Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year 2012!

I hope that 2012 brings you peace and health and new friendships.

Happy New Year words

This is my first anniversary of my blog.  It really is hard to believe that I've been doing this for only one year as it has become such a part of my life.  When I began last year I thought maybe a few friends might look in from time to time but now I have people from all over the world reading the blog.  Imagine that!!
The statistics are that I have been read from countries like Australia, Estonia, Spain, Latvia (Anita's influence probably!), South Africa, India and many more.  Amazing.
There have been 115 posts over the year.  Right now there have been just under 15,000 hits.
I'd like to thank all of my students who allowed me to post photos of the workshops and lectures on my blog.  They are a friendly bunch of quilters here in Canada!

And so........... on to year number two!

I love to get your comments so keep them coming!

Part 7 Orca Bay compete - The Marathon continues.....

Orca Bay part 7 is complete after a full day and a bit of sewing.  Tomorrow Bonnie will be releasing the final chapter of this mystery quilt.  I'll be ready for a full day of New Year's Day sewing!
This has been great fun and has used up quite a bit of my white/black fabric stash.  I'll be piecing the back to use up the rest of the pile.

It looks like my hope that more blue will be added in to the quilt won't be happening.  I might after add my own special touches to the final pattern to incorporate a little more blue into mine to soften the Halloween effect.
We're having a quiet New Year's Eve tonight.  I'm just fine with that after the busy Christmas we had.
Hope you enjoy the evening with friends and family.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Orca Bay - Part 6 is finally completed!

It took awhile to get part 6 finished with Christmas and visiting etc.  We've had a lovely Christmas here although it was a green one.  We have been getting snow all night so we should be a little more snowy by tomorrow morning.
Here are my completed Ohio Star blocks.

I still think I might be on my way to a Halloween quilt but we'll just have to wait and see.
Part 7 will be here before we know it and I do have a few teaching samples, kits and handouts to get ready in the mean time.  2012 promises to be a very busy teaching/lecturing year!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas.
I sincerely want to thank each and every one of you for reading my blog.
Best wishes to you and your families.  Enjoy your time together.

Christmas Card Photos

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Orca Bay - Part 5 done!

Orca Bay mystery part 5 is now complete.  Sewing those 700 triangles onto the half squares took quite awhile but they look good.  I can't wait to see how they will be incorporated into the final quilt.  This mystery has been great fun to work on.  After such a busy Fall teaching schedule it's nice to do something not work related with someone else in charge!
Here are the part 5 units......all 350 of them completed....
I've made a good start on Part 6.  I love the Ohio Star blocks BUT I may just be on my way to making a Halloween quilt.  Hopefully we'll put more blues into the quilt and soften the Halloween effect!

Enough sewing for today however.  I must get into the kitchen to do a few things for our Christmas Eve dinner tonight and make pies for tomorrow.  Yes, our family has pie for Christmas dessert instead of plum pudding or carrot pudding.  This year I'm making Cranberry Apple pies.
Our Christmas Eve dinner we try to have something as opposite to turkey dinner as we can so this year we're going with Beef Curry with basmati rice, roasted asparagus and ice cream and berries for dessert.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Orca Bay - Part 4

Part 4 of the Orca Bay Mystery from Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville is complete.
The fabrics are oranges and fuchsias both batiks and commercial fabrics combined.  I love the combination and I think it will look good with the turquoise colours I chose for the opposite colours.
Here are the 130 (I made extra) string pieced units.
Now I'm going to cut the 700 triangles to make the units for part 5.  The pressure is on with the next step coming on the 23rd!
Hope you're keeping up!  Thanks all of you that are sending me comments.  It's great to hear from quilters from all over the world.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Back from the Sunny South!

Hubby and I have just returned from a wonderful and relaxing week long cruise through the Caribbean aboard the cruise ship Celebrity Summit.  The ship left from San Juan and went to Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Maartens, Antigua, and St. Thomas.
The staff, food and entertainment were all first rate.  We especially enjoyed a dinner in the Normandy Restaurant where much of the decor was from the original Normandy cruise ship from the 1930's.  The meal was one of the best I've ever had.
We took several tours in the ports to see the islands.  Of all the places we visited I think that St. Maartens was the one we'd go back to first.
The Summit in St Lucia.  This gives you a good idea of the size of the ship!
Being away on holiday has put me way behind on the Orca Bay Mystery Quilt.  Yesterday afternoon I did do some of the string piecing blocks so I'll have to get busy and get caught up!

