Sunday, April 27, 2014

Quilters Like Authors an Analogy

It's Sunday afternoon and I am taking a well deserved rest....supper is simmering, my exchange student is doing his homework, and my house is tidy.
Very early this morning I finished reading the latest book in the Clifton Chronicles by Jeffrey Archer!  
Mr. Archers' books are not written fast enough for me, unfortunately I am one of those who cannot seem to put an Archer Novel down until it has been read from cover to cover on the day I open the cover and read the Prologue.   I am sorry I didn't make myself put it down and treat myself to this series in portions, but, I do this to myself all of the time!
Since being introduced to the Author and his particular writing style, in the mid 70's with his first novel, "Not A  Penny More, Not A Penny Less"  followed by "Kane and Abel"   I have read every book written by Mr. Archer and in truth I never seem to tire of his storytelling.    His style of writing keeps me page turning until its' ending and then as is usual for me,  I am sorry I read it so quickly.
This latest book "Be Careful What You Wish For"
finished with another of Mr. Archers' cliffhangers.  The 5th book in this series is not due to be published until 2015.  Darn, it is simply isn't fair to have to wait so long to read the next installment of the Clifton and Barrington families.
Are you an avid reader?  I read 3 books on average a week and am running out of those brilliant Authors who write in the style I so enjoy reading. I so enjoy good fiction! 

To me a quilter is like an author, dissecting the plot (pattern) and painstakingly putting it back together, piece by carefully constructed piece.  Then when it has finally been pieced together as in a Quilt Top, the characters are able to stand on their own merits as does a quilt.   I imagine it is as much an adventure for the author as it is the reader and so as it is with the quilter. 

A quilter explores which quilt block(s) to piece together, which color pallet to chose, then painstakingly assembles the quilt.  Block by block, row by row, choosing the setting of the blocks also becomes an adventure in and of itself, should it be straight rows, or should the blocks be set on point, the all important quilting motif and all the while not too certain if your going to like the end result when the top has finally been assembled.  
This is how I felt when finally I began piecing a quilt from a pattern I had discovered in a McCall's Quilting "Quick Quilts" magazine from 2000.  When first I made the Quilt from a pattern designed by Linda Augsburg Stirratt which she named as "Autumn Nights".
Actual Magazine Cover
My rendition of that quilt turned out to be as beautiful as the one made for the magazine, and when it was completed I was very excited and thrilled I had made the correct fabric choices for it. 

Last year I was asked to make something for another fundraiser and while trying to come up with something which I thought might generate some worthwhile funds, I dusted off this pattern and set about constructing the top. 
I confess while I was in the piecing phase I wanted to rewrite the pattern by adding something different to make it my own,  so I changed the border design, thereby making it a bit different than the one in the article.  I was not happy while it was in the construction phase, I really thought I was lacking oomph and not nearly as nice as the pictures of Ms. Stirratts' quilt.  When I finally finished it I managed to like it,  I wasn't as thrilled with this one as I was when I actually made the first one.   
While critiquing it I discovered that to my way of thinking my focal fabric (the main character) should have had more color and movement.  However, in the end, when I finally saw it hanging, I agreed I could allow myself to like it just a bit. 

This is why I like to think Quilters are in some ways similar to being Authors.  Setting the plot and planning the main characters, then adding the supporting cast and giving them a life all of their own.  Choosing color, texture and how to set it before adding the final chapter of the Borders and how it should be quilted and then the very important ending, the binding.    
I am not certain many will agree with my analogy, but, it is what it is. 

Thank you for stopping by to visit with me today, in some small measure I hope what has been written will be of some useful meaning to you. 

If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it.  ~Mary Engelbreit

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Done and Dusted

I made it, all of my Spring cleaning is done and dusted!
I also have a visitor in my home for a week, a Chinese Exchange Student, he came from China to improve his English language skills and go to University.  His Homestay mom is on her way to Paducah, Kentucky, which is Quilt City, U.S.A..  This is the Annual Quilt Show and Convention week and thousands attend this event from all over the world.......One place I would love to visit and which remains not crossed off my Bucket List. 

