Wednesday, December 30, 2009

It has been a busy Festive Season

Poinsettias are my wedding flowers (our wedding anniversary is December 26th) so we usually have poinsettias in our house over the Christmas season. This one was enormous and was a gift that I received at work in a gift exchange. It is such a glorious color. We had a difficult time figuring out where to put it in our house as we have limited space so I cleaned out yet another corner to find space for it. Unfortunately I think the corner was too cool for it, and so it has lost some of its beautiful foliage it still is pretty gorgeous.
Today's post brought me a package from Keepsake Quilting, which included these two poinsettia patterns. I got this idea that I might like to make a new poinsettia quilt, and these patterns both struck my fancy. I figured if I collect some new ones, that I might actually create a new quilt to adorn our house. I made this poinsettia couch quilt a number of years ago, to celebrate our anniversary. The center is a paper pieced pattern by Eileen Sullivan-She has many other lovely flower(for example iris, daffodil and cactus) patterns that you can make using a Sew and Flip technique- I believe her patterns are Designer Workshop patterns but you can find her site just by googling her name.
Behind the table center piece, you can see some of the other fabrics that came in my package from Keepsake Quilting. They had a nice sale before Christmas so I bought a few lovely pieces to add to my stash- a few florals and some sock monkey fat quarters.
Isn't this Iris fleece panel glorious- I love purple flowers, and one that makes me think of my beloved grandmother. She so loved flowers and Irises were among her favorite flowers.
Christmas brought some lovely pressies from my spouse- Bruce found me some great new pens for quilt labels, a book about Pieced borders that has been on my list for a long time, a couple of quilting magazines, a new ruler and a box for my growing collection of fat quarters. My friend L. gave me a wonderful casserole cover she made, as well as Jinny Beyer's new book. It has 4.050 quilt pattern blocks in it! There are also some grids to help a person figure out how the block is designed. I hope that you found some quilty things that you have been wishing for under your Christmas tree.

This lovely collection was a giveaway prize that I won from Cara of Cara's quilts. It has such beautiful handmade pin toppers,a wonderful handmade log cabin pincushion and a glorious set of a dozen floral fat quarters. Thank you so much, Cara, for such a special giveaway. Do go and visit Cara's blog- she made some wonderful stockings for Christmas- the one she made her daughter L'il Bit is a gorgeous princess one.

There are some wonderful giveaways around the blogs just now. Some will soon be over so do check them out before they are gone.

Sue at Alderwood quilts is offering a fun giveaway of a Jennifer Chiaverini book and some fat quarters. She also sells templates for Louisa Smith's curved quilt designs. The templates are not easily found, and she has them on sale until the New Year. I ordered two sets- one of the basic and the second set as well. She has them on sale for 25 percent off and was most helpful when I spoke with her on the phone. I first saw them on Exuberant Color's ( Wanda's) blog - I love circle quilts and you can create the most fascinating designs using the templates.

Heidi is a new to me quilt blog who is having a really nice giveaway of bag with Amy Butler fabric pieces or a baby panel with fabrics. It is her 100th post and she is celebrating it in a grand way. Congratulations Heidi!

Oz girls are having a giveaway of some very pretty Robin Pandolph fabrics - it is hard to choose between the pink or the mint fabrics.

Just as I began to write this post, I received notification that I had won a giveaway from Margaret of a bit of Kaos. I won an Australian quilt magazine and diary. I love the Aussie magazines and they are not too plentiful here in Western Canada. I used to get a subscription to Australian Patchwork and Quilting and enjoyed the magazine very much. Thank you so much Margaret. I will look forward to reading the magazine and using the diary when it arrives.

January is beckoning- I have enjoyed the time off- it has given me some time to reflect and pause after a very busy fall. We enjoyed some great family times with my family in Red Deer on Christmas day and the weekend that followed. It was nice to see our nieces and some little ones at my parents.

It was great to spend time with my parents, who have always been a steady loving force in my life. I value the times that we have together- My mother always does special things for each of her family members, whether it be gathering card making stamps for my niece to borrow, or making lasagna for Kevin our son. I know that my son enjoys his time with his Poppa. This time, Kevin helped my dad. build an extension to his new snowblower and change the headlights in my dad's Van. From the time Kevin was a little boy, he has loved to help my dad build and fix things. Each and every time, he wants to bring home some of grandma's dill pickles. The traditions continues..

While I was at my folks, I played in the beads and made new bracelets for all the grown up girls in my family. (I made about a dozen bracelets by the time I put the beads away for the last time). We enjoyed lots of delicious food, including two turkey dinners that my sister D.,brought to my parent's home. We appreciated her delicious cooking and all her hard work to make it special- Thank you so much Sis!
There were 17 of us for Christmas dinner and 11 of us the following evening. My parents have lived in their small home since 1963. No matter how many people are there, there is always room for one more at the table.

Tomorrow, we will have lunch with some of Bruce's family- his sister, brother in law, and daughters and their spouses. It will be great to catch up with them as well. After that, we will have one more Christmas event with our dearest friends here. And so the celebrations continue..

