Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Gone To Pot(holders)

The Holly Bazaar is inching closer and closer and I'm on a potholder roll. Lately I've tried my hand at making a few using the Granny Square block, and they are really sweet.

It's a fun block and I think I might try making a baby quilt using the same pattern but larger blocks; these pieces finish off at one inch square and I think I'd aim for a finished block of either two or three inches.

It's been fun incorporating some of the holiday novelty prints like this tiny mitten fabric.

I was playing around with fabric options and ended up with two very similar versions so I decided to make two identical sets rather than have them look slightly mismatched, which meant that I had to make two more.

I got the first one all together but goofed big time when I went to trim it - I took off an extra quarter of an inch on two sides before I realized what I was doing. *#!?!@!*! The air was too blue for me to tackle ripping out the border blocks and replace them so it is still waiting to be finished. I was in too big a hurry trying to get them done so I could sit and hand stitch the binding.

There's also one with a green dot for the background fabric, which is going to be for me. I may have to wait until after the bazaar too put the pair for this one together but they will be fun to use during the holidays. I don't think that I have ever made myself a potholder, so this will be a first....M

Saturday, October 25, 2014


Fly Away Home is all together! I started putting everything together on Friday and by Monday it was a quilt top. I am truly smitten. The diagonal layout is even better than I had imagined - this is going to be a favourite part of our Christmas traditions for years to come.

I keep expecting to find geese flying in the wrong direction, but so far, so good; if I find any they will stay where they are :).

But it wasn't without it's challenges. I had just put together the first few rows when my machine decided to do it's best impression of something demon possessed - it wouldn't sew, I couldn't adjust the stitch length and I just about lost a finger because the needle kept randomly bobbing up and down. Not impressed.

After calls to the shop and Janome I decided to take it to my regular guy here in town for a look, which was fine, but that meant that I didn't have a machine and I was raring to go. There was only one thing to do - resort to a life of crime.

Anne was away for the weekend so I planned a B&E (actually, I have a key, so that part was really easy) and absconded with her machine. Not knowing what projects she might have on the horizon I want to get it all sewn together before she returned late Sunday. It took me 'til Monday.

It was a 'pinfest' - every one of those joins needed to be pinned - so I just got into a good rhythm with it and slowly worked my way through.

I still need to trim it and sew the backing, but the deadline worked in my favour.

The colours are going to look great in the living room. It's almost hard to believe that I will have this for Christmas. "Yes, Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus"....M


Saturday, October 18, 2014

All I Want For Christmas...

What keeps you up at night? One of my work associates has long used this question to help clients set their priorities. For me lately it has been Fly Away Home. Would I have enough flying geese to lay them out on an angle instead of vertically? How much waste would there be? Could I bring myself to trim them off (I hate wasting fabric)? How big could I make it?

Well, I decided it was time to answer my questions. I started laying out geese on a 45 degree angle and used my rulers to help me visualize how much I'd be trimming away.

I only needed to lay out a few rows before I had my answer - on the diagonal they would be. I would make it as large as I could. And just to seal the deal I pulled out the backing fabric again. I have just under four metres and, after doing the math, calculate that it can be about 75" x 80", which was larger than I had imagined - bonus. We'll see how much the seam allowance 'shrink' it.

It's all laid out (and looks amazing!) and I have started sewing rows; like most things that I procrastinate on it wasn't worth the fretting. This will be for the living room and I'd like it done for Christmas so I wasted no time in calling Roberta to book it to be quilted. She can do it in early December, which will be perfect. I'm sleeping easier...M

Friday, October 17, 2014

Add These To The List

I want to have more than the little felt birds and decos ready for the Holly Bazaar so I've set my mind to putting a few pot holders together. It's proving to be a great way to try new blocks. It's also a great way to use up scraps of batting and the insulated fabric - I just zig zag the remnants together and it works like a charm.

Thinking that I would make a pair, I pulled out a fat quarter of this gold holiday print with birds on it and started making flying geese with it. As I work through the first set I realized that if I played my cards right I could probably make four instead of two.

And, with a little fussy cutting, I was able to give each one a different centre, so they are all the same and yet different.

