Friday, May 29, 2009

The Horrible, Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day!

(My apologies to Judith Viorst)

So there I was, happily stippling away on my latest wall hanging. The quiet hum of my sewing machine, lulling me into a sense of peace and near completion. I was hoping to get this quilt done for another May finish. I only had a very small portion left to quilt. When, all of a sudden...... nothing! No quiet hum. No more wonderful squiggles on my quilt. No peaceful feeling. Nothing! Not a sound, not a ripple, not even a little "meow" from Mimi, just a very tight knot in the pit of my stomach. My machine just stopped. The lights were on, but no one was home!

My quilt was still stuck, with the needle holding the fabric firmly in place. I could not move it. I turned my machine off and then on again. Nothing. I took the needle out. Still nothing. I opened the bobbin case. Nothing was tangled. With the needle out and the bobbin released, I was able to carefully slide my quilt out. Then I took everything apart. Everything that would come apart, that is. I could find nothing wrong, but as I tried to put everything back into place, I discovered that the pieces would not go back the way they were supposed to. Something was jammed. I think the problem is with the feed dogs. With no longer a place for everything and everything in its place, I packed all the loose pieces up into a ziplock bag and taped them to the side of my machine. Then I put my machine into its case and left it by the back door. Tonight we will have to take it to the quilt shop. I hope it isn't anything serious and I hope that whatever it is, can be fixed quickly. Can a quilter survive without her sewing machine? I'm just wondering.......
Guess I'm going to be making a lot of fish in the next few days.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Twelve Inch Cat Blocks

Some people were asking me how my blocks look together. That's a good question. I know that for this week's Block Party block I used very different colours than I usually do. Until this morning I hadn't put the blocks out to see how they would go together. So here they are.

Sorry about the kitty butts! Oscar has his square on the quilt and Felix is aiming his fat butt right at the camera! They really can't help themselves. As soon as I put the blocks down, my little furry quilt police come over and check out to see if I have done a good job!

Here are the block without furry butts on them. The blocks are not laid out in any special way. I just put them down randomly. Maybe if I rearrange them they will look better. There are still about 30 weeks left in the Block Party and I am sure there will be more 12 inch blocks.

Mimi was on the quilt too, but she took off as soon as she saw the camera. She is not cooperating with my photo shoots lately! So here is a photo I took while she was sleeping. My cats' version of bunk beds! Look at Felix's fat belly. He is a huge cat. More like a bulldog, but that's a whole other story!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

In My Little Corner of the World

I just finished the Friday Block Party block for this week. It is called Hayes Corner. I used up some pretty batik fabric that was in my scrap bin. This was an easy block. There were no corners to line up. It pretty much went together without a hitch. Except for the half square triangle units. I cut four of them by mistake.

I might have to make another one of these, in different colours, in order to use the half square triangle units. Afterall, I want to tame my stash, not add to it!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Look What Came in the Mail!

I got mail! I got mail!
On Wednesday I went to the post office to pick up a special package from my 'pen pal' who lives in Japan. We have been corresponding by email for almost 5 years now! Wow! How time flies! I can't believe it is that long already! Her English is amazing, which is a good thing because my Japanese is totally nonexistent. At the present time she and I are working on a wall hanging which you can see here.

She sent me this wonderful table runner, which she cross stitched herself. I just love it! The colours are so bright and cheerful! This will look great on my table! I'm almost afraid to use it!

Here is a shot of the detail of one of the flower motifs. How lucky am I to have such a great friend! Thanks Keiko!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Fish Tales

One of my angelfish died last Friday. He was old. Now I have only one angelfish left in my aquarium. That one seems lonely. Think I will go out and buy a few more this week. I really like angelfish! Mine looked just like this one.

We just had our first long weekend of the summer. Traditionally it is the weekend to open the cottage, open the pool, plant the garden and do all kinds of summer stuff. But it was too cold! No planting got done. No plants were bought. We still had frost on Sunday night. So, while I was feeling sort of down because of my fish and the fact that I couldn't plant anything, I started thinking. That is usually not a good thing!

Look what's on my needles right now.


I found this tessellated pattern on the internet and decided to try it out. These guys are quick and easy and they look amazing!

I love this picture of a finished fish blanket that I found on the Internet.

I made about 18 fish this weekend. I have lots of yarn to make a lot more. And that is a good thing because I think I need about 200 of them to make a blanket!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Pinwheel for a Pinhead

Friday's Block Party is called Pinwheel. It is a small one - only 8 inches square. I did not follow the instructions on Quilter's Cache. But then, I never do. I used half square triangles instead. As I was cutting the pieces for the centre, I thought, Duh! (slap up the side of the head) Instead of cutting four 2 1/2 inch squares, I could have cut one 4 1/2 inch square. Maybe I will try to make this one again.

