Thursday, August 30, 2007

Orphan Blocks

A few weeks back, after reading Finn's posts about Orphan Blocks and Orphan Trains, I pulled out all my orphan blocks. I discovered I don't really have that many orphan blocks - maybe enough for one quilt. I put them all up on my design wall -- looked them over - took a couple of pictures and took them down.

Then a couple weeks go by and in my cutting and rearranging of scraps I discovered a bag with a few more blocks. So I put them with the rest of the blocks in a small ziplock bags. So today - after reading Paula's post about her 4 boxes of orphan blocks I again pulled out my orphan blocks - put them on the wall and looked at them.

It would be kind of fun to make a quilt from all my orphan blocks - but I'm not really sure on how it would all go together. Do I just put everything in - regardless of colour and pattern? Do I just put them so they fit together? Will I need to make filler blocks? This is such a hodge podge of things.

There are blocks from two different workshops -- One is Sandi Cummings -- "Thinking outside the block" Can you find those? LOL. The other is Anita Shackelford - "Cutwork Applique" Which I don't really thinks belongs here at all. Maybe I should applique another block and make a bag from it instead. Anyway -- any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated. For now - I have taken them down and put them back in their bag. But you can let Finn know that I am trying -- LOL
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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

These are not mine - but aren't they great

These were made by a woman who lives close to me ( in my little village everyone lives close!) She used to sell her own dyed wool from her own quilt shop, but has since closed it down. But she is still dyeing and selling wool. I have bought quite a few of her pieces of wool over the past year or so - from another quilt shop. She was at QBTB and had these pieces to show us. The chicken are tweed wool from the thrift store. I am getting two metres of black wool from her. I am so ready to start making some wool applique. Now I just need a pattern. The chicken are so cute!! I just love them. I think chickens really lend themselves to wool applique!!

Great pumpkin table runner as well. She has navy blue and cream wool as well but I just am going to start will some black. Hmmm - although maybe I should get a little cream as well..........
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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Eight things about me

I was tagged by Quilting Pirate to list 8 things about myself. I am supposed to link to her and then list the rules -- which are list the eight things - tag other people and then link to their site. Okay --- here goes!

1. I got married very young -- at 18. Jessica was born when I was 20, Eric was born when I was 22 and Andrew was a bit of a late comer and was born when I was 28. That is very young by today's standards.

2. My first husband died when I was 31. He was 33.

3. I always wanted to be a Research Scientist -- so I became a nurse at 33.

4. No one in my family quilts -- not my mum, sisters, grandparents - aunts -- distant cousins -- no one! I took up quilting after 3 years of nursing school because I needed a hobby.

5. I married Jim in 1994 -- I was 36 and he was 38. He had never been married before. He is a pretty great guy.

6. I am the oldest and I have 2 sisters, one works in the Foothills hospital in Calgary and the youngest is a Mechanical Engineer in Africa.

7. I moved to Vancouver when I was halfway through nursing school and the kids lived at my parents while I was away. I love living here. Vancouver is such a beautiful city. I brought the kids here to live when I was finished school. I met Jim here when I was in school.

8. I never had pets as a child but since having children and moving to Vancouver we have had a houseful of various pets -- thanks mostly to Jessica. A gerbil named Louis, a gerbil name Charlie Roy. A white rat named Yo Him Bay??? -- that was short lived, even Jessica had a hard time putting up with him. Three birds - cockatiels, Zoe, Uno and Abby and two dogs - Tasha and now Jenny!! And a wild pheasant named Phineaus that came to our yard every day for 2 years for cracked corn.

I will tag Rose Marie from Applique n' Patch -- Floss Quilts and Belvie from A Quilters Empty Nest

Thursday, August 23, 2007


This is a post for Bren regarding bookshelves. We are big on books in this house and we have 5 different bookshelves. They each have their assigned books. Both Jim and I are collectors of books. Jim has an interest in WW2. His father was a pilot in Bomber Command. So Jim has many books about WW2. I am a big history buff and have quite a few history books. I love autobiographies and those trashy "who done it" novels.

Bookshelf #1 -- Quilting books, magazine and patterns. Pam's books. This bookshelf is in a very tiny room and was difficult to photograph, so I missed the top two shelves.

Bookshelf #2. Mostly Bird and Nature books, some WW2 books. Jim's books. The poster was done by a young niece that receive a first place in the Canadian Legion Remembrance Day Poster competition.

Bookshelf #3. Jim's books. Lots of fisheries books -- did I mention Jim was a Salmon Biologist so there are also a bunch of fish books around. I think he also has a few very old encyclopedias type books in here as well. I don't really pay attention to what he has for books as I'm sure he has no idea what I have for books.

Bookshelf #4. Mostly Pam's books. Novels, history, and travel books, some maps as well. There are a few of Jim's books mixed in here on the lower shelves, beer making books and a few old biology text books.

Bookshelf #5. Jim's books. These are mostly Jim's WW2 books. A bit of a bonus --- If you click on the picture you can see our wedding picture.

All of these bookshelves are in the lower level of the house, mostly in or just outside the TV room. My quilting room and computer room is also in the lower level. Anyway --- there you are Bren, my bookshelves. I do have one box of books in the storage room that I am saving for the grandchildren.

