Friday, July 27, 2007

It's Friday!

Sigh, and I'm still tired and unmotivated. Can I blame it on this new diet that I've been following since Sunday? Really, it cannot be Harry!

Dh went to the Doctors a couple of weeks ago and was informed that his cholesterol was way too high. He was given three (3) months to lower it or he will be placed on medication. The Dr suggested that he follows the South Beach Diet. So, I have given up my pasta, bread, wine and chocolate, all my favourites. sigh!

I will admit, I do not feel hungry. I have been eating to my satisfaction. Whether I'm loosing weight, I have not a clue. Scales are against my religion! lol The only way I could tell would be to try on a pair of jeans and it's not happening in this weather. The weather this week has been beautiful and hot. The pool and a/c has come in handy.

I forgot to mention that Saturday I attended a software class on digitizing at Strawberry & Rhubarb. Gosh, did I learn a lot. I'm still in aw with this Bernina Designer Plus software. The possibilities are endless.

After class I took the opportunity to visit an old friend, Yankee Pride quilt shop. They were having a sale on books and patterns. Bonus! Don't you just love it when you decided to visit a quilt store and they have an unexpected sale?

I fell in love with Simply Vintage when I received a newsletter from The Quilted Crow . Their new BOM is the quilt on the cover. Gosh it was hard to turn down. I mulled over the idea of starting another hand applique bed quilt. Quite frankly, it did not make sense to commit to such a huge project given that my Baltimore Cousin sits, patiently waiting for me to pick it up again. And of course there are other numerous hand applique projects that still need some attention. Sigh, so many wonderful projects to make and so little time. It's always a question of "Do I hand applique or do I quilt using my machine". Sometimes the answer is obvious and at other times, not so.

In the book, there is a pattern for wool strawberry pincushions. I may yet tackle a pincushion!

I also picked up this pattern Awakening by Brannock & Patek. I fell in love with it and bought when I went on my shopping spree for the give away on my 75th post. At the time I wanted to budget as I knew I would be going to the Vermont Quilt Festival. So I passed on the opportunity to obtain my own copy. I'm glad I waited, sales are great for helping you make up your mind! lol

There are so many projects that I cannot wait to start. Focus Carole, focus! lol

I plan to use strictly fabric from my stash to make this quilt. They provide fabric swatches from their Renewal line. I'm thinking that I may be able to use them in the quilt.

Aside from wanting to quilt, the barn raising has been on my "to do" list. The date has been set for the weekend of August 11, 2007. Should everything fall into place, we will have lots of people. A massive sleep over is what it will be! I think our yard will be turned into a campground. It should be fun!

I'm off to get my day started. Have a great day every one! Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

What's up!

Well, since Harry' visit, not much quilting has been going on. I did manage to finish the book in record time. Of course, you know what that means....... Yes, I ignored my blog and my family! I did find out that I'm still not ready to burn the midnight oil! I haven't recuperated from the visit. Oh.... but it was all so worth it. Such a great book! I'll miss Harry!

I did make an attempt Tuesday to work on that 2,112 piece puzzle, the corn and bean block, but had to stop due to fatigue. I'm hoping to pick that one back up again soon. It would be nice to have all the blocks done. I did make the missing pieces and now have the right number of blocks.
Since some of you have been blogging about their garden, I thought I would share my garden with you. Unfortunately, it's sort of being neglected due to the barn. It seems that every year we ignore our vegetable garden due to a project.

The large bush to the left of the chimney are we call our cherry tomatoes on steroids. Dh suggested that I wait until mid August to take a picture, but I think you get the idea. There's something about that spot that just makes the plant grow to enormous size. We actually need a ladder to pick the cherry tomatoes. They are so good and sweet!

The bushes on the right of the chimney are regular tomatoes. Even they are much larger than the ones we have planted in our garden. Dh says that he read some where about the red brick wall being a factor in the growth rate.

They say you shouldn't plant tomatoes in the same spot every year, but is doesn't seem to be a bother. We've been planting cherry tomatoes in that spot for the past five (5) years and we always have an amazing crop.

Here is a picture of our vegetable garden. I wanted you to be able to compare the two. As you can see, the tomato plants are not as huge as the one next to the house, which were all planted at the same time. We planted some sugar snap peas, which I am so looking forward to nibble on. Our broccoli is not doing as well this year. We should have a huge crop of cucumbers. I hope our neighbors like fresh vegetables!

