Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015: A year in review

I have come to the conclusion if I don't blog, I don't sew.  Having the blog motivates me to take pictures to post, and therefore I have to sew so I have pictures! Since I didn't blog much this year, I didn't accomplish much.  However, I did finish the following:

2 Shark Pencil Cases (yes, they got finished in time for Christmas)

A pillow for my daughter and son-in-law's new camper

Nine pillowcases for the grands (mine, my sister's and now my brother's grandchildren)

One baby quilt made with vintage fabrics and lace from my mother's stash, for the newest of her great-grandchildren - she would have been thrilled to have nine beautiful great-grandbabies!

A multi-slot wallet with a magnetic snap. 

Some fun kidlet sewing: shorts for Alex, big sister-little sister outfits and a summer dress for Mya! That's all the pictures I could find of finished projects. I did make some 1-hour baskets (both took me a longer than 1 hour) - one because I made a 2" patchwork for the outer side, and the other because I tried a new stiffer bag lining, which I really liked and will post about later. I'm sure there are others that I gifted that I have totally forgotten about.

I did add some more projects to the UFO pile:


A Nested Churn Dash lap quilt (pattern can be purchased here) - still to be quilted

I got four blocks down of a Harry Potter - Project of Doom quilt. I got stuck because I was contemplating adding titles to the books, and I was undecided how I was going to do it. Now I've decided I don't like the background I'm using, so I'm going make a pillow out of this one and rethink my plan. I still want to make a full quilt someday.

And lots of small scrappy blocks which I will share at a later date.

I did accomplish other things this year. I moved my sewing room upstairs and started making it my new "Happy" place.

And I'm adding more activity to my life.  This year I even managed to climb a mountain...

to visit this beautiful lake for a picnic with my very agile family!

Lindeman Lake, near Chilliwack, BC

I hope to add more of these beautiful hikes to my life this year!

Check back tomorrow for my Word of the Year - 5 years running!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Bonnie Hunter's 2015 Mystery Quilt-a-long has started! Allietare, Link-up #1

It's that time of year again - when Bonnie Hunter thanks all her followers with a free mystery quilt-a-long! I have participated for the last 4 years, with 2 finished quilts, 1 flimsy and 1 still in pieces to show for it!

This year I had decided that I have way too many projects started, and I wasn't going to do the mystery - but...

I couldn't resist the pull!  I'm only going to make about 1/16th of each of the units, in the hopes I end up with a pillow-size finish.  I haven't pulled my fabrics - I'll do that as each step is released but I did get my first 20 units of Step 1 done. (294/16 = 18.375 rounded up to 20).

How did I come up with 1/16th?  Bonnie usually does large quilts, between a double and queen - so I estimated her quilt will finish at about 80x80; 1/4 is 40x40; 1/16 should be about 20x20 - a nice size pillow cover.

I've used the same grey in several quilts already, and this is the very last of it. I will miss it!

Here are my other Mystery quilts, finished and in progress:

Orca Bay - my first and favourite!  It wasn't until this year that I realized I had made a mistake in assembling the blocks - can you find it? That's the beauty of scrappy quilts - they hide a multitude of mistakes.

Easy Street - the biggest quilt I have ever made.  I upsized this to King-size and gifted it to my daughter and her husband. Quilt-inspector Daisy approved.

Celtic Solstice - I down-sized this one to about twin-size and changed the border. Still in the queue to be quilted.

And finally, Grand Illusion:

I decided to stay within a single designer and mostly one fabric line (Jason Yenter/Shangri-la), but I am not happy working with such limited fabrics. Bonnie's quilts deserve to be scrappy, and appeal to my sense of adventure.  I have finished Step One and working on Step Two.  I'm going to finish up the units I have started, and maybe assemble a smaller quilt.

Be sure to check out what everyone else has been up to at the Linky Party on Bonnie's blog.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Christmas sewing has begun!

Every year I resolve to start Christmas sewing in July, and every year I procrastinate until November. Why be different this year? Never mind that I've had to deal with a possible job loss (now resolved with a promotion and a raise, instead of a layoff) and the resulting depression/anxiety. I'm slowing starting to feel like my old self, so what better therapy then the sewing room.

