Friday, December 12, 2008

Finished and ready to go!

I've been working on a quilt for my nephew and his bride for a bit ... now it is finished, washed and ready to go.
The pattern is 'Woven Twist', inspired by Mary Ann Beattie. I started the project in the summer of 2006, got a wonderful start and got bogged down with life and stuff. Had a wonderful jump-start back into actually sitting at the machine this summer. Finished some other projects and this one called me again :) I had the top finished and the back started so was almost done already.

I liked this pattern as a wedding celebration quilt, with its imagry of the twists life will bring, the intertwining of our lives, and how something that looks complex can be conquered when you break it down into smaller bits.

The back:

The little stars are from left-overs of the squares on the front, with a border matching one of the colours in the half-square triangles. I had fun setting up the colours so the diagonals go both directions.

One of my newest discoveries - a tip from Fons & Porter - one of the yellow squares on the back is a label PLUS behind the label is a square of each of the fabrics in the quilt. Should the recipients need to do repairs, there is a supply of fabric right there in the quilt :) And it will be washed right along with the quilt so should be in similar condition. I loved this tip!

I also write a 'Story of Your Quilt' for the quilts I give away - this one with photos of the quilt under construction and finished. Why I chose the design and colours, how to care for the quilt. And I also ask for a photo of the quilt in its new home :)


Friday, November 21, 2008

BadWater Marathon

Last year, we travelled to Las Vegas, including a much-enjoyed tour of Death Valley. My favorite hubby had been here many years ago, on vehicle testing missions. Now, we were here in the middle of February ... not the middle of summer as he had been!

Have discovered a very interesting challenge - - the Badwater UltraMarathon - Challenge of Champions. 135 miles ... 130 degrees ... 60 hours.

Yessireebob, the 32nd anniversary Badwater Ultramarathon runs July 13 - 15, 2009. Death Valley to Mt Whitney. Wohoo!

Just a titch more challenging than our taste ...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Stitch Map

One of my take-aways from last weekend's shop hop, was a tip from Heather Bell (her shop is in West Lorne) ... she asked if I had done a stich map of my sewing machine. I had not!

I've had my lovely Janome for about six years now, and have the nice diagrams that show what the fancy stitches will look like. But I had never done what she showed me ... I put together a couple of swatches of fabric (with batting) - a mini-quilt, and did a sample of each and every stitch on that swatch.

For fun, I used variegated thread. It makes a really pretty sampler, and now I know exactly what each of the stitches looks like. Which is really very different from the diagrams. I had no idea how different! So now I have a whole lot of new stitches to use for my embellishments :)

Thanks Heather!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Harvest Moon

To revive my spirit on my ride home from work, a glorious full harvest moon was just rising ... what a wonderful sight to cleanse the worries of the day. I'm sure it was there just for me, but I hope many people were able to enjoy it :D

Thank you Mother Nature, my guardian angels, and Supreme Being, for allowing me another glimpse of your beauty.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Favorite Reads

What are your favorite magazines? We get a variety, most by subscription and some as we pick up. There are two that I read cover-to-cover, multiple times, and organize into their own libraries :)

Quilters Newsletter Magazine ... I've been subscribing to this wonderful publication for years, and it has never disappointed. Projects vary in difficulty and style, and are fresh. New techniques to challenge and tempt. Columnists with heart and humour (Hellen Kelly, I miss you!) Great directions with patterns, often presented with different colourways.

RoadRunner Motorcycle & Travel Magazine ... We spotted one of their issues at our local dealer's shop, were impressed and have loved every issue. Their philosophy is not about the bikes - it's about the ride - so there aren't the brand wars you might see in other publications.

RoadRunner introduced us to 'Shamrock Tours' - travelling to a destination and taking day-trips around that spot. I really like these trips - I don't have to fuss about where I'm going to lay my head that night or whether we'll be able to get a late dinner when we finally call it a day :)

RoadRunner touring articles have great photos, and reviews of the bikes they rode, the coats/pants/gloves/boots/helmets or whatever else they were testing. Their tours are what we like to do - discover the local lore, find twisty roads with good pavement.

... and nope, I have no affiliation with either, just love their work.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Shop-Hopping Results

It turned out to be a mixed day for weather - cold, rain, sleet, lots of huge angry clouds, and some sunshine peeking through now and then! Sorta like a November day :)

My favorite mom-in-law agreed to come along for the day, and we had a lot of fun! We started in Ridgetown's Sitting Pretty shop, had a really nice visit with Jim and Chris. Had taken in my 2 new 'geometric' quilts to show them - they hadn't yet seen any of my work so might have been thinking I only collect fabric ... and they offered to display one of the quilts.

On to Marlene's Pastime Pieces ... I've known Marlene since high school, but this was my first visit to her home. She has a huge assortment of projects she's done and kits she's put together so you can do those projects, as well as fabric by the bolt. In her usual meticulous way, the projects are all fabulous and her displays were gorgeous.

