Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Cool tools on a Tuesday

I thought I'd show you a little tool I bought years ago, made by Clover, that I'm using again, and really liking.  No, I'm not getting any money or being sponsored for this!

I decided to work outside yesterday as it was just too darn lovely to be in the basement.  I also wanted to be beside my fur kids.

I am working on the a-a-a-appliqué of my as yet unnamed (although there are some names for it I've uttered which I won't print here) Self-directed Round Robin.  I need to create a fair amount of stem out of two different greens, so that is what I tackled yesterday afternoon on the patio.

The stems finish at 1/4".  Which makes me twitch a little just thinking about that.  I start with a bias strip that is about 1/16 more than 1/2" wide.  The Clover bias tape maker takes a lot of my twitches away with its ingenuity.  The Amazon source is just one I found; I bought mine years ago at either Fabricland or my LQS.

It has a section where you feed the roll of Steam-a-Seam paper-backed fusible pre-cut to slightly less than 1/4" in width.  The rolls are sold separately.  You feed the bias strip in underneath the fusible strip and much like the rolled-hem foot for your machine, it rolls the edges in, and as you gently pull on both the fusible and the fabric, you iron (with another of my favourite tools) the two together as they come out of the little gizmo.  Slick!  You do get a slight bump where there is a seam from joining strips together, but I have found that folding the edge under with a stiletto as you sew it down usually works just fine to finish that edge.

The iron is another Clover product, basically a curling iron, or soldering iron with a mini iron foot on the end.  It gets VERY hot, and I might have some blisters or burn scars to show just how it barbecues your skin in seconds.  If you click here, you will see the irons and (woo hoo!) I just found out there is a Clover Iron II as well as a larger footed tip available!  Dangerous...

I still have to make more of the darker green stem, but I think I have enough of the vibrant green.  And I still have thousands, well maybe hundreds, of flower pieces to go...  This HAS to be done for the September show, as does the paint chip challenge I wrote about.  At the rate I'm moving (rather, being distracted by other fun projects) this summer, it's going to be touch and go.

Distraction Numbers 8 to 12:
Only block #5 lower right corner, and the hot pink solid are not scraps from that quilt!

Some more of the Tula Pink City Sampler blocks that I made using mainly scraps from my Over and Under quilt, which might just go on the frame next, now that Floral Dreams is off.  These are a lot of fun.  Finishing at just 6", there are some TEENSY pieces!

And one of the biggest ongoing distractions:
This incredible view from our patio

Blue skies, blue shimmering waters, greenery above and below and beside me...good for the soul.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Better Floral Dreams Finish Pictures

So I had a soggy morning and first part of the afternoon sitting at the Folk Fest Booth at the Farmers' Market.  Eventually it dried enough and the sun came out, bonus, for me to walk over to Lakeside Park to take some outdoor shots.

Talk about timing.  I turned onto the park path at the end of the street to see a flock of turkey buzzards on the ground at the shore!  Usually they are floating high up on the thermals.  They are HUGE, chicken-sized birds, black with a red head.  The only other time I have ever seen this many on the ground was this past winter in Florida close to our condo. We think there was a carcass nearby they'd been feasting on.  This time?  No clue.
Two or three more circled in for a landing as I watched. So glad I had the iPad with me and not my iPhone!
Up until early spring, this used to be a weed and rushes-filled sandy marsh for birds, turtles at one time, and who knows what other wildlife.  I've seen groundhogs several times here too.  For some reason, one which annoys me deeply, the town has seen fit to raze the grasses here this spring and summer.  I've heard they are planning on putting a pier here, and continuing the walkway along the lake.

I turned the corner from here and saw the spot for picture #1, under a giant cottonwood tree.
Okay, this quilt, Cynthia's June Scrap-a-Palooza Bricks quilt, is 52" wide.  Kind of gives you an idea just how wide a diameter this ancient tree has...
I think if I lay down and had a nap on this quilt in this spot, I just might wake up 100 years from now à la Rip Van Winkle...  Trees hold a special place in my heart, always have done, especially since driving through Cathedral Grove on Vancouver Island.

