Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Looking Back . . .

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I have been trying to post this since this morning at 6:00 a.m. so my apologies to anyone who saw a new posting and then found none when they arrived at my blog.

Here's hoping that 2009 starts out better than this little mishap that will end 2008. Just imagine though . . . another year is almost done! All in all it's been a pretty good year and I'm looking forward to 2009 - but to look forward, sometimes we have to have a quick look back. Some of you that visit my blog on a regular basis will be recognizing a lot of the projects in my little Smilebox scrapbook, but for those that are just popping by for the first time, have a quick peek at what I've been up to for the year and send me a link to show me what you've been creating in 2008. I'd love to see what you've been up to!

So, let's march through this last evening of 2008 and be ready to step into 2009 with just a brighter sprinkle of happiness, a beaming sparkle of optimism and let's throw in a heap of laughter also.

All the best to everyone for the New Year and may all your projects be inspirational, educational and especially FUN!

'til next time,


Monday, 29 December 2008

I Almost Made It . . .

. . . but not quite!

I started this little stitchery piece a few days before Christmas and this is as far as I got before the big day. The frame has now been purchased (Boxing Day 1/2 price sales!) and the stitching is done, so this little piece will be all ready for next year. Nothing like those last minute "wanna do's" - I'll never learn :~)

Ah, but these little cuties were all ready for the holidays this year.

Last year they were just in the preliminary planning stages of pattern design, so it's nice to have them all out and about now. I think there were six of them sitting in the greenery that was draped around a couple of windows - they sure added that little touch of color.

Santa was exceptionally good to all of us this year, but especially to Mysty and Shadow. They each received their very own flannel quilt and Shadow is trying to show you in the picture just how nice and toasty warm her new heated bed is (click on the photo to enlarge). Can you see the joy in her eyes there? No, I don't imagine you can . . . she is all wrapped up in heated rapture and she just can't pry those eyes open.
She is the cat in our house that just can't seem to keep warm . . . she somehow hears the furnace start even though she is deaf (must be the vibrations or something) and then she parks her belly directly over the register. Sometimes you walk by her and she looks like she's fallen sideways off the register from shear heat exhaustion. Can't be good for her, so I went shopping and found her this new bed with it's very own pet therapeutic heating pad built in. The brown part you see is the bed and then there is her new quilt and then her and on top of it all I placed another quilt so that it created a nice little tent area for her. She looks happy!

And before Christmas 2008 is all over and done with, I was wondering if anyone knew how old this particular Santa is? His head is kinda like a bobble head thing and his Santa sack has a place to put a Christmas greenery arrangement. It's been part of our Christmas decorating for quite some time, but did not originate from my family, so I'm not sure how old he is - does anyone out there have one just like him?
'til next time,

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Ready or Not!

'til next time,

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Getting Ready for a Snowy Christmas!

Everywhere you look it is certainly looking like Christmas.

I forgot to show you these little mittens that Chrisy had stitched as part of her present exchange at the Brandon Peace by Piece Christmas pot-luck and exchange. They were the cutest little gift tags I've seen in a while. That white stitching and crocheted topper were adorable and I'll be trying to figure out how to make my own for next year!

This is the latest snowfall we've had. My poor little outdoor kitty is almost disappearing!

Those little eyes look like they're pleading to just let him come in. Where's his tail, anyway? Might have to go brush him off before it snows again, otherwise I won't be seeing him 'til Spring.

Even though I am still working on Christmas presents at this late date, I did take some time out to get started on this BOM.

Nothing is sewn down yet, but all the pieces are ready and rarin' to go.

The pattern was missing for the leaves and the leaf centres so I had to make those up . . . I think they turned out just fine. I'm hoping to get these sewn down in the early mornings between Christmas and New Year's, then I'll have a finished block for the New Year.

I better get back to some machine quilting that I've got going on . . . or all the Christmas presents won't be ready.

'til next time,


Thursday, 18 December 2008

It's been over a week . . .

since I last posted . . . where does the time go! Another 7 days and we'll all be basking under our Christmas trees, eggnog in hand and wrapping paper crumpled and thrown all over . . . is everyone ready?

Very busy and stressful at the office right now - salary negotiation time - YUCK! People you thought you knew turn into weird, rude and back stabbing people . . . who knew that people were like that? Maybe it's just where I work . . . let's hope so, because I wouldn't wish some of these guys on my worst enemy!

