Friday, August 30, 2013

Whatever Floats Your Boat

Jane is a nautical soul and loves to be by or on the water. No surprise then that she would find a way to create these charming little boats. The trick is that she used collars and cuffs from men's shirts (thank you Martin) when designing her creations.

Aren't they just wonderful? They are about 6" - 7" tall and are a jaunty collection that looks like it's ready to hit the high seas. Love those polka dots!

Notice how she's also used the shirt labels? And I love the string of tiny sails. All those stripes and plaids and dots - it just makes you smile.

She's not quite sure where/how to use them yet but is toying with hanging them on a rattan room divider in the guest bedroom at the cottage.

One of these days I suspect that she will have a sailboat quilt in the works. Maybe Sailing, Sailing from Hollyhock Quilts...wonderful pinwheels, and don't you just love the waves?

Or this one - Crazy Sails from The Buggy Barn. I like the Ocean Waves border on the blocks that make up the sashing strips.

Or how about this great little block with ric rac for the waves that I found on Amanda's blog? It's from Glenna Hailey's book, Sugar Sack Quilts. I think that it's the Sailing, Sailing block from above.

Lots and lots of fun possibilities as we start looking at summer in the rear view mirror....M

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Hexies On My Mind

I've been working on two different sized hexies lately - mostly sewing on one and cutting for the second. I've now got the second set of mauve triangles on the Candied Hexagons so it's time to get serious about laying it out.

All but this block. I will need to piece a triangle from scraps to finish this one off. When I was looking at it I thought I'd lay one of the hexies from Minnie overtop, you know, just to see the difference in scale. See that little cream speck in the bottom right? That's Minnie. Makes me wonder sometimes about my sanity. I knew it was smaller, I just didn't think of it as being that small!

The pile doesn't look like much but hopefully the quilt magic will happen when I start piecing them together.

As for Minnie, I've got a couple more diamonds together. This one is very light and airy.

This one a little more traditional.

But mostly I've been the Cutting Queen. I've been carrying the 1 1/2" strips around in my big basket for months now and cutting as I need them. As time wore on they were getting too tossed and frayed and ratty looking so I decided to cut a big batch. This should help me with my colour selection too.

It's taking me longer than I had thought, and there's still lots more to go. I started out putting them in a small box, then expanded to fill the box lid, and now both are overflowing so it's time to find a better container.

And, since it's zucchini season I decided to try a new Chocolate Zucchini Bread recipe (thank you Pinterest). Very glad that I did. It makes up as advertised and is really lovely and moist, and the crunchy topping works too. I didn't add the orange zest this time as I am a sucker for chocolate and cinnamon, but I still have lots of zucchini left to play with so I might make another to freeze, just to see the difference. Lots of oooohs and aaaahs from the Official Cookie Tester too....M

Monday, August 26, 2013

Flying The Flag(s)

Last week I got my heart flags into the mail for Lac-Megantic so that they would arrive in Laval on time and have since had a lovely note from Claire letting me know that they had arrived and that she'll send through photos, and hopefully a video link, once they are all installed in town, so I will share that when they come through.

I also received a lovely email from Kathy at Kindred Quilts letting me know that she had made two and was sending them off. They are beautiful paper pieced patterns - so bright and cheery - and such lovely fabrics. Thank Kathy, and for sending through your photos too.

She had posted about the project as well and I noticed that at least one of her followers was planning to make more and send them along. A few visitors posted regrets because distance would not allow for their projects to arrive by the deadline, but thanks so much to everyone who pitched in and sent their warm wishes. Gotta love the power of social media.

We were flying a few little flags of our own last weekend. My only (and favourite!) niece, Julia, graduated in graphic design from the Ontario College of Art and Design this spring so her mom Betty hosted a lovely brunch for family and friends. We are all so proud of her; she is extremely talented and happily following in her mother's footsteps. Julia loves Dairy Queen ice cream cakes, so for dessert we decked one out in little flags and let her do the honours of serving.

There was a second Oreo flavoured one that was a big hit as well; it tasted much better than it looks.

Because the 'under 10' crowd was well represented I decided to try making a batch of Marshmallow Pinwheels - they are the chocolate goodies on the left. I see them all the time at church lunches but have never made any, so this was a first. And, since there was still a half bag of marshmallows left, I thought that a batch of Social Tea Squares wouldn't hurt (can you have too many marshmallow desserts?). I usually make them with white marshmallows but hey, when in Rome. Here's the goods if you'd like to try them:

Marshmallow Pinwheels
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate
2 tbsp. butter
1 c. icing sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
4 oz. coconut
2 1/2 c mini marshmallows

Melt chocolate and butter; cool slightly, then add in other ingredients. Pour over marshmallows. Spread coconut on waxed paper or parchment and form into a roll, covering the sides with coconut. Freeze. Cut into slices.

