Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spooltjes Sunday and a Quilt from the Heart

Thank you to everyone who wished me a Happy Birthday this past weekend. I had a lovely time. Dinner on Saturday evening was nice. We ate at the Mandarin. It's a Chinese, Japanese and Thai buffet, so I had sushi, chop suey and mango salad. It's like travelling the world. It just doesn't get any better than that! After our dinner we went back to my DD's place and spent a wonderful hour by candle light, just talking and laughing. Let me tell you... Earth Hour doesn't get any better than that either!

And now I have a confession to make. When I started seeing 'Klosjes' on many of my favourite blogs I swore I would not be joining in - ever! But I just couldn't help myself. I have been making them for several weeks now. They are supposed to be worked on only on Saturday, but I usually do mine on Sundays. It works better for me. Do you want to see what I have made so far?
I have about 40 of them. No two will be the same. Have no idea how many I will do, but as long as there is interest (my interest) I will keep on doing them. The word klosje means a small spool, so in keeping with my Dutch/Canadian heritage, I will butcher the language and call them "Spooltjes". A lot of Dutch people take the English word for something and make it sound sort of Dutch. So for me it's 'Spooltjes Sunday'.

I have also finished another charity quilt for Quilts from the Heart at our Guild. My kit only had 10 eight inch blocks in it. I needed a total of 20, so I went out and bought a bit more fabric and created this. I cut the 8in blocks down to 4in. This one is done in flannel.

Now to finish my UFO Bear Quilt. I have procrastinated long enough. It has to be done by tomorrow! Yikes!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Earth Hour!

This evening we will celebrate Earth Hour. We will turn our lights off between the hour of 8:30pm and 9:30pm. I know this won't help much with the problem of climate change, but it just might help us all understand that we have to make changes if we want to leave this world fit to live in for our grandchildren.
I have been working on the 'Bear' quilt. The top is now done and I have to find something for the backing. I hope there is something in my stash. I really don't want to have to buy any more fabric. Show you more when I have it sandwiched and quilted.

I started working on the charity quilt for Quilts from the Heart. (Our Guild's initiative) They gave me a kit, but there was not enough fabric in it to finish the top. So I bought a couple of 1.25metres of fabric to sort of match. I am just doing 4in. squares. Hope to have it done by tonight - at least the top anyway.

We are going out for dinner this evening - early so as not to conflict with Earth Hour. My birthday is tomorrow, hence the dinner. The tulips at the top of this post were a present from my husband. Yellow tulips are my favourite!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Not Much Happening Around Here

I haven't done a lot of sewing this week. On Sunday I quilted my entry for our Guild's Challenge. And on Monday I attached the binding. It had to be done for Monday evening when we had our Guild meeting. I got it done, but I totally forgot to take a photo of it before I handed it in, so you will have to wait until I get it back.

Yesterday I worked on my UFO for March.
I also made a block for our Block of the Month club at the Guild. It was a quick and easy one. I'm sure you recognize it. It's called Dutchman's Puzzle. This was the February block, which was to be handed in at the March meeting, therefore it was to be done in greens. Since I was not able to attend the February meeting, (and a lot of others weren't either due to the snow storm we had that evening) I can still do it and hand it in at the April meeting.

In the past blocks that were done for Block of the Month were raffled off when they were returned at our meetings. But this year the executive decided to do things a little differently. All of the blocks are collected and made into charity quilts. Anyone who hands in a block gets a change to be in a raffle. The prize is a packet of fat quarters. I love this idea.

The next block is the Block of the Month for March. It's called Jack-in-the-Pulpit. We could do it in a colour of our own choosing. I immediately thought of browns and deep purples and burgundy. But these were the fabrics I had sitting out on my cutting table, so I used them. I did not like this block. The inside section was a cinch - just a simple Puss in the Corner. But I had a lot of problems with the outside. I hate attaching a bias edge to a straight edge. Also, the exact sizes weren't given for each unit. But after some calculations and a drawing on my graph paper, I was able to put it together. It is supposed to be a 12in. finished block and mine measures exactly 12.5in unfinished. Hurray!!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

A Block and a Sleeping Mimi

I finished the block for this week's Friday Block Party. It's called 'Checkerblock Star' and it is a 9inch block. Lots of little pieces, but it went together without any trouble. Just click on the Friday Block Party icon and it will take you to the block.

And here is Mimi, sound asleep on the new mystery quilt cat quilt. I think she likes it.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

This is going to be a long post. I have a lot to show you.