My monthly shipment from the Fat Quarter Shop arrived yesterday . . . Fig and Plum by Fig Tree (Moda). Very pretty but a little disappointing also.

I've been anxiously awaiting this shipment because viewing it on the Fat Quarter website and in the latest issue of Hancock's of Paducah catalogue, the colors looked very rich and yummy. In real life they are more washed out and vintage - which is still OK - just not what I was expecting. They all coordinate very nicely and will look lovely in a quilt . . . oh, dear! . . . now I need to figure out what to do with this stack also!

My blue quilt is plodding along . . . slowly. Progress is beginning to be seen, but so very slowly. Where is my magic wand? I could grant myself more hours of sewing which would also reduce stress, I'm sure. I get plotting and playing with my fabrics and everything else just doesn't seem to matter anymore - does it work like that for you too?

Here is a stack of small squares all organized, stacked and ready to be placed into blocks. Every block has to be laid out separately to ensure that certain prints aren't side-by-side with something too similar . . . it is a scrappy kind of quilt, but you don't want something to look too odd when it's all sewn together.

Here is part of one block . . . that's all that's completed so far, so I better quit blogging about it and head to the sewing machine and get something done!

'til next time,

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

It's Finally Finished . . .

. . . and will be hitting the postal system very shortly!

I love this little quilt . . . it is the perfect size to snuggle up with on the sofa; it is all made with buttery soft flannel; it's not just a Christmas quilt, but an all round Winter-type of quilt; it's cheerful and the colors are great! What more can I say? I Love This Quilt.

BUT . . . I also love my Dad and this is where this quilt is going. I know he'll like it for keeping his toes warm this Winter while he's reading or watching movies.

The little buttons and the raggy trees add to the whole project and the appliqued borders give it a lot more movement and detail than just plain old strips. I machine quilted it all over except over the trees and snowmen . . . wasn't too sure whether I should go over these or not, but eventually decided not to.

A lot of the fabric was leftover from my MIL's Christmas quilt last year, although I did have to purchase some extra for the borders - but it was off-season and on sale. I still have some pieces left but not enough to make myself a quilt like this one. Maybe another year I'll watch for fabric similar to this and make myself one.

Trouble with that is that the cats must be able to smell flannel because they always seem to be curled up on a piece of it - imagine if they had a whole quilt to themselves. Ha! Maybe I should use the remaining scraps and make a cat quilt gift for under the tree - I'll have to ponder that and see how much time I have left before the big day.

I'm not sure what type of expression you would say this guy has on his face . . . but he's making me smile!

'til next time,


Tuesday, 9 December 2008

'Tis The Season . . .

Last night was the Brandon Piece by Peace quilt group's Christmas potluck supper, gift exchange, place mat donation night and a general fun get-together. Supper was delicious as always and a very difficult game about candies was attempted - guess some of us didn't put on our thinking caps before we got there . . . very tough puzzles!
Everyone received this little survival kit - very nicely put together and very much appreciated! Especially that band aid, maybe :o)

I believe I heard someone say that there were 70 place mats handed in and another 10 or more that were yet to come. There are somewhere between 21 - 24 members so obviously some people made more than the suggested two - what a wonderful, colorful collection of place mats.

There was every color imaginable, in just about every shape and size also. I know the Meals on Wheels recipients will appreciate this little added color with their Christmas suppers.

Then it was the gift exchange! Always interesting and never disappointing. The rules have changed over the years that I've been a member - now the dollar limit is $20.00 and the gift/gifts must be quilting or sewing related, handcrafted or purchased.

The gift I brought home was FABRIC!!!!
Look at those beautiful colors . . . all from one of the Benartex fabric lines, all nicely coordinated. Can't wait to cut into these . . . hopefully sooner than later. They all came arranged in a very heavy square glass vase so now I'll have to get some fresh flowers for the Christmas table so that I can show it off.
I have another Christmas party to go to this Friday - not quilt related though. Will it be as much fun . . . we'll see . . .
'til next time,

Friday, 5 December 2008

Summer Baskets and Santas

I'm so thrilled!

Block #1 of the The Quilt Patch Summer Baskets BMO showed up in yesterday's mail. Part of the block is cottons and the rest is wool . . . and what pretty colors they all are. I can't wait to get started on this little beauty.

