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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Blast from the past!

It was Sit n Sew day yesterday!  Great fun, lots of laughs and a BLAST FROM THE PAST.

Pat was working on a bunch of little things. She made a fabric book, an advent calendar and bias binding for a quilt. I had a bit of pressing to do for her but not much.

Jennifer was quilting a quilt. OK - so after an initial consultation - she was on her own for the day - no pressing for her!
The front of Jennifer's quilt - she quilted it very simply with straight lines and it looks awesome!!!!
The poly batt makes that quilt puff up very nicely!!!   I love poly batts for this. I am not that fond of quilting them, but I love the end result!!!

I had spotted something bright in Jennifer's bag when she first arrived and she brought it out for show n tell. As a sideline, Jennifer makes garments for military hobby groups.  I hope that is right. Anyway have a look............

This is what she has to make

Here are the cuffs
Part of the front
Part of the collar

Can you imagine sewing that????  I wouldn't even know where to start!  And a lot of it has to be done by hand!!!!!    She is doing an awesome job!!!!

Then I had Wendy!  Wendy used to come to Monday Motivators YEARS ago.  I think I was just getting into cycling so that would be about 7 or 8 years ago. Wendy is an AVID mountain biker and road biker as well. Her entire family as a matter of fact. They are into racing - I am into touring!

Anyway, Wendy has retired from her day job and decided it is time to resurrect the project that she was working on at Mondays so many years ago. I immediately grabbed her blocks and put them on the design wall - have a look..............

The houses from 1997 Piecemakers Calendar - this one in PINK

This one in PURPLE!

I know - she is totally crazy!!!!

Close up of one of the blocks. 

I SO WANT TO MAKE a Piecemakers calendar quilt!!!!   She made good progress - figured out what still needed to be done. She made a few pieces and she went away with plans to get the two quilts completed. I have a feeling, we are going to see Wendy at the Monday Mania or Thursday Therapy sewing days!!!!

I got off lucky as far as pressing goes.  I really didn't have to do much, but the group kept me busy. Giving tips, answering questions and keeping the tea pot filled!!!!   It was an awesome day, but when the group left at four, MY day was just beginning.

I had a quilt that HAD to be done. And so I loaded it up and quilted it. However at a mere 90 inches square - this quilt seemed SMALL compared to the monsters I have had earlier in the week.

Customer quilt - DONE

I have to finish sewing the binding on this morning as the customer is picking it up this morning. There are still a LOT of quilts with looming deadlines. It is going to be intense for the next two weeks. Then the pressure will ease off a LOT.

Yesterday was a crazy day. Thank goodness there were not a lot here for the sit n sew. It appeared that my phone rang all day. And then if it wasn't the phone - it was the dogs - they wanted in - they wanted out!

Speaking of which - Sparky seems to be doing just fine. She is looking happier, moving around a lot more and let's just say that EVERYONE had a good night - thanks to Bonnie protecting my stairs!  In case you have no idea what that means - have a look at yesterday's post. It is pretty funny but it works and it's free!!!

A chat with my Mom who is STILL in ICU.  Is that a good thing or they are being cautious or they have no other bed???   My Dad ran into my Aunt (my mom's sister) who is currently an outpatient at the hospital. some virus in her eyes????   Good grief - the entire family is falling apart!  Looks like they are keeping my mom in the hospital for the weekend. Seems she has arrhythmia which is common in older people!  Lots of tests, hooked up to all kinds of machine and trying different meds to stabilize the situation.

I need to get my knitted log cabin afghan done so in preparation of knitting the sashing - I put all 30 blocks on the design wall.  Looks AWESOME.      

Bet you can't tell where I substituted that spare yarn from Tish!!!!

Might give it a whirl tonight and get Ruthi to show me how to graft these blocks together this week.  Let's see how the quilting goes - it is a jam packed week coming up.

After the Sit n Sew group left yesterday - I started throwing stuff back on the tables. OK - I didn't really, but I needed to serge something so got the space set up for serging.

Space to serge

Once I was finished with that - then onto sewing..............

Reconfigure the space for sewing

And there is the quilt I am putting the binding on

Speaking of which - I had better get that binding on as I have to leave soon for a day of teaching.

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Friday, November 21, 2014

Under the cover of darkness??

You know I was collecting election signs a while back. Well they slowly disappeared from the neighbourhood. There was ONE sign left and it was attached to a wire fence of a construction site on a very busy corner. Winston Churchill and Eglinton. Not exactly a spot where someone wants to park the car to nip the sign off the fence. Well I got tired of seeing that sign so I decided to take some action. I had an executive meeting for the guild last night and I thought on my way home that I would snag that last sign.

