Monday, December 20, 2010

Signs of the Season...

Poinsettia throw made around 2002 - center of the quilt is a paper pieced pattern by Eileen B.Sullivan. It is a sew and flip technique.

My dear friends,
It has been a busy time for me- it seems like a common refrain but somehow this fall has been busier than usual or maybe I am getting older... For whatever reason I have not got as much done at home and quilting seems to have fallen to the back burner. In the New Year I want to change that - I have some quilt projects that I want to make for some special people to acknowledge their importance in my life.

The festive season has arrived in my house. We are all lit up with lights of the season. This year we have had more snow than some years so it is indeed a winter Wonderland.
This furry bear friend who is hanging on for dear life has graced the top of our Christmas tree for many years. Sometimes, I think its time we replaced him but the men in my house say he is a tradition, so there he sits, perched on the top of the tree. We put him in his place yesterday when we decorated the tree with dear friends and family. Our tree trimming party is an annual event where friends come and help adorn the tree. It looks beautiful doesn't it! Last weekend, I put up some of the other Christmas decorations that add ambiance and reflect the Christmas season. This stand came from my in laws home, and is very old. I change it seasonally and it holds all the symbols of the changing seasons.

The mantel holds some of my favorite Santas. Do you collect certain kinds of decorations?
We live in a small house and so I rotate the collections of things. Over the years, I have been given a number of Santas. This is just some of them. They say less is more- I still haven't quite figured out how to be a minimalist but this is reduced..LOL

We have had a real tree for all of the years we have been married. We love the smell of the real tree and don't mind the real life droppings of nature that decorate our rug by the end of the Christmas season. The tree is covered with an eclectic collection of decorations-many which have been given to me by students. Some ornaments have hung on every tree for the past 30 years. The tree does not have tinsel on it yet. Santa Claus usually added it on Christmas Eve- This year I am not sure if it will get on or not..

Poinsettia flowers were my wedding flowers in 1980. I have a great fondness for them and Bruce brought this beautiful plant to grace our table. There are some wonderful Christmas cacti too. Cacti have quite an amazing flower- almost like a trumpet shaped flower that keeps expanding out... We have an old one and a new one and both of them have blossoms- Nature does have amazing timing..
I have been very fortunate lately. I have won some giveaways. These are a couple of things that arrived in my mailbox.

A while back I won a gift certificate to a place called Patchwork Plus through the Barbara Cline book bloghop.( If you love lone stars then you should check out her book "Star Struck Quilts.") When I began searching The Patchwork Plus on line website I was thrilled to find some beautiful sunflower fabric and some teacher like fabric with all sorts of math and science symbols on it. As well,I found a pattern of a quilt that I had admired on Tazzie's blog awhile back.Tazzie is an Australian quilter who has contributed designs to Australian Patchwork and Quilting. I really loved how Tazzie used black and white around the central blocks. Her central blocks were Kaffe fabrics. It seems quite fitting that the pattern was bought from a gift certificate that came through a giveaway on her blog. Thank you Tazzie!
Elaine from a Faithful Quilter held a giveaway in honor of her birthday earlier in December. I was so amazed when an email appeared in my box to let me know that I had won some lovely fabric. I wish that the camera captured the truly gorgeous fabrics done by Barbara Brackman. They are rich and luscious to look at. Thank you Elaine for your beautiful card and generous gift. It is very special fabric.

And here is a giveaway for you to check out at retro mummy She is giving away some really lovely Lecien fabric called Flowered Sugar.... yummy...

Christmas will be a little different in our house this year. Our son is flying with his girlfriend to the other side of the country to spend Christmas with her family. We know that they will have a fantastic time but we will miss them both. We will go earlier to visit my parents and have dinner with my siblings.On Sunday Bruce and I will celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. I am not sure yet how we will mark it but it doesn't really matter as long as we have time together.

In closing, I would like to wish you and yours a lovely festive season where you have the opportunity to enjoy some good times with family and friends. May 2011 bring good health and prosperity to you and your loved ones.
Warmest regards,

Monday, November 29, 2010

Going back....