First of all, let me welcome you to SkyWatch Friday. I took this photo yesterday. It was 17C and the sun was shining - heavenly weather for the middle of March!

This is the elm tree in my neighbour's yard. It is growing almost right on the property line, so I consider it mine too. I don't know if you can see her, but there is a squirrel sunning herself on the horizontal branch in the middle of the photo. This is my favourite little squirrel. She has no tail (I have no idea how she lost it) and the reason I am assuming that it is a female is because I saw some of their love-making action over the past few days. She is also padding the nest with bits of paper, leaves and anything else she can find that is soft and warm.

I know there is not a heck of a lot of sky in my photo, but blue sky is nice too! Especially at this time of year. If you want to see more SkyWatch photos, go here.


Now onto some quilty news. I have made a few blocks. This first one is part of the Jelly Roll quilt-along. I wasn't going to take part in this semi-weekly block quilt-along, but I just couldn't help myself. I really liked this one. It was quick and easy. I used some duck fabric in the centre. This fabric always makes me smile. It did not make the cut for the Rubber Duckie, so I thought I would use it in this block.

I also finished the block for this week's Friday Block Party. It is called 'Cain and Abel'. I love this block! I can see myself making more of these. It is a 10in. block. I used batiks. It went together quick and easy! The next block is also from the Friday Block Party. It was the block for week 10. It's called 'Eight Hands Round' and is supposed to be a 12in. block. I didn't like this block from the start. I made the middle part, which as far as I'm concerned, is a block in itself. It is supposed to have more HST around the outside, but after I had cut and sewn them, I realized they would not finish at the right size. So I have left it as a UFO. I might use the HST sometime in the future, but this block is going to remain a 6in. block forever! You can see both of these blocks if you go to the Friday Block Party icon on my sidebar.
Perhaps this is not a good block to show you when I want to inspire others to join our Friday Block Party. This Party was started over a year ago. Many people have made blocks over that time. Now it seems that we need some more members. Let me know if you want to join. You are under no obligation to make any block - just the ones you want to. I will send you an invitation to join our group so that you can post your finished blocks. All I need is your email address. Come join our Party. It is fun and inspirational to see what others do with each week's block.
And now something that I should have done a long time ago. This cute little tea towel was sent to me by Barb of Bejeweled Quilts. I got it a few weeks ago, when my computer was giving me problems. It turned out it was the cable company that supplies my internet that caused the trouble and not my computer. Whew! I have had enough computer problems for a long time! Thank you so much Barb! I love it.
Barb also sent me two fat quarters of a wonderful red Samoan fabric. It even has Samoa printed on it! I am going to save this for the Dresden Plate quilt that I am planning to make sometime in the future. Thank you Barb. I apologize for not having said that sooner.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Name is Oscar

"Meow! Hi blog friends. My name is Oscar and I want to thank all of you for saving my life yesterday! Can you believe it? My owner mom was trying to poison me! If I had eaten any of those raisins which she forced on me, I'd be a goner now. "
"Gosh! people can be so dumb! Don't you agree? Just because I sniff at something doesn't mean I want to eat it. I mean, I am always sniffing my.......oh, oh."

"Oscar, what are you doing?"

"Nothing. Sorry, got to go my friends, Thanks again. I'm meowing off."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I feel as if I am surrounded by mystery today! First off I want to show you the 'Mystery Doll (or preemie) Quilt'. We made these at our last Bee Night. We were told how big to cut the strips of fabric beforehand. Then at Bee Night we were told how to put the strips together, re-cut them and sew again. It took less than 2 hours to sew this top. I quilted it (in the ditch) and put the binding on at home. It measures about 22in. by 22in. I think mine will become a cat quilt. (No mystery there!) The pattern came off the web. You can find it here.

The next mystery is my cat. Why does he always want to share my toast - even raisin toast?

"Go away you silly cat. That's my breakfast. You already had yours. "

"Hmmmm, meow, but it smells so good. Can I just have a little piece. Please, pretty please. Meow!"

"Okay, but will you go away then?"

Another mystery. My other Christmas cactus. I know, it looks just like the first one, but it isn't. This one was sitting on a shelf by the window. When I went to water it today, I noticed a lot of pink on the back. I turned it and.... look at all those flowers! It's a mystery to me how these things keep on blooming over and over again this year.
And here is the mysterious Oscar, napping. He finally did go away and left me to eat my breakfast in peace. I think he sleeps with his eyes open. I can never tell if he has them open or closed.

