Friday, December 23, 2011

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,
You know that I have tried to be a pretty good girl this year. I know that I should have written my Christmas list before this but somehow December has flown by and I haven't got around to thinking about anything that should go on the list. Well maybe one thing that I am dreaming about...
My friend Carolyn and I visited a local sewing shop a couple of weeks ago and I got to drive a Handi Sweet Sixteen quilting machine.. Oh my my.... if you were a little richer Santa, I would be adding this cool machine with the drop leaf table to the top of the list. It was one sweet machine to work on with a table set at the right height and the needle facing directly in front on me... I don't think it would fit under my little tree(shown in the photo here) I guess I will have to keep on dreaming about it...( In truth, I don't have anything on my Christmas list.. I feel fortunate to have so much when others are struggling to meet their daily needs.)
One of the things I did this past week was to take E.'s quilt to school to spray baste it. It sure makes it easier to quilt without having pins every few inches..

We had our Christmas concert on Wednesday. One of the students wore this beautiful medallion necklace- Just look at that great design - all those seed beads to wire into place...It was a very beautiful to look at and would have taken a long time to make....
A friend gave me this gorgeous Christmas poinsettia. I love Poinsettias because they were my wedding flowers. It is my husband and my wedding anniversary on Boxing Day(it is sort of a holiday here in Canada) I had silk poinsettias in my bouquet and we had poinsettias and white mums on our tables.
I think I mentioned in my last post that I would celebrate a birthday in a couple of days after the writing. I received this lovely wordle in a frame. It says such kind things about me - I was really touched by her gift.
A couple of friends had babies so I managed to get the binding on these two baby wraps. I loved the wild jungle print of the first one.
The second one was such a sweet looking fabric- I loved the pale green and with the pink minkee inside.
For most of this month we have had poinsettias sitting on our table. Can you see the beautiful Riley Blake jelly roll here in the photo. I won it from Kiera of Its sew Kiki..It is a pretty jelly roll and I am sure it will make something beautiful. Thank you so much Keira!
It has been a bit of struggle getting into the Christmas spirit this year but I did get this cute little handmade felted reindeer- He has such a handsome face and I love his ivy harness too
One of the things I have put up every year is our Christmas village. It is old fashioned looking, with houses of day's gone by, a church, some local stores and even a bus and a car stuck in the snow. It is quite pretty all lit up!

Today was the last day of school before the break. We made some Christmas decorations and had a popcorn and movie party in the afternoon. This past week was a busy one at school with many Christmas concert rehearsal and the busyness that comes with the final days before the break. My students were so excited when Santa came to visit. we have enjoyed lots of special events that deviated from the regular routine so it will be nice to return to the regular schedule in January.
I am not much of a baker- my mom and sister are much better bakers than I. I had not done any baking, so this evening I made a couple of squares and made some nuts and bolts. I will make a ham spread dip and one more square tomorrow before we head to our family gathering.
We will go to visit my parents and take some treats to share.. I still have some wrapping to do ... Christmas has kind of snuck up on us...
Wishing you and yours a wonderful festive season. Take time to enjoy the colors and sights of the season.
Warmest regards,

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Season of Birthdays...

This weekend I have spent relaxing after a busy few weeks of writing report cards. They are now completed and in the hands of my principal, who also has read them. In between writing, I have tried to get a little quilting and blog reading done, not to mention playing that crazy game "Farmville" on Facebook.
I am not sure why I spend so much time trying to create a fake farm, but there it is...I know that it makes my mother laugh to see me farming my farm...
We all have things that we do that we find amusing/distracting or, are our so called" guilty pleasures". When I get up in the morning, I listen to a local radio station called CKUA . The early morning show is called "Rise and Shine" and is hosted by my favorite radio voice. Her name is Alison Brock. She asks people to send in request songs that she calls " Guilty pleasures".. The other morning she played "Walking on Sunshine" by Katrina and the Waves. Do you have some guilty pleasure song that takes you away from your day to day life? one that makes you smile? or one that you want to get up and dance? I digress...
My sister in law, Margaret celebrated a birthday today- She has a few quilts that I have created for her and her husband. Here she is holding her " Trip around the World" quilt that resides in her summer home in Newfoundland. The one on the table is a mate to my sister in laws quilt.. It belongs to a friend of mine that lives in Manitoba.. Have you ever created more than one version of a quilt when you make a pattern? I could not decide on the color combinations so I made two..
I have enjoyed playing with the Ricky Tims convergence pattern. Last fall my sister in law and her husband celebrated a special anniversary so I thought they would enjoy this quilt...
My favorite of her quilts is from my quilt photograph vaults. This one is one that I called "the Secret Garden".
" The Secret Garden" by Frances Hodgson Burnett was one of my very favorite books as a child. I made this quilt for Margaret around 2003. She is a distinquished professor in the library school at the University of Alberta. I knew I had to make her this quilt. The pattern came from the Australian Patchwork and Quilting magazine in the early 2000's.

