Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Flora and a Quilt Workshop...

If you have visited my blog before, you are probably aware that I love flowers. Presently in our home, we have a few kinds of flora blooming. These beautiful pink lilies are from Valentine's Day. They are stargazer lilies, and have some pretty babies breath with them(The babies breath has stayed reasonably well, considering Mars the cat's, penchant desire to eat it. She also used to like to eat any dried flower bouquet that she found in her travels around the house! Aren't the lilies pretty? The Christmas poinsettia does not seem to know that her season is over- she still looks gorgeous. I love the pretty pinky- red edges to her leaves..
And not to be left out, the Christmas cacti in our kitchen window continues to be covered with buds and blossoms. The flowers are fantastic- this photo does not do their rich color justice!
Below are some of the lovely things that were on the table waiting for me, on Valentine's Day. Bruce and I had a wonderful dinner at a local Cajun House. The food was yummy and the company divine. One thing that he found for me was a new issue of the quilt magazine, The Quilt Almanac. It has some terrific patterns in it. A couple of them piqued my interest.

I have been looking for a new quilt pattern to use with a coffee cake of batik fabrics. ( A coffee cake is just like a jelly roll -2 and a half inch strips only in comes in a box.) Don't you wonder who came up with all these different names for the precut fabrics? ( jelly roll, honey buns, layer cakes, turnovers, etc) I rarely buy precuts, but I really liked the colors of the batik coffee cake, they were a great price and I thought they would make a great quilt for someone. It will, if I ever find a pattern that I like, to go with the fabric. One of the reasons I think that I have struggled with it, is because I usually choose the pattern first, and then, find the fabrics to go with the pattern. Reversing this process of fabric before having the pattern, has really mixed me up.... So I am still looking... What about you- what do you choose first - the pattern or the fabrics?
Mars loves quilts but it appears she also liked the Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls. Perhaps she just wanted to lay on Elizabeth's quilt one more time?
I was so happy to have finished Elizabeth's quilt and was able to give it to her before spring time. I hope she will enjoy it for many years and know she is wrapping herself in a loving hug. To me, quilts are like wrapping the people we love in the warmth of a big hug.
Last week, a dear friend and colleague, Peggy celebrated a special birthday. She is a special lady and my classroom partner. We are so fortunate to have her at our school and I celebrate the many gifts she brings to us all. Happy birthday, Peg!
I thought it must be time to show you something new- This is my new project- it is a lattice scrap quilt that I started in the fall and then ran into some cutting issues (or so I thought) I am left handed and sometimes,I find using the angles on the ruler a challenge. When I laid the first pieces of the this block together, I was sure that I had really done a poor job of cutting. This past weekend I went to a quilting workshop, and got some assistance from my friend and mentor Linda. She had me sorted out in less than 10 minutes. Before I knew it, I was off sewing happily for the weekend. The net result was 25 blocks. I am still toying with my layout choices. I don't know whether to make one big quilt or make two quilts - one bigger and one twin. There is a hitch- not enough fabric for borders if I make more blocks. I am not finding it easy to find something to put on the outside of the blocks that will not take away from the central design.. Decisions , decisions... While I was busy making blocks, some of my other quilty friends were making some wonderful pieces...Wendy is going on a trip to China soon. She went looking for a travelling bag and couldn't find what she wanted, so she came home and created this lovely piece. The fabrics are gorgeous and its a great design... Have a great time in China, Wendy!
Here is one of the quilts that was worked on at the workshop. I love the colors that she chose- its a limited palette and the quilt turned out beautifully.
Linda worked on some blocks for a new quilt- she used every shade of green imaginable and they all looked great together..
One of my quilty friends found this very fun piece in a local thrift shop for the princely price of 3 dollars. It is such a funky design - Someone created such great liberated trees ...

Spring has yet to appear - the groundhog did warn that there could be 6 more weeks of winter, in some parts of the country. It has snowed the last couple of days, but the temperatures have been so mild, so it is melting off quickly.
Work is about to get even busier. This week, I am busy with some assessments with my students, after which, I need to complete the second term report cards. Next week's agenda includes our annual teacher's convention. The convention is always a great time: a chance to see old friends, attend some good sessions and to play in the shopping area.