And lastly, this is called 'feeling like spring' or 'spring fever' and it's really no mystery. All us gardeners get it! Especially if the sun is shining as it is today. I decided to re-plant some of my succulents. It is too early to plant anything outside, but I can 'garden' indoors in the meantime. And that's no mystery!

Edit: I just put a new post on my Art of Fibre blog. You can see it by clicking on the peaches on my sidebar or just go here.

Monday, March 15, 2010

I'm on a Roll!

The baby shower was yesterday, so I can show you the 'Rubber Duckie' quilt now. I finished it on Saturday - just in the nick of time. I think it came out very cute. The new Mom and Dad loved it! I quilted in the ditch and stippled (free-motion quilted) around the ducks. It measures about 41inches by 49inches.

Because it was only about 40 inches wide I figured a piece of fabric the length of the quilt top should be enough for a backing. I thought fabric was around 43-44 inches wide. But I guess like everything else, they are making it smaller. My backing fabric was exactly 40 inches wide from selvage to selvage. It just wasn't enough to cover the back of this quilt. So I decided to piece it. I had made an extra row of duckie blocks for the front, but decided that it would make the quilt too long. So I used those blocks on the back, piecing an inch of the backing fabric between each one. I really like the backing material. It has little ducks on it, but after seeing it on the back of the quilt, I felt that it was kind of boring, so I am really glad I did a bit of 'back art' to give it some interest.

I also crocheted the upcoming baby a baby afghan. It is done in the same 'I love scraps' pattern that I used to make the one for my mother (you can see it here) a few weeks ago - the one she wanted to give away to the new Mom and Dad. I wanted her to keep the one I had made for her and offered to make a new one for the baby. She wasn't able to come to the shower, but this way she was there in spirit.

And can you believe it? My cactus is still flowering! See that little pink flower in front. And it has a few more buds on it too.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

SkyWatch Friday and a Party Block

All week I thought I had time to quilt since we were supposed to get rain. But the skies remained clear and I just couldn't stay in my sewing room and sew. I had to get out. But yesterday the sky darkened and we got a tiny shower for about 3 minutes! Here it is.

Then it started to clear up. No more rain for us.

If you would like to see more sky photos from around the world, go here.

This morning I decided that I had to do some sewing or I would not get all of my projects finished. So it is my delight to present the block for Friday's Block Party, week 9, Joseph's Delight! It's a 12-inch block. I am only one week behind now. So back I go to my sewing machine, but first a little 'walk-about' in my back yard. Got to see if there are signs of spring out there!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Identity Crisis?

I am sure many or all of you are familiar with the Schnibbles quilt that Schnibbles members made last month. When I saw it I was reminded of the bowtie block that our Guild made at a Bee Night many years ago. The focus of that evening was to learn how to machine sew bowtie blocks in a simple manner. I decided to make some more of those bowtie blocks from memory. I cut a bunch of red fabrics into 2 1/2 inch and 1 1/2inch units and sewed them into bowties. They looked okay, but I didn't think that I would have enough red fabrics to finish the quilt. So I looked for the bowtie blocks I had made at Bee Night so many years ago. And I found them!! (Much to my surprise!) They were much larger. I realized that I had originally cut the fabric into 4 1/2inches square units. I had only sewn a couple of them together and I had enough of the white background fabric, so I cut all the 'old' units down to 2 1/2in. squares and sewed the whole thing together in a similar fashion to the Schnibbles quilt. Then I added a red inner border and a pieced outer border of 3 1/2inch 'piano keys'. It measures 32" X 32".

I finished it this morning and it wasn't even on my March list! The only problem is, is this now a Schnibbles or a Bowtie quilt? My guess is it's a Bowtie, since every time I look at it I think of bow ties.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Sometimes It's Good Just to Walk Away for Awhile

The weather has been fantastic the past few days. We have actually had highs of 15C with completely blue skies! I even went out this afternoon and did some gardening. Well, not real gardening. I just cut down some of last year's Black-Eyed Susans. I had left them for the seed pods. The chickadees love those things. But now all that dead growth is competing with my crocuses. I was only able to spend about an hour out there before I couldn't stand up any more. It's not easy to garden from a wheelchair, but if I spend a few minutes at a time I think I will be able to make the garden look really nice this year.

