Friday, February 26, 2010

Let's hear it for the Red White and GOLD!

Feeling just a little sleepy this morning. I stayed up very late last night stitching and  watching our Canadian athletes gather up the medals. Our ladies hockey team took gold and Joannie Rochette; a very brave lady who persevered through much heartache captured a  bronze in figure skating. There may have been more but those were the ones I concentrated on last night.Go Canada!

I think I already mentioned that I have been working away at my redwork blocks for a red and white quilt I am making. You know I was thinking, "What a patriotic project to be working on during these Canadian Olympic days. It was not planned that way, but if it had been, wouldn't that have been so clever of me? I managed to complete over half of a block last night, so that means I just have to finish this one, and then one more and all the embroidered blocks will be done! Oh did I mention I have 24 various star blocks of different sizes to do as well? I guess I shouldn't get too excited yet.

I have a few more retreat things to share today. We included a few kits in the goody bags for our retreating ladies. Among them were these 2 pin cushions. They are small and are worn on the finger or thumb, but they are handy little items to have when you just need a few pins at the ironing board or design wall etc.

This one was made from a re-cycled bottle cap, a bit of stuffing, a four inch circle of scrap fabric and a bit of elastic. A great little notion to have in your sewing basket!

And now showing ...on a very anemic looking hand is the next thumb pin cushion. This pattern was taken from Moda Bakeshop.

 
Made from re-cycled wool clothing.
We had a little display table set up with several notions and a wonderful variety of pin cushions. I however, was not clever enough to have taken a picture of it, but because these ones live at my house I was able to photograph them after the fact.

See this roll of 1/4 inch quilters tape? ...want a tip?

Put a little piece on your nail and you have a quick and easy tool to check your 1/4 inch seams while sewing.
Stay tuned...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

retreat, olympics, and stuff

First off I have to say Go Team Canada! If you missed last nights hockey game with The Canadian men's hockey team playing Team Russia you missed a corker. Team Canada hit the ice like something shot from a canon and played that way all game. Way to go boys! I sat and stitched on my Winter Wonderland project while watching the game. I know I said I was going to do nothing yesterday, but that is not as easy as it sounds. I have a friend who always says, "It's hard doing nothing; you never know when you are done." I agree.
I stayed on track with my eating yesterday and that is a good thing. I hope to make a little better progress this week.I didn't walk, but hope to today...before you know it the end of May will be here and I don't want to be dragging my feet in the 10 km walk in Ottawa.

I promised a few retreat pics and here they are with a brief description. As I have already mentioned we had a recycling theme, so we had some recycled projects to demo. Here are a few of them.
aprons from jeans.

Here's the one I made.
quilts from jeans.

Now before you say anything about the serious expression,  this picture was a self portrait, which in itself is not easy to do (my arms are only so long and I was concentrating on being centered); and it was early in the morning (I still have my nightgown on under my coat) This scarf was made from recycled t-shirts.

a purse from recycled ties. The center one was from the grandkids. I am giving the tie back to our grandaughter in the form of a purse.


I know I showed you a pic of the quilt made with 7 shirts, but did you know there was enough fabric to make the back of the quilt as well?

And do you want to know why used so many small pieces for the back? I wanted to save the shirt sleeves to make this...

not the best picture but they are toddler pants with the idea I found somewhere on line. Want to know what else we made with shirt sleeves?

Isn't this a great way to wrap a nice fresh bottle of New Brunswick maple syrup?...or wine..or bath salts?
Ok, let me think...we made pin cushions from recycled woolen sweaters, and from bottle caps, and baby food jars. I don't have those pics yet, but maybe tomorrow.



This pic is a little out of sequence , but at the end of it all we received lovely quilt printed cards signed by all the retreaters and tucked inside was a very generous gift certificate for our local quilt shop!







We played bingo for thread. You paid for your card with a spool of cotton thread and won a basket full of thread. As you can see we had some very serious bingo players. Good luck charms and all.
A lot of fun was had by all.

One of our regular retreaters was in a very serious accident on the way to guild meeting 2 weeks ago and was not able to be at retreat this year, so we all did a block and signed it with our best wishes and this will be her retreat keepsake from all of us.

group shot of the gang. Don't we look like we enjoyed ourselves?
this shot is of just a few of the completed projects from our annual mystery quilt. Phew! ...a long post, but just one more to leave you with. One day before retreat Sue and I were shopping at our local Staples; I have been wanting one of these for a long time now but thought it kind of silly to pay 5 dollars for such an un-necessary thing. Let me say...good purchase. If I had known how much fun and satisfaction would have come from it I would have paid full price for it long ago!

THAT WAS EASY!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sometimes I sits...






















