A Picture is worth a thousand words

unless it is a picture of Christmas goodies made and consumed in years past….then I think its just mean to post a picture without adding recipe words.

As a ferinstance… doesn’t this look tasty?

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Its called sponge toffee/honeycomb candy/seafoam crunch;  and OMG its simply killer simple to put together. Here is a link to the recipe that I used when I decided to have a go at it a few years back.  Ever since then, it has made an appearance annually.  I know, I know, its nothing but sugar and corn syrup and the only thing worse for me than eating this confection is knowing its out there and I’m not eating it.

If you want to be decadent about it…dip it in chocolate and you have a dang “Crunchie” chocolate bar.  Holy Heck Hermione.  Seriously it is that good.  Nope, its actually better than the real thing.

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This is December 13 and post #13 for the Third Annual 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge being hosted by Cheryl Sleboda over here.  As I’ve mentioned about 13 times now, there are about a gazillion mega-talented bloggers participating in this challenge that are all well worth a read, so you can imagine how excited I am to be part of it. Take a few minutes out of your busy day and  click on the link to check them out.  Many of these bloggers also have a home on Instagram and can be found using the hashtags  #31dayblogchallenge or #2017blogwritingchallenge.  So, Go…enjoy…..but please come back here tomorrow…Thank you.

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My Quilt Con Quilt Guilt

Today is December 6 which makes this my 6th consecutive day of blogging as part of the 3rd Annual 31 Day Blogging Challenge being hosted by Cheryl Sleboda.  Click  here  to check out the list of bloggers participating.  Guaranteed that you will find someone over there who is  talking about something you want to read about.  So Go…Enjoy…..and get back here quick to read my post too.

Do you ever feel guilty about a quilt you made for a specific purpose that didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to?  I have and today I’m hosting my very own itsy-bitsy pity party.  FYI in real life I’m actually a bit shy and reserved.  I sometimes think writing a blog about the things I make and the things I think is very self indulgent and just the tiniest big braggish.  But somedays I think “Holy Heck Henrietta, I have something to say and here it is”.  So folks there is very often a war brewing inside me about what to post and what not to post.

So having shared that, please read on to find out what transpired to make me to feel a little bit sad and sorry for myself today.

Away back in June/July when Quilt Con published its 2018 calendar, I saw the Michael Miller fabric challenge and decided to enter.  Lucky me, I was one of the ones who received a little packet of “The Yard” fabric in the Cloud colorway.  The challenge rules said we had to use at least two fabrics from the line and could use as many  Michael Miller Cotton Couture solids as we wanted.  I did some research and found/modified a quilt block that I liked and thought would work great in a baby quilt.  I figured out the pattern math, chose a cute quilt name that would work with the challenge and the pattern (I called my quilt “Check out Our Yard”).  I purchased some cotton couture yardage in several colours and a bit more of  “The Yard” fabric to add into the mix.  I should add an added bonus from my perspective is that I have a new niece/nephew coming in December and I planned to gift the new addition with this quilt irregardless of whether it went to QuiltCon.

Things quickly went downhill once I started cutting into the fabric.  I realized I did NOT like the fabric colours at all.   Some were too bright and bold; some were too blah and boring; and some were just firmly outside my comfort zone.  But time was running out and I decided to persevere because I really wanted to enter a  quilt into Quilt Con 2018.  After the flimsy was pieced and sewn together, I asked my extremely talented and very kind friend Liz at Blueberry Cove Long Arm Quilting Services to quilt it for me, which she agreed to do.  Let me just say she does amazing, awesome and beautiful work,  but not even she could turn this ugly little quilt duckling into a beautiful swan/prize winner.  Sadly when it came back to me I still didn’t love it with my whole heart.  Don’t get me wrong I liked it, but every time I looked at it, I saw mistakes (lines didn’t line up, block segments looked upside down, etc.) and the colours were still very jarring to my eyes And in my mind, I didn’t think I could enter a quilt I didn’t love into Quilt Con.  Especially for my very first one.   But again I persevered and added the binding with fingers crossed (which is a very difficult thing to do when sewing binding on by hand, just saying).  All the time I was thinking and hoping maybe when it’s done it will look more like the way it looks  in my mind.

Guess what folks it did not look better to me.  In fact I think it looked exactly the same as it always did.  So in the end, the deadline to enter quilts for Quilt Con on November 30 came and went… and I did not enter “Check out Our Yard” into the challenge.  Is there a lesson to be learned from all this?….I hope so, but what it is has not revealed itself to me yet. I will let you all know when it does.

In the meantime,  here is a picture of the very first quilt in my new  “didn’t quite make it” category.

Check out the Yard. Almost made it into the Michael Moore fabric challenge at Quilt Con.

The silver lining is that this quilt will be on its way to Ontario well before its intended owner is born sometime in the next few weeks.

