Friday, January 30, 2015

And you wonder why I drink

Today's beverage of choice is a  Nutty Russian.  2 parts vodka, one part kahlua, one part frangelico.
This past week or two (really, it's hard to keep track):
1.  The clampy thing on the exercise bike quit working so we go a million miles per hour. Very easy to exercise this way. :-)
2.  The furnace quit. We had a new one installed on Tuesday, and by Wednesday it was blowing COLD air. Thankfully the furnace people saw my facebook plea and they came to the rescue toute suite!! (sp?)
3. The engine  light on my dashboard is lit up, AND I am due for a Drive Clean test in February. (ahem. That means my BIRTHDAY is coming up.) It also means that the car needs mechanical attention. Soon.
4. Today. Sigh. Computer virus. It seems that Great Britain has decided I'm into kiddie porn and they are FINING me £250. Oddly, the police have not yet bashed through my front door with an axe and led me away in handcuffs.  (50 Shades of Grey, anyone?) No. They just want CASH.  Well, that will go to Michael from OMSCOMPUTERS.COM  instead. 
5. Oh yeah. The can opener quit, too.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Retiring the Christmas Quilts for Another Year, and what I'm reading these days

We'll make this storytime today, shall we?

This was the first Christmas quilt that I made.  The blocks came from the two guilds I still belong to:  Binbrook and Caledonia.   Get off the quilt you stupid mutt.

At the Binbrook Guild I garnered several blocks from a Tinner Exchange.  You put maybe a yard of fabric in a LARGE coffee can along with a half-assed request about what you want them to do (in my case I wanted 12" blocks for a Christmas quilt).  The cans get passed around through the gals that signed up for the Tinner program, and eventually you get your can back filled with blocks.  The blocks should all include the fabric you enclosed at the beginning, along with whatever fabrics the gals needed to make the block they chose for you.  I am especially treasuring this quilt THIS winter because the reindeer at the top center was made by a longarm friend who just passed away. 

The other blocks came from the Caledonia Guild where we ran a Birthday Club.  The signup sheet for a Birthday club includes your birthday and your colour request.  The completed list is given to all participants.  At the meeting held during your birthday month, all the participants give you a block in your colours.  And they sing.   :-) 

I put the quilt together using a Christmas border print, sashing the blocks to make them the same size (always a challenge when everyone seems to have a different definition of 12" block, hmm?).

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Next up is the family Grinch Quilt.  I made four of these - for me, my brother, his son and his daughter.  We have always spent Christmas together but that can't happen any more due to distance.  (Hellooo...Singapore?) 
The Grinch blocks came from the panel that was out several years ago, and the pieced blocks all have some reference to family things.  I put a different dog on each quilt based on the recipient.  You can see that mine is a poodle, and if you look at the dog in the photo above you will see what I mean.  Most notable is the star block with a martini print in the center.  ha ha...  The backings all were made from fabrics that reflected something special about the recipient and I wrote a goofy poem for the labels.  I had so much fun making these.
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Last but not least is the quilt made from a jelly roll that I bought on one of Diane's bus trips.  A jelly roll for $15.00?  I couldn't turn it down.  
One jelly roll is NOT enough to make a king size quilt though, so I supplemented with fabrics from my stash.  But then I got stuck on the border.  I was piecing this up at Margaret's during one of our spring retreats, and she went shopping in her basement for me.  She had EXACTLY enough of that wonderful red print for the borders. 

These quilts are not just fabric and batting.  They're memories that make me think of people and places and events in my life.  When they get washed and put away again for the rest of the year I'm always a bit nostalgic.  Sometimes these don't get put away until March, but this year they were out and loved for two months.
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On to books.  I just finished Close Your Eyes.  Hold Hands.  by Chris Bohjalian.  I've never heard of him before but that book was GREAT.  So I've picked up another of his at the library.  The other author I'm really enjoying is Cecilia Ahern.  Most recently I read The Year I Met You and it was a very good story.
I don't like books with blood & guts & mayhem, even though I was riveted to the tv watching Breaking Bad and Sons of Anarchy.  When I read a book I like something that is story, not gory
The end.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Blooming 9-Patch, Adult Entertainment in the Winter, Stash Report

The Blooming 9-Patch which has been on my UFO list for a long, long, time is now pieced AND quilted AND labeled.  I just need to hand sew the binding.

