Sunday, May 30, 2010

The babies are out playing!

It's hard to remember that it's still only spring when we've had such HOT summery weather.  We were pleasantly reminded this evening, while Hubby and I sat on the back deck and watched the new baby squirrels, newly emerged on the scene, chase each other around the yard.

Some loud cheeping drew out attention to this little babe:

And while I was out on the deck, I finished stitching the last of these seven GFG blocks(?) together.  I've got 18 made now - - I wonder how many hundreds I'll need to make a quilt?  The hexagons are 2" tall, but I haven't thought about numbers it will take to complete an actual quilt - I'm just enjoying the process.

The bathroom reno/demo from hell continues.  A little snag today: seems the vanity we chose is too big to allow comfortable use of the facilities without buttering up one's hips, and raising the arms as if on a thrilling roller coaster ride.  Forget completing the 'paper work'.  There seems to be a solution, and everyone seemed to be standing around wondering what I thought of the solution, but without ever telling me what the solution was.  I just mumbled "okay" non-commitally, and am hoping for the best.  I got the paint this morning, as commanded by the powers that be, so I think that means I'm going to be painting sometime in the near future, and that feels like a good omen.

My computer has been acting up.  This does NOT seem like a good omen.  Oy.

Took a Yard Sale Virgin Out Yesterday

Hubby and I took a friend of ours out to learn about the culture of the yard sale.  We had a BLAST!

I can't recall getting anything too exciting yesterday - a mug here, a magazine there, but it was just so much fun watching her lose her mind over all the bargains. 

Fortunately, there were three street sales, so we could just walk from house to house, while Hubby followed up behind us with the car so we could load it to bursting.

The bathroom demo/reno of 2010 is coming along.  Walls are up and mudded.  The floor tile is drop dead gorgeous.  My soaker tub is heavenly. 

Friday, May 28, 2010

Went to the Quilt Show

I went to the International Ploughing Match (I can't help it...I can't spell ploughing's not right) Quilt Show today in Shedden.  I was excited to go, because I knew that the work of many of my fellow guild members would be hanging, and many of them winning ribbons as well!

I'll share a few photos - don't want to spoil the show for those who will be going tomorrow. Here are a couple of my favourites:

I don't know the maker of this gorgeous quilt.  The applique is stunning.

But I do know the maker of THIS one!  Heather H. ohhhhhhhhh....if only I could have stepped just a smidge further back, I could have captured the borders of this.  I think Heather's School Houses were my favourite quilt of the whole show.

And I know this one's maker too!  Pat O. used a Cross-Stitch pattern to create this quilt, each 'x' represented by a 1"x1" square of fabric.  Literally thousands of pieces, and months and months of work went into it, and the whole guild enjoyed watching the birth of this beauty.  Notice the ribbon on it?  Seems I saw at least THREE of Pat's creations with ribbons on them.  OOPS!  Did I let the cat out of the bag??

A Seven-Shirts Workshop

Kathy of Kathy's Quilts requested permission to use my design for a workshop at a community centre, just an hour or so up the road in Cambridge. Of course I was thrilled that she liked it so much, and only hoped that her group enjoyed it, and  would send a photo.

Here it is!

Now is the time to be looking for shirts.  It's yard sale season, and church rummage sale season.  Thrift stores are charging WAY TOO MUCH in my humble opinion - but of course, I'm CHEAP!

This group had a recently bereaved widow among them, who had requested a project in which to use her husband's shirts.  That's such a lovely tribute.

Thank you for the photo and update Kathy!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

My Calender is Opening Up

Today is the final day of my class in Child & Adolescent Therapy. WHEW!!!  Now I just have two night classes for the next two months - Mondays and Wednesdays.  It feels like the doors of the jail are swinging wide open!

Wanna know what's been inspiring me this week?

A Quilting Life is a blog that I regularly look to for quilty inspiration. The particular post I've linked to included a link to printable hex templates to English paper piece Grandmother's Flower Garden, and another link to the EASIEST tutorial to cut, baste, and stitch GFG patches that I've ever seen: Sew Many Ways.  I really enjoy having a bit of handwork to drag around with me, particularly now in the nice weather when I like to be outside as much as possible.  So I've been digging through my stash of vintage scraps (ie: ugly old fabrics) and whipping up GFGs all weekend.
Even the centre limey centre hex of each flower is vintage.  I like the effect of fussy cutting the fabrics with stripes.

