Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A walk through my neighbourhood

A Couple of weeks ago I took my camera with me as I went for a walk through my neighbourhood. These are some of the pictures in no particular order. This is a view of the front of my house from the street below. All you can really see is a big hedge and the chimney.
This is the south end of the road below my house. To the left are the houses that are on the water. To the right is a green belt and the railway tracks. This is a view from the beach access looking south towards Boyer Island. There are only a few cabins and houses on Boyer Island. Jim and I have kayaked around Boyer Island. Lots of marine life around there.
This is a view from the same spot looking more west towards Bowen Island. Quite a few people live on Bowen Island. It has a large artistic community - authors, artist, quilters etc.
This is also from the same spot - looking north up Howe Sound, towards Gambier Island and the mainland.
This is a view of the backside of "The Lions" from the road. There is quite a bit of snow up there this year. It was a little late in coming but the mountains have a lot of snow this year.
This is the north end of the road. This is a small bridge that crosses Harvey Creek
This is a view looking north up Howe Sound from the end of the road. I am standing on another bridge just a bit further up the road from the first bridge.
This is the small beach and park at the south end of the road. Boyer Island is in the distance
This is the street that I live on. Just at the bend in the road to the left.
Home again, Home again. The drive that goes down to my house. We live in such a pretty little neighbourhood and when the sun is out and the sky is brilliant blue I just had to take a few pictures.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Pam's bags

I have been making bags this year. I got the pattern this little make-up bag this fall and have made about 20 of them so far. I gave a bunch away at Christmas time. I thought I would post a bunch of pictures of the bags and then try to rearrange the pictures - thanks to Patty from Texas who offered some advice. So this is a bit of a test post.

The bags are easily made with two fat quarters - one full fat quarter is needed and then the inside lining is just 1/2 of a fat quarter and then there is a small inside pocket and a ribbon to close. I think it's just a great little pattern to use up some of those fat quarter packages of mine.

This next bag is a pattern I found in one of the Better Homes and Gardens quilting projects magazines quite a few years ago. I really like this bag. It has four little pockets on the outside and the inside is quite big - again a make-up travel bag. It is quite complicated to make! At least for me, and requires a bit more fabric than a couple of fat quarters. But I really like this bag. I have made a couple of these over the years. The very first one I made was for Andrew's girlfriend Emma ( when he was 15) she was going away to India for a holiday with her parents and I made her a bag to take with her.

These next bags are again using up my fat quarter collection. It was a pattern that came with the fat quarter fabrics on the left - the purple/yellow/green fabrics. I discovered that if I was frugal with my cutting I could make two bags with one package of fat quarters. Then I also had the watermelon fabric (again a fat quarter package) and thought it would be great for a bag as well. They are lined and also have fusible batting in them. I made four of these bags - gave away two so far. I still have a couple of packages that I think would be great for these bags - some cat prints and chicken prints. These bags are about 19" wide and 26" long.

Now I have to go off to the quilt store and get some applique pins for this Dear Jane - I have never bought applique pins - just used my regular yellow headed ones - but these pieces are so tiny that I need smaller pins.

And a big thank you to Patty as I moved these pictures around and put them just where I wanted!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Holy Hannah Batman

For some reason this Blog has insisted - no matter how many times I tried to repost these photos - to show the back of the block first!

Here it is - my very first Dear Jane block - I think this little block took me about 5 hours to make. I am hoping that I improve with time and as I get more blocks done. If it takes me on average (lets say I get better at this and get the time down to 3 hours) 225 blocks x 3 = 675 hours! I am posting both the back and the front of the block. The back is a bit of a mess. There is a link on the Dear Jane CD to a website for Veronique Crolus who has photos of all the blocks - front and back. I will try to aspire to have my backs look more like Veronique. I think I can - I think I can!!!

I am stitching each block by hand. I think the foundation piecing method would work better but I am left handed and I have never been able to grasp the backwards/forwards/left/right concept very well. I can not cut out a piece of fabric to sew on the backside of a piece of paper and then have it flip right side over and fit the space. For this I blame my mother. She was also left-handed but taught me how to do some things with my right hand and others with my left. Every time I need to learn a new task - first I have to decide which hand I will use to do the new task. Some things I can actually do with either hand equally well -- start an IV or insert a catheter. (that impresses people) But for some reason the concept of foundation piecing is beyond my ability.

