Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

I wanted to show you what I had done in 2013, but I am having trouble with my computer at the moment.
Hopefully I will be able to figure it out tomorrow when I have more time.

Wishing Everyone a Healthy and Happy New Year, 2014!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Five of the Coldest, Darkest Days of my Life

Last weekend we had a huge freezing rain storm.  It started raining before the weekend and continued to rain, very hard, on Saturday night. The ice built up on the branches of trees.  Large limbs broke off and made the neighbourhood look like a war zone.  My neighbour's gigantic elm tree started to break apart.

The branches fell into my backyard.  I was awake all night as I heard the huge branches fall, nearly missing my house.  In the morning my backyard was full of broken branches.

But the worst part was the electricity.  It went off at around 12:30am on Sunday morning.  From that time on we sat in the cold, darkness until late this afternoon.  Five days of some of the coldest winter weather and we had no electricity.  It was a traumatic experience!  I will tell you more about the storm later, but I just want to post this now so that I can wish everyone a very
Merry Christmas!  
We are expecting more snow and strong winds tonight, so more trees could knock more power lines down and my power may once again go out, but I am keeping my fingers crossed.  I don't like sitting in the cold and darkness.

I did finish a couple of stockings for two little boys.  They love super heroes and I have lots of super hero fabrics.  I did not have a pattern, but just made them up as I went along.  They are not quilted and are only meant to hold some gifts.  Luckily I finished them before the ice storm. The boys loved them!


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Baby It's Cold Outside

It feels like -19C out there today with the windchill factored in.  The snow that fell on Sunday night is still around.  It just hasn't been warm enough for it to melt.  We are supposed to get more snow on the weekend. Nice for getting into the Christmas spirit, but this cold makes my fingers ache and then they don't want to perform tiny tasks.  But I have to get on with my sewing.  Still working on the kids quilts.  I am at the sandwiching stage now.  Should be quilting them shortly.  I'll show them to you when they are completed.

Every time I get a little bored with the kids quilts I work on my Celtic Solstice blocks.  So many little pieces and so little time.  I have about half of them done.  Not going to link up to Bonnie's blog this week. Maybe next week when I have more to show.

I was clearing off my tables in the solarium so that I would have room to sandwich the kids quilts, when I noticed my Christmas Cacti in bloom right now.  Don't the colours look like this week's blocks for Celtic Solstice?  I love those colours.  These are my favourite Christmas cacti.

I also have a gorgeous Amaryllis is bloom right now.  I bought it a few weeks ago.  This is the second bloom on it.  So Christmassy, don't you think?  I love it.

Now I think I will make myself a cup of tea and head back to my sewing room.  Maybe put on some sewing gloves and turn up the heat.  Can't complain about the cold too much!  This is Canada after all.

Friday, December 06, 2013

This and That

The world has lost a very inspirational and great leader.  Nelson Mandela passed away yesterday at the age of 95, after battling a lung infection for many months.  Mandela fought against Apartheid in South Africa and spent 27 years of his life in prison because of it.  But he rose above it all and became South Africa's first black president in 1994.  He was a charismatic activist who won the world's admiration for his contributions to racial equality.  In 1998 he received the Order of Canada, the first foreign leader to do so.  He will be sadly missed.

"For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."
                                                                                                 Nelson Mandela

He also said, "It always seems impossible until it's done".  And those are the words I am living by today and for the rest of this weekend.  Did you see Bonnie Hunter's next clue in her mystery quilt?  Those are tiny pieces!  But I have already make 5 of them, so that means I have 95 left.  

Doable, but not in the next couple of days.  Too many other projects to finish up.  I must get back to the super heroes quilts.  See you next week.

Have a terrific weekend!

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Christmas Presents and a Celtic Solstice Mystery

I have been told that I don't post often enough.  So I apologize, but I have been busy.  Very busy.  But my followers are waiting, so here are some photos of my latest projects.  I am working on a couple of kids quilts.  Both of them will be Super Heroes - one a batman and the other a combination of super heroes. Here is the first one so far.

I still have to put a couple of borders on it.  Maybe a narrow yellow and then a wider one of the colourful fabric.  Not too much work.  I hope to get it done later today.

The next one is still in the planning stage.  I was told to make it similar to the first one because they will go to a couple of brothers who like to fight over things.  Well, there will be no fighting over my quilts!  And that's that!  This one will have a couple more fabrics in it.  Here is what I have so far.

