Thursday, July 20, 2017

I Like/Love #6

I checked back to see what number this I Like/Love post should be and I realized I missed #3, and that it is mostly written...ha. I wrote it when I was in Florida, but with the move I guess I did not publish it! Will do that.  Next time. Here are some positive thoughts of mine:

1.

It started with this beefsteak tomato I spied this morning.  I did not intend to write a post today, but when I saw this bright red jewel, well, maybe not quite red yet, right by my side door entrance, plucked it carefully (should've staked this poor plant, had no clue it would get this big and heavy with fruit), and marvelled at it, a rush of gratitude came over me, and I thought, 'I need to write this.'  So I love tomatoes.  Love.  In all varieties, colours, forms and dishes. Growing my very own takes this to a very personal level of love and appreciation.  I didn't eat it for lunch, because I want it to ripen a little more, but I sure will, one slice covering a slice of bread for a most-anticipated toasted tomato sandwich.  I get gorgeous delicious homegrown tomatoes of all varieties at the little stand down the road, within walking distance, so that is why I just planted one plant.  I am pretty tickled at my first fruit.

2.
I like writing.  Well, duh.  I always have.  I also like designing (sneak peek at an upcoming pattern to be tested yet and written and released), and I like pretty and interesting notepaper. I'm writing to Brady on a regular basis, and also sending him little packages from time to time. He LOVES walking around the corner to get their mail, but he expressed with a sigh and roll of the eyes, that he rarely gets mail; it's usually his mum.  I've decided to change that. And I'm enjoying writing to him, by hand.  The first letter went on those dinosaur notelets.  He was pretty pumped, "Nana, we can be penpals!" Those words warmed my heart.  I sent him another yesterday on the teddy bear notepaper.

3.
I love reading.  Always have.  I come from a long line of bookworms, both daughters are readers, and so is Brady. Whenever we are together, we read a book before bedtime. Last September we read Little House in the Big Woods. In November it was Owls in the Family, which we finished last month (he didn't want me to finish it on FaceTime).  Then we read The Mouse and the Motorcycle.  He loves the Wimpy Kid books and has zipped through the first eight.  Now he is reading Matilda ("it's taking longer to read, Nana; the pages have more words on") and I couldn't remember it, so I got it out of the library to re-read and then we can discuss it. Which I did, first couple of chapters, in yesterday's letter! And wouldn't you know it: Matilda loves to read!

4.  I love libraries.  When I went in to pick up Matilda, put on hold, I wandered over to the quilt section, and snagged those five books.  I'll let you know my thoughts on them.  All recent.  Fresh colours!

5.

Speaking of fresh...I am loving our evolving new kitchen! How blessed am I to have such a talented husband who can not only design, (with my approval and wee tweaks), assemble, and install the IKEA cabinets, drywall, run waterlines, but also can even MacGyver one cabinet a little to make things all fit!  See the handle-less one on the left side of the dishwasher, which is not installed yet; needs to run plumbing yet methinks. Soon! Well, that end cabinet was 3/16" too wide to fit, so he had to 'rip' that amount off one of the side panels. How he did it and still has the beautiful melamine finish on both outside and inside of both sides, I have no idea.  Magic.  We moved the sink to where you see it now, although that is the old sink; the new one goes in when the granite, which you see on the left of the photo, gets installed...next week! I wasn't sure about not having the sink under the window, but I had an idea, which is doable: a stained glass window over the sink, letting in light from the porch on the other side of that wall!

6. I am loving the sultry humid and hot days of July and August, and on into September, apparent in the above photo by the moisture you see on that window, and the visible greenery beyond.  I am not loving the fact that our AC has quit.  At least we are able to sleep because we have a little window unit, so I like window AC units!

7.  I really like Seth Godin's blog. Julie of Pink Doxies put me onto him. I get his posts by email so I never miss one. Some I skim, some I read more than once, and some I read aloud to MacGyver, like today's post about 'dumbing it down'. His last few sentences resonate so deeply:
"Everyone owns a media company now. Even media companies. And with that ownership comes a choice, a choice about the people we serve, the words we use and the change we seek to make.
It's only a race to the bottom if we let it be one."

