Sunday, December 22, 2013

Closing out 2013

I actually bought a class on line from Craftsy for this tote bag.  I thought it was kinda cute and wanted to try the online class instruction.  It worked pretty well.  There is an instructor who demos all the steps of the project and you can re-watch it as many times as you want to watch it.  The pattern is downloadable .pdf.  Anyway - this one is called Tinker's Tote.  I've made three so far.  Here they are....
 I did this one using selvages - I have bags of them - saved to make something... The bright blue is cross grain ribbon to cover up the raw edges where I couldn't get them covered.  The tote has a magnetic snap to close the flap at the front (above).  Back is below.  I'm not sure if I'll keep this one or give it away.

 This one is using up black and white scraps.  I'll probably keep this one because I forgot to put a pocket in it.

I had some left over blocks from Brenda's place mats so I used them and some of the same scraps to make this one.  It's all wrapped up for my sister Chris for Christmas.  I hope she likes it - she likes the southwestern colours and motifs so I think this one is a good bet for her.

I still want to make one more for my sister Carol.  We won't see them until after Christmas, so I still have time.

I wish you and your special people a wonderful Christmas and a healthy and happy 2014.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Mary Catch Up

It's winter.  We have snow on the ground.  But today is beautiful - the sun is shining, we went for a walk around the 'hood.  Nice.

And of course I've been sewing.  I decided to try going into a craft show so in the limited time I have, managed to get enough stuff together to set up a respectable spot at the Silver Springs Crafters' Market - just down the street from my house, so very handy.  My sister Chris shared the table with me to promote her custom cakes - "Cakes by Christine" - of course!.   We were very happy with the way the day turned out!  We made back the $25 we paid to have a table - which was our goal.  Chris gave out many of her cards.  I actually gave out a surprising number of mine to quilters who were interested in my long-arming.  Quilters go to craft shows! 

Chris made about 50 "cake pops" and sold about half of them, Joe made about 60 wood coasters, sold about half of them, I made a number of things and sold quite a few of them.  My inventory wasn't as scientific!  But the biggest surprise is that I sold one of my quilts!  That was huge because I wasn't expecting anyone to buy a quilt.  People don't got to craft sales to buy large expensive items, quite the opposite - small and inexpensive is the key.  I had put out 2 Christmas quilts and 2 to show my long-arm quilting thinking other quilters might be passing through. 

I sold one of the latter.  I called it "Winter Stag" because it was blue and white.  I used the "Quilt in the Headlights" pattern from the Dare to be Square book by Boo Davis.  I just finished it last week and never got a pix of it.  So I have learned a couple more lessons this week: 1 - always get a pix right away and 2 - put quilts out (I could have put out more, but didn't) because someone really might want to buy one! 

Enough chit chat - here we go with some pix!

 First up - this darling little bird!  Joe must have snapped its pix recently - I found it in the "bucket" - it is so cute I had to post it.  I don't know what kind of bird - sorry - but it was perched on our garage roof.
Here is Maxine's "Crabby Christmas".  I found the Maxine panel at a vendors' market at a recent quilt show and couldn't resist.  And I wanted to try that wonky star block so thought Maxine would look good surrounded by wonky stars.  This is the result.  Final measurements are 54"*54".

 I finished off a couple of Halloween table runners (front above, back below) - but missed Halloween by a day.  Oh well - always next year.  That's the good thing about quilts - they never go bad!!!

 Here are a couple of Xmas table toppers - same, but different due to more or less random fabric placement. 
 This is a "No Rules Quilting Design" - I called it "Remember Summer? II" (I already have a Remember Summer from last year - hence the "II").  I designed this to have lots of negative space for quilting.  I'll be posting the quilting close-ups to my new blog.  So take a look over there.
 Below is the back of "Remember Summer? II".  This is a print - I did not piece this, although some thought I did.  I love this fabric.  I got it for $4/yard online from the Fabric Depot in Portland Oregon.  Can't beat the price and I love the print! 
This is the pix of "Quilt in the Headlights" from the Dare to be Square book - which I made but of course mine looks quite different as my fabric choice was much different.  In mine, the deer and antlers are bright whites/greys and the background is various blues running from royal to navy with black for the eyes and nose.

