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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sewing Time!

So, this year I finally have some time to myself to get some sewing done. Am I inspired? No, not really. Funny how that works, you finally have the time but not the inclination. So, instead I have been playing way too many computer games, I told you the machine would eat my time up, and I'm making teeny-weeny projects which are fun but not necessarily productive. Here you see the double eye glass case I just made for myself thanks to this online tutorial by U Handbag. I had the purse frame in my stash of craft supplies, Who knows when or where I actually bought it. I purchased the funky fabric to make a laptop case for my niece. Maybe I'll make the laptop case for myself one of these days, if there's enough fabric left!

This other item is a thread catcher from The Stitching Room. Yes, I fancied it up a wee bit with some beading. It's small enough to go with me on quilt get-together nights. FYI, that's not a stain on the yellow batik, bt part of the fabric. It's made from scraps left over from Rachel's Star - remember that one? Well I gave it to my work colleague at his retirement party . He and his wife were thrilled! I got lots and lots of hugs for this one, and I'm very please. It was a total challenge, Rachel's Star that is, but I'm so glad I persevered. This thread catcher was also a challenge, my dyslexia got in the way several times. I won! WooHoo!

So to all those out there that think I'm nothing but a nasty bitter ole crone ... well guess what! Not so!! I have my moments, like we all do!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Doom, I'm doomed!

I am totally doomed! This past year TVO, our local public broadcasting network has run the Charles Dickens Little Dorrit series. I have NEVER been able to catch the whole thing in it's entirety from beginning to end. I am fated to always come in somewhere in the middle. Yes, they have rerun the series several times, so I have been able to catch the beginning episodes, but that is simply not the same as seeing it from beginning to end! I'm doomed to never see it whole! So this year they ran the first three episodes Christmas eve and the remainder on Christmas evening. I missed the episodes on the 24th! I guess that's fate and I should accept it and move on, but really BBC productions are soooo good, and Charles Dickens is a classic! What's a girl to do? Empire of the Word is the other TVO series I've been watching, and since I also missed several episodes of this one I plan to catch up online!

Like my newest Christmas decoration? I couldn't resist as I got the glass bowl at half price, the pine cones for free, the ornaments from the dollar store and the I already had the ribbon! Once the season is over I plan on filling it with the dried hydrangea blossoms from my garden so I can enjoy them until the spring! Enough about Christmas. Onwards to a new year. I have lots of NY resolutions to make, and lots of quilty things too!

This year's tablescape

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


So I thought I would get a pic of the lap quilt I made my father for the laptop he gave me! I kinda think that's a fair gift exchange. Now you can see the multi fabric border I boasted about in a previous post. No big deal but something new for me!

So last week was our first annual (at least I hope it will be annual) Christmas potluck for the quilt group I organize. It was a really good turn out, especially for this time of the year when everyone is so busy. I hope all the ladies enjoyed the evening. We went for an unplanned - bring whatever kind of potluck and it worked out wonderfully! Everyone brought luscious dishes, and I must admit that my green bean casserole was OK. Thanks Kraft Canada!

I'm still pretty much a basic point and shoot with the camera, so please nobody take offense if I left anyone out of a pic. A really big THANK YOU to JP for being our gracious host and making the initial suggestion. Playing secret Santa at the end of the evening helped top off the fun! It has turned out to be such a fun eclectic group and I'm really glad to be a part of it. I had 2 potlucks to go to this year and both recipes came from Kraft, I highly recommend this one!
Anyway, hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ho Ho Ho

Final Christmas present completed .... TaDa! This free pattern came online to me from Quilt Arts magazine. I like free. Above is version one, which is yet to be quilted. I may wait until after my machine quilting class in January as I think it could use some nice machine quilting. Below is my completed version, yes done by machine. A colleague at work gave me the center (under the white Ho) poinsettia fabric which I also used on the back. The funky Christmas fabrics I found at the F.....Land store where I also found some nice green with light green stars fabric on sale for the binding and the funky buttons. All in all I rather like it and hope my niece likes it as it's her present (SHHHHHH)

Now, all I have to do is get through this season without killing anyone. Who said Christmas was supposed to be happy? Bah Humbug!