My blog is my media company. I choose to be positive, helpful and hopefully inspirational. 😊

 I'm off to the hot upstairs loft now to work on the Cows quilt.  Yay for fans!

Linking up with LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Colour

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Tragedy...with a Silver Lining

Little did I know that when I finally sat down, a year after the fact, to write about this tragic event, the Fort McMurray forest fire of 2016, nicknamed "The Beast", inside of which is a feel-good quilt story, that I'd have experienced a tragic loss in my own life.  My dear friend, Linda, who faithfully reads my blog even though she does not sew a stitch, sent me this story several months ago.  She read it in a publication she gets called "Our Canada".  I kept meaning to write about it, but never did.  Now it's time. Interspersed with the words are the few blocks I've picked away at, more inspiration and awe from strong Canadian women, and Cows.

As I write this, forest fires are again raging, 155 right now in British Columbia, Canada's westernmost province.  It shares a border with the state of Washington, in the USA.  Fires are also now crossing into Alberta, province of my birth, where the bulk of our family lives.  This year the fires are mid-province, right now in Kootenay National Park, west of Calgary.  Last year they were in northern Alberta, forcing one of the largest evacuations in Canadian history, the entire city of Fort McMurray, approximately 88 000 people.  Many people returned to find nothing left; many people have not returned and do not plan to.  This link takes you to a timeline of the events.

Another way to heal: enjoying the peace, serenity and greenery of our very private back yard. Thank you to so many for your kind and caring words on my previous post; if I haven't responded it's because you are a no-reply blogger, and I have no email address for you; please know I thank you from my heart.

My husband and I spent many years camping throughout Alberta, and also a little bit in BC. Before we were married, after we got married, and after we had our girls, we camped.  We have many wonderful memories of those days.  I remember driving on highways to get to a lake through blackened landscapes after a fire had been through. It was pretty sobering. Charred trees, perhaps some green fronds of fireweed bravely poking their spikes through the ash and blackened earth are imprinted on my mind.  The smell.  Seeing the sun through a shimmer, not of heat haze, but of high smoke and ash, also comes to mind.  Touching tiny white powdery ash on our patio table in our back yard, cinders from fires hundreds of miles away.

I remember seeing on TV the images from people's cell phones of driving on the highway out of Fort McMurray, last May, the massive wall of flames right there, like right along the roads, scenes from a movie one would think.  But they weren't.  Our daughter, Brianne, wanting to help, like so many many Albertans, bought a bunch of necessities to take to one of the centres.  The manager of the drugstore, seeing what she was doing, added a whole bunch of stuff, filling Brianne's trunk.  She made the two-hour drive up to the centre, where she unloaded, seeing firsthand many families who had fled from their homes, some staying in campgrounds, others in people's yards in their campers, still others in residents' homes. The outpouring of support and help made such an impression on us, and we were hearing it secondhand; I can't imagine the depth of that feeling seeing it in person.  She went back to help a second time too.

Blocks 97-99. 97: Allie Vibert Douglas - first Canadian woman astrophysicist; I used the stars as her background; 98: Marguerite Vincent Lawinonkié - renowned Mohawk artisan and entrepreneur who taught the Huron women to make handcrafts to sell; I was so pleased to be able to use the burgundy scissors motif fabric for her; 99: Marion Orr - first woman to operate a flying club, and Canada's first woman airfield boss.


Goodness and kindness come to the fore when there are tragedies, and people feel so helpless.  People want to help in any way they can.  Sometimes they ask, "What can I do?" Sometimes they want hurting people to tell them what they need.  But sometimes the hurting people don't know...yet the knowledge that another human, maybe another loved one, maybe a stranger, wants to reach out and try to lessen your pain and grief, means so so much. Michele reached out, unaware of my recent sorrow...
Remember her quilt from my last post? It is done! Don't you love the border she added? This small act of reaching out has lifted my spirits so much this past week.

