Saturday, January 21, 2012

The 11th hour…

has arrived. 

Tomorrow, Mr. Painted Quilt will drop me off in Halifax where I will be spending the next six weeks from Monday to Friday undergoing both chemo and radiation treatments.  I get to come home on weekends which will be something to look forward to during the long five days in a strange city and unfamiliar lodgings. 

While waiting for January 23rd to arrive, I’ve been busy working on some small projects to take with me to wile away the hours between treatments.


This block from The Civil War Bride Quilt was prepped ages ago but I never got around to stitching the wool pieces onto the cotton background.  Frankie is making sure that I have all the threads necessary to complete the stitching and he tells me that everything looks good to go.


My Pink Lemonade flimsy from Lori’s quilt-along is sandwiched and ready for hand quilting…


as is the Temecula Quilt Company’s 12 Days of Christmas.


Yesterday I went to our local library and borrowed a not-too-heavy, easy reading ‘chick’ book, just in case I become bored with stitching.


Although the last week has been a difficult one for various reasons, I still remain positive and consider myself fortunate to have been given the opportunity to fight this dreaded disease, unlike my Mom who passed away six short months after being diagnosed with cancer.

Because everyone reacts differently to these treatments,  I don’t know how much time I’ll be able to spend on the computer.  Having said that, I’m going to bid you all a fond adieu for the next six weeks while I take a bloggie break in order to be able to focus on confronting the cancer monsters head on.

March 2nd, the projected last day of my treatments, cannot come quickly enough.  I’ll miss you all.

With much affection,


Sunday, January 15, 2012

You know what they say about Nova Scotia…

“If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes!”


And how true that is! 

On Thursday evening we had a n’or easter come through that started as a blizzard with blowing snow and high winds.  By Friday morning, there was a 20° temperature swing and it was a balmy 40°.  The winds died down, the snow had turned to rain and by mid afternoon, all the snow had disappeared…again!

Well, it’s a bit longer than five minutes but it’s cold again and guess what?  It’s snowing!  But wait…it’s supposed to warm up again tomorrow!

snowman web divider 2

So what does one do when it’s yukky outside? 

We could curl up in our favorite chair by the fire like Frankie…


or on the sofa like Mac.


Or we could spend time in our sewing studios and play!  And that’s just what I did!


I have never made a log cabin block before and when Taryn from Repro Quilt Lover posted a short tutorial on how to make a mini Court House Steps quilt, I decided that there’s no better time than the present to give it a try.  After making a few changes, here’s what I came up with, in my favorite colors of red, tans and blues.


It measures 22” × 22” and I haven’t decided if it needs another small border or to leave it as is.   What do you think?


A few days ago, Lori from Humble Quilts posted the second step in her Pink Lemonade quilt-along.


I’m all caught up and am anxiously awaiting step number three!

Lori just finished her Dear Jane quilt and if you’d like your heart to beat just a little bit faster, click HERE and you’ll see why. 

Isn’t it gorgeous?  Congratulations, Lori!


I’m sure you’re aware of the buzz all over blogland about Jeanneke’s  ‘building houses from scraps’ challenge.  I have always wanted to make a house-themed quilt and when I saw this, I leaped before I thought and agreed to take part in the challenge.

When I found out that the blocks finished at 3 1/2”, I almost choked!

Some of the pieces would be so tiny that they’d get lost between my fingers!  I was shattered and resigned myself to the fact that it just wasn’t meant to be.

Then I began to read that some of you were paper piecing your blocks.  I had heard of the term paper piecing but hadn’t the foggiest idea of how to go about it. 

So what did I do? 

I googled ‘You Tube’ tutorials and I watched several until it finally began to sink in.

A secret that I’ll let you in on is that I’m VERY directionally challenged…just ask Mr. Painted Quilt.  Many times has he told me that I couldn’t find my way out of a paper bag and you know what?  He’s right!

Well it comes to pass that everything to do with paper piecing is all “bass ackwards”!  *wink*  Oh, woe is me!

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

I knew if I begged asked that some kind blogger would come to my rescue and I was not disappointed!  Merilyn from Quiltminstrel, and all the way from Australia, came to my rescue!

Not only did she send me the greatest hand written tutorial with charts and templates but she also included a completed sample block and a little template ruler to use when folding the paper back to trim the seam allowance.


It’s taken me a few days to muster the courage to attempt one, but this morning I decided to bite the bullet and give-it-a-go!


I’m not going to say that it was easy and I did have to rip out some seams (because of the directional thing) but I now know that I can do it and I’m pumped to make a whole lot more…definitely not 365 of them…but mini quilt size for sure!

Thank you so much, Merilyn for taking the fear out of paper piecing.  Not only did you take the time to explain how, but the fact that you included a pieced sample spoke a million words to me.

Blogging friends are definitely the best!


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Still having fun!

Big hugs to all of you who took the time to say thanks for my latest First Friday Freebie!  I really appreciate it!

sewing stuff divider

What a strange winter it has been so far.  If you recall, this was the view across the street just this past Thursday afternoon…


and here is the same view this morning.


It almost looks like spring, doesn’t it?  Wishful thinking!


And here is what’s left of the snow!


In the meantime, I’ve been spending some quality time in my studio.  I managed to finish my wonky pinwheels mini made from Kathie’s tutorial which you can read about here.


And here’s the back.  I just love this reproduction fabric with the bees and have used it several times to back other quilts as well. 

I didn’t forget to add my new label either!


