Sunday, May 30, 2010

New Section on Sidebar

Today I made a new section on the sidebar to list links to good "How-To"s, or tutorials.  I hope to add to this as I come across them.
Finally I was able to spend a couple hours outside today! What a difference that makes to my outlook, it was so fresh out there, even if I had to dodge rain-drops now and then. Mowed the grass, puttered around, and just enjoyed the fresh air!

My dilemma

Even though it was raining, I had to wander around the yard, and thus noticed that the lily of the valley are starting to bloom.

I picked a few to bring inside and then went to town for a few hours.  When I came home I could smell them.  It is amazing that such little things can emit such a fragrance.
This shelf below shows the results of my winding yesterday!  I'm not sure what it says about my color palette. 
Which brings me to very sad knitting news.  I broke the cardinal rule of knitting.  I started to work on a project before ensuring that I had enough wool to complete it! Yes.  I mistakenly thought that the wool I was using was a basic, generic type that is easily found.  Unfortunately, it turns out that it was recently discontinued, as the company decided to shut down operations.  (which i find to be very silly, as it was a part of Coats and Clark, which has been in business for 200 years or so.)  Nevertheless, that's what has happened and now I have one sleeve which I really like.  Can I somehow turn it into a cushion??

Friday, May 28, 2010

It's Green

One thing you can say about all this rain we've been getting, is that things are really green out there!  When I got back from the cabin last night I was amazed by how things have grown in the last few days!  The grass is about 8 inches tall, and all the leaves are very bright, especially against the tree-trunks, which being wet, are very dark.  I took this photo early this evening, and the yard sort of looks like a cyclone hit it, with branches having blown out of the trees, and such.

The leaves on this yellow elder are chartreuse! (those are begonias planted along the fence, along with some virginia creeper I just put in a couple of weeks ago- nothing else has done very well along this fence)
These are the blocks I worked on at the cabin.  There are 6 inch quarter square triangles alternating with the little squares of green.  I think that block might be called Bird House.  I put little frames of white around the quarter square blocks because I didn't want the corners to touch.  Instead I wanted them to "float" on the white.  For the setting triangles around the edge, I'm planning to use the light green again.  For some reason I am really liking quilts right now that have a lot of white in them...
 And here, on the floor is a selection of old linens that Debbie gave me!!! Yay Deb! I am mulling over how to use them.  There is some really pretty filet crochet edging, and the larger tablecloth has a monogrammed S on it!  
 I got home at about 3:30 this afternoon, and instead of working on these worthy sewing projects, I pulled a double espresso, and retreated to my "sewing" room where I spent 2-1/2 hours winding yarns into balls with my trusty ball winder machine.  It was very satisfying.  The best part? - While I did this, a little elf was cleaning the house! Yes! Aliona (my 18 yr old daughter) has kindly come out to do some work  (for pay).  I really hope that tomorrow is nice out because she also is great at yard work!!!! Lucky me.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lake on a Snowy day

yes, that does indeed indicate that there was snow here today.  but that's okay, i had a very long nap.  Now I am a night owl with a nice birch fire to keep me company.  That and Leonard Cohen's "Live in London" album, which I love!  We went to the concert here in Saskatoon that is the same program of the album,, so not only is it great music, but it evokes memories of that evening out. 
I started sewing with my orange fabrics!  Decided to do a simple 6 inch quarter square triangle alternating with a white block with a green square in the center... However, being without an iron is a bit of a hindrance, as you might imagine.  I'd love to know what other people are doing with oranges these days... Sue??

Sunday, May 23, 2010

At the Lake

it's another quiet day at the lake, although it's pretty rainy.  I think that I can get some photos up, but verrrry slowwly, since this is on dial-up, so i'll have to pick my pictures wisely!
I've been knitting again today, and I've finished my Elizabeth George novel. It was okay, but not as good as some of her other books. 
This is the start of my sweater! It's quite pleasant to work on, and the 2 balls of wool that I had were 100grams, so they are like 2 smaller balls-- i might be able to knit nearly the whole arm before I run out.
I've brought my little pile of orange, green and white fabrics with me to do something with, but unfortunately i neglected to bring an iron,...
Also, when I was at the shop on Friday, Deb mentioned that one of the quilts hanging in the classroom, in the new show of disappearing nine-patch quilts has been generating some interest in a pattern for it.  So, I have started working on one, and this time I plan to keep track of how long it takes to produce it.  Just the pattern, not a quilt, but the writing and formatting and printing of it.  I am guessing about 10 hours, but we'll see.  This morning I spent about 2-1/2 hours on it.
(sorry for the picture quality, i really cut down the number of pixels)
 Now it is time for me to practice the banjo!
Have a good weekend!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Long Weekend!