Sometimes you don't know what you need until later.  This is the case with the quilt story that follows.  It made me cry.  Tears of empathy and sadness, but tears of profound 'wow' joy.

Who came rushing to help this particular Fort Mac quilter?  None other than Craftsy.  Yeah.  So finding this out has reaffirmed my approval for this company for whom I am an affiliate.  That is an affiliate link.  However, I'm not here to tell you about sales, or class deals this time; I'm here to tell you of the truly wonderful act this company did for a young Fort McMurray, Alberta quilter named Eldora.
Blocks 100-102.  100:Ellen Looks Fairclough - chartered accountant, introduced a bill requiring equal pay for equal work, first Canadian woman federal cabinet minister, first woman given the duty of Acting Prime Minister; 101: Rita Margaret Johnston - Canada's first female premier, of British Columbia; 102: Mary Two Axe Early - From 1969-1994 (winning another victory at age 83) Mary fought against both white and First Nations men who denied women their status and no longer considered persons if they married a non-First Nations man; in 1985 she was the first woman to regain her Aboriginal status.


Eldora's home was one of approximately 2400 homes and buildings destroyed.  She writes of rushing home from work, having minutes to grab personal possessions before being evacuated from her home, of being one of the lucky ones with family in southern Alberta where her family could stay. So many stayed in shelters, or camped, or stayed with strangers.  When she found out the terrible news that her home had burned and they'd lost everything, she knew in her heart that material possessions could be replaced.  Yet she'd lost her sewing machine, all her sewing supplies, her quilts... my quilts are like little parts of me; I can't imagine losing them.  She eventually realized that she needed, no she yearned for her quilting to help her heal and get through this terrible time.  She had recently bought a bunch of fabric and supplies from Craftsy, and so she talked to them, specifically an employee named Lizzy, using the online chat, explaining her predicament and asking if they would consider selling her the items she'd previously purchased, at cost, so she could start sewing again.  Well.  Grab some Kleenex.

Eldora and her family returned to Fort McMurray sometime in June.  Shortly thereafter, she received a few care packages from Craftsy.  And...from Janome.  Yep.  Craftsy did a truly amazing thing: they sent her a ton of quilting supplies, from rotary cutter to thread to a couple of quilt kits!  AND they talked to Janome, who sent her a top of the line MC 8200 sewing machine so she could start doing the thing that we all know heals ourselves and heals those we care about: quilting.  Just typing this up brings tears to my eyes all over again.  Such thoughtfulness on the part of Craftsy worker Lizzy.  Such support from the company, and taking it further by talking to Janome, who also came through in spades. A Denver, Colorado company reaching out, across an international border,  to help a little old Canuck.  Eldora says, as she is sewing up one of the kits on her new machine, "The Beast" tried to take everything from her, but it couldn't take away her love of quilting.

Cows quilt, first row. Cows aren't talking much... yet... I've decided I'm not going to echo the Churn Dash, aka Hole in the Barn Door blocks, just SID (stitch in the ditch).

Doing what one loves to do, however hard and forced and fake it feels in the beginning, can be a healing force in one's life.  One day, although you are changed, altered forever, you realize that these intangible loves/passions, along with the love and compassion of those close to us, both family and friends, is what truly matters, what conquers all.

Update: A kind person emailed me wanting to know if I had any ideas as to how she could get her 'ton' of stuff, and how her guild, the Cochrane Quilt Guild, could help for Fort McMurray. I thought that there might still be a need, a year later, and did some research. For Fort McMurray, I found this article on Global News' website.  I found it comforting to know that a separate Fort McMurray fund within the Canadian Red Cross is in place and that so far they have used 75% of the funds.

I also found this website: Alberta Wildfire Donation Centre that explains that donations are no longer being accepted for Fort McMurray.

 If anyone else wants to help with the current fires, the best bet is The Canadian Red Cross. That link will take you directly to a site to donate.  Here is a current article from Global News on how you can help. I am so pleased to see the Salvation Army, an organization I highly recommended to the person who emailed me, as one of the leading charitable organizations.

