Wednesday, September 19, 2012

How A Michigan Library Was Saved

This is such a cool little video about how the citizens of Troy, Michigan used a reverse psychology campaign to save its library. I love it!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

This Weekend's Garden Tour

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Quilt Lables Done!

 Now these two quilts are really ready for delivery.

For Alyssa and Tyler's wedding quilt, "Hugs and Kisses", I used 4 half square triangles that were left over from the trimmings and then, because I've made the inclusion of a "hankie label" my signature, I added a little embroidered corner from a hankie in the middle. I wish I'd had a hankie with a teeny tiger lily on it, but nope and I wasn't prepared to embroider one myself.

For Uncle Reg's quilt, "90 Squares of a Curious Nature", I used the corner of a hankie that featured red roses, since Uncle Reg is famous for his rose gardening. If you're wondering about the name of the quilt, it refers to the fact that there are 90 squares (for a 90th birthday) and the fabric line I used is called "Curious Nature". Fittingly, Uncle Reg just happens to be a curious guy ... so perfect!


Click on the photos to see close-ups.
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Hugs & Kisses - My First BIG Solo Quilt

I'm linking this post up with Craftbuds "Craft Book Month". This quilt I made was based on a pattern called "Coming Home" from Camille Roskelley's book, Simplify. Camille's pattern was for a table topper sized quilt and since I wanted to make a queen sized quilt, I adjusted up the size of the pieces a bit.

Mom and I made a big quilt for Josh and Noelene last year. Mom did all the machine sewing on it. I mostly did pattern and fabric selection, cutting, marking, pressing, and hand applique. Many years ago Mom and Dad helped me make a quilt for Cheryl and Richard for their wedding. I did all the hand applique and a lot of the hand quilting but Mom did all the machine sewing and she and Dad did a lot of the hand quilting. Kevin even quilted a whole large rose by himself, too! Mom has always been key to the little bit of quilt making I've done ... until recently. It's time, don't you think?

This is the first large-sized quilt I've made ALL BY MYSELF ... well, except for having it longarm quilted by Lynnette of Ladybug Longarm in Saskatoon.

I'm very pleased with it and it was a good learning experience. I struggled with matching points and learned that my quarter inch seam was not quite exact. For Uncle Reg's quilt, which I made after this one, my quarter inch seam was much more accurate, making things a lot easier.

Can you see all the X's and O's in the quilt? I liked the idea of hugs and kisses for a wedding quilt and that's what this is. The bride's wedding colours were orange and pink so I picked a bunch of random fabrics from my collection in those colours and threw in some purples and a little yellow. With the colours being so "girly", I tried to pick fabric designs that weren't otherwise "girly" and I tried to tone down the overall effect by using Kona Tan as the background fabric. I used scraps to make the pieced border and I bound it with a purple fabric I found after the top was finished. The back is just a sandy colour with an overall large white modern flower graphic.

All I have left to do is add the label and deliver to the bride and groom. The wedding was at the end of June so I'm only a little late. I'm quite sure they don't read my blog so this will be a surprise for them even though I've shown it to the world ... or the eeny bit of the world that might think to check my blog. Ha!

The first photo (the one at the top) shows the colours most true, I think.

Quilts Stats:
Quilt Name: Hugs & Kisses
Size: 74" x 84"
Fabrics: A random mix of quilting cottons, most of which I can't identify by designer, and Kona Tan for the background fabric. I don't recall the names and designers of the back and binding fabrics. Sorry.
Pattern: A variation on the "Coming Home" pattern by Camille Roskelly found in her quilting book, Simplify. Ultimately, I "winged it" when it came to my cutting dimensions. I wanted my squares to be bigger than those in the pattern since my finished project would be much larger as well.
Surface Quilting: Lynnette of Ladybug Quilting. She did an overall swirly design that gives a lovely texture and movement to the look of the quilt. I like what she did very much. I chose a thread colour for the surface quilting that closely matched the background fabric colour. After Lynnette started, she felt that a darker thread would be more effective and I'm glad she went with that. She was right.

I'm so very pleased with this quilt and I hope the newlyweds are pleased with it, too.  Well, of course they will be, if for no other reason than I made it just for them, though I think it's very pretty, too.

Next? Wee Robert's quilt. He turns 1 right away and I still don't have his quilt made. I hope to get it done pronto and then I have two other quilts I would like to get done before Christmas.  That's certainly ambitious for me ... work gets SO in the way of my quilting progress ... but I'll see what I can do.