I'm up at the cabin at Sled Lake for the long weekend.  It's been cool and overcast.  However, we have a fireplace, so that's okay.  Also, I have my knitting and that is really cool!  I got a new knitting book on Friday, called Greetings from the Knit Cafe, and it has some really great projects in it.  I have been inspired to knit a sweater! That is the biggest project I have tackled since my return to knitting a couple of years ago.  It is turquoise and white, and since I only have one ball of each, we'll see how far that takes me.  I foresee another trip to the yarn store when I get back home. 
There were quite a few Canada geese here yesterday, but they are gone today, i hope they stay away.  But, this morning at about 7:30 (yes, I was awake and up and about!) there was a little fox just relaxing on the small beach we have here. 
Later, I'm planning to see if I can upload some photos-- I'm on a different computer here, so we will see if I can get them from my camera to it. 
Aside from that, I have been practicing banjo on and off.  I started this last week sometime, and am enjoying it so far.
I hope you're all having a nice lazy Saturday too!  I imagine that a lot of people are planning to do gardening this weekend.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

My Sewing Room/ Studio

I left my camera at the shop today, so I went through some photos that were already on the computer, and decided to talk about my sewing room. 

Sewing room vs. studio
For several years I worked with clay and at that time called the place where I worked my studio.  Because of that, I've always referred to my sewing room as a sewing room.  It's gone through many different formats as we've moved from one house to another.   Although I haven't done any pottery for several years now, I've been intending to convert the little structure at the back of our yard into another "studio", so I'll have both a studio and a sewing room. 
The house we're in now has the best sewing room so far.  When we moved in there were 6 bedrooms in the house, which was originally built in 1907 and had an addition put on some years ago.  Two of the bedrooms in the addition were quite small and dark, but most importantly, they were adjacent to each other.  It seemed only logical to knock out the wall between them to make one larger room.  Ripped out the ugly carpet, did some minor carpentry to address where the closets had been, painted, added new pine plank floors, and moved in my stuff!!  That was about 3 years ago and since then I've shuffled things around, trying to find the storage system that is most user-friendly, and have spent lots of time in here.  It is still in flux, as I move things around, add and remove furniture and supplies. 
It goes without saying that I don't just sew in the sewing room!
The long blue and brown curtains cover the shelves that hold my quilting fabric.  They used to be open, but I found that too distracting.  There is usually a table in front of the other window too.
I have new light fixtures to put up, but haven't been able to get an electrician to do this yet, although I have tried to get one to do it, but he didn't want to.  Very sad.
The little square table is where I usually have my sewing machine set up.
I have a lot of quilting books, and other art and craft related books. 
The cutting table is on the right,

Currently I have places to keep my fabric, paper supplies, paints, felted wool, yarn books, buttons, trim, computers (2), beads, and photos (and miscellaneous other stuff).  Sometime I'd like to phase out the plastic storage containers, but they are quite useful to hold things at the moment.
This is also where I do all the office work now too.
Hope you enjoyed the little tour!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Another "Yard" Day

I'm still taking advantage of this gorgeous weather by doing things outside-- today I did a lot of sanding and painting.  We have 2 cedar benches that needed sanding down and re-staining, which was actually sort of not too bad to do.  I need to go in to town to get some sort of varethane or weather-protector stuff, as they look sort of matt finish.  After that, I was on a roll, so I hauled out the exterior white oil-based paint I bought 2 years ago, and started on the house trim.  Funny how I can put off a project for so long and then one day, just out of the blue decide to do it! Of course, there is a Lot of white trim on our house, so I hope that momentum will see me through finishing it!  Maybe I'll even paint the shutters, since I've never really liked the color they are now.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I've had this little stack of orange fabrics piled up in my sewing room recently. I just don't know what to make with them.  I'd like to try something that I haven't done before, or at least in a long time.

 There is a red in there too, I know.  It might be nice to use a lot of off-white with them,...
 Or maybe add in some fresh green...

any ideas?

Friday, May 14, 2010


Beautiful day today, and the flowering plum tree is really pretty in bloom.

 My sister was over on Sunday and liked the framed pieces of fabric in the t.v. room.  It is an idea I got from the Anna Maria Horner booth at Houston one year.  The frames are ones that I accumulated from garage sales and here and there.  I like these fabrics, but I might change one or two of them.  They just keep coming out with more pretty fabric.

