Sunday, December 28, 2008

Wedding Anniversary Flowers

Twenty eight years ago on Boxing Day (December 26), I married the love of my life, Bruce. Together we have raised a son to adulthood and enjoyed many adventures along our journey. I have been very fortunate to marry a good friend - Bruce has supported my interests (and I, his) all through our married life.

I made this paper pieced cuddle quilt using a a wall hanging pattern by Eileen B. Sullivan as the central medallion. I then added a number of borders and its finished size fills up our love seat. I love all the beautiful Christmas poinsettia prints one can find now.

When I wanted to choose my wedding flowers it was a bit more complicated than some wedding plans because of the date. We were married in a candlelight ceremony with the church full of colors of Christmas. My sister is a horticulture designer and turned my silk bouquet into a lovely basket. It looked wonderful and we had it as a Christmas decoration for many years. Alas, like many things, it had got tired looking and then lost some of the blossoms- This year, My sister has made me a new basket of poinsettias as an anniversary gift. The new floral arrangement is gorgeous and we will be able to enjoy it to for many years to come.

We went to visit my family(my parents and 3 siblings and their families) in Red Deer for the past few days. Red Deer is about a hundred miles south. We had two Christmas dinners with wonderful turkey and all the trimmings. We were more fortunate, than some other travellers across this country, who experienced difficulties getting onto planes. The roads were good - clear and dry though we ran into a skiff of snow on our way back earlier today.

While I was there my father took me down to the quilt store, Sew you Like 2 Quilt. It has moved from the place that Pam and I visited in the summertime. It is a lovely little store and I found some wonderful Laurel Burch fabrics on sale. They will be used to make a new Christmas quilt ( a next year project) LOL. I was tempted by lots of other of the beautiful Christmas fabrics but I resisted - there were many gorgeous poinsettia fabrics too..

During this second week of holidays I am looking forward to a few days where I get to use my sewing machine. I plan to make a texture quilt for my mother in law. I saw the pattern for it on in early November. I have been collecting different textured fabrics for this quilt for awhile. It is a long time since I sewed with fabric that was not cotton. I will either use a fusible interfacing or use a foundation . The design is simple- just large squares of different fabrics . I thank Julie for the idea- I hope that I can get it finished quickly and off to the West Coast so my mother in law can enjoy using it.

The crockpot is full of chicken soup and our dog Dusty has been curled up here as I have written this post. My husband and I have been watching the hockey game on television and the Christmas tree is brightly lit... Life is good..

I had a request to see Dusty our dog- Mars the cat is posted on the blog header and can often be found playing in the quilts. The only photo I have of Dusty was taken last summer prior to her first hair cut. She is looking pretty motley in the photo and is cuter with her hair trimmed. I will try and take a new photo of her one day soon. She is a schnoodle dog who is 7 years old.

Mars, the cat and Dusty, the dog along with the rest of us from Quiltmom's Household want to wish you a very Happy 2009.
With best Wishes,

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The clock is ticking - Hope and inspiration

It is the beginning of Christmas break and my thoughts turn to actually getting our home ready for Christmas- such is the way it is for me, at this time of year. I did put up our Christmas village and the Christmas stain glass a couple of weeks ago, and we have some beautiful Poinsettias sitting on the dining room table. However, the baking and presents and wrapping and putting up the Tree are now moved to the front of our agenda for the next few days. As I said before, buying for the two most important men in my life( my husband and son) has only begun... I am still looking for inspiration or maybe the belated Christmas letter to Santa...:D)

The weather has turned even colder with significant wind chill, so I am happy not to have to go out except for one big shopping trip. I know that the shopping will get done and so will our tree. We have always had a real tree in our home. Some years, we have had a big tree trimming gathering with many friends. This year we will have a scaled down version and invite a few people to come and decorate it. Life brings changes and sometimes keeping things simple is the best way.

My friend Michele has tagged me so I will do my best to play the game.

I have posted about this quilt before- it was an anniversary quilt for my inlaws 63rd wedding anniversary that I made two years ago. It happened to be the fourth picture in the fourth file of my photos. The other photo is a picture of a sweater that my mother in law received that same year. My inlaws loved birds and the border of the convergence quilt so matched the quilt- it was astonishing.