This past week,our god daughter Elizabeth celebrated her 16th birthday. I really wanted to finish this 10 minute block quilt for her, but so far have only managed to get her top done. I still need to decide whether I will add some fancy quilting with variegated thread in the big spaces. The blocks are large (20 inch) in measurement so I am thinking they may need more intricate quilting... Hopefully over Christmas vacation I will get it quilted... I used two layer cakes (24 pieces each) from Connecting Threads for the blocks.
From a distance, it is hard to see the multicolored background on the black batik. I love batiks and I will have used every last scrap of this one to make the binding for this quilt. I am not sure what fabric I am going to put on the back of this quilt.

A friend of mine just celebrated a special number birthday. A few weeks ago when I went to the bead show, I found this lovely little thread bear. He is made of Thread Play on felt and was quite a handsome guy. Perhaps one day I will try making one myself. If only I could add more time to my day (and additional energy too)..

Yesterday I got some quilting done after my school work was completed- I finally added the borders to the tesselation quilt that has been hanging around all fall.
I finished this blanket wrap for a friend's nephew. There are so many bright and cheery fabrics to use for children and this one certainly fits that description..I love how soft the purple/blue minkee is on the inside. I hope that he will enjoy the bright colors while sleeping in the baby wrap.

Over the past 10 days there has been a wonderful Henry Glass blog Hop that shared some wonderful projects, as well some family traditions, recipes and information from the various designers who participated in the hop. While the hop is over- you still can access the projects as well as enter to win some fabulous prizes on the Henry Glass blog site. Check it out on this link for the Henry glass blog hop. You will need to collect all the special words from each post.
Victoria at Bumblebeans is giving a chance for a Baby Go.. I have been looking at that cool cutting tool for awhile now and trying to win one - I have been lucky a number of times these past few years so I can understand that it might not be my turn.. Whoever wins it, will love playing with the die cut designs. Victoria has a wonderful blog - do check it out..

Bruce and I had the opportunity to go out to the Art Gallery of Alberta. In the current exhibition, there are some lovely French landscapes that were painted prior to the Impressionist painters.
We also stopped in at a local pottery show on Saturday. There was some lovely Renaissance/Medieval music being played and some pretty pots to view. While I did not buy any pottery for our home, Bruce bought me a very handsome purse with flowers (an early birthday present as it is my birthday on Tuesday).
The weekend has been very pleasant - Time with loved ones, and time together, as well as time to quilt... Now if I could only get my laundry put away...
Have a great week - my week's projects- school paperwork, a haircut?, beading and perhaps quilting...Maybe I will bring out the Christmas village... Hmmmmmm...

To my American friends and family- a Very Happy Thanksgiving...
Warmest regards,

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Amy's Fall Blogger Festival 2011

Each spring and fall, Amy of Amy creative side blog hosts a quilt festival to coincide with Quilt Market and the Houston International Quilt show. I have entered this festival a few times, because there are so many quilts to view and its fun to meet other quilters who inspire me to keep quilting.
This year, my fall quilt offerings are two Christmas ones that I made some years ago.I have also included the beginnings of a new Christmas quilt project. The first one is a paper pieced poinsettia pattern by Eileen B. O'Sullivan that I made around 2001. My wedding flowers were poinsettias when I married 30 years ago last December- it soon will be 31. We were married the day after Christmas, which we refer to as Boxing Day here in Canada. It was the first paper pieced project that I tackled and I still love it. The original pattern was meant as a wall hanging but I used the flower as a center of the quilt and bordered it out to be a nice sized couch quilt. I have since collected more poinsettia fabrics and one day I will make another Christmas quilt with them.

The second quilt that I wanted to share is double wedding ring quilt. I made it to honor my father's mother memory- her name was Olive and she was a quilter I am told. Unfortunately none of her work remains and I never knew her because she passed away before I was born. She was 43 years old. I chose the double wedding pattern because it was a traditional pattern that she might have made- though grandmother Olive's quilt would have been made with scraps and old clothing. My version was completed about 2003 and it does not have pieced rings like the original design.She would have traced her pieces on cardboard and cut it out with scissors. My center of the rings were not fussy cut. If I were to make one again with continuous rings, I would fussy cut the centers so that I could have had central flowers in them. It was one of the first template quilts I ever made- I used an acrylic template and a rotary cutter to cut the pieces.
Now, there is a wonderful machine called an Accuquilt Go Cutter. It has dies that would make the cutting of this quilt less challenging (and probably more accurate.) Perhaps one day I will own one of those machines...
I showed this wedding ring quilt in a local guild show a number of years ago. It is one of my smaller quilts - about a twin size and it graces our couch each Christmas.

