Thursday, January 31, 2008

I got a beautiful piece of fabric in the mail today

I got the beautiful piece of fabric in the mail today from Carole. Thank you so much Carole!! She thought it would go well with my collection of African fabric. I laid it out on the floor to get a good picture of it. You can see Jenny's feet just beside the fabric. As I was looking at it I thought it would make a wonderful bag ( maybe a couple of bags!!) The picture doesn't really show it off that well. I think I see a project in the future!! It certainly is a wonderful addition to my stash!!

I have been spending most of the day to today working on the diaper bag. These are all the pieces I have cut!!!

I haven't counted how many pieces there are in this bag - I bet there are over 60 - I should count them. I have been following the blog "Gone Aussie Quilting" and Heidi has made many of these bags - so I have been emailing her lately for advice. She has been very, very helpful!!

Jessica choose the fabric for the bag - it is an Kona Bay - Seattle Bay - Butterfly print in eggplant.

Jessica was looking at the various diaper bags online and they were around $60.00 -- "Don't buy a diaper bag" I said " I can make one much cheaper than $60.00 and it will be much better" Well I hope this will be better because it is certainly not going to be cheaper!! This pattern calls for almost 4 yards combined of the three different fabrics, 2 1/2 yards of Decor Bond - 3 zippers and various snaps and pull cords etc -- plus the pattern. I sure hope it turns out!!! I was think of making a "test bag" first - but I decided against that - and I am just relying heavily on advice from Heidi. I could not find the recommended Pellon Decor Bond interfacing - so I am using something from my LQS and I am a little nervous about if it is the right stuff and how well it will hold up.

I have spent most of the afternoon ironing on the interfacing. Of course I used my brand new Rowenta iron and placed one of the pieces of interfacing on upside down!! Then I spent 20 minutes scrubbing off the glue with those little tiny alcohol swabs - you know the little ones that nurses use to swab your skin before they give you the shot and then take home 2 -3 in their pockets at the end of each shift --- they do come in handy. But the iron has to be really, really cool before you try to use them!!

And here is the final picture of the Monkey quilt. The entire flimsy is together now. It really was a group effort. Even Jim got involved and suggested the off setting of the blocks - which at first I didn't like, but now I like it better than the blocks in the centre - they seem to blend in a bit more off set like that.

The snow is pretty much all gone now and it has warmed up quite a bit. I don't know what the weather forecast is for this weekend. I am working three days - all through the weekend - so I won't see what it is doing outside anyway. I doubt if I get anymore done on the bag until Monday.

I had better go - I am trying to post this and cook supper at the same time and the kitchen is starting to fill with smoke......................
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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Thanks for all the great advice and suggestions

Boy, I got a good response to my dilemma and I really appreciate all the suggestions. That is so nice to get so many ideas. Lots of the ideas I hadn't really considered at first.

So I have been working on the quilt today. I decided to go with the red pogo stick jumping monkeys, that certainly was the most popular border. I had ordered 1/2 yard - which is not quite 20 inches. I think part of the problem is we Canadians forget that we buy fabric in the local shops in metres and the metre is about 3 inches longer than a yard. So that is not such a big deal width wise - I cut the borders 4 1/2 inches wide instead of 5 or 6 inches. But the big problem was the fabric was only 41 inches wide and the quilt is 43 inches long. So I would need to piece my long borders just to add 2 inches to the length - And I thought that would look silly -- So with Tazzie's suggestion I am going to throw a couple of blocks in the border - like they are meant to be there.

Then another suggestion - a brown and yellow four patch in the corners - I liked that idea. I think there were a couple of people that suggested a 4 patch or a nine patch in the corners. I decided to go with the plain sock fabric for the four patch - I did a 4 patch because then the squares are the same size as the squares in the body of the quilt.

Another suggestion was a small or narrow yellow inner border or "peep" I am going to use the yellow polka dot fabric for the inner "peep" I like that word Donna (Chookyblue) In the picture the yellow polka dot looks a bit busy but in really life I like the way it looks - and it will be a very narrow piece - just a touch of yellow there. I am working with left over bits of fat quarters for the narrow border so I will be piecing the polka dot border with the bits I have left - I didn't really have enough of the plain yellow - I didn't think the blue was right. And I think the little red dots in the yellow bring the inside of the quilt and the outside red border together a bit.