I went equipped with wire cutters.  I had to park on the opposite side of the street from the sign as there was no parking at the construction site. I am waiting for the light to change and let's just say that at 9 PM - it was cold!  I'm crossing the street with my wire cutters in hand with eyes focused on that sign. Three quick clips and the sign was mine. Now I had to walk back across the street with this sign "tucked under my arm". Of course I had to wait through an entire cycle of the lights. And did I mention that it was windy??

In case you are wondering how big those signs are?  They are BIG.
See -- they are huge and so it was hard to be inconspicuous as I walked across one of the busiest intersections in the city. Even at 9:30 PM.  I just held my head high and was chuckling to myself  - oh that was probably my teeth chattering!!!
But I am happy - I think I have picked up all the signs - well there are three more that I saw last week - I wonder if they are still there?????   OK - I told you I am obsessed!!!!

My collection of election signs

But I am hosting a bag class and those signs are going to come in very handy!!!!   I'll post details later, but I think the class is already full!!!!

Sparky is making a liar out of me!!!   The vet called last night to say that all her blood work was OK.  No problems with liver and whatever else they test for. She doesn't seem to have an injury that we can feel or that she flinches when we touch her. Although she was whimpering a bit yesterday - I was down stairs so I don't know if Sammy was bothering her or she was trying to get up. I am strongly believing the canine dementia route!

However, the vet asked if Sparky had a sensitive stomach. Nope - she was handling the pain meds just fine. We discussed what to do for future and well I am not sure exactly that is. We will wait and see what happens when she is finished her meds.

I still don't have a baby gate, but she hasn't really wanted to come upstairs. However at 3:23 AM - or whatever crazy time it was, I woke with a start as I hear her nails click on the stairs!  I sprang from my bed (just like the man in The Night Before Christmas) to see what was going on. And there she was on the third step attempting to come up.  She can do the stairs if the lights are on - but it was dark.

I turn the light on and attempt to get her turned around and down the stairs. And then I see that Sparky is NOT handling the meds well.  I get her back on flat ground and clean up the mess.  Of course - I am wide awake by this time. To keep her on the main level, I move to the couch to sleep which I can't so I am reading a book about senior dogs that are rescued by David Rosenfelt and his wife Debbie who are moving from California to Maine. It is hilarious.

As I am laying there contemplating life - I had a brain storm.   There is a BIG election sign in my front hall. I wonder............................

A PERFECT baby gate!!!!!!!!   It fits snug - there is NO way that Sparky could pull that out even if she wanted to!!!!

See the "cheap" in me did not want to buy a baby gate because then at some point I have to get rid of said gate. Blah blah blah!!!   So I can tuck this sign behind my front hall table when not needed and then whip it out before I go to bed, knowing that Bonnie is protecting Sparky for the night!!!!!!!!!!!!!   I can just imagine if she saw what one of her signs is being used for!!!!!!!!!!!!  

Yesterday was a day filled with quilting. And I had a companion who stuck with me until M came home.

Little Sammy hanging out with me under the long arm!!!!

Customer quilt done - this was another GIANT.  97 by 108!!   
Then I snuck in this little one just for a break from the big ones!  I did NOT really have time to do that, but what the heck - it is done now!!!!

I was trying to get ready for the meeting, finish the little quilt and M needed the serger.  So I got that working for her. She is now part of the Entrepreneur group at Humber where she goes to school.
Here is her T-shirt

And the back
 Yes My kid is going to be an entrperneur. She has been working on a project for years. Has done TONS of research, spoke to lots of resourceful people in the community and well - she is doing  a great job.  I wonder why she is so interested in the fashion industry when her passion seems to be in the food business????   Doesn't matter - I am very proud of her for all the hard work and I hope it works out for her.  Great job kiddo!!!!   Love you!!!!!

Speaking of resources, last night at the executive meeting, I found TWO valuable resources both dealing in the tech world. One of them to help me with my book situation. So now I have two "volunteers".  If I play my cards right and do a bit of bartering - it may be possible to get my book situation under control!!!!  I am pretty excited about that, but can't do a thing until at least December.

Right now - I am behind the eight ball and literally running from one thing to another. I do NOT like the situation, but until these things get done I really have no control of the situation.   Just two more weeks???  I hope.

I have learned that when planning a day - I must work TWO hours of contingency time in there. That seems to be what gets "wasted" in a day. Driving the dogs home from the vet in a snow storm, unexpected phone calls, etc.   Hmmm - where to find two extra hours???  I didn't even make it to the gym this morning because of my night time escapades with Sparky.  My leg is aching today and needs exercise!!!!

