Tuesday, December 31, 2013

December OPAM and a year's recap

December OPAM (One Project a Month) was a good month ..... for me ..... a lot got done.

3 Christmas stockings
2 adult bibs, 1 candy cane ornament, 8 octagon coasters
1 ottoman (first done in 2001 and then refurbished this year to a more modern look). 
5 Chairs with new upholstered seats:

While working on my chairs, I happened to notice Miss Ashes making a swipe at Miss Hank's tail ... it was just too tempting.  A quick hiss from Miss Hank had Ashes backing off in a hurry.
So, what quilts did I finish this year? 
Oh dear, so sad.  No quilts finished at all.
This is the first year since starting my blog that no quilts have been finished.  Yikes, that had better be switched around for 2014.   So, what in the world did I do in 2013?  Here is a recap of some quilting things. 
Four tops did get to the flimsy stage (yay, yay, yay, yay):

Five new projects got started:

The following three projects have never been shown on my blog so far.  Posts in the new year will be coming to explain more.

The blocks below belong to my day guild's BOM challenge:
Some UFO's did get worked on, but they are still not to the flimsy stage.  These are the UFO's that are still on the go:
After sewing on borders, I stopped short of adding the applique onto the borders:
I'm still switching the white strips to blue strips in the sashings .... there is a lot of ripping out to be done first and I do the sashings in stages and I seem to get bored with it very quickly:
Borders just need to be added:
3/4's of the centre is done..... more pieces were sewn together since this photo was taken.  A lot of prepping has taken place over the past few months and since this has been deemed as my cottage quilt, guess when and where I will be working on this UFO? 
The hand quilting on this quilt is never.... ever ..... ending.  Will it be done by the end of 2014?  That is a challenge that I must set out to accomplish!
Two trunk shows were presented to my quilt guilds:
While not one quilt got finished this year, a lot of other things did get done.  A lot of painting and renovations got done in our home and that is where most of my energy was spent.  By night time, I was just too tired to do much of anything else.  It was easy to catch me napping in my chair with the TV on and some handwork and a cat on my lap.

The OPAM (One Project A Month) that Peg and Kris offer each year has helped me a lot.  I will be joining it again for 2014.  It is a good motivational tool for me and for others around the world.

With my night guild (Northern Lights Quilting Guild), I've taken on the position of producing the monthly newsletter and for my day guild (Near North Quilter's Guild) I'm on the Programme Committee. 

I had better get my butt into gear and finish a few more tops ..... because there are a number of new projects that will get started and there will be a few upcoming posts to show you what is planned for next year!  Plus, our guilds' next quilt show is in 2015 and I must have some hand quilted quilts ready for showing and at the pace that it takes me to finish a quilt, I need all the extra time possible to get ready.  This is a warning to myself to get going!!!!  :o)

You know, looking over my recap, it was a good year after all! 

Happy New Year and all the best for 2014!

Monday, December 23, 2013

I've been busy

Christmas is only a few days away and there still are things for me to do.  Some days, I feel like I'm running around with my head in the clouds.

Nothing can be shown at this time ..... all will be revealed later.

In the meantime, here is what our place looks like decorated with quilts/tops for the holidays. 

These are tops .... waiting to be quilted .... but when?  If they can't get quilted, then they are perfect for display rather than being shoved in a bag in the closet.

On my quilt ladder (way back there in the corner) are two more tops.  Oh dear, I am drowning in tops!
The clock is ticking and I must run!

Have a great day!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Just a scrappy trip

Borders are on my scrappy trip.  I did a demo of the block (using Bonnie Hunter's pattern) to my day guild back in October and I'm happy that it is at this stage.

I'll definitely be doing more of these blocks.  They are just so addictive and so easy to do.

Have a great day!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

November OPAM and a prezzie

My November OPAM (One Project A Month) has resulted in 8 adult bibs for a local nursing home, 3 dish cloths and 4 kitchen hand towels.
The prezzie came from Australia.  My name was drawn as one of the winners of either July/August OPAM.  Kris sent the following to me:
 A piece of fabric, embroidery floss and the pattern is her own design:
Thank you, Kris, for drawing my name and I do love all the goodies that you sent to me!

