Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas is (Almost) Here

Christmas for me is the best time of the year, especially when surrounded by family and friends. This month has been a busy one in anticipation, full of Christmas projects, gift projects, and just because. Some are secrets so can't be shared yet, but here are a few that aren't being kept a secret. 

I finished my Christmas tree skirt and am so pleased with the way it turned out. It definitely trims the floor around the tree.

I decided to put my new tree hanging to good use and turned it into an advent tree! I sewed 24 little red buttons to the tree and every day in December, I add a miniature numbered book from Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol Storybook Set and Advent Calendar that we were gifted many years ago by my sister. 

It was a treat to put the little books to real good use this year, reading each little book before hanging it.

Last week our town held a dinner for the seniors and were asked for donations of small gifts. I bought some adorable Santa mugs at the local grocery store and made a few mug rugs to include with them, as well as some chocolates, candy canes, and tea.

Luckily I also had some plastic around so was able to wrap them to go!

In a moment between gift projects and "what should I do next?", I cut into some delightful LOL prints designed by Me and My Sister. I had loved the Asterisk pattern I found in Quiltmaker Reader Favorites Volume 1 Summer 2015 and started making these 6 1/2"unfinished blocks. 

I'll keep working on those next year.  For now, my sewing room is closed for the year. The house is decorated, the Christmas quilts are hung, the baking is done, the tree is up, and now we are ready for family and friends.

Merry Christmas to all! 

Friday, December 2, 2016

Christmas Quilty Things

I always embrace the Christmas season before the season begins...usually in my sewing room. I finished my " A Little Bit Shorter Tall Tree" a few days ago and have it hanging in my kitchen.

I echo quilted the leaves and base, did some FMQ to add some snowflakes on the white background, and used an all-over loop de loop on the borders. The designer, Cindi Edgerton, suggests trimming the tree so I actually purchased some miniature ornaments but haven't attached them yet. 

I made a few quilty goodies last month and mailed them across the country to DD and DS. They have now arrived so I can share them with you here. I wanted to make some Christmas placemats for them so made some hexagon ones for DD, matching some of the grey/aqua in her kitchen area. 

DS just moved into a new apartment and he seems to love Santa as much as I do, so it had to be Santa placemats!

I also made Christmas placemats for my Mom but forgot to take a picture. Hers were made with Vintage postcards as the centres.

Look at this mug I just picked up today at our local grocery it not adorable? $5...a real Santa bargain!

Once the placemats were finished, I started to piece together a Christmas Tree skirt. 

The pattern is from Pieced Tree Patterns and is called Tree Skirt Star. I adapted the size of the pattern to make it a tad smaller and am almost ready to start quilting it.  Right now it is sitting on my kitchen table waiting for more pins. Below are a few closeups of the fabrics. I picked them up from a few different places. I especially love that black text fabric (Christmas Wishes by Blank Quilting), the red paisley centre (Winter Garden by Color Principal for Henry Glass), and the grey paisley fabric ( Jenelle Kent for Blank Quilting).  Of course, the black on white tree fabric by Camelot Fabrics is also a favorite! 

I guess you know what I'll be doing for the next few days. It's a great day for quilting!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Not Too Big to Show

My quilt too big to show (read about it HERE) is back from the quilter, has been bound, and yesterday, had its premier showing on the clothesline. Star Crossed has now joined the "finished" pile.

It was a very windy day here, but I guess its good because you get to see the beautiful quilting that Ange Ross of Quilting on the Mira did for me.

Its funny....when I finish a quilt top, I think the work is done, but I tend to forget that there is still a lot of work afterward to finish it off. Like straightening the edges with my ruler and rotary cutter...

and pressing the binding when attached...

and turning the binding to the back and wonder clipping...

and sewing again. It is a huge quilt for me to play with at 94" x 94", so it was a joy to call it a finish!

Now I'm into the Christmas mode, growing a paper pieced Christmas tree! I bought the pattern at the retreat I attended a couple of weeks ago. Its a great way to use up my greens that seem to be multiplying! 

A huge smile is going out to the Maritime Modern Quilt Guild. I am a long distance member and you may recall I made a couple of quilts for the guild's chosen charity this year, the IWK Children's Hospital located in Halifax, NS. The guild presented 21 quilts to the IWK representative on Thursday night. I borrowed the picture from their web page. Doesn't this picture just make you smile too? Makes my heart soar to be a little part of something this big...

It's a great day for quilting...

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Knotty Dotty Pines?

I love to finish quilty projects and I especially loved finishing my Knotty Dotty Pines quilt. Hubby tells me, however, the trees actually look more like firs or spruce, but Knotty Dotty Spruces just didn't do it for me! 

This was the quilt that I worked on at the quilt retreat I told you about last time HERE. All the fabrics are polkadots, including the background and the border. 

I quilted the trees using horizontal lines, added my version of FMQ to replicate wood grain on the tree trunks, and did some large loop de loops in the background to mimic the polka dots.

I think  it looks pretty interesting from the back too!

