Its a Dog’s Life

Hello there, its December 8 and Day 8 of the Third Annual 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge.  This amazing event is being hosted by Cheryl Sleboda right here.  The list is growing every day, and is up to about 1.5 gazillion bloggers who want to show they are motivated to DO THIS and are posting like mad to prove it.  I am thrilled to share my blogging journey and determined to do my best to beat the odds and post something (anything) every day in December.  Oh yeah, if you are an Instagram junkie, you can find lots of bloggers taking on the challenge at #31dayblogchallenge or #2017blogwriting challenge.

According to the list of topics I posted on the 2nd day, this is the post where I am planning to explain why, on some days, I think it would be great to be a poodle.  Did I mention that hubby and I share our home with two of these crazy creatures and we have come to the conclusion that whoever coined the phrase “Its a dog’s life” probably was owned by one or more poodles.

I think the best way to explain why it would be great to be a poodle is to post a bullet list of the way our two boys spend the day.

  • 12:05 a.m. and therefore time to jump up on the bed and curl up in the warm spot between the humans.  (Note, the female human is warmer to cuddle up with, but the male human is less likely to crawl over me at 3:30 to get out of bed to go pee).
  • 6:00 a.m. and I’m starting to get hungry, perhaps I’ll lick the human’s ears and eyes a few times to see if they taste good.  Yum both are tasting especially good today.
  • 7:00 a.m. and FINALLY the female human is getting up.  Half the day is over, why do they sleep in until the sun comes up?
  • 7:05 a.m. and breakfast is STILL not in the bowl.  What the heck is the hold up.  Food, Food, Food, I need to eat.  Yay here it comes.
  • 7:06 a.m. and I decided not to eat because I’d rather chase the cat.
  • 7:10 a.m. and I’m sitting outside in the cold because apparently its my fault that the cat jumped up on the counter and knocked a glass onto the floor. Jeez Louise.
  • 7:30 a.m. and I am outside playing with my brother dog and barking like mad at the invisible squirrel.  My brother is over there under the apple tree digging a biggggg hole.
  • 7:50 a.m. and I’m helping my brother dog to dig the hole.  We gotta make sure its big enough to corral a racoon before the male human opens the back door to yell at us to STOP DIGGING HOLES in the backyard.  Golly he looks cold standing there in his bathrobe.
  • 8:30 a.m. and first breakfast is over.  Waiting until its time to share second breakfast with the humans.
  • 9:00 a.m. and OMG OMG OMG, they are putting on their coats and shoes.  WE ARE GOING OUTSIDE FOR A WALK.  I’M SO EXCITED. HOLY COW HOLY COW HOLY COW CAN YOU BELIEVE I’M GOING FOR A WALK. WE ARE THE LUCKIEST DOGS IN THE WORLD.  YESSIREE WE ARE GOING FOR A WALK.
  • 10:00 a.m. and I’m just totally exhausted from the walk.  The humans say it was 4.5 km, but I know brother dog and I logged at least 12 km.  There were tons of great things to smell, roll on and chase in the woods, and a couple really nasty looking puddles.  There is nothing like a good drink of puddle water, unless its toilet water (for which I always get in big trouble, just saying).  Did I mention that brother dog walked into the creek up to his neck and is wet wet wet.  He’s planning a long nap on the sofa.
  • 12:00 Noon and I’m going to get up in a few minutes and do some stretching exercises.  Then I think its probably time to go see whats new in the litter box.  Who knows what the cat buried in there this morning while I was sleeping.
  • 12:30 p.m.  Looking for some affection and cannot understand why the female human doesn’t want me to kiss her.  She’s saying something ridiculous about litter box breath.
  • 1:00 p.m.  Lunch time – well human lunch time, which means there will be something great for me.
  • 1:05 p.m. Dang, outside again.  Apparently I’m not supposed to stand up at the kitchen island and help the humans by eating most of an egg salad sandwich and 3 olives. Hey I left the dill pickles on the plate didn’t I.
  • 1:10 p.m.  Think I’ll follow the male human around.  He’s carrying something called a pooper scooper and a bucket.  OMG he’s starting a poop collection.  I’ll give him a donation.  Brother dog will do the same.  Oh dear, I think he may have stepped on it.
  • 2:00 p.m. back inside and time to curl up with the humans and watch CNN on the talking box.  They spend way too much time watching something they call Trump World or “God that man is such a Jackpot”.  I find it kinda boring, so maybe I’ll take another nap.
  • 5:00 p.m. Holy cow where did the afternoon go.  Thank goodness someone is thinking about making dinner for me and brother dog.
  • 5:10 p.m.  First dinner is over and now I’m lurking in the kitchen in case anything drops onto the floor when the humans are preparing their meal.  I’m DEFINITELY NOT going to stand up at the counter again.
  • 5:15 p.m.  Dang, outside in the cold again.  I’m in big big trouble.  Something about chicken breasts being for the human’s supper.  I couldn’t help myself it smelled delicious.  The humans food tastes way better than the dog food in my bowl.
  • 5: 17 p.m.  I’m still outside and now I’m looking through the window watching  brother dog get snacks from the table.  Life is so not fair.
  • 6:17 p.m.  Watching the news with the humans.
  • 7:30 p.m. Humans are flicking through the channels and stopped at Animal Planet.  There was a show on about dogs who earned their living being service dogs.  Humans laughing at the idea that I could do that.
  • 7:35 p.m.  My feelings are hurt, so I am considering doing something really terrible in the front hall closet if I can get the cat to open the door for me.
  • 8:30 p.m.  Finally back in the house again.  Jeez, I cannot get away with anything. I didn’t make that mess, I’m pretty sure the cat did it.
  • 9:30 p.m.  Decided to massacre one of my toys to get the darn squeaker out. Wow that squeaker IS annoying.
  • 9:50 p.m.  Watching the male human pick up all the fluffy bits that came out of my toy.
  • 10:00 p.m.  Decided to chase the cat one more time before bed.  How was I to know that he would dig his claws into the male human who was snoozing in front of the TV and make him wake up hollering.
  • 10:05:  Back outside again. Sigh.
  • 10:30 p.m. Time for bed.  Think I’ll sleep on my own doggy bed tonight.
  • 12:05 a.m.  Think its probably warmer up there on the human bed.
  • 12:06 a.m.  Yup it is.  Good night all