Do you have a favorite pattern that you use when you quilt? There are a few giveaways going on in blogland and sometimes the blogger will pose a question.
One of the giveaways that I entered tonight, asked me if I had a favorite pattern.
I guess I am a traditionalist at heart- I love patterns like Lone Star, Log Cabin and Double Wedding Ring- the designs are simple designs with lots of color. The quilt in the photograph was made a number of years ago(rising 10 years) and it belonged to my inlaws. I believe it is a Double Irish Chain and, even though we have taken a number of photos of it, the colors just do not come out correctly on the computer or photograph. The red is a rich cranberry/ burgundy red and gold and green are quite luscious in person. However, I like to post at least one quilt this post. Here is one to kick out the Festive Season.
My spouse and I share a great love of flowers. Bruce found some lovely peach colored roses with alstroemeria. They are such a pretty flower and last quite awhile- They certainly brighten a winter's day.
Winter arrived last week with a bang. The first seriously cold day was on the 22nd which also just happened to be my birthday. It is not unusual to have snow on my birthday, but one hopes not to get hit with a real cold spell at the beginning. This one lasted for only a couple of days,thank goodness! Too many cold days in a row can make for some serious cases of cabin fever in kindergarten.
Since I last wrote - all the most important writing has been completed at school. I have met with my families and we now are preparing for the annual Christmas concert. The children are getting excited for the upcoming arrival of Santa.

You already know that I love creating and making things with my hands.One of my other interests is family history or genealogy. When I was about 16, I began to research my father's family. Like a disease spreading, other family members got hooked into looking at things from the past. M This weekend Bruce and I went to visit my folks in Red Deer(it is about a two hour drive).My mother has developed a serious bug and collected information from 8 different lines that radiate out from my grandparents. Imagine my pleasure when my mother handed me a pamphlet from the local museum, with a photograph of my grandfather's family. The photo was taken in 1912 when my grandfather was 2. He is the little boy in the doorway dressed in white. (I think you could click on the photos and make them larger.)The curator, Michael, was someone with whom I went to school. He gave a lecture Sunday afternoon which we were invited to attend. It was a wonderful hour spent learning more about the settlement of the area and some of the trials,tribulations and challenges that the families experienced when they arrived in this New land.

This dapper fellow holding the violin was my mother's great uncle John. The photographs were all taken on glass negatives and have been well preserved.
Here is my mother Dolores(the fair haired one) and her cousin Lavila taken on either side of the family photo. Lavila's father was born a year later than this photograph.
My great grandparents were Swedish and came around the turn of the 20th century. Like others, my great grandfather came ahead and his wife followed awhile later. Their journey was long and arduous. They came to land that was not yet developed and worked hard to establish a new life. The exhibit is called "Nya Bachen" which refers to "New Land".

Here is a photo of my mom and I with the family photograph.

This past weekend was quite hectic- my friend Val and I went to a local bead show of hand made beads.(I hope to show you them in a different post). There were some really lovely ones and,of course,I bought some to use to make Christmas gifts. Bruce and I left to spend the rest of the weekend with my folks.
Some family friends of my parents came in to have " American Thanksgiving Dinner" on Saturday evening. They are transplanted Americans. We had a pleasant evening and enjoyed chicken dinner with all the trimmings.

Sunday was even busier- In the morning, Mom and I made gingerbread playdough for my students. I have some gingerbread cookie dough chilling in the fridge compliments of my mother. One evening this week, I will roll out the dough and make gingerbread cookies for my school kids. After lunch, we went off to the museum and returned to watch the Grey Cup (our national football championship). Some family members were disappointed because our Western team - the Saskatchewan Roughriders lost to the Montreal Alouettes.
Our journey home from Red Deer was later than usual as the road was covered in ground fog for the first half of the trip. It felt good to fall into bed on Sunday night.

If you are still with me, I want to share a few giveaways that are happening in Blogland.
Rebecca is having a lovely giveaway of some gorgeous fat quarters.
Elaine is having a birthday giveaway- She is a big fan of civil war fabrics and has lovely blog - do go and check out her blog.
Charlie is celebrating having 500 followers. He along with the Fat Quarter Shop, are having a nice giveaway with a 50 dollar gift certificate and a baby quilt that Charlie has created. He is giving away the fabrics to make a chenille baby blanket.
Oz Jane has a very nice giveaway going on just now. She often shares her adventures with Moggie the cat and life in the land down under.
Heather of "Trends and Traditions" is part of a group of designers who are hosting a blog hop with 17 other designers for the first 7 days of December. It is The Henry Glass Parade with a free project and a mystery word to collect. At the end you could be the winner of some great prizes. Do check it out from Heather's post.
December is soon here. May you enjoy some wonderful family times during this hectic season.
Until next time, I hope you spend some happy time creating.
Warmest regards,

Sunday, November 14, 2010

November Ramblings...

