Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve Mystery quilt

I found out a few weeks ago that there was a mystery quilt scheduled for New Year's Eve (day).  You know I just had to join in.  It's with the yahoo group QuiltTalk.

I'm doing a lap/twin size using christmas fabrics.

Of course I'm doing mine scrappy, instead of just four colours... I'm using about four colours in each group, reds, greens (these are the mediums), golds are the background and blacks are the "pop".

So far so good.  Here's a picture of them all cut and ready to start sewing.  Hard to believe what looks like such a little amount will make a twin size quilt (once borders are added).  But in some of these packages, there are 140 squares/rectangles.  Lots of piecing ahead. :)

I'm only on the sewing for Clue #1 right now... had a late start this morning because I had to:
 - drive hubby to work
 - shower
 - go check on the cats for a friend who is out of town
 - go to Best Buy and Future Shop to pick up a couple games hubby wants for this evening (his step-son is coming for the evening)
 - go to the grocery store to pick up some last minute items
 - put the turkey in the oven (loaded inside and out with garlic butter)

I'll have to break again soon to pick hubby up from work, and then break again later to make the sausage stuffing.... but I have all day tomorrow to play/sew.

I'll keep posting pics of my progress.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

I won!! I won!!

I'm in shock!  According to an email this morning from Jenna from I won a fat quarter bundle from the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway, the fabric was supplied by The Intrepid Thread.

If I remember correctly, this is the fat quarter bundle I'll be receiving.

Elements - Fat Quarter Bundle in Stormy Sea by Pat Bravo for Art Gallery Fabric Cotton Quilt Fabric

Aren't these pretty??  Eight fat quarters.... 2 yards of fabric!  Whoohoo!!  Too bad I didn't have these sooner... they'd be perfect for my Orca Bay teals and black and whites that I'm using.

I had told Karen of Sew Karen-Ly Created a couple weeks ago that I never win anything... and I don't!  So maybe this is a start of a new trend for the new year??  hehehehe

A few days ago I mentioned to DH that there were so many blog shop hops going on that it was nuts!  I'd entered/commented on maybe 50 of them.  There was no way I had time to go to all of the over 250 blogs and comment, and given the number of people participating... the odds of me winning on any of them was slim.

What a nice surprise this morning!! 

It's coming from the UK, so the squishy probably won't be here until after the new year, but I don't have a problem with that.  :)  I'm just happy I won!

Thank you Jenna!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Wow... the season is stressing people out

I think I've read about a half dozen rants (on blogs) today.  Yes we're a little over a week away from christmas, yes there are still things to be done, cooked, baked, purchased, cards and packages to send, knowing they won't get there before the "big day". 

It boggles the mind how much people put themselves through for this one day.

So why do circumstances warrant other people to be rude to so many others? 

Whether it's emails to blog posters telling them how they should live their lives, or someone saying they're sick of hearing about a certain subject?  Especially when that subject involved many people from all over the world, pulling together to do something nice for another person who is in a difficult situation right now.  (that one ticked me off - BIG TIME).  Fine and dandy if you don't want to be involved, but phrase it a nicer manner, rather than coming off as rude, uncaring and inconsiderate.

Where's the compassion?
Where is the "good will toward others?"
Why does the season have to be a competition as to who can buy the better present for the other (or bigger or more expensive)?
Why do people feel they have to compete with their potluck dishes?
What happened to the joy of giving?
What happened to handmade presents?  Remember years ago when people would make gifts for their recipients... and the recipient was overjoyed and so thankful that the gift was handmade, with love?  And appreciated receiving anything at all??

I think we should go back to putting lumps of coal in stockings!  LOL

Unfortunately, we now live in a society (for the most part), where everyone NEEDS everything.  Every electronic gadget, every expensive toy, over-priced shiny jewellery.  Heaven forbid if it's a piece of cosmetic jewellery!  A fake!

Many have forgotten what the difference is between a "need" and a "want".

People need to slow down, breathe, appreciate what they have, be thankful there's a roof over their heads and food in the cupboard, and not judge their happiness by the possessions they have (or expect to receive/acquire for christmas). 

Realistically, there are a lot of people who don't.  Or worse, they don't know where their next meal is coming from, or how they're going to give their children a christmas.

Quilters, and craftspeople alike, know what it is, know the feeling, of receiving something handmade.  Something you know that person spent time on, thinking it into reality, creating it with their own hands, and parting with it in order to make someone else happy.  And what did that cost?  A few materials and sometimes several labour hours of love.  I find that more precious than anything else.

I remember a few years ago, my brother gave me a rock... yes, *giggle* a rock.  If I remember correctly, I think he used it to weight a box so I wouldn't know what was in the box.  I don't even remember what was in the box now.  But I still have the rock.  The thing is the size of a large orange.  And it's not a special rock, like those ones you see in the stores for sale with the cute little pewter do-dads, although it does sparkle, maybe it's quartz or has some amethyst mineral to it, but it's pretty.

