Sunday, 29 December 2013

Sunday Summary - Happy New Year!

Christmas week is always a whirlwind! This year it was almost an ice storm too! We were luckier than many families in Ontario, southeastern Quebec and the Maritimes who experienced a Christmas without power. Some are still waiting for repairs to bring light and heat back to their homes. Having "survived" the great Quebec ice storm of 1998 I sympathize with their plight. Although the storm in 98 was a terrible experience it at least had the decency to arrive after the holidays. I sincerely hope that the affected this holiday season were able to find warmth and food with family, friends, neighbours, or at shelters.

I remember another ice storm in that happened in the 60's. I was a kid and it was great fun! Cousins, Aunts, Uncles, grandparents and friends congregated at our house because we had the good fortune to have a fireplace. We, meaning the adults, cooked tons of food that would have otherwise spoilt directly on the fire and then we enjoyed our feast in front of the fire and camped out on the living room floor. School was cancelled for more than a week!

This year our family Christmas was a wonderful, crowded, three days of continuous eating, drinking, laughter and merriment. Parents, grandparents, great grandparent, children, grandchildren, friends and cats and dogs! One big fantastical zoo! I think the dishwasher is almost worn out and the fridge is still bursting with leftovers.

We may not be wealthy but we are fortunate. We have the love and warmth of family and friends! I feel blessed to have time to pursue my love of quilting and one quilt at a time, I am achieving my goal of making everyone cosy! The day our the power goes out everyone I know will have a cosy quilt to keep them warm!

Power or not, friends and families celebrating together is always special!

Happy New Year to all my quilty and non-quilty friends.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Sunday Summary - Merry Christmas - Dec 22 2013

Two more days to finish the quilts I was commissioned to make. The monkey quilt and girlie baby quilts are finished and ready to go. I hate to part with them, they're so cute!

The queen size quilt is almost done. It's the first queen size quilt I've quilted on my new Babylock Jane. It was a pleasure, not a struggle due to the 9 inch throat on the machine, Just the binding and label left. So it should be finished tomorrow.

I will upload a photo next week after the birthday girl has received her gift!

At this very moment we are watching Christmas Vacation for the millionth time! Well, I exaggerate at little!

We're having a gang for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and Im looking forward to celebrating. This is my first Christmas since retirement. No more getting home at 4PM and shifting into high gear immediately. I can ease into the excitement gradually. Yeah, right!  LOL

My wish for everyone is a peaceful, safe and healthy holiday season.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Sunday Summary - Dec 15 - Christmas Deadlines

It's been a whirlwind week! How about you? Getting ready for Christmas is so much fun. 
Even Maybel got in on the at  doing quilt inspections!

This is Emma's quilt. It's ready for Christmas giving. 

And this on is for a client to give to his nephew. With his name on one side and monkeys in the other. Just have the binding left to do. 

And I m working on a queen size quilt for someone's Mom who has a birthday coming up. It's a secret so I can't share until the end of the month. Have a great pre-Christmas week. See you next Sunday for the final countdown.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Sunday Summary - Christmas Prep

Tree's up! Albeit a little one. We spent this morning at a kids Christmas party with our Grandson. He didn't like the noise of the music and loud speakers but sure like his gift from Santa. A garbage truck. What else would a three year old boy want from Santa? Then we all came back home to decorate the house, eat, drink and be merry.

As far as my week went it was a productive one. Two baby quilt tops done for custom orders and I started cutting strips for the queen size one. These are all due for Christmas so I've got my work cut out for me!


Finally the orders poured in from my Etsy store , 4 cat quilts sold and orders for 8 custom ones! Goodness! Fortunately, the custom ones will wait until after the holidays. No way I could get them done for Christmas unless I give up sleeping!

And right now? Just me and hubby watching Home Alone.

How was your week? I'd love to hear about it. Decorating done? Shopping? Gift wrapping? I haven't done that yet, yikes!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Sunday Summary - Black Friday Edition

Black Friday! Wow! Hubby and I crossed the border into the US and braved the crowds for the post Thanksgiving tradition called Black Friday. I have to say that upstate New Yorkers and  Vermonters are a great bunch. To be fair, we avoided most of the really crowded places but we did go into Best Buy and stand in line for a deal on TV. Nice folks all standing patiently in line waiting their turn. I even met a bathroom cleaning attendant in The Christmas Tree store that was smiling happily. Speaking of The Christmas Tree store there's a great Chicago style hot dog vendor outside. We ate delicious hotdogs outside in the sun. They were great!

