Thursday, December 31, 2009

Peace and Plenty

"The desire for world peace is nearly universal but peace within oneself, the world, home, job, school, neighbourhood, family, and country is elusive and often short-lived. When peace is achieved, it is time to celebrate with a grateful heart. Whenever our needs are met, we have plenty, and another reason to rejoice."

Grateful Heart Sampler

"The Grandmother's Fan is a reminder to be grateful for family, and it represents family roots. Quilts passed through generations become precious keepsakes. If you learned to quilt from a family member, continue that tradition. If you are the first, inspire and teach the next generation. Label your quilts and let them tell your story."

I changed my mind about the fabrics I was going to use for this quilt. I couldn't help myself - - I stumbled on a sale today....FQs for $1.34! I restrained myself, and only bought fourty-one.

Today, Itty Bitty observed first hand that I don't understand the word "no". See, his Ontario Health Card expired a few weeks ago (he turned 16 in Sept, so the province wants his photo on his Health Card now). We drove over to London, and waited in a snaking line-up only to be told that we didn't have acceptable documentation.

The gov't employee gave us a 10 minute speech on how the province was ripped off by people stealing free health care, and not that we weren't entitled to it, we sure as heck had to PROVE we were entitled to it. Then he observed that we OBVIOUSLY weren't paying attention to the explicit instructions mailed to us, and that he would give us a phone number to call.

Now, bear in mind, I've driven 40 minutes, and paid a huge sum to park in a garage across the road. The darn Health Card was expired because the two of attend school full time, and can't get to the office during business hours.

ME (to inflexible gatekeeper): are you going on your coffee break??

I explained that I HAD called the 1-800 number, and that the gov't employee on the phone said we would have to make some sort of report, because we were aware that we didn't have ENOUGH documentation, but that his health card would be renewed, he replied that it was up to the individual official to use their own discretion to determine if he/she would issue a renewal or not, and that the employee on the phone gave us incorrect information.

I told him it was senseless to call again, because OBVIOUSLY the people who answer the phones are less than stellar employees, and haphazardly spew out false information, and to just hand us over to another person, because we were seeing someone you.

We moved on to another gov't type, and she happily allowed us to renew his card, based solely on the documentation we had with us.

On our way out of the office, I stopped at the first guy's desk, gave him a big ole toothy grin, and two thumbs up (very Borat-like "niiiiiiiice!"). Mamma don't take "no" for an answer.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Things I'm Musing About...

I bought a chunk of this Lake House fabric at the Marsh Store, when I visited on Sunday for their post-Christmas sale. I knew I had seen this fabric in a magazine project recently, and thought at the time that if I ever saw the fabric I would buy it. The pattern repeat is about 24", and in that single repeat is 27 different teacups. Very pretty.

Santa put this special issue of McCalls Quilting in my stocking this year, and one of the projects that has really caught my eye is a sampler called "A Grateful Heart" by Lynn Lister

"We should always have a grateful heart and remember and appreciate all of the good that is in our lives....Each block is symbolic of something important to all of us that kindles happy feelings within." Lynn Lister

McCall's reckons this pattern is suitable for a "Confident Beginner"...and Santa also gave me a nice collection of FQs from Moda's Louisa line by Terry Thompson
so I may just have to work away at this.

The cutting and piecing for each block is presented individually, so the quilt takes up 22 pages in the issue. I think I'll enjoy sharpening my piecing skills with these traditional blocks.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Just a few days left


Yep, it's true. Just five more days of holidays left, then back to school!

Yesterday, I spent the day with a group of ladies who gather weekly to craft together, including my mother and one of my sisters. I'm often invited, but this is the first time I've been available to attend. I was the only quilter - - most of them were scrapbookers (who are just quilters in denial, right?)

I finished the last ten of my blocks for the Black & White quilt. I'll be rearranging the blocks before the final assembly, so that the blackest and the whitest are positioned in such a way that will highlight the secondary, and tertiary patterns formed by the blocks.

Unfortunately, what I wanted to work on was the blanket stitching on the ME jelly roll quilt I started on Christmas Day. But somewhere between home and the site of the crafting day, I LOST MY FOOT! Yes, the presser foot for blanket stitching fell off my machine, so that little job is going to have to wait until I find the foot in a snowbank somewhere, or I replace it....or talk someone else into finishing it! ;)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

I could use some opinions...

No, I'm not wondering how to get Gibby to quit chewing on people's feet. He has so few vices, a litte toe nibbling should be allowed.

Such a nice kitty-kitty!
No, I've been working on another quilt top - (which I started about 24 hours ago!) - which is a near copy of THIS QUILT from Natalia Bonner's blog site Piece N Quilt. Take a look at the left hand column of her blog - - lots of inspiring tutorials to be found. "I'm Blushing" is featured on the Moda Bake Shop website, and definitely among my list of to-do quilts, except I think I will use Gypsy Rose rather than Blush.

