Monday, August 4, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

Greetings from Canada everyone!  I am Sandra.  Welcome to my little niche in quilting blogland.

Today is my day to participate in the Around the World Blog Hop.   I was invited by my new good friend, blogging, well, make that emailing buddy, and kindred spirit, Judy of Quilt Paradigm.  You can read her post for the hop here.  You can also read about her furry babies here! That's for another linky party, and that's for another post for moi!  Stay on topic, Sandra.

In order to help people like me stick to the programme, LOL, there is a set of questions to help guide this post.  Here goes.  Hold on to your hats.

But I'm going to digress right off the hop (ha, get it?! Didn't plan that that one) and answer the question that is utmost in all of your minds.  Just what the hell does your blog title mean?

Well, it actually stemmed from musings on the meaning of life, on happiness, on what is really important, that I emailed to my brother, once my husband and I made the decision to quit our jobs pre-retirement age and move down east.  Over the course of the ensuing two years, the Universe profoundly "lined up", pointing the way clearly to making this  a-little-bit-scary=but-oh-so-right move.  I once said to him something about the deep thoughts/musings that were going on in my melon, and it kind of stuck.

The menopausal aspect is self-explanatory; I'm in the throes of it, with all the positive and negative fun times it brings.

And the melon, singular, is a synonym for head, NOT melons, plural, synonym for, the risk of getting rather bawdy, let's just say that my title would have to be menopausal oranges. LOL
There.  Title explained.  Nothing to do with quilting, which now kind of bugs me.  Oh well. C'est la vie.

What am I working on?
Well.  I have two projects (my nose is growing) that I am currently working on, with one simmering on the back burner.  (my nose is growing because I am not a good liar.  I value honesty.  So I really do have a few a lot more than two projects on the go.  Okay, hot flash is dissipating.  Phew.)

The first project is this Self-directed Round Robin, aka Orphan Block Challenge for my guild, and has to be finished for the September (egad, that's next month) quilt show.

Two quadrants down, two to go
We had to start with an orphan block.  Mine was the hand-appliquéd block from over a decade ago, made in an appliqué class I took at my LQS.  Each member of the executive has given the specifications for a round (hmm, should be self-executed round robin.)  For example, round 1 - Add a stripe.  Round 2 - put some flying geese on it.  Round 3 - add some appliqué.  I could have jammed out and said I already had appliqué on it, but nope, that is not fair.  After the geese, the quilt told me it needed to be on point, so I did that, creating these horrid lovely quadrants ripe for lots of appliqué.  It took me some time, to decide on a pattern.  It has taken a lot longer to get at it, and willpower to stick with it.  It is tedious and I am not really having fun but I am half way now, so powering on through! And I am liking it.  There are 4 more rounds to do after this one.  No problem.  Did I mention I work well under pressure?!

Project #2 is another one of Cynthia's (Quilting is More Fun Than Housework) Scrap-a-Palooza quilts.  I am addicted to these.  They also provide a welcome respite from the round robin, (I told her I'm blaming her if my round robin isn't done for the show!!) and they give me a chance to PLAY with fabric, something I adore.
In the planning stages

I love piecing, love mixing fabrics, mixing colours, shades and seeing what I get.  I love blue.  Putting blue with green is delicious, and I'm really liking, no loving, lurving, as Judy would say ;-) the feel of this quilt.  I do not have a name for this quilt, now at the halfway point.  I thought of Jade.  Nope.  Aquamarine.  Maybe.  Lake Erie.  Hmmm.  Any suggestions?

Here is another scrap-a-palooza quilt I just finished, Floral Dreams:

The back burner project is another guild challenge for the show, a paint chip challenge.  We purchased a kit that contained a fat 1/8th of fabric, and 3 paint chips.  We have to incorporate fabrics that match those paint chips and create a small quilt using the fabric, coordinating 3 fabrics and as many other fabrics as we wish.  I plan to make a kaleidoscope.  Need to start it ASAP.

This is Bella, my purring, fur-shedding, fabric-loving sewing director

How does my work differ from others?

Quite frankly, I don't see that it does.  I guess I could say that I don't stick to one type of quilt or one style of quilting; I like variety.  I like both traditional and modern quilts.  I've tried many techniques, from paper piecing to appliqué, (really enjoy putting appliqué on top of piecing), to stained glass.  I've done mini-quilts, coasters, bags, pillows, placemats, runners, baby quilts, throws, quilted jackets and vests, bed-size quilts from twin to king.  I also like to combine fabric lines as well as fabric manufacturers, although I must say using a charm pack or fat quarter pack of only one line really gives me a thrill.  Here are two, one recent, one not so recent:
Hidden in Plaid Sight - my own design
This is one for which I plan to write a pattern.  In fact, I've already bought the fabric, Zen Chic's "Sphere" to recreate it while I write the instructions.  A few people had asked for a pattern, so I guess that is yet another project I have in the works!

