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,

Friday, 14 November 2008

Pretty Mornings and Happy Fabric

Last night brought some more snow . . . but first it rained . . .

. . . and then the snow stuck.

Of course I head to work before the sun has a chance to even warm up, so I have nice overcast, blue pictures to show everyone the beautiful snow covered scenery.

I know there is a setting on the camera (somewhere!) that could help eliminate some of the blue . . . but it's cold standing out there taking photos and I was in a hurry. My photography teacher would be appalled and very disappointed in my skills - or lack there of! (Sorry - Lloyd).

Bad photography or not . . . this is very happy fabric.

I love this print - it is so very cheerful, don't you think?

Another monthly shipment just arrived from the Fat Quarter Shop and it's just the thing needed to put a little warmth into this cool, damp start to Winter 2008.

This collection is called "Recipe For Friendship" by Mary Engelbreit for Moda (of course!).

Plus I have officially given up on my resolution not to order anymore fabrics from the U.S. I received an email yesterday that all (or almost all) the fabric at The Fabric Depot is 35% off until tomorrow sometime. Stop by and have a look . . . I think even with the exchange rate it still works out cheaper than around here - that is if we could even find fabric like this around here. Happy shopping - I sure did!

'til next time,

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Quilt Giveaways, Christmas Freebies and Harness Racing!

The Old Red Barn Co. is having a quilt giveaway. I know this is plastered all over the internet right now . . . but really, you only need one entry to win - right? I know someone on my Christmas list who would love one of these.

And speaking of Christmas . . . That's Graphic has some wonderful Christmas graphics for free download that would look great on your blog page. Go have a look!

Now for the harness racing part of the title . . . does anyone have access to a fabric historian or know how old this fabric is?

Does anyone have an inspiring idea as to whether or not this would make a great quilt or not?

I love the images on this fabric . . . not a lot of detail, but just enough to make it action-packed and full of movement . . .

You could almost create your own imaginary race day story and I'm sure this fabric has a story or two to tell. I've had my eye on it for about three years now - these were found as a set of old curtains . . . but it was very obvious that in a previous life they were something else. The curtains were not complete panels of the fabric but large pieces sewn together as needed.

The fabric is a bit heavier weight cotton than our quilting cottons, but not too much heavier and most of it is in good shape and could certainly be made into a harness racing themed quilt.
Anyone out there into harness racing and have a unique idea?
I'm waiting to hear from you . . .
'til next time,

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Cold, Winter Day!

I hate the cold . . .

It's even harder to take when there is no sunshine. Dreary, dreary, dreary.

Even my once happy, colorful pumpkins look dreary.

Even the dreary deer have returned to town. Scrounging around looking for something good to eat . . . probably hiding from all the hunters. I believe that dreary season started yesterday.

On a brighter note . . . dreary days are good for quilting.
I can lock myself away in my basement and sew all day.

This morning I finished Myra's Mystery from I finished it before the revised posting was done and therefore my version of Criss Cross Apple Sauce is missing the "criss cross" part. I'm still liking it and will use it on the dining room table with a Christmas cactus in the centre.
Yes, I have a Christmas cactus blooming right now . . . just a little early, I know!
And look at these cheerful fellows . . . they are so cute! I have finished the blanket stitching on them now but haven't taken the photo yet . . . maybe later today. Still working on stitching down lots and lots of binding . . .
'til next time,

Monday, 10 November 2008

Santa x 6

equals: a bunch of Santas!

The Brandon Quilt Group have taken on the project of making placemats for the Meals on Wheels program and will be donating them in time for Christmas giving.

I made three with the snowman fabric on the right,

. . . and three with the dark green print on the right.

The snowman print ones were machine quilted with cream thread and the dark green ones were quilted with the variegated thread. The placemats are all trimmed up now and have the binding sewn on . . . they're just waiting for me to hand stitch it all to the back side.

All six aren't for the Brandon Quilt Group donation . . . I have plans for some of the other ones, plus I have more on the sewing table just waiting for some more details. Couldn't stop at two . . . nope. Not me!

See you tomorrow,


Tuesday, 4 November 2008

More Mysteries . . .

The next "clue" in Myra's Mystery has now been posted and this is what I have so far.