I'm taking a free motion quilting class starting this Monday at Periwinkle Quilting. I'm excited to learn how to do the surface quilting using my own little Pfaff Tipmatic that I've named "Jo" after Joanne who was its original owner and for which I've been MOST grateful. I don't think I'll ever tackle a large quilt using my own machine but I hope to be able to do my own surface quilting on smaller quilts.

As always, just click on a photo to see a bigger version.

Addendum No. 1:

I finished the label for Alyssa and Tyler's quilt so I'm putting the photo of it here to keep all the photos together. For the label I used 4 half square triangles leftover from the trimmings and then, because "hankie labels" have become my signature, I added a little embroidered corner from a handkerchief. I wish I'd had a hankie with a tiger lily on it but I didn't and I wasn't about to embroider one myself.

Addendum No. 2:

The quilt has been delivered into the hands and hearts of its destined newlyweds.
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Back At Last ... With A Quilt Finish

It's been a long time since I blogged. I took a vacation from blogging and, for the most part, a vacation from thinking and worrying about cancer and preventing it from coming back. That doesn't mean I threw caution to the wind. On the contrary, I'm perhaps even more vigilant. Having more energy and a clearer mind makes a big difference. It wasn't a conscious choice to push cancer to the back of my mind, it was just a natural progression given that finally, over three years since I was first diagnosed, I finally feel almost "normal".  I finally feel mostly well. What a welcome change. I contribute a lot of how I feel to the powdered greens I started taking at the beginning of March. They changed my life and with the feeling mostly returned in my feet, I have a physical confidence that I didn't before ... because I used to fall over for no good reason when I least expected to.  So, when I started vacation in July, I joined a gym and started a diet recommended by my Naturopath.  I'll talk about all that later but for now, I want to "show and tell" about one of the quilts I completed this summer.  I'm so pleased with myself!

This quilt is for Uncle Reg (my mother-in-law's brother) who turned 90 this year. He's quite the inspiration with his good health, energy, humour, and attitude. He's had a really incredible life that has taken him from a modest Saskatchewan farm, through World War II as a pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force (remarkably surviving several crashes), family life with three daughters, and now grandchildren. He still golfs and curls and both cheers and curses the Roughriders. He's also famous for his gardening expertise, roses in particular.

I won 6 one yard cuts of this fabric (that I just love). It's Curious Nature designed by David Butler. I won it directly from Westminster Fabrics who produces this particular line of FreeSpirit Fabrics. If that sounds complicated, well it is. Fabric companies seem to often be that way I find. And don't even ask me to explain that David Butler designs under the "brand guise" of "Parson Gray". That confusion all aside, when the fabric arrived I liked it so much that I bought fat quarters of the complete line. It's very masculine fabric and, for whatever reason and before I realized it was Uncle Reg's 90th birthday this year, the fabric reminded me immediately of him. So ... good reason to make the man a lap quilt. I picked out the blue/oyster/cream/black toned fabrics from the line for this quilt. I envisioned photos on the quilt so I undertook figuring that out. It turned out to be challenging and time-sucking but, ultimately, I'm very happy with how they photos printed onto fabric. I'll explain how to do it and include several tips in a later post.

Kevin's Auntie Eileen volunteered to embroider the strip with the words, poppies and roses. She has a fancy embroidering machine.  Kevin's parents and Reg's daughters provided the photos for me to work with.

I had the quilt longarm quilted by Lynette Hankewich of Ladybug Longarm Quilting (Phone her at 306-270-9484). She just quilted in the ditch so as not to quilt over the photos. She did a great job considering "stitching in the ditch" is not so easy on a longarm quilting machine. Perhaps I could have quilted this by myself on my little Pfaff Tipmatic but I've never machine quilted before and I didn't want to start on this particular quilt.

I pieced the back of the quilt using what was left of the six 1 yard cuts that I won.

I used all the fabric scraps pieced together for the binding and I included a strip of red fabric with fleur de lis on it for a touch of red. I do like a touch of red. And this is Canada after all, so a nod to the French is always in order.

All I have left to do is add a label and deliver it to it's owner. I hope it will keep him warm when the air is chilly. The above photo (the one on the park bench) shows the colours in the quilt more realistically than in the other photos, which make the quilt look overall more "blueish" than it really is.