In the meantime, I hope to get a few quilty things done before I return to the classroom- perhaps a couple of new pillowcases for our bed and start a new quilt. There are some other quilt projects that I would like to finish- I better make a list and a plan. What about you?

Do you have some project plans for 2010 ?

Kim has a great post today about ways that she finds time to quilt daily- She puts aside a half an hour a day to devote to creating her quilts. It is something worth contemplating ...
One thing that I intend to do is to blog a little more regularly in 2010- this fall has been pretty hit and miss-
I hope one and all has enjoyed some great times with loved ones. May 2010 bring you and yours good health and prosperity.

With best wishes and my warmest regards,

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

In the beginning...

In the beginning there were some very dear friends of ours, A.&V, who I wanted to make something special to mark their birthdays.... and so I chose this version of magic tiles. If you have not tried this pattern, you may want to check it out. The magic tile pattern is a fun pattern to make- You start with a set of fabrics that are cut into 15 or 16 inch squares. On paper,you create a wonky 9 patch grid for the squares and cut it with the fabric all facing good side up. In each set, it involves shuffling a section of the block in the pile. By doing so,you give each section a different piece of fabric. Buggy Barn quilt patterns work on this same premise as do the "Stack the Deck" books by Karla Alexander.
After a while, it is nice to have a change for every quilt. I believe that I made this Magic Tiles quilt in the summer of 2002.
Here it is - the Wonky Rail's on our dear friends bed. If you are looking for the pattern, you can find it here. Mary has a list of free patterns on her site. Just click on Wonky RWB Rail for the instructions. For those of you that have been reading for awhile, you have seen this quilt as it has come together over the past 6 months- I have had it finished for about six weeks except for the label. Somehow, I just hadn't managed to get the last bit done on the Wonky Rail Tiles Quilt. I called the quilt " Celebrating Earth and Sky" because of all the blues and greens. Remember when I was unsure how large to make a King Size quilt? This quilt measures 115 X 124 inches. It is plenty large enough for our friend's bed.
For fun,we decided to wrap the three of us in the quilt - I am the goofy looking one, who is in serious need of a haircut in the middle. ( I am going this Saturday afternoon for that haircut) This quilt was made to celebrate A&V.'s 20th wedding anniversary. We have enjoyed many wonderful hours together over those 20 years. Happy Anniversary, dear friends, may you continue to enjoy many more happy years together.
Yesterday would have been my in laws 66th wedding anniversary-this photo quilt was made to honor my in-laws 60th wedding anniversary. The pattern was based on a pattern in one of Evelyn Sloppy's pattern books.It currently hangs in my mother in law's room. Many times after we gave them this quilt, my father in law phoned me, just to tell me how much pleasure their quilt gave him. When your gifted quilt is loved like this photo quilt was, what can be better than that?
Do you love beads? These beads are some beauties that were given to me by my friends in the photo. They are cloisonne, and were bought in China, when A& V were there this past summer. Don't you love the fish and the butterfly? I love cloisonne and mille fliore beads, oh and glass ones... and ceramic and polished stones too...
One of my fellow blogging friends Paulette - has a very fine stash of beads as well as fabric.
She wrote a recent posthere Click on here to read about her passion for beads and her dilemma - to bead or not to bead ??

Ryan is having a giveaway of a Barn Quilts calendar that is from a very interesting place called Neversink. Ryan tells the story behind finding this calendar. Do check it out...

Winter has arrived in spades here in Alberta. We got about a foot of snow last Friday. By Saturday, I was wishing that I was a bear and could hibernate for a little while. This week the thermometer spiralled downward so, at school, we have had many indoor recesses. Today we all got a bit of a respite - at least enough to have the children go out to play at lunch time. The long term forecast is more cold weather so the week before Christmas break could be filled with more days of excited children who are suffering cabin fever... The days before Christmas are filled with anticipation... just waiting to play ....waiting for Santa ....waiting is hard work for little ones...and for us grown ups too....

My list gets longer of jobs to do - things to cook, and presents to buy and wrap, and a house to decorate- it is a similar list to many others. I am trying to find the balance between getting things ticked off of my list and pausing to enjoy the moments of the season. How do you find ways to balance out the busy days of the festive season?

One final note, Thank you for all your birthday wishes- It is our son's birthday next week, followed by Christmas and then on Boxing Day ( December 26),it is our wedding anniversary- the celebrations are many, for our family in the month of December. We are looking forward to spending time with my family at Christmas, and to having time together with family and friends over the Christmas break.

Wishing you all the season's best.

Warmest regards,

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Prime of Life..

Last Sunday, November 22, was my birthday-
My current age is the only prime number in my current decade(or so my mathematically minded husband tells me) so I now can consider myself a Lady in the Prime of Her Life. LOL

My birthday began on Friday, the 20th, with my spouse and I having a delicious dinner at a local restuarant. It was so nice to spend time together talking over a gourmet dinner. On Sunday evening we went to see Bill Cosby- he still has the ability to make people laugh about life's everyday situations.