So that is basically what goes on with our poodles Tigg and Theo every single day.  Needless to say we love them and try to accommodate their every need because at the end of the day, there is nothing nicer than curling up with a big black dog, who loves you wholeheartedly and would lay down his life in an instant if he thought you were going to be eaten by an invisible squirrel.

Do you have a pet.  Do you ever wonder how you managed to survive without their company.  Here are a few photos of our boys, Tigg and Theo.  You should share pictures of your furry folks in the comments.  We’d all love to see them.

Tigg looking simply adorable
Don’t let this adorable photo fool you. Theo is a wild man
Theo thinks he deserves a snack
Tigg assuming his favourite napping pose. We call it “Hog Tied Poodle”
Theo sporting his first “faux hawk” haircut. We love our groomer.

 

 

 

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Announcing the arrival of Théo the Wonder Puppy and  other Things! 

Thank goodness babies are cute because otherwise I’d be tearing my eyebrows out already. Nope we do not have a new “actual” baby. We have a new puppy.  He is a brindle phantom inter-variety (AKA Moyen or Medium) poodle.  This variety is quite rare in Canada and not recognized by CKC or AKC. It’s kinda a cross between a miniature and a standard poodle.  We hope he will grow up to be about 30 lbs and be a little brother to our big 76 lb Standard Poodle. So far Tigg wants very little to do with the new addition.

Here is Théo.  As  can see, he is fully loaded in the looks department but I don’t want anyone to think he’s just a pretty face. Here he is reading the newspaper with my hubby, which is, I’m sure you’ll agree quite astonishing for a fella as young as he is (talking about Théo, not hubby).


Now on a different topic, I am expecting again….Nope, not expecting a baby….I’m expecting to accomplish lots in my  sewing room this year.  This is what’s already on the agenda.

