Friday, November 26, 2010

Tis the season - Traditions

Christmas is rapidly sneaking up on me and as it does, I get a growing urge to crack open a box, spread it's contents on a table and start picking it over and putting things together.  When I was younger, (so much younger) every Christmas seemed to bring a puzzle.  I don't quite remember if these were gifts or if my parents bought a new one for every year.  Regardless, in the days after Christmas, a table would be set up in the living room, a puzzle dumped out and for hours at a time, the family would sit by the window watching winter go by, slowly putting pretty pictures together, piece by piece.

Hour after hour I spent at a table with my Dad, Mom, brother or some combination of, picking over pieces, watching as others picked up pieces, wondering if that might be the one that fit what I was looking for.  I don't remember the conversations we had.  I don't even remember if we did talk all that much.  I just remember that time we spent together and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

A few years ago, I broke out a puzzle, trying to recreate my memories.  While I still loved putting the puzzle together, there was just something different about doing it alone.  No one handing me that piece I'd been looking for for hours.  No one to chat with about random things we'd both forget about in days, if not hours.  But it felt lonely putting together a puzzle alone.

My cats tried to help.  Or I assume that's what they thought it was.  They'd jump up on the table, sometimes at a run, sliding into the puzzle, knocking pieces everywhere.  Then they'd stop, sit for a moment, then begin to bat at one piece or another, chasing it as if it were a tiny cardboard mouse.  Sometimes in the morning, I'd wake up to find a pile of pieces littered on the ground around the table. 

So I gave up on the puzzles, but I still miss that time with my family in the days after Christmas. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Results of the mini quilt retreat with my mother.

End result?  More shopping done than actual quilting.  I should've known with Christmas so close that a visit to the city would require more shopping.  She commented at the end of the weekend that she thought we'd get more sewing done.  Really?  Well.  I wasn't the one who wanted to do everything else.  Although, I do take full responsibility for my Christmas party.  And the pampered chef party...

Anyway, sewing did get done.  The first night, we watched some TV so I was able to get working on my hand quilting.

I LOVE this block.   I suspect I'll be making a quilt out of it in the future.

Flying geese.  Oh.  Flying geese.
I started quilting on this one when I needed a quick break from the red and green. 

We also spent Friday afternoon quilting.
Lookit all those geese.  Yeesh.  In the end, I've almost finished the full 45 needed to do one of the 12 strips of geese on my flying geese quilt.  I don't think I'll ever sew another goose ever again after this.  Ever.

I also got started prewashing the fabrics for the kids' pillow cases.  Fresh out of the dryer, here's the first batch - pinks and light blues.
Tonight I'll be sewing up a bunch of lovely, soft pillowcases.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Random bits of randomness (or, required Canadian Content)

First off I need to get a short message out of the way.


It appears that yesterday (Sunday), my home team (Saskatchewan Roughriders) won the Western Semi-Final in the Canadian Football League and have moved on to the Grey Cup next Sunday in Edmonton.  I expect to see Commonwealth Stadium packed with green and white.  Don't let me down Rider fans.  Don't let me down.

Moving on.

This weekend, I read a fantastic book from a Canadian author -  She writes a mystery series based in Quebec and it's absolutely fantastic. 
Bury Your Dead is the sixth and most recent in the series about Chief Inspector Gamache.  I love this series.  A lot.  From Louise Penny's website, here is a summary of the book: 

"This sixth Gamache mystery is set partly in the tiny fictional (and oddly murderous) village of Three Pines, in Quebec’s Eastern Townships. But most of the action takes place in Quebec City. A vibrant, sophisticated fortress city, which lives in the present but guards its past.

For that’s the other location of this novel. The past.

It's February and bitterly cold in Quebec City. But Chief Inspector Gamache barely notices. He's nearly consumed with grief and guilt over a police action he led - and the mistakes he made. He spends his time with his now-retired mentor, and in the peaceful library of the Literary and Historical Society. A bastien of the dwindling English population.