The deeper red binding worked out really well and that's what I backed them with too. I always hand stitch my bindings but thought I would try doing them by machine for this project. The first step worked out just fine but the topstitching looked maniacal - I think my binding was too narrow. So, off to find my trusty ripper and return to the hand sewing.

I might try the machine binding another time, say on a baby quilt where there is a little bit more to work with. No big deal - I like hand sewing and they were all done in no time.

So, one more thing (or is that four?) I can add to the basket for the bazaar basket....M

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Wish Upon a Star

Betty has been stitching away at her little stars and has a lovely collection of them now.

All told there are about 100 and she is creating rows of 10 so far. They are just precious - four inches in size and, with the soft pink and cream and large florals, the epitome of romantic. A few delicate plaids just add to it.

She's designing it as she goes and not quite sure where she takes it from here, but there are still a few more stars to be made. It is destined to be another spectacular creation.

It's another perfect example of the joy of hand stitching a quilt - blocks pieced in moments here and there then tucked into a tin, and before you know it, you have a beautiful collection....M

Saturday, October 11, 2014


Pumpkin pie is the Official Cookie Tester's favourite, hands down, and this Thanksgiving he will have lots of pumpkin to choose from as I've been trying out a few new recipes.

When we were at Fibrefest we enjoyed a pumpkin cheesecake brownie at lunch. It reminded me of a recipe that I got from my good friend Rhonda years ago - Betty Beeble's Brownies - only these had pumpkin in them. Pumpkin and chocolate. Oh my! My mission in life for the last month has been to find a recipe, and find it I did.

The recipe makes a nice big pan, which was a bonus; I opted not to top it with the walnuts but might give that a try some day. I think I'd put them right into the chocolate batter though rather than sprinkling them on top.

And, because I had leftover pumpkin and cream cheese I tried a new Pumpkin Squares recipe from Lucy Waverman, basically a pumpkin pie filling overtop a shortbread crust, drizzled with a cream cheese frosting. These are fantastic! and both the crust and the filling can be made in the food processor, which is a bonus.

Finally, inspired by my talented niece Julia, I made these little paper pumpkins for the table using a circular paper punch. I trimmed about 1/8" from the bottom of each circle before I sewed them together so that they would sit flat on the table.

They are just about 2 1/2" high and I've got a box of them ready to take to dinner tonight.

So between the pies and the brownies and the squares and the table decos, I think we're covered on the pumpkin front. Happy Thanksgiving everyone; we have so much to be thankful for....M

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Time for Mistletoe & Holly...

The Holly Bazaar is on the horizon (mid November) so I'm trying to get my items ready for it sooner rather than later. I keep a tray with the makings of the little red heart decos and felt birds in the study so that I can work on them while I watch TV if I'm in the mood, so I hauled it out and started to work.

I had three or four heart decos already made, and several more cut and prepped, so there is now a lovely little dozen in the finished column. I may make more but don't have any cut out right now.

And my bird population is up too - eight little red fellows are now ready for their bow and their eyes so that they look like the one in the front and then they will be finished too.

I've also got a little baggie full of light blue birds cut out so they are next in line. I'll need to find a good ribbon for this little flock. Progress is being made....M

Friday, October 03, 2014

A Nice Little Collection

Tempting as it is to want to dive in and sew together Fly Away Home, I am trying to sew up a few projects for the Holly Bazaar and the Madonna House Gift Shop first. Hopefully my flying geese will be the carrot that I need to move the smaller projects along quickly. Happily, I now have a small little pile of success; I finished making three more bibs, so there are five ready now.

There are two pink versions...this one...

and this one.

I backed one with a pink print and the second one with this pretty blue - it is a lovely combination.

And then there is the turquoise with the tiny hearts if someone wants a stronger hit of colour. It's backed in the same turquoise.

All together they make a nice little bundle.

I've been craving something baked and chocolate lately and have had a zucchini ready to make into something for seemingly forever, so at lunch I whipped up a Chocolate Zucchini Loaf; chocolate and cinnamon are such a great combo. I split a slice with the Official Cookie Tester while it was still warm and 'OMG!' could be heard as he left the kitchen, so I guess he likes the combo too....M