Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sunday Stash - A Missouri Virgin No More

Yep, lost my virginity.  Of the fabric store kind.  It's Preeti's fault.  I signed up for updates from Missouri Star Quilt Company.  Broke the seal of no purchases from them within a few days of updates.  And I'd been doing so good on the fabric diet.  Here's what I bought:

The daily deal that day was the Windham Basic Bright Charm Square pack.  They have a $5 flat rate shipping so to quote a phrase from Tish, 'it just looked lonely all by itself' so I had a leedle look around... which is when I spied the Mystery Charm Pack deal for $4.95.  That's pretty decent so throw one of those babies in. Besides I love surprises.  I got this lush flannel Fossil Fern pack!  I've loved Fossil Fern from way back; I used some dusty rose in my mum's 70th birthday quilt, and that is going back 10 years.

They sell Kona cotton for $5.95/yard, and now that I know how I am adding to Radiance, I know I do not have enough of the Cheddar I used, so I bought a yard of that. 
Balanced the Windham pack on its end so you can get an idea of the happy brights therein
Finally, one more item somehow popped into my cart, didn't even know I was looking for labels, but you know how anal I am about labelling all my quilts properly...
They're a little out there.  I like that.  This is one side of the two-sided panel, so you get two of everything.

Pretty good haul I'd say for $21.40, which included the $5 shipping!  I am not an affiliate; just thought I show you Craftsy is not the only one with some screaming good deals.  Be sure to check out both places if you're like me and saving money while feeding the fabric beast is your thang! Craftsy's sale ends tonight...I might have spent a leedle more than $20 there... btw I am an affiliate for them. ;-)

Linking up with Molli Sparkles.


Friday, August 19, 2016

Pets On Quilts - Bella

Bella is making another appearance in the Pets On Quilts party at Lilypad Quilting.  She is in the Cats on Quilts category.  If you like what you see/read about in this post, click the link to 'like' Bella (she is #30).  There are lots of fabulous prizes to be won, four more days to enter your own fur kid, at which time voting will begin!  This is, as I said in yesterday's post, probably my absolute favourite linky party going.  My three fur kids are a major part of my life. Period. Of the three, Bella has probably the biggest influence in my quilting/sewing life.
This is not photo-shopped; her eyes are that blue; she's sporting a bandana made just for her by a sweet friend
She is a part of every quilt, from birth to final finish.  This year the two of us have been pretty busy creating quilts.

Planning


She often tries to steer my pencil as I sketch out a possible design, be it block, layout or FMQ.

Choosing Fabric


 Cutting


Measuring


When I question whether I have block sections sewn to the correct size, she willingly lies her furry body down to help measure.  On the left, she is measuring the hypotenuse of one of the Triangle Transparency by Quilting Jet Girl blocks for Radiance, and on the right, making sure the flying geese unit will fit the centre square from a Henry Glass 'Better at the Lake' fabric.  We were chosen as the June designer of the month.

Appliquéing

She parks her butt on freshly appliquéd blocks, helping to secure the layers.
Much to her exasperation, she was removed (more than once) from said appliquéd block

Piecing

Bird's eye (or cat's eye?!) view


Checking that 1/4" seam

Chain-piecing


Even FaceTiming!

Tish on the iPad
Looking after you:

Stretching

Balancing

Back in May, the early days after Rocco's knee surgery
We both firmly believe in the importance of exercising and stretching to ease those stiff joints and aching muscles, and to work out knots from long hours sewing, or sitting too long at the computer writing up a post!  Check out the Sunday Stretch for Sewists tab up top for lots more moves to keep your body limber!
Bananasana....it's a real Yin Yoga pose!
Make sure you bend to both left and right!

Labelling

Writing is blurred out for privacy

Basting and Quilting



and let us not forget...

