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Archive for February, 2011

Fat Quarter Project 2 – from a warm house….

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Ok, so having a working thermostat is somewhat key.

The house is toasty and warm, and yes, as commented by Natty – making quilts would seem to mean a cold house wouldn’t be a problem…..WRONG – in my case, the issue is finishing the quilts…..I have too much fun making the flimsy (top) to ever get around to the backing, sandwiching and quilting, then binding…….oh well.  Next unexpected indoor cold snap everyone gets a ration of UFOs to either keep them warm, or finish.

Tonight a very serious #1 monster was asking me if she can choose her job when she grows up or if someone gives her one……then announced she is going to be a fashion designer.  She told me she is creative, can draw, and is taking a sewing class.  And due to watching a tv other than one at our house she saw a glimpse of the Oscar red carpet tonight and was totally taken with the dresses, and outraged when her father changed channels to watch the Leafs lose in OT.  #1 is constantly drawing dresses and other fashion elements, so we will see.  But I told six year old #1 that she will likely have to make her own job if it is fashion design…….we have a ways to go yet so we shall see.

So – here is where we got too, just layout and sorting the sewing order/rows.

Anna liked the inclusion of a solid, I have to agree at this point.  The pattern against pattern would be very busy, and this fabric group wouldn’t cut it.  But it would be a great colour or value exercise……perhaps one day.  And ignore the crookedy bits – Miss Ed appeared and took herself on a dainty stepped regal tour.  At least she didn’t sprawl in the middle of it……

Fat Quarter Project update – and the Big Chill

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

No, I am not the Big Chill generation, though my children repeatedly ask me how old I REALLY am, hoping for a better answer I guess.  And I was also asked why “all my hairs” aren’t the colour they used to be anymore…..the BIG CHILL was here.  Last night I noticed the temp in the house was falling, well it kept going, as the furnace stopped working (at the same time the house was a lovely silent one last night).  So I didn’t attend our planned family hockey day, instead #2 monster and I stayed home today awaiting the service call, which came in the last 15 mins of my assigned afternoon 4 hour window.  So, now after receiving (yeah right – purchasing) ANOTHER (this is the 2nd) thermostat from my friendly power utility we again have heat in the house, and the entire time the furnace was/is fine.  In my area we have graduated pricing linked to consumption hours in an effort to shift or reduce usage.  Let me tell you, the presets on this thermostat clearly reflected that.  I don’t keep my house hot by any means, and I like sweatshirts and blankets, but the power utility seems to be going for arctic.  So the only recent sewing occurred late tonight.  I can’t even begin to figure out what happened to earlier in the week.

SO – I have now cut all of the strips, from the yardage and the fat quarters, sewn them together and pressed them, and cut the pairs of strips into blocks.

Next step will be the piecing …… watch this space!

Fat Quarter Project 2 update

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

Ok – I got inspired last night (made up my mind) and when I carried my dead weight youngest upstairs to return to her bed I decided to sew.  Credit for the inspiration behind this goes to Amandajean of Crazy Mom Quilts – she did this design using full quarter yards as a guest blog on Bee Squared some time ago.

It is a really neat way to make a zig zag quilt without using diamonds, triangles or anything like that.

I decided it would be ok to add a solid to offset the stripes, although I think when I have refined the measurements a bit to account for fat quarters less the selvedge I may redo this pattern using all patterned material, it should be quite high impact then.

Anyhow – wind has stopped blowing, off to do some stuff with the monsters, more later, enjoy the (hopefully for you) sunny still day!

The Basics Charity Challenge…..

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

SO – no quilty updates today, posted/ing a few more fabrics and precuts, wondering where this wind is headed, it is roaring again tonight.  Yesterday 2 project sites, one in northern northwestern ontario, one in central northern ontario both felt the effects of the wind and snow, the trans-canada near one was closed, aircraft for both were grounded….we won’t speak of the temperature.  My daughter today, while we were buying replacement winter boots, was astounded the sports store stocked summer stuff and wanted to know why.