I received my regular quarterly shipment of Mr. B's Preview Pack last week, containing about 40 or so charm squares from Michele D'Amore's Word Play collection. I immediately had an idea for these charms! 

In other news:  the bathroom demo/reno is coming along.  We at least have a toilet again.  (Let's just say....things were pretty PRIMITIVE around here for a couple of days) The tub is also in, and the floor tile is down.  Next is walls I suppose.  But at least my IMMEDIATE needs are now being met.

We had an interesting event the other night.

At 3:00 a.m., Itty Bitty gently shook me awake, "Mom, the police are here and they want to talk to you."

My immediate thought was...omg, someone stole my car, went on a joyride and crashed it somewhere. I jumped up, a little woozy from the sleeping pill I had taken before I went to bed, pulled out my ear plugs, and made sure my boobs were tucked in my nightgown (sometimes those things can get away on you, ya know?).

Me: What's going on?
Constable: Just your tax dollars hard at work.
Me: What?!?!?!?
Constable: Someone in this house dialed 9-1-1.

Hubby and Itty Bitty had already been talking to the police for a few minutes before they got me up, and one of the officers checked the phones.

Apparently it was a quiet night in the ol' town Tuesday night, because there every cruiser on my street, and every cop on duty on my porch, I reckon!

One of them asked Hubby, "There's nothing 'domestic' going on here, is there?"  To which Hubby replied, "Well no, not until you wake my wife up!"

After the police left, we wondered aloud how the heck this had all happened.

Me: Maybe Gibby did it.
Hubby: Ya, check and see if his food dish is empty. 

You suppose Gibby narc'ed us?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

What's been inspiring me?

Heavy pic load, watch out dial-up folks!

In the spirit of taking 'the pledge', I thought I'd share some of the things that have been inspiring me.

In an effort to declutter, I pulled some pages from magazines of photos that really 'spoke' to me before tossing the leftovers into the recycling box

First - I'm loving the quilt on the shelf in this photo.  It looks like a great "Leaders & Enders" project to me, so I've collected together some 3.5" bright plaid patches, harvested from recycled shirts. I also pulled out a vintage white muslin sheet but have to cut it yet.

I found this little piece of ephemera folded inside the sheet.  It was brand new, still in it's original packaging, but I barely have a conscious memory of the Walker's store uptown.  So I'm guessing this sheet has been in someone's linen closet for at least 40 years or so. It was a thrift store find from some time back.

I am inspired by this re-do of a cabinet. In fact, I like it so much, I picked up a cabinet at a thrift store early this week, and it's on my back porch waiting for some new legs and a paint job.  When it's done, I'm going to stack up fabric behind the glass doors.  I went looking for some "vintage" feely wallpaper to cover the back of the cabinet, but not any luck yet.  I'll keep looking!  I also like the pillow in the chair, and have been searching online for printable melon templates to copy onto freezer paper.  Again, no luck, but I'll keep searching. 

This soooooo inspires me.  I love it when someone takes the most ordinary thing (which could be picked up on the side of the road!) and reborn into something unique, stylish, and useful!  I don't have room in my laundry room to use something like this - but I wish I did.

I really like this Log Cabin quilt's pieced border.  I'm almost tempted to draft this quilt and recreate it with recycled shirts.  The borders remind me of Bonnie Hunter's "Scrappy Mountain Majesties".

Yesterday, I did un-sew and re-sew Courthouse Stars.  (I will have to wait for the rain to stop before I can take a photo of it.) And afterwards, took all the leftover scraps and pieced them into long strips to work into the backing of the quilt.  I simply melt for pieced backings! 

I picked up a big box of vintage quilt patches at a yard sale in Petrolia a few weeks ago.  Last night I tossed them in the wash.  As I press them into some semblance of order over a process of a couple of days, I bet I'll become inspired.  (Oh...if only I could find a printable template for melons!)

