Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Doing a Happy Dance!

Finished my July Schnibbles! Finished my Guild Challenge for September! Sorry folks, but that's a post for later...
Making major headway on a VERY old rag quilt project. YAY!
Hoping to get a few granny square blocks done today to add to the very small pile. This granny square quilt is going to be TOTALLY scrappy. The centers, the backgrounds, and the sashing. While at our Spring Camp Retreat, a few of the girls were totally smitten with my grannies and wanted to embark on the same project, but figured they didn't have enough variety in their scraps so we decided to do a strip swap. Last week, we met with our strips and swapped fabrics, because we all know the more variety the better when making a scrappy quilt...

We drew cards and then each took turns choosing three strips at a time. A cool drink, a snack, more fabric for a quilt and catching up with good friends on a beautiful summer afternoon...what could be better?

Happy Valentine's Day?? Happy Canada Day ?? Happy Leap Year??

For many years I have had the grandest intentions of making a Canada Day table topper. It didn't necessarilly have to have a maple leaf on it or look like the Canadian flag, but in our flag colours. When Carrie Nelson from www.lavieenrosie.typepad.com
came up with the Leap Year pattern and generously offered it to us quilters free of charge, I thought, "here's your chance girl! Go for it!"
Now my mind works in mysterious ways, and when I hear Leap Year, I think of Feb. because that's when we reap the benefits of of our extra day. I also wanted a seasonal topper for Feb. so I instantly knew that this project was going to be red and white. Funny isn't it how some patterns just take on a life of their own? (more on that later)
....so without further ado here she is, my Schnibles parade entry. My Valentines Day table topper, my Canada Day table topper, my Leap Year table topper!

While I made mine a controlled scrappy, Sue(my Schnibbles partner) on the other hand went totally scrappy AND she made a big one! She calls hers, "Leaping into my Stash". Isn't it a wonderful scrappy quilt? ...and perfectly named...Leaping into my Stash.
Clever title eh?

Now I want you to know I am not a "one trick pony". It has been a busy week or so, here at Winterpast, because along with all the everyday chores, I have managed to get in a 25 km bike ride, several walks, gardening/weeding, making birdbaths, AND I have put the binding on 2 queen sized quilts, one of which I showed in my last post.

Here is the second one, called Cinnamon and Nutmeg and the majority of the fabric for the top is made from a Moda collection from a few years back (three Sisters, I think) called Chocolat.

This was one of those quilts that took on a life of it's own. I started it at a camp retreat in May, about 3 years ago. I thought I had made pretty good progress, but that came quickly to a halt when Mom had her accident. This quilt was set aside and only taken out in Feb. However, the girls who had started theirs when I did were long finished and informed me it was too skimpy for a Queen bed, so I had to make mine larger if it was to go on the bed at the cottage. I had to check my stash for fabrics to mix with this collection, but obviously I would not be finding it at my local quilt shop after all this time. That was not too much problem, but I was going to need another meter of the brown that was a common fabric through all the blocks. Thankfully, a friend had some in her stash and came to my rescue. (thanks Deb!)
I had also changed machines so my 1/4 inch was measuring up differently which meant a bit more fussing and fudging, but I persevered and managed to get everything to square up and fit together. I was still short of some blocks so I added a larger than normal border, but I was ok with that. By this time, I just wanted the thing done...I was determined to use all the fabric up and be done with it. After finishing the top, I had several four patches and half square triangle blocks left over, so I thought, why not incorporate them in the back and that lead to another project, but thankfully, I had lots of fabric that would "work" and here is what evolved from "using up those blocks"

After getting the binding done this week, I had enough fabric left to make matching pillowcases. There are a few small pieces that will end up in a couple granny squares and then I am done! Thats it for me...no more Chocolat. I will have used every scrap.

