Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Stop by Myra's blog and see what she is giving away for her 200th post!

I know I have the pattern and the ceramic tile for that somewhere. I'm definitely going to be following along with the tutorial she has also posted. But if I am the lucky winner then I could make it for someone else . . . early Christmas sewing maybe?
Good luck everyone!
'til next time,

Monday, 29 September 2008

It's Raining Acorns!

. . . and I mean RAINING!
You pretty much need a hard hat to do anything in the yard. These things are pinging off the deck, the patio table, punching holes in my deck plants and just generally becoming a huge nuisance. You can't walk anywhere without twisting your ankle almost.
Some years there are hardly any and then this year there are thousands. Funny thing is though that you still hear the squirrels fighting in the trees . . . what are they fighting over? There is more than enough to keep 20 dozen squirrel families happy all winter long.
Now here is a tree in the yard that doesn't hurtle missiles at you . . . only gently falling yellow leaves. It's hard to believe that this tree will only have bare branches to show the world in another week or so.

I had my inspector on duty this weekend . . . double checking the machine quilting situation on this quilt that just keeps going on and on and on. The inspector advises that things are looking pretty much done now. That is very good news for me!
Of course the bad news is that this is quilt #1 of two . . . and #2 has some design modifications that will need to be made. Not with the blocks . . . they worked great . . . but just in the layout. So if you think the first quilt went on and on, wait 'til we see how far the second one can be dragged out. This one hasn't even gone to the tester yet . . . so it will still be a while before it is completely revealed - (sorry Myra!).
Working Monday to Friday and trying to squeeze in all the designing, sewing, printing and shipping details that go along with this whole crazy business, into early morning and late evening hours, is sometimes (almost always!) very frustrating. So many ideas and so little time.

Oh, I need to show you these lovely magazines that came in the mail. I'm not sure how many of you read the blogs from Australia, but I've been noticing all these references to the Homespun magazine and have looked for it on the newstands quite often. I have only been fortunate enough to pick up one or two issues locally, so I thought I would do some research and find out if the magazines could be ordered on line. They can! Plus you can subscribe to it (and many other quilting and stiching magazines) or you can order back issues like I did.

So, if you're like me, and haven't quite spent all your hard earned money on fabric and related items, you might want to check out this website www.craftmags.com and see if they have what you are looking for.

Happy shopping!

'til next time,


Thursday, 25 September 2008

Quilting Revealed . . .

Well, maybe.

Mysty doesn't really think you should be peeking just yet . . . she's trying to cover the camera lens and almost succeeding.

So I had to have a little talk with her that it is now time to share and she seems to have resigned herself to the fact that we are not going to keep these patterns to ourselves any longer.

But she said only two for now . . . she thought we should save two for a little later. She also reminded me that the other two are not really quilts anyway . . .

This design is called Shadow Stars and it goes together really neat. Choosing the perfect colors is half the fun in making this little wallhanging. A fussy cut fabric could be used in the centre of either the star formation or the shadow block for an even different look. The pattern includes both traditional and foundation piecing directions so you can choose which method works best for you.

This quilt was so much fun to design . . . a bit of embroidery, piecing, appliques and then yo-yo's to top it all off. It is so cheerful and bright that I just love having it in my kitchen so that I can see it every time I go by. I know the photo above doesn't show the embroidery very well . . .

so I took this photo for you . . . to better show the embroidery details. It was so much fun to work on! Of course if you don't have time to do the embroidery detail, you could quite easily substitute the centre block with a checkerboard block or any other pieced block. The actual block in the quilt is called Chicken Foot and that is where the embroidery design came from.
Neither of these patterns have reached my distributors yet, so until they do they are available by contacting me. These two designs and the other two that haven't been revealed yet, will be making their debut at Quilt Market in Houston in October.

Fall is such a great time of year for enjoying fresh from the garden veggies. No chemical preservatives or other weird sprays to scrub off - just bug poop!

Have a wonderful day . . . and eat your vegetables.

'til next time,


Sunday, 21 September 2008

The World of Transportation

What a wonderful museum! This is actually one of four development museums in Saskatchewan . . . each one focuses on a different theme. Yorkton's museum is "Story of People", Saskatoon is "1910 Boomtown" and North Battleford is "Heritage Farm & Village".

Moose Jaw's museum is all about transportation and they have packed in every imaginable mode of transportation that was ever used on the Prairies.