This link will take you to pictures "Scenes from the AQS - Paducah Annual Quilt Show and Contest" and this link will take you to read all about the "Eleanor Burns Tent" and the activities taking place with Eleanor and the Quilt In A Day events.
I am never certain which is more popular, Quilt Market both are so significant in their popularity.

It is at these venues where new ideas in quilting are placed before the buying public, new fabric lines, new quilting methods, new quilt patterns, new quilting notions and tools and all are shown off and demonstrated and eventually end up in the quilt magazines and quilt books we all covet and enjoy and make great uses of. 

Seeing as it is vary wet, dark and gloomy today and I am physically exhausted from my cleaning and getting up to get my guest student off to school in time, I believe I will treat myself to a nice fresh brewed cup of coffee (made from the coffee my cousin brought me from Holland this past summer) Mmmmmmmmmm, a few slices of toast and then sew for the rest of the morning and into mid-afternoon, at which time the school bus will be returning my guest and my free time will no longer be mine..

One last note, I made a new bag for Toddler and Preschoolers to carry their personal little toys in.  I am waiting to see how well it is received at my Etsy Shop
before investing in more of the large zippers I have used before ordering more.  I did however order lots more zippers from ZIPIT. IF you want a great zipper, contact Jennie from Zipit, she'll give you terrific service as sends me exactly what it is I want without problems and carries all sizes, styles and colors.  Now that I have my new supply of zippers and zipper pulls I can get busy and make more bags....

 I also have more donated fabric and am also sewing special little bags with zippers for a fundraising event this coming June....A young family lost their home to fire and a fundraiser is being organized to assist them with building materials...I have given myself enough time to make at least 75 to 100 which when sold will also become my donation...I get great satisfaction out of being a part of my community.

Thank you so much for stopping by and visiting with me on this dull and dreary day today, knowing your out there fills my heart full of sunshine. 

The difference between try and triumph is a little umph.  ~Author Unknown

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UGH! Spring Cleaning Resumes

Good Morning to you!  

I spent yesterday with our Community Kitchen Group not far from where I live and it was fun. Community Kitchen was instigated by our Church not far from where I live.  It is held every third Wednesday of the month. This is when the group meets together, cook together and share the meal we cooked, socialize and often a Speaker will attend and give a talk on something of  interest to seniors or about programs which might be available to us living within the community.  Before our group breaks up we set aside time for a Prayer Circle, the best time of all, communicating in fellowship with God thanking Him for our Blessings and asking for help for some in the community who are in need of Gods' Blessings of healing. 
Some months ago, we had a speaker in from our Community Health Services giving a talk on simple and safe exercises we as Seniors could perform for ourselves and it was during that talk she gave each person who wanted one a pedometer  (a step counter). 
As a group suggestion after the talk and during our shared meal we thought it might be nice to add up our collective steps from each counter and decide just how far a distance those steps would take us, had we been actually walking, lets say to the next town, or another province, or a place in the United States, or even across the ocean to lets say Paris, France or London, England, of Dallas Texas - get my drift?  Then having decided where it was we might have ended up with our combined walking steps we would plan a meal indigenous to that place. 

This month our collective step count took us to New Orleans, Louisiana. 
 What we knew would be an easy dish for us to try would be a "Gumbo" which we all agreed  was an authentic dish which Louisianians eat.  So a Gumbo dish is what we decided to cook and share!  We made two simple and easy versions, one a chicken gumbo the other a shrimp gumbo, both were so delicious!  I even tried Okra and Hot Sauce for the first time....Mmmmmmmm it was so good.

By the time I arrived home I was totally worn out and with company coming for a week this Easter Sunday, I made a start on the balance of my Spring Cleaning.  Did manage to get all of my cleaning supplies ready for today,

 I simply did not have the physical resources to start actually cleaning, but, this morning bright and early, I made my move on the master bedroom. 

