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

Kickstart

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!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Delectable Mountains

Isn't that a wonderful word, delectable.  Somehow, the C and the T stuck side by side give a marvellous clarity to the sound and what on earth am I going on about?  Sorry, there's a reason for it.  February is my month to be bee leader and I like to find a block that is both a bit of a challenge and makes some sort of secondary pattern within the quilt .

I was wandering around quilt land when I happened on Elizabeth Hartmann's blog (as I often do) and noticed a beautiful quilt pattern with gradations of solid colours making a fabulous pattern.  She mentioned that it was a variation of the delectable mountains quilt block.

My sewing world's window overlooks my "delectable" mountain, Mont Sutton.  It's where my children learned to ski and snowboard and where we spent many happy hours en famille.  In this very grey, gloomy and cold winter, it struck me as perfect.  So off I went to create my own version of this block.

I've been admiring monochromatic quilts for a while and thought that being February, a red and white block would be perfect, so I made one, just to see how it went.


Then I made a few more, because I wanted to see the pattern.



And then I made many of them--because I was in love with how they looked. I used a tutorial by quiltsbyjen that was very useful. Unfortunately, I couldn't get a picture of the many, but I'm sure they'll show up again!

They look so simple, don't they, but I spent many an unhappy moment up close and personal with my seam ripper.  But, then I had the awful realization that the block size didn't match the requirement for the bee.  Grrrrrrrrrrr!  No matter, I shall continue on my own and finish them.

We finally had good enough weather to go on a sleigh ride with friends and their children and grandchildren.  Good thing too as it was the only day above -20 that week.  I was a lovely ride, but we all got cold by the end.



This morning is another winter wonderland, but I loved the sun dog glinting on the side of the trees.


It's another cold one, but it is winter!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

No Resolutions Here!

So here we are, 2015, and once again, I have no resolutions, no "word" to guide my creativity, no "issues" that I need to deal with (ones I'm willing to share anyway), and aren't I lucky. Both of our children were able to join us for Christmas which was such a joy as both  have  punishing work schedules.  I am just so glad to see them when I can.

I did make some little gifts for people in the shape of earbud cases. They sew up very quickly and I find mine very useful.  They're also wonderful to use up bit and pieces of fabric that you don't want to get rid of but can't think of a use for.





Before Christmas we had such wonderful, picture perfect weather--blue skies and fluffy snow everywhere.  We were all pumped for snowshoe expeditions and maybe some skating.


Then Christmas Eve it started to rain, and by the next day, it looked like this.



The last few days I've been puttering around with Elizabeth Hartman's fox pattern.  I  bought the giant fox and made one block, but found it very fabric intensive.



I decided  to spend some time reworking the numbers to make a more scrap friendly version.  You can just see the single block edge on the left, proof it IS big! So far, I'm using up all sorts of leftover bits of jelly roll. I will have to go get some more of the navy background fabric, but that I got at a local shop, so very easy to get more.  I'm thinking this might be a baby quilt for an expected infant.


Now that the deep freeze has hit I have more incentive to stay indoors and sew!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Happy Holiday

If you're anything like me it's been head down, hunkered over the sewing machine while mumbling to myself, why did I leave it to the last minute.  Needless to say, it won't all get done and really, does it matter?  The biggest problem is that I get sidetracked--start one thing, jump to another and before I know it, sewing world looks like a bomb exploded and I can't find anything.  Then the mumbling escalates to grumbling and it's downhill all the way!

So, what have I done?  I made a lap quilt for my niece's little boy because I couldn't give his sister the happy stars quilt without giving him one too.  I asked Carolyn what he liked and it was soccer and red, green and yellow.  My stash was a little sparse for those requests, so black Friday brought out my hunting instincts and I did a little shopping (for me too).


I had some strips of Australian fabric that I used for the strip down the middle and the binding.  The backing was a piece of batik that a friend brought back from her travels and it seemed to go so well with the front.  I hope he likes it.


I had great plans to make a Christmas quilt this year and even bought a pattern from Freshly Pieced, something rare for me. But the pattern intimidated me and once I had made a couple of the poinsettia blocks, the reindeer block and a couple of trees, I realized that it wasn't going to happen this year, if ever!  However, not wanting to waste effort and fabric, I made a couple of mini quilt wall hangings and tried to finish off a less ambitious wall panel for myself, but we're still not there.  Maybe next week.  Other items are for gifts, so won't be making an appearance here.



We've had relentless snow for the last ten days.  It's beautiful, but hard to get around and the power flickers a lot.  I love how the outside lights look in the early morning light, like something from a Christmas commercial.


And of course, Neil is still working on his great wall of wood, the 2014/2015 edition.  Believe it or not, last year's has all been sold.


I probably won't get back to this little space in the universe until the new year, so happy holidays to everyone and I wish you all good health and happiness for 2015.