  • Patchwork City Quilt Along.  This started back in September with members all across Canada and already its coming along nicely. I am in awe of the talents of my fellow quilters in this one. It’s simply shocking how very very talented my friends are.  Stay tuned for further pics from this project.  Here are my  blocks so far. I seem to be stuck on green and orange.
  • Bee Inspired.  This is an online Bee comprised of bloggers I met last year in the 2016 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop. My month is June. I’ve already sent one block off to the states. Only 11 more to go. 

It’s a simple paper pieced Block called Split Hatchet. I love it and am eager to see Sharon’s finished quilt.

  • PEIMQG Round Robin challenge.  My centre  block is boxed up and ready to start its travels beginning at the January meeting on Thursday.  Here is a sneak peak of the box and it’s contents. This one has me very excited.
  • Long Time Gone Quilt-Along.  Holy Heck Hermione.  I did this.  It’s A crazy crazy quilt along that aims to complete this quilt in 4 months. The pattern arrived in the mail earlier this week (and Théo has already chewed the pattern book covers)  so I cannot back out now. Yikes this one may be a bridge too far!

  • Japanese Crosses. I’m not sure where this one is going, but I’ve already got about 24 blocks done on this one.  Here is a quick pic of blocks I’ve made since mid-December. 
  • Marie’s Granddaughter’s Graduation Quilt.  There is very little info on this one yet.  It’s going to be a traditional photo remembrance quilt, which is something way outside my wheelhouse, but it’s always good to try new things.   This one has to be done by June, so stay tuned for pics as we progress.

So that’s it for my projects (I think).  I didn’t include the blocks I’ll make monthly for my PEIMQG Bee block exchange or any special blocks I’ll be making for Kindred Spirits Quilt Guild; and I also didn’t include the “150 Women Quilt” that Selina and I are considering making to celebrate our Nation’s birthday. It’s got 150 six inch blocks and it’s a monthly QAL. We are still thinking about this, not sure how or if we’ll get it done. It’d be really cool and I’d do it in a heartbeat, if I was convinced there was a possibility I could make another 75 blocks.


Here is a picture. Here is a link to the site.  150 Women.  Check it out. It’s an important quilt and one any Canadian quilter should have a look at!

What’s on your plate?

I wish I’d said that….

There are at least twelve gazillion bloggers out there in the cyber-universe and a whole whack of them are amazingly gifted writers. Multiple multitudes of them have ginormous audiences who hang on their every word, but only occasionally do I read a blog that speaks to ME!

November is my month  to do “Blog, Book and Bundle” for our PEIMQG meeting and I don’t want to lead anyone astray.  FYI, this is a segment of the meeting where each month one of us takes a turn talking about a blog that inspires us; a book that changes the way we think about piecing or planning a quilt; and fabric that makes our eyes sparkle and our imaginations soar.

So I have been surfing, poking around, reading and then re-reading the blogs I follow on Bloglovin to find one to share with my fellow Guild members.  Because we are in eastern Canada, my first notion was to find a Maritime Canadian blogger to write about.  Yikes…there is a very small pond of bloggers in the Maritimes…we’d fit into a puddle probably.  Did I find anyone? Nope I did not.  But…while searching I did have a mini-epiphany.  Here goes…

“The blogosphere has no borders, no boundaries and no barriers.  We are free to love, hate or say “meh” about or to any blog, or its writer,  anywhere in the world.”

so having given myself permission to search wherever I wanted,  I gleefully set off to find a blog that was a bit out in left field, a smidge hardcore and above all else, WILDLY ENTERTAINING.

I am, if nothing else, persistent, which paid off big time when I found myself tee-heeing, snorting and sniggling away at  The Bitchy Stitcher.  This is a blog that’s laugh-out-loud funny, cynical, and edgy; and inside every snarky post Megan Doherty makes, there is a nugget of something very insightful, which is always a bonus for me…be warned though, this blog is NOT always ladylike…you will find the “f” word, along with other very creative and descriptive words.  You’ve been warned.

Here are a couple quick links to some of her posts, in no particular order.

This bit was taken from her recent post, A pep talk in case you need it.. And it sums up everything anybody who ever questioned his/her quilty ability must remember.

