Monday, December 26, 2011

Resolutions: NOT!

Today things start anew. I got up early and hit the treadmill. I’m backing off the sweets and junk now and getting back into healthy eating. Although I confess that I will never be a fan of vegetables. So I shall have to focus on fruits instead.

This is the time of year when people start making New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve basically stopped doing that. I never follow through on them anyway, and end up feeling bad about it later on. Oh, I know that there are many things in my life that need improvement, but over the past couple of years I have tried working on small changes as I notice things that need improvement or tweaked.

My current focus, which started last summer, is to get healthy. I am working out on a fairly regular basis. (Not as often as I should, but more often than I used to.) I am eating healthier. I am trying to reach my goal weight. But I am not dieting; I am just focusing on smaller portions, less junk and healthier foods. I try to hit the gym six days a week, but usually only make it four times. Still, that is a huge improvement over the way things have been for the past twenty years. With these small changes, I have managed to lose 35 pounds. I have another 35 or 40 to go, but I feel confident that they will slip away as well. I just need to keep on with the changes I have made, and slowly work those portions down from gargantuan to reasonable. I admit it; it is nice when someone notices that I am shrinking.

But back to the resolutions … no I am not going to make any actual resolutions. But here are the top ten things I know need work.

1. I will swear less.
2. I will eat healthier.
3. I will hug my friends and family more often.
4. I will try to control my temper.
5. I will work out regularly.
6. I will do some housework. (Note I said some….not a lot. LOL)
7. I will indulge in some random acts of kindness.
8. I will let my loved ones know I appreciate them.
9. I will try to be a better person.
10. I will write more.

Are you making any resolutions this year? Any big changes planned? Any small changes? I would love to hear about them.


Friday, December 23, 2011

UFO Revisited

Wow! You can just call me one big slacker.
Lisa's Cat Quilt
Life is crazy in my world, but I expect it is the same for everyone this time of year. However, I'm using that as my excuse for not posting often enough.(Pathetic I know!)

Here is the UFO Contest Update.
Our big winner is Marcy Y.  She had 39 UFOs and has finished 8. (She has asked me not to post the pictures she sent as many of them are to be gifts.)
Audrey R. had 18 UFOs. Finished 4.
Kayle P. had 41 UFOs. Finished 4.
Becky A. had 3 UFOs. Finished 3.
Linda N. had 86 UFOs. Finished 4.

Lisa E. had 17 UFOs on her list. Finished 1.

Another sweet quilt from Lisa.
Marcy: Send my your mailing address and I'll get your kit off to you. I'm sending you the pattern and fabric for a double sized Butterflies in My Garden...all in lovely bright batiks.
Aubrey: I'll be emailing you a copy of the pattern of your choice. Let me know which one you want.

Here are a couple pictures of Lisa's work from this year.

Just so you know: My website is down. I'm looking for a new host. With luck it will be up again soon. Watch here on my blog for pictures of my patterns and how to order them.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Winter Sloooow Down!


Okay, I guess I have to admit that winter is here. Old Man Winter has arrived. Yuck! I hate the cold. I hate driving on snow and ice. But I do love the way snow makes things all pretty and perfect outside. The biggest trouble with winter is that all I want to do is curl up with a good book in front of a roaring fire. When I do that, nothing gets done. No laundry, no housework, no shovelling, no pattern work.

You may have noticed that things progress slowly around here. I would love to tell you that my latest designs are up and ready for purchase, but sadly they are not. The are designed, written, tested, edited and almost ready to go. "So what's the hold up?" You ask, even though you already know the answer. The hold up is me. I need to finish the cover quilts. They are started. Marnie just needs quilted and bound. (Sadly, she's been that way for months.) George is about half finished. I won't even get into Scrap Therapy...she is finished, but the pattern needs major edits and further testing.