I went to an estate sale of a quilter/knitter/crafter this morning.  I paid $1 for the Hobbs batting, $5 for all the thread (that one big spool of Gutermaan on the top of the pile would have cost me more than that!)  and $20 for the stack of fabric.  Each print is between 4 to 6 yards, and will be good for backings for future quilts.  When the rain slows down, I am going to go back to have another look.  It was just too difficult to look with everything under tarps.  I need two hands to shop!

I also got several cans of Krylon spray paint (a whole bag full at $1.50!) at the church sale next door so I can freshen up a few treasures.  I recently got two gorgeous baskets that will be lovely once I've given them a coat of paint.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Process Pledge

I'm taking the pledge! QUILTERS: Read it. Do it. Live it!

"I pledge to talk more about my processes, even when I can’t quite put them in the in words or be sure I’m being totally clear. I’m going to put my thinking and my gut feelings out there."

Reading Rossie's thoughts about the need to share the process resounded with the social worker me, who has had to take up a practice of journalling emotional processes in order to bring to consciousness my own processes, and thereby learn how other's might be processing their STUFF on a preconscious level.  (Thank you Dr. Freud)

I've also been reading quite a bit about moving closer to your creative self as a way of improving ...well, lots of technical brain stuff... and getting an understanding of the hows and whys of one's personal experience of the creative self, rather than focusing on the output, the externalized representation of the creative self.  Interesting, interesting stuff.

The first thing I'm going to do, fresh from taking the pledge is to stop stiffling the urge to jump into new projects.  Why should I starve my creative self? Consciously, I think that I don't deserve to embark on a new creative experience because I have so many projects that are in an unfinished state.  The only one judging my pile of UFO's is me.  But not any more.  I'm not going to appologize for starting new projects, and yet at the same time, I'm not going to rob myself of the satisfaction of completing things either.  Balance!  I believe there is Tao in Quilting.

Here are some questions Rossie posted to get us in a plege state of mnd.
  • Do you have any new sketches to show?
  • Is this design inspired by a past quilt or someone else's quilt you saw (link, please)?
  • Does the color palette come from somewhere specific?
  • Are you trying to evoke a specific feeling?
  • Is this quilt intended for a specific person? How did that inform your choices?
  • Are you following a pattern, emulating a block you saw somewhere, using a liberated process, or totally winging it?
  • What are you hating about this quilt at this stage? What do you love?
  • Did you push yourself to try something new?
  • In working on the quilt, are you getting ideas about what you might want to try next? What? Did you sketch it?

Childhood in a Changing Social Context - - and a bunch of other stuff.

I'm doing a presentation on emerging new presenting issues in child and adolescent therapy related to the changing social context with three other "mature" students next Tuesday. The topic I'm going to be focusing on is "Nature Deficit Disorder". Could be complete CRAP, but interesting to me from my current perspective.  I remember being outside alllllll the time when we were kids, playing with toads, digging holes, playing in the gullies (even though mom said to stay out of the gullies because the gully rats would get you). 

I was laying in bed this morning thinking about games we played a recess.  Anybody else play Eenie Clapsy against the school wall with a red, white, and blue rubber ball?  And Have a Cup of Tea, Sir with that ball in a knee sock?  I think it's time to resurect Miss Lou Lou Had a Steamboat.

The good news is...
There wasn't significant structural damage caused by the water leak. 

I'm still brushing my teeth in the kitchen sink, and shampooing Itty Bitty's hair (I swear he has enough hair for two golden retrievers) in the laundry tub.

So, it's a long weekend!  No specific plans, except homework, of course.  I have a presentation to do on Tuesday, and course readings that I'm waaaaaaay behind on.  Hubby and I are probably going to Ikea this afternoon to pick up the vanity for the bathroom, although it doesn't look like it will be needed for install until well into next week.

Wanted to share this link:


Very interesting!  I'm going to try to participate with the challenges this summer as time allows.  Take a look.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sometimes it rains in my dining room....

Okay, so we've KNOWN there is an issue with some kind of water problem in the bathroom since the second day we moved in here. Let's just get that straight from the get go.

