Friday, May 31, 2013

Grace's Medieval school project

Grace is finishing her grade 5 year.  For her year end project she was assigned  a project on medieval clothing.   She knew right away what her plan would be.  She called me and was excited to tell me she needed my help.  

Last night she came over and we got her samples of leather (thanks Kathy), rough cotton, finer cotton, silk, linen, wool and hemp.  She'll put them on her poster board with a write up on each.

Grace decided she would design, and we would make a doll outfit just like in a picture that she found during her library research.  The outfit would complement her poster board presentation and write-up.   The peasant outfit would be made of a long white light cotton tunic dress with long sleeves, a vest that laced up the front for warmth and an apron tied with a hemp twine belt.   She also wore a wool scarf hat tied around her head for warmth.  Grace chose the fabrics out of the various natural fibers.  To make the apron a darker color, we even tea dyed the apron, just like they would have done in the medieval times.  Also, notice the hand stitched hem.  Grace did that to emphasize there was no nice sewing machines back in the medieval times.  All stitching was done by hand.

I sure hope we get a good mark on the project.  Grace seems to think that by adding so many authentic aspects to the costume,  she surely will get an A.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Anita's Arrowhead Block - a nifty block

Have you ever tried this block. Anita's Arrowhead was shown/demonstrated at our guild workday last year or the year before, but I couldn't attend but I really liked the look of a quilt that Sandy M. had done using this block.  See it here in our guild's show and tell album.   Yesterday,  I came across this link at Quiltmaker magazine that shows how to make Anita's block.  I tried it out of scraps of fabric.  It is very quick and smart.  Anita Grossman Soloman says always to a test block before cutting a whole quilt.   So I did.  She refers to it as the first pancake.  Neat analogy  like that first pancake,  my test block is not very pretty, but it is perfect.   I'll put this perfect block in my "odd blocks" box.  It'll get used some day.

At guild, we have a new coordinator for community projects.  Her name is Jeanne-Kaye S.   She's a really productive quilter.  Actually she's a mad woman!!  She gets teased at each meeting when she brings her show and a laundry basket.   We all laugh, but we are all so impressed at her productivity.     Well, this recent appointment as chairperson of community projects in our guild  has her all fired up.     She has spent countless hours at our Veterans Center with her father.  So one of her big goals is to cover every one of the 70+ single size beds with a nice bright and cheery quilt during her two year term.   We're all going to have to pitch in and I'm starting now.   

I think I will do a single block quilt using Anita's Arrowhead block made out of scrappy blues..  See, now that I'm finished my Winter Wonderland quilt top, and the binding is made, the bunch of blue fabrics that been out on hold until I finished that project can now be returned to my stash.  But before they were folded nicely and put back in a bin, I ripped off a 9 inch strip of each color.  Over the next couple of days, I'll iron these strips, match them up and cut them into 8 inch light and blue pairs, enough for say .. a kit of 65 blocks.  I'll keep them handy, and  I'll work on them here and there over the summer.    I have a feeling that these blocks will be addictive.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Winter Wonderland - Top Done

Well, I'm so pleased to have those border blocks done on my Winter Wonderland quilt.  But just because the 24 blocks are done, didn't mean I was done with this project at all.  I realized that there was much to do yet.  Most of my rainy Sunday was spent cutting sashing and filler strips, measuring, piecing the border sections together.   Then today, the final step was to sew the borders to the sides of the stitched center piece.    
Even though the main feature of this quilt is the hand-stitched blocks, I do intend to machine quilt it myself.  I know what I would like to do, so I will mark the quilt soon, and then machine quilt this summer sometime.  Whew, I'm feeling so good for having this one done.    

The sun is out today, so I'm not starting anything big this week.  Might make a small project or two.   

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Our Cottage is Officially Open

But who wants to go to the cottage when it's cold and rainy out.  No sense waiting, rain or not we decided to do the inside work.    We've moved all the outdoor furniture out on to the deck, made beds, hung curtains, started up the running water, washed out the fridge and turned it on, washed dishes, and washed more dishes, swept up bugs, hung the TV, started up the satellite service.  Whew, sounds like a lot, but with the both of us working, we had it all done in about three or 4 hours.  

