Thursday, 29 January 2009

Mixed Bag . . .

of stuff . . .

I've made some more progress on the "looking for sunshine" project. Getting it ready to complete now, so by Monday the final reveal should happen.

Prepared some more applique pieces for the next phase . . . seems like lots of phases in this applique stuff!

I decided that this little item has been spray basted and sitting there for way too long, so I picked it up yesterday morning at 6:30 a.m. and started quilting. Almost finished it by 7:45 a.m. but figured I should go throw on some dress clothes, brush my teeth and head to work instead.

So it was finished last night before 8:00 p.m. I thought that was pretty good for me . . . new motto . . . dive in and "DO"!

Surprising what you can get done when you put your mind to it. I like these fabrics . . . they are by Myra and Cori at Blue Meadow Designs for RJR Fabrics. Speaking of which - where are they? Haven't seen them out and about since about a month ago! Let's all stop over at their blog and say hello and Happy New Year! Blue Meadow Designs.
The wall hanging pictured above was not their recent Mystery Quilt that some of us participated in, but is one of my pattern test projects that's shown over in the right-hand sidebar called Shadow Stars. This one looks completely different done in Myra and Cori's fabrics and is just as striking . . . it's always nice to see what different fabrics do for different patterns.
So click on their link now and leave a little "hello".
'til next time,

Monday, 26 January 2009

Looking for Sunshine . . .

I seem to be having a bout of the January blues. Every so often events occur that create the feeling that nothing seems all that interesting . . . days are kinda blah . . . really don't care about too much of anything . . . "whatever" happens, happens outlook on life. That's the way my Monday to Friday work week has become and it has been trying to overlap into my evenings and weekends also.

So . . . I'm taking charge! Don't get me wrong - I still feel "whatever" but I still recognize that by keeping busy, and YES!, also starting a new project that just happens to be bright and cheerful will do me more good than just letting the feelings take over.

I also know that starting another project, no matter how colorful and cheerful, may add to the feeling of being completely overwhelmed with all of the ongoing projects that are cluttering up my workspace, but . . . at least I'm doing SOMETHING! And in my book that is better than doing nothing.

I did finish the second block of this BOM and that felt good. It also kept my wandering, stressed-out, upset, confused, get-even-any-way-possible mind from exploding.

And then I grabbed this UFO from 2007 from the pile and even started calculating a fairly complex border idea so that it can someday be completed. I even got the applique pieces traced out on freezer paper and will hopefully get to the rest sometime this week. Maybe sometime between all the embroidery I have going on and quilting that wonderful piece of sunshine at the top of my post.

Wishing you a sunny, bright week,

'til next time,


Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Oh, What a Life!!!

The life of a feline . . . how sweet and adorable. Just looking at her makes me want to curl right up and snooze too.

That little gold paw has seen 17 winters, springs, summers and falls . . . just think of all the miles that little foot has on it - I'll give her a foot massage when she wakes up.

So while she dreams away I pull out some fabric and a magazine and do some more plotting. Of course this will all get put away until I finish some of the other projects on the go, but I just couldn't resist playing with those bright, springy colors . . . they are so cheerful!

So moving on to my ongoing project - I was able to get all the pieces ready and laid them out to get an idea of where things were all going to go. This is going to be a big block! Actually it is really four blocks all formed into one.

I did get the applique done on the one block . . . only three more to go. I'm liking it so far - just need to be careful with the points on the petals when doing the sewing, since they are not glued or pressed down they have a tendency to shift a bit, so I have to slow down a bit and adjust as I go. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things when the finished product looks like this.

I really like that pink and burgundy together . . . they look wonderful together. Will be working on the other three tonight and maybe some more embroidery on the other project also.

I came across a blog that I thought you might like to visit and I can't even remember how I stumbled upon it. But go check out the beautiful projects on this site: Don't Look Now. The colors are fabulous and the designs are so cheerful . . . I've got to start making brighter quilts! Usually I don't like the big, bright prints that are currently on the market right now, but seeing some of them used like this, just might make me reconsider. Have a look!

'til next time,


Saturday, 17 January 2009

Summer Baskets BOM

The second block of Summer Baskets came in yesterday's mail . . . but it doesn't seem like that many days ago that I finished the first block!

I'm really enjoying these little applique blocks because they work really well for when I just have a little bit of time to be creative. Like first thing in the morning before work or while making supper. Tracing the shapes or cutting out the shapes are things that can be monotonous if you sit down and try to do everything at once, but by breaking it up into little bits here and there makes you feel like you've accomplished something and next time you have a few minutes you'll be able to move onto another step.
After doing the first block though, I came to some conclusions about how this working with wool thing worked best for me. So I've prepared myself a little "to do list" and hopefully I can get started on parts of the list this weekend.

