Thursday, November 30, 2006

Going off to Calgary for a few days

Just a quick post. We have had another bit of snow here and the drive home from work last night was quite slow and a bit treacherous (to say the least). But --- we are flying off to Calgary for the weekend today and hopefully the drive to the airport will be uneventful! We will be back on Sunday so I will be off for awhile. It is my parents 50th wedding anniversary on Friday and Jim's 50th birthday the same day. So a bit of celebration will be happening in Calgary (if we can get there)!!

Monday, November 27, 2006

More Weather Woes

First off here is the close up picture for Melzie of the little handmade house on the wall in my quilting room. A friend of mine and her children made it for me one year for Christmas. It is made of wood and pine cones and seashells and bits of things. It is quite cute and has been hanging in my quilting room for a few years now.

So the wonderful west coast has had another weather system storm through -- this time SNOW!! It started snowing on Saturday night and this is what it looked like this morning. And of course we have been without power since last night at 11PM. It was darn cold - the power came back on about 3:30 this afternoon, for that I am happy that we don't have to spend another night without power. Norma from Silver Thimble Quilting
has much worse weather out her way and hopefully she is okay and has power.

And lastly -- here is the other thing that hangs on the wall in my quilting room. It is an Elvis Presley hip shaking clock that Andrew brought me home from Graceland in 1997. He was 11 and my mum and him went to Memphis to see Graceland (both big Elvis fans) and I asked him to bring me back some sort of tacky touristy thing from Graceland and this is what I got. I just love it - straight from Graceland.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Clean sewing room and I bought myself a Christmas present

I spent all day yesterday cleaning up my little sewing room. I was quite despondent about it at first but once I got going I was quite happy with the results. Before picture click here . I also sorted out and cleaned up the book shelves that can't be seen in this picture. I was very busy and I feel like I can go in there and sew now. It was really starting to pile up and feel like I didn't even want to go in there. I also - if you can believe - did not have a scrap box. I would just put the scrap bits of fabrics in different spots and in different piles on my shelves. So I made one of the bottom drawers of my little plastic cart as a scrap bin. I think today I am going to go buy another little plastic cart to hold things like my Dear Jane stuff (which is sitting in containers in the TV room).

The reason I decided to clean up my sewing room is because I bought myself a Christmas present!!

Every November our quilt guild has a sewing room sale and people sell their crafts and clean out their sewing room and sell various fabrics, ribbons, craft supplies that are cluttering up their sewing room. And someone at the guild had their neighbours featherweight sewing machine for sale. I have really wanted a featherweight, I have been searching them out online for the past year or so. Most of them are for sale in the U.S. and the prices seem to be in the $400.00 or so range American. This little machine has the case, manual, and a whole bunch of bobbins and extra feet. It was $400.00 - Canadian. So impulsively I bought it!! It is in really good shape - sews really well. I will take it in to the Singer shop for a bit of a check over and an oil. The machine was built in 1954-55 in Elizabethtown, New Jersey and spent most of it's life in Guatemala being used to sew clothes for a family. The woman who's mother's machine it was had a little note on the handle of the case. I am so happy to have bought it. But it was a bit impulsive. Oh well - it's only money.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Power is back and Fabric in the Mail

The power came back on Monday and 15 minutes to 6 PM!! We were without power for 5 1/2 days. It was an interesting learning experience. If it happens again we discovered there are some things we can do better, but all in all we managed fairly well. I read a book that I had been wanting to read for awhile now - and I had not been reading as much because of my Dear Jane quilting in the evening instead of reading. I read "The Da Vinci Code" . It was an interesting book. I enjoyed it, as I do like a good murder mystery and have read most of the Elizabeth George murder mystery books.

I got my package of fabric from the Reproduction Fabrics this week as well. That was exciting.

This is a stack of 20 fat quarters for my Dear Jane quilt. I really don't need fat quarter size pieces for that quilt but I have another quilt in mind that I can use the left overs for.

This is a small sample selection of Den Haan and Wagenmakers chinzt fabric. It has a slight waxy coating on it and I was thinking it would be great to make a nice bag out of this fabric. Otherwise beside just loving the chintz I have no plans for it yet. Suggestions always welcome. This fabric is quite expensive. $35.00 for the 9 pieces that are not as big as fat quarters. The fabric is about $30.00 per yard.

And last but certainly not least is some assorted chintz fabric - 1/2 yard cuts. This was only $8.50 per yard. I just love the fabric and I think I will collect a bit more before I decide what I want to do with it. I'm sure it will sit lovingly washed and folded in my fabic cupboards for a number of years before I can bear to cut it up!!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Terrible Storm

I am just able to briefly check in today. We have had a terrible storm here in Vancouver and the power has been off to our entire community since Wednesday. Trees and powerlines are down everywhere. We have had a little generator running the freezer and a couple of lights and a small fan for the fireplace. The whole thing is starting to get quite tiring and we are supposed to get power back today, but another storm is happening right now - so it is hard to know if the power workers will be able to get things back up today. I have been able to get a brief bit of computer use this morning.