Close-up showing some of the texture of this oh-so-fun spiral surrounded by feathers pattern from Cheryl Malkowski's Doodle Quilting:

Did you notice the "magic" bridge in the first photo?  That was where I was originally headed to photograph the quilt, well, there and the flower gardens.  Fairies and gnomes live here, they do....
This is Mill Creek, so cool because in Edmonton, where I grew up, there was a Mill Creek close to our house!  The creek flows into Lake Erie right here, but in this shot the creek flows into the lake flows into the sky!

One last quick shot here (sniff) as someone else had designs on photos at this 90-year-old bridge...
Look closely, near the top of the pic.  You might spot some actual "fairies"!
Yes, a wedding party was headed for the very same spot, a popular one for wedding photos.  I'd have loved to snap a pic of four of the (downright stunning) crystal-blue-eyed little ones, who followed me, an unwitting Pied Piper, for some time!

Two shots of the back.  Lovely texture on the lovely and soft brushed flannel backing.   I liked the shadow-play too, not gonna lie...

The handmade-by-moi label, sewn onto the backing this time, but quilted through:

I made my way to the flower gardens, on which the Horticultural Club is working so very hard this year, adding a multitude of plants to them, as well as sprucing them up with new cedar chips.
Just had to include this magical shot of Floral Dreams
By a late-blooming hydrangea
Rolled up.  Love a striped binding.

When I got back home (had to take the long way since the bridge was slightly unavailable, which is what led to the shot above!) I took one last photo to show off the texture.  I haven't washed this baby yet, not sure if I should before selling?  What is the protocol?
I am linking up to Sarah's (Confessions of a Fabric Addict) Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?  You should  check out her Friday post, which tells all about her Christmas in July fundraiser to help bring a special needs child from China to the US for her daughter's family to adopt.  Quite the wonderful story.

Upcoming project!
Whaddaya think?  Bella approves. This cat ADORES new-to-her fabric.  Well she also had a grand old time with the paint chips until, much to her annoyance, I pulled them out of her mouth...but not before she chomped a couple of tooth marks into the one corner.  Terrific. as the paint chips have to be displayed with my quilt.
Just what is going on here anyhow?  It's our paint chip challenge for the September show.  You got the fabric (fat 1/8th) and 3 paint chips for $8.  You make a small quilt that incorporates the focus fabric and three fabrics that match your paint chips.  You may add as many other fabrics as you like.  I am hoping to do a kaleidoscope.  It's been some time since I have done one, à la Paula Nadelstern.  The brown and the orange on the outside are extras; the centre 3 are the fabrics I think closely match the paint chips.  Bella has moved my row apart slightly; they were lined up nicely.  See? another reason to have an ample stash, as there was no need to go to a fabric store to pull matching fabric!  Yay!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Shortest. Post. Ever.

I have Floral Dreams finished, and can just make it in time for Laura's TGIFF linky party.  Today it's hosted by Izzy of Dizzy Quilts.

Sorry for terrible lighting, blurriness, and inside shots, but my eyes are blearly (so maybe the photos AREN'T fuzzy??!!--here's hoping) and if I took the quilt outside, well...let's just say it's darker than the inside of a cow out there, as it's 10:30 and my bedtime...

Here you are:

I'm really happy with the edge-to-edge spiral+feathers pattern I free-motion quilted over the entire top.  I used a rayon thread in ivory so there's a gentle sheen to the quilting.

A quick view of the back:
Love how the quilting shows up so well.  It's a brushed flannel I had in my stash, bought for a quilted jacket lining that...well...never happened.

One last shot for tonight:
This quilt is for sale, but I haven't listed it -- wait I don't even HAVE a tab to list it on yet! -- on my "coming" Quilts for Sale.  You can always email me if you just have to have it...

I will take some better outdoor pics tomorrow, weather permitting in the afternoon.  I'm volunteering, sitting in the Kingsville Folk Fest booth, from 7:30-1:30 at our Farmers' Market tomorrow!

