Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The "f" word

Yep.  That oughtta get some attention!

Been known to utter it on occasion.  Occasion of appliqué that will never end...

Fleurs!!

The name of my round robin.

Here's the next round done!

"Excuse me?"  you're thinking, "I thought you weren't a fan of appliqué?"  Well... this idea germinated.  The directions for this round were "add some words or phrases to your quilt".  Oh, it had already had plenty of those flung at it!  Didn't think the ladies in the guild would appreciate me appliquéing the f-word you were thinking of when you read my title.  Sitting in the back seat of our car last Sunday, Dayna riding shotgun so she and her dad could yak, I let my mind free-associate for a name for the quilt.  Voilà.


Apologies for the poor lighting, but again, it's darker than the inside of a cow outside.  I plan to quilt "fleurs" on the other 3 sides in the same lettering, and then quilt the snot out of the surrounding so it pops.

In case it's not apparent, the centre block, my orphan block, is hand appliquéd, stitches so tiny that I doubt I could replicate them today with my deteriorating close-up vision.  The four corners of appliqué is by machine, but edges turned under a scant 1/4".  I did the "fleurs" letters raw-edge appliqué using a blanket stitch on my Bernina.  So three different methods of appliqué on one quilt!

Next round is to add pieced curves.  I might just get this baby done yet.

I'm linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday!
http://www.freshlypieced.com/

Monday, August 18, 2014

Appliqué Round Done

Finally!

Aside from the marks on the patio from the American Black Walnut trees, it's a lovely setting amongst the gi-normous impatiens, no?  That's four plants, btw.  From a 4-pack of little 1-inch seedlings. They love that corner.  The four on the opposite corner, are half the size.  Weird.

"Fleurs" amongst the flowers!
 Here's a more or less straight-on shot from last night.
There are 52 pieces (that's counting the stem sections) in each quadrant.  208 in all.  I got the design,  called "Petal by Petal", from the April issue of American Patchwork & Quilting, but modified it slightly.  Her block has the flowers set into an appliquéd basket with a couple more stems of leaves.  And her quilt, 16 blocks, is all done by hand!!

Dayna came over for lunch yesterday, bringing a new salad recipe to try.  It was delicious.  So fresh.


Those are the ingredients.  All from the back yard of Essex County, Kingsville and Ruthven to be exact.  Well, except for the avocado, which is from Mexico, and garlic, (how dumb) from California!  My own cilantro went to seed, hate that.  The cocktail tomatoes, regular tomatoes, and cucumbers are grown just up the road from our house; the cukes are "seconds" which we get from the greenhouse's roadside stand, 3/$1.  Gotta love that!

Add some olive oil and balsamic vinegar and you get this
Yum.  Sooo healthy.  Fantastic visit too we had!

The next round of the round robin is to put words on it.  Since I can't write the words that I'd like to write on it, haha, with all the pain and aggravation I felt while working through that last round, (but now satisfaction) I've decided to quilt the name of the quilt, "Fleurs", into the next round.  After that it's "put curves on it" so I have an idea of perhaps incorporating a sun onto it.  Then a final pieced border.  Due by the third week of September.  No sweat.

Did I mention I'm giving up the first week of September sewing to spend in sheer unadulterated joy with my beloved grandson, Brady, and our daughter, Brianne, who are coming here for a much-anticipated visit?!  In mid-September, we are going to Watkins Glen, NY, to meet up with dear friends and winter neighbours from Florida, who spend the summers in New York State.  No pressure to finish this (and the paint chip challenge, OMG) by September 25 quilt show.  (Hot flashing profusely now...)

One last ahhh shot of that corner of the garden.  It's filled in so nicely.
Finally! A couple of cannas are blooming! Orange one visible here.
Joe says (and he is the gardener guru) we are going to over-winter his banana tree (massive one in the pot on the right of the picture) once again this year.  Think we might need a forklift to get it back into our house this time!!

I'm not linking up with Marelize of Stitch by Stitch for Anything Goes Mondays as she is taking a break.  I might be doing that in September methinks!


Monday, August 11, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop Phase 2

Good day!
I wanted to give a shout-out to everyone to go and check out the wonderful work done by three of my new friends in Quilt Blogland!  These ladies wow me with their work, their creativity and their accomplishments.

