Saturday, October 25, 2008

And now for the Babies

This past week has been a busy one for me, and one of the things that happened, was that my school staff had a baby shower for one of our colleagues. The baby is a handsome young lad named Cole. He is a big baby- about 15 lbs and he just turned 3 months old. He reminded me of my son, K who was also a big baby. K. is now a football player sized man even though he much prefers to play hockey. You think that it takes them forever to grow up but it feels like it was just yesterday when my boy was the same size as Cole.

The photos are two pictures of the more recent versions of the baby wraps that I have made. I first made this baby wrap around 1982 and have made it for two generations of babies- my son's and the next ones. I think I have probably made over 50 of them since I first made one for a cousin's baby. The pattern came from a McCall's book that had items to make for babies. Originally, I tied the quilts and the inside layer of the quilt was flannelette. I now make them with minkee or fleece and I meander them together. Some friends' children would drag them around until they were tattered and worn- a sign of a well loved quilt. The design is quite useful as it fits nicely in a car seat to wrap around the baby. I have used eyelet and lace as trim and it takes about 4 yards to go around the perimeter of the quilt.

Every now and then I think I should retire the pattern and make something different but then another baby arrives and I go back to the same reliable pattern. Do you go back to the same pattern over and over again or only make a design once because there are so many wonderful patterns to try and make?

The star fabric quilt with lace is Cole's and the other one belongs to Pam's grandson Hunter. Hunter's was the first one that I had ever bound like a standard quilt. Pam posted him wrapped in it earlier in the spring (the beginning of May) on her blog.

The bears in the middle are a photo of the bears on my filing cabinet at school. I took the picture because Meggie asked to see them so here are my collection of ceramic bears. Many of them came from my students and friends over a large number of years.

Today the wind blew and created havoc where ever it went. It brought with it some snow flurries and the temperature is quite cool tonight. We have been fortunate to have a very pleasant autumn but the drop in temperature makes me wish for my own baby wrap to curl under... How about you, what do want to do when the weather is inclement? I go looking for a good book, a warm shawl and a cup of....

Until next time - keep warm ...
Happy quilting,

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Game of Tag

Micki tagged me. This was indeed a challenge as I had not a clue how to link it so we will hope that it worked!

The game asks you to tell 6 little known things about yourself.

1. I collect teddy bears and children's books - the collection continues to expand which I enjoy sharing with my kindergarten students. The collection of china teddy bears began when a student gave one to me. I love Boyd's Bears and have a nice little collection that includes a teacher bear and bear brooches to wear.

2. I am quite hopeless at word games such as scrabble and pathwords. I am not good at seeing the patterns even though I am a reasonably articulate writer. I also terrible at for crossword puzzles...

3. I have made Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls but have never made a fur bear- perhaps one day - I have always wanted to try making one. There are some great doll makers out there. Check out Nicole's Annies if you like dolls:

4. My favorite holiday is Christmas and I usually manage to decorate the house nicely for the holidays- complete with a village that has a ceramic man looking at the stars( I wonder who he reminds me of ...:D). Sometimes Christmas decorations are up for a long time in my house.

5. My favorite flowers are sunflowers though I love most other flowers. I love how bright and cheery they are - they look like they are smiling at you. I also love Van Gogh because of his sunflowers and Irises. I have made a snippets sunflower wallhanging that one of my brother and sister inlaws have- I will find a picture one day to post...

6. I don't like pudding, yogurt or other mushy foods because of their textures and am not a huge fan of cake either (exceptions are Cheesecake and carrot cake) . The same goes for dumplings or other foods that have mushy texture.

I know that some people like to play games and some don't ... If you would like to play please consider yourself tagged.

On a different note, a beautiful package arrived from Loulee - all the way from the Isle of Mann, United Kingdom. Check out her wonderful blog to see all the lovely things she sent me on her giveaway. I am one lucky lady.... I am still thinking about the potential projects. Here is the link:
You will have to go back to October 16th post to see all my treasures.

