Friday, July 3, 2015

Baby 1-Done

I finally finished off the first of three baby quilts needed for the summer crop of babies.  (None of them mine or my children's, but who can resist the allure of creating a small, colourful quilt!)

There are lots of polka dots and owls, but I think the new mum will like it a lot.

Many intersecting lines of quilting are both simple and effective.

And the backing is a sweet little floral print that was hiding in my stash.

There's lots of action at the bird feeders this time of year with all the babies being brought so that they can learn where the food is.  The twittering and wing fluttering is very cute and I get enormous pleasure watching while I drink my coffee in the morning.

 A pair of blackbirds built their nest in some dead bullrushes at the edge of the pond and I went down every day to see their progress.

Unfortunately, something else was keeping an eye on them too and yesterday they had disappeared.  The parents were still squawking at us and dive bombing, so it must have only just happened.

This handsome frog seemed quite unconcerned at my taking his picture.  He must be used to the attention!

Even this lowly garter snake seemed happy to bask in the sunshine after endless days of cold and rain.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Following Along

The drunkard's path that is.....

I've wanted to make a quilt with circles for a long time but never mustered up my courage to do it.  But last week I thought about the three different baby quilts I want to make and decided it was a perfect opportunity to play with circles.

I bought a little fat quarter bundle with owls, mushrooms, and polkadots and paired it with fabric from my stash.  I created my own circle template after looking at a few tutorials and ended up with four 6-5-inch drunkard path blocks that sewed up into a 12-in block.  I didn't overthink fabrics and probably should have used more white for negative space, but I'm always happy with a riot of colour.

The quilting was simple and just followed the lines and circles, so there was a lot of stopping and starting.

Since it was for a baby I got to use up a lot of my little animal prints.

But I never got to the binding as my brother-in-law from Vancouver Island was with us visiting, so the family got involved in one of its favourite activities, brush clearing and bonfires.  The weather was cool and rainy while he was here, so a great time to get out and work!

Neil and Bob cut down lots of saplings on one day, and then we burned everything the next day.

The smoke keeps the mosquitos away too!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Finishing Up

I was rummaging around in sewing world the other day and found an unfinished quilt top.  That is not like me--I don't have quantities of flimsies lying around. I'm a start it, finish it kind of gal, unless I run out of fabric of course, or fall out of love with it. Anyway, this little top looked like it needed to be quilted, and let's face it, creativity was at a low ebb, so I whipped it out and started cutting backing and batting and in short time it was done.  No hesitations or quandaries, no second guessing.

I have no idea what the fabric line is, but it is pretty.

The backing is an old piece of Ikea fabric that was lying around with a bit of pink to make it wide enough.  

I love polka dots for the binding. I only ever did one binding by hand and swore never again! I know that some people find it very soothing and zen-like, but not me.  I kept pricking my finger and it seemed to take forever.  Once I saw a tutorial on sewing binding down from the front, I never looked back. To give credit where it is due, the tutorial is here. (Red Pepper Quilts)

I find it works well for me and it leaves a neat look to the front.  The stitching is barely visible.

I did the usual straight line quilting after securing the blocks with stitching in the ditch.  I have tried free motion quilting, but haven't practiced it enough to feel it adds to my quilts.  The straight lines haven't let me down yet!

And, just because it's spring, here's another quick walk around my corner of Quebec.  Don't you love the vibrant colours of the new growth on the conifers.  They all remind me of velvet.

Of course I cannot name this, but it grows all along the roadside and produces nice, sharp tasting, red berries in the fall. They're great for cooking into muffins or coffee cakes.

Of course Neil would call the shrub a weed since it isn't a tree that can be cut down and chopped into endless piles of wood!

And here he is waging war against another pernicious weed--cattails. They are starting to creep further and further into the pond, so he donned his hip waders and went to battle.

Two hours later he declared himself the winner and came in for lunch.

Neil and I are both fond of stones, large and small.  Anytime he turns up a good one while ploughing or working in the woods, he brings it home.  I love this big one in the little garden in front of the porch. I also bring home a good stone from any place we go to for vacation.  If I find one with a hole in it or shaped like a heart, that's a bonus!

Linking up to Sew Fresh Quilts and The Needle and Thread Network (which isn't shutting down-yay!)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Spring Flowers Quilt

My honeysuckles are in bloom. Now I know that honeysuckles aren't the flashiest of flowering shrubs, but while drinking my coffee on the porch this morning, all I could hear was the drunken humming of honey bees.  They were so busy and so laden with pollen that they could hardly fly and seemed to be walking from blossom to blossom.   This time of year is always a miracle of colour and sound.  As I write, the smell of lilacs slips by and the nest of blue jays in the maple are demanding more food, more food.  There's nothing like winter to make you appreciate spring.

Speaking of flowers, I finished the quilt made from my bee friends' flower blocks.  I have very unimaginatively called it spring flowers.  I decided to sash the individual flowers with fabric that remind me of grass.  Keeping with the analogy, for the binding I chose a fabric that could be imagined as a picket fence if you look closely.