Cleaning

Machine Maintenance with Bella
And finally, 

Enjoying

On her very own cat quilt


This past year saw her work with wool, both knitting and appliqué
She quite liked it!  Thanks to Sue's comment below, here is the link to the kit I bought, on sale right now for $11CA.  The pattern only is available here.  And, if you prefer to crochet, Kalurah has the same cowl kit for crochet, also on sale.
And of course she helps out with...

Writing posts 

this very one, as a matter of fact!

She knows how to get my attention, tapping me if I'm spending too much time on the iPhone or on the laptop

Pattern Writing!

We did it this year!  And she helped...
This is Sunny Days; you also get the pattern for Blue Skies, both on sale for $5 right now in my Craftsy store. Both quilts are for sale in my Etsy shop.

Calling me

to leave my sewing when it's time to eat
And it's time to go now!  Tea and treats time!

Treats?!
http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?u=1074126&b=253536&m=29190&afftrack=&urllink=www%2Ecraftsy%2Ecom

Be sure to take advantage of Craftsy's Early Black Friday (like seriously...I know...eye-roll)...but there really are some terrific deals again, and if you're like me, you wait for your faves to go on sale.  Did you know they carry quilt batting and it's 30-40% off right now?  Um, can you believe there are some quilt kits for CA$27 or US$21??  Check out several from Timeless Treasures like this Tonga Treats "Next Move" one I particularly love. Apologies for poor quality images (snagged them off Craftsy) but you get the idea.
http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?u=1074126&b=253536&m=29190&afftrack=&urllink=www%2Ecraftsy%2Ecom%2Fsupplies%2Ftimeless%2Dtreasures%2Dtonga%2Dtreat%2Dnext%2Dmove%2Dquilt%2F17194

and I believe I just have to give one of the Blueberry Park fat quarter stacks a home.  At CA$57,  US$44, (50% off), that is a pretty sweet treat.  There are many many more, but don't be like me, and put them in your cart and 'think about it' (aka forget)....only to find they disappear because they are no longer available, waaah, or you remember about them on Monday and the sale is over...waaaah again. Might have personal experience there.

http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?u=1074126&b=253536&m=29190&afftrack=&urllink=www%2Ecraftsy%2Ecom%2Fsupplies%2Fkit%2Frobert%2Dkaufman%2Dblueberry%2Dpark%2Dpre%2Dcuts%2Dcool%2F1904

As always I thank you SO MUCH if you click through to Craftsy on my links in this post or on the sidebar.  I do get a small commission on sales and on classes; if you are interested in how to become an affiliate yourself, shoot me an email.  And always remember, if you don't buy through me, that is fine, but please choose a favourite blogger to buy through since we are the ones who help spread the word.  I would not endorse anything I haven't used or bought and I have been very very pleased with every single thing I have got, supplies and fabric and classes-wise from them.  They also have excellent customer service.  :-)

Remember you have 4 more days to enter into Pets On Quilts. Voting begins August 25!

Linking up with
Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Lilypad Quilting

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Lasagne

Which we had last night for supper, and will again tonight in the form of leftovers.  Vegetarian (not as good as the one Liz made for us in May) and a meat one for MacGyver to keep up his strength for all the macgyvering that he's been doing these past few weeks.  This post is a bit like that lasagne:  a variety of ingredients that end up creating goodness.
Incredible sunset behind the silhouetted massive trees
Kingsville 3rd annual Folk Fest:  a variety of 'ingredients' as in bands and genres of music, all-over wonderful goodness.  I spent the entire weekend either volunteering at or attending the folk fest.  IMHO it was not as good as far as bands go as the two previous years, but still worthwhile attending.  I love live music. Period.  Buffy Ste-Marie was the headliner, and I wish she'd brought her band, and I wish she'd played 'Power in the Blood' from her latest album.  She's not everyone's cup of tea, not exactly mine, but at 75 years old, she impressed the hell out of me with her physique, her memory (all those lyrics to all the songs she played!), and her musical abilities (plays guitar, the mouth bow, the keyboards and sings).

