Sunday, 27 April 2014

A Lovely April Finish

I'd hoped to finish "Irish Lass" before attending Judi Madsen's workshop earlier this month, but... 

Who cares?   It's finished now!!!!!

The weather outside is frightful, and indoor pictures are less than wonderful, but I must share!

Irish Lass is FINISHED - yay!!!
59" x 71"

Irish Lass has been quilted, rinsed (twice), blocked, and bound.

Here is a "BEFORE" shot for comparison.

This was also "before" I fixed the oops at the bottom edge!

Since going through the wash, the quilt has become extremely soft to touch. It also changed the look of the quilting from smooth and firm, to super crinkly.

Back view

When I stitched the feathers in the border I'd left space at the outside edge for a regular binding,
but then...I changed my plan (sped things up) and bound entirely by machine.
The tips of the feathers are just under the edge. So sue me. Ha!

O my gosh, I love it so much!

In celebration, I'm joining up with A Lovely Year of Finishes at Bittersweet Designs & Fiber of All Sorts.

(I'd set my April goals for ALYoF in this post.)

Next up:

Making a plan to finish an old UFO.

Here goes!

Tried my hand at oil painting at this month's library art night. I'd never touched the stuff before, so there was much to learn.

Did I mention these workshops are FREE? Even the supplies are provided. I love that I can have a little taste of a technique without spending a fortune.

This paint set belongs to the library.

The paint didn't smell as strong as I'd thought it would, and clean up was simpler than I'd anticipated as well.

After learning about various supplies, we dove in and started painting. I'd wanted to sketch on my canvas with a pencil first. Nope, not allowed! I was pushed right out of my comfort zone and into the paint! Glub!

Three painters, three interpretations!
The top one is mine.

Isn't it amazing how the same subject is interpreted so differently from person to person? Delightful!

Oil paint is incredibly strange to work with (it doesn't flow), but fun! My flowers need a bit more work (I got some finishing tips on the way out the door), so I may pick up a student set of oils next time I go to Walmart. At least now I know what to do with them!

Do you like trying new things? What kind of opportunities are available where you live?

Linking up with:
A Lovely Year of Finishes
A Stitch in Time, at Such a Sew and Sew

April Finishes

Anything Goes Monday, at Stitch by Stitch
Linky Tuesday, at Freemotion by the River
Show and Tell Tuesday, at i have to say
Let's Bee Social, at Sew Fresh Quilts
I Quilt Thursdays, at Pretty Bobbins
Needle and Thread Thursday, at My Quilt Infatuation

Try, Learn, Grow!

P.S. I must mention that "Irish Lass" was one of my choices for The Library Project quilt along at Chezzetcook Modern Quilts (where I'm checking in for the month of May with this finish), AND that it was made using ONLY fabrics from my stash, in keeping with my Fabriholics Pledge (which is in effect until the last day of June... but who's counting!) Want to know more? Check out the buttons on my side bar!

Comments are welcome. Thanks so much for looking around!

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Quilts and...Eggs?

"Irish Lass" has been trimmed, rinsed and pinned to the industrial carpet we have in the basement where I blocked it and left it to dry.

Wet quilt, stretched out to dry.
Better pics to follow, I promise!
After the first wash/rinse/extra rinse cycle (no soap), she sat in the washing machine for an hour while I ran errands. I'd thrown a couple of colour catchers into the mix because I couldn't be sure the batiks had been pre-washed, and I wanted to prevent colour bleeding into the white.

A little tip. Attend to rinsed quilts immediately. Do. not. run. errands.

The rust batik (lower, right in photo above) had apparently not been previously washed.

While I was out, it had time to lay against the white border fabric and get acquainted, leaving several orange splotches where they touched! EEGAD!

After the second wash/rinse/extra rinse cycle (no soap, two more colour catchers), the splotches rinsed away. Whew.

After I recovered, I tackled customer quilt #2.

"Drunken Feathers" pantograph suits this quilt.

"Friendship Stars"
Its owner inserted extra blocks into the backing fabric. 

Back of "Friendship Stars"

I took extra care to center the blocks left to right, and top to bottom as that is how they were positioned by their maker.

Oh, and here's a beauty shot of Margaret's stained glass quilt, fresh off the frame. I'm sure you understand why I want to show the whole quilt this time. Talk about perfect fabric choices!

"Flirtatious" pantograph and a quiet gold thread add the finishing touches to this glowing quilt.

What is going on here?

Easter eggs!
When I was a child, my grandmother taught me how to dye eggs using onion skins.

Here, we didn't even take the sticker off the onion.
We had only one red onion, so were using every bit of skin it offered.