Should I have sashed it in white, probably, but it's bright and happy and it will likely cheer up someone's bed at the nursing home my mother lives in.

The fun thing about online bees is that a group of strangers get together and trust each other enough to send blocks made with their favourite fabrics.  For me it's like Christmas when the blocks arrive.  Sometimes the fabric is exactly what I would have bought and sometimes not, but they always play well together.

The back is a perfect example of why we should measure twice and cut once.  I did not!

I tried to casually toss the quilt over the honeysuckle bushes, but the wind kept thwarting my art shots!

Here it's casually draped over the cover to the spring (supplies water to our house and barn).  In the background you can just see one of the raised vegetable beds.

I'm linking up to Sew Fresh Quilts, so have a good look at all that creativity out there. Sadly, this is the last week of The Needle and Thread Network and I would like to thank her for creating a space for us to show our work.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Heart Happy

This month I made hearts for my bee blocks and really like them.  Somehow, in my mind, there's nothing like patchwork and just digging out all my scraps from the pink/purple and the blue/teal stash piles made me happy.  It leaves chaos in sewing world, but that's all right.  I particularly like the little birds I fussy cut for each block.

After this exercise I realized that my stash was actually getting low.  Last year I swore not to buy anything except solids until a significant dent was made on the shelves.  I have been very successful at that, so today I went shopping to an actual fabric store and browsed their cotton remnants.  I used to buy all my fabric on line, but with the Canadian dollar so low compared to the American, I don't do that anymore.

In particular, I was looking for greens and was successful! Although, the colours look a lot fresher in person than in the photo.

I was looking for something different to sash my rolling stone blocks and decided on a green fabric that made me think of buds and branches.  I think it plays well with the blocks.

With the beautiful spring weather there's been lots of outside work to be done, but at least Neil got his potatoes planted.  He doesn't care about anything else, but spuds are the high point of any meal in his opinion! He's a true country boy.

Saturday, May 2, 2015


I feel that if I don't just write something, I might fall off the face of the virtual world forever.  I'm at a low ebb creatively.  When we got back from Australia, we went from this-

to this-

and I think my body and brain just went into hibernation in protest!

But, this morning the sun is shining, the snow has melted, and I decided to dust off my camera and set off on a photo shoot/morning walk and find beauty where I am.

I think daffodils and spring bulbs are my favourite flowers, probably because our souls are crying out for colour and there they are!

The little blue ones are loving the long, cool spring and are everywhere on the lawn.

The willows at the pond are trying their best to burst into leaf.

A pair of geese has set up shop on one of the back ponds and have a lot to say about my visiting their territory.

The pond is waiting for warm days, but I was delighted to see that the swallows have returned for the summer.  So many of our regular birds don't seem to be here and what I read about bird loss is very disturbing.

More shrubs waiting to burst into leaf.

Our vegetable beds are freshly filled with manure and waiting for the ground to warm up.  

So, having done this exercise, forcing myself to get back to the blog, I realize how much I have to be grateful for and feel like perhaps I can approach sewing world with some ideas and joy.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Rolling Stone

Last week I was all about my delectable mountain blocks which didn't work out for my bee blocks, but I found a solution--the rolling stone block!  Mountains, stones, see the connection?  When I made one to see how it looked, I realized that although it's called rolling stone, it could actually be called a flower.  At the end of January how could I resist something floral.

I don't reinvent the wheel here, so I won't give a blow by blow of process.  If you're interested, I found very good instructions here. It's my go-to site for 12 inch blocks and usually, the directions are simple and well explained.

I decided to go with small floral fabrics, brights and anything that made me think of spring.  My first block sold me on the idea.  Really, anything with polkadots is a shoo-in.

Then I made another just to confirm that I loved the idea.

And before I knew it there were four up on the wall and I will look forward to see what my bee mates make with their stash.

Winter is still upon us with cold temperatures and lots of snow.  But on the plus side, the days are getting longer and the light is very different during the day.  You've got to be a hopeful kind of person when you live in the northern hemisphere.

On cold mornings Mont Sutton starts making snow long before dawn.

As I have mentioned before, my mother  lives in a nursing home and is very well looked after, but she is starting to lose her speech, making it difficult for us to have any chats together.  Lately I've been taking my recorders down when I visit.  I play some music for her and I guess for the rest of the rooms on the hallway too.  So far no one has complained.  It gives her pleasure and I'm happy to do it.

On a sad note, my faithful companion of 13 years is no longer with me.  For all of you who have known and loved a dog, when I say she was the best of dogs, you know what I mean.  I miss her terribly and keep thinking that I hear her coming down the hall.  I am still surprised to I find my shoes where I left them as one of her favourite pastimes was collecting footwear to decorate her bed.
I have been lucky in the dogs I've had over the years--she won't be the last probably.

Have a good week and don't forget to make something!