Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Quilting Malpractice #1279

These are the only quilting gloves I've used for about 4 years now.

They did me very well, I bought them for a dollar at the dollar store. They were gardening gloves.  Over time, little green dots would fall off and become one with my quilts.  I eventually wore a hole in one finger, I have no idea how.   maybe the fact that they were 4 years old?
 I bought these on a whim for around $10.   They rock.  Seriously, go get some!
 Those quilting shops really know what they are doing!
They are very thin, breathable and all fingers are 'sticky'.  It's almost like being bare handed.  Almost.

These were an early Christmas present, because honestly, my husband would have no clue what to do in a quilt shop.   Last time he was in, he was looking at all the computer peripherals for sewing machines....with interest.   That, and the fabric with the cutesy pie country prints.  Oh boy!  

If my husband reads this I would love to have:

-some spools of Aurifil 50wt thread, basic colours
-some new bobbins, because i STILL only have 3.
-a gift card for fabric, in particular Fat Quarter Shop or Connecting Threads or Pink Chalk.
-a new sewing chair - like the backless saddle kind that you can adjust the height.
-A new graph paper sketchbook or photoshop or something to help me design via computer.  My sketchbook is falling apart.
-a long arm quilting machine  -NOT slipping this idea in would be foolish.  Santa reads everything, right?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Urban baby boy Quilt

 A simple baby boy quilt, that doesn't have animals, cowboys, robots, teddy bears or pastels.
 A simple quilt using one block, alternating directions.   
Flannel on the back which I blindly went to pick out, and it matched so perfectly!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

A Disney Cruise theme...

We're heading on a Disney Cruise soon. There are some meet and greet activities one can join (not Disney sponsored) and we joined one.   It is kind of like a secret santa idea....make/buy something for everyone in your group and 'mail' it to them when you are on your cruise:

I made these sweet Mickey heads out of washers and painted them

Then the boys helped me find the letters to spell the kids' names, and we braided them into friendship bracelets.

For the adults, I made these cute Mickey tree ornaments...they are made with jingle bells! 
This is called a fish extender - it's like a hanging mailbox by your stateroom door.  People deliver your gifts throughout the cruise.   *note this has to be an organized even with other families, people don't just randomly give you gifts!

In other has been winter here.   *sigh*  but I guess I better capture the beauty:

I think this is called 'Hoar Frost'  in Alberta.  When it looks like it has snowed on the trees, but it's just gorgeous ice crystals that have formed on the foliage....

I have projects galore planned, but it's kind of like exercise - I just need to get down and do it.  Life just zaps my time away.   For instance...right now.   I have time to quilt.  Then I remembered, OH I better blog about my disney crafts. So as I took photos, I had to open the blinds way up...then noticed the dust  on the sills.  Then I had to grab the vacuum and vacuum the sills...might as well do the blinds at the same time.  Oh, look at that, need to move the dog crate and get behind there.  Do I need the dog crate anymore?  nah, need to fold that up and put it away.   Oh shoot, I forgot to put the halloween decorations downstairs in the storage.....  and then,  Oh yeah! I have to upload the photos and blog about my disney crafts! 

See how it goes?   That is the story of my life.   

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Urban Shades Quilt

I created a new tutorial at Moda Bake Shop called Urban Shades!  
 It is a really easy pattern, with large 14.5" blocks.
 The fabric is Mama Said Sew by Sweetwater...
 ...but I can see a whole ton of different colour ways with this simple pattern.

Christmas is easy peasy gift to whip up!  

Friday, September 28, 2012

Is it possible???

That quilting from bottom of the quilt to the top can cause thread breakage?
When I quilted from TOP to bottom, the breakage was way way way less.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


 Thanks for the suggestions yesterday...none of them helped ;-)  ha!  I put a hammer in my photo to show my frustration.  I have 13 more 14" blocks to quilt.  It's slow going.  I'm thankful that I have no perfectionist ways about me right now, as I'm not burying threads nor am I hand tying them.  I'm double stitching them and snipping.  There I said it. 

 In other news Jasper is growing like a weed and making himself part of the family.  ahem.   How can I say no to this face?
I received my order of fabric from  and it is lovely.  I'm making a quilt for my sister in law.  She choses the fabric line:  Shadow Leaves by Cynthia Coulter.

Truly, I do thank you for giving me tips that have worked for you.  I recall a period of time awhile back when Juki was acting up.   Today I want to trade her in.  But it's either winter tires or a new machine.  And I quite like Juki when she's on top of her game.   I'll send her in to the spa soon.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Threads breaking

I'm working on machine quilting a project made with the above lovely bundle.  I'm pulling my hair out. It's a large quilt, and the fricken thread is breaking over and over and over and over and over and over and over.   Get my point?