These lovely flowers came from my educational assistant (P.- thank you so much) How lovely they look on our dining room table, almost a week later. The bouquet is in my favorite colors- pink, purple and green- Don't you love the green pompom flowers in the bouquet?

Sunday was the actual day of my birthday, but it really has felt more like a birthday week, because there were birthday greetings from friends far and near. There were packages from my folks and another friend, with some specially chosen things that they knew that I would love. Today I had lunch with my dear friend V. The thing that I have really enjoyed about this birthday, has been the time I have been able to spend connecting with friends and family. On Sunday, my sister and I had a long conversation on the telephone.

One friend, J. contacted me on Face book - I have known her since I was 6 years old- technically she is my oldest friend(not age wise)but she is the one that I have known the longest. I have known J. since I started school. She and her husband live in Inuvik,N. W. Territories, which is in Northern Canada. Her parents still live in a house on the same street as my parents. My parents moved to their current home in 1963. Some of their neighbours have lived on that same street almost as long as our parents. I think it is a fairly uncommon experience these days, to still have connections to the house in which a person was raised. Most families move around alot more-especially if you live in a town or a city. My folks live in a city of 85,000 people. When I was growing up the city was much smaller- about 25,000. My home town is losing that small town feeling.

Another friend E. sent me a birthday card with a new home email address - we had been out of touch for awhile but we now have a way to reconnect. She lives in Vancouver, the home of the 2010 Winter Olympics. We have been friends since we were teenagers.
This Wonky Rail Tie quilt is officially finished- it does have a label but the camera and I had some difficulties communicating and the photograph was too light to read so I will try again another day. Hopefully I will get to give it to our friends next weekend as it is long overdue.
You may remember that we were decluttering our home - last weekend I spent some time going through some drawers of fabric and craft materials.

While I cleaning, I realized how many different types of crafts that I had experimented with on my journey to becoming a quilter. The list is amazingly long-knitting, crochet, silk ribbon embroidery, regular embroidery, painting silk scarves, playing with fimo, macrame, stamping, cross stitch, rug hooking, weaving on a frame, decoupage and candle making. That does not include sewing, pottery, beading or quilting. I found a baby sweater that I knit for Kevin- he is soon going to be 22. Many of the craft materials that were left, I got rid of, but I did find a few gems in the drawers.

I was surprised to find some quilt blocks and scraps of fabrics from my early quilts-I spread some of them out under the bowls of beads. I found it interesting that so many of my first pieces were blue. I continue to make some blue quilts but I have become much more adventurous in my color choice- or maybe there is just so many more different color/ fabric choices available.

I enjoyed playing with all of these crafts, but these days I have limited time, so my first choice is to quilt. When I don't have enough time to quilt, or feel the need to make something that I can complete quickly, then I will play in the beads.

Do you have other types of crafts that you do besides quilting? Does it feel like playing to you?

Do you think of quilting as a craft or an art?

The beads on the plate are from a bead show that my friend V. and I attended today. They were all made by local artisans. While we were at the show, I ran into a colleague that I had had, when I worked in a pediatric rehab hospital in the mid 1980's. Our son's are the same age and have the same name. It was lovely to see her too.

I wish the photos of the beads had turned out better- the photos are all too light unfortunately. We had a wonderful time playing and touching the gorgeous handmade bits of color.

V. makes gorgeous bracelets and other pieces of jewellry and I bought a few pieces to use to make as gifts for others- and one or two beads for myself.VBG. At lunch,V. gave me a lovely bracelet and earrings for my birthday.( Thank you dear friend- you always find such wonderful things.) You can see them on the cup and saucer. I think the beads are called pod beads and I love wearing them because they lay so nice and flat against one's skin. My new bracelet has such pretty colors- pink and yellow and golden in beautiful swirls.

I placed the beads on a cup and saucer from our china. Barb
had shared her china in a post not long ago. (I wrote about a giveaway that her niece is running on her blog in my last post). I love dishes and these dishes are called Limoge Bridal Wreath. I bought them from a friend more than 20 years ago. They had been her grandmother's. Her grandmother had brought them out west with her at the beginning of the 20th century. We use them on special occasions. They need to be hand washed as they are around 100 years old. Like the other photos, they are not the best but hopefully you can see the pretty pink flowers on the china.

This last photo is of a lovely giveaway prize that came from Hazel of Cotton Cocktails. She made this pretty bag and enclosed some wonderful fat quarters too. She also included a very nice applique pattern. Thank you so very much Hazel.

There are many giveaways happening in Blogland just now. Do check out the bloglist because there is often an announcement on them of current blog giveaways.

To all my American friends, A Belated Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you have enjoyed a fabulous time with your family and friends sharing good food and good times.

On the school front, I have completed report cards and conferences- We are now preparing for the Christmas concert. On Friday, I was learning how to sing " Up on the Housetop" in Cree so we could perform it in the concert. I had to practise singing it in English before I could get it right in Cree. Most of my children are First Nations or Metis and we offer Cree as a Second language. We have a Cree speaking teacher who teaches my students the Cree portion of the curriculum. The phrasing is different so hopefully I can get it memorized in time.

