Packrat or Collector? It’s a fine line.

The thoughts that fill my head constantly amaze me.

I used to wonder about people who collect things. For instance, I wonder how they got started. Did they wake up one morning and say “hey, I think I’ll start collecting wash basins. I can start with the one grandpa used to feed the chickens with”. Which leads me to wonder how people know what will become collectible.

When I was growing up, my family home was full to the rafters with stuffthat would now be very valuable antiques, had they survived. I remember every spring my mom would gather together more of the “old junk” she didn’t want or couldn’t stand to look at, or dust, anymore and my dad would put it in the back of the truck and take it to the back field and dump it in our garbage pit. Today, the pit is chock full of antique picture frames, crockery bowls, even dressers, mirrors, and chairs which were all replaced with modern new items, which of course, fell apart and were carted off to the pit themselves.

But back to my original thought. How many of an item makes it a collection? More than one of course. More than a dozen? or more than one hundred? Do people actually like to receive pieces to add to their collections. My friend Sharon is a collector. She has a menagerie of pigs, frogs and cats, various different types of aliens and God alone knows what else. Which is good for me, because it makes finding gifts for her easy – but if I were her I’d want to choose the items for my collection. Just because I thought that wooden cat was cool, perhaps she hated it but was too kind to say anything.

I’ve always hoarded little leftover pieces of fabric that I use in my quilts, and collect all the snippets that don’t make it into a block and store these little scraps in a drawer in my sewing room. I don’t know why I do it, but it feels necessary to do and I  go and look at my bits and snips  sometimes… I’ve never done anything with them and naturally now I cannot remember what was used where…sigh.  I was beginning to feel a bit like a packrat.

Packrat (Definition)

  1. Also called trade rat, wood rata large, bushy-tailed rodent, Neotoma cinerea, of North America, noted for carrying off small articles to store in its nest.
  2. Informal. a person who saves things that are not needed or used but that may have personal or other value.

This morning I peeped inside the cabinet again, and rather than feeling bewildered, overwhelmed and distressed about the cacophony of fabrics crushed and crowded into my cabinet, I was overcome with  an amazing sense of accomplishment. That is when I had an epiphany. 

I am not a fabric hoarder, I did not throw those fabrics into the cabinet all higgely-piggely…I kept them safe from ever being used or misused, so therefore I presumably collected them.   Who knew, all this time, I thought I was a packrat and would someday have to burrow my way out of my house and it turns out I am a bonafide collector myself.

See what I mean about my thought processes…Have a great day folks.

A Fabric Fix with Fat Quarters and Fluffy Sheep.

This is a very good, awesome, really spectacular day.

If you have been reading my stories this year, you know I am taking part in the 2016 Finish Along online.  Its a good thing because as well as motivating me to  clear out a whole cupboard full of WIPs, at the end of every quarter in 2016,  I get a chance to win a schwack of prizes, just for finishing a project and posting about it either on my blog, or on Instagram.  This FAL has participants in all corners of the globe and hundreds (possibly thousands) of people are finishing projects every quarter.  So imagine my excitement when I got the email telling me that I was the winner of a $25 (Euro) gift certificate from Fluffy Sheep Quilting, simply for finishing a project that I started last year.  Omygawd! omygawd! omygawd!

Before you could say Holy Heck Hermione, I was on the Internet checking out Fluffy Sheep’s website to see what goodies would become mine.  You should stop reading this right now and go visit  Fluffy Sheep Quilting, but come right back so I can tell you the rest of the story.

After shopping for about 12 seconds  I knew I had to have some of their gorgeous fat quarters. I really really wanted a whole bunch more than I could get for my $25 Euros, but I was able to contain my excitement somehow and keep my VISA card in my wallet; mostly because I wanted to be able to tell hubby that everything was free (because how often does that happen? – with me almost never…sigh).

Anyhoo, via the wonder of e-mail, I confirmed the details of my order with Cindy Coleman, owner and proprietor and whatdayathink happened next.  She put them in the mail at her shop and just like magic, they arrived in my mailbox today.  I am beside myself with joy.  I may have jumped up and down a couple of times, a couple of times…

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Don’t hate me because I have five fabulous new FQs in my cupboard.

