Friday, May 29, 2009

Rabbits Anyone?

No, not the four-legged ones, but the quilt designs!

I’d like to introduce you to The Rabbit Factory, a Canadian quilt pattern company.

RFlogo3x3_300dpi Their quilting patterns use up-to-date rotary cutting, machine piecing and hand or machine appliqué techniques.

Lorraine Lefort, who was the owner of The Running Stitch for 14 years, my LQS in the BIG city of Ottawa, is the Rabbit Factory’s publisher and Lydia Quigley is the designer.

Here’s a peek at one of my favorite designs for which I have the complete set of patterns and fabric just waiting for me to get started.

3567916551_bbd5b04e35_mNot only is Lydia an amazing designer but she is also a fabric designer for Clothworks.

Lorraine and Lydia have just started a blog which already features several tutorials. Why not stop by to have a look and please say hello while you’re visiting.

Happy stitching!


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Spring Perennial Gardens

What is more beautiful than a garden in the Spring?  What a refreshing change to see all the vibrant greens of the new foliage and the bright colors of the Spring flowers after a long, cold winter.

Weather permitting, it’s a ritual with me to spend at least an hour in my gardens each morning around 7:00 a.m.  With a cup of tea in hand, I stroll amidst the beauty accompanied only by the sounds of the birds and crickets.  Occasionally I stop to pull a weed or two, deadhead a spent bloom or loosen the soil with a trowel.

It seems like almost every day there’s something new that comes into bloom.  The daffodils are gone for another year and the tulips should follow in another week…just in time for the irises to make their debut.

DSCN0496I still need a few more annuals for my containers which I’ll probably pick up in the next day or two.

DSCN0476Nearest the house is the first of two shade gardens which only gets about 3-4 hours of early morning sun.

DSCN0478 We had the large boulder brought in when we started landscaping four summers ago.

DSCN0483 This is our second shade garden at the back of the yard and this location only gets about two hours of early morning sunlight.  The rest of the day it is in the shadow of the out building and a large basswood tree.

DSCN0490 The aroma from this deep burgundy lilac is intoxicating.

DSCN0481We installed this raised bed of twice-blooming irises two summers ago.  The first blooms should happen within the next two weeks and then each plant will re-bloom in early September. 

DSCN0487Here is the other side of the yard with yet another huge boulder to add interest and texture.

DSCN0491Notice the pretty orange perennial azalea in the foreground.

DSCN0494And there’s our Westie Mac in the distance chasing another squirrel up the tree.

DSCN0488When we bought our house four years ago, it was a new build with just bare ground and had no landscaping.  Sam and I did most of the work ourselves with the exception of the stonework patio area.  As with all gardens, they are a continual work in progress and labor of love.

DSCN0479Thanks for coming on the tour with me.  I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did…and please come again.

Remember to take time to smell the flowers and as always…

Happy stitching!


Monday, May 25, 2009

Another BIG City Shopping Trip

I ‘needed’ a few things and hadn’t been to my 65 mile away LQS for quite a while, so we decided to go for a drive on Saturday. Sam dropped me off while he went to the book store. Thank goodness for Chapters, only a couple of blocks away.

I managed to do quite a bit of damage to my pocket book in a very short period of time. We arrived just after it opened so I was able to browse to my heart’s content.

I was looking for some Amy Butler fabric for a swap gift and was able to find what I needed straight away and without too much fuss.

DSCN0468I also bought two purse patterns. The first is a Melly & Me pattern by Rosalie Quinlan and Melanie Hurlston and...DSCN0467the second is a real cutie from Quilt Plus.

DSCN0472I couldn’t live without this redwork “Winter Wonderland’ sampler pattern from Crabapple Hill.

DSCN0466I needed a black and a red permanent pen so I picked up one of each along with some flower head flat pins, a seam ripper and some Jeana Kimball straw needles for needle turn appliqué.

DSCN0470One of the gals in our stitching group is having a birthday this week and I picked up a pair of scissors for her to include with her other gifts.

DSCN0471And last but certainly not least, I found a copy of Quilts, an Australian quilting magazine featuring Lurline and Robyn, two great gals whose blogs I read on a regular basis.

DSCN0465I certainly did my part to help stimulate the economy on this trip. Sam didn’t do too badly in Chapters either!

Yesterday I spent from 7:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. working in our perennial gardens. I was literally exhausted when I was done and for the first time in a long while, I needed an afternoon nap. Later today I’ll try to get some photos of our Spring gardens.

Happy stitching!


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Swap Gifts

My Spring Blooms Mini Quilt Swap gifts arrived and I’m thrilled to pieces!  My swap partner’s name is Brenda and she owns the Pumpkin Patch Primitives quilt shop in Nashua, New Hampshire.

