Thursday, October 16, 2014

Time Flies!!!

I see my last post was way back in July!  Not sure how I ever had time to work - retirement takes up a lot of time!!!! 

We've been getting out on our bikes almost every day for a bike ride - trying to get in some long overdue physical activity - and the weather has been fabulous for outdoor activity all summer (with the exception of a freak snowstorm that passed through early in Sept - happily we were on our road trip in BC when that happened so we missed it, although we came back to a lot of tree carnage in the city).  Of course now that it is October, it is cooling off, but we're still getting out when the weather is cooperative.

I have been busy quilting/sewing most days.  I signed up to do the community craft sale again this year so trying to be a bit more prepared this year, and I've made a few quilts and have been quilting for other people as well. 

Here are a few pix to prove it:

I signed up for a paper piecing class on Craftsy so I've been practicing.  This is a really cute (free) block pattern for a paper airplane.  Every year at Christmas, the folks in my (former) office have a paper airplane contest.  So I'm going to give them a little mini as per above that they can use as a prize.  I made two - this one is for Stan who is the historical winner every year - so I'll just give it to him.  Maybe he'll win the second one, too!

Then I went on to make a little quilt.  I wanted to have the quilting look like the paper planes were blasting into space with lots of "explosive" swirls, stars, and other stuff.  I called this one "Blast Off!".
I typically buy 1m pieces of fabric if I don't have a specific project in mind - that's why I ran out of the blue used in the blocks.  I had to find a similar blue to finish off and the blue with circles on it seemed to work, although I would have preferred all the same.  But I got the blue in Portland so couldn't go back to more.

Here is another paper pieced block!  I love this one!  It's in a book called Spellbinding Quilts.  I've ordered this book, but it's taking forever to be shipped - in the meantime I'm using the library copy.  They must be going to some deep dark corner of the globe to get it! 
Anyway, this particular block is for Horst.  Horst also is a former colleague who often would give me a lift to a train stop after work.  We would have very enjoyable conversations on our way home.  This is just a little "thank you for the rides".  The reason a dragon is that Horst is a fan of an unknown-to-me computer game that features a character named Lofwyr - a dragon.  This is his favourite character - he has a vanity plate with this name on it. 

This is also put together using a free on line block pattern - this one from My Fat Quarter shop.  This quilt is for my daughter-in-law's mother, who loves getting manicures.  Jess also told me that her Mom likes dragon flies so I incorporated them into the quilting. 

If you're interested in more detail on the quilting and "how to" - check my other blog. 
Finally - as evidence of our good summer weather, check out the blue sky below.  Why this pix?  I like the railing and shadow - it will turn up in my quilting as a design sometime.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Another Day on Dorothy's Quilt

I did a bit more work on Dorothy's quilt.  It took me a bit of thinking and research time to decide what to put in the cross design blocks.  I need something fairly dense to match the border quilting and to pick up a lot of excess fabric.  This is what I came up with.  I like it!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Saturday and it's Dorothy's Quilt

Dorothy has been working for ages on a quilt for her cousin who got married about three years ago.  It was to be a wedding present, but, well - good things take time!  She finally got the piecing done and I helped her put the back together and then loaded it on to Max.  It's a fabulous quilt to start with and I'm having a lot of fun quilting it! 

More will be revealed later!
AsI mentioned in my last post, I am officially out of storage space so now that I have a bit more time, I want to make a focused effort to make a dent in the stash!  I started off  with putting together a quilt for a 12 pack of fat quarters that Joan very kindly gave me as a cheer-up while I was recovering from my surgery.  I have such great friends!!!  So I made the blocks on Wed/Thurs then went over for a "play date" at Joan's and put the top together - here it is.
I used a pattern that I found here.  The blocks finished up at 9.5 inches, which is an unusual size I think.  This configuration is 6 * 7 blocks so 57 * 66.5 inches - a good size.
As usual, the pix don't show the colours very well..  One of these days I need to figure out how to fix that....

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

"Retirement is Great!"

When Dorothy retired, every time she sent out an email she would end it with "retirement is great" - for almost a year!  Not that I ever doubted her, but she is absolutely correct - retirement IS great! 

My last day of work was June 26 and immediately, on June 17, the Divas took off for a quilting retreat at the Bloomin' Inn near Pincher Creek, Alberta.  We had a great time and we're all lined up to do it again in the fall.   I started a new Divas blog so to see the pix and read more about it click here.

One of the things I want to do now that I have more time is to "get physical" for at least an hour a day.   My bike needed new tires - well the bike was 20 years old and on original tires so no wonder!  But instead of getting new tires, I just got a whole new bike.  This one is a lot more comfortable for a "retired person"!