Still a long way to go.  But these little quilts are easy, so I hope I will be done by the weekend.

I also succumbed to Bonnie Hunter's latest mystery quilt.  (click on the Celtic Solstice Mystery tab above her posts)  I was just going to download her instructions and start it in the new year.  But I couldn't help myself.  So I made some of the first blocks.  I am paper piecing them because I don't have the right rulers.  I like paper piecing, so it is not a problem.

I have about half of them completed.  For now I will put them aside and continue with the Christmas gifts. Bonnie will be posting her next clue on Friday.  I'll just have to wait and see what those blocks look like. Who knows, I may have to do some in between the Super Heroes.  

It is wet and ark today.  A good day to stay inside and sew.  Maybe then I will be able to post a little more frequently.  Have a nice Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Easy Street Flimsy

I got Easy Street put together.  Just have to add a border or two.  I don't have enough fabric in my stash, so I guess I'll have to go shopping.  Too bad, eh?  I brought it to show to our Tuesday morning group.  A couple of nice quilty ladies are holding it for me, since there is no one to do that for me here at home.  Felix isn't tall enough.

I also finished a chevron quilt top.  This one is made using strips and not HSTs.  I still have to square it off. Feeling a little nervous about that.  I found the tutorial for it here.  Crazy colours. i know!  It was supposed to be done for Halloween, but life got in the way.  So now I am all ready for next year - 11 months ahead of the game

Wishing all my American friends a very Happy Thanksgiving on Thursday!  Hope the weather doesn't spoil your plans.  

Monday, November 25, 2013

Monday Morning, On My Design Floor

Here is what's on my design floor this morning.  Still working on Easy Street.  I have decided to make mine smaller than Bonnie's.  Hers was about 100 inches square, I think.  Too big for me. So I am making it smaller.

Here it is on my Design Floor.  I hope to have this one done soon.  I'm sure I couldn't do it without Felix's help.  A few days ago I had left this quilt on the floor overnight and at 4:00 am I heard Felix heaving up a gigantic furball onto the centre of my quilt.  I thought it was because he didn't like it.  But he says he actually adores Easy Street and was just trying to add some of his own creativity.  I was able to clean it up without any problems.  Thank goodness.  I asked him nicely not to do that again.  And he agreed. So now he is helping me by just sitting on it and adding some love.

Back to the sewing room.  Are you coming, Felix?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Living on Easy Street

I'm a bit late with my post this morning.  Our power went out - again!  I am getting very annoyed with this.  It happens more often lately and it means I can't do anything.  Not even make a coffee or sew a seam.  But it's back now and I'd better hurry to get this post up.

Thank you for stopping by.  This is the last day of Sew Sister's Blogathon.  It's been fun, hasn't it?  I have met a lot of bloggers from all over Canada that I wouldn't have met otherwise.  Click on the Blogathon button on my sidebar if you want to see more of the quilters who make their home in Ontario today.

I cleaned up on Easy Street.  The blocks are not sewn together and I have a few more that I couldn't lay out on the floor because I don't have enough space.  But it's coming along nicely. Going to sew a few more blocks today - if the power stays on.

Oh, wow!  Do you see that lemony block in the centre?  I thought it would be green enough, but now I think it's too yellow.  Maybe I will have to take it out.  What do you think?

I have been on a finishing binge over the past few weeks.  Here is another top that is finished and waiting for some quilting.  It's about 48 inches by 74 inches.  The ladies in my Tuesday morning group are helping to hold it up.  I may have to send this one out to be quilted.  I can't seem to handle anything bigger than a baby quilt on my machine lately.

Still working on the hexies.  I got one of the corners done.  It is really starting to look great! This is my evening project - something to work on when I am watching television, so I won't fall asleep.

And in keeping with my ADHD personality, I saw a cute little Christmas wall hanging on someone's blog yesterday.  It is a free pattern by McCall's.  The Easy Street blocks were making me crazy, so I decided to sew this little top together.  Kind of like my little 15 minute scrap project for the day.

Well, time to go back to the sewing room.  Come again.  And leave me a comment if you can.  I love getting mail!  Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Doing Some Street Cleaning This Week...

 ...'Easy Street' that is.  This guy is helping me.  I found the blocks I had already completed for this project, but they were crammed into a bag and I had to sort everything out before I could start.   I was also a bit disappointed that I hadn't completed all of the blocks.  So now it is back to my machine.  Lots of work 'cut out' for me.
This is what I've got so far.  Told you I had a lot of cleaning up to do.  Hope to have something completed soon.

