Thursday, December 14, 2006

It's Melting!

Sigh. Almost all of that snow has melted :( Now it is so dreary outside. They are now talking of a
green Christmas! I think I'll post some Christmas decorations to cheer myself up! The soft tree pattern I got from Little Birds (November 22, 2006 post) or go to the soft tree group on flikr . They are fun, quick and easy.

That's Jack from Nightmare Before Christmas at the top my tree and I also have a set of Simpsons Tree Lights. It looks cool when it is lit up, but in the photo it looks a little spooky :)

This is my Simpsons figurine tree. It lights up! When I was little, we used to have a porcelein Christmas tree that lit up. This reminds me of that, only this is way cooler!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Walk to Work

Indulge me folks, as I post a few more Winter Wonderland photos of my walk to work. It's sunny now and the snow is already melting. This all could be mud in a few days!

Snow Day!!!

I ran into neighbours, Kevin and Lilly, tobaggoning at the end of the street on my way to work. That's what you're supposed to do on Snow Day!

Winter Wonderland

Sorry about the gloves in front of the lens. I discovered, one should take the gloves off before clicking the photo! It would have been a great photo, too.

At the Store

We're open!!!Take that old man winter!!!

Friday, December 08, 2006

First Snowstorm!

I am supposed to be on my way to work, but this is my unplowed street! We woke up to 2 feet of snow!! I am serious! See photos below! My cheeks are still burning from being outside shovelling. I thought I should make a path from door to street in case of emergency. I always walk to work, anyway, so digging out the car isn't a priority, but if we do get that warm weather that's going to change that light fluffy snow to heavy snow, to ice, ugh. So I cleared the top of the car. The city buses are not even running yet, so I doubt there will be a line up at the door of my store, but I will get there in due time to shovel some more! I had to blog these photos first! We haven't had this much snow since the blizzard of 1977! They call this the 'lake effect'; I believe the snow develops over the great lakes and then comes inland, in this case over Lake Huron.

To my in-laws: We are holding your car hostage and you cannot get it back until spring...or at least until the weekend where the temperature is to go up to 6 or 7 degrees Celsius!

This was the view from my back door. In the top photo, that's a four foot fence on the right. The bottom photo is my gate buried in snow!
If you guessed this was a photo of me up to my thighs in snow; you were right!!!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Dutch Sampler

This is my Dutch Sampler wallhanging. The pattern idea I got from APQ #71 (12/04), Dutch Doll Quilt. The fabric I bought was a bundle of 4 inch square fabric samples, the centre fabric and binding were from my stash. I made up my own centre design, which I cross-stitched. I love old cross-stitch samplers. I made up the 2 cats myself, one black Spike and one brown Suske.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

What have I done for my quilting lately?

I've been busy, but no photos to show for it. First I have been reading Liberated Quiltmaking by Gwen Marsten. I thought I would check it out since it seems to be inspiration to many. I found it at the public library, but had to put it on reserve because it was out and finally I received my email saying it was in! woohoo! It is an amazing book! But am I a liberated quilter? Sometimes, I think. I think my Spike quilt comes pretty close; it was made with scraps and although I arranged it on the floor I didn't have a pattern, just an idea. My Lest we Forget, I just made it up as I sewed and that was a new challenge. But I have to confess there is a part of me that wants my colours to match, and I have a compulsion to plan my scrappy quilts. I am trying to pull things from my scraps and just sew to see what I come up with. I've made one creation so far, but I am planning to dig in some more.

Other 'quilty' things I've done....I've hung more quilt stuff up in my house, and I like it. It makes me smile to see my stuff hanging on the walls. Also I have been going through all my magazines trying to figure out what to do with my Dutch fabric. I like the fabric so much I am afraid to cut it :(, but I think I've narrowed it down to a few contenders. I also finished a tea cosy for my mom's birthday. oops and I forgot to take a photo of it.....Oh and I cleaned my sewing room! what a mess! You'll always know I am thinking about a big project when I start cleaning! The music I am listening to lately while cleaning and quilting is David Gilmour's On an Island and Dave Brubeck's Greatest hits. Partly because they're the only 2 CD's my stupid CD player recognizes right now. And of course I blog and I read quilting blogs.