As you can see from my garden, I do not have a decorating gene in me. Oh.... how I love the way Melanie from Covered Porches decorates her garden.

Today I decided to go for some quilting therapy and bought myself a little treat. What a great book it is!

It has some beautiful table toppers that are a combination of cotton fabric and wool applique. Others are made of wool only. I love the one on the cover, which is cotton with wool applique! I thought they would be great projects to work on in September. With school starting, I wanted projects that were not too time consuming, offering somewhat of a quick gratification.

I did buy some other stuff but I cannot show you. It's a surprise! lol

Well, I shall let you go to take a dip in the pool! It's a hot one today! There's nothing like water to cool you off!

Have a great day every one! Keep Kool!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Owl delivery!

Just wanted to let you know that I shall be away for a while!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Fun Mail

I want to share with you a package that was sent to me all the way from Iceland. If you recall I did not participate in the pincushion exchange, mainly because I'm really not good at making that type of gadget. Guess what I received?

This little beauty was sent to me by Guðrún. Isn't she just the sweetest? You should see the workmanship, amazing! Without even knowing, she made it using one of my favourite colours, burgundy! Wow, I am just so lucky!

This beautiful pin cushion is now sitting next to Bernice II and is being put to good use.

Would you believe that dd asked if she could have it. Yea, right! I'm not sharing! lol

She also included lots of other little goodies. Candy from Iceland. I did share that with DD and her friends today. I informed them that I couldn't tell them what it was as I cannot read the language. They were game to try and loved it. For those of you who aren't game to try something they have no clue what it is, Perlupukar are sort of like mini M&Ms and the Avaxtapukar are jelly beans.

I kept the blackish package, Djupur, for myself. Hey, I figured that lakkris probably means licorice. Yum, yum one of my favourites! These ones are covered with some sort of chocolate! Bonus! Gosh, keep sending candy and I'll have to post a new picture of me with extra pounds on! lol

There were two (2) beautiful candles, a pattern and some Sniff tissus. Hey, I'll be styling when I use an Icelandish tissue! Not that I'll want to use them, they're for a special occasion! LOL

I can't wait to make the tablerunner. The pattern is called Bloomin' Runner by G.E. Designs Iceland!

I love it all!

Thank you Guðrún, you are such a sweetheart! Gosh I'm spoilled!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Randomly me!

I have been tagged by Chookyblue , Moore Patchwork and Quilting and The Herbal Angel to list 7 random things about me. Hum... I did a similar post a while back. This time I'll do this a la Freudian, quickly off the top of my head:

1) I enjoy my solitude

2) I speak and write French fluently

3) I do not get bored

4) I'm intimidated by competitive anything including quilt show hence I do not enter my quilts.

5) I love the four (4) seasons

6) I enjoy rock alternative music

7) I'm a Girl Scout Leader

There you have it, Me a la Freudian! I will not tag anyone but if you feel you want to join in, please do. I enjoy reading about you!

Take care

Monday, July 16, 2007

A productive day!

Yesterday I turned down an invitation to sail on a beautiful windy and sunny day. It has been rainning most of the week here in Upstate NY. However, despite the great sailing weather, I was in need of some "me" time. Summer can be so busy will dd's activities and the need to enjoy the outdoors. So I sent DD off with my brother and stayed home, a hostage to my sewing machine.

As you can see, I have been working on that 2,112 piece puzzle, the Corn and Bean block. I have but the side sections and four (4) corners triangles to sew and the blocks will be ready to piece into a top. Well, that is after I make a couple more burgundy and green sections of the block. I don't know how that happened, but I'm missing a couple of pieces. I cleaned my sewing piles and found nothing. That is quite annoying!

Of course, there's ironing to be done before I sew all the other section, but at least you can see that I have made some progress on this UFO beast.

This is another quilt that I worked on. The pattern is called Pine Grove and is from one of Lynette Jensen's earlier books The Thimbleberries Book of Quilts, a favourite of mine. I've always liked that quilt and decided to make the pattern using fabric strictly from my scrap bin and stash. I have a small framing border to put on the block and I can start working on the sashing.

On this quilt, I took the opportunity to test Essential Threads by Connecting Threads. The price is certainly right at $1.99 a spool! I do like the fact that it is 100% cotton, however it is not my favourite. I do not find it to be a smoothly finished thread.