Sunday, December 06, 2009


Yesterday was a good day ... I actually made 11 fabric Christmas postcards! WooHoo! I know I know, this pic really doesn't give you a good detailed look, but since guild is next week, and some of these are for the postcard exchange, I don't want to give a zoomed in pic just yet.  I've been collecting themed ribbons and used some of them as my message - so in the above pic you are seeing some of the backs! On the abstract Xmas trees I placed a gold star sequin and gold bead at the top of each tree. I used my new Kenmore embroidery foot and machine quilted them all. I must say I'm beginning to like machine work!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Seasons Greetings

It's December finally and all the fun begins! I've been sewing my head off and hopefully it will all pay off and people will enjoy their gifts. Just when I think I'm finished I find another project ... when mother moved from her condo last year she downsized and I inevitably received anything fabric related. So, many many years ago she purchased these machine made lace panels and red broadcloth with the intention of making placemats.  Yes, you guessed it .... I found them and feeling somewhat guilty that I have not completed her project (what? why am I feeling guilty?) started by hand sewing the lace panel onto the red square behind. There are a dozen of them - so stay tuned ....

We have a transit strike here in home town. So I have been providing rides to a young man in my complex, and rides home/errand trips to a co-worker, both of whom are dependent on the bus. So last night my co-worker gave me some "extra Xmas fabric" as a thank you. Looks like approximately 2 meters! so there's another project to complete. What shall I make, what shall I make?
Did I tell you I solved the porch light problem? I finally took a really good look at the original, shorter photosensor thingee and lo and behold I didn't have it completely open! So, I returned it to it's home in my front porch light, inserted the 150 watt light bulb and now I'm no longer in twilight when I come home! WooHoo! See, told you I would solve all the problems of my world!

Now, if only I could get myself in gear and out of my housecoat! But it is Sat am, PBS is on another fund drive so my quilting shows aren't on, and Vinyl Cafe is on CBC!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sis Bom Bah

I  am so proud of myself ... whenever I best technology is always a banner day (pardon the pun). Since the summer I have wanted to create a new banner for my blog. Now bear with me, I'm from the generation who did not grow up online, so much of what is second nature to some is totally mystifying to moi! None-the-less, when I finally, yes actually apply myself I can learn a thing or two. So, in the last week or two I have changed my template (I'm not done yet, but have started "shopping" for a new template), joined Quilting Bloggers and Canadian Quilters AND figured out how to add their logo navigation symbols to my blog.  The banner is just a beginning, I hope to create a better "scene" depicting some of my personal treasures, and of course my Idle Hands! Now, if only I can get my updates to My Library Thing to display I'd be a happy camper!
I have been shopping. Supposedly Christmas shopping - Ha! As per usual I have found wonderful things for myself! It started with a quick trip to the local Husky store - just for a look, and ended in me buying a plexiglass table for my husky!  Then there were these luscious books I've collected starting in September at the Sarnia Quit show where Grantham Books was a vendor. Well, how could I resist? The Butterflies book I hope to use when I finally get to finish off my Celtic Garden free style (er - no plan or pattern, maybe that's what's now called liberated quilting?)
This StrataVarious book I picked up on my last quilt run to the States with my quilt friend, which reminds me, I think we're due soon for another cross-border shopping expedition. I've always been fascinated with piecing the background then applying the applique, so think this one may get me started!
Of course that will be on one of those "My Days" when I finally sit down to work on a quilt for myself! Ha! Our guild has not yet set this year's challenge. I don't know about you ladies, but I need a few months fermentation time to get a creative idea and then, since I'm all hand work, I need a few months to get the piece made. So,  maybe this year I'll pass on the guild challenge and make my own .
I saw this Two Block Applique book in Exeter and picked it up from Grantham Books. There's a pattern at the very back in totally - not - my - colours .... but I absolutely love love love it! The blocks move from the outer edge towards the inside from dark to light, and there is a number of lovely wildlife appliques in the center...... hold onto your hats, I may just work on this one before retirement. It's going in my quilting journal as one of my To Dos! Speaking of wildlife the squirrels are super active these days, hiding and burying anything edible they can find. When I first moved here the only wildlife was rabits, but we seem to have developed a colony of squirrels. That's OK with me as it entertains the cats!

