Thursday, 20 December 2007

Ready or Not . . .

Christmas is almost here and there are still lots of last minute things to do! Like updating my blog! It's been a few days since I've been at the computer - using the sewing machine more than the computer lately - nice change!

I think we're just about ready . . . have to be, the kids came home from Winnipeg yesterday so anything that still needs done, I now have help to do!

I have actually been on holidays for the past week . . . finishing off a few Christmas gifts (MIL quilt for one) and starting a few new projects that used the VERY creative side of my brain. I love those projects - the day just slips by at lightning speed and I have such a feeling of satisfaction (usually!).

I did find a chance to take a couple of photos though. The one above is a Jack Frost original. I find these so fascinating! They must be created by wind movement and light or something . . . I don't remember studing anything about this in school. Absolutely wonderful stuff - I don't think the picture does the masterpiece justice though. See if you can find some of his work around your place and study the intricate ripples and lines - makes you wonder how it's done, doesn't it?

This weird donut shaped thing in my back yard is really our fire pit - it looks so funny the way the snow has settled inside and around the outside edges. Usually it's buried completely or the wind blows the snow off the top edges, but this time it just looks like a frozen donut!

This little star was a gift that I received at the quilt club Christmas party that is a very welcome addition to my Christmas decorating - I love all the little stitches on all the tiny features. Thank you, Gail.

And, on a final note, this little guy is going to help me wish you a . . .



'til next time,

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Thursday, 13 December 2007

Smiles for the Season . . .

Still cold here, had a little bit more snow that is currently blowing around in a very cold wind. A nice gentle snow falling is perfect, but wind and snow do not mix very well.

If only it was as calm as this winter scene, all would be good with the world.

And just so I can forget the snow and wind, here is a little smile for everyone . . . including me.

Are these not the cutest little snowmen you ever saw!

Anne Sutton at Bunny Hill (see my sidebar) had these shown on her blog last week - so I added white Christmas balls to my shopping list for Saturday's shopping excursion. Do you know how hard it was to find white Christmas balls? Finally found these tiny, little, kinda white balls that were packaged with matching silver balls. The Christmas balls shown on Anne's blog were much bigger than mine, so I guess that shows that any size will work and they still make me smile.

Once all the painting was completed and the balls were arranged in a beautiful crystal candy dish, it was time to package them up and give them away. These little guys were a gift at the quilt group Christmas Party last Monday. They sure didn't stay home with me for very long . . .

But! . . . I have since gone shopping again and bought the last three packages of Christmas balls! I will now be looking for something larger than a candy dish to display my 18 snowmen and 18 silver balls in. Can't wait to start vacation Friday at 4:30 - I've got lots of projects lined up . . . including painting my little snowguys and doing lots of smiling.

'til next time,


Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Sunny Old Santa . . .

Oh, what a lovely day it was on Sunday . . . sitting in the sunniest place in the house wrapping Christmas presents for the quilt group's Christmas Party.

Little Santa bags, Santa ornaments, fabric (of course!) and Heather Bailey's pincushion pattern . . . all wrapped up and ready for distribution on Monday night.

The fabric was generously donated from a local fabric store which made the Christmas committee's job so much easier. All of the prints were sewing related so the fat quarters can be used for pincushions, little sewing rolls, thread catchers or a multitude of other sewing related projects.

What better little gift for a quilter?!?!?!

The little snowman ornaments were donated by Mabel, (one of the Christmas committee personnel) and they topped off the little packages quite nicely. Everyone can now hang these on their tree or use them to add to the next gift they wrap.

And speaking of gifts . . . Wow! The gift exchange this year was wonderful. Everyone outdid themselves in choosing the best presents for quilters . . . lots of fabrics, notions and wonderful little tools that will be made use of in the coming year.

I purposely didn't take any pictures of the pot luck supper . . . that was another WOW! Turkey and dressing, perogies, cabbage rolls, lasagna, carrots, salads and on and on. Followed by the desserts (of course!) and flavoured coffee - thank goodness this just happens once a year.

It is now officially starting to feel a bit more like Christmas . . .

'til next time,


Thursday, 6 December 2007

Ah . . . December ...

EEK!!!! I'm not anywhere near being ready for anything to do with December . . . and we're already a week into it!

And, where is the 2008 Kim Diehl calendar? I've loved this calendar all year long and now I will have nothing to replace it with in 3 1/2 weeks time . . . wild animals and scenery stuff just doesn't compare!

Well the weather around here certainly feels like December . . . cold, Cold, COLD!! My kids used to look at me when they were little and ask why they had to be born in Manitoba . . . wonder if I asked my parents the same thing? Why not Arizona, Florida or somewhere nice and warm?

All we can do is stare at our wonderful BBQ and dream of warmer days to come. Imagine the big, beautiful, juicy steak . . . oh, the memories . . .