Here you have all of the blocks finished for my In the Pink Quilt. Yes, I have pieced them together and they are ready to be sewn into a top.

I do like the way the blocks turned out. Word of warning, if you do attempt to make this quilt from the pattern issued by Buggy Barn, read ahead and calculate the number of pieces that is required before cutting, it is not clear! I did make a few mistakes and thank goodness I was able to make it work!

For this quilt, I decided to test the Alex Anderson Master Piece thread. I'm in love!

On a previous blog entry I had mentioned that it worked beautifully for machine quilting. It does equally as good for piecing. I like the way the thread buries itself beautifully in the fabric. It has a smooth finish and just looks so good on the cone. lol

Thanks again for stopping by! Have a great week everyone!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Crayola affair - Partie 2!

Today I took three (3) of my experimental blocks marked with the black colour and did a wash. I needed to wash a quilt, so perfect timing. Again, just for good measures I threw in a dye catcher. You may refer to the first entry for the data on the products used etc...

This is block 2 (two). On this block there was nothing special. It merely stayed in a pile for 7 (seven) days with the other blocks waiting to be washed.

I label the number on the right front corner with the Crayola marker and use a permanent marker on the back. I can see the number on the front of the block. It did not completely wash out. Where the machine quilting has been done, I cannot see any of the outline.

I went outside, it's sunny today for a change and asked dh, who is still working on his stone wall, if he could see a number on the block. He could not. So I asked him to look for a number 2 (two) on the right hand corner. He still could not see. Then I told him to put his woman eyes on and finally he saw it! LOL He said that once I pointed it out, he was able to see the number but it's very faint. I do want to mention that I stretch the block in order for him to be able to see any marking.

This is block 4 (four). It was prepared on July 8th. I ironed the block, cotton setting, without steam. You can actually see the number 4 (four) on the block.

I also see a faint blueish tint where machine quilting has been done. On the right cheek of the cat, I must have made a dot while marking, letting the marker rest a bit.

I asked dh what he sees on the block. He could see the number. I asked if he saw any other marking. He said that he saw the dot on the right cheek.

This is block 5 (five). Same treatment as block 4 (four) but I ironed with steam. The number is also visible. I can also see a faint blueish line.

Dh could also see the number. I asked if he once again saw any other markings and said perhaps the left ear area. I'm stretching the block in order for him to clearly see. He said that the remains of the marker was hidden by the quilting.

The faint bluish line may have been avoided had I been more careful with my marking. The intend of this experiment is to look at various possible scenarios. It become obvious that one should not iron the block; heat sets the marking to a certain extent. One should avoid placing a marked quilt in an area where it will be exposed to extreme heat.

There you have it. Stay tune for the results of further testing.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Uncle! Okay I'm in for good!

Today I received some fun mail from a dear friend of mine in Oz. I met Cheryl on the newsgroup a couple of years ago and we have been pen pals ever since. She often sends me goodies from Oz. The last time she included a tube of Vegemite! It is quite an acquired taste! :o) As a matter of fact, I still have the taste in my mouth and that was months ago! lol

Is this an insane amount of chocolate or what?

I cannot believe she sent this much chocolate. She said that it was a chocolate hug! I do need to shed some pounds and this is not helping the situation! lol Oh well, I do like hugs and chocolate ones do just fine too! :o)

Do you see the Caramello Koala? Well, hands off they're mine! lol Those are my favourite. As a matter of fact, they have already been taken out of the box and hidden. ;o) We have something similar in Canada called Caramilk, however Koalas are so much cuter! lol Would anyone like cherry ripes? I could spare a few, okay perhaps some of the other chocolates too! lol

In the box were other little goodies that DD has already claimed. There is one more goody in there that is all for me! Yep, it's all mine and I'm not sharing that either.

Isn't it packaged beautifully? Leanne's House, A Quilter's Journey. I can hear you laughing Darlene, now stop it! lol

Yes, my blogging friends, I have succumbed to the hand embroidery world! And it's all because of Wendy, May Britt, Melanie and Darlene! It's all their fault! lol They just had to keep sharing their beautiful work. It was a conspiracy you know!

It would appear that my friend Cheryl knows Ms. Leanne and graciously offered to get the patterns for me. Isn't she just the sweetest? I tell you those people from Oz are wonderful! Thank you Cheryl!