 Above are two of Joe's coasters - he's been practicing with his CNC router which allows him to do quite intricate inlays - so the rose and hummingbird are not painted on - it is all wood inlayed in wood - even the darker "red" on the bird's throat is wood - I had to ask him because it does look like it's painted on!  I think he's getting pretty good with his machine!

Below is what I have come to think of as my "Pain in the Ass" table runner because it was a pain in the ass to make!  I had to cut a million small pieces and put them in certain spots - rules!!! - I'm not good at rules!  But after a lot of fussing and fuming (the Diva's will all attest to this as I made it at the quilting retreat we all attended) I finally got the darn thing finished.  I really liked the pattern and it turned out quite well - but I won't be making one again for awhile!  :)
I know there are a few other things that I missed - but this is the big stuff.  Stay warm if you're in the northern hemisphere and enjoy summer if you're south of the equator!

Divas Catch Up

I've been very negligent about blogging in the last few months - since spring, really.  It is an indicator of how crazy busy I've been.  I don't think things have changed all that much, but I will try to focus on getting a decent post or two up today.  We've had at least one, probably two Divas Days and maybe more.  But one of the "benefits" of getting older is that the memory is pretty much shot - so I'm going to do a post of Divas Catch Up instead of the actual days.

Starting off with, here are some pix of our Gourmet Diva Sue's masterpieces.  Believe me when I tell you they taste even better than they look!

 Here we have Diva Joan demo-ing Quilt Aerobics.  Something I generally try to avoid!  :)  I would have  been over at the table stitching away.  Dorothy is always recognizable by her sock monkey slippers (at left in pix).
 This is one of the quilts finished - I quilted it on Max then Joan took over to do the binding.

 Quilting from the front....
 And the back...  it's an all over sort of swirly/spiky design.
I'm pretty sure I have missed posting pix of many of our Diva's quilts - but Kristie (our Organizer Diva for good reason) keeps careful records of our activities and I believe we are well over 100 charity quilts since we began back in about 2008-early 09.  Not bad for a few ladies who were all working full time at the beginning - now two are retired but the rest of us are still putting in our office time.  Pat on the back, Divas!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

What did I learn today?

First snow of the year today, which fit well with my plan to try to prepare for next weekend's quilting retreat.  Cut out a couple of projects to sew, quilted a few small items to bind, made a prototype of something I've been wanting to try, cleaned my iron....  Productive, I guess - though I feel a bit scattered and working in a sewing area that is a total mess doesn't help.  But no time for cleaning up until the end of the month.  Quilt retreat next weekend and then a craft show on Nov 23.  After that - I'll have to grit my teeth and get the mess under control. 

Anyway- back to the prototype - it's for an "aero pac".  I found it in one of my web surfing adventures here.  It's actually pretty easy to make and one of those rare things that actually might be useful - at least I would use it.  In any event, it asks for a couple of little Velcro pieces.  Brilliant me got the stick on kind because they are pre-cut in nice neat little circles.   It says right on the package to make them stronger, stitch them on in addition to sticking them on.  So I tried.  Man - never again!  I tried both my machines, a different needle, etc.  Result - shredded thread, broken thread, gummed up needles (that was probably the worst) and a broken needle.  I ended up stitching them by hand and after that adventure, I have resolved next time they will simply be stuck on.  If they come off, tough luck!  Next time I'm at the store I'll get some old fashioned sew on stuff. 

The prototype turned out OK - but I always learn what not to do on the first one.  The strap is another thing that I didn't get quite right - mostly because the stuff I used isn't exactly what they had in mind for the pattern.  So I'll do it a bit differently next time.


And as a totally random comment - I'm on a Rod Stewart jag this week - I really like his new CD.   Highly recommended. 

Pix next time - have a good week.

Friday, October 4, 2013

It's been awhile

It's been a very busy period of time for me - at home (young son's wedding, vacation, etc.) and work (9-10 hour day today, for example).  And to top it off, when I got back from vacation, I came back to a Google notice that I'd missed the annual payment deadline for my blog.  I've exceeded the free storage capacity so have been paying $20/year for the privilege of having my blogs the last few years.  Since I missed the deadline, the cost would jump up to $4.99/month (I would have been grandfathered in at the $20 price).  If you do that math, that's a 200% increase.  I did not get a 200% raise this year. 

