Friday, September 30, 2016

Circa 2016

Here are the Circa blocks that were posted last week. These are perfect blocks for using up small scraps. 

This week's blocks are the last in the Circa 2016 series. I started making these blocks in January of this year and next week we start putting our quilts together. It will be exciting!

I'm so happy that it's Friday... this week has felt like I packed in two weeks of work. I didn't, but it sure felt like that! The good news is that I have time to sew tonight! I have my projects all lined up and am ready to go!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Broken Dishes

Cobwebs might start forming in my quilting studio if I don't get myself more organized and/or find more hours in the day. My sewing table is covered with the projects that are awaiting decisions to progress to the next stage. But I can't deal with that right now.
When I am really busy and feeling overwhelmed, I need something mindless to sew, which means that the projects requiring great concentration, and those requiring decisions get put aside in favour of something quick and easy.

This week in my sewing moments, which have been few and far between, I have been making these broken dishes blocks. Easy and relaxing. No decisions or brain power required. These are for Barb's Block Swap and need to be in the mail at the beginning of October, so it's the perfect project to focus on this week.

I am using my favourite BlocLoc ruler to square up the HSTs, but because I cut the triangles with the Easy Angle ruler, there is very little trimming required. Can you see the tiny slivers that are being trimmed? I wouldn't usually even do the trimming except to cut off the dog ears, but these blocks are for a swap and I want them to be perfect!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Design Wall Monday - UFO

I have been making a bit of progress with this month's UFO. I finished making the one missing block and have the complete set ready to make into a quilt top. 
Except I can't decide on whether to sash or not. So maybe you can help me decide? Hopefully you can get a sense of the choices even with these terrible photos!

Here are some of the sashed blocks set side by side on the design wall. There are 49 blocks altogether which I would make into a square quilt 7 blocks across by 7 blocks down.
With no sashing the quilt would be 84" square. This would be the easiest way to join them together. But does it look too mashed together?

Here is another set of blocks with a black fabric in between the blocks. It would take longer to put in the black sashing, but would it be worth the effort? Does the black frame enhance the look of the quilt? I would probably make the sashing strips 1.5" (cut 2") and that would bring the quilt up to 96". That's a big quilt!

Okay, now here is another set of blocks with a neutral print between the blocks. It gives a whole different look to the quilt.

I am completely undecided and a bit frustrated because I have procrastinated this decision so long, that I won't likely make my goal of turning these blocks into a quilt top by the end of the month. This project will have to slide onto next month's to do list!
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly link up for the hand stitching community! We hope you will visit some of the blogs linked below to see the wonderful range of projects being stitched today.
I will be sitting by the water again today and will be putting more stitches in my reproduction bow tie quilt. It is the perfect sized project to take anywhere. It covers my lap and keeps me warm, but isn't so big that it drags on the ground.

The September weather here has been glorious with warm temperatures and sunny blue skies most days. Last week I was treated to forest bathing, and this week I will be enjoying my Sunday stitching by the water! 
I spread the quilt out on my lawn chair so you can you see my stitching progress. I started in the spot where the blocks form a circle and have been stitching in concentric rows out from there. Slow and steady stitching finishes a quilt eventually!
What are you working on today? Link up your hand stitching project below and share your progress.


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Scrappy Saturday

The colour for the Rainbow Scrappers this month is red and I have plenty of red action going on in my sewing room this week. With my smallest of scraps, which are 1" squares or strips I made a few more red blocks for the never-ending Omigosh project. The neutral squares are 2". I have been making these blocks for 3 years now, and am hoping to reach the half way mark by the end of this year. 
To see the other red RSC links this week, hop over to SoScrappy.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday's Circa Installment

Last week's Circa block was a half square triangle (aka HST). I just didn't think that simple block would feel happy being with all the other wonderful blocks we've made for this quilt, so I decided to make some broken dishes blocks. I am making 80 of these blocks for Barb's block swap, so what's a few more?!? 
To see what's happening with the Circa sewalong this week, hop over to Temecula.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Aurifil Block of the Month