I do remember he asked me to save it for him... not to throw it away.  He had found it somewhere and kept it for some reason, so I know it meant something to him.  I still have that rock, and the box it came in.  I won't give it away or throw it away.  I might give it back to him if he asks for it, really really nicely!  :)

The point is, he and I were separated for 15 years (long story), and that present, with the rock, was one of the first things he gave me after we were reunited.  So even if it is only a paperweight on my desk, I see it and remember him, that 18 year old boy that I finally got to meet again after 15 long years. (He's 11 years younger than me... I used to change his diapers!... he hates it when I remind him of that) *evil grin* 

He and I are the best of friends to this day.  Even if he's a couple provinces away, he's as close as a text message or a phone call... which is more than I had from him between his years of 3 through 18.

I know he's alone this christmas, out there in Edmonton.  If either of us could afford it, we would fly him here to be with me.  Hopefully in the new year we'll be able to spend some time together, hopefully.  Maybe once he gets the job he's been trying to get, that allows him to travel from province to province, we'll have some time together.  Or maybe if funds come in from clients as I hope they do, I can take a few days and fly out to be with him.  We don't know, we're playing it by ear.

I miss him terribly, and I know he misses me.

In the meantime...
- I'm not stressing over the holidays
- people are getting handmade gifts from me
- I will be able to text/talk to my brother

... and I have a sparkly, pretty rock.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Orca Bay - Step 4

As Bonnie says in her blog post "there are many ways to skin a cat", and seriously, where did that saying come from?  It's creepy!!

Here's what I've been doing with my Orca Bay Step 4.

First, sew my teal/turquoise/green strings and strips onto 5.5" papers (I've done over 20 I think so far, here's 7 of the blocks).

Then, remove the papers

Now I starch them (with BestPress) and press them, hard.  I want to ensure they keep their shape, no shifting, no wobbling when I cut them, and no distorting later when we get to the point where they'll be sewn to something else.

Here they are, flat as flat can be.

Now to the cutting.
First, I'm cutting down the center across the strips.  No I'm not measuring anything at this point.  I know I have a lot of lee-way since my papers were 5.5" square and my strips extended past that point, and we only need them to be 5 1/8th".

This is where they get real pretty.
Using the Easy Angle Companion ruler as Bonnie suggested, I line up the 3 1/2" mark with the bottom of the triangle (or the center cut I'd made), and follow the ruler to make pretty little triangles.

On some of them, I shifted to either the right or the left as much as possible to have a sliver of trimming on one side, but a good chunk of sewn together fabrics on the other side - Crumb Starters!!

How well do they play with my purple strings from Step 2?

Let's see

I think they stand out well enough... and then think of black and whites surrounding them... this is going to be one pretty quilt!

Thank you Bonnie!!!

Beautiful Christmas Music

Ok, so maybe now I'm starting to get into the christmas spirit.  Kinda bummed me out a few weeks ago when I started hearing christmas tunes on the radio.  Like one of Bonnie Hunter's posts back then, I thought the same... "it's too soon!"

Especially when I look outside, it's sunny, minus 3 degrees celcius... and NO SNOW!  Makes me think we might have a brown christmas.. lol

Anyways, an email came in today.. one of Ricky Tim's updates, and I took the time to browse his site.  He's hilarous!  And has christmas videos of songs he's singing.

Loved this one:

It's called Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence.

Very, very pretty.

Then I found this one:

Christmas In A Small Town

This too was really nice to listen to.  Both of these are available on his CD by the same name, "Christmas In A Small Town".

I'm not a promoter for him, I just really like the music... and he's one hell of a quilter!!

If you want a laugh... check out his version of Jingle Bells... WAY TOO MUCH CAFFINE!!  LOL


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Pretty Little Penguins (Orca Bay style)

Since I'm going to be pulling a few out of these and mailing them off to swap with a couple Quiltville friends in the US, I figured I'd better post a picture, before they're depleted.

They went from this....

... to this...

They are adorable!  Over 350 half square triangles, unfinished size is 2".  They will finish in the quilt at 1.5".

I did them three different ways.

One stack was done with the EZ Angle Ruler...

One stack was done with the pdf page from Quilting and Whatnot's site...

...and the rest were done the InkLingo way!!

Seriously, once I did one stack with InkLingo I didn't want to do them any other way.

I don't know why I didn't think of doing them with Linda's InkLingo product in the first place.  I have so many of her other products.  Since she's offering a deal/discount to those of us doing Bonnie's Orca Bay Mystery, I figured, what the heck.

And... why buy a package for just HST's when I could buy a product that would also give me a really cool quilt pattern.... I grabbed the Storm at Sea 9" package.  I love the looks of this quilt, so it's now on my "future" to do list.

