Thursday, September 30, 2010

Welcome to the Fall into Fall Blog Hop.

This is your chance to find some great new inspirational quilting blogs and maybe win some prizes. Check out the host site Quilting with Debi ( You can do this by clicking on her link, or by clicking the scarecrow picture. On her site, you’ll find a full list of the particiapating blogs. Be sure to check them out. I know I’ll be reading at them all.
As for the contest, I am going to give you at least 3 prizes and 5 ways to win. I’ll add another prize for every 25 entries I receive.
  1. Sign up for my blog. (3 entries) If you are already a member and want to enter, make a comment and let me know you have already signed up.
  2. Become my friend on face book. When you send your friend request, mention the blog in the comments. Or, after I have accepted your request, tell me that you have entered the contest. (1 entry)
  3. Sign up for my mailing list on my pattern website by sending me an e-mail and mentioning this blog. (2 entries)
  4. Comment on my blog. (1 entry)
  5. Answer today’s blog question. (2 entries)
Remember that you can receive an entry for each comment you leave so check back tomorrow and comment on tomorrow’s topic.

As for me, I’ve been busy cleaning out my studio. In the interest of making room for new fabric and patterns, I am going to give away some of the patterns I have published, and some that I have purchased and never used (occasionally I like a pattern so much that I accidentally buy two copies.) I’ve got a couple of small fat quarter bundles as well.

With my longarm machine down for maintenance, I’ve found a lot of time for other things. I’ve been finishing up old projects and tidying things up a bit. So far, I’ve finished six UFO’s and spent two days mucking out bins. There is a lot of fabric going to Piecemakers for their charity projects. Piecemakers is the guild I belong to here in Calgary. The guild will make great use of it, and I’ll have space to put things away. Some of the fabric is quite dated, some of it is just small bits great for a scrap quilt and some of it is "what the heck was I thinking" fabric.

It is my goal to only purchase what I need for a fabric, but still I can’t help but purchase wonderful, inspiring fabrics that I see, even if I don’t yet have a use for them. How can I resist those pretty angels and fairies. And I think I’m addicted to Alexander Henry’s nearly naked men. Mmmmmmm. Some day I’ll turn those buff men into a quilt that will give a friend the best dreams she’s ever had.

Today’s question: How often do you clean out your studio or sewing space and what organizational method works best for you? Give me your top five organization tips.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fall into Fall Quilter Blog Giveaway

I am so excited.

I've joined the Fall into Fall Quilter Blog Giveaway! You really need to check this out. A group of quilting bloggers are getting together to have some great giveaways on their blogs. Its time to do some blog hopping and see what there is out there to see.

It is being hosted by Quilting with Debi ( She has a great blog chock full of tips, tidbits and great reading. You should check her out.

As for me, stay tuned for the rules on how to win a prize. I'll be giving away at least two prizes. But you'll have to check back for details on how to enter.

Our little contest starts October 1st and the prizes will be drawn October 15th.

Stay Tuned and Good Luck to you all!


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Creative Stitches 2010

 Yesterday was Creative Stitches here in Calgary. For those of you who don’t know, it is mostly a quilting and scrap booking show. You can look at other people’s work, talk to shops and other crafters, but best off all, you can SHOP. Often you find new and exciting things, or that special piece of fabric that you were hunting for. Every year there are new projects and inspirations waiting in every booth.
   The competition quilts were beautiful and inspiring. My preference is for the pieced ones, rather than the heavily machine embroidered ones, but they were all inspiring. My friend Deb D. won a prize for her quilt. Congratulations Deb.
Secret Workshop's Booth

 I found some great books by Pam Clarke called Designs with Lines. I picked up three from the series about alternate ways to freehand traditional quilt blocks. I also picked up a stitch in the ditch ruler. These I found at the shop of my friend Barb, The Secret Workshop which is based out of BC. It is an internet store that caries a wide variety of tools and gadgets for longarm quilters. If you aren’t a long arm quilter, don’t skip over her site, because she has plenty of good things for quilting on the domestic machine. She taught a great class in moving beyond the basic stipple. Thanks Barb, you’ve inspired me.

