Friday, December 30, 2011

Mesdames et Messieurs.....

Presentation... du Cirque du Soleil Quidam!

My DD gave me tickets to Cirque du Soleil for Christmas.  We went to see it last night.  It was fantastic!  Dancing... live music... rope skipping... aerial acrobatics... clowns... juggling... audience participation... Chinese yo-yo skills... gymnatics... and so much more.

Quidam is French and it is said to mean no one and everyone at the same time.  The Quidam of this presentation is a headless man, carrying a bowler hat and an umbrella.  There is lots of thunder and lightening and other light and sound displays.  The singer was live and she was terrific! 

It's a story about Cloe, a young girl who is bored.  Her parents live their own lives and don't pay much attention to her.  So she dreams up a world of fantasy and imagination to keep herself amused.  Quidam is the person who sings, cries out and dreams in each of us.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Greetings

Hey Felix.  Come here and wish everyone a Merry Christmas. 

"Mew.  I can't."

Why?  What are you doing?

"Shhhhhh.  I'm sleeping.  Purrrrr."

But why?  It's too early to go to sleep now.

"I'm not taking any chances.  I want Santa to come and bring me treats, purr, purr."

Good idea!

Happy Holidays, Everyone!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Reindeer Have Landed

One of my quilty friends asked if she could see my reindeer.  It's Deb from Patchwork Sanity - A Women's Piece of Mind.  She has some deer in her yard too.  Go check hers out.  They are so cute!  I put mine out on the front lawn today.  These things are getting really old.  I hope they survive the winter.  I made them about 10 years ago (maybe even longer) when I saw some on somebody's lawn.  I didn't have a pattern.  I just drew the shapes on a sheet of plywood that was 4 by 8 feet.  It was a little bit tricky because I had to fit all of the pieces on.  I then cut them out with a jigsaw.  
My neighbour stood in his driveway and watched me, shaking his head the whole time.  Several years later I found a pattern to make these things.  The reindeer in the pattern were much nicer than mine, so I filed the pattern away in a 'safe' place and now I can't find it.  Don't you hate when that happens?  I would like to made a new pair of reindeer some day if I can still cut things out with a jigsaw.  My disability is making things more difficult for me.  I used to love working with wood.

And I thought you might like to see a shot of Mimi.  I haven't featured her on my blog for quite a while.  She is a real opportunist.  I had folded the flannel quilt and placed it on the coffee table.  As the sun moved around and started to come into the living room and shine on the quilt, Mimi saw her chance and decided to take a relaxing nap.

Doesn't she look comfortable?  Shhhh!  Don't wake her.  She hates to be disturbed when she is napping.  Oh, oh.  I guess the camera made a noise.  Did I wake you Mimi?

"Meow!  Go away and leave me alone.  Can't you see I'm taking a nap?  The sun is so nice and warm and this quilt is perfect for napping.  Turn that camera off and go away!  Right now! Meow!"

I guess I'd better do as I'm told.  Can you tell who the boss is in our house?  Certainly not those nice, quiet, well behaved reindeer.  I really should make some more of them.......

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Finished Christmas Tree

A few weeks ago I inherited a huge amount of scrap fabric that had belonged to a fellow quilter who passed away.  Included in those bags full of scraps was a partly finished quilt top.  I thought the quilt was cute - cute enough to finish.  So I took a few seams apart, fixed a couple of crooked patches, appliqued a star on top of the tree and resewed a few seams that had nonexistent seam allowances.  Then I sandwiched it, quilted it and sewed the binding on.  I also put a sleeve on the back so that I can hang it up.  And this is what I ended up with.   
I think my quilty friend would be proud and happy to see her quilt top finished and hanging up for this festive season.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

If Life Gives You Flannel Scraps..........

.. make a flannel quilt.  I have come to be known as the 'Scrap Lady'.  Not that I mind!  I keep getting those great scraps given to me.  And I've never met a scrap I didn't like!  There were a lot of flannel pieces already cut into squares in the last batch of scraps.  I added a few of my own and came up with this. 
It's lovely and warm.  My husband was eyeing it last night.  So I decided to make him one for his very own.  There were some wild, outdoorsy flannel scraps in that batch.  I had to change the pattern because there just weren't enough of the 4.5inch pieces.  This will take me awhile because I still have a lot of Christmas stuff to get finished.  And it's already December 1st!  How did that happen?
And lastly, a shot of one of my Christmas Cactus plants, blooming in a gorgeous creamy/peach colour.  My red one has already been in bloom for a couple of weeks and the pink ones are starting to bloom too.  There are still lots of buds, so I hope to have lots of colour for Christmas this year.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Polar Bears for Quilts from the Heart

Brrr!  It's cold outside!  -5C yesterday and freezing rain last night.  It feels like polar bear weather!  Nothing like a Polar Bear Quilt to keep me warm.  I enjoyed sewing the binding down by hand with it draped over my body.  But this one is not for me.  This is a charity quilt, going to 'Quilts from the Heart' at our guild.  It's a disappearing nine patch.  And I got it finished in time to take it to our next meeting on Monday evening.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Crumbs on the Floor

On, no!  What's that on my floor?  Crumbs!  I'm not cleaning them up!  Vacuuming would take time away from my scraps!  Can't have that.  Oh, no!