Who knew that the first electric powered vehicle in these parts was actually produced almost 30 years ago. The prototype had issues with the cold winters or something.

How could it have taken 30 years to perfect a car that could function in our cold climate? With all of the technology that has been available to us in the last 30 years, it baffles me that there was not some wonderful, forward thinking soul out there that couldn't have found the solution. Are we any closer today? Let's hope so!

The museum in Moose Jaw is the official Canadian Snowbirds gallery and features some of the actual planes, cockpits and other interesting items that goes along with the Snowbird legends. There was also another complete section of the museum that was devoted to airplanes which also included a workshop where a group met to rebuild old airplanes. It was interesting seeing all of the parts of planes in various stages of completion.

Of course the train could not be forgotten . . . these took up a great portion of the museum. Everything from cabooses, engines, passenger cars and model trains were featured.

Railway workers were paid $1.50 per day, but their room and board was $4.50 per week! Wouldn't be considered a really good week's wages. Hard work and low wages . . . a perfect reason to stay in bed in the morning!

Thank goodness it was "forbidden" to throw live coals, hot ashes or any burning materials from the train. Imagine if you were in the wrong place at the wrong time and had that thrown on you! Do you think they really needed a sign to tell people that? Common sense was maybe as hard to come by back then as it is today?

How many of you still have the melamine dishes from back in the 50's and 60's? Believe it or not, I have a box full in my basement! They are antiques, aren't they? Sure would like a snazzy toaster like that though.

Ha! I bet you thought there was nothing quilty about this post! There was a transportation quilt that was done in 2003 hanging in the entrance of the museum. Very detailed and wonderfully done . . . look at the Snowbird formation near the top of the quilt.

K . . . that is the final installment of my trip. Next post will have some quilty pictures . . . I promise.

'til next time,


"History Goes Underground"

As I continue the tour in Moose Jaw, I have to apologize that there are no pictures of the tunnels.

They do not allow pictures to be taken in the tunnels and let me tell you, I don't think the lighting would have been very good in many of the areas that we were in. But what a couple of very interesting tours! A real eye opener.

This is the interior of the renovated old building where you can purchase your tickets, view historical pictures and buy souvenirs. There are two tours that you can take - one is the "Little Chicago - Al Capone" tour and the other is "The Passage to Fortune" tour. All participants congregate in the small lobby here . . . it gets pretty busy right before a tour departs.

Neither tour actually begins in this building . . . everyone leaves by the front door and walks a half a block down the street and takes a bunch of steps downwards or you head across the street into a coffeehouse and climb a bunch of stairs to stand outside double doors that have this (out-of-focus!) sign attached -

The Chicago Connection tour took us into the secret tunnels that Al Capone and his cohorts used when they headed north in the 1920s . . . guns, booze and women were definitely the way of life back then. We had a wonderful tour guide named "Gus" who was a true character and added to the whole underground experience.

The second tour was a glimpse into the harsh way of life that Chinese immigrants discovered when they were brought over to Canada in the early 1900s. The tunnels where they lived and worked were deplorable and the tour was outstanding in demonstrating the intolerable conditions that these folks endured.

It really is amazing to see all these tunnels and all the little secret doorways, secret rooms and all of the authentic furnishings. Highly recommended!

Now onto quilting . . . . busy sewing binding on a huge gift quilt - seems to be taking forever! My pattern tester has finished the third pattern and all reports are good . . . now I need to finalize the pictures for the pattern fronts and get some printing going on. Quilt #2 of pattern number 4 is 3/4 of the way pieced and then it can be sent on to my tester.

Yesterday was a complete write-off - I got into some dust very early in the morning and the rest of the day was a blur of medication and survival. Even had to pass up a supper out and sent everyone on without me while I suffered under the covers. This morning is looking much brighter and I have high hopes for the day.

Wishing you a happy Sunday . . .

'til next time,


Thursday, 18 September 2008

Dog River - Road Trip

Of course many people on the Prairies (and beyond?) have seen an episode or two of Corner Gas. A television series that focuses on small town life on the Prairies . . . very well done . . . and very funny.

I'm afraid that I don't watch a lot of television, but I do have family members that watch the show quite faithfully. It was really interesting to drive into this little town, in the middle of nowhere almost, and imagine how the town is during filming.

It was also interesting to note that on the Monday morning the actors were on Canada A.M. talking about the final season. They indicated that all of the interior filming was done in a studio in Regina and only the actual outdoor shots were done in Dog River a.k.a. Rouleau, Saskatchewan.

