Sunday, July 12, 2009

Coming Along Nicely

It has been fairly rainy here for the past few days and while I am solar powered (I think I was a Polynesian in a previous lifetime!) and I do find my energy and enthusiasm somewhat diminshed when the cloud cover lasts too long, rainy days do make great sewing days. And the quilt I am making for my daughter's best friend is coming along nicely. I think I will call it "Comfort from Home" when I make the label and mail it to her. I am such a newbie quilter that after each bit is sewn together I take it out of the machine to examine it closely and see how well my seams match. When they do I let out a little cheer and marvel at the whole process. When they don't, out comes the seam ripper and I try to make some improvements until I get them close enough to satisfy myself. I wouldn't want any quilt judges looking too carefully but I sure get a pleasant feeling of accomplishment as the project moves along. Tomorrow, if the sun shines, we are going to take a little road trip so I won't be doing much sewing. Now I know where my grandparents got the saying "make hay while the sun shines!"

These are the stripes for "Comfort From Home". Each stripe is a total of six 6" blocks. The stripes aren't sewn together yet and are just laid out on my bed but I think it is coming along nicely. What do you think?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Stripes and More Stripes

Piles and piles of stripes--first you sew them together, then you cut them apart and then you sew them together again. What a crazy activity but it sure is fun!
Teeny's tractor
Teeny's truck
A bare glimpse of Teeny's junkyard--it went on for rows and rows
Along the road we stopped at this old farmyard-the history this house could tell!
A view of the North Saskatchewan River which runs north of Saskatoon and joins with the South Saskatchewan Riiver about 100 miles north of this location
The days seem to go by awfully quickly but for the most part they are full and satisfying. This past weekend my husband and I went on a couple of day trips around our city. We love to hop in the car with our cameras and head out into the countryside with no particular destination in mind. On Saturday we followed a route on the west side of the North Saskatchewan river and while exploring we came upon a historic settlement from the early days of our province. The people who settled this site had been driven from Russia as a result of religious persecution and, with the financial help of Leo Tolstoy, they travelled to Saskatchewan and built a new life. This particular site showed several of the dugout homes they lived in when they first came to Canada. It was incredible to see these little 'caves' and believe that entire families lived there through the brutal Saskatchewan winter. Unfortunately for us, pictures weren't allowed. They did, however, tempt us with fresh bread and tarts to sample! Yummy! On Sunday we went a totally different direction, following the South Saskatchewan River and we came upon a lovely town of about 350 people. This town was home to a HUGE old vehicle graveyard. While we were busy taking pictures of some of the relics, the owner, "Teeny Zimmer", came and asked us to come up to the shed when we were done. He had something to show us! And boy, did he ever! He had his own personal historic museum complete with a restored truck and tractor, as well as hundreds of license plates and oodles of other treasures. Best of all, he was a natural born story teller! What a delightful way to spend an afternoon. Although I doubt that Teeny reads blogs "Thanks" just the same.
Anyway, what else have I been up to. Let's see...on Monday I cried my entire way through the movie version of "My Sister's Keep". My daughter and I spent a lovely couple of hours at the movie theatre and we weren't disappointed Although, having read the book, I must admit I was surprised by the movie ending. Today my husband and I went out for a delicious supper to celebrate. What were we celebrating? We were celebrating life! Three years ago today I suffered a cardiac arrest and was placed on life support. My husband and daughter were not given much hope for my survival. But thanks to God, great doctors and a lot of prayers I am here to tell about it. And I try to remember to offer thanks each and every day.
As far as quilting goes, Colonel's Stripes is coming along, slowly but surely as evidenced by the accompanying pictures. (which are in no particular order because I haven't quite the knack of that process yeT!)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A New Project

This is my own little creating corner of the world (formerly known as my daughter's bedroom. There are some advantages to the empty nest!)

It has been another beautiful day here in sunny Saskatoon. I wonder if it was humid enough to cook up an exciting thunderstorm for tonight? We shall see...

