Sunday, April 30, 2017


Frames for the large hexies at the centre of my Anna Levens quilt are on the agenda today. I've got three in the works and two of the three are now together, with the pink one to go.

At least I thought there were three. That was until I moved the pile and realized that I have prepped the small hexies for a fourth block. Talk about quilt amnesia!

Fabrics have been paired so I'm looking forward to basting at least one of them into place so that I can appliqué it to its backing.

It's a rainy, cold and miserable day (when is Spring supposed to arrive?) so I went to the freezer and dug out an apple pie to bake. It's the perfect antidote for cold and rainy weather.

I also decided it was also a good day for some Shrimp Risotto with Fresh Herb Butter - total comfort food. It's been a while since we've had this and it was delicious with steamed asparagus. I like this recipe because you don't have to stir it for an eternity.

Maybe I'll see if we can find highlights of the Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins hockey games from last night - both teams are now up 2-0 in their series. Yaaaaaa - that's my boys! (I'm such a fair weather fan - only really get into it during the playoffs.).....M

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Squaring the Circle

All of my circle sandwiches for the Mock Orange Peel are now sewn and all but a dozen of them have been turned right side out. There's still lots of pressing and top-stitching to do but I'm determined that this one isn't going back into a cubby for another seven years, so I work on it in dribs and drabs. I've been a little distracted by the trimmings from the circles though.

The corners that are cut away from the four-patch circles looked big enough to do something with...

 I've been stacking them to the side and eventually making very tiny four-patches.

Finished they will be 1.5", which is pretty small, and there aren't nearly enough to make a quilt, but there are about 80 of them so I'm thinking they would make nice centres for Square in a Square/Economy Blocks. They are sort of like the starter for sourdough bread - tiny bits of one quilt feeding the creation of the next...M

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Reveal

We had a little house guest over the weekend so it was time to bring out her surprise and reveal what all of my secret sewing was about. Now when Baylea comes to visit she can lounge in her new quilted dog bed.

It seems to be a hit.

She particularly liked it when we threw a blanket on top so that she could wrap herself up in it (she is the Queen of the Snooze).

This was the inspiration that I worked from but, much as I love white in a quilt, I couldn't bring myself to use white in a dog bed.

The pattern called for covering a store bought dog bed insert but I used lots of batting and fabric trimmings to fill it instead, an idea I got from Wanda at exuberantcolour. She saves all of her trimmings for a friend who makes dog beds, which is just a perfect way to use up all those scraps. Waste not, want not.

It won't win any awards for quilting accuracy, but it got better as I went along.

I really had a hard time resolving to cut off the corners so that the bed was circular, but as soon as the first corner came off my fears were put to rest - that changed it completely.

That said, I did have a hard time saying goodbye to this little block, but it's now part of the stuffing, so at least it got used.

I wasn't sure if I had enough stuffing in it but after a little test run with the pooch in question we resolved that it was just fine, so I will stitch that opening closed.

Anyway, our precious pup now has a new little nest to spend her time in when she's over for a visit and appears to be very happy about it....M

Friday, April 21, 2017

Instant Messaging

My start on the Anna Levens quilt has been more than protracted. In fact, its been downright pokey. It's been on the go for at least six months now and I seem to drop it more often than I pick it up. If I was better at prepping the hexies in advance I'd be further along but, because I haven't, I tend to find something else to work on instead.

And I seem to be getting subliminal messages from it now that I've picked it up again as I wondered where I was in the process. Look closely. How's this for a hint?

Or this?

I cut my paper hexies from business reply cards that show up in the mail and their messaging seems to be very spot on. Made me smile....M

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter Treats

There's been some baking going on for Easter, and some yummy baking at that. Betty found a recipe for a Grapefruit Curd Tart with Black Pepper Pastry. I don't know that it would ever have occurred to me to make a tart with grapefruit (let alone put black pepper in the crust), but I'm very glad that I did. It was the perfect dessert after our ham dinner.

I was a little concerned because the crust was quite thick, but it was very nice - like eating a shortbread biscuit with the curd. The Official Cookie Tester gave it a thumbs up, as did everyone else, so this one will be a keeper.

Then I tried a Plum Loaf. I'd seen plums in the grocery store and just knew that they were coming home with me - not sure for what, but this loaf turned out to be the answer.

It calls for margarine but I used unsalted butter and it was very nice.

I also added about half a teaspoon of cinnamon to the brown sugar topping and it was a nice touch. I've got enough for a second one so I think I'll make it, maybe add a little candied ginger, and freeze it. Another favourable review from the Official Cookie Tester.