The biggest trouble is that I have magpie syndrome....I'm distracted by bright colorful objects. The current object. Writing a novel. Some of you know that I've been dabbling in writing for ages and ages and ages. (Since high school. Holy Crap! That's decades. LOL.) Recently, I signed a contract for digital publication of a novella. Novella: a very ugly word that means a short novel. Editing this has taken some time, but is finally complete. My tentative release date is December 2nd. Before you ask, I am not going to tell you my pen name. Suffice it to say that the publisher described it as 'a delightfully risque romance.'
Now realistically, the editing has taken a lot of time, but it shouldn't have taken as much time as I have let it take. The truth, in a nutshell...I'm just lazy. Then of course is the Christmas rush for my long arming services. It never ceases to amaze me that people start calling looking for a spot... and say "Can I have it back by December first?" My standard wait time, when its not rush season, is three weeks. Rush time, expect five to six weeks. And I've said it before and I'll say it again...come on ladies, Christmas comes the same time every year. Prepare in advance. LOL. Now if someone would just write my Christmas list, do my shopping and baking I would be ready.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Nothing New to Report

Well people. Fall seems to be a busy time of year for most of us. Its time to finish up the yard work and get the kids ready to head back to school. (Thank heaven I'm finished with that chore.) We get our homes and cars ready for winter and start thinking about Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. (I've even started my Christmas shopping, how sick is that?)

Hubby and I bought a saws-all a couple weeks ago. We took it outside and started trimming back the branches on the overgrown spruce in the front yard. What a riot! I had so much fun. (Must be my destructive side.) I chopped off the lower branches and hacked them into bits before loading them in the truck. The tree looks a lot better and has room under it for snow when we start shovelling the driveway. But more important than that, I enjoyed myself immensely. Every woman needs a saws-all. If for no other reason than to work off some anger and aggression. LOL.

Yesterday, when I should have been working, I took the time to drag out my multiple bins of seasonal fabric. I think I could make a dozen Christmas quilts without buying any more fabric. Plus I have enough Halloween fabric for at least three quilts. And that does not count the two Halloween quilt tops waiting to be quilted. Yikes. It took  a lot of effort to drag myself away from that huge pile and put myself back in front of the longarm. Really, this week I would rather be piecing.

Maybe if I work really hard today and tomorrow, I'll be able to free up some time to play with fabric.


Friday, September 2, 2011


Okay, it is update time in our UFO contest.

Lisa E. had 17 UFOs on her list. Finished 1.
Audrey R. had 18 UFOs. Finished 3.
Kayle P. had 41 UFOs. Finished 1.
Becky A. had 3 UFOs. No updates.
Linda N. had 86 UFOs. Finished 4.
Marcy Y. had 39 UFOs. Finished 2.

I have finished: Not your Grand Mother's log cabin, Marnie, Kathy, my parents quilt (and a whack of accessories for it.) Charmed to Bits and Baby Bunting. (Pictures coming later.) This gives me a grand total of SIX. Holy crap, I had best get moving here I'm never going to finish them all.

Come on girls, I'm beating you. Lets all step up the pace and get something done. Lisa has sent me pictures of her UFO and some other projects. You'll see them after she has given the quilt away. It is a gift and meant as a surprise for one lucky person!

I haven't finished many of my UFOs yet and now I'm going to make excuses. I'm busy! So ha!! Can't beat that can you? Seriously, things are hectic in my life right now. You, over there on the left, stop heckling. I know we're all busy. I just got back from vacation, then spent a few days in Edmonton. I took a machine maintenance class with APQS at Sparrow Studioz.

I've got a huge queue of client quilts to do and am puttering away at them. But what's really keeping me busy is writing. When I should be quilting my own stuff or writing and editing the new patterns for the sale I am attending in October, I am typing away on my computer writing romance novels. Wicked naughty novels. This is something that I've played with for years and every now and then it gets out of control and consumes my life. Now is one of those times.

The ideas come and the words flow and I type until my fingers cramp. Anyone out there know a massage therapist who specializes in crampy fingers? This is not something I can control. I simply cannot stop the words from coming every bit of scrap paper has an idea scratched on it. I even dream the stories if I don't write them down. It is simply easier to sit at the computer and write until the obsessive flow of ideas slows to a trickle. Now I'm not saying I'm good at it, just that something compels me to write.

Matt Sparrow (Man Quilter)
and one of his lovely Children.
Okay, back to Sparrow Studioz. I met Matt and Bradie Sparrow. Lovely people. Sparrow Studio is a fabulous spot. Mark has a gallery of quilts for sale. There are many longarm machines for rent so you can quilt your own work. He has his own machine where he quilts for clients and also has other longarmers renting space for their machines. I would show you pictures, but some idiot left the camera at home. You'll have to trust me on this. Sparrow Studios is an inspiring place. Now if only we could talk them into selling fabric!