Unfortunately, until I finish my new project and complete a UFO, I will not be able to start this embroidery quilt, which gives me plenty of time to think about how I want to do it. May Britt uses a very thin batting behind her blocks to hide the threads. I'll have to think about that technique. It would certainly solve the issue of how do I machine quilt an embroidered block. I used to embroider quite a bit in my mid teens. Hum.... that would be around ..... oh never mind! I was pretty much the only girl in high school to have embellished jeans. Kool hey!

I need a hug! So I shall let you go to look at my patterns and eat some chocolates. Not the Caramello, they're hidden and only for when I need a special hug! ;o)

Have a great day every one!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I can't believe I came across this!

Look here what I found! A treasure. Can you tell that I'm caving in to the pressures of hand embroidery. Okay Darlene, stop laughing...... you win! ;o)

I went to pick up Bernice II (180E) at the Dealer in St-Hubert (Off the Island of Montreal), which thankfully only needed some adjustments and a good cleaning.

They had a stack of magazines and patterns at a discount price. So I decided to take a peak and came across a copy of Vol 5 No 2 (June 2005) A Special Stitchery Edition published by Australian Country Threads. Now perhaps this means nothing to you but you wouldn't believe what's inside!

As you can see from the cover, we have an embroidered quilt designed by Bronwyn Hayes. Yes, that's the chicken lady on the top block with her friends.

Not only does it have the pattern for the embroidered quilt, Mama Says, but it has an article on the designer. Right away I thought of Darlene and Wendy who have embroided designs from Ms. Hayes. I love the chicken lady!

And if that in itself wasn't enough there's an article on Amanda Albert, who also has a blog The Herbal Angel, and includes a stitchery pattern, Scented Door Pillow.

Last but not least is an article on none other than Leanne Beasley. Of course, I wont bore you with the details of the other beautiful stitchery patterns included in this issue! ;o) Now, did I hit the jackpot or did I hit the jackpot? lol

You have to understand, I did not know who these individuals were until recently. My wonderful friends on Blog Land are responsible for their introduction. Some of you might already know or own this magazine. I'm just thrilled to have come across it and on sale to boot!

So, excuse me while I sit comfortably and read my magazine!

Monday, July 9, 2007

What's up.... The Crayola Affair!

I've been quiet on Blog Land, mainly because I didn't have much to report on the quilting front. Saturday, I took Bernice II (my 180E) to a Bernina dealer in St-Hubert (Montreal) to have her checked out. The "Check upper thread" screen has been coming on way more than I would like. Lately, she just hasn't been her usual self. I would like my machine for Tuesday, as I'm taking a class, Embroidery from A to Z, at the Viking (yes, I do associate myself with the dark side ;o). This is a one (1) year course on machine embroidery and I'm really excited about it. The dealer did say that they will try their best, however should Bernice II need a part, well.... No problem, I wouldn't want to keep using her if she had some serious issues.

I do want to let you know of a little experiment that I'm conducting at the moment. I'm tired of paying high prices for marking tools. So I decided to test the children's Crayola washable markers. Hence the experiment is called the "Crayola Experiment". Perhaps I should call it the Crayola Affair, it sounds much more catchy!

It was started on July 5, 2007 and will continue for quite some time. It dawned on me that if these markers actually wash out, why wouldn't they be good for marking quilts? I think I paid like $4.00 for eight (8) colours. For this experiment, I'm mainly concentrating on the black marker. I will report as I obtain more data from my experiment, at which case the detail (variable) will be explained.

As you can see I have all of these four (4) inch squares, marked and machine quilted. I do have one that is marked and not machine quilted. I also made blocks using the other colours and I will just let them sit till the end of the experiment. I intend on washing a block every 7 days, making the project last approximately 10 weeks. I figure I wouldn't want a marked quilt sitting for longer than that anyway.

For those scientific minds here are the products:

Fabric - pre-washed cotton fabric (quilt store quality) - No fabric softener (I don't use the stuff for my fabrics)

Batting: Left over Warm & Natural unbleached and unwashed

Thread: Coats & Clark Machine Quilting & Craft 100% Mercerized Cotton - Off white #470 - size 50 Egypt

Stencil: KQK Designs 2 1/2 - Q15 - Kitty

Laundry soap: Arm & Hammer Liquid - Powerfully Clean - Naturally Fresh - Clean Burst

This is block 1 (one). I thought I would test the stencil as is, without washing. My daughter had used her crayons to trace it out about two (2) years ago. I figured, most of us do not wash our stencils after each used. Well, unless they are a mess like this one was at first. The block was washed on July 8th. As you can see, the marks have washed out. I did put a Dye Catch sheet in the wash, just in case. The block was washed with a light load of laundry! Everything came out clean.