But if Gamache thought death was finished with him, he was wrong. The body of a celebrated eccentric is found in the Lit and His, and Gamache is drawn again into hunting a murderer. The victim is an amateur archeologist who was monomaniacal in his pursuit. He had spent his life trying to find the body of Samuel de Champlain.

This is the great mystery that has haunted Quebec for centuries.

Where is Champlain?

The founder of Quebec died 400 years ago. And while the burial places of nuns and farmers and minor functionaries of the time are known, no one knows what became of the Father of Quebec.

How could this be?

As Chief Inspector Gamache digs through the crime and the venerable old city it becomes clear the murder is rooted in this 400 year old mystery, and in people long dead. But perhaps not buried.

It also becomes clear to the Chief Inspector that to find the truth he needs to confront his own ghosts, and bury his own dead. "

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Things to do and a quilting weekend.

This weekend my Mom is visiting.  Our plan is to do some (or lots of) sewing and quilting.  Taking a break at work, I made a short list of quilts that I'm working on or have fabric and plans for.
1.  First priority?  Deal with the fabric from Grandma.  I know Mom wants to help me with this so I suppose that should be the first plan.  Remember this fabric (ohhhhh, the ugly!)
I think I'm going to replace the yellow with a white that I have no plans to use, but I'll see what Mom has to say.  The yellow was hers to start with anyway.  Destination:  Flying Geese Quilt.  Eep.

2.  Finish hand quilting my class sampler quilt.  It's been waiting for years and I've quilted a single block.  Have a look:
There's the block I have quilted.  I'm really fond of the double hourglass.  The rest of the quilt?  Looks like this:
Oddly, and without any planning at all - those are the colours we'll eventually use in the bedroom.  Colour me happily surprised.  But this isn't really a mini-quilt retreat weekend project.  It's better accomplished sitting down stitching while I watch TV (ok, so during Big Bang Theory tonight...)

Beyond that I can only repost pictures I've already posted:
1.  Scrappy nine-patch - needs ONE border, layering, basting, quilting and binding.
2.  Dandelion Wishes - needs applique, border, etc
3.  Batik quilt - I have several batik fat quarters.  I've picked a pattern for them. I don't have pictures of this fabric.
4.  Red, yellow and green half square triangle quilt.  The red and yellow fat quarters I bought not long ago are going to be put into a HST quilt with some dark green I have.  The result will probably be very Christmassy.
5.  Black & white rail fence - the black and white fat quarters from yesterday are going into a rail fence block with touches of red.
6.  Make pillow cases for the kids for Christmas.  I suppose that moves the priority on this up.  A lot.

So there's my list.  I hope to update on the weekend a time or two.   We'll see what I get accomplished by Monday, hopefully my to-do list will be much shorter!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


A couple of weeks ago, Mr Moose and I went out to Banff for our anniversary.  On the way, we stopped in Canmore - mostly so I could go to the Sugar Pine Company quilt store.  It's a fantastic little store that's been featured in Quilt Sampler.

I wandered through their 8000 bolts of fabric.  I'm pretty sure I was drooling.  I came away with only two fat quarter bundles.  Why?  Because I forgot how much light batik I needed for a quilt I want to make.  So, this is what I came home with:

The red and yellow, I don't have a home for yet.  I'm considering some kind of half square triangle quilt.

The black and white is going to go in a rail fence quilt with some red.  Or maybe with yellow.  I haven't completely decided yet.

In addition, I'm planning to make some gifts for Christmas.  For my nieces and nephews, I'm going to make them pillow cases.  I figure this'll go over really well with my brother's kids.  My husband's sister's kids though?  That worries me a bit.  Their grandmother thought they'd love it so I'm taking her word on it.

For my brother's kids:

His daughter LOVES strawberry shortcake and pink.  So that was easy to pick out.  Her twin, the youngest boy is harder to figure out, so he's getting Bob the Builder in blues.  And their oldest boy is the easiest.  John Deere makes him a happy camper.

Each pillow will be appliqued on the end with their name in a contrasting colour.

