It’s been a long time, Baby….

I know, I know…..it’s been a very long time since my last post, if anybody cares. I have my reasons, though. The snow from the lovely photos from my last post all melted – November became weird and really warm and rainy for a few days – so the melted snow decided it should maybe visit our basement family room. About three inches came in to say “Hello”, and ruin the carpeting. Now I did want to someday replace the carpet as it had definitely seen better days, but not quite in this way, and not right before Christmas. We called for professional help, which arrived surprisingly quickly, to remove the water. Our meager efforts proved ineffective….we’d vacuum it up, and more would come in to take its place. We needed the big guns.

The carpet was torn out that day, the big furniture pieces put on stilts, boxes, bins, bags, and assorted whatnot cleared out of the family room, the laundry area, and the two big closets, and moved to other rooms and the garage. My sewing room became an electronics and electrical equipment storage area. I could not find a clear path to my fabric. My machines were crowded on a table they now had to share with a laptop and a cutting machine. I panicked. I had a month until Christmas and nothing ready. I still needed to cut and sew. I had gift boxes to make – tons of them!

I managed to struggle through. My sewing room is still not back to its optimal state. Our living room became my family/craft/computer area. Himself has a big TV in the master bedroom he uses to play games on. Thank God for that or we would not have had television for over 2 months either! (I know what you’re thinking, who needs television anyway…but YOU stay home all day for months with your retired husband under your feet and tell me what you think of television THEN!)

So….the whole house is a disaster area. I have the buffet and the tables and desks loaded with crap, trying to train Butch NOT to jump up on them. Looks horrible, and I have to have a spray bottle in every room. Butch unfortunately is a slow learner. The other day I had to remove him from inside the fireplace – half a spray bottle of water and little sooty footprints all over my living room rug later, he finally got the message. Thankfully he is no longer interested in the fireplace but I can’t keep the little asshole off the tables and buffet. It has become a battle of wills.

December is but a blur. I spent the week before Christmas helping my niece in her shop. It had been a looooong time since I had put in a full day’s work on my feet! I will be lending a hand for a few days for the Valentine’s holiday – her busiest time of the year (although judging by the pictures of the wedding she just did, if that kind of business keeps up she won’t have time to breathe – but I hope it does, and that her business is a roaring success!)

January is kind of blurry too! We had some great birthday dinners that month – excellent food and wonderful company. I got very little (if any) sewing done in my horror of a sewing/storage room. But Guild, Guild in the States, EQ, and Applique Club started up again for the new year.

I now have lunch most Fridays with the gals from Embroidery Club, and sew every Tuesday with my sis in laws. Oh, and spring is on its way – the days are getting longer!

I would like to become more organized this year. I would love to have a weekly meal plan and be a wise shopper, have actual goals and set time limits, have to do lists and make myself do the items on them……in other words, I am trying to teach myself not to procrastinate. So far, I have downloaded a ton of printables for weekly menus, to do lists and reminders. I dug out my old day planner from when I was still actually working so I could use said printables. I have spent hours researching on the internet HOW to use these things…..I have never done a meal plan in my life. I make lists, but usually for packing, groceries, and shopping….I’m pretty much useless at planning out my week and sticking to it. But I am going to try, dammit! I want to be organized! For once! During the time away from sewing I have taken the opportunity to design about a half dozen quilts in EQ. I want to make each one, and not just a few sample blocks. This is going to take planning and organization. I have already wasted this much of February just reading about it! I am so weak!

They finally came yesterday with the area rug for the family room, and to try and fix the (to my eye) botched installation job of my new, beautiful vinyl floor – no more carpeting in the basement for me! Area rugs only from now on – makes any cleanup (and flood recovery) so much easier. So for the next week I will be sorting, organizing, and putting to rights our family room. I can hardly wait to get back down there and watch the Walking Dead on the big plasma! I can hardly wait to have my sewing room back! (It so needs to be cleaned up and organized after the hurricane that was Christmas swept through it). And guess what….Butch is up on the table. His name should be Geddown!!

Anyway, TTFN.

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It’s all my fault…..

I admit it. There I was, admiring the large fluffy snowflakes that were gently falling, being turned into diamonds by the streetlights. “Oh how lovely” I exclaimed, then clapped my hands over my mouth, eyes wide with terror. Had I said that out loud? Could those dang winter fairies hear me? Apparently I must have yelled it, because this is what they sent:

 

2014-11-13 08.49.46 (956x1280) 2014-11-13 08.48.44 (1280x956) 2014-11-13 08.48.23 (1280x956) 2014-11-13 08.47.13 (1280x956) 2014-11-13 08.42.34 (1280x956)

It snowed, then melted, then began snowing again. It has not really stopped. Himself has had to snow blow the driveway twice, and that’s after our neighbour already cleared it once. In 2 days. This is mid November. By January we should be completely buried. Mr. Butch is none too impressed either. He just sits and stares, looks at me accusingly, then goes for a nap.