Horst of To Be Quilting

It was good to see my friends Horst and Julie of To Be Quilting. They are always fun to chat with and make a great mid-arm machine. And check it out, they are a CANADIAN company. A mid-arm machine made in Canada, it almost makes me with I was still looking.

Matt and Gage

I spent some time chatting to Matt Sparrow, Man Quilter, and his son Gage. They were manning the APQS booth, a booth after my own heart. My longarm is an APQS and I couldn’t be happier with it. If you ever wondered what these machines were all about, you should ask Matt and Gage, both of who can pretty much tell you everything about these great machines. They have a number of sizes and fabulous customer service. I love that their machines are designed to be maintained by the quilter. You should see Gage running the Lenny.

Fabric. Mmm. I saw some fabulous fabrics. I think I’m in my batik phase. I found some lovely batik fat quarters and some Christmas and Halloween ones too. I’ll be giving away the seasonal ones soon right here on this very blog. Check back for more details.


Quilter's Haven's Booth

Just because I don’t already have enough to do, I signed myself up for a block of the month from the Quilter’s Haven of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Similar to a Sun Bonnet Sue, these blocks have appliqued ladies in old style skirts. They have a great selection of fabrics and some cute patterns I’ve never seen before. They have a pattern for a licorice allsorts quilt that was too cute to be believed..

Nice Nancy(left) and Patricia Trouble
clowning around in
 the Wonderfil Booth.

Wonderfil Specialty Threads. How could I forget them? For piecing my quilts I use wonderfil threads exclusively. Their Konfetti is fabulous, double gassed and almost lint free. Both my domestic machine and my longarm love it. Check out their website ( or my website if you want to learn more about these great threads.

When talking of shows like this, its easy to forget people, and I would be sadly remiss if I neglected to mention my chaufeur for the day. Special thanks go to Kim of Chatterbox Quilts. She’s a good friend and fine quilter and we car pooled to the show. I’m curious to see how her new Accu-cutter works.

Have you been to a show lately? What was your favorite part? Let us know.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Party Like Your Hubby's Turning 50!

Darling Hubby playing lacrosse
 in Manchester Uk.

Its crazy how things go. I’m busy like a one armed paper-hangar trying to organize my husbands 50th birthday party. We’re having three. Yup, I’m nuts. First is his choice, a two-hour game of semi-contact lacrosse with all his buddies. Second the full extended family and a few close friends for a family dinner at my daughters. Third, on his actual birthday will be dinner with the immediate family. Just us, our girls and their men. I cannot even decide what to feed the ravaging horde. I waffle back and forth. I’m thinking ham, but one sister-in-law doesn’t eat pork. Surely she doesn’t know what she’s missing. Then, I’ve got to provide something for those veggie-vore relatives. Personally, I’m a carnivore and will eat most anything. Oh well.

What does all this have to do with quilting? Well, nothing at all and everything. All my time is going to this (and stinking accounting) and taking away from studio time. It is hard sometimes to fit everything in. Especially when one is feeling lazy and unmotivated. I live for quilting, but sometimes I just want to sit on my backside and read my book. Unfortunately, the one I’m reading is really good. I’ve read it before, but that doesn’t slow me down. Or rather speed me up. I’m reading Diana Gabaldon’s "The Fiery Cross". It is riveting, but does require concentration. Often, I read trashy romances I love them, and they are a nice quick read and easy to put down. After all, you know there’ll be a happy ending.
My current quilting projects include a simple quilt of doggie fabrics for Cousin Marnie. She gave us some lovely paintings (okay I forced her to give them up, she doesn’t think her work is worth sharing). She’s a great dog lover, and I thought a nice cuddly quilt would warm her up in that drafty old farm house, and at the same time it would show her that we appreciate her work.