This is the quilt where I ran out of the butterfly fabric and one of my lovely (!) blog readers sent me some in the mail.  I've seen a zillion of these quilts and they are ALL so pretty.

I used up some "fuglies" on the back.

This is such a busy quilt pattern that I just used a pantograph on it.

ADULT ENTERTAINMENT
Um, no.  This is not X-rated.  Not in your wildest dreams.  You will see that this photo includes old guys in baseball caps, cabbage (both red and green), and bagged apples. And there is kale in the box, which is kind of hard to see.

Oh, look.  Another old guy in a baseball cap.  And a lot MORE bagged apples.

What the hell???  More guys, more caps (although two guys are being a little, shall we say DARING by wearing touques), and more apples.
DH and I went to a FARM AUCTION.  We were out with friends for dinner a week ago, and Ann (of Jumps R Us fame) was telling us about the produce they sell at the auction.  She must have thought I was pretty stupid, because I just didn't get the gist of what she was saying.  I kept asking "you mean a produce MARKET?" and she'd say "no, an AUCTION", and I'd say "you mean a produce MARKET?", and she'd say "no, an AUCTION", and I'd say... well, you probably get the idea of how that conversation went.

The Farm AUCTION place in Hagersville sells produce at the Friday auction.  First they auction off all the junk other items, then at 12:00 they auction off the produce. 

For example, the apples were bagged in 1/2 bushel portions.  There might be 20 bags on the skid.  The bidding went up to $4.00 per bag.  The person who bid the $4.00 can take as many or as few of those 20 bags as they want.  Then whatever is left from that 20-bag lot is up for grabs at the $4.00 price.  I grabbed ONE of the bags.

You may notice, however, that there are TWO bags on my kitchen floor.  Well, the next lot of apples sold at $3.25.  So I took another bag at $3.25.  Ann bought the whole box of cabbage (which I think was eight heads) for $2.00.  Then she foisted four of those heads on me.  I only wanted two, dammit!  The huge bag of potatoes was $3.00, and the bag of onions was $3.00.  Total expenditure was $13.25.  There will be a lot of PIES in my future.  And a lot of cabbage SOUP.

STASH REPORT

Used so far:  31.8 m
Used YTD:  31.8 m
Added this report:  000 - zero
Added YTD:  000 - zero!
Net 2015:   - 31.8 m

Monday, January 12, 2015

One Quilt Two Ways

I always find it fascinating to see the same quilt done with a slight variation in colour.  These two gals are friends who have been making the same quilt(s). One of them also has an extra border to increase the size.



This is one of my own.  This puppy cost me ten bucks last summer as a penalty when I did NOT get it completed for the guild UFO Challenge. Lord willing, and the creek don't rise * I will finish the quilting today and get back to customer quilts tomorrow.  * I'm not sure where that expression came from but it seems to cover all possibilities for excuse.
I am in charge of the Block of the Month for the Caledonia Guild this month.  I gave the girls the pattern for this Goose in the Pond block and requested they make them up in 'spring' colours.  These are the three blocks I am submitting for the draw.  The lucky winner will get 25 blocks - enough for a King size quilt once they add sashing & borders. Ooh, I have a serious fondness for this block.
This is the commission quilt I made a few years ago with this block. 
Ah, look at that blue sky and green grass.  Summertime.  It finally warmed up enough here yesterday for us to go for a walk.  The forecast, however, is calling for a return of the deep freeze tonight (-17c, feels like -27c).  Every day I think "hmm, I should probably shave my legs this month".  And then I don't.  If it's too cold for the dog to go to the groomer, it's too cold for me too.  I have now had THREE events cancelled this winter due to weather.  Dinner with Jean, Jane & Teresa was delayed once, then last week TWO lunch dates with the Beach Girls because of blowing snow & closed highways around Goderich & Owen Sound.  We are going to try that meet-up in Kitchener again this week.  Hopefully Mother Nature will have some sympathy.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

First Ladies Quilt and 2015 UFO Challenge

This was the last customer quilt I finished in 2014.  The pattern is First Ladies and was done as a block-of-the-month at Quilt Junction in Waterford.  You should know by now how much I love sampler quilts.

What a treat for ME with all that empty space.
I don't like to play favorites, but this is my favorite pic.