 

2014-11-13 08.45.49 (956x1280) 2014-11-13 08.51.59 (956x1280)

 

I had some tiny corners that I had cut from blocks I was making for charity quilts – I cannot bear to throw out good fabric so I saved them all. I pinned them together, let them gather dust for a month or so, then decided I really should do something with them. This morning I sewed them all up as half square triangles. They should finish to about 1 1/4″ square – I plan to trim them all before ironing the seams. Not sure what they will be used for – I may play with some zig zag layouts for mug rugs or something….we’ll see.

 

2014-11-13 08.42.05 (1280x956)

So as I head to the kitchen for another cup of coffee I notice it is still snowing. Oh yahoo. If only I’d kept my mouth shut……

Anyway, TTFN.

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Long time comin’

Yup. It’s been a long time since my last post. Again. I’ve still been doing a lot of nothing…..August left in a huge hurry, September was a blur, and last night was Halloween. How did this happen? Just last week it was July!

Managed to make a few pillows for the front porch before all the leaves disappeared from the trees – they only seemed to be full of splendid colour for a week, then faded and fell – all of them in my yard.

fall on the street

fall on the street

Took us three days to gather up the leaves from the front and back yards, then a big wind came and blew all the neighbour’s leaves back in. Looking forward to doing it all over again……sure we are!

The front porch looks nifty though. The Japanese maples are turning brilliant red, and cheering up the rest of the yard. New pillows for our comfy chairs….

autumn pillows

autumn pillows

We journeyed to the niece’s house to celebrate our Canadian Thanksgiving in October – a yearly treat not to be missed. Usually it is held at the cottage, but the kitchen there is just too small to create the size dinner needed. We had a great time, ate tons of food, and yakked way into the evening – my favourite kind of visiting!

2014-10-12 16.25.26 2014-10-12 16.26.45 2014-10-12 16.26.56 2014-10-12 16.48.48Yum, that was a good dinner! We were also lucky to have a warm, sunny day to enjoy.

The last few days have been spent building the treat boxes I give the greats for Halloween – we have one visiting from Australia this year so I get to make her one as well (for the first time, I believe). I love doing this, but it is time consuming. One look at the state of my unwashed kitchen floor should make that abundantly clear – hey, I have to prioritize!

2014-10-30 09.14.20 2014-10-30 09.14.512014-10-30 19.12.50 2014-10-30 19.11.45

Wee VV decorated treats for us, and brought them over on a soggy, overcast October afternoon – cheered us up no end, and they were delicious! Many thanks to her Auntie Jenn for helping her spread some Halloween cheer!

treats from SSM Blossoms

treats from SSM Blossoms

Anyway, TTFN.

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Finally….some work done!

Well, I am sorry to report that I have still not set foot in the sewing room, except to drop off some bags of fabric I don’t need but had to have. Things are starting to really pile up in there now….harder and harder to get through the door, and I have no more floor space left to drop any more bags of fabric on!

I do need to get going though, as I have yet to make the sample for the tote bag class I am teaching soon. Must move butt off couch…put down coffee cup….turn off iPad….

I have, however, spent hours getting some patterns converted to downloadable content. They have been sent to Quiltwoman.com for sale there. Hopefully some will find their way to market in the Quiltwoman catalog. Here’s the visual:

IMG_0003 (800x600) IMG_0386 (800x600)

I also added some new free patterns, so you can trot on over to Maudie’s Cottage and get you some. Here’s a peek:

Towels resized IMG_0395 (800x600)

I have no brain left. I have grown to hate Word even more than I used to. I am starting to enjoy Adobe Acrobat- how sad is that. I fear WordPress. Yes, it’s definitely time to go play with some fabric and thread. And have more coffee.

Anyway, TTFN

 

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More nothing…..

So guess what I did again this week……Yes! that’s right! I did more nothing. I lazed around, did a bit of cleaning, watched a fair amount of TV and Youtube, collected a bunch of patterns from Pinterest to make this fall, designed a few quilts in EQ, and stuffed myself with potato salad.

 

Went to the Blueberry Festival in Paradise, Michigan – well to be really factual, went to the quilt shop in Paradise and drove through the festival – got some primo fabric to play with. Also discovered an excellent little shop called Lavender Cottage in Curtis, Michigan – spent a happy hour there picking out some great fabrics and notions. They have three cats there, all beauties. And she has a longarm set up in the shop – instant jealous.