Yesterday a good friend, L. and I went on our own little fabric hop- everyone needs to have a quilting friend or two. I have been fortunate enough to quilt with the same group of women for more than a decade. They are among my closest friends;and I know that I can count on them to care about me and listen, as well as giving me the opportunity to hear about the things that are important to them. Do you have some special quilting friends?

My friend L. and I always have a lovely time together - When I return from our adventures, I always feel upbeat and know that I have spent the time with someone who has given me the gift of her time and friendship for the day. My life is richer(even if my pocket book is a little bit poorer :D) for our times together.
As for the fabric shopping, and like many times before,I made my quilt stash a little bit larger with some more lovely batiks and one cool chicken fabric.
Did I need more fabric - no but I did find some beautiful fabric for such a good deal-I just couldn't resist -The pieces will make a beautiful quilt or two or... Some of us are self identified fabric-oholics - What other kind of collection can you pet or make into something useful?

As for that chicken fabric,I purchased it because I was inspired by a great quilt that Kim has made. Do go and check out Kim's funky chicken quilt. I have read Kim's blog for a long time and visit her regularly. Her blog is as fun as her wonderful chicken quilt. You can find it here..
Kim posts daily, so you may need to go back to her earlier posts this week. She makes wonderful quilts too so I am sure that you will be inspired by all her lovely work.

Time for me to do a little bit of work around the house and for school- a girl has to do what a girl has to do... and I need to quilt a baby wrap for a colleague that we are having a baby shower on Thursday .. More about the baby wrap next time....

Happy Quilting,

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving

Today we celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving- it is a time for a family dinner and in my house, to sing Happy Birthday to my husband. We are having a low key day- it is raining outside and the sky is kind of drab looking. Bruce took this picture(I think on a walk when he was in Victoria last fall) but I loved the fall colors with the berries and the leaves. I love the rich colors of the fall..

Bruce is a man of many talents- a wonderful writer,a good cook, a passionate astronomer, a lovely photographer and my best friend. He is getting the ham ready as I write.. We will have ham and potato bake(a dish from his mother's cookbook)and my favorite vegetable- turnip. You think it was my birthday and not his..

I am not sure if a couple of our son's friends will be here or not but, if not, it will be a small family dinner. Some years we have gone to friends or to one of our family's home for dinner - this year it may simply be us. However we celebrate it is nice just to be together.

Just a postscript regarding yesterday's star coin quilt. The pattern is from a book called "A World of Quilts" by Beth Ann Williams. The pattern name is African Coins. There are other lovely patterns in that book too- it was published by Martingale in 2003.

I wish one and all a HAPPY THANKSGIVING. May you find yourselves enjoying the company of good friends and loved ones.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Starry Starry Night

Its a starry night outside; a crisp and cool evening that is part of autumn in Alberta. I finally managed to download some of the photos of the last wedding quilt that I made this summer for friends of my husband. Like Bruce, they are amateur astronomers who enjoy the beauty and wonders of the celestial universe. This quilt is a coin quilt that has 50 different star fabrics in it. It is a simple design as I wanted to showcase the beautiful fabrics- it worked pretty well don't you think? I had been collecting star fabrics for awhile but,I also was the benefactor of some generous friends, who shared some other star fabrics with me so that there could be lots of variety in the strips. The strips are separated by rows of bars that have a faint star boxy braid down them. I chose to make it faint so it did not distract from the bands of stars. It is a large couch quilt meant for the happy couple to wrap around themselves and enjoy the night sky. The back fabric of the quilt looks like a big star field that you would see in a telescope or binoculars.

Like most of my other quilts, it has a handwritten label on it.It has the names of the recipients as well as the reason it was given to them. I usually name my quilts- this one I called STARRY STARRY NIGHT because of all the star fabrics, and because I love Vincent Van Gogh. It seemed to be the perfect name for a quilt given to a couple of starry eyed lovers.