Don't forget to stop by Sew Sister's to see today's blogathon posters.  They are from Manitoba. Just click on my sidebar.  I wasn't able to get the address to work, so you will have to go to Sew Sister's home page to see what the give-away is for today.  


Monday, November 18, 2013

FYI Monday - What I am Doing

Today is a cold, windy, nasty day.  I keep thinking that the wind is going to blow the shingles off my roof. The temperature is dropping quickly and I have to have all of my lights on in the house in order to see anything.  Hope my pics will show up okay.

It is also the first day of Sew Sister's Blogathon Canada, 2013.  Just click on the image on my sidebar or click here, and it will take you to some wonderful quilt-related stuff  Today the west coast is featured.  There will be a different part of Canada each day this week.   Also, there are lots of things to win on the Sew Sister's site.  So go and have a look.  My blog will be featured on one of the Ontario blogs, next Saturday.

Several months ago I tried to keep up with Terry when she did her Pennsylvania quilt.  But I got so far behind that I just put it away.  I found it a few days ago and decided it needed to be finished.  So here is what I have done so far.  I just want to put a border of the light fabric all around these blocks.  Then it will be a flimsy and I will be happy with that for now.

In the evenings I have been working on my hexies.  I am trying to do at least 10 of the dark blue ones per night.  That is the goal I have set for myself  anyway.  I have 360 hexies still to do.  That still means a lot of evenings, but without a goal they may never get done.

Have you heard?  Bonnie Hunter is hosting another mystery quilt, starting at the end of the month.  It is called, 'Celtic Solstice'.  I would love to make it, but I still have 'Easy Street' and 'Orca Bay' to finish.  So that is my goal for this week - to finish at least one of them.  Now going to try to find them.  Usually when I clean up I put things in such good places that I never find them again.  Do you do that too?  Or is it only me?

Oops, change of plans.  My DD just dropped in for lunch.  She only has about 50 minutes, so I'd better hurry and make some chicken salad sandwiches for the two of us.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Lot of Little Things

I wish I could show you a hexie flower for today, but I have only been working on the dark blue hexies that go around the outside of this quilt top.  They are very boring and take a lot of time to do.  I think I will be working on these for the next few weeks.

I have also spent a few minutes each day making fabric.  I plan to make a bag out of these scraps.  One side is almost finished.

In order to give myself a break from the navy blue hexies on the basket quilt, I dug out another hexagon top that is almost finished.  I stopped working on it a year or so ago because I was running out of fabrics.  But I have lots now and I want to finish this one.  I love it.


And here is a parting shot of my red Christmas cactus.  It is so flower heavy that I had to get underneath it to show you the blooms. 

A quiting buddy, who I haven't seen in a long time, is coming over for tea this morning.  Got to go and straighten up the living room.
Happy Wednesday Everyone!

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

A Few Projects on a Rainy Day

I haven't finished too much this week.  But I did get a placemat made for Meals on Wheels.  It was an orphan block that someone gave me.  So I just quilted it and put some binding on and now it is finished. Sorry the picture is so bad.  It is really dark and dreary today.

I was also working on a Halloween quilt that I did not finish before Halloween.  I am going to sew some of the strips together and maybe make a few more blocks.  I think it is almost finished as far as the length goes. It was an easy pattern, but I just had too much to do last week.  Oh, well.  It will be great for next year.  I don't think I have ever made a Halloween quilt before.

And because it is Wednesday I will show you my hexie La Passion progress.  I am going to put this quilt on-hold for a while because I want to finish a couple of other hexie ones that I have started and never finished.

On a dark and rainy day like today there is nothing I would rather do than take a nap or read my book.  But I have a friend coming over after work and my place needs a bit of tidying up.  Mimi has the right idea though. She is comfortable and warm in her kitty bed.  She looks like she is asleep, but she is just pretending.  As soon as I snapped the photo, she opened her eyes and gave me a 'get the heck out of here' glare.  So I did what I thought was the smartest thing to do.  I left her alone to continue her nap.

Have a great Wednesday.

I am linking up with The Needle and Thread Network.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Hallowe'en!

It's raining here today.  Not good weather for Halloween.  But it did give me a chance to finish my little Jack-O-Lantern wall hanging.  It's my first finish in a long time!