December is just around the corner- I have done a little Christmas shopping and am thinking about putting up the Christmas village. We have had a skiff of snow but there is not too much yet.

Wishing you a Happy Holiday Season.
Warmest regards,

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Rising from the Sea of Papers and Boxes...

Life has been quite full since I last posted- Where have I been you may be wondering- I wish I could say it has been a grand adventure and, perhaps, it has been, if you call cleaning out and sorting the wheat from the chaff in our basement. This project began innocently enough- We decided to bring in a dumpster bin to clean out some trees and remove some old fencing from our yard- we had some space left in it so we thought we might as well get rid of some of the extra junk/ stuff that has built up over the last number of years in our basement.
Well it was a Pandora's box I can tell you... There is floor space now where there had been many boxes but it has taken many hours of sorting and hauling things out. We are almost done for now- we will send the bin away on Monday-
Will it be completely cleaned out - No but it will much better than it has been for a long time.. It has been quite a process and remains one..

One of the benefits of the cleaning has been turning up a few old treasures. We found the usual letters and photographs and other memorabila that we have enjoyed looking through and remembering. There are still boxes of papers to go through but I got rid of lots of old craft things that were no longer useful and dated. In amongst the damaged things, I did find some fabric pieces that I think I can put to good use. I have some prequilted fabrics that I once used to make into bags. I think I have figured out a way to use the pre quilted fabrics and turn them into baby wraps. They may not be quite as nice as the ones with minkee fabrics inside but it will be one way to use the fabric up rather than just getting rid of it. I am going to try it out anyway and see how they work out. The baby wraps are so useful and I hope these will be nice too.

Some other news...To add excitement to the cleaning project, it has been report card writing time at school and we have battled some illness- my husband particularly. He has had some flu and cold and been under the weather for about 10 days. Life is does pose some interesting challenges sometimes...
On the quilting front, I have been working on the quilt that is pictured here. This beauty was done by a friend in the class that we took together. You might notice the date - 2004. My friend Carol is a fantastic quilter and she did a wonderful job on her version of the Hollow Cubes. I have about 50 blocks made and I need nearly a hundred so I am making progress - very slowly. While my friend chose a limited palette, I have chosen to use a rainbow of batiks for my quilt. I want to frame it in black as well. It is hard to get the rhythm of a quilt when I have worked on it so intermittently. I have a large number of triangles and flags to sew together yet. Still, I am making progress- slowly but surely....
One of the things I found among the photographs was a few quilt pictures ,which was great, because my computer woes continue and I have had to reset my computer yet again. This quilt is a variation of a spiderweb- It was made for one of my nieces for her wedding in 2005. I do love the scrappy quilts with all their different colors.

Quilt Sue of Quilt times posed an interesting question about what kind of quilts one prefers to make- What is your favorite quilt to make? Do you have a favorite design to make?

I have friends who love making scrap quilts and others who love Log cabin and other traditional designs. I don't know if I have a favorite design but I do love bargello quilts and medallion quilts. I prefer quilts that have an over all design as opposed to blocky looking designs. Mostly I love colorful quilts.

Barb from Bejeweled quilts has created a ginger jar quilt for her niece Jennifer's new on line fabric shop. You can find a link to her new shop here Inchworm Fabrics. Do drop by and enter both giveaways. You will be glad that you did...

Hawthorne Threads is also having a lovely giveaway- Go quickly as the draw is on Monday November 16.

While I haven't done much blog reading lately, I did recently win a giveaway from
Cotton Cocktails. It is a lovely Handmade bag. Thank you, Hazel, for picking me as one of your lucky winners. I am one fortunate lady these days. Do stop and visit her blog - she is a wonderful woman who writes a lovely blog.

Carole at Giraffe Dreams is having a giveaway to celebrate her 700th post. She is doing something really special and going to make a donation to a special cause as part of her giveaway. Please drop by and celebrate such a wonderful accomplishment.

My blog friend Kim also wrote about giving and receiving in her newest post. Which one- giving or receiving do you think is the most important? I know lots of generous quilters out there, who give quilts and materials to support people in various ways.
These two ladies do indeed have very generous hearts.

Before long, Christmas will be here. We are beginning to prepare our students for the Christmas concert. The fall has flown by- where did all the time go?

Hope you are all keeping well and taking care of yourselves.
Wishing you good health and time to quilt or feed your creative spirit in whatever way you enjoy doing.

Warmest regards,

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Catching up ....

Sometimes it is hard to know where to begin, especially when it has been awhile since I have posted. I haven't forgotten about my blog friends- Its just life has been a little more than busy these days. A very nice thing happened - my blogging friend Rosa sent me this gorgeous yellow sunflower center piece a couple of weeks ago as a giveaway gift. It arrived just before Canadian Thanksgiving and has adorned our dining room table since its arrival.( Do check out Rosa's post about making my sunflower) My husband brought home some gorgeous Star gazer lilies the other day to add to the dining room decor. The flowers are very fragrant - I sure notice them when I return home from work each day.