The irony of having Brenda as my swap partner is that I have visited her website on several occasions and had wanted to place an order more than once.  I restrained myself because Sam said that we would visit the shop while we were on vacation during the summer months and I’d much rather shop in person. 

Even after I received my gifts, I didn’t make the connection until I emailed Brenda to thank her for my gifts and the name sounded familiar.  Then the light bulb went on!

DSCN0459This was what I found when I opened the package…two fat quarters of A’s, Bees and Dandelion Seeds by Jacqueline Paton for Red Rooster Fabrics, the cutest sewing themed resin ornament and a wrapped package tied with a bow.

DSCN0463Inside the package I found a Spring flower pick, a sewing themed note pad and a card from Brenda…along with the ‘piece de resistance’…

DSCN0464the mini quilt which I absolutely love!  It’s done with wool appliquéd on cotton…my favorite! 

Brenda wrote these words in her note that I think sums up what swapping is all about…”I truly hope you like the little quilt I’ve made for you.  It was stitched with love and made in the spirit of friendship”.  

Thanks, Brenda from the bottom of my heart for the wonderful gifts.  I will treasure them always.

Happy stitching!


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Eye Candy!

Yesterday was our guild meeting.  I always come away so pumped and full of inspiration.  We have some absolutely amazing quilters in our group who are so sharing, positive and upbeat.  I soooo look forward to the third Wednesday of every month which is when we meet.

The highlight of yesterday’s meeting was the reveal of 12 charity quilts made by the combined efforts of many of our members.  There is a new local hospice opening in the Fall of this year and it is our goal to have a hand made quilt for each of the 18 beds.  To date, 12 have been completed and more are in the works.

DSCN0448By the time I remembered to take my camera out, these had already been shown.

DSCN0447 We have several longarm quilters in our group who have donated their time and materials to finish these quilts.

DSCN0449The machine quilting is absolutely stunning, and most of the quilts are custom quilted.

DSCN0450Even as I type this, I’m still amazed at the work and beauty.

DSCN0456 And more eye candy…

DSCN0451Outstanding quilts by an outstanding group of gals for an outstanding cause!

Have an outstanding creative day and as always…

Happy stitching!


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

More Pincushions!

From the first time I first saw a biscornu pincushion I just knew I had to make one.  Biscornu is a French word meaning irregular.  Most of the ones that I’ve seen have a cross stitched pattern on top giving them a soft vintage look but alas, I don’t know how to cross stitch so the idea of making one just faded with time…until a couple of weeks ago, i.e.

Janet, who is an absolutely amazing quilter, posted a tutorial on her blog on how to make a biscornu pincushion!  Yesterday afternoon I decided to take the plunge and to my surprise and delight, it only took me about forty-five minutes from start to finish to make these two.DSCN0438Janet’s instructions are so clear and easy to follow.

DSCN0439 Here is the reverse side of the same pincushions.

DSCN0445This one is made from vintage fabric that I bought from Nanette’s etsy shop…

DSCN0443and this one is made from redwork fabric that I had in my stash.

Life is good.  Two more pincushions!  Because you know…

You can N-E-V-E-R have too many pincushions!

Happy stitching!


Monday, May 18, 2009

This and That…

We went to Ogdensburg, NY yesterday to do some grocery shopping and to pick up a few things that I needed at Joann’s. I hadn’t received my latest Joann’s flyer or I would have postponed going until this weekend as that’s when all the great Memorial Day sales begin. I did pick up the things that I ‘desperately’ needed and plan on going again this Friday to take advantage of the specials.

I’ve been working like a beaver on my swap gifts. I finished the mini quilt for Spring Blooms Mini Quilt Swap, so that’s two out of four swaps that can put to bed.

DSCN0429The dimensions are 17” x 13 1/2” and it’s done in purples and greens, my swap partner’s favorite colors.

Here’s a little peek at a project that I’ve been working on for another swap.

DSCN0431 And some things that I painted which will be included with each swap package…

DSCN0436And another style…

DSCN0435I’m having a great time creating, sewing and playing with all these projects and so far I’m on schedule to have everything made, wrapped and ready to ship out on or before the due dates. Woo hoo!

Last night I had to bring in the few annuals and hanging baskets that we had purchased because of the chance of frost that was in the forecast. It certainly is a little nippy for this time of year but the warm weather can’t be too far away.

Having said that, I’d better venture outdoors to see how things fared overnight in the gardens.

Happy stitching!


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Not MIA…Just Busy

Swaps and gardening…or is it gardening and swaps? I have to learn to prioritize. After such a long winter, I’m finding it hard to keep my hands out of the dirt.

After taking stock of which perennials didn’t make it through the winter, it looks as though I’ll have to replace about a half dozen plants. I just love going to nurseries at this time of year because everything looks so fresh and like fabric in a quilt shop, is just crying out for me to take them home.