My spare room is where I have all of my fabrics, sewing machine, etc. set up, but, now it is all going to be arranged differently.  The thought of moving all of that fabric is mind boggling!  However,  I am going to move all of my sewing essentials into my master bedroom and sew in there.  This move will allow for my spare bedroom to be available with just the occasional cleaning being needed and for me to sew no matter who is visiting.

My house looks like a tornado has been through here, there is not a space that isn't being taken up with things and furniture waiting to be placed, what a mess I have made.  There isn't even a place to sit where it is free from clutter and all things I have been moving around.  Thank goodness  for throw rugs, I can just push those little rugs under the furniture and slide them from one room to another...doing the move this way and at this rate I should be finished by Saturday, hopefully leaving me enough time to gather my wits about me and have a relax before company arrives...LOL

Guess you've heard enough about my spring clean and I hope I haven't tuckered you out as well. Hopefully tomorrow I will have better news to share...Lets see how far I get today!  Though I admit in all honesty I am wishing I had not even begun this chore cause I am feeling rather lazy with this daunting task in front of me...


Life's problems wouldn't be called "hurdles" if there wasn't a way to get over them.  ~Author Unknown

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Yesterday, Monday, began nice and bright and oh so humidly warm and I began dreaming of a moving my sewing machine out onto the deck and beginning a new project while soaking up the sunshine I hadn't really enjoyed since last September!    As is usual for me,  I made my first cup of coffee, played my begin the day game to get my fingers and reflexes limbered up (for those who suffer with Arthritis, you'll know what I am referring to), and by then it was time to feed my flock of birds, sweep off the deck from left over seed spillage from the day before, and generally tidy up my humble abode and then hit the sewing room.  NOT to be, nope, the rain came and took away that beautiful day I thought would be and when I finally sat to have my second cup, I spilled it all over the floor and me!

I did something so dumb and I am kicking myself for even contemplating it.  I actually took a finished tea cozy I had made and thinking it looked too plain, thought I could quilt it.  Dumb, dumb, dumb!!!!  So last night I sat picking out the unsightly mess I had made.  I learned when not feeling very well, I should leave well enough alone!

This morning can you believe it, snow!!!!  I cheered up a lot when I received this in my mail box and enjoyed it so very much I am thinking you might enjoy it too, especially if you were born in the 50's or 60's!  Head on over to You Tube and watch this delightful video, it's filled with nostalgia!!!

This entertaining video got me thinking of quilting in those by gone years.  Of course I was young then and quilting never entered my thoughts, I was too busy being a teen and Elvis was king...
Lets see, this picture 
was used for this interesting article about Extension Homemakers clubs in the 50's , where quilters would gather in Quilting B's, make quilts, raffle them off and with the funds from those raffled off quilts would put that money towards helping local groups, such as sending local children to college, or assist in fundraising efforts in their area.  You can read more of this interesting article here
Here is a fashion item which I found 1stdibs.  I grabbed this picture just in case it ends up being removed because this item sold. 
Here is the write up for it, "Incredible muted metallic silver vintage 1950s dress with a quilted skirt and classic fit and flare 50s silhouette. The dress features sleeveless sleeves, a high neckline, and glitter buttons up the back. It is unlined with rear zip and button closure. Side pockets." 
I don't remember seeing such dresses away back then, you must admit it is absolutely beautiful, this close up of the quilted motif shows just how beautifully quilted it was!  Too sad there is no mention of who designed or quilted this wearable fashion quilt works.  
In the early 20',30's,40's and 50's Quilt Exhibitions at County and State fairs all across North America were the place to showcase quilters hand quilting skills and many a quilter vied for a ribbon on their entry which they may have labored over for more than a year, maybe even longer!
I found this interesting picture 
The last picture I would like to share with you is this wonderful green cocktail skirt 
found here at Viva Vintage Clothing which I suspect was somehow machine quilted or possibly even mass produced look at it close up 
apparently it's label says "Joyce of Chicago".  I tried to find out more of this possible "Fashion designer or fashion company" but came up with nothing more than this wonderful photo from Viva Vintage Clothing. 
I admit, I never ever thought about quilting and fashion before I began quilting as sewing my own clothing was something I never learned, (no home economics classes where I went to school were offered).  Even today, I can piece and sew a quilt top, but ask me to make a simple article of clothing and that somehow is quite beyond me. 
This trip down memory lane was spurred on because wonderful nostalgia the video from You Tube  so inspired me to think of those years when I was a carefree teen who would rather go to dances and play baseball rather than investigate the possibility of learning what could be accomplished with a piece of fabric, a needle and some thread...
Now it is time for me to bid you a fond adieu for the day and re-introduce myself to my sewing machine and make the effort not to attempt something dumb like I attempted yesterday, why I would even contemplate quilting something all ready put together is beyond me!  Have you ever done something you deemed DUMB?
Have a simply marvelous day today and come back for a visit soon.  

Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.  ~Author Unknown

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Great Weather, Good Friends and Fabrics

Wasn't yesterday (Saturday) a very pretty day?  I enjoyed my day thoroughly because one of my most favored 4 legged fur friends Buddy
came to stay for several hours while his Humans were on a short trip.  It was so lovely we spent the best part of the day out of doors and when we came back, together he and I watched the 3rd round of the Masters.  When Buddys' humans returned they brought with them a very special treat and a surprise gift for me....and don't you just know it was fabric!!!!!  What a fantastic beginning to a wonderful weekend, great weather, good friends and fabrics, what more could a quilter want!

Buddy and his owners had spent the last three months down south in the warm climate and surroundings of Arizona and of course they chose the most gorgeous of fabrics as a gift for me, so I am going to share these with you today!

"Fabulous Felines" by Laurel Burch
"Flying Colors II" by Lauren Burch
"Kokopellies" designer Unknown

"Fiesta" by Lorilynn Simms a part of her Salsa Picante series

Another  from Laurel Burchs' "Fabulous Felines" Line

I have since been dreaming of what I can use these wonderfully bright and cheerful prints in!  It is wonderful to have such generous and thoughtful people as friends.  Least ways, this special  fur friend Buddy and his Human owners are on the way to becoming very friends. 

Can you believe it, I turned down an invitation to go out for a meal this evening!  I know the Masters won't finish at supper time, and to have watched it these past four days and not to watch the finish would be so unfair.  My favorite player is still in the tournament, so, I sincerely want to sit here and root for him.
Near time now to turn on and tune into the last round of the Masters, so I'll wish you a wonderful Sunday afternoon doing whatever it is your doing and hope you'll come and visit with me again. 

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Phew!  I have been busy this morning doing something I really wanted to take care of but didn't plan on it starting it today, Spring Cleaning!!

I am washing bed linens, curtains, windows and cleaning my floors when really I think I should be sewing....
I have the wash hanging outside and it's dried already, what with the heavy winds we are getting here today it took no time at all to dry.  I am anticipating that delicious scent on the bed linens and how nice it will to climb between those scented sheets tonight when I finally make my way to sleep!  Finally I think Ms. Spring is fighting with ole man Winter to make her appearance and from the look of it today, she might finally be winning.

Do you do that?  Begin something you totally hadn't planned on starting! 

In the back of my mind I thought I would make a start at the spring cleaning next week, but then the Masters Golf Tournament 1st Round begins today and I really, really want to watch it all the way to its conclusion this year.  One of these years I might just visit Augusta.  Georgia is so beautiful at this time of year, with its shrubs and flowers as well as the forest of trees are always filled glorious color.  

I have acquired some golf themed fabrics from an estate sale, sort of vintage wouldn't you say?  I really wanted to buy the Bernina 850, but someone beat me to it....

I did make a few bags from this vintage fabric and a few even ended up being listed in my Etsy Shop.

Now I am creating a carry bag for little boys made from firefighting themed fabric.  Thought I might make one so that their little cars could be stored in there for any out of the house trips or play dates.  Little preschoolers love to carry their favorite little play toys with them, so I am attempting to make a medium sized little carry all for preschool boys and girls.  Little girls love to cart their little princess toys and dollies too.  What do you think, might these be a hit?

