Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Okay, so Here's the Plan

I got a call from my daughter today.  She wants to 'buy' a baby quilt from my quilt closet.  The only thing is, I have no baby boy quilts right now.  So here's what I plan to do.  In keeping with my scrap obsession at the moment, I am going to scrap piece some blocks and combine them alternately with jars of bugs and other creepy things.  It's got to be done in 2 weeks.  Do you think it will work?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Mindless Cutting and Sewing

After the excitement of the past week I do not feel like quilting.  Even sewing some scraps together to 'make' fabric does not turn me on.  But then I remembered Em's post challenging other quilters to join her in a scrap project, using 1 1/2inch pieces to make 4 patches.  She has her first tutorial here.

4 patch blocks.

I already had a lot of those little squares pieced together before I joined Em in her challenge.  And now I am making two different quilts!

This has been an ongoing project for me. (Ongoing for a long time!)  I just cut scraps when I have a few that are too small for anything else.  So a couple of days ago I decided to continue with the cutting of my donated and other scraps. This is such mindless work that I was able to do it while listening to music.  It was very relaxing.  I use the squares for leaders and enders, but I also take some time, every now than then, to just sew some together. 

I had already cut a lot of squares to make an OMG Quilt.  I started it in 2010.  Here is my progress.  Again, this is an ongoing project that I don't think will be finished anytime soon.

Patches sewn into 9-patch blocks.

9-patches joined to larger 9-patch blocks.

This is an alternating block for the OMG quilt.  I can use more of my 4-patches on this one.

Hope everyone has a terrific weekend!  The Creative Festival is in Toronto this weekend.  I am going down tomorrow to take a look around.  I plan to buy no fabric. :-)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Day in Toronto

This has been a busy week for me.  I hope to get back into blogging and blog-reading today - after I take a nap that is.  LOL  I didn't do any sewing this week either, so that certainly has to change today too.  This is going to be a long post - sorry.   

Friends from Japan were here in Toronto for a few days.  They came over for dinner on Tuesday evening and yesterday we took them on an excursion around our city.  We started off by driving around to see some of the places in our city's centre - the Eaton Centre, the old and new City Halls, University Avenue and Queen's Park where the provincial government sits and a few more interesting places.  The weather was not cooperative.  We only got to do the outdoor things when the showers held off.  At the CN tower we stopped and went to the top to view the city.  Even though it was raining on and off, the view was wonderful. 

Here are some gargoyles on the outside of the Roger's Centre, formerly know as the SkyDome.

We had to choose our destinations carefully.  They had to coincide with the rain and the dry spells.  So when it started to rain, we went to the St. Lawrence Market because it is held indoors.  This market is open 5 days a week and has many vendors selling fresh fruits and vegetable, meats, fish and freshly baked goodies.  There are also booths that sell specialties, like teas, rice, any household item you can think of and of course, souvenirs like maple syrup products and ice wines.  

Some gourds.

I love going to the St Lawrence Market at any time.  The atmosphere is very festival-like, but it was especially nice yesterday because outside the weather was wet, cold and windy.  Surrounded by food, we became hungry and decided to eat our lunch there.

Our visitors.

We stopped at the Allan Gardens Greenhouses next.  These are open to the public all year round and house a wonderful assortment of tropical, sub-tropical, local and dessert plants.  I love visiting Allan Gardens! 
Bananas growing in the central conservatory at Allan Gardens.

It is a wonderful place to go when the cold and snow of our Canadian winters creates fears of never seeing a flowering plant again.  There is no admittance fee, so it's a great place to spend a few minutes or an hour or more.

Leda and the Swan, a sculpture based on a Greek myth, at one of the ponds.

After Allan Gardens, we drove along the lake, taking in Tommy Thompson Park, a man-made peninsula that was created when rocks and soil were removed from the building sites of downtown skyscrapers and dumped into the lake.  This sounds like a dumb thing to do, but the dumped debris soon became the new home for wildflower and tree seeds dropped by birds. the wind and human visitors.  These have grown into a unique parkland surrounded by Lake Ontario and inhabited by local and migratory birds, several species of frogs, toads and other reptiles and squirrels and other small mammals. 

Waves on Lake Ontario.
The lake was very rough.  It was too dangerous for boats to be out in the water, but we did see a few adventurous surf boarders out there.  Crazy people who must love the cold.  We drove along the lake and stopped at Bluffer's Park.  It stopped raining long enough for us to walk to the edge of the lake and observe the incredible waves.   Usually the water is very calm and just laps at your feet as you walk along the beach, but yesterday it looked like an ocean.

On our way out of the park we saw some deer.  Viewing wildlife inside the city limits always makes me happy!