I think I've caught a scrappy virus or something.  I want to sew scrap blocks and only scrap blocks, all day long.  I was sewing them just before I went to bed last night and started up again as soon as I woke up this morning.  I just can't stop. 

I found this Crumb Along on Jo's blog.  I can only say, "Wow!"  i know this thing has been going on for a while now, but I just found Jo's blog a couple of days ago.  And that is how I caught this virus!  I'm sure of it.  There is no cure.  I just have to keep making crumb blocks - forever.  It's really quite serious.  I haven't had a shower or gotten dressed this morning and it is already 10:30am.  I just want to sew, sew, sew.  What will become of me?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

BOM - A New Start

At our last Guild meeting, about 40 members showed off their beautiful quilts, which they had made in a BOM club last year.  It was announced that a new quilt was going to be started for this year - a block of the month.  That sounded doable to me, so I decided to join in.  It only amounts to one session per month.  Most of the work will be done at home.  I believe there are 50+ of us doing this year's quilt.  It is called 'The Queen and her Court' and is by A Wing and a Prayer Designs.  It will measure 96in. by 108in. when it is complete.  Here are my first two blocks for this month.
I think I was inspired by the fall colours all around me.  I hope I will still like it next year when it is finished.  One of the perks (or downfalls) of this group, is that we will be doing a lot more than making our blocks.  We will have coffee or tea and lots of conversation, tips and instructions.  A goodie of some sort will be brought each month by one of the members.  Today is my turn to bring something to go with our tea.  A recipe will accompany my treat of a lemon loaf.  Copies will be made and given out to the others members.  By the end of the year we will, not only own a beautiful quilt, but will have collected lots of recipes too.  

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Finished - Snips and Snails

A Finish!  Hurray!!!  I finished the quilt my DD asked me to make for a friend of hers.  It only took me about a week.  I still have to sew a label on it, so I guess I am not completely finished, but the quilting is done, the binding is on and a photo has been taken.  I really enjoyed making this one!  It used some scraps and some of the creepy, crawly fabrics I have been collecting.  It is my own design.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Flowers for a Chilly Wednesday

I am still busy with the bug jar quilt, but I managed to find some time to work on my hexies.  I made four more flowers this week. 

These photos were taken outside this morning.  The sun is shining and the temperature will go up to 17C today, but I am sorry to say that these flowers are the only ones still blooming in my garden.  We had night frost a few days ago and everything else has died.

I was also able to prep four more flowers to work on this week.  Those four will complete my hexagon quilt.  It is with ambivalent feelings that I tell you this. I have loved working on this quilt and hate to see it come to an end.  But I am sure there will be more hexies in my future.  (I still have another hexagon quilt with smaller hexies that needs to be completed)  I am not sure how to finish this one though.  The edges are not straight.  I guess I will have to do particial blocks to complete it.  I will post a picture next week when I have all of the hexies sewn together.  Then the experienced flower makers out there can give me some advice. 

Don't you just love this one?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Okay, so Here's the Plan

I got a call from my daughter today.  She wants to 'buy' a baby quilt from my quilt closet.  The only thing is, I have no baby boy quilts right now.  So here's what I plan to do.  In keeping with my scrap obsession at the moment, I am going to scrap piece some blocks and combine them alternately with jars of bugs and other creepy things.  It's got to be done in 2 weeks.  Do you think it will work?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Mindless Cutting and Sewing

After the excitement of the past week I do not feel like quilting.  Even sewing some scraps together to 'make' fabric does not turn me on.  But then I remembered Em's post challenging other quilters to join her in a scrap project, using 1 1/2inch pieces to make 4 patches.  She has her first tutorial here.

4 patch blocks.

I already had a lot of those little squares pieced together before I joined Em in her challenge.  And now I am making two different quilts!

This has been an ongoing project for me. (Ongoing for a long time!)  I just cut scraps when I have a few that are too small for anything else.  So a couple of days ago I decided to continue with the cutting of my donated and other scraps. This is such mindless work that I was able to do it while listening to music.  It was very relaxing.  I use the squares for leaders and enders, but I also take some time, every now than then, to just sew some together. 