This weekend I started a new Christmas quilt. On my last post I shared the pile of fabrics I collected to make my new quilt. On Thursday night I turned those piles of fabrics into 12X18 rectangles. The next step was to use Freezer paper and trace the design on to it. Once labeled, I then cut it into the various tree pieces. Yesterday, I shuffled the trees from one group to another set of 10 fabrics ( there are 10 red, 10green and 10 cream fabrics ) Once shuffled,one begins to sew them in the order given on the Pieces of the Heart pattern by Sandy Gervais.

The pattern's name is Tree's up- Lights on! When pieced together you end up with some wonky edges. I will later square up the blocks before putting them into a quilt. It will be awhile before this quilt gets completed as I have other projects to finish first. It was like making a jigsaw puzzle and one has to pay some attention to the shuffle order and the sewing sequence. It was fun and I will look forward to getting more of the blocks finished after I complete the fall school report cards and other school work.... One has to work in order to play you know...
If you like these kind of designs you can find more them by checking some of the Buggy Barn patterns as well as other designs by Sandy Gervais. The Buggy barn has a number of seasonal ones that include pumpkins, Santas and witches. Sandy has some fun hats and shoe patterns as well as other seasonal ones..

I hope that you enjoyed seeing my Christmas quilts. Click on the link and go and visit the other quilters who are participating in the blogging show. As always, there are some real beauties shown and some wonderful stories that go along with the quilts.

Thanks for dropping by- I hope you stop by for another visit..
Warmest regards,

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A new project?

Fall is the season for Mums and this spider like Mum currently graces our dining room table. My husband returned from a weekend trip to Jasper and commented on how much it had opened while he was gone. This bunch of flowers is over a week old and still going strong.. Do you have a favorite cut flower for your table? Sunflowers are my favorite flowers but they do not last as long as some others like carnations, alstroemeria, and these very pretty mums.. I don't have any new quilts to show you just now, so I thought I would share one of my earlier creations.. This very bold black, red and white double Irish chain belongs to my parents. It dates back to 2000. My parents use it in their guest room and the colors are still just as rich. I call it my art version of this design because of the bold colors.

One of my projects today was to go upstairs to find some fabrics in my stash for a new quilt. I was looking for traditional Christmas colors(red, green and cream) While I was searching, I found this old crazy quilting Christmas stocking project. I had begun to do the embroidery and added the embellishments- if I get some time, perhaps, I will add a few stitches to it, now that I have unearthed it from the boxes upstairs. Why was I looking for these Christmas fabrics? You see,I am going to a quilting workshop this weekend where we are going to make a very funky tree pattern. I needed to find 30 fat quarters of fabric (or equivalent). As you can see there are some cream fabrics but not near as many as the red and the green fabrics.I have a tendency to buy color and not very much neutral fabric.. I was lucky that I bought the fat quarters with some browns or I might have had to go and buy creams for this project LOL
Here are plenty of Christmas reds- There is more red fabrics in the boxes upstairs but I brought down the fabrics that did not have big bold prints on them as I don't think they would work for this project. There is a red piece that has red scottie dogs that is quite old.
It was a bit of a challenge to find Christmas green.. Some of the pieces from the stash are very old(the scottie dogs I used to make a baby bunting bag for my new born baby son who will be 24 at Christmas). What is the oldest piece of fabric in your stash? Like the reds, there are other greens but some had busy prints, and others were on the yellow end of the spectrum. Now, all I have to do is press the 30 + fabrics and have them ready for Friday night.
While Bruce was gone to Jasper, Carolyn and I ventured out to another little craft sale. This time is was to a hand made lampwork bead show. I brought some pieces to add to the bead treasure chest but, most of them are for Christmas gifts so they will have to stay hidden for awhile longer. I did buy this very fun fairy pendant and a pair of earrings that I admired. I added the pandora style Halloween beads to a bracelet chain. My school kids are going to love Frank, the monster.