Yesterday my husband and I spent a quiet Canada Day appreciating the many great things about our country. I took some time to browse through some quilting magazines, plotting and planning the next project. We went out for Chinese food for supper with my mother-in-law, who is affectionately known as Mama C. She has recently moved into a seniors' apartment and, as one of the youngest residents, at 70, she loves to regale us with stories about the 'old folks' in the building. Today I woke up bright and early to the sound of the robins chirping outside our window. What a happy sound! I finally made a decision about the next project I want to tackle..another quilt. This will be number 2 for me! My initial plan is to make it for my daughter's friend who has moved 18 hours away from home. Stephie is a tomboy with a little bit of girl thrown into the mix. Her favorite colors are pink and brown. So I was searching for a pattern that was not too 'fussy' and not too 'girlie' and was (hopefully) within my skill range. In the February, 2009 issue of Quilter's World I found a pattern for "Corporal's Stripes". Although it is designed for a man I think with some softer colors and a bit of a soft feminine swirl in some of the fabrics it could be just right for Stephie. However, depending on how it turns out I may keep it for myself.

This is the pattern I have selected for Stephie's quilt along with the three fabrics. They don't show up very clearly but are actually quite nice--soft, and 'girlie' without being too fussy.

And this, dear friends, is a picture of the 'blue thingies' that I made for Emma a couple of weeks ago. She wore them, along with the little blue skirt and more make-up than one girl should wear, to a dance party she went to. They were apparently quite a hit with all of the girls.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Little Extra Bragging

Just a little extra bragging--this is the wall hanging I made a couple of weeks ago. I bought the pattern last year on a trip to Canmore, Alberta, nestled in the magnificent Rocky Mountains. They have an incredible quilting store there. The name escapes me right now but I think it might be called Sugar Pine something or other? Anyway, I went in the browse around and over an hour later I came out with this pattern and a real desire to learn to quilt. I think that's where I caught the bug! Don't look too closely because my first attempt at machine applique leaves a lot to be desired! Still, I was pleased with how the wall hanging turned out and it hangs on my sewing room wall where I can see it everyday.

A New Mama

The almost completed bag (just a few finishing touches to do)
The front of the bag with the handle attached (although I decided later to attach it at the sides)

The lining of the bag with the inside pocket attached.

The front of the bag with the pocket attached.

No, I didn't actually have a baby today but I still feel somewhat like a new mama. Now that I know how to take pictures and am learning how to post them on my blog I was like a new mama with a camera in her hand. I worked on my daughter's bag and at every step of the way I stopped to take pictures. I won't share them all with you because I know what those home movie sessions can be like! However, I will show off my new skills (both sewing and blogging) and post a few for you to see. The bag is nearly finished. I just have a few decorating touches to add but I may save that for tomorrow's fun. Or, I may do them tonight and then I can plan a new project tomorrow. Which, by the way, is Canada Day for us. A big celebration with a party in the park and a fireworks display to end the evening. Whether we go to the party or not it's still a good time to take a few minutes to reflect on how blessed we are to live in this wonderful country of ours. Happy Birthday Canada!
Now, if I can just figure out how to get the pictures inserted where I want them to go and in the order I want them to be! Sorry for the end to beginning order of these ones!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

This will be the front of the summer bag I am making, with the 'envelope' pocket still to be attached.
The front and back of the bag with a few left over 5" squares visible at the top of the photo.

Tah Dah

Drat--I thought I had the pictures successfully uploaded and ready to publish in my post but something went wrong. Back to the drawing board I go!

Home Again

The quick, one day trip to visit my aunt became slightly longer as she convinced me to stay over for a better visit. It was so nice to see her. At nearly 91 she is the matriarch of our family and the keeper of our history. I love visiting with her and hearing her stories. Her body is getting frail but her mind is still as sharp as ever. The trip to Alberta took me through some lovely countryside but darn it! I forgot my camera. On the Saskatchewan side of the border there were lovely stands of trees with every green imaginable. There were rolling hills and fields of canola, wheat and oats. Sadly, the further west I traveled the more evidence there was of the dry spell they are experiencing. Along the road I frequently saw farm equipment parked with 'for sale' signs on it, the crops were stunted and the pasture land was parched and yellowed. My uncle said they haven't had rain on some parts of his land for over a year! Now that I am home again I am going to catch up on some housework and then get back to work on the quilted bag I am making for my daughter. It is always nice to travel but equally nice to come home again.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Holy smokes, I'm pretty excited. Someone visited my blog! Thanks Helen! I know my blog is nothing too exciting yet and it certainly isn't at all like some of the lovely ones I have been following but I am hoping you'll be patient with me. It is summertime here in Saskatchewan and, as I've said before, it's pretty hard to stay indoors when the weather is so nice for such a short length of time. Therefore, I am not finding, or making, a whole lot of time to learn how to take and upload pictures or how to add all the interesting things that I see on other blogs. Maybe I should have decided to become a blogger in November! Today I put together the front and back of the bag I am working on. I also made a trip to the local fabric store to discover what fusible fleece is and to buy a chunk of it (isn't that a nice sewing measurement--'a chunk')! Pictures will come soon. Tomorrow I am going on a day trip to visit an elderly auntie of mine who lives in a neighboring province (about 4 hours away) so it will probably be a couple of days before I rest and rccover and get back to blogging.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Odds and Ends