Wishing everyone a safe and Happy Halloween.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Yipes! Was That Frost I Saw? It Must Be the End of Fall

I haven't posted since last Sunday.  Wonder if I have lost my Mojo.  Maybe just my posting Mojo.  I am still busy sewing and creating, so that part is okay.

I went to the Creativ Festival yesterday.  It was amazing, especially because I was able to go on my own.  It was kind of like a pilgrimage.  I left my house on my scooter at around 8:30am and drove to the GO station which is closest to my house.  Even so, it is about a kilometre away.  I had to wear my winter coat because the temperature was around 0C.  There was a hint of white frost on the ground.  Winter is coming.  I got to the GO station about 20 minutes before the train was to leave.  I was right on time and so was the train.

We arrived at Union Station a half hour later.  Then I had to travel through Union Station, the Sky Walk and along Front Street until I got to the Convention Centre entrance.  From there it was a lot of searching, elevators and purchasing a ticket before I arrived at the line-up to go into the show.  Luckily I ran into quite a few quilty friends so the wait did not seem to last long.  Once inside I headed straight to the back of the building where the crowds were not so bad.

It was difficult to get close to very crowded booths and there were many of those.  But I did see everything. And even ran into a good friend whom I haven't seen for many years since she moved up north.  I bought a few fat quarters and some other quilt related things.  I also bought a kit to make a bag for making baked potatoes in the microwave.

There were lots of interesting exhibits.  One was a beautiful display of Amigurumi under water plants and creatures.  I would have loved to make some, but there were no patterns.  It was just a display that would be dismantled when the show is over and the toys given away to kids in hospitals.

I took a photo of this lovely quilt.  I love the applique and piecing.  It looks easy.  I might like to make a wall hanging like this for the winter months.

I left the Show without knowing what time it was.  But the crowds were getting thicker and thicker and it was difficult for me to get around on my scooter.  I reversed my travels back to Union Station and found that I was right on time.  The train that would take me back home was only a few minutes away.  When I saw the sign change, I noticed that my train was to leave from track 27.  I have never left from that track, even when I was able to walk, so I went in search for it.  I found it, but not the elevator that would take me up to the track level.  So I drove around at top speed trying to find a GO person to ask how to find the elevator.  I finally found someone.  She got a couple of people to help me.  The elevator for track 27 was on the other side of the station, past the VIA trains.  A nice man ran beside my scooter and took me up to the next level.  Then he directed me to another nice GO employee who took me up in another elevator to track 27.  I thanked them profusely and boarded the train.  I was afraid I would have missed it, but I was just in time once more.  The whistle blew and I had not even made it to my seat when the train began to move.  A half hour later I arrived at my stop.  The drive home was cold and gloomy.  Clouds had moved in and it looked like it would rain any minute.  But I made it home, safe and dry.  On my way I saw a beautiful red Oak tree. The colour was incredible.  It made me want to start a new quilt.

As you have probably guessed, Wildflower Wednesdays will have to be postponed until next year.  There are very few flowers still in bloom around here.  The end of fall is here.  But I can show you my hexie flowers.  I am still busy with the La Passion quilt.   This is where I'm at right now.

I was very happy when I got home from the show yesterday.  That was the first time I have ever tried to take public transit on my own.  It was very easy and fun and I would do it again in a heartbeat.  Was even thinking of going down there again today.  But it is raining out, cold, windy with heavy rain.  Not a good day to travel, so I will just stay in my sewing room and think of warmer days.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Kaffe Fassett Inspired

My latest charity quilt is finally a flimsy inspired by Kaffe Fassett.  Most of these fabrics are mine, but I was able to pick up a few more yesterday when I attended our Quilts from the Heart group at a local senior's residence.  We cut 2.5 and 3 inch squares (at least that's what I did) from scraps in order to make some Autumn Dance quilts for Quilts of Valour.  I asked if I could have a few scraps of the reds and I was granted my wish.  So this morning I turned those scraps and others into this flimsy.  I hope to sandwich and quilt it this weekend, so it will be ready for guild night.

This pattern is from Kaffe Fassett's book, 'Country Garden Quilts'.  I made a few blocks using Kaffe's fabrics and they turned out beautifully.  I will continue to work on them until I have another flimsy.  But now I am off to do some grocery shopping.  

