Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sunday Stretch for Sewists #12 - Swan

Swan pose works strongly into one hip socket in one way, and fairly strongly into the other but in a different way.  Therefore be sure to do both sides. :-)

To get into the pose in the easiest way, come onto all fours.  Slide your right knee up behind your right wrist.  Start to swivel the right foot up towards the left wrist, still supporting yourself on your hands. See how the knee feels.  If there is pain here, then do not do this pose; stay tuned for September when I show you Eye of the Needle.

If your knee is okay, then start to creep your left leg back, looking back to ensure it is straight behind you, and coming to rest on the top of your foot.  If your bum is not in contact with the mat, sit that butt cheek on a block (or a couple of quilt books!) so that your hips are level.
Place your hands as shown, or rest both in front of your shin.  Try to think about bringing that shin parallel to the top edge of your mat, sending the knee to the side of your hip.  Flex that right foot gently to protect the knee joint.  Don't sit on your foot; that is pigeon pose, which doesn't have the outward rotation we are looking for in the hip joint. It is not necessary to have your shin parallel; especially in the beginning it is more difficult, so work towards that, but never forcing.  Alternatively, if the block is too high, you may use a folded up quilt under your butt cheek:
note the dog foot, Naala, photo-bombing me! Didn't have the heart to crop it out.
If your butt cheek rests comfortably on your mat and your hips are level, then stay there and breathe.
Hold for 1 minute, maybe working up to 2 over time, breathing slowly in and out through your nose.  You can place your hands further back, as you see in the above photo, which will increase the arch in your low back.  This is a bit of a back bend.

Next, on an exhale, slowly come down to Sleeping Swan.  Take your time getting to the floor...
maybe resting at first on your forearms as shown.  Notice the legs haven't moved.
Perhaps eventually resting your forehead on your stacked hands or on your forearms.  Finally maybe extending your arms in front, palms down, forehead on the floor:
or placing the palms together in prayer if you like.
Stay here for a total of 3 minutes (use that timer on your phone!) starting from the time you start to lie down, breathing in and out through your nose maybe to the count of 3 or 4, relaxing everything as your 'marinate' your hips in this pose.

To come out, inhale slowly back up, remove the prop under the butt cheek so you can lean to that side and swing your back leg around to the front. Set both foot soles on the floor and enjoy the 'spearmint' feeling of warm/cool/buzzing/tingling feeling you get when you release out of a long-held pose.  Maybe do some slow windshield wipers movements back and forth with your bent legs.  Then do the other side!

The more we can rotate our hips in their sockets, the better health our hips will have, and the less chance of needing hip replacements down the line.  Hip and knee replacements are off the charts in the West compared to the East, because we do not live on the floor.  As I tell my yoga students from time to time, spend 5 minutes a day watching the news or your favourite show, sitting cross-legged, working up to 2.5 minutes or more per side, alternating one leg in front of the other.  Your hips will thank you!

I did finish two more cow blocks.

They are so cute!  These are more of the RSC 2015, last year's colours.  I have one more to make and then a bull. Finishing this quilt is one of my Q3FAL goals.

Now that several pretty strong thunderstorms have left our area, I can get back to work on this final round of our Mini Round Robin, as well as quilting Dayna's grad quilt.  Here is the Mini Round Robin, Tish's centre:

I will let you know that I have ripped more than I have menopausal melon is malfunctioning in the math department...clearly it isn't in the alliteration department!  If you are interested in seeing the other rounds, you can click the links below to see the other 3 ongoing minis that will each be finished...uh...within 3 days! Watch for the next post to see what I did!
Round 1 - my block
Round 2 - my work on Cindy's centre
Round 3 - my work on Julie's centre

Remember to vote in the Pets On Quilts at Lilypad Quilting which closes in a few days!  You can click here to be taken to the voting page, where you leave a comment with the pets' numbers who are your faves.  Bella is tapping my arm to tell you that she is #30, and that our post is here.  You can see all the pets if you click here.  You can even win something if you didn't enter a pet, so hippety-hop on over there!

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.


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

Choosing Fabric



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.


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


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

Checking that 1/4" seam


Even FaceTiming!

Tish on the iPad
Looking after you:



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!'s a real Yin Yoga pose!
Make sure you bend to both left and right!


Writing is blurred out for privacy

Basting and Quilting

and let us not forget...


Machine Maintenance with Bella
And finally, 


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!


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.

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.

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


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 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!