So how is life everyone..... Are you getting ready for Christmas? Is it getting cooler and the snow arriving in your neck of the woods(for my Northern Hemisphere blogging friends)? Here in Edmonton, we had one snowfall that has melted away but this weekend has been cool and grey. The sky looks threatening- I guess I will have to put away my open toed shoes soon. LOL

One of the things my husband Bruce often does, is bring home flowers when he goes grocery shopping- The newest flowers were red carnationa and a stem of orchids - The orchids are actually white and deep red purple, and have graced the table that I have been working on, for most of the past couple of weekends.

For me it is that time again where I worked on report cards for school. The flowers looked beautiful and gave me something to enjoy viewing when I needed some time to reflect on the writing.

Once I had completed some of the report writing, I thought about other things that I have on my plate to do before the Christmas season is upon us. One of them is a small quilting project. I went looking in the stash of fabric for some pansy fabrics. A quilting friend very kindly had given me some pieces for this particular project. I am very grateful for her generous gift, because as I dug through the boxes of beautiful fabric, I found many beautiful pieces of batiks, tone on tone, stars and other floral fabrics but very little pansy fabric.

I have read a few blogs lately that showed some new fabrics that others had added to their stash. I am trying to use my stash when I can, rather than buy new fabric. There are many beautiful pieces up there just waiting to be made into quilts. Do you collect lots of the same kind of fabrics and not much of other kinds? How is it that I can have boxes of one type and only a half a dozen pieces of another?

Choosing a pattern was also a bit of a challenge as I usually make bed quilts. I found the pattern for these bargello placemats in this older issue of Quilter's World.
Here you can see the original pattern called Land and Sea bargello placemats.
I do love the color combo that they used. I am not sure how well it will work with the pansy fabrics, but we will soon find out.

You can see the strips laid out on the table. I am still trying to figure out if this is the sequence that I want to use for the place mats. I can't decide if I want to include the bright yellow strip or not- I am wondering if it is going to be too jarring to the eye?

A friend at work asked me if I would make her some bracelets for her to give as Christmas gifts. These were today's creations- If you are wondering why they still have loose wire, it is because I want to check and see if they all fit, before I cut the wire and finish them. She will not want all of them, so I have a start on some Christmas gifts as well.

The one bracelet on the left that has bigger beads, is for me- I bought some Christmas beads and got them strung in time to wear for this Christmas season. Wahoo..

In between report card writing, we had the opportunity to take in some great music by some local musicians who participated in an event called "Homefest". The purpose of the event is to raise awareness of Homelessness in our area. We have attended before (3 other times). Each time we have enjoyed the music and been moved by the stories shared by the people willing to share their challenging circumstances. Affordable housing is a difficult issue for many people in the current economic times. It is particularly daunting in our winter climate.

Later last week, Bruce and I went to hear a lecture at the local Art Gallery about the work of Henri Matisse. I found it interesting to see this week,that Hancocks of Paducah was advertising a new line of fabrics " Vie en Rose" by Alexander Henry that use Henri Matisse works as inspiration for the line.

I am still wanting to finish reading all the quilt stories from Amy's blogging festival. The icon at the top of my blog can take you to Amy's festival where you should be able to view the quilts. There were 649 quilts in the show- so many magnificent pieces...

This next week there is still some paperwork to be completed for school. Hopefully next weekend I will take out the winter village to decorate the sideboard. The days seem to fly by at this time of year, with lots to do and not enough time...Christmas is coming...

Hope you all are well and getting some time to create and enjoy life.

Warmest regards,

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Amy's Blogger Festival _ Fall 2010

This week is Amy's Blogger Festival that coincides with the big Houston Quilt Festival and Market. The quilt that I have chosen to share is a quilt that I made for our niece and nephew as a Wedding Quilt. The pattern is called Paperweight from Aardvark Patterns, Kansas.

I loved making this quilt- there are so many fabric scraps that brought back wonderful memories of other quilts that I have made, as I made the wheel like hexagons. I knew that Beth loved blue but I prefer to make quilts with many colors. It is always a dilemma when you are making a gift for someone- what colors to choose - a few or many. My hope is that the owners will use their quilt and feel the warmth and love that is sewn in with every stitch. I know that the couple loved their quilt. The quilt owners will have their first baby in the spring so it will be time for another kind of quilt.

On the technical side,I learned an easier way after I finished making the quilt so if I were to make it again it would have been less difficult to join the hexagons together. I pinned each edge of the hexagon with the joining blocks. It would have worked much better if I had sewn them in half wheels and sewed them in strips.

