my mother in law said there was another shop she remembered in Concord, Massachusetts. She phoned the shop to make sure it was open and off I went on a new adventure to The Quilter's Way.

I don't know if I've been oblivious to the price of fabric or just privy to some fairly priced quilt shops, but geezz this store was expensive. Their fabrics were between $9.28 to $10.50 a yard. This does not include their Japanese specialty fabric. I didn't bother pricing those. I did pick up some interesting Batiks that I have not seen anywhere. The Green and black is sweet so I purchased a yard of that. The other is a dark purple with orange. Quite funky! I would have picked up more but at a price tag of $10.48 a yard, well lets just say I was good.

I also bought a Weekender Travel Bag pattern by Amy Butler. I just lover her fabric and accessory patterns. They had a sample made up at the shop, not even using her line of fabric, and it looked sweet. I'm hoping that Jo Anne, one of the gals from the quilting bee who is a bag expert, will guide me through the pattern. It has a zipper and, well, you see, I'm zipperphobic! So I thought I'd tackle my phobia and make the bag. I just think I'd be styling on my weekends away! It's such a sweet looking bag. Who knows, maybe Jo Ann will sew the zipper on for me! LOL

Afterward I went to Kimball Farms for an ice cream. I'm an ice cream nut. As a child I used to dream of being locked up in a grocery store so that I could eat their vanilla ice cream. I ordered a small vanilla creamy. This small is what I would call a Jumbo extra large ice cream cone. It was humongous! I couldn't even eat half of it! Gosh, it was the first time in my life that I threw vanilla ice cream away!

That about covers my weekend. Tomorrow is another day. I have been invited to a "Par--tee angel food cake and beer at 1:00 p.m. bring a sewing project." I don't know about the menu but hey, I'm game!

I have quite a bit of catching up on blog reading to do. Thank you for taking the time to visit!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Sailing and quilting therapy!

What a beautiful day this is turning out to be.
We just returned from our sailing adventure on Lake Champlain. We decided to accompany my brother early morning before leaving for Massachusetts. Today is the first day the boat is in the water for the season. We were all so excited to be able to sail. I love sailing! This is my daughter motoring us out of the marina. The lake was absolutely beautiful. The water was a hot 45 F (7 C) degrees. LOL No we did not go for a dip!

We will be leaving shortly to visit our in-laws for the weekend. So, I bet you all know what that means! The quilted Crow here I come! Oh, how I love that quilt shop. Tomorrow, that is were I will continue with my therapeutic weekend! I will also visit the other quilt shop Candlelite quilts. Yes, I will be thinking of you while I get inspired, fondle some fabrics and peruse quilting books and patterns. Oh, I can't wait!

Have a great Memorial Day weekend every one! Happy quilting!

Monday, May 21, 2007

It's all about me! Tagged, I'm it!

A while back I was tagged by Connie to name seven (7) things you didn't know about me. I've been reading what every one has been writing and I will say that I find it interesting. So having given some thought to this list, here goes:

1) I'm not afraid to travel alone. One summer, I took off to Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia for two (2) weeks by car. I camped the whole time. The following year, I went across Canada, by car, to Alberta in order to photograph the Calgary Stampede. I camped once again. On my way back, I took the US route and stayed in Hotels. For some reason I did not feel safe. I made a stop in Chicago to buy photography equipment.

2) I studied Professional photography at Dawson College in Montreal.

I love photography, my specialty being portraiture and photo journalism. My apartment in Montreal was often turned into a darkroom. I worked mainly in black and white. It was at the suggestion of my good buddy Philip Carpenter, who encouraged me to apply for a press pass, that I was able to do so much at the Calgary Stampede. He finished his degree and studied communication at Concordia. He is presently a professional photographer for a large Montreal newspaper. This is a picture of my daughter at our wedding photographed by Philip. His work is amazing. I do hope to get back into the medium sometime soon.

3) In September 2001, I took a leave of absence from the Toronto Dominion Bank to finish my university degree in Psychology. I was a single mom on her own. To this day, I am proud that I was able to make it financially. Like all single moms I had day care, a car loan and other debts. It's really amazing what you can do when you set your mind to it!

4) I met my current husband on the Internet. I had written a small introduction paragraph on Yahoo personals on a Monday. On Wednesday, I was telling Marlene (my massage therapist) how it was really silly to try and find a mate. Being in school full-time with a four year old child, no income and not much time, how could I keep up? After my appointment I went to delete my profile and Stephen had written to me. We arranged to meet the following Saturday, November third (3), for coffee (it was my birthday). I saw him from afar in his car and said to myself "Oh another reject. That's okay, it's the last one". Well, I really don't know to this day what or who I saw in the car. When he walked towards me I said to my self "Wow, what a hunk! He is cute!