I was very lucky to have Sean stop by to hold the quilt up for me. Sean's Mom is a quilter, too. He and his brothers and his Dad are all closer to 7 feet tall than 6 feet, so they are every quilter's "best friends". Prior to that I tried to take photos of it all by myself at various places on campus. Not too bad for a solo effort, I guess.

Quilt Stats:
Name: "90 Squares of a Curious Nature"
Size: 54" x 69"
Fabric: Curious Nature by Parson Gray (David Butler), one charm square in the middle of the quilt that has various synonyms for "home" on it and is from Sweetwater's Hometown fabric line, and Kona Pepper for sashing and borders.
Inspiration Quilt: Chrysalis by Heather D at the "Crafting ... Blog"
Longarm Quilting: Lynnette of Ladybug Longarm Quilting in Saskatoon
Particulars: The quilt has 90 squares representing 90 years. Photos were printed using an Epson laserjet printer and Epson ink and I used cotton inkjet sheets from Electric Quilt Company available at Periwinkle Quilt Shop in Saskatoon and PeachTree Quilt Shop in Regina.

I didn't use a pattern but, after looking at the "inspiration quilt" and knowing charm packs were used to make it, I used 5 inch squares (a good choice because I could get two 5" square photos out of one cotton photo printer sheet), and 1.5 inch strips of Kona Pepper cut to 5" and 6" lengths. The squares have black borders on 2 sides only and then you just turn every 2nd square to get this jiggy look. If it hadn't been for struggles with my first attempt at printing on fabric, this would have been a very quick and easy quilt to put together. It's worth noting that if you decide to make a similar quilt, prepare all the fabric squares first and then lay the whole thing out and figure out where you're going to put your photo squares because that will determine where you put the two sashing pieces on those. You don't want to end up with upside down photos!

I like how Sean's sneakers peak out from under the quilt.

Click on the photos if you want to see them full sized. 

Addendum No. 1:

I finished the quilt label and just so all the photos about this quilt are in one place, here it is. I used the corner of a handkerchief that features red roses since Uncle Reg is famous for his rose gardening.

Addendum No. 2:

The quilt is now delivered and, with blessed happenstance, the quilt colours match Uncle Reg's decor perfectly! I'm so pleased about that.

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Monday, September 3, 2012

A Weekend With Meghan

Meghan spent the long weekend in September with me and we had so much fun. It makes me miss Hannah and Luke all the more because we did all the kinds of things I would have done with them when they were Meghan's age. Kevin was away for the weekend so it was just Meghan and me.

What did we do? Well, so much!

We went to the fireworks along the riverbank both nights. We just walked the 4 blocks from our house to Rotary Park. The weather was so nice. We lay back on a blanket on the grass among thousands of other happy revelers and enjoyed the show. We could see so many people gathered on the other side of the river, too, many with glow-in-the-dark accessories. The fireworks were set to music and we ooohed and awwwwed ... after which we went for ice cream. The first night we went to Homestead on Victoria and the second night we went to Jerry's, which is where we went for dinner one night, too. I must say, I prefer the ice cream and gelato selections at Jerry's. I'm never disappointed. I ordered the chocolate covered goji berry ice cream at Homestead and honestly, there were just TWO chocolate covered goji berries in the whole otherwise boring vanilla cone and they were so hard, I was worried I'd break my teeth on them. They should have just called it Vanilla with Two Rocks.

We went to a 3D movie, ParaNorman. I didn't realize it was 3D until they handed us the glasses at the gate. I'd never been to one before. It was FUN! Meghan wore some of her knew clothes that we found while shopping that day.

We toured the University and looked at lots of the buildings and green spaces.  We had dinner at Fudruckers. We watched a late night movie on tv.  We had smoothies at BoosterJuice. Meghan's was yummy. Mine was gross. Gross because I tried one of the veggie/fruit juices instead of a yummy smoothy. Hannah probably would have liked it but I really patted myself on the back for enduring almost the whole thing. There was a lot of ginger in it which is surely good for me but made me feel a little "ick". Meghan tasted it and she thought I was a real trooper, too.

We went to the farmer's market and looked at this and that.  We had hoped to try a macaron but they were all sold out by the time we got there. We did have a nice little lunch before we went SHOPPING!

Yes, we shopped. Just the Midtown Mall but we pretty much wore our feet out there. It was really, really, FUN!

And Sunday, before we headed out of the city to give Meghan back to her real family, we stopped at Crave (the cupcake shop) on Broadway and behaved like total princesses.

I do miss having kids around to do those things with but I'm awfully glad to have a niece who seems happy to indulge me!
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