A Colorful Thursday

Today was a busy day, starting this morning with my coffee group, which was very nice, and we had a wonderful cake, with walnuts on it, and an orange glaze, accompanied by whipped cream with Grand Marnier. Amazing and delicious, especially with coffee!

Actually, before that, I went out to the yard and marvelled at the ferns, which seem to grow an inch or two every day now!! these ones are just starting to unfurl,
also, I know that I've talked about the fat robins before, but really, this one is crazy! He must be 4 inches wide!

I think that the main thing I have discovered by doing this blog is this:  That my life is richer and more interesting when I take the time to look at small details-- which I look for now that I keep a camera close at hand.

So, when I sat in the yard yesterday, I noticed the way the little bush by the backyard shed has new leaves, and how nice they look against the wall under the window.

I spent a very happy time at the garden center picking out some plants for my largely unplanted flower beds that I built last summer!  Enough to fill the trunk of my car.
Later, at the store, Jackie was putting the kits together for saturday:

Carol very kindly has loaned us another gorgeous tea-towel she appliqued -you can't really see in this photo, but there are really pretty multi-color stripes down each side of the towel ,

And in the classroom, Jenn was teaching her class on lone star quilts, and the color combinations were gorgeous!

 Actually, they're sort of the same feeling as in these button flower bouquets that I snapped shots of earlier at my friend's house!
 I am lucky that I live in such a colorful world!

Monday, May 10, 2010

New Sidebar Section

This afternoon I added a section to the Sidebar for your convenience and entertainment.  It is called "Links to Fabric Companies and Designers".  Why? Because often, they have sections on their websites for free patterns for you to download, or even blogs related to their products.
Of course, as I did this, I had to check them out to see if anything new had been added since I was there last.  This is a great free project I came across on  Moda
 it is designed by Cherri House of Cherry House Quilts, who also has a blog.

My Monday Plan

 Spring seems to be making a leisurely entrance.  The robins are still fat, and trees are just starting to leaf out.
 Looking through the new Kaffe Fassett book, I am very attracted to the exhuberant color combinations.  I have a pile of orange fabrics just waiting for me to decide what to do with,
 But yesterday, I still had a pile of "monet" colored strips in a heap in my sewing room, left over from a recent nine-patch.  So, I decided to use them for another Kaffe-type pattern,
 the center is just a square, or a four patch, and then you sew rounds of fabric on to that center.  They don't have to be all the same width, altho each round is the same.  that is, you can add a skinny round, then a fat round, then a medium round, etc,
   I decided to make them different sizes and then "float" them in a sea of plain white fabric.  Later it might be fun to use a colored thread or something in the quilting to jazz up the white- or it might be nice to just leave it quiet.
 To sew them all together, I just divided them into 3 columns, then sewed strips on to the sides of the blocks to make all the blocks in one column a consistent width, and then sewed bars of white between the blocks to make the 3 columns the same height.
Since I still have a bunch of strips left over ---( of course!!!), I think I'll add a piano key border around the whole thing.  So, to get ready to sew that together, I've just sorted the strips into piles according to length-- more like a pipe organ!
 Well, that and a bunch of paper work should keep me busy for most of today!! Have a great monday!

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Shop! A Little Tour

The shop was fine while I was away, as usual.  Deb and the others are so great, they keep it in tip-top shape, unpacking stuff, moving displays, putting up samples, even getting a customer or two to bring in a project to show what can be done,

 This view of the front entry area shows 2 new fabric lines, one of them by Fig Tree Quilts, which I love, as usual.  I don't remember what the other one is called, but I love the color combo and the old-fashioned flower designs, with geraniums on them, i think. 

You can also see by the blocks pinned up on the wall that we're getting close to the end of the Saturday Surprise blocks, I think there are 2 left to go:

I think the most popular fabric grouping lately has been the Nancy Halvorson/Art to Heart one called "Garden Song", by Benartex:
You can see how depleted it has gotten in just a week or two.  But it is so lovely for the spring.  One of the projects in the accompanying book is the decorated tea-towel -- thanks Carol!!  My photo of it isn't very good, but it says BLOOM,

We went through the tea-towels pretty fast, so I've re-ordered a whole whack of them, and in more colors.  They're also fun to use to turn into an apron.

Oh, the other thing that's happening is the Amy Butler trunk show is up in the classroom until may 16.  There are some nice hand-bags and quilts if you'd like to come in and take a look. ( Again, if you click on the photo, it should make it larger to look at, then use your back arrow to get back to the main page. )

I love the colors in the pink and turquoise quilt!

That's the little tour for today!

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