My husband Bruce was away last week in British Columbia visiting his mother and sister& family. Someone left me a comment on an earlier post, asking to see the texture quilt that I had made for her so here is two views of Mum's quilt. I found this pattern in an earlier post by Laura of adventures of a quilting diva. (I'm sorry that I don't remember exactly when she posted the tutorial) Laura has a lovely blog that she shares lots of interesting quilting ideas in each of her posts.
My mother in law Betty has Alzheimer's and recently celebrated her 87th birthday. She is pictured with Bruce's sister, - It is a beautiful photo of both of them. Don't they look like they are having a lovely time together!!! Betty was a gifted knitter and enjoyed painting, sewing and quilting. She loved knubbly textures and I hope that the quilt gives her pleasure. I used various fabrics (silk, velvets, lace, velour wool, satin, tapestry, cordoroy, brocade) that were fused to a foundation to stablize the 6 1/2 inch squares. There is a teddy bear fleece back on it and no batting as it is not meant to be used as a blanket.

Bruce brought back a couple of things from the family storage unit. This quilt was one that I had made for his parents 63th wedding anniversary. It is a harmonic convergence quilt that is made from Ricky Timms book "Convergence Quilts". It has chickadees and cardinals in the fabric and is quite a soft looking quilt. His mother has 3 quilts in her room and this quilt is too large for her single bed.

I am always happy enough to giveaway my quilts to my loved ones- it is harder to have them returned to our house. I have a quilt that I made my gran, that my mother gave back to me after my grandmother passed away. For along time, I did not want to look at it, it made me miss my grandmother more! My gran has been gone 6 years now and when I wrap myself in it- I remember how much she loved it and I feel this tenuous connection with her. There is a bittersweetness that does not go away, but it doesn't hurt like it once did. Time has helped to soften the loss and replace the sadness with joyful loving memories.

What happens to your quilts when your loved one passes away? Does someone else in your family get them? Do they get given away? Are they placed with your loved one when you lay them to rest?
Something else that Bruce brought home in his suitcase, was this lovely hooked Cheticamp rug, that comes from Nova Scotia. It belonged to my inlaws, and was given to them as 40th wedding anniversary gift, from some of their friends. We went with my in laws to Cape Breton, and stopped in Cheticamp. It shows the beautiful Nova Scotia shoreline. I have always loved the rug and plan to hang it in our living room.

There are some great giveaways going on right now- here are a couple of very nice ones but there are more you may want to check out on my blog list.
Brenda at Pumpkin Patch Primitive Quilt shoppe is having a fantastic fat quarter giveaway. I would love to win this giveaway as my friend Gran. sent me the panel earlier in the fall as a giveaway prize. Just think what I might be able to make with all these fat quarters. It is a wonderful gift for someone - do go and check it out- Brenda will close the giveaway on Halloween night.

Sue has a lovely jelly roll that she is giving away- she needs your opinion on fabric- How fun is that? Go quickly as Sue will draw on October 25th.

Life has been very busy at work - The first 6 weeks of school are busy with assessment and the setting of routines. Our days are full of interesting things -especially as they are beginning to do a major renovation in our school.

We had school pictures this week and are having a storyteller doing a presentation tomorrow. The next couple of weeks will be particularly busy at school with a field trip and a Halloween party. Halloween day at school will be exciting. It is always fun to see the kids in their costumes. I wonder how many superheroes and princesses/ fairies I will have this year? They are pretty excited already!

Last night Bruce and I had a lovely date- we went out for dinner ( Vietnamese food) and then saw a Harry Manx concert. He is a blues artist from the west coast of Canada (Salt Spring Island). Harry Manx is playing a piece in Montreal. If you are interested he has other pieces on you tube- just google his name.

Did you love the Virtual Blogging Festival? Amy's button is still at the top of my blog in case you would like to see more of the quilts. I have been working my way through the list but there were over 600 beautiful quilts to see and learn their stories. I feel like I have neglected some of my other blogging friends, as I got caught up in reading the Virtual quilt show posts.

At home this weekend, we are having a large bin come to take away some of the overgrowth and clutter in and out of the house. So far, it looks like the snow will stay away- We hope to make some more room in the basement. Space is a neverending challenge in our little house.

As you can see, life is particularly full just now. There are report cards looming on the horizon, Christmas concert to prepare for... I have been doing a bit of quilting but it is in small spurts of time... I continue to strive for more balance in life but it is a bit of a challenge just now...

Soon it will be November... Where has this fall gone...

Be well,

Warmest regards,

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fall Blogging Festival

"Star Blue Night" is one of my earlier quilts. The quilt originally was supposed to be 12 twenty inch feathered star blocks. The pattern was from a book By Nancy S.- Johnson called "Rotary Magic". Each block had about 150 pieces. It was a challenging quilt and I decided, after making 5 blocks, that that was enough of half square triangle piecing for me. I chose to do something different with my blocks. This was the final result.