Thank you, thank you, thank you Linda Franz... and Monkey! 

Now... since one of the ladies on the Quilt-Talk yahoo chat group posted a recipe for "pasties", I'm going to make them for dinner. :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Free Kindle Book

I have various tastes when it comes to books, sci-fi, horror, fantasy, mystery, etc.

Once in a while I browse Amazon for free kindle books - I get a lot of use out of my kindle... I swear I read more now because of it then I did previously.  Why?  Because it's handy, easy to tote around, easy to read in bed.

So my Amazon browsing today found this (among several others), but this one sounds intriquing and it has received some well written reviews.

In the Beginning (A unique Scifi Fantasy Story) (The Great Destruction Series) [Kindle Edition]

Mrs. Melanie M. Ray

Product Description

Genres: This is a Scifi Fantasy with some Tragic Comedy
Bonus now included: The Legend and Risk, my short stories are now included in the back.

In the world of Pagnia, there is trouble brewing. With the help of a special mineral dubbed inhibitor, the citizens remain peaceful. Only one problem causes them to go against being pacifists. Pheromones. Since the race is so peaceful, the only protection needed is provided for women by guards whose sole purpose is to protect them. They are Protectors, and are bred and trained to go against their calm nature. They are not allowed to have any romantic relationship with a female, but are revered on their planet.

Unfortunately, with the weak will to fight this sets them on bad ground with their only enemy: Themselves. Through greed and temptation with the inhibitor their race had split into two and would one day cease to exist with genetics pulling each individual closer to a soulless pink-eyed rat tail.

Yed is an A class Protector, the highest on the scale. He's given a simple mission, to talk to a woman about settling down. He is conned by the king and finds out the woman was his childhood friend, Ezra. Having no idea what the King had in store for her, he demands to be her Protector.

The King reluctantly agrees, but if Yed reveals the kingdoms involvement, he will receive a painful death. Life gets tougher as forbidden feelings increase between him and Ezra. With this deadly secret lurking between them, and an overshadow of war always hanging overhead, will he be able to pull through?
You will find yourself laughing and loving these characters, waiting to find out how it ends. This is not a book for children, no matter how wonderful this world may appear on the surface. With an ending that will shock you into waiting for that next book, In the Beginning will not disappoint.

"Ms. Ray has created a fascinating world, novel situations, and multifaceted characters that draw the reader in and keep them wanting more. I had to really force myself not to buy the second book the minute I'd finished this one but I wanted to finish another one I'd just bought first. I can't wait to see what happens to Yed , Muin and Ezra. "

-D. Chippett from

Go ahead, while it's free... you know you want to!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Save on monthly groceries - hell yes!!

I found this post on Denise's blog.. Count it All Joy
Seriously, who doesn't want to save money on groceries.

I'm very interested to read this book and find out how I can cut costs.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Needed a "fabric fix" today

I have no idea why... but I just had this insatiable urge to buy fabric today.  Seriously, I wake up in the night dreaming of quilts, blocks, colour combinations, ideas for new quilts.  I can't stop!  I have the bug and it's BAD!  LOL

Going to one of the quilt stores didn't interest me.  Honestly, there's not a lot of variety in what they have.  Sometimes you just have to leave town.  So off to Perth Fabrics I went.  They have a wonderful store!  Lots of fabrics, battings, thread and a whole host of other craft supplies for knitting, felting, painting, flower arranging, cross stitch, scrap-booking and probably more than I even know.   It's less than an hour away and it was a beautiful day for a drive.

I picked up a few teal-ish greens (not so green in the picture though) for the Orca Bay Mystery quilt, and that yellow with flowers.. just because I liked it and it was in the bargain bin for 50% off - there was only a meter left.

And do you see this asian fabric?  It's gorgeous!  I had the lady lay it out on the table, we measured the length of the repeat, and multiplied that by 6, and rounded it out to 4 meters even.  I finally found a fabric I want to use for one of those "One Block Wonder" quilts.  This will be amazing!

And then, as I thought I was done looking around, there's a shopping cart at the front of the store with MORE discounted bolts.  Lookie what I found to be the backing on my Mai Tai's in Paradise quilt (aka cruise quilt)!!

It's perfect!!  Across the width of the fabric it repeats this scene three times.  The store is trying to get rid of all these summer "hawaiian shirt prints", there were probably three other bolts there with similar patterns.  The line up at the cutting table was full.  The lady helping me asked how much I wanted and I told her probably about 4 meters... but let's see how much was left on the bolt. 