So, I'm on to the applique part. I've got the flower parts in place, but I don't know whether to blind stitch the down, or use a blanket stitch - - maybe a chocolate brown thread, rather than traditional black? - - what do you think???

By the way, I used a Mary Engelbreit's Baskets of Flowers jelly roll. The applique flowers look soooooo M.E. -- and I used a 2.5" circle for the flower centres rather than 3" centres Natalia used in hers, and centred them, to make them even more M.E. like.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

no...seriously...holidays ROCK!

I've made 14 of these Black & Bright blocks, but no more Black & White (even though one snuck into this photo!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Yeah...holidays ROCK!

I'm really enjoying doing NOTHING! I'm making "puttering around" an art. Let's see...what did I do Sewed, finished reading Julie & Julia, went to the library and borrowed about a dozen quilting books to flip through, baked banana bread with Itty Bitty, and this afternoon, I watched "Inglourious Basterds".

Gotta tell you....I'm NOT a Tarantino fan. Blood, guts, and gore is not among the things I enjoy. This is definitely NOT family friendly. But it was SUCH a good story, and Brad Pitt was fantastic as Lt. Aldo Raine.

Inglourious Basterds begins in German-occupied France, where Shoshanna Dreyfus (Mélanie Laurent) witnesses the execution of her family at the hand of Nazi Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz). Shosanna narrowly escapes and flees to Paris, where she forges a new identity as the owner and operator of a cinema.

Elsewhere in Europe, Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) organizes a group of Jewish soldiers to engage in targeted acts of retribution. Known to their enemy as "The Basterds," Raine's squad joins German actress and undercover agent Bridget Von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger) on a mission to take down the leaders of The Third Reich. Fates converge under a cinema marquee, where Shosanna is poised to carry out a revenge plan of her own.

The ultimate scene is ...oh...I can't even tell you...

My name is Shosanna Dreyfus
and THIS is the face of Jewish vengeance!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Another Day of Stitching

Just a nice relaxing day. Itty Bitty, Sailor Boy and I made a beef stew, and put it in a roasting pan in the oven on low, and the whole house smells so yummy!

Poor ole Gibby cat is all tired out from all of this sewing. He had to take a nap.

I've been wanting to try to make these blocks, which was inspired by a quilt that I saw on Lisa Boyer's blog Dorky Homemade Quilts. I decided to go ahead and make a saw tooth border as I go. I'm using bright nickels (5" charms) from my stash

I completed eight more blocks for my black and white quilt. Ten more oughta do it!

I learned something NEW about my sewing machine! I've owned "Lucy" for over two years, and have never been able to get a perfect 1/4" seam without a real struggle. I visited Joyce's Sewing Shop for the first time. I picked up a couple of fat quarters for my B&W quilt, and as I was checking out, I asked it they could recommend a 1/4" foot for my machine that would WORK!!! "Lucy" is a Janome, not one of the brands that Joyce's carries, but she knew what I was asking about, and took me over to a similar machine, and showed me HOW to reposition my needle. I had NEVER been able to figure it out...but by hitting the stitch width button a couple of times, the needle shifted to the right, and now I can zip right along without a hitch. Seems like sort of a "duh" moment, but by "coming out" - maybe I can help someone else... (how social work-y of me!!! LOL)

I've also been reading. I found a copy of Julie & Julia at the Goodwill book store. It's a really good story! I haven't seen the movie yet, but I'll rent it as soon as I'm done the book. Here's Julie Powell's blog.

"Julie Powell, nearing thirty and trapped in a dead-end secretarial job, resolves to reclaim her life by cooking in the span of a single year, every one of the 524 recipes in Julia Child's legendary Mastering the Art of French Cooking.Her unexpected reward: not just a newfound respect for calves' livers and aspic, but a new life-lived with gusto."

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Some more blocks

I'm up to 18 blocks of my Black & White quilt now. These are fun blocks to make! Another 18 would make a nice lap sized quilt.

I was also able to cut two more of the pastel Spinning Four Patch blocks (the ones I made last night, not today) out of scraps, so now I have 24 blocks. That should be a nice size: 4 blocks by 6 blocks. I've had a very creative day!

I forgot to tell you about my bra story

Two weeks ago, I picked up my new car: a '09 Dodge Caliber in Sunburst Orange. The same day I picked it up, I drove past a sign that said "Yes! We have to the Oprah Bra!" if you have no idea what the Oprah bra is : Here's a link! She did a show all about her favourite bra, and bra fitting make-overs.