Recently Bruce and I went to see the Titanic exhibit at the Telus world of Science. The exhibit had crockery and items that they had brought up from the sea floor off the Titanic. In April it will be the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the ship. We all got to pretend to be passengers on the ship and were given a passenger's ticket- I was one of the fortunate ones. My passenger's ticket was a baby that ended up being the last living survivor. Bruce's boat passenger's ticket was not so fortunate, and did not survive the boat's disaster.. We also saw the Imax film Titanica which showed them retrieving the items from the ocean floor. It was a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

There are new giveaways on the blogs and lots of interesting posts to read. However, for the next couple of weeks, I have to focus on my work- I will stop by when I get the chance. I appreciate the comments that people do leave- please check and make sure that you leave a return address so it is possible to reply to any questions or comments. No reply blogger will send a response into the internet ether so you may need to adjust your settings.

Take care of yourselves until we cross paths again.
Warmest regards,

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Is spring just around the corner....

Some years by the time February arrives, I am wishing that the dark of winter is over(though, so far this year, we have had mild temperatures for Western Canada). Winter is not my favorite season and often, I long to see the sun and the new buds arriving. February is too soon for either here in Alberta. Recently, Bruce brought home these purple tulips to brighten our table.

Don't you just love the first signs of spring ? I love it when the first buds appear, the ground has some dry spots and I can see the tulips and forget me nots poke their heads through the soil. I am told that the groundhog did not see his shadow here in Canada, so that would mean spring is just around the corner???

I have finally finished Elizabeth's quilt, complete with the label. Somehow the label takes me longer than it should. I hope that I will get this quilt to the E. girl soon-
To make the label, I use a permanent fabric marker to write the information. I always include the date, the owner's name, the occasion in which it was given, my name and where it was made. I usually add that the fabric content is 100 percent cotton. The label is fused on, as well as sewn on the quilt.

Last weekend I had the privilege of meeting up with a local quilter, Burtine that I met through the Connecting threads quilt forum " quilt with us". Burtine and I had only met one other time, but this time we came away with a plan to meet much sooner. It was grand to meet with a new friend and share our passion for quilting. I highly recommend getting together with other quilters - I have met a few new quilt friends through blogging and the quilt forums. Burtine is a talented lady- she knits, makes dolls and quilts-- We found lots of interesting things to talk about and share.

Here she is with Raggedy Anne and Andy - these two friends came home with me- I have a special purpose for them. They are really beautiful dolls and I hope that they will be well loved. Thank you for sharing them Burtine!

Not long ago, I took this tessellation quilt to school to spray baste- I wish that the colors on the camera were more true but it is the best that I can do..

I managed to get the tessellation quilt quilted a couple of weekends ago and have now got it bound as well. In retrospect, I am wishing that I used a black tone on tone as an outside border to the quilt. The black that was showing in the first photograph is the batting. The last border is a busy one and suits the central body of the quilt but may have been a little too busy without the extra black..

Does that ever happen to you- you get the quilt finished and then wish that you had done something differently? I could take the binding off and add another border but I don't have enough time to do so .... Decisions... decisions...

Today is my sister Denise's birthday.. My sister is one talented lady who has a couple of fur babies as well as two grown daughters and two granddaughters. She and Ron are particularly fond of this fur baby in the photo whose name is Buddha. Happy Birthday Sis- I hope you have had a fabulous day...
I wrote a piece a couple of years ago in celebration of my sister's birthday. The link will take you to the post and you can see the two quilts that were made for her and Ron.
Denise loves flowers and is a terrific photographer.

In the meantime, the first month of the year has flown by. It soon will be time to do more assessment and write report cards at school. We have had some professional development time to explore some new ideas and revisit some old ones too. I am looking forward to the annual teacher's convention that will be held at the very beginning of March. It is a chance to reconnect with old friends and take in some interesting sessions.
We attended our great niece's baptism a couple of weekends ago. It was a lovely afternoon and we are thrilled to have her and her parents living close by. Babies grow so quickly..

Valentine's Day is just around the corner- the classroom has valentines to make and stories of friendship tell.. 'Tis the season of friendship indeed..

Warmest regards,