Now I am the grandmother sharing with my grandchildren. (*sniff*)

Unwrapping an egg boiled in yellow onion skin.
The red onion skin was disappointing. We liked the eggs dyed using yellow onion skins better. There was more variation in colour and pattern than with the red.

While the eggs were boiling, we made stands for them by recycling the cardboard carton they came in.

We planned to set an egg by each plate at the table, adding a special touch to our Easter dinner.

The more we made, the fancier they became!
That was fun!

Pretty eggs, ready to go in the fridge until dinner time.

If you'd like to try this, here's what to do:

  1. Wrap bits of onion skin around each egg.
  2. Wrap a rag snugly around each egg to hold the onion skins in place...we used j-cloths, cut in half.
  3. Tie with a cord like you would tie a package...though we ran short of cord, so did a single wrap on the last two eggs, and it worked just fine.
  4. Immerse in cold water, and bring to a boil.
  5. Boil for about 15 minutes. The water will turn rusty orange, and that's okay.
  6. Drain the pot and refill with cold tap water - the colder, the better.
  7. Let the eggs cool in the water until you can safely remove the wraps.
  8. Unwrap, and enjoy the amazing colours!
  9. Rub with a tiny bit of cooking oil to make them shiny, if desired.
  10. Refrigerate, if planning to eat them. Alternately, they could be put in a bowl and displayed...but not eaten!
Linking up with:
Needle and Thread Thursday, at My Quilt Infatuation
Whoop Whoop Friday, at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Fabric Frenzy Friday, at Fort Worth Fabric Studio
Show off Saturday, at Sew Can She

Try, Learn, Grow!

P. S. I've added a new page to my blog detailing my longarm services. Click here to see it.

Comments are welcome. Thanks so much for looking around!

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Inside The Gnome House

Several years ago we decided to build a workshop for my husband. While we were at it, we decided to add a bonus room above the workshop.

The Gnome House

When the framing went up, I was standing across the street chatting with a friend. She commented on the interesting roof line.  With two dormers and two blunted peaks, the framing did look most unusual. I looked up and blurted, "It looks like a gnome house!"

Thereafter, I fondly referred to it as "the gnome house" in conversation. Everyone else played along, too.

Shortly after we started using it, wee gnomes began to appear!

They would be waiting by the door for me to discover. Even with a skiff of snow on the ground, there was never a footprint left behind. I was mystified!

Gnomes love nature, music, books...a creative and lively lot!

I collected each one, marveled at the whole puzzling affair, and enjoyed the magic of the experience.

For a while.

Then curiosity began to eat at me. Who was behind this? I considered my husband. I considered my friends and neighbours. I considered each of my children. The gnomes showed up every day, yet the culprit was undetectable.

This friendly fellow (below) marked the end of the parade of charming characters, but I still had no clues.

Sadly, this jolly fellow has since been kidnapped (yes, stolen).
Wouldn't it be lovely if he turned up on my doorstep one day?

That Christmas a strange, lumpy looking bag (addressed to me) appeared under the tree. In it I found "Gnomes World" where these delightful creatures gather to sing, read, play, and craft (and live happily ever after).

 The card was unsigned.


So, now you know how the Gnome House came to be.

Guided Tour

Come on up!

I'm greeted by wee, happy gnomes every day.
My daughter eventually fessed up.
That they came from her makes me smile even more.

This saves many trips up and down the stairs!

My frame is set up in between the dormer windows.
Quilts waiting for attention hang on a rolling rack behind the machine.
Under the window is a little desk, and a TV keeps me entertained as I stitch.

Beyond the frame is our home gym. I love my treadmill. My husband prefers his bike.
To the left of the frame is my tool chest, which I adore!
It's perfect for long arm tools & supplies.

When I'm working, the top two drawers of the tool chest are always open!

Hope you enjoyed the tour!

Oh, hey......I finished Irish Lass today!!!

NOT finished here, I just think this is a pretty shot!

After she's bound and the blue ink is removed, I'll take some beauty shots to share. (So exciting!)

I still had energy left, so I quilted my first customer quilt!!!

What an exciting day, I tell ya!

First customer quilt!

Linking up with:
Anything Goes Mondays, at Stitch by Stitch
Show and Tell Tuesday, at i have to say
Let's Bee Social, at Sew Fresh Quilts
WIP Wednesday, at Freshly Pieced
Fabric Tuesday!, at Quilt Story
Linky Tuesday, at Freemotion by the River

Happy Easter, folks!

Try, Learn, Grow!

Comments are welcome. Thanks for looking around!

Friday, 18 April 2014

Nearing the Finish Line!!!

Yesterday I finally got brave and worked the designs in the feature blocks of "Irish Lass".

Two different designs are used in a total of sixteen blocks. Both designs are surrounded by pebbling.