I completed this star quilt around 2002-2003. The 5 feathered stars float around the large overall star that was created by using the " Courthouse steps log cabin layout". The border is a chain link border using star fabrics. The chain link border pattern came from an older magazine called " Quilting Today."

As a rule, I like to create my quilts by using many different colors- This quilt has a really limited palette and that made it a different kind of creative challenge.
"Star Blue Night" resides on our bed and still looks almost as nice as it was in this photo.

Congratulations to Amy for hosting The Fall Blogger Quilt festival. I am looking forward to visiting many other blogs and seeing all the beautiful quilts. Last spring, I met many new bloggers through the festival- I am looking forward to visiting new blogs, seeing all the beautiful quilts, and making some new quilting friends.

Thanks for stopping by to visit- I am sure you are going to enjoy the show. Should you have a quilt that you would like to share, click on Amy's icon and it will take you to the sign up list. Amy also has provided information about the process so that you can join the show. Come and participate in the fun and perhaps win a lovely prize.

I'm off to see all the beautiful quilts..How about you???

Warmest regards from a Western Canadian Quilter,


Monday, October 5, 2009

Just in case that you thought I had disappeared...

This is my god daughter' A's birthday quilt- in an unfinished state. I finished this quilt at the beginning of the summer and in the photos below you can see the quilt close up with its completed border and quilted.

Sunflowers was given to a friend who is dealing with some health issues. Both of these quilts are made using the Disappearing 9 Patch pattern.

Fabric choices make so much difference to the way a quilt looks.
In my god daughter's quilt you can see a more distinct pattern happening because of of the use of tone on tone fabrics combined with the the same central block so that it repeated.

I love the riot of sunflowers in the sunflower quilt but it is much harder to see the repeating pattern than can happen with the disappearing 9 patch pattern.

Which look do you like better? When you are making a quilt do you like quilts with overall designs or quilts that have repeated blocks? Do you like sashing between your blocks or the blocks sewn together without any separation?

This past week I have been busy doing some assessments with my students. It is a new testing instrument for me to use so it is a learning process for me.

Other accomplishments included finishing the baby wrap and making a couple of bracelets. I have cut out another baby wrap and am working on redrafting the pattern. For some reason the pattern keeps getting smaller and the babies are getting bigger so that is not a good. I hope to get a couple made on the upcoming long weekend.

The weather is turning cool and the leaves are beginning to fall from the trees. I am sure that GoTo the squirrel is grateful for all those peanuts collected earlier in the summer. I put on close toed shoes for the first time today- a sign of the changing seasons.

Today was World Teachers Day- a time to reflect on the work one does as an educator. Each day, I hope to make a difference in my children's lives- and each day I learn something new from my children. To me, that is joy of being a teacher. Happy World Teacher's Day to other teachers around the world- I hope you had the opportunity to celebrate being an educator.

Next Monday is Canadian Thanksgiving- I am looking forward to an extra day to spend with my son and some friends - My husband will be away visiting his mother and sister in Victoria. Perhaps there will be some time to get the yard and house cleaned up too.

Have a great week.
Warmest regards,

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Where to begin.....

Gran of Knotty Embroidery lady sent me this fantastic giveaway prize in the mail that arrived last Friday. In it, was this beautiful Sunflower fall panel( and as you all know by now, I am crazy about Sunflowers)
Gran also posted some pictures of her lovely giveaway prize on a recent blog post. You can check it out by clicking on her name. Thank you Gran for choosing me- How lucky can a lady be...

For all you fans of GoTO the squirrel, friend Rosa sent me this very funny post of another squirrel. It is very funny-- and the squirrel is amazingly adorable!

My mailbox has continued to have other lovely things that included this pattern from Kellie of " Don't Look Now" is the brilliant designer of these patterns from Australia. I also received this lovely pattern from of Toni of the Red Boot Co. Isn't it a great children's quilt pattern. She also is a pattern designer from the land down under. A very big Thank You goes out to both of these talented ladies. If you click on their names you will be able to visit their wonderful blogs too.

Last weekend, my friend Lou and I got a chance to go out together. We often go east of our city but this time we decided to head west to one of our surrounding communities called Stony Plain. They have two quilt stores in their little town- I bought a few bits and pieces to add to the stash. As always, I enjoyed a pleasant afternoon with a very dear friend.

At one of the shops,though, there was a set of tables like a flea market. I came home with some great thrift finds- some beautiful floral tiles, some dishes like ones my gran had that are carnival glass, a ruler box, a set of 5 fabric sunflowers in a reproduction can, a gorgeous primitive doll in her chair an and a great green club chair...
I love floral tiles and these ones have a space so that one can hang them as a set of four on the wall.
Isn't the doll beautiful? Don't you love her hankerchief dress? I love her primitive face!

I remember having the reproduction tins in our kitchen at home - they were the blue version of this particular can which she also had, but had just sold it before I chose the sunflowers container that I wanted. The ladies' prices were very reasonable and I came home with things that brought back a flood of memories of my childhood. As for the chair, it looks great in our living room.