I am so proud to be a Canadian: the multi-cultural aspect of our country evident at this festival, from Canadian-born to Canadian immigrant music.  Hearing musicians belt their hearts out, openly of Mexican heritage, or Iranian, Irish, even Tanzanian, gay, young or old, brown, white or black-skinned, and be genuinely appreciated and applauded for their songs made me know deep in my heart there IS tolerance for all peoples, as there should be.

Another sky, this one to the east, setting sun behind me, coming home from teaching yoga in Windsor.  Can you spot the moon rising, partially hidden by thready clouds?
Spotted this incredible flowering tree (look how tall she is!) in Windsor
Just WHAT is this tree please?  It looks so tropical; in fact I am sure I've seen these in Florida.  Rose flowers adorn the fernish fronds.  I zoomed in to try to show the flowers better.
Isn't it just gorgeous? Here you can see pea pods...is it a Locust or Honey Locust (we have lots of those here) of some sort?
A tree of a different kind being built:
Bella getting right in there again, had to be summarily dumped onto the floor and off the block more than once! She felt it would make a great cat cushion (obvi, Sandra, she says, eyes rolling)
I'm pattern testing an appliqué block for Cindy of Stitchin at Home, a block that has tried my patience I'll admit...but I persevered.  Those of you on Instagram have seen Cindy's blocks coming together, a block of the month she is doing for her guild.
Port Dover Lighthouse built around 1850

I'll admit to not being totally pleased with the final result (it is destined to be sewn into sashing which is why I have got the beach and tree in 3/8" from the sides).  Port Dover Lighthouse, on Lake Erie, is close to Cindy's home.  She lives about 2 hours north and east of me, half way to Toronto.  Yes, Lake Erie is that big...actually twice that big.  If you drove 100kph (60mph), it would take you about 4 hours to drive (it's just shy of 400 km, 241 miles, in length) from my end by the Detroit River, to the eastern end, at Buffalo up by Lara of Buzzin' Bumble.  Thus, this block brings we three 'ingredients' together:  Cindy's design, my efforts, and Lara's Crafted Appliqué technique.  The fabric I used for the water is a Nancy Crow I've had forever (found a couple more Nancy Crow gems in my stash thanks to pattern-testing this past couple of weeks) and the sky is a Maywood Studio.

Back to Bella, one of my three fur-kid ingredients in creating a balanced happy life, you've probably heard that it's that time of the summer!  Pets on Quilts is happening right now at Lilypad Quilting!  This has to be one of, if not my favourite linky party of the year.  Six more days to enter, and there are already 26 entries!  Bella will for sure be one, so come back tomorrow and read all about her contributions to my quilting life.  Okay, okay, she's nudging me, as she is wont to do when I spend too much time with a phone in my hand or wiggling my fingers to make clickety-clack sounds on the laptop, make that her contributions to my life.  Period.

Lots of terrific prizes to be won, did I mention that?!
Also I will let you know that (shh! don't tell) tomorrow you can grab some lasagne Craftsy style: many of their 'ingredients' to equal a pretty sweet sale.  Come back for deets on that and Bella tomorrow!

Two other heads-up, that you will see create a lovely 2-layer lasagne :-)
First up is Bernie at Needle and Foot.  She wrote a great article on something I had never heard of: Flipboard.  Even the intrepid Internet traveller, MacGyver, had not.  This reminds me of Pinterest, but it is a place to make personalized 'magazines' of articles on any topic that interests you, not just photos you like.  Sounds cool, right?  But Bernie takes it one step further by showing you how you can 'publish' your own articles into your own magazines, and make those magazines public.  This way, others on Flipboard who also like yoga or quilting for example, may find an 'article' (aka post) you wrote on a subject that also interests them.  This can help to bring traffic in the form of new readers to your blog!  More deets on this by clicking the link.  I've created a few magazines and added two posts to my Yin Yoga magazine, spending a grand total of maybe 30 minutes all told from downloading the app to setting it up to creating and finally adding two posts.  That's not bad.