Of course, I pulled right in, because there is nothing I hate more in this world than brassieres, but if OPRAH says it's good, it must be good.

I tried on a couple, with the help of a "certified bra fitter" - but the Oprah bra didn't work for me. I kind of fell between cup sizes - one was too small, and the next had big gaps. So the CBF handed me another type of bra and told me to try it, although it wasn't Oprah certified.

It was LOVELY! It fit beautifully, and felt so comfortable. I asked the CBF if she had any more like that one, because I'd like to take a couple. She said no, but would be happy to order a few more for me. I told her I'd try this one out, and call if I wanted her to go to the trouble of ordering more.

Fully dressed, and out to the desk to pay for my purchase, I didn't even blink (let alone laugh in her face, or FAINT!!!) when she said: "That will be $145." I acted like I bought a $145 bra every day of my life.

Later that night, I was at a Christmas party with the staff from the nursing home where I used to work, and I took a few outside to look at my new car. On our way back, I told them all about my new bra.

One girl (after she quit laughing at me) said: "Oh my gosh! You must have won the lottery! How could you afford a new car, AND a $145 bra?!?!?"

ME: I'm making payments on the BRA!

I think I like holidays

I spent the morning just puttering around in my studio, trying things out - - no real project goal in mind. I enjoyed making the Spinning Four Patch blocks last night, so I made some more this morning, and I like these even better, because there is more contrast in the blocks.

(Note to BQF Gail: I got these 14 blocks out of the extra scraps, I haven't cut into the big chunk yet. I did what you said I couldn't now we know ANOTHER trick!)
While I was surfing around yesterday, I stumbled on this tutorial to make "Crazy Four Patch blocks". I'm really sorry this photo didn't turn out so hot - - They really look kinda nice up on my wall.

I did go out this afternoon, to get groceries. But as soon as I got home, the bra came off and it was time for a NAP!

I also have six more Black & White blocks partly done (the QSTs, and HSTs) and ready to whip up together.

QNIC: Quilting Night in Canada

This is what I did last night. Quilty friend Gail showed me how to make these spinning four patch blocks.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Three more blocks, and a "green" tip

Three more blocks for my Black & White quilt sewn this morning. I'm liking this holidays thing!!!

I also wanted to share this "green" tip - - sort of an alternate to the Leaders & Enders a la Bonnie Hunter process. I've posted this before, on my old blog, so if it looks of us is losing our minds. Yes, it's BOOKMARKS made from scraps and used dryer sheets.

Save used dryer sheets, press, and fold them in half lengthwise, and press again. Sew scraps of fabrics to the dryer sheet foundation. When covered, trim to about 3" by 9". I have a lot of black and white ones right now, because I'm using the bits and strips from the Black & White blocks, as I cut the pieces.

The advantage to this is, you don't have to measure scraps, just randomly add them. And it doesn't take long to finish one, and you may soon have a whole stack of them to give as gifts, or donate to a church bazaar.
I'm also thinking, that if you pressed two dryer sheets together, and cut about a 5" square and used that as a foundation, you could make a set of matching coasters in no time. Hmmm....

Monday, December 14, 2009

I'm on Ho! Ho! Ho! Holidays!!!!

I really should CLEAN first - - but just had to sew a couple of blocks. This is a terrible picture, because my flash didn't want to co-operate, so I had to digitally adjust the brightness, and it looks yucky, can see the idea I guess...

Three weeks off!!! Wahooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Just waiting for the stupid library to open.... I thought I'd check in.

Lectures are done for the semester. And I have all of my essays written with the exception of one. I'm pretty sure I can whip it together in about five or six hours - - if I could just get into that library!!!

SAILOR BOY is home!!! He arrived yesterday morning. I can't say I've seen much of him - - since I was still buried under a pile of paper writing, writing, writing.

But one thing I did notice - - Gibby Kitty never came to visit me ONCE last night. He had a NEW person to irritate with middle of the night demands for attention.

I will have to go to school again tomorrow to hand in my final papers, but after that??? I'M RETIRED!!! I am spending every possible second doing whatever I darn well please for the next three weeks! maybe I'm not. I am (supposed to be) starting a practicum placement at a very big high school in January. I'm really excited about it - - it's a fantastic opportunity!!! I asked my (potential) supervisor if there was anything I should brush up on before I start, and she suggested I get a good grounding in adolescent anxiety, depression, and self-harm/cutting. And if I have some time, I might want to get a deeper understanding of issues of poverty, addiction, GLBT, and mental illness.

Did you notice the 'tentativeness' of my last paragraph? That's because it's not etched in stone yet - and I don't want to jinx it! As challenging as it appears - - I can't wait!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The End is Near!!!

I have four more lectures, one presentation to give, and four more papers to write!

It's been a busy week.