Friday, August 30, 2013

What a difference!

I have been so busy painting my living room pine wall units this summer, that I thought it would never end.  It was a lot of work, but so worth the effort.

Here is what one unit looks like before and after.  Huge difference, eh!  In the before, we can barely see what is on display in the unit.

In the after shot, all my items are easy to see and we can enjoy them even more.
We are absolutely thrilled with our wall units that we purchased on Kijiji.  After a lot of sanding and painting, these units help to complete the look in our living room and they look fabulous with our new hardwood floors and our painted walls.  New hardware makes a huge difference to the finished look.  Only two more units to finish up and my boxes can be unpacked once again and more purging will take place.  Last year, we purged before our move from Toronto to North Bay and after a year of things being in a box, anything that was not missed will be donated to a local thrift store.
There is still a lot more work to do inside .... but the work will get done bit by bit.  As I'm writing up this post, DH is busy in the kitchen tearing up the flooring.  Sigh, will it never end?
Have a great day!
BTW, my next post will be about my whirlwind visit with a quilty friend and then about Edyta Sitar's trunk show.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Cottage results

Switching from hand quilting to hand piecing at the cottage has resulted in another section of my D046 project being made.  I'm getting close to having 3/4 of the top done.  I just need to make more EPP pieces to work with and I can continue once more on this project.

Can you see the black squiggy line and the section below it?  That is the part that was recently done.
I've been thinking of a title and I just can't keep calling it D046!  :o)  Since most of the work has been done at the cottage, something along that line is what it will eventually be called.

When borders start showing up in my photos, that is a good sign that I'm still inspired to complete this top.

A special visitor (as in quilty) is arriving later today and there will be more about her visit to share.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Quilting at the cottage using solar

Now that is a catchy title, isn't it?  Our cottage is in the middle of nowhere and it is too far out to have electricity brought in.  So, we do what we can to make things function and the older we get, new technology is helping us get more comfortable.

During the day, hand quilting on the screened-in porch or inside the cottage is not a problem.  Lots of natural light.  Nighttime is a different story.  Until a few years ago, all we had were propane lights and they were not the best for hand work of any kind.

Below is a closer look at my hand quilting:
So, what to do about the nights and a poorly lit up cottage?  Enter solar and a 12volt battery (a car battery).  During the day, we put our battery (the item sitting on top of a pale colour piece of wood with wires and clamps) outside and hook it up to a solar panel (the mirror looking rectangular item).  A good day of sunshine will have the battery recharged by supper time.  The solar panel needs to be moved around as the sun moves around during the day so that we capture the full effect of the sun rays.
Once our battery is recharged and back inside the cottage, we hook it up to an inverter (the little black box on the right) and plug in a lamp (yellow cord) that has a low wattage light bulb and viola ..... instant lighting for a cozy evening of hand work or reading.  There is no noise with this system, so quiet.  When we want to run a vaccuum cleaner or a tool, we do have a generator that we can start up and use, but it is so noisy.  When it is time for bed, we unhook everything to save energy because that little inverter will keep using power unless it is shut down (unhooked).
Our battery is placed on a rug because if it sitting on a cold floor, the battery will slowly drain energy away.  We found this out by testing the voltage at night and then in the morning and we noticed a slight drain of energy.  The little things we have learned along the way.

What happens if it is a cloudy day?  The battery will still recharge a bit.  We could probably go about 3-4 days before recharging, but we like to have it charged up and ready all the time and we take advantage of the sun whenever we can.

So, now you know how we do it here in Canada. There are far more elaborate solar systems, but this works for us for the time being and it is not very expensive to purchase and install.

Have a great day!

Friday, August 16, 2013

My trunk show

Wow ... what a night that was!  Monday, August 12, 2013 at the Northern Lights Quilting Guild, North Bay, Ontario, Canada.   My first ever trunk show and there were quite a number of ladies present to see what I brought with me.  I was nervous at first; then once a comfort level set in, I quite enjoyed myself.
Many thanks to all the ladies that assisted me by holding up my quilts and taking photos and helping to cart all 5 bags of quilts into the meeting and then folding and packing all the quilts back up and carting them out to my car.  Again, many thanks!