Today is sit n sew. The place is a mess but there are only three people - my saving grace. And I am a magician!!!!

This is what the tables looked like this moring

Five minutes later!

Ah - the magic of IKEA blue bags!!!!!!!!!!!!   Now to tackle the cutting table and the ironing board!!!!

As I was running around last night getting ready to go to the meeting, I also prepped this. I know - I said I would refrain from starting something new, but there are EASY!!!!!!

Knitted dish clothes.  I have to find a new way to cast on - my cast on is UGLY

Oh yes - Mom is still in ICU.  Her blood pressure seems to be fine. Heck - I can't get a straight answer out of her - something to do with a flutter in her heart?????   She probably hears what the doctors are saying and goes in one ear and out the other.  OK - so you see why I don't panic over anything medical!  My mom never did!!!!!  

On that note - I better get myself going and get those cleared off and I have a couple of e-mails to get out as well.

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Thursday, November 20, 2014

It started off as a good day......................

The sky was clear - well at least there wasn't any snow. I didn't make it to the gym AGAIN - I know this is a stupid reason, but Sparky managed to make it upstairs and when I got up - she wasn't ready to come down so I had to wait until she was ready so she wouldn't slip and fall.  I know - I NEED baby gates to prevent her from going up!!!!

I did check baby gates the other night at Target.  I want a pressure one - not one that I have to screw into the wall. I do not want to screw it into my banister!  So just a pressure one is fine. She isn't aggressive about going anywhere - if the space is blocked - she won't go as she is apprehensive of stairs now anyway. Well those gates were $60!!!!   I didn't want to pay that price - I have TWO stairs cases.  Someone from embroidery yesterday mentioned the baby consignment stores - good idea. I will check out one or two of them and see what I come up with.

We had embroidery club and loads of fun as usual.  The conversation ranges wide and far and always positive which makes it even more fun!!!!  Of course there is show n tell..............

This is a baby quilt that Virginia is making and it is absolutely GORGEOUS.  Hand appliqued, hand embroidered, hand quilted.   Some lucky little girl is going to be the recipient of it. 

A close up of the applique block.  See how that embroidered outline makes the bear pop!!!!   Just stunning.  And take a close look at her pink sashing. Notice how all the squares are PERFECTLY lined up!!!!!   

Tish is cleaning up and getting lots of little projects finished. She made a cushion from a piece of cross stitch that she did years ago!  I love the pillow but the cross stitch is FABULOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is another of Tish's pillows.  The main part is Sashiko (a form of Japanese embroidery) and note the matching fabric that she used around the edges. Sorry - I didn't get that great of a picture of that fabric, but it has dragon flies on it. 

After everyone left - I got another quilt partially loaded on the machine and by this time it is starting to snow. ICK!!!!   I have my bald all season tires on the car because I haven't had a chance to buy new ones. I am torn between buying a new set of all season (oh - I think they call them SUMMER tires now) or buy WINTER ones.   Hmmmm  - got to decide and soon.

Anyway - I was off to a visitation. The husband of a friend of mine passed away.  He had been ill for some time and NOT old.  The funeral home was packed - they had many friends and loads of people from both their places of work were there. I had a hard time finding a parking spot and when I did find one on the road, I thought I would scoot across the grass to the funeral home, only to find that I was scooting across grave sites!   Yikes!!!!!!!!

A very sad day, but Linda was surrounded by many people that care for her and I know she will be OK. I met up with another quilter whose husband passed away four years ago. What is it with the quilter's husbands?  

Back home - the roads were getting a bit slick but no big deal.

In the morning, I had decided to call the vet and see what to do about Sparky. She just hasn't been herself for the last couple of days.  We would barely touch her and she would whimper like she was in pain. Then I would pat her down trying to find the exact spot that hurts and NOTHING.  But then she would whimper when she tried to get up. She has spent more time than usual sleeping. Of course the vet said to bring her in. The appointment was for 4 PM.  I got home from the funeral home, loaded up both dogs and away we went.

Sparky is a basket case in the car so I put lots of blankets and her dog bed in the back and she was just fine. And she did NOT whimper once when I hoisted her into the car. Matter of fact - she was kind of excited. OK - so what gives?????
Look how cute they are in the car and does Sparky look scared - NOPE!

Let's just say the traffic was a night mare because by this time it was snowing. NOTHING like what they had in Buffalo. By the way - if you have NOT seen pictures - check this out. I was stunned when I saw them.

Buffalo snow pictures

More Buffalo pictures

I saw some other incredible pictures last night, but can't find the link.

