Sunday, June 28, 2009

Summer is coming....

C and E's paperweight wedding quilt was a quilt that I made for a friend's niece, a couple of summers ago. It was an interesting experience to be asked to make a quilt on commission but I don't think that I would like to do it again. I found it complicated to place a monetary number on a quilt. You can put a replacement value on the fabric, but it was difficult for me, to find a fair price for the time spent creating a quilt. Personally, it is simpler,and I am happier making quilts and giving them away to my loved ones..

What to do first? At the beginning of the summer vacation (well nearly summer vacation because I am not officially finished until Tuesday afternoon) there is always the anticipation of where to begin and what I should get done first.

Sometimes I have immediate plans, and other times, I have some time just to hang out, relax and catch up to myself after the busyness of the school year. This year I have a quilt to finish by the end of the week, but I will also have some time to just read and relax. I do have the quilt put together, borders on and spray basted together. It is a large twin sized Trip Around the World quilt so it shouldn't take too long to quilt(I hope). I also have the binding made...

This weekend has been lovely. I have had two outings with friends -one Friday evening and one on Saturday lunch. On Saturday, a friend was in town from Thunder Bay ( a city in Ontario about 1100 miles east from here)It was lovely to see her. My dear friend V.( who is a good friend of the friend from Thunder Bay) arranged lunch in a Thai restuarant. V and I, then went off to a bead shop and I found some lovely beads for today's beading projects.

Since then I have enjoyed reading and catching up on my favorite blogs- there are some wonderful blog writers on my list. They share their stories, offer tutorials on techniques: for example making scrap bindings(cutting 21 inch strips of various fabrics and piecing them together instead of using all one color). Some other offerings were some ways to make wool pictures or use stitcheries in quilts or make a quilt using one color( blue or red the most popular). I find the blogs inspiring and interesting to see what others are creating. Perhaps you do too!!!

Some other 'bloggers share their life experiences. One of my favorites is Postcards from Cairo by Jenny Bowker . She was recently in India and posted some magnificent photos of the Taj Mahal. It made me go and check out WikiPedia for some information about that beautiful tomb. I don't remember having seen any close ups of the inside wall decorations. There are beautiful carvings, scrollwork and floral patterns that are absolutely stunning.. Jenny has also done some spectacular portrait quilts that she has written about in her earlier posts. I do encourage you to go and have a look.

Another blogger Corey Amaro shares her life in France. She writes poignantly about the loss of her father and about a wonderful elderly woman named Annie. Her photograph reflect the beauty of the part of the world in which she lives.

On the last day of school for my students, I asked some of my little ones at school what they were going to do over the summer- Some said going camping or swimming or playing in the park but I thought that the cutest answer was " I am going to have a lemonade stand". This little boy is a real character. He loved the house center where he would pretend to be a "Spanish cooker" or sell me paper french fries from McDonalds. He even made me the pretend money so I could buy them from him. I am looking forward to the break but I will miss my 5 year olds" stories and jokes. They do make me laugh regularly.

I received a lovely giveaway package from Angela at Yellowbird Art this week. There were two patterns - One by Anne of Bunny Hill Patterns and the other by Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree Quilts as well as two fat quarters that are very pretty. Thank you Angela- I shall have fun with your prize.
There are some lovely giveaways going on various blogs- One is a Minnesota Shop hop that you can find by going to Gudrun's Quilting on the blog list. Quilters really are generous people- there are many examples of quilters making quilts for Charity or people in need around the globe.

I am almost through all my older quilts in my quilt journal - I am down to the last dozen or so. I guess I better be productive this summer or I won't have much interesting to show you soon:O)

Hope that you are enjoying some good weather and sharing some fun times with loved ones.
Time to bead and make a quilt label.

Warmest Regards,

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fathers and Sons...

I have made quilts for many of my loved ones- This brick quilt belongs to our son Kevin. It was the result of an experimental border that did not work as a border for another quilt. It is a strip quilt and has a fleece backing-It is a scrap quilt and makes up quickly. It has many of Kevin's favorite things: hockey, golf and star fabrics. The border is also pieced.