Do you put labels on your quilts? The only ones of mine that don't have labels are the ones that I keep for our house- someday I will put labels on them too. The labels are handwritten that identify me as the maker and include the year that I made the quilt. I also have a journal of photographs that record my quilting journey but I am falling far behind in recording the information about the more recent quilts.

I am now beginning to look at other star patterns - perhaps I will make a new star quilt. There are so many star patterns to choose from that it will be hard to pick only one. I have made two lonestar quilts to share but that is for another post...

I hope that you are enjoying a starry night with loved ones.
Happy quilting,

Monday, October 6, 2008

Life is full of surprises these days

This week I am attending a conference on the early years - working with young children. Today was the first day of the three day conference and I went to the registration desk to pick up the conference materials. Imagine my surprise when I read my name tag and found the prefix- Dr in front of my name. I started to tell the woman that there must be some mistake and she stopped me and said there had been a mixup on some of the tags. It seems that a number of us had magically attained the esteemed label of Dr( at least for the next three days). I promise I won't get a swelled head but, if I do, I can always check to see if there really is a doctor in the house....VBG

Recently I have been fortunate to be the winner of a couple of blog giveaways. One of them was from Eileen at My Quilt Porch She sent me a gorgeous hand quilted piece. It has lovely cable on the outside border. I did not own a piece of hand quilting nor do I handquilt so this lovely piece of work will be treasured. She has a wonderful blog where she shares her life on the porch and her beautiful quilts.

I have a surprise coming from Manx girl. You can see her blog here: I want to thank LouLee for her lovely giveaway gift. She had asked the question " How do you get some me time? Loulee is currently working on some lovely fans- Do check out these lovely women's blogs- you will be glad you did.

My other surprise is the lap top with pictures is temporarily out of service so no pictures to post today. My techie son thinks that we will have to send it off to be repaired so I will have to try and get some photos loaded onto this computer.

Life is good.
Happy quilting,

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Do you have a Helper?

Mars asleep on a whirling pinwheel quilt made around 2004

I have a feline helper named Mars that has had a couple of adventures in the last few weeks. She can often be found laying in my fabric piles, or sleeping on my chair in the sewing room. When ever I am busy making a quilt, Mars is definitely around checking out the blocks, new flimsie or finished quilt. Sometimes, Mars will visit me when I am cutting strips or,if she is feeling even more adventurous, when I am stitching on the machine. The needle moving up and down draws Mars like a moth to a flame. She loves to stir up the blocks if I have arranged them on the floor (my little house does not have a good space for a design wall). Have you ever tried to distract a determined cat?

My favorite picture of her is posted on my header with three of my quilts: the Golden Leaf quilt, the brown back of a bargello quilt and a mystery quilt named Bear in a Cabin. The golden Leaf quilt is from an Australian Patchwork and Quilting( 2001-2002) Magazine and the Mystery Quilt I believe, was a pattern taken from McCalls in 1999.

This week we took her to the Vet's as she had a leaky red half closed eye. Mars does not like riding in the car so this was not to be a relaxing trip. She meows loudly throughout to indicate her displeasure. Fortunately the eye problem is not serious, and, after a return trip in the car, a couple of serious attempts to hide and a hundred dollar bill she is safely home. Giving her eye drops is a bit of an adventure; but manageable... We are not sure what caused her eye problem.

Mars is an indoor cat but lately she has taken to trying to sneak out of the house. One evening, I went to see where she was at,at bedtime. I could not find her in the house so I attempted to call her-(unlike dogs, cats can be counted on not to respond to being called VBG) What was I thinking??? However,I opened the front door and in Mars pranced- which was fortunate for her, because it gets plenty cool here on an September night. A couple of nights later, Mars managed to sneak out again but for some reason, she meowed to let us know she was on the wrong side of the door. Thankfully she has stopped trying to having her nightly adventures and her eye is looking much better. I am sure she will find other ways to be entertaining- Mars always does!

I know when the sewing machine is out and the blocks are being made- my helper will return. Glad to see your feeling better, Mars.
Do you have a helper?