Anyway - between my house and the vet there are a couple of hills. They are NOT huge hills, but the number of cars that had spun out was crazy. And there was one person just spinning her tires beside me as she crept up the hill.  I (with my bald all season tires) just rolled up the hill like it was nothing.  HEY PEOPLE - lay off the gas!!!!   I also have a standard and so I gear down - not sure if that makes a difference. Well I think that made up my mind - I am buying a NEW set of all-seasons or summer tires.  I don't think it is so much the tires as the driver and the winter tires are a cop out.  OK - so I think it is all a big marketing hype.  I can't help it - I am a Virgo and we are suspicious of EVERYTHING!!!!   Yes - I could still be in an accident, but it is more likely that someone will hit me than me hit them and having snow tires on my car is NOT going to make a difference.   OK - at least that decision is done! Now to call and get the new tires.

I arrive at the vet and Sparky jumps out of the car on her own steam. NO whimpering. All that dog cares about is TREATS and she sure gets her fair share at the vet.  When we lifted her onto the examine table - NO whimpering. The vet poked and prodded - NOTHING. The prognosis - Sparky is getting old and perhaps has behavioural  issues.  Seriously?????   Yep - could also be canine dementia!!!!!!!  
Once Sammy gets to the vet - she is not a happy camper.  I think she was trying to hide behind my purse so the vet couldn't see she was there!!!!!!!

I did try to clip Sparky's nails on Monday night and since then - she has been sulking!!!!    That bugger!!!!   Well she has pain meds for three days to see if that makes a difference. Then when she goes off them we will see how she does. I tell you - she is just a crotchety old lady! And making no bones about it either!!!!!   I'll be watching you Sparky!!!!

We were late getting to the vet by about 10 minutes because of all the spin outs on that hill. And on the way home - well it was CRAZY.  What is normally a 15 minute drive took ONE HOUR!!!!!   But we made it home safe.

Then I had a MOMENT that lasted for hours!!!!!!!!!   I really really need to clean up the studio.

There is STUFF everywhere

The main work table is filled - pretty much after the embroidery group left - I filled the table again.

The cutting mat - buried

So it is TIME to do something about this.  I started in the storage room - OH yes - I think I wanted to get a couple of Christmas decorations out and that room had gotten a bit messy. I cleaned it up and put things away properly.  And GUESS WHAT?????   That missing pattern I commented about yesterday?  - I FOUND IT!!!!!!!!!!    Yep - there was another box of patterns in that room and so now I have the missing pattern. YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!    Now if I could only find my little "thing" that holds my thimbles and hand stitching stuff. I have bindings I want to sew on and I need my thimble for that.

Well one thing led to another and pretty soon - the room looked like this..............

Books on the floor

Then more books on the floor

Sorting books and magazines

I have come to the realization that something has to go!!!!!!!!   Do I really need all these books????   Well - if I am going to read them - then YES. If I am NOT - then some can go. Part of the problem is that books on one topic are all over the place.  So I sorted. Now I did not get done as it is a HUGE job. But I made progress................

Bottom two shelves on the left are picture books about quilts and quilt collections. Landscape books are on the middle shelf as well. Top shelf is all applique books. Bottom shelf on the right is more picture books of quilts, middle is paper piecing, memory quilts, making dolls and log cabin books. Top shelf is miniature quilts, paper pieced quilts and serger stuff. Well - that may be entirely right - but something like that. 

Needless to say - there are still a LOT of books on the floor and I have to get the room ready for people to sew tomorrow.  It will happen. Anyway - this is a start. I really need to catalog those books now and I haev to STOP buying unless it is a super fabulous book that has something new and unique.

Instead of getting books from the library - I MUST go through my own collection and read those. I will likely purge some of them - just not sure when and how.

However I do have a LOT of older books. Which I do NOT want to part with.  Look what I came across last night - a book dedicated to HALF SQUARE TRIANGLES.  Now you may think this is ho-hum, but to me - this book is a treasure.

Half square triangle book - published in 1987.

I often buy books from guilds as they cull their collections.  Have a look at the label inside.

This was the FOURTH book the Guild purchased!!!!!

Speaking of purging - I came across this case that I do NOT want. It is a scrapbook case. BRAND NEW.

Options Scrapbook case

Lots and lots of pockets inside.  It is on wheels and has a telescoping handle

If you know someone or you want it - let me know. I just want it out of my house. Otherwise it goes to the donation center.