Do you have any quilts in your cupboard that didn’t turn out the way you thought they would?  Send me a picture in the comments.  I’d love to see them.  And of course I will send you an invitation to the very next pity party.

 

Thumper’s Mom had the right idea….

Are we all just getting just a little exasperated with “The Whitehouse” as Reality TV? Yikes, Holy Heck….Am I about to go out on a limb and talk about politics?…which FYI is a subject I know precious little about when it comes to Canada where I live and absolutely diddly-squat about (except what I see on CNN) with regard to the situation in the USA. Nope I’m not…I’m simply going to offer something in the kindest way possible; and then I’m going back to living my life here in the real world.

If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

Lets try to be nicer to each other. I feel like we could all learn a lesson from Thumper’s mom, who wisely gave Thumper this nugget of advice back in 1942…before the end of World War II.  Whatdaya think?  Should we give it a try?  I think so.

WANTED: A New “Wife”!

Nope I am not considering a plural marriage…but if that’s what you are into, I’d never stand in the way of your happiness…Just saying.

I need another “Gypsy Wife”, because my original “Wife” recently found a happy home with my fabulous niece, who lives far far away in a big city in central Canada.

Some of you may remember I blogged about my first Gypsy Wife journey here and here too.  Please feel free to go there to visit should you want to read about it.  And you can see lots of pictures in that post too. Oh and that’s her above in the Header also.  Isn’t she beautiful?

The first time I undertook to make this outrageous quilt, I did it completely on my own. But not this time.  This time I’m sewing along with at least 1000 other bold and brave souls in the “Gypsy Wife Sew-Along” hosted by Angie, who blogs at Gnome Angel and Nicole who blogs here in Canada at SnipsSnippets.

Whew,  I am all a-tingle due to the choices I made about my new “Wife”. This Gypsy is definitely well on her way to being much more free-spirited than the earlier one.  Right up front, she is going to be completely dotty when done (much like me, I expect LOL).  I purchased a FQ bundle of Kaffe Fassett Spots to go along with all the dotty and quasi-spotty fabrics I found in my stash.     Aren’t they ahhhmazing? YES THEY ARE!!!

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IMHO the trick to doing this, is to find a way to control the contrast between the many many dotty blocks so the whole quilt, when finished,  is sensational to see but will not make anyone go cross-eyed or lose their lunch.  This, my friends is much like performing a high wire act–blind-folded and without a net above Niagara Falls,  I’m very afraid it’s apt to make me completely potty before we’re done.  My sole plan is to make the fifty-odd vertical stripes very neutral,  trusting this will give the whole moonstruck quilt some balance.  Right now, I’m seriously considering using only 2 fabrics for the vertical stripes.  I have two excellent pairs of contenders.   Below is a sample of Crosswatch in Onyx and Crosswatch in Aluminum.  Both are from the Hatch Collection, designed by Bread & Butter for Windham Fabrics.  There is nary a spot or a dot to be seen in these beauties, but I think its a fabulous pairing and would look absolutely brilliant in this quilt. And would give my eyes a place to rest…which they are definitely going to need. I LOVE THEM!

But then, I am seriously crushing on my other choices too. There are definitely dots aplenty in this pairing, but not overwhelming I think…These fabrics are designed by Rae Ritchie and are part of the Chroma Basics collection for Dear Stella.  I LOVE THEM TOO!

I think either pair will be stupendous and will do a kick-ass job of showcasing all those brilliant dots and spots.  Right now Pink Castle Fabrics is offering a 25% discount on low volume fabrics….which might possibly be the deciding factor. Stay tuned to see what I decide.  All four fabrics are on the way to my house via the wonder of my magic Visa card, UPS and of course the Internet.  Watch for all these fabrics to  turn up in this or another quilt in the near future.

So…I think this is the first quilt I’ve ever made twice.  I am absolutely over-the-moon, crazy mad in love with Gypsy Wife.  Seriously I shed a quiet tear or two at home in my sewing room after Lobo decided she wanted to make  my original “Gypsy Wife” hers and took her off to live in Toronto with her.  Have you ever loved a quilt pattern as much as that? Did you ever make your own Gypsy Wife?  I’d love to see it if you did.

Just so you know…the block for week one is done and posted on my Instagram Feed.  I love it so much I thought I’d show it here again.  Ain’t she just the cutest thing ever?

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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?

Sticks and Stones may break my bones..

I have a weird and unusual given name.  Its Velda.  When I was younger I detested it.  People couldn’t say it right (and OMG people, its pronounced exactly the way its spelled), or they spelled it wrong.  They called me Velma, or Zelda, or Hilda or even Helga. Once or twice I even got called Thelma.   Holy Heck Hermione, I may have had a bit of a complex.  I have have believed having an UGLY sounding name made me an UGLY person.  Sigh… Having an unusual name, combined with being a middle child, was very very hard for my developing psyche, but in retrospect may have been even harder for my parents than it was for me.  For a month or so waaay back in 1973 I may have actually thought I was a foundling, left in the crib by gypsies!!  LOL. That however is a story for another day, best shared with a bottle of the best red wine you can find….