  1. our house is 97 years old
  2. bathroom renovations are extremely expensive
  3. we only have ONE bathroom
  4. we lack the comprehensive skills to make this reno happen
  5. we lack the funds to make this reno happen
  6. did I mention we only have one bathroom?
So, ignoring all the very good reasons why we should continue to pretend that water drips through EVERYONE'S dining room ceiling from time to time, and continue to pray hard each time we step into the tub that we aren't going to end up wet, naked, and stunned on the family dining table....the big bathroom demo/reno of 2010 has begun.

Itty Bitty popped all the ceramic tile off the floor with a hammer and masonry chisel last night.  Hubby's brother is coming this morning to remove the subfloor and reinforce the floor joists that have been damaged.  I'm so glad I'm at school until 9pm tonight!

Ugh...did I mention we only have one bathroom? One.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Cat Funeral ... Pardon me while I debrief

On my way home from school this afternoon, I pulled around a corner and was met with a horrific scene of a house cat instantly killed by a van.  There was quite a lot of blood, and the driver of the van was standing on the road, clearly traumatized.

I was about six blocks from home, so I raced home, grabbed rubber gloves, a sheet, a garbage bag and a plastic box and zoomed back to the scene.  All I could think of was the scads of kids in this heavily residential area soon being dismissed from school and seeing the outcome of this accident.

By the time I got back, two neighbourhood men were scooping up the cat with a spade, and depositing him in a garbage bag.  I asked if they knew who's cat it was, and they pointed across the street to a woman standing on the sidewalk (also, very upset, weeping hysterically).  The man asked for my box, and put the bagged cat in it, and carried it over to her.

I asked her if I could help her bury the cat, and she was so grateful for the offer.  She told me she felt completely helpless, and didn't know what to do, and was thinking about her three kids who would soon be coming home from school.

So we chose a place in the back yard together, near the fence in a back corner, so she could plant something over top of poor Gizmo.  We each took up a spade and began to dig.  When the hole was deep enough, I told her I was going to prepare the cat but I didn't want her to look, and she agreed. I told her I thought it was important that he be taken out of the garbage bag, because he certainly was not garbage, and she appreciated the gesture. 

So she stood by the hole, while I talked to Gizmo, and carefully shrouded him in a clean sheet. While I was wrapping him up, I spoke to the cat, "This was an accident Gizmo.  You just wanted to explore the big world out there, and were happiest when you were outside.  No one is to blame here."  Another cat came over to watch me, and I petted him, and said aloud to the cat, "You can say goodbye to your friend."

I carried the swaddled cat over to the hole, and gently put him in his grave.  We quietly buried him, and when it was over I gave the cat owner a hug and talked to her for a few minutes about the sadness of her loss.

Friday, May 14, 2010


What's wrong with this picture? hmmmmmmm????

I did NOT see that I had the courthouse blocks turned the wrong way in the middle row until I saw the photo in the viewing screen on my camera.  Looks like I got some frog stitching to do...Rip it! Rip it! Rip it!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Baltimore Folk Fusion Block #4

Those 13 little fussy cut circles were a pain in the bum!

It CANNOT be Thursday!

This week has just FLOWN by. I'm in three classes right now, and they are each so compacted into such a narrow time frame, that I'll be studying for midterms this weekend! Loving Spring Intersession!!!

To say the least, I haven't had much time for anything but reading, lectures, commuting, and possibly sleeping.  None of these in any particular order, or with particular skill! But it sure will feel good to have these credits DONE before the next semester.

I need to catch up on some missed chapters, and study for the next three days, but maybe I can sneak in a little 'down time'.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

What happened to my summery weather?

It was even too cold to go yard sale-ing!  Hubby turned the heat back on!  I can't believe I was baking in the sunshine last Friday, and now, wearing socks and slippers.

So, we've spent most of the day at home,  I finished piecing the blocks for the extra row on Courthouse Stars, and I've sewn a couple of rows together.  I've also prepped the applique pieces for my 4th Baltimore Folk Fusion block.

Sailor Boy called tonight.  That's two weekends in a row he's called home ~ I am stunned!  We called to wish me a Happy Mother's Day.

No pics today!  How boring!