First is Joanne of Canuck Quilter.  Doesn't this quilt block alone (which she designed) make you want to find out more about this talented quilter?

She does some amazing things with stars, my favourite block.  She has several patterns for sale on Etsy.  Check out this recent finish.  Love how she quilted this one!
Sparkling Trail
You can read Joanne's post for the hop here.

Speaking of quilting, Hilary of Hilary Florence Quilting Workshop who lives in England, puts out some really cool original FMQ designs.  Here is just one I want to use on Over and Under, which is waiting to go onto the longarm:


As I mentioned last week, she recently entered this stunning, eye-catching, fabulous I-have-no-more-words-I-love-it-so-much quilt into the Festival of Quilts 2014.
Cosmic Split

You can read Hilary's post for the hop here.

And last, but definitely not least, is Gina, of The Occasional Quilter, in Wales.  Her main page picture alone makes my jaw drop in an "Ahh" of awesome-ness.  A Welsh castle!!

I would say I have three main reasons I feel such a pull to and love of Wales.  My grade 12 English teacher was Welsh.  I loved his class.  I also love Sharon Kay Penman's trilogy that begins with Here Be Dragons.  Finally, my beloved great-Auntie Ruth moved to Wales for the latter part of her life, and although I never did get to visit her there, the pictures I've seen of where she lived are incredibly beautiful.  So now I am so happy to have a Welsh quilting friend!  Gina wrote a wonderful post in honour of St. David, patron saint of Wales.  My mum always made sure we wore red on April 23 in honour of St. George's Day, patron saint of England.  So I get this pride!

Gina, like me, is doing the Tula Pink City Sampler.  She is much further along than I.

Don't you love the batiks she chose?  I especially love the aquas and turquoises.

I also just love her windowsill runner.  What a great idea if you are lucky enough to have wide windowsills and small blocks!


You can read Gina's post here.

Thank you to all three for agreeing to do this blog hop.  :-)   It's a fun way to check out some perhaps new-to-you blogs, to be inspired, to see some scenery from other parts of our world, and to get those creative juices flowing!

I am linking up with Marelize of Stitch by Stitch for Anything Goes Mondays.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Pets on Quilts --Cats!

I heard about this fun Pets On Quilts linky party over at Lily Pad Quilting from my friend Judy who blogs at Quilt Paradigm.  Thank you Judy!  She is the one who tagged me to participate in the Around the World Blog Hop.  My post was last Monday, August 4, and the three lovely ladies I have tagged will be posting tomorrow.  I will give you links to their posts tomorrow!

So this is a linky party I am WELL-prepared for!!  As many of you know, I have a Pitbull named Rocco.  Before I got him, and before I started watching Cesar Millan rehabilitate other dogs under the guidance of (I'm dead serious) his Pitbull, Daddy, I, too, had a bit of a whoa-keep-your-distance-scary-pitbull attitude towards these people-(especially kids)-loving, life-loving, joyful dogs.

He, too, loves quilts.  Especially quilts on a human bed.

He has been known to photo-bomb a picture or two for my blog.
"Back off Bella, I'm claiming this one"

However, this entry is my CAT on quilt entry, so if you want to read my DOG on quilt entry, click here!  When I wrote it, I had no idea I would be entering him into this party, and it is quite interesting how many pictures I have of him on one of my quilts!

So I also have a gorgeous cat named Bella, who is my sewing diva partner.  This post is my entry for her into the POQ Festival.  I would say she loves new fabric as much as I do.

Helping out with my Paint Chip challenge for my guild
She, much like me, loves the feel of fabric, loves the feel of a quilt, either burrowing into it, or lounging on top of one.
Found her here just before I started this post! She willingly obliged for a picture or two...
"Must you take more pictures? How absolutely boring of you..."
We got her in October of 2012, when she was 6 months old.  She is a Himalayan.

She loved quilts and was fascinated by my sewing space even at that young age.

This past winter in Florida, she was quite intrigued with my old Elna sewing machine that I keep there.