This is my first finish that will go into a special bin that will house all my hand made finishes to be given as Christmas gifts this year.

snowman dlog divider

Darlene of Quilting Daze is taking over the hosting of the Christmas Through The Year challenge and I decided to join in as an incentive to try to make at least one project each month that will be used for a Christmas gift.  Click on the button below and you can read all about it.


Lori is hosting a quilt-along on her blog called Humble Quilts.  She has reproduced an antique quilt and is providing us with the instructions so that we can make one of our own.  The pace is very leisurely and if you’d like to join in, you may read about it here.

You had me at the churn dash…or shoofly blocks, Lori!!

The first step is done!


And now to tell you about my trials and tribulations with the 12 Days of Christmas mystery quilt that you see all over blogland.

I thoroughly enjoyed making the 12 little 3 1/2” blocks that make up this charming sampler.  Every one went together quickly and easily and finished at a perfect 3 1/2”.

Yesterday I decided be a good girl and to follow the instructions that were provided to finish piecing the top.

I cut the sashing and border strips precisely.  However, when I assembled the top, a few of the vertical 3 1/2” sashing strips did not line up with the ones below and this was the first of several incidents that started to make me crazy.  I should have stopped there and regrouped but I didn’t.

You’d think by now that I would have learned to trust my inner instincts. 


Then, to make matters worse, when I added the borders, I really had to ease them in to make them fit.  Just look at how wavy they turned out!  I know I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to perfection but this was just NOT ACCEPTABLE!


So I walked away from it and made lunch for Mr. Painted Quilt and myself.

I was hoping that the quilting faeries would do their thing while I was in the kitchen, away from the studio….but…

I think they must have misplaced my address because nothing had changed when I returned. Drat!

~  *  ~  *  ~  *  ~

Solution? I unpicked the entire thing and redid it…with a few changes.

Using the fabric that I had cut for the borders above, I not only applied a sashing between the blocks but under them and down the entire length of the sides as well and connected them with cornerstones.  This allowed each piece to nest perfectly, without any easing at all.     I also increased the width of the sashing to 1 1/2” and decreased the size of the outer border to 2 1/2”.

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

Now I’m a happy camper quilter and will finish it rather than throw it in the trash like I was going to do.  I’m even going to make a second one to add to my ‘Christmas Through The Year’ container.


This Friday I go to Halifax for the final consultation with the radiation oncologist before my treatments begin on the 23rd.  It’s going to be a long six weeks of treatments but I’m in it for the duration and continue to remain very positive.

Please continue to keep in in your thoughts and prayers.  I gather strength from you all.


Friday, January 6, 2012

First Friday Freebie #24

After typing the title to this post, it just dawned on me that this will be my 24th First Friday Freebie…two year’s worth!  Who woulda thought?


“Sleigh bells ring, are you listening? 

In the lane, snow is glistening.

animated notes                                                 

A beautiful sight, we’re happy tonight…

Walking in a Winter Wonderland.

snowman web divider

Fittingly, this month’s FFF is entitled Winter Wonderland.

The photo above was taken from the deck at the front of our house at around 4:00 p.m. yesterday looking in a westerly direction across the road. 

You can’t see it in this photo because the snow was falling quite heavily at the time but the ocean is just beyond.

snowman web divider 2

“In the meadow we can build a snowman…

And pretend that he is Parson Brown”…


Worked in the traditional redwork style and hand quilted, this month’s FFF features a little girl building a snowman and is accompanied by her cat.  What do you think, is the cat is there to keep her company or does he have something else on his mind…like dinner?  *wink*

Here’s a closer look…


And the back…


And it’s Frankie approved!  Remember the sneak peek of this when I showed you my new labels?

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

This original, one-of-a-kind mini quilt is now available to purchase in my Etsy shop.  For more information, just click HERE.

But if you’d like to make one of your own rather than buy mine ~  *wink* ~ you may download the PDF file including the photo, line drawings and instructions, by clicking HERE.



Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Keeping Busy!

Never a dull moment around here…well maybe in the afternoon for an hour or so when I catch a few zzzzz’s in order recharge my batteries!  *wink*

I don’t know about your house but things sure seem empty around here after we packed all the Christmas stuff away.


I had moved a few things around to accommodate some of the Christmas things…


but everything is now back in place…


and Frankie’s happy again!


I love my wool cushion and even though it has an autumn theme, it stays out all year.


This is the third year that I participated in  Chookyblue’s Secret Santa Christmas Swap.  My partner was Sandy and these are the gifts I sent to her.

Kaaren for SandyC-730368

Jo was my secret Santa and here are the lovely gifts that she sent to me…


along with these two Australian quilting magazines.


I have Jo’s ornies and Christmas tree wall hanging in my studio where they’ll remain throughout the year.  Thanks again, Jo…and Chooky too for hosting the swap!


With everything that’s going on in my life at the moment, I’m having a great time making mini quilts.  Kathie from Inspired by Antique Quilts had a little tute on her blog the other day on how to make a ‘wonky’ pinwheel block.  I decided to make this scrappy version out of some of my Civil War scraps and will start the hand quilting later today.


We’re up to day 9 on the Temecula Quilt Co. 12 Days of Christmas mystery quilt.  Only two more blocks to go after today  for the mystery to be revealed!


I’m making mine in pinks and chocolates from my CW stash.


And remember that this Friday is the First Friday of the month when I’ll be releasing another FFF design for you to make and enjoy. 

See you then!