A deer at Bluffers Park.

We rounded the day off with a return to our place for some green tea and some 'shopping' in my fabric stash.  I think my friend was inspired by my quilty things and wanted to buy a kit of something simple to take back to Japan with her.  Unfortunately our local quilt shop was closed yesterday due to the activities at the Creative Sewing Festival this weekend, so I invited her to take a look at my stash.  We found a pattern for an simple quilt-as-you-go table runner and some fabrics and made up a kit ourselves.

Dinner was at a Japanese restaurant.  I learned about some new delicacies that I had never tasted before, as well as satisfying my craving for sushi - for a little while at least.   Afterwards we drove them back to their hotel.  They are flying back to Tokyo today.  With mixed emotions we bade them farewell, with promises for them to return to Toronto and for us to go to Japan.  Now, wouldn't that be nice! 

Friday, October 14, 2011

I Am Easily Distracted!

I've been AWOL.  This has been a short week because of Thanksgiving's Day last Monday.  Yes, I've been busy, but that is not the real reason that I haven't posted anything for over a week.  I found the book, 'A Tree Grows in Brooklyn' in large print at the library.  I had read it before, but that was about 40 years ago.  I couldn't put it down.  So I just sat around and read. 

The only quilting I got done was on the Scrap Quilt that I was working on.  It is 40in X 40in.  That is as big as it is going to get because I ran out of the white fabric.  But I think it's big enough.

On Tuesday I found a huge bag of fabrics at my back door.  A quilty friend who is cleaning up her stash left them for me.  In the bag I found some beautiful pieces of Laurel Burch fabrics.  They were all cut up and ready to sew.  There was even a pattern sheet in the bag.  It's for a Grandmother's Braid quilt.  I had never done one of these before.  So, even though I had all kinds of things to finish, I whipped these pieces out and started sewing them together.  I am not easily distracted am I?  I mean, wouldn't any quilter get excited with these fabrics and want to sew them into something, especially when the pieces were all cut out already?

I think I will but them together with a dark blue sashing strip between them. 

Thursday, October 06, 2011

This and That

I have lots to show you today...

First up are my hexagon flower blocks for this week.  I only made 2 and last week I didn't make any, but I am still making progress.  Got to stay on top of these. 
I have been playing with my scraps and decided to put the finished blocks together for a quilt top.  Here is my progress so far.  I think I will add a few more rows.  I don't have much of the white on white fabric, so when I run out, the quilt will be done.

Now for something different.  Last Monday I went over to our local library and joined in on a 'drop-in program' for knitters.  I haven't knitted anything in a long time.  I used to make toques, scarves and mitts for the kids at the school where my DD teaches.  I haven't done that for a long time either.  So I started making some mittens.  I'll try to make a few more things in this 2-hour, twice a month program.  It was fun.  Here is what I have so far.

I have also been busy in my garden.  A while back, I discovered that there was such a thing as fall crocuses.  I was able to get some at a local nursery.  They have to be planted in the fall.  Next spring they will come up and show some leaves.  Then by August or September the leaves will disappear and beautiful pink or mauve flowers will appear. 

This one is called Colchicum Byzantinum.  It was already starting to flower in the package.  This one has a very large bulb and the package said that it would have to be divided after a couple of years because it grows very quickly.  That's a good thing!  I also planted some small bulbs of a different kind of fall crocus.  But I could have saved myself the trouble because when I went outside this morning I discovered that my resident squirrel had dug them up.  I forgot to sprinkle some cayenne pepper on the soil.  That is the only thing that keeps my squirrels away.

And last, but not least, I did some baking.  I made a banana chocolate chip bunt cake and a marble bunt cake which is pictured here. 

I also sandwiched a quilt that I hope to finish in the next couple of days.  So it's back to the sewing room for me. 

Monday, October 03, 2011

Lots of Scraps

It is dark and dreary outside today.  So I had to take my photos inside.  The colours are actually brighter than in the photos.  I will post another photo when it is done.

You'd think my scrap bin would be going down, but no!  It seems to be growing and I have even been leaving the lights on at night.  The good thing is that I have been able to get a lot of things constructed.

Here is my Scrappy Squares quilt.  It's a flimsy right now, but I plan to quilt it soon.  It's in line.   I have a couple of quilts that are ahead of it. 

I have also been working on a Crosses quilt.  Wanda from Exuberant Color has been making one and I just couldn't resist.  It uses 2 1/2 inch strips and I have lots of those.  This is about 1/4 of the quilt.  I made myself a small design wall.  It's not big enough, but I think it will work if I do a quarter of the quilt at a time.