Last year I started making a purse. This purse gave more grief, and the pieces were set aside in frustration. Every time I went into my sewing area, it was there taunting me, so I decided to totally revamp the thing. I took apart the straps and added batting to beef them up. I recut the bag pieces giving them a totally different look. Changed the closure on it and added ties to the sides. Sewed up the lining and sewed on a button and it is finished. Finished is better than perfect and the name of the pattern? ...well that's a secret. Let's just say I will not be buying another of this gals patterns.

I added lots of pockets and you know, it just might become a favourite purse. I'll let you know how serviceable it is, because I am setting out on another trip and I plan to use this one...a girl needs something new for trip doesn't she?
So yes, its been a good few days; 2 bed quilts finished, a table topper pieced,quilted and bound, a pair of pillow cases sewn up, and a purse finished. I get to check a few more things of my list and I am working full steam ahead on my PhD (projects half done).
Happy Valentines Day, Happy Canada Day, Happy Leap Year, Sweet Dreams, Bon Voyage, and Happy quilting my friends!

Friday, June 22, 2012

GREEN Birdbaths and a parade revisited

A couple summers ago I posted about making birdbaths from recycled glassware. My friend Glenda has been gathering up bits and pieces of cast off glassware from yard sales and asked if I would be willing to show her how I did them. We have been trying to find a day that suited us and this week we managed to do just that.

The above picture is one of my birdbaths from a few years ago.

Glenda arrived bright and early and we spread our vases and plates and bowls, cups and saucers and candleholders out on the table and got to work.

Here are a couple birdbaths she was able to assemble and bring back to her flower beds at the cottage. If you look closely at the first one, you can see a couple different sized plates, a large vase, a medium sized vase, a small vase and the "bathing area" is a deep crystal dish.

Aren't they pretty? She actually made 4 but I forgot to take pictures of the other 2. I revamped one of mine that I was not happy with and also made a couple footed plates also with recycled bits and pieces. They really are quite functional as well as being pretty and best of all they use up pieces that no one really wants anymore.

Well you get the idea. These things were made up in a leisurely afternoon with someone else's "trash". A bit of glue, bit of glass and a bit of imagination can go a long way.
Glenda also brought something else with her...last month when Sue and I were making our June Schnibbles at our camp retreat, Glenda wanted to join in the fun, but she didn't get finished in time for the parade; well at least not the beginning of the parade, but we all know there is always one or two straggling floats that sometimes have technical difficulties and end up straggling in after the crowds are starting to disperse. Now I have to say that when this "float" started out she was in perfect condition. All the "flowers and balloons" just perfect, but the weather was a bit hard on her and she needs a bit of TLC to get her ready for display again. Let me explain...
Glenda's DOC was perfect when it arrived here, we put it on the line for a photo op...it was a bit breezy and really hard to get a god shot...

We finally gave up and decided to try a different location...

But look at the bottom corners of the quilt! It was whipped around in the wind so much it ended up frayed quite badly and needs to go back to the "shop for repairs".
Ahhh parades, never a dull moment.

Speaking of parades, my June Schnibbles is done, not quilted yet, but maybe... If we get a few rainy days, I just might get at it.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Catching up and an ironing problem...

When I typed that title, The thought in my mind was "catching up on news" but as I was sitting here it came to mind that I always feel like I am trying to catch up...on news, chores, correspondence, etc. So here is a little "catch up" on life in my neck of the woods.

Oh man, I can't believe I just did that! Sorry, I'll get serious now, I promise...no more groaners or corny lines...

Oops! How did that get in there? Last one folks, I promise.
That's actually supper for tonight, an easy one, because, I plan on making some headway on my June Schnibbles today...no time for fussy meals. Gotta get my priorities straight and start catching up on some projects!
I have been here at Winterpast for almost 2 weeks and I am just starting to feel settled. There were so many jobs to do, and a few I haven't gotten to yet, but all things in their time right? I really need to clean windows but everyone knows you don't wash windows on a sunny day...they will end up streaky. The boxes are unpacked, cupboards washed out, flower beds are weeded and cleaned up. Pots filled with annuals, grass cut, my sewing studio is all set up for the summer.