I did get to go to my retreat - but I didn't work on my planned Japanese project because I had not managed to gather it all together in the dark of my sewing room. It has been very dark here, and cold, and no hot water.

Hopefully the power does come back today and I can catch up on all my blogging -- funny how you miss it.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

My new quilting project

I received a pattern in the mail from Jenni at Fairybreads a couple of weeks back and I think I am ready to start working on it. It is a pattern that she found in a Japanese quilting magazine and she kindly sent me a copy (hopefully the copyright police will not come and arrest me). It is a simple but stunning quilt. The instructions are all in Japanese but I know a couple of people that can speak and read Japanese if I need some assistance with translation.

I bought some fabric today to go with a bit of Amy Butler fabric I have purchased. I am not sure if this is what I want to use because I don't want it to look like an "Amy Butler" wall hanging.

I have a collection of Japanese fabric that might be an idea. I also have a collection of brights and bolds and some Jane Sassaman fabric - that might look good.

I am going to a "Quilting by the Bay" retreat on Saturday - which is when I am planning to start the quilt, so I still have a few more days to decide.

This is the second time I am typing out this post. The jury is still out on this new beta blogger. There are some better things about it - but there are some downsides as well. I have to re-log in all the time, it doesn't remember me even when I check the "remember this password". I used to have a system with the Picasa2 which worked for me and I am not able to upload pictures with the Picasa2 any longer. I did use the Photobucket and that seemed to work well. I guess there still are a few issues to work out - and I shouldn't complain, it is a free program.

Monday, November 13, 2006

This is a test post

This is my latest Dear Jane block -- A-5 Cathie's Campfire.

This is mostly a test post - I finally switched over to Beta Blogger. Testing, testing, 1,2,3, ------ Have I ever mentioned that I hate change. I have driven to work the exact same way for 15 years (with one change of route because of bridge repairs). I probably change lanes in the same spots each time. This will be a stressful I think. I tried to post this from Picasa2 - my preferred method of posting - and I was unsuccessful, which has happened before. So now I will try again......... okay I am going to press that button!!!

Two different looks - or can you tell the difference?

I am wondering about the different bias strips on the wall hanging. I showed the pictures to my husband and he couldn't see what was different about them. When I pointed out the burgundy strip/blue strip on the centre curve he decided he preferred the blue.

I was looking for a bit of a boldness and thought the burgundy was a good idea but I think I prefer the blue as well. I think I might embelish this quilt with beads or something so that could be my boldness or sparkle. Plus there is the sparkle of the gold ribbon.

Any opinions out there? I have just a couple more bias strips to sew on and then I can layer it. I am starting to like it. The big wave at the bottom is green velvet - hard to see in the photo and I put a decorative stitch around the edge instead of bias strips, which would have been very difficult to put on with the tight waves. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Remembrance Day

Jim's Dad - who fought in World War Two -- Bomber Command RCAF
Jim's Uncle Doug - who fought in World War Two - Infantry in Holland

Today we remember all the soldiers past and present who fought and gave their lives for freedom and peace. May we have peace in the world. And remember their sacrafice for us all. Posted by Picasa

River of Dreams

I have been working on my "River of Dreams" wall hanging today. I'm not sure why I decided I needed to work on it - the darn thing has been sitting around for years now. I took a workshop at one of our Fall seminars - (I think it was 1999 or 1997). It was an interesting workshop by Lorraine Torrence, but when I started to need to put on the bias strips to cover the raw edges I completely stalled. I hate cutting up perfectly good fabric to make bias strips -- just hate it. So I just stopped. But a few weeks ago Fabricland had all their notions etc on 50% off - so I bought a bunch of different colours of 1/4" bias binding, thinking I could use it on this quilt. The gold "ribbon" also had me stumped as how I was going to finish off those raw edges.

The entire quilt is an outline drawn out on a piece of foundation fabric and then pieces of fabric cut out and zigzagged in place on top of the foundation fabric. So all the edged of the fabric are unfinished and need to be covered to finish them off. I decided to use some gold rickrack (from my Christmas stocking supply) to finish off the gold ribbon -- I kind of like it. It seems to be turning out better than I was hoping. I am thinking I am feeling a bit more motivated to finish it. I call it "River of Dreams" because it sort of looks like a river is running through it and also I started it right around the time Jim and I went to the Billy Joel "River of Dreams" concert in Vancouver.

Speaking of rivers - what a river of rain we have had the last few days. Thursday night we had a terrible wind storm and woke up to no power. The power was out here on Friday for almost 16 hours. Good thing we have a fireplace downstairs with a heat-o-later (although with no power we couldn't turn on the fan) I had to bring the birds downstairs in their cage and put them close to the fire. It got quite cool upstairs -- as low as 13 degrees ( sorry - don't know what that is in Fahrenheit).

And so of course the driveway was back to a big mess again. Lots of fir branches down all over the driveway and roads. Still too wet to clean it and the weather forecast is for another system of high winds and heavy rains tonight. Fortunately Jim brought home a generator yesterday so if the power goes out tonight we will at least have a bit of light and we can run the fan on the fireplace to heat the house a bit better.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

November Anniversary

It was our anniversary last Sunday and I got some lovely roses to go in my Port Meirion Vase (that I bought for myself last June at Costco). We went out to a restaurant for dinner on Saturday night. It was downtown Vancouver, we had never been there before and I had the best rack of lamb I have ever had -- ever. It was so tender and good. And I usually order rack of lamb when we go out for dinner.