5) In August 2003 I left my employer (The Toronto Dominion Bank) to do a graduate degree in Philosophy and Religious thoughts. My husband thinks I'm on a quest! I won't argue with that. I'm always on a quest! ;o) I would like to do a PhD in psychology. Frankly, I don't know what I want to do when I grow up. I left a management job with an excellent income because it wasn't me anymore. Sometimes I think I'll never grow up!

6) Until a couple of years ago, I was one of those individuals who had taken off in a plane, yet never landed in one. I parachuted. To this day I still remember the experience and do hope to do it again.

7) I was in the Canadian Militia - The Black Watch (RHR) of Canada. I went as high as Sergeant, being the first female Sergeant in it's history (so I was told). I had been often asked to go as a commissioned officer, but that was not the experience I was looking for. As a soldier, I had the opportunity to throw lots of grenades, shoot bazookas etc... When I became a Master Corporal, being a woman in an infantry unit, it was not possible for me to lead in the infantry. So I obtained my military driver's licence and had an opportunity to drive huge vehicles (2 1/2 ton truck) etc. It was a chance for me to continue playing soldier in the field. .

That about covers it. Gosh this is turning into a long post. I won't be tagging anyone as it's been pretty much around the ring. However, if you have not had a chance to do this, tagged you're it!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

In the Pink!

I want to share with you my new distraction, I mean my next quilt, In the Pink by The Buggy Barn (Henry Glass & Co.). I am not a pink and brown kind of gal, but when I saw Laura, one of the ladies from our quilting bee, work on hers, I just had to make one. It really is a sweet looking quilt in real life. Two of the other ladies also have the kit. Joanne has finished hers and Jennifer, well it's still in a bag. Jennifer assured me that there were still some kits available.

After our little get together I headed to the Altona Quilt shop, Maw & Paw to pick up the bundles of fat quarters. Marie, the owner, had them organized as per the pattern requirements. For the borders I decided to keep with the brown, however I changed the inner border to the pink plaid. What you see are the fabrics, washed and ready to be cut. I also bought the backing, a Robyn Pandolph fabric from her Sentimental Journey. It is the pink and sage plaid fabric in the photograph.

I promised myself that I would not start this project until my paper is finished. Best case scenario, the Against the Grain quilt has to be machine quilted, ready for binding before I start sewing the new quilt. Well, so much for UFO's.

Another hindrance to starting that new quilt, is that my daughter's birthday is coming up in early June. She asked that her Fairy Garden quilt be part of a birthday gift. That little brat! lol The quilt is part of my stashbuster list of "UFOs to complete" for the year. So much pressure!

It's so difficult to work on UFOs when you're constantly being teased with so many wonderful projects that my imaginary friends in blog land are working on. I guess, I can reason with myself knowing that most of my UFOs are hand applique, so technically I do get to work on them. ;op

Happy quilting everyone!

Monday, May 14, 2007

I won! I won! Hurray!

I found a little surprise in my mail box the other day, a squishy. What is a squisy you might ask? Oh, it is one of those envelops that goes squish when you squeeze it. It has this nice soft feel to it, and can usually be fondled! How I just love getting mail.

A couple weeks ago Nancy posted her 250th post. To make it fun, she added a little perk by having a drawing. Guess what? I won! Oh.. this is the first time I win a prize on blogland. Yahoooo!

Aren't those fabrics beautiful? Perhaps I need to use my Texan accent. Aren't them purty! LOL My mind is running wild with the possibilities. Such gorgeous fabric.

Thank you Nancy for your generosity. You are such a sweetheart!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Against the Grain - a flimsy!

I have completed what I call a chicken quilt, Against the Grain. I realize that they are rooster, but chicken to me means roosters too. lol I decided to show it to you at the flimsy stage, as Darlene would call it, because I don't know when I'll have a chance to machine quilt it any time soon. Since I do need my blog fix, well why not!

This is a pattern from Teri Christopherson of (Black Mountain Quilts). I just love her work. The pattern is called Rooster Hollow from the book Seaside Cottage. I just love that book and have made another quilt from it. I had purchased the black toile in 2001, with the purpose of making this quilt. The original pattern calls for burgundy pointed corner block stars all around the quilt, but I felt that it really was too much. Besides, I didn't like the fact that the stars around the borders were not complete.