It is snowing here today - so I hope to get the entire top together today and maybe even get it layered later -if I don't spend too much time on the computer.

Jim is home from work today as he couldn't get out of the driveway this morning! So here is a picture of his busy morning.

He has done a fine job on the driveway and now it is snowing hard again! He has just gone off to walk the dog - and I will head back to the sewing room.

Thanks so much for all you suggestions - it was very helpful.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Border Dilemma

This is the border that I had originally planned for the quilt. I realized today (with the help of Jim!) that I didn't have enough of the red fabric. Although I do have a fat quarter so I can piece the border. Then I wasn't sure if I really liked the red for the border. I was going to have a small inner border of the sock fabric and then use 4 of the monkey squares for the corner blocks.

This next picture is the red fabric that I bought for the back - which I could use for the border fabric and then use something else for the back. I could still use the brown sock fabric as an inner border - and either use the 4 monkey squares in the corner - or not. I am not sure I want to use this fabric because then I have to figure something else out for the back.

The I am wondering about not using the red - but all I have are fat quarters. So what about some stripes and plain fabric. But I find the brown sock fabric looks out of place with the soft pastels.

Then there is stripes and dots -- see how the brown sock fabric looks out of place?

After this whole exercise - I think I might like the red the best. I think it is good to take pictures and then have a good look at them -- and ask for opinions!!!

This one has different corner blocks - I think I prefer the first corner blocks -- brighter and funner!!

I would do a poll - but I don't think I know how to do that. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I got some fun mail!!!

Back to work I went on Monday - and just as I said it was like I never had a month off!!

So after being away for a week my blog reading is quite behind. I did do a bit of email in Portland but I really did get any blog reading done - so of course there are hundreds of posts to catch up on this week. I am slowly catching up but still behind because I worked Monday and Tuesday.

Tuesday - I came home from work to a package from Wendy!!! I had won her 100th post give away and I didn't even know it. How exciting to come home to this fabulous package!!

There is a great pattern book of pincushions, and a lovely fat quarter package of creams/neutrals (that don't photograph well), some wonderful bits of wool to add to my collection a bookmark and an "applepatch design" wallhanging pattern that is so cute. Thank you so much Wendy!!! You made my day :)))

I did do a bit of sewing on the weekend. I do need to get the baby quilt together as we all know how time does fly!!

This is the final layout -- nine patches alternating with 6 inch squares of sock monkey fabric. It will be a really scrappy, fun, cuddly quilt I think. Just a flannel "utility quilt" for throwing on the floor or whatever. I will put on a couple of borders yet. I spent time today getting the rows together. Jim thinks it looks "yellow"

I have also decided to work on this quilt for the baby. I started machine quilting it this past month as well. It will be a bit more for the baby's crib and room. I had made a wall hanging a number of years ago that has the cutest bunny with the same blue star fabric border and country type fabrics ( that I don't have a picture of). Jessica had mentioned she was going to put the Bunny wall hanging up in the babies room.

I had started this quilt a number of years ago - it isn't that big - crib size. So I have decided to finish it for the baby as well . I have layered it, machine quilted it and now I just need to put the binding on and I think it will be cute addition to the babies room. I will have to get Jessica to send me a picture of the Bunny wall hanging and see how they look together.

I had a lovely dinner tonight of marinated lamb chops - as Jim was preparing the lamb chops and getting them ready to BBQ, I was Instant Messaging Carole via Gmail. It sure was fun to talk to her "real time" We had a lovely chat. Every so often I also get to IM Andrea in Argentina. Isn't it amazing talking to new friends from far and wide that without the computer and blogging you never would otherwise know.

Now we just need to figure out a way to get all of us together for a great big fabulous quilt retreat somewhere!!! "Beam me up Scotty"

Sunday, January 20, 2008

More Shopping in Portland

On Wednesday I headed off to Fabric Depot. I didn't really buy that much there - a few notions - the General Pencil Quilters Survival Kit - and a Fons and Porter Half and Quarter Square ruler -- which I really needed! The notions were all 30 % off. The two McKenna Ryan patterns are so cool - they are just 12 inch square blocks so I think they are something that could easily be made up with all that "fabric by the pound" batik I bought last year. Our TV room downstairs is a bit of a "fish room" so I think both these patterns would make great little wallhangings for in there.