I have been busy working these past few days and when work those long 12 hour shifts I spend very little time doing anything else. I was able to finish one more Dear Jane block but that was about it. I am now preparing myself to work a night shift tonight, takes a lot of "self talk" to get me ready!

I was trying to put a small photo up on my profile -- boy what a production. It seems to be there now - but not really where I want it. But none the less I am getting better at this HTML and pixel size etc.

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Behind the roses there is a wall hanging on a brick wall - which is the back side of the fireplace and the wall of the dining room. This wall hanging is supposed to be replaced by the wall hanging above - as soon as I finish quilting it and put on the binding. I really only have the border to finish quilting - Jim finds it very interesting that I am so close and have completely stopped working on it. He mentions this every so often - as he would really like this quilt up on the wall. It would look quite good on the brick I think. I have no idea where I will put the other wall hanging once it has been displaced. Maybe that's why I have stopped work on this one. I really like this wall hanging as well. This is from a workshop I took from M'Liss Rae Hawley in October 2001 at our Fall Seminar. Maybe I will finish quilting it at my TGIF quilting group. It really would be nice to get it up on the wall.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Obsessive collecting

I am moving along quite nicely on my Dear Jane quilt right now. The weather has turn very rainy and windy here - perfect for having a nice fire and watching TV and quilting. We started on the "Boston Legal" first season last night. And the wind came up this morning - the driveway now looks like the "before" picture again!!

This morning I ordered some things from the Dear Jane website. When I started the quilt I ordered the book and CD and freezer paper for the computer from the website. It came quite quickly - I noticed a few weeks after getting the stuff that Brenda Papadakis had autographed my book for me -- how cool is that!! Now there is a line of fabric that is offered on the website for a Susanna Culp quilt. The fabrics look just wonderful - as I am a big collector of Paisley fabrics. I also order some more freezer paper for the computer. That paper is just marvelous, I just print off two outline blocks on each page - no tracing by hand needed. I think that has helped with the making of this quilt. I am sewing the blocks together by hand.

I started my Dear Jane quilt back sometime in March. I ordered the book and CD February 26, 2006. I had just started blogging in January and looking around various quilting blogs and came upon Cathy in Ireland
and her Dear Jane quilt. I decided it was such a wonderful quilt and I watched with interest and excitement each time she posted an update and picture. She was well into the quilt by the time I started watching. I found I became a bit obsessed with the quilt. So, I ordered the book and CD and started my own. The obsession continues........

Then the other day I realized that I can get obsessed with other things as well. I have been making Christmas stocking -- so far I have made 5, one for Eric, Andrew, Jim, Jessica and Ben. I still need to make one for Anri and I should make one for myself. I have been collecting piping to sew around the stockings -- I buy piping everytime I go to a fabric store if I see it on sale. Fabricland had a great 50% off sale this weekend so I bought a bit more -- because there were some colours there that I didn't have and I might need. When I came home I thought I should see what I had already in the way of piping.

This my collection of piping -- to make two more Christmas stockings.

A bit obsessive I think.

Then Andrew asked last night if I could make him and Anri a pair of fleece jogging pants to wear under their snowboarding pants. I said sure -- and Fabricland is having a sale this weekend. Then I remember that about 10 years ago I had bought some fleece to make slippers for Christmas presents. I had made about 5 pairs of slippers but I knew I had purchased extra fleece -- a great giant container of fleece. So I dug out the fleece.

This is my collection of fleece -- to make 5 pair of slippers. Obessive?

I think I can whip up a couple of pair of fleece joggers!!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

My hard work

I thought my hard work needed to be recorded for all the world to see!

Actually it wasn't that hard, but it was Halloween day and the driveway was a mess of fir needles and it needed to be done before the kids started to come around. Jim was going to do it after work - but it was a beautiful sunny day and I thought I could sweep it all up myself - having never used his leaf blower. Well the sweeping was short lived and I quickly figured out how to use the leaf blower - pretty simple really.

This is the before picture.

This is my pile - 3 bags full!!

This is my after picture. A nice clean driveway.

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Then I spent the rest of the day admiring the nice clean driveway. Jim was late home and happy to see the nice clean driveway as well. And then the trick-or-treaters came -- we got all of about 25 kids. Usually we only get about 10 but this year a big group of parents and pre-schoolers came by together. They are so cute.

No quilting yesterday. I found a list of tips for quilter and I am going to add a quilting tip to each post - if I can remember.

Todays Tip

12. Pin fabric swatches on a key ring to take along with you when you shop. Use a separate pin for each project.

Now doesn't that sound like a good idea. If you had the fabric swatches in you purse at all times and you just happened in a quilt store and you had been looking for a border fabric or binding fabric or another fat quarter for another applique block you would always have the fabric handy. I have some really good tips here. More to come.