So by breaking it up into these little steps I'll be able to tick off things as I go - that always makes me feel good.

Everywhere I look in my sewing room right now I see applique! This project is coming right along . . . the embroidery is going quicker than expected, but there's still a long way to go - this is only the beginning.

When I get tired of doing embroidery, I can always stitch down some more of the shapes and when I get tired of that, I can start on my "to do list".
I also have the Bunny Hill blocks pinned up on the wall - they are so cheerful and motivating. I know I have to keep on top of what I'm working on because Anne's next block will be showing up in another couple of weeks.
Gotta keep going . . .
'til next time,

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

More Applique!

Remember my blue HST blocks?

This is part of that quilt!

I love the color combination - that bit of red is just what the blue was needing.

So the shapes were all made on Sunday . . .

pinned down on Monday . . .

. . . sewn down on Tuesday . . .

and the embroidery floss colors were chosen this morning.
75% of the embroidery design has been developed and down on paper, but modifications to the scale and flow in certain areas are still needing to be finalized. I love this part - creating a design, choosing the colors and then eventually seeing it all come to life in beautiful colors.
I really hope to be able to start the stitching on this tonight if all goes well. Of course this will be another one of my long-term projects (I seem to have a few of those!), but this way I never get bored with any one project because I have so many on the go.
I did finish "THAT" quilt (Myra will remember!) on Saturday and I now need to decide if I'm machine quilting it myself or sending it out . . . all these decisions take time!
'til next time,

Monday, 12 January 2009

De Je Vu?

Feels like I've done this before !

This is the second go-round for the Bunny Hill block . . . it's such a really fun block to do, so if you haven't given it a shot yet . . . go for it! They work up so quick and easy - you gotta try one.

I used fusible web for all of my shapes and then blanket stitched with as-close-to-matching thread that I had. I also made sure that I cut all my threads (front and back) long enough so that I could thread the front thread onto a needle and take it to the backside - then I just tied the back and front threads together in a beautiful little knot to secure everything in place. No one will ever see these and it will all get quilted down and no one will be the wiser.
Not sure if this how everyone else does it or not, but when I first started doing applique like this with just the machine back stitch, I wasn't happy with how insecure it looked, so now I go that little bit extra and feel much more confident that the stitches won't be coming out ten years from now. I didn't get this out of a "how-to" book, so if you have another way of doing it and would like to share, please let me know.
Some of my applique is done with the raw edge turned back (freezer paper method) and then invisible stitched to the main fabric, but in this particular BOM I felt I wanted something just a bit quicker so this was the method of choice for this quilt. Either way I'm convinced it's going to be a beautiful little quilt and my husband says that he likes the first block better because the second one is "girly" . . . that's just what I had planned . . . so I guess I'm on the right track!
As far as the gremlins from the previous post, I checked my blog this afternoon and found the blue background/edges were back . . . how did that happen? The weird part is that it kept the green centre from the blogger one that I had put in yesterday! Em . . . blue and green . . not sure about that so I'll have to do more research on how to get things moved around again.
'til next time,
PS: Just in case you haven't chosen a BOM yet this year, stop by Gail Pan Designs and check out her new nine month BOM - piecing and embroidery I think . . . looks very interesting!
PSS: Also check out the Great Summer Mystery Quilt from Helen that's just nicely got underway also.
Lots to see and do out there . . . so get out there and see and do!

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Gremlins are busy at work . . .

After I posted my pictures yesterday I noticed that my background had all disappeared!
I headed over to to pick out another background and discovered that they were having some issues with their site and I wouldn't be able to get a new background. I did a little bit of surfing around blogland and I noticed that the blogs that I knew used the Cutest Blog on the Block templates were still alright, so it had to be something with the photos that I posted.
So for now I have chosen something really simple from the blogger selections and we'll see what happens later in the week. I also chose a new blog header for now and I'll make a firmer decision on it once I have a new background.

Hope your Sunday is going smoother than mine . . .

'til next time,

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Decision Made!

I have chosen the fabrics for the Bunny Hill BOM! . . .

they just kinda showed up in yesterday's mailbox.

Yup, this is the January, 2009 package from The Fat Quarter Shop and it is going to work out just fine (I think!). It is called Nature's Chorus by April Cornell.

The fat quarters are always sent flat . . . not like your regular fat quarters that you buy at the store, so I always iron them and then fold them into the little fat quarters stacks that we're used to seeing. So while I was doing this enjoyable little task, I started noticing that maybe this particular section of a print would work for this and this other print would work for that. I even went onto the Moda website to check out the fabrics that Anne had mentioned that they were using in the BOM. Now after looking at what she has chosen for the year-long project, I thought that maybe I would also need some lights and other mixables to add in . . . I remembered some fat quarters that I had purchased from Connecting Threads about a year ago and sure enough they all blend together! Still don't really have any browns for baskets, so maybe mine will be all flower baskets . . . who knows . . . we'll see what each month brings.