Recently, I asked Carolyn if she would like to attend a local guild meeting. I had not attended one for quite awhile, and thought it might be fun to go. I must have had on my lucky shoes or something because I came home with the guest prize that was provided by one of the local quilt stores. I also had the lucky ticket from the book draw. I was happy to share my winnings with Carolyn. She is a talented quilter who is quite interested in art type quilts. The book was more about techniques that would be used to make art quilts- besides sharing ones winnings is always fun.

And some very fun Halloween things that came from Carolyn. The buttons are very fun and I know my kindergarten kids will love them when I get them sewn on my Halloween vest.
I entered a giveaway contest quite awhile back that was hosted by Oz Jane. It is a lovely Australian quilt address book (the book is from Homespun magazine)and I had been thinking that I need to put some of my addresses in one spot, instead of in a bunch of different places. It is a lovely book,Oz Jane, Thank you.

Since I posted last, my beloved celebrated his birthday and we went to see a 3 D Peter Gabriel concert movie. It was very cool- you felt like you were sitting in the orchestra pit. If I reached out, the 3 D glasses made you feel like you could almost touch the people on the stage.
Last week, I managed to get the fall cold that my students had, and have been busy with school projects. The fall is flying by and it soon will be report card time. Bruce has been away some, with work related things so I have been keeping our home fires burning.
I am still working on finishing the cutting for my fall quilt. Most of my current projects are bits and pieces of things that, hopefully, one day will be quilts for some special people in our lives. It is always tricky for me to balance work and play- I spent time with good friends this weekend (time well spent) and did school work too. I am off to do some more school work before this evening is over. I am facing some work deadlines so my quilting projects will have to wait a bit longer...

I hope that wherever you live in blogland, that you are having some good times with family and friends and still getting some time to feed your creative spirit.

Warmest regards,

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Journey to the country to visit a quilt store.....

Fall is probably my favorite season- the weather is often pleasant and the colors are rich. A little while back Bruce helped me dig out the fall decorations and I finally put away the spring rabbits. Somehow summer never made an appearance- at least as far as house decor. I am particularly fond of ceramic jugs and thought this scarecrow was one handsome guy.
A couple of weeks ago my friend Carolyn emailed me and asked if I wanted to go on a road trip with her to a little shop Behind the seams that is out in the country north of the city. After a little discussion we found a time that worked for both of us and off we went..( Do click on Carolyn's name and it will take you to her fabulous post about our fun road trip)
The drive was beautiful- it was a mild day by fall standards here in Alberta (about 12 degrees C). You can see the contrast of the big blue sky that I associate with the prairies. I am a fourth generation Albertan, a woman whose genealogy has connections with England and Sweden on my mother's side, and with the United States on my father's side. My great grandparents gave me agricultural roots even though I never lived on a farm myself. There is nothing more beautiful to me than the big blue prairie sky against the golden crops.

In the country one often sees barns (both old and new) that mark the landscape. I love this bright red one. We saw some weathered well turned barns as well but unfortunately I did not get a photo of them.
Take a look at this lovely old wooden fence that graces the hillside. There was lots of shades of gold to be viewed. Most of the crops were bailed waiting to be hauled away before the snow arrives.

We arrived in the town of Mayerthorpe sooner than we anticipated.(the town was established much earlier than the signage of this now defunct shop).We stopped to have something to eat in the local cafe before heading on to the quilt shop.
The shop is out on Shelley's farm about 6 1/2 miles north of town. Carolyn contacted her ahead of time, and Shelley graciously opened up her shop for Cheryl(another quilting friend of Carolyn's) Carolyn and myself. From the outside it looks like the shop is not large, but inside it is a virtual treasure trove. We found some beautiful fabrics to purchase for very reasonable prices.

Before I even went into the shop, the place felt familar to me. My grandparents lived on a farm all their lives. On their homestead there were many beautiful populars that graced the property. The golden leaves of the trees and the line of washing hanging on the clothesline flooded me with warm childhood memories. It was very tempting to go and smell the wash blowing in a gentle fall wind.

Here is just inside the door- some gorgeous yellow and orange to create something for the fall season..

Here is Shelley with the treasures that we found in the shop. The pile in front of her, is Carolyn's finds. Mine is the one in the plastic bag to the left. I love the sewing machine border on the wall behind Shelley. The store services lots of quilters in the surrounding community. She and her mother have owned the store together for the past 17 years. There were lots of fun projects and seasonal things as well as buttons and notions to help quilters. It took us quite alot of time to explore the shop and we came out with some great purchases to use in future projects.

Just some more fall foliage to enjoy... We don't have the rich reds of Central and Eastern Canada because we don't have many maple trees in the west. We do get some oranges and browns though and many many shades of gold.

This is a view of the Pembina River as we travelled back towards the city.

