I’ll Buy That…and that….and that…

I love on-line technology generally.  Here’s why…

When I started quilting about a lifetime ago (could it be possibly 20+ years ago? Yikes, OMG etc.), I lived in a big city in Alberta.  Back in the day, it was easy as pie to go to about a gazillion fabric shops within a few minutes drive from my home.   I got into a lovely groove… which involved purchasing a quilting magazine at the grocery store and then hi-tailing it off to the high end quilt stores all around me.  I especially loved Lori’s Country Cottage in Sherwood Park where everyone knew my name. (LOL,  I’m having a Norm from “Cheers” moment).

Then, hubby and I retired, packed our bags and all our belongings, and left Alberta to realize our retirement dreams on teeny tiny, itsy-bitsy Prince Edward Island–a little over 3 years ago.  Suddenly BOOM! my quilting world imploded.  Imagine my distress to find there are exactly 3 specialty quilt shops in the whole province; and no FabricLand franchises, or Marshall Fabrics or anywhere else with a good selection of quilting fabric at a reasonable (or exorbitant, for that matter) price.  I was devastated, disenchanted and discouraged.  It was a seriously bleak time….please excuse me, I do have a tendency to be a drama queen. But I’m sure you get my point.   Holy Heck Hanna what would I do?

Well, I started spending time on-line, where to my wonderment, there was a huge, borderless, universal quilting community. They didn’t know or care where I lived; they were willing and delighted to share their ahhhsome creations and I started to feel better.  Before too long, I decided to join in.  I quickly learned to post pics of my quilts to Instagram and Facebook and started reading blogs.  Then one day I clicked on a link to a wonderful wonderful place called Pink Castle Fabrics…OMG OMG OMG, there really was more fabric in the universe then I could imagine.  Beautiful traditional fabrics, modern low volume fabrics; text and texture fabrics; animal and vegetable fabrics….you see where I’m going with this right.

Well before you could say “Honey I’m Home”,  I whipped out my magic Visa card and started shopping.  Now a short lifetime later and I’m still going strong.  I love love love this new cyber world I’m living in.  I could never have imagined just 10 years ago that I could  purchase fabrics or patterns from anywhere in the world and have it delivered right to my door within 10 days.  I am a cyber citizen of the world; it doesn’t matter to me if my fabric originates from Canada, USA or Australia.  (Although to be honest, it does matter to hubby…he’d much prefer if I reined myself in a tiny bit and confined my on-line shopping to continental North America…he’s kinda old-school that way).

These beauties came by USPS or UPS just last week…Sigh, I am SO in my happy place!

 

What or where is your favourite fabric store?  And, do you buy FQs or bundles or yardage?  Leave me a comment…I’m always looking for fabulous new places to buy fabric.

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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?

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.

 

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).

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Da bomb quilt

I love to make quilts as gifts for people I love.  I love my husband.  So you would think that I would have made many many quilts for him over the years.  But no, I have not!  Why? Well let me tell you why not.

Once upon a time, a long long time ago, in a place far far away, my hubby mentioned to me that he found it a little cool in the basement where his big screen TV Watching Room was and he would like a quilt to snuggle under (my words, not his!) for his favourite TV watching chair.  Naturally I jumped up and down with excitement because as mentioned above, I love making quilts and even more,  I love making exactly the right quilt.

Hubby loved to watch fishing shows on TV and and I knew that fishing was one of his favourite pastimes when he was a boy.  So, I put two and two together and decided to make him a fishing quilt.  Sounds like it would be a perfect pairing doesn’t it.  But….

For me, deciding to make a quilt is only the first thing in a very long list of things that have to be done before a finished quilt gets draped over a chair. For instance you have to spend hours or days going from shop to shop looking for exactly the right fabric, you have to design a perfect block, you have to draw, cut measure, sew, etc.

Anywhoo, I did all of the above things.  I spent time looking at pictures of fish on line and at the library, then I started drawing pictures of fish and  drafting fish blocks, then spent more than a couple weekends travelling from shop to shop searching for  beachy looking fabric, watery looking fabric, clouds and sky themed fabric, etc. etc. etc.

Finally I got it all together and started working on the blocks.  It was actually quite a departure for me because there was appliqué involved and I have never been a fan of sewing anything that requires a template.  But I was confident I had a winner on hand.

Ladies, I even hand quilted this beauty without hubby ever setting eyes on it.  I was so proud of myself and couldn’t wait to give it to him.IMG_0734-0

Notice how the inner borders are brown and earthy, the cornerstones are blue like the sky and the outer borders are actually representational marshy wetlands, where fish would congregate…not to mention the fabulous different coloured fish.  Oooh I was so proud of this beautiful creation of mine.

So whats the problem you ask? Well, when I finally gifted hubby with the quilt, he looked at it and looked at me with a kind of puzzled expression and said “Wow, I never suspected you were making me a quilt with bombs on it?”  Apparently he though my beautiful fishies were torpedoes.

Husbands. Are. Impossible.To.Understand.

As you can see from the photo hubby’s quilt  is much loved and much used and almost every evening from October to May, I get to watch hubby hunker down under that quilt and every evening, he looks at it, looks at me, smiles, and I smile back at him.   That my friends is “Da Bomb”.  Its a perfect quilt and I could never ever make one that would be better.