Linking up
Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts
Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication



Friday, July 14, 2017

Back

This is the hardest post I've had to write. I've put it off all week.  Thought of a few sentences. Had a few random thoughts. Did the photos. Left it.  Unsure what to say.  For the first time in, oh, forever, I think, I don't feel much like writing.  Both my daughters have commented about missing reading my posts. A very close blogger friend had good advice: don't wait too long or you may never go back. So here we go.

Some things are constant in life:
'my' lake this week
Some things are not.

Brady, my beloved grandson, no longer has a dad. He died very suddenly and tragically on Father's Day.  We spent the past several weeks out in Alberta. How does a child recover from the loss of a parent, especially when both are so young?  How can grandparents help?  How do parents help their daughter heal?

I don't know.

Be there.  Enjoy/treasure ordinary moments.
Nana was a bit of a MacGyver herself, rigging up a sprinkler of sorts on a hot day; like his Nana, Brady loves to read

Listen.  Do what you can.

How do I get 'back' into my life?  Well, I made some more Canadian Women blocks.  I was sewing this set the day the phone call came.
88 - Viola Rita Huggard MacMillan: woman miner, first to be inducted into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame; 89 - Helen Creighton: folklorist of Nova Scotia; 90 - Ann Hulan: successful Newfoundland farmer, after her husband died, she sailed her goods to St. John's on her own schooner (note the ship in the centre 2.5" square)
When I got back home, part of me knew I needed to keep plodding along, trying to catch up, even though I'd missed three more sets of blocks.  Another part of me knew that choosing the colours, ploughing through the scraps, and doing the ensuing piecing was healing.  And part of me recognized that reading about these women's hardships and perseverance would, in turn, help me in dealing with our loss.

Slowly I've sewn six more the past few days.  Each one takes me at least an hour, usually more.  My impatiens below, once again, do not disappoint, despite being left to their own devices for three weeks. Who knew they'd be such a perfect backdrop to these blocks?
91 - Maud Watt: first female game warden in Quebec; 92 - Sophie Morigeau: successful trader, one of the first BC women to claim her own land, 320 acres; 93 - Kirkina Mucko: at age 2, she had her legs amputated below the knee because they got frozen and gangrenous, yet she hobbled around, sometimes on her knees, sometimes on artificial limbs, for the rest of her life. After losing 6 of her 7 children as well as her husband to the Spanish Flu, this amazing woman became a midwife, working in Labrador for 30 years.
I set these next three beneath a stunning flower arrangement that the Movati Club where I teach yoga, sent me:
94 - Irma LeVasseur: first registered francophone woman doctor in Quebec; 95 - Clara Brett Martin: first woman in the British Empire (yes! and she was Canadian!) to become a fully-fledged lawyer, earning her LLB in 1899; 96 - Caroline Louise Josephine Wells: first female dental surgeon in 1893.
Being alone this week has been mostly good as I start to regroup and recharge.  So much kindness from so many people have come my family's way. This meal (well enough for 3 meals!) was thoughtfully made for me by my sweet friend Liz.

I added the (score!) dry rosé from the Provence region I found at Trader Joe's. Thanks, Dayna, for a much-needed fun morning there, and at the Farmers' Market, and then at a wonderful local place for lunch, Crispelli's, which we picked up, and ate in her serene back yard.

Life does go on, as they say. We will be okay.  I know sewing and quilting and yoga will help me.  I have the Cows quilt on the frame from before, and I have a new pattern I'm working on for an upcoming issue of Benartex's Modern By the Yard. That link will take you to their blog, with a link on the sidebar to the summer issue, full of free wonderful patterns.

I heard just last week from a reader, Michele, asking about the directions for the Freefall QAL which she had just come across. That warmed my heart, but even more so, because she sent a photo of her first blocks as she works through it on her own! She gave me her permission to use this photo:

Aren't these truly luscious fabrics?! Cannot wait to see more.