It is a queen sized quilt and unlike almost all of my other quilts has no additional borders. The outer edge has half hexagon wheels to square it. I am not sure how many pieces there are in it but there are a few hundred pieces.

Amy's Creative Side - Blogger's Quilt Festival

Thank you Amy for hosting this wonderful quilt festival. This is the third time that I have participated and I am looking forward to seeing all the different quilts. There are many beauties already hanging there on the main link. To see them just click on the icon and it will take you to the quilts. Amy has added a photo of each quilt which makes it look even more like a show. I know I am going to enjoy visiting the posts and reading their stories - I am sure you will too..

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you will stop by again.
Regards from a Western Canadian quilter.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Some early quilts from the vaults....

Quilting is a bit of a cyclical thing for me- Sometimes I manage to get a fair amount of quilting done and other times I seem to get nothing done short of adding some beautiful fabric to my ever growing stash or drooling over magazine/ book quilts and new gadgets like the "Go"... I am not sure why I quilt like that- part of it is certainly because my work life takes over and there doesn't seem to be enough time or energy to go around. Yet,I know if I begin working on a quilt project, I feel better. Before I know it, I will have worked for a couple of hours and feel re- energized too. Sometimes, I stop to look at some photos of the quilts I have created over the last 15 years. Mars the cat can often be found testing out my quilts- She appears to think that I make them for her pleasure. She even has some favorite quilts- The leaf one on the left, is one that she is keen on- it matches her coat beautifully..

My quilt journey began quite a long time ago now - I have always loved quilts and my first experiences with quilting came when I met a friend whose grandmother showed her how to make the dresden plate pattern. We used cardboard templates and scissors ( yes I was one of those people that quilted in a time where there was no rotary cutter.. I completed one block and later turned it into a quillow quilt ( a quilt that folds up and forms a pillow.)

After that, my journey hit a few pot holes and I got side tracked by life- I married my husband and a few years later we had our son. He was born in the winter of 1987. The summer I was pregnant with him I quilted a " Quilt in a Day" Log cabin. It was a bit of challenge as I knew nothing about machine quilting. I thought that all quilts needed to be like downy duvets- I put a double layer of polyester batt in it, so it would be poofy.. It was a bit like wrestling a bear... I don't think I would want you to see the back of it either... The front doesn't look very good these days as it has suffered a few adventures with the pets that are an important part of our home and hearth. Life took over again - and it would be another 10 years before I would quilt again..
However, that is when my quilting journey changes- In the summer of 1996, I met a teacher, Linda and a small group of quilters with whom I connected, and we became quilting friends. I have quilted steadily ( sometimes slightly unsteadily) since that time. I have made over 50 large bed sized quilts for friends and family and numerous baby wraps in the intervening years.

This lone star was made in the fall of 1997-it still lives in our house- I made it larger to cover up my 6 foot husband and son. The colors are now dated but it remains in pretty good shape and still keeps us warm too...

What size quilts do you make? I like to make quilts that will be ones that fit a bed- I have made a few baby quilts and lots of baby wraps but, mostly I make big quilts that fit queen sized and occasionally king sized beds. I also like to make couch sized quilts.

My blog friend Rosa from New Brunswick ( a province in Eastern Canada) posted about the Magic Tiles pattern not long ago. It really is a pretty pattern. Here was my version of this beautiful design. I think I made it about 2002. It is made all out of batiks and I know that our friends loved it.

Sometimes I think it might be fun to make a few smaller projects just to get my juices going- but then I think of all the bed quilts I still want to make for one reason or another... I see the beautiful bags people create - I even have a couple of quilt books with bag patterns - still I make bed quilts ---- I guess I hope to make a dent in my stash and bed quilts is the way to do that LOL

Earlier I was mentioning about the Go -- Well Micki of The Irish Muse blog is hosting a Go giveaway... Now I have been admiring those fine machines- just think how much easier it is to cut things out.. What about all the different die- so many choices.. Maybe you will be the lucky winner or may be it will be my turn- do check it out...

There is a new Talk about Fabric button on the right side of my blog- for those of you who like giveaways or are interested in talking about fabric and fabric lines. You can add the button to your blog too if you wish..

This week is the big Houston Quilt Market- I am mind boggled thinking about all the choices one would find there- It is too large for me but it is fun to see what others have to say about the Houston Quilt festival...

The fall is flying by- this weekend is Halloween and my kindergarten students love to dress up in their costumes and go trick or treating. The first assessment part of my job is done so now the report writing begins... The first snowfall came on Monday and so did the snow pants and the snowmen.... Each day brings new things...