She also loves keeping her spine in shape on my sewing machine cover, and, yep, new fabric underneath.
Think I've got my toes on it...yep, just!
She gets so excited when I lay out a quilt top to measure batting and backing:
Typical st-r-r-e-e-tched out Bella pose

If she can't get ON a quilt, or under it, she will figure out some way to be touching it:

This is my yoga bag I free-motion quilted.  I stood it up here after I'd taken some outside shots of it.  Turned around, and look who managed to get herself ON a part of it.  It was only the quilted strap, but hey, she got ON a part of that baby!

She's my cheerleader when it comes to being in my quilting/sewing space.  She bubbles with feline energy, all wiggly and bouncy, wriggling like a caterpillar on the carpet beside me, whenever I go down to the basement to sew.

Here's one last shot of her from a few moments ago, showing off her flexible spine and body.


Okay, she says that wasn't her good side.  Do you see how she just loves to pose?!  Typical cat, no?!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Sad on One Hand, Happy on the Other

Somehow between volunteering at, and attending the first annual Kingsville Folk Fest all this weekend, plus being away all last week, I have to get two posts out by tomorrow.  Here is the first!

Sad
I am sad because I missed the deadline at Melissa's A Lovely Year of Finishes for August with being away in Cottage Country last week.

I am still going to put my goal on my blog, however.  I did accomplish so much last winter by blogging about all my UFOs I took down with me!  I will finish the flimsy at the very least for my Round Robin guild project.


I think I have 3 more rounds to complete after this one.  Piece of cake, right?

Happy
On the other hand, I am happy, because I was one of the winners for Melissa's July ALYOF!  This was my finish, as you might recall:

My "Gears for my Gearhead" quilt wallhanging I made for my husband.  I was the winner of 3 PDF patterns from Green Fairy Quilts!  So cool.  I haven't had a chance to look yet, but I will let you know what I choose this coming week, when things slow down a little around here!

I am also so very very happy to be a part of our little town's inaugural Folk Fest.  We do so much fantastic stuff in Kingsville,

and this new event is just another one of so many exciting happenings.  So many of the artists performing last night commented on the beauty of Lakeside Park.  And it is.

Looking south at Lake Erie; the main park is behind me
A cute sign from the Festival last night:

Here is another picture from last week with our friends at their cottage in Cottage Country.  Beautiful scenery.  Canadian Shield granite, crystal clear lakes, trees--!  Ahhh.

Some of the "cottages" were 3 or more times the size of my house.
Own your own island!
With all the rock, trees, and clear lakes, I found it odd not to see an Alberta Rocky mountain in the background!  I did, however, notice a quilt-themed B&B Retreat on one of the winding roads!  Gotta love that!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

Greetings from Canada everyone!  I am Sandra.  Welcome to my little niche in quilting blogland.

Today is my day to participate in the Around the World Blog Hop.   I was invited by my new good friend, blogging, well, make that emailing buddy, and kindred spirit, Judy of Quilt Paradigm.  You can read her post for the hop here.  You can also read about her furry babies here! That's for another linky party, and that's for another post for moi!  Stay on topic, Sandra.

In order to help people like me stick to the programme, LOL, there is a set of questions to help guide this post.  Here goes.  Hold on to your hats.

But I'm going to digress right off the hop (ha, get it?! Didn't plan that that one) and answer the question that is utmost in all of your minds.  Just what the hell does your blog title mean?

Well, it actually stemmed from musings on the meaning of life, on happiness, on what is really important, that I emailed to my brother, once my husband and I made the decision to quit our jobs pre-retirement age and move down east.  Over the course of the ensuing two years, the Universe profoundly "lined up", pointing the way clearly to making this  a-little-bit-scary=but-oh-so-right move.  I once said to him something about the deep thoughts/musings that were going on in my melon, and it kind of stuck.

The menopausal aspect is self-explanatory; I'm in the throes of it, with all the positive and negative fun times it brings.

And the melon, singular, is a synonym for head, NOT melons, plural, synonym for, well...at the risk of getting rather bawdy, let's just say that my title would have to be menopausal oranges. LOL
There.  Title explained.  Nothing to do with quilting, which now kind of bugs me.  Oh well. C'est la vie.

What am I working on?
Well.  I have two projects (my nose is growing) that I am currently working on, with one simmering on the back burner.  (my nose is growing because I am not a good liar.  I value honesty.  So I really do have a few a lot more than two projects on the go.  Okay, hot flash is dissipating.  Phew.)