This Colour Blend, Opps, make that American spelling, Color Blend book is absolutely gorgeous! I'm hoping to get some time in the next few years to work on more flower pieces. I'm making a lot of assumptions, but have really good intentions of taking a stab at getting then all accomplished! Wish me luck! As you may have surmised I have a penchant for applique - well, for any hand work really. BUT, I have taken the step and signed myself up for a three day machine quilting  workshop in January! Hence the plexiglass table. I decided I better take a concerted stab at machine stuff as my hands are developing arthritis, and now I have something called a Seroma (!?) A six month aftermath from the unhappy discussion with Simone - she who does not like to be touched. So .... after brunch it's back to work where I stupidly left the anti-inflamatory medication my Dr gave me.

P.S. To the person who last sent a comment - I can't read Chinese/Japanese (whichever your comment was written in) My apologies but I am unilingual, English only please.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Water Water everywhere!

Water water everywhere! Those poor people in Cumbria England ...  I can't imagine being flooded out! Oh, lucky me ..... the news images this week bring me to this week's blog entry from my wee corner of the world.  This past summer my local utility decided to greenwash a rather large cash grab and added 2 additional charges.  All told the fees now include a charge for the actual amount of water I use, a charge for the amount flushed, and a charge for the amount sent down the drain. Initially this amounted to a rather large increase in my water bill! (more than double - Ouch!). I say greenwash, because of course if I complain they will have the audacity to tell me that all I have to do is be a better conservor, be greener and use less water!!!
So .... that is exactly what I have been doing!
  • First I turned off the dripping taps, I mean really turned them off. Iris and Simone are not happy as they, like many felines, like running water. Too bad, they now have 3 different water dishes to choose from and I am diligent about keeping them clean and fresh.
  • Secondly, and apologies ahead in case I gross you out, I am now using the rule of three - you know, like at the cottage ... without being toooo graphic, it just isn't necessary to flush every time. (I'm not sure I like this new practice and we'll see how long it lasts)
  • third, I turned off the water to the powder room toilet. There was a slow leak somewhere, I know there was as I did the food colouring test. Where? I don't know, but none-the-less I turned off the water and only turn it on to fill the toilet tank.
  • fourthly, I am now emptying the water collected by the dehumidifier into the powder room toilet tank. This equals to at least one, sometimes two flushes per week.
Ok, I know that doesn't sound like much, but ....I have reduced my water bill by more than the recent increases. WooHoooooooooo!
Irish has finally discovered her bed. When my previous cat (Sada) passed away I thought about tossing the bed as I didn't think another animal would like to use a bed where someone had died. But a nice new fleece liner and pillowcase, combined with a good scrubbing, Fabreezing and months of airing seem to have done the trick! Only problem is now mommy misses her at night, she can produce a nice amount of heat. Now you know why single ladies  have cats! 
My "Christmas" Cactus has decided to flower. I guess I should be thrilled that it hasn't died and in fact is thriving. But really must everything in my life be contrarywise? Can't it pick a holiday and flower? No, wait - it's Thanksgiving in the US - right? So it is a holiday for someone, somewhere! Happy Turkey day to my American cousins.                             

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Porch Light ...

There's no sun out yet today even though it's SUNday ...and I haven't seen any wildlife this past week although the weather has been gorgeous! We really can't complain for mid November and I'm definitely not complaining as I very much hate winter. I said that quietly as I don't want to awaken the Snow goddess just yet. I did manage to get over to the local CT store which was having their Grand Reopening and picked up a new car ice scrapper for $2.39 - Woohoo a Bargoon! Ya know I'm going to need it!

I've been having problems with my porch light. Well, not really problems ... just silliness. The photosensor installed by a previous owner was no longer working (they wear out? I didn't know that!). Anyway, at this time of year I like to turn the outside light on when I leave for work in the morning but not have it "on" until dark when I get home. So ... off to the the trusty CT store to buy a photo thingee and install it only to find that it raised the lightbulb too high and now the lid of the outside lamp covers most of the light bulb and I'm still in the dark!!!! Ok, this shouldn't be too hard to fix ....  Hmmmm. Well, first I try one of those new spiral bulbs - you know, ought to be green about this. Wrong ... even though all the info on the web says they will work with a photosensor thingee ... WRONG. Hmmmmm, ok, lets just try a smaller, but still high wattage ordinary bulb .... Well, they don't sell such a thing anymore ... so I resort to a 60 watt appliance bulb (small and squat) ... but you guessed it, I'm still in the dark! Geeeze you'd think this would have been easy!