And while I am cleaning all that stuff last night, my cell phone rings. AH - my parents. They NEVER call unless something is up.  It is my Dad.  We chat a bit about the snow and then he informs me that my Mom is in the hospital.  Hmmm - something to do with her heart. Apparently she had some issues in the summer (which I knew about) and they attributed it to the heat. Well she was at the doctor's office for something else and when they took her vitals - they immediately called an ambulance and whisked her to the hospital. Her pulse was very low and probably high blood pressure.

When I called the hospital last night, they forwarded my call to the ward where she was for the night. The fellow answered the phone "ICU".  SERIOUSLY????   I don't think she has a clue!!!!   She must be fine as she says "I sure wish I had of brought my crochet!!!!!"    See - I get this busy hands things from her!!!!!!!!!!!

Anyway - they had her hooked to all kinds of monitors and such and well - I'll call back this morning to see how she fared over night. I imagine they will be doing all kinds of tests today to figure out what is going on.

Then I was really fired up - and I didn't go to bed very early. So I really got a lot sorted out!!!!!  

Today - I MUST hit the quilting machine. No choice.

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I LOVE my job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What a day yesterday was!!!!!!!!!!!   It was the moment of truth. I am teaching a quilting inspiration class at Ruti's. It was supposed to be a class that provided the students with inspirations and ideas for quilting designs. It is involving into a free motion quilting class, but that is OK - since what good are the ideas if you can't do the free motion!

Well I have THREE classes on the same day and this was the first time they came back with their quilting show n tell.  I was BLOWN AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!   Almost all had attempted some form of the free motion designs we chatted about last month. And wow - the quality of the work was AMAZING!!!!!    I see some fabulous machine quilters in the wings!  

And we are ALL our own worse critic!   Yes - we all make mistakes, yes our stitch consistency is NOT consistent, yes our lines are not straight. BUT the key to success in all this is to learn to be a magician. Disguise or hide the stitches so no one can see them. You know they are there - but remember - we must learn to NOT criticize ourselves and go with it!!!!!   I cannot emphasize that enough. Instead of saying - "oh there are lots of mistakes" - we need to say "thank you - I had fun with that".

Let's just say that I was impressed by their enthusiasm and CAN DO attitude!!!!   I did not take pictures of their samples, but I took pictures of some other work - have a look.

Cathy made this reversible placemat for her grand daughter - side one has one of her favourite foods - PASTA

Side two has her other favourite food - ICE CREAM. 
Imagine the status that Cathy has achieved in the eyes of her grand daughter. Her TWO favourite foods on one placemat.  That is so precious!!!!!!!

Cathy also took the leftovers from another project (Rosewood Cottage) and put them on tea towels that she is going to use for gifts for her aunts! 

Yes - I think you want to be on Cathy's gift list!!!

Tish made this gorgeous bag with those lovely leather handles which she had to hand stitch down!!!!   That is the ONLY way, but she did an awesome job. This is the BERNADETTE bag because in the bottom of that bag is part of an election sign from a candidate named Bernadette!!!!

Tish also made this stitch out of stitches on her sewing machine.  This is just a FRACTION of the stitches on her machine. She never even played with the width and length either!!!!!!!!!!!   A VERY USEFUL exercise!!!!

Celia brought in her Rosewood Cottage (this was last year's project at Ruti's).  Absolutely stunning

Hard to see in the picture but she made TWO sided binding!!!!!!!!

Marian is working on this quilt for her son. I think she said she has to have it done by the end of this month. Hmmm - she better get working!!!!!!!!!!!

Diane has only a small machine and no extension table available. So she played with what she has and did some fabulous stitching!!!!  Look she also made a set of coasters!

Zildi has started her quilting inspiration book.  She did not want me to share the inside with you but I wanted to recognize that she has started this book and it is fabulous inside. But for OUR EYES only. 

Lois (who has been hand quilting for 40 years) made this very modern quilt.  It is absolutely stunning. I believe she said she is going to hand quilt it!!!

Marilyn has a brand new sewing machine and is learning to sew. She has prepared some simple table runners with scraps and will be doing more practice. 

Shoot - I have forgotten this lady's name!   Anyway - she has this gorgeous Double Irish Chain quilt that she has to get quilted for Christmas. She went home with a couple of ideas!

And she also made this fabulous owl quilt. It is made with SIX owl panels.  Too bad they would not make more panels in this size and orientation!!!  I just love it.  And in case you LOVE that border fabric - too late - I bought all that was left.

Now that I look back at the list - there were a LOT of people missing yesterday.   But what an inspiring class. There was so much enthusiasm, no much energy and excitement in the room and I was so happy (no I was THRILLED TO BITS) at how many just bit the bullet and did those practice samples and actually stitched on their runners.  They were SPECTACULAR.

On that note - I have a crazy day today!

Have a great day!