There was one quilt I did foundation piecing on - The Mariners compass by M'Liss Rae Hawley - the centre piece was foundation piecing and this is when I discovered my impairment. A considerable amount of fabric was needed to correct my backwardness. So I will sew each Dear Jane block by hand - just like Jane did!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Dear Jane

I got my Dear Jane book and CD in the mail yesterday. I started the first block today - A-1 - I'm not sure exactly what I am doing!!! I printed off a pattern on freezer paper and I thought I would hand piece the blocks with the freezer paper on the wrong side of the fabric and use the edge of the freezer paper as a sewing line -- NOT! So I have put a sewing line along the edge of the freezer paper and removed the paper. Boy these pieces are tiny! I think I will be 80 by the time I finish this. It has taken me most of the day to half finish the first block - although I am getting better with the hand stitching. I spent the other half of the day making shrimp tarts for some meeting Jim (DH) has at work tomorrow. So between the Dear Jane and Shrimp tarts I never even stepped foot outside - except to feed the Pheasant (Phineaus). Better get back to the Dear Jane - hopefully I can finish this block tonight while I watch American Idol! (You know the old saying - Simple things for Simple People) Although the Canucks are playing and winning right now so that is priority.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Heart table runner

Here is the Heart table runner that I am going to finish up for Jessica and Ben's wedding in June. I am quite surprised at how much of a formal wedding she is planning. I never thought of her as being one to go for a traditional wedding. She is busy planning place cards and table settings and little gift baskets for the guests. Her theme is red and white -- strawberries and hearts, red carpets and white archways with flowers. I was going through my fat quarter packages looking for fabric for the Dear Jane quilt and I came across this package from Feb 2005. It had a little pattern included for this table runner so I decided to make it up for the wedding. It could go on the head table or even on the food table. Hopefully she likes it and it goes with everything else she's planning. It's more of a country looking table runner -- not terribly formal looking. Her wedding cake is going to be three tiers of white iced cupcakes with strawberries cut in the shape of hearts. So this goes with the theme. Her and Ben are busy doing the invitations and they sound really lovely. Ben is such a nice, caring, hardworking, thoughtful person. I can see he really loves Jessica. They live in Calgary - so I don't get to see them very often. She is doing most of the planning for the decorations from Calgary and we are planning the dinner from here. It won't be too big of a wedding 50-60 people I think. It is supposed to be an outdoor wedding so I am hoping the weather is good for the June. The reception will be in the little village hall so I guess if it rains we will move the wedding - the arch- the red carpet (Cardinal red --Pope ready red!) into the little hall. This is my only daughter (two sons follow) so I am starting to get a little anxious about the wedding but ----- I think as the time gets closer I will get a little more anxious and feel a little more stressed. Right now I'm not quite there yet.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Great Blue Heron

This is a Great Blue Heron that I started working on a couple of years ago. It was another workshop! Seems alot of my unfinished projects are from workshops. I need to add some yellow and red parts to it, finish the eye and then a small rock or grass for it to be standing on. It is about 18"x 24" It is applique and reverse applique. I would like to finish it - I really like the pattern and I think it will look really good once it is all quilted up.

This photo is an actual Great Blue Heron that was sitting on the dock on the water very close to our house. It is probabley about 150 feet from the house and I put the digital camera up to the eye piece of our little spotting scope that is on the deck. I was quite surprised how well the shot turned out. When we bought the telescope we were told that the camera could take pictures through the scope but I had never tried it. Not bad.

I had to work the first three days of the week and then my sister came for a short visit on her way through to Hawaii. As a result I have done very little quilting this week. I started the table runner for Jessica's wedding table. What a pain it has been with the Wonder Under -- Steam a Seam. I couldn't for the life of me get the Wonder Under paper off the fabric without pulling off all the sticky stuff. I took the stuff back to the store and traded it for Steam a Seam. The instructions for that stuff are confusing, there are many different kinds - I bought light and regular. I tried the light and it didn't work like the instructions said -- and when I did get it to stick I am now finding the hearts are coming off the fabric. So I am not happy with that stuff either. Fortunately it is just five hearts. I am hand stitching the blanket stitch around the hearts now and hopefully everything sticks together. I should have just appliqued the hearts on instead of the wonder under or steam a seam. I just hope that when it gets washed that the hearts don't all fray and fall off. I suppose it will be okay for the wedding but then I will give it to Jessica to use at home and hopefully it holds up for her. I will post a picture of it once I get it all together.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Snow! Posted by Picasa
Look what we woke up to this morning! Quite the surprise.

Posted by Picasa It is rare to get snow out here so it is always a bit of a shock to look outside first thing in the morning and see this much snow. We were house bound for the first part of the morning but the weather has warmed up and the snow is pretty much gone now -- by early afternoon.

