Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Conversation With Mimi - Puttin' the Luv In

What is it with cats and quilts? It's not just my cats. I see it on other people's blogs too. As soon as you spread a quilt out, a cat will jump up and claim it as his or her own. It doesn't even have to be a completed quilt. I can just be a bunch of blocks, laid out on the floor. I know! I'm going to ask Mimi and find out once and for all.

Me: Hey Mimi! Come here! Here Kitty, Kitty, Kitty!

Mimi: Yawn! Are you calling me?

Me: Yes! I have a question to ask you.

Mimi: Okay, but this had better be good. I was taking a nap!

Me: Oh, you're always taking a nap. I want to know what the deal is with cats and quilts. Why is it that whenever I put some blocks down on the floor, or put a new quilt on a bed, one of you furballs jumps up on it? It's not just you. Felix does it too.

Mimi: That's your important question? That's what you woke me up for?

Me: Come on Mimi. Help me out. Talk to me.

Mimi: Meow. Okay. We like quilts.

Me: That's all it is? Cat like quilts? I thought perhaps you were inspecting to see if the quilt met with your approval.

Mimi: Oh, yeah, that. Well, that's what we cats like you humans to think. It keeps you on your toes. But that is not the real reason.

Me: So what is the real reason?

Mimi: Well, you always say that quilts are made with love, right? And they are meant to keep you humans warm. You make them look pretty, but that doesn't interest us felines. We just want to make sure they have the powers which you say they have.

Me: Powers? Like?

Mimi: Like making you smile. Like keeping you warm. Like comforting you when you are feeling down. Like making you feel better when you are ill. Like surrounding a new baby with love. Like creating new memories and bringing back old ones. Comfort, warmth, security and love. Stuff like that. You know!

Me: Okay, sure. I understand all that, but where do you come in? Why do you have to jump on every quilt as soon as the binding as been stitched on?

Mimi: Meow! You just don't get it, do you? We don't only sit on your precious quilts when they are done! We also sit on your blocks while they are in progress and occasionally your fabrics too. We put the love in!

Me: What's that you say? You put the love in?

Mimi: Yes! You heard me. We, felines, put the love in! Now that you have your answer, can I get back to my napping?

Me: Hmmmm. Interesting theory. Cats put the love in. It seems plausible. Okay. I see you are already half asleep. Enjoy the quilts, Mimi. You can sit on them or sleep on them whenever you like. The more love the better, I guess.

Friday, January 23, 2009

A Little of This, a Little of That

OMG! I'm beginning to think I have some kind of obsessive disorder! I live for Fridays!!!! And I'm retired, so every day is like a Friday! So why, you ask? Well, let me tell you. Every Friday there is a new block on the Friday Block Party! And I have become addicted to them! I can hardly wait for Donna, the Quilt Pixie to pick another block from her jar and post it on the Friday Block Party site (see sidebar). This week's block is called Dewey Dream Quilt. I've already finished it, and it's only noon! This is another 10 inch block, so I used batiks again. And I made it pink! I seem to be in a Valentine mood. I have red, white, pink and purple fabric all over my sewing room.
In between cutting and sewing, I also baked a lemon pound cake! It is my daughter's birthday tomorrow and she asked for a lemon pound cake. No chocolate, (sigh) no icing, (sigh) just a plain lemon pound cake. So that is what she is getting. I drizzled some lemon juice mixed with sugar over the top. I can't wait to have a piece! But that will have to wait until we get home from our dinner out. We will be going to Zen, a Japanese restaurant (her favourite - mine too) this evening. Oh, boy! I get to have sushi and sashimi! And those little soy beans and maybe some tempura!
I have at least three projects on the go at the moment. Sorry, none are at a stage that I can show you, but I have finished the half log cabin blocks - all 108 of them! Now I just have to play with them and sew them together. And the hand appliqued wall hanging is going well, except that it is taking a long time because I only work on it in the evenings when I am watching television. And then there is a Valentine's wall hanging that I had hoped to finish this week. It will have to wait until next week. Just as long as I get it done before February 14th! Oh, yeah, I almost forgot...... We have a lot of snow and it is sort of starting to depress me. I feel like going out and building a snowman, but it's too cold! No packing snow for us! So I am doing the next best thing. I am working on a little snowman wall hanging! It is almost finished!
Now I have to go and tidy up a bit. I haven't done anything around the house all week! Darn! I'd rather be quilting!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Friday's Block Party Week 3