Last night I had a fun visit with the Paris Quilting Bees. What a great group of enthusiastic quilters! I was so wrapped up in the moment that I forgot to take a picture of them to show you. But I did get a photo of their guild banner before I started talking ... I just love a block sampler!
I have some exciting news to share...
I have been sewing the Aurifil blocks of the month this year and have really enjoyed each one. Well, guess what happened?!? This month I won the draw for a box of Aurifil thread! Yes I did! I am so excited and can hardly wait for it to arrive in the mail. I have always looked at the Aurifil thread collections and coveted them... and now I'm actually going to have one of my very own!
My block from last month is even posted on the Aurifil blog... OMG... check it out here. And I got an email from Pat Sloan to tell me that I won... that was exciting enough! But did I mention that I'm also getting new thread too! I'll show you as soon as it gets here.

And in the meantime I sewed my 9th block, which is called "Into the Blue". I think my version will be called "Into the Red". You can download the pattern here. There are 72 pieces in this 12" block. I'm not totally thrilled with how the stripes lined up in the centre, but I'm leaving it anyway. You can see more variations on this block at the link up here.

Here are all my blocks together on the design wall. We've finished 9 blocks so far and have 3 more to go to the end of the year. It will be a great sampler quilt! But wow that is a lot of red!

Apparently I love red!
Here is how many spools of red thread I already have to machine quilt this project when it's done! I ordered a box of it from Tristan a long time ago. I have no idea why I thought I needed that much red thread!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Paris and Bears

That's an unusual subject line, eh?
I am speaking tonight at the quilt guild in Paris at 7 pm at the Paris Fairgrounds. That's the city of Paris in Ontario, not the Paris which is in France! I am looking forward to meeting lots of quilters and seeing what's new in their quilting world. 

In my quilt studio, the bear quilt has been started.
It was hard to narrow down the fabric choices. I think the sashing fabric will be the clincher and I haven't made a final decision on that yet. I see in my mind's eye how my project will be, but I'm not 100% sure yet if it will turn out as I am hoping. Brown is a hard colour for me to work with. My browns all seemed to be too dark, which might be a good thing since I want to make a black bear. I'm just not sure if the contrast will be enough.
But I started anyway. If we wait to start until we are certain of the outcome, nothing would ever be started!
I'll be making these blocks for a while down, 96 to go!
Linking up to "Let's Bee Social"

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


I haven't written much about my canning efforts this year, because there hasn't been much effort put forth! In past years I have done a lot of canning, including trying dandelion jelly. It was not popular and eventually I had to throw it out since everyone refused eat it. Go figure!
I picked up 2 baskets of peaches at the market and when we couldn't eat them fast enough I decided to make some jam.

Even though I was a bit out of practice, it turned out just the way I like it... not too sweet, not too runny, with lots of chunks of fruit. 4 cups of chopped peaches made 5 1/2 jars of delicious jam. Unlike the dandelion jam, this batch is being devoured!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Design Wall Monday

I have been slowly making some of Lorna's Kissy Fishy blocks and having a blast! I am taking my time to make each fish unique ... picking out a watery background fabric, a fish body fabric from my stash of Kaffe Fassett Paperweight fabrics, a complementary fins/face fabric (polka dots if possible), and the hardest of all... picking and fussy cutting a 1" square for the eye. 
This kissing fish school has 11 fish so far, but when I saw the photo on the computer, I realized that one fish needs reconstructive surgery on her jawline. Poor thing! Why don't I see this when I'm actually sewing the blocks?!? I would have had a piece leftover and still I didn't even realize that poor fish was not sewn correctly!
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the Slow Sunday Stitching linky party! Thank you for joining us today!
In my recent online wanderings I came across the Japanese word "Shinrin-yoku" which means "forest bathing". Doesn't that sound wonderful?!? That is exactly what I was doing last weekend and it was indeed wonderful
The health benefits are listed here and include decreased stress hormones and blood pressure, and increased immune system functioning. Yes please, give me some of that! 
The forest is a magical, relaxing and healing place, and if you add hand stitching activity while in the forest, you double up the relaxation effects.
And the forest teaches the lesson of perspective... just look at how tiny and insignificant my embroidery block looks in the forest. And did you notice that huge mushroom on the left of the stump at the bottom of the photo? The forest was full of them.