Quilt Details:
Size: 52 X 54"
Fabrics: scraps from Moda's Serenity and Seaside Rose lines
Pattern:  June Scrap-a-Palooza Bricks quilt from Quilting is More Fun Than Housework

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Quilting Floral Dreams

I was hoping to have a finish for today, but not quite.  Ah well, this should work out for TGIFF for tomorrow then!  this is Cynthia's of Quilting is More Fun Than Housework, June Scrap-a-Palooza quilt.

This is my first edge-to-edge design that is not a meander.  It was a little tricky.  The design itself flowed easily, two of my favourites: spiral and feathers.  Covering the quilt top evenly did not flow as easily!
Erk! An unquilted gap.
And another:

Guess I'll be going back in with my Bernina.  I caught several as I went, but when I looked at the back as I did my second roll-up, I found another gap I'd missed.  Ugh!  It's hard because the fabrics flow together so well, the thread (a rayon again) blends so nicely, both of which create the effect I wanted, but it's hard on the eyes as far as seeing where to go next, as well as seeing where you missed!

Nearly done. 

Here is a shot of the back:

It's a brushed flannel backing.  It will make for a really soft quilt.  I love how the design shows up so well!

This evening I sat down on the downstairs couch for a break.  I had immediate company, purring merrily.  Consequently my break went a little longer than anticipated!

I should have a finish for you tomorrow!  This one will be going in the boutique at our September Quilt Show.  It will be for sale through my blog though too.  Don't all jump at once now...

Monday, July 14, 2014

Make-up Bags!

Over the past few days I have made a few little bags. They were a lot of fun.

I did already show you the one made with the patchwork squares

I am steadily using up ALL of the Seaside Rose and Simplicity fabrics!  I am amazed at how far the scraps are going!  The purple bags are from purple scraps of various fabrics.

These two are going to Jude's sweet granddaughters

Can you see the "R" and the "S", their first name initial, that I quilted onto the bags?

Inside view

This pattern can be found here.  I really really love Moda Bakeshop!  I might have mentioned that once or twice before...

Another one in purples...so rich!
The pattern calls for fusible fleece but I used up scraps of my Warm 'n Natural and had fun doing simple quilting for the outside.  I'm putting a couple of these into our guild's boutique at the show in September.
Yet another using Seaside Rose scraps with Simplicity scraps for the lining
We spent a wonderful afternoon yesterday driving east along the shores of Lake Erie.  We went all the way to Erieau and Rondeau Bay.  Aside from the vegetation and the brown, as opposed to white, sand, it looked and felt much like Florida, hot and humid.

Huge beach!

Swimmers enjoying the waves

Fantastic wave action
Of course I had to walk down to that breakwall you see in the distance, with the "lighthouse", actually one of the channel markers that guide boaters from Rondeau Bay into Lake Erie.

We were about 60 miles east of Kingsville, which is also on Lake Erie.  It takes about 4 hours to drive the length of this smallest of the Great Lakes!

Yay!  It is cherry season here (and sweet corn!), so we had to stop at an orchard and buy some picked-that-day cherries.

To die for!
Checked out another lakeside winery, Smith and Wilson Estate Wines.  Yep, had to come home with a bottle of Pinot Grigio, as well as one of their Rondeau Red, a glass of which I'd earlier enjoyed at Bayside BrewPub -- mmm!  It's been a good few days!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Thankful Thursday #8

Today I'm thankful for good times, memorable times, laughter-filled times, with good friends.

I talked with a dear friend from Alberta earlier this week on his birthday.  So glad, and thankful, that nowadays phonecalls are so reasonable (in our case, free, as we have magicJack).  When we lived here in the late 80s, it was incredibly expensive to call, so calls had to be timed and infrequent.  Now we have FaceTime, or Skype, both of which shrink the 2000 miles between provinces, or between countries, in the case of some of our American friends--

This past week we also FaceTimed with another dear friend who winters in Florida, but lives in upstate New York.  He was actually in Vermont at the time, so we got to see the campground where he spends the summer weekends in his 5th wheel trailer.  So cool that I can now picture him there.

Last night we had two other couples over for a BBQ.  We'd already been to each of the others' houses, so it was our turn.  And it was a great evening.