When I’m not in the garden, I’m busy stitching projects for upcoming swaps. I love to make things as gifts for others which is probably the reason why I joined four swaps! So far I’m on schedule with the time lines that I’ve set for myself so I haven’t felt any undue pressure…yet.

DSCN0424I just finished this pincushion which was really a lot of fun to make. I think I enjoyed the embellishing part the most because that’s where you can let your creativity take charge.

Actually, I made more than one because if you recall, you can NEVER have too many pincushions!

DSCN0427Here’s a little preview of a mini quilt that I’m working on for another swap. I’m doing mine in my favorite wool-on-cotton method and I’m hoping to complete it today.

I have several other swap projects on the go as well which I’ll sneak in as I make more progress.

Now I’m off to do some weeding as there’s rain in the forecast for tomorrow.

Happy stitching!


Sunday, May 10, 2009



No one will ever take her place. 

She was kind, generous and the most positive person I’ve ever known.  She was always there for us.  Her three children, four grandchildren and two great grandchildren meant the world to her and she was our world as well.  She was our rock, our mentor and made our world a happier place.

My Mom lived a simple life.  She enjoyed cooking, gardening and reading…and she loved her night time television shows.  That’s when she relaxed and unwound.  She loved to laugh and you could often hear her laughing out loud at some silly comedy show.  Just thinking about it brings a smile to my face.

The above photo was taken on her wedding day, September 9, 1941.  Two days later, my Dad was deployed to England to serve in the Armed Forces during WWII where he remained for four years.

My Mom lived with Sam and I during the last year of her life.  After a brief but courageous battle with cancer, my Mom passed away on June 23, 2006.  Not a day goes by when I don’t think about her.

I miss you, Mom.



“Everything I am or hope to be I owe to my Mother.”

Abe Lincoln

Friday, May 8, 2009

‘Hands All Around’

As a follow up to my previous post where I featured my antique red and white quilt, a comment was left on my blog by Donnelly saying that she had made a wall hanging using this pattern which is called ‘Hands All Around’.

Donnelly posted a picture of it on her blog and enthusiastically granted me permission to ‘borrow’ her photo in order that I may post it here.

hands_all_aroundIt would appear to be the identical pattern that was used on my quilt.

DSCN0422Thanks, Donnelly for providing us with the block name and also for the permission to use your photo here.

Happy stitching!


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Antique Quilt Collection

My love affair with antique quilts goes back more than 20 years.  I recall when I bought my very first one for $35 at a country auction near Cambridge, Ontario back in the early 80’s.  At last count, I believe I have 22 or 23 that I’ve given an interim home til they’re passed on to someone else after I’m gone.

Currently, I’m busy working on swap gifts so I can’t reveal too much.  Instead, I’ve decided to show you one of my favorite red and white antique quilts.

DSCN0422It’s in wonderful condition and the red fabric does not show any signs of wear which is very unusual given it’s age. 


The quilting is quite detailed and the stitching ever so tiny.

DSCN0419I ‘m not familiar with nor do I know the name of the pattern.

DSCN0420Do you?

Happy stitching!




Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Dresden Plate Quilt

It was always my dream to have a Dresden Plate quilt but in my travels, I was never able to find an antique one to add to my collection.  Sure there are off-shore facsimiles available that are marketed as ‘hand made’ but they never struck my fancy.

I spotted the ‘Easy Dresden’ template/ruler at my LQS last year and decided to buy it.  The instructions are well written and very easy to follow so I decided to give it a whirl.

DSCN0411I used Madeira and Shangri-La by Moda to make the wedges for the Dresden Plates and Shangri-La for the sashing and borders.  The blocks had to be cut at 14 1/2” to accommodate the size of the Dresden Plate.  The wedges took two charm packs in total and I cut them at 5”, the actual width of a charm square which yielded 2 wedges per charm square. The centers were cut from additional yardage.


From the outset, I knew that I wanted to quilt this project by hand.  I purchased a beautiful feather wreath stencil that I used as the quilting pattern in the alternate blocks.

DSCN0386 The actual construction of the quilt did not take long at all.  Because I decided to alternate the blocks, 25 in total were needed to complete the top.  The finished quilt including sashing and borders measures 100” x 100”.  Never in my wildest dreams did I plan on making a quilt this size!

DSCN0384It took eight months to complete the quilt.  Not too long after I had started the hand quilting, I realized that I should have had it machine quilted simply because the actual size of the quilt made it both awkward and difficult to manipulate for hand quilting.

DSCN0388The 108” wide backing was a blessing when it came time to sandwich the layers.

DSCN0389The scalloped border added the finishing touch.

DSCN0387What started out as a relatively ‘simple’ project turned out to be a very ambitious one.  I’m happy I did it but I doubt that I would attempt to hand quilt another project of this size.

Will I make another Dresden Plate quilt?  Absolutely!  That was the best part…cutting, assembling and appliquéing the Dresden Plates.

Happy stitching!