For my husbands nephews and niece, we chose the following

The younger boy and girl love animals so for the girl, I've got the pink and the light blue at the top.  For the boy, the two on the bottom - blue fire hydrants and a great text print.  For the older boy who plays soccer, a couple of soccer prints.  He's 11 so I'm not sure if I'll be appliqueing his name on his pillow or not.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Here it is

My first finished quilt.  EVER. 

I machine quilted it.  It was another learning experience.  Not so bad,but I struggled keeping my lines straight.  And my tension on my first line was horrible.

It's twin sized, backed in flannel and very cozy warm.  And I love it.  A lot.

The binding is a flowered harlequin that I picked up because it had the brown, pinks, green and orange in it which is really as good as I was going to get without going with a scrappy binding.

The pattern is from Atkinson Designs (Happy Stars, I think?)

And here it is all folded up on the foot of the spare bed waiting for my parents' visit.

My first quilt finish belongs on Quilt Story's Fabric Tuesday... no?

Tomorrow?  I'm going to share the stash I bought in Canmore on my anniversary weekend!

I think it's officially winter

Sure, it's mid-November and it should be more than clear that it's winter, right?  Not so much.  We've had a surprisingly mild fall given the beastly (cold/rainy) summer we had.  It's November 16th, and this is just our second snowfall.  Granted, I thought the first would last much longer.  Maybe I'm premature in saying this one will, but it certainly looks like winter out there.  Feels like it too with the ridiculous wind chill (-19C with windchill?  Really?  Ew).

I have my company Christmas party coming up this weekend and I haven't got a thing to wear.  No, really.  I haven't attended a Christmas party in years.  I thought the party was next weekend.  So, I have 4 days to buy a dress.  And my parents will be in town tomorrow so I won't have a lot of shopping time.  Yeesh.

And, finally, it's dark all the time.  I mean, not all the time like it is further north, but for as much as I see the sun, it might as well be dark all the time. I go to work in the dark.  I go home in the dark.  Which doesn't do well for picture taking.  So, the quilt that I finished yesterday is waiting for it's closeup and I'm trying to figure out how I'll get the best (or any) light for it.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Weekend plans

Last weekend I was out of town, but on Monday I took the day off and "celebrated" my anniversary with my husband.  Mmmm hmmmm.  He played on the computer, I sewed in a completely different room.  Happy Anniversary to us.  In our defense, we'd spent an entire weekend together in the mountains prior to that.

The good news is, I got my bright quilt quilted (pictures later since I'm at work).  The bad news is, it still needs to be trimmed and bound.  I plan to get my binding done this weekend. Mainly because my parents will be here next week and I want to show it off to my quilting Mom.

I'm also going to get started on a few Christmas presents for my nephews and niece.  Yup.  I'm going to be THAT aunt.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Another weekend gone

It's already November.  I know this because today is my first wedding anniversary.  Mr Moose and I just got back from a lovely weekend in Banff.  We hiked (probably more that our out of shape bodies really should have), we got pampered in the hotel spa and we got a room upgrade.  Actually, a couple of room upgrades - we ended up in a junior suite at the Fairmont Banff Springs.  Colour me surprised (and completely spoiled).

Anywho, I'm back and I really should be posting on my blog about wonderful quilty goodness.  I'm not because I have no wonderful quilty goodness. So... you know... um... I can tell you about a GO! giveaway.  They're cool fabric cutters if you quilt.  So, go.  Enter.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Yes, I know it's November 4th.  Halloween was several days ago.  But I wanted to share the halloween quilt I worked on.  It's not done yet, but I am busy machine quilting it.  Only it's my first attempt with invisible thread and it's not my favorite thing to work with at this point.  Enter my zombies:

The bats are my favorite!

I also love the black spider web fabric.  It's so...webby.

I've also managed to get my blinding quilt layered and thread basted.  I don't have pictures of it, but it's about a twin size, maybe a bit smaller and it took me HOURS to thread baste.  I'm so buying pins.  I am never, ever, EVER thread basting another quilt.  EVER.  At least not one that big.  Yeesh.

So, this here quilt is layered and awaiting some machine quilting

I should get a name for this, because "the blinding quilt," "the psychedelic quilt," and "the ugly quilt" just aren't all warm and fuzzy like a quilt should be!