Time for me to bid you adieu and I hope to see you here again.  

May flowers always line your path and sunshine light your day.  May songbirds serenade you every step along the way.  May a rainbow run beside you in a sky that's always blue.  And may happiness fill your heart each day your whole life through.  ~Irish Blessing

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Bags, Bags, Bags!

My oh my, but it is still very chilly in my neck of the woods today!  Only 3 degrees Fahrenheit....hopefully it will warm up as the day progresses because I just turned up the heat and would dearly love not to hear my furnace for a long time.  

I have a wonderful covered deck and cannot wait to get my sewing machine out there so I can soak up warmth and sunshine while I am busy making inventory for my online Etsy Shop.  

Last Thanksgiving a fundraiser was held to assist a young man in our town who'd been involved in a nasty automobile accident wherein his sustained injuries left him as a paraplegic.  This is the quilt I made and donated for that fundraiser.

As I now live alone, I have more time to devote to my online shop at Etsy!  For this purpose I have made lots and lots of quilted bags all types and colors.  This pastime was so very therapeutic for me and I am thankful for the increasing skills the making of these bags have helped me to acquire.  Sometimes I have done the dumbest things and have become quite proficient at "frog-stitching"! 

I think this Cosmetic Bag turned out well. 
 Or, how do you think this tote-purse turned out?

Armed with a new order from (zippers) I have been going non-stop making inventory for my online shop also at and for a shop in nearby resort Town of Gananoque!  

Come the Victoria Day long weekend it will experience an influx of returning visitors as well as many new tourists.  If your planning a trip up our way you'll see some of these bags in Donevan's, a long renowned business in Downtown Gananoque.  Over the past months the proprietor and his daughter have been remodeling the old store to make Booths available to local Artisans to display and sell their handmade articles to the public on a full time basis!  
Mary Donevan of Heirloom Creations sells her therapeutic magnetic jewelry there and people flock to buy her one of a kind pieces, all made from beautiful porcelain china tea and dinnerware no longer coveted by people anymore.  

It's time I say cheerio for today and get back behind the sewing machine.  Remember if your up around the 1000 Islands area, Gananoque is a town to visit and discover and the St. Lawrence is right on our doorstep.

Become a possibilitarian.  No matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, raise your sights and see possibilities - always see them, for they're always there.  ~Norman Vincent Peale

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Rainy Day here in Eastern Ontario and an Art Quilter

It has been raining here since early last evening.  Throughout the entire night I could here the rain dropping on the roof and splashing against the windows, such a wonderful sound. This soothing song of the rain is wonderful and is washing away the mountains of snow which covered our area since late October, and since I have been yearning for Ms. Spring to show herself, the rain is a welcome visitor. 

While surfing through the Janome site seeking information, I came across this wonderful quilter, Terry Aske, of Vancouver, B.C. and was thrilled to see her read all about her Art, actually, her Art Quilts.   Co-incidentally one of her art quilts depicts people standing/walking under umbrellas on a rainy day....Did you know she has completed over 100 quilts?  Amazing!! 

"Rainy Day People"   

The one quilt shown in this particular post, which blew me away was "Even Trees Get The Blues".  So meticulous, so very beautifully created and quilted.  I fell in love with this piece.  Then upon reading further I came across her 3D "Rainy Day People" art quilt.  what a wonderful use of her choice of colors.   Finishing this particular post written about Terry by Liza Frica for Janome I followed a link provided to Terry's personal site where you can personally become acquainted with her by clicking here.  It is here you will get a look into Terry's studio and become familiar with her and how she approaches her works of Art in the medium of fabric, color and texture.  

Time now for me to sew my way, never will I be a Terry Aske, or a Bonnie Hunter, but I satisfy myself and this is what matters to all people who craft in one medium or another, don't you think?