Sometimes I sits and thinks and sometimes I just sits. Satchel Paige

Today may be one of those days.
I struggled last week trying to decide whether to go ahead with a cortisone injection in my shoulder or not. Well I decided yesterday to "Just Do It". I am not afraid of needles but I have to say having this one inserted into an already very tender area was a bit uncomfortable. Not unbearable, but uncomfortable...the doctor also injected a shot of novocaine in it as well for a little freezing until I drove home and was able to rest it. Today and tomorrow I think I may just have to be lazy days. Doctors orders you know...

Oh by the way; point four is not a lot, but it is what I lost this last week, which is quite remarkable really. I say that because if you had seen what kinds of treats were tempting me all weekend at retreat you would be amazed. I am sure the loss would have been better had I resisted the temptation, but alas, I am weak! What can I say?

I am still waiting on more pictures so hopefully I can post pics of some of our weekend projects. I am off to do nothing...

Monday, February 22, 2010

phew!!!

Just stick me with a fork and call me done! I am totally tired today, but what a wonderful weekend! I am referring to our annual retreat of course, and it was a super fun filled weekend. What a wonderful bunch of ladies I have the priviledge to rub shoulders with. I did not take a camera with me, so I am at the mercy of others to send me some, and when I get them I will share, but let me try with words to tell you a little bit about our retreat. We had a GREEN theme this year.  green of course meaning recycling. Our demos were about recycling fabric to make quilts and other things. Once everyone got into the spirit of it there were all kinds of green tips being shared and we saw recycled jeans, shirts, t-shirts, sweaters, bottle caps,comic strips, VHS tapes, plastic shopping bags and more. We ate and laughed, and ate, and sewed, and ate and talked, and ate and slept(very little!) did I mention there was a lot of food there? We had a secret sister swap that was a huge success, lots of wonderful prizes, a mystery quilt and as one of the organizers, I have to say I had a ball! I can hardly wait to do it again...well that's a lie. I can wait for a week or so until I catch up on a little of my sleep. Quilters are wonderful!
Want to see one of our recycled projects? I can only show you this one,because it is the only one I have a picture of, but as soon as I get the others I promise to share.

It is a Seven Shirt Quilt. I pieced the front AND the back using just seven shirts. As you can probably figure out this was not taken at this weekends retreat but at our little cottage retreat a few weeks ago. I could not share until now for obvious reasons. I got the pattern here http://thethriftyquilter.blogspot.com/2009/06/seven-shirts-seven-steps-one-thrifty.html
I managed to get a bit of sewing done, and finished the mystery quilt(photos to follow) and finished up the top of the baby quilt I was making.
I hope to get it sandwiched and quilted this week. We are forcasted for quite a few snowy days this week so it will the perfect time to stay home and quilt. Before that though I have a major unpacking job ahead of me. I didn't bring everything I own to the retreat, but almost. See you soon.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Rome wasn't built in a day

Had a weigh in last night. I was a little concerned how I would do, but I think I am satisfied. I lost 2.4 lbs. Satisfied or not, it is what it is and I am the only one who can do anything about it. I am getting a little more serious on the treadmill. Not too much more time, but at a greater intensity. Ooooh that sounds like I am really working out. Not really, but I am doing 30 minutes at 5km per hour with a few 6km "spurts" thrown in. I would love to do more, but Rome wasn't built in a day, and I have to keep reminding myself of that. I am at least headed in the right direction.



Speaking of headed in the right direction, I am off to Moncton to pick up a friend and bring her back for another visit. I have a feeling I will be spending more time in my little studio...she left her sewing machine with me last trip, so I know she will be wanting to get at her projects too.
Hope to drop in to Costco, and if allthe stars are aligned just right maybe even the newly renovated quilt store too. Stay tuned for the all the details. ta ta

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I've been thinking...

I've been thinking that if I hired a maid, one or two days a week, that would give me more time to spend in my little studio. It would be a perfect set up really; I could be here to oversee what needed to be done, and still be able to sew/quilt the day away. I know it seems a bit extravagant, but it wouldn't be forever, just until I get caught up on all my UFO's (and my housework too of course) I could get my windows cleaned, the floors done, walls washed; you know just a little light housekeeping.
Well in keeping with that thought, I heard yesterday about a gal who was looking for exactly that type of work. Seemed like a perfect solution for both her and I. I asked her to come by and she seemed real personable, so I knew it would not be a trial having her in my house and under my feet ( I've never had a maid before, so the thought of having someone else in my home doing the work seemed to me might take some getting used to.) She actually arrived at my place with her head scarf and apron on and carrying her own broom. Now that's what I call anxious to work!
We talked and I agreed to have her start immediately, but here's the problem...she won't come in the house. Says she can't. What's up with that? She won't go back where she came from and she won't come in. The neighbours seem to like her, but I can't get her to do what I hired her for...any suggestions?


