Now I have to wait until next Monday to see how it is all going to go together. I'm really enjoying this little side project that is completely different to the other things I'm working on. It only takes a short time to do each step and then you set it aside until the next clue comes along and then you do a bit more. As long as I don't lose any of the pieces before the end, I'll make it through with flying colors - I hope!

I have trimmed all the edges on my Dad's Christmas quilt now and cut the binding strips this morning before work. I hope to get them all sewn on tonight and then work on the hand stitching part over the next week or so.

See the little raggy trees there in the background and the cute snowman - this is such a fun project! I love the flannel . . . it is so soft and cuddly.

Machine applique is one of my very favorite things to do . . . it is so tidy and quick and looks fantastic on flannel. I did have a picture of the whole quilt right here and then deleted it. The colors just weren't quite right so I'll try and get a better one and show you soon.
Any pointers on washing a flannel quilt with raggy seams? I've been picking little pieces off the quilt for the past couple of weeks and I can only imagine how messy this is going to get in the washer and dryer.
I know lots of quilters have made the raggy quilts, but I've never asked just what the process was after it was all quilted. There are not a lot of raggy seams on this quilt - only the trees, so it won't be as bad as the ones with all the exposed seams. Do I just throw it in and see what happens? Or should it be washed on delicate and only partially dried by machine? Any pointers are really appreciated!
I also got started on the Christmas placemat project and I'm just about ready to start doing a bit of applique on it - hopefully tonight also. I'm only trying one of this pattern to see how it turns out and whether I like it enough to make a few more. I'll keep you posted on the progress . . .
'til next time,

U.S. Election Day!

I'm finding this so interesting to follow . . . will it be McCain or Obama?
So much more interesting than the election we just had . . . why is that? The hype, the people, the platforms, the two year race?
Look at those lineups of people going out to vote! Wow!!!! In our small town we have one table, one voting booth, maybe two or three in line and we're visiting the whole time. What a difference . . . really something to see . . . and I'll be watching tonight to see how it all turns out. I'll be watching other stuff also (or maybe quilting) and just check back every so often to see how things are going.
Sorry there are no photos today - again! Something is up with my high speed Internet provider at home and things just would not connect again this morning.
I finished machine quilting my Dad's Christmas quilt last night - still need to darn in some threads, do the binding and put some eyes on the snowmen. I'm really liking it . . . it would be so easy to finish it off and just throw it on our sofa and leave it there . . . oh, what if I did that? I'd have to make him another one, wouldn't I?
I'll post pictures as soon as I get reconnected . . .
'til next time,

Monday, 3 November 2008

Christmas Sewing . . .

Yes, I know! It seems a little early for Christmas sewing . . . at least for me. There are probably some of you out there that have most of your Christmas planning and sewing all done. Not me!

My quilt group in Brandon has taken on the task this year of making and distributing placemats for folks that use the "Meals on Wheels" program at Christmas time. So I thought it was time to pull out some of the December issues of some of my magazine collection and see what inspires me this year. It is so easy to get distracted looking through magazines! You always spend more time looking than planning.

Next came out the Christmas fabric scraps - I bet some of these are 20 years old.

Just a little walk down memory lane with some of these scraps.

They all needed ironed before I could even see how big the pieces were - that took some more time.

Then I had to see what size some of the bigger pieces were to determine what smaller pieces coordinate the best.

Then I finally laid out the pieces that MIGHT go together the best. Lots of choosing and discarding, re-choosing and more discarding . . . I love this part of designing. The old creative side of the brain can kick in and go to work.

The next part of the day was spent cutting apart the kadrillion triangles for my newest project and pressing them all.

What a lovely little (Huge!) stack.

Now they all need squared up into neat little 2" squares. That sounds painful to me . . . my hand always aches after cutting a 100 or so. This will be a work in progress for a while - I'll be doing this job in stages.

The rest of my day was spent doing more machine quilting on my Dad's Christmas quilt . See . . . I have thought about Christmas - I'm not as far behind as I thought I was! Actually, to tell the truth, the quilt top was done last January, so now I'm just finalizing what I had already started a long time ago. I should finish the quilting tonight if all goes well and then I can get the sewing machine back to sewing projects that are waiting in line. Like maybe the next step in Myra's Mystery Quilt. Looking forward to whatever is going to happen next. How are you doing with the project? Everyone have their sewing all done from last week?

'til next time,