But not today. It's too nice outside and tomorrow we are going to get rain. So off I go!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Scraps From the Heart

Ahhhhh! How sweet it is! My first finish for May! A couple of weeks ago, Carol of Giraffe Dreams, showed a quilt that had been made by alternating scrap blocks and plain blocks. I thought it would be a great way to use up scraps. And it was! Thanks Carol! This is a charity quilt going to our Guild's 'Quilts from the Heart". It will be donated to a local women's shelter. It measures 35" X 45". I loved making the scrap blocks. It was a kind of mindless activity that I like to do sometimes. Even the binding is pieced out of strips of left-over fabrics from other quilts.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Getting Conned Into Making Water Wings!

A conversation with my DD........

DD: "Hi Mom! What's happening?"

Me: "Oh, nothing much. Just trying to finish a Quilt from the Heart."

DD: "Oh, that's good. We're doing a play and I was just wondering if you could suggest some kind of water costume. A few grade one kids are going to dance a water dance."

Me: "Something blue, I guess."

DD: "Yeah, like something flowing and soft so that they look like waves on the stage."

Me: "How about some ribbons. Or maybe a piece of flowing fabric that they can swirl around themselves."

DD: "I don't know. They have to use their hands to clap and stuff like that so they can't be holding onto anything."

Me: "So you want a costume of some kind?" (starting to get suspicious)

DD: "Yeah, that would be perfect! Can you think of how to make one?

Me: "Hmmm. Maybe." (starting to suspect a project coming on) "How about something they can wear that has blue strips of some kind of flowing fabric that would look like waves as they move."

DD: "That would be perfect! "

Me: "Hmmmm." (now really getting scared)

DD: "Could you make something like that? Oh, I'm sure you can. You can do just about everything!"

Me: (I smell a con!) "When do you want these costumes?:

DD: "The performance is on Thursday evening."

Me: "Oh. And how many do you need?"

DD: "Only a few. Maybe 3 or 4. No, maybe 5. I'll have to check that out."

Me: "I guess I could make something that they could wear on their arms, something that has pieces of fabric flowing from it."

DD: "Oh, Mom! Would you? You're the best! I'll go over to Fabricland and buy the fabric tomorrow after school. Then I'll bring it over."

Next evening.....

DD: "Here's the fabric, Mom. I hope it's enough. It was on sale and I bought all they had. Oh, and we need 7 costumes. And the dress rehearsal is on Wednesday."

Me: "Oh, so you need some kind of costume made out of this beautiful blue fabric for seven students and they have to be ready by Wednesday? That only gives me one day!"

DD: "Yes! I'll pick them up on Wednesday morning on my way to work."

Me: "Hmmmm. I'll try to make some kind of water wings, I guess."

And I did. I made seven sets of these 'sleeves' that the kids can wear on their arms.
But I couldn't have done it without Felix!

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Bright Spot in my Garden

This wonderful yellow/green spot in my garden is Euphorbia! I just love this plant and I always look forward to it's bright colour at this time of year. Euphorbia belong to a very interesting Genus of plants. The yellow 'flowers' you see are really bracts and not true flowers, although the plant does have unisexual parts. They are just very small. I have featured this plant on my other blog. I started that one in an attempt to keep track of the plants in my garden.

I guess I just like to be organized! Organized? Oh, wow! Did I say that?

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Just Some Blocks.........

Friday's Block Party block for this week is 'Union Square'. I found an appliqued heart in my scrap bin. I think it was left over from a baby quilt I made several years ago. I decided to use it in this block. Every scrap counts, you know! The other fabrics are also from my scrap bin, except for the blue. I actually have quite a lot of that and I just wanted to use some up. I did not find this block to be easy and I doubt if I will make any more. I think it took me almost 3 hours to complete, with lots of interruptions, of course!

And.... as if I am not busy enough, now that gardening season is here and I still have several charity quilts to finish before the end of this month and also the picnic quilt for my daughter, (sigh) I joined the one-a-day quilt along. The idea is to make a nine patch block a day.
That doesn't sound too difficult, does it? So far I am up to date. I have made 14 blocks and I think we are at day 13. Of course, I couldn't have done all that without the help of Felix!

Oh and I almost forgot.... I changed my header. Our peach tree is in bloom right now! I hope we don't get any more frost! The peaches from this tree are the best! Pretty isn't it?

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Salad, Anyone?

I defied the weatherman and planted some leaf lettuce a few weeks ago. It was still cold, but I couldn't wait! Lettuce likes cool temperatures anyway. I planted them in an old wash tub that stands on long legs. I know that sounds rather strange, but there is a method to my madness. I have huge garden snails in my garden! If I planted the lettuce on the ground, it would have been devoured by those slimy critters in no time! This way they can't climb up the metal legs of the tub. My lettuce is safe - from the snails, that is - but not from me. I'm sure I can pull a couple of leaves from each plant and make a nice, tasty salad! Yummmmm!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

No Sewing for Me Today! My Garden is Calling!