It took 45 minutes to pebble around this swirly design.
The pebbling is microscopic...I may need new eyeballs by the time I'm done!

Completing each block was taking way too long....I wanted to see progress by the end of the day, so I decided to do the scary (for me) part first...the outlines...and come back for the pebbling.

By the time I reached the last row, I'd become more accurate and my lines were much smoother.

It helped to actually mark the echo line and swirls, and not just wing it.
I had "eyeballed" the echos and swirls in the first two flowers (shown below), but wasn't 100%  happy with the result. After that I started marking everything so I would know exactly where to go.

First two flowers.
Okay, but I knew I could do better!

The light was not good for photos by the end of the day, so no more for now.

End result? Six of sixteen blocks complete. Only 8 more hours of pebbling and I'll be done!!!!!! 

Whoop Whoop!

Last night our Modern group met and started working on scrappy slabs inspired by Cheryl Arkison's technique in Sunday Morning Quilts.

Our WIPs
Don't they look great together?
This was fast and fun! (and I really needed that after a day of quilting tiny pebbles)

We took piles of scraps, sewed things together, squared as we went, and aimed for (roughly) 15 inch blocks. Each of us will use our own blocks, so will square to our own desired dimensions.

Off to finish Irish Lass...See you in about 8 hours!

My companion today.
Irish Lass is one of my 2014 Library Project Quilt Along choices. If you'd like to see more about this quilt, click the label "Irish Lass" in my sidebar. Posts with that tag will appear in reverse order (most recent posts at the top).

There's also a label for the 2014 Library Project if you'd like to see what else I've been up to in that department.

Linking up with:
I Quilt Thursdays, at Pretty Bobbins
Whoop Whoop Fridays, at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Fabric Frenzy Friday, at Fort Worth Fabric Studio
The Library Project Quilt Along April Check in, at Chezzetcook Modern Quilts
Show off Saturday, at Sew Can She

Try, Learn, Grow!

Comments are welcome. Thanks so much for looking around!

Monday, 14 April 2014

This and That

Remember how I've been on a fabric diet for almost a year?  
(I started well before I made the Fabriholics Anonymous pledge in January)

Remember how I recently won a gift certificate from Fabric Spot?

Fabric Spot!   Wheeeeeeeee!!!!!!

My pretties came in the mail today!

Honeycrisp in floral cream, rings in cream, & rings in brown, and Piper Scallop in green.
2 yards, total.

To make the postage worthwhile, I had to add a couple more treats to the package! (It would have been silly not to, right?)

I couldn't resist Hoodies Goldfish in white
one fat quarter
(In case you think I was showing restraint, not so. A f/q was all they had in stock.)

Remember flip books? This is my version, showing a few of the fabrics hidden in my new charm pack!

Lush Uptown Charm Pack


While at Sparrow Studioz for Judi Madsen's workshop I picked up a handful of Glide thread, which I like using in my long arm.

Glide thread

I also grabbed three more pantographs to add to my collection:

Time for more Judi Madsen eye candy!


Metallic thread!

We learned how to quilt these floating shapes.

Fun fillers!

 So cool!

On another note, flooding put a damper on our Guild meeting last week:

This is the parking lot of the church where we meet. At this point, water had been gushing out of an underground creek and into the streets for half an hour. Water poured into the downtown core for approximately six hours, so you can imagine the state of this building by then.

The church basement where we meet was under water.
It is a heritage building and the roof is currently being restored.
Good grief.

This is the street (trust me, it's under there) and the park directly across from the church.
The water kept rising for another five and a half hours after I took this picture.

The name of this street is "River Road".
Yes, really.
So named because it runs parallel to the mighty Peace, not because it occasionally turns into one.

Pat's Creek runs under the streets of town, normally draining into the Peace River (around which our town was built). This year an ice jam blocked the culvert it flows through, so nature found another path...above ground. A number of businesses have been affected, a few homes and vehicles, our live theater hall, and the church. Clean up is already in progress, and people are striving to get back to business as usual.

The same creek caused grief in a different area of town last year after behaving quite nicely since the seventies.

We collectively hold our breath every spring, hoping the Peace, the Heart, and the Smoky Rivers break up without a hitch, but nobody ever thinks of the quiet little creek becoming a threat. (Some of us even forgot it existed until last year!)

How did the water recede? 

The Peace was not an immediate threat, so the Town crew dug a hole in the dike that protects us from that waterway. It was like pulling a giant plug. All that remained was MUD and debris.
(The dike has since been repaired)

Meeting, cancelled! (Glub)

Linking up with:
Anything Goes Mondays, at Stitch by Stitch
Show and Tell Tuesday, at i have to say
Let's Bee Social, at Sew Fresh Quilts

Try, Learn, Grow!

Comments are welcome. Thanks so much for looking around!