For now I'm just happy to have discovered my little stash (and newly established stash) will work just fine.

This photo is of our backyard and it is showing the MESS that the deer have been making. Remember the post from back in the Fall where I was swearing at all the acorns? Now I can swear at all the deer who are thinking that these make some pretty good munchies.
Every night, all night long, there are at least two deer out here digging and eating. I hope there's still grass there in the Spring after all their rootin' around . . . I know there's lots of fertilizer mixed in!
I ran out of time today to start on my second Bunny Hill block . . . the borders on my quilt took longer than expected (but they're done!) . . . so tomorrow is scheduled for another snowman/basket block. I'll post it when it's done . . .
Have a great Saturday night!
'til next time,

Friday, 9 January 2009

BOM Updates

I've finished Anne's first block - he's such a cute little guy and it goes together so fast! I'm seeing some finished blocks out there that are done in wool (Cottons n' Woolens) and they are looking very warm and toastie. My wool stash is not up to the standards that would be required to complete one block let alone a whole quilt, so I will be sticking to my cottons.

I like my fabric choices but now that I'm done I wish I had of put a backing on the stars so that the handle wasn't showing through. And then it dawned on me this morning that I should be using one of my beautiful packages of fat quarters that I get from the Fat Quarter Shop every month - each basket would be from one of each of the prints and then the other parts of the block could be from some of the other coordinating prints with just the odd scrap of whatever to fill in when necessary. That way the whole quilt at the end of the 12 months would be coordinated from the one fabric line. So now I need to check out which package of fat quarters would work best for this new idea and then make this little block a second time. Maybe I'll even put a smile on the next one instead of the weird smirk that he has on his face right now!

The first block of the Summer Baskets BOM is now complete and pinned up on the wall. The next package should be arriving any day with the second block - it looks like a bigger block and may take some more concentration . . . how much fun will that be!
It was wonderful to meet some of you Anne's out there (and a couple of AKA's, too!) Thank you to all those that stopped by and said hello . . . it was great to hear from you.
This weekend I'll be (hopefully!) finishing a quilt top that I've been working on for quite some time. For some reason I just couldn't settle on a border design that I liked but have now finally decided what I'm going to do - so if all goes as planned that will be my weekend. Although Crazy For Primitives and Gardens posted about her weekend plans yesterday and that looks really interesting too - I even went and found the magazine with the pattern in it and have it set out. But . . . NO, I am not (will not) start another project!
Have a great weekend everyone.
'til next time,

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

"Anne" is a wonderful name . . .

What a short, simple, elegant, easy-to-remember kind of name!

The name "Anne" seems to be popping up a lot the last few days and this will be my post to honor a couple of Anne's.

The first Anne posted a comment on my "Domesticated" post a few days ago and I was so thrilled to receive such a lovely comment! But, alas, Anne did not have a link back to her blog, (or she doesn't have a blog) so I was not able to go back and thank her for her wonderful, cheery comments. She said that she had spent a couple of hours touring through my blog and I was just tickled to know that someone does the same thing that I do! Every-so-often I will find a blog that just takes my fancy, for whatever reason, and I'll go back through all the posts from the beginning of time . . . do all of you do that also?

So, the reason I'm bringing this up, besides saying a big hearty Thank You! to Anne, is to let everyone know that they can post too. You don't need a blog of your own . . . you don't need to use your real name (maybe use "Anne" because it is such a sweet name!) . . . you don't even have to put a name! You can use "Anonymous" if you're very nice and mean it in the the very best of terms (like the sweet gal who also left a comment on "Domesticated").

I know there are many of you out there . . . I can see it on my Feedjit Live Traffic Feed thingy. So, here's a little challenge to everyone stopping by . . . leave a "hi" as you pass through next time . . . maybe even put your name in as "Anne" and we'll see how many we can tally up (if Anne really is your name or middle name, make sure and let me know!).

It's become apparent that I have mistakenly left out the "Ann" spelling version (which of course is even shorter, simpler and, dare I say, more elegant than the longer version of the spelling) from my aforementioned challenge . . . so please insert the name "Ann" wherever the "Anne" is and play along. (This is so much fun . . . how many Ann/Anne's are out there!)

Now, onto another "Anne" . . . and this is one of my favorites. Anne Sutton from Bunny Hill Designs is such a fun, helpful person out there in blogland and this morning when I opened my bloggy dashboard, I noticed that she has undertaken to entertain us all for a full year of Block-of-the-Month mystery designs!