I forgot to mention earlier that Pantone has selected the new colour of the year 2012 ......

Great colour!!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

One More Baby Quilt

I found another cute and fast baby quilt pattern on the Oh Fransson blog by Elizabeth Hartman.
This one used up more stash and will be a great donation quilt for a cuddle quilt program in the new year.
This is not a great picture but you get the idea.
The backing is some white flannel that was in the cupboard and I quilted it with white thread.
I had a squares and strips left over guessed it..........I have another on cut out.
It's a sickness.  No known cure.
Hope your holiday preparations are taking shape.  December 25th will be here before long!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Making Baby Quilts

Every now and again it comes time to replenish my stash of baby quilts.  I like to make baby quilts in between more complex projects.  Like most quilters, I like to have a few on hand for gifts and I also sometimes give them to guilds that host me who have charity quilts as part of their guild.
The first one is from a pattern by Elizabeth Hartman from the Oh Fransson blog.  You can get the free pattern here.  The pattern is very well written and illustrated.
It was fun to make.  Several months ago I had ordered a sampler set of 4 1/2" strips of some fabrics and never found a use for them so many went into this quilt.  I think they're Kate Spain fabrics but I can't remember now and have thrown out the label.  Anyway......I cut them down to the required 3" widths for this quilt and the remainder went into my 1 1/2" strip bin.
I made the backing as Elizabeth's pattern instructs.  Somehow I still had 10 nine-patch blocks left over but that could be  because I used full strips cut in half rather than fat quarters.  I'd like to make a "girl" version of this quilt so if I again have that many blocks left over I will get a third quilt from the remaining 9-patches.  This is why my projects never end...............

This is the "girl" baby quilt I also made over the weekend.  The pinwheel design I just designed using EQ7.  Luckily I have 3" finished HST Thangles on hand for the pinwheels.  The fabric had been purchased in Michigan when I was at the retreat there last Spring so it was time it was used up!  I used a pale green and white gingham on the backing.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Orca Bay Mystery -Part 3 Done!

Ta Da!!!!  Part three of the Orca Bay Mystery is complete.
I didn't have to work today after all so I spent quite a bit of the day making the 350 half-square triangles required for the next instalment of the mystery quilt put on by Bonnie Hunter.  This one's not for sissies!
Lots of sewing but not terribly difficult.
Luckily I had Triangle Paper for a finished 1 1/2" HST.  This probably saved a day's worth of sewing right there.  Using these papers, you know that your HST's will be perfect and so trimming is unnecessary.  Thank goodness!  Trimming up 350  of the 1 1/2" finishing HSTs would have been too much for me.

The Triangle Paper is so easy to use.  First of all I ironed a black fabric and a white fabric right sides together.  Next I sprayed on the the Triangle Papers on the back with 505 Basting Spray then stuck it on the top of the fabrics.
Next I sewed with black thread along the dotted lines.
Then I trimmed the outside edges using the rotary cutter then cut on the solid black lines.
Next job was to trim off all of the "dog ears" before removing the paper or pressing.
Finally the paper was removed and they were pressed open.
That's 350 plus a few for insurance.  I always make a few more in case disaster strikes.  I've been known to slice things in half or lose pieces here and there.
Now I must get busy on my other projects while I wait for Friday's instalment of Part 4.

Are you keeping up?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Quilt "Missing" from Houston Show

This is a post from Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville blog.  Please let others know about this "missing" quilt.
Thanks, Heather
I’m hoping you can post this information and picture on the on-line quilt group you’re with. I just found out that my “Really ‘Wild’ Flowers! Second Season” quilt went missing the day after the Houston show and I’m devastated and heart-broken beyond words. I’m offering a cash reward for its safe return, no questions asked. I would just like to have my quilt back home. The size is 62” x 64.5”.

Please urge each of the gals to send the information out to their own personal contacts as well if you would.

Thank you so much,
~ Sharon
If you have seen this quilt, please contact Sharon Schlotzhauer.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Orca Bay Mystery = Part 2

Part 2 of the Orca Bay Mystery that Bonnie Hunter is putting on is complete.  If you'd like to join the fun just click on the Orca Bay Mystery Icon to the right of this screen.  It's not too late to catch up!
I chose to use blue-greens instead of the blues that Bonnie is using for her quilt.
There are 75 string pieced blocks that are 3 1/2" square.

