Thursday, July 2, 2015

Summer time and the lost blogger returns???

It is a beautiful July day and I finally am making some time to write about the past few months. It has been a long time since I visited my blog- Life sometimes does that or maybe I needed a hiatus from writing here.. As always I love to start with flowers - Right now our table flowers are looking a bit droopy as we are having a heat wave.. Summer time often has some hot days but we have had a very warm/ hot June and beginning of July. I still have not bought any flowers for the front deck- perhaps that will be today's activity or very soon. 
Summer vacation has officially started- June 29 was my last day of work until late August. We are going to do some de-cluttering of the classroom, so I will head back earlier than some years. For now though, I have closed the classroom doors and moved the things that needed to be removed so that they could clean the classroom.. Some years, I am more tired than others, and this is one of those years.. I am looking forward to some rest and relaxation.- reading, relaxing and spending sometime with friends! Of course I will also get quilting. My summer project is to finish some quilts that I have been waiting in the wings. For sure I plan to complete our son's long delayed wedding quilt. It is presently laying on a batt on a king sized bed in our basement- I am still trying to organize the blocks in some sort of orderly arrangement but hope to soon have it back on my sewing machine..

In the meantime, I thought I would share with you some photos that tell some of my creative experiences in the last few months.. At the end of January I gave away the quilt that I shared in the previous post. The dear lady to my right, Lena retired and returned home to Northern Canada. I know that she will use it when she is going to a sun dance or during the cold winter months in our north country.
One of the people that I had always wanted to meet as a quilter was Ricky Tims. In April I got to cross that wish off my bucket list. I loved hearing his stories, listening to his music and be inspired by his quilts. One of the other participants kindly took these photos of me with him. This was my version of his kaleidoscope pattern. It was a wonderful day and I was so happy that I was able to go and enjoy his workshop. He had come to Calgary a few years ago and I figured I missed my chance but life sometimes gives one second chances and this time I made sure that I was there to see him and his beautiful quilts.
In the spring time, my husband brought tulips and a dear friend gave me a calla lily. What magnificent flowers it had for most of the spring time. The lady on the right is name Cec and is an award winning rug hooker. A quilty friend invited me to come and try out this different kind of hand work - rug hooking. It was an interesting afternoon and I loved spending time with some lovely ladies trying out this medium. I discovered I am not a very good rug hooker and have lots to learn if I ever manage to complete a piece of work.  The afternoon workshop was held at a local museum. The technique is done with wool strips cut on an amazing machine. The rug hooking tool looks like a crochet hook with a bulb handle. I will need to practice lots if I ever expect to get the hang of it.  One needs to have new challenges too .. LOL..

Some babies were born this spring and what is a new baby without a baby burrito wrap. The two little boys were born in April and I know that they will be well loved. I love celebrating the birth of new life and I hope that both of these spring arrivals live long, healthy, happy and prosperous lives. The wraps have minkee fabric inside and cotton on the outside. They look like a big 4 leaf clover when they are open flat. I have been on a journey making them - the first one was made in 1984 and I know I have easily made over 100 of them in the years since. I used to tie them with yarn and they had eyelet, piping or lace on the outside. The overhauled design has made them more washable, durable and easier to make with a bias bound edge..

I have the privilege of working in a fabulous school with an administration who finds ways to bring in some terrific programs for our students to experience. Our kids got to see an Olympic skipper and participated in a program called Rocks and Rings ( curling). They also had a pair of sports guys who came monthly and introduced the children to a great variety of games including mini golf, badminton, baseball, floor hockey and basketball.  This is a photo of some masks that my students got to make with a team of artists in residence who came and spent two weeks with our children. The children got to choose their animals and then they embellished them with different recycled materials. The children really enjoyed the process. We also did some great movement activities that incorporated yoga, dance and brain gym.

Recently I completed another jelly roll quilt - it was made from a collection by Robert Kaufman that had some gorgeous rich fabrics. I love Kaufman fabrics and have bought a few jelly rolls from Craftsy, especially for quilt patterns just like this one. This particular quilt is a wedding gift for a friend's son and daughter in law to be. It is a twin sized couch quilt and meant for using across a sofa on a cool evening or to cuddle for an afternoon nap.. I am hoping that the couple will share many happy years together..
It is quilt show season here and our local Edmonton guild had a show in mid June. The guest speaker for the Saturday morning breakfast was Elaine Quehl. She is from Ottawa and recently was awarded the Canadian Quilt Teacher of the Year. She gave an inspiring talk about her quilt journey. She recently completed a fabric line for Northcott fabrics of poppies. She brought with her many beautiful quilts. The two below are just two of her many wonderful pieces of art. She has a fantastic eye for color and uses photographs as one of her jumping off points for creating her stunning designs. Elaine also creates stunning hand dyed fabrics.

  These were two pieces that Elaine shared- Hosta and  Tree (I have forgotten the official name of the tree )that Elaine Quehl has created. Unfortunately my cell phone camera does not pick up the gorgeous detailed quilting on these beautiful pieces. Do go check out her work at elaine's website or at her blog 

I really enjoyed seeing the work and wished I would have had time to take in her course too.