Some of you know that I’m taking part in a “Patchwork City QAL” based on the book by Tula Pink,  and Holy OMG these FQs are going to be perfect for that project.  I can already see some of those fabulous paintbrushes fussy cut to fit perfectly into the quilt I’m making…and both gray FQs make me giggle with glee, the print text in both is perfect and just that little bit different from anything else I’ve seen recently.  The mermaids on the lighter FQ are adorably whimsical and will look cute as a button when fussy cut with the octopi and sea-horses. I chose orange and green as my focus colours for this project and you can see orange sea-critters all over one of the fabrics and really pretty orange/yellow flowers with green petals on the other one.

Such a wonderful start to my day.  Thank you Fluffy Sheep Quilting and 2016 Finish Along.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you going to Scarborough Fair?

I’m not…but I did go to a country fair in the little village of Crapaud here on PEI this weekend.

O my gracious Glenda,  it was great! There were “cats and rats and elephants” on display (well, OK, not those actual animals, but there were cows, calves, rabbits galore, sheep, donkeys and so much more).  Country fairs are one of the very real, wonderful things about living a simple lifestyle.  Every summer all over PEI (and probably where you live too), villages are putting their best stuff on display.  For some folks, its veggies and farm critters, for others, (me included), its baked goods and quilts.    Its all about community and country living and I’m so thrilled to be part of it.

Now I get to brag a bit.

IwonIwonIwon.  Holy Heck Hermione. IwonIwonIwon.  Yes, I actually won first place for my quilt.  Here is the proof.  I’m very proud of this win, because there are a lot of really amazing quilters here on PEI and there were lots of beautiful things on display.  This cuddle sized quilt was the subject of a previous post of mine here and was featured on my Instagram feed on more than one occasion when I was trying to decide how to set the blocks.  I also took many many pictures of the critters I appliquéd into the setting squares, when I was working my way through that portion. You can click on the Instagram button on my sidebar and see all the pictures at your leisure, or not at all, totally up to you, no pressure.

 

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But FYI, that was not all I won, Nosiree Bob, it was not.  I amazingly, astoundingly, unbelievably collected a  first place prize for my white bread and second place for my raisin bread (BTW, my mom who is well into her 80s, took second place for her white bread, and first place for her raisin bread – I am very proud of my mom and her bread recipe…clearly both are winners) and….I got a second prize win for my shortbread cookies (here on PEI, we call them Scotch Cookies – don’t ask me why, because I really don’t know).

So all in all it was a very good weekend.  I’m feeling pretty dang fine.  But, the most fabulously wonderful thing about the weekend is that I got my first e-mail instructions for the patchwork city QAL I’m starting with members of my PEIMQG and others all over Canada.  Its gonna be great and scary and terrifying and hard and overwhelming and wonderful.  Trust me you will be seeing lots of posts about this in the next 8 months or so.

O and if anyone is on the Island towards the end of August and feels a need for a decadent dessert, come see me and I’ll hook you up with a ticket or two for our PEIMQG’s first ever “Time out with Textiles” show and dessert party.

Have yourselves an awesomely creative day.

Buggies and Beamers

What?…Really?  How Quaint… Where do you find the time for that!…or words of that nature.

Have you heard someone say something like this after finding out you hand-quilt to finish your quilt tops?  If so, does it make you gnash your teeth and snarl like a momma tiger?  Me, well, it  makes me INSANE.  Okay, its possible that I over-react a bit when folks look at me like I’ve pulled up, wearing a bonnet and riding in a buggy, when I tell them that I love to quilt by hand.

About 90% of the quilts I’ve finished over the last 20 years have been hand-quilted by me…and usually include designs I’ve created and drawn freehand as I go along…IMHO that makes my hand quilting Art.

Here are just acuppla examples.

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JP’s Very Manly Man Quilt

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Green and White Quilt with Black Pearl, the girl cat

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Big Sky Stars (an early attempt at “modern”)
For your viewing pleasure, here is the little beauty that is in my hoop right now.  Its over there on my sidebar too and will stay there until its finished…soon…very soon.

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This “petite belle fille” (hubby is Acadian, if you didn’t know) is one of those WIPs that got put away years ago without being finished.  I think I was planning to appliqué some vines and leaves on the outside border, or perhaps enlarge the top a bit more.  But for some reason I didn’t.  I took it out this Spring and put it in the pile of “tops” going to “Quilts for Fort MacMurray” for people who lost their homes in the wildfire.  But somehow at the last minute, I couldn’t let it go, so I folded it up and put it in the closet one more time. But I didn’t forget about it this time.  I put it on my list of Finishes for the 3rd Quarter and OMG this time I’m going to finish it.