Shark pencil cases for Alex and Zoey - free pattern from I still have to hand-sew the lining in, and add the button eyes, but that I can do in front of the tv later this week.

The first of nine pillowcases has been made, filled and sent to Alberta for my newest niece, 7-month-old Eloise.  The rest will be filled and given on Boxing Day at our extended family gathering.  Read more about our tradition here.

The rest are cut out and ready to go. 

Alex has been bugging me to learn more about sewing, and has asked for a sewing kit for Christmas.  I think I'm going to make one up for both him and Zoey, and teach them the basics in the new year by helping them make their own stuffies. I know I'll do most of the sewing, but they sure will have fun!

I bought the pattern, Menagerie from in preparation.

My favourite is a bonus one, not shown on the cover, the Squid!

(Photo credits -

In the meantime, I enlisted his help in cutting fabric for some more I-spy quilts.  With 3 new babies in the family in the past year, it's time to get those started.  We needed to add to the collection of 5" squares to choose from, so he helped pick through my latest acquisitions and scraps.  He learned how to safely use a rotary cutter, and how to use a ruler. 

So serious.

Success! He was so proud of himself. We got the first one laid out, making sure all 99 charms are different, and in an alternating pattern of light/dark.  Next, he'll help sew them on my Featherweight.

Once I'm finished this last batch of I-Spy quilts, I'm not sure what I'm going to do with all my novelty prints.  I probably have enough to make about 10 more quilts!

I also have a new long-term project distraction.  I'm making another mystery quilt, Shindig Mystery from Hillbilly Handiworks, this time all English paper-piecing.  This piece will measure about 36" across when I finish the remaining 6 points. I could choose to finish it at this point, The First Dance, or complete the full quilt, about 65". 

I have lost track of my fabric purchases, so I am bowing out of the Stash Reports for the remainder of the year.  Next year, I'm really going to try and challenge myself once again to get through the pile of UFOs.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Praying for Paris

sometimes world events put everything into perspective
and we have to remember not to jump to conclusions
and keep our hearts open to those who are suffering
and not let the next generations repeat the mistakes of the past
reflecting today,
Terri in BC
(photo credits from Facebook: Good Housekeeping and Meanwhile in Canada pages)

Monday, November 2, 2015

Depression sucks...

Every since getting a layoff notice on July 15th, my emotions have been on a whirlwind.  3 1/2 months later, I am still working at the same place with no idea how much longer I will be here. My anxiety is through the roof. I have put out numerous resumes, but sadly no phone calls.
Hence I am starting a new 5, 10, 15 plan.
5 minutes to plan my day (so that I don't waste it away wallowing)
10 minutes of some much needed exercise (even that is an effort right now)
15 minutes doing something I enjoy (sewing or scrapbooking)
If I can manage to do these 3 things daily, I tend to do more, but I'm not putting pressure on myself, that only defeats the purpose. (i'm not even putting housework on the list. that only depresses me more....)

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sunday Stash Report, Week 37

Nothing in or out this week, but I've finally been playing in my sewing room.
Added: 0 metres
Added Year to Date: 26.35 metres 
Used/Given away: 0 metres
Used/Given away Year to Date: -23.0
Added for 2015: 3.35
I finally finished Step 1 of Bonnie Hunter's 2014 Mystery Quilt, Grand Illusion, all 100 units. (This is no longer available, but should appear in her next book.)
I got all of Step Two cut now, filling a mini-basket at my fingertips and I've started sewing, using these as leaders & enders. This step will create 200 bonus HST that will finish at 1 1/2".  Those could make a cute mini-quilt.
I pulled out my Birdie Stitches again, and I'm working on finishing the borders on the blocks.
(Another old picture, March block before I finished embroidering it)
I keep a series of baskets by my sewing machine filled with stages of various projects to use as leaders and enders.  This one has been sitting there far too long, and I want the basket for something else, so time to get 'er done!
I also worked on the Super Mario quilt, up to the point where I realized I didn't have the right orange for the Fire Flower, and I needed to cut more squares.  At least 3 blocks of six are finished now and the fourth one is half-way done! These blocks are huge at 27" each.
Last but not least, I made this cute little mini 9-patches:
The smallest scraps I keep are 1" squares and strips.  The bowl I keep them in was starting to get too full, so I made these 9-patches that finish at just 1 1/2" (unfinished 2").
I may try Sue Garman's Omigosh quilt someday, so 30 are a start - only about 850 more to go!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Sunday Stash Report, Week 36

I'm finally getting used to my new (too-small) space, and pulled out a stalled project to finish.