Next, I think I will have to dig out the Christmas quilts and start decorating for christmas. I am not sure if I will put up a tree or not. I have been bringing my artificial tree to the store and decorating it there. It is a very unusual tree, full of Simpsons and comic book decorations! With no kids at home or even visiting, I find I get more pleasure from it at the store.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Spike Quilt Completed!!!!

Here it is! I am really proud of this one! I think it captures the essence of my Spike, as you can see by the following photo!

Also, thanks to Tonya and her free hand fans idea for hand quilting. It worked well on this piece.

"Personally, I don't see the resemblance; I am obviously taller, and my whiskers! Where are my whiskers?"

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Friendship Offerings Wallhanging

Here's the finished top of the Friendship Offerings wallhanging, that we did in Cynthia's workshop. The colours I chose are much darker than Cynthia's cheerful brights, but I fell in love with the outer border fabric!

Here are 2 close-ups of the applique. Cynthia taught us needle turn applique using freezer paper (leaves) and fusible web applique (petals of flowers), and we made bias strips for the stems using a 1/4 inch Clover brand bias maker. What a wonderful tool! I used a blanket stitch around the petals and Cynthia taught us a lovely feather stitch, which I used radiating from the centre of 2 of the flowers.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Backstage Pass part 2

This photo was just sent to me today! Myself, Cynthia Tomaszewski, and Christine.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Backstage Pass

On Thursday, Cynthia Tomaszewski, was the guest speaker for our LFQG meeting. Cynthia is the designer and owner of Simple Pleasures, a pattern company which markets over 50 different quilting designs. She's published 2 books Garden Party: Applique Quilts that Bloom and Tea in the Garden: Quilts for a Summer Afternoon, published by Martingdale and Company. She and her family have traveled extensively throughout the world and currently lives in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emerites.

Her talk was inspiring! Her motto is "Quilt where you are planted", and it was reflected in the story of her year living in Indonesia. She formed her own group of quilters, in a country where there were no quilters; she imported the tools needed, when there were no tools; she arranged to have tools manufactured, when it was too difficult or expensive to import. Overcoming a language and cultural problem, she arranged to have 50+ quilt hoops made for her quilting group! When there was no batting, she found a bra factory that could supply her with what her group needed! She's a woman that doesn't give up!

On Friday, she gave a workshop on applique techniques. I wasn't really sure I wanted to take this workshop. The wallhanging was nice, but it really wasn't my style. I was wrong to be hesitant, because this workshop was like a backstage pass to meet the band! The other message Cynthia has, is that quilts are about people. They are about the people you meet, the stories they tell, the memories you have. And that is what I got from the workshop. I met a wonderful lady who passed on her experiences and knowledge about quilting; I enjoyed the comraderie of my fellow quilters, and picked up so many tips that are etched deeper into me because of the experience I had. It was better than just reading it from a book.

I've posted a few photos below from the workshop. Later I will post a photo of the completed wallhanging.

Here is Cynthia in front of the class holding up her wallhanging. It was a great opportunity to have this intimate workshop!

Cool door prize, that Cynthia donated! Inside it contained a pair of scissors on a handmade string of beads and a small pincushion made by palestinian women! I'll hang this pincushion with one I have from Hungary....I just might start a collection of pincushions around the world. cool!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Quilt Show part 2

Here is another one of my entries into the quilt show. They are not good photos, sorry. I call it Lenore, Butterfly Hunter. Again, I took it from a Lenore comic by Roman Dirge. Lenore, with her butterfly net and baseball bat in the top frame (it's called extreme butterfly hunting!), and her mounted butterfly prize in the bottom. I also wanted to try out some butterfly blocks that I saw in Quiltmaker magazine (issue May/June '01 #79), these ones are only 4 in square instead of 6 inches. The top photo is a close up I made before I had completed it; the second is from the show. (I haven't figured out how to manoevre the photos, they never seem to go up on the page in the order I want them :( ) ....also you might have noticed a Lenore lunch box...I now use that for my sewing kit which I bring to workshops....I always get comments like, oh my daughter would just love that!... I guess I'll never grow up!