Just a reminder that Connecting Threads (affiliate link there and below) is having quite the 10th anniversary sale:

  • up to 40% off kits and samplers (here's one I really like:

Move Over quilt kit


  • up to 30% off batting (something I've taken advantage of several times. They carry Hobbs.  (I need to do a post on my experience with their battings, all good so far.)
  • 25% off thread
Craftsy is also having a summer sale on kits and supplies, up to 50% off. Here is just one I really like:
Cornerstone Dreamfield quilt kit
Thank you so much for the support of this blog.  I should be back on Instagram later today as well. I have an aunt and her three daughters hip-hopping around the south of England, (and over to Paris--ahh!) and I need to visit their feeds! My aunt sent me some gorgeous shots of hydrangeas...

Linking up



Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Freefall QAL Winners

Again, I can't thank everyone enough for participating and finishing your quilts, be they tops or done and dusted! Thank you to those who started the QAL, but life got in the way; when you finish your top or quilt please do send me a photo as I'd love to see it.

First prize was the fat quarter stack of Freefall fabrics, the very same ones I used for my Freefall quilt, from Paintbrush Studio. It goes to


Next we had a few gift certificates.
This goes to Kathleen, on Flickr:

$25 gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop

6 fat quarters of 3 half-yard cuts from Needle and Foot Fine Fabrics

A copy of Crafted Appliqué by Lara Bucella of Buzzin Bumble
Julie of Pink Doxies


2 winners get 2 patterns from Meadow Mist Designs
I was so touched that she'd done a quilt in a tree shot, and such a special tree, her husband's dad's memorial tree, a Weeping Pear.

Had to include the second photo so you can see the beautiful batiks she used
and

2 patterns from Quilting Jet Girl
Kathleen at Kathleen McMusing



A pattern from Canuck Quilter Designs and one from Stitchin At Home

A pattern from Cooking Up Quilts and one from me, mmm! quilts


Laura on Instagram also finished her quilt top, but confessed she didn't know how to link up, so here is her quilt.  I have sent her a copy of both mine and Tish's patterns.

I will be in touch with the winners.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Windblown Cushion Cover

This little gem of a cushion or pillow cover was on my Q1 FAL list.  Oh well, the point is it's done, right? And I just love it! So summery.

I had plans to drive to my beloved Lakeside Park to do the photo shoot, but then I thought hmm, maybe there's a spot in our yard, rounded the back of the deck and spied this!  Like you'd think I had totally planned it, down to putting the begonia there.  Nope.  But I'll take it!

You saw the flimsy in my previous post.  This cushion is based on my Freefall and Windfall quilt pattern, but uses only four blocks of the half and half kind. There were a few choices I had to arrange the four...


It was hard to decide!  In the end I thought floating them on a large pinwheel would add to the twirling effect. I got the top together, complete with mitred corners, and called it a night.  Went upstairs the next morning to layer it and figure out a quilting plan...
Someone had laid claim to it! The cheek! If you look closely at the upper left corner by the migrating geese strips, you will see her very own perch, one of several, I might add, by a window, complete with her very own handmade by yours truly, cushion. She likes the new stuff.  Without fail.

Some of the quilting plan came to me no problem:
Loving the sheen of the Sulky white rayon.

The lines in the white areas in opposite directions I thought would look kind of cool.  Then I did flowing lines on the diagonal in the leaves themselves.  Finally the turquoise sections...hmmm. I was stumped for a bit, so I pulled out my trusty plexiglass and dry erase markers, brilliant idea of my friend Tish, and drew out a couple of thoughts:
What? No feathers? Maybe dot to dot then...meh...the continuous curve appealed to me.

Found some matching rayon thread by Gütermann, and off I went, just eye-balling the curves.  I went with three straight lines centred in the borders, and called it a night.
Managed to capture a quick shot of the back as the sun was setting.

Just as I was dropping off to sleep, zing! Into my head popped the idea, (but of course, Sandra!) of doing a flanged binding. Yes! So I did.
Perfect choice!
Here is the back, an envelope style, but I don't double the fabric layers.  I wouldn't have had enough fabric anyhow, ha!