I showed Jim the patterns and he said -- " you will have to buy fabric for those" No -- I have lots of fabric - "all these batik samples I bought in the summer" So I showed him my stack of batiks -- "good lord" he say " and those aren't even filed yet"!!! I'm not really sure what that was all about -- LOL!! I reassured him that they were "filed".

The next shop I went to was recommended by Michael -- from State of the Craft. A shop that has just recently opened up in the Hawthorne district in Portland. Cool Cottons.
Hawthorne Street is well worth a visit even without a quilt shop. There are lots of cool shops, cafes, Powell's Books etc along Hawthorne. Cool Cottons is a great little shop full of funky, wild and fun fabric, Joel Dewberry, Amy Butler etc.

I bought some fabric there that I thought might be fun fabric for Anri to make a bag or two. I love both the purple fabrics and the blue fabric would make such a fun, summer bag. It is hard to pick fabric for someone else, but I hope Anri likes what I have chosen for her. Which ever purple fabric she doesn't choose I will keep and make a bag out of it myself.

The next shop I went to is (was) called -- Fabric in the City. This shop is right downtown Portland but has not done a very good job of advertising that it is there. The shop has been there 2 1/2 years - so it was there when I was there in January 2006 - but I had no idea. Patti and the folks at the Speckled Hen were the one that told me it was there - and it was closing.

It is too bad it is closing - the last day is the end of the month so I was able to go and get some fabric at 25% off -- Half a yard cuts for $3.60. I bought a bunch of black/white/red fabric there - I have always thought it would be fun to make a wall hanging from these colours. There were lots of different fabrics there that I would loved to have purchased, but by this point I was thinking I had probably hit my limit. Good thing I have a job!! That was it for my fabric shopping.

What do you think Patti?

Oh - and I bought an iron - a Rowenta at Costco. We stopped at Costco in Bellingham on our way home to get dog food and some IPA for Andrew. We also managed to find a baby stroller for the new grandbaby -- what an event that turned out to be in the end. Now I am going back to work tomorrow - I haven't been at work since December 23 - so it will be interesting to go back, after such a long time off -- the thing about work - after an hour of being there it is like you were never away!!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Tuesday with Patti

I think the best day of the trip was my day shopping with Patti. We got a nice early start as she picked me up at the MAX train station and the first store we went to was The Speckled Hen
in Wilsonville, Oregon. This shop was in the latest BH&G Shop Sampler Fall 2007.

I got a nice little stack of civil war reproduction fabric for my Dear Jane quilt. A couple of really great cheddars in that stack. I also bought the other half of Patti's double pinks. They will be great for the Dear Jane as well.

The next stop was a shop called A Common Thread in Lake Oswego. It is a bright, big shop which also sells Bernina sewing machines. I bought this big bright floral fabric there. They also had this small block pattern with fabric for free!!

The next stop was just across the border in Washington state - I little shop in a sort of barn/outbuilding behind a house in the middle of somewhere. The shop was crammed to the rafters with bolts of fabric - bolts on shelves, bolts on the floor, bolts on bolts. If you were looking for some fabric you really needed and couldn't find - that would be the place to go.

There, I bought more sock monkey flannel!! This is a little sock monkey book -- I think I must have enough sock monkey flannel now. I also bought a piece of Moda -- Wuthering Heights - that I just love and have been looking for since I used my only little piece to make myself the applique bag. And a Buggy Barn pattern - Hearts and Stars. Not too bad for a day out. Then Patti and I had a nice lunch of soup and salad at Applebee's. I was going to say we don't have Applebee's in Canada but apparently we do - I've just never been to one before.

To be continued ..... Wednesday --- Fabric Depot!

We are back home

We came back home late last night. It was a great trip. We stayed at the Embassy Suites Hotel in downtown Portland. It is a great old hotel that has been restored beautifully.

This was our "home away from home" for the past week. The bag sitting on the chair there is my bag of Dear Jane supplies that I brought along. I put it on that chair the day we arrived and it never moved the full 5 days -- I didn't even open it!! So no Dear Janing was done in Portland. But I did buy some great civil war prints when I went shopping with Patti. We had a great day together. You can read all about our visit in Patti's post on her blog. I will post the pictures of my purchases as well.