This recipe came from my friend Nancy, via Jane, but I realized that when I had copied it out I forgot to include how many marshmallows I needed (duh), so I found a recipe with more detailed instructions online that you might want to look at if you decide to make them (scroll down to Day 7). They are a guaranteed sugar hit so I'd suggest enjoying them with a nice cup of tea - you know, to offset the sugar high....M

Friday, August 23, 2013

Jane's Quilt Closet

While Jane was digging for fabrics for her soon-to-be quilt-as-you-go chair cushions she uncovered what I think is my all-time favourite of her quilts. It's done in pinks, reds, oranges & plums and is a Kaffe Fasset pattern (she couldn't remember the name of it - I'll find out). Isn't it incredible?

It's been 'steeping' for a few years so I convinced her to keep it out and put it on her finish-it-up list. Periwinkle is one of my all-time favourite colours and those dots just make me happy.

There's some quilter's math needed to be done as she has these two prints for borders but only a limited amount of one, so some thinking has to happen before she starts cutting. Won't this look incredible?

I didn't get a shot of the complete top, but does it matter? It is such a gorgeous riot of colour.

On the completely opposite end of the brightness scale, she was working on the border for her Summer Picnic quilt made from Martin's old shirts and a few vintage sheets.

She's adding a great sawtooth border using the plaids and stripes and white, which will be lovely.

It's a great way to show off the prints and adds one more layer of interest. The shirting is really beautiful on its own (Martin has great taste) but gets a nice boost from the occasional high impact print from the sheets. Love it....M

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Linda's Lavender

While I was working on my QAYG pillow Linda was busy across the table at a sweet creation for a new little girl that had recently been born to good friends of theirs. She had a bundle for 4-square patched that were left over from another project in a beautiful range of mauves, pinks and creams so she decided to cut those in half diagonally and create a new block with triangles. Very pretty.

The alternating blocks are a beautiful dusty mauve that I'm not sure my camera is doing justice to, but it works really well with the other prints.

Such a beautiful selection of prints...

She placed strips of the striped fabric that you can see in the top corner of this photo in the borders along the top and bottom edges of the quilt. The polka dots had been considered at one point too but they didn't work as well - maybe for the binding.

The top is all together now and ready to be quilted and delivered to its new owner.

The quilt goes surprisingly well with the charming pinkeep that she has made for herself; she's a real pansy lover, or is that lover of pansies? ....M

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Pillow Talk

Nothing like a pile of scraps to make your heart sing. Jane had just organized the last of her scraps into one box so I was given free reign to use them and show her how to make a quilt-as-you-go pillow for her love seat on the deck. It didn't take much convincing - what is it about being able to play with someone else's scraps? I discovered half way through the process that she also has several scrap drawers, but I managed to restrain myself and focus on getting something done with the scraps that I had pulled.

There is a pillow at the cottage that I wanted to try and make this one work with and I had a certain look in mind when I started, but as things evolved it was clear that this was having a life of its own. It still proved to be a good match in the end.

Not nearly as much brown/rust as I had imagined, but then that's not a bad thing as I've discovered that brown is Jane's least favourite colour.

I started this one later in the afternoon so there was still a bit to do when we turned out the lights to go to bed. Nothing like waking up to your breakfast and enjoying it right next to your sewing; I didn't even have to get out of my jammies!

Half way through we realized that the pressure foot tension was not as tight as it could have been so not all of the quilting is as straight as I would like it, but it all blended in quite well.

She had a spool of variegated red/green/gold thread that she'd picked up at a garage sale and it was the perfect choice for this project. And this beautiful vintage scrap found a home as well. For the backing she found this absolutely wonderful plaid; she's got about 4 or 5 similar pillows that she'd like to do so she'll have enough of the plaid to do the backs of all of them, if she likes.

Drumroll....So there it is - another QAYG pillow, finished and on the deck, ready to use. It replaces the brown/cream striped covering similar to the pillow on the right. So much more Jane.

When she saw how much fun this is to do she decided to recover the chairs for her table and then create QAYG pillows to match so she pulled a beautiful variety of prints. I didn't get a pic but they will be perfect with the soft green that her cottage is painted in.

Love, love, love the texture that you get with this method....M

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Pretty Hearts & Another Style of Journal Cover

Another weekend out at the cottage with Jane and we had lots to show for it. It helps that all our time is spent with needle and thread close at hand.

When I arrived she was busy making these seriously insanely tiny little yo-yos - they are about the size of a nickel - so of course I had to make some too, because if you're going to go crazy it's always nice to have company. Believe it or not, she'd like to try making even smaller ones! (My apologies for the lack of focus.)

True confessions time. I have never had much luck making yo-yos, but I have to say that I was acing these little guys. Linda was going to join us on Saturday so we made up enough for 3 hearts to be worked on and played around with a few layouts until we got colour distributions that we liked.

We were so busy doing other things that we ran out of time to work on them again so they have been shelved for another play date, but just to keep you interested, this was her inspiration.

Jane had recently hand pieced together two panels to cover a small journal so I offered to finish it off for her. This is the front...

and this is the back.

I used the same technique as I use for my batik covers and then we found this great postcard print for the lining and inside flaps.

It is really pretty, inside...

and out; quite Victorian. And ready to use....M