Just look at this adorable block! THANK YOU, ANNE!

I have the pattern all downloaded and ready to start . . . but, really, can I take on another BOM? I'm going to challenge myself to really, really try to keep up with this one . . . if the rest of the blocks are as wonderful as this first one, I'm going to be in for the long haul.

So head on over to Anne's place and get your pattern!

'til next time,


p.s. My middle name is "Anne"!

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Showing Off My Backside!

. . . made you look, didn't I?

It's the backside of my snowman stitchery from last year. Every one's talking about finishing things and I thought I would start off with this one. I also thought that the "wrong" side really does have a somewhat messy story tell . . . but, let's face it, it could be worse!

This is a Crabapple Hill design that I thought was adorable. Of course, it has been done for quite some time and just laying there waiting for me to do something with it. I have now found a backing for it and have seamed all around the outside, except for 3 - 4", and will now proceed to stuff it into a nice plump pillow - tonight after work, I hope.

The good thing I'm finding about January is that all the storage units come on sale - retailers are trying to promote the organization lifestyle thingy. So, last week my dear husband extended the height on my cutting table and we pre-measured the storage unit size that we were needing. Low, and behold if they weren't on sale at Canadian Tire this past Saturday and Sunday! I bought two 5 bin units at 55% off and proceeded to tear one apart and add a bin to the bottom of the grey unit (in the middle) - (you can do that you know!). The other 5 bin unit is set apart from these ones and is holding everything from art supplies to more fabric.

And, while I was sorting out fabric and whatnot for the storage bins, I also starting reorganizing my bookshelves. Wow, does that ever feel good! You will notice that the diet books are still on the shelf . . . maybe I should consider taking those down soon and making use of them.

As promised, here is a photo of the finished/framed stitchery that I was working on last week.

This was a free design offered by Gail Pan Designs, and I think if you pop over to her blog, you should still be able to get a copy of your own and have it all ready for this coming December - it's never too early to get started!
'til next time,

Friday, 2 January 2009


Yeah right!!

I used to be . . . before I went to work for a living, but not anymore. I work and quilt, sometimes vacuum and clean bathrooms, plus wash the odd dish here and there.

And then I see people like Anna Maria Horner, Martha Stewart and other homemaker-type divas and I do wish I had all the time in the world to accomplish even 1/2 of what these ladies are doing. I received a copy of Anna Maria's new book as a Christmas gift and there certainly are a few projects that would make my home more of a home. I'll see where I can fit that in!

Very nice book though and I understand that Anna Maria is expecting her sixth child - where does she find the time! To write the book and do what she does, I mean.

My son gave me my very own Bamboo drawing tablet which is all nicely connected to my computer now and ready for me to try and figure it all out. So far I can write my name and have drawn and colored a daisy . . . moving right along with this, aren't I? Once again, it is the time thing . . . once I can commit an hour or two here and there to just specifically learning this neat little gizmo, I'll have it aced. Mind you, I'll never be as accomplished as my son and the art that he produces with his tablet (check out earlier post).

Here is the domesticated part of my post! I made biscuits for supper last night and they turned out deliciously. This is a recipe that I have been making for more years than I'm going to tell you and it works every time (for me, anyway!).

I know my pictures are looking a little dark and all, but really the biscuits did turn out really good.

This recipe is from the Company's Coming Cookbook, Muffins & More (page 94), by Jean Pare:

2 cups white flour

2 Tbsp. granulated sugar

1 tsp. salt

4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. Cream of Tartar

1/2 cup cold margarine (or butter)

1 cup cold milk

I usually soften the margarine in the microwave for a short time and then put the first five ingredients into the same bowl and using a fork, cut in the margarine to make a crumbly mixture.

Pour in the milk and stir to combine. The dough is very sticky at this point (or I use just a bit too much milk!) Turn everything out onto a floured surface and knead gently 8 - 10 times. This is where I begin adding more flour until I get the consistency of dough that "just feels right". Pat the dough to 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick or half the thickness that you want the finished product to be. Cut with a sealer ring (large) or a round cookie cutter. Place on a greased cookie sheet close together for soft sides or apart for crisp sides. Bake in 450 degree oven for 12 - 15 minutes.

Break out the honey pot and enjoy!

Before Christmas my husband came up with a new saying: "If you make it - you eat it!" I guess I had a few things that didn't turn out all that great - must have been the choice of recipes I'm thinking.

Anyway, he did eat my biscuits and I bet there's not that many left when I get home.

This is a photo of one of the kitty quilts that was happily received by my two girls this Christmas, and even though I made it, they won't let me use it. Imagine that!

'til next time,