I've tried:
-rethreading from top to bottom.
-cleaning out all lint from the nooks and crannies
-adjusting tension
-denim needles
-microtex needles
-quilting needles
-a variety of brands of thread including Guterman, Connecting Threads, Serger Thread (gasp!) Empire Threads (British), and of course,Aurifil, the beloved brand of many.  I love it for piecing, but this project it is breaking every.darn.minute.  My last project I tried King Tut, which seemed to win the debate of Aurifil vs KingTut, but my local quilt shop is 1/2 hour away and I'm too lazy to fight traffic to get down there.

HELP!!!!  So my project gets quilting in 1 hour blocks, because the swear words are surfacing randomly and that's just not enjoyable.   It's also not enjoyable when it's my first quilting project back from my summer vacation hiatus.

Perhaps it's my quilting design? Am I too fast?  It doesn't happen on the curves...but on the straight aways.  Is my machine just vengeful at me for neglecting it so much?

Ah, it's good to vent.

This project is really cool.  I'm trying to think of a name.  This fabric,  Mama Said Sew by Sweetwater is blacks/greys/whites and reds.   My quilt is shades of greys, a few blacks and a hint of red.   I was thinking Shades Of Grey...but that's too E.L. James'ish and somehow erotica and quilting make me blush.   Then I started getting giddy...I do have a few spots of red in my quilt....Red Room of Pain?
Modern Greys?
Urban Shades?
I think it will be called greys black and red quilt.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Creative Floods

I compare myself to the weather patterns....sometimes there are severe droughts, and sometimes there are epic floods.
June and July, for some reason in my life, tend to be drought season.

 June is crazy school month and then July is holidays - visitors, visiting, etc.

 Lemonade Stands
 Calgary Stampede Pancake Breakfasts each day
 Fossil hunting with cousins
 Lake Louise'ing
 Canoeing on Lake Louise
Blendie drinks 

This feast or famine has been occurring regularly in my blog for quite a few years now.   I've come to expect it, and I'm not surprised anymore.  I don't even read up on any one else's blogs.  It's quite a liberating vacation, actually.

Yesterday the clouds opened and the flood waters began.  So I spent the majority of the afternoon and evening sketching and colouring some meaty patterns on my back deck while the kids pummelled each other with the hose and water guns.'s been a busy time.  Entering August always gets me back into creative mode as I think about the Fall approaching.  

Hope you are all doing well if you read this far into my post.

Monday, May 14, 2012

A fun weekend...

My weekend consisted of Ikea, California Closets,  Quilting, Wine, Books,  Bark Mulch and Power Washing.  

I had the pleasure of attending Cheryl's book launch party at a local quilt shop.  Cheryl and I have met several times already and she is as cool as you would think when reading her blog.   Trust me.  

Although, when she comes to my house, I get a little panicky - oh my gosh! Cheryl's coming, what kind of gourmet treats can I make!?! Someone who is a food and quilt  blogger...makes amazing recipes, and names her blog Dining Room Empire!?   

And then,  I get all real and serve up grilled cheese sandwiches and vegetable chopped raw vegetables.  

 Seriously though.  She's cool.  And nice.  and we get along really well.  And you know what !? I got to hold her new Baby Empire!  
Me and Baby Empire....and Cheryl too. 

Cheryl makes motherhood and launching a new book seem effortless.   

I got my newborn baby fix in. Baby Empire slept in one of Cheryl's quilts while she handled the crowds of women fighting over position to get an autograph.   But let me just say...I got a special comment in mine.   Cheryl had wine,  cake pops and donuts, juice and Pellegrino yumminess to share with all of her guests.   It was such a nice event!  

Here is Cheryl's new book, co-written with Amanda Jean Nyberg of CrazyMomQuilts blog

I've been reading it slowly -  well, I admit that I leafed quickly through all the photos first, and now am reading it word for word.  I LOVE this book.   I don't own many quilting books, as you know I enjoy creating my own patterns.  But my favourite part about this book is that it encourages you to make the quilts your own - not follow exact fabric combinations or copy cat quilts.   I love the use of scraps in all the patterns, and I've accumulated a lot of scraps.   The instructions for sorting and classifying the scraps are really helpful, and I feel like the patterns are a springboard for my own creations....although I will probably make a few of these just as they are demonstrated in the book.  So, if you are wondering about this book, it is definitely worth the purchase.  Usually I am the library book hoarder and just sign out library books over and over again for inspiration, but this one joins my other two favourite quilting books (Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr) for inspiration.

Other excitements: 

We want to tackle our basement with some built ins, or at least some cubbies and shelving to organize things a little better for the media area and my sewing area.  I love my sewing table, but really, I use about 1/3 of the center, and I think I could probably coolify it up better.  So I asked California Closets to come in to quote me for some crafting table and shelving/drawers. ahem. 
7800 dollars. 
ahem. that's alot of fat quarters.