While forest bathing, I finished this Life Is Beautiful block... 
"Love is the greatest refreshment in life". I would add that nature is another of the greatest refreshments in life.

Life Is Beautiful block #28

What are you working on today? We love to encourage you in your slow stitching endeavours and see what you're working on. Link up your hand stitching blog post below.
And if you haven't already signed up for my 10th blogiversary fabric giveaway, hop over here and leave a comment to win some Good Neighbours fabric.

    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Scrappy Saturday

The Rainbow Scrap Quilters are working with variations of the red scraps this month. Many of my projects already have some bright red blocks, so I'm going to work with some of the darker red scraps in my bin.

First up this month I made a red "Circle of Squares" block (tutorial here). It's such a fun block to sew and it turned out well with that spotted background fabric from the Wintergraphix II line. I sure wish I had bought more than a FQ of this fabric! 

Here are the first 4 blocks together on the design wall. It's going to be a great quilt!

To see more RSC postings, hop over to SoScrappy.

And if you haven't already signed up for my 10th blogiversary fabric giveaway, hop over here and leave a comment to win some Good Neighbours fabric.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Friday Circa Blocks

Here are my most recently made Circa 2016 blocks. These are easy 9 patch blocks, all made from scraps. I made one extra "just in case".
Hop over to Temecula to see what blocks we will make this week.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

10th Year Blogiversary Reflections!

Ten years ago on this day of September 15, I created my first quilt blog post! TEN years people! That's longer than most people commit to doing anything these days!

Probably the reason for my long term commitment is simply that I really enjoy it. Blogging combines a few of my favourite things -  writing, quilting (of course!) photography, and social connections to like-minded people. 
It is often a safe haven for me, where I ignore all the problems of my life and the world in general, and focus on what gives me joy. It has become part of my lifestyle, and I am happy to say that even after 10 years, I'm still all in! My ability to visit other blogs and be an active commenter waxes and wanes depending on my other commitments, but it's a big part of my blogging life.

Over the years I have learned so many techniques, read thousands of blog posts written by other bloggers, and started way too many projects because of the enticement of the beautiful projects I've seen. I have seen lots of bloggers come and go over the years and I've seen a lot of trending - hot new things that are here today and gone tomorrow. Everything is in a state of growth and change, including each of us as quilters, and the internet as a tool in our quilting adventures.

What I love about blogging:
*Socializing - the opportunity to meet quilters from around the world, take a peek inside their studio and see what they are creating in their lives. I have met so many wonderful humans over the years, and some I have even had the privilege to meet in real life! I also really love my Slow Sunday Stitching weekly party and virtual visits with like-minded stitchers.
*Beauty - I love to see beautiful photographs of quilting activities, fabric, quilters, and quilting adventures. 
*Learning - about the "must see" places in the quilting world, including the most inspiring quilt shows, and amazing quilting stores.
*Quiltalongs - I am a social quilter, and I really enjoy working on projects with other people, whether in real life or in cyberspace. It's fun to see many variations on a theme, and to watch projects develop that are similar yet so very different. I thrive on the positive energy that is generated by a group of creative people working on the same goal.

What I don't love about blogging:
*Overwhelm - I don't like feeling overwhelmed, but I have a tendency to overcommit my personal resources, and to underestimate how long a task will take to complete. At my quilt guild meeting this week Elaine Theriault called this "Delusional Doability"! SO true! This can make my life stressful at times, and I have been working on being more realistic about my time and energy. The blogging world presents endless enticement for creative endeavours, which forces me to set healthier boundaries for my own enjoyment, and to reduce feelings of overwhelm. (**Janet I can see you rolling your eyes and saying "Oh sure you are cutting back"!! I am... starting next week!)
*Advertising - there is definitely an increasing trend of "blogging as marketing tool/advertising". I pay money each month for the use of linky services for Slow Sunday Stitching, and have never made a cent from my blog. I blog because it enriches my life, not for profit. I dislike most kinds of advertising (although I do enjoy some of those creative Budweiser commercials!) and believe that most people don't comprehend the power and influence that advertising has in their lives. Most of the blogs I frequently read are written by regular quilters, ordinary people like myself, who quilt and blog for pure enjoyment. 