A single trillium.
Next week when the sun comes out, we will concentrate on raking the yard and mowing the grass.  We'll also tend our little gardens.  The lilies are all coming up nicely.  I was pleased to see these special wild flowers enjoying all the rain.  We didn't spend too much time looking, because the bugs were eating us alive!!

The first of our lady slippers
ready to bloom.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Winter Wonderland - Almost there!!

I'm sticking to my plan.  Sewing a couple of the border blocks a day.  I decided to place the blocks I have done around the center stitched piece.  I love the look and now I'm really motivated to keep moving on.   I have 7 blocks to go.  With the continuing rain, I will no doubt get them done today and tomorrow.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Winter Wonderland - Back to those darn Blocks

I've had my Winter Wonderland quilt all hand stitched up for months.  Or Maybe even a year!!  You can see it here.

But those border blocks have not been easy to pick back up.   I felt so good about finishing up a few quilts this week, I knew it was time to dig out the box of unfinished blocks.

After some sorting out of fabrics this morning, I pieced two blocks.  If I make it a goal to finish one or two of those blocks per day for the next week, they will be done.  I have cut the components for the next two blocks so that tomorrow, I just have to sit and sew.

Each block is different.  There's no speed piecing or cutting.     So for me, it's a test of my ability to just slow down, and make 1 block at a time, maybe two like I did this morning.    See, if you know me, I really like to make the most of my sewing time.  If I can cut 15 blocks, then sew 15 blocks, I'm a happy camper.  Cutting one block, then sewing one is a challenge.

So, I now have 12 done of 24.  I'm looking forward to finishing two more tomorrow.

I'm loving all this rain. It's keeping me in my sewing room.  :)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Singing - No...make that Sewing in the Rain

It's still raining out.  I've got new energy and have been sewing up a storm in the last few days.   I finished Grace and Caitlin's colorful quilts and before I could even take a picture, I sent them out to Gwenda's to be long-arm quilted.

And I finished sewing the pinwheel quilt together, but it still needs borders.  I'll machine quilt that one myself.  I'm auditioning continuous 6" quilt designs for the machine quilting.   Might take a trip to Country Crafts and Curtains to see what they have in the way of designs.   They had a bunch of new stencils when I was there a couple of weeks ago!

So what are you doing on these rainy days?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

An overcast day - A good day to sew

I've made great progress on stitching together the blocks for three quilts today.  Thanks to an overcast cool day today.  

My two year old UFO got pinned while watching TV last night.  A perfect setup for today.  I started stitching early this morning, and now is almost finished.   I really enjoyed making this quilt.  The block is so unusual.  So, another 30 minutes on this one, and it'll be ready for borders.   

Also this past weekend, Caitlin and Grace organized the blocks in their new quilts.  I then picked them up in an organized fashion (thanks Eleanor Burns) and today I started stitching the blocks together.   

I've now got the rows of blocks stitched together, and by the end of the day tomorrow, I hope to have the horizontal rows stitched.   This weekend, I plan to make the piano key borders for  each of those quilt.    

Add caption
I know the quilts look the same, but the girls picked out their own unique fabrics, and they are certainly very different when you  look at them closely.

Whew, I feel I got a lot accomplished today.

Monday, May 13, 2013

A weekend with Grammie

Making chocolate batter.
Caitlin and Grace are here for the weekend.  We discovered how much fun can a boxed cake mix can be.   With it, we made chocolate waffles, and dipped the warm waffles in warmed Smucker's chocolate sauce.
With the left over batter, we made whoopie pies.  It was Caitlin's first time making them in our new Babycakes whoopie pie maker, and they turned out so delicious.   None left by the time they left last night.

Here are some other pictures from our busy but fun weekend.

Grace arranges the blocks for her quilt!

Grace and Aurora were given braided hairdos by Caitlin to match\the dos on their dolls. Cute Eh.

Caitlin sorts and arranges her quilt blocks

Making button crafts to hang on my tree.
Thanks Vivian for the idea

Saturday, May 11, 2013

What to make with this fun fabric?