Mark Carahar (sorry if I misspelled your name!) of APQS taught the class. Who knew these machines were so complex? (Okay we all did.) What I didn't realize that they were designed for easy maintenance. Mark showed us how to repair virtually everything that could go wrong. Wow. I'm way smarter now and if I ever drag myself away from this computer I'll know how to fix the little glitch I've been having. I have to tell you that judging from Mark's stories, it seems that I've made just about every possible screw-up with my longarm. (I'm not sure if I was a good student for having stories to relate or not ... I'm thinking that with my history I may have been the class dunce.)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I Love the Rock: Newfoundland

On top of Signal Hill where Marconi
received the first Trans-Atlantic
wireless signal. Yes that's fog
behind me!
I'm baaack. Sadly vacation is over and I have returned home. We spent a week in Newfoundland. It was incredible. I've never seen anyplace like it. I can see why they call it The Rock. There's nothing there but rocks and stumpy little trees. It is kind of like BC but with midget trees. NFLD has a harsh beauty that is breathtaking. When the fog rolls in, look out. It can go from sunny and hot to foggy and muggy in minutes. We watched a fog bank roll in and it literally took only fifteen minutes before you couldn't see more than twenty feet away.

I love the place names too. They are all creative and cute. Gander, Come by Chance, Conception Bay, Dildo. Let's not forget Top Sail, Birchy Nap and Bacon Cove. Lakes are called ponds, it doesn't seem to matter what size it is, if I would consider it a lake its still called a pond. Paddy's Pond, Lost Pond, Gushue Pond, Kenny's Pond, I think the names make them seem like inviting places to visit. Even the street names are inviting, Freshwater Road, Cook Street, New Cove Road, and Marigold Place.

A typical Newfoundland beach.
We toured around quite a bit, driving the highways and tramping around St. John's. We took a tour up to Trinity and drove the southern coastline. I was surprised to find that there really aren't any beaches to speak of. If you can get close to the water, its on top of a rocky cliff. The few beaches we found were made up of rocks.

I even brought home a few rocks to throw through the old rock tumbler. (Those of you who know me well are aware that I cannot go for a walk without picking up a rock.) We purchased two big chunks of Labradorite to cut up for making jewellery and I bought myself a lovely pair of Labrodorite earrings. (Labradorite is the official stone of NFLD.) Its tone varies, but when you hold it just right it is kind or iridescent. It shines blue, green and sometimes even gold.

My new Labradorite earrings.
Raw Labradorite Stone

We took an ocean cruise on this boat. Saw some whales
and the eastern-most land point in North America.
Coming back to St John's after our cruise.
We spent some time at the rink with they boys playing lacrosse. Yup, Mater's Lacrosse again and no its not any faster than it was before. However, it was a lot of fun. One NFLD player posted the quote of the weekend on Face Book. "Only in Newfoundland does it take two kegs of beer to play three games of lacrosse." Too true. Yes indeed, there was a bit of beer consumed, a lot of fish eaten but most importantly many new friends were met. Those Newfies sure know how to throw a party!
The people in Newfoundland were friendly and entertaining and I cannot wait to go back next year!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thursday Thanks

Kim's "Applique" birthday cake.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking lately. A dangerous occupation at best, I know, but driving the longarm gives a person a lot of time to muse things over. My machine is an APQS Liberty and is not computerised. I have to follow the patterns myself. While one part of my mind is busy concentrating on that, the rest of it runs wild.
As I ease into a rhythm of quilting and my brain takes off. Yesterday, my brain seemed stuck on all the good things I have. Not the possessions, but rather the intangible things. Things like luck, family and friends.

Let’s start with luck. I’ve decided that I don’t really have bad luck, but I don’t really have good luck either. Life flows on with its highs and lows. Nothing really bad has ever happened to my husband and I. But we haven’t won the lottery yet either. Things just seem … well neutral. I guess that means that my Cosmic Karma must be fairly well balanced. (Yeah, I know … there are days when I’ve done or said things that should have me run over by a Karmic Retribution Bus, but we’re not going there.)
I have a fabulous family.