Here is another one of my entries in the quilt show: 'Gord's T-Shirts'. I made this quilt using my husband's old t-shirts, some flannels and I used a cheap fleece throw blanket for the back, so it is really warm! It was thick enough it didn't need batting. My hubby's office is the coldest room in the house, so he needed a warm lapquilt. I got the idea from an old Fons & Porter magazine, issue May 1996 (egad!) Sew Many Quilts. The top photo shows a close up of the label I made for the back of the quilt, that pic of the queen was on the sleeve of the Sex Pistols shirt.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Harvest of Quilts

Here is myself and my quilting buddy Christine (right). We volunteered for a shift at the welcome table at the London Friendship Quilters Guild 'Harvest of Quilts' quilt show. This was our first show with the guild and we had a great time! Christine entered 6 pieces in the show and I entered 4 plus the challenge quilt in the show. There were over 200 entries! It was amazing. We currently do not have a web page for our guild, but there are many proposals, for getting our guild onto the net. I have suggested having a blog for the we'll see what happens next.

Quilt Challenge

My aunt and cousin pointing to my prize (!) winning quilt! Our guild is celebrating its 25th anniversary and the challenge was 5x5 (or 25). There were 21 entries and mine was chosen for first prize by the guild members! (It's my first ribbon!) There are 5 rows of 5 blocks, 5x5 inches each. Row 1 are trees to represent London ( which is also known as the Forest City); row 2 are hearts to represent 'Friendship'; row 3 are spools to represent 'Quilters'; row 4 are hands that represent the members of the'Guild...London Friendship Quilters Guild...row 5 contains the Guild logo block and the anniversary years.

Circle of Life

This wallhanging is my own design. I bought these neat japanese fabrics from Kallisti Quilts. The animals I chose are pulled from the fabrics and are dependent on each other in the 'circle of life'. When I hand quilted this one, I chose shadow quilting because it is like ripples in a pond. I designed a type of chinese coin pattern to link the four blocks together. I originally designed a baby crib quilt for a gift, but reduced it to this wallhanging when I decided on another pattern for the gift.

This wallhanging is based on a comic book by Roman Dirge, called Lenore (the cute little dead girl). If you cannot find death amusing, this comic book is not for you! I loved the cover of his first collection and thought that I could adapt it for a Halloween wallhanging.

Here's a good photo of my cousin (right) and myself (left) on our last night together.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Winter Wheat

Well, my cousin has left for the Netherlands, today. sigh. It was such a brief but fun visit! Unfortunately, we had pretty lousy weather, but we still managed to do lots of fun things. This will be the first of a few posts of the visit. First, the weather...ugh I think it was sunny for about 2 hours the whole time she was here, it rained a lot, it even snowed and hailed once, but we still had some fall leaves left on the leaves as you can see from these photos.

This was our visit to Winter Wheat in the small town of Sparta. It is owned by folk artist Lucy Ogletree and her partner Mike. The store is surrounded by a grove of pine trees and corn fields. Amongst the pines you will find chain saw sculptures like this rabbit and his clocks "where time stands still". Other sculptures include a crow playing the piano, and along the highway the fenceposts are angels with halos lit with christmas lights! After exploring the store and the grounds you can pause for complimentary tea and cookies. It was a delightful, warm experience! I highly recommend it!

It was so nice! Winter Wheat offers 2 small houses in which you can sit and have complimentary tea or coffee and cookies. In one, my tante Janny relaxes and enjoys her coffee in the cosy, warm studio, and the gang (Marjon, Dad, Tante Janny, & Mom) stands outside the front. This house was decorated with original Lucy Ogletree art.

My Dad sits inside the glass house, made of recycled windows.

Here's a view of the driveway back to the highway, with the studio tea house to the left.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Echt Hollands

WooHoo!!! My cousin and my aunt have arrived from Holland! And catch your breath, these are the lovely fabrics they gave to me! (I am soooo spoiled!) Real Dutch fabric! And guess where they bought it! At Irma's Sampler Patchwork and Quilt Shop in Haarlem, where a certain Lucy works!
It's such an amazingly small world with the internet!