Now – a charity update.  I finally managed to drop off a ridiculous amount of hotel toiletries to Herizon House today, they will put it to better use than I, and toiletries are much needed.  While there I asked if they could use very gently used, good quality kids clothes, or what else would help.  The lady mentioned they literally just had a lady just have a baby, and of course she has nothing.  Well – I have had my eldest’s newborn stuff go through her, her sister, her cousins and one friends kid – but as you may know or recall babies hardly wear stuff out at that age.   So – while exploring/decluttering (we are stuck in the maddening stage of making a bigger mess of the house while trying to organize it) my basement I went right to the stack of returned newborn stuff, threw in a few receiving blankets (possibly liberated from the hospital with #1) and a snowsuit (how appropriate), car seat cover thing and a little snuggle doll thing, filled up a big bag and went back to the shelter.   The lady there was quite surprised I came back – I had to go out again anyhow as my grocery trip once I got home was revealed to only be half done – and quite happy to take the stuff in.  So I asked her if by any chance the baby was a girl…..she is checking and getting back to me.  It is win/win, they will use it, and it isn’t in my house.

So – please go to Cara’s quilts – I can’t figure out how to do a link in here……advice?

But her blog post is (seems I may have done a link?  scary huh?).  It will give you pause to think how little effort it takes to affect the lives of others somehow, pay it forward a bit.  I am not unrealistic, we all have our daily challenges and despairs, but it could always be worse, we are generally fortunate in some way.

As well it is a great giveaway, though I think you will agree that isn’t the motivation, if it is the cause the triggers the effect so be it.

Now here is a funny one…..I was visiting friends this morning, and their 10 year old was regaling me with technology and her Isomething – the one that isn’t a phone but looks like it?  And she reels off how she is texting her friends, and buying apps…..of course she regarded me with a look of surprise when I told her I had an Ipad – of course doing work and reading books on planes wasn’t very cool, nor was the ability to look up recipes and have the Ipad instead of the work laptop on the counter getting messy….the whole encounter brought into stark relief that the world has changed since I was 10….and I am not excited to contemplate what I will be struggling to keep up with, or on top of to protect, my 10 year old when I get to that day in several years……there is a reason for red wine I guess.

A new fat quarter project…..

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

So – I am starting a new project.  We are not going to discuss the unfinished projects right now.  I am having a very productive new year so far, rocking the project generation, just not doing so great in the backing, quilting and binding end of things.  (and ssshhhhh – if you are my husband don’t read this – I secretly want a long arm machine……I may procrastinate myself to that place!)

Anyhow – back to the point.

Check out this mix.

8 new fat quarters, heavy on the orange.

I am going to do another original pattern.

For the last FQ project I am going to post the same material I used in an FQ set, once I write out the directions to what I did the last time.  It will be a general outline of dimensions etc., to include with the FQs.

This time I am going to take notes, then write it out and offer you guys the FQ bundle with the pattern.

Presuming of course the pattern works, and isn’t horrid, and you guys would like the pattern.  I suppose it would also be more democratic (artistically and from a colour preference point of view), and cutting edge technical, if I were to pdf the pattern and list that too…..Or just offer it free with FQ purchase.  You do of course realize that offering FQs is really just self-enabling – you can’t cut just one.  It is like addictive quilty fabric chips…..You may want 1, but I have to cut 2, and we can’t have a lonesome little FQ pining away on a shelf can we?

We shall see how she goes, it can’t be too bad.

And remember….ssshhhhh….and Natty – If I get the longarm one day, likely around when i open a bricks and mortar shop, you can come and play with it….I can see randomn skull stippling…..

So come back soon y’all…..

A touch of spring, one can hope…..

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

So – I wanted something to put on my kithen table to brighten things up a bit.

I came up with this runner.  It has to be narrow, as the table isn’t that wide.

It is Amy Butler Disco Flowers, bordered by Sandi Henderson Meadowsweet 2.

I like the colours, it is an unusual pick but it works, especially given the orange tone of the wood.

On this front a large part of today, and last night, was this….

A sick little girl, so the business of sewing was 2nd to the job of Mom this weekend.  She will be ok by the morning though, of course she is in my bed again…..

In the store I have some more bits and pieces to list, slowly but surely.  Keep an eye on it please.

Also – now fat 1/4s can be ordered.  Enter 0.25 in the quantity window.  I am going to put some selections together by designer as well.

Everyone have a good week, stay warm!  At least the days are longer and the sun nice and bright……

An update from the land of scalded fingers….