My husband is supportive, career-wise and financially. (Grin.) My kids are happy and healthy (and moved out. Happy dance!) I’m close to my parents and siblings and we have good relationships, although I don’t see them as often as I would like. I know that later I will regret not making a bigger effort to see my family, and I hope that they understand how much I wish I was with them. I wish to publicly thank them all, here and now, for being part of my life and for kicking me in the backside when I need a reality check.

Happy Birthday Old Friend!
And friends. I have a lot of friends, and no I’m not bragging. I’ve got a handful of really close friends and a basket full of good friends. I’ve also got a lot of people in my life who are more than acquaintances, but not quite friends, if that makes any sense.  I spent some time this week with my friend and quilting buddy Kim.(Chatterbox Quilts) I talked about her obsession with applique in my last post. I had her over for birthday tea. Last Friday was coffee with Linda day! Yeah. Linda is my vent. I can tell her anything and spend two hours being angry and snotty about something and she just sucks it all up until I feel better. Deb is my day out friend. We talk almost every day and love to take day trips together shopping and eating and thinking alike. We laugh a lot, and we like to think that the local quilt shops are amused by us, but I expect that we leave as much relief as laughter in our wakes.

But let us not forget Betty Bubbles, and Colleen my Regina friends. Oh, and Little Calgary Betty, Jane, Phaedra, Rita, Sam …. Okay, I’ll stop there. See, there’s no denying it. I’m blessed. My life is good and I am happy. Oh, oh, and my pattern testers. Ann Marie (Muddy Feet 16: Check out her blog!), Tammy, Beth and Alice.

Okay enough drivel for one day. I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who makes my life so good.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: What are your blessings?

More cake! Mmmmm, it was soooooo good!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Insanity Is Not Hereditary, You Get It From Your Friends!

Yup, its true. I've said what we all know. Insanity is NOT hereditary, we get it from our friends. Our quilting friends. They give us ideas and inspire our creativity. Sometimes to the point where we later say "What was I thinking?"

I'm there now. Yup totally-absolutely-certifiably insane. And what I want to know is, WHAT WAS I THINKING? Can somebody please, please tell me .....

Today's insanity comes from a number of sources.  There's a lot a blame to go around here, so line up friends and take your share. My first torpedo of blame goes to the girls at guild. Friendship blocks. What a lovely idea. Everyone makes a block or two for this month's recipient. And quick as a blink she has a new quilt. Ha. Friendship blocks? Evil blocks! Evil, evil I say.

My turn came up and I had this brilliant idea for making a quilt entirely of half square triangles. So for my friendship blocks I requested one side light/one side dark half square triangles. I had a plan. It was a cunning plan. There was this vision, it was going to be perfect. All those triangles plus a few more in different sizes was going to create this fabulous disappearing-diminishing-distance look. Just let me say now, FAT CHANCE! That idea failed. So I settled on a much simpler plan and put the blocks together in a simple pattern for a wall hanging.

The whole quilt.
Flowers will be in each spot where
there is a petal pinned.
Hmm. It didn't turn out quite big enough so I added a pieced light/light half square triangle border. Ouch! Waaaay to bright. It needed toned down at bit, or maybe jazzed up. S0, I thought of Linda W. I took a three dimensional quilting class from Linda several years ago. I learned how to made 3D leaves, flowers and embellishments. So I decided to add an applique vine and some 3D flowers and leaves to my wall hanging to make it pretty and to make the borders a little softer. Nothing fancy just a couple of dimensional flowers to spruce it up. Great idea. I started planning. First we add the vine stem, quilt the top, then we bind it. Then we decide what to do for the 3D bits. Okay, I admit, it wasn't my smartest idea.

But wait, it gets worse, the next torpedo of blame goes to Kim Jamieson-Hirst ( ). Kim is crazy about applique. She'll applique anything. I suspect that she would put applique food on the table at supper if she thought she would get away with it. One day I'm puttering away in my studio thinking about my wall hanging and I start thinking about Kim which gets me thinking about raw edge applique. So, I cut out some flowers and leaves. Test place them on the quilt. They look perfect. They are exactly what the quilt needs. Except, I've already finished stitching the layers together and sewing on appliques would spoil the back.

Don't say it, I know what you're thinking. "But you could HAND applique them on."