I had already cut a lot of squares to make an OMG Quilt.  I started it in 2010.  Here is my progress.  Again, this is an ongoing project that I don't think will be finished anytime soon.

Patches sewn into 9-patch blocks.

9-patches joined to larger 9-patch blocks.

This is an alternating block for the OMG quilt.  I can use more of my 4-patches on this one.

Hope everyone has a terrific weekend!  The Creative Festival is in Toronto this weekend.  I am going down tomorrow to take a look around.  I plan to buy no fabric. :-)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Day in Toronto

This has been a busy week for me.  I hope to get back into blogging and blog-reading today - after I take a nap that is.  LOL  I didn't do any sewing this week either, so that certainly has to change today too.  This is going to be a long post - sorry.   

Friends from Japan were here in Toronto for a few days.  They came over for dinner on Tuesday evening and yesterday we took them on an excursion around our city.  We started off by driving around to see some of the places in our city's centre - the Eaton Centre, the old and new City Halls, University Avenue and Queen's Park where the provincial government sits and a few more interesting places.  The weather was not cooperative.  We only got to do the outdoor things when the showers held off.  At the CN tower we stopped and went to the top to view the city.  Even though it was raining on and off, the view was wonderful. 

Here are some gargoyles on the outside of the Roger's Centre, formerly know as the SkyDome.

We had to choose our destinations carefully.  They had to coincide with the rain and the dry spells.  So when it started to rain, we went to the St. Lawrence Market because it is held indoors.  This market is open 5 days a week and has many vendors selling fresh fruits and vegetable, meats, fish and freshly baked goodies.  There are also booths that sell specialties, like teas, rice, any household item you can think of and of course, souvenirs like maple syrup products and ice wines.  

Some gourds.

I love going to the St Lawrence Market at any time.  The atmosphere is very festival-like, but it was especially nice yesterday because outside the weather was wet, cold and windy.  Surrounded by food, we became hungry and decided to eat our lunch there.

Our visitors.

We stopped at the Allan Gardens Greenhouses next.  These are open to the public all year round and house a wonderful assortment of tropical, sub-tropical, local and dessert plants.  I love visiting Allan Gardens! 
Bananas growing in the central conservatory at Allan Gardens.

It is a wonderful place to go when the cold and snow of our Canadian winters creates fears of never seeing a flowering plant again.  There is no admittance fee, so it's a great place to spend a few minutes or an hour or more.

Leda and the Swan, a sculpture based on a Greek myth, at one of the ponds.

After Allan Gardens, we drove along the lake, taking in Tommy Thompson Park, a man-made peninsula that was created when rocks and soil were removed from the building sites of downtown skyscrapers and dumped into the lake.  This sounds like a dumb thing to do, but the dumped debris soon became the new home for wildflower and tree seeds dropped by birds. the wind and human visitors.  These have grown into a unique parkland surrounded by Lake Ontario and inhabited by local and migratory birds, several species of frogs, toads and other reptiles and squirrels and other small mammals. 

Waves on Lake Ontario.
The lake was very rough.  It was too dangerous for boats to be out in the water, but we did see a few adventurous surf boarders out there.  Crazy people who must love the cold.  We drove along the lake and stopped at Bluffer's Park.  It stopped raining long enough for us to walk to the edge of the lake and observe the incredible waves.   Usually the water is very calm and just laps at your feet as you walk along the beach, but yesterday it looked like an ocean.

On our way out of the park we saw some deer.  Viewing wildlife inside the city limits always makes me happy!

A deer at Bluffers Park.

We rounded the day off with a return to our place for some green tea and some 'shopping' in my fabric stash.  I think my friend was inspired by my quilty things and wanted to buy a kit of something simple to take back to Japan with her.  Unfortunately our local quilt shop was closed yesterday due to the activities at the Creative Sewing Festival this weekend, so I invited her to take a look at my stash.  We found a pattern for an simple quilt-as-you-go table runner and some fabrics and made up a kit ourselves.

Dinner was at a Japanese restaurant.  I learned about some new delicacies that I had never tasted before, as well as satisfying my craving for sushi - for a little while at least.   Afterwards we drove them back to their hotel.  They are flying back to Tokyo today.  With mixed emotions we bade them farewell, with promises for them to return to Toronto and for us to go to Japan.  Now, wouldn't that be nice! 

Friday, October 14, 2011

I Am Easily Distracted!