I remembered to sew on my mmm! quilts label from Ikaprint AS I was sewing on the binding:

When I stitched down the flange, I used the turquoise rayon on the top.  I am not a fan of the line of stitching you get on the back when doing binding this way, although I sure am a fan of the look and the speed. I thought the white cotton Gütermann would show more on the back...what are the chances I'd have a salmon/rose colour to put in the bobbin... Chances were great! I stocked up on quite a variety of colours of Essential thread at one of Connecting Threads' sales. That is an affiliate link, so it is also my duty to let you know that clicking it will take you to the thread sale currently on (25% off so that means US$2.09 for a 1200 yard spool of 100% cotton, terrific thread) and I might mention that all their batting is 30% off as well. That's when I usually pick up a few packages of Hobbs, the brand they carry. Anyhow, threads:

You actually do get a bit of an idea of the sheen the rayon threads give in that photo.

In retrospect, I think a circle quilting motif would have been better for the spinning effect.  That thought struck me this morning when I went to do the binding, and I saw the finished cover sitting on my sewing table.  Maybe there's another one of these in my future!

Quilt Stats:
Pattern:  Windblown, original design
Size:  after quilting 18.25"
Fabric: Recollection by Katarina Rocella (how I love her work) for Art Gallery Fabrics, Stof Fabrics in turquoise, Kona Snow
Batting: Warm n Natural
Quilted: on my Bernina
Threads:  pieced with Gütermann; quilted with Sulky rayon, Gütermann rayon

Once I release the pattern, which will hopefully be in July, I will include instructions for making this pillow as well as both sizes of quilts.  If you haven't seen all the beautiful renditions of Freefall, go back one post or click here, and follow the links to gorgeous takes on my design!  If you fell behind in the QAL, you have until Sunday afternoon, 4 pm EST to link up your flimsy or your finished quilt to be eligible for some pretty sweet prizes. And if this is the first time seeing my Freefall pattern, all the steps to make the quilt are in the Freefall tab up top, and all the steps are available as free PDFs in my Craftsy store. 😊

Speaking of Sunday, and Craftsy, all things sweet, Craftsy is having a Supplies Sale from now until Sunday.  This is when I have scored some pretty sweet deals on kits and on fabric and yarns.  As always, thank you so much if you click through on my links to either Craftsy or Connecting Threads.

Linking up
Crazy Mom Quilts
TGIFF at Cut & Alter
Busy Hands Quilts

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Birthday of a Famous Canadian

Today is the birthday of my father, Cliff, who would have been 91, were he still alive. I miss him so much still, things I know he'd love, things I know he'd find hilarious, things I wish I could share with him. The Freefall Quilt Along was an idea germinated last Fall when I participated in a blog hop for Paintbrush Studio, organized by Bernie of Needle and Foot.  I made Windfall using the gorgeous collection of that same name.  This quilt is, to paraphrase Yvonne of Quilting Jet Girl, a quintessential Canadian quilt, perfect and timely for Canada's sesquicentennial, 150th birthday on July 1, 2017, although I didn't plan it to be all this at the time.

Taken in my home town of Kingsville, Ontario, Fall 2016, 50.5" square

I knew I wanted to release this quilt as a pattern, but I also wanted to challenge myself in my blogging life by running a quilt along, so using this as the pattern, but in a smaller size, seemed appropriate.  I approached Paintbrush Studio about my idea, making the swirling leaves on a large shadow leaf a spring themed quilt.  Thus, they became the main sponsors, and thus, I created Freefall, using the collection by that same name!  Man I do love synchronicity, more so when it is orchestrated by powers beyond moi. 😍😁
Taken in North Port, Florida, Spring 2017, 37.5" square