The first project is this Self-directed Round Robin, aka Orphan Block Challenge for my guild, and has to be finished for the September (egad, that's next month) quilt show.

Two quadrants down, two to go
We had to start with an orphan block.  Mine was the hand-appliquéd block from over a decade ago, made in an appliqué class I took at my LQS.  Each member of the executive has given the specifications for a round (hmm, should be self-executed round robin.)  For example, round 1 - Add a stripe.  Round 2 - put some flying geese on it.  Round 3 - add some appliqué.  I could have jammed out and said I already had appliqué on it, but nope, that is not fair.  After the geese, the quilt told me it needed to be on point, so I did that, creating these horrid lovely quadrants ripe for lots of appliqué.  It took me some time, to decide on a pattern.  It has taken a lot longer to get at it, and willpower to stick with it.  It is tedious and I am not really having fun but I am half way now, so powering on through! And I am liking it.  There are 4 more rounds to do after this one.  No problem.  Did I mention I work well under pressure?!

Project #2 is another one of Cynthia's (Quilting is More Fun Than Housework) Scrap-a-Palooza quilts.  I am addicted to these.  They also provide a welcome respite from the round robin, (I told her I'm blaming her if my round robin isn't done for the show!!) and they give me a chance to PLAY with fabric, something I adore.
In the planning stages

I love piecing, love mixing fabrics, mixing colours, shades and seeing what I get.  I love blue.  Putting blue with green is delicious, and I'm really liking, no loving, lurving, as Judy would say ;-) the feel of this quilt.  I do not have a name for this quilt, now at the halfway point.  I thought of Jade.  Nope.  Aquamarine.  Maybe.  Lake Erie.  Hmmm.  Any suggestions?

Here is another scrap-a-palooza quilt I just finished, Floral Dreams:

The back burner project is another guild challenge for the show, a paint chip challenge.  We purchased a kit that contained a fat 1/8th of fabric, and 3 paint chips.  We have to incorporate fabrics that match those paint chips and create a small quilt using the fabric, coordinating 3 fabrics and as many other fabrics as we wish.  I plan to make a kaleidoscope.  Need to start it ASAP.

This is Bella, my purring, fur-shedding, fabric-loving sewing director

How does my work differ from others?

Quite frankly, I don't see that it does.  I guess I could say that I don't stick to one type of quilt or one style of quilting; I like variety.  I like both traditional and modern quilts.  I've tried many techniques, from paper piecing to appliqué, (really enjoy putting appliqué on top of piecing), to stained glass.  I've done mini-quilts, coasters, bags, pillows, placemats, runners, baby quilts, throws, quilted jackets and vests, bed-size quilts from twin to king.  I also like to combine fabric lines as well as fabric manufacturers, although I must say using a charm pack or fat quarter pack of only one line really gives me a thrill.  Here are two, one recent, one not so recent:
Hidden in Plaid Sight - my own design
This is one for which I plan to write a pattern.  In fact, I've already bought the fabric, Zen Chic's "Sphere" to recreate it while I write the instructions.  A few people had asked for a pattern, so I guess that is yet another project I have in the works!

This is another quilt, a Buggy Barn Crazy quilt made in 2007, not a great shot, light-wise, or quilt-wise, but you get the idea.  This also shows you my beloved pit bull, Rocco, 6 days after we got him.   Or rather, after he "came" to us.
ON our bed, still, 5 years later, his most happy place
Through making four of Cynthia's scrap-a-palooza quilts, I realize that I do love scrappy quilts, and that I have made more than I realize.  Here is one, the first quilt I quilted on my Avanté, made last year.
Pre-binding, guess I don't have a finished pic!
 And these placemats, pieced from leftovers from my "Cloud 9" quilt:
Made for Meals on Wheels
Baaad lighting, but you get the idea of the sea-themed FMQ I did
Which brings me to free-motion quilting.  I love it.  I cannot draw to save my life, although I can copy a drawing with some success.  I seem to be able to just draw out of my head with a sewing machine with much better results!  Kathy Sandbach was a huge inspiration to me several years ago, saw her on "Simply Quilts", bought both of her books.  I have always loved Carol Bryer Fallert's quilts.  Most recently, Leah Day stunned me with her 400+ Designs online, designs that helped me immensely to get used to my longarm.  Then I found Angela Walters, bought a book, bought her Craftsy classes, every one.  And I continue to be inspired by the online community of bloggers.