Friday, May 7, 2010

It's coming together....

I've got the blocks sewn into rows.  It's big, so you are only getting an idea of what it will look like finished (what I could fit into the camera frame!). 

I need to make another row of blocks though.  For some reason, the layout calls for 9 rows of 10 blocks.  That's just can't use an even number of rows or columns when you have a two block design.  So, I've decided to have 11 rows of 9 blocks.  Finished without borders, that works out to 81" x 99".

Yes!  Another repurposed shirt project!  This time I controlled the scrappiness to blues and browns. I like it a lot.  I hope to have this top done before the end of the weekend.

And then what?  Well...I suppose I should get back to my Black & White quilt. Since I picked up all those great fabrics at the St. Mary's quilt show, I have a nice selection of B&W prints, and no excuse not to finish it.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Virginia Bound - top is done! (sort of...)

I haven't fully developed the idea of a border yet.  It's 65" x 80" right now. I like the idea of having a border all made in lights, so that the dark stars seem to float on top of the lights, and then frame it all in with a dark binding.  I might stop right there.  It's a good size for a twin bed, I believe.

So...what's next? oh yeah.  Maybe I should get back to my Courthouse Stars. It's been in a box since November-ish.  It began in September '09.  Perhaps I'll have it complete by Sept '10??

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

So, I'm back to school....

I decided at the last minute to pick up two more half credits this summer.  Thankfully, they only involve a Monday afternoon and a Wednesday evening for the next twelve weeks.  Both of them are Thanatology courses.'re probably wondering: what the heck is Thanatology? It's the study of death and dying.  One class is Children & Death: Theory and Interventions, and the second is Suicide: Theory and Interventions.  I DID NOT want to take either of these courses, but I DID want a lighter load in the coming school year, and these are acceptable electives. But having been to one class already, it's actually (and unexpectedly) quite interesting. I am also starting a Child and Adolescent Therapy half course next Monday morning, but it's an everyday thing, for three weeks -- quick and dirty academia!

In the quilting vein of things, I now have all of my Virginia Bound sub-units sewn together into 20 complete blocks, and all of the foundation paper removed.  Maybe I'll get them assembled tomorrow!

I just started reading "The Household Guide to Dying" (speaking of thanatology...) by Debra Adelaide.

Delia has made a living writing modern household guides. If you ask, she can tell you how to get the wine stain out of your linen, and the proper way to boil an egg. As the book opens, she is not yet forty, but has only a short time to live.

Unlike the many fans of her advice column—people who can't quite cope with dirty shirt collars—Delia knows just what to do. What she needs is a manual —the kind she is expert at writing. Realizing this could be her greatest achievement, she sets to work. But in the writing, she is forced to confront the ghosts of her past: She realizes that there is a journey she needs to make and one last vital thing she needs to do.

Yet just as Delia is coming to terms with the impossibility of her to-do list, an unexpected visitor helps her believe in her life's worth in a wholly surprising way. Witty and uplifting, The Household Guide to Dying is a beautifully written novel about life.

Here's a link to Debra Adelaide's website.  I'm only a half dozen pages or so into it, and I can tell it's going to be a slow read....not 'cuz it's bad, but because the words are laid down in a way to be savoured.  It's truly beautiful writing, and I can't bear to gobble it up all at once.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Thank you Blue Chair!

I bought this shabby old chair at the Goodwill for $14 a while back, thinking that it would be nice to have a comfortable chair in my sewing room, in case one of my boys wanted to come and hang out with old mom and have a chat.

Moms of boys know that it's sometimes difficult to get those young men talking, so I'm grateful that Itty Bitty came down last night, took a seat in Ole Blue, and we had a wonderful and important talk.

Blue, you might have cost $14, but you are a priceless treasure to me.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Oh Lucy, can you ever forgive me girl???

I've been making up for lost time - - much more sewing in the last week or two than many months previously, all total.

I'd stepped away from Lucy (my Janome) for a couple of days.  I was too lazy to wind bobbins, so I sat down to get that chore done today, and decided I should probably give her a cleaning too.  Seemed like a long time had gone by...

Oh Lucy!  I'm so sorry!