Its Father's Day ....I want to honor the many contributions the men in my life make on a daily basis. Most of them are fathers (except our son)and without exception they are all wonderful men. Both my of my fathers- my own father and my father in law are devoted to their wives. They worked hard in their chosen professions and made contributions to the bigger world around them. This is a photograph of my husband Bruce and his parents taken during his last visit with both of his parents. His father S.,passed away in November of 2007, not long after this picture. My father in law was a great lover of life- he lived his life with zest and joy. Dad loved baseball, hockey,classical music, history, teaching, people, his family and most devotedly my mother in law B.(B. lives in a nursing facility where she is well cared for as she has developed Alzheimers in the last few years.) We miss Dad's energy and passion for life.
My father R., is a brilliant gardener, a fisherman and a man who enjoys tinkering in his garage. He is meticulous about anything in his care- his tools, his vehicles, his home, his animals and anything that is related to his family. My Dad, R. always says that a job worth doing was worth doing well. Buy the best that you can afford is another of the beliefs that he has shared. He and my mother, D. enjoy many wonderful times visiting with their friends, having coffee at Tim Horton's, and going to Bluegrass concerts together.
My dad is a person of few words, preferring to show his care and devotion to his loved ones. His wants are small- a few nice plants, the occasional opportunity to catch a fish, a good cup of coffee, and his family coming to spend time regularly. How many Dad's do you know will sit and wait patiently while you go and do your thing in a quilt shop.
Thank you Dad for your wisdom and unwavering support- it is a most treasured gift.
These are my boys- my beloved Husband, Bruce and our cherished son, Kevin. I am the short stuff in the middle- I am really not that short(perhaps a little vertically challenged) but they are also both tall(over 6 feet). I celebrate their bright minds and their love of life.
Bruce is a passionate astronomer, huge hockey fan and the constant in my life. I know that I can count on him to help and support me through good times and bad. He has been my friend and the love of my life for thirty years. While life is not always easy together, we find a way to traverse the challenges and still have fun together.
As for Kevin, he is becoming his own person- we are proud of the way he is beginning to find his way as an adult. Someday perhaps he will be a father- He has had many wonderful role models to show him what it means to be a Dad. K has experienced the richness of having the love of fathers and two very special grandfathers. I celebrate you all.

Hey Dad- Your favorite modern baseball player Albert Pujols tied Stan Musial's nine grand slam record today...We can hear you cheering and celebrating !!

My house mailbox is a fun place to go these days- or least on the days when it is something other than the requisite monthly bills. I received a lovely package from Christine this week that was a giveaway that I won a few weeks ago. The fat quarters are really lovely- purple and gold - such royal colors. I am not sure yet how I will use them but I hope that I will find something special in which to use them. Thank you for your generous gift- it will be treasured!

Summertime is fast approaching - or maybe it is here, if you think of summer beginning with the summer solstice. We had our first significant rainstorm last evening.
My School vacation will begin on June 30th. The school year has been very full so I am looking forward to getting some things done around the house as well as beading and quilting.. I will, of course, take some time to visit my parents and relax. I have a number of projects that I want to finish-
This week I completed the body of the second of two twin sized "Trip around the world" quilts. The borders are yet to be decided but I have a good idea for at least one of them.
I want to get the borders on the" Winding Ways" and the "Wonky Tiles" so that I can finish them up too. Bruce has asked me to come up with an" Astronomy Themed Quilt" so I have a few projects to keep me busy. And there is always the "Tumbling blocks" quilt in a bag waiting to be finished.. In between times,I want to devote some time to finding my way through the boxes in our basement and catching up on some novels that have been sitting languishing on the shelf..
Summer plans ...Lots of ideas ...I wonder how much I will actually finish... Hopefully lots..I know from experience that the time will go all too quickly..
Have a great week.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sunflowers and Spiderwebs

I do love Sunflowers- to me, they are such happy flowers. They raise their faces to the sun and seem to smile at the world.

My blog friend Pam sent me a surprise last week in the mail. She sent me two beautiful pieces of Sunflower fabric from her collection and a package of Sunflower seeds to grow in my garden. Thank you Pam, for your very thoughtful package.It made my day.

The quilted Sunflower Wallhanging (our son is holding it up in the photo) was made for my sister in law C., and brother in Law E., in Newfoundland. They are big fans of Van Gogh and this was my Ode to Vincent. I posted it previously, but can you ever have too many sunflowers? The technique is called Snippets. Cindy Walters has written a few books about this technique. It is great for landscapes and still life pictures. You use a material called Steam a Seam II for fusing all the little snippets to a background. I enjoyed playing with my fabric bits- perhaps you will too.

I have collected sunflower fabrics for sometime now. Like I said, they make me feel happy I used some of my sunflower fabrics to make a Disappearing Nine Patch quilt- It is indeed a sea of sunflowers. I will try and post a photo of it soon too.

As for Pam's seeds, I will have to dig a row to plant them so I best get it done tomorrow or it may be too late. We have had a very cool spring this year. However this weekend is a hot one with temperatures that are in the high twenties Celsius. Bruce has brought up a floor fan to cool off our living space. It sure does help.