To celebrate my 10th blogiversary, I am happy to share some of my most recent fabric purchase with one of my blog readers. I bought the entire collection of Amanda Jean's new fabric line called "Good Neighbours".  Yep... bought the whole thing!
I have never done this before but I just love it and can't wait to start putting little bits in my Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks. This is a terrible photo of part of the fabrics and trust me... they are much prettier in real life! 
I also bought one huge hunk of this lovely fabric for a backing. Don't you just love the selvage edges?!? See the little cups??
If you want your name in the draw for the "Good Neighbours" (Canadians have to spell neighbours with a 'u'!) charm pack, leave me a comment below. I'll draw the winner in 10 days... good luck everyone!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Small Community Fall Fairs

In addition to enjoying the fantastic weather at this time of year, another highlight of the season for me is the longstanding community tradition of Fall Fairs. If you live in Ontario, Canada you can click here to find the fairs closest to you. 
Give me some human flavoured taffy!
I'm not a big fan of attractions such as demolition derbies, or midway rides, or scary creatures like this one wandering the fair grounds! But I do enjoy the animal shows, and the beautiful exhibits of flowers, photography, crafts, baking, and antiques. My contribution to continuing the fall fair tradition is to maintain my fair judging certification and I try to judge at a few fairs every year. Also, for the fairs that I don't judge, I try to enter some of my photos and some quilts.

1st prize photo of Max!
My great delight this year so far has been winning the first prize ribbon at the Paris fair for "That Special Pet". Here is my photo of Granddog Max. 
He's special alright! 
Oh my goodness this little guy just makes me laugh! You wouldn't know it by this photo where he is trying to look like a fierce Santa, but he is so sweet and loving.

And he's not only just "special" to us, he beat out all these other special pets in the category. I couldn't even get all the entries in this photo, but let's just say the competition was stiff for our little Max! There were so many entries, they gave out double ribbons, so in truth he tied for first place.

These were my quilts that I entered in the fair last year. It's always fun to see ribbons on your quilts. Last year I had 3 hand quilted ribbon winners and I was tickled about that. I don't have as many finishes this year to enter, but there will be a few.
I encourage you to continue the tradition of attending community fall fairs. Get out there and find out what you enjoy the most!
Linking up to Wandering Camera September linky party ... if you enjoy photography, hop over to see some amazing photos!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Plein Air Quilting

There has been very little indoor activity inside my quilt studio.  But a lot of quilting has been going on at "Silent Lake", and of course since I arrived, it is no longer "silent"! LOL 
The weather has been my absolute favourite, and I am feeling refreshed and renewed from all of the "plein air" quilting. Just look at this view. The sun is casting long shadows because it's almost time for the sun to set. I cannot soak up enough of this sunshine and fresh air to get me through the long cold winter ahead. 

I saw this sign at the entrance to the park where I am camping and thought of Lorna's MOD Bear Paw Quiltalong. She has posted the cutting instructions and as soon as I get home, I'll be starting to cut bear fabrics.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Slow Sunday Stitching - Marking

Welcome to Slow Sunday Stitching! Grab a cup of coffee or tea and join us as we update you on what's happening in our world of hand stitching.
Bohin chalk pencil, Frixion pen, and Hera marker
I have been hand quilting my civil war reproduction bow tie quilt. As I was basting it, I decided on the design of the quilting but wasn't sure how to mark the lines. There are so many marking options and I like them all, so it was just a matter of picking one. I decided on using these three just to make it more interesting!
On the light backgrounds I am using the hera marker to make a slight crease in the fabric. It's easy to see and doesn't result in any marks to remove on the light fabric.

hand quilting bow ties
But I find it hard to see hera marks on dark fabrics so I am using either the chalk marker or the frixion pen on the bow ties. I like both of these markers and I am using whichever shows up better on each fabric. On that grey/brown bow tie you can see I marked the left side with red frixion and the right side with chalk. Mostly I prefer the chalk because it just brushes off so easily. 