I am finally finished all of my Santa placemats. As I've mentioned in previous posts, the Brandon quilt group decided to make Christmas placemats for the Meals On Wheels program and donate them so that they could be circulated during the holidays to folks that use the program. Every member was to make two.

Well I got carried away and did a little too much thinking about this - obviously! My dilemma was that I'm not from Brandon and maybe people in my community would also appreciate some Christmas cheer by way of a little placemat.

So, I did some research and sure enough there were a few people that use the Meals On Wheels program in Wawanesa, so I got busy. After many little pieces of fabric, some sewing and machine quilting, some binding (a lot!) and finally some little tinkly bells . . . these are now ready to be delivered tonight.

The Brandon placemats will be delivered to the group on Monday night when we have our Christmas pot luck and get together.

I do believe I can now leave the placemat fiasco behind me and move on to another unfinished project - my Dad's Christmas quilt binding is still waiting for me as are a multitude of other things.

Maybe the Summer Baskets block will have to wait a week or so before I can work it into my schedule . . .

I can't remember whether I mentioned the Crazy Mom Quilts blog before or not, but go have a peek at what she has going on. Check out the little doll quilt, pillows and pillowcases - they are so adorable! Anyone with little girls on their Christmas list should make a set of these. Also check out her archives . . . there's a ton of inspiration there.

Have a great weekend.

'til next time,


Saturday, 29 November 2008

I'm back . . .

and I don't have much to report.
After 3 1/2 very long convention days, it was very, very nice to come home. It was a short-lived good feeling though . . . I got home around 5 on Thursday night and off to work Friday morning . . . lots to catch up on at the office. Friday night was one of two committed evenings that we have to work at the local hockey rink . . . work eight hours at your regular job and then rush over to the rink to work another four-five hours working in the canteen. FUN! - not really.
Let me tell you that Saturday morning vacuuming seemed like a nice change. After I post this, I hope to get into something a little more creative.

So, here are my wonderful, exciting, exhilarating, mind-blowing convention pictures! This blurry one above is of the new President - my apologies to him if he happens to pop onto this blog - maybe if he smiled a bit more, and didn't take it all so seriously (all the time!), then maybe, just maybe, the photo would have turned out clear.

This blurry photo is of most of the Provincial Ministers that took time out of their very busy schedules to come and answer questions from the 198 municipalities and their representatives that attended this convention. Issues included everything from agriculture, health care, crumbling infrastructure, water resources, and the list goes on and on.

The format is like a question period where people stand up at the mike and ask a question of one of the Ministers. Sometimes it can be very interesting depending on what the controversial question of the day is - and we had one.

Throughout the three and half day convention there are also a number of workshops to attend. As a Chief Administrative Officer/Development Officer, I felt it my duty to attend this particular workshop. The other one I attended was put on by the Schizophrenic Association and I discovered that in the "pursuit of happiness" I'm not doing so good. How do they figure that?!
I've been to quilting trade shows/conventions before and I really wish that this had been one of those . . . not a lot of creative juices flowing at a municipal convention!

Oh, but this made me happy!
My son gave me this picture - it measures about 17 x 24 and is mounted and ready to frame.
I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before or not, but my son is an artist. This is one of his most recent projects and I just love the detail . . . so, yeah, I really don't know who the characters are, but I LOVE the detail! If you click on it you should be able to make it bigger so that you can look closer at the buildings, the sky, the characters . . . I wish I could create things half as good as this. Maybe if I keep trying, by the time I'm 110 I'll have attained some of this ability.

This is a portrait that he did when he was 16 or 17 - I'm one of those Mom's that keep everything their kids have ever drawn. I have this framed as well.

And, this particular portrait of a jockey is one that has some really good critiques on Deviant Art - many people think this is a black and white photo. Once again, click on the picture to enlarge it and check out the detail - he amazes me!
So now that I'm out of my bad mood about convention, I think I'll go grab a pencil or two and see what hits the paper. How about you? What are you doing for your creative soul today?
'til next time,

Friday, 21 November 2008

Aussie Giveaways and Questionable Politics

All of you visitors from Australia need to stop over at That's Graphic to enter for this Christmas giveaway. Look at all these wonderful goodies! Get your name in there for a chance - and good luck.

While you're there (Australian or otherwise!) check out the free Christmas graphics that are so generously being offered for the Season. This is one of the beautiful creations . . .