If you've never tried a SmileBox creation, here's your chance . . .

Click to play Dog River - Corner Gas

Make a Smilebox scrapbook

'til next time,


Monday, 15 September 2008

Quilters' Haven Inspiration

except, of course, for this little pillow kit that I purchased from The Quilt Patch in Moose Jaw, SK - can't wait to find a little patch of time to get this one started. I already have the perfect spot all picked out where it will perch - that would make the spot a "posy pillow perch"!

and . . . no, I didn't pay three dollars for the kit - it was a bit more than that . . . not sure why there's a $3.00 taggy thingy.
Actually I visited Quilters' Haven before The Quilt Patch, but I didn't have all the photos together yesterday for that posting.

I'll apologize before I start this paragraph for the quality of the photo . . . my only excuse is that I was so surprised, shocked and extremely thrilled to see this little quilt.
How exciting to turn a corner and BOOM! there is one of my designs . . . all made up and looking fabulous. I had a wonderful visit with one of the owners . . . I know I have her name marked down somewhere! (. . . I'll keep looking for that - anyone who knows me, knows I'm terrible with names.)
They make this pattern up as a kit and have had a really good run with it . . . these old fashioned elevators are becoming more and more difficult to find. So if you're looking for a kit . . .

The "Haven" is a cozy quilt shop that, on an early Saturday morning, was very busy helping/teaching a couple of ladies the finer points of a technique. Everything from fabric selection to a guiding hand in the methodology. Wonderful gals to visit with and to ask help from.

Of course there were wonderful samples throughout the shop - (can you pick out mine in the background there!???)

This quilt was extra special and was brought out of hiding to show me . . . isn't it wonderful . . . all of those barns just seem to belong so nicely together and the details were superb. This is actually a block of the month and is available on their website at : http://www.quiltershaveninc.ca/ (Sorry I don't remember the designer's name).
Be sure to have a look at the rest of their site - and I know they are travelling to quite a few shows this Fall also, so everyone in Manitoba and Saskatchewan - keep your eyes open! Everyone else . . . . stop by their site and have a look around.
'til next time,

Chocolate Mooses and Quilts

Guess where I was over the weekend . . .

Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan!

Everyone from Manitoba is familiar with Moose Jaw . . . but there are probably a few that have never had the pleasure of visiting this little city. For those from other parts of the world, this is one place you should stop in to visit if you're ever out and about on the Canadian Prairies. Not only are there quilt shops, but there are a variety of very interesting tourist stops also. So over the next couple of days I will touch on some of the highlights that we saw on our weekend away.

The first quilt shop I stopped in at was The Quilt Patch. Please stop by their website: http://www.thequiltpatch.ca/ and have a look at the wonderful patterns they have . . . most are designed by staffers. The quilt shown on the wall here is a block of the month quilt (6 months) and starts in November. I have signed up for this - my first block of the month I have ever participated in . . . so if you sign up for it also, please let me know and we can keep tabs on each other! It is part quilting cottons and wool appliques . . . very, very nice . . . I can't wait 'til November though . . . would be fun to get started sooner. I even bought a small little wool pillow kit, just so I could get some practice in - I'll show you next time.

This was a class that they held last year I believe - Flowers Around New York. One of the girls in the Brandon group bought the kit and made it - very, very stunning! I also made one that was quite similar using the Kansas Troubles fabric line - turned out beautiful (still need to quilt it though). This kit is available on their website.

The quilt featured here is also available on their site and is called Hannah Bella - very pretty with the browns and pinks. The fabric selection was wonderful throughout the store . . . lots of fat quarters, jelly rolls and yardage. There was even a classroom and Christmas corner upstairs - well worth the visit if you're ever in Moose Jaw. The Quilt Patch was also featured in a past issue of the Quilt Sampler magazine and the staff were very friendly - my husband had to pull me out of this place!

I have so many things to tell you . . . but I can't do it all in one day . . .

'til next time,


Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Honest! . . . I've been busy . . .

I just don't have a lot to show just yet.

I have quite a number of projects on the go. The parts shown above may look familiar to my regular visitors . . . this is round two with the leftovers . . . I usually try to test my patterns at least twice before I send it out for the final testing. Am I sick and tired of these prints yet - no way! The first quilt I made is actually a gift and this one above will be mine to use for trade shows and trunk shows . . . when it is done it will join the stack of quilts on the spare bed.