Wishing everyone some time to reflect and create...
Warmest regards,

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Time to Contemplate....

Some days I am struck by how much can happen in one day- sometimes it is a series of a little things and other times there are major events.

The world has been watching the miracle that has happened in Chili- What a wonderful thing that they were able to keep those miners alive and have brought them back to the earth's surface. I wondered how did those men hang onto hope and the belief that they would some day feel the sunlight and the hugs of loved ones.

Today I am feeling a bit reflective about the fragility of life. I have some friends and family who are dealing with loss and serious illness. I wish that I could find words of comfort that could ease their grief and loss- life can be cruel.

When we were in the mountains of Jasper in the summer, my spouse took this photo of me. We were awestruck by the beauty of Mount Edith Cavell. The Canadian Rockies are truly majestic. You can drive up the mountain of hairpin turns and stop to view the vistas. The mountains are a wonderful place to pause and reflect.. It was very soothing to stop and contemplate the beauty of the surroundings. Do you have a place where you can go and enjoy a reflective pause?

For six weeks this fall, I am participating in a book study group that is reading a book about using philosophy to help children develop critical thinking skills. It is an interesting study and asks questions like "are children philosophers?"
How do we help children continue to ponder questions that do not have right or wrong answers?
How do we help fuel childrens' natural curiosity?

I can tell my life has been busy because I have not been able to spend time writing or reading in blogland. There has been a wonderful blog festival fall into fall that is over tomorrow. If you hurry, you might be able to check out some of the wonderful blogs and sign up for some terrific giveaways.

Here in Canada, we celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving this past weekend.

My husband was away visiting his elderly mother. I made this texture quilt for her a couple of years ago. She has Alzheimer's and is well cared for in a seniors home. She recently had her 88th birthday. Ami Simms is the founder of the Alzheimer Art Quilts Initiative that has raised money for Alzheimer's Research. There is a powerful book and show called "Forgetting by the Piece". Do check out her website.

Last weekend, our son Kevin, his girlfriend Roseanne, and I went to visit my parents and enjoyed a scrumptious Thanksgiving dinner and all the trimmings with 15 family members. Nearly two weeks ago, one of our nieces, had a new baby girl,W. who is beautiful.
New babies need quilts don't you think? I made a quilted baby wrap for her, which I unfortunately, neglected to photograph- Perhaps one of my family members will send me a photo to post.

While Bruce was away visiting his mother I did attend the Kaffe Fassett evening. This link takes you to his home page.

I loved seeing some of Kaffe quilts and needlework and enjoyed hearing him talk about his process. There was certainly lots of beautiful forms of needlework and patchwork to enjoy. I asked him if there ever could be too much color and his reply was a succinct "No". He graciously signed my books and I went home inspired by all those rich colors.

I also had the opportunity to meet with good friends for dinner a couple of times last week. We enjoyed some delicious meals and delightful conversation.

The week passed very quickly- it was the first week that I had lived in our house by myself, as our son has been living away from home since last spring( well we still have our cat and dog).

In the meantime, I have been very busy at school gathering information for fall assessments and reports. I sometimes forget how busy fall can be.

A lovely lady named Marc sent me some wonderful Aunt Martha embroidery transfers. She was cleaning out her sewing area and wanted to give them away. I was the fortunate recipient of them. My mom did many beautiful embroidery pieces so the transfers bring back many wonderful memories. Thank you so much Marcia. They are really lovely.

Thanks to all of you who left such nice comments last time. My lost tooth did not cause me any grief- I am really fortunate-

Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks - Today I am particularly grateful for all that I have... and taking a bit of time to contemplate life's rich gifts. I will return when I can- perhaps with a little more quilt content..
Warmest regards,

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Tooth , Magazine Therapy, A Package, and some quilt process..

Part one a Tooth Saga..
Recently, Bruce and I stopped to buy some groceries and a few things for the prize box for my little ones at school. While we were there, I saw on the shelf, one of my favorite candies " Edinburgh Toffee". It had been quite awhile since I had sampled its sticky goodness so I bought a bag as a treat. Mint,chocolate, licorice and vanilla flavors are some of my favorite toffees. Someone ought to have reminded me that middle aged teeth do not always like chewy candies, and while enjoying one, I suddenly found myself with a large chunk out of a wisdom tooth.. Yikes.... Fortunately, it did not hurt, but unfortunately, it was rather a large hole where there once was a tooth. Yesterday, I phoned the dentist's office and, today after class, I was able to arrange a visit my dentist... To say, that it made me anxious would be an understatement, but I was more fearful of how much of a pain the holey took could become if I didn't take care of it. It didn't take long after my arrival at the dentist- fifteen minutes later with a frozen mouth, I found myself chomping down on a piece of gauze and minus a wisdom tooth. My dentist also sent me home with some instructions to prevent a dry socket(not a fun condition that my husband experienced) and a prescription for antibiotic and Tylenol 3.. It is now a few hours later and other than the residual freezing, it is feeling not too bad- even without the Tylenol, perhaps I may need one before bed but so far, so good)