I’m also trying to finish up the piecing of a few projects I took in the past. One from Eleanor Burns’ Magic Vine book. I’m also trying to write the directions for my Midnight Blues quilt. All blue and white with many points. I think I’m in my point block phase. I did a queen size quilt phase….many were started few were finished. I did a table runner phase. I always love hand applique, and am finally getting good at it. I’m working on a quilt with fish on it, that I designed about three years ago. It needs a lot of thread painting, and my skill just isn’t up to it yet. I keep practicing, but I’m not to the point where I want to try it on the real article. I am getting close though. I’ve got several small wall hangings designed, but not yet started and I am working on a table runner design. There are two simple bases to choose from and a number of different appliques to embellish with.
I’m also trying my hand at writing an article or two for submission to some Canadian quilting magazines. Some day it seems that there are just too many irons in the fire and too many ideas in my head. But I plug away, happy in the knowledge that I’m doing what I love.
Oh yeah, let us not forget about blogging, playing around on Facebook, housework, cooking …
Okay, skip those last two, because we all know I only do those when I must. Hubby’s birthday is even at my daughter’s so I don’t need to clean the house. Mwa Mwa mwa. (That being the sound of my evil laugh.)

Keep on Quilting

Dazzling Diamonds

Monday, September 13, 2010


Before I begin, let me say that I was married 30 years before we went on our honeymoon. Before that vacations were few and far between and mostly spent camping. My husband is a reformed workaholic. I used to wish he were home more. Now I wish he wasn’t mostly retired. Be careful what you wish for….

A big chunk of our vacation this year was spent in Scotland. I always thought that Canada was the most beautiful place in the world with its vast and varied landscapes. Now, I know that other places can be just a lovely. Scotland has a huge variety of landscapes, and each comes upon you in a rush as you travel down the highways. In a matter of only five miles you can see mountains, valleys, farmland, forests, highlands, lowlands, lakes, moors and rocky plains. It changes so quickly that it is breathtaking.

We spent eight days traveling and staying in a variety of bed and breakfasts. We put 1150 miles on that rental car. Let me tell you it sure is scary being a passenger when the driver is on the wrong side of the car on the wrong side of the road. We won’t even get into the damage on the front left tire…

Our personal trip highlights included Loch Ness, the ocean at Nairn, Clava Cairns and dozens of castles and ruins.

One of the cairns at Clava Cairn and a lovely old tree there.
I’ve always been a believer in Nessie. Sadly we didn’t get to see her, but when you look into the depths of
Loch Ness, you can’t help but believe. I wish we had had more time to loiter there, maybe for some late evening walks. I like to think that she would have showed herself. (I’m only marginally delusional.) While at Loch Ness, we visited Urquart Castle. Well maintained they were fascinating but swamped with tourists. But for us, the beauty of castles lies in the hard to reach places that the tour buses don’t get to.
We found one castle quite by accident, as they aren’t all on the maps. We traipsed up a dirt road, crossed a fence, wandered up the mud path, through the sheep fields full of sheep and up a small hill. I think it was about a mile or more. At the top of the hill was Castle Auchindoun. We passed one couple on our way up but aside from them, we were the only people there. We were able to climb all over the walls and spent time just sitting and thinking about castle life. Very inspiring, there may be a pattern out of this trip. I’ve got dozens of ideas scampering through my head I just need to get them down on paper before they dissipate.

Spent three days staying at Warthill Castle. It’s a private home that sometimes is a bed and breakfast. It was great! Everywhere you looked were stories of the life of the Lesley family who have lived there since 1050. Ancient and modern mingled to give a glimpse of life and history you rarely ever see. They own 2500 acres of land. Even in a country as big as Canada, you rarely see such huge estates. Beautifully treed, it was teaming with wildlife. Deer, rabbits, and birds were everywhere. Part of their land was for crops and cattle, but near the castle itself were rich lawns and lush forests. It was interesting to learn the family history and of all the renovations to the castle itself. A tiny castle grew and grew over the years until tough times forced the family to sell off much of the fancy-work and copper ducting outside the newest parts of the hall. Without proper drainage, those parts of the castle started to fall into disarray and were torn down. A large part of the castle still stands and is quite lovely. I wish I could have seen it when it was at its largest, most grand stage.

All-in-all, one cannot sum up a vacation in only words and a few pictures. The memories will linger on, with photographs and momentos to keep us going.

Until next time,   Cath