This is another quilt, a Buggy Barn Crazy quilt made in 2007, not a great shot, light-wise, or quilt-wise, but you get the idea.  This also shows you my beloved pit bull, Rocco, 6 days after we got him.   Or rather, after he "came" to us.
ON our bed, still, 5 years later, his most happy place
Through making four of Cynthia's scrap-a-palooza quilts, I realize that I do love scrappy quilts, and that I have made more than I realize.  Here is one, the first quilt I quilted on my Avanté, made last year.
Pre-binding, guess I don't have a finished pic!
 And these placemats, pieced from leftovers from my "Cloud 9" quilt:
Made for Meals on Wheels
Baaad lighting, but you get the idea of the sea-themed FMQ I did
Which brings me to free-motion quilting.  I love it.  I cannot draw to save my life, although I can copy a drawing with some success.  I seem to be able to just draw out of my head with a sewing machine with much better results!  Kathy Sandbach was a huge inspiration to me several years ago, saw her on "Simply Quilts", bought both of her books.  I have always loved Carol Bryer Fallert's quilts.  Most recently, Leah Day stunned me with her 400+ Designs online, designs that helped me immensely to get used to my longarm.  Then I found Angela Walters, bought a book, bought her Craftsy classes, every one.  And I continue to be inspired by the online community of bloggers.

Why do I write/create what I do?
I need to sew.  I need to do yoga.  I need to read.  These three things feed my soul.  They keep my chi flowing.  The need to create something, however, is almost physical for me.  The rush, the joy, the anticipation, the bubble of energy and happiness that I feel inside upon the completion of a quilt both sustains and uplifts me.

I blog (took me 6 months, no lie to get up the nerve to publish) because I want to keep a record of my work, and my thoughts as I worked through a quilt.  btw just how do I back up my blog?  lol  I did not realize that blogging would connect me to such an incredible online community of like-minded people.  I did not realize I would make friends, would feel such connection, would get such inspiration, would feel like this big beautiful world is really quite small when I feel the spider-webs that connect us and bind us as humans.

How does my creative process work?
I get inspiration from so many places.  Often it is seeing a quilt, either in a magazine, in a book, online, or on a wall of a quilt shop.  

Lake Erie makes such a fabulous backdrop
This is a Cluck Cluck Sew pattern, made in June with Angela Walters' fabric.

I've started doodling more of my own designs.  I'd like to get EQ7 for Mac.  I am a firstborn, and thus, I do follow patterns.  Especially the instructions.  :-)  However, I do  sometimes start with someone else's pattern and then modify it, change it a bit to get it to be what I envision.  Here is one example:
This was the quilt I wanted to make for a friend's baby:
from Stash Busters by Mary Cowan

Here is what I ended up with:
Maren's quilt
I'm going to leave you with one last picture of a quilt that is probably my favourite, the one I am most proud of, next to the quilt that I made my mum for her 70th birthday.  Hmm! Don't think I have a picture of her quilt!

Okay, I lied.  Two pics of this quilt, Seaside Rose.

I finished it last November.  I blogged about it a few times, here, is one, and here is the finish post.  I also entered it into the Bloggers' Quilt Festival.  No, it didn't win anything, but that's okay.  It's going into our guild show too! Okay one more picture, close-up of quilting.  The shell motif is mine.

I do have one more fur kid, our Rottweiler, Naala. So as not to offend her, or my husband, whom she adores, here is a pic of her, helping out in the sewing room in Florida.  :-)

And now I'd like to introduce you to the three bloggers I have tagged.  These lovely oh-so-talented ladies will be writing their post next Monday, August 11.  Much thanks and appreciation to them for agreeing to be tagged and participate!

First is Canuck Quilter, Joanne.  A few things led me to following her blog.  First of all, she is Canadian, living in the US, which roused my curiosity.  Second, she has an astronomer husband, how COOL!  You will find stars in a lot of her quilting, like this one.  And third, her quilts just sing with colour. Check out her Sparkling Trail quilt - fabulous quilting.

Next is Gina, of The Occasional Quilter.  She is anything but--!!  She stitches, she pieces, she quilts, and she lives in beautiful Wales.  Check out her adorable windowsill runner.  She, like me, is working on Tula Pink's City Sampler (see? I do have more than 2 projects on the go...) although she is much further ahead than I.  We both have dogs who love balls.  Her dog is Stan.  Isn't that a great name?

Finally, quilter extraordinaire, is Hilary of Hilary Florence Quilting Workshop. Ahhh-MAZING quilting, this lady does.  Even outside.  Yep, in her garden.  I love it.  I used to sew garments, and would occasionally haul my machine out onto our deck to sew.  So this connected me to her.  However, what really really locked-the-lock-and-threw-away-the-key connected me to her is her FMQ.  Check out this stunning show-stopper of a quilt, which she has entered into the Festival of Quilts 2014.  She, like Leah, has a FMQ ongoing project of creating new motifs.  Lots of inspiration, I guarantee it.

So there you have it.  This is a great way to meet some new bloggers, get a peek into what makes them tick, and bounce off onto three new ones each Monday.  Enjoy!  I am linking up with Anything Goes Monday at Stitch by Stitch as well as Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it Up Friday.


  1. :) Awesome post Sandra! I want to know why I have never seen a picture of Naala before??? I absolutely adore Rotts and Naala is a beauty! Rocco's puppy pic. . . Oh man, what a handsome boy!

    Your applique is looking fabulous!! Hang in there, almost done!! :) Judy

  2. Just two projects...Ha! I know better than that. Enjoyed the post.

  3. Thank you for sharing all of the pictures of your quilts and furbabies. I enjoyed reading your blog. You said you were going to start a kaleidoscope quilt for a guild challenge. Have you seen the no templete kaleidoscope quilts by Maggie Ball? I discovered this set of videos yesterday. Check these out.

  4. Wow! Awesome, informative post! <3

  5. thanks for sharing this nice post and keep it always.....
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