Next stop, after some fortification at Tim Horton's, was Shirley Mills' shop. Also my first time visiting. What a collection she has! We were fortunate enough to find a few minutes of quiet at the shop so were able to view the quilts in her studio. Sleeting as we left!

Onward ho again, to Dresden another Tim Horton's break, and then Verna's shop. Great collection of fabric selections, and the shop is connected with a gorgeous gift shop with lots of tole painting goodies. The sunshine broke free as we headed out.

Just outside of Dresden is a lovely little town - Wabash - had to stop in for some fresh strawberries! Yes, strawberries in November - fresh - grown right there!

And Park's Blueberries for some fresh pie and frozen berries for my oatmeal.

Finally on to West Lorne to Heather Bell's studio - by then the sun was blazing, just lighting up her shop beautifully. Got to see the QBot in action - lots of drooling going on but will have to save for quite a while before I get to the point to afford a system.

Finished the day with a really nice dinner at Yeck's with hubby and mom-in-law.

What a great day!

Friday, November 7, 2008


Tomorrow (Sat Nov 8) is a Shop Hop being held by five local vendors ...
- Sitting Pretty in Ridgetown (,
- Pastime Pieces in Blenheim (,
- Quilts & Other Cover-ups in Blenheim,
- Verna's Sewing Centre in Dresden, and
- Heather Bell's Sewing and Dye Studio in West Lorne (

Didn't have to work too hard at finding company for the day - my favorite mom-in-law is coming along :)

Bonus - the weather outlook is for rain, so I won't have to feel too guilty about heading out instead of delivering meals to the fields. Looks like the harvest will be on hold for a few days - at least we aren't supposed to get anything like the 45" of snow an 80 mph winds that South Dakota got today!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A breath of fresh air

I didn't vote in the US election - only because I couldn't - am from Canada! But wow is it wonderful and amazing and so full of hope to see how many people cared enough to get out and have theirsay - well done USA!

McCain was absolutely impressive in his concession speech, and I loved his appearances on SNL.

Obama - what is there to say ... a man who ignites such passion is so many. Articulate, passionate, emanating power and charisma.

With the whole world watching and cheering on the changes coming, I truly hope that sanity prevails and Obama stays safe to bring his visions to life!

Monday, November 3, 2008

"Autumn Geometrics" complete!

Sure wish my camera was back from the fix-it shop!

I was really on a roll - finished the backing, basted the layers. Decided that it would be fun to just use my machine to embroider-quilt ... used three different stitches to quilt - that was really fun!

Auditioned a few stiches on a sample, picked the ones I liked best. Worked really well with the geometric design of the quilt - just followed the lines. Turned the backing to the front for the binding, embroidered that down and voila! Finis!

Washed (to get the basting glue out) and label applied - ready for bragging. Will have to borrow a digital camera to post the results.

And onward ... I have two more tops ready to be finished in this style - working on the backs, will use the same finishing.

And I like the colours together so well that I fixed up the lamp shade for my work area - recovered it with a stipe set from the fabrics in these quilts :)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Hallowe'en puns

I love puns! Last year I found a number of ideas for punny Hallowe'en costumes, and went searching again for this year's ideas.

I ended up using the "MasterCard" costume - particularly appropriate given that it's one of the credit union services/products!

My other favorites - 'Spice Rack' and 'Nudist on Strike - wear your usual clothes!'. Here's my collection ...

- Devil in a blue dress: blue dress, devil ears/pitchfork
- melted snowman - carrots, scarf, sticks, drench in water
- partly cloudy with chance of rain - cotton balls, water gun
- shot in the dark - black costume, shot glass around neck
- CD burner - cd/dvd strung as necklace and lighter
- baby sitter - strap a doll to your backside
- stoned - glue rocks to a sweat suit
- johnny on the spot - wear "Johnny" name tag, carry a circle big enough to stand on - throw it on the floor and stand on it
- aircraft carrier - carry small toy airplanes
- hole in one - large "1" on chest, with a hole in the middle of the "1"
- kangaroo - tape a brown paper bag to stomach
- goldfinger - paint one finger gold
- condom dispenser - coin slot, condoms, spicy photos
- ze-bra - wear a bra outside clothes, attach a 'z' to it
- pin-up girl - pin safety pins onto solid-coloured t-shirt to form a large arrow pointing up
- web pages - attach pages onto black sweatsuit, add spider webbing
- dog catcher - carry a stuffed dog, toss it and catch it
- pop quiz - draw a large question mark on shirt with popcorn glued all around edges
- fridge magnet - paint a shoe box black & attach it to your back
- someone you can count on - wear all black, cut out big, bright numbers & attach them to your clothes
- magic 8 ball - wear all black, cut out large 8 tape it to your back - answer "reply hazy, try again" or "cannot preduct now" - tell them to shake you & ask you a question
- freudian slip: wear a slip and name tag "Freud"
- autograph book - wear white pants & shirt - carry a Sharpy pen and have people sign you
- MasterCard ad - attach signs that say "Shirt $30", "Jeans $50", "Shoes $70" , "Halloween costume that took minimal effort: Priceless"
- Pink Floyd - weark pink with name tag that says "Floyd"
- self-absorbed - sponges all over body
- dragnet - dress normally, carry (and drag) a fishing net
- Peter Pan Great idea for husband who does not want to wear a costume. Attach a pan to the front of his belt.
- behind the times - wear clocks on your back
- happy ending - print out titles of movies (or books) and attach them to a t-shirt. Attach a large smiley face on your back
- spice rack - wear extra-large bra over your clothes, stuff it with jars of spices
- dry clearning - wear a suit, wear a clear plastic bag over suit, stick a hanger inside the bag behind your head
- nickleback - attach a nickel to your back
- devil's advocate - wear buttons/signs saying "The Devil is #1", "Vote for Satan"
- pumpkin pie - wear orange, or cut out a pumpkin shape - write the number "pi" (3.1415926)
- past your prime - put sign that says "Sell by Aug 15 2008"
- I Yam what i Yam - attach two yams on a string & wear them around your neck
- "done" - put a piece of styrofoam beneath old t-shirt - stick a fork into the styrofoam through the shirt

