Thursday, 30 August 2007

Applique . . . Anyone?

How many appliquer's are out there? Which method do you prefer? The fusible web and blanket stitch are fun and easy; needle turn is time consuming, but very neat; freezer paper method isn't too bad - maybe a little messy with gluing the seam allowance back (at least for me!). I've been playing with the fusible web method - actually the snowmen shown in previous posts were done with this method. Nice and quick, neat and easy - couldn't ask for more.

These are my very, very favorite applique books - I haven't made anything out of any of these books, but I do love to sit and flip through them - just for inspiration! Kim's (Diehl) designs are wonderful, detailed and folksy - I need to make one of these - just can't decide which one!

Cherie's (Ralston) are the same, but of course, all the designs are themed around "stars" - there are even punchneedle patterns and painting items (my daughter actually made the painted item - I'll get a picture for next time - it turned out wonderful!)

This book by Janet Pittman covers many techniques and really goes into the embellishment stitching, very cool! There are some great patterns in here for inspiration also - one quilt is done with a shadow type of applique and it is definitely something I'm going to have to try.

Have any of you used these books? Which pattern should I try? If you've done a project, send me a picture - I'd love to see it!

Till next time,

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Autumn Splendor. . .

This flower is the perfect Fall flower!

Look at those beautiful colors . . . wouldn't they look wonderful in a Fall quilt with Maple Leaf blocks and an appliqued border of these big flowers and leaves and vines. Do you see the wasp there? I think I'll leave him off the quilt design. This is the season for wasps! They are everywhere and of course the flies are out in full force - as soon as harvest starts the flies want indoors for some reason. The mosquito population has become less noticeable, at least in my area. The number of West Nile virus cases being reported has been phenomenal this year - many, many more cases reported than in previous years. I was going through some old office documents from 2002 and found a note where the Chief Medical Officer had called the office to notify us that a positive case of a horse contracting the virus was confirmed from this area. Back in 2002 there didn't even seem to be a concern about humans and West Nile - makes you wonder where things are going?!?!?!

This picture also indicates that Fall (and eventually Winter) is coming this way really soon. What beautiful colors though - you can't help but admire them. Spent part of Sunday going through the perennial garden and splitting and re potting some of the plants for my daughter in Winnipeg. Her house could use some nice, easy care plants in the front so I've managed to get 20 new ones started for her. Puttering in the garden is what you would call my Sunday morning activity!

And, of course, nothing says Fall like a Halloween quilt - that really needs to get done soon. I've had the backing fabric for months and months, have some of the directions written but then stalled out. This quilt is mostly all applique except for the checkerboard (which I always love) - this was fun to make using all those wonderful Halloween fabrics that are on the market now. These fabrics were from Thimbleberries/RJR and worked great! (Sorry about the color - it really is brighter than this shows).

If you stop by leave me a note about your Fall quilting and other Fall activities. Always great to hear from you . . . until next time,


Thursday, 23 August 2007

More Snowmen!

Here I go again with another little snowman block. I just love the whole idea of snowmen - they are so CUTE! I don't particularily like snow though . . . or even making real snowmen. Too many years of winter and freezing stuck in my memory I guess.
This little guy is quite simple - I did toss around the idea of sewing the words "Nature Lover" or some such thing on his tummy, but then I thought that would maybe make it look too busy - nothing wrong with simple!

Of course this is the second block in a set of seven that need done for my quilt group block exchange. The first ones need exchanged on the 24th of September and then this one will be for the end of October. I'll need to start on the November one soon - you never know what will pop up and you can't get back to what you were originally doing. We do skip December because of it being such a busy month - so that is something to look forward to.

These ones still need to have the arms embroidered on them - tonight when I'm watching TV maybe. Notice one little guy is on the wrong side of the tree - gotta remember to reverse these patterns when you're doing them! Thought maybe I'd leave them all "backwards" and then decided I liked them better on the left side of the tree - I wonder who will get the "wrong" one.

Saturday, 18 August 2007


I thought today would be a wonderful day to show off some quilts.