Not sure where Knotty Dotty Pines will find a home, but I definitely enjoyed playing with these fabrics, almost like opening a new box of crayons! 

Earlier this week, hubby and I traveled to Sydney to the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design. I wanted to drop off a couple of quilts and while there I took a picture of my Plus quilt in the gallery. I love how they chose the glassware in front to coordinate with the colours in the quilt!

Today I will continue working on my Licorice and Strawberries quilt. Why am I getting so hungry? I am ready to join the two halves of the quilt top and then start on the borders.

On November 6, several members of our quilting group, Tea Thyme Quilters, were honored to attend a special Remembrance Service at St.Mark's United Church in Port Hawkesbury where the Quilts of Valour we made in the past year were presented to their new owners.  You can see some of the pictures taken that day at the Quilts of Valour-Canada Facebook page HERE. Just scroll down to see them. 

What an emotional day it was for all. We are so grateful for those men and women who have served our country and feel very privileged to be able to use our quilt-making skills to thank them. The label says it all..."May the hugs stitched into this quilt give you comfort, strength and love." 

Do you remember seeing this quilt before? This is one of the quilts that was presented that day. We all made maple leaf blocks and worked together to choose fabrics and put it all together. 

The quilt was hand-quilted this summer at the Celebrating Quilting at the Causeway Quilt Show and Sale and finished by Tea Thyme Quilters this fall. 

In Canada, we celebrate Remembrance Day on November 11, so on that day we will get together with other members of our community to remember and reflect. 

It's a great day for quilting!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Licorice and Strawberries

One of the recent Connecting Threads catalogues that arrived at my door had a quilt featured that called my name-Licorice and Strawberries.  It will finish at about 53" x 63" becoming a delightful cuddle quilt, picnic quilt, or "just because" quilt. There was a sale on at the time, and with the exchange and shipping, the kit still arrived at a very reasonable price. 

After starting some of the blocks, I can already see that there will be a fair bit of fabric left over, so a few mini-quilts may be on the horizon. The instructions are very easy to follow. You can see the kit HERE and I see there is still 30% off at this time of writing.  

I had a wonderful time last weekend at a quilt retreat hosted by the Baddeck Quilters and held at the Gaelic College in St. Anne's, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.  You can't beat that stone fireplace in MacKenzie Hall on a brisk Fall day!

I attended the retreat with 2 of my quilt friends from town. What a great time we had sewing, eating, and relaxing with about 30 others. The workshop we took was presented by Bill Locke of Montreal who did a terrific job of guiding 14 of us through his paper-pieced pattern called Once Upon a Christmas. 

Of course, I shook mine up a bit by using a delightful polkadot bundle called Gardenvale by Jen Kingwell Designs for Moda.  Who said trees have to be green? 

We're having a rainy day today so I have lots to play with in my sewing room. It's a great day to quilt!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Baskets Galore

Several years ago, I decided to do a basket block exchange with my long-distance blog friend, Sandie, who blogs at Sandra Kaye Designs. You can read and see a few of the blocks HERE. Sandie was the first person to comment on my very first blog post HERE in September of 2011, a little over five years ago.  

Sandie and I quickly decided to do a basket block exchange.  For seven months, we made 10 blocks a month and swapped five of them with each other. At the time, Sandie lived in Arizona, so these little blocks travelled all the way from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, to Arizona. The blocks are pretty tiny, at 4.5" unfinished, and I very quickly realized Sandie was an expert in making these little blocks. Each batch from Sandie was perfect.  I, on the other hand, struggled with seam allowance, cutting off tip after tip. But I persevered, believing that when the quilt was a finish, perhaps the missing tips wouldn't seem as noticeable? Fast forward to last week when I pulled out the 70 little blocks and decided to sew them together into a cuddle quilt just for me.  

It is a small quilt, about 42" x 52",  but I have already tested it out. I am always under a quilt watching TV, no matter what the season, either sitting in my quilting chair or lying on the couch, and this works really well!

Many of my blocks were made of civil war reproduction-style fabrics, while Sandie added most of those wonderful splashes of colour. I ended up using a soft brown for the alternate blocks to give the quilt a bit of a vintage look.

Baskets Galore was fairly quick to put together.  After all, the baskets were made years ago!

I started by joining the baskets with the brown squares, but ended up unsewing a few blocks as my rows, set on the diagonal, were actually made up of odd numbers.

Because I don't have a design wall, and the floor is just so far away, I literally grabbed and sewed, not worrying too much about the colour placement of each little basket.

Again, because of space issues, I had to lay out and sew half of the quilt together at a time! 

Once I had everything together, the quilting seemed to go even faster. I used straight-line machine quilting, marking some lines with my Hera marker, and then I just did it by eye. Not perfect, but either am I!

I love my little quilt, and thank you so much to Sandie for suggesting this so many years ago! 

Another thank you to my Nova Scotian blog friend Sheila who blogs at Sheila's Quilt World. 

This beautiful postcard arrived for my birthday last week. Her work is amazing and I am thrilled to have her fabric art depicting Peggy's Cove. Thank you, Sheila!

It's a great day for quilting!