Had supper at the cottage last night. It has been a strange sort of summer. August is usually stinking hot, but this year, after a horrific Polar Vortex winter, we are experiencing a Polar Vortex summer. I know! I’d never heard of such a thing either! But apparently, our weather system is stuck in a big loop where it circles the Arctic picking up cold air and then shares it with us as it circles around. There is no mitigating El Nino to add warmth or to push it out if its cycle, so we are having a colder, damper, less sunny summer. It sucks. We, however, are hardy stock, and refuse to let the weather slow us down, so off to the cottage we go. Only the very young or the foolish brave the cold water for swimming, but I can manage a margarita rain or shine – the only question being…does she sit on a sunny deck or in front of a warming fire? This summer it has been both. Flannel jammies and socks have been worn. Rain jackets are in the closets, drying out. Heavy socks in the rubber boots – reminds me of autumn days at the cottage, and it is too early yet for that!

2014-08-18 16.50.59 (598x800) 2014-08-18 16.51.15 (800x598) 2014-08-18 16.52.30 (800x598) 2014-08-18 16.53.00 (800x598)Anyway, TTFN.

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Nothing new to add

I did nothing all week. Nothing. Sewing room still looks like a tornado went through it. I should feel shame, but I don’t. I had a great week, resting up from quilty things and having fun with friends and family. After all, it is summer, and here in the north, it is SHORT!

Had a great day at camp, doing lots more nothing, swilling soda and punch, and stuffing my face. Aahhhh, sweet! The corn is almost ready – can’t wait for THAT!

2014-08-10 15.22.19 (598x800) 2014-08-10 15.23.23 (598x800) 2014-08-10 15.25.34 (800x598) 2014-08-10 15.28.14 (598x800) 2014-08-10 15.48.28 (598x800) 2014-08-10 15.48.41 (598x800) 2014-08-10 15.50.11 (598x800) 2014-08-10 16.07.08 (598x800) 2014-08-10 16.08.09 (598x800) 2014-08-10 20.41.25 (598x800)

Anyway, TTFN

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Quilting on the Island

Well, another show has come and gone, and I am exhausted. Not complaining….I love this tiny quilt show, and will happily vend there every year. The people who visit the show inspire me with their awe at the excellent work done by the quilters, and that is what keeps me going – you need an appreciative audience to motivate you.

By now, we know lots of folks, and look forward to a visit on their way by our booth. We also look forward to the tea room, and all the homemade goodies to munch on. Grace’s scones are famous round here, sooooo goooood!! We were too slow this year – couldn’t even locate a crumb. Had to be satisfied with some home made cinnamon buns. How sad.

There were some exceptional quilts this year, and some exceptional quilting, both hand and machine. The Guild (www.saultquilts.com)will be posting photos of the show, I am sure, so I did not take pictures of the quilts this year. I did take a few of my booth. I had 5 new patterns and 4 new free patterns to debut. Now if I could only convince the world to rush to my website to buy them……..

Here, take a look:

Such fun, so exhausting, ( why yes, I DO leave everything till the last minute and then try to do a month’s work in a day) now it’s naptime, and the rest of August will be used to clean and reorganize my Room of Shame…… this is my sewing room today, after preparing for the show – try not to be too appalled.

Until next time, tara!

 

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It’s the Weekend Again!

Holy crap time flies! When I was a kid, a day could seem like weeks and waiting a week for a special treat or a birthday or Christmas seemed to take for-ev-er!! Now, a day goes so fast I am convinced someone sneaks into the house and changes the clocks. A week can fly by in no time, and I always feel like I have not accomplished what I set out to. This afternoon I am for sure going to spend some quality time with some pencils and paper, and get more of those ideas I have swirling in my brain actually down on that paper. Then maybe I can spend a few happy hours making up prototypes – anything to actually handle the fabrics!

Spent a happy few days on a road trip with the girls, searching out bargains and absolutely have-to-have bits of fabric and thread, with maybe a new quilting tool thrown in for good measure. We took a few days to wander from shop to shop in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, laughing, gossiping, eating good food and enjoying each others company. I did find a snippet or two that needed to be in my stash….

Score!

I love these little getaways where we travel from quilt shop to quilt shop, admiring the quilts, ooohing and aahhhing over the latest fabulous fabrics, and making new friends and quilting buddies along the way. I will also admit it is a lot more fun to do this in the summer, but I am going to plan an autumn retreat for us I think. We’ll see.

Butch had a fine time helping me sort my scraps early last week. I might as well be honest here and admit I had no choice in the decision making process. No matter how many times I spoke the dreaded “geddown” in a stern voice, the cute took over and I caved. I admit it, I caved. How could one resist this…

Did you say lunch?

…or this….

You're ignoring me. I can change that....

or this…

Use this gold here with the red...

and this….

My work here is done.

until finally playtime was over, and the bird feeder got all the attention….

....squirrel!

 

Needless to say, the scrap pile is a now mess and needs to be sorted out and cut into useable chunks and bits of fabric goodness.