Sorry for stringing you along, but I couldn't resist.
What really happened, was I walked to the mailbox yesterday, and it was so nice out I decided to shovel the front steps and walk while I was out there.

Well while shovelling I thought you know this might be good snowman building material, so I gave it a try. It was not perfect conditions, but it did work, and I was enjoying myself so I much she sort of just evolved. Before I knew it I was in the kitchen for an apron, then in my sewing room for buttons and strip of fabric for her headband etc. Well she was so darn cute she sort of took on a personality of her own now when I look out the window from my kitchen or back entry she is there with a friendly wave. I do like winter days like this!

I still can't show you any pics of what I am working on, but I went over some quilty pics I had in my album and here are 2 of the ones I did for my youngest grand daughters. The sunbonnet Sue one was the first time I ever stippled a quilt on my machine.


















The teddybear one was done about nine years ago and was hand quilted. Today is weigh in day...hope I didn't mess up too bad this weekend, but I will know soon. I have to spend most of the afternoon in town doing errands before going to get weighed in, so I am off to tidy up and spend an hour or so in my studio. Have a wonderful day.



Monday, February 8, 2010

I should'a saw it coming

Not sure if I mentioned that I was cooking for company this weekend. I know I talked about joining Weight Watchers. So you know where this is going....

I had the best intentions...sigh. I hope I kept the damage to a minimum. My menu changed several times, but I finally ended up with a whole wheat penne and a home made sauce with italian sausage. Garlic bread, salad...not bad so far; right? Okay here is where the sabotage started...DESSERT! I have no one to blame but myself. I have had this recipe for over a year and decided to make it this weekend. I really need to make desserts that are "ho-hum" for awhile; you know the kind I mean...the ones that are not so enticing; like maybe a broccoli chiffon cake or an asparagus mousse (with just a tiny bit of chocolate glaze) Just til I get over the hump you understand...

All kidding aside I made a new recipe for dessert. It's called Aunt Irma's Cranberry Pie. I found it here http://http//moonbeamsinajar.blogspot.com/2008/12/aunt-irmas-cranberry-pie.html It caught my eye for a few reasons. One being that we picked a lot of cranberries in the fall before we moved back from the cottage, so they were readily available. Two because it seemed like one easy pie...no pie crust! I thought how can it be a pie with no pie crust? Details people, mere details. It is baked in a pie plate so it must be a pie right?!! actually it is more like an upside down cake in a pie plate. However, call it pie or call it cake; I call it delicious! If you like cranberries you'll love it. I made it late Saturday evening and about 10 minutes after I removed it from the oven it fell a bit in the center :-( ...just a bit, but of course I started second guessing myself whether it would be ok to serve, so I made a second dessert...a mixed berry cheesecake. Turns out they were both very tasty. Actually I only had a bite of the berry cheesecake one (all in the name of being a good hostess you understand) I liked the cranberry one best. Imagine it with a dollop of freshly whipped cream on the top. Yum yum! I had one small piece for dessert, BUT much later in the day I had half of a small piece without the whipped cream this time(my common sense kicked in after the second bite and I pushed it aside)
Here is a pic of the one I had in the evening with a cup of herb tea...see; small piece, no whipped cream...and I really only ate half. The best part is the first bite anyway..you know the point of the pie is the best part...just the right combination of crust and filling.
Any way today is a new day all fresh and mistake free (so far), so guess what I am having for dessert today? Yup! One of these yummy red pears. I was introduced to these tasty treats last week at our girlie retreat and I was instantly hooked...and have bought them a couple times since. Thanks NJ!
I plan to sew today so maybe I will have some quilty pics to share tomorrow. Have a good day y'all. ***Oh yeah I forgot to mention that I substituted pecans for the walnuts in the cranberry pie, and I added a tsp. of vanilla and a half tsp.of salt.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Proof I was there



They say a picture is worth a thousand words. A few days ago I posted pictures of our "girly get-away". Not sure if you noticed or not, but there were no pictures of me there. The reason? Well, it's because I was taking the pictures, and I do not use the self-timer feature on my camera often enough to remember how it works, so there were no shots of me. I told you I was there, but I was no where to be found. Here is the proof I was there! I received this via e-mail from our retreat hostess. This is what three contented quilters look like. What a wonderful keepsake of a few days well spent.
This next image I came across in my web wanderings this morning. It made me smile.
I have started back on my "dreadmill" routine each morning in an effort to get in better shape. I have also started Weight Watchers.....AGAIN! Last weigh-in registered me as 3.8 pounds lighter. A very small step in a long journey; however it is a step in the right direction. Hope I can keep on track. That being said this picture is not necessarily positive re-inforcement, however a good sense of humor can go a long way. Well I am off for my walk...ta ta.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

the logical thing to do


Here I am faced with a deadline; several jobs to do, organizing projects for retreat, a meal for 12 to plan and prepare for this weekend and a very large basket of laundry to finish ironing. So the logcal thing to do? Waste my time surfing the net...oh dear! (Don't judge me)