It's amazing how a photograph allows you to see a project differently. Now that I look at it, I don't know that I like the gold diamond squares in the corners. Luckily, it's still a flimsy so I'll have an opportunity to change my mind before I tackle the machine quilting.

At first I was going to use the water soluble stabilizer as the foundation for reversing the piece. Usually, the method calls for interfacing, the type used by dressmakers. However, I do not like the stiffness that it creates. I prefer the hand applique feel. By using the water soluble stabilizer, the foundation will dissolve in the first washing, leaving the quilt soft. This method works best for patterns that do not have small features, like the rooster's feet. It was difficult to turn all the parts inside out and certainly wasn't worth the aggravations. I changed to the method whereby I glued the edge around the freezer paper and machine appliqued the piece to the background. I used water soluble stabilizer to create the stability necessary for non puckering machine applique. To remove the freezer paper, I wet the block and pull it apart. Once dry, the block has no stiffness.

Water soluble stabilizer is actually an embroidery product that I have adapted to machine applique. Because it dissolves with water, it does not create a stiffness that is common with interfacing or fusible web. I bought this stabilizer at the Viking dealer in Plattsburgh. Yes, I do pay a visit to the dark side every now and again! ;o) lol

If you like Teri Christopherson's work you might want to check out her sister, Barbara Brandeberg of Cabbage Rose. For those addicted to blogging, I mean interested, Barbara does have a blog.

Have a great week every one!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

On the quilting front!

Yesterday was my first day with the quilting bee. They are the ladies I had mentioned that belong to my guild and, well, they do like a good time! They meet every Friday. The last Friday of the month is dedicated to charity quilts. Sounds good to me! One of the gals, Laura, is part owner of our LQS, Loose Threads, and I'm guessing that they provide the fabric as she said to bring nothing! I think it's wonderful that I'll have an opportunity to help my community while having fun!

On the quilting front, I thought I would share with you my chicken quilt, Against the Grain. I just couldn't hold it in any longer. I did want to surprise you with the finished project, but it's just taking too long with school guilt and all! This quilt is the result of seeing Darlene and Wendy working on those beautiful embroidery blocks Miss Louise, a lady with chickens. And if that wasn't enough of a tease, there's Connie who posted a chicken quilt from one of her quilt shop adventures, which by the way I have the pattern compliment of my wonderful friend Cheryl in Oz. I had e-mailed her the link to seek her wisdom and knowledgeable she is. She's my quilting hero! Cheryl knew exactly what the name of the pattern was, The Early Bird. She had the pattern and graciously sent it to me. So, guess what my next quilt is going to be? I just love chickens! I don't know what it is about them, but I do. I have even thought of having a chicken coop in my back yard. Yes, this city girl is going somewhat country! lol However, zoning will not allow it! I really don't know where they get their idea for zoning, as far as I'm concerned I live in the country! lol

On the famous or infamous quilting teacher front, guess whose coming to Glens Fall in May 2008? Ricky Tims and company! WOW!!!! I'm going for three days. I already gave a heads up to hubby, way up! Glens Fall is about 2.5 hours south from Champlain. I will be boarding with two (2) other ladies from my guild, the one's who like a good time! It should be a blast.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I wish you all a wonderful weekend! Happy Mother's day!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

After the guild!

I had my guild meeting on Wednesday and what a blast it was! After the meeting I was invited to go out for a drink. So we went to this bar close to CVPH (Plattsburgh hospital). What a hoot these girls are! Our night consisted of playing music from the jukebox, dancing and playing darts.

When I was going to college, I used to party with my sorority friends. We'd go to this bar in downtown Montreal, drink and play pinball all night. Well, until the last bus anyway. I had to go home and I didn't want to walk! Tonight it was darts! I've never played darts! After an all nighter I can honestly say that my dart game has improved! We were pretty much our own party in the dart area. The bar tender, a young college lad, asked where we were coming from. You know, four (4) older women (and we do not look our age) acting like teenagers. Holly didn't tell him that Wednesday is our quilting guild meeting. She didn't want to tarnish her/our reputation! lol It really was so pleasant to just hang loose and have a great time.

I didn't come home until 1:15 a.m. Stephen says "where were you? I was worried!". Oups! Forgot to call. I just told him that I went drinking in a bar full of young college lads and doctors. He just laughed! Men!

On the paper front, I did see my professor. It's coming along nicely! I also registered for some courses. Tomorrow I was invited to attend a quilting group. The girls I went out with also get together every Friday to quilt. It should be fun!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Blogging withdrawal!