A total of 20 quilts, 10 tops and 1 tote bag were presented.  To give you an idea of what went on, here are some photos for you to look at.

A few calls went out to family members to gather up their quilts that I made for them and bring them to me.  Here are a few out on the clothesline drying in the summer air.

While assembling my quilts for the trunk show, Miss Ashes looked very depressed and had to get up on my table to show me that she was not happy about the quilts leaving the house.

Here I am at the start of my presentation.  Do you see all the stacks of quilts on the left? 
My presentation started with my humble beginnings.  This quilt was made in 1983.
The ladies laughed when I gave them the wonky measurements of this log cabin.  If you want to know more about this quilt and how bad it really is, go here.
This lone star was made with cardboard templates, pen and scissors.  This was before the invention of rulers and rotary cutters.  I'm sure a few members remembered those days.
This quilt (below) has quite the history surrounding it and the ladies enjoyed the tale.
My 15 minutes of fame quilt that was in Fons & Porter Sew and Tell section of their March/April 2004 magazine:
This Baltimore style quilt was made to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary:
The guild members asked a lot of questions.  It was hard to remember how I did certain things with my quilts.  A follow-up email was sent with the answers.
I wonder if any readers will remember this swap block quilt.  You can go here and scroll down through my posts to read how this quilt was made.
My orgami hanging brought out oohs and aahs:
A few members were giving my little wall hanging a good once over:
At the end, lovely Laura presented me with a package of FQ's:

Thank you to the Northern Lights Quilting Guild!  It was a honour to be asked.

Have a great day!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Lazy Days

I'm spending some lazy days at the cottage this week:
Have a great day!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

It's that sprig!

When something small catches my eye, the lightbulb comes on and away I go with the idea.  The idea caught me by surprise and I keep changing the original design (Promise of Spring by Kim Diehl in American Patchwork & Quilting magazine, Feb. 2007).  It has been 6 years that I have drooled over this pattern!  The pattern can also be found in her book Simple Comforts (the pattern name has changed to Serendipity Sampler).

This is the original first block:

My version has subtle changes that makes the block look less busy: 
See this little sprig of berries?  This is when the lightbulk clicked on.  This little sprig is starting to pop up all over the blocks.
In the center section, I had the big red pointy piece in the center all sewn down and then wondered what it would look like if some sprigs were placed on the diagonal.  Yep, I love it!  So, with a little bit of ripping out, those sprigs are going there.  It is the little things like that that changes the whole look of a design.
Here is a better view of the center:
Here is the original center block below.  As you can see, my center section has been widened a lot so that the design is not crowded.

I have been collecting plaid and striped fabrics for many years now and have added some thrift store shirts to round out the look that my blocks needed.   A couple of plaid/stripped charm packs is what decided the size of the background blocks.  Having 60 blocks already cut out pushed me into the direction of the bigger blocks that you see on my version.  My blocks were cut down to 4-1/2" square because after my charms were washed and dried, they were no longer 5".

Now, I'm wondering what else will change as the remaining blocks are worked on?  Plus, there is a border that needs some planning since it is not in the original pattern.  Whatever is done, it has to be in keeping with Kim Diehl's look.

P.S. In case anyone is wondering, I'm not affliated with Kim Diehl in any way ..... I just love her patterns and books.

Now that two of our wall units have been painted and the paint has had time to cure, the time has come to figure out what to put back into the units.  I had just put in this gold/blue quilt on one of the shelves and later noticed that Miss Ashes had made herself quite comfortable. 
Miss Hank has made herself comfortable in this unit in the master bedroom.  Their hidey holes keep changing all the time.  We never know where they will be and we have to be so careful when closing a closet door.
My July OPAM has a total of 11 dish cloths and 4 kitchen towels.  As fast as I make them, they are given away or replacing older worn out items in our kitchen.  At some point in time, my obession in making these pieces will come to a halt.  For now, I will keep churning them out.
Have a great day!