I have also spent a lot of time driving my scooter to the mall. This weather has made me feel free!! The only thing that has suffered is my quilting. I am still working on the 'Rubber Duckie' quilt. It was supposed to measure 40" X 40", but I decided I wanted it to be a bit longer, so I made two more rows of duckies. But then it seemed to long, so I only used one of the rows to complete the top. I wanted to sandwich and quilt it yesterday, but when I checked my backing fabric, I realized that it was only 40inch wide. Since when are they making this stuff so narrow? I thought I would have lots, but the top is 40 inches wide, the backing didn't fit. Then I spread the batting out and discovered that I didn't have enough of that either. I pieced a small piece into one corner and I think it will be okay. Then I thought about the binding. I didn't have a piece of fabric large enough to cut the binding from, so I cut up a lot of strips from the fabric I used in the top and sewed it together. By then I was tired and didn't want to think about the backing that needed to be sewn. I just left everything in a big pile on my cutting table and walked away.

But sometimes that's the best thing to do. Just walk away for awhile until inspiration strikes once more. When I got up this morning, Oscar was sleeping soundly on the pile on my cutting table. He seemed kind of miffed that I woke him up to take this photo.

Hey Oscar, what did you do with the head of that duckie?

Oscar had obviously given his complete approval to the Rubber Duckie quilt. I was once again inspired! So I set to work on piecing the backing. I used the five blocks that were left over from the front of the quilt. I pieced them the long way and sewed them into the backing. Now it is big enough! Thanks Oscar, for believing in me!

Mimi decided to give it her nod of approval too.
How can I go wrong with all these furry little helpers?

Monday, March 08, 2010

Can Spring Be Far Behind?

Yellow crocuses in my garden!
It's warm and sunny.
I don't need my coat.
Can spring be far behind?

International Women's Day

Today is International Women's Day! A day to celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women, past, present and future. This year's theme is 'Equal rights, equal opportunities. Progress for all'.
We have come along way, but there is still far to go.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

March - A Busy Month!

I have all kinds of things lined up for the month of March! - A UFO to finish - A baby quilt for a new member of our family - A quilt for the challenge at our Guild - And some more blocks that I just can't resist making.

First let me show you the beginnings of the baby quilt. I am calling it 'Rubber Duckie'. Every time I work on this one I can hear Ernie from Sesame Street singing the rubber duckie song. Do you remember it? "Rubber Duckie, you're the one, You make bathtime lots of fun....." I am going to machine applique this one. I have all the duckies cut out and ironed onto the backings. I will machine them tomorrow. I have also finished 6 of the 13 alternate blocks. They will all be in different shades of blue. Got to have this one done by the 14th of this month!

Then there is my UFO to finish for this month. The number 2 was pulled by Patchwork Penguin and that number corresponds with my 'Bear Quilt'. I don't know where this pattern came from. All I know is that I have all the pieces cut and most of the bears are done. I just have to do some embroidery for the eyes and nose. I don't know what caused me to put this one away without finishing it. Oh, well, at least I found it with all its fabric - just missing the pattern, but that is not unusual for me.

I can't show you the challenge quilt because it is a secret. I still have to quilt it and put binding on it. That will happen soon, I hope!
I have been seeing the following block on many blogs this month. Apparently it's a weekly sew-along. I did not join it because I figured I already had too much to do this month. I don't have the pattern for this block either, but I saw it on several blogs and I just made it the way I thought it should be. It's a 12-inch block. I don't think I am going to do one every week, but if any of them look interesting, I think I'll make it. I used kids fabrics (horses in this case). This will probably become a small quilt or wall hanging.
There are several other things that have caught my fancy this month. I hope to get them done so I can show them to you. Better get back to my sewing machine if I want to do all that. Later.......

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Chicken Soup - A Finish for February

I finished my UFO for the month of February - on Sunday - just in time! I would have shown it to you earlier, but I have not been able to post anything or send and receive emails for the past few days. Sometimes my computer works for a few minutes and then it shuts down. It keeps telling me that I have to download a program for my cable service. But I don't have one. The cable guy did all that when he installed the cable. I think my computer just likes to make life difficult for me. It is working at the moment and I am taking full advantage of that!So, drum roll please! Presenting for you viewing pleasure, "Chicken Soup"! A Finish! I used buttons for eyes, since this will be a wall hanging. It measures 46" x 40". Soooooo glad to get this one done. It's been in my UFO bin for many years. I had actually hand appliqued the whole thing. And had even hand sewn the sashing and borders. I guess it dates back to pre-sewing machine days. I machine quilted it though, to get it done.