Pattern - Nested Churn Dash by Quilt Jane
These are large blocks - 24" each, so they are fast to finish  - but not when they get buried and moved!  The quilt will finish at 48" square, so it will make a nice wall hanging or baby quilt.
Added: 0 metres
Added Year to Date: 26.35 metres 
Used/Given away: 2 metres
Used/Given away Year to Date: -23.0
Added for 2015: 3.35
Hopefully by next week, I can get back in the black!  Christmas is fast approaching and I have a list a mile long.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday Stash Report 2015, Week 34

Although it probably wasn't the best timing, I took a week off and went to Alberta! Now that I'm back, I have to put all my efforts into job-hunting once again.  I think it's time to find my bliss...
While traveling, I made a few stops to pick up some Row-by-Row patterns:

From Chinook Fabrics in High River, Alberta
   My best friend, Nancy and I have been friends since just after high school and she recently moved back to Alberta from Manitoba, so I couldn't miss the chance to see her again. She is one of those friends that visiting her is just like we last saw each other yesterday, even though it's been about 5 years.

Of course, you can't just get the free pattern without looking around.  Nancy loves the old school Christmas characters and bought the panel with the idea that I could make her placemats, which I agreed to do. I also picked up 3 fat quarters of the exclusive Row-by-Row fabric, just because I loved the colour.
After a stop to visit my new great-niece Eloise in Calgary, I headed back through the Rockies!
It's hard to take pictures when you are the only one in the car, but I love this shot!

from Sugar Pine Quilts in Canmore, AB
My niece got married in Canmore a few years ago, so I had to stop back at Sugar Pines Quilts. This shop is known for its landscape kits of local scenery and their Row-To-Row didn't disappoint!  It shows the local mountains, the Three Sisters, and local wildlife!  I had to buy the kit (mainly because I don't want to do that intricate cutting).
Their other offerings didn't disappoint. Due to getting a layoff notice, I didn't buy as much as I would have liked, but I did get a few neutral fat quarters, some quilt labels (from the new Sweetwater line, Holly's quilt farm) and a bag of scraps for just $5.00 (approx. 1.5 metres).
I tried to find the quilt shop in Salmon Arm, but due to get a bulge in my tire and having to stop to get that replaced (ouch), I got all turned around and couldn't find it.  Finally I was on the road again and stopped in Kamloops at Katja's Quilt Shop.

I also bought this kit. The colours in the kit are a bit lighter, plus I might add my row-by-row fabric to brighten it up a bit more. 

Katje's the author of the New Hexagon, and is hosting The New Hexagon Millifiore Quilt-a-long.  I didn't realize until I got home that Katje helped me in the store.  I wish I had asked her to autograph my book. I also got 2 metres of Sweetwater's Church Cookbook fabric. 

So now that I am home again, I've added up my purchases. 
Added: 6.6 metres

Added Year to Date: 26.35 metres 
Used/Given away: 0 metres
Used/Given away Year to Date: -21.0
Added for 2015: 5.35
I'm now officially in the red for 2015, but I have plans to start knocking out the Christmas pillowcases this week and those numbers should be back in the positive soon. I also have some projects and patterns mulling in my head that I need to start working on. Remember that bliss I mentioned - I'm really being drawn in that direction.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Yesterday's 15 minutes

I did my mandatory (to me) 15 minutes in the sewing room again yesterday, and it turned into 2 hours.  I grabbed the first thing I saw, and finished up this future cushion cover flimsy:

The block started out as "Idaho Square Dance" from Quiltmaker's Addicted to Scraps column (a Bonnie Hunter column) and it just grew to use up the 1/2 pack of a charm pack I received from the quilt guild I belong to. Unfortunately, I don't have any left (unless you count about 5 1" squares in the Omigosh quilt bin), so I'll have to figure out something for the backing.
I'm going to quilt it with "organic" straight lines (fancy way of saying I'm not stressing if they aren't straight and evenly-spaced), then I'll finish it up and put it away for a Christmas present.