I have sent four patterns away to my tester for "testing" . . . that always makes me nervous. So far, so good . . . any questions have been easily dealt with and I haven't had to throw out any patterns yet.

The writing process of patterns is difficult . . . trying to explain everything in such a manner that any level of quilter will be able to understand. It seems you word and re-word everything about a dozen times before you feel it can be sent on to be tested . . . by the time it leaves my doorstep I'm not really sure what is in the pattern anymore - I've looked at it too many times.

And then the process of making friends with new equipment is always interesting. How come the printer that came free with my laptop was superior to the one that I just paid a couple hundred dollars for? I have now learned how the scanning feature works - it needs to be hooked up right! Full steam ahead now . . .

In yesterday's mail my September fat 1/4 package arrived . . . Wildflower Serenade by Kansas Troubles for Moda - rich, rich colors!

This is one of my favorite prints out of the 12 that came . . . I love those small dainty, country prints. This little stack will now be added to all the other stacks that have been collecting in the sewing room . . .

I know we're not supposed to wish our lives away . . . but gee whiz . . . how about a little more time quilting . . . would that be too much to wish for!
Wishing you happy quilting days . . .
'til next time,

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Tag Along With Me . . .

Of course the intro could be taken a couple of different ways.

I went for my usual 2 km walk at noon hour on Friday and took the camera along so that you could "Tag" along with me.

Manitoba is right into harvesting right now . . . the office is nice and quiet - there is hardly anyone around . . . the farmers are up early on the fields and out late on the fields . . . barring break downs or rain showers. Things are looking really good . . . if you're a farmer!

All the flowers and weeds are setting seeds and some of the closeups are really awesome. It was a really windy walk and trying to get some of these things to stay still long enough for a photo was very trying!

A few of them were lucky enough to come back to the office for a photo shoot of their very own . . . without the wind element involved. I just love getting down into these plants with the macro and seeing all the tiny, tiny construction details. Click on the photos to make them larger and have a look - it is really fascinating!

Since I had you "Tag" along for my walk, I must also tell you that I have been "tagged" by Jennifer from DownUnder.

Here are the rules:

1. Link to the person who “tagged” you.

2. Post the rules on your blog.

3. Write six random things about yourself.

4. Tag six people at the end of your post.

5. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

6. Let the tagger know your entry is up.

So I've got #1 and #2 covered, now I need to write 6 random things. OK, this is going to be tough!
1. I have credit cards . . . don't get me wrong. I love my credit cards . . . but I NEVER, and I mean NEVER pay interest. My cards are always paid off every month . . . usually before they are due . . . I hate the idea of giving money to banks in the form of interest. Let's face it . . . they nickle and dime us to death for every service they provide and there is no way I'm giving the more.

2. I quit quilting for almost nine years! Back in the early 90's I became a single mom and had to make a decision not to take any old job, but to choose a career that paid well, no evenings and no weekends and good vacation time off. So back to school I went and then I continued taking courses for another 8 years after that until I got to where I felt that I had accomplished what I had set out to do. It was a long nine years! All my fabric, sewing machine . . . everything . . . was all packed away. BUT - I'm having fun now!

3. I don't cook. My new, wonderful, talented husband (of 9 years) enjoys cooking. I go home after a hard day at the office and he cooks and we visit. It is a great way to unwind after a sometimes stressful day. I do the dishes though!

4. I don't dust. Once again my wonderful husband looks after that. Turns out that I have developed an allergy to household dust - no . . . really - I CAN'T DUST! If I get a whif of air borne household dust I'm sick for two days. I can do the kitty litter dust thing - not a problem . . . but regular dust - no way! I do the vacuuming though.

5. I make lists. I make lists for lists. I'm a list maker. Keeps me more organized (sorta) and on track (kinda).

6. I had an employee quit once because she said I was a perfectionist. Really!? . . . I'm not. There's nothing perfect about my life . . . maybe certain things need done a certain way . . . but that's not perfect. Is it?

So now you know a few weird and very wonderful things about me. Now I need to tag six more people. Em? Who will it be? I tag . . . , Myra,
This has taken me three days to write . . . I started on Friday and finally got everything organized for today. Of course today all the farmers are huddled in their cozy little houses watching the rain pouring down . . . no harvest work going on until maybe the middle of the week . . . but there is more rain in the forecast.
I'm taking the week off from work so more sewing/design/drawing time is planned. I'll keep you posted as to the progress.
'til next time,