Can't write much more, have got to explore Ontario with the family!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Quilt Envy

We had our guild meeting on Thursday, and as usual it was inspiring as well as depressing! Nancy Trowbridge (?) gave a wonderful trunk show. Apparently she teaches many classes on quilting, so many of her quilts were designed to teach specific lessons. They were great! The depressing part is to see how many quilts these people have. I look at my paltry collection and I wonder where all my quilts went! I know, I know, I've given them away as gifts, mostly baby quilts. It's a good thing most of my friends have stopped having children! My new goal is to make and keep quilts for myself! (I've highlighted it to remind myself)

My four entries into our guild's quilt show are all wallhangings. So I must try and make another bed-sized quilt. I've only ever made one in the 10 years of quilting!

Also, I must tackle the UFO's: there is of course the Spike and Suske quilts, the remembrance day quilt, an old sweatshirt I want to dress up, my NBX (Nightmare before Christmas) quilt...I've drawn it out by hand and on EQ5 and have the fabric, but haven't started cutting....also a basket full of sampler blocks. I would go through my quilting magazines and see many nice quilts, but wasn't ready to make a whole quilt, but I wanted to try a block. I got this idea from one of the magazines, this lady would try out all her blocks on Christmas fabric and then turn those blocks into a christmas sampler. Well I decided I didn't want to use Christmas fabric so bought a bunch of Debbie Mumm fabric that I liked at the time and did my samples in that. The problem is I'm not as crazy about the fabric as I once was. So I think I should finish that one up and start a new bunch of samplers....maybe this time in batiks... or should I pick a theme, maybe not christmas, a colour theme, or a season, autumn,...hmmm ?

I think I'm going to make fabric postcards for Christmas, this year, too!

There. No more quilt envy, I've got a plan!

(next post: the best laid plans of mice and men...)

Monday, October 09, 2006

Here is my Remembrance day wall hanging, as promised. I was crazy to get this done, and worked at it all weekend. It was a glorious Thanksgiving weekend! It was sunny and warm. I managed to get a lot of things done as well as this wall hanging. I washed and put away all the lawn furniture and table. Cut back the wild perennials and even planted daffodils! Also managed to eat 2 yummy Turkey dinners! Thanks Mom and Mom-in-law!

As for the wall hanging, it is not exactly as I had originally pictured it in my head. But it was a totally improvisational effort. I started with the wonky letters and they were hard to do!(By the way that "F" is an F and not a "P", there is just a dark spot on the light fabric, which makes it look like a P in the photo) The letters were a bit bigger than I expected. I was going to put 'lest we' on one line, then the poppy, then 'forget', but 'forget'was big enough! So I rearranged them that way. I like the green fabric that I picked it an army green tone to it. I am thinking this could be good in wools, perhaps even made from old army uniforms....hmmm, something to think about.

Next photo is an update on the Spike quilt, it's looking good I think!

Here is an update on the Spike quilt. As you can see, I've started the free fan hand quilting around the outside. I had a photo of the whole quilt but you couldn't see the detail of the handquilting.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Let Freedom Ring

On September 22, 2006,as an expression of thanks to Canada and its Armed Forces, the Dutch community presented London with this Carillon for their role in the liberation of the Netherlands and Belgium during World War II.

The memorial consists of 3 sections. First, 18 bronze bells suspended on a large stainless steel tower decorated with a spiral of maple leaves. The bells were cast in Holland. The bells will chime on the hour, year round and can be programmed to play any tune. Second is a granite sculpture at the base of the bells that show the location of Canadian Forces cemetaries in the Netherlands and Belgium. Third, a beautiful garden was created to encompass the site.

The money to build this memorial came mostly from donations from the Dutch community in this area.

My mother took the following photos when she attended the dedication ceremony. My parents are originally from Holland and also donated money for this memorial to be built. I think my mom's photos were better than any that were printed in the local papers. However, there are some other nice photos of the veterans that attended the ceremony here.