This one is called "Valley View Sampler" and is made using Nancy Halvorsen Christmas fabrics. This is completely paper pieced and is more of a beginner quilt pattern or a quick and easy pattern for a more experienced quilter. Nice big shapes and you get to use all kinds of colors too. I like this one - it looks great on our yellow/gold sofa - just a plain happy little quilt.

This one is called "Sunnyside Stars" and was published in the January/February 2007 issue of Quilts With Style magazine. For some weird and wonderful reason they remade it using hot pink/jade green and a bright blue which really did nothing for the quilt pattern I thought. I much prefer my color choices - to each her own.

This is one that is currently not released - still in the writing and testing stages - what do you think? Let me know, honestly, whether or not this something you like. All of the circles, except the little wee ones on the sides, are actually paper pieced crazy patches and then appliqued onto the black background. I really enjoyed making this one and I am going to try another test one in more country colors just to see the difference. I am imagining that the two quilts side by side would look like night and day.

This is another one of my very favorites. Kinda whimsical, country and just plain fun. It is not necessarily a Christmas quilt - more of a winter time quilt. The name of this one is "Frosty's Night Lights" and it is a big one - I wanted to increase the scale of paper pieced quilts and this is one of them. Love the fabrics too - they are by Susan Winget and are wonderful to work with.
Leave me some opinions - honest opinions - what appeals to everyone there?

Monday, 13 August 2007

Dying or Dyeing? . . .

Bright and early on Saturday morning, I loaded up the car and headed off to learn something new. Once you get to be a certain age, you know it's going to be a good day if you can allow yourself to even think you're going to learn something new!

Including the instructor, there were nine of use "dye" hard quilters out in Janice's wonderful outdoor kitchen/living area (should have got a picture of that - it was really neat). All of us were dressed in our most fashionably ugly clothes and raring to go.

Karen, our instructor, has been doing this for quite some time and has a wonderful collection of powder dyes and all the other necessary ingredients. Lucky for us we did not have to buy anything other than the fabric that she gets for a really good price from somewhere down in the States. We all included an extra $10 to pay for the supplies we used and then paid for however many yards of fabric that we dyed.

What a huge color selection to choose from -I think my color palette is pretty basic - but still beautiful! Have a look at some of the process . . .

Now that I have all these beautiful colors, what am I going to make? Look at those scrumptious yellows and the robin's egg blue and the greens! It's going to be hard to decide - I'm thinking something with a crisp white background and then using these fabrics for the applique - nothing down on paper yet - but, oh, just think of the possibilities.

I would most definitely do this again - I'd like to try some pastel colors - if you get the chance give this a whirl - lots of fun!

Remember I mentioned my brother was coming up to visit his school buddy - well he did. He stopped in to visit him in the hospital on Saturday afternoon but Kevin was sleeping so Dean (my brother) stayed for an hour or so and had to leave. The nurses suggested that around 2 p.m. on the Sunday would be a good time to maybe catch Kevin awake (between painkillers). Dean stayed with us on Saturday night and when he went to leave he checked his phone messages and had received one saying that Kevin had passed away during the night. It was heartbreaking - Dean was unable to have that final visit. I can only hope that Kevin somehow knew he was there - Dean had talked to him on the Wednesday, so Kevin knew he was coming - the pain killers just kept them from saying goodbye. Kevin was in his early 40's. We all need to take a look at how short life can really be - take a look around and appreciate what you have.

Thursday, 9 August 2007


Well just look at that shadow! This is my other little girl and her name is Shadow. The other day when it was so hot out I guess she thought it was very appropriate, for her, to find a bit shade next to the tree. This little gal has lived with us for about 13 1/2 years and we really don't know who she is - she's kinda a loner, sometimes and other times she is just in your way - not sure about her. She's partly deaf (I think), has lost some teeth and is a type of beebler - meaning she never really knows where she is and we don't either! But she lives with us and we'd miss her if she wasn't here.