Some of you may have noticed I posted a picture of a quilt block last night.  It is currently my favourite block ever.  That photo was supposed to appear right here with the caption “a Rose by any Other Name” .  Its just so pretty.image

But in my eagerness to make one final post in 2016, I clicked the “Publish” Button instead of the “Preview” button and off it went.  Twas late at night, so I was unable to figure out how to get it back into “Draft” form, so to all of you out there who were wondering how many tumblers full of wine I had in my belly when I made that post, please accept my apologies and continue reading below.

Over the past couple of weeks I have made about a gazillion of these blocks, well perhaps 14 might be a more accurate estimate.  This block is commonly known as  Crosses and Losses or Sometimes +s and Xs,  but I did a little research and this block appears way back in 1938 in the Encyclopedia of Quilt Patterns as “Japanese Cross”.  Who knows why its maker gave it this name but I love it all the same and have decided I will call the quilt I’m making with this pattern, “Velda’s Cross”  My whole point is this.  Names mean nothing when it comes to the quilt blocks I love, or people either for that matter.img_3246img_3039img_3119img_3156

Here are some more of the Japanese Crosses I’ve made recently. Seriously gawjus every one of them.  Be warned folks, you will see a lot of these blocks this year.

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As you can see this quilt is going to be totally unashamed of its block name.  Its going to be out there, wild, colourful, crazy, beautiful and the way I may (or may not) have been back in the day.

Happy New Year everyone.  Lets make this year the best one yet!!!

Soon it will be Christmas Day…..or Grandma got run over by a reindeer….your choice

At our house, we have been listening to Christmas music for about 3 weeks straight now.  We actually tuned our radio to CFCY in Charlottetown, PEI where the DJs are playing country christmas songs with some of the really old, all time favourites thrown in once in a while. I have to say I really get a kick out of the country hurtin’Christmas songs, while my hubby is a fan of the silly songs.

Speaking of hubbies, I have one who is a Christmas decorating, Ninja.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas, but my sweetie REALLY REALLY loves it…For example when we moved to PEI, we brought about 30 tubs of decorations with us including more than 40 plastic poinsettias and close to that many Christmas  nutcrackers. And that’s just the bare beginning of the stuff that gets set out at our house in December. We have two fully decorated and lit trees already and about two weeks ago when we were putting them up, he suggested we should consider getting another tree so we could put one in the bedroom…not a word of a lie folks. I  did manage to put a stop to that particular excess but I think I’m lucky and wouldn’t want to change a thing about him.

I am a bit of a grinch in some respects.  I do not like the hustle, bustle, hassle, shopping, parking lot craziness and freaking out that usually culminates around mid-night on December 22…which coincides perfectly with the realization that our budget, and often our contingency budget has run out, but I love the other more homely stuff, like baking cookies with the grandkids, surprising hubby with a batch of homemade peanut brittle (not that its much of a surprise, its actually more like a tradition at our house) or searching out the Christmas quilts that don’t come out any other time of year.

I thought I would share some of the little Christmas Quilts ( and a couple of the nutcrackers) I’ve made over the years to decorate the door to my hubby’s office (because of course he had a whole selection of office decorations too).  Now that he’s retired these little darlings don’t get out much anymore.

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I love this little door quilt (and there are a couple of the nutcrackers!.
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Tangled Christmas Lights – part of the Joy of the Season.

This year we are very excited for two reasons.  First – our son Kevin is coming to PEI to visit us.  He arrives early early in the morning on Boxing Day, so we are saving our Christmas Festivities until Boxing Day.  We will of course have Christmas Dinner with my mom and sister on the big day, but the main party is reserved for Boxing Day afternoon.  We are having friends and family over for Open House (including all the wonderful treats I’ve been baking and buying this month).  We are both looking forward to spending time with close family members.

— AND —

We have gifted ourselves with a brand new puppy.  So there will be a baby in the house again starting December 27, 2016.  I promise I will post pictures of the new addition (its a boy) as soon as he arrives and settles in.  The last few days we have been trying to choose a name to suit our new bundle of joy.  Here is where we are at in that regard.

I love Dino, Fitz, Theo, Matteo and Mozes.  All of these are perfect for a black standard poodle puppy.  Hubby is a big fan of Dantes, Gunner, Tio, Marco and Sparky.  Come back early in the new year to find out what we ended up deciding to call him. There is an off-chance he will be Noel, or Gabriel to celebrate the season.

So that’s it for me in 2016 (I think).  Merry Christmas Everyone.  Enjoy your time with your family and friends.  Eat lots of turkey and stuffing, drink responsibly, be kind to everyone and pay it forward to someone needy if you can.