Second is my friend Karen of Tu-Na Quilts.  She wanted to start a blog over a year ago, and would visit mine and comment from time to time. Some personal events brought us closer together, and I was able to finally encourage her to just DO IT!  She wrote her first post here, and she has just finished a terrific, informational, humorous series on her Minnesota shop hop adventure.  It is well worth a read, and hey, I just realized I could flip those articles into a Quilt Shops magazine I could set up!  Ha, didn't plan this, but there's my over-arching (cannot kill the English teacher in me) lasagne theme again: two 'ingredients' (Bernie's post on Flipboard and Karen's shop hop posts) creating goodness, as in a great idea for a personalized magazine.

Here's my infant-stage Flipboard link (need to add the social media button for this--going to see Tish about making these look prettier on my sidebar).

And remember to tell me the name of that tree if you know it!

Linking up with
Sew Fresh Quilts

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A Few Shots

This is my post for Soma's Wandering Camera Linky for August.  Like the bugs and flimsy clouds in this post, I am flitting in and out of QBL this summer, but I have been getting a fair bit accomplished in the sewing department.  EEEK!  Dayna's quilt has almost fully metamorphosed from flimsy to quilt!


Rocco and I are walking 1 km, sometimes slightly more, this past couple of weeks. He is SO happy, although he does turn into a bit of a grump when we turn around (much too soon in his opinion).  This is this morning at the beach as you enter Lakeside Park from the east:
A few gaggles of geese! Easily 40, and six sailboats.

Last night it was an incredible sultry evening, the kind I just love, so I went for a walk about 8:30.  On my way back home, I came upon this stunning scene in Lakeside Park:


Nature and her glories NEVER fail to soothe my soul and put things in perspective:  I'm pretty minuscule, me and my issues and my celebrations.

This next one is a woe and a celebration.  Naala alerted me to the presence of a bug in our bedroom a few weeks ago when MacGyver was in Alberta. She was doing her job, protecting the sanctuary since the boss was away.  I saw a bug that I have never seen before, a good 3/4"-1" in length, and quick grabbed a shoe and smacked it.  I gasped when I saw its most incredible lettuce-green blood.  I got it onto a piece of toilet paper and went into the ensuite to toss it into the garbage.  The light wasn't on.  Why does that matter, you think.  Well, this is what I saw in the garbage when I dropped it:

Its blood GLOWED (bioluminescence - I looked it up)!  That's when I knew I'd killed a firefly.  :-( We have lots because of the small group of trees and bush behind our patio, and I just love watching them sparkle and wink at dusk, so magical, so ethereal.  I felt very sad that I had lashed out first without trying to simply get the bug into the tissue and set him or her free outside...  hmmm, there's a life lesson there isn't there.


Looking up the other day at the incredible blue sky, I saw this sight, another I have never before seen:  cotton candy-coloured clouds!  Look at the ones below the top white gauze one.  They shimmered and changed colours, much like the Aurora Borealis (which sadly we don't get to see now I live so far south in Canada). I think it was the humidity in the air, and the reflection off the waters of Lake Erie perhaps? These iridescent rose and turquoise ones took my breath away.

Attentive doggies:
Oh how they love getting their Kong biscuit/peanut butter treats!
One final collage:
Clockwise: another hydrangea from our bush, flanked by two Pee Gee ones from our small trees.  The pink ones last and last and last.  At first I was horrified to see this dead, huge 'cricket' on our front step.  MacGyver said he did not believe it was a cricket...I finally got up the nerve to gently nudge it over with a shoe and saw the pincers or mandibles...I knew this was no cricket.  So I texted Julie of Pink Doxies to see if she knew what it was (she knows a LOT about the flora and fauna around this area) and immediately got a response: "A stag beetle, quite rare! Save it for Brady!" which I have done. I'm not as much a fan of it as I am of cicadas, but it is rather fascinating, and very large as you can see.  Here's an interesting article I found on these beneficial insects. On to warmer and fuzzier bodies...Belly pics of Bella, sunbathing early this morning in the sunlight streaming through the open full-screen front door, and last Friday, Rocco having a wonderful back itch on one of our walks.
I'll also be linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts
Now back to the cool basement to churn out Dayna's quilt!



Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Sunday Stretch for Sewists #11...Something's Fishy

...because it is not Sunday today! I totally forgot to do the last Sunday of the month stretch post, and well, we were gone all day Sunday anyhow.

I volunteered to test one of Lorna's patterns, and picked Kissy Fishy, thinking most people would go for the animals...bzzzt! Lorna said this was the most popular pattern! It was fun.

In the pattern, her orange fish is the thinner one, and her blue fish the chunkier one; I reversed it (setting myself up for a 'leedle' confusion in this already fog-brain of mine? Sigh...) It all worked out.  Rather splendidly, IMHO.  I wanted to do scrappy fish: hot pink and orange and turquoise and green.  All fabrics are scraps, outside of the clamshell Michael Miller print that was in a fat quarter bundle I bought from Craftsy.  The results were very pleasing. An unplanned pleasant surprise was the polka dot lower fin picking up on some dots in that coral print I used for the face. I did hope the orange Kaffe fabric left over from my Three Quarter Patch Tote would have a good eye effect, and it did.  Not sure, but think I may make these into a cushion cover, or two wallhangings, maybe for Florida.

Fish Pose aka Matsyasana
This isn't a Yin pose; it's used as a counterpose to Yin long held, deep forward bends like Snail, aka Plough, aka Halasana.  It is a good stimulation for the thyroid, and a lovely stretch for the ligaments in the front of the neck after long hours hunched over your sewing machine.

To get into it, lie down on your back and place your hands, palms down, under your butt cheeks, trying to keep your arms parallel.  Press into your palms and forearms, arching your back as you lift your heart to the ceiling, letting the back or top of your head rest on the floor.  Note that there is minimal weight on your head.  Take 5 slow steady breaths here, or if you are familiar and comfortable with the pose, stay a little longer.
Nod to the Detroit Lions for Dayna; she bought me these yoga pants. She took her dad to an open practice Monday afternoon...and so the excitement (and disappointment?) begins for another season...
If your back is more flexible, then arch it more deeply, pushing into your forearms to rise up a bit more, letting your head come up off the floor.  Stay 5 breaths or longer, as you feel is right for you.


Traditionally, Fish Pose is done with the legs in Lotus or Padmasana. You may want to work toward that, as it brings a lovely tug into the hip joints.  First try it with loosely crossed legs:


working on getting the crossed legs in tighter.  Eventually, one day, maybe next month, next year, or next lifetime, grin, full Lotus, either with hands beneath your sacrum, or reach down and grasp your feet. Don't do this unless you can sit comfortably in Lotus. Note that the knees stay down.


To come out, simply lower back down, the same way you went into the pose, removing your arms and hands from underneath you once you are flat.  Lie still and pay attention to the sensations and energies moving around inside your body.  Turn to one side, and pause there before sitting back up.

The benefits are many.  Here is a very good list, but from the photos here, you can see how this corrects rounded shoulders (guilty), and expands and opens the chest, which is so good for the lungs and breathing, and can help asthma sufferers.  As well as this, it creates space in your spinal cord, as you arch away from your pelvis.

Out-take:
One of his humans on the floor brings him right over to check things out, "Are you okay? You are? Here's a kiss to make sure! ... Or could we play? Huh? Huh?!"
We went around one entire block today! 1 km is what we've been doing this week.
As you can see by the burnt to a crisp lawn under the black walnut tree, and the yellowed grass in Lakeside Park on the other side of the street, we are very very dry here.  And it continues to be very very hot.  Which is fine by me.

He pulls and sniffs and pees on various spots until we start to head back home, and then he never fails to look at me with this, "Seriously? That's IT?" look and then PLODS along, in a very resigned, little grump, way. I do think his leg aches for the last quarter of the walk, but he'd never admit to that.
Linking up with
Sew Fresh Quilts