Part 3 comes out on Friday.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Lanark and Thousand Island Quilt Guilds

It was a busy week last week with workshops and lectures for two guilds.  Thanks to the Lanark Quilting Guild of Perth and the Thousand Island Quilters Guild of Brockville for inviting me to share lectures and workshops with all of you.
In Perth I was able to stay with Nancy and Joel in their lovely home.  They spoiled me terribly and I loved every minute of it!
I shared my Colour Harmony lecture and Colour for Quilters workshop with the Perth group.  Here they are waving "hello".
A few of the members brought their Cobblestones quilts in for show and tell.  Cobblestones was the workshop that I taught there on my last visit.  Several other members came up to say that they were sorry they couldn't show their quilts but they had been given as gifts.  That's so nice!!

I moved on to Brockville but had an afternoon free before I had to present my trunk show lecture so I played tourist and went to visit the Fulford House in Brockville.  Photography inside the building is not permitted so I just have a photo of the outside of the mansion.  The interior is all original including the furnishings and paintings.  If you ever get the chance to go.........GO!  What a beautiful place.  Our tour guide was wonderful.  Yes, that is snow you see on the ground.

The following day we did the Spiral Bargello workshop.  Here are some of the results of the day.  Nice work ladies!!  The church ladies provided a delicious lunch of homemade soup, buns, eggs salad, salmon salad, pickles, lemon pie and pumpkin pie.  Now that beats my usual lunches by a long shot!!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Orca Bay Mystery - Part 1

I've been chipping away at the first step of Bonnie Hunter's Orca Bay Mystery.  Just click on the icon on the right to go to the mystery on Bonnie's blog.
Part 1 was to make 224 hour glass blocks from the neutral and black fabrics.  I'm using blacks and whites as you can see.  They are shown here in stacks of 10 units.
Part 2 comes out this Friday, I think.  Experience has taught me not to get behind on the instructions.
So far, so good!
I'm packing up for another teaching adventure so I'll have to get caught up when I get back.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Double Diamond Workshop

The Double Diamond quilt was the subject of the last two days of teaching at Quilts and Calicos in Exeter, Ontario.  It is a one day workshop that had two classes of students.
Here's my quilt sample:
This quilt looks a little more difficult than it actually is but is still a little challenging.  Students at an intermediate level do well in this workshop.  This is a favourite class of mine to teach as it provides students with many opportunities to learn new skills as they apply to working with 60 degree angle quilts.  Matching points WITHOUT using pins etc.

The students all had great fabric choices.  Unfortunately I forgot to take any photos in Friday's workshop but here are some from today's workshop.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Toronto Adventure

Hubby and I spent the day yesterday in Toronto.
We were fortunate enough to get tickets to see the Chagall exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario.
The paintings were breathtaking.  The exhibit also contained paintings by other Russian artists of the same time period working in France at the same time as Chagall.  Among these works were several Kandinsky paintings.

My favourite Chagall painting is (of course) "The Bride and Groom of the Eiffel Tower 1938-9.  Unfortunately this one was not in the exhibition but I had a card to show some Chagall work in the photo below.  While we were at the gallery we also visited exhibits of the Group of Seven and sculptures of Henry Moore.  The AGO was very busy for a Wednesday afternoon.  
The Chagall exhibit is on until January 15th.  If you are in Toronto and have the time, I highly recommend it!

After the AGO went ventured down to the entertainment district to have dinner.  We ended up at a Thai Restaurant for a delicious dinner of spring rolls, stir fry beef and vegetables and creme brule for dessert.  I'm not sure how creme brule gets on a thai dessert menu but I wasn't about to argue!

Our next adventure was to see Chef Jamie Oliver live at Roy Thompson Hall. We really didn't know what to expect.  It turned out that Jamie was interviewed on stage and answered questions from the audience from cards we filled out.  It was a very pleasant evening.  Jamie was so down to earth and genuine that you felt like you were just having a chat with him in your living room.  Everyone who bought a ticket got a copy of his newest cookbook "Jamie Oliver's Food Escapes".  I'm still reading it but will let you know when I try some recipes.