Thanks to everyone who left a comment on my last post. It seems to be unanimous. I am early! Yippee! I hate being late.
The block for this week on the Friday Block Party is called "Rotunda". I really like this pattern. It was easy and it used up strips of fabric that were only 1 1/2 in. wide. I dug into my kid's scrap bag and pulled out a few coordinating fabrics. The block is only 9 in. finished, (9 1/2 in. unfinished) so I didn't need much fabric. I think I will use fun fabrics on all the 9-inch blocks (I am assuming there will be more) and maybe use them to make a baby quilt. I didn't follow the instructions on the quilter's cache site, but rather did mine in strips and then assembled them like a log cabin block. As I was doing that, I thought about a log cabin quilt that I had started several years ago, but never finished.
I decided to dig it out. The blocks are 6 in. (6 1/2in. unfinished) square. I have a huge stack of them! You can see what it is supposed to look like in the photo in front of the blocks.
If I do 9 blocks across and 11 blocks down, I will need 99 blocks. And I already have 90 of them! I'm sure I can do 9 more! By gosh! I think this will be my next finished project.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Late or Early?

I have finished my first quilt for this year! I know it's a Christmas quilt, but I started it in early December. I just couldn't get it done before Christmas. Because I didn't want it to end up in my UFO bin, I decided to finish it. So, the question is..... am I late or am I early? I will count this as my first finish for this month in the One Project a Month Challenge. (See side bar)

I used Christmas-themed scraps, which were fun to work with in December. I found the pattern on the internet. It's called Nine-Patch Christmas scrap quilt. See it here. It measures 50in. by 61in. (127cm by 155cm) Almost big enough for a single bed, but nice and cosy for a lap quilt.

Mimi likes it. She couldn't help jumping up on it as soon as I threw it over a chair to take a photo. I didn't even see her until she was up on the quilt and I had already put my camera away. I tried to take another photo, but wouldn't you know it! My batteries were dead! Why does that always happen to me? I guess I should heed the 'low battery' message on the screen!

Does this quilt meet with your approval, Mimi?

"Yeah. meow. It's okay. I see a fabric with some cardinals on it, but absolutely no cat fabric! What's with that?"

Not every quilt can have cat fabric in it, Mimi!

"Okay, consider it approved! But next time use some nicer fabrics, like cat prints or something! Now I'm going to kick Oscar off my favourite chair. I feel a nap coming on! Meow."

I also downloaded this cute little snowman applique from a Block Of the Month by Bunny Hill . It was supposed to have a heart button at the top, but I could only find an apple button. I know I have some heart buttons somewhere, but where? I think this made a very cute little block and since the temperature is only -21C today (windchill is -30C), it's quite appropriate! Because this is a BOM I guess there will be more blocks to follow. If I have time I would love to make them all!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Let's Call it Footstool

I completed the block for week 2 of the Friday Block Party (see my side bar). Because it was another 10in. block, I decided to use batiks again. I have no idea why. Maybe I will make an all batik quilt with the 10in. blocks - eventually.

I had a lot of trouble with the hourglass pieces in the centre of the block. The instructions on Quilter's Cache are not the greatest for constructing these little triangle pieces. Julie from floribunda shows how to do it much better in a little tutorial she came up with on the blog. I used this method too. It is much easier and there is much less stretching. But I still did not like the little hourglass pieces. They were very tedious and no matter how hard I tried to be exact, inevitably one of the blocks did not cooperate. I know! I'm a perfectionist - what else can I say? Then to make matters worse, I ran out of fabric so I used something similar in colour, but that didn't look quite right. So I made a second block.
The second block was not much easier. The hourglass pieces still gave me trouble and I doubt if I would ever make this block again. Oh. What's that? Yeah, I did make it again, didn't I? Oh, well. I liked the colours I was working with, I guess. The pattern is called Footstool on the Quilter's Cache. I don't know why it is called that. It doesn't look anything like a footstool. Maybe it got that name from the husband of the first woman who ever tried to construct this block and threw a footstool through a window in aggravation!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Ahhhh! Back to Normal!

The holiday season is behind us! Kids are back at school and employees are back at their jobs. The radio no long plays Christmas carols. The sun is shining! Things are back to normal. All is right with the world!