Today was a wonderful spring day. It was cool, but the sun was shining brightly. Needless to say, I spent most of the day in the garden. I transplanted a few things and tried to dig up a large section of flower bed that had been taken over by Creeping Bellflowers. Let me tell you, it is not easy to weed a garden while sitting in a wheelchair! I came within inches of landing face first into my cottoneaster bush when I leaned forward too far! Luckily my legs are getting stronger and I was able to keep my balance and not fall in!

It seems as if I have been battling this weed forever! It was in the garden when we moved into this house 25 years ago and it is still here now! In fact, it is even worse this year because no one did any weeding last year and this noxious weed took full advantage of that! I had to get DH to help me by digging down as deeply as possible in order to get at the roots which develop a sort of underground mat, making this weed almost impossible to eradicate!

I had been working in this part of the flower bed two years ago, just before my illness forced me out of the garden. I was planning on changing some of the plantings there and I had already removed most of the perennials. Today I transplanted the remaining ones. I will plant some annuals there this year in the hopes of being able to dig out any more Creeping Bellflowers should they come up later in the season. It is so difficult to work around the perennials and since I have to leave the heavy work up to DH, it is better if he doesn't have to decide which plants are weeds and which ones belong in the garden.

As I sat, enjoying the sunshine, a pair of cowbirds came to take a bath. They were fun to watch.

The garden was buzzing with insects today. Here is an enormous bumble bee trying to fit himself into one of the Pulmonaria flowers. This plant has flowers which range in colour from pink to blue. I read, on someone else's blog, that the colour of the flowers changes to blue once they are fertilized. That way the bees know which ones not to waste their time with. I thought about that theory a lot and I cannot believe that bees are that smart! What do they know about fertilization? It might be that they are attracted more to pink flowers. Maybe they can see that colour better. It is probably more basic than even that. I think the blue flowers, the old ones, don't have any nectar left in them. The bees are probably attracted to the pink flowers because of the sweet scent of nectar. Kind of like the way I am attracted to the wonderful smell of pure chocolate. Well, I'm just saying. You know.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Maybe I'm Putting My Foot In

Here is my finished block for this week for the Friday Block Party. See sidebar. It is called 'Flyfoot'. I used up a whole lot of half square triangles that I had in my scrap bin (happy dance!) - only had to make a couple more. Because it is totally scrappy I don't think I got the image (so much) of the swastika that Carol spoke about. But I must admit I sort of thought of that too. Too bad that symbol has come to mean hatred, antisemitism, violence and murder! For centuries it used to be a symbol that meant good. I think the Chinese call it Wan, but I am not completely positive about that. Anybody know? It stands for life and sun and good luck! You know, happy stuff!

I thought my block sort of looked like the ribbons on a May pole. And since I made it on May 1st, I am going to rename this block too! I really don't like Flyfoot! I'm calling it Dancing Around the May Pole.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Taming My Stash!

I think it is time to tidy up the fabrics in my scrap bins! To say "in' my scrap bins is perhaps not exactly correct. The fabric has found its way out of the bins. It is all over the place - on the floor, on my sewing table, on the ironing board and on my machine! My workspace is shrinking. It is time to clean up!

Mimi is going to help me, aren't you my sweet kitten?

"Meow! No way man! I found myself a nice ray of sunshine and I plan to spend the rest of the day napping here!"

Okay, Mimi. I know without an opposable thumb you, well don't take this personally, but you can't do much picking out of fabric and sewing it together. So I'll let you sleep. That's what you do best anyway!

I'll get Felix to help me.

"Oh, boy! Yeah! I want to help. I love this stuff. It's so colourful and soft. I can roll on it for you! What are you making? Is it a quilt for me? Meow!"

Sorry Felix. It is going to be for DD. She wants a 'picnic' quilt. That means it is going to be put down on the ground. It will be walked on, sat on and eaten on. Not exactly uses that I think of when I think of a quilt! But if it will use up a lot of my scraps, I'm willing to make the sacrifice! She wants it sometime in June. Hmmmmm. That doesn't give me much time.

And speaking of scraps and picnics...... The Friday Party block is called "Flyfoot". That could be had at a picnic, I guess. You can go to it via the icon on my sidebar. The pattern calls for 16 half square triangles. And wonder of wonders, I found a whole bunch of half square triangle blocks in my scrap bin! They were left over from the train quilt I made for my nephew a couple of years ago. I think I only have to make a couple more. This is great!

I think I will work on this Block Party block. Or maybe I'll go out for awhile. It seems so nice and it's not raining today. Gosh, I'm good at procrastinating. The stash clean up can wait for tomorrow!