After that it was time to pull some fabrics for a few more Anna Levens blocks. I had a mauve ring of hexies all ready to go but after looking at the pattern again I wasn't sure that there was enough pattern in the print.

So I pulled several more and am playing with new combinations.

I also found a green that I'd forgotten about which I think will work well for one of the hexie rings. Now I probably have too many options but I'll see where this takes me....M

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Secret Sewing

I've been thinking of a little project for quite some time now and last week I gave it a start. The large floral was my jumping off point.

It's for a certain someone so I won't reveal everything right now, but there are a few pics that I can show you without giving everything away.

With any luck it will get finished later this weekend, once all the Easter dinner cooking and baking is behind me - time will tell. Until then, everything is very 'secret squirrel' 😉  ....M

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Backing Up

There's a pile of quilt tops sitting on a chair outside my sewing room and this year I'm attempting to move them along and get several of them finished, so I pulled my Kaffe Fassett Blue Diamonds from the pile and had a chat with Roberta to see if she had a suitable backing (despite having a pretty significant stack of backings - I dare not say how many - there was nothing in my stash that would do the trick).

We found one that would do in a pinch, but it wasn't really doing the quilt justice so I decided to keep looking. Well, I think I struck pay dirt. I happened upon a great little geometric pink print and got about 4.5 metres of it for - get this - $3/metre! Bingo!

I wasn't convinced that it was going to be a big enough piece, and it isn't, but at that price there was enough to make a very good start on a pieced backing. So, back into the sewing room I went and voila - another pink print, a small piece of blue (that's a VIP print that has been around forever), a deep turquoise and a teal/green that I brought back from Beijing a few years ago. Perfect.

So, everything is washed and ironed and now I need to start laying out some options. Hopefully soon it will be ready to take back to Roberta for quilting....M

Monday, April 10, 2017


I've forgotten to tell you that my Disappearing Four Patch has been quilted and bound and is now ready for the giving. The Official Cookie Tester kindly earned his keep by helping me get a full shot of it, but I have to say that this pic really doesn't do it justice.

It's a very soft, traditional and feminine quilt and the swirl that Roberta used to quilt it just finishes it off beautifully - thank you Roberta! All of those florals really evoke the blossoms of Spring and a reminder that we will soon be able to get into the garden.

I backed and bound it with a very traditional blue floral but just about any colour would have worked because there are so many colours in it.

This one is all ready to deliver. I have to say that without Roberta offering to quilt it for me it would still be sitting in a pile of flimsies, but now it will have a new home.  It is a great pattern for charity quilts because it looks like you've put in lots more work than you really did 😊 and it could have lots of different looks. I'd make this one again....M

Saturday, April 08, 2017

A Canada 150 Quilt Along

There's been a fair bit of Canada 150 stuff in my blog lately, and here's another little nugget (you only turn 150 once, right?). This week I received an email from the gals at Modern Bee with an invitation to join the Canada 150 Quilt Along with Lorna Costantini. She has designed an original pattern to commemorate the occasion and created a Facebook group with step-by-step tutorials where less experienced quilters can follow and/or share your progress. Easy peasy.

This is one that you quilt using your domestic sewing machine. Large individual blocks (24 x 24" is the largest) give you lots of room for quilting large open negative spaces using your walking foot. It's finished off with a few appliquéd elements and large stitch hand quilting.

If you prefer a smaller project, she's designed this matching pillow as a bonus.

The quilt and pillow can be admired at Modern Bee's shop and the patterns (both printed and PDF download) and kit can also be purchased online here. And, just to sweeten the deal, there's free shipping on Canadian orders over $100.

I like this quilt because it strays from using only red and white fabrics yet it is still very Canadian - think those Canada Flying Geese have anything to do with it?

So if you are keen to join in the fun and celebration of an important Canadian milestone and make a memorable, treasured family heirloom, have at it....M

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

The Girls Are on a Roll

Anne joined the gals at the church earlier in the week to quilt on Martha's Star and took some great photos of their progress to share with you.

It made my fingers itchy just looking at these busy bees - I would much rather be quilting with them than going to work.

There is so much speed infused into today's quilting scene that it does your heart good to see and remember the slower time of fellowship that seems to be disappearing.

Do today's new quilters even know what C clamps are for?

It just reminded me so much of working on quilts with mom and her friends.

In my heart of hearts I just know that she was with them - looking over their shoulders with nods of appreciation.

They had a great turnout this week, which meant lots of progress; so much so that the edges were turned not once, but twice!

I've been teasing them that it will be done by Easter, which they hesitate to agree on, but I think that they might just be on pace. No rush though - I want them to enjoy quilting it as much as I enjoyed making it....M