“…I have one last point. If you make ANYTHING, you are a magician. A quilt, a table runner, a placemat, a block, even just two pieces of fabric sewn together and dropped on the floor—hell, even one piece of fabric cut out of a larger one—none of these things existed in that form until you brought them into being. You are Minerva freaking McGonagall, transmogrifying fabric and thread until it becomes something new, something that, no matter what it looks like or how skillfully it was constructed, is greater than what its parts were before you brought them together. That’s magic. That’s art.”

Aww shit, I wish I’d said that…

and here for my fellow guild members are a pic or two of the book and bundle that I shared with you last night.

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A big bundle of ahhhhsome!

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love love love those zombie couples!

Bloggers Quilt Festival – Applique Category 

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AmysCreativeSide

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This post is my entry into the Applique section of the  Bloggers Quilt Festival – Fall 2016 being hosted by Amy Ellis of AmysCreativeSide.

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Country Critters

I started planning this quilt late last fall and blogged about it a few times over the course of 2016.  If you feel so inclined, you can read some of those posts here and here. Or, you can take my word for it, that I wasn’t sure what I was doing when I started down the road of “wool appliqué” by designing a quilt to showcase my newfound love….

I decided to use a modified log cabin block because I love, love, love partial seams, and because the block seemed to fit the theme that was dancing around in my head (easy peasy, bright and breezy, country/folksy).  Then I dithered for awhile whether to set the blocks square or on point.  Sigh…so many decisions.  As you can see, I finally settled on an “on point” setting  because I wanted some nice large uncluttered spaces to show off the wool appliqué critters.   I should say right now that I didn’t have any patterns for any of these critters.  I found inspiration for them on quilts (or blocks) on Pinterest  and I made simple free hand drawings, which I then transferred to freezer paper and from there it was a piece of cake to cut out these primitive barnyard beauties.  I take no credit for designing these wool appliqué shapes, but am very grateful to all the talented designers who did this work for me.  I would be happy to give credit to any or all of you, if you come forward and claim the designs as your own.

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But, I hung in there and sometime in January, I finished the piecing and appliqué and put it in the hoop for some hand quilting love. You gotta know that it was sometime in the middle of February when I started thinking this was a project which would never be over.  I have no idea why I decided to do so much hand quilting on it, much less the embroidery…Holy Heck Hannah this was supposed to be a simple quilt and it was turning into a mammoth undertaking.  So you can probably imagine how excited I was when I put the last quilting stitch into the little red border and could finally bind it and put it in the “finished” pile sometime in late June or early July.

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It was finished just in time to be entered into the Crapaud Exhibition (a country fair) here on PEI in late July.  I was so thrilled when it won a red ribbon…somehow all those hours put into it, were worth it.

I love this little quilt and hope you do too.

 

 

 

 

My quilty pleasure place

Today I’m going to a linky party hosted by one of the 2016 new quilt bloggers named Melva who blogs at Melvalovesscraps.blogspot.ca .  Its all about sharing the space where we quilt.  Needless to say I’m excited (and a tiny bit nervous) to share my quilty play place with you.

First let me say, that I tidied it up quite a bit before I invited you over. And I caution you not to look in the corners, because some of the dust bunnies hiding there are bigger than my sewing machine.

Here goes.

When I come into the room, on the left is my cutting table. Many years ago, when I was really into my “contemporary country quilting” stage (is there even such a thing?) I pieced and hand quilted these blocks and hubby had them framed for me as a gift.  (There’s another one on the other wall which you’ll see it in a few minutes).  It was a really amazingly thoughtful gift and it still makes me smile when I see how well those churn dashes are quilted.  They were and still are, one of my all time favourite blocks to make.

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That cylinder rolled up on the table is my 2016 Teal Mini-Quilt which I’m getting ready to send to my partner Tony Jean Dickerson in the USA.

My hubby has a silly sense of humour.  He decided to surprise me one day with this wooden portrait of me in “sewing mode”.  Seriously folks, this is what I have to deal with every day.  Below it are several of my fabric bins.  I am ashamed to admit that I haven’t opened these bins except to add more fabrics for a loooooong time.