We also got a new Mazda 3 (our "retirement car") - that's it in the background.  We got a bike rack for the car so we can take our bikes to different locations and enjoy different scenery.
Anyway - we actually have been getting out every day - usually for a bike ride, but sometimes just a walk. 
On the quilting front, I've quilted a few customer quilts in the past couple of months.  One of them was entered into the Calgary Stampede's Creative Arts & Crafts exhibit.  It's a judged event and the quilt won a second place ribbon in it's category.  So I am pretty pleased about that!  I've got some pictures posted on my other No Rules Quilting blog - here.
Which brings me to the blog issue.  Clearly I have at least one too many so I will have to consolidate at some point.  I wanted to keep the business separate, but I don't think that's going to work.  So I have to figure that out! 
I have purchased so much fabric since May that I really need to glue myself to my chair and get sewing!!!  I have no more storage space for it! 
I hope everyone is enjoying the great summer weather now that it has finally arrived!  If you're "down under" - cheer up - summer is coming!  :)

Sunday, June 1, 2014

19 Days

Sometimes life has a way of taking over - so it's been quite awhile since my last post.  And my posts have been infrequent at best for the last year or so.  For a variety of reasons.  But I am pleased to report that I submitted my resignation a couple of weeks ago with the plan to retire at the end of June.  As of today - 19 more work days for me!  Not that my blog posting will pick up - but I will try.  There may be a few changes - for example, I have committed to set up a separate Divas blog, so the Divas related activity will be documented there - but that will have to wait until at least July.  There will be a link on this blog so it will be easy to find.

Now on to my recent projects....

Part of my "life" involved a major surgery - so prior to the surgery date, I cut out another Patch Pals penguin.  The Patch Pal patterns are so easy to sew - just squares - I thought I'd be able to sit for a few minutes at a time and put some of them together while I was recovering.  This is the second penguin I've made - first was sold at Galleria, this second one will go to a young friend who is expecting her first baby.  I called this one "Me and My Parental Unit" - something my kids have called me from time to time and it's generic so could be Mom or Dad.

Here she is - Aliza with her quilt.


I was able to get the penguin done so then I needed a "next" project.  I wanted to make something for a friend who likes cats.  I remembered a pattern I had seen a few years ago with cats (in the book  Cat’s Meow: Purr-fect Quilts for Cat Lovers by Janet Kime).  I had a fat quarter pack that was purr-fect!  :)  I called this one "Cool Cats".

I downsized my purse/wallet before I had the surgery.  I always have carried my business cards in a special pocket in the wallet I was using, but the smaller wallet does not have such a spot.  I needed a business card carrier!  So  did an online search and found a number of interesting ideas for making one.  I will eventually try several of the ones I liked best - but started off with this one.  They are very fast to make and are just dandy for holding my quilting business cards!  Since I'm "retiring" I won't need a "business like" holder for my "real work" cards any more!  You can't imagine how happy that makes me!!!  Anyway - this is what I've been up to the last few moments that I've had a bit of time to sew. 

As you can see - I made more than just one for me - I'm going to take them to work tomorrow and give them to my female friends there.  The website location for the tutorial is here.  The only change I made was based on one of the comments following the tutorial where one person said she had found the 1/2 inch seam allowances made the holder too small - so I used 1/4 seams, which worked out just fine.  Perhaps it was just a typo because everything else was right on.

I've also got a couple of customer quilts on the go - if you want to see those, head over to my business No Rules Quilting website here.

And finally - my DH, Joe, has been doing some serious bird watching this spring and testing out his new camera - he's taken some pretty awesome shots and has started his own blog, which you can check out here if you're interested in birds that we see in and around Calgary.


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Love Struck or Heart Attack??

Y'all know I get a kick out of thinking up names for my quilts - some are more imaginative than others.  I've even thought of a name first and then had to make a quilt to match the name.  Anyway - this is not one of those times.  This is a pattern that was on the EQ7 site that I thought was cute and I also thought I had a suitable assortment of fabric to make it (but I still had to buy a backing... always something!). 

Needless to say - it wasn't finished in time for Valentine's Day - we took off to Hong Kong for a few weeks.  But it's ready for next Valentine's Day!  :)

I could call it "Love Struck".  Or maybe "Heart Attack".   I have to decide pretty quickly because I'm going to put it into the Heritage Park quilt show and I will be sending the entry forms off in the next day or so. 

Speaking of Heritage Park - the quilt show is  May 24 and 25.  This is the information and this is the entry form.  If you're in the area - I really encourage you  enter at least one quilt - you get a 1/2 price gate entry for the show, which of course includes the vendors' market.  It's fun to see your quilt(s) and of course to look at everyone else's too. 

One other observation I want to share: if you haven't been paying attention, the Canadian dollar has dropped quite a bit against the US$.  One Canadian dollar will get you about ninety US cents.  So beware if you're doing any cross-border on-line or in person shopping - the "at par" status we were enjoying for awhile is no longer there. 

I'm looking forward to spring - but if the pattern of the last few years holds, it's still a few months off.  So we'll do our best to stay warm and get back to having fun at our indoor hobbies!