On the quilty front, I have a baby wrap waiting to be quilted..
I have made many many of these baby wraps - this one is for a friend of my son's who has just had a baby... Hopefully this weekend, I will get to it- When I first made this design I tied them, but now I machine quilt them and use minkee or fleece on the inside. They work great inside car seats or when babies are first playing on the floor.

Some of you were wondering about some of the patterns that I mentioned in my previous blog. Here are the two patterns that other people chose to make in this fall's class.

However here is my project: I will continue to make more flags and form half hexagons
to form the diamonds. VBS Hopefully, I will figure out how this design works.

Pat at Silver Thimble Talk is having a giveaway- go quickly and check it out..
She posed the question of "When did you begin quilting?"

I thought I had a clear answer to her question but when I thought about it, I have been quilting for a lot longer than I realized. My quilting experiences first began when I was about 18 and I met a friend whose grandmother taught her to quilt. We made "Dresden Plate" pieces with cardboard templates and used scissors to cut them out. After that, I made baby wraps, panel vests and bags with quilted fabrics. I took a few classes to learn how to seminole piece and make "Cathedral Windows" Christmas ornaments. In 1987, I made my first big quilt - a" Log Cabin Quilt in a Day"Pattern by Eleanor Burns. It took me about a year to complete- I used a double layer of polyester batting and wrestled its queen sized bulkiness in my regular domestic machine. That quilt still exists though it is quite tattered now.
I recently bought a new book " Not your grandmother's Log Cabin" by Sara Nephew and Marci Baker. It is a lovely book with lots of gorgeous stars by making a diamond log cabin block.

My current passion for quilting began in 1996 when I started to quilted regularly. I have made over 50 bed sized quilts since that time- I continue to enjoy exploring different techniques and designs. What about your quilting journey? When did you begin to quilt?

Fall has been warm here in Alberta and the leaves are starting to turn.. My little ones continue to keep me busy and life is a bit hectic these days.

Hope all is well with you and yours.

Be well,
Warmest regards,


Thursday, September 17, 2009

And the work begins....

Progress- Waa Hoo! I have made some slow and steady work towards completing this quilt- On Sunday, I was able to get this Wonky Rail Ties all quilted. I am very pleased with the results- even though it is a large king sized quilt, I managed to quilt it all in one fell swoop. It is a great feeling to have it quilted and was wonderful to get in the groove and have it quilt up so quickly. Don't you love it, when you get on a real roll and everything works up perfectly. I used about 15 bobbins of thread to meander it. I hope to trim it this weekend and get some binding made up for it.

Life in September revolves around the routines of school and getting back into the rhythm of being a working person.

At school, we had our annual corn roast for our families yesterday and it was nice to meet some of the families I had not met before and get re-acquainted with others. The corn was sweet Taber corn and delicious to eat.

It was nice to meet with some quilting friends and begin our class on Monday night.
Some of the others were making two new patterns, "Endless Stars" and a scrap quilt that can be found in the recent "Fast Quilts" magazine.
However, I have decided to work on a quilt called "The Hollow Cubes". This quilt will keep me busy for many months. I started this quilt about 5 years ago. I have many many triangles cut, and the quilt resembles a large group of flags- they now need to get joined together to form half hexagons. It is a Challenging pattern and I have had a great deal of difficulty getting my head around the design. It is the primary reason that it has remained a UFO.
In general, I have few projects that remain UFO's. Over a year, I may have as many as half a dozen quilts on the go, but I like to finish all of them up before beginning more projects. I have been stymied by this pattern so far.. Hope springs eternal so maybe this time I will finally figure it out. The fabrics are beautiful batiks - I would really like to see it completed.

My mailbox continues to have some pleasant surprises for me. I received a wonderful package from Heather Mulder Peterson It is a 4 Moda Charm Packs and a whole series of patterns of Heather's designs that use charm packs. They are scrumptious looking and it will be hard to choose which of Heather's designs to make first.

Thank you so much Heather for the wonderful gift- it is a real treasure trove that I will enjoy exploring and creating with your lovely materials.

My friend Rosa send me gifties from her surprise giveaway. She sent me some lovely " I SPY" squares and a coffee card from a Canadian company called Tim Horton's. Tim's is famous across Canada. Rosa you are a real gem- Thanks so much for your lovely thoughtful gestures.

The gumtree designers are a fantastic group of Australian women who are having some giveaways. Do check them out - They are all wonderfully creative and do such beautiful work...

Caroline of the Contented Quilter is having two giveaways. I hope that you will use the link and check out her lovely blog.

Gypsy Lulu is a new blog to me but she also is having a nice giveaway for you to check out -- especially if you love jewellery(which I do) I love baubles of all descriptions and probably would make a good magpie bird(though I am not mean like they can be, to other animals.)

And if you are interested in making something with Jellyrolls,well, you may want to check out Sarah at the Missouri table blog who is having a jelly roll giveaway this week- I have never used a jelly roll but I am sure one can make something beautiful with them.