I was talking to my photography teacher the other day and he commented on how much he liked winter and getting out and taking pictures. He said that capturing the shadows in photos was the neatest thing in winter . . . I guess I now know what he was talking about. This photo is actually the garage roof . . . fresh fallen snow and lots of shadows spread out across the surface. I cheated though, I didn't get my parka and boots on to do this . . . this was taken from a kitchen window through the glass! What a cheat I am :)

Winter might be alright . . . as long as all I have to do is sit indoors and look at it . . . there are some beautiful views to be seen. I missed the horror frost the other day . . . had a Council meeting and didn't have my camera with me . . . it was too dark by the time I got home.

Just imagine all the warm, toasty, creative quilting I could do if only I could stay indoors and view the world from there. Would that really be so bad . . .

'til next time . . .


Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Crazy for Snowmen!

Another snowman on the worktable . . . when will they quit showing up?

This one isn't mine . . . this is the quilt that is featured on the front of Fons and Porter's last issue (in stores now!) and I've had my eye on it ever since the issue previous to this one came out. They always show projects of what is upcoming in the next issue and I thought this little guy with his ear muffs and big scarf was something that needed added to my already weirdly obsessed collection. The pattern is by Sharon Reynolds (Tenderberry Stitches) using fabric she designed for Northcott Fabrics.

Plus I had fabric left over from my mother-in-law's quilt and I thought this was a great way to use up those pieces . . . plus . . . Mysty and Shadow seem to still be following this fabric everywhere it goes - maybe this will be the girl's Christmas present - a little snowman quilt for each of them.
I'm scheduled to take the last two weeks of December off, so I'm looking forward to having the house to myself for the first week of vacation, so I'll be able to finish some projects or maybe, just maybe, start some new ones. I'm thinking that 2008 is going to be a very busy year and I'm going to start getting excited about it very, very soon . . .
'til next time,

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Christmas . . . some things just can't wait!

Ok . . . all you ladies in Brandon, who are in the quilt group . . . close your eyes!

Everyone else - look at the Christmas project that will be handed out on December 10th at our Christmas Party! This isn't the whole surprise, but it is part of the surprise. I know I should wait until after the 10th, but this was about the only sewing project I completed this weekend.

I love my little sample - and I don't usually even use pincushions! I use one of those magnetic ones that lets you just take a general aim in that direction and it catches the pin for you - lazy or what? Look at the little vintage buttons I found - these date back to the 50's and 60's and I think they finish off this little project quite nicely.

This is Heather Bailey's pincushion pattern that has been showing up everywhere you look. It was published in "Quilts and More" magazine back in the Summer and she now has a download on her blog. I have taken the pattern and shifted all the photos and directions around so that it now is in the form of a notecard and the pattern pieces will be on the backside, so that you can open the card out and trace your patterns (all in an effort to save paper and bulk). Sure hope that doesn't infringe on anything - I didn't change any wording and I'm not selling it, so it should be OK! Visit her blog (see my sidebar) and get your own download and make a couple of these for gifts - really quite simple - of course I changed a few things for my pincushion. See what you can come up with . . .

And then another thing that just can't seem to wait for Christmas . . . I thought these were called Christmas Cactus?

The pink one has been blooming since Halloween and the peachy colored one for the past couple of weeks. What a bright spot of color these have been creating in my living room and kitchen . . . that one little splash of brilliance . . . these are such amazing blooms! You really need to almost lay on the floor and look up at the bloom to get the best view of the structure of the flower - who created these anyway? Beautifully done!

I'm sure they will all be shrivelled up by Christmas, so I thought I better share the beautiful colors and so very unique blooms right now.

And . . . the sewing continues - I started some more snowmen over the weekend and have everything ready to start machine quilting my MIL quilt - countdown is on . . . 22 days to completion . . .

'til next time,


Thursday, 29 November 2007

Road trip continued . . .

Standing at the little dollhouse (see previous post), and looking South, you see lots and lots of these oil pumps. There is so much development and exploration going on in this region of Manitoba and through into Saskatchewan right now and in some areas this has been a common sight for quite a number of years. Everywhere you looked there was either new ones being put in or dozens and dozens already pumping away.

Question: If you pump stuff out of the earth, do you need to put something back to replace it so that the ground doesn't cave in? Oil is one of the many layers below us, so how does this really work?

Do I really need to know . . . probably not - just a thought!

As we were driving along my husband started laughing, something had struck his funny bone, - obviously I had missed something of interest! On the way back from Weyburn he stopped and showed me this sign - it kind of contradicts itself, don't you think?

Wonder who Anni L. is? Hello, Anni!