Now this is the fun part.  She didn't have a table to use, so she unfolded all the fabric from the bolt, and roughly measured it against a wooden yard stick she was trying to hold at the same time.  She figured it was about six meters, and wrote it up as such, and gave me 35% off instead of the posted discount of 30%.  Guess she was happy to get rid of it.  Anyways, when I got home into my office, I refolded all the material.  With this one, I measured.  There are 7 yards (yes yards).  Convert that to meters and you get 6.4 meters.  She did a pretty darn good measuring job!

I'm probably only going to need about 4 meters of it for the back of the quilt, so I told Jim I may have enough left to make him a shirt... and the ladies on the cruise know how much he loves his hawaiian shirts!  LOL  He'd wear them everyday to work if it wasn't for the drab, navy, black or tan company shirts they make them wear.  Apparently, it's even written in the company policy manual "no hawaiian or loud shirts". 

I don't know about you, but I think a predominately male workplace could use a bit of colour - and I'm not just talking the language!  hehehe

Needless to say, I got my "fix" today. 

*does happy dance*

Friday, December 2, 2011

My little workhorse

This is my little Singer featherweight.  I haven't posted about this yet, actually, I haven't used it much yet, up until a couple of weeks ago.

During the summer I was searching through the listings of the garage and yard sales around town and found one that said they had an old Singer sewing machine.  From the description in the ad, I had a pretty good idea it might be a featherweight, and recruited my girlfriend to head a little ways out of town to check it out on the Sunday.

I was betting that someone had already picked it up on the Saturday, so I wasn't very hopeful that it would still be there.  Having absolutely no clue how much these should sell for (at the time), I checked a few ads on kijiji and usedottawa.  There were two available then, one going for $299 and one for $275.  That at least gave me a range to shoot for.

When we arrived, I did the curteous thing and browsed through all the tables and stacks out on the lawn, all the while keeping an eye out for a little sewing machine.  In the garage, in the back corner table I spotted it.  Honestly, I didn't know much about featherweights then, but looked it over enough to see it wasn't very scratched up, didn't have any chunks missing from the bed, the decals on the front area are a bit worn, and it looked fairly clean.  Even the case it came in had oodles of feet, a few bobbins and the original owners manual and can of Singer oil.

I asked the lady how much it was selling for, she went and grabbed her husband.  He said $250.  He also said it worked.  I didn't have any opportunity to test that but took him at his word.  

To not look too interested, I continued browsing a few other tables in the garage.  They had at least two dozen oil lamps different sizes, ages, glass shapes, etc - and I love them!!  I have a few really nice ones at home.  They remind me of very happy days and nights as a kid when we lived out in the country and would be snowed in, no power, just the pot bellied wood stove and oil lamps to play cards by.

Of course, since there's a picture, you know I went back to the table and picked it up.  The gentleman happily took my cash and asked if I knew of anyone else interested in one.  Apparently he comes by them on occasion.  I didn't know of anyone who was looking. 

I got the feeling this wasn't so much of a garage/yard sale as it was a sale of estate items that he seems to gather to sell.  Maybe I'll have to check out his house again next summer.

All in all, the machine works like a charm.  I did my research on the internet to find out how to properly clean it, oil it, grease it, and what to look for in the way of damage, smells, oil build up, etc.  I made a short list of things that should be taken care of.  New oil drip pad for the bottom, new needles, a new belt, and a tube of grease.  For about $30 I was able to order all the things I needed. 

Before these things came, I tested it on scraps of fabric.  A beautiful straight stitch, runs quietly and is just soooo cute!

Two weeks ago, when we went to Jim's mom's place on the Sunday for her birthday celebration, I took my old Universal sewing machine with me, a sewing kit of supplies and a bag of scraps of fabric.  She wanted to learn how to sew.  My idea was to get her started on crumb blocks.  My featherweight came along with me.

I didn't take any pictures, but suffice it to say, between Jim's mom, his sister and I, we completed 10 little 6" crumb blocks.

Jim's sister has since told me they're running out of scraps... LOL

On another note, still in regards to my featherweight, Jake doesn't like it when I spend too much time in my dungeon (basement office/sewing room) and reminds me of it constantly by coming down and planting his head on my leg.

So a few nights ago I took the featherweight and my box of neutral strings and planted myself at the dining room table.

First I wanted to wind a couple of the bobbins up with new thread, but to do that I had to remove the old threads from the bobbins.  Do you see this?  The lady who owned this machine had a wide variety of threads on one bobbin!  Some were a couple yards long, but most were only three or four feet long.  And different colours!  I guess it didn't matter much to her if she sewed with all the same thread colour... talk about needing to be frugal.

So I now have 45 little string blocks (4 1/2") done for my Jamestown Landing quilt.  Only 123 more to do!  (another story on that coming soon)  :)

PS.  do you see my RRCB on the wall in the background in the first photo?  I didn't even notice it until I viewed my post.. LOL  (it's on my quazi-design wall - but it's not big enough to fit the whole quilt).
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