Thank you for stopping in, I hope you enjoyed your visit and if you have the time bookmark Terry's site to experience some visual art through Terrys' Quilts and her thought process. 

Each day comes bearing its own gifts.  Untie the ribbons.  ~Ruth Ann Schabacker

Monday, April 7, 2014

A Beautiful Day is Unfolding

Monday Morning and a most beautiful day is beginning to unfold!  Though the weatherman has been giving out weather warnings for our area, apparently we are to expect a mixed bag, guess Winter is having a dust up with Spring!  I am just grateful for the weather at this moment as it is lifting my spirits.

I can remember a day in 1965 when on April 17th it snowed!  Here I was all decked out in pink lace and tiny pearled pink pumps, a cute little velvet hat (can you remember wearing hats?) in church while waiting for the Bride to arrive for her special day....close to fifty years ago that was and those two will celebrate their 50th next year.  

What took my thoughts back to that day was not just the weather which looked so promising, just as it does today, but to the beautiful Double Wedding Ring Quilt the Bride and Groom were given on that day.  Back in the "Olden Days" as my grandson would say, married couples waited until after arriving from the church as newly weds to open their wedding gifts. 

The one gift I remember watching them unwrap was the most beautiful Double Wedding Ring quilt made especially for them by two of the Brides' Aunties.  It was the most perfect of gifts.   I can remember thinking how wonderful to be under that cover all deliciously warm and cozy.  

While this quilt pictured was not the quilt my friends received, it really did resemble this beautiful quilt pictured here.  

Imagine, two women sitting together for close to a year hand piecing this beautiful traditional quilt pattern, then finishing it with hand quilting.  I believe that quilt is still alive and well today...

Have you noticed, the movement towards a trend in the Quilt world during these past few years?  A new trend is making a statement in what is being called Modern Quilting. With the most technologically advanced sewing machines,  Fabric Designers with their visionary designs not just in the fabric lines, but in Design, the relationship between color, texture and movement!  

Awhile ago I stumbled across "The Quilting Edge" a blog by Marianne Haak, whose blog is too interesting not to visit each week and just take a peek into her Gallery and there you will find the most interesting quilts with colors that jump out and grab you. 

Time to wish you a marvelous day, I'm gonna grab a fresh coffee and take myself off to my sewing room, I have something to create! 

C'Ya tomorrow?

A cloudy day is no match for a sunny disposition.  ~William Arthur Ward

Saturday, April 5, 2014

It's Been Far Too Long

I realize I have been away for close to a year, BUT....I have been exploring my personal life which has not been an easy task for me.

Now, after such a looooooooong winter and Spring might actually be on the horizon, I think I am ready to once again take part in the activities I so enjoyed a year ago, and blogging was one activity I really enjoyed.

Since just prior to last Christmas I have been making a concentrated effort in applying myself to my Etsy Shop in an attempt to not only quilt and sew more, but as a hoped for alternative to increasing some earnings.  

Now I am finally up and running full time on Etsy and finding that a regimen of working at the sewing machine during the daytime hours is good, and helps me to focus on getting through each day and not stressing over those things which I simply cannot change or fix. 

I realize it has been too long, but I am hoping you will welcome me back into the Blogger Fold and come visit when you have the time.  I so missed being here but there you have it, Life Happens, as so many are want to say!

I have finished a few quilt tops, a baby quilt, finished and sent, and many, many cosmetic bags, pouches and totes as well as purses, many were made from my fabrics which I actually quilted myself.  Unfortunately buying prequilted fabrics just isn't economically feasible for me, so I have done the next best thing. 

I made this Baby Quilt using only scraps from long ago projects, one of which was Winnie and Friends, it is now being loved to pieces by the little man I sent it to. 

Two quilt tops pieced but not sandwiched or quilted are the Scrappy 4 patch top and the Scrappy Half Square Triangles.  Now to get the gumption to actually get these finished. 

I really apologize for taking so long to return to blog land and I sincerely hope you come and visit again. Meanwhile my wish to all who visit is to have a wonderful weekend...