What do you do in the car for three hours one way and three hours the other way? I bring a stack of past issues of my very favorite magazines and go cover to cover to cover. I took along the last issue of Quilt Sampler and I spent most of the three hours on the way there, inspecting every picture and re-reading every article for the second time. Honestly, I did read it when I first purchased it, but I obsorb more and see something new everytime I go through it.
I do get my money's worth when I buy a magazine!
I did survive (barely!) the three and half days of Municipal Convention . . . guess where I really wanted to be and what I wanted to be doing? Sometimes it is terrible having a creative mind and being trapped in a convention with 974 other people - wonder how many really wanted to be there?
Quilting this weekend . . . photos Monday? . . . we'll see,
'til next time,

Monday, 26 November 2007

Looking to the past . . .

Whenever you head out on the highway you never quite know what you are going to see . . . You know the kind of thing I'm talking about . . . you're cruisin' along not really paying all that much attention to anything in particular and then . . . POW! - you do a double take and there it is . . . a DOLLHOUSE! Right there . . . on the side of the road - how weird is that!

On #2 Highway just East of Sinclair, Manitoba is this little house. At first glance you think "wow, this is cute" . . . "what a neat idea!" and then you drive around the house and read the intent behind why the house was recreated.

The creator has provided a driveway that comes off the highway and goes right around the house. This allows people to have a look and not even have to step out of the vehicle if they don't want to. Really a wonderful idea! The whole back of the house has been removed and replaced with plexiglass to allow the viewer to step into another time and place.
The photos above and below are pictures of the kitchen. All displayed in period furniture and painted a bright, cheerful yellow - you can almost imagine coming downstairs in the morning and having your breakfast in this kitchen!

The complete intent of the project has been imprinted on the backside of the house and is very, very interesting. It really touched my heart . . . these are the little houses that so many prairie families grew up in on the family farm. These were harsher times than we will ever understand and now they stand and wither away - almost unnoticed on the edge of the roads or tucked away among the stands of trees that we cannot even see. This was someone's home! Imagine the untold stories of happiness and sorrow that are held within the remaining walls.
The Dollhouse project was created by Heather Benning as an Arist in Residence project and was undertaken to reflect the period when the house was abandoned in 1968 using furniture of the era throughout the display. At some point in the past, this house stood alone on the bald open prairie and was so very typical for a farm house prior to the '60s. The landscape today includes the busy highway and a multitude of oilfield pump jacks that can be seen in every direction. One of the sentences in the imprint states "This Dollhouse is nothing less than a chilling monument to the decline of the prairie farm."
I think that the word "chilling" is so fitting.

This was a very cold, windy November day without a quilt in sight . . .

'til next time,


Thursday, 22 November 2007

Fabric, yummy . . .

It finally arrived . . .

my wonderful box full of fabric - what could be better! Who needs Christmas when you can find a most wonderful deal on fabric all by yourself? I guess it would be nice if someone else was paying the VISA bill next month . . . but, oh well, we can only wish for so much!
This stack of fabric is called Meadowbrook from Benartex - also in flannels. Isn't it wonderful? I purchased this to make a Maywood Studios pattern that is posted on their website - at least that was the plan . . . we'll see how that turns out. I do need to start working on my own designs again really soon - big plans are in the works and I need to start focusing on business again instead of all this fun I've been having for the past couple of weeks.

I now have the backing for my mother-in-law's quilt, so I will be able to get that all layered together and ready to quilt next week. Heading to Saskatchewan to visit family this weekend, so other than taking my big, big quilt (the one Shadow was sleeping on previously!) to hand sew the binding on, there will be nothing happening this weekend.
Good news came a little quicker than I was expecting - I mailed out my wonderful "surprise" package on the 5th of November and had the phone call the morning of the 20th!
So until I know more you'll stick with me, right?
I promise that as soon as things are finalized - you'll be the first to know!
Back to earth though . . . Monday is the first day of a four-day (government) convention in Brandon, so I'll be away at that, plus quilt group on Monday night - finished my blocks last night for the snowman/star block exchange we're doing.

I did get started on this naked little snow guy the other day, so we'll see how he comes along for one of the 2008 block exchange months - I think we do this exchange until April or May of 2008 - so I need to keep thinking of other blocks that will work. (his head really isn't cut off like that!)
Here is another piece of a block I've been working on . . . the turned edge technique from Southwind Designs - have a look for some of these patterns, they are quite fun to work on.

So far I have only played with this star, but the technique worked very nicely. This block will be handed in at quilt group to be used for the charity quilt that we will do after our block exchanges are all done. Everyone is supposed to hand in one or two blocks extra to be eventually made into a donation quilt for a charity not yet chosen.

I hope everyone is keeping busy and you don't have the snow covered ground that we have here in Manitoba . . . just means that I have to get used to all the cold temperatures again - I did pull out the old winter coat this morning . . . not very happy about that!

'til next time,

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Cleaning up . . .