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Next up is more of hubby’s creative art work for my walls (its a button and a needle with thread), another log cabin framed quilt and a glimpse of one of my bins of larger cuts of fabric.  Once upon a time those drawers were colour coordinated, starting at the top with green, red, neutral, blue and yellow.  I rarely buy solid colored fabric and often cannot decide what colour is dominant in a fabric, so things hIMG_2430ave gotten a bit muddy over the years.  But it is still one of my best go to spots in the room.  On top of the cabinet is the first mini-quilt I ever made.  I made it for our PEIMQG Tribute to Frank Lloyd Wright, but I didn’t’ like the way it turned out, so now it sits on the top of the cupboard.

Here is another stash bin.  I’ve opened the “black” drawer at the bottom.  For some reason this is my cats favourite spot to nap and he often comes in and cries for me to open it, so he can curl up in it.  Thank goodness he is not in there now.  That would be mighty embarrassing.

Next to the bins is a small open cabinet that I use to store backing fabrics and batting.  Sitting on top is another of hubby’s DIY projects. Its a small portable ironing board.

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A portable pressing surface is a godsend.  Just Saying.  Get one, or make one if you can.

I also have a ruler storage space here and a spool rack (another hubby project….what would I do without him?)

Above my sewing space is a large open shelving area, where I am currently using the top shelf to store some WIPs.  My most recent finished quilts look lovely stacked on the bottom.  I enjoy having these close by, where I can look at them every day and know that there will be another finished one there someday soon.

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Next stop on the tour is the open shelving area on both sides of my sewing area.  This is a very flexible space and currently I am using it to store FQs, books, magazines and albums containing pictures of the quilts I made back in the day before I started storing pics on my computer and Instagram.  As you can see, my “little scraps basket” is getting mighty full so I’ve recently added another one to the top shelf beside my water jug. Yikes I need to get a grip and do something with these.

The lower shelves provide a perfect spot for me to showcase the beautiful fat quarters I’ve been collecting recently and the ones I’ve pulled for the projects I’m working on now.  It appears that quite without my being actively aware of it, I’ve become a modern quilt enthusiast. Check out all my modern low volume FQs on the middle shelf and large print pretties and stacks of jewel toned FQs.

Last thing on the list is my design wall.  I know its small, its behind the door, and its usually covered with bits of thread or orphan blocks.  I would be absolutely lost without it (do I need to say that Hubby put that there for me?)

So there you have it.  This is  where I spend many happy and creative hours every day. The picture is of our granddaughter Jessica when she was a little girl.  I cannot believe that she’s 21 years old already and I’ve been quilting since before she was born.  Time flies scary fast.

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I know I am extremely lucky to have a dedicated sewing room in our home here on PEI after years of sewing in the basement laundry room in Sherwood Park, Alberta.  This one has a window that looks out over our front yard.  Hubby is the gardener and I take no credit for the beauty that I see whenever I look out any of the windows in our house.  Oh yeah in case you missed it, there is usually at least one big poodle dog sitting on the couch looking out that window or looking at me while I work.

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He has a very keen eye and often offers constructive criticism of whatever it is I’m working on, unless of course he is trying to catch the cat…

I hope you enjoyed the visit.  I’m glad you popped in.  Please come back anytime (but don’t be surprised if my sewing room looks like it was hit by a tornado — which is the way it usually looks).

 

 

 

 

Packrat or Collector? It’s a very fine line folks.

The thoughts that fill my head constantly astound me.

For instance I used to wonder about people who collect things. I’m very curious about 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 stuff that 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, that 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. So does two of anything count as a collection? 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 holy heck who knows what else. Which is good for me, because it makes buying 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.

Anyhow I’ve always hoarded little leftover pieces of fabric that I use in my quilts, and save 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… But I’ve  never done anything with them and naturally now I cannot remember where most of it came from or where I used it…sigh.  Somedays I thought I might be a bit of  a packrat.  See definition below.  Yup that definitely could be me.

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 peace and righteousness. That is when I had an epiphany. 

I did not throw those fabrics into the cabinet all higgely-piggely for no good reason.  I put them there to keep them safe from ever being used or misused, so therefore I must have collected them.   Who knew, all this time, I worried that 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.