I was once again reminded of how very lucky I am to live in such a bountiful county, also known as the Sun Parlour, Essex County.  We enjoyed wine from Pelee Island Winery, from grapes grown on Pelee Island, 17 miles south of our house in the middle (literally) of Lake Erie.  The retail and secondary operation is just 2 km from my house.  Dangerous...

Bread from our bakery, homemade by moi tapenade
 Yep, that's an Alberta Wild Rose spoon in the tapenade, a nod to my home province.

I thought this was really neat - I will now be on the lookout for Lucky Stones!
We enjoyed a couple of terrific salads off pinchofyum.com, and finished off with homemade baked peach and raspberry cheesecake from an old recipe book.

Gotta love leftover cheesecake, yum!
The weather cooperated magnificently, as did Mother Nature with no bugs (I think fishfly season is over, fingers crossed) so we enjoyed everything from appetizers to dessert, on our patio, the labours of Joe's gardening green thumb to enfold us at one end and Lake Erie upon which to gaze at the other.

And just because I've had two suppers of terrific new foods, here's another Pinch Of Yum from tonight's supper (there was virtually no leftover salads from last night, which is, really, a good thing, right?)

Healty Pesto Baked Rigatoni
Good food, good friends, good wine, good times.  That's what really matters.  Tomorrow I'll show you what I've been working on over the past couple of days.  It's not amounting to much, sigh.

Monday, July 7, 2014


Kind of how I feel about aaaaapliqué...

I haven't posted since last Wednesday because I have not allowed myself to do any sewing of any kind except for the appliqué part of my Self-directed Round Robin. Note that they've modified the name from Self Round Robin to Self-directed, although it should be Guild-Executive-Directed!

I have been making steady, albeit slow, progress.  Sigh.  I did find some good advice on Alyssa's Pile o' Fabric blog that helped me a lot.  Click here.  I watched the videos and read through her Skill Builder Lesson 9 lesson handout.

This is round 3.  I got 1/4 of my appliqué round done since last Wednesday.  It is time-consuming, that's for sure, and I have questioned my sanity in deciding to do this detailed of a design!  Questioned while muttering some bad words, or many, if I'm honest.  There are 44 pieces in this quadrant, not counting the stems.

The design is from the April 2014 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting magazine.  It took me some time, with lots of searching through magazines, and online, to decide on a suitable pattern that would fill the rather large corner triangles.  I traced all the pieces needed in April before we left our Florida condo!

3/4 of the pieces, since I've now used 1/4
And there they sat, occasionally often making me feel guilty, while I had fun making various quilts and projects over the past 2 1/2 months.

I haven't even allowed myself to look at Cynthia's July Scrap-a-Palooza quilt, nor have I read my usual blogs over the past few days.  Since it has been absolutely gorgeous weather, calling to me to be outside, I moved my work from the basement to the dining table and one end of our kitchen countertop.  I couldn't work outside, as portable as this kind of a project is, and as Hilary does of Hilary Florence Quilting Workshop.  So this was a good compromise to keep me at it.

Here is a not-so-bright picture to show you a bit more of the quilt.  There will be one of these flower bursts in each of the four corners.  Possibly bursts of my brain and patience in the corners of my house too...

I thought that I would work through one in its entirety (and it's not stitched yet, just glued) and then assembly-line work on the other three.  I have the darker stem self-made bias tape left over from a quilt I made my mum for her 70th (that would be 7 1/2 - oh my god - years ago now) and I made some more with a different brighter green.  The pattern calls for two different fabrics for the various flower stems.It was good to use the Clover bias tape maker again.  So slick!

This one flower took me 1.5 hours to make.

I shall soldier on until this entire round is done!

The next round (I am a couple several months behind) says to put some words on it.  I have had some choice ones of late.  They probably wouldn't appreciate it, LOL, and in truth, it would spoil the quilt.  I do quite like it.

Even though I'm telling myself, 'No!! What are you thinking?! Absolutely not!  Do NOT go there!' I think the empty corners of the flying geese round need a spot of appliqué now, so there's a bit of a flow into that round.  What do you think?

Linking up with Marelize's guest host, Diana, of Red Delicious Life for Anything Goes Monday!