While in the Miramichi the other day, Mary R. gave me her leftover cat fabric from our Guild visit project.  Ouwwww,  I lamented how my little grand-daughter Grace would LOVE that fabric.

Oh, I was quick to graciously accept her offer.   It's the sweetest fabric.   Grace and Caitlin are here weekend for a visit.  These funny black and white cats have sweet pink noses and tongues.  She also gave me some scraps of the coordinating paw-print fabric.   I can't wait to see what we can make out of this.  Probably chic outfit or two for their American Girl dolls.

I can't wait to to show you what we made with the fabrics on Sunday.

Thanks Mary R. from Miramichi.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Sewing with our Sister Guild in the Miramichi

Yesterday was a fun sewing day in the Miramichi.     The Cotton Mill Guild is a sister guild to the Miramichi Guild and they hosted a fun sewing day and planned a full day of fun things.

They provided each of our 16 visiting members with a kit of fabrics, and we were led step by step to make this mystery project.  It's an original design by one of the members of the Miramichi guild.    And the mystery was this pad of pockets that sits under your sewing machine.  I put several  pairs of scissors and other notions in it.  It's perfect, and I just love the fabrics.  

We were served a sit down lunch of salad, Chicken-a-la-King, followed by a pound cake with lovely warm sauce on it.  It was all so delicious.   At our place setting, was a little Welcome letter.  It included a copy of this Red Brolly pattern to make a mug rug.  It's just darling, and I'll definitely make one of these..You can see the color picture and get the free pattern here.

 The Miramichi Guild also had a wonderful Show and Tell for us.  Some of their members are so innovative.  Along with lots of workshop samples, they showed some original designs for quilt transporting wraps.  Very clever.

And as the day came to an end, each one of us visitors were gifted a nice roll of coordinating fabrics in a jam jar.  It had a poof pin cushion on the top.  So cute.   Here's mine.

Many thanks Miramichi Quilt Guild.   It was a fabulous day, wonderful food and I love the project that we made on our visit.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Beyond Stippling in Sussex

I had a great day teaching Free Motion quilting - Beyond Stippling, in Sussex yesterday.  After I demonstrated on the whiteboard, how to understand the stitching patterns, I then did a quick machine demo so everyone could understand just how easy it was.  (They laughed every time I said that..teehee).  It was today that I looked at yesterday's stitched wonky feather, and said... oh man, that is wonky.     They were a really great group of gals.  I couldn't believe how many Pfaff's there are in that guild.   I love that because I have three myself!!.  

Gail F. was in the class and showed her samples that she stitched.  She's a natural.  Go have a look here at her stitching here.  I think she did marvelous.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

I made a Screen Tote Bag

I'm going to Halifax this weekend, to watch Grace perform in her dance competition.  On Friday night, my sister is coming to stay at the hotel with us overnight. We're going to be discussing our Grammie Camp 2013 agenda then she is coming with us to watch Grace Dance.

I need to bring a some of the Grammie Camp supplies to review with my sister, and I need a good big sturdy bag to carry it in.  Last summer, I made a number of screen bags, and I think that's what I need.   This morning, I looked in my stash for a heavy fabric for the pockets and made one up one today, totally out of my stash. (I have enough screening kits to make about 7 more bags if anyone wants one).

This bag is mostly made while the bag is flat.  The top edges are folded like double fold bias binding, then slipped over the two ends of the main piece of screening.  Depending on how wide you want the bottom of the bag to be, the pocket strips have to be top-hemmed then stitched to each side of the bag.  The very center of the flat bag becomes the bottom of the bag.   Three yards of webbing is used to make a large loop/handle.  The webbing is positioned on the flat bag and stitched on.  Then little velcro tab is sewn on.   The bag is then folded in half with right sides together, and stitch up the sides.  I make a binding type of cover to enclose that rough inside edge of the bag.  And then finally, the two bottom corners are boxed.  

Voila... You have a heavy duty screen bag with six nice size pockets around the outer bottom of the bag.