Sometimes it is just enough! Enough mess, enough stuff laying around, enough with the UFOs!

And then you get unwanted help - what is it with cats and quilts - I think they smell the comfort or something.

I had just started to sew the binding onto this Judy Niemeyer quilt and along comes Shadow to plunk herself in the middle so that I can't maneuver the binding around all the wonderful scalloped edges that I need to. She doesn't look too happy to be having her picture taken either - that is the evil glare look.

This is a quilt that I made for my wedding, sent it out to be hand quilted and then it stayed in the bag for the past 8 years! Luckily I was bright enough to put the binding fabric away in the same bag so I was able to make the bias binding from coordinated fabric.

So now I have the binding to hand sew on this wedding quilt, on the witch quilt and I still need to finish a couple of snowman faces for next Monday's quilt group block exchange. My fabric package that I ordered from cleared customs on Saturday, so I'm expecting the backing for my mother-in-law's quilt any day now. Lots of projects on the go! It's always nice to have things falling into place - good to see the end is nearing for at least a few projects.

Keep in touch and have a great day . . .

'til next time . . .


Thursday, 15 November 2007

I disappeared!

Wow, how time flies when you have nothing to say . . . well, that's not quite true, I always have something to say! But time does fly . . .

. . . and speaking of flying . . . that's me flying over the moon. Really! It's me - kinda, sorta . . . My brothers used to always call me "Broom" because my birthday is on Halloween - I guess that's a better nickname than "witch". Anyways, this little quilt I've been working on is really, really neat - I love it! The only trouble is that Halloween is gone. I did manage to get started before Halloween but I really wish I could have had it completely done and on display.

I am in the process of doing the edge stitching around all the branches and stuff with invisible thread and then I need to decide how to quilt the background and all the black at the front. Help! If you have some suggestions let me know - I'd hate to wreck it now.

I love the way the fabric is looking so spooky - the colorful background looks so turmoiled (is that a word?) and the smokey black that I used adds to the mysterious, scary scene. I wish I had a straighter picture for you to look at - after I'm done with the quilting I'll try and take another one.

I can't wait till next Halloween now . . . the only problem is that I'll be another year older :(

Here is the other project from the previous post that I have now finished (with a few modifications of course!). This is a wonderful alternative to all those bags on the market right now - this is for decoration and I think it's going to be a wonderful addition to my Fall, Christmas and general Winter decorating scheme. Really nice pattern - one goof in the directions though, so if you decide to try it, let me know and I'll pass on the correction.

This little sheep is made from the same Kansas Troubles material as the bag (above) and I think he is a cutie! This is actually a little fabric postcard that the quilt group had a class in - he turned out as a "happy" project.

I will need to pose the Flowers Around New York quilt, the bag and the postcard together in one room and take a picture (once the quilt is quilted, of course!) - they're all made from the Bound to the Prairies fabric line and look so coordinated.

And, then there is my mother-in-law's quilt - the top is done and I am now waiting for a fabric shipment from that will include the backing for this project.

Have you visited this website before . . . Wow! The prices are great and they ship really quick and I love the fabrics they have! If you're looking for coordinated groupings, this is the place to go. I ordered 17 yards of flannel - can't wait for the postman!!!

Have a great day and I promise to not take so long between postings . . . (isn't that irritating when bloggers do that?!?!?!) But in my defence . . . I was busy!

'til next time,


Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Back to Basics . . .

I'm sewing again!

On Saturday, the quilt club I belong to had a quilt workshop to make a "dilly bag", but Ramona (another member) and I decided we wanted to to do something different. Both of us had a copy of the December/07 issue of American Patchwork and Quilting and decided that we wanted to make the Season's Greetings bag on page 71, by Sherri Falls of "This and That". Ramona had actually ordered the kit which included all the fabrics as shown in the magazine. I wasn't that organized so had to do some digging around and came up with some leftovers from a Bound to Prairie quilt I had made last year (plus a couple of other prints).

I'm quite pleased so far with the results and I love the colors. The magazine shows the bag hung on the front door with Christmas greenery spilling out of it - very nice!

I have all the blocks sewn together and am ready to start quilting the top. This needs done before the bag is joined and the top and bottom pieces added.

But, . . . I started another project also . . .

Remember the previous post about Randy buying me some fabric . . . well I got the pattern written to the point where I could start testing it out and it is working wonderful!

(So far . . .)

As of this morning when I left for work, all the blocks are done and the centre plain squares are cut and two of the corner triangles are in place. The actual pattern is going to have applique added but this is the test part of the base quilt, plus I don't think what I have in mind for the applique would look very good on these Christmasy colors
It is going to be such a warm and cozy Christmas gift for my mother-in-law - she can't help but like it! I can think of a couple of more people on my Christmas list that would like one of these
. . . how many more weeks 'till Christmas?
'til next time,