Part Two.. A visit to Chapters

One of my vices( besides sticky chewy candies LOL) is a love of quilt magazines and books. The book store is literally on the next corner from the dentist's office. I figured I had earned a little diversion after my dental experience, so I checked out the current quilt magazines. I picked up a collection of ten or twelve magazines, and after some perusal, I narrowed it down to these three that came home with me..
Over the summer, I discovered Quilt Life magazine. I really enjoyed reading the inaugural issue and was very pleased to see a copy of it on the Canadian newsstand. Chapters carries a pretty large selection of magazines- that include a number of US and International magazines. There is now a Canadian magazine too - so many choices- which ones would you pick? What makes you choose to buy a magazine or book? For a number of years, I subscribed to Quilters Newsletter (still do), and the Australian Patchwork and Quilting ( still like it a lot but no longer subscribe to it). Currently, I usually buy Fons and Porter..."For the Love of Quilting" and, once in awhile, still buy the Australian Patchwork magazine. I pick and choose more than I used to - each one runs about 7 or 8 Canadian dollars. It quickly adds up not to mention that the piles of magazines get taller and taller.. This time I chose based on what patterns were in the magazines that really might be added to my bucket list of quilts to make.

Part Three_ A Package in the Mail
Armed with some new reading material, some fresh bread and medication we returned home to find a lovely package of fabrics and rotary cutting blades that I ordered from a company called Sew Sisters in Toronto.. I was so pleased to see it had safely arrived and everything that I ordered came too Woo Hoo....
The first one is a backing for a nature quilt that I am thinking about making for a special someone. Usually I work from my stash but this project has involved collecting panels and other fabrics... The design is still in my head... but it is coming along. I also ordered the large rotary cutting blades- they are the best price I can find here in Canada so I was thrilled to get them for even less on this one day sale.( about 20 dollars Canada for 5 blades)
Sew Sisters also had some of Kaffe Fassett fabrics on sale - I was a bit surprised how large one of the designs was ( the orange petal shaped piece is very big) but they are all lovely. I am so looking forward to seeing Kaffe speak here at a local museum in early October. I wonder which quilts and needlework he will bring to show us?

This collection includes a very cute Raggedy Ann and Andy fabric for a baby wrap- and a piece of Valori Wells Sole fabric line.

Recently some bloggers have begun to write about their process while quilting. Here is the beginning squares to my latest convergence. They are wrinkly here but I did press them, before they were cut up into the strips.VBG
And Voila... Here is the newest completed quilt of this year. It is amazing what a difference quilting, binding, not to mention pressing, make to the look of the quilt. I got it bound last week and it is ready for some special people- It just needs a label on it..

I also completed the body of another of the wonky rail ties (8X9)rows so it will be a queen sized version of the blue/green rail ties. There is still 20 more blocks that I can use to make a small couch quilt... I did get rather carried away when I was making those blocks!

Recently I was visiting a fellow blogger,Elaine wrote about a very cool technique that uses square in a square blocks by Jody Barrows. Elaine is having a little trouble with blogger just now, but do check it out( I just clicked the 2nd link), if you are curious about ways to cut up a Square in a Square design. It reminds me of the techniques used to make the disappearing 4 and 9 patch blocks. Quilters do create such amazing designs... I checked on Amazon for Jody's book, but so far, I have not had any luck finding it..

We are beginning to get healthier in our house ( wisdom tooth not withstanding) and getting settled into the fall routines. The trees are turning, the moon is full and Fall has definitely arrived here in Alberta...

Hope this finds you healthy and having fun creating, in whatever medium feeds your creative soul..

Warmest regards,

Thursday, September 16, 2010

September - the connecting roots....

Here are a few of my father's beautiful lilies- some of which came from plants out of my grandmother's garden. She loved flowers- irises, lilies and pansies were some of her favorites. The frost has come and September has been wet and rainy. We keep hoping that we might have some warm days yet before we have the long winter season.

