Sunday, April 24, 2011


Although it started out damp and overcast today and is sunny now, yesterday was absolutely gorgeous.  The Painted Quilt household has definitely been bitten by the Spring Fever bug!


Last week, Mr. PQ and I visited several garden centers on a quest for new plants.  The landscaping around our 175 year old home has been sorely neglected over the past 5 or 6 years and as soon as the weather cooperated, we began the outside work.  Mr. PQ dug out some sorry-looking, overgrown Mugo pines and spirea and I did a lot of severe pruning to some holly and euonymus shrubs.  We are hoping to replace those that we removed with some native Nova Scotia plants as well as several different species of rhododendrons, magnolias and azaleas.  We moved from a hardiness Zone 3b in Ontario to a Zone 6b in Nova Scotia which means I’m in seventh heaven in that I’ll be able to enjoy plants that would never have survived in Eastern Ontario.


Here’s my very first rhododendron, a pale yellow bloomer called ‘Nancy Steele’.  The large buds haven’t opened as yet but give it another week or so and it should be in full bloom.  The foliage remains green and stays on the plant during the winter which makes for some beautiful winter garden landscapes.  Rhodies are very prevalent in Nova Scotia and I can’t wait until they are all in bloom.


One side of our house remains in shade all day so I had to plant a few of my favorite spring bloomers that thrive in the shade…bleeding hearts.  I just had to have one of each…a red one…


And a white one to keep it company.


I alsoplanted a French lilac.  This particular species will produce dark purple flowers outlined in white.  It doesn’t look like much now but I’m hoping that it will produce a few blooms this year. 


Of course Mac had to supervise the whole time.  He just loves to roam the property while we are outside working.


I don’t know whether you can see it in this next photo but the deer have eaten the foliage on the tulips almost right to the ground.  These tulips were planted in the field behind the house in a naturalized fashion and not in a designated flower bed.  Oh…and they also ate the crocus blooms as well.  *sigh* 


I ran out of gas yesterday and today I’m preparing Easter dinner so tomorrow I’ll plant the other rhododendron and three blueberry bushes that are patiently waiting to take up residence at their new home.


There’s a lot more outside work and planting to be done but I want you to know that I’ve also been doing some sewing as well.   I just couldn’t resist and recently signed up for a needlecase swap.  I can’t show you anything just yet because my partner and I decided that we would surprise each other but I’ll be sure to post what I designed and made as soon as she receives it.

Happy spring and Happy Easter.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Only Six Boxes To Go!

Yup!  You read that right…only 6 boxes left to unpack.  Woo hoo!

It’s only been four and a half months since we moved to Nova Scotia but honestly, it seems much longer than that.  So much happened in our lives in such a short period of time and we both don’t know where the time has gone.

easter chicks

As I was unpacking boxes both yesterday and today, Mr. Painted Quilt was hanging shelves.   Each box unearthed several forgotten treasures and what a pleasure it was to welcome and integrate these items back into our home.

easter chicks

I decided to wait until Mr. PQ was in the ‘mood’ to drill, hammer and measure because I didn’t want to unpack boxes and have the same thing happen as before…piles and piles of stuff just sitting there waiting to be put away.   Finally this weekend we found ourselves on the same page.  *wink*

I’ll start with the upstairs and our bedroom.


As each ‘new’ item was added, the room started to become more cozy.


The quilt rack is perfect for my Primitive Garden quilt and the shelf above it is a great place for some of my sheep collection.


The quilt is hanging on the wall in the corridor that runs between Mr. PQ’s office and our bedroom.  This next photo will illustrate that.  I also managed to get some pictures hung in the upstairs hallway.


I tweaked and added a few things to the upstairs bathroom…


And hung my antique Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt on the bathroom door.


Here’s a better perspective.


Here’s another view from near the top of the stairs.


My studio has a new shelf hung in the sewing corner, already displaying more pincushions and other treasures.  One can never have too many of either!  Oh, and more sheep too!


I started to hang some pictures in the living room…


But as you can see, I’m not quite finished.  The one propped up against the sofa is a dead giveaway.  I also need a large Boston fern for the plant stand in the corner.  I think it’s now warm enough to bring one home from the nursery so that will happen some time this week.


The dining room is finally just that…a dining room.  Because we don’t use it that often, the harvest table tends to become a catch all for stuff that’s been unpacked waiting to be put away.


The shelves in the sitting room have a few new treasures added.


This next photo shows the front entrance to our house which opens up onto the sun porch.


This room was our major storage area for boxes since we moved here.  It’s wonderful to have reclaimed it for it’s original and intended purpose once again.


And the other side.


This next photo shows you how large the room actually is.  We will be spending a lot of time out there once the warmer weather decides to stay for a while.  It faces in a south westerly direction and even now, the sunsets over the ocean across the road are spectacular.


Mac just wishes that all the hammering, drilling and unpacking would stop so that he can get back to his beauty sleep.                                                                     


I’ll save the photos of the kitchen and pantry until next time.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Incomparable Buttons Giveaway Winners!

Below is a list of the button winners from the giveaway sponsored by Incomparable Buttons SA.

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The winners were selected by the wonderful folks at Incomparable Buttons.  As mentioned in my original giveaway post, the buttons will be sent directly to each of the winners by the company in South Africa.