Isn't this yummy gorgeous? So very, very pretty! I would love this image on my 2008 Christmas cards . . . so over-the-top delicious!!
AND, unfortunately, on that note . . . I'll be taking myself off for four or five days. I'll be off to the wonderful land of municipal government convention politics. Yup . . . I'm heading to the big "Peg" for a little ridiculous political upgrade - I'd so rather be quilting, that I find it hard to get all thrilled and excited about infrastructure and health care. I know those topics are extremely critical to the well-being of any country . . . but I'm not a country! I know that what I learn I will be able to bring back and provide a better service to my ratepayers - (just in case any are watching!) My problem is with politicians and unfortunately without sufficient education and experience there are many that are leading in areas that they have no right to even consider leading.

So . . . on that same note, I will head out to be completely educated on issues of great importance . . . and the ones that should be going to be educated stay behind in the belief that they know all and there is nothing new to learn.

AND . . . while I'm there, I will spend my evenings with my children and maybe, just maybe a special book store and also try and squeeze in a trip to a favorite quilt shop. It's always good if you can turn a difficult journey into one of enlightenment and inspiration. That is what I will strive for this coming week . . . wish me luck?

And if you're really lucky, I'll try and remember to take a picture of the convention room - just so you can see all the excitement that I'll be dealing with. Stay tuned!

'til next time,


Oh! P.S. I'll also be checking in to find out how certain retreats and charm mystery thingies are going . . . I'm still watching. Anyone up for a Starbucks??


Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Scrap Happy . . .

So . . . my husband says to my last night, "What kind of quilt are going to make out of these?"

That comment did deserve a slap and a bit of a laugh . . . but, really, he's not all that far off! We do sew together some pretty small pieces to make our wonderful creations, don't we?

Just not this small . . . that would be ridiculous - wouldn't it?

Those scraps are the trimmings from all of my blue half-square triangles. What a lot of trimming, I might add! My fingers cannot take all that work all at one time, so it was a task that was drawn out into four or five days, just whenever the mood struck me.

This is going to be a very nice blue, scrappy quilt . . . the tones are my kind of tones.
Applique? Maybe . . . we will see down the road.
In the meantime, it is now time to sew all those little triangles into 3" squares and then once that is done, a bit more of this, and maybe some of that, will be added on.

Of course now my sewing room is a complete mess again! I noticed this stack of fabric thrown haphazardly over some of my favorite books.

The titles are almost as eclectic as my fabric choices lately. There's a bit of Mary Engelbriet, business card design, a book on RED, and even an elementary school reading book which has wonderful old pictures that were just made to inspire.
Whether it's scraps of fabric or scrappy books, there are so many things in our days that we keep close by for comfort and inspiration. Take a look around your work area . . . what do you see?
'til next time,

Monday, 17 November 2008

Stitchery Weekend . . .

A few projects are getting that little bit closer to being finished. What a great feeling that is!

Busy, busy fingers . . . that was me - morning, noon and night. After a very interrupted week, it was nice to get some quality time in on these projects. Monday to Friday working is bad enough, but when you throw in an evening meeting as well, it seems to unbalance my routine that much more.

Borders are the next thing in line for this quilt. First I need to make that all important decision as to what kind of borders I want. I have fabric strewn all over the living room floor right now, waiting for inspiration to hit me as I walk by. Hope it hits me soon!

Someone is not supposed to be up on the kitchen counters . . . nor is she supposed to be up on top of the fridge. Shadow is looking just a little guilty, don't you think.

Just a little side note here: Why was I blessed with two black cats that never photograph very well? I see some beautiful photography out there with the lighter colored felines, but, alas, not my blackies. After 16 and 17 years with these two, I bet I have maybe, if I'm lucky, two "really good" pictures of each of them. That's a lot of bad photography on my part!

Doesn't this guy just make you smile? He is so adorable! I'm sure someone (male or female) will appreciate him on their Christmas placemat for the Meals on Wheels program. I machine quilted the diamond checkerboard over the entire placemat . . . except where Santa is sitting in the one corner. These turned out just as nice as all the others and my stack is growing . . . so are all the bindings that still need stitched down.

Not my design girls! I wish it was though . . . Nancy Halvorsen has the cuteness factor all wrapped up in the quilting industry. I really like that "Jingle All The Way" wall hanging and will have to check my schedule to see if I can fit that in before December 25th.

Has anyone checked out the website for Quilter Blogs yet. If you're looking for one-stop reading of blogs, this place is for you.
'til next time,