 Time to do a bit of work - things like getting more of the fridge cleaned out and the stove too.  Not all of that today but soon.. LOL  after all this is summer vacation. This evening I am off to catch up to some quilting friends over dinner...
I know that Google makes it difficult to leave a comment but I hope you will let me know that you have stopped by to visit.  I will try to write sooner- so do come and check out and see what is happening here on my blog.. You can always find me on my facebook page too..

Wishing everyone a happy healthy fun filled summer doing the things that you enjoy the most.

Warmest regards,

Sunday, January 18, 2015

January jelly roll and Convergence quilts.

It is a nice January day outside but I am enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon with my favorite Chai tea from Second Cup in my favorite snowman mug. The sun was shining earlier and there were people out walking their dogs. We watched some Sunday sports (curling, hockey and NFL football) and I finished up some school work.
Yesterday I cleaned out most of the vestiges of Christmas- there are a few things left - The Winter village and this lovely poinsettia plant will be around for awhile yet. I dusted shelves off, vacuumed the floor and generally got rid of the debris that had been collecting in our living space. It looks a lot nicer and now I can concentrate on the things that I need to for this week.
Bruce brought home some fresh flowers to decorate our table.I especially like fresh flowers on the table in the winter. It just brightens up the living space.We have been enjoying the music of Frazey Ford, who is the lead singer of a band called The Be Good Tanyas. I just got a collection of their music from 2000 - 2012.  Frazey Ford has a new album called Indian Ocean that has some terrific pieces on it.
I have been getting some quilty things accomplished. Last Sunday I quilted, squared and bound this jelly roll quilt. It has turned out quite lovely. Today's goal is to add the label so that I can give it to a friend who is soon leaving our school staff. I hope that she will enjoy cuddling under it on a winter's night. I really have enjoyed making the jelly roll quilts. They are faster than most quilts and this one is about the size of a small twin bed sized quilt.

Athena the cat definitely has given the cat seal of  approval.   She looks lovely on this particular color combo. Athena is becoming a much more sociable cat with us- Her latest friendly ??? move is to come at night, and sleep behind my husband's head. She is quite taken with his head and will lick his hair- Pets really do such funny things to express their feelings and friendship.
This lovely piece of art was a gift from dear friends for our 34th wedding anniversary which we celebrated on Boxing Day. It is the work of a Newfoundland artist named Cara from the Grumpy Goat Gallery. I love the bright colors and the funky way she creates movement in her designs.
I want to find a frame for this card that came with the canvas picture- Don't you love the quilt and the tops turvy  curves . I especially like the clothes on the clotheslines. They both make me smile when I look at them. You can find the Grumpy Goat Gallery  blog on my blog list and if you are on Facebook,  she also has a facebook page.
I am making progress on the wedding quilt. It is not speedy but here is a box full of over 300 half square triangles made, for the next 80 quilt blocks. These ones are all pressed and now I am trimming so that they are all 2 and 1/2 inch square so that they will fit together more accurately. I don't have a firm date of completion, but I am making progress, and the quilt has risen to the top of the pile.
I am really excited about an upcoming event that is happening here in Edmonton. Ricky Tims is coming to Edmonton and I am going to get the opportunity to see him in person. These are some of the quilts that I have made using his techniques and designs. I know I am going to be inspired and enjoy listening to him talk about his process. He came to Calgary a couple of years ago but we were away on holiday so I was not able to take in his session. The photo above is my version of his kaleidoscope pattern.
One of my favorite techniques is his Harmonic Convergence quilts. This one I called Black, white and red all over. I gave it to a friend who was celebrating her 50th birthday.
This flower is called Chantelle Chanson- It was my first sort of improvisational quilting- we use it for a table top cover in our living room. It intentionally has wobbly curvy borders and the points cut off.
And here is another variation of the Convergence quilts... I did a series of them. The original pattern was a wall hanging size but all of mine ended up bed sized quilts.  I have done 7 other posts about the convergence quilts but am not sure how to link it here. I know that they are labelled as such, so perhaps if you are interested check the labels for convergence quilts.

My friend Michele recently posted this piece on her blog about the Harmonic convergence quilts. Michele is an amazing lady who creates really beautiful pieces for others.(if you click on the highlighted words above it will take you to her post). She was very involved in the Alzheimers Art Quilt Initiative that raised money for Alzheimers. Amie Simms spearheaded this project which has now reached its completion. Do go and check out Michele's blog - you will find lots of patterns and links on it .

Bruce and I are going to a concert with Basia Bulat and Harry Manx later this month.  We may go out and see some winter fireworks at the University that is part of Winter festival.  As always there is lots going on at work to keep me busy.  We have been lucky so far here in Alberta - the weather has been relatively mild for January with only a few indoor recess days. The days are getting lighter which always lifts my spirits.
I hope this post finds you all well and that you are  having some time to create beautiful quilts.
Perhaps in the next post I will have some more wedding blocks put together..
Stay warm if you are in the Northern Hemisphere and cool if you live down South.
Warmest regards,