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Purely by coincidence, the buttons that I requested arrived in my mail box today and I can attest to the fact that they are simply ‘to-die-for’ as I knew they would be.  Just have a look at these…


Design possibilities are just spinning around in my head!  Which to use first???

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So, would the winners listed below please click HERE to be magically transported to the Incomparable Buttons blog where you can give them your mailing information directly.

Quilt Hollow

Quiltin’ Sandy



Sharon in BC

Diane H

Sheila – NS


Vrooman Quilts


Terri in BC


Ana’s World

Sue B


Annette in Utah


Moe West

Alice I


Congratulations to the winners and thanks to everyone who participated in the giveaway. 

If you like buttons, please check back here on the First Friday of every month because I will be using a selection of their  ‘incomparable’ buttons in some of my upcoming First Friday Freebie designs.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Still Hooking…

And loving it!!!

I started on my second mat last week which is going to be much larger than my first one.  The finished size, once the borders are added, will be about 4 1/2’ x 2 1/2’.


Each of the squares measures 4” and I’m hooking it in a scrappy, log cabin or granny square style referred to as ‘hit-and-miss’ in hooking lingo.  I don’t know if it’s because my hooking has improved but I’m finding this mat much easier to do than my first one.


My last mat was done on ‘primitive linen’ and for this one, I’m using Scottish linen which I’ve found to be substantially different from the former.  Pulling the loops of wool through the Scottish linen is much easier because the linen is finer and softer and as a result, there is less wear and tear on the outside edges of the wool.


Speaking of wool, I have also learned that the quality of wool makes a HUGE difference when hooking. 

In my new rug, I have used both recycled 100% wool as well as new wool, both of which were initially washed, felted and in most cases, over dyed.  New and old wool must be washed or felted in hot water before using it because this process shrinks and tightens the fibres which cuts down on the wool unraveling and the edges fraying.  Because the dyeing process actually includes the ‘washing’ of the wool, machine washing beforehand isn’t necessary.   

For the most part, my wool of preference is the new stuff.  *wink*


Kathy LeBlanc, one of the gals I hook with on Tuesdays and who I’ve also taken two classes with, took me under her wing again this past Tuesday to teach me one of the many ways to dye wool.  I provided the wool, Kathy provided the dyes and Moose River Rug Hooking Studio provided the venue and their kitchen.  (Thanks Blaine and Leslie).

Here are the fruits of our labor…


Most of the wool pictured above started off as either off white or beige.  Cool results, huh? 

The colors of the powdered dyes can be mixed much the same as you would mix pure pigment paints, so this was right up my alley.  The tricky part is to learn how much of each color to use but because dyeing fabric is not an exact science, no two batches will turn out precisely the same in any case.


I thoroughly enjoyed the entire process so of course I had to buy a complete kit of dyes and a measuring spoon.


With results like this, I can certainly envision many hours spent over the dye pot in the next little while just experimenting with color.  The best part is that if you don’t like the results, you can always over-dye the wool again.


Now I just have to cut some of this new stash into strips so that I can incorporate them into my newest rug.  The scrappier, the better!

Note:  For those of you who might have missed it, please scroll down to my next post if you are interested in my ‘Special Giveaway’ which is open until next Wednesday, April 13th.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Special Giveaway!

A few days ago I was contacted by Jennifer Pascall, founder of Incomparable Buttons, a company based out of Johannesburg, South Africa.

Incomparable, SA was started as a small company in 1984 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Working around a kitchen table, often late into the night, Jennifer Pascall was busy transforming small pieces of clay into buttons of all shapes and sizes. Many of the first designs, which are still popular today, were inspired by Africa’s rich ethnic artworks and distinctive wild animals. Over the years Incomparable began specialising in the creation of handmade buttons, craft pieces, craft kits, painting kits, greeting cards and jewelry.

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As the company evolved, ladies from the local community were hired and trained in the art of button making.


Today, Jennifer’s entire family, as well as 45 women from the local community are involved in the business. Most of the Incomparable team had never held a paintbrush before they joined the company and are now absolute masters of their brushes and justifiably proud of their work.


The ladies sense of belonging within the company and skills as crafters not only gives them tremendous pleasure but also provides them with economic empowerment and has uplifted all their families.

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I invite you to read all about the company who not only produces a superior product but they ship all over the world!  In order to increase public awareness about their company, Jennifer has asked me to host a giveaway.  She has graciously donated 20 cards of buttons valued at $200 US dollars to be given away to 20 lucky recipients.  Ten of each of the following cards of buttons will be given away…

L545…tiny birds…

Bird Buttons

And L555…tiny flowers.

Flower Buttons

To be entered in the giveaway, just leave a short comment here and then go over to the Incomparable Buttons blog and leave a comment on their giveaway post.  Twenty winners will be chosen at random on Wednesday, April 13th and remember, this giveaway is open to everyone worldwide.  The winners will be announced both here on the Painted Quilt and Incomparable Buttons blogs and the buttons will be shipped directly from the company in South Africa.

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Buttons are becoming increasingly popular as embellishments in quilting, stitcheries and cross stitching.  I will be using a selection of some of the buttons in my future designs and I can’t wait!

Good luck!