If you need me, I will be in my sewing room. Have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Keep Calm and Carry On

Keep Calm and Carry on was a motivational poster produced by the British Government in 1939 during the beginning of WWII, but it was never used. It was re-discovered in 2000 and has been re-issued by a number of private sector companies and used as a decorative theme for a range of other products. ( this must be true, cause I read it in Wikipedia) I would dearly love to own this poster and read it daily to remind myself to do just that. Retreat is coming up fast and I have a number of things to finish up as part of my contribution in the weekend plans. I have a terrible habit of leaving things to the last minute and then stressing myself out trying to get everything done on time. I know there is a word for people like me (PROCRASTINATOR), but I just tell myself that I work better under pressure with a looming deadline; it sounds so much more positive than the "P" word.
So instead of working away at what I need to have done I am looking at quilty things that inspire me. I am sure there are patterns around for these little projects, but all I have are pictures I have saved on disc. Take a look...I have to run...got a million things to do.
.
Wouldn't this look wonderful at the back entry?

...and this! Well what a wonderful summery table topper!

this is what I need to do...




Love, love, love the colors in this little number!
I bet if you changed the size a bit it would make a cute little baby quilt.
Wish I knew who the publisher is of these patterns. I would direct you to them, but alas! I do not...hope I haven't stepped on any copyright toes by posting them here.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Oh I did enjoy myself

Well. I'm back from a wonderful little retreat! It was just like a mini vacation. The weather was less than desirable, but it just made it that much easier to stay in and sew instead of going out and enjoying the scenery and wildlife. However I am getting ahead of myself...it occurred to me the other day that in all the pics I posted of my little sewing studio, I neglected to show you where the "business" end of the sewing and quilting gets done. This lovely little number was a birthday gift last year from my wonderful husband; and I am thrilled with it.


Ok, back to retreat fun. We had a wonderful time. The drive was a bit tricky getting there with the freezing rain and sleet, but once I parked my vehicle Monday morning it stayed put until we left on Thursday afternoon. It was just the three of us for the better part of four days. We kept our meals simple, with a quick clean-up and then back to the machines. We stayed up until 3 a.m. each morning, sewing, ripping, talking, watching Walton re-runs, listening to music, being entertained by the local " furry nightlife", and even snacking a bit(healthy snacks of course). Off to bed at 3 and most mornings up and at it by 8. Some mornings my machine was fired up before the coffee pot. This was such a treat and I didn't want to waste a minute of it.
Here is a bit of the view from the windows in front of our machines. Nice huh?
Here we are, hard at it, notice the dark outside the windows. That didn't stop us though,we came armed and ready to quilt...lots of OTT lights and lamps gave us easy viewing even in the wee hours. (This is a funny shot, because in reality , the one ripping did more sewing and the one sewing, did more ripping)
Want to see some of what we worked on?
this is one of the projects that came to the retreat in a tin can and left completed. The blocks are a result of a tin can exchange we (the Tuesday girls) did a while back. Some of us have yet to finish, but Cam was determined to get her blocks together before doing anything else; so We worked away at that. I say we, because I came up with the ideas and Cam had to do the work...lol. She was a trooper tho, and even though it meant ripping back a FEW times to get the math part of things correct, she persevered and finished it. Looks great eh? Way to go Cam!
Sorry the colors are a little washed out, they are really much brighter and vibrant in real life, but you get the idea.
NJ worked away at finishing her queen sized Taffy Treats quilt, and I have to say I heard a very big sigh of relief when she put the last border on it. Looks great though, and then she plugged away at the next project in the line-up. A Kansas troubles table topper...
What did I do? Well I worked for 2 and a half days at a ghost project...I can't show it to you because it is a secret for our upcoming guild retreat in 3 weeks. But I will say it is done, and I am pleased. After getting that monkey off my back I started a baby quilt for a new baby we will be welcoming into our family in March sometime. It is a pattern from Moda Bakeshop http://http//www.modabakeshop.com/2009/03/pinwheel-baby-quilt.html
I added a dark border around the pinwheels though and I think only a few prairie points staggered around the border...I'l l adjust as I go along.
and now; on this the coldest week of winter so far, I have spring like pictures to show you. Becasue I was not going to be home through Christmas I didn't bother with planting an amaryllis this year, but when I arrived back in January I come across a bargain in one of the grocery stores clearing paper whites and amaryllis; I thought oh why not! Well they chose a wonderful week to bloom...pretty eh? My little touch of spring in sub-zero weather.









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...