I told you not to say it. I wanted this quilt finished and off my UFO list. So hand applique was out. To heck with Kim and her crazy obsession with applique.

Just when I've started thinking about banging my head into the desk to try to jar out a solution to those punchy borders, I think of THEM. Those dreaded art quilters. You know who you are, stop sitting there looking innocent. Those woman are crazy. Nuts. They are always jazzing up their quilts with little bit and bobs. How about a button, maybe some beads? You know who they are, trying to turn quilting into an entirely different art form. How I hate them! Okay, I'm just jealous that they can work outside of their box and I can't. But now they have me thinking flowers. Bella Nonna Petals! Perfect. A few quick stitches and VoilĂ  the quilt will be finished and ready for hanging. A little out of my comfort zone, but still do-able.

Ha ha ha ha ha ..... this is where the maniacal laughter starts. I try bunching those petals. I mean really, how hard can it be to add a few flowers? Hmm, bunching the petals together doesn't work. That little cluster of leaves looks good. Maybe I'll add a tiny white center to my cluster of leaves. Nice, but not enough. Ooooo, a beaded center would punch that wee flower right up! Success! Now that looks nice. Just a few more and the quilt will be finished.

So I start planning again .......  I'll need a couple flowers to go with those corner leaf clusters.

So I design and build my first flower. It lovely. Its perfect. Its exactly what I had envisioned. It took a while though. "Yeah", I told myself, "its exactly what you want. Make some more. After all 20 minutes a flower isn't that bad."

Lets stop here and take a count. Leaf clusters for the corners. That's four. Maybe a bigger flower for each corner. That makes eight. Hmm, now something for the sides. That makes 24 in all. Not too bad. Okay, I can do this. Its going to take a while to make two dozen flowers. Lets put a couple of them in place and see how it looks. Nice.

Ooooh, but it is sooo much nicer when you cluster a few together like that..... Okay so now I'm thinking I need about eighty. Yes I said EIGHTY flowers to complete this border.

More maniacal laughter here.  Much more!

So now somebody tell me, WHAT WAS I THINKING? (And yes I am blaming everyone else for this. How could I possibly be at fault?) Maybe I should have gone with the hand applique!

Friday, August 5, 2011


Yeah, I know. TGIF. Everyone uses it all the time. But seriously. I'm glad it is Friday. I'm going to spend the weekend working on my own projects. I think I'm nearly caught up with longarming for clients. I'm going to spend the day sewing with the Spawn. Wee daughter Wendy is coming over to work on a baby quilt for her friend. I'll run the longarm and help when needed. Tomorrow the other Spawn, Tina, is coming over to play. Does life get any better than this?

Now for an update: So far I have finished three UFOs. Marnie, Not Your Grandmother's Log Cabin and now ..... a baby quilt. So far, I am leading the race. (I'm not even taking credit for the quilt for Cousin Kathy because it wasn't started when I opened this competition.) I've finished three projects and my contestants have not yet reported any finishing. Tsk tsk tsk. Come on ladies. This is supposed to inspire you ... get sewing.

This is the quilt I finished last night. Decided to
make it from two fabrics just to see how
it turned out. Its kind of cute.
This is Charmed to Bits. The original version of the
same quilt made from charm squares.
The second version has no name, but it is the alternate cover picture for my Charmed to Bits pattern. I decided to make it on a whim and was surprised how different it looked in two colors rather than with Charm Squares. Both are the same basic rail fence. But WOW what a difference color selection makes.

I also managed to bind a second quilt last night. (Hubby is out of town and I'm watching Star Trek the Next Generation and hand sewing. It is great!) I finished binding my first friendship quilt from Piecemaker's Quilt Guild. It has been quilted for eons, but I never got around to binding it. Well, it is bound and I am working on the embellishments. I'm not sure where they are going, but I am using Bella Nonna flower petals and beads to jazz it up. I'm kind of excited about it.

Generally, I'm not much of an embellisher. I'm more traditional than that. I'm trying to break out of my comfort zone and do new things. This is the first step. Not very adventurous I know, but I am trying. (And I don't mean trying people's patience either.)

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Are you an embellisher or art quilter? What inspires you to work in those mixed medias?