What a wonderful day!  We decided to drive home even though it meant getting in quite late. The older we get, the more we like sleeping in our own bed!

Monday, November 14, 2011

New Mystery Quilt

Bonnie Hunter of has just posted the first instalment for her new mystery quilt series entitled "Orca Bay Mystery".  Bonnie does mystery quilts that are always easily understood with clear, photographed illustrations and printable instructions.  The new mystery link is
I have my fabric selected.  Bonnie is using blue, red, neutrals and blacks.  As you can see, I'm using blue-greens, yellow-oranges, whites and blacks.

Want to join me and several thousand other Bonnie Hunter fans?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Scrap Management

I've just finished this top for a class I'm teaching at Quilts and Calicos in Exeter, ON February 18 & 19.  We're offering the two days to choose from.  Students can sign up for either day but it is only a one day workshop.
I call this quilt Jester's Diamond.  This is another quilt in my "60 Degree Quilts" series.
Peeking around the edges is another 60 degree quilt that I'm just sewing the rows together on.  You'll have to wait a little while before I can show you that one!
The Jester's Diamond quilt was fairly quick to make but has lots of lessons to teach.  Matching points on 60 degrees, strip cutting on the angle etc. etc.  Wouldn't this look great in black and white fabrics or batiks?
Here is the pile of scraps generated from cutting this quilt.  There are a few extra scraps because I took an "unscheduled nap" while cutting the setting triangles and had to redo them.  Don't you just hate that?

 Rather than just putting these odd sized bits of fabric back into the cupboard, I cut them into useable sized pieces and put them in boxes.  Here I have cut 1 1/2" squares, 2 1/2" squares and 1 1/2" strips.  The 1 1/2" squares go into my postage stamp quilt box and the rest into boxes under my cutting table.  When the time comes to make a quilt using any of these sizes, I don't have to cut them, I just have to reach under the table for the correct sized box of pieces.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Ottawa Valley and Kemptville Quilters Guilds

I am back from working with the Ottawa Valley Quilters Guild and the Kemptville Quilters Guild.
On Saturday I presented the Spiral Bargello workshop to the Ottawa group.  The workshop was held in a vacant store right beside Dragonfly Fabrics.  What a great location!  We could pop next door to get things yet had an entire store for the 16 students to set up their equipment.  Linda, who owns  Dragonfly Fabrics loaned us tables etc.
Here are some photos from that workshop....

I had Sunday off so I had time to visit our son.  We don't see him too often so it was such a great opportunity to catch up and just enjoy spending a day together.
While I was in Ottawa I stayed with my brother-in-law and his family.  It gave me an opportunity to visit while I was working.  My sister-in-law and I took some time Monday morning to explore the market area of downtown Ottawa.  This is a photo of the parliament buildings that I snapped along the way.

Monday night I presented my lecture " Creativitiy.......What is it and where to I get some?".  There were close to 200 people in the audience.  Thanks all of you for participating so well in the lecture.  I must have had 50 people come up and chat with me after the lecture.  It's always so nice when people come up and talk to me after a lecture.  It makes me feel like I was able to really communicate with them.
Nancy came to the lecture with her Spiral Bargello top completed!  Way to go Nancy!!

Tuesday I got up at the crack of dawn and drove down to Kemptville for another Spiral Bargello workshop.  Thanks Marian for arranging everything.
After the workshop ended I drove home.  It took just a little over 6 hours to get back after teaching all day.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

New Cookbook is an enjoyable read!

As you all may have gathered, I love to cook.  Loving to cook translates into being an avid collector of cookbooks.
This is my newest acquisition.....
Jennifer Reese is a journalist who became unemployed.  To economize, she began to experiment making foods that she normally purchased.  She has even gone so far as raising chickens and goats in her yard.  The book is full of humorous anecdotes and wonderful recipes along with "Make It" or "Buy It" recommendations.

One of the sections I read last night dealt with making your own chicken stock.  I usually make stock when we have turkey but otherwise I've been really enjoying the convenience of the new Knorr Chicken Stock.  They take up less room in my pantry than the boxes of stock or tins of condensed stock and it costs less.  It's not always easy to find but you can usually get it in Walmart.

Reese declares that she hates making stock.  What do you do with all those slimy bones and soggy vegetables afterwards?  You can't put them into the compost.  If you put them into the garbage the raccoons rip you garbage open making a mess all over the lawn and neighbours less than thrilled with your efforts to economize.  Storing the stock takes up limited space in the freezer too.