Thanks for stopping by. I do hope that you will be as excited about the Crayola Affair as I am. They mark fabric well, unlike the blue one's where I feel I need to go over the line a couple of times just to be able to see it.

On July 17, 2007, I shall be attending a Seminar given by Pam Damour, who is dubbed "The Decorating Diva" (I'm quoting this from the spew on her seminar). Since I have not been born with the decorating gene, I thought I'd educate myself. This seminar is for a benefit, which makes it even more appealing. Not only will I become educated in the decorating domain, but I also assist in a good cause. Bonus!

Have a great day every one!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy 4th of July!

Today, I decided to pass opportunities to socialize on this holiday. I know, I know, I sound anti-social, but I'm in desperate need of some "me" time and the rest of the week is pretty much booked.

My dad left yesterday morning and I had been around my brother in a 31 foot sailboat for two days. I think that warrants a good reason to stay home and sew, wouldn't you think? Not that I didn't enjoy myself.... Oh, and I hear a thunder storm rolling in.......!

Today, I'm taking a break from UFOs. I've decided that I can start a new project every time I finish a UFO and my new project must be finished before I start another one. I'm presently working on the In the Pink Quilt. I have all my pieces cut up and have begun sewing the blocks together.

Please don't think I work in a mess. I just placed all the pieces there so that I could take a photo. It's an easy quilt to make, however the directions are confusing. So, please beware should you tackle the pattern.

I'm taking the opportunity to test the Alex Anderson Master Piece thread for piecing. So far I like the way it looks. It buries itself neatly in the fabric. The only draw back I find are the spools. As you can see I use my embroidery gadget to hold it. I don't know if the spool would work well on it's side. I could purchase a smaller spool, but I like to be environmentally conscious!

Bernice II, (my 180E) is acting up. I've been getting the "verify your upper thread" screen. It's not the first time I have that problem. I think she's in need of a good tune up or maybe I just need a new machine, just kidding! I fiddled around with her a bit and so far so good.

Have a great day everyone!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Vermont Quilt Festival.... Partie 2

Today I thought I would show a bit of the antique exhibit. Many of the quilts were stunning. I don't know if I was allowed to photograph the quilts. I did not see any signs. However, I limited my photography to two quilts.

I could not but stand in aw when I looked at quilts made by various women more than a hundred years ago. Who would have known that their work would have lived to be part of her story. I will say that I am pleased that today we are striving to include more and more women in history. History is much too androcentric and it it time that we move away from the male perspective. What is unfortunate is that many of these beautiful quilts do not have the name of the individual who made it. Hence, the importance of labelling quilts and perhaps even keeping a journal about it.

When I saw this quilt numbered A6, I couldn't help but think of Libby from A Simple Girl and her love for small pieces.

This quilt is called Broken Dishes, circa 1840. It has more than 4,700 1 1/2 inch blocks. It came from the home of an individual in western Massachusetts. I was intrigued by the number of small pieces in the quilt.

It is quite a majestic quilt to view in person. The work that went into this quilt is phenomenal. Could you imagine collecting an enormous amount of small pieces of fabric and hand sewing them together to make the number of 1 1/2 inch blocks required to make such a large quilt? Here I am lamenting about my Corn and Bean block quilt, which has a mere 2, 112 pieces that are machine pieced . lol

It's hard to imagine that during that period, rarely was fabric purchased for the sole purpose of making a quilt. An individual would use pieces of fabric left over from dresses and what not. They didn't discard much during that time. It's hard to believe that the pieces I throw away would have been perfect for this quilt.

This is quilt A61 and is a Sampler Medallion, circa 1825. The center is crewel embroidery and does have the name "Jane Hodgson, Aged 11, 1825". Historians believe that is may have been the work of that particular individual, as it was common for young girls to be taught needle work. Of course there's always the possibility that this was commemorative piece.

It is unfortunate that nothing else is know about this quilt and many others. I'm sure the creator of this quilt did not imagine that her work would live to be part of history.

My historical reference is from the guide book issued by the VQF.

Thanks for stopping by!
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