Anyway. TTFN

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Summer may be on its way…..

The last few days have been wonderful….sunny, warm, lazy….and the bbq still works after serving as a snowbank for months! Himself has been busy with yard duties, setting up the summer furniture, dusting off the garden fru-fru, making things generally neat and tidy. The front lawn needs to be mowed, but I am hesitant yet because there are still tiny little blue flowers blooming all over the lawn, and they are lovely. The hostas have grown a foot in the last few days, and there are tiny leaves on the dwarf maple. I am so glad to see that! The snow came early last fall, and the wee tree did not get covered in time. I am not supposed to be able to grow one in my hardiness zone, but so far (fingers crossed) it has survived two winters. I am hoping for many more.

During all this warm weather loveliness I have been in the sewing room, working on crap. I have one border left for the round robin I did at Guild this year. Today is the day that is going to get finished. For sure. No more putting it off. Today is the day. I have mounds of scraps and clutter to clean up, but not the will to do it.

I am having far too much fun actually sewing. The clutter can wait – I have lots of bags I can shove it into until that rainy day when I have nothing else to do. I do have a plan. I do intend to sort through all that mess and cut the useable pieces into strips and squares to use as leaders and enders for scrap quilts (idea via Bonnie Hunter and Lori Holt – two very clever ladies!). The ones too tiny for even fusible applique will be made into pet beds for the local animal shelter.

Finished up a sample for a fall pillow last night. I had previously made two samples in different colourways, but both of them ended up at someone’s house other than mine. Funny how that happens. I am happy with this one – it is rather plain design wise, but the colour is to be the star, not the design.

I also changed the shape of the leaf, and am happier with this design – you can compare with the photo of the first prototype from my last post. See if you agree.

Another summery pillow idea is in the works. I made a small prototype to see how it would work, and am quite happy with the results. I just need to adjust for a longer, wider pillow. The pinwheels will have to be smaller to allow for more than one. This is my next project after I finish that border. I made my own self promise that I could play only after the border is done!

I think this will make a nice, colourful accent for the front porch chairs. I will add a picture if I ever get some made and actually on the front porch. (I get them made, but they seem to disappear after company comes…I am such a soft touch. Sigh.)

Remember the little runner I started while on holiday? The simple one? The free from the Internet one? The make it in one afternoon one? That “easy” runner class will be going into its third week tomorrow – don’t know if it is the way the instructions are worded (it is really confusing to beginners to differentiate between the “light” fabric (the background) and the “light patterned” fabric (colour A). The construction order is also odd. I would have worded the instructions a lot differently, but it is not my pattern. Lesson learned – even though I made a sample with any corrections written on my pattern sheet – if it sounds confusing to me, it will be equally so to those in the class. Choose another design.

Anyway. TTFN

 

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Brrrr…

It is the middle of May. MAY!!! You would not know it by the state of the thermometer, or the icicles hanging off my nose.

And today is even colder than this photo from yesterday. My poor plants are so confused…they don’t know whether to grow or change colour and go dormant, if it is spring or fall, to live or die. The trees are still bare, the grass is not really green yet, and my furnace is still running!!!!

I have done very little in the sewing room this past week. A strange thing….usually I am a night owl, up till the wee hours and sleeping in late. Since our holiday, my world is upside down. I am falling asleep right after supper, and getting up at 5:00 a.m., and it feels normal!! There must be something terribly wrong with me.

I have done a bit of organizing ( by that I mean I have stuffed a bunch of scraps and fabric bits from my last project into a bag to be sorted later cause I don’t feel like it right now, and moved other things from one spot to another cause I don’t know where to store them yet) so I can finish the runner for part 2 of the class next week. I need to finish piecing the backing, then quilt and bind it. I also need to have the last round for the round robin medallion I’m in ready for Guild this month. And Jen’s birthday is coming up……

I did manage to get some prewashing done. Now I just stare at it and fondle it, and imagine the lovely quilts it will make.

I am also working on a new pillow idea, but it is not quite there yet. I have made two prototypes, both of which are absent from the sewing room,and gracing other households at the moment. I have an idea for a winter pillow as well, but have not made a sample yet. If only I could get my butt off the couch and into gear….I could accomplish stuff. What a concept (says me pouring another cup of coffee and preparing to google chicken casseroles, sigh).

Butch is the newest member of our tiny family, and he seems to be settling in quite well. There is going to have to be some “kitties don’t belong on the table” and “kitties must use the scratch pads” type training starting immediately, but his loving nature and sweet little face more than make up for a few bad habits we can “unteach” him. We love having him here – the house did seem emptier without a kitty. He loves to spy on the neighbours from the living room window.

Now I really must get some sewing done today, just as soon as I find a yummy casserole recipe for supper.

Anyway. TTFN

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