I did a basic cross-hatch in the dark blue floral because the quilting doesn't really show.

That cross-hatch sure looks pretty on the back, though.

The 2015 UFO* Challenge with Margaret & Nancy has been established.  Every two months Margaret will pull a number out of her ______ .  OK, we'll say HAT.  For Jan/Feb I have already told her I'm doing #1.  The quilting was done on my New Year's Holiday, so now the binding will be my big issue for the next two months.

Item & Challenge Details
1    Blooming 9-patch    Needs quilting & binding.
2    Bowtie Quilt    TFUQ.**  Fail from 2014.
3    Double Wedding Ring    Work on another row.
4    Piece ‘O Cake Applique    Hand applique.  Complete one block for the challenge.  Fail from 2014.
5    Apple Core by JAWS ***    Use the die and make something.
6    Charla’s 10" Asian batiks    Add triangles to opposite corners and make a top.

* If you don't know what UFO stands for, you are probably reading this blog by mistake.  If you are curious, though, it stands for UnFinishedObject.  We quilters usually have many of these, being creative-minded and all that.
** If you don't know what TFUQ stands for, see the sidebar on the right. 
*** If you don't know what JAWS is, see the tabs way up at the top of the blog.  You can rent JAWS, if you like.  He's cheap, and a real cut-up.  ha ha.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Years Day project and Year End Stash Report 2014

Here is the runner I made with my long-distance sewing enthusiasts the other day.  I'm really happy with the way it turned out.  A link to the Quick Curve Ruler is here.

Yesterday I started binding the Tumbler placemats, so I will finish those today.

Next, I will add a border to the sides of this quilt, then call it finished.  It's a weird (in my opinion) size right now at 90 x 101.  The 101 length is good for a queen size bed - allowing for a nice drop at the foot and enough for a wee pillowtuck.  A width of 90" gives a 15" drop on each side.  That will shrink up to probably 13" after quilting.  Then it will shrink more after it's washed (using 80/20 batting, eventually).  So... I think I'll add 5" to each side making this a square quilt.  Then I can FINALLY tick this off the 2014 UFO Challenge chart.  I asked Margaret for permission to tick it off after I found it and ironed it the other day.  Ha ha.

I also have to find a bit of time for some lovin' and playin'.  
And now... (insert very theatrical musical interlude.  Use your imagination.)

The 2014 STASH REPORT

Used December 20.1 m
Used YTD         89.05 m
Added December  6 m (totally not my fault - a ticket winner from guild)
Added YTD     125.75 m
NET 2014         36.7 m added

I'm also making a half-assed resolution, to get more fit this year.  There is a forum thread at Machine Quilters Resource for Plank exercises.  If I read (notice that lovely word "IF") the daily reminder I could (really, I could) get OFF my chair and do my plank.  That's what I did this morning although it didn't work yesterday and hopefully it's what I'll do tomorrow.  Geez, talk about setting myself up for failure. This comment is totally FULL of non-commitment (is that a word?).

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Embroidery with Dresden Fans, and sewing today...

I've always had a fondness for embroidery, so working on this was such a treat.

Now, how pretty is that? In the embroidery blocks I did a simple follow-the-line of the embroidered vines, outlined the fan, then put a filigree inside with a wee bowknot in the center.

Beautifully set off with the Dresden Fan blocks. The fans have a feather fan design, and there is a matching motif in the block center.

Mmm.  Yum. These computer patterns for the IQ are by One Song Needle Arts.  OMG, she has beautiful patterns.

Today I'm having a long distance sewing marathon with Margaret (from Ennismore) and Nancy (from Manitoulin Island) and Nancy's friend.  We are all working on our own projects and will keep in touch during the day with emails & photos of progress.  I have supper all ready - leftover manicotti (recipe HERE from my Looneyspoons cookbook), bread & salad from Sunday's dinner with 1-800-Luke and his wife.  :-)
I will be making a table runner using the ruler I bought in July 2013 when I was in Caledonia NY.  At least, I think that's where I bought it.  If, perchance, I finish that I will move on to the Blooming 9-patch that needs a border.  Then I could have another tick mark on my UFO challenge (with the same Margaret and Nancy).  Because the year is almost up...
Dammit.  I just emailed Margaret and promised to start my sewing day with two Downward Dogs and one Plank, followed by walking the dog at lunchtime.  What was I thinking???