Her little stitchery (way on the bottom) is hanging in place of honour on my international wall of treasures.  I do think those two little hangings need to be moved as they sort of get lost there on the bottom of the wall.
Oh, in case some of you are wondering about your treasures that you have sent to me, they are on display in other areas of my studio:
 The angel on the shelf and the doll beside the quilt:

There are more; but they have been tucked away in my seasonal bins and are displayed during those seasons.

Last month at my day guild, I did a trunk show about all the international exchanges that I participated in and all of your quilts/items were brought in and talked about.  A lot of ears around the world must have been buzzing that day.

Have a great day!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Call me Coach

Years ago, when we were living in Toronto, a young mother saw what I was doing and wanted to learn how to quilt too. 

You know how it is sometimes when a person wants to learn a new craft, they say they are really interested and you offer to help and ask when they want to meet up next and they dilly dally and can't arrange a date and so it goes.  When I asked this gal when she wanted to meet up, she said the next day.  OK .... this gal was serious! 

So, the next day we met.  She showed up with a tool box full of supplies and fabrics and was eager to start.  I took her through some of the basics and taught her how to use a roller blade, etc.  She was hooked!  She ended up taking some classes at a local quilt store and the rest is history.

She took to applique like a fish in water.  In her applique class, their project was to make a Santa quilt.  As she finished each block, I could only sit and admire and applaud her work.  The last time I saw the blocks, they were finally made into a top.

Sometimes, she went against my advice and learned the hard way, especially in hand quilting.   That is human nature.  We learn, we grow and then we do wonderful things.
We lost touch years ago, until this summer when she sent me an email and said:  "Hi Coach!" That is what she always called me.  Coach.

Take a peek at her work that she did on her Santa quilt.   Her hand quilting and applique is exquisite!

I remember seeing this same quilt hanging up in the quilt store to advertise the applique class.  When she said that was the quilt she was going to make in the class I thought to myself as a beginner, she wanted to make the whole quilt?  Not just a hanging, the whole quilt?   So, Miss Paula, Coach says you did good!  You did very GOOD!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Playing 'what if' again ...

I love doing that .... it is fun and it gets my creative thinking racing.

As I was sitting in my chair and looking at my Promise of Spring top on my design wall, it just felt that something was missing.  But what?

I kept looking at the centre section and thought the jade green leaves at the end of each stem was lacking.  What if it was surrounded by red?  The template was enlarged by 30% and suddenly that leaf doesn't look so lost and it looks more defined.
Here is an overall shot of just the one leaf in the centre section:
In this shot, more red has been added and now I'm liking it more and more.  Not sure if those birds will be staying or going.  We'll see as time goes by.
You know, life can be so tough some days.  Miss Ashes sure knows how to relax, doesn't she?
Have a great day!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Prep work

Lately, a lot of prep work is going on for the final push to get my Promise of Spring top done. 

A gazillion circles are needed:
A lot more leaves to be made:
Stems galore:
Talk about really cutting it close for the fabric for my stems .... this is all that is left of the plaid fabric ... whew:
All of the above is needed to do my borders and this is what it will look like .... so far.  By the time this top is finished, it will measure around 99" square.
Have a great day!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Trying to do hand quilting

With cooler weather upon us, this is now the perfect time to bring out a long abandoned hand quilting project.

While the girls are snoozing away in the living room by our new gas fireplace, there is no time like the present to get at it.

So, away I crept to my studio and got in 6 rows of hand quilting on my hexagon quilt.  Not bad.

Oh, oh, here comes trouble.  Miss Hank and she will want to be right on top of my quilt frame.
I'm trying to take a photo of her big brown eyes, begging to be allowed up and over the quilt frame.  Guess she is a tad camera shy.
Nope, WE are now ticked off.
WE are definitely ticked off.
Alright, come on over and have a lick of my finger.
Now, Miss Hank is a happy kitty.  Having a snooze on top of my frame.
Luckily, there is another project on hand for me to work on while she sleeps.  Darn, how did this happen?  There is will some ripping out to do ..... oh well ....
For those of you wondering about the health of Miss Hank ..... some days we think she is starting to go down hill and then we think not.  She still has an appetite, still wants to play, still wants her treats and still wants to go outside to check on the chippies.  I put out peanuts for the chippies and if they don't show up, she chirps for them to come .... and they do.
Have a great day!