On the upside.......making stock is cheaper than buying it when you assume that you would have thrown out that carcass anyway.  BUT the biggest argument is that if you read the labels of the leading brands, "your skin will crawl".  So, I looked at the label on my Knorr box.......big mistake!

Pass the slimy chicken bones and make room in the freezer!!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Quilt Canada 2012 in Halifax

I will be teaching 4 one-day workshops in Halifax, Nova Scotia for the Quilt Canada 2012 conference.  My workshop dates are:

May 30 - Quilt Marking Mysteries
May 31 - You've Got Mail (playing with postage stamp designs)
June 1 - Colour Studies for Stash Quilters
June 2 - Fireside Log Cabin

Registration is now open to everyone including non-members of the Canadian Quilters Association.
I know most of the people on the organizing committee of this conference and know that they will put on an outstanding conference.  I'm not sure how many more Quilt Canada conferences there will be so take advantage of this one if you can.

For more information go to:

I hope to see you there!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

How to get more out of your workshop experience.

For the most part my students are a joy to teach.  You always get a few people that are just having a bad week or tend to have a "can't do" attitude but for the most part the quilters that I see are excited about learning new techniques and skills.

I thought I'd share with you some tips for getting the most out of your workshops.

1.  Make sure you know exactly what the class is offering.  If you have any questions about the workshop, email the teacher and ask some questions.  A visit to the teacher's website is sometimes enough to clarify. Having a clear idea of what you want to get out of a workshop will increase your enjoyment of your time there.

2.  Bring everything indicated on the supply list.  If a specific ruler or notion is on the list, be sure to purchase it before the workshop if you don't already own it.  Teachers spend a great deal of time on the supply lists to make sure that you have everything you need.  Most teachers will indicate what you need to bring to class and what you need to finish the project.

3.  Make sure that your sewing machine and other equipment is in good working order before you bring it to the workshop.   Change the needle in your machine and wind a few bobbins before you pack up.  Double check that you have your foot control, bobbins and power cord.

4.  Always pack a basic workshop kit.  This includes pins, thread snips, stitch ripper, extra sewing machine needles (size 80/12 for piecing) and bobbins.  Be sure to label all equipment with your name.  Return address labels are good for this.  Always bring a power bar and/or extension cord to the workshop.  I highly recommend the wheel type extension cords that wind up and have 4 power outlets.  They cost around $30.00 but they are worth every penny.  You might want to pack a cushion to put on your chair for height and comfort.

Bayco Quad-Plug Extension Cord Reel 017398101653 SL-755

5.  Don't bring an iron unless you are sure that the electrical power supply can handle students bringing extra irons to class.  Usually the workshop organizers have irons for the class to use.  Nothing slows down a workshop faster than throwing a breaker.

6.  Recognize that a workshop room is never going to be as comfortable or convenient as your own sewing studio.  Go with the flow!  Try the method the teacher is using even if you usually do it another way.  Be patient with yourself.  Every new idea or technique will take time to master.

7.  Dress in layers.  Classroom temperatures vary depending on the location.

8.  Show up for the workshop about 20 minutes before starting time to allow time to set up your machine and materials.  Have a look at the samples in the room.

9.  When the teacher is speaking, pay attention.  Chatting with your friends while the teacher is speaking makes it difficult for others to hear and you will miss vital instructions.

10.  Turn your cell phone off.  If you must have it on because of an emergency situation, turn it to vibrate.  If you need to answer a call, leave the room first.

11.  If you need clarification on an instruction, ask the teacher.  Others in the workshop don't want to waste their valuable workshop time teaching you and chances are they've never done it before either.

12.  Recognize that the teacher must share her time equally with everyone in the workshop.  Try not to monopolize her time.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fort McMurray

I spent a wonderful few days back at Suzy Q's Quilt Shop in Fort McMurray, Alberta.
It was so nice to see some of the same students returning to my lectures and workshops.  Thanks!
The time I spent there was jam packed but I enjoyed every minute of it.
Sue and her family were so nice to stay with.
Unfortunately I picked up a virus of some sort so I have spent the last 3 days in bed.  Luckily it didn't get bad until I returned.  The joys of flying in airplanes!

These are the photos from my Venetian Puzzle quilt class.