Joann's Fabric was open at 6 AM and all the quilters and crafters were there. I'd been wanting an Accuquilt Go for quite awhile. It was 40% off, so, you know! why not.

Visited a quilt store too. Yankee Pride in Essex, VT. Nice store. I needed fabric for a couple of baby quilts and a queen size too. Here's a little teaser:

Earlier in the week I continued quilting Nancy's quilt this week. I'm making progress, slowly! I've used 700 yards of thread so far!

Oh and I won a giveaway! I'm so excited. Two yards of fabric from The Fabric Worm. I got this email from Deby at So Sew Easy:

"Yay – you are a winner!
You won the Fabric Worm Giveaway
If you would please confirm full name and postal address, I will ask Fabric Worm to contact you about picking your fabric choices.
Congratulations and thank you for entering"

Well, that was my week. 

2 yards of fabric from ...

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Sunday Summary - It's Sunday Again Already?

Who sped up time? Can't believe it's Sunday again already!

This week the cat quilts were delivered to the rescue in Albany NY by good cat loving friends. If you live in Albany these look like adorable adoptees!

                                     And the challenge quilt was shown and admired by my guild buddies.  I didn't win the drawing but that's ok, I have a great wallhanging to enjoy and the Fabricville contest is coming up soon!

I finished the quilt top for our massage therapist Nancy and was fortunate to have access to 3 large tables at the local seniors club so that I could get it basted along with another very special quilt for a very special birthday boy. The birthday boy doesn't read my blog so I can share a pic of his quilt which I managed to machine quilt in a day and the binding is on and almost finished. Should be completed tonight. It's a lap quilt so it went quickly

Now on to Nancy's quilt. It's a big one and I'd really like to get it done before Thursday.
I started quilting it today and it's going well so far. Here's a peek:We're going away for this coming weekend so I'll be shopping for new fabric for a commissioned quilt, a flowery queen size. It needs to be ready for Dec 31st so i better get my act together fast!.And I have an order for a baby quilt with monkeys! What quilter doesn't love fabric shopping! If you know of a line of monkey fabric in earth tones Id love to hear about it.

So, to summarize; we have happy cats, a birthday gift, free massages (I hope!) and new projects to get busy with.

Sounds like the beginning of another great week. Tell me about your projects. I'd love to hear them

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Sunday Summary November 17th

This was a a great week! Felt so productive compared to last week. I got four completed orders into the mail. I know that one already arrived in the UK. The others should arrive at their destinations shortly.

I also completed or worked on:

Two extra large (26 x 42 inch) cat quilts got finished with cozy flannel backings for a cat rescue in Albany NY. I liked them so much I posted a custom order listing on Etsy. They'd make great multi-cat quilts or back of the couch savers. Friends of ours have graciously offered to drop these off at the shelter on their way through NY state next week. Soon rescue kitties will be snuggling up on these cozy quilts! Warms my heart and hopefully theirs as well.

A Christmas cozy cat quilt got finished and posted on my Etsy site:

After all, kitties need Christmas gifts too! 

My quilt guild is having a Christmas Party tomorrow and with a pincushion exchange. I made this one that I found instructions for this over the arm of your chair pincushion (a bit hard to see, its better on the website), on Pinterest at this link:

And at the meeting tomorrow we'll have our Celtic Quilt Challenge. Remember this one that I got ready for September because I thought it was due then? 

                                                                                   I worked on this quilt for our massage therapist. She was looking for something for her massage table and I know she likes African music and themes. She has a humongous painting of zebras!

I hope to get it basted and under the needle for quilting next week. Maybe it'll be back as completed on next week's summary. Who knows.

And, best of all, I bought a new high speed sewing machine! A Babylock "Jane". I think Jane will help the coming week be even more productive! Once I get used to "her" I will post a review but so far she is fabulous!

Phew, now that was a great week!!! Hope yours was too. I'd love to hear about it.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

My New Baby

If you read my blog you know I've been looking for a new machine. I looked at several and tried them out. They're all great and have plenty of neat options and beautiful embroidery stitches. Price range for a machine geared to quilting with my requirements (needle threader, thread cutter, knee lifter) varied from $1800  - $4500! And I'm sure there are more expensive ones too.