These last two weeks have been busy ones... This past week was the first full week of school; although I have been back in the classroom since the last week of August. My school kids and I are getting to know one another... My assistant and I have begun the necessary assessments that help us better determine appropriate programming for this group of children. Yesterday we had our annual "Corn Fest" where are families come to see the school and meet the staff. I have been laminating, photocopying and making new things for the classroom so there has not been much time/ energy to quilt.

Last weekend I went for a quick trip to my folks on Saturday. It was a spur of the moment trip that involved my 17 year god daughter A., driving her first long trip( 200 miles round trip). She wanted to see her friend, M., who lives is a bedroom community of the city in which my parents live. A. picked up her friend M., and they drove off to a local restaurant while my friend Val and I, went on to my parent's home to have lunch with my parents. My god daughter A., is the one in the middle. Val and I have been good friends since 1988. Where has the time gone? Our children have gone from babies to near adulthood. Val's friendship is one of the great gifts in my life. While Bruce and I have one adult son, her girls certainly are daughters of my heart. Her younger daughter E., is interested in sewing and quilting- perhaps one day we will make a quilt together.

While we were there, Val and my dad got talking about genealogy and family roots. My father took out some family treasures that my great grandmother Carrie- Belle brought with her, when she and her family moved to Alberta early in the twentieth century. She was a teacher on a reservation in the Dakotas. Carrie Belle was given these beautiful moccasins and pouches/ medicine bags by her First Nation families. The bead work on the moccasins is fabulously intricate and are greatly treasured by my father. One pair was made for a baby, while the blue ones were made for a woman. I don't know if my great grandmother ever wore the moccasins.
This week was also an anniversary of sorts for us. It has been 7 years since my grandmother Grace passed away in an accident. I have written about her before in an earlier post called " Remembering Grace". She was nearly 87 when we lost her- I miss her a lot- I was her oldest grandchild and I spent many happy times during my childhood with her and my grandfather on their farm. My grandmother was the kindest person I have ever known- she and my mother were wonderful role models in my life. They taught me the importance of caring and empathy.
Every post needs a quilt and this quilt was made for my grandmother to honor her 85 years. The quilt is a colorwash quilt with 30X 40 two inch squares. After she died, the quilt was returned to me.

Sometimes when I wrap myself in her quilt, I can remember how she smelled. Did you know that your sense of smell is one of your most lingering senses- that smells can trigger some of your oldest memories?

My blogging friend Michele just lost her father recently. Do go and check out her current post which is touching and eloquent- She has created a beautiful butterfly quilt.

This lovely photo sat on my desk at school for the last few years. It is a photo taken about a year before my gran's passing. It was taken on the farm that she so loved, and is of her and the two men whom I love very much - my son and my husband.

One of my husband's cousins sent us some terrific family photos of a family reunion taken in August. It came in the mail this past week and Bruce and I enjoyed looking at the pictures of family and reading about their connections in a family genealogy book. I love old family pictures and I wonder whether my grandchildren's children will wonder about their crazy old relative 100 years from now.
Many of my parent's generation lived in the same communities as their parents and grandparents. We are such a transient society these days that one's family is spread all over the globe. The internet and technology has made the world so much smaller and accessible to maintain and renew connections with family and friends.

The cool weather has brought fall colds to our home- unfortunately, my husband's developed into bronchial pneumonia. We are hoping that a heavy dose of antibiotics will cure the hacking cough. As for me, it wouldn't be September without some sniffles and a scratchy throat... Too much talking and small children seem to combine to bring a fall cold...

Thanks to all of you who stop by and leave your beautiful comments. I appreciate them more than words can say. When I can,I do so enjoy visiting my blog friends. It is always fun to see what is happening in blogland.

Until next time,
Happy quilting,

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Jasper, Quilt shops and Summer's end...

This summer has passed as a bit of a blur- especially the month of August- It is often that way- July arrives and I am usually ready for a rest and time to rejuvenate and catch up to myself from the busy school term. Sometimes I have a list of goals that I want to complete and other times summer is a time to reflect and do things as they fit in. This summer was the later... In my last post I wrote about some of our travels to the mountains of Jasper- Bruce and I had a lovely time there- While we were up looking around Pyramid Lake( it is above the Jasper town site) we came across some benches where we stopped to contemplate the beauty of the lake and mountains surrounding it. This rock caught my eye- I pondered how long it had taken to form that round boulder- Mother Nature sure is a master artist...