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Since Toronto is in a deep freeze I wanted soup …. all day.  So I decided to make a chicken stew, you would think I was new at this.  I have scalded my left hand (which is my important hand) twice now with steam and water draining from a chicken.  And since I didn’t use near enough roux I am trying to simmer my stew down, so it is too hot to savour……

But there are some successes….

These have no pattern, I am just going with it.  Also not sure if I will do another round of logs or not.

I am still working around this……..

She matter of factly came down while I was taking a break from scalding my fingers, watching the Leafs, to tell me she would wait in my bed for me to be done cooking.  But she needed more babies.

So no real sewing tonight.

But hey, have no fear.  I did manage to get up to some other trouble this evening.

Check this  one out.  Along with the craving for soup (which has passed now that it resulted in injury) I  have been wanting Texas Red from a restaurant near my office I go to alot.  It is purist Chilli for those who are unfamiliar.  It is just beef and spice.  No beans, which is good as I can’t stand those, and have never ever put them in my Chilli.  At the place I go to with my brother, whom I work with, I like to order it as a side dish, that is all I can handle.  He on the other hand orders a big bowl, tries to keep it from staining his shirt or tie, and sweats all over his entire head.  It is great fun.

But he hasn’t exploded….yet.  So, we didn’t want to take the time to do this yesterday, today I found a recipe for Texas Red.  And I went to the Market to get my lunch, and found someone who sells really big dried chilli peppers.  This is all new to me.

I love Mexican and Tex Mex food, and have several very well written cookbooks, but alot of the ingredients you simply can’t get here, at least not without looking harder than I have.  I have no idea where to find the appropriate neighbourhood grocery.

So I did this…..

It is amazing the amount of flavour this has so far, and it is salt free as well. So my husband can eat it.  Tomorrow stew beef from the farm gets explosive….Chilli may yet blow my brother’s head up….(I will save him some)….Or maybe take some to my Dad when we go up North this weekend, as he seems to think making family breakfast for the grandkids of French toast with hot sauce in the egg batter is acceptable as it is drowned in maple syrup…..I come from a perfectly normal family of course!

But this was fun, and I am quite looking forward ot step 2.  I am even reading the recipe, and paying attention to alot of it!

As to sewing back to the squares tomorrow….still think those through.

Stay warm …..

Hah! I got to sew….

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Tonight I had some issues, of varying importance.  High on the importance list was NCIS.  I like to watch it.  Right behind that was River monsters and the episode about the snakeheads invading North America.  I had to watch that, and planned to, as it has recently been in the news again, they are trying to keep them out of the Great Lakes but apparently the electrical current control fences they are using aren’t working, or something…..the reason this is all an issue is 1 – I can’t sew and watch tv.  Or knit and watch tv (tv isn’t the entire problem there).  I need to pay attention to what my hands are doing.  I can read and watch tv, or do computer stuff and watch tv… is the hands that don’t co-operate.  As well, I am a bit of a hopeless case with the tv, it is a revelation to me every week that I find what I want to watch, actually on the day it is on, after the kids are in bed.  Of course they don’t stay there.  That was my other issue.  And my bed has a visitor tonight who is going thru a let’s sleep with mummy phase (cause on vacation she got too!), she will be a resident guest soon.

But I got some cutting done, and fabrics pulled out.

I took this picture and figured – ok – sleeping kid, getting late, more tomorrow.


I whipped off one quick block.  I am going to do a simplified log cabin design, and maybe not go as far as to cut it and lay the strips wonky, but I am going to make it uneven.  I am not sure if i will use a white sashing between the log cabin blocks to set them off more.  Still thinking about that.

As well as getting this started – on a cold, cold night – I loaded some more stuff into the store, check it out.

I also made a phonecall today I wanted to tell you about.  I was reading blogs, and following a book tour through Quiltland, when I came to Cara Quilts, another Canadian blogger.

Please go there (I don’t know how to make the button work…..) and check out her charity challenge.  I called my local women’s shelter to see if they would accept some of the scads of hotel toiletries my scottish nature forces me to take from hotel rooms, but it doesn’t get used with anything close to the frequency it is acquired.  So perhaps some of you readers could make a donation to a shelter, and join on on Cara’s challenge and giveaway.

Cheers all, more to follow on the Fresh Flower quilt…..

Hello guys…..

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Well, we made it home after a security alert closed half the terminal…what was going to be a late flight became a really late flight.