Friday, October 31, 2008

Another stab at acupuncture

Taking back my life, maybe ... a while back I had a series of acupuncture treatments for my knee, worked very well. Now I didn't go into the treatment a fan, rather I was pretty skeptical. Hopeful but skeptical. Had already had heat/ice/exercise, ultrasound and electric stimulation therapies, without much luck.

The acupuncture did work - feels like magic!

So I've been putting up with pain in my shoulders for a couple of years now, enough pain to prevent me from curling last year. Naproxin helped for a while reduce the pain a bit but doesn't make it go away (and developed mouth sores as a nice side effect). I do have fibromyalgia so expect to have pain, but wouldn't it be nice to have some relief once in a while?

Have had my first acupuncture treatment for my shoulders today - am hoping for similar results as for my knee! I don't understand how it works, but I guess I don't have to know all the details. If it works, I'll take it!

Basking on and on ...

This has been a glorious fall - today's forecast was so promising I headed out for the day on the bike and am sooo glad - it was a gorgeous fall day. Clear crisp sky, warm(ish) breeze (well, ok it was kinda windy, truth be told) and sunshine smiling down on us all day long.

Sunrise in the morning on the way to work, fabulous. Lunchtime outing warm and wonderful. Sunset on the way home after supper was another gorgeous display of splendour - inspirational!

Did have a close call though - gosh we Goldwings are so hard to see ... a car decided he should be in the same lane same spot I was. I just popped away from them and kept on going - not worth doing any road rage thing, have never seen it help anyone. The driver did spot me when they were halfway into my lane and startled. And yes, I was in a good position - not in their blind spot ... or what would be a blind spot to someone paying attention. They just didn't even look.

Safe and sound, happy to celebrate another fine ride on a fine day.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

And Sew It Was

Yes, it was just right! The squares made up quickly and look great. Too bad the camera's in for repair ...

Different backing plan

I have a few minutes before my farmer comes home for dinner ... it's not dark yet, the bean stalks aren't wet yet so the harvest pushes on! So I'm taking a different tack - just simple 8" squares of fabric from the front, for the back. Should whip up in no time :)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Decision made!

I've been working on the 'spontaneous geometrics' method that John Willard taught in his workshop this summer. Have a couple of quilts ready for and was working on the backing. I also like the 'turning twenty' styles, so had used a lot of the pieces and strips to make a backing.

Turns out my middlest likes the back so much that she would rather see it have a voice of its own - be a quilt all on its own :) So there you go, now have three quilts to back & quilt! All are in the same fall palette. Have to get my camera fixed before I can post the results!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Let's get started!

Here I am at my kitchen table, enjoying the display of fall colour. Canada has just re-elected Stephen Harper and the US is going to have a new President shortly. The economy is in the tank. But life is good!

Yesterday I visited two quilt shows, so am overflowing with new ideas and inspiration!

The Quilts of East Africa show was hosted by Cotton-by-Post in Ailsa Craig. Simply amazing and inspiring. Rich, vibrant fabrics. Awesome embellishment. Beautiful batiks.

The London Friendship Quilter's Guild hosted a show by their members. There were quilts inspired by John Willard's classes, and a number of quilts inspired by other workshops.

I had attended John's workshop at the Thames Institute of the Arts this summer so was really delighted to see his inspirations expressed by so many quilters.

As it turns out, it would have been a good day to ride, but it was cloudy and threatening all day. Yes, I'm a wuss sometimes. The opportunities for a ride are fading.

My middlest is home for the weekend, she's such a joy. We get to laugh together watching "Big Bang Theory" and Eddie Izzard videos.

Today's project is finishing up the backing for my geometric quilt!

Secret Garden BOM 2016

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