We then went to Ikea instead to get ideas.   about 1/10 of the cost.   yep.


I power washed the house on Mothers Day.   I can tell you that a few of the neighbours looked at me like I was a poor soul doing such work on Mothers Day.   I need to say it:  I love to power wash.  It is SO. MUCH.FUN.   I love spraying and seeing the dirt fly off and puddle down my siding...only to spray it  again and watch more.   I love watching the big chunks of dirt fly out of the driveway cracks. SO gratifying.     
my house is actually nice and neat and tidy with just a smidge of dirt on it.  i am not a slob.  well. maybe a little sometimes.  but it IS a dusty city I live in.
Ask me to do the dishes or wash the floor?   yuk.  Power wash? You betcha!

Hope you are all having a fantastic week!!

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Salt Air Crossings - Moda Bake Shop Day

So, related to my post I wrote before, I present to you "Salt Air Crossings", aka  red, green, blue and yellow quilt.  
This quilt measures 60x70 and I've posted a tutorial for it on Moda Bake Shop.
The icy blue (ruby ice bella solid) was my choice in ditching the typical white contrast and trying something new....

 Love the striped binding....

 I machine quilted this using straight line quilting.   I washed it up to and it gave it a slightly worn/shabby beach house effect.
Fabric used for this quilt -   Cosmo Cricket Salt Air  by Moda and Bella Solids in Ruby Ice.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Twitter, golf and other wandering thoughts

Jasper has discovered the comforts of home made quilts.   How do they know about softness with all that fur?  I caught him laying like this after I came up from the sewing dungeon with some clipping scissors.....he was not impressed that I wouldn't let him stay there.

Do you twitter or facebook?   I facebook...but not very much.  I recently signed up for twitter and have followed some people but don't really get it.  It seems kind of like facebook?  

 Ethan and Cameron are at the driving range each week practicing their golf skills...
they don't share the bucket of balls very well with me.
 ME??? I actually signed up for LESSONS!  Don't laugh. I'm planning for retirement.  
I go twice a week....

This shot is purely for before and after evidence - before I become a golf pro and get to wear those cute skirts, and before I lose 40 pounds.   Yikes, my middle.  Cutting the carbs this week baby! (unless my readers have some kind of miracle for me to try)

Tomorrow!   My quilt finish - and its tutorial on the bake shop! 

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Naming your quilt

How on earth do people come up with great quilt names? I'm stuck on naming one right now. Not like I label it anyway (gasp!) Really, if I had it my way, it would be "the red blue and yellow quilt". Or " the one with the grey stripes quilt" But no. I need to keep up.....and be creative. How do you name your quilt? Do you name it because of the colours, or the pattern, the emotion evoked? Is this when weed is useful? ;-)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Colours in the sun...

such a gorgeous, warm day....these colours looked magnificent in the sunshine..
Cosmo Cricket Salt Air......

I'll show you the completed quilt soon!

For now, I have to pretend* to like my puppy and take him to the park...

*don't be fooled by his charm.  He just ate poo.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Random thoughts...

I bought this lovely tea towel only for the colours in it.  What a fabulous colour combo!

I have become a dot com.   Yes,  I finally cropped the trapped in my head dot blogspot.  I'm now   Finally!   No particular agenda, just am tired of the super long title it was.

My quilt in progress is going very well.  I hope to show some stuff off soon!

My Jasper is growing like a weed.  Look how he squeezes himself into his bed! Time to get a new one.   He steals my (clean) underwear from the laundry pile when I'm folding laundry and sleeps on it.  

Monday, April 09, 2012

Sewing with boys...

It was bound to happen.  

My big guy (9 years old) wanted to work the machine.  MY machine.  

He had his first lesson in sewing with this Pillowcase Tutorial.   He was intent on choosing just the right fabrics.  Dragons, black and orange.   As for cutting and measuring, he could care less.   "Let's get on to the sewing already!" is what was screaming in his head as my voice droned on about selvedges, precision, straightening and measurements.  I had to make it somehow boring and mundane, right?   I needed to introduce something boring in this project.   He was about to use MY machine, and I really need to protect the one area in the house that no one really knows anything about.  
 He was so excited, so careful, and so like a fast can this thing go? what does this button do? can I wind another bobbin?  can I cut the threads again with the button?  again? 
 We worked on lining up the edges with the presser foot.
 And yes, I let him iron!   Again, buttons and shiny objects (steam function) was a big hit!
 So proud! I sewed a pillowcase!
He was so chuffed -  so was I....

The pillowcase tutorial was super easy and quick!  I have a feeling this will not be the last sewing adventure with my big guy.   

Also on the cutting table..

"Salt Air"

  •   I have two projects on the go at once.  This never happens.  I'm a monogamous quilter. 

  •   I'm branching out of using white in my quilt design this time to a pale minty/aqua colour.