I guess I'm not quite a genuine quilter yet because I haven't been at it long enough to have either a fabric stash to go to or a cupboard full of UFO's to work on. Instead, I have been spending some time over the last couple of weeks looking at quilting magazines and dreaming about what project #4 will be. So far in my quilting lifetime I have completed the sampler quilt that we made in my class, a table topper which was way beyond my current skill level and a cute little 'welcome' wall hanging. I think the next project I'll attempt is a bag made of 5" squares. It looks fairly easy and hopefully I'll learn some more new skills while I'm at it. In the meantime I have spent the last couple of days doing odds and ends of sewing; repairing some clothes for an uncle who had a stroke last year, finishing a dress for my daughter, creating the blue fuzzy legg warmer things that she wanted for a party (yuck-I did not like sewing with fun fur--I think I even had blue fuzz in my nostrils!) and mending some other items. I have decided that I prefer creating something new to mending something old any day of the week.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The last few days have been very busy around here and the weather has been so nice that I have been spending as much time as possible outdoors. Our summer season is too short to waste a minute of it! I live in a small townshouse style condo so my gardening tasks are as simple as watering my few flower pots and then sitting on the patio to enjoy them. Although I love to read about other peoples' magnificent gardens I don't have the energy required for much more than a few simple tasks.

I have been doing lots of planning and thinking and dreaming about quilting but the needle hasn't moved a speck. That's okay, the planning and thinking and dreaming is fun too! My next most immediate project is to make some lovely blue fun-fur leg 'thingies' for my daughter. She is going to a dance this weekend called 'The Blue Party' and wants to wear a costume of sorts. I'm not exactly the most creative person--I do okay if I have a pattern to follow but this creation will be strictly 'winging it'. Wish me luck! If I can learn how to post pictures I will try to include some when the project is complete.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Well, it is Day 2 of my blogging life and I am learning a lot already. I have spent some time looking at various templates and finally selected one that I think suits me. I figured out how to upload it (with a little help from my husband, the computer whiz). Now I just need to figure out how to edit it, how to add pictures and do all of the fancy stuff to make it look as marvelous as some of the inspiring blogs I have been following! Summer has finally arrived here on the prairies--it was nearly 30 degrees today and now the sky looks like we might be cooking up a thunder shower for this evening.
The quilt I am standing proudly beside in my profile picture is the sampler that we completed in my Learn to Quilt class. My 19 year old daughter selected the fabrics as the quilt was a gift for her on the occasion of her moving into her first apartment. She is a dynamic and vibrant young lady--just like the colors in the quilt! There are many, many mistakes in my first quilt but I learned something from each and every one of them! Onwards and upwards...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A New Beginning

Several weeks ago I discovered the world of 'quilters who blog'. This discovery followed closely on the heels of my entrance into the world of quilting. About two years ago I suffered a massive heart attack and, although I tried to return to my beloved position as an elementary school principal, I was eventually placed on permanent disability. Time weighed heavily on my hands and I felt lost, purposeless and downright miserable. One day early this spring my dear husband pulled into the parking lot of our local quilting store, dragged me inside and signed me up for a "Learn to Quilt" class. The rest is history! I think I may have been a quilter in a previous lieftime, although I didn't bring any of my skills forward with me. I fell passionately in love with everything about quilting.....the fabrics, the sewing, the creatvie process, the books, the magazines, the gadgets, oh yes and did I mention the fabrics! Before I had finished our class project, a sampler quilt, I was completely and totally hooked. So.....for the past few weeks I have been snooping around the world of quilters who blog and tonight I decided it was time to quit being a wallflower and join the dance. Over the next while I will be learning how to set up my blog site, how to add pictures and how to make this site look even half as amazing as some of those I have been visiting. I welcome any comments, suggestions, ideas, or helpful hints that you may have.