I've been AWOL.  This has been a short week because of Thanksgiving's Day last Monday.  Yes, I've been busy, but that is not the real reason that I haven't posted anything for over a week.  I found the book, 'A Tree Grows in Brooklyn' in large print at the library.  I had read it before, but that was about 40 years ago.  I couldn't put it down.  So I just sat around and read. 

The only quilting I got done was on the Scrap Quilt that I was working on.  It is 40in X 40in.  That is as big as it is going to get because I ran out of the white fabric.  But I think it's big enough.

On Tuesday I found a huge bag of fabrics at my back door.  A quilty friend who is cleaning up her stash left them for me.  In the bag I found some beautiful pieces of Laurel Burch fabrics.  They were all cut up and ready to sew.  There was even a pattern sheet in the bag.  It's for a Grandmother's Braid quilt.  I had never done one of these before.  So, even though I had all kinds of things to finish, I whipped these pieces out and started sewing them together.  I am not easily distracted am I?  I mean, wouldn't any quilter get excited with these fabrics and want to sew them into something, especially when the pieces were all cut out already?

I think I will but them together with a dark blue sashing strip between them. 

Thursday, October 06, 2011

This and That

I have lots to show you today...

First up are my hexagon flower blocks for this week.  I only made 2 and last week I didn't make any, but I am still making progress.  Got to stay on top of these. 
I have been playing with my scraps and decided to put the finished blocks together for a quilt top.  Here is my progress so far.  I think I will add a few more rows.  I don't have much of the white on white fabric, so when I run out, the quilt will be done.

Now for something different.  Last Monday I went over to our local library and joined in on a 'drop-in program' for knitters.  I haven't knitted anything in a long time.  I used to make toques, scarves and mitts for the kids at the school where my DD teaches.  I haven't done that for a long time either.  So I started making some mittens.  I'll try to make a few more things in this 2-hour, twice a month program.  It was fun.  Here is what I have so far.

I have also been busy in my garden.  A while back, I discovered that there was such a thing as fall crocuses.  I was able to get some at a local nursery.  They have to be planted in the fall.  Next spring they will come up and show some leaves.  Then by August or September the leaves will disappear and beautiful pink or mauve flowers will appear. 

This one is called Colchicum Byzantinum.  It was already starting to flower in the package.  This one has a very large bulb and the package said that it would have to be divided after a couple of years because it grows very quickly.  That's a good thing!  I also planted some small bulbs of a different kind of fall crocus.  But I could have saved myself the trouble because when I went outside this morning I discovered that my resident squirrel had dug them up.  I forgot to sprinkle some cayenne pepper on the soil.  That is the only thing that keeps my squirrels away.

And last, but not least, I did some baking.  I made a banana chocolate chip bunt cake and a marble bunt cake which is pictured here. 

I also sandwiched a quilt that I hope to finish in the next couple of days.  So it's back to the sewing room for me. 

Monday, October 03, 2011

Lots of Scraps

It is dark and dreary outside today.  So I had to take my photos inside.  The colours are actually brighter than in the photos.  I will post another photo when it is done.

You'd think my scrap bin would be going down, but no!  It seems to be growing and I have even been leaving the lights on at night.  The good thing is that I have been able to get a lot of things constructed.

Here is my Scrappy Squares quilt.  It's a flimsy right now, but I plan to quilt it soon.  It's in line.   I have a couple of quilts that are ahead of it. 

I have also been working on a Crosses quilt.  Wanda from Exuberant Color has been making one and I just couldn't resist.  It uses 2 1/2 inch strips and I have lots of those.  This is about 1/4 of the quilt.  I made myself a small design wall.  It's not big enough, but I think it will work if I do a quarter of the quilt at a time. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Where Did the Summer Go? Garden Shots

Fall arrived last Friday.  It's only three months until Boxing Day.  Where has our summer gone?  I have been doing lots of sewing, but have only some scrap blocks to show for it.  Nothing I can share at this time though.

I thought you might like to see a bit of my garden.  Just a bit, because almost everything has finished blooming.  There are still several Geraniums (Pelargonium) in full bloom.  I love the colours on this one.  I might try to take a few cuttings or move the whole plant inside for the winter.

And here are some Ipomoea.  The first one is a sweet potato vine.  And the second one is a morning glory.  The morning glories volunteered themselves.

This wonderfully large bloom is a Rose Mallow.  I bought this plant at a variety store just a few months ago.  It is supposed to be a perennial.  I've never had one of these before.  I'm hoping that it will come back next year.

And do you remember my Leopard Lily, sometimes called Blackberry Lily? 

They have finished blooming and have formed seed pods.  They really do look like blackberries. 

Mimi is still happy to be able to look outside and see the sunshine.  I took this photo as a practice shot with my new camera.  I still have a lot to learn about that thing.