Jenny in her basket

This is how I found her lying in her basket, so I couldn't resist taking a few pictures. She is certainly a bit of a character. Tasha would lie all curled up in a nice little ball in her basket --- Jenny is a different dog. She is a cutie though!!
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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Quilting by the Bay

I have been busy quilting this week. It seems it has been awhile since I posted.

I had a day long retreat on Saturday -- "Quilting by the Bay" AKA "QBTB". So I had to spend some time this week preparing. I also was able to get the binding on the quilt for my nephew's new baby. So that should be ready to go out this week.

These are the blocks that I have been working on this week. I had to make 10 of them. They are pretty tricky to get those 1/4 inch seam allowance.

The few that we had finished on Saturday up on the design wall. This quilt will be the raffle quilt for my quilt guild's Quilt show in 2008.

Then I spent the day working on my African Quilt. I am following a pattern from Nadine's book that she so kindly sent me from Belgium.

This is just the start. I have sort of scattered the Dancing Mama's in the centre of the blocks, just to get a look of how I am wanting it to look. I am going to make a block with the Dancing Mama's in the centre and have a few around the quilt. Not in every block. Right now they are just sitting on top of the blocks. I like the extra zing that the mama's give to the quilt. Don't you agree?

I like this pattern with the African fabric. It would also work well with Japanese fabric I think. But I really think it looks better with the mamas!! My plan is to make the quilt 4x4 blocks. I also have some border fabric that I want to include. Each block is 12 inches square. Anyway -- this is my latest work in progress -- and I still want to try to finish some of those almost finished UFO's that are haunting me :))

The blue snowball blocks belong to someone else. That is a Chez Moi charm pack - so it will end up being quite a cute little quilt as well.

I ordered a sewing machine mat from Tazzie this week -- that was exciting. I am quite looking forward to it coming. I also ordered a new sewing case for the Singer Featherweight that I bought last November. I have just not been able to get the musty odor out of the case it came with at all. So I will keep the old case, tucked away in the storage room just for historical purpose but I will use the new case. Hopefully the new case is a good quality case, I really do want to start taking the featherweight with me on retreats and such.

I also joined the Secret Santa on Chookyblue's blog. That's also exciting. I can't wait to see who I get to make a special Christmas gift for. And I have to work for the next two nights -- so that's all the news this week. Not one trip to the Quilt shop!!!! LOL

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Oh My Gosh

I know what you are all thinking. Is that all that girl does -- shop!!!

Well there was a "Pieces by the Pound" sale in a quilt shop in Abbotsford, about 60 kms from me. So a friend and I went out on Saturday for the day. We had a great day. I bought 7.39 lbs of "pieces". We had lunch in a very good little restaurant - specializing in home cooked turkey and chicken and fries. potatoe salad etc. it was called " A little Farmhouse in the City" or something like that. Our lunch was good. I had a turkey melt with fries.
And to top off the day there is the largest bead store I have ever seen in my life!! I bought a couple of items there as well -- and I don't even do any beading - LOL!!

So this is what my 7.39 lbs looked like when I got home. The pieces are about 11 inches wide and various lengths. They are all sales sample pieces and most of them were in little piles of a particular line of fabric. I don't have much a batik collection at home so I really stocked up on the batiks. I also got a few samples for my Dear Jane. As well I got some plaids, Orientals and then a few odds and ends that I liked.

Here are the batiks all laid out and folded. Aren't they pretty. Such a great collection of them. Nice sized pieces for making a scrap quilt or using for applique. I also got a nice little pile of "hand dyed" fabric for applique as well.

The final picture of everything stacked and ready to be put away. I have been collecting a few bits of plaid over the years to make a plaid scrap quilt - so I am quite please with the plaids. I got a small sample of baby fabric - enough to make one baby quilt. And then a few pieces of co-ordinating fabrics that would be good for making small bags. It is really hard to tell from the piles how much fabric there is there - and all the variety. But I am pretty pleased with my choices.

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This is my "artsy" shot - LOL.
The sale is at "Quilt Essentials" and it is on all week for anyone in the Vancouver area. The shop is in downtown Abbotsford B.C. Great fun and well worth the trip.
And I promise -- I usually don't just shop, shop shop!!!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Another dog story

I have been working these past two day and I have another sad dog tale to tell.

But first a little history. I discovered my love for quilting when I signed up for a sampler quilt class in 1993. I was very new to quilting I had not realized that one could actually have two or three (or 20) quilting projects on the go at the same time. So for about 18 months I puttered away at hand piecing my sampler quilt, using templates -because that is how I was taught to do it. And I was incredibly slow.

One day my husband wondered if I would actually ever finish the quilt - and he thought it would be nice to have some sort of finished item that I had quilted and requested some cushions for his birthday - December 1 - and I think it was 1995. So, I made him two cushions for his birthday - my very first completed quilting project. Machine pieced and my very first try at hand quilting. They have been happily sitting in the two blue armchairs in our living room ever since.

Until ---- JENNY!!

That gosh darn dog. I tell her over and over she is darn lucky she is cute!
I really don't think this is fixable. I suppose I could put a new back on them but they are 12 years old now. The front is not as badly chewed but is is damaged as well.

We have a small pile of toys that we leave for her while we are gone out - and I only work a couple days here and there and often on the weekend. And she doesn't chew up things everytime we go - just once in awhile. She has chewed a book that I haven't read yet. Jim has even brought her in a little piece of wood to chew on - which she does!

Jenny now has a house full of tennis balls to play with as well. There is a house below us that has a tennis court and the owners are putting their used tennis balls in the bushes across the street from their house. Twice a day she goes for a walk along the road and goes into the bushes and comes out with a tennis ball -- she then carries the ball all the way along the rest of the walk and back home!! Today there were 14 tennis balls in the house and three outside in the yard. So Jim took a small bunch of them down to the neighbours at the end of the street for their dogs. So - she really doesn't need to be chewing on my quilted cushions!

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

UFO Baby Quilt

This is a picture of Tasha on the quilt that I made for her. This picture was taken in 2004. We got Tasha in 1996, she was 2 1/2 years old when we adopted her. I think I made this quilt in about 1999 or so. I can't remember the years are starting to run together now - LOL!!

I had started a quilt for Jessica, but Jim felt that Tasha really needed her own quilt. I felt that I really should make each of the kids their own quilt before I made one for the dog. Jim - would say - dogs have a lot shorter life and she can't wait for you to finish quilts for all the kids first - and he was right. I finished Jessica's quilt and then made one for Tasha. I have since made a quilt for Andrew and Eric is still waiting for his quilt to be finished!! Tasha enjoyed her quilt until she died in 2005. Now Jenny is enjoying the quilt.

Right around the time I finished Tasha's quilt I decided to make another flannel quilt of the same pattern. A very easy quick, utilitarian quilt. This one has hockey players on it. Tasha's quilt had ducks.

I have decide this quilt will be the first UFO I finish. I had completely forgotten all about it - so much so that it isn't even included in my list of UFO's. (I also discovered I didn't include Eric's flimsy either - I feel like such a bad mum)

I was thinking of giving it to my nephew for his new baby boy. It is flannel with hockey players on the front and the back is blue and has baseball players. I have completed the machine quilting and now it just needs the binding.

It is not a designer quilt that you would decorate a room around but it is a comfy flannel quilt with a thick poly batting that you can wash a hundred times and throw on the floor or cuddle up with. I am just wondering about giving a baby a quilt that is designed after a quilt I made for the dog. What do you think? What if they come to visit and see that the dog has the same quilt? But it is a cute quilt - and they don't come here very often. They are different, Tasha's is red and black and has ducks..........Ahh well - anyway, I will put the binding on so I can cross this one on the list - although since it wasn't on the list I will have to add it on first!!

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Monday, August 06, 2007

A frustrating day sewing and blogging

This is the second attempt at this post.

I spent the day working on blocks for my quilt guild's raffle quilt. I made a mistake and didn't notice it until I had completed my 4th block. As you can see there are no seam allowance and when the blocks will be sewn together the points will be cut off. I figured out what I had done wrong.

All of the squares had been pre-cut for me and after making the half square triangles and squaring them up to 3 7/8" I needed to cut the 4" squares to 3 7/8" before making the odd triangles needed for the block. Who would have thought that a tiny 1/8 inch would be such a problem.

So -- some reverse sewing, re-cutting and re-sewing!!

A finished block with a proper seam allowance.

I have not been very motivated since I got back from holiday and this certainly didn't help with the motivation any - LOL. I am not sure why I am feeling so unmotivated and out of sorts lately. I am hoping it will pass!!

I spent a bit of time this afternoon working on my stash of scraps. I thought I would try to organize my scrap bin "Ala Bonnie". I think sometimes a bit of mindless fiddling with fabric can be very cathartic. There is a quilt on Bonnie's site that calls from mostly 2 1/2 inch squares and bricks that I would like to have scraps available for. Maybe a big pile of cut and ironed scraps will make me feel better.

I have also been working on finishing up another baby quilt - I did the machine quilting on it last week - just the binding to put on it now. My nephew and his wife had a baby boy July 19th. (Pictures to follow - next post)

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The last of my shopping

The town my parents live now has a quilt shop. The Cottage Rose Quilt Shop. A lovely little shop that I found as I was driving down one of the main streets. It is full of Moda! So I decided to finally get myself a Jelly Roll :)) It is the Folklorique by Fig Tree. I have a small bundle of fat quarters of this fabric as well. I am quite looking forward to making a quilt with my new Jelly Roll. I also decided to buy the Amy Butler Frenchy bag pattern - like I need another bag pattern!!

Of course when I got home I looked at the "Fat Quarter Shop" sale items and I could have bought the Jelly Roll for half the price from them. Ah, but I was supporting a new little quilt shop. I also bought a couple of fat quarter for my Dear Jane quilt. So - now it is time to get back to quilting - enough shopping!! So I guess I shouldn't tell that my local quilt shop was having a 25-75% sale on the weekend and I did go..... but I just bought some backing for a flimsy that I have waiting to be finished.
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