According to the rules of this tag game, I was to choose the fourth picture of the fourth file in my photos. I was then asked to choose four bloggers who inspire me- that is a bigger challenge.
I have been inspired by many quilters over the time that I have been commenting on the blogs. I was a lurker long before I began my blog in September.I have found that quilters are keen to share their ideas and projects. If one is looking for new ideas, or to see the newest techniques and materials, blogland is the place to visit. I have seen many quilters who post daily and produce wonderful pieces of work. There are people who create gorgeous art quilts and others who create equally beautiful pieces that are meant to be used- both will be treasured by those who are fortunate who come to own them.
My side bar has a long list of bloggers that inspire me each and everytime that I visit them. There are quilters and non quilters alike who are from all over the globe. I am going to take the simplier way out and suggest that anyone who would like to play the game consider themselves tagged- I like Michele's concept of Heart math- the more the merrier I say.

This past week I was fortunate enough to win a giveaway prize from my friend Deb who is a quilter who lives in Alaska. She makes beautiful art and I am honored to be a winner of one of her prizes. You can find her here:
Last post I shared a pinwheel quilt that I gave to my friend Jan. I thought you might be interested to see two of the other quilts that are the same design but look quite different.
The batik one is owned by my father. He is a fabulous gardener and loved the bright colors. I think he was very surprised when I gave it to him a few Christmas's ago. The other one is owned by a dear friend S.- It is seems muted compared to the batik versions but is not as soft as the one that Jan had. The fourth one in this series is a slight variation to my father's and is owned by the man who was the best man at our wedding.
My husband Bruce and I will be married 28 years on Boxing Day(December 26th.). More about that in my next post..
Today I will close with a wish for all who visit this post- May you find yourselves surrounded by your family and friends enjoying happy times with one another this holiday season.
To me Christmas is about Hope and Wonder... It brings the promise of the New Year...May you find yourself filled with Hope and Inspiration during this Christmas season...
Time to make my lists... check it twice ...
Seasons greetings to one and all.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Quilts of Friendship...

Boy it is cold outside today (-25 Celcius and there is a cold north wind)and yet, my dear friend L.,and I braved the cold and wind and did some errands and had lunch and tea together. We did visit some of our favorite quilt stores (though not all of them) and I managed to buy (mostly anyway) fabric, that has a particular purpose for some more immediate quilts. I even managed to go into a fabric store, twice in the last two weeks, without buying any fabric or sewing items.(Now that is some kind of a miracle...LOL or, maybe I have reached fabric stash satisfaction/satiation HMMMM....)

Today, I also got some Christmas shopping done, and found some things that will be part of my Secret Santa gifts for our Secret Santa week at work. I still am struggling to find things that I would like for my husband and my son- I have things for other dear people- I guess I am saving the best for the last...

My friend L., is very generous with her time and we always have fun looking at fabric and checking out patterns. I can hardly wait to see the current quilt that she is working on. It is a pattern called The Long and Winding Road (The Quilter magazine- January 2004),that, I have made twice before. The pattern is a bargello pattern that makes a generous queen sized quilt. L.'s fabric choices are all batiks and I am sure that it is going to be stunning. Another day I shall post my versions of this particular quilt.

Today I have posted a quilt that is soft and muted. It was part of a series of 4 pinwheel quilts that I made around 2004-2005. I started out making floral pinwheels and this particular quilt ended up being a very light quilt. It was a template quilt, where I happened to get overzealous cutting the pinwheels. I ended up with enough blocks for two quilts that were floral pinwheels and two that had batik pinwheels.(I need to practise my counting skills :D)

I gave this version to a dear friend, Jan, who has since lost her battle with ovarian cancer. It will two years this week since she left us and I still miss her presence in my life. When she was first diagnosed, we were preparing for some fundraising events so that our boys could go overseas to attend a Boy Scout Eurojam being held in Chelmsford, England in the summer of 2005.(My son did end up attending the jamboree and loved it. Unfortunately her son, was not able to enjoy that same experience).
During the last two years of her life, Jan and I spent many happy times together enjoying old movies, cups of green tea, and endless conversations about our families, life and the world around us. She taught me many lessons about the importance of living in the moment and appreciating the beauty in that surrounds us in everyday things. I miss her sense of fun and interesting observations.

Making quilts for others is a pleasurable experience for me- Today I bought fabrics for a texture quilt that I saw posted on adventures of a quilting diva blogspot(link is on the sidebar). I want to make this quilt for my mother in law, B. who has Alzheimer's. The fabrics I bought are not the typical kinds of fabric I would buy for a quilt- there are sparkly fabrics and bumpy fabrics and lacy ones too -most of them will not be cottons- It will be an interesting challenge for over the Christmas break.