Over the weekend I made this block, called 'broken dishes - variation' as part of the Friday's Block Party. (see sidebar) This was week 1, so I am still on schedule.

Besides doing the broken dishes block, I have been busy sewing scraps together to make this wall hanging. I think it will be about 40in. square when it is finished. That huge white space in the middle is supposed to be for an applique. But unfortunately I cannot find an appliqued medallion that I like in all the books and magazines I have.

So..... I guess I'll have to design something of my own. That shouldn't be too difficult. Or should it? So far I have wasted at least a tree's worth of paper trying to come with something. I don't know if you can see my drawings. They're not very good, but I think you can click on them to see them better - if you must. Why was this so difficult? I never have problems drawing anything.

Then it hit me! Duh! I have forgotten what plants and flowers look like. It is January - the beginning of January to be exact - and flowers are a long forgotten memory. I decided to take matters into hand and had my DH drive me to Allen Gardens yesterday morning. It is an amazing spot in the old cabbage town part of Toronto. They have several large hothouses there, filled with plants and flowers and cactus and I hoped, some colour to revive my imagination!

I was not disappointed! Lucky for us they had not removed the Christmas display yet. Everything was covered in poinsettias! The colours ranged from the traditional reds to pinks, corals and variegated varieties! I was in plant heaven!

Brilliant reds! Bright yellows! And calming oranges! Huge bunches of bananas and towering palm trees.

I think I will be able to come up with something to applique. I'm going to work on it now, while I have the inspiration!

This is the life - so relaxing! No one to bother me! Soft music playing in the background. Felix and Oscar, asleep in their favourite daytime spots. And Mimi.... well Mimi is busy, protecting us from squirrels. They are scurrying around up on the solarium roof. That's good. That will keep her occupied for hours.

Meow! Someone has to keep these pesky critters in check! You should be glad I'm looking after things!
I am Mimi. Thanks!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Happy New Year!

But I Have Some Business To Attend To First

It's the new year and I want to get right to work on all the quilts I am dreaming of making in 2009! But first I have to take care of some business matters. I entered a few blog giveaways and contests near the end of last year, and actually won some really great stuff!

The first package arrived a few days before Christmas. It was from Kathy at Lizzie Jane. It contained these really cute snowmen patterns. I want to make the little snowman wall hanging. I am sure we will have winter until the end of March around here, so I will have lots of time! Thanks Kathy!

Then this box came from Nynke, the dutch purple rabbit. I didn't have to do anything to get this wonderful gift. Nynke just sent me something because that is the kind, sweet and generous person that she is. It arrived just in time on Christmas Eve and was loaded with all kinds of goodies. There were fabrics, some of them hand dyed, I think, some chocolate covered gingerbread cookies and hagelslag or muisjes as they are commonly called. These are little bits of chocolate memories from my childhood. We used to sprinkle them on bread for breakfast! There were also some little bottles of beads which I will put to good use when I do more fibre postcards! There was also a chocolate Sinterklaas and a little Purple Rabbit! There was even a ball of wool so that I can make something for my kitties! Nynke thought of everything!

I also won this quilt in Freda's Hive giveaway! Isn't it beautiful? The workmanship is impeccable! Can you see the label? It says 'One of a Kind from Freda's Hive. I will treasure it and hopefully use it to keep one of my grandchildren warm one day. Thanks Nanette!

And now I can show you some mindless piecing that has kept me occupied over the past few days. I decided to clean up some of my scrap boxes. I am using precious space to store a lot of little pieces of fabric that I should probably just throw out. But who can do that? So I have been making the most of my stash. I used anything that was at least 2in. wide and 5in. long. I plan to do a scrappy wallhanging with some sort of medallion, (an appliqued winter berry thing) in the middle. I got the idea from ems scrapbag and from another blog, but I can't remember which one at the moment. If I find it I will edit this post so I can show it to you.

I am not using a specific pattern, but I guess it could be called rail fence. Each block is 5in. by 5in. unfinished. (4 1/2in. square finished) I have about 15 left to do. And then of course, the applique part. But I love hand applique, so that should go quickly!
Oh, I almost forgot. If you don't already know of the 'Whirl into Winter Giveaway', just click on the snowflake on my sidebar. That will take you to Debi's site where you will find 60+ bloggers who are participating in the giveaway! Good luck!