When setting out the timeline for this QAL, I wanted it to be a bit slower (and do-able) of a pace.  I had to bump this further ahead in the calendar year when I had to make Coins of the Atocha for Benartex's Modern By the Yard magazine, or e-zine.  Then, I decided why not allow a little extra time, as in 4 weeks from the flimsy finish, which was May 15, to get the quilts quilted? And lo and behold, that meant that this parade would be June 15...my dad's birthday. As I mentioned way back in the beginning of this quilt along journey, Dad always used to write on our wall calendar, shortly after my mum would put up the new one in January, "Birthday of a Famous Canadian" on his day. We kids all loved it.  He'd wink; Mum would roll her eyes with a half-grin. So the final parade of quilts of this Maple Leaf pattern, symbolic of Canada, is happening on a most auspicious date for me. 😍

I think everyone knows how dead chuffed (to quote my English mum) I am about the participation in this, my first QAL. I have gotten goosebumps at seeing such a variety of lush fabrics used for my design, in Fall themes, Spring themes, bright and happy themes.  I myself created another smaller yet version of my pattern, a cushion cover, aka pillow cover. See below. I plan to release the pattern in short order, and it will contain instructions for both quilts and the cushion cover.

Note: if you are visiting here for the first time, or have not heard of the Freefall Quilt Along that ran from March to June, click on the Freefall tab at the top of my blog where you will find all the posts with instructions.  Of course, each step is in my Craftsy Store, as a free PDF download. They will be there forever. 😁 That is an affiliate link; as an affiliate I feel it is my duty to tell you of their Supplies Event on now and through the weekend...you can score some sweet kits and yardage and yarns, and tools, and threads...



This measures 18.5".  You can set the falling leaves in a few different ways, because of the 'shadow' HSTs behind them. It was a bit difficult settling on the final layout!

So...drum roll....

Let's see!! I cannot wait to see how these have all come together, quilted or flimsy.  I will leave the linkup open until Sunday so you've got a couple of extra days to get 'er done and I will draw for prizes on Sunday evening.

Just what are those lovely prizes again?
1.  A fat quarter stack of Freefall fabrics from Paintbrush Studio
2.  A $25 gift certificate to Sew Sisters Quilt Shop
3.  A $25 gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop
4.  6 fat quarters or 3 half-yard cuts of fabric from Needle & Foot Fine Fabrics
5.  A copy of Crafted Appliqué by Lara Buccella of Buzzin' Bumble
6.  Two patterns to two winners from Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs (Magnolia Mystery is beginning! Eeep! That link will take you there.)
7.  Two patterns from Yvonne at Quilting Jet Girl.
8.  A pattern from Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts.
9.  A pattern from Joanne at Canuck Quilter.
10.  A pattern from Beth at Cooking Up Quilts.
11.  A pattern from Tish at Tish's Adventures in Wonderland.
12  A pattern from Cindy at Stitchin' At Home.
13.  A pattern from moi.

Heartfelt thanks to each one of these sponsors who so generously offered prizes for my first quilt along.  Heartfelt thanks to each of those who participated, fitting this in amongst various other obligations and projects and life in general.  Heartfelt thanks to Tish and to Julie for offering to test the pattern. It would not have been as straightforward without their valued input.  Also heartfelt thanks to Jen for testing the instructions of the large leaf shadow point blocks.

Wow!  All right, let's get this show on the road!







Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Blue Skies Story

Remember Blue Skies? My first 'for sale' pattern?  Well she has another 'first' under her belt...
She's been sold! My first sale in my Etsy shop. I could say, "Wow! 50% of my stock has just been sold in my Etsy shop!" Which is entirely true.  See how one can manipulate stats? Yeah, I have only had two items in it for the past year, grin, and ahem...I need to amend that, I know.  Or should I say, I need to augment that?!  It'll happen.  Just like my sewing room, just like our kitchen (eep! It's so exciting, picked out the granite today! The only part that someone other than my MacGyver has to do.)

There is a most wonderful story with the sale of this little quilt, so sit back and let me tell it to you.  It began with an email.  The people were enquiring about the quilt, and wanted to know if I could embroider a design on it.  They were planning on giving it as a baby quilt, destined for a baby boy. I said yes, and sent them a sample of some of my FMQ embroidery work.  They sent me this graphic, and over the next several days we talked and I stitched:
The middle image is the test I sent them with various golds and blues, all Sulky rayons in 40 and 30 weight, so they could choose the colours. My Bernina loves Sulky rayons, as do I.