I have to say, my husband Bruce was a good sport about my passion for quilting and checking out the quilt stores. We stopped at three on our five hour journey to the mountains. The first one was in a little place called Edson. Edson is located in the foothills of Alberta- some beautiful knob and kettle farmland but the mountains are still nearly an hour away. This little shop called Quilters Quarters was in smaller house.
All the nooks and cranes were filled with luscious fabrics.

In my hands are some glorious reds and a sunflower fabric that I decided to add to my stash. I bought a second piece of sunflower fabric that was a batik on black for the sunflower collection.
Our next stop was in a place called Hinton.. When you get to Hinton, you are suddenly closer to the mountains although Jasper is at least hour away. Hinton is not far outside of the park gates. Jasper is part of an unbelievably beautiful national park.

The Sew What Shop was a little hidden but well worth the visit. The ladies were helpful and I found three pieces of fabric to add to my collection there. On one table they had some books for sale that had been in a quilter's collection. The woman had passed away recently and any money given was directly donated to the Cancer Society on her behalf. I happened to find a book called " Ghost Layers and Color Washes" by Katie P.Masopust which I gladly bought.( It is out of print I believe).It is nice to know that I will have contributed to a worthy cause as well gain a lovely book.

On the left hand side of the cutting table you can see a very fun fabric that is of volkswagon beetles ( you know Herbie cars don't you?) I bought a half meter that I will use in a child's quilt in the future. The two pieces that are in front of me were from their sale section- I do love buying from the clearance fabric rack.

I also bought a Mrs. Bobbin's calendar for next year. Check out this link if you want to see some of the..Mrs Bobbins cartoons. She makes me laugh- perhaps she will do the same for you!
We came a few miles into Jasper town site the next day, after a great night's sleep in our cabin. The last quilt shop is called Stychen Tyme. It is a bead,yarn and quilt store all in one. Now if there ever was a shop made for me- this is it. I have knit and still do use beads to make jewelery. The fabrics are beautiful there and you can see some of the gorgeous wild life material and kits available there. I mostly bought beads to add to my collection.

The shop is located on a main street called Patricia street.

I have been in about 15 different quilt shops over the summer- Earlier on, Lou and I went on a couple of road trips around the Edmonton area. Over and over again, the places I enjoyed most were determined by the friendliness of the staff and the atmosphere of the stores. Some had more fabric choices and some had less, but all had their own unique qualities. Of course - there is always on line fabric shopping, when one can not find the one piece one is looking for locally. I did find on line the last piece of the Hungry Caterpillar fabric after no success when visiting the local ( and not so local places). There are lots of choices out there - some more reasonably priced than others. It is getting more costly to quilt- I am glad that I have collected fabric for awhile to form a good sized stash.

Bruce and I enjoyed the mountains of Jasper a lot. He was able to go meteor watching 2 of 3 evenings during the Perseid meteor shower and still have enough energy to drive around to the glorious lakes and waterfalls of the area. This photo was taken at Athabasca Falls which are quite breathtakingly beautiful.

A view of the Athabasca falls...
The summer has given me the opportunity to spend time with my loved ones- both family and friends. It was great to reconnect with all, especially with those whom I had not heard from in awhile. I quite like this photo of my parents and myself taken in July.

Bruce and I went to visit my parents just before I returned to the classroom last week and we brought this quilt. It looks even better in their living room. I am very happy with the way the border set off the blocks, and how well the quilt matched their living room decor.

I also finished and made a label for this convergence quilt. It is now in the hands of my teaching partner, Doreen whose friendship I celebrate. We have enjoyed being partners for the past 7 years. I appreciate all the extra things that she does to help our students be successful. This last year our school was renovated, so we had the opportunity to work even more closely together. This was my way of thanking her for her continuing support and gift of friendship.

The fall brings my favorite flowers- This is one of the bouquets of sunflowers that Bruce has brought home from the grocery store. Sunflowers make me feel happy- I have long been a fan of Vincent Van Gogh's sunflowers - one day I am going to make another Snippets wall hanging of sunflowers!

If you are still with me- there is a wonderful giveaway worth checking out. You can find it here . Quilted fish is her blog name- she is giving away some lovely fabrics and doing it soon.

I hope that fall( spring for our southern friends)brings you many warm days and pleasant times with loved ones. I lost a high school friend to cancer last week, and I was reminded about the swiftness and fragility of human life.

As a new school year begins, I am remembering to stop and enjoy each day's special moments and the important people in my life.
I hope you take the time to enjoy your special moments and people too.
Warmest regards,