Many of you enjoyed the antics of "GOTO" the Squirrel. He continues to entertain one and all at the observatory on the weekends. Our weather has been unseasonably warm so he is going to have more time to collect those nuts to "squirrel away" his bare necessities for winter. LOL

Time to cut out paper doll shapes for a school project for my students where they show me "How many people live in their house".. My students and I are getting to know one another by singing and dancing and reading our favorite stories. Each day is full of interesting things - I love looking at the world through my kindergarten children's eyes-hopeful, honest and often humorous... Today one of them was looking for a shortcut across our room- not sure he found one, but he went looking anyway..There is always something to make us laugh...

Happy fall to one and all...



Sunday, September 6, 2009

Life is sometimes a bit squirrelly..

I thought I would introduce you to a furry friend of my husband's. He is a squirrel named GoTo and acts like the landlord of the local observatory where my husband Bruce works. Fortunately his rent is peanuts and he welcomes all visitors. GoTo has a lovely tent and a picnic table with a telescope.
He often likes to show off his prowess with the telescope- I wonder if he likes to see the craters on the moon- perhaps GoTo thinks it is one large peanut that is just out of his grasp??

Life has indeed been hectic - it is the same each fall when I return to the classroom- I have not had much opportunity to post this past week. I continue to have some problems with my own lap top but managed to take some new photos to show you of the slasher quilt. You can see that I have added some additional borders to it and I am much happier with it, than the original version before I had added all the leaf fabrics to it.
I have ordered some die- cut leaves from Keepsake Quilting to scatter across the quilt randomly. I had some silk ones to try out the idea and I think it will be like leaves blowing across it. I am not sure when I will get a chance to get back to finishing it up.

I did get two of my quilts spray basted last week before I returned to work.Unfortunately I had miscalculated the backing for the third so I will try and spray baste it soon. Bruce took photos of that process of preparing the quilt for quilting. Perhaps, it will be part of an upcoming post. In the meant time, the trip around the world and the Wonky tiles are both waiting for me to quilt them. Recently, it was just too hot to sit under the quilts and quilt up in the eaves of our house last weekend.

It has been unseasonably hot here the past week- about 30 degrees Celsius. Our classroom is sweltering with 26 little four and five years present. They are entertaining group as always- At one point, one little one came up to me and said " My dad rode a cow" so I asked:"then what happened ?" She answered " He got buck -ded off". She said it so straight faced, it was hard not to burst out laughing...
I can see we need to learn the difference between cows and bulls :0) but she obviously had been to the rodeo over the summer. There is always some story to make me giggle each day.. We are beginning to learn the routines like how we walk down the hall and where to find the bathroom...I sometimes forget how much my students have learned over the school year until September comes and we begin again...and how tired I am by the end of the day -Bedtime is early these days..

Yesterday, we went to honor a younger woman's life,Vanessa, who lost her battle with breast cancer in June. People came to reminisce, comfort, laugh and cry together. She was 40 years old and well loved by all who knew her- we grieve for the loss of her presence and zest for life. One of the powerful lessons that came from the evening was the importance of living in the present. While she could not change the fact she had cancer,Vanessa never let cancer define who she was or how she lived her life. Today is where one should live - not the yesterday we can't change or the tomorrow that has yet not come.. Vanessa's legacy left me contemplating the importance of living with presence in the present...

My mailbox has been blessed with some lovely things that I won from other quilter's giveaways.
Julie of "Me and my Possibilities blog sent me these wonderful patterns when she gave away 45 patterns from her giveaway. I love Pieces of the Heart patterns and the hat one looks very fun. Thank you so much Julie, all the patterns are wonderful and I hope that I will get a chance to create some more lovely quilts with your patterns.
Natima from Not Just Nat sent me a fantastic handmade journal- It has sunflower binding and is beautifully hand quilted. I love the log cabin pattern and it is some very pretty pink fabrics in it. Look at the pretty button and the beautiful crazy quilting needlework that Natima did on it. I shall treasure it always Natima- She also included a wonderful magazine for making bags- there are some wonderful designs in the magazine- my list is going ever so long :0) Thank you so very much Nat..
And lastly some special things from my blog friend Rosa sent me a fabric postcard (I had not received a fabric postcard before), some maple leaf candies and some fat quarters. Rosa knew how much I loved floral fabrics and I was so pleased to see florals with black backgrounds. She is one thoughtful lady- sending me happy positive thoughts regularly. You are so kind Rosa - Thank you for your kindness and special treats.
This weekend I received word from Kellie that
I won a pattern from her beautiful blog "Don't Look Now". My fellow blogger, Thimbleanna won Kellie's beautiful quilt. Kellie is a wonderful designer who has some beautiful patterns on her blog for sale. Do go and visit her very pretty blog.

I have truly been spoiled by other bloggers this summer- I am thinking how I will return others generosity --- we shall see....

In the meantime, I am getting into the swing of school and fall activities. I am determined to make some inroads on a quilt that I began about 5 years ago. It is called " Hollow Cubes" and it has been hanging around long enough. One needs to strive for balance and I am notoriously bad at it. Perhaps this fall is a new beginning...

Until next time, be well..Happy Quilting
Warmest regards,