I mentioned to my dealer that I really only piece and free motion quilt and that a heavy duty machine would be a good choice for my needs. He showed me the Baby Lock Jane. Wow! 1500 stitches per minute. Straight and free motion sewing only. Needle threader, automatic tie off and cutter. Knee presser foot lifter and all feet included. And the price? Less than all the others.

Hmmm, my Bernina still works well enough for those occasions where I'll need zigzag or embroidery stitches....perfect!

I'm unpacking it this morning and will give it a spin today and tomorrow. I should have a review ready for my next Sunday Summary.

At 1500 stitches per minute, I should be able to rock and roll!

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Sunday Summary

Just thought I might share some pics of what I made this past week.

I completed two custom orders for memorial pet quilts and a dog quilt for a client in the UK.

And got these awesome photos from a few of my satisfied cozy cat quilt customers:






I love getting these fantastic photos of cats enjoying the quilts I sell at

Thanks for having a look at my progress this week. I'd love to see what you've quilted. 

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

900 Tiny Pieces or My Sore Back!

Voting has begun at the Bloggers Quilt festival. You can find my quilt, #63 at this link
If you like please vote for me. There are loads of wonderful quilts in several categories.

"Fabricville is having a quilting contest" I said.
"I should enter"
"What shall I make" I said.
"Ooh, how about that software that turns photos into pixelated images. Wouldn't that be keen" I said.

I found the software for transferring a photo into a quilt pattern here:

"I know the perfect photo" I said.
It was a photo I took this summer while visiting my daughter in Ontario. Beautiful Georgian Bay photographed from Flower Pot Island. I ran it through the program, printed out the pattern and the instructions. Easy Peasy, right?

Contest rules: Quilt size 24 inches square and 75% of the fabric must be purchased at Fabricville.
"I'm off to Fabricville"I said.
What fun!

Now the norm for this piecing method is to buy lightweight fusible interfacing that is marked with a grid. Problem? The interfacing is gridded in one inch increments. There are 30 squares in the pattern, my quilt has to be 24 inches square to qualify.

"That's not gonna work". I said
"Where's my calculator!"
"I'll just mark the grid lines myself" I said.
So I marked off a 1.25 inch grid for one quarter of the photo, that's 225 1.25 inch squares.
"I'll just try that part first" I said.

"I should organize the fabric. Assign each one a letter according to the pattern" I said
Press, fold, slice into 1.25 inch strips. Cut those strips into 1.25 inch squares. 900 1.25 inch squares! "Oh, my aching back. I need to get a higher cutting table!" I said
To avoid confusion, I put all those little postage stamp sized pieces into compartmentalized boxes, the kind you put embroidery floss in. (Oh, you know what I'm like!)

Now in the pattern some of the squares are actually half square triangles. Nothing like complicating things!
"I'll piece them first" I said "That way I won't have to run back and forth to the machine"

Sewing 1.25 inch squares diagonally was challenging for me and for my machine. One row of the pattern at a time, chain piece the squares, slice off half and press into a square.

"Ok, that part's done, now onto the puzzle!" I said

Following the pattern graph place the squares and half square triangles onto the fusible interfacing one square at a time. Press occasionally and before a breeze or a cat rearranges the pattern! That took an entire afternoon (for one quarter of a two foot square wallhanging)

"Thank goodness I only did a quarter of it!" I said

Experience, AND the fact that the pieces were organized and ready to go meant that section two went faster, BUT, the HORROR, it's not the same size.
"Why are you smaller?" I said "Rats!"
It seems my seams or my grid had varied in size.
 "Quick! To the seam ripper!" I said

Okay, corrections made. Seams match now, barely. Section two sewed to section one. Phew!

"Ok" I said "I"m not doing the bottom in two sections!" "Bad enough that I'll have to attach the bottom to the top when I'm done"

Lesson learned? DO NOT do this in sections!

On to the bottom.
"Now this part should go super fast" I said. And I was right! There were only slight alterations required before attaching bottom to top.

"Now, how will I quilt this thing?" I said

I've been following Leah Day's Free Motion Quilting blogs and have been inspired by her quilting videos.