Today I will be happily hand quilting more bow ties.
What are you working on? We love to see your hand stitching projects, and cheer you on in making slow progress.


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Scrappy Saturday - National Sewing Machine Day Sept 10th

Today is the day we honour our sewing machines! It's National Sewing Machine Day! I use a sewing machine almost every day of my life and cannot even imagine my life without them. 
To honour my sewing machines (and keep track of them all!) I created a page on the top of my blog called "The Herd". It details all of the machines I have, where I found/bought/inherited them from, and why each one is special. It might be an unhealthy relationship I have with my sewing machines. I leave it up to you to decide. I'll be in my sewing room playing with the herd and cutting fabric for my next Alamo Star leader/ender blocks.

These are the Alamo Star blocks I made over the last couple of months... two pink for July on the bottom row, two light purple blocks for August, and I'll be cutting fabric for some red blocks for September. No wait... I'll be fixing that crazy looking star block first!
To see more rainbow challenge blocks, hop over to SoScrappy.

Friday, September 09, 2016

Circa 2016

It's Friday!
Here are the blocks for last week's Circa 2016  installment.
These are 3" sawtooth stars with a 4 patch centre block.
I adore them! I think I want to make a whole quilt of these little babies!
We need 3 for the Circa 2016 project and I made an extra block "just in case". But one of the blocks is kind of a dud... the one with not enough contrast, and it might be voted off the island!

Have a fabulous friday!

Thursday, September 08, 2016

New Fall Quiltalongs

I just love quiltalongs. It's so fun to see many creative versions of the same quilt, and I enjoy the energy of a group working on a project.
Lorna over at Sew Fresh Quilts is hosting another quiltalong this fall. Have you seen it? The pattern is called MOD Bear Paw and you can get all the details here.
I don't have time to start a large project, but I have seen several bears this year, both live ones and dead ones, so I HAVE to make this quilt. Maybe I'll make a smaller version.

And also Red Crinoline Quilts is hosting a Block of the Week Fall Mystery, which I am also hoping to start. The first block has been posted here and is only 6" so it will be quick and easy... how can you resist!?! My Circa 2016 project will be winding up soon, so I've been looking for another weekly project to work on. 

Are there any other fall quiltalongs happening that I may have missed? I hate to miss out on starting a new UFO!

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Leader-Ender Challenge Update

Bonnie Hunter's Leader-Ender Challenge this year is the hourglass block. I chose to make my own version of a quilt inspired by a quilt from the 1800's made by Clarissa White Alford. You can see the original quilt here and learn more about it here.

I have just finished sewing the second block. Each block is made of 36 hourglass blocks, which I am sewing in a leader-ender fashion.
However, when it comes time to sew the block together, it's a concentrated effort. There are a lot of thick seams to match, and lots of points that I don't want to lose in the seams. I sure do love that blue/teal fabric that has sewing machines on it. I don't have much of it left and will sprinkle the remaining scraps in some of the future blocks.

Here are the first two blocks side by side. I like the ways in which they are the same and yet they are different.
Clarissa block #1 and #2

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

New Quilt - Kissy Fishy

Lorna from Sew Fresh Quilts released several new patterns this summer, and one of my favourites is Kissy Fishy. I was lucky enough to be a pattern tester for her, and this has been such a fun project to sew.

I am finally using my favourite Kaffe Fassett Paperweight fabrics (that I pick up every time I visit the Hyggeligt booth at a quilt show) for the fish bodies, bright polka dot scraps for the faces, fins and tails, and different blues for the ocean background. It's so fun to try to find little 1" scraps to use for the fish eyes! 

These are all left facing fish, and the right facing fish blocks are all cut and ready to sew.
You can see Lorna's Kissy Fishy over at Sew Fresh Quilts, and you can get the pattern at her etsy store here.