Jim has had to go off and pick up Andrew to take his car in to get repaired. Some brace/Strut thing under the car has broken and is dragging on the ground. Andrew was unable to get up to the ski hill to work this morning because of the snow - even his girlfriends mother's SVU couldn't make the hill. I was hoping to work on the table runner for Jessica's wedding - it is quite cute - and bought some Wonder Under last week to use on the little red hearts in the centre and the stuff is not working - at all! Very disappointing so I will have to take it back and maybe I will try the Steam a Seam stuff instead. I have three hearts on already (total of 5) but I ran out of old Wonder Under. I will just work on the big sampler I guess. I am still waiting for the Dear Jane book. I am looking forward to starting that!

Snow! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Posted by Picasa
I bought this table runner kit and put it together a few months ago. I have never bought a kit before but I really liked the fabric and thought it would look good on our wood dining room table. It came with a pale green sashing fabric which I exchanged for the dark burgandy. Much better I thought. I tried to baste it together and machine quilt it twice - and it kept buckling and the fabric would not lay flat. The pattern called for spray on basting - which I have never used. So Sunday I gave up and went off to the quilt store and bought some spray basting. Worked like a charm. Sprayed it - quilted it and put the binding on yesterday.

Table runner with fish centerpiece Posted by Picasa

This blogger does the most interesting things with pictures. It puts them in whatever order it feels. And then with some editing it completely rearranges them.

This is the new table runner with Andrew fish - which has been living in the pitcher on the table since September 25. At my nephews wedding - which was a lovely wedding on a boat, the centerpieces for the table were Siamese fighting fish in small vases. At the end of the night they announced that people were to take their fish home. Andrew wanted the fish - to give to Anri - he said. Anri was not at the wedding. As it turned out Anri did not want the fish and as always with the pets the kids have brought home over the years -- Louis the Gerbil, Yohimbay the White Rat, Zoe and Uno the Cockatiels - they became the our responsibility and we now have a fish on the dining room table. I took it out of the very small vase it was in and put it in my Margarita pitcher. I think it likes to hide behind the painted flowers. It seems very happy and builds itself these little bubble nests all the time. And I change it's water every Sunday. And frankly I am surprised it is still alive!

Table runner Posted by Picasa

Sunday, March 05, 2006

My next big quilt

I have almost finished quilting the final border on my sampler quilt. I have found enough fabric left over from the final border fabric to make the binding - which is wonderful as the fabric was bought in 1993. This yellow/blue and white quilt is my next big quilt to be layered and quilted. This is my "summer quilt" and the sampler is my "winter quilt". This quilt looks much better in person. It was supposed to be a different layout with each row alternating pinwheels and plain blocks but I found because of all the different fabrics it looks very messy like that.

I am going to take it to a woman in our quilt guild who does the long arm machine quilting and get her to layer it and do some machine quilting on it - I would like to do a little hand quilting on it - maybe some outline quilting in the pinwheel block. This quilt is just huge though - much bigger than the sampler quilt - as I discovered when I put it on the bed. I have made a couple of other bedsized quilts and I find that getting them machine basted and or partially machine quilted professionally is much easier. It is still nice to be able to do a little hand stitching on them.

Jim has gone off on a fishing boat for three days - herring - so I think I will be able to finish the last bit of quilting while he is gone. I will probably put the binding on when I go to the Spring Retreat in April.

Friday, March 03, 2006

A Fat Quarter Wallhanging and a Sunset

It has begun to rain again after a week of sunshine so I thought I needed a lovely sunset picture today. This picture was taken a week or two ago when the sky was clearer.

This small wall hanging is one that I did with one of my fat quarter packages. It is about 24"by 28" or so. I am almost finished quilting it - seems like all my projects right now are in the quilting stage.

I was at talk today given by Stephen Lewis he is Canada's Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa. He gave a wonderful and moving talk about the crisis of the people - women and children specifically - dying from AIDS in Africa. He has a foundation that supports and funds various projects in Africa and he is working towards getting anti-retroviral drugs to the people in Africa. One of the things he talked about was the work that Bill Clinton was doing in Africa. The Clinton Foundation was one of the main reason that the cost of the anti-retroviral drugs had been decreased from over $1000.00 per person - to $139.00 per person per year. Stephen Lewis is working on a new project Grandmothers supporting Grandmothers - as the young men and women dying in Africa are leaving behind their orphan children - and the grandmothers are having to bury their children and then take care of their grandchildren. His talk left many of us in tears and wondering how we could do more to help. His message was to keep reminding each other - and our governments - that this issue can not be forgotten. Support the organizations that work with the people - like UNICEF, Doctors without Borders, and the Clinton Foundation