"Let's have a peek" I said "At all 450 patterns?" "Why not?" I said

I quilted the sky in blue with swirly Vincent Van Gogh style thingies, and the branches and leaves in grey and green. The design for the water was influenced by Leah's design #281 Calm Sea from this blog :

Rocks and pebbles got quilted in grey based on Leah's design called Pebbles in a Stream #25.

Finally, I bound the wallhanging in solid black to frame it. It it was ready to be photographed and posted to the Fabricville contest website at

Here's the finished product:

"That's it" I said "I gotta go" I said

"I have an appointment .....with the chiropractor!"

Since I completed the quilt this week, I'm also submitting this to Amy's Creative Side Blogger’s Quilt Festival :: Fall 2013!


Sunday, 13 October 2013

Choosing a new sewing machine is harder than....

I found a new machine. Stay tuned for my new blog entitled "My new Baby"

I love my Bernina but it's 12 years old and, well, it's starting to have issues. Most recently it either refused to start or it kept going when I took my foot off the pedal. Go! Go! Stop! Stop! OMG Stop! I'm sure you can imagine my frustration!

I took the poor thing in and she has been repaired. Works like a charm now but, you know, it's time.

So I begin my search for a new machine and I would love your input.

I was thinking of another Bernina but my local Bernina dealer went out of business.

I looked at the Elna Excellence 740 the other day. Looks like a nice machine. It has a knee lifter for the presser foot, an extra long throat, an extension table, a drop-in bobbin and the thread cutter and automatic threader that I\ve always wanted. It also has a ton of embroidery stitches and a fancy built-in walking foot.

I've also seen good reviews of Pffaf and Janome as well especially for speed (number of stitches per minute) but haven't seen the machines yet.

Now Amy, author of the blog Amy's Creative Side is hosting a The Bloggers Quilt Festival. And Baby Lock is sponsoring a raffle of a machine just like Amy's! What luck. I would love a Melody sewing machine like Amy's. That would be fabulous and solve my what machine to buy dilemma.

Love to hear your comments!

Monday, 30 September 2013

UFO # 3

I finally finished another UFO! I planned to finish it during the summer and technically summer ended September 22nd. I finished it yesterday. Close enough, I'm taking it!

I started this quilt many years ago because I wanted to make a flannel quilt. Flannel is expensive so I bought the best I could afford but in the end I wasn't crazy about the colours which probably explains why I almost finished it and then quit. Another issue was the lack of space to assemble quilt sandwiches! Who has a space big enough to lay out a full size quilt?

Well I solved the space problem. Now the hubster and I go to the local seniors club where they have terrific big tables! We can spread out a multitude of quilts and baste away! Heaven!

We took the opportunity to baste a second quilt for the grandson so it was a two-fer weekend. Two quilts quilted and bound in one weekend. Yay!

And now for some photos:

Maybel helping with the quilting!

Adding the binding

Final result. Nice and cozy.

Cars quilt for our grandson

Quilted with Cars!

And actual little cars!
So that was my weekend. Quilting and binding. Two quilts out of the closet and on the bed! It feels great! Yay me!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Pets on Quilts - Update - Time to vote

Voting ends Saturday August 24th!

Time for some shameless promotion! Contest has closed to entries and now it's time to vote!

And our Stella is #49 LOL

Here's the link:

 pets on quilts
on I knew I had to write this blog and submit an entry. I'm a quilter and I love cats (and dogs too, of course)
I quilt a lot for family and friends and I make cozy cat quilts for friends of @StellaMaybel

This is Stella "helping" me with a quilting project .

Do you think she did a great job? I was pleased with the result. Couldn't have done it without her!

Maybel did add her personal touch as well, but she doesn't want to any credit.

Stella is also helping me
with a "Cars" quilt

Now back to the cat quilts:
Meet Mr. Diesel, Don and Molly 
 These lucky friends of Stella and Maybel are loving their cat quilts from

Now I hesitate to use the term life changing but Don used to sleep on the tea towel directly behind him on the bed. You just know his awesome novelty themed cat quilt has improved his lifestyle.

Finally, just try to imagine this cutie lying directly on the carpet. What a sad picture that must have made. Oh, and that cat quilt coordinates nicely with the staff's wall to wall!

There are some great sponsors and prizes for this contest and an opportunity to get extra entries by checking out this link: