Sunday, 25 November 2012


Like Sands in the Hourglass....

It's been a crazy 2 weeks! Between family members showing up unexpectedly (My 74 year old aunt hitch-hiked in from Edmonton... ) and traveling here there and everywhere I've not had anytime for anything! AUGH! I missed my sewing machine!

I am starting to feel the strain of not having enough time, I did however make up some lost time with a vengeance yesterday and today and got 2/3's of the giant granny panties quilted:

I just have the outer edges to complete. I don't know if you can really see the pattern but it is a giant flower with 8 petals, I've been intrigued by the notion of zentangles but haven't gotten around to actually doing a quilt in that fashion. 
So I wanted something very feminine and elegant like the flower found in my Butterfly Quilt and I had to consider just how I wanted them placed, DING!! Lightbulb moment! 
Why not just combine the element of zentangles with the idea of a flower? So I sketched out the flower design I wanted, the very centre square is the sunflower flower found on Leah Day's Quilt along #40 and from there I did 4 huge petals like the cardinal points of a compass N S E W and 4 secondary petals in ordinal directions (NE SE SW NW).
The 4 major petals are filled with opposing patterns, paisley in E & W and flowing lines/echo shell in N & S petals. My flowing lines kept turning into echo shells, so the combination of the two is really quite cool:
The petal in the upper left contains the flowing lines/ echo shell combination, the ordinal petals I just simply echoed the shape or my original drawing and then a paisley petal.

It took me a couple of days to really get feeling this, I had to pick one of the petals apart since the shape was not right, it looked more like a beaver tail than anything. I did hand baste the shape I wanted before I picked the stitches which made all the difference, I think if I do this again I will use hand basting rather than pins or a combination of the two just so I don't have to fight with following lines that are unclear or blurred.  The one thing I really had to reign myself in on was being TOO fussy.... I was really hard on myself with this since it is for Mom and I want it perfect, I took my inner dialogue and kicked it's puny rear end into submission. Reality is, I am still a novice at this, the more I fussed the worse things looked. There are a couple of slight puckers (puckers piss me off...) nothing nearly as bad as what I had been noticing before I started stabilizing my quilts (thank you Leah Day!) but in my head they seemed massive and insurmountable, I had this strong urge to pick them out and redo the area but I realized if I kept doing that... this quilt would not get done and possibly it would get damaged by all the stitch ripping!
NO!, NO! I say, I shall not become perfect at stitch ripping! I will learn to pay attention to how my quilt feels under my needle and learn to spread my fabric better so it doesn't pucker! 
Once I made peace with myself and my inner dialogue I really began to see the work I was doing and I can now appreciate the effort more even if I am not 100% happy with it, Mom will be and that's what matters.

One my biggest motivators is the fact I have a official UFO. My Dad's quilt has been set aside so I could complete my Mom's and I realized I have less than a month complete it! I need to make 6 more squares and then put it together plus quilt it. If that wasn't enough I want to make 4 stockings (which are sitting at the guild in a WIP state) and to put a curve ball in the mix, I've been given my first commissioned quilt due in 2 weeks! Thank goodness it's a baby quilt which should be super simple and I am hoping I can knock it out in a few days.  That's all for this week... I hope.

Furiously being passionate about my machine....


Saturday, 17 November 2012

I think it's fixed now!

I've gone Captcha free!

I got a message this morning telling me I am a no reply blogger.... /*shame*, I apologize I thought I had that fixed. 
It is fixed now (or is it again?)

So I figured I would check to see if I had captcha while I was at it, and lo' and behold I couldn't find anything that said so BUT I know with blogger that doesn't mean much. 
I googled it, like changing your no reply settings you have to revert to the original blogger profile, excavate through the choices like your an archaeologist and hope you got it finally. I even created a dummy profile so I could personally verify that it's gone. I was seriously tempted to switch blogging sites since dealing with this was such a pain in the rear except my fear is that the others will be much worse to deal with!

I really feel that getting rid of captcha was a great thing, I love getting comments, it's like getting a letter in the mail from a good friend and I know that most people don't want to deal with the annoyance of trying to figure out what the heck the squidgy letters look like. So please..... Feel free to comment now :D

Alright I am out!
Passionately banging my head against the wall...

Thursday, 15 November 2012

TAG! You're it! A fun little blogging game!

I've been tagged!
Karin at the The Quilt Yarn has tagged me to participate. (YAY!)

The rules are:

- every tagged person has to tell 11 things about themselves
- the person who tagged you asked 11 questions, answer those questions
- ask 11 questions for the 11 blogs you are going to tag (the people you tag should have less than 200 followers)
- mention the blog that tagged you, but do not tag them back.

11 Things about me:

  • First and foremost I am a stay-at-home Mom of 3 beautiful girls, Angelina 10, Chelsea 8 and Bethany 6. I've been married 9 years on November 23rd to my wonderful husband Charlie
  • I read books.. ALOT of books, I have a personal library of my favorite authors and books which over the years has varied from around 50 to over 500 books, lately I am down around the 200 mark, I think I need a kindle :D
  • I love music, all sorts of music I listen to almost everything even classical but my favorite genres are heavy metal, blues, lite rock and folk 
  • I used to cross stitch and crochet on a daily basis but got out of the habit when I had babies, I was simply terrified of finding my baby with a needle or crochet hook in an eyeball, sewing on my machine was more containable! (Ridiculous notions new moms get lol)
  • I hoard vintage fabric, if I can get my hands on it, it will be mine. I especially love really heavy duty cottons and feedsack prints that are pre-1960's
  • I really enjoy playing card games like cribbage, whist, hearts, spades, euchre, and canasta (hand and foot as well) but no one likes playing with me since they lose frequently, I've been accused about 3 different times of card counting :D
  • I am originally from Calgary, AB but I've lived all over most parts of western Canada including the Yukon. 
  • I am a sci-fi and fantasy fan, I love to play RPG's (roleplaying games for those not in the know of gamer terminology), I used to play Everquest online on the Morell-Thule server when I was working graveyard shifts many moons ago and I love playing video games on my Xbox (KINECT!!!! YAY!) and Wii, my kids are over the moon that I will get sweaty and breathless on Star Wars Kinect with them or play Legend of Zelda on the Wii cause their friend's parents don't do that. (Mom you are SOOOO cool!)
  • I am an avid martial arts fan, I've taken a few different disciplines but I find that once we start getting hardcore I get really aggressive (adrenaline kicks in :D) which is not so great around hubby and kids. So I usually stick with Tai-Chi and Qi-Gong at home, unless of course my kids have hidden my DVD's on me, I've been looking for 2 months so far, that's good exercise right? 
  • I admit that I watch Phineas and Ferb on the Disney channel religiously... I crush on Ferb <3 If you haven't watched, catch an episode they are so funny!
  • I love chocolate and I hate the regular use of OMG! or other trendy catch phrases.. I know I am not trendy... AND PROUD OF IT! :P lol (Yes I like emoticons 0.0) Eat more chocolate people! (The good stuff, not the crappy supermarket shelf stuff)

 My 11 questions to answer:

What is your favourite quilting book? 
My favorite book? I don't have any quilting books... *shame* I don't know why I am not interested in quilting books, the ones I've seen are kind of blah. There are a couple I am wanting to look at but I have to wait until we can get to the city to find them. 
What is your best sewing tip?

My best sewing tip is the simplest.. Practice! Practice! Practice! Get your basics down pat, this makes life much simpler.
What is your favourite quilt tutorial?

So far I've got a few lined up to do, but I have only done one, Giant Granny Panties, I love it to pieces but I think my favorite is Jenny Doan's Katie's Quilt tutorial found on You Tube. That will be my next quilt project once I've got my UFO and WIP quilts done.

How did you get into quilting?

Seriously, I was dragged into it kicking and screaming, my good friend and mentor Suzanne had been asking me for atleast 2 years to go with her and I kept saying no. I had no desire to or want to quilt, it looked way too complicated and too much work as it was I had enough junk on my plate and didn't want to add in something that would just frustrate me to no end.  I finally said yes in December 2011 and now I can't imagine my life without doing this.

What styles of quilts do you like most?

Mmm that's kind of tough to answer, the easiest way to put it is I like quilts that are unique and original and don't have a mass-production look or feel. For example traditional quilts (I mean really traditional not modern versions of) really had a sense of character and uniqueness even though people were using the same type of patterns. The idea of using what you had on hand and remaking it really appeals to me. 
I think to many modern day quilters get stuck in the rut of always buying new and matchy-matchy fabric that has to be from the same designer and the patterns have to be just so, etc. 
Don't get me wrong, I don't think there is anything wrong with that preference it just isn't to my taste.

What is your favourite quilting gadget?

I don't really have any fancy gadgets although I admit I did buy pinmoors and I love them, I hope to be able to buy a bigger bag soon so I can do larger quilts all over with pinmoors rather than a combo of them with safety pins.

Do you buy fabric when you need it for a project or do you buy fabric more spontaneously?

I don't buy fabric if I don't have to, I like to hunt for treasure and reuse bits and pieces that I come across. If necessary I will buy what I need based on a project and specifically for that project. Admittedly I do have the same weakness as every other quilter I know and occasionally I can't help myself and I have to buy fabrics simply because I love them so much :D

Where do you get your inspiration for your quilt designs?

Usually from a piece of fabric, I hope that doesn't sound silly it could be the pattern or a particular color that I see in the piece that will spark my imagination. I've got a couple of ideas drawn out that were inspired by a piece of music and sometimes just something someone says can click out an idea. I am really open to getting inspiration from anywhere.

Are you using Pinterest, Twitter or Facebook as well as running a blog?

I am on Facebook but I keep my quilting life separate from my social life for personal reasons. 

What sort of things do you enjoy when you are not quilting?

I read of course :D and I enjoy spending time with my family or friends, I also like to bake and cook as well as think about quilting! ;)

Do you belong to a quilting group?

Yep, I belong to the Mile '0' Quilters Guild. Wonderful group of ladies. 

My 11 questions:

  1. What is your most favorite quilt you have ever done?
  2. What is your favorite quilting technique?
  3. Applique. Yay or Nay?
  4. Which piece of fabric that you have or have ever owned would you do almost anything to have more of?
  5. If you could teach one thing to someone about quilting what would it be?
  6. What do you listen to when you are quilting? Favorite book? Favorite Music? Television program or Movie?
  7. Are you a Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter color scheme lover?
  8. What is your favorite book and/or author?
  9. You are stranded on a deserted island, you only have your book of needles, what you are wearing and what resources the island has to offer, what are you going to quilt?
  10. If there is one project that you have admired but never had the courage to attempt, what is it?
  11. Where is your favorite place to be?
People I've tagged:

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Catching up! Finally!

Organizing Chaos? Possible?!

I have to admit it, I am one of those people that just has to fly by the seat of her pants with no real plan of operation for anything. If I try and schedule my days -->something ALWAYS happens<-- to completely mess up my agenda. Not that this is a bad thing, I always seem to do my best work on the fly and under pressure, it just sucks when you are trying to get more organized. 
So how do you organize chaos? Take this weekend for instance, I had planned (you know I just had to tempt the fates right?) to have Mom's quilted pinned and quilted for Tuesday so I could square it up at the guild, I had plenty of time... I did... yeah... not so much. All 5 of us got hit with a really bad flu over the weekend, so very not pretty. 
So when I woke up Monday morning, shambled upstairs feeling like I'd graduated from Zombie to walking dead status (this is an improvement ;D) I reviewed the last few years and realized I have forgotten a very important lesson, when you lead a chaos laden life like I have organization doesn't work, flexibility, however does.  I realized that in becoming a quilter with all the mathematics and geometry, angles, rules and things you should not do I'd become very rigid in my thinking, very much like the rules of traditional quilting (we know the quilt police exist).  

Multiple hanger levels are very helpful
in visualizing a project.
From all sides I keep being told to get organized, plan, have a goal, in some parts I agree with this. My "studio" (Dank dark basement really, studio just sounds better) needs to be organized and clean, clutter just interrupts the flow of creativity.  
I found a really handy solution to planning as well, pant hangers! I tend to organize my fabrics by projects rather than by colour or lacking a project, like styles go with like styles whether this be by colour, fabric type, or pattern. 
When I've got my projects sorted they get hung up near my fabric stash so if I come across a piece that I would like to add, I can immediately add it to the project without it all getting in my way, cluttering up my shelves or having smaller pieces getting lost in the clutter on my shelves :D.

As for goals, I've said it before and I will say it again, I don't do "goals". I believe that goals are something that you strive for to complete, with something like quilting or any form or art there is no end to achieving or skill building so how can you ever achieve a goal? There is no endgame here, once you feel you have mastered a skill, you can apply that skill in a completely different direction and learn even more. I love that fact about quilting, there is always something new to try that will stimulate your mind and creativity.  


Part Deux.

I know many people have been following Leah Day's new craftsy class (SUPERB btw!), I am glad I picked it up as well, she resolved one of the dilemma's I've been having with basting at home. I don't have a lot of floor space without carpet (I refuse to baste on carpet, thank you) or clutter and my kitchen table is the right height but it's the central area of our family and a real pain in the rear to constantly be kicking people out of there to use it (plus washing and cleaning the surface AGAIN lol) so I have a piece of sub-floor in my dungeon studio (that has a nice ring to it hah!) that I've been using which is way to long and not quite wide enough to be a perfect basting table so I have up until recently been using the guild tables since I had no clue how to make my makeshift table work for basting on the long side. 
Elastic!! I had a great big gargantuan roll of 2 inch elastic that I've had for.... a really long time, so on the sides I use binder clips and I've run elastic the long way, worked like a charm and it was super easy to readjust the quilt to either side so I could pin the hanging edges.

Really there is so many different ways to do things, this just reminded me that just because you were told to do something one way doesn't mean you have to keep doing it that way if it doesn't work for you.

Oh and another reminder... keep your fingers away from the ends of pins lol.

Small panel 1
Small Panel 2
So a quick peek at the back of Mom's Quilt since I didn't take a picture of anything until I was in the pinning stages (*shame*).
Practice Block 1
Practice Block 2

Centre Square
The large central square and the two small panels all came from a pillow panel that I had given to me by Suzanne, my mentor when I first started quilting (Oh that is almost a year ago... looks like I will have to do my first giveaway soon :D), the beautiful graded border is the fabric I chose for binding, which I bought when I bought the wool batting (*more shame*), I was just supposed to buy the batting......
(Once I have some extra bucks I will be buying a couple more metres, I am so ashamed.)

Once I have the quilt quilted I will post a picture of the back in it's entirety and explain more about it then... 

Passionately trying not to laugh, cause it hurts!



Monday, 5 November 2012


One ruler, Two ruler, Three ruler, Four.

Five ruler, Six ruler, Seven ruler, Ooops.

Making progress is always a good thing, I certainly made a lot of progress on my Giant Granny Panties quilt top which I posted about Here on Nov 1st. 
I had started cutting fabric for it on the Tuesday previous but I was unable to get it all done at once, so I figured that I would finish cutting at home. I had forgotten one of the golden rules that has been repeated to me time and again about cutting fabric, use the SAME ruler for all the cuts. 
So some of my strips were just slightly off, less than an eighth of an inch but some were... more off (I have really got to remember to close the cap on the glue jar), I am still not sure how I managed to cut a full inch off of the end of one of my strips (I am completely mystified by that one lol). Production had to come to a complete stand still until I figured out how to make a new 15" strip out of my scraps since I had bought almost exact yardage, which of course means very little room for error.
The solution was actually quite simple once I had thought it over. I had two largish chunks measuring approximately 11" long by 7.5" wide, I could have cut down two squares (7.5x7.5) and seamed them together to make a 15" square but I would have to remember to cut seam allowance and make sure I had the squares sitting correctly so I didn't sew a short side to a long side. Not feeling confident at this point I opted for a different method; I sewed the 11" strips together making a 22" piece, starched the seam and pressed it open really well to make it nice and flat (I love starch, why didn't I use it before?!) then I measured 7.5" from the seam line on either side for a perfect 15" strip and no worries about a seam allowance. Worked like a charm! Basically you sew your 15" strips together according to pattern and then cut them in half to make 2 identical strips, one for each side. When I cut my seamed strip in half it was dead center YAY!  I was quite tickled with figuring that out by myself and I am writing it here not only to share it with others but so I will recall what I did for when I do this to myself again :D!

The only thing left to do on the quilt top is the outer 3" border which will be the same color as the outer triangles kind of creamy white, the top is roughly 59" x 59" right now so I should have a finished top size of 64" x 64" (roughly), I am a bit stuck on this. 64 or 65 inches may not be quite big enough since my Mom is quite tall but if I make it much larger is it going to be easily transportable?  I do have enough of the border fabric left to go up to a 5" wide strip on all sides, would that make much of a difference do you think?
 The completed square is just what I was hoping for, a bit muted and genteel yet bright and cheerful, I am chomping at the bit to get quilting it!
I think I will use wool batting that way it will be nice and warm and snuggly, thankfully we now have a quilt shop in town and the ladies who run it are absolutely fantastic. I know I can ask any question or come running in with just a couple of swatches and walk out with exactly what I need. 
They are carrying so many types of batting, I don't think it ever occurred to me what it was like to have a selection to choose from, I can't wait to try out the beautiful bamboo batt they have stocked.
I just realized that I totally forgot about backing.... Good Grief! LOL

Passionately throwing my stash around looking for suitable backing material.... Til next time


Thursday, 1 November 2012

The Second Longest Week of my Life

Definitely not what I wanted to hear.

Note: This is not a happy, joyful post and it contains very strong language.

The last couple of months have been extremely hard, damn difficult as a matter of fact and frankly I am tired of wearing a smile on my face so I can pretend that everything is hunky dory. I've known since this summer that things aren't going well and we just got confirmation last week that my Mom has cancer in her spine and now I am waiting another week to find out if she has breast cancer on top of it. God dammit, I hate this disease.

I wish I could talk to someone who understands what this is like, but I am under constraint to not talk about it to friends and family until all the information is in per my Mum's request and I am (mostly) abiding by her wishes. 
Here in blogland I am safe enough to speak my mind and pour out my heartsickness, for personal reasons none of my family other than my husband know I blog, and a few select friends that know I blog are already in the know or not part of my family circle.

I am so fucking angry I just want to beat the living hell out of something, how many times do I have to face this? I lost my Mother-in-law to lung cancer, as a matter of fact the first day I met her she had got her news. I remember I came in the house, my husband had gone down to the basement for something and she looked at me and then through me and I think she knew that I was going to marry her son. Armed with that knowledge I was the first person she told, and she asked ME if she should tell her son, that was in July. Come November she was nearly gone, My hubby and I got married next to her bed November 23 2003 and she died at 5am the next morning. 
Then we had to face cancer again in the form of Leukemia with our 18 month old daughter for just about 4 years of treatment and now it's my Mom.

I don't know if my shoulders are big enough to bear this burden right now, and I know it's going to be me who is taking care of her and my dad through this, don't get me wrong I am definitely not complaining about that, I still have them both and I am grateful, whatever they need I will take care of. It's just that I am afraid that I might break down when they need me the most, not only am I having to face my Mom being sick, I am also having to deal with a custody battle for my eldest daughter and having to shore up the rest of my familys' needs. I can tell you I am not looking forward to telling my daughter's that Grandma has cancer and the sad fact is they bloody well know what that means.
I guess I can safely say that I am feeling very alone at the moment and I really don't feel I have anywhere to turn to for support. Usually my hubby is a rock but this time I think it's too much for him to take, my parents have become his surrogate parents and the timing is terrible too, November is usually hard enough for him because of losing his Mother so I don't think I'll be able to ask him to help me with this too much.
I also don't have many friends left, most of the people whom I considered friends disappeared when my little girl had cancer, not that I was too terribly surprised by that. Most people don't understand how insular you become simply because it's necessary, how could I plan anything, even a coffee date when inside of 15 minutes we might be at the hospital or on a STARS airlift to the Stollery in Edmonton? It was also very difficult to plan around her blood counts, if they are low the least little sneeze could put her in hospital for a month or ICU.  For crying out loud I couldn't even get my dentist's front desk administrators to understand that, no matter what I did or showed them they still persisted in trying to charge me $75 fee if I missed my appointment without notice!
The other side to that is the simple fact that my head space is completely different than that of most people my age, it's hard to connect with someone who is complaining about not being able to afford the second vehicle or cell phone when you are simply grateful that your daughter survived one more day. I can't help but see these things as petty and unimportant and they can't understand that.

Now that I've completely depressed you with my tale of woe, I think I can move on to my quilting news. For obvious reasons I've set aside all other projects to work on my Mum's quilt:


Designed by & Image provided by:

You know they say, there is always a reason for everything, even though I planned to have my Mum's quilt done for Mother's Day, there was always this persistent little voice in the back of my head telling me to get the fabric ready, what to buy and I should do it right now even though we can't really afford to do it right now. (That's what credit cards are for right?! :D) 
Over the years I've learned to listen to that little voice even if it means a little hardship for a couple of weeks, it usually knows what it's talking about (good ole' sub-conscious). 
Of course I am (as usual) very glad I listened, I've got everything I need and some good motivation to get it done.
The fabrics I selected, only to realize that I am missing 1. I need a good contrasting center square, and hopefully I have something in my stash that will work even if it is severely lacking in blues, teals, greens, creams and muted pinks. Which of course is the color palette I chose lol.

A couple of the different contenders so far, but I think I am going to have to dig deeper.

Passion in creation & life.