On Monday I walked about downtown Portland and spent most of the morning in Powell's Books. I bought a few books there - a couple of books for the baby and a couple of quilting books. Then I went off to Josephines Dry Goods and found some more Sock Monkey flannel -- that I really thought I needed. I just love the fabric that looks like the sock. I have no idea what I will do with it but I'm sure I will think of something. Hopefully the new baby doesn't end up being afraid of monkies!!

We had a great meal Monday night at McCormick and Schmick's Really good seafood, if you are ever in Portland it is one of the best places to have seafood.

I didn't take many pictures of Portland this year, I am not sure why. The weather was good, very little rain. Tuesday I spent with Patti. It was so nice to meet her - we had a really fun day - she took me to three great quilt shops. There are so many quilt shops in Oregon, boy it would be hard to live there and not shop all the time. I think after this week - and the trip to Oregon in October it really is time for me to stop the shopping and start the sewing.
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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Working on the Sock Monkey Quilt

I seem to have come down with a bit of a cold this week. I was hoping to avoid the various viruses that seem to have been going around this Christmas season - and the day before I was supposed to go back to work - I got sick!! I am feeling a bit better but very tired - and tomorrow we are heading off to Portland. I think I will take a few Dear Jane blocks with me to keep me occupied if I feel the need to take it easy. Although I have shopping I must do!!

I am hoping I might meet up with a fellow blogger - Patti - She was the very first person to comment on my blog when I started blogging two years ago. Hmm - I might just have to have a blogversary giveaway soon!!

I did manage to do a bit of work on the sock monkey quilt. I think it is going to be such a cute little baby quilt - the flannel is so soft and cuddly.

I plan to do a bit of baby shopping in Portland while we are there. I am looking to pick up a Graco stroller - the cost of the "travel system" by Graco in Canada is $389.00 and the same system in Sears/Target/Toys r Us in the U.S is $219.00!! And Oregon doesn't have any sales taxes. So then I thought I could look at Target for a few little sleepers and such as well. Since we will be down for longer then 4 days we can bring back a few things duty free.

There is a new quilt shop in Portland that I would like to get to see. It is easy for me to get to it on the bus. I went off on the bus and train quite a bit last time I was there and except for the fact it rained everyday I was there I really had a great time two years ago. I am looking forward to going back to Powells Books, and Fabric Depot and Josephine's Dry Goods.

The weather has been terrible here the past few....weeks...months....forever!! Rain, rain, rain and wind and then more rain!! I see the forecast for Portland is a few sunny/cloudy days next week. I sure would like a few days without rain!! I really have had enough!!

The computer is still not fixed - in fact it looks like it is going to have to be re-formatted and all the programs reinstalled. Which will be a pain in the neck. There seems to be a bunch of conflicts between Yahoo and Google and MSN. I wonder if these companies put a little something in their programs so they don't work all that well together and they want you to just use one product -- theirs. There has been a few small problems over the past year or so and some of the Microsoft updates weren't installing but things got really bad after I installed the Gmail button and I've had to uninstalled the Google toolbar as I can't load my Yahoo mail at all with the Google toolbar installed. Which is a bit of a shame because I liked the Google toolbar. It is a bit odd.

And - with my computer woes, Christmas etc I forgot to mention - and I think I missed replying to a few emails - but I would like to say..... The bear was never caught and has gone off to hibernate for the winter.

I am not taking the laptop computer with me to Portland as Andrew and Anri are coming to stay with Jenny and the birds and since the other computer isn't working I will leave the laptop for them. I must say I am getting really good at typing on the laptop now!! I might just move all my files onto this computer and to heck with the other one!! But I won't be doing much blog reading in Portland, but I will have a bit of time with Jim's computer in the evening.

Well -- I have been much more chatty then usual. But I had better go pack!!

Monday, January 07, 2008

My new sunglasses - and a bit of baby stuff

So for anyone who is interested I thought I would post a picture of myself in my new sunglasses. I tell you I had to take about 17 pictures just to get one picture I liked -- and one that where I didn't look like I had three chins!!

This new style is quite a bit squarer then my old ones - and it pinches my nose a bit with the rubber nose pieces - my old ones were a hard plastic. So I have been fussing with them a bit. Jim says he remembered I fussed for months with the old ones -- LOL. Who would think that sunglasses would be such a productions.

I bought this book at my LQS -- which is closing soon much to my disappointment. The book as all kinds of great baby patterns, bibs, baby blocks, name banners and little things for in the diaper bag - like change pads and soother holders etc. Great book - everything in it is so cute.