Monday, October 14, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

This is our Thanksgiving long weekend.  No sewing got done in the last few days - just lots of eating and being with friends and family.  Today is actually Thanksgiving Day, but DH and I have the day all to ourselves. Something to be thankful for, I guess.  I am canning applesauce today.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian Friends!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thursday's Weed

The charger for my scooter has been replaced and I can now charge up the batteries and get out of the house.  You have no idea how liberating that is!  I have felt like a prisoner for about 3 weeks and I had no way of taking more photos of wildflowers to post on Wednesdays.

But yesterday my batteries were fully charged and I went to the library.  As I drove around my neighbourhood I noticed the growth of a weed that everybody hates.  It's called Ragweed.

This is not a wildflower.  It's a full-out noxious weed!  But it does have flowers and that's where the problem starts.  This plant is the bane of allergy sufferers everywhere.

Although it is a plant that originally grew in rural areas, it has adapted itself and now grows just about everywhere.  Here is some that is growing in a crack along the side of the road, between the pavement and the curb.

The problem with Ragweed is the pollen.  Ragweed plants can produce up to a billion pollen grains per plant. This pollen is very small and light-weight and can travel for up to 400 km, carried by the wind.  It causes runny noses and watery eyes for many sufferers. Male and female flowers are borne on each plant, but it is the male flowers that produce the pollen.

It always irritates me when pictures of other wildflowers, such as Goldenrod or Dandelions, accompany articles relating to hay fever.  Those plants don't cause hay fever.  You, see, it is the colour of the flowers that gives them away.  Ragweed has green flowers and the others have coloured flowers.  It is only the green flowering plants that produce pollen light enough to float through the air.  The pollen grains of Goldenrod and Dandelions are large and heavy and depend on bees and other insects to pollinate them.  Ragweed relies only on the wind to blow its pollen around to other plants.  So when you see a wonderful field of yellow Goldenrod or the first golden globes of Dandelion-colour in spring, don't stay away from them.  They cannot hurt you.  They are the 'good' plants.

Here is some Ragweed growing beside the bus stop on Lawrence Ave. E.

Ragweed belongs to the Asteraceae family, like Sunflowers and Asters.  The thing that makes me cringe is that they are in the Genus, Ambrosia.  That makes me think of wonderful foods from the gods.  But I think it only refers to this plant's tenacity to thrive just about everywhere. This definitely is a noxious weed!  If you have it in your garden or see it growing along the side of the road beside your boulevard, pull it out!  Other than providing food for a few caterpillars, this plant does nothing for the beauty of our planet.  At least not by my standards.  I don't suffer from allergies, but maybe I am just a little bit biased.

Monday, October 07, 2013

I'm Back!

It was a fantastic weekend!  The weather could have been better, but since we were sewing all day it didn't really matter if we had some showers.  The rooms were fantastic.  The food was delicious.  And all of my fellow quilters were positive and inspirational.  Our venue was Elim Lodge and we couldn't have stayed in a nicer place.  We were set up in the meeting room.  It was huge and we had lots of room with a table to ourselves.

A few of us morning people went over and started sewing at 6:00am.  You can see how spacious it was.  It was quiet for awhile until more people arrived.  Breakfast was at 8:30am.  I always seemed to eat too much.  Everything was so delicious.  

In the afternoon the place looked more like this.  That's Debra in the black, facing the camera.  Sharing our work and talking about quilting.  What more could you ask for?

The dining hall was down by the beach.  On the way, we passed a cute little church.  I just had to get a photo of it.  

I worked on a couple of quilts while we were there.  The first one is Autumn Dance.  I thought this one was perfect for a fall retreat.  I still have several more blocks to make, but I know I can get them done at home. I also worked on some 'Rolling Stones' blocks.  I saw them on Fons and Porter last week and I thought I would give them a try.  I'll show you when I have more done.

On the way home on Sunday we stopped at a newly opened quilt shop in Newcastle.  It was in the quaintest of buildings as you can see from the photo.  It has only been open for about 5 weeks.  The owners were so kind and helpful. It is called Annie's Quilt Shop and I'm sure I'll be going back there if I am ever in the area again.

It was a great weekend.  I couldn't have done it without Debra's help.  Thanks Deb for everything.  You're the greatest!  Here are some more photos.  I just couldn't stop taking photos!

Friday, October 04, 2013

My Bags are Packed, I'm Ready to Go!

It's retreat tine!  Debra from Patchwork Sanity is picking me up in less than an hour.  This is going to be great!  Lots of sewing, friendship, fun and not having to cook.  I'll tell you all about it on Monday