I have to give my little monsters credit, they were exceptionally well behaved while we were stuck with no information in a hot airless hall waiting, with lots of adults up to their important shenanigans all around them, the girls ignored it and played amongst themselves.

I got home to some over due website work – I listed the Fresh Flowers – I can’t tell you how fresh this line looks, and the oranges from Dilly dally match……I have to check for some other matches.  I am going to cut into this yardage as soon as I can get some time….I am thinking a wonky log cabin quilt around the flower blocks from the panels.  I will send oyu some pics.

There was another box here when I got home, smaller but it will still have some goodies.  From a different wholesaler I had ordered some Joel Dewberry and Amy Butler amongst other goodies before christmas, then given up on the order arriving.  So I took a quick pic, I will go through it all tonight…..

Sorry about the pic, my husband is downloading the vacation pics and has hijacked “MY” camera (we always take it on vacation, that way if it is lost it is only mine that is lost……it is ok, I love my camera).  When our first was born we searched for an “idiot” camera with a shutter fast enough for the fleeting expressions of a newborn.  And we found one.  And by kid #2 and lots of trips for work and pleasure later, the camera – and it’s identical replacement – had died.  And Kodak took the model off the market.

We cycled through a bunch of other point and shoots and I couldn’t deal with the delay… my husband (the camera addict) got me the Nikon digital SLR – I appreciate the tight focus of the digital at the end, but I am also old school enough that I focus by hand and eye through the viewfinder, not the screen.  And nothing can beat the SLR shutter firing.  So the pic above from the blackberry with my shaky hands – NOT SO GOOD.  Doesn’t do the fabric justice!  (and shhh – Nikon has a new camera I read about while travelling a few weeks ago I may need…..)

Better pics and details of what is in the box tomorrow all – have a good evening…..

Last night away from home – I mean SNOW!!!!!!

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

Ok, I like winter…..but I can’t say I have missed the weather at home for the last few days, specifically the mind numbing crawl of traffic at home whenever there is any weather at all.

Whereas here traffic is just slow.  Sunny, monotonous weather for the most part, and really slow drivers.  Strange.

But I learned my last time here, though not by example, that the unmarked police cars are wickedly unmarked.  Unlike at home where there are the same car with all the lights and bits in odd places, just painted a solid colour, and either ghosted with clear coat or not, here they are civilian cars, absolutely normal in appearance.  Until I guess his lights behind the grille go off and he nabs you.

Sadly I was within 100 feet of a JoAnn’s yesterday and didn’t go in.  There isn’t likely to be anything I need (no, really need – like can’t live without need) in aJoAnn’s right now, but wandering the aisles is always fun.

My eldest and I did by some Origami making materials today.  Truth be told that is likely a Dad project, my attention to fine folding detail in a proscribed order while following directions is likely to falter.  It isn’t like quilting.  The enthusiastic shop girl was thrilled to talk origami to my supposedly, I am told, cute and engaging (code for manipulative monster) – who is now totally delusional in that she thinks she and mummy are going to make a lovely crane thing that when you gently pull the head forwards flaps it’s wings.  C’mon, seriously?  Who the hell thought that up?

You all do realize that IF I have to make this crane, and IF someone pulls on it’s head, there is every chance that the head itself will fall off?  Hopefully OHIP covers psychotherapy when my children need to repress the “Origami gone wrong” portion of their childhood that I see coming down the tracks….

See – quilting is much safer for all concerned.

A Quilting mummy can’t emotionally wound her children with errant crafting efforts that go horribly awry…..don’t stay tuned for origami photos, I will tell it like it is and admit there is unlikely to be anything to take a picture of, or even use up the approximately 200 little sheets of paper I have……wait….the origami squares are close to charm pack size….I could always buy the special size staples my useless stapler takes (which require a trip tot he office supply store so have now been needed for about 3 years) and staple the squares into a quilt…..or even sew them using a smaller stitch spacing……

So – new plan – I will attempt, with full enthusiasm yet predictable results, a crane.  Once the Origami excitement passes and the kids have moved on I will hijack the other 199 sheets of funny paper and see what I can create……

Home LATE tomorrow……..then we shall chat about the new spring Fresh Flowers, and French General, and the goodies which I picked up when I visited the warehouse in Vancouver, they should be at my place soon.