Carolyn and I stopped in another Quilt store in Sherwood Park called Lori's. I have visited their store often and on this stop they had their annual birthday sale. I found some beautiful batiks there to add to my stash.

These are two views of the city center skyline- quite the contrast to the big open spaces we just visited. I live in the central part of the city and while we have lots of large buildings, we also have a green belt that runs along the river. There is a large parkland on either side of the river that divides the northern and southern part of Edmonton. This is a photograph of the skyline coming in from the east.

Bruce returned yesterday from a visit to the West coast. He and some friends drove to Victoria( about 1000 miles from home) and stopped overnight in a place called Thrums to visit a friend of one his travelling companions. Thrums,British Columbia has lots of rich farm and timber land. Bruce took this photo of the Sunflower for me to admire. They were very tall and very large sunflowers!

Last night we went to a concert to hear a group called The Strawbs. Bruce and I have listened to them forever - The main attraction of the evening was a band called The Zombies who were also a British band. If you do decide to google the Zombies - make sure you include British rock band in your search-. The Zombie band has existed since 1964 and while I didn't think I was familar with their music, I knew a surprising number of songs.

Today is Canadian Thanksgiving. We are cooking a nice dinner for the two of us- I got a small roasting chicken and have made a Japanese Coleslaw salad. I have stuffed the bird and Bruce will make some brussel sprouts, mashed potatoes and turnip to go with the meal. It will be a delicious and there will be some yummy leftovers for this week. To my Canadian friends, I hope you have spent a lovely day with your loved ones.

I have been quilting these days, but right now all I have to show is many pieces that are cut up into bits to be sewn together. Perhaps next time I will have some blocks to show you- that is if I don't get too busy doing other things.

Happy quilting,
Warmest regards,

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Snippets of a quilt show...

Hibicus are such gorgeous plants- doesn't it make you think of the tropics.. Bruce and I visited a local green house last weekend to attend a quilt show that was being held there. We really enjoyed viewing the different quilts that had been lovingly created by some local quilters. We also really appreciated that the door admission proceeds were going to support the diabetes association.
Check out the walls behind me-look at all those lovely pieces. What a sea of color and design to view, and enjoy in such great ambience.
On the way out of the greenhouse, we picked up this wonderful fall mum, which seems like the perfect compliment with some other fall decorations. If you look closely,you can see a wonderful hand quilted piece made my blogging friendEileen who sent it to me, a couple of years ago. I have not ever tried handquilting and sure admire those people that do quilt by hand.

Do you visit your local library? Going to the library is part of our regular routines and recently, I came home with a bag of books that held this collection of quilting related books. There is one missing- a children's book called "The Kindness Quilt". I often go on line and order from the library catalogue. The library is a great source for quilt patterns, stories and resources. Have you a favorite quilt story? I really like authors like Jennifer Chiaverini(The Elm Creek Quilts books) and Earlene Fowler( Benni Harper mysteries). If you haven't read their stories I encourage to check them out- I am sure you won't be disappointed!
My friend Pam from Passionate Purple quilter recently hosted a giveaway. I was one of three lucky winners. Look at this box of beautiful scraps that she included with a very lovely kit called Americana Rose by Shabby Fabrics. There are some beautiful fabrics in this box and I know that I am going to have fun playing with them. The kit is a beautiful kit with such pretty fabrics- it will be a fun project to make. Thanks so much Pam.
Have you ever wished that you owned some really good snips? Over the summer, I had been thinking that I should buy a pair. The Gingher scissors are such high quality. I recently discovered a new to me blogger named Randy from Barrister block. Not long after I began reading her blog, she found that she had a second pair of snips and decided to have a giveaway.Imagine my loud Wahoo, when she sent me a note saying that I was her lucky winner.( In case you are wondering, I am buying my lottery ticket this week :O)Thanks so much for those snips Randy- I will have no excuse for loose threads.

One of my favorite movies is " My Fair lady". It was one the first movies that I ever saw and my grandparents took me to see it. One of the songs includes the words " On the street where you live". This photograph was taken of the street where we live. The leaves on the trees are beginning to change. I hope to take a few more photos of it as the foliage changes this autumn. Hopefully the wind won't kick up too much fuss so that the leaves are all blown away, before they have created a gorgeous golden canopy over the neighbourhood's roads.

I thought I'd leave you with a photo of Mars the cat sleeping in our living room window( She has some favorite spots where she can lay in the sun. We can count on finding her there in the early morning as our windows face the east.

Thanks for stopping by.. if you feel so inclined do leave a comment. It is always nice to hear from my blogging friends.
Warmest regards,