I should know that simple tasks are simply NOT EASY! Just last week I was attempting to purchase an open toe embroidery foot for my Kenmore. Now, you would think this would be easy .. just go to Sears (where it was purchased) and order one. NOOOOOOOOOOO! You have to call some 1-800-Home #. 40 minutes later and they ask me if  I want a trolley? NOOOOOOO. Then I was transferred to the catalogue department who spent another 40 minutes and couldn't find it .... and I had a picture, model and part number from THEIR WEBSITE!!!!! Long story made short I dropped into the store after work one night and get a pair of snippy clerks who offer no solution.  THANK YOU SEARS! So I drop into our local favourite repair guy who sells me a slightly used foot for $10. Woohoo problem solved and a bargain to boot!
So what else have I been up to you ask? Left is the Meals on Wheels placemat for guild next month. I inherited some paper pieced log cabin blocks from somewhere and am glad for the opportunity to used them. I also used up some of the left overs from father's lap quilt. So that was good.
I also got the oven mitts made to go with the casserole covers. The half circles are the cutouts from the casserole covers, and I had leftover bias binding,  so another big woohoo!

So that's been my week so far....


Sunday, November 08, 2009


What is it about Friday mornings? For some reason that's when I observe nature and see something impressive. Perhaps because it's the end of the week and I'm starting to relax from the weekly grind. Or maybe it's just one to those cosmic coincidences ... who knows, but this week's sightings was a pair of Cardinals in the tree in front of my house. They were more noticeable than usual as all the leaves have been blown off with last week's wind. I promise, one of these days I will actually have my camera in hand and then .... perhaps, just perhaps

 I'll learn to take a few "good" nature shots. Ah, so much yet to learn!

As it is please be satisfied with pics of my latest project - a Cardinal place mat, seen above in the sewing machine. I don't know about you but I like to stitch down most of my heat-n-bond as I find they never ever stick the way they are supposed to! This first one is for mother, a second one to follow will be my donation to the guild's place mats for Meals on Wheels.

Once again the binding was bias, and even though I follow the pattern precisely (what me? follow instructions!!!) once again I seem to have a plethora of leftover binding. I'm getting quite a collection and instead of tossing it I have decided to hang on to the "extra". My last scrappy quilt I bound using a collection of off cuts and produced my very first multi-fabric binding. I quite like it and think I'll do more in the future.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Good Morning Foxy!

So I'm getting in my car Friday morning preparing to go off to work and end the week when I look up and to my astonishment a red fox goes running past the front of my car. WOW! I live about a block from "Fox Hollow" but thought that was just an ol' timey name and there were no more animals around. Not so! Sure made my week!
 So, yesterday father and I hung my mini quilt show at the Library. I have three large and 4 small pieces "showing" from November to mid December. I thought it was maybe a good idea as this would give me dry run experience at  hanging a small scale show in practice for the upcoming 2011 CQA show. Well, I used an image program I have on my PC at work to quickly mock up 2 layout drawings. Boy did I learn a lot!
  • your graphic is representational, NOT scaled to size

  • provide additional explanatory messages on the mockup

  • be very very carefully with your measurements
  • doesn't matter anyway as the final visual is what counts! ;)
    Another thing I learned instantly, is that there will always be a critic no matter what or how you plan ....
    I've been fighting off a cold/flu (who knows the difference) but still need to keep trucking. Today's schedule includes grocery shopping, turning back all the clocks/watches, making 2 pot holders to go along with the casserole covers, sandwiching the Cardinal placemat and making the binding for the quilt I just finished quilting. Phew! Oh and going into work to insert the last board for one of the wall hangings on display (I measured wrong ....), and taking the display pics for my personal records. PHEW!