Tuesday, April 28, 2015

When The Student Is Ready...

Remember this star quilt that I started at the beginning of the year? You know, the one that was going to be a really quick project just so that I could use up a small stack of very subtle Kaffe Fassett fat quarters and move on to something else.

I was playing with flying geese and trying to figure out how to include them in the final layout too. Well, it got as far as the design wall and has been 'steeping' ever since. That is, until the stars aligned, a.k.a. a fantastic bargoon and a visit from Betty.
When helping Betty look for prints for Julia's duvet cover I snagged a truly great deal on this gorgeous periwinkle paisley Kaffe print (can you say $5/metre???!). One of my all-time faves. Pinch me.

Needless to say, it came home with me, in two pieces though. The first piece is large enough for a backing plus a few extra metres, and then when Betty saw it against the star blocks it didn't take much convincing that this was the border print, so I made a second trip for whatever was left on the bolt (what is it about needing to finish off a bolt?). Anyway, I know that I will find a second project for it down the road.

I'm going to ditch the geese and just do the stars with very wide borders (pardon the dull Bat Cave images). Now I just need to find some motivation to cut and get the top put together.

There's an old Chinese saying, "When the student is ready the teacher will appear". Well, I feel like Betty was my teacher on this one. I don't think I would have been brave enough to even consider this print with the star blocks but now that they are together it just seems to be a perfect mix. Thanks for the lesson, Betty.....M

Thursday, April 23, 2015


This is the question: which came first, the quilt or the egg?

Last weekend Anne, Betty and I went to visit our good friend Linda L. at Madonna House and after lunch we enjoyed a lovely walk through the grounds and buildings. On our way she shared a wonderful collection of pysanky that had been made for Easter by various staff. I'm certain that you've seen them before - they are an age old Ukrainian and Polish tradition of decorated eggs for Easter, and sometimes Christmas. In so many ways these beauties scattered about evoked quilting patterns and inspiration, both pieced and appliquéd, but on a much smaller scale.

Do you see the star in front? And the blue & white one just behind it? Love blue & white.

Wouldn't these make wonderful appliqué patterns, especially the red and white one in the upper left or the red, white and green one to the right?

Another great star in red and white. And how about some fantastic border inspiration in the one just behind it?

The pink egg on the left really caught my eye; it is so much like a Double Wedding Ring quilt. Each is a work of art.

I have a vague memory of trying my hand at this years ago but seeing these masterpieces made me want to take another shot at it. It's the appeal of the teeny tiny, just like in quilting....M

Monday, April 20, 2015


With the arrival of warmer weather the yard and gardens seem to be getting more attention than the stitching these days - I seem to be in neutral on the quilting front - but, just like the gardens in Springtime, there has been a little progress on Danuta's Garden.

I'm intent on adding more pinks and greens to the sashing four-patch blocks and it's starting to make a difference.

A few more yellows would probably be a good idea.

Slowly the sashing strips are getting longer, and that's progress, so maybe I'm not totally in neutral.

Today is dull, dull, dull and rainy and it looks like we will have a week of this, so maybe it's a good time to hang my new Julamade Sunrise Butterfly garland. The delicate little butterflies are only 1.5" high and just adorable! Such a talented niece I have!!...M

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A Split Personality

I looked up from the sewing machine the other day to see two very different types of quilt blocks looking back at me from the design wall and it struck me how not only does my taste change through the years, but also, that there are lots of different aspects to my 'quilt personality'. The one thing that does seem to be consistent is my love of scrappy and using up every little bit.

Every now and then I dive into the shoe box that is my Pineapple Tidbits with the hopes that one day there will be enough blocks to string together. Part of me thinks that I will always have this shoe box on the go because I'm always topping up the scraps in the zip lock bags that hold the strips. That's okay. It's a classic pattern with a rich, traditional feel and even when mine is finished there will always be someone that can use a quilt.

And then there's another side of me that is drawn to the newer, cleaner, more graphic - dare I say 'modern'? - patterns and fabrics, like these Scrappy Log Cabin blocks. Very little of my stash falls into this category, but there is some, and more every day. It's clean and simple and completely different from the more traditional side of me. I'm more selective in picking these fabrics because I don't have the same comfort level mixing them as I do with my more traditional prints or rich, large florals. There are a range of styles that appeal to me that fall between these two extremes but seeing them together on the wall got me thinking about them. Do you have multiple personalities or is it a pretty consistent taste for you?....M

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Stars For The Garden

Despite all the hopes for brighter weather last weekend we have had just the dullest of weeks. Hopefully today will mark a turnaround. Maybe a few stars for Danuta's Garden will help.

It's a nice little collection but I do find myself wondering if I should have had more specific colour palettes for both the border stars and the sashing rather than making the whole thing scrappy. But then I remember how much I liked the original so I think I will just stay to plan.

The last two still have a few rows of stitches before they are complete.

These last two blocks are made from different colours of the same print. Pretty....M

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Cookie Craving

For the past couple of days I've had a real craving for a good chewy oatmeal cookie. Tonight I finally caved and made a batch - heaven!

If I had baked them last night it was going to be either Cherry Pecan Oatmeal, Chewy Oatmeal Raisin or Anzac Cookies. But I got sidetracked, so they didn't get baked until this evening. And when I looked at my recipes again, Loaded Chocolate Chip Oatmeal came out on top. And loaded they are. Can you say chocolate chips, oatmeal, coconut, peanut butter and pecans?

This is the first time making this recipe but that didn't seem to put the Official Cookie Tester off. "Awesome" could be heard between bites and gulps of milk (did I mention he's also a peanut butter fiend?). Guess this recipe's a keeper....M

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Happy Easter!

Last weekend Jane pulled out the pattern and materials to stitch this little bunny and cut a piece of fabric for me too, and in no time it was done - just in time for Easter.

It's the sweetest pattern and the thread that she had for it was ideal. We got half finished Saturday when we were together so she sent me home with what we hoped was enough floss to finish it up. There were a few anxious moments but in the end there was just enough - what you see in the needle is all that I had left. Guess it was meant to be.

I'm not sure what I'll do with it, but for the time being I'm just going to enjoy looking at it. Thanks so much Jane.

And because it's Easter there are all kinds of goodies are around. If you live with the Official Cookie Tester it also means its time for pumpkin pie. This is hands down his favourite and he's been hinting lately that he'd love one, so the Easter Bunny delivered.

I hope you have a beautiful Easter shared with family and friends....M

Friday, April 03, 2015

Here Comes the Sun

Easter weekend is off to a lovely, very welcome, sunny start so before digging in to start my baking for the weekend I sat with coffee in hand and stitched a few 9-patch blocks for Danuta's Garden. It just seemed like the right thing to do.

Cheery colours and quick progress - what's not to love?

This is the second day in a row where we are enjoying the first truly mild days of Spring and it's nice to see the blanket of white continuing to disappear. No tulips or crocuses for us this year but we'll take sunshine and settle for the blossoms in the quilt pieces.

Now to find my apron.....M