And now to pull this whole post into context with reference to the title.

If hand-quilters ride Buggys, then Machine Quilters drive BMWs. FTI I have some drop-dead gorgeous quilts that were finished on long arm quilting machines by amazingly talented Artists (you know who you are), so don’t think I don’t appreciate and drool over the that Art form too.  In fact you should check out this website, and look at Liz Demsey’s portfolio.  It will knock your socks off.

and, that’s all I have to say about that.  Have an awesomely creative day.

 

 

Pin More not Less

I always use safety pins to baste my quilts – and always think there must be a better way.  Even with this nifty tool for closing those darn pins, its realllllly realllllly hard on my fingers.  Okay I know I’m a bit of a princess, but seriously if you have ever closed approximately 1.2 gazillion safety pins on a queen sized quilt, you are feeling my pain.

There IS a better way…Its a straight pin anchor called Pinmoors.  You can buy them on line at this website.  They are so pretty and such a dang good idea.  My only issue with these is how much they cost.  Unfortunately they are just a bit too expensive for my budget.

They say necessity is the mother of invention and Google is a close runner-up (well I said the last part, but it’s so true).  I searched Pinterest to see if anyone had come up with a work-around invention — and of course someone had.  I found a pin from the Closet Crafter and followed it to her blog to find out that she was not the originator of the idea, which is really really too bad as I would love to give that person credit for this amazing DIY solution to my o-so-painful pin problem.  But for the sake of fairness, you should go check out her blog, it looks amazing. Closet Crafter is here.

With no further ado, and almost no more words, here is my plan for making my own pin moor wannabes and how to baste a little quilt with them.

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So there you have it.  The pins stick into the foam bits and don’t move at all. However a word of caution…if you are one of those folks whose ears are sensitive to noises…when you take the pins out, they squeak…just a tiny bit like fingernails on a chalkboard…nothing in this world is perfect my friends.  Fortunately I am not bothered by such trivialities.

Now all I have to do is quilt this little beauty and turn it into a pillow form.  When I do, I’ll add a photo here.

GRANNYcanQUILT…that’s me!

Hello, and welcome to my tiny piece of cyberspace.

Lucky me, along with about 55 others, I’m part of the 2016 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop. We are hosted by Cheryl at Meadowmist Designs, Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl, and Stephanie at Late Night Quilter. Way back in the spring,  our hosts divided us into smaller hives and I found myself part of Chery’s tribe.  We call ourselves “Mis-Bee-Hivin’. This is our button.

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The awesome Amista from Hilltop Custom Designs created it. You should check out her blog, you’ll love it.  You should also come back so you can click on the links to check out these great blogs.

Kate @ Smiles from Kate

Jennifer @ Inquiring Quilter

Abigail @ Cut and Alter

Jen @ Faith and Fabric

Emily @ The Darling Dogwood

Susan @ Sevenoaks Street Quilts

Heide @ Heide’s Quilty Hugs

Hannah @ Unsophisticated and Jejune

Ann @ Brown Paws Quilting

Jamie @ Small Town Stitchin

Irene @ Patchwork and Pastry

Jen @ Patterns by Jen

Velda @ GRANNYcanQUILT (that’s me)

Janice @ Color, Creating and Quilting

Miranda @ I have purple hair

Laurel @ Laurel, Poppy and Pine

I gotta say it makes me flinch to talk about myself, so I decided to re-work a  list of “oh-so-sad-but-true” things about me that I posted on another site a while back.  None of this of  has anything to do with quilting;  but I am however confident it will give you a clearer picture of who I am and what I’m all about.

  1. I am writing this post at 1:30 p.m. and I am still wearing my pyjamas…not such a terrible confession, unless you know as I do, that I did not bother to change out of my pyjamas when I took my dogs for a walk this morning.
  2. I am planning to cook dinner and serve it at no later than 4:45 p.m.
  3. Three times already today, I walked into the kitchen and three times I could not remember why, so three times today, so far, I have opened the cupboard and eaten a cookie while standing there, pondering the contents of the pantry.  In my defence, this behaviour is very similar to that of a teenaged boy.
  4. I had the bed made and  the bathrooms by 10:00 a.m. It was the most exciting part of the morning.  ‘Nuff said about how quiet my life is.
  5. I am supposed to take a cholesterol pill daily.  In order to remember if I took it,  I have to say to my husband, as I am taking my pill…”Honey, I took my pill.” Sigh…Is that not the saddest thing you ever read?