Monday, August 1, 2011

My Secret Shame

Today's post is kind of a mixed bag, so don't expect any organisation or coherence. I've finally finished a couple of new projects. Two of them come off my UFO list. The third is a bonus project (and test drive of a new pattern). And, I finished piecing the quilt for my parents. I even made their new bedroom curtains to match! Plus, I am almost finished the pillow shams.

A completed UFO: This is for my husband's cousin
who has a birthday this month. And who gave
me some beautiful paintings.
Another UFO and birthday gift for another of his cousins
having her birthday in August. This is from the book
"Not Your Grandmother's Log Cabin."
It is a variation. (Read that as my magpie syndrome
got the better of me and I skipped the complex borders.)
Detail view of  "Not Your Grandmother's Log Cabin."
The completed top of the quilt for my folks.  I had to lay it out on my
friends floor, mine isn't big enough. Dang king sized beds.
I even mitered the printed borders. I am wondering if
I need to add some applique to fill in the large
cream colored areas.
What do you think?
Test run for a new pattern and a birthday gift.
It is for, you guessed it: another cousin of my husband.
She turned fifty this year. Happy Birthday!
The forth female cousin (all from the same family) got her quilt for Christmas. The picture of that is in my December 22, 2010 post. Hers was a wall hanging while the other ladies are getting at least lap sized.

Okay, anyone who knows me realizes that housework is absolutely the last thing on my to-do list. The VERY last thing. I know things are getting out of hand when my husband (who asks only that the dishes be done and he empties the dishwasher) tells me its time to sweep my studio. Today he DEMANDED that I sweep. Yikes! So, I did. I got 5 of these, yes you read correctly FIVE of these dust laden things from one sweeping. I vow here and now to sweep once a week. (Okay, I'll try.) But to be honest, longarm quilting does generate a lot of dust. So does all that cutting and sewing. Yeah I know I am making excuses...
My Secret Shame.
I never sweep, and only  occasionally dust.
I use batting scraps on my Swiffer head to clean up with.
As you can see, when you use the danged thing
it works pretty well. The bonus is that batting scraps are
Question Of The Day: Are you getting any work done this summer? Do you live in the garden in the summer? I would love to see some pictures of your projects, both completed and in progress.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Things are Moving Along Well

The Center Medallion of Mom and Dad's new quilt.
Somehow I don't think it will be finished by Friday
when I go for a visit. Maybe if I work real hard .....
My to-be-quilted closet. About half the quilts are mine.

Fabric for projects underway.
Well, as always I am busier than a one armed paper hangar. Things are ripping along quite well in the studio. I have finally managed to write some directions for new patterns. They are off to the testers now and will be back in a couple of weeks.
I have even managed to quilt two of my UFOs. Of course they are still unfinished as the binding is not on yet. But, it will be by next weekend. I will have three done by then as they are for cousins' birthdays on the August Long Weekend. So they WILL be finished.

Entries for the UFO contest are as follows:
Lisa E. has 17 UFOs on her list.
Audrey R. has 18 UFOs.
Kayle P. has 41 UFOs.
Becky A. has 3 UFOs.
Linda N. has 86 UFOs.
Marcy Y. has 39 UFOs.

Based on the nature of this competition, I have decided to allow more entries. After all, aren't UFO's really about having trouoble getting started and finishing things? Have you entered yet? Don't forget to send a list of your UFO's and a photo or two of your works in progress.
Storage shelf with UFOs stacked up!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Its UFO Time: Ladies and Gents, Start Your Sewing Machines

Leave Me Alone I'm Quilting!
Okay people it is confession time. I have, by actual count 58 UFOs. For those of you who don't already know, in quilting terms a UFO is an Un-Finished-Object. (This is not to be confused with the more rare, but equally frustrating WOMBAT ... Waste Of Material, Batting and Time.)

I am an expert at UFOs. I have what my husband calls Magpie Syndrome. I am distracted by bright or shiny objects. I see something and say, "'Oh I've got to make that." The words are hardly out of my mouth before something else catches my eye and its "Oh that too, and that.' I start many things and finish significantly fewer. Its time to pay the piper. I'm going to get some things done and I want you to join me. So, I'm having a friendly little competition.

To be clear projects are only considered UFOs if they are actually started. All those piles of fabric I have purchased for projects not yet stared are not UFOs. That is only stash or what I call un-started projects and they are a whole different ball of string. We may deal with them in the future. It does not become a UFO until I actually start the project.