Spider Web Quilts make such interesting secondary designs- This queen sized scrap quilt is bold and full of lots of vivid colors. I found it tricky to find the right sashing. It is quite a bold yellow with purple throughout. The background is purple and was a challenge to find some sashing to go with it.
Do you ever get the blocks together and then try and figure out how you are going to sash it? Or rethink whether putting sashing in between the blocks is going to add to the quilt? Sometimes you need to add sashing to make the quilt bigger. I tend to create as I go- I am not good at pre planning all the parts of my quilts. I have been known to change parts of the quilt a few times over until I am satisfied that the fabrics work together. Usually, I just audition with the yardage and let the quilt speak to me. This is not always my process but is my most common practise. Do you let your quilt speak to you ?
Or do you have all the parts chosen first?

The spiderweb quilt also belongs to E. and C. I am truly lucky because I have terrific siblings and siblings in law.Unfortunately, We do not see each other often as Newfoundland is over 4000 miles from where I call home, but E and C.are a great couple. When we do get together, a good time is had by all.
While I was reading some blogs, I discovered this lovely blog written by Tonya.
Tonya is having a giveaway on her blog. It is a lovely giveaway - you may want to check it out. She is celebrating her 100th post.

Tomorrow Bruce and I are off to see the Local guild's quilt show. We may even go for Brunch too. It is my reward for today's work- I have spent the day finishing up some paper work for school. I woke up early and I worked the day away but tomorrow there will be time to play.

It is quite fun to get the snail mail these days. My friend, Loulee, sent me a lovely piece of pansy fabric(she had some stabilizer she was giving away to whoever was interested). I said yes and another lady said yes so she sent something to both us. Loulee sent me a bright multi colored pansy fabric and a wonderful tea towel from her home - The Isle of Mann. I told her that I loved so many colors so she found the perfect piece of fabric for me. It was such a kind thing to do, Loulee- Thank you so much..

Perhaps I will write again this weekend if I manage to take some photos at the Guild show. I am not sure if they will let us or not. For now, I am feeling serious eye fatigue - the pillow is beckoning again.
Happy quilting,
Warmest Regards,

Sunday, June 7, 2009

This is June isn't it?

June is for weddings and this quilt was made for our niece Nicole and her husband last year. This quilt was the first quilt I posted when I began blogging last fall. The quilt pattern is from a book called " Strip Easy" by Christiane Meunier. The pattern is called "One World Over". I tried very hard to get the spiral to work out in the middle, but my colors were not exactly right. It is a queen sized quilt and I chose fabrics that were jungle like as Nicole really liked those fabrics.

On Saturday evening, Bruce and I were invited to a barbecue. The food was delicious and the company very pleasant, but, man was it chilly!! Everyone had a jacket and some people had brought gloves. It snowed down south of us and in the mountain areas.. Did I say that this was June?
We keep hopeing that spring/summer will arrive here in Alberta but so far Mother Nature has been playing some cool tricks on us.

I have spent the day working on report cards- I have another week before they are due and I am about half done. It takes me awhile to organize the assessments and write individual comments.

This second quilt belongs to my niece Sarah and her husband. It was a wedding gift that I made for them, when they were married in 2005. It is a variation of a spiderweb quilt. It is interesting to see the difference that it makes when you use the same background versus making it scrappy. I will show another spider web next time, that is a scrappy variation.

On a sad note, our friends lost their beautiful daughter Vanessa,to breast cancer. She was loved dearly by all who knew her, and our hearts go out to our friends at this difficult time.

This week our son,K took a friend to British Columbia on a road trip. I am sure that they are having a grand time. It is his first long driving trip ( 12 hours driving one way). We are learning to adjust to having an adult son - we will still be happy when he returns safe and sound on Tuesday.

Dusty, the dog, got herself groomed this week. She has gone from mottley, to sleek and soft. Dusty will be gorgeous until she finds something to roll in wants to stick her beak into something she wants to have for a snack. Pets do keep life interesting don't they?

I got a chance yesterday to go off with my friend Lou. We went and explored some of our favorite quilt shops and bought a bit of fabric. I was looking for a quilt backing for the Trip around the world quilt. The best part always is that I got to enjoy some time with my dear friend.
Besides fabric, I picked up the newest Quilt Sampler magazine.
Do you have a favorite magazine or source for quilt patterns What about a favorite website? favorite quilt pattern book?

I was noticing on Connecting Threads website some of their new books that are on sale are actually some older books that are classics. If you are looking for books- I have found Connecting Threads to be a good source.

Now I need to go visit another dear friend- my pillow. June always brings interesting busy days..

Be well,