School has taken over my life. I'm presently writing a loooooonnnnnnnggggggg paper that I want done by next week. This is work left over from my first surgery back in April 2006. This health saga left me with seven (7) papers to write in order to complete my courses. Needless to say, with the ongoing health issues it hasn't been easy to get them out of the way. But this is it folks, my last paper for Feminist Hermeneutics and what a whopper it is. I want it out of the way so that IF, I'm expecting a miracle folks, I need surgery again in June, I will not be stressing out about school. I know it sounds stupid to stress about school when you're on the operating table, but I guess that's just me! I did want my paper done by tomorrow as I have an appointment to see my advisor, but alas that will not be the case. So I thought I'd take a little sanity break and blog.

As I've mentioned, not much is going on quilt wise. Every project is pretty much at a stand still. We did put our pool up the first weekend of May, the water being a hot 50F (10C). It took all my patience to keep my daughter from going in the pool for a dip! Yesterday I gave in and allowed my cold blooded daughter to go for a swim. The water temp was a hot 68F (20C). She must have stayed in there for about an hour. She actually convinced her friend to swim with her. This is the earliest she's been in the pool. Today we are expecting temperatures around 81F, so I'm guessing she'll want to go for a dip. It wont be a long one as she has horseback riding today.

Tonight I have my guild meeting. It's our dinner meet, where we each bring a dish and dine together. I'm looking forward to a relaxing evening with my guild. There should be lots of food. I'm making a Salade d'amour. I haven't made that in years. I wanted to stay within the healthy food range ;o).

Well I should get going. I need to bring an asparagus dish, made by Stephen, to my daughter's school. It's teacher's appreciate week and they are having a luncheon. I do want to mention that I do read blogs as a break. My mind has just not been much in the comment mood!

Thanks for allowing me to keep in touch with my sanity!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Shar's Double Wedding Ring course

I did have my Double Wedding Ring course with Sharlene Jorgenson on Tuesday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. What a long day! I was exhausted by 4:00 p.m. and ended up leaving. I'm sure Shar must have been even more exhausted than I was.

For one thing, her flight had been cancelled due to bad weather. She ended up catching a late flight to Albany, New York as opposed to Burlington, Vermont. She arrived early Tuesday morning, before the sunrise! Unfortunately, her luggage did not follow her and neither did her trunk show. She was hoping it would arrive before the class ended, but it did not make it. It's really too bad as I would have loved to have seen her quilts. I can just imagine how she must have felt. She kept apologizing throughout the class. I felt bad for her as I know that it can be quite an uncomfortable situation regardless of how understanding people are.

I enjoyed the class. I actually learned how to sew with a stiletto. I had never used one before and frankly never understood the need until this course. It truly is an amazing tool!

In wanting to keep with my promise not to start such an intricate quilt, I brought scraps to use. I was supposed to have a white on white background but forgot it at home. No matter, I was there to learn the technique so the burgundy fabric worked well. Shar loved the way the colours played together, "quilting outside of the box" is what she called it! She had an example in the book of a DWR done in plaids. She said someone challenged her by saying that it couldn't be done. I'm guessing she likes a good challenge.

This is not an easy quilt to make and I'm glad I didn't commit to making one. It requires lots of concentration and accurate cutting and piecing. Perhaps one day I'll challenge myself!

Happy quilting!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Ditch Witch Proclamation!

Fellow loyal subjects of the Land of Stashbusters, it is moi again, Ditch Witch and am here to fulfil my duties. However, due to events within my control that I have now become out of control, there will be a short proclamation.

Trumpets please:

By Proclamation of your Royal Hinny Listmom, as Ditch Witch of the land of the Stashbusters, my duty is to assist you in unshackling … blah, blah ... so on and so forth………..

This weeks Ditch Item – continuing to work on the past two proclamations!

For a reminder please see the following link:

Ditch the by-product of your creativity that do notgive you pleasures!

Out with the old and in with the new!

I declare Wednesday May 02, 2007 to be the day of revisiting the past two Ditching items! Please ensure that you have properly carried out the previous declarations.

Our motto: Ditch it before it Ditches you!

Our symbol: The broom

End of proclamation

*Disclaimer: Ditch Witch and/or the Governing bodies of the Land of Stashbusters are not responsible for those items that you have chosen to dispose that my come back and haunt you!

Thank you - back to my regular schedule programming - papers. Where's my chocolate?

Ditch Witch
Land of Stashbusters

Ps: I will blog about my quilting course with Shar soon!
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