I have even managed to find a bit of time to sew. Last week I received 2 queen sized quilts back from the local long arm quilter (great job Cynthia!) and on Friday past I cut the binding and sewed it on, hoping to get it hand stitched within a reasonable time. Friday evening after supper dishes were cleared away, Mr O and I relaxed with a bit of Netflix and by the end of the evening after several episodes of "The Forsythe Saga" I had over half the job done! The next morning, I took my coffee out on the deck and finished the rest before getting to the days chores.

Isn't this a lovely spot to sit and stitch away the morning? ...and before long this was what I had to show for my work!

A little gardening, a little stitching, a little fresh air and coffee on the deck...sounds like the makings of a good summer.
Speaking of stitching, my nest is made and I'm ready to create! The photos weren't the greatest because I was using an alternative camera, too many windows, too much sun, but you get the idea...

I realize the ironing board is not an exciting shot, but I wouldn't mind a little feedback on something if you wouldn't mind. This week I bought myself a new ironing board pad and cover. I was quite pleased with it, a nice heavy cotton duck, with a wide elastic all around, and nice elastic straps underneath with sturdy clips to fasten and keep it snug. Impressive! I paid 20.00 plus tax. Not frightfully expensive, but not a dollar store item either. Here is my problem...when you iron on it the fumes that rise from it are so toxic that they smell terribly and they burn my throat and make me cough. I figured, eh, it's new, it will wear off. By the end of the evening my throat burned so badly and I could hardly speak. Mr O said the smell lingered in my hair and clothes it was so strong. The next day my throat was still sore and raspy. By day four the smell still lingered in my room, which is 14 x 24. Not a small area and it has 9 windows and a patio door for ventilation. I know it is not just me, because I had a friend visit yesterday and after five minutes she was coughing and irritated by the smell. I am assuming that whatever chemical was used to make it flame retardant is causing the problem, but in over 42 years of housekeeping I have never encountered this problem. I had to finally remove it and go back to the old cover until I can get a new one...Has anyone else ever had this problem?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Plans

Mr O. and I made the move to Winterpast yesterday. Not quite according to plan, but done just the same.
Last summer I had made plans to visit Mom in the hospital and then take her home to help care for her while she recuperated from surgery; you may know that did not work according to my plans either, because Mom's condition deteriorated and ultimately she passed away, never having left the hospital.
One evening while sitting by Mom's bed I was chatting with one of the nurses, and mentioned that I planned to take Mom home to help care for her, but things were not looking good. Her reply to me was this; " my mother used to tell us growing up that we can make all the plans we want, but we are not the ones in charge."
Even though I know and believe that, I guess hearing it put that way at that particular time made quite an impression on me.
I have never forgotten those words and have used them many times since.

My sister was to have arrived at our local airport last night and we had planned a wonderful relaxing vacation; quilting together for as much as we wanted, picnic lunches, walks on the beaches, just relaxing for the next two weeks.
Her Mom in law passed away on Sunday less than 24 hours before her flight was to leave for New Brunswick. Rest in Peace Kay. You will be greatly missed.

Understandably, I am saddened for all the family, and disappointed that our time together has not materialized. We had just spoken last week on the phone, saying it was almost nine years since her last visit, and we planned so much...but again I am reminded that we can make all the plans we want, but we are not in charge...
After a very busy day with lots of packing, and toting, and cleaning and unpacking I was exhausted. (and still feeling disappointed that I was not going to be spending the next 2 weeks with Barb) we arrived at Winterpast to this...

...and woke to this...

...and this.

...so yes my plans were changed, but really I can't complain. All is well.

TOO MANY IRONS IN THE FIRE

In the last couple of posts I have mentioned several projects we have going on. Somehow this week has disappeared with none of them being co...