Lets just say I am recently retired and enjoy a very laid-back lifestyle. Somedays I think I may actually be getting OLD.  Holy O My Goodness.  How did that happen?

Now on to some other things about me that are actually relevant to the reason for this post.

  • I am a quilter/maker /lover of all things built by a person’s own hand.
  • I have a mother’s pride in every single quilt I have ever made.  Even the wonky weird ones like these. They really are almost like children to me.  If you want to see more, check out this post about my quilty family.
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    Why didn’t I see that line of dark blocks before I sewed this quilt together?
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    Holy Cow…Way too much yellow here
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    These dogs all look like they need a rabies shot.  And where did that blue cat come from?

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    This was supposed to be a “Maple Leaf Quilt”.
  • I have more ideas for quilts percolating in my mind than I can ever make.
  • I blog about quilts and quilting because I cannot, not do so.  Does that make sense?

At the end of the day and every morning, I am Velda, a person who is

  • old enough to have escaped from the workaday  rat-race;
  • young enough to dream about new possibilities, (perhaps a flower farm? or a goat ranch?)
  • o-so-glad to be enjoying a simple fulfilling lifestyle;
  • married to the love of my life;  and
  • comfortable with the person I’m becoming.  I still have a long way to go,  but I really do try to improve myself or make my world a better place in some small way every day.

If you are in the mood to continue reading, I’m pleased to share

A Blogging Tip

Keep a list  of “someday” posts on your Drafts blog page. Lets face it, getting a post started is always the hardest part of the whole process.  I learned that if I have several drafts stored, I can often turn one into a coherent post.  It doesn’t have to be words, it just needs to be something to tweak a memory, or an idea…And you’d be amazed how helpful a photo, or a quote,  or even a random thought an be in getting your fingers flying across the page.

A Quilting Tip

I wrote a post about tips a while back. You can read it if you like. Its called I’m feeling a little bit tipsy this morning! .  Here is an excerpt. Follow the link on the post.  It leads you to a fabulous video that will seriously make your life better on those terrible days when nothing goes together right.

How to use my seam ripper properly (not that I have ever, in my whole life, ever, made a mistake and had to un-sew a block).  This tip is from Sew Kind of Wonderful, which is one of my favourite modern quilt blogs.  Honestly, we all make mistakes sometimes;  and this little video on how to use a seam ripper ROCKS.  Check it out, then do what I did, go rip out a whole seam just for fun in less than 10 seconds.  The adrenaline rush is amazing and you will feel like SuperQuilter…. Seriously, I dare you.

A Question for My Fellow Quilters…

Do you sew?

My answer is always the same…No, I wish I could, but I cannot sew.  I am a Quilter, I can Quilt.  I cannot wrap my head around the idea of pinning a bunch of fragile, virtually transparent pattern sheets on a large piece of expensive yardage, cutting around them (with scissors, not a rotary cutter OMG)  and expecting that something wearable will be the end product.  The whole notion  of notches, darts and zippers gives me the heebee  jeebies. Don’t even get me started on buttonholes or blind hems. I am terrified of the whole process.  I confess to feeling some shame for this obvious failing of of mine, because I know that many of us came to be quilters out of a love of sewing and that there are amazing seamstresses who also quilt, but not me… I’d really like to know am I the only person who feels like this? And could you tell me how to hem my jeans so they don’t look like they were done by my poodle Tigg and his sidekick Odie.

 My Dream Vacation Spot is right where I’m sitting right now.  I am so lucky to be living here on beautiful PEI Canada, about .5 of a kilometre from one of the top 15 beaches in North America, with a backyard that is like a park (no thanks to me,  I am not a gardener, but my hubby is.

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And, finally one random thing about me that you might not have guessed.
I ran a full marathon when I was fifty years old…thats 42.2 kilometres (26.2 miles) of non-stop running for 4 hours and 17 minutes. Yikes.  Even now 10 years later, I smile when I remember how I felt when I crossed that finish line.  I kinda feel the same way now that I’ve finished this post…not really, but a bit anyway!  Thanks for dropping by.  Come back any time.