Here is a continuation of my nostalgia photos. The pincushion is at least 45 years old and so are a couple of the thimbles - they've been around a lot longer than I have been. Look at that stitching on the little hanky - really, really tiny, somebody did amazing work many years ago. The rick rack, for .25c and .15c (imagine that!) and the black buttons are from the old general store as far as I know, or maybe even earlier.
Looking forward to the weekend - tomorrow I'm heading out to meet with a bunch of gals from the quilt group and we're going to dye fabric all day. I've never done this before but a couple of them did some last year when I was away at Quilt Market in Minneapolis. Their fabrics were beautiful and most of them were having trouble cutting it up - I imagine I'll have the same problem. I'll have photos to post on Monday.

My brother from Melfort, Saskatchewan is also coming for a visit - well sorta. One of his school chums is in the hospital with cancer and is not doing very well - so he is really not visiting me, just a stop over at my house on a rather unpleasant trip.

Sunday I need to pull out the flowers in my front yard - they were so badly burnt from the hot, dry spell we've been having that they are far beyond saving now. The town sent out letters at the end of July asking everyone to refrain from watering - we never used town water anyway, but the rain barrels have been used strictly for the tomato plants and the onions - not for flowers! Would be great to get a bit of rain. Maybe I'll do a little rain dance tonight when I get home . . . Have a great weekend!

Monday, 6 August 2007

Nastalgia and Newness!

As part of the big "project" I've been working on, I needed to track down some of my old, or really my Mom's old sewing memorabilia. When I was growing up my parents owned a small country store. You know the kind with the little swivel stools and the coffee bar setup - it was really quite cool when you look back. You could get your hair trimmed, have coffee and do your grocery shopping. Your cheese was cut off a huge big block and your bologna was sliced on the big slicer. In the front corner of the store was the sewing section which included everything from snaps and buttons to beautiful threads and fabrics.

Anyway, I got digging through some of this old stuff and thought a few pictures were needed. What wonderful memories we can store away and draw on when we need them. My mom died in a car accident in 1998 and just pulling these items out and setting them together brought back those memories of when she used to sew for us.

On another note though, I have learned how to do some new things! I bought this "digital scrapbooking" magazine the other day and WOW! I've learned things about PhotoShop that I never knew before or would have never been able to figure out by myself. The magazine contains projects for three levels of experience and they are very well written and seem very easy to follow.

Do you know what is really surprising though? I don't scrapbook. And I really don't have the time to devote to something like that - but WOW(again!) the things I have learned and the projects that have inspired me will work in what I currently am doing. In my design work for patterns, pamphlets, advertising and other business related things - this little magazine will be well used and has many little sticky notes already attached to sides. PhotoShop and I are on more than a first name basis now and it feels good!

Just imagine what I could do if I had time to scrapbook - all those baby pictures and even the memorabilia photos - I need to quit my job! It is really cutting into the time I want to spend on other projects.

Oh, well, back to work tomorrow - hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work I go . . .

Friday, 3 August 2007

How time flies!

. . . especially when you're on holidays! Can't believe it's Friday already . . . I'm not done yet what I had planned to do . . . need more time.

I've been trying to learn this Photoshop program - thought I knew quite a bit before . . . but, wow, more and more to learn. Taking some of my doodles into the program and reworking them to come up with new designs - where will this lead? Who knows . . . wasting lots of time trying to figure it out though.

My hubby, Randy, took off to Winnipeg on Wednesday morning - left me with my beautiful sicky Mysty. She's not all that sick anymore - once the antibiotics kicked in she's pretty much 100% again - the pills go on until Tuesday night though (2 a day). Thankfully she inhales her food (with the pill hidden inside) so I don't need to push it down her throat - thank goodness for small miracles. She is quite the little trooper - great company - usually glued to my side. What a sweetie!!

I've done no gardening, no housecleaning. Did do a load of laundry and cleaned the bathroom - other than that the whole week has been a blur of trying to get this art stuff organized.

Had a wonderful note from Sonnja from the Netherlands Sonnja's Website . . . check out what she is doing! Very cute and heartwarming. I need to clean out a couple of corners - I know there are a few pieces of fabric that will not work in a quilt but would look adorable as a teddy bear. Check your cupboards too!

Have a look at these sketches - what do you see?

Till next time . . .