What it means is I can type all I want, but pix might be a problem.  Joe worked out a way that I might still be able to do pix so will give it a try.  If I can't upload pix, I may decide to change platforms.  A 200% increase just galls me on principle.   

Let's give it a try... here goes - let's see if a pix will upload.

Hey!  Looks like it worked!  If they block me out until I pay, as I said, I may change services if I'm mad enough.  We'll see how it goes.  If I do change, I will post the new location.

My raspberries were awesome this summer - again!  I love 'em.  One of a number of things I made - raspberry trifle, below.

 Joe's fish pond and our front garden snapdragons.  They were so pretty!

 Our kids!  Love these guys and girls - our sons and daughters-in-law.  Rhonwyn and Craig, Eric and Jessica.
 My long time, very good friend, Pam.  I finally was able to get her quilt to her!  I tell her we used to be 16 (i.e., slim with no grey hair or wrinkles).

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Here is Eleanor and her daughter Toni with Camo-Quilt.  El loves camping and all things camouflage - although it doesn't really work because I can still see her!  :)  Anyway, I figured she should get the quilt.  I think she likes it.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Facelift - and a New Quilt

It's time this ol' blog got a facelift - did you notice?
Also - I've started another No Rules Quilting website - I am taking steps to start a long-arm quilting service.  So if you're in Calgary and interested in having your quilts finished, drop me an email. 
And here is my latest little quilt, made from a bundle of fat quarters that I picked up at the Red Deer Quilt Show a few months ago.  Feather borders, feathers and swirls in the body and flowers in the corners.  Fun!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Feathers, Pebbles and McTavishing

I bought the Claudia Pfeil DVD to learn how to do feathers and a Karen McTavish book to learn how to do "Mctavishing".  So here is some practice on a Divas quilt.  I think not too bad for a beginner!  One of these days I'll carve out some time to take lessons!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Small Projects

Eric and Jessica are getting married in August.  Of course we're all very excited and pleased.  They asked us to attend a "wedding shower" - but not until less that a week before.  Joe thought we should take something and I concurred that would be appropriate.  I remembered some music themed fabric I had in my stash so dug that out and some coordinating colours.  Quickly decided on a simple design and got them finished on time.  Table topper and four place mats.  I quilted them on max - practicing feathers in the centre parts.


I started making these things - something to do when we're watching TV.  Essentially small blocks embellished with beads, "jewels" and other things.  Then I put a pin on the back - can be pinned to a coat, scarf, bag, whatever.  I got the idea from two places - 1) a book showing 3" blocks with a charm stitched on to be used as a pin (brooch) and 2) watching the Cate Blanchett movie Elizabeth - the costumes are fabulous in that moving and the Richard Attenborough character had very elaborate hat pin that I thought was pretty cool.  So I decided to try making some baroque looking pins using left over quilt fabric.  I think they are turning out quite well.  Guess what all my special girls will be getting for Christmas this year! 

Brenda's Quilt

 Brenda made this fabulous log cabin quilt for her husband, who has horses and is involved in the rather manly sport of roping.  She asked me to quilt it and while I'm dying to do feathers for practice, didn't dare do them on this quilt!  I noticed that quite a bit of the fabric had little stars and stars are often associated with western manly things (Sheriff badges, etc.) and since he's a roper I decided on rope with the occasional star.  I think it worked out quite well - hope Brenda likes it - and her hubby!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Heritage Park 2013

The Heritage Park Festival of Quilts is this weekend (May 25-26).  I put a few of my quilts in for display.  Joan and I went out to look at the ~800 quilts at the show and we were surprisingly restrained at the merchant mall.  I picked up a few fat quarters at Hamel's, but that's it. 
The weather wasn't so good yesterday so all the quilts were hung inside.  If the weather is good, they go outdoors, which is more fun and the lighting is better.  I think today they are outside, but I'm not going back today. Oh well.  Here are my HP quilts:
 Surf Town.
Camo-Quilt - as in Camouflage.
Promenade - very poor lighting.
Talking Heads - and my head!
Follow Your Dreams.
As always, we had a very fun day.  We took a break around 5 and came back around 6:30 for the dinner where Terry Morberg was the guest speaker.  She is a very funny lady and also a talented quilter.