I am no artist, meaning I can't draw images out of my head.  However, I am a fairly decent copyist! For this, I also made a sort of stencil out of paper for getting some of the lines and proportions correct. You can see I used a blue line marker to sketch the lines. I quadruple FMQ-ed with a straight stitch the outlines, giving it the look of hand embroidery. Here is the finished graphic:


Why the angels embroidery? Well, the mother of the baby boy that this quilt is going to lost both her own parents when they were very young, so the purchasers wanted the guardian angels as a symbol of her parents watching over their grandson.  That tugged at my heart!  I wasn't sure about embroidering onto a quilt that was already quilted, but I did some test samples, and got their approval. Once I saw the finished embroidery, it struck me that the angels appear to be in clouds, formed by the poofiness of the feathers.


Amazingly, the lovely people who bought the quilt live in Ontario, my province! They were an absolute pleasure to work with.
I love that this graphic looks good on the front and on the back in its mirror image.

This quilt has an international connection, that is, between Canada and the United States: it will be travelling with the clients next month to California, home of the mother and baby boy to whom it will be given. I just love thinking of the wee baby who will be wrapped in his blue skies quilt, wrapped in love from his family, both here and in heaven.


In other blue news, "Cuh' Boss!" is on the frame!! It just so happened that with securing the 3 layers together and then stitching in the ditch, I ended up in the top right corner where the blue cow is! She was the very first cow I pieced; how fitting that she is the first to be quilted.  Did I mention how much I love the colour blue? 💙


And, in a little Canadian news (see what I've done here?! Love love when a post that seems like a schnozzle comes out a delicious, choreographed scrap quilt), I got almost 'only 3 blocks behind' in the 150 Canadian Women QAL (which is featured in Quilter's Connection magazine!) but that was yesterday, a Tuesday, the day of the week when Kat releases three more blocks, so I was 6 blocks behind, now 5 as I made one this morning!
Clockwise from top: Blocks 85-87
85 - Elizabeth Smellie: awarded the Royal Red Cross for her exceptional service in military nursing during WWI, in 1923 was appointed superintendent of the Canadian Victorian Order of Nurses (VON); she also worked for the World Health Organization (WHO); served in WWII as matron-in-chief of the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps, and was promoted to colonel.

86 - Ethel Stark: She has so many firsts: brilliant violinist, superb pianist, she was the first Canadian to win a fellowship at the Philadelphia Curtis Institute, only woman to sign up for conducting classes; first Canadian woman soloist on a programme broadcast across the US; founded the New York Women's Chamber Orchestra, founded the Montreal Women's Symphony Orchestra; in 1947 that orchestra was the first Canadian orchestra to play at the New Carnegie Hall; first Canadian woman to gain international recognition as a conductor. I have been saving this red/ivory music fat quarter for important female musicians--sure hope kd lang will be one of the future women.

87 - Kenojuak Ashevak: Inuit artist; her art (an icon) The Enchanted Owl, is on the commemorative $10 bill which was just released June 1! I love how many connections to Canada's birthday Kat has inadvertently (I think) done through her 150 incredible women project. There is a holographic image on that bill, the stained glass in our Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, so cool, and the prominent image of another Canadian in Kat's project, Agnes MacPhail. Anyhow, look closely at my block, the one on the bottom left.  I knew I had some Aboriginal Canadian art fabric, left over from a quilt I made for my niece several years ago.  I was so pleasantly surprised when I saw there was an owl image on it! It's brown, white and a bit of burgundy, but I had to include it, along with birch trees in winter, and snowflake white fabric.
(info paraphrased as always from Kat's PDF files)

Hope you will be back tomorrow for a most momentous occasion!  The final reveal and parade of Freefall quilts from my Freefall Quilt Along. There are some fabulous prizes to be had, and remember flimsies are fine! I've already seen some finishes...WOW!

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