My goal for the remainder of this year is to finish as many previously-started projects as I can. And I am challenging you to do the same.

Today I have:
  • 5 quilted tops that need binding (Not Your Grandmother's Log Cabin, Charm Square, Guild Friendship Blocks, Fairies, Pink and Blue rail fence)
  • 3 incomplete hand sewing projects (includes hand piecing or applique) (Bonnet Girls an on-going BOM, Floral Wreath Applique, partly pieced Crazy Quilt)
  • 30 finished tops waiting for me to quilt and then bind them (Table runner to queen sized)
  • 15 projects that I started piecing that have not yet reached the quilting stage. (Mom and Dad, 2-Turning Twelve (modified Turning Twenties), 2-baby quilts from Dick and Jane ...)
  • 5 projects that are ready for the pattern to be written and tested (Midnight Blues, 2 applique wall hangings, Scrap Therapy and Marnie)
That gives me a grand total of 58 projects to complete. (Okay I may have quit counting when I began to get discouraged and embarrassed. I definitely skipped the boxes in the basement and I am not including those I have designed patterns for but haven't started.)

The challenge is for you to send me a list of your UFOs and see how many you can complete before December 15, 2011. That gives you more than five months to work with. Half a year. Eons of sewing time.

Here's how it works.
1. You have until July 5 to join the fun.
2. E-mail me a list of your UFOs, or at least a list of those you plan to complete. Un-started projects do not count. You must already have started these projects to qualify. If you wish, you can submit a photo of the started projects or the mess in your sewing space that inspired you to join in the fun. Please include your full name, hometown, e-mail address and project list. ( I will keep all your personal information confidential and it will not appear on my blog.
3. E-mail me a picture of each project as you complete it. (I may publish them on this blog to inspire others. If you want to share a picture with me, but do not want your photo posted here, please tell me when you submit your picture.)
4. I will publish an ongoing list of competitors and their stats. (Number of projects, number finished.) (No last names, just first names and initials and home town.)
5. You must be a follower of this blog to enter and to win. If you are not already a follower, please sign up.
6. The winner will be the person who completes the most UFOs before December 15, 2011.
7. Every entrant who completes more projects than I do will be entered into a draw for an additional prize.

Sorry to my off continent followers, this contest is only open to subscribers in Canada and the Continental United States. (Technical question for my American readers, does Continental United States include Alaska? It does for this blog.) If you are off continent and want to participate, please join us but you will not be eligible for prizes.

The Grand Prize .... a quilt kit. The pattern will be one of my choosing and one of my own patterns (of course) and the fabric needed to complete the top and the binding. The Bonus Prize: to be determined.

Ladies and Gents ..... start you sewing machines. On your marks, get set, QUILT!

I dare you to enter! I double dare you!! I double-dog dare you!!!

Something Lovely to Inspire Us!
Birds of a Feather
By: Joan F. Naylor.Quilted by: LuAne Downs
3rd Place Wall Hanging
Machine Quilters Showcase 2011. Kansas

Friday, June 10, 2011

Vacation is Over: Let the Work Begin

It seems like forever since I touched a computer. We spent the last 22 days on vacation and the most technical thing I touched during that time was my camera. I'm not saying that I am addicted to the camera, but we have almost 3000 vacation pictures plus about 1000 pictures of the lacrosse tournament we attended.

But, lets begin at the beginning... vacation started with five days in London. We've been before, but went back for the chance to absorb more history. We walked for hours soaking up the architecture and marvelling at the sights. Our hotel was just off Trafalgar Square (The Grand on Trafalgar.) There is always something happening in the square. It ranges from demonstrations to concerts to impromptu dancing and everything in between. We started and ended each day there. Coffee every morning and tea every night before returning to our hotel. Frequently we watches a man there with a falcon chasing away the pigeons. He didn't harm them, but his presence scared them off which made for a much more pleasant visit.

After London came Prague and lacrosse. We watched the World Indoor Lacrosse Championships and my husband participated in the Grand Masters (Over 45) division.Their team won their division and beat every team in the Masters division (Over 30.)  The tournament organizers also hosted a beer drinking competition which we won quite handily. We arrived about an hour late and still manged to clean up. Never challenge a Canadian to a beer drinking competition!