Why do I write/create what I do?
I need to sew.  I need to do yoga.  I need to read.  These three things feed my soul.  They keep my chi flowing.  The need to create something, however, is almost physical for me.  The rush, the joy, the anticipation, the bubble of energy and happiness that I feel inside upon the completion of a quilt both sustains and uplifts me.

I blog (took me 6 months, no lie to get up the nerve to publish) because I want to keep a record of my work, and my thoughts as I worked through a quilt.  btw just how do I back up my blog?  lol  I did not realize that blogging would connect me to such an incredible online community of like-minded people.  I did not realize I would make friends, would feel such connection, would get such inspiration, would feel like this big beautiful world is really quite small when I feel the spider-webs that connect us and bind us as humans.

How does my creative process work?
I get inspiration from so many places.  Often it is seeing a quilt, either in a magazine, in a book, online, or on a wall of a quilt shop.  

Lake Erie makes such a fabulous backdrop
This is a Cluck Cluck Sew pattern, made in June with Angela Walters' fabric.


I've started doodling more of my own designs.  I'd like to get EQ7 for Mac.  I am a firstborn, and thus, I do follow patterns.  Especially the instructions.  :-)  However, I do  sometimes start with someone else's pattern and then modify it, change it a bit to get it to be what I envision.  Here is one example:
This was the quilt I wanted to make for a friend's baby:
 
from Stash Busters by Mary Cowan


Here is what I ended up with:
Maren's quilt
I'm going to leave you with one last picture of a quilt that is probably my favourite, the one I am most proud of, next to the quilt that I made my mum for her 70th birthday.  Hmm! Don't think I have a picture of her quilt!



Okay, I lied.  Two pics of this quilt, Seaside Rose.

I finished it last November.  I blogged about it a few times, here, is one, and here is the finish post.  I also entered it into the Bloggers' Quilt Festival.  No, it didn't win anything, but that's okay.  It's going into our guild show too! Okay one more picture, close-up of quilting.  The shell motif is mine.


I do have one more fur kid, our Rottweiler, Naala. So as not to offend her, or my husband, whom she adores, here is a pic of her, helping out in the sewing room in Florida.  :-)


And now I'd like to introduce you to the three bloggers I have tagged.  These lovely oh-so-talented ladies will be writing their post next Monday, August 11.  Much thanks and appreciation to them for agreeing to be tagged and participate!

First is Canuck Quilter, Joanne.  A few things led me to following her blog.  First of all, she is Canadian, living in the US, which roused my curiosity.  Second, she has an astronomer husband, how COOL!  You will find stars in a lot of her quilting, like this one.  And third, her quilts just sing with colour. Check out her Sparkling Trail quilt - fabulous quilting.

Next is Gina, of The Occasional Quilter.  She is anything but--!!  She stitches, she pieces, she quilts, and she lives in beautiful Wales.  Check out her adorable windowsill runner.  She, like me, is working on Tula Pink's City Sampler (see? I do have more than 2 projects on the go...) although she is much further ahead than I.  We both have dogs who love balls.  Her dog is Stan.  Isn't that a great name?

Finally, quilter extraordinaire, is Hilary of Hilary Florence Quilting Workshop. Ahhh-MAZING quilting, this lady does.  Even outside.  Yep, in her garden.  I love it.  I used to sew garments, and would occasionally haul my machine out onto our deck to sew.  So this connected me to her.  However, what really really locked-the-lock-and-threw-away-the-key connected me to her is her FMQ.  Check out this stunning show-stopper of a quilt, which she has entered into the Festival of Quilts 2014.  She, like Leah, has a FMQ ongoing project of creating new motifs.  Lots of inspiration, I guarantee it.

So there you have it.  This is a great way to meet some new bloggers, get a peek into what makes them tick, and bounce off onto three new ones each Monday.  Enjoy!  I am linking up with Anything Goes Monday at Stitch by Stitch as well as Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it Up Friday.