Last night I had the privilege of going to a concert with my good friend, V. We enjoyed some wonderful seasonal music and time together. Bruce kindly acted as our chauffeur as I do not enjoy driving, especially when the weather is inclement and unpredictable.
The signs of the seasons are beginning to surround us- the houses in the community around us are covered in Christmas bulbs and decorations. Pink and red poinsettias provide rich color in our home..

I feel blessed to have such wonderful family and friends- They fill up my life's quilt with sumptious colors and patterns. The caring and kindness of loved ones is the true gift of this special season - I hope that your circumstances are equally as fortunate...

Happy Quilting

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The season of Traditions

It is a snowy wet day here in Alberta and I enjoyed the day out with my friend, L. shopping and having a belated Birthday Lunch. The lunch was delicious and so was the time spent with a good friend. I did some Christmas shopping and checked out a local pottery guild sale. I found some very nice things for very good prices so I have a few pieces of pottery for friends and family on my list. Christmas shopping is something that I do all year round. As well. I like to keep some things on hand for gifts in case I have forgotten someone's special day. My mother has always had a gift box and I seem to have carried on that tradition.

I have a harder time having gift box items for my main man and the boy. It is harder for me to buy for my immediate family than anyone else. Sometimes I run out of ideas and so I fill up their stockings with things that they need- socks, underwear,coffee coupons for Tim Hortons- a popular Canadian coffee house(we do have Starbucks and Second Cup coffee places too), and other things that are consumable.
Yes even socks are consumable- at least they seem to be in my house- We have a large bag of one sock wonders that seem to have lost their mates. Does anyone else have that problem? I buy the males in my house socks in sets of 6 pairs that are all the same and that still doesn't solve the case of the disappearing socks. Maybe the dryer eats them or the dog or......

Our son will celebrate his 21 birthday next week. I am not sure where the time has gone... He is wonderful young man just finding his way in the world... We are still looking for that special birthday gift that recognizes that he is officially an adult.

In the meantime the Christmas buzz permeates life... My school children are excited and reflect the anticipation of the season. The joy and innocence of young children and their overwhelming belief in the spirit of Santa Claus fills me with warmth and pleasure each and every year. in the meantime, my students are busy learning their song for Christmas concert- "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth". They will look so cute all dressed up and singing on our school stage.

Today's quilt is a quilt that I showed in a local guild show around 2004. It is a double wedding ring quilt that is large enough to use as a cuddle quilt or on the Christmas table. I made this quilt to honor my father's mother, Olive. My grandmother was a quilter who made quilts out of whatever was available. She was a farm woman who was a great canner( she would put up 300 jars of wild fruit in a year) and baker( my mother still uses her dark fruit cake recipe for Christmas). Olive worked hard all of her shortened life- she passed away when she was 43. She had many health problems and unfortunately she died before I was born. Grandma Olive would have used feed sacks and recycled clothing to make pieced arcs instead of the continuous arcs of this double wedding ring quilt. She would have pieced and quilted her quilts by hand as they did not have electricity in the farm house that was my father's childhood home. I had the benefit of using acrylic templates and a rotary cutter- her tools would have been cardboard templates and scissors. Our technology may be more developed but the techniques would have been similar.

I would love to have one of her quilts, but I don't think that there are any of them left. I like to believe she would have liked this quilt even though is a modern take on a traditional quilt. Personally, I am very fond of the rich colors and the way the flowers lay in the rings. If I did another one, I would have fussy cut the centers of the quilt pieces. The binding needed to be true bias binding to go around the scallop edges.

Its been a while since I made a new Christmas quilt I have some gorgeous Laurel Burch fabrics gathered for a Christmas quilt but it will have to wait until after Christmas.

There are some really beautiful Christmas quilts out here in Blogland. If you have time, do check out some of the links on my sideboard- you will find some really wonderful pieces of work that people have lovingly created.

Last week I mentioned that my husband, Bruce went looking for pieces of the meteor that fell on the prairies in November. For those of you who might be interested in checking out my husband's meteorite adventure you can find photos of it here...

In the meantime, I will be preparing some snacks to share for our last quilt class on Monday and shopping for my loved ones. Oh and making nuts and bolts and making the odd bracelet with beads and putting up some more Christmas decorations and....the list grows by the minute... I did get the Christmas Village up as well as the Stain glass in the dining room window- Next to find the Christmas Santas and Snowmen for the mantle..

'Tis the season of traditions and celebrations...Remember to take time to savor the time spent with family and friends - to me, that is really what I hope our season will be all about..

Happy Quilting,