Mmmm, vats and vats of Scotch Whiskey.

Next Up: Scotland. Yup, we were there last year too. This year we drove up the east coast, across the top and down the west coast. We took in Edinburgh and the Isle of Sky as well. Scotland has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Its kind of like Canada with its prairies, mountains, forests and rocky plains all squished up together.  Every turn in the road and every crest of a hill gives you something new to look at. We also visited the Glen Morangie Distillery and had a tour. Scotch making is at once much simpler and much more complex than I ever imagined.

Celtic Quilting
Gail Lawther

I found a book on Celtic Quilting while I was there and took a ton of pictures of Celtic designs and carpets for quilting inspiration. I probably have the strangest holiday pictures ever. Last year I took pictures at the Louvre, mostly of the intricate tile floors and ceilings.

Now, its back to the old grindstone. First off, into the studio and back at the longarm. I've got a stack of client quilts to finish by the end of next week. After the studio maybe some time catching up on pattern writing.

The Ocean near Thurso, Scotland.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

MQS Kansas

Well, I'm arrived in Kansas safe and sound. It it a beautiful city, all green and growing. Its a far cry from the early spring I left in Calgary. When we arrived the  humidity was stifling and way too hot. Without the humidity, it would be quite lovely. Let me tell you this, I know why the Wicked Witch of the West in Wizard of Oz melted, the humidity did her in!

My first day was spent setting up the booth. I have worked shows before but kits and patterns are a whole lot less work than  individual spools of threads. Yikes. We were kept busy running about, talking thread and quilting with customers. I hardly had time to view the quilts. But let me tell you this ladies, they were fabulous. I've never seen such a variety of technique assembled in one place.

Aunt Polly's Porch
Quilted by Marilyn Badger.
Painted by Claudia Clark Myers.
3rd Place: Art/Pictorial.

Machine embroidery, hand embroidery, piecing, whole cloth quilts, wool quilts, machine and hand applique and what I can only call mock-applique. Quilters are taking whole pieces of cloth and quilting them with intricate designs and coloring them in too look like applique. They use pens, ink, markers, water colors, pencil crayons and special pencil crayon designed to blend with water. Irena Blume does fabulous work in this area and gave me a demonstration of how it works. Check her out at

There was also a ton of fabulous quilting. Much of it was done by computerised machine which did not, in my opinion, even come close to the beauty and diversity that was created by hand guided machines. The majority of quilts that took prizes were quilted by hand guided machines using custom quilting.

I have never been so inspired and depressed all at once. I couldn't wait to get home and practise my custom freehand quilting and at the same time worried that my skill would  never match that of these masters. I've decided that while I will likely never match them that I am going to practise and give it my best shot.

Magical Mermaid's Castle by Claudia Pfeil. Winner: Best of Show. Fabulous detail
quilting with hundreds, maybe thousands of crystals for accent. WOW!

Detail of Magical Mermaid's Castle

Detail of Magical Mermaid's Castle

Red Letter Daze by Janet Stone.
This quilt also took a prize by the detail
photo did not turn out. Apologies to Janet.

Detail of Red Letter Daze

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

I just wanted to take a moment to thank my mother for all she has done for me over the years. I don't think there is a better mother out there and I apologize for the times that I told her otherwise. (As a kid I was a bit of an idiot.) Between her and my father they pretty much kept the four of us kids in line. I know there job wasn't easy and I thank them for the effort.

My mom was my doctor, nurse, kindergarten teacher, chauffeur, psychiatrist, maid, dishwasher, laundress, gardener, babysitter, cook and tutor, but most of all, she was my friend. She taught me to be kind to kids and animals; to love and give; to be polite and helpful; to give a hand and to accept a hand; to learn where I could and to accept when I couldn't. She even tried to teach me to keep my mouth shut and not say inappropriate things ... although that one only met with limited success. She taught me to drive, to crochet, to sew, to use a glue gun, to garden and cook. She passed her passion for reading on to me. I admit that she has me hooked on romance novels. (I love a good romance.)
All in all, I learned a lot of life's lessons at her knee, and on the rare occasion at the much deserved end of a wooden spoon. (I thank her for that too!)

Thanks Mom for all you did, all you do and all you will do. I love you.