I made a little name banner the other day just to try out the pattern. It is for a 10 year old boy - so I didn't use baby fabric. I thought he might like it as a banner for his bedroom door.

It was very easy and quick to make up. I will make one for the new grandbaby. I am going to spend some time today cutting up the blocks for the Sock Monkey quilt. My car is getting serviced today so I am home alone - so I had better be a bit productive. Next Sunday we are heading off to Portland -- I am getting excited!!
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Friday, January 04, 2008

A very cute little bag for Anri

I made this little bag for Andrew's girlfriend Anri just a few days before Christmas. It is Amy Butler fabric. I got the pattern from the SewMamaSew blog - 30 days of gifts. Love this little bag!!! I plan on making more. Here is the for the Box bag I decided to edit this post and add the link. I would like to note that if you are using a 12 inch zipper it is better to cut the fabric more like 13 inches or 12 1/2 inches. And sew the ends completely shut and measure to do the 45 degree seam.

I filled it with sewing notions for her. Andrew bought her a sewing machine for her birthday in November and she is hoping to sew herself a Messenger bag from the pattern book I bought for her in Cannon Beach. I bought her an iron for Christmas. Andrew said she was VERY excited about the iron!

The big thing that happened this week is I sat on my sunglasses!! I bought these sunglasses in 1997. I loved these sunglasses. But I guess 11 years for one pair of sunglasses is pretty good.

So my big task on January 2nd was getting a new pair of sunglasses. In 1997 I had the laser eye surgery - and my vision went from 20/200 to 20/20. For anyone who wears glasses -- I was a - 7.25 prescription. The one side effect I found from the laser eye surgery was my eyes became quite sensitive to bright sunlight and I really needed the sunglasses - especially when driving. And I also found that I needed a good pair of Polaroid lenses that really cut the glare. So when I bought my sunglasses I really took care of them and made sure I didn't leave them in some restaurant or sit on them -- LOL!!!

So after I bought myself sme new sunglasses I made myself a sunglass case from the left over Amy Butler fabric.

I also made Anri a sunglass case. I put the striped fabric that is inside the bag on the inside of her case - but I put a bit of flannel on the inside of my case. It was a really easy and quick pattern to make up -- I think I will make more!!

And another exciting thing --- Tonight as I was on MSN and getting my blog post ready I got to talk to my friend Andrea from Argentina. She is on holiday right now in Buenos Aries visiting family but she is from the very south part of Argentina -- an island called Tierra del Fuego. We met through our blogs and it is so exciting to actually talk to her live on MSN. So I would like to say Hi and wish her a fantastic trip for the rest of her holiday.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

And now --- back to your regular scheduled programming!!

Well I guess I should first wish everyone a very Happy New Year!!

We had our usual fairly quiet New Years Eve and then had a nice big turkey dinner New Years Day.

And now back at real life again! I have been very busy today, so I am just taking a short break from today's tasks for a quick post.

Took down the Christmas tree - finally!!

I also have some quilting goals that I need to get busy doing. I ordered a bunch of flannel Sock Monkey fabric from the Fat Quarter shop ( I just love that place!) I have decided I am going to make the new grandbaby a Sock Monkey quilt. I ordered the fabric from the Fat Quarter shop around the middle of December -- they had all the Sock Monkey fabric on 50% off.

So my goals for today were to wash all the Sock Monkey fabric -- which I did!
I have a pattern picked out for the quilt - so I will start on that this weekend.

I am just getting ready to put on a big pot of turkey soup -- we need to start eating a bit healthier and a bit earlier in the day. We have this tendency to eat supper about 7:30 at night - so that is our "New Year's Resolution"

I also used my "womanly charms" aka "nagging" to convince Jim to start on his big pile of file folders that need to be culled and shredded and thrown out!! And as you can see I was quite convincing -- LOL

He has paper in a file folder on a house the he did not buy in 1989!!! There are stacks and stacks of file folders piled up in our little office - that I really wanted to use - but can't!! So he has been shredding up a storm all day - and I have taken down the tree, washed my sock monkey fabric and now I am off to put the soup on to cook!!

But -- the computer is still not working for me - that